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Apr 05, 2009, 06:03 PM
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Who says small aircraft are boring?


Certainly not I, that's for sure.

I maidened my new Great Planes Spitfire EP 25 today.

Holy jeez, what a rush.

But I digress.

As it so happened, I had the exact same O.S. 25FX the build called for, left over from the crash of my late and still unlamented Nitroplanes Zero Fighter-25. Even two of the GWS Naro Pro servos I'd used in the thing were called to service as aileron servos while three of the Hitec HS-81 servos which also saw use in the Zero went in the fuselage for elevator, rudder and throttle after a tiny bit of work with a Dremel.

Ain't no way in God's green earth I was going to deal with Nitroplanes again and I desperately wanted to put the engine in some sort of airfame. It's probably the best .25 in the world and I'm a huge fan of Great Planes and Hobbico in general.

Finally broke down and got me the Spitty. I was going to get the Warhawk, but the hobby shop didn't have one in stock and I wasn't going to wait.

Of course, such a build wasn't without its issues. I trimmed a bit more than I'd bargained for while trimming the throttle pushrod tube. Seems I managed to snip off one of the coaxial antenna leads on a brand new Futaba FASST seven-channel receiver.

Ouch.

It's a simple fix, but I'm leaving it to a pro.

Ah, but now that the plane is complete and several days of high winds have come to a close, up went the Spitfire with a receiver borrowed from my Carl Goldberg Yak-54 EP.

I expected the speed to be relatively close to that of the larger Zero, maybe along the lines of a similar .25 "SPAD" combat plane I have.

Uh-uh.

That exact same model, engine and prop can be found on RealFlight G4. According to the sim, straight and level flight is around 80 mph, or about 130km/h.

In real life, with a park flyer-sized wingspan of about one meter, that 80 mph was more like "warp nine." It flew much faster than the Zero and probably even faster than the 36" wingspan SPAD. There were even a couple of rather terrifying moments. The first was when I lost sight of the thing for less than a second. I'm still thanking God for putting my eye back on it; the camo covering scheme works well. The second was when I thought the runway was clear as I tried to land...but it wasn't. The club president had gone out to retrieve a dead-sticked model and I thought he had shouted that he was clear.

Nope. Thankfully, enough people were present who saw what was about to happen and I averted a real disaster in plenty of time. A punch of the throttle and a hard right turn whipped the Spitfire away from certain doom and proved what a really good combat plane it would make. No drama, just a hard emergency turn.

The subsequent landing was actually pretty darn good.

I have to say that this plane really flies great and is extremely responsive on the suggested factory control throws. It is not intuitive to fly, though. The size and speed bring your concentration to a whole new level. Like my all-white, equally scary fast and equally unintuitive Kyosho Phantom 70, finding my limitations on things like distance is going to take a bit of doing, something I wouldn't have thought necessary on such a seemingly simple model.

However, isn't self-improvement a big part of this hobby?

Update: Took the little speed demon up earlier today for three more very successful flights. It flew perfectly fine at about one-third throttle; opening up the carb meant the immediate but anticipated jump to warp nine. Much fun. What wasn't fun was the non-steerable tail skid; I'll investigate the possibilities of a tail wheel ASAP. No more jitters during the flying phase, though. I even tried a few aileron rolls and I'm here to tell you that this plane rolls laser straight even without elevator input. I'm going to wring a few more flights out of it before I start getting upside down and loopy.
Last edited by DismayingObservation; Apr 06, 2009 at 09:30 PM.
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