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Monday, May 30, 2011

Last Word On The Extra EXP___ For Now

The Old Faithful Blue Extra EXP

I've been flying my Extras almost exclusively for about a month and have developed a pretty decent rythmn with them. I had hammered my original blue relentlessly and it felt like I could almost fly that plane with my eyes closed.  Everything about it was instinctual, easy and natural.

My original blue Extra EXP  had already taken a considerable beating. I flew my other Extras a bit here and there, but the original blue did most of the work, and made most of the videos, and it got treated with a much higher level of complete and total disregard. I probably flew this airplane harder and abused it more thoroughly than any plane I have ever owned, but it didn't seem to affect it negatively.

In fact, the harder I beat it, the better it got.

I have been extremely impressed with how well this plane has handled the abuse, which included a pretty nasty crash with very little damage. These are extremely well built airframes, and the generous use of expensive composite materials throughout  (especially in critical areas) makes them hold up really well. In spite of how hard this plane has been knocked around, it still looked absolutely brand new.

In the end, though, nothing could have survived catching a wingtip on the ground and slamming in on the nose at 100 mph.

Previous to that, the Extra EXP had given me a lot of awesome flights. I didn't keep exact track of it, but I lost count at around 150 flights or so, give or take a few. It was still a lot of flying jammed into a short time period.  I was so comfortable with that plane that I merely forgot what can happen. That, or I truely did not believe I could wreck that plane. Of course, you can wreck any plane if you fly stupid enough, and that's exactly what happened.

On of the first things my father taught me about model aviation is never to fall in love with anything that flies. Under the best of circumstances, models will still sometimes crash and die, but if you fly anything hard, you are going to wreck it, wear it out, or it will seccumb to the stress. You push hard, you tear stuff up..... simple. Extreme aerobatics simply takes this to the .........errrr, extreme level of destruction. You still hate to tear up a good flying plane, so I was mad at myself for a few days. I was flying hard, and maybe a bit I deserved it.

I flew this airplane unreasonably hard, and it really should have just given up under the stress and fatigue, and literally blew itself into a thousand peices. It never did. This plane looked good and flew perfect, right up until the bloody, bitter end. She went down with absolute honor.

I have to rate this as the best airplane I have ever owned. Ever......which is a long time.

Big Red

The big surprise came with my second Extra EXP.  Seeing that I was getting a bit too crazy with the original, I built a backup red Extra, which flies just as wonderfully. I was jumping back and forth from the blue to the red without hardly noticing a difference, so clearly these airframes are built to an exacting tolerance. I really did not expect it to be that good right out of the box, but it was.

I don't really have a lot on this plane just yet, simply because it only has two flights on it. So far it flies just like Old Faithful Blue, and you can see the confidence I have in the plane by how hard I pushed the low level parachute and other high risk maneuvers.

The New Blue

A nice distration along the way has been the second blue Extra EXP we built up for the EXTREME FLIGHT Extra EXP Sport report.  Lately my building has been a mix of Jim putting the tails on (because he is a better builder than me) and I do everything else, but this time no one touched it but me. It went together extremely well and flies beautifully. I have never been a really good builder, simply because I have lacked patience and confidence, but with these planes I think I have made considerable progress. Patience isn't a problem because these EXPs are so nice that I enjoy putting them together.

I am almost satisfied with the job I am doing in building and maintaining my EXP series planes, but my standards remain much higher than my ability.  It is quite satisfying to put a whole project together and have it come out so well, but the EXP series are designed like that.

As soon as the video for the sport report was done, I put the plane in 3D trim and it flies just like the other two.The nice part of having this plane is that gave me three ready to fly Extra EXPs, which would soon become very handy indeed. Here is the new blue's first flight as a 3D plane.....

I have since ordered a new blue Extra EXP, and I will put it together some rainy day, or another time when I am bored and want a project, which is often. I guess I enjoy building these things more than I cared to let on. There is just a nice buzz about to working on a fine product and building something as special as an EXP.

However, I am just getting too comfortable and too crazy with my Extras. I've also got two nice MXS EXP and three Edge EXPs that I am ignoring, so the Extras will get a rest for now. I am sure I'll be back to hammering on them soon enough, but for now the MXS needs some love.

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