It's been an odd road with this plane. I have been fighting some eye problems and bad weather, plus my camera guys have all had trouble making it to the field, so between all that, it's a miracle we've actually gotten some video.
In the meantime, though, I have been flying the snot out of this Laser and I really love it a lot....... and I mean a lot. In many ways it is very similar to the Extra, which makes sense because it looks like it shares that plane's wings. The difference is that the Laser has a lot more pitch authority, which is something I always wanted a little more of in the Extra. Because of this, the Laser gives up a little pitch stability at high speed, but it is not so much that it really effects precision maneuvers very much. The Extra still has the advantage there, but the Laser is probably as well balanced performance wise.... just different.
I do feel that I can push the Laser a little harder. I almost view the Laser as an Extra with more pitch authority and a little more stability, which I don't see as a bad thing because the Extra EXP has, until now, been my favorite. In a way, the Laser is version of the Extra that does a little better 3D.
As you can see below, the wind conditions were just horrible, but don't worry. The conditions got better as the day went on and we captured that too. If you are patient enough, the best video is the last one, but if not, skip ahead.
We had a camera so we shot, conditions be dammed. I am so comfortable and confident with this plane that I will fly it long after everyone else has packed up because the conditions are bad. The Laser just flies great no matter what.
Initially I was concerned with the new construction techniques, but that turned out to be unfounded. The original EXPs were ground breaking planes with their brilliant use of mixed composites and geodetic construction. I was a bit loathe to see Extreme Flight get away from that, but there was no reason to worry. The new construction is certainly just as robust. I have crashed the Laser three different times now and barely hurt it.
Once was a due to a preparation error, and I slammed it in so hard that it broke both the main gear and the tail wheel wire! It also folded up an SFG, but amazingly that was the only damage.
Another two other two times I had it catch the tail while being blown backwards in the wind, and had it grind to a stop on it's lid. Outside of scratching up the canopy and my $25 polished aluminum spinner, and a bit of scuffed covering on top of the rudder, it was fine. Eventually the abuse took it's toll on the hatch latch, which snapped off before the last video shoot. I had to spend the day opening and closing the hatch by sticking a screwdriver down in the slot and prying the mechanism open, but it worked.
The new hatch latch system is not that difficult to get out of the plane, so I simply popped in a spare. Now it is as good as new, but I had to be really careful not to get any glue in the mechanism.
Apologies for having such a plain looking Laser in the videos. The Laser is so beautiful that I wanted to do a perfect job on it, so I commissioned B and E Graphix to make up one of their beautiful sets of air release vinyl decal sets. I have used their stuff before on my Edges and have always been really happy with it. As soon as we get the decals I'll post some pictures here and on RC Groups.
Again, we had sadly tropical conditions that were not very video conducive, but you can still see the Laser is extremely stable, and agile at the same time. There were one or two moments when it got a little tight, but I was never apprehensive or uncomfortable in any way. Even in bad conditions the Laser holds it's composure admirably.
In good conditions, the laser is as good as anything I have ever flown. As you can see below, I push the Laser as hard as anything I own, and this was probably the very first clear weather flight I have ever had on it. We would have liked to shoot some more, but right after this the winds started howling and we had to fly differently, as in giving the ground a little more room.
So, for now, this is as hard as I know how to fly an airplane. The fact I can do this with so little time on the plane shows how good it is and how much confidence it inspires.
Thanks for reading and watching. We hope to get some more Laser video real soon