Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sunset above the french Alps

To end the year in beauty, here is a nice video from my friend Zhen, taken with a onboard GoPRO on a flying wing above the French Alps (Saint Martin de Belleville, Savoie). Enjoy !

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

production Prodij HM maiden

Here is a short video from one of the very first production exemplar of the Prodij HM from Aeromod (This one belongs to Loïc Blanco). It is the light version: The weight of the component is as following:

  • one piece wing 234g
  • fuselage 105g
  • tailplane 38g

This gives a total weight under 380g, so a flying weight around 550gr.
It is interresting to see that some of the flying characteristics of the Alliaj HM have been kept on this new 60 inches.

Friday, December 23, 2011


I wish you all and your family, all over the world, a merry christmas and a bright and happy new year  2012 !

I hope to everybody that this new year will be plenty of successes, new exciting projects, beautiful planes, and long flying sessions !

Hope to meet some of you on the slope ...

Pierre Rondel

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Weasel Limited Edition is waiting ...

My Weasel Limited Edition is finished and waiting patiently for her first flight. Unfortunately, the weather is not very cooperative with either sunny days with now wind, or strong wind with rain :(

Here are some pictures taken 4 weeks ago. Don't be afraid, some pictures look strange thanks to my camera which can produce some visual effect out of the camera (fish eye effect, miniature fake).

Electro Rotmilan

Few days ago I received the Electro fuselage for my Rotmilan from RTGModel. The fuselage is basically similar to the F3F/B version with the following differences:

  • The nose is cut and the motor mount is installed at the right position/angle
  • A separated and removable moulded servo tray which will be located around the leading edge position and is screwed on the bottom of the fuselage. This is a very clever solution.
  • No command are provided or installed. Elevator control rod will be carbon tubes.

The fuselage came with a very nice carbon propeller and spinner at the exact size of the fuselage. The propeller is a 14x9.
Moulding quality of all the parts is again superb.

For the elevator servos, I have chosen to give a try with the new MKS DS6100, recently tested under Servormances and which gives outstanding results. Its ratios size/performance is ideal for such plane where space is limited but where you need still precision and torque.

For the motor, this is another story. I’m a newbie is this category so it took me several days to understand and select the right motor.

To decide, I had the following requirements:

  • Motor diameter less than 29mm. The fuselage of the Rotmilan is very thin
  • Propeller dimension is 14x9
  • Flying Weight should be around 2.5kg
  • Motor set must give about 250W/kg

I did some simulation with eCalc, mainly between Kontronik Kira 480 5.2:1 motors and finally choose the Kira 480-43 5.2:1 which should give the necessary power to climb.

I just hope I made the good choice. First flight will tell :)
I ordered the motor. Then I will select the ESC, to support between 80 to 100A.

Stay tuned !

Saturday, December 3, 2011

F3F season 2011 slideshow

I produced a slideshow with some pictures taken during the season.  A good means to remember good moments, nice places, F3F actions, etc ...

Enjoy and see you all in 2012 !

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Pike Precision in RC Modely Magazine

An article about the Pike precision has been published in RC modely, a Czech specialized RC magazine. I mention it here because I provided some pictures to illustrate the article and result is nice :). Some of you will recognize one of my home slope near Grenoble in the french Alps. This is the slope where the next F3F french Championship will be organized end of May 2012.

Unfortunately, I don't speak Czech.  Anyway, I can add this magazine to the long list of Magazines I contributed to, directly or indirectly by providing pictures.

  • RCM (France)
  • RC Pilot (France)
  • Looping (France)
  • Passion'ailes (France)
  • Modèle Magazine (France)
  • QFI (UK)
  • Silent Flight (UK)
  • Aufwind (Germany)
  • RC Soaring Digest (USA)
  • ... and now RC modely (Czech Republic)

You can find the website of the magazine here: RC modely

Prodij HM prototype

Aeromod posted a video about the Prodij HM prototype, their new 60 inches. The fuselage is still the fuselage of the previous version of the Prodij. The Prodij HM will be available before the end of the year.

New MKS glider servo approaching

Few weeks ago I was mentionning the MKS DS92 which is a plastic case + core motor version of the DS95. MKS, on its facebook page , is announcing the glider version of the DS92. The name is of this newcomer is DS6188. Perfect for V-tails or small glider ailerons.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

F3F automated base detection system

Reto Blumer, the most frenchie of the swiss currently works on very interresting project which consist in building a automated base detection system, that could be used for training or during competition for accurate base beeping.

The project is at the very beginning, but here is a video which shows some results:

you can read more information on Reto's blog here: PureAirCaving

Friday, November 18, 2011

Team Black sheep: The slovenia experience

Team Black sheep released a new video "The slovenia experience", a video taken above the Triglav National Park. A Great video with superb editing:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Typhoon Race report by Stanley Chan

Here is the link to a very interesting report by Stanley Chan about the Typhoon Race 2011 which ended with amazing times and a world record. 

Courtesy of Stanley Chan

then you can watch this video:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Flying above Monteynard

A onboard video taken with my Easyglider and the goPro HD yesterday afternoon above the village of Monteynard, a small village of 500 habitants near Grenoble, and which gave its name to the big artificial water reservoir for the Électricité de France power station on the Drac River, created in 1961, when the 145-meter-high dam was built. The lake is 10 kilometers long, and in some places up to 300 meters wide.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Adhesive Film Covering

Developed more than 10 years ago by Gérard Prat and Thierry Martinet, this covering technic is used now by large manufacturer like Tangent. The following article based on the detailed description provided by Gérard and Thierry has been published in QFI 10 years ago, but is still up to date.

I propose you the complete article in English as a PDF format, that you can download here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Shark attack !

This is not about sailplane, but still lots of fun:

What doesn't say the video if that, just after I stopped to record, the Shark flew away (given that the infrared remote control range is about 10m only), and disappeared very high in the sky. We didn't have the time to catch it, and possibly, the sun warmed the helium inside the envelop and made the shark to climb quickly... too bad !

So don't be surprised if, somewhere in the french alps, even at 3000m of altitude, you meet a shark :) !!!

Stiction 1.7: "PSP" - Profile Slope Planes for VTPR

I received a mail from Eric Johnson who continues to explore a new concept for Aerobatics / VTPR and called: PSP - Profile Slope Planes.

He is working on the Stiction 1.7. You can follows the building on the following RCgroups thread:

Caracteristics are: 1.7m wingspan, SB96 section, about 800g.

The Stiction will use the proven rubber band wing mount that can save the wing when hitting the ground. The revisited old good recipes are still working :) !

T12FG upgraded with a Lithium Ion 2S2P 2800mAh battery

I upgraded my T12FG with a Lithium Ion 2S2P 2800mAh battery from Robbe. This battery is equiped with a integrated balancer/limiter, which simplify the charge. This new battery should give 8:30 to 9 hours of working time which is more that needed.

I also decided to change my NC Manager 2 plus, a 20 years old charger from Simprop by a Robbe Quad EQ-BID 4x50W. This charger will allow me to charge simultaneously the transmitter and 3 planes. Convenient at the slope after a day of flight or competition to prepare the next day in a record time.

Monday, November 7, 2011

F3F french league results

2011 season has been disapponting as 4 contests over 10 have been unvalidated for weather condition or lack of participants. Just for information a contest is valid if there is more than 12 participants and at least 48 flights (4 rounds at 12, or 2 rounds at 24 participants, etc ...).

Laurac 1 was a good practice with good consitions before to drive to La Muela FAI/Eurotour.TOA, in the center of France near Aubenas allowed to discover a new south slope. Briançon, an high mountain slope gave very variable conditions. FU was on one day only, but allow to discover another extreme F3F slope, world record capable. Caussols, in October, gave low wind conditions, but was still validated. Laurac 2 ended the season with great condition during 2 days. Contests not validated were: La Banne D'ordanche, Notre Dame de Vaulx, La route des crêtes (Vosges), La Madeleine (Basque country).

That said, the participation remained good, with a total of 63 participants, and about 30 pilots playing for a ranking. Season 2011 was the season of the Vampire with lots of them. The Alliaj HM remains a best seller. Ceres/Cyril are still good value. At the end of the season we saw the some FS4 and the new Pike Precision, both very promising.

Some video of the season 2011:

TOA 2011:

Fond D'urle

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Weasel Black Edition

I started the building of my Weasel Black Edition. This time I didn't papersand picos on the surface to keep it shiny. I used again vinyl for the ailerons. The rest of the assembly should'nt be too long as the most difficult is now done.
For the equipement, I will use a 4 x eneloop 800mAh cells battery, an Assan 2.4Ghz 6-channels small receiver, and 2 hitec HS82mg servos that fit perfectly in the servo compartiment molded. Stay tuned !

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rotmilan final review

I compiled all my posts and pictures about the Rotmilan to end with a review of the plane with tons of pictures and videos. The review is located here:

Good reading !

F3F at the TV news !

This is not often, so it is important to mention it. Here is the report about the Typhoon Race at the TV in Taiwan. Congratulations again to the new world record holder !

MKS DS 6100 tested: Small but muscular !

Olivier Segouin ( just sent me the test results of the MKS DS6100 with servormances, the benchmark test bed developped to test servos the same way and have comparable values.

Olivier already tested the prototype of the DS6100 few monthes ago and was amazed by the results. Of course we couldn't publish test results and had to wait the production version.

The production version is even better. This 10g class servos has a usable torque of 2.1kg !!!! Yes, you read well, more than 2kg of torque ... But this is not all: The DS6100 provides an excellent precision, without any compromise on the speed, so you can easily imagine how good is this little monster !

For what use ? Many application are possible. Given that you can buy as option a RDS adapter, this DS6100 will fit in HLG or a 2m sailplane and provide the power you need for the ailerons. But with such torque/speed/precision, it can also find its place into a F3X for the V-tail, and save lots of place in the fuselage.

Please note that this servos is designed to operate under 4.8 to 5V, so 4 Nicd/Nimh Cells. If you want to use more cells you will need a voltage regulator.

You can find the new DS6100 on the manufacturer website:

Video: Flying the Rotmilan

This video has been recorded last week-end during a short afternoon after we changed from summer time to winter time !

As you can see on the video, it is autumn now ! unfortunately, the light was poor, so the video is a bit dark, sorry for that.

Anyway, with a wind about 15 to 20 km/h on a vertical slope, the Rotmilan was really nice to fly. I had only 550g of ballast in the fuselage.

With such wind, I obtained the best compromise without any camber or reflex position.

I think this video shows very well the straight speed easily achievable, without diving from 300m height. The snapflap setting is now satisfying.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

TR2011: Few more information from CM Cheng

This is amazing! That flying site is sure a world record producer. However, it takes some technique to master it. Wind is strong, and it is side wind. The lift band is very narrow. If you can find the sweet spots to accelerate and avoid the head wind, sub 40 is easy to achieve. Otherwise, the model will be very slow.

To get the best speed, the model needs to fly very close to the cliff. We have a lot of spectacular crashes in these 3 days!

All the 4 pilots are the best of Hong Kong and Taiwan. Kenneth and Lin are the Champion of Hong Kong and Taiwan F3F league respectively. Ho went to Kenting a week before and practice everyday.

Hope you can join us in the future! The next TR will be held by Korea. The flying site would probably be at "Huang Gang Shan". It is an inland slope and is totally different from Kenting, Taiwan.

CM Cheng

The Typhoon Race ended on a new unbelievable world record of 26.80 seconds !!!

The Typhoon Race ended on a new unbelievable world record of 26.80 seconds !!!
4 sub-30 times in the same competition is just historical from my point of view !

Copyright CM Cheng

congratulations to Ho Kwok Wai (Hong Kong) 29.70s , Kenneth Chan (Hong Kong) 27.70s , Lin Kuo Ping  (Taiwan) 26.80s,  and Chang Chang Tai (Taiwan) 29.09s.

The new world record will be very difficult to beat, believe me !

New F3F world record at the TR2011

Following my post yesterday, I just learned that the F3F world record from Inaki Elizondo at the welsh Open has been beated twice at the Typhoon Race in Taiwan Kenting. Wind speed was around 17m/s with gust at 19m/s.

First by Chang Chang Tai flying his Dingo in 29.09 seconds:

Then this new record has been beaten again later in the day by Lin Kuo Ping flying a Needle 100" in 28.58 seconds:

Congratulations to both pilots for this great achievements !

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Typhoon Race 2011

This Race is to the Asia what the Viking Race is to Europe. The TR2011 is organised this week-end in the very south of Taiwan, on a costal slope. the weather forecast were very promising and it seems that it is just unbelievable: Just to understand here are the best time of each of the 9 rounds completed up to now:

  • 32.67 s
  • 32.67 s
  • 31.45 s
  • 33.60 s
  • 33.12 s
  • 32.21 s
  • 30.73 s
  • 31.85 s
  • 31.44 s
What a competition ! I wish I was there. Eric Wong achieved today a 30.73s which is from my knowledge the best F3F time in Asia. Congratulations Eric !

You can follow the results and find lots of video  here

copyright Stanley Chan

New Team Black Sheep video

I'm a fan of Team Black sheep videos. This one is filmed while flying in formation with a big scale BAE HAWK R/C model:

BAE HAWK from RiSCyD : TeamBlackSheep on Vimeo.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

F3F French league

The F3F season in France ended this week-end with the contest of Laurac.

We flew 15 rounds on VKR2010 Slope A, in very strong wind, from 12 to 20 m/s with some gusts above 20 m/s. I flew the Pike Precision most of the time full ballast and ended with the Rotmilan after damaging the Pike.

I won the competition by a large margin and got the fastest time of the comp with 33 seconds.

Few words about the plane I used: The Pike Precision is absolutely great. It carries ballast so easily that you don't feel it at the sticks.

It is always agile, very fast, but with still plenty of lift and grip in the turns. The pike is definitively in the lifty plane family (opposed to slippery planes)

Unfortunately, I damaged it at round 13th, while landing . The plane stalled at 1m of heigh in a sudden rotor, while full ballast. He touched the ground first with the nose, then with the tip. the nose is broken, and I have some damages on the wing that didn't touch the ground (delamination). Given the hit, it behaves rather well, I would say.

I'm flying at a CG of 102mm and add 15g in the nose when full ballast.

Overall a great plane !

I also flew the Rotmilan few rounds, with 1.4kg of ballast, 900g in the fuselage and 500g of tungsten in the joiner.

With the setting I already published on planet-soaring, the plane is great and carry ballast very well too. The straight speed is excellent, and the plane demonstrated very good capability to manage crossed wind.

The upwind turn is superb with a great gain of speed and altitude. The downwind turn is a little bit more challenging but with the right setting and if you don't pull too much on the elevator, you can keep the energy very well. The secret there is in the trajectory: In the downwind turn (wind in the back I mean) the strategy is to engage a large turn, flying away from the edge, diving a bit, before to really turn, but which much more speed and energy. Of course I use reflex camber (ailerons and flaps about 1mm up).

During the 30 s of gain of altitude, The rotmilan was also very good, pumping well and high, a real pleasure !

This last win allow me to win also the french league 2011, the 7th in a row, and a total of 10 leagues over 12 leagues organized since 2000 .

Below is the evolutive ranking and the plane list.

Go Pro HD Hero 2

Go Pro is releasing a new HD Hero2 with some improvement. First of all the new sensor with 11 MP, 3 different angles. Photo mode is also enhanced with 11MP resolution and a burst mode with 1 picture every 0.5 second.

Here are the specs:

Camera Optics

  • 2X Sharper Professional Glass Lens
  • f/2.8 Fixed Focus
  • 170º Wide FOV (Including 1080p)
  • 127º Medium FOV (In 1080p + 720p)
  • 90º Narrow FOV


  • 1080p: 1920×1080, 30PFS
  • 960p: 1280×960, 48FPS + 30FPS
  • 720p: 1280×720, 60PFS + 30FPS
  • WVGA: 848×480, 120FPS + 60FPS

High Performance,1 /2.3” CMOS Image Sensor
Light Sensitivity: .84 V/lux-sec
Video Format: H.264 codec, .mp4 File Format
Exposure Control: Spot, Center Weighted
White Balance: Auto


  • FOV: Wide 170º FOV, Medium 127º FOV
  • CAPTURE MODES: Single, 10 Photo Burst, Time-Lapse*, Self-Timer
  • * Now supports time-lapse photo every 0.5 seconds. Requires Class 10 speed SD Card.


  • Mono, 48 kHz, AAC Compression, Auto Gain Control
  • Stereo External Microphone Input (3.5mm)


SDHC: Up to 32GB (Class 4 or Higher)

The price is the same than the previous model at its introduction on the market.

Here is the advertising video:

Friday, October 21, 2011

MPX new Item: the EasyStar II

The best seller of Multiplex, the Easystar is renewed and bring new features:

  • Brushless motor, with 3x more power than the Easystar 1
  • Folding prop for better gliding ratio
  • Removable tail
  • Precut ailerons, so you can install the 2 servos easily and enable this function
  • large fuselage compartiment for easy high capacity LiPo hosting. Up to 4600mAh, means 90 minutes of autonomy, for long distance flight.

It is clear that MPX had FPV in mind when designing this new version...

Source: and

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Picture of the day

While doing some cleaning on my computer, I retrieved this picture, That I modified a bit with Picasa to keep the color only on the place and have almost only black and white all around. This picture has been taken at Le Col Du Glandon, north slope, facing the highest summit of the Alps, Le Mont Blanc with 4810m of altitude. The plane is of course the Supra.

Friday, October 14, 2011

New transmitters approaching ...

the 2.4 Ghz saga continues ...

While Jeti DC16 transmitter is now anounced for February, published some pictures of new items.

Futaba continues to confuse the market by releasing the T8J, using a the low cost S-FHSS system: No sliders, only one proportional knob and only 8 channels. More than a little step down from the 8FG. Also no compatibility with FASST.

JR, on its side is accelerating, and proposes the XG6:

And the new flag ship of the brand with the XG11. Both radio are DMSS.

More picture can be seen on JR website:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pyrenees cup eurotour F3F new photo album

Mickael Llorca sent me the link to his nice Picasa photo album about the last Eurotour contest of the season 2011 near Toulouse. Enjoy !

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pike Precision Video

The following video has been taken few weeks ago at le Col Du Glandon, the place where F3F was introduced for the first time in France in 1994. This end of afternoon with a light breeze gave super smooth flying and laminar conditions. This place has a north and a south slope. South slope, the one on the video, is facing a valley and the lake of Grand'Maison, built between 1978 and 1985. The slope is not very deep and sharp, but, as soon as the breeze is blowing, provides a very homogeneous lift, with no thermal effect. Really a magic place to fly !

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Onboard Video on a FOSA F3B

This great video from Fabrice Estival is taken using a GoPro mounted on the nose of a FOSA, and facing rear. Action take place in Alicante (Spain) where Fabrice is spending holidays regularly.

Pyrenees cup eurotour F3F

The Pyrenees Cup was the last contest of the Eurotour 2011. In addition it was also the last of the 4 contests entering in the selection of the french F3F team fro Rugen 2012.
29 Pilots from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, without forgetting our guest from USA, David Cortina.
the weather forecast was very good, and after a superb training day on Thursday, we got 2 windy days in Laurac with gusts between 15 to 18 m/s.
On Friday, after a breifing around midday, we started quickly and managed 7 rounds in perfect conditions. The wind surprisingly was not so crossed. Time to time, a strong thermal was popping, boosting the plane like a rocket. Most of the time the thermal was to short to stay the whole run. I should have won the round one because I got excellent condition on the second half of my run, but because of a very bad and looonng cut, I do only the second time, too bad !
Stefan HÖLBFER flew a amazing 29.83s in round 2, making this round a joker for everybody. People were saying: "just enjoy your flight, and experiment what you want because in any case, it will be your throw".
Jean-Luc Foucher won the next round with his Alliaj, then Lukas the round after. But Stefan was clearly dominating the competition, and on top of that was getting consistent condition during his flights. He won the rounds 6 and 7.
At the end of Day 1, Stefan was leading, followed by Lukas, and myself at the 3rd position.
The second day was similar to the first day, with maybe more crossed wind, especially at the end of the day. Stefan continue to dominate, but Alexis did a very good climb in the ranking to end at the second rank, just above Lukas. Matthieu Mervelet also flew well and placed in 4th Position. On my side, after few bad flights, and too much cuts, I finished the day in 5th position.
Unfortunately Sunday, as forecasted, was a transition day, the wind switching from south east to north west on monday, so after an attempt to complete another round, we stopped the competition and Andreas declared the Pyrenees cup end.

Strong winds means heavy ballast for everybody, so we assisted to several plane damaged, especially during the landing. Personnally, apart 2 flights with my Alliaj HM, I flew all the competition with the Pike Precision and have been very happy with it. Most of the time I fleww full ballast, that is to say 1.7kg of brass, so a total weight of 3.8kg. I have been amazed how easy the Pike could carry the weight, without changing its behaviour, and showing no bad habits at all. Lots of FS4, very impressive, with a flying weigth about 4.9kg, which is the FAI limit of 75g/dm2, several Caldera R, Vampire, FS3, Cyril, Ceres, etc ...

At the end, Stefan won the competition, and Lukas (3rd) won the Eurotour, bypassing Espen Torp by few points. The price ceremony, on the slope, and very friendly, closed this superb and very intense week-end of F3F.

Below is the video of the 29.83s flight of Stefan:

Full results on the organizer website:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Planet-Soaring picture on RCSD front cover

One of the pictures I provided to RCSD has been chosen to do the front cover of the october issue. The webzine (PDF format) is available here.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Jeti in Prague

A very short video about the DC16 transmitter from Jeti. The DC 16, announced initially for July, is still not released, as the Jeti box profi.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Icarus Cup: Another video

This video taken during the Icarus cup from a multicopter is showing some pylon racing with Merlin from Multiplex. I'm one of the 3 pilot whe are racing. This pylon races have been a great experience and lots of adrenalin to make the show for the numerous spectators present all this afternoon. I also had the opportunity to try and demonstrate the Dogfighter from MPX too. This 90cm wingspan bird is pretty nice and flies very very well !

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Video: Icarus Cup 2011

A short video taken from my Easyglider with the GoPro during the aerommodelling show at the Icarus cup. 3 friends are flying EPP P38s while I trying to film them.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Icarus Cup 2011

This is an annual festival of free flight held at Saint-Hilaire, Isère - Lumbin (Isère, France). The festival typically lasts four days and is held in the early autumn. Icarus cup is best known for its Masquerade Flight contest. Icarus Cup features aerial acrobatics, hang gliders, paragliders, hot air balloons, aeromodelling, and much more. Here are some pictures taken Saturday the 24th.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Video: Experience Gravity Zero

This is not about sailplanes, but this is so good that I wanted to share it with you.
The slow motion sequences are just stunning !!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rotmilan settings

I have been able to fly the Rotmilan in medium to strong conditions. It demonstrated an excellent natural speed, good energy retention in turn. the Rotmilan accelerate very well during the first dive, while entering the course. It is forgiving during the course in the sense it can again accelerate in the middle of the course if you do a mmistake, or if the conditions grow.

I ballasted it to 700g (8 slugs over 10), which means that the ballast provided (900g) won't be enough in strong conditions, so there is a need to ballast in the joiner. Fortunately I have 2 tungsten ballast slugs remaining from a previous plane, so I will be able to add 500g more, so a total of 1400g, not that bad.

I moved the CG to 108mm, and thank to the fine tuning function of the T12FG, I played with the amount of snapflap.

I ended the day with the current settings:

(Note: + means "Down", - means "Up". Ailerons and flaps measured at the junction, elevator and rudder measured at the root)

CG:             108 mm
Elevator:     +/- 5mm
Rudder:       +/-10mm
              ailerons: -25/+15mm
              flap: -8/+5mm
              ailerons: +3mm
              flap: +5mm
                  ailerons: +3mm
                  flap: +3mm
                  ailerons: -1 mm
                  flaps: -1mm
                 flaps: +45 mm
                 ailerons: -18 mm
                 elevator compensation: +4 mm

Here is the last video I edited:

Friday, September 16, 2011

GyLL Concepts Mini SW, inter NG and NG dual

I finally found the time to "play" with the Gyll Concepts electronic switches: the Mini SW, the Inter NG and the Switch Dual. Electronic switches are devices that can stop or start an electric current as a result of the absence (or presence) of a control signal.

Why an electronic switch ?

The main reason is that they are contactless in the sense there is no mechanical switch involved so no mechanical point of failure between the power source and the device to power. Electronic switches are known to be reliable.

Gyll concepts electronic switches bring an innovative architecture where the control element, which can be an lever a slider or a magnetic switch is not on the critical path of the switch. This means that in case of failure it has no impact on the electronic switch itself. In other words this gives an even more reliable switch.

They are all passing 3A and between 10 to 15A in peak. Quality is very nice with all SMS components, nice blobs of solder. Switches arrive with a universal 3 pins connector (JR/Graupner) with 0,34mm2 Silicon wires (0,25mm2 PVC wires on the mini SW) on the receiver side. On the battery side, no connector is provided, letting the user to solder his preferred connectors.

By default GC switch comes with a jumper, the control element has to be purchased apart.

When the jumper is connected between the central pin and the pin with a brown mark the switch is OFF. When no jumper is present, the switch is ON. To avoid losing the jumper, you just connect it between the central pin and the one with the orange mark.

For the control element, depending of the application, you can choose between a lever, a slider, a magnetic switch (note: Mini SW doesn’t support the magnetic switch). Nothing prevent you to build your own control element, so why not imagine a switch using a jack (unplugged = ON, and plugged = OFF) for example.

The “Mini SW” with its small size and weight is suitable for small to medium planes, where the place is counted. There is no particular recommendation from the manufacturer excepted to let some space around the switch to ease the cooling of the device.
The Mini SW passes 3A, and works between 4 and 14 Volts, which cover the use of both NiMh/NiCd or LiPo batteries(2, 3 cells). However, I contacted the manufacturer to ask about the behaviour of the switch under 4V, thinking a use with only one LiPo cell: In fact 4V correspond to the 3A current passing, The switches can go down to 2.5V and will stop working from this value and under. From 4V to 2.5V, the switches will work perfectly, but with a downgraded max current. So using the miniSW in a HLG with only one LiPo Cell is possible without any problem.

Just remember that These switches are not voltage regulator, so don’t expect to drop the voltage by using them. Also never charge the battery through the switch, which would damage the switch as they are not design for that.

The switch NG is a little bit bigger, allows the use of the magnetic switch and offers a lower leakage current. The leakage current is the current taken from the battery when the switch is off. For this reason, when the model is not used for a long time it is greatly recommended to disconnect the electronic switch from the battery to not run to a flat battery.

The Switch NG dual add the support of 2 batteries and double connection to the receiver which give even more reliability. It also offer a plug for voltmeter for each battery.

Both the inter NG and the NG dual have a flashing LED to indicate the switch ON and OFF transitions, and also a low voltage alarm. When you switch ON, the LED flashes quickly during 5 seconds, then produce a flash every 7 seconds. When switching OFF, the LED flashes quickly again to indicate the status change.

The first video is about the Inter NG:

Switch specifications:

New MKS servo: DS-6100

Another great servo from MKS with this DS6100. It is an improved version of the DS450, well know by helicopter pilots. This DS6100 is more for us :)

DS6100 specs:

Dimensions: 22.5X10X23.5 mm (0.89x 0.39x 0.93 in)
Weight: 9.5 g (0.335 oz)
Dead band: 0.001ms (Default)
  • 3.19 kg-cm @4.8V
  • 3.32 kg-cm @5.0V
  • 0.12 sec @4.8V
  • 0.11 sec @5.0V

I had the chance to get a prototype few monthes ago, and I can tell you that this servos has muscles. I sent the DS6100 (production version) to the servormances team for testing and comparison.

The DS6100 can fit in F3X plane for the elevator of  a V-tail, allowing to save more space on the servo tray. 
It will be also suitable as wing servo in small sailplane up to 2 m. Excellent point, you can buy in option the RDS adapter.

I'll keep you informed as soon as I receive the test results.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Eauze 2011, the video

The Noisy-Skies team released their video about EAUZE, one of the biggest towing events in France.

More information, pictures can be found here

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pike Precision first flights

I maidened the Pike Precision few days ago. It was pretty cold with less than 10° at 1700m of altitude. We lost 20° in 24 hours !!! what a summer !

I started with a CG at 102 mm after havind received a mail from Benajamin Rodax, one of the co-designers. First flight was with 300g of ballast. Later in the afternoon, I double the ballast to go to 600gr.

The flight went very well. I felt confortable with the plane immdiately and engaged few runs right away, without gaining altitude. The plane is extremely grippy in turn, so snapflap will have to have the right setup, in conjonction with elevator. Here is my current settings. CG appeared to be good, so I haven't changed it yet.

  • CG at 102mm
  • -1 to 2mm for Speed +4mm Thermal mode
  • +/- 5mm on the elevator
  • + 10mm on the snap flap

This is not the definitive settings, as I need to continue to test the plane and find the best compromise between elevator and snapflaps.
In flight, the Pike Precision feels light on the sticks, even with some ballast. Roll rate is pretty good, I was able to do 2 rolls at half stick, straight.

The slope is not suitable for Energy management turn, but I did some nice runs in EM. The diving speed is quite high and the plane accelerates very well. The Pike seems more stable at high speed than at low speed.
The thermal flaps work well, and the plane carries the ballast easily, confirming that it has been designed to use plenty of brass, up to 75g/dm2.

The day after, I enjoyed the Pike empty, thermalling at my local slope. The plane is very gentle and forgiving with my settings. Even empty, it is able to fly fast and keep its energy.

Good point, the 2.4 Ghz (Jeti) worked flawlessly even with the carbon fuselage, at least for F3F.

Very good first impression overall, need more flying time on it, to refine the settings and learn more about the plane.

I will explore next a more forward CG, given that Samba recommendation is between 97 and 100mm.

Finally, I captured the very first flight with my helmet GoPro:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Font d'Urle, the movie ...

After the success of the short video clip about this F3F competition, I edited a long version (12 min 30 s) that you can watch here:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What a surprise ...

Funny moment when, while I was stopped at a traffic light, I saw a car with the same decoration than the one I designed few years ago for the RCRCM Strega.

Coming soon: Prodij HM

New item for 2012, Aeromod is currently working on the sucessor of the famous Prodij, created in 1999, and very popular in 60" for more than 10 years. The project is grouping several talent people like Jean-Luc Foucher, the father of the design of the successfull Allliaj HM, Loic Blanco, CAD designer, Thomas Mintzior, the 3D milling master, and Alexis Maréchal, the manufacturer and owner of Aeromod.
The idea behind this new Prodij HM is to use the latest design tools and moulding method to create something even more performant. The new main features are:

  • Central flap like the Miraj for easy landing
  • An ultra performant wing from low speed to very high speed (30 to 300 km/h)
  • Hollow core moulded wing, using monolithic skins without sandwich material (same proven and robust construction than the Alliaj HM)

3 versions will be proposed:

  • The standard version, around 750 to 800g with 400g additional ballast, for allround flying
  • The light version with 250g less for light condition flying, and using high module and spreadtow fabrics
  • The hard core version for DS, around 1100g, and able to carry 1kg of ballast

Most of the 3D CAD are ready, and the milling has started. The Prodij HM should be ready before the end of the year, just in time for Christmas :) !

Aeromod website

Weasel Limited Edition

"Luke, I am your Father !!!"

This is the sentence that came to my mind when I discovered the limited edition of the Weasel. The weasel is one of my favorite glider, and I had to stay with only one glider on a island, it would be certainly a Weasel !

I like the weasel so much that I have one regular kit in stock, just in case, and I decided to also have this Black Edition in my fleet:

As you can see on the pictures, this black edition is manually signed by Michael Richter himself ! The kit arrives very well packed, with all the accessories, except the radio components. The kit also comes with a nice sticker "Axis of Weasel".

More information on Dreamflight webpage.

Monday, September 5, 2011

F3F competition: Col du Glandon

Last week-end was the competition of le Col du Glandon. This competition is organised by my club, so I actively participate to the organisation.

Weather forecasts were very bad for the whole week-end. We however hardly tried to do something. On saturday, we managed to start a round, and completed half of the round before the rain came.

On sunday, we waited on the car park until 3pm, but the rain didn't stop so we finally cancelled the competition. this is the 4th competition of the french league to be cancelled this year. Bad season !

Here are few pictures taken during the week-end:

Pike Precision assembly

As the Pike Precision arrives with the servos installed with RDS in the wing, the assembly is limited to the installation of the elevator servos in the fuselage. The servos tray is cutted for 15mm servos, so I made another one to use with my DS6125-H. I used the same layout, that tis to say that the tray is long enough to reinforced the junction between the root and the nose. I added an hole for a switch.

once the servos tray in place, and reinforced with some fiberglass, I installed the wire looms provided. Before, I secured the soldering with some hot glue, as I usually do. The green plugs are then just glued with cyano in place.

Once the servos in place, I cutted the elevator rods at the exact length, then glued + pinched the M2 Treaded couplers to receive the metal clevises. I found one of the rod to be a bit long without guide, but hopefully, if didn't create any slop at the elevator side. I will improve this after the first flights.

The battery is made from 4 x AA POWER XX Eneloop cells, which gives 2500 mAh. This is the new eneloop generation. They should give me more flying time. They are soldered in a 2+2 configuration. The receiver is the duplex R8 from Jeti. I found a nice way to position the antenna at 90°: I use a piece of coroplast which is double taped on the receiver.

I needed around 80g of lead to do the balance at 102 mm.

When I switched on the plane to program it on my T12, I had the bad surprise to not be able to align the trailing edge of the flaps correctly. After investigating, I discoverd that my R8 Jeti receiver has a servo signal output between 1ms and 2ms, with the neutral position at 1.5ms.

According to Samba I should be able to obtain 5mm up and a lot down, using the neutral position shifting on the transmitter. To achieve it, I used the great feature of Jeti which allows you to program the receiver thanks to the Jetibox. You can, per channel, change the min and max signal output, and the neutral position.

I configured the maximum at 2.2 ms and the minimum at 0.8 ms, letting the neutral position at 1.5 ms. Like this, I retrieve the full travel that Samba promised me :) !

Despite MKS 6125 mini has less travel than other servos, I obtain the travel up and donw, as desired which is great.

Weight per component is as following:

  • Joiner: 113g
  • Right tail: 38g
  • Left Tail: 39 g
  • Right wing: 640g
  • Left Wing: 642g
  • Fuselage: 643g
Total: 2115g

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Aerial Video: Aix Les Bains / Mont Revard

Here is the onboard video taken few weeks ago from the "Mont Revard", above Chambéry and Aix Les Bains.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pike Precision: Kit overview

The long-awaited Pike Precision is finally here. The Pike Precision is the first F3F/B model from Samba Model since the release of the Pike Brio. It is true that Samba was really busy with the outstanding success of the Pike Perfect. Let's have a look on the kit:

First particularity, wings come with RDS installed at the factory. You have the choice between MKS, JR, graupner wing servos. I choose to go with the MKS DS6125-mini. There is no servo bays on the wings. The green MPX connector is in place, and is located forward of the spar, which means that wires are probably routed through the spar.

My version is a spreadtow carbon version, for F3F. It uses rohacell, but next version will use Herex instead.
the ailerons are running out to the wingtips which is unusual, but which desmonstrated to be very efficient on the AlliajHM. We can expect a very crisp response of the ailerons. the ballast compartiment is behind the joiner box and is very long (about 27cm) and receive about 560g of brass ballast in each half wing.
The wings respectively weight 640g and 642g, ready to use. I choose a complex color scheme and Samba made it right.

The joiner is not very large, but very sick and stiff. It accepts brass ballast like most of the plane does today.

The fuselage is full carbon, including the front part of the nose. this is curious, but according to Samba, this guarantee an extreme rigidity. the compatibility to 2.4ghz is obtain by molding a flat part (~20 cm long) outside the fuselage to tape the 2.4Ghz antenna externally. Then, the nose cone is fiberglass and can be put in place without touching the antenna. The second antenna must be in the fuselage at 90°. V-tail joiner are in place. they are square, also a very nice detail. The elevator control rods are fiber glass and carbon. The ball clevise is already glued on the elevator side.

Few more words about the ballast. I don't know where is exactly located the CG, but I guess it is between the rear ballast compartiment and the joiner, and by mixing ballast, you can keep the CG at the same location. My brass ballast were not at the exact size, due to a mistake of the ballast provider. It is already at 1733g total, so the normal ballast weight is probably at 2000g.

The small pocket of accessories contains the ready made fuselage wire looms, a servo tray, 2 x M2 Treaded couplers and 2 x metal clevises

The quality is absolutely superb, the airframe is very stiff and light. The wing surfaces are cleaned of any control rod or servo bays.
The plane assembly will be limited to the fuselage servo installation. It saves lot of time as the wing servo installation is often painful to do it right and properly.

i give you a link to the post I did about the design of the Pike Precision as reminder:

Company website: Samba Model

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

R/C Soaring Digest september issue

The september issue has been released, with one of my pictures doing the back cover :) !
RCSD can be downloaded at the following address:

Quantum update !

The Quantum n°001 is out of the moulds !!!!! Remain the cut ot the flaps/ailerons. It should land at its new home end of next week :) . S...