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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

60" Yak EXP__A Clearer Picture

With any good plane you leave after the first day feeling good about it, which I did with this Yak. What I didn't feel good about was getting the report done without pushing the plane really hard. The conditions were just too poor for that, but live reports are time sensitive, and I finished up the report knowing that the most important part of the story was just about to unfold.

Now after about 10 more flights we have a much clearer picture about how the new Yak flies. Normally you find out what's wrong with a plane when you push it really hard, but with the big Yak, the harder you push the plane to the edge, the more it shows you how good it is.

The Yak is delightfully and surprisingly light on it's wings. I was expecting it to feel heavy compared to the Edge, but that's not the case at all. The Edge is still more stable in a harrier, but the Yak can fly just as slowly with a little more work. I feel like I can harrier the Yak maybe even a little better than the Edge, but it's a lot harder work.

The Yak has a different kind if harrier attitude. It really likes to have the nose way, way up there. When it's like that you can snatch the whole plane around with a sharp blast of vectored thrust and some rudder deflection. This plane does superb harrier turns. It's just joyful to drag around as slowly as you can.

The light weight, coupled with the axial rolling nature of the Yak really helps the plane in rolling harriers. I've still got a long way to go with perfecting mine, but with the Yak it's so much easier because it all happens so much more slowly, and the plane stays on axis so well that I spend a lot less effort correcting.

Since the Yak is so axial, it likes to snap and spin in a straight line. This trait makes it easy to know and control your exits of snaps and tumbles. Exiting spins exactly on course is as little more difficult, but reverse rudder will stop it in it's tracks.

Mostly I am finding the plane always goes where I want it to. If I get sloppy, the Yak makes me work for it, but in all it's surprising that it is so smooth, stable and easy to fly. The little Yak has a bit of a temper, but the 60" is very surefooted and well mannered.

I'm still digesting the information from today's flights, but it is clear this Yak is a deadly serious machine. Even in view of that, it's also a joyful plane to fly. I plan to keep flying it hard, shooting more video, and having a blast with this plane.

Yak EXP Yakking Around III from Doc Austin on Vimeo.

Pecking Order
This week I flew both my 60" Edge and 64" MXS so I could have a direct comparison of all the 60" airframes (though I no longer have a 60" Extra). The Yak compares favorably to all of the in every aspect, and is stronger in rolling maneuvers.

The Yak only gives up a little to the Edge in harrier and elevator type maneuvers, which very much surprised me. Like I have said, it is only a little more difficult to harrier the Yak, but it is not enough to be disconcerting or anything. The Edge is just a little more stable whereas the Yak will slide and wiggle a bit if you harrier is sloppy. I actually like the way the Yak harriers because the Edge is so easy that it's not nearly as much fun as having to work for it a little. I very much enjoy low harrier turns with the Yak because it's so floaty and forgiving.

Precision is very good. Top speed is down a little to the others because of the huge cowling and fat fuselage, but it's still a fast plane. At high speed the plane locks in super tight, though I do plan to try some high dollar Hitec HS7245MH servos and make this even better.

I can't think of an area where the Yak is lacking. I think it might be a better all around airplane than even the 64" MXS, though the MXS is still more badass.  The big, flat cowling is a lot of drag, and that gets in the way of higher top speed and acceleration. This is still no problem because the plane is still plenty fast, and plenty quick to get there. It's just not as bad ass as the 64" MXS, but it does not need to be.......The Yak just needs to be what it is.

I can't really compare to the Laser very much because I have never owned one. I had a flight on my friend Rob's, but it's hard to tell with someone else's set up on a plane you can't afford to wreck. I liked the laser and thought it was floaty and easy too, but the Yak seems to be at least as much of both attributes. Again, hard to tell because one flight is not a good test of an airframe.

While you have to stay on top of the 48" Yak, the 60" seems to have a completely different character. The Yak is like a big flying poodle   ...... it's just smooth and floaty, and it rolls like it's on a rail. Part of what makes the plane easier to fly is that it responds best to an instinctual way of flying. By this, I mean the plane does very much what I am expecting it to do. When I fly the little Yak, I am thinking about what the plane is doing the whole time, but with the 60", I shut off the analytical part of the process and just fly the plane.

As such, every flight is just joyful.