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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

MXS Flight Test __ 60 Inches Of Awesome


 
Some of you might remember our last big MXS article, which was titled "MXS Flight Test __ 64 Inches Of Awesome" and are now wondering why this one is titled nearly the same, only with the wingspan shrunk to 60." For this report, we merely removed the MXS' optional "racing" wingtips, and now we have a completely different airplane, all 60" of it, that is.

The reason I am so late in following up on the original report is that while warming up to shoot video of the MXS without the tips, I flew the plane straight into the ground. It had been a beautiful flight. I was just starting to get the feel for the plane and was really digging it, and a simple snap roll just somehow went wrong and that was the end of my beautiful 60" MXS. Rest assured, the problem was all me. I just got too relaxed with the plane, got sloppy, and got dead.

Making things worse, 60" MXS sold out while I was actually at the field, so I had to wait until the next shipment. A month is a long time to be without your best plane and thinking about what you did wrong, but it was a good lesson.

The first MXS came out pretty close to perfect, which is why it hurt so much to lose it. However, the second one is even better, partially because the second production run us usually a little better after the factory learns so much from manufacturing the first one. The same is true of the build because I knew exactly what to do when I got the kit and it almost fell together for me.

Flying
As you may have read in the first flight report, the tips dampen the roll rate and generally slows the plane down a bit over all. Like this the MXS is a smooth and docile dream to fly. I am almost of the mind that it would make a nice 3D trainer this way. However, for me personally, I want my MXS' to be wild airplanes.

Without the tips the MXS comes alive. The roll rate goes up about 20%, and you'll see that in the videos when I roll it in a terminal velocity dive. If you take the tips off, be careful with the ailerons until you get used to it or you could very well over roll it. It is faster enough that all the timing is going to change on just about every maneuver. The MXS goes from a 3D trainer to a 3D beast. Roll rate is now super quick, much like the 60" Extra EXP.

 Also improved are snaps and spins. I was able to hit my snaps much cleaner like this and it was easier to make it come out exactly where I wanted it. With the tips I did not feel like I could snap it as precisely.

 Knife edge spins are almost too easy, much like they are with an Edge EXP. With the tips you have to finesse the entry, but without all you do is put the sticks at full left, full down, 1/8th left aileron, and about 20% throttle. Like this she will just fall in all by herself and KE spin beautifully. With more power the tail gets whipping around the nose pretty violently. We'll try more of those after the airframe gets scuffed up a little and becomes more eligible for abuse.



The biggest improvement was in Pop Tops. With the tips I could hardly get a full turn out of it, and I can't imagine how Daniel Holman makes it look so effortless. I tried carrying more speed, changing the timing.....everything I knew how to do, but she just didn't like Pop Topping with the tips on. Without it was a completely different story, and now does them with maybe ever greater authority than the 48" MXS, which does them rather impressively.


 
Without the tips I would say the 60" MXS has a perfect balance for me. With the added pitch authority I like this plane even better than the 60" Extra, which I truly love. It snaps and spins and rolls and harriers just right.
 
I  am as comfortable flying this plane as I am the 48" Extra EXP, which is really saying a lot. Obviously the bigger size makes it more smooth and solid, but the added pitch authority is something new in this size plane, and the increased agility really gives me a lot of confidence when I get it down on the deck.
 
I've said it before that I think this is the best plane ever, and I still think that.

I have not had nearly the opportunity to fly this plane as I would like, and I am really hoping to change that right after the first. I need to get out there and get some time on it before the 60" Lasers come in. We usually lose about two weeks in late January to could, wet weather, so I've got to get busy with this plane.


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