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Archive for August, 2016
Posted by UpNup | Aug 20, 2016 @ 11:05 AM | 3,280 Views
Just about lost my Champ S+ this morning. Above a layer of calmness blew fairly strong breezes. I didn't panic, knowing I could hit the HP/AL red button and it would return home.

Well...not everything is perfect in GPS world.

I calmly hit the "oh crap" button and waited for it to do its come-home thing. When the Champ S+ goes to lower altitude, it spirals downward in beginner mode. Each spiral upwind toward me was stopped in midair. And each downwind blew it quickly away from the park. I took it out of red button pressing firmly one time and tried to fly it. The wing-leveling and inability to dive quickly meant a repeat and losing ground. When I hit the HP/AL button again, the plane flew further away.

So I had to become a real RC pilot. I disabled the HP/AL and pointed the plane into the wind, right at me. The Champ S+ was now well over a neighborhood with fenced backyards and second story rooflines reaching upward. If I throttled up, the plane would climb. And if I cut the power, the plane would be pushed backward by the winds. I quickly found the sweet spot. I knew my flight time was nearing 7 or 8 minutes, but kept it unwavering.

A couple of breaks in the winds allowed the Champ S+ to make strides returning to the field. I used those breaks to lower altitude until I had to throttle over some pine trees on the edge of the field. When I came down below the treeline, I was able to test cutting power and watch the plane drop just enough to head toward my best landing yet -- and with 30 seconds to spare on the battery to boot.

In the post-flight walk to the car, it dawned on me that maybe I could have moved the plane into Intermediate or even Advanced mode, which would have allowed me to dive full power toward safer altitudes. I'll save that for the next flight, now that I'm an RC pilot.
Posted by UpNup | Aug 19, 2016 @ 01:07 PM | 3,128 Views
Maiden flight today with the HobbyZone Champ S+. Calm conditions, 75 degrees.

The Champ S+ has amazing technology. I used all of it except for the invisible fence, which locks controls and returns the plane when it gets too far away.

GPS: I failed to rev the engine to 100% after setting the plane down into the wind, so GPS failed to set and the plane landed on its own 50 yards away when I engaged the red HP/AL button. The plane flew with plenty of power. Dew coated the plane after several grass landings, but it did not appear to respond sluggishly from the extra weight. At 3.7 ounces, I figured it was worth testing.

The box comes with one adapter for the prop. I plan to purchase several more. The propeller won't break on a tip-over landing, but the plastic adapter from the brushless motor to the spinner will easily break.

The beginner mode is very forgiving and keeps the plane level. A hard kick to the rudder will virtually reverse the plane's course in midair, so you still have lots of control. I was glad that I was hand-launching from a large park with trees on the perimeter. The engine is much stronger than the old Champ and what I'd played with in Real Flight simulation. It just takes getting used to and dialing back the throttle.

It was nice to not embarrass myself in front of my wife. She thought I had so much control that I could fly it in our smallish back yard. I really turned down the throttle toward the end and tried to keep the Champ S+ nearby. The plane is little, but it wants to fly.

Would I recommend the Champ S+ to anyone? Yes, my younger brother was so impressed, he's working to get one today. This "drone technology" is here to stay to help old guys like me get into the hobby!