Swallows and Corsairs

I was standing all alone in the flying field this morning with hundreds of swallows flying circles around me. Keeping completely still, they came within a few feet of me at ground height, but, unfortunately, I couldn’t manage to get a picture. Then, just when I thought that nobody else was going to come, it turned into a really busy morning.

In the end I got three flights with my RS352, one flight with a UMX Beast and one flight with a brand new HobbyZone Corsair. In addition to this, we had the EFlite Advance, a profile 3D plane and a foam Stinson, a UMX Cub (with ailerons and flaps), a new Phantom drone and another couple of drones with a Spitfire, UMX Cub and Stingray.

The Beast seemed a bit low on power this time and I flew most of the flight between 75% and 100% power. This wasn’t how it was with the last flight where I was throwing it around the sky and really enjoying myself. The Corsair was a completely different aircraft and not at all like a warbird. If you want a beginner’s aircraft that looks good and flies fantastic, then this is it. After the owner tried to take off from the ground and nosed over, I asked if he needed any help. The “SAFE” technology had me slightly perplexed when I thought that the elevator was way off centre, but it turned out to be the angle that the aircraft was being held at. I’ve never seen this before, as the AS3X (as on the Beast I had just flown) tends to jump about so you can immediately see that it’s active. On this one, as you oriented the nose up and down, the elevator moved very smoothly and deliberately in an effort to keep the plane level. The same with the ailerons, to the extent that a control surface check was very hard because you couldn’t see how much control movement it actually had. Everything was being controlled by the computer. Then we worked out that the top left switch had three positions, which varied the amount of AS3X gain. Turning it down (not off), you could see everything checked out. My first launch along the ground wasn’t very good, ending up in a nose over when the wheels hit a bump. It has tail wheel steering, so ground control should be good if the ground wasn’t too lumpy for it to move. On the next attempt the owner hand launched it (difficult with the Corsair wing, which was why it was my second choice). The moment it was in the air it flew beautifully. I think the AS3X self trims it as all I had to do was add a bit of up elevator. It really was flying itself, so I handed the transmitter over to the owner after completing one left turn and achieving level flight. I actually took my hands off the controls completely as it felt so confident in the air. So, then he flew it, his kids flew it, some of them really young ones as well. At one point I was watching one with her finger on the top of the right stick, pushing it around into all four corners and the AS3X limiting the response. Warbirds aren’t supposed to be this easy. I did have to take over a couple of times when they got too far away or got disoriented. At that point I switched out the AS3X and did a roll followed by a loop. Aerodynamically it was just right, flying like a real aeroplane with the AS3X (almost) switched off. I wouldn’t mind having one of these myself. It’s only got an 1800mAh LiPo, so it’s not as big and heavy as the Hurricane I flew before, which was definitely a bit of a handful. Anyway, after all the kids had had a go I landed it. With a bit of luck we’ll see him again next week.

While I was flying the Corsair the Stinson had a bit of a mishap. I couldn’t see precisely what happened, but it clipped the ground about 100m to our left and apparently ended up crashing much further down the field as they were still retrieving it when I was landing the Corsair. I’m not sure how badly damaged it was, but it was a real shame as I’ve seen it flying so well week after week.

One final thing, but I built my first FPV quadcopter this week. It’s made from one of the H-Frames that we 3D printed and uses the HubSan flight controller until I can get hold of a SciSky one. I’ve added a Depron mount for the camera, which is one of the Hyperion 4 gram ones. I’ll follow up with a post on how it’s made later. The only other thing to say is that I’m adding the trim to the AutoGyro, everything works, so I’ve just got to balance and cover the blades.

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