Acrostik Flies Again

I’ve been meaning to fly my Acrostik again for a while and finally managed it this morning:

The Acrostik is the black aircraft with the white flash

The Acrostik is the black aircraft with the white flash

Pictured next to the RS352, it’s surprising to see how much smaller the Acrostik is. This model is almost 15 years old, as it was designed by Andrew Taylor one weekend when he had had a number of crashes and was left with nothing else to fly. His original Acrostik was made out of pieces he had lying around and was then featured in a Quiet and Electric Flight plan in October 2000. Terry Stuckey gave me one of the first plans to be printed to build as a test, and it turns out that the tail on mine is smaller than the prototype as it was reduced to fit the paper size. It’s still flying after 15 years, and it must be at least 18 months since I flew it last, but it still flew like it was new. The first attempt at launch was aborted due to no power in the LiPo. They’re quite old too. The second battery had power and it flew perfectly for almost 15 minutes on the 3S 2200mAh with no trim changes at all. This included some mild aerobatics just to test it out, followed by an almost perfect landing.

The weather was looking pretty grim this morning and I was starting to think that I was going to be on my own, but the next arrival turned up on his electric bike with an EFlite UMX Spacewalker and Champ just as the Acrostik flight was nearing the end. My next flight was with his Spacewalker, which was interesting because the designers have had to add excessive dihedral to the low wings in order to make it fly. Control is rudder, elevator, throttle only. While flying it around I remarked that the dihedral looked really excessive, as it was like flying a V-shaped aircraft, while it looked as though there was more dihedral on the right wing than the left, with the wings flexing quite a lot during flight. It turns out that the strengthener on the right wing was damaged, so my comments while flying were quite accurate. After that I flew the Champ, going out of range at one point which was a bit of a wake-up call. I’m not entirely convinced that there wasn’t something else going on, as it also locked out quite close to me and it seemed to make some sort of strange servo or motor type noise. I can’t believe you could hear the small servos over the motor at that range, but for an instant it sounded like the servo was running up and down its worm gear. Maybe it was some sort of radio glitch that momentarily affected the speed controller, motor power and controls?

Just after flying the Champ, another two guys came across the field carrying a couple of Easy Stars. This was a bit weird because we said hello to them and exchanged a few words while still examining the Champ and its controller. When we turned around, they had continued to walk straight past us and had stopped about 100 metres down the path. I think we really should have offered to help them, as it then appeared that they didn’t know how to fly. I was a bit pressed for time at this point, so I left it to the others.

Then another guy turned up with his Multiplex Cularis glider. I’m still waiting in eager anticipation for his Wots Wot biplane. Anyway, three flights with the RS352 followed. I only had one serviceable pack for the Acrostik and it was going to take at least an hour to charge, so that wasn’t going to be flying again. It’s interesting how flying lots of types of aircraft gives you a different perspective on your flying. After flying the Acrostik, the RS352 seems so solid and assured in the air, that I think my flying was much improved for the change. I just seemed to be flying smoother, with landing number two almost perfect, followed by landing number three which was a perfect greaser, rolling along the grass on the wheels to a stop. It’s interesting, because on the third landing it was coming in a lot faster and I cut the throttle completely at just the right point. On the landing before, I was balancing throttle and elevator to bring it in and had a bit less forward velocity when it touched the ground. It’s all a bit of luck though, as it depends on what patch of grass you hit whether it’s going to roll or not.

Finally, they guy from last week with the Hexcopter and small helicopter arrived and proceeded to fly the small one while I was packing up to leave. It actually turned into quite a busy morning for a day when the weather was really grim and I was anticipating nobody else turning up.

It's never a good sign when the cars have their lights on

It’s never a good sign when the cars have their lights on