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Old Jan 30, 2013, 08:07 PM
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United States, CT, Fairfield
Joined Mar 2012
728 Posts
Thanks everyone for the comments. No excuses on the V-tail mix up, pure brain-fart there. I mean I totally understand how V-tails work & how to set them up but yeap, I got it backwards anyway. At least it wasn't the ailerons, right?

Flight Report
Well the video pretty much sums up how she flew but here's a few observations.

Handling
I'd say she flies on rails but that's not really true. She seems to be naturally stable & will self-right quite nicely. At the same time there's not so much stability that she fights you all the time. Once banked she continues to turn but will eventually level back out. That makes for some relaxed flying, just what I wanted. The same appears to be true for pitch. I found I had to input very little if any elevator corrections to maintain level flight. By some bizarre miracle she seems to be right on the money with no tendencies to porpoise or dive. I'll probably leave the control throws be as they feel very predictable, responsive yet not in the slightest bit twitchy.

Power
While she's far from a rocket the climb rate is pretty good for a 70 oz airframe running on a 35/30mm 710kv motor. Our club does some informal ALES (altitude limited electric soaring) all up, last one down, competitions. Although I don't have an ALES motor shutoff installed we timed a 30 second motor run to altitude & she gets up there no problem. Should be more than enough power for my needs.

I have the throttle setup on my three position "flap" toggle switch. I like to think of it like a mini-throttle stick. Push it forwards to go, pull it back to glide. Positions are: 0% - 50% - 100% power.

Flaps
I wanted big flaps & that's what I ended up with. Setup on the left stick, sailplane style, I can proportionally dial in anything from 0 to around 50. At around 35 the ailerons start to raise, doing the crow thing. I'm really impressed how effective this setup is. It's hard to see in the video but I stuck her in a 45 dive at one point with full flaps deployed & she just putt-putted on down without gaining any real speed at all. That made landing her a real joy, very easy to control the decent while maintaining a nice ultra slow speed.

Thermalling
I can only speculate how she'll perform while thermalling but one thing is clear, she seems to be a floater. With her long tail-arm she turns very smoothly which is half the battle while thermalling. I also noticed the wings signaled any bumps loud & clear. I attribute that to my tapered-strength wing design. Most of the structure is towards the center tapering out to very little at the tips. This keeps the wingtips light & responsive to thermal bumps. I can't wait for some good air at the field. Up, up & away!

Conclusion
Granted there's airframes out there that'd fly circles around & totally outperform my bird but that's not really what this project was about. I wanted to have fun designing something a little odd-ball, something a little different. At the same time I wanted her to be somewhat high-performing but that wasn't the main drive. Her design is as much about having fun building, trying out interesting techniques & materials, looking different & yeah, hopefully fly nicely to boot. I created something unique, that's all mine, make the way I'd do it if I were in charge. Yeap, she's a keeper.
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