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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Flying The Extra EXP With MXS Wingtips


After flying the new 64" Extreme Flight MXS EXP with it's fabulously built racing wingtips, I wondered what effect those style of tips would have on a smaller 48" plane. They had a taming effect on the big MXS, dampening the roll rate and sensitivity a little  and turning the plane more docile. It was super groovy and tracked like a laser beam this way, being smoother and much more reassuring to fly. The effect was almost like turning the MXS into a 3D trainer. They look so super cool, though I like my MXS' to be a bit wilder, and I preferred the big plane without them.

However, this dampening effect might be a really good thing on a 48" plane. The bigger planes are always going to be smoother, more precise and more solid, but I was hoping maybe the tips could bring the smaller planes a little closer in that respect. As always, with the Extra EXP being my go-to plane, it would be perfect for this sort of experimentation.

I had several sets of the smaller fiberglass tips left over from previous 48" MXS, so I snagged a set from my parts box. The blue on the MXS tips is much darker than the Extra EXP blue, so initially I just shot them in white Kyrlon primer and paint. Like this they sort of looked like they were stuck on as an afterthought. I stopped by a local graphics store to pick up some decal solution and while I was there asked about vinyl sheet material. They have some blue which was a perfect match for the Extra.

I used the wingtip itself to trace the shape onto the vinyl and simply cut it out. Believe it or not, the shape of the outside edge and the inside edge are both traced from the wingtip. It's some sort of weird optical illusion that makes them look like different shapes.

I think the tips really add some zing to the Extra's appearance, but I've always loved the way this plane looks anyway. I'm not quite so sure about the color pattern I devised for the tip, and I will keep tinkering until I get it just the way I want it.  The Vinyl is so easy to work with that I can peel and stick and peel and stick until I get it just right. The raw vinyl is also really inexpensive, so I'll probably be working with it a lot in the future.


As always everything revolves around the flying. The short answer is that the tips have much the same effect on the 48" Extra as they do on the 64" MXS, though it is much less pronounced.  Too much taming down of the extra would not have been good because I already love the way the plane flies.
However, like I suspected, the tips actually improved the areas where the Extra is already king, and that's in high speed tracking and precision maneuvers. The Extra already drew really clean lines but now it seems more locked in and solid. This has encouraged me to start using my low rates for slow, point and consecutive rolls, and now the plane reminds me of how my old Curare AMA pattern plane tracked and grooved. Precision is otherwise improved because you can't beat a groovy plane for that kind of work.
Of course, the roll rate is slowed a little, but it was so fast before that I could not keep up with it anyway. It's still really quick. Unaffected is aileron authority in a hover. I was afraid there would not be enough to counter torque, though this concern turned out to be unfounded. For 3D the plane is not effected so much. It appears to me that at stall and near stall speeds that the tips really don't affect too much and I can 3D the Extra pretty much like before.
The only downside of the tips is that they slow down snap rolls and they are not quite as crisp. I have gotten some of this back by adapting my style a little so this isn't a real big sacrifice. If you want to go out and have a big day of tumbling you take the MXS.

The Extra has always had a bad ass knife edge spin, and this only changes a little with the tips. Once you get it in the thing will whip the tail over the nose just like before, but the entry timing is a little different and I am still trying to master it.

For high energy moves like the pop top and such, the tips seem to sap a little of that energy, but if you manage your speed just right the plane is still very capable.
Mostly for snapping, spinning, tumbling kind of moves, the plane is tamed a bit and the timing of the move changes a little. If I hit a snap just right it doesn't seem like the tips have any negative effect. Like I say, the timing just changes.
I think in the end the tips will be a personal preference type of thing. If you lean more towards precision you will like the effect, but if you want to snap and spin and tumble the tips probably won't be your favorite accessory.
I have the massive luxury of having more than one Extra EXP, so I fly the blue one with the tips and I have a newer red that I fly without. For now I am using the blue to help me improve the precision part of my game, and I'll go back to the red when I want my Extra to fly a little wilder.
Overall, the Extra EXP is still my favorite airplane ever. The tips are just a nice little diversion to help keep the experience fresh and new, and something cool to share with everyone.

I've flown a lot of different EXP airfames lately in both 48" and 60," and while they are all really cool, it seems like the 48" Extra is always the one I want to fly. Extras might seem a little unfashionable lately with MXS and Lasers and all being the rage, but it's still one of the finest airframes you can get your hands on. Everybody's style is a little different, but I think the Extra plays to mine the best, and this is also the plane that inspires me to raise my game.

As you can see above, we can't get a break with the weather, so we shot the video in horrendous winds. Early december is usually beautiful flying weather in Florida, so we'll try to shoot a really good oe soon and put in things like the KE spin and other maneuvers we covered in the text on this article.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice article Doc! Killer flying in the wind.Way to hold a level slow roll in that win dude i dont think the plane changed 5 inches of altitude during that right to left slow roll.. very nice!