Wednesday, June 27, 2012

T-shirt pre-order ends on Friday !

Pre-order of the French F3F national team will end on Friday evening. Please register now to order your T-shirt and a sticker. This will be a great support for the french team !

http://f3fteamfrance2012.blogspot.fr/p/t-shirt.html

Many thanks !

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Picture of the day

This picture summarizes well today afternoon: Sunny day, mountains, wild flowers, and gliders (you have to find on the picture :) ). The wind was however very poor, but some nice thermals were popping here and there which saved the flying session.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Team France F3F T-shirt pre-order is Now !

The French F3F National Team 2012 needs your support !

The french federation of aeromodelling (FFAM), that we want to sincerely thank for their support at every stage of the preparation and during the coming world Championship, is unfortunately not covering the travelling cost of the helper/launcher (Arnaud), who is really beneficial to the team once in Rügen. So we need to find some funds aside.

We have decided to propose a one shot T-shirt operation that we hope will allow to cover partially travelling costs. We are talking about a nice quality T-shirt, 195 gr, brand "Fruit of the Loom", color Heather Grey, with a 3 colors professional quality print in the back, and in the front. We planned around 100 units in order to have a reasonnable cost. The sale price is 15 Euros (excluding shipment if any) which will be around 5 euros of benefit per T-shirt for the team which is not that much, you will certainly agree.


We are inviting you from now to send us your pre-order at the following URL http://f3fteamfrance2012.blogspot.fr/p/t-shirt.html, indicating the number of T-shirt and the size you would like, in order to calculate the total number of T-shirt we will buy.

The whole french team thanks you for you help and support !


Alexis Maréchal,
Matthieu Mervelet,
Pierre Rondel,
Andreas Fricke (TM),
Aranaud Léger.

http://f3fteamfrance2012.blogspot.fr/

Monday, June 18, 2012

Flying session at Col de Faïsses

On Saturday, I went to the Col de Faïsses because of the south wind. I flew my Pike Precision and also my Needle 100, both in F3F.



I also "maidened"my new XG11, the high end transmitter from JR Propo. Appart the programming that I will discuss later in a futur post, the XG11 is a superb radio that feels great in hands, despite its larger size compared to the XG8. The stick are smooth and precise and the balancing is perfect, providing an excellent grip. The extra large display is very comfortable to see all the settings of a particular menu in one glance. 



Then, I took the opportunity of having the Needle with me to walk to the DS spot located just under the Obiou summit. Obiou is the highest peak of the Dauphiné Prealps and the seventh most prominent summit of metropolitan France. This is a very impressive place to fly and very intimidating. But the scenary and landscape around is just awesome.

I had only one problem while flying, that is the precense of lots of flies around. In fact the place is a high mountain pasture during summer with its down side :( ...

I tried to stand a bit in the wind but they were very friendly as you will see on the video I did with the Go Pro. Anyway is this place looks very promising for DS with plenty of space and good potential, so I will return for sure. Regarding the Needle, I really appreciate its good manners in DS, super stable and forgiving, but still super fast, providing excellent acceleration. It can be placed where you want/need. This is exactly what I was looking for, considering I'm not a DS record breaker, but like DS in small to medium condition, what we hae 99% of the time in the Alps. The Needle 100 DSL is the perfect compromise between DS and F3F.



Secure Switch Harmness video

A short video showing the Secure Switch Harmness from SlopeRacer in use.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

SlopeRacer Secure Switch Harmness

Sloperacer released a small size but high current electronic switch called "Secure Switch Harmness". This switch is capable to sustain a 20 A current and accept 50A spikes, which is more than enough for our application. Supply voltage is between 3.5 and 7.6V which means it will accommodate with 1 or 2 LiPo Cells, 2 LiFe Cells, 4 or 5 NiMh Cells (please note that it is not a voltage regulator).


The SSH uses a Single Pole Single Throw (or SPST) switch as control switch, which is not on the high current path. Default position of the SSD is "passing" so the power is delivered in case of failure.

On the switch is a small blue LED swiched on when the current is going thru. The Secure Switch Harmess is provided with Futaba connector, and large diameter silicone wires (total length is 200mm) . The good point is that you don't need to unplug it to charge the battery as it has a charge leconnector.

You can contact Sloperacer for price and availability as it is not yet displayed on Tony's Website.

I will produce a short video soon to show the SSH in action.

Video: F3x fuselage repair

An interresting video from Kai showing how to repair properly a thin F3X fuselage broken just in front of the wings. You can reach Kai's Vimeo channel by clicking here:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Transmitter Bag

I received the 2 case logic camera bags I ordered at a very good price. Quality is as expected very good. The bag is also very light. The only downside is that there are 2 inner compartiments to host lenses that need to be removed. Hopefully, this is quite easy, but however needs some care to avoid to damage the fabric.

Then, to improve the protection and also to wedge the transmitter into the bag, I used some unexpensive sport groundsheet (double layer) ans some hot glue to make a extra foam layer around the transmitter. The result is very satisfying. For 20 euros per bag, I have 2 nice, light, convenient transmitter bags.


Monday, June 11, 2012

New video of the Needle 100 DSL

Last saturday afternoon, I drove to le Col des Limouches to fly the Needle in good conditions and also try some DS. The needle confirmed to be a true racer, able to accumulate speed very easily and keep it for a while. No cross wind this time so I could enjoy both turns. I moved the CG a bit, around 85mm. At this location the Needle flies great. I flew some DS and discovered the beast within the Needle. Waht I really appreciated is the stability of the plane at high speed. Therefore it is much more confortable to fly faster. I really saw the difference compared to my ex D60.

Few words also about the SBEC. I use not less than 6 of them in the Needle. They worked great and flawlessly. For the engineer I am, I think this approach of having a BEC per servos, given that the receiver works fine with high voltage, is much secure than having a single BEC, so a single point of failure in front of the receiver.

I propose you the following video filmed Saturday. Thanks to Paul Derbier for holding the camcorder :


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Case Logic transmitter bag ?

Find a good transmitter bag at a good price is not that easy. The best quality price ratio can be found with Camera shoulder bags, but then you have to be carefull with the inner size of the bag.

Why a bag instead of a aluminium case ? Do some walk with the equipement in the mountain to reach the slope and you will quickly understand that minimizing the weight of what you bring is critical. But I don't want to sacrifice the protection of the main equipement, especially the transmitter !

Of course you can buy dedicated trasmitter bag from main RC manufacturers, but they are not providing a super protection and the quality is poor, from my point of view.

I have always been a fan of the brand Case Logic, and I found on their website a great bag that has the right dimensions for a transmitter.

I found a superb deal at Rue du Commerce where this bag is at 20 Euros only, with 1Euros of shipping cost !
so I bought 2 of them for my 2 JR tramsitters.

The Case Logic TBC 309 is simple enough, has 2 external pockets, a shoulder strap, and a handle.For me it has the perfect shape to host the transmitter, protect it well, and be convenient in all occasions. The finish quality is far superior to what you can get from RC manufacturers, expecially for that price. In addition is has a 25 years warranty !!!

Inner size: 24.1 x 13.5 x 23.9 cm, external Size: 26.7 x 20.3 x 26.7 cm




I will post more pictures as soon as I get them, that is to say in few days :) !
Stay tuned !

For those who are insterrested in the best deal I found, here is the link to Rue Du Commerce, a big internet shop in France

Needle 100 DSL maiden flight

Last week-end, I took the oppurtunity of the F3F contest of Séderon to maiden the Needle before the competition, in a 6m/s wind. Lift was not yet consistent but I immediatly felt that the Needle 100 is a pure racer sailplane. Cruise speed is already very high, and the plane doesn't slow down when putting some thermal flap.

The needle accelerate very fast, and the first thing that is apparent is the first time you pull the stick, with some ailerons to engage the turn. The energy retention is massive. Where other planes will just not maintain the speed, the Needle, also because of the wing load is just absolutely not decelerating, even while climbing to do an Energy Management turn. The ability allow it to maintain the overall run speed longer.

Unfortunately, most of the tiem the wind was crossed, so right turn was a bit challenging, but I finally found that I could pull harder on the elevator to do a tighter turn and this was better that keeping the usual radius. The up wind turn was in that situation a piece of cake, allowing the plane to gain some altitude to convert in speed in the downwind turn.

I also found the rudder quite reactive, and I would recommand to program on the radio a sort of dead zone on the stick to avoid to active the rudder by mistake during the banking turn, that put the nose down immediatly.




Overall the Needle DSL, at 2.6 kg for 2.5 m remains a heavy plane and despite it can sustain in the air with little wind, it definitively prefers medium to strong conditions.

The second day, I again flew it on another slope with again crossed wind, but when the thermal went, the needle was blistering. At that time I was doing laps in parallel with a FS3, and during the thermal, I just blowed up the FS3 and took 2 laps to it.

I was not able to try it in DS as the slope was not suitable for this, but I think I saw a bit the potential of this machine. Compared to my D60, I think that the Needle will start to DS earlier and be much more confortable and stable in medium to hard DS, which is exactly that I wanted just because very strong wind is unusual in the alps.

My clubmate Joël Marin filmed some laps, that I propose to you in the short video. I will definitively more video in a near futur.

My CoG is 86 to 87mm. Thuro recommended me to try a CoG between 83 to 85mm that will make the Needle 100 more polyvalent in various conditions.

Last point to notice. My needle is fully equiped with one SBEC for each servos. Like this I don't need any voltage regulator and the LiFe battery is directly connected to the receiver. We will see with time, but for now the solution works great. As I said in a earlier post, I feel more secure with a SBEC per servo than a single voltage regulator before the receiver.

More to come in the coming weeks !



Needle 100 DSL assembly Part 2


Wing servo installation:

Upon recommendation from Thuro, I switched to the DS6125 glider instead of the the DS6125 mini. I had a small trouble during the installation because the horn location of the ailerons was too much within the servo bay location (1cm). I had to open the servo bay a bit more. This is not a big issue, easy to fix, and which doesn't affect the robustness or thiffness of the wing.

at Order, there is the choice between normal control horn and DS control horn. The last ones are longer, so installation is a bit different. I choose the DS horns. They are CNC milled in epoxy board, and the hole is exactly at the right dimension to avoid any command slop. I carefully followed Thuro's instructions. After doing the holes at the exact place in the wing skin, I glued the epoxy control horns with the command in place. I used rapid epoxy (10 minutes) from R&G as I'm very satisfied with it. I added some micro balloon in it.

Then, this the servo arm at the right position, and the right neutral shift programmed on the tramsitter program, I glued the MKS wood servo frames in place, with the servo connected to the control command. I used aluminium servo arms, drilled at the right diameter, paying attention to have absolutely no slop again.

Aside, I prepared the wiring using MPX green connectors. Despite using the MKS SBEC in the wings, I calculated the wire length without taking it into account., in order to make the SBEC accessible, or be able to run without the SBEC.

The green connector is glued in place in the root of the wing, with the wing connected to the fuselage, where the connector is already installed and glued. I used Polyvinyl Alcohol Release Agent to be sure that the 2 connectors won't glued together as it happened once.

After fixin the servos on the servoframe with screws, I used transparent servo covers from Samba Model that allow a quick preflight checking, and wich is very convenient from my point of view for maintenance.

Fuselage installation completion

I needed 250g of lead to obtain the rigth balance with a CoG at 86/87mm. Hopefully the nose is long enough to host the lead (melted at the right shape), The LiFe battery, the RG631B  DMSS 6 channel JR receiver with its satellite, and the Zepsus magnetic switch.

Empty flying weight is 2600gr, which is above the expected weight, but given the usage of the plane (DS and strong condition flying) it is not worrying me.

I'm also very happy with the wing servo commands and epoxy horns. There is absolutely no slop at all, and I have the deflection I needed, using the whole servo arm rotation. I agree that the epoxy horn and command is a bit visible on the upper side of the wing, but this is the price to pay for an efficient and robust command.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Video: Arcus 6,67 in Dolomites

A fantastic video filmed in Italy (Dolomites) few days ago, with superb fly bys, on board sequences. Very well made. Enjoy !

Séderon 2012

Thanks to the dedication and involment of Yves Tirand, we have been able to return to Séderon for a french league contest. This contest disappeared of the league calendar after the National championship in 2009 because of dark reasons and people not happy to see F3F fliers 1 time in the year, and wanted to keep their slope for themselves ...



Anyway, We are bakc and this competition was great. We have been able to fly 9 rounds on Saturday, with lots of huge thermals, allowing to beat the french F3F record (Fabien Derbier on FS3) with 29.81s. Lots of sub-40, some action, zero flights, safety plan, cuts, a very intense competition. On Sunday we managed 4 additional rounds before the rain arrived around 1pm.
Allan Cohen whon the competition with his Alliaj HM. He flew superbly the whole competition, taking everything he could from the air he had. He deserves the victory 10 times. Second, Fabien Derbier who has been consistent, plus his french record who killed the 2nd round.
I finish third, after a good recovery the second day, with a 33s, 36, 37, in a row.
We are all happy to return to this slopes, and will be back next year !


New french F3F record in 29.81s


A new french F3F record has been established last saturday during the F3F french league competition of Sederon, in the south of the Alps. Fabien Derbier (Junior winner of the VRK 2008) flew a very pure run in a massive thermal, with only 300gr of ballast in his Freestyler 3. Here is the Video of the run. Congratulations to Fabien who also finished second of the competition. For information, I was the previous holder of the record with 29.92s, end of 2010.

Mistral Soaring - Rognac

Yesterday we had a good friendly winter contest in Rognac, between Aix en Provence and Marseille. I left Grenoble aroudn 7am under the sn...