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Old Sep 18, 2014, 09:22 PM
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United States, MO, St Charles
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Lightest Vista EP in the World?

Who has the lightest Tower Hobbies Vista EP 2M Sailplane?

I just finished doing the "extreme make-over" on mine and have it down to 23.15 ounces. I test flew it this evening and can tell we are going to have a ball now! With the light wing loading it's going to be a low wind rig but I bet it's going to be a blast in the low level lift.

Here's some history (which started about 1.5 years ago) and specs on my Vista:

I was at a point in life that I wanted to get back into RC and purchased the Vista EP w/Futaba $99 radio and the 3600 NiMh...seemed like a good deal, bought it as a ARF and started flying. It tipped the scales at over 46 oz but I was flying again! I recognized that there was potential to reduce weight so started with a smaller battery. This made a dramatic improvement. I traded the dowels and rubber bands for a bolt on wing to reduce drag and saw a little improvement but still couldn't get past the 20 to 30 minute flight time. I knew there was allot of weight in the motor and control so replaced the motor/ESC/battery for brushless technology and made another big improvement - tipping the scale now at skinny 30.5 oz. The motor and control is from Stong Motors, Inc. It's the Keda 2212-1400 motor, 15a ESC, driven by .950 2C LiPo battery, swinging a 8.5 x 5 folding prop. I can get 5 launches from a single charge. I was able to thermal in evening lift, could spec-out in good lift and way satisfied!

I built a 3M electric sailplane from SkyBench, the Big Bird XL. Wow what a fantastic flying sailplane that will thermal anytime but that's a different story....It's performance is what got me thinking about the Vista again.

This "extreme make-over" isn't all that extreme but it did take recovering the entire airframe in UltaCote ParkLite. That and reducing the weight of the tail (allowed removal of 1.0 oz of lead in the nose) make up most all of the 7 oz reduction. I used .070 CF for pushrods, and installed some smaller servos also. You may notice that I trimmed a little balsa off the wingtips and tail feathers but that was more for looks than weight savings.

I'll post again when I have a chance to fly in good lift......may need to add some spoilers to keep from loosing it!!
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Last edited by Frisbie; Sep 18, 2014 at 09:28 PM.
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Old Sep 25, 2014, 08:46 PM
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United States, MO, St Charles
Joined Nov 2013
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Follow-up on flight testing the Vista EP light-weight....had a 5 mph evening and 77 degrees about an hour before sundown. Launch and climb are much better. I can sustain a 35 to 40 degree climb angle with plenty of reserve airspeed. Airspeed in lift can be slowed way down with the light wing loading - allowing a smaller diameter circle for those tiny bubbles! The approach to landing required a bit of maneuvering to break through the low level lift but keeping it slow and in tight turns was really nice. From just above the trees until landing was about 6 minutes out of a 31 minute flight.

I played around with some launches just above the tree tops playing in the low level lift. It was cooling off as the sun was setting but you could still see how the lift was extending the flight.

These colors provide good visibility at altitude and real high contrast for the approach. The stock Vista colors didn't give me enough confidence to "speck-out" but the dark blue wing bottom works great! The stabilizer is yellow top and bottom and provide good contrast all the way up.

It's still a flat bottom airfoil but reducing the weight has made the Vista EP a hoot to fly!
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Last edited by Frisbie; Sep 25, 2014 at 08:58 PM.
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Old Dec 30, 2014, 12:06 PM
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Portland, OR
Joined Nov 2009
574 Posts
Am doing same thing and was wondering where your CG was? 80mm?

Thanks
Don
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Old Dec 31, 2014, 12:06 PM
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United States, MO, St Charles
Joined Nov 2013
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Vista Balance Point

Hi Don,

Best wishes on your restoration and rebuild to your Vista! I set my gliders up with a rearward CG - the Vista is 3.7" (94mm) from the leading edge. I'm not sure where the plans show but I like the light feeling this gives the ship. Post some pictures or an update if you have a chance.

John
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Old Dec 31, 2014, 05:37 PM
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That is quite a weight reduction. Of course a big piece of that had to be the battery but just the same, very impressive.
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