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Friday, October 17, 2014

Flying the 60" Yak__Blue Sky

Everything I have written about the 48" Yak EXP applies to it's bigger sister. The differences are, of course, it flies bigger, smoother, more precise, more stable, more forgiving and definitely more floaty. The 60" is much more gentle to fly than the 48", but still capable of violent snaps and tumbles.

Odd History
Well, for me anyway. In the dark ages when we used to build and cover our own airplanes, I most often went with yellow and blue. It was sort of my thing. You might even notice the snazzy yellow and blue coordinated  sweater in the first picture. The first photo was taken about 1980. It's utterly amazing how much the hobby has come since then, and how much the airplanes have progressed in nearly 35 years. While that's pretty awesome, it's not so awesome how I have progressed over the same time period!

Click To Enlarge

So, it was a bit of an odd coincidence that the new Yak was covered almost identically to my old nitro beater! I can't tell you how delighted I was to see the first pictures of this plane. I was absolutely sold on the new Russian Thunder scheme, but when I saw this I couldn't believe it
 It's like flashing back and flashing forward, all at the same time. That or it's a never ending Deju Vu,  Rock on.

At last! The wait for the plane was long enough considering it's been nearly two years since the 48" Yak came out. It was really windy yesterday, so I lost that day for flying. That just gave me another day to check everything and get my graphics almost finalized. This was a good thing, though, enough is e-dam-nough, and I was ready to fly it.
The first impression was how light the Yak is on it's wings.  I was surprised, to put it mildly, at just how much the plane would float. I could just drag it on and on and on.  I'm a bit afraid that my other 60" planes are going to feel a little heavy after this.
On the first flight I cam out a little bit tail heavy, but the plane was not squirrely or anything. My high speed precision was suffering a bit and the wind gusts were lifting the nose some. That's a sure sign you're tail heavy, so I moved the pack about a half an inch, and she was dead on after that. The pack extends a little bit under the cowling, but it's not problem, and my retention straps go around the battery at the strongest part of the battery tray, so I can beat it hard and not worry the tray is going to come apart. It's very nice I did not have to resort to a heavy tailwheel or adding lead. I've got more than enough room n the tray to make the plane balance as nose or tail heavy as I could want it.

My harrier rolls need a lot of work, to say the least, but with the Yak they just happen. Since I've been flying the little Yaks I've started developing that stir, almost without trying. Now on the big Yak it was even easier. The Yak rolls so much easier because of the thrust and flying surfaces are on the same datum line. As such you can fly it deeper into the stall and still have enough roll authority to nicely roll the plane.

All rolling maneuvers are very much like they are on a string, or on a rail. The plane rolls so beautifully pure and straight. I can see I am going to have a lot of fun working my rollers and other rolling maneuvers with this plane. Each of the EXPs has it's own unique strong suit, and the axial rolling nature of the Yak is definitely it's best asset.

Because this is a larger plane, in general everything seems to happen a little slower and you have more time to react and correct any mistakes you make. The big plane is completely devoid of any of the smaller Yak's edgyness and is much easier to look good with. 

So far I only have a handful of flights on it and I have not hammered it really hard yet. A combination of waiting for this plane so long coupled with a financial inability to replace it has left me a little bit short on bravery, not to mention the need for it to live at least long enough to crank out a report! It will come though. The big Yak is like every other EXP in that it is so solid it inspires you to push it hard, and that day will be coming soon.

As such, it is a bit early to make a final pronouncement or a final nail, but I am already confident enough to say I really love it and want more. We will be flying this plane a lot this fall, so you can certainly expect more commentary and video.

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