Which Extreme Flight's new MXS indubitably is. Different.
Very, that is.
I've been flying Extras and Edges and Yaks for so long that I really appreciate something that looks a bit different, and the new MXS is definitely that. The MXS is simply a beautiful airplane. Every line, every curve and contour of the MXS is just plain sexy.
The MXS has a very purposeful look, a very all business look, which is fine because that matches it's all business flying style. From the sculptured lines of the cowling to the sleek canopy and turtle deck, to the swept fiberglass racing wingtips, the MSX gives you that look that tells you this is a very different kind of airplane.
And it is.
The MXS is a cutting edge 3D design. From my limited experience I am guessing Extreme Flight made the MXS as stable as they possibly could with a huge wing area, big tail surfaces and long tail movements. Lots of stability generally works against agility, but Extreme Flight got that back with huge control surfaces and big degrees of movement.
For good measure, a lot of thought went into saving weight, as well as the generous use of expensive and durable carbon fiber and G10 composite material throughout the airplane. This makes the MXS a very light but strong airframe.
The end result is a very stable, very groovy, very precise plane that feels very much like a good pattern plane, but is also extremely agile. At speed the MXS goes where you put her, and tracks extremely well. At slower and post stall speeds there are no surprises, and because of the big control surfaces you maintain exceptional control authority.
It's a bit different to have all of this in one package and it takes a bit to get used to it. This is just my assessment, but it is worth noting that in the beginning I had to force myself to fly the plane hard. It is difficult to believe such a stable airplane is capable of so much agility until you start really pushing it hard, and then the MXS comes to life. And that's what makes the MXS so different to fly. You just have to trust it, but once you do, she becomes rather amazing.
The MXS is designed to be flown on either 3s or 4s battery packs. We will get around to trying the MXS on 4s, but for now I am enjoying the light weight, smooth power delivery and bigger prop afforded by the 3s packs. I've flown the MXS on Thunder Power 3s Pro Power 30C packs, both 2250 and 2700 packs, and I don't really have a preference. The 2250 pack is a bit lighter and the plane is floatier to fly, but you also give up a minute of flight time to the 2700 pack. With either pack, the MXS is still so light that I don't think flying a 4s 2700 pack will make much difference to her lightweight flying nature, so we'll get around to trying that soon.
There is also plenty of room to move the battery back to get the CG just right. Here is where I like the CG with a 3s 2250 pack. It is not so far under the cowling that I have any trouble getting it in or out of the plane, and I can get plenty of strap around it. The battery changes out very easily, and this will only get even better when we put the heavier 4s 2700 packs further back. I am guessing we will end up pretty close to the wing tube, or maybe a half inch forward of that or so.
This is the third flight of my MXS. I had made a programming error in my transmitter that was limiting my throttle on the first two flights, so this was the first flight I got to really fly it hard and enjoy it. I was extremely pleased with the plane, but a lot of things went wrong personally right after this and I was out of flying for the next two weeks.
When I finally got another chance to fly the MXS again I was simply delighted with the way it responded to my flying style. With it's huge 88 degrees of elevator travel the MXS loves hard pitch rotation maneuvers, which is sort of one of my signature moves. The MXS' insane pitch authority plays itself perfectly to my own personal strengths, so this allows me to display one of the better parts of my game more effectively.
The same is true with Knife Edge flight, which is a weaker part of my game. I've been working hard to improve it, and the big SFGs on the MXS definately make it easier. I still need a lot of work, but the MXS is so stable here that it's given me a lot of confidence and I will fly KE more often simply because it doesn't scare me as much as much any more.
Here, I am just grateful to be feeling well and flying at all.........
The next day we tried again. It's worth noting that from the beginning I have made no set up changes to the MXS at all. She is set up exactly like the instructions call for. All I have done is tweak my knife edge mixes a little, but those are pretty insignificant at 3% up to left rudder and 4% up to right rudder.
All I have really done with the MXS since she came off the bench has been fly her. As a modeller, I kind of miss tinkering with the plane to get it right, but since the plane came off the bench flying so well, the pilot in me has really been enjoying her.
The overriding impression of the MXS is how smooth and locked in she is, yet capable of so much agility when you ask for it. We have been limited to the amount of flight time we have been able to put on her, but I was comfortable and confident with the MXS right away.
But she is a different kind of airplane. Very smooth and precise when you want, yet capable of great agility and wild 3D antics when you want. She's sort of the ultimate melding of a pretty brunette and a wild redhead.
Another nice touch are the wing tips, or more correctly, the choices of wingtips that are made available in the kit. First, you don't have to use any. The plane looks and flies fine like that, but I think few people will chose that way because of the other tips that are included.
The first tips we'll talk about are the Side Force generators (SFG). I've been flying a lot of planes with SFGs the past few years, and to me that's become the way a plane is supposed to look. If a plane doesn't have SFGs, to me it looks a bit naked.
So, personally I prefer the look of the Side force generators, the added lift they give you in knife edge flight, and added stability all the way around. They improve the way the plane flies, so to me that always looks good.
At first I thought these SFGs were rather large, but I got used to them quickly. They actually play themselves in really well with the MXS' distinct and different look. Bottom line is they work so well that this makes them attractive looking.
Being so large, I also thought that they would be a bit of a risk for ground strikes, but the MXS has a generous amount of ground clearance and this is not problem.
Some people just don't like SFGs and they aren't going to put them on their planes no matter what. For these folks, Extreme Flight has included a very attractive and well made pair of bolt-on fiberglass wingtips.
As you can see, I wanted to try the tips, but didn't want to give up my beloved SFGs, so I simply used them both.
Aileron Set Up
The aileron linkage couldn't be any easier, though I deviated a little. I already had some servo arms and push rods made up from another plane, so I used them. Actually, I gotta be honest. I made up the aileron push rods with the ball links on both ends, set them down somewhere and now I can't find them, so I robbed this linkage off a wrecked plane!
The stock set up is ball links on both ends.
Elevator Set Up
Using an HS85MG on the elevator was a good idea. This elevator has so much area and so much movement that I am sure using an HS65 would be getting a bit marginal. On some other planes, I have been stalling HS65s, so with the 85s greater Torque, you will be able to get the most out of this MXS' obscene elevator authority.
First, you have a huge amount of elevator area, which alone will give you good control authority. Added to that is the taper on the leading edge of the elevator and trailing edge of the stab which allows nearly 90 degrees of travel with very little hinge gap. I measured mine at 88 degrees, but it's certainly enough and then some.
Ball link hardware allows for smooth and slop free operation on all control surfaces
Rudder Set Up
Dual ball links on the rudder linkage and Extreme Flight's Exclusive G10 phenolic servo arm extension allows the rudder to swing full width both ways.
Radio Equipment Lay Out
I really like the way the battery tray is laid out, especially toward the rear. Mounting the receiver here allows the wires to be run underneath and then up through slots and into the receiver. This makes for a really neat and tidy installation. It also cuts down on the wires slopping around and maybe pulling themselves out of the receiver. I've seen this happen and it's an excruciating way to lose and airplane.
Mounting the ESC on the side of the motor box keeps all the wiring out of the battery compartment and makes changing a pack out much easier.
A nice touch is the holes for mounting the switch are Pre cut. Notice the G10 composite material reinforcing of the wing tube mounting and anti rotation pin holes. These are areas of the plane that can become sloppy with wear and tear, so using composite to strengthen them gives you a plane that will fly locked in well after it has had a lot of abuse thrown at it. Also notice the carbon longerons reinforcing the fuselage sides.
Power Set Up
We have been using Extreme Flight Torque motors and Airboss ESCs exclusively for almost four years now. These are exceptionally smooth runing and powerful systems that give us dead solid perfect reliability.
Using the Extreme Flight power system with Torque 2814 motor and Airboss 45 ESC makes for a clean installation. Notice the G10 composite material on the motor box, and the carbon struts reinforcing the motor box assembly. There are a lot of expensive materials in this plane, and they are all in areas that will make the plane stronger, longer lasting, and better flying.
Here I glued a balsa block to the motor box and velcroed the Airboss 45 to it. This location puts the ESC right in the cooling airflow coming into the cheek cowling. Also, like this, it is close enough that the switch can be bolted to mounting holes that come pre cut in the fuselage sides .