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Thursday, December 25, 2014

60" Extra EXP __ The Love Affair Continues

Regular blog readers will remember my original beloved 60" Extra. We shot a lot of video and got a lot of blog material out of that plane, but that wasn't really why I remember it so fondly. I have great memories of that plane because I had so much utter joy flying and working on it, and it helps that I sold it  after hundreds of flight, instead of having it die at my hands. I got all that joy out of it, got my money out of it, helped a friend out, and never had a single bad experience of any kind. Win, win, win.

I had to sell her because I was out of storage space and had to make room for a 60" MXS. I also needed the equipment out of her for the new plane. So the irony is that I have nowhere to store the new Extra, and I had to buy all new equipment anyway!

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For a lot of reasons I have not been able to put another 60" Extra together until now. I had enough other projects to keep me busy, and I also wanted to wait until I could afford to buy some of Hitec's most excellent 7245MH high voltage servos. I wanted my next Extra to have the latest and greatest of everything, so when Hitec was kind enough to send me a set of HS7245MH servos, I knew exactly what plane I wanted to put them in.

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EDIT: Graphics package Update
For this plane I was loathe to put even a single decal on it, except for the Extreme Flight
Aerobatic Team for the SFGs. I take a lot of pride in wearing those on the plane and myself, so those were always going to be there. I did something a little different this time because I never liked the blue SFGs on this plane. The SFGs make your wing tips more visible and in keeping orientation. I like them to be a lighter color. I had a local graphics place resize the SFGs decals from the 48" Yak.  These are white with red lettering, and they really brighten things up. I like them so much that after I published this article I had a set made up for the tail, and maybe later I will put one on the front of the canopy.

Wow, have I ever missed flying this plane! It was so good to get her in the air and grooving. The Extra is so smooth and graceful. It's a lovely airplane.

In just about every way, this (like I say) is just like old times. I knew that plane inside and out,  and flying the new Extra is just picking up where I left off with the old girl. As much time as I spent with the first Extra, I developed a solid bonding with her, and I felt this right away with the new plane. Of course, I was a little shaky for the first few seconds of the test flight because if you got anything wrong that's usually when you find out. After that, though, it was just like old times and I forgot this was a new plane. I was almost instantly back into my 60" Extra groove. I have often said flying the Extra is like going home, and that was never so true as with this one.

I already had a really good idea what to expect from my second 60" Extra EXP, and I knew exactly how I wanted to set it up. I had the aileron and rudder throws figured out, but I always wanted more elevator throw. This time I paid real close attention to getting as much travel as I could while keeping a really tight hinge line gap, and I ended up with about 70 degrees or so. As of now I might back it down to 60-65 degrees or so. It seems a little touchy at high speed, but that might be the faster servos. That, or maybe I will just get used to it.

So far I am not seeing much difference from my previous big Extra, but that's a really good thing because I so loved that plane. With the additional elevator throw I am getting on this one, though, the pitch authority is just about right. At first I thought I might back it off a little, but the more I fly it, the more I like it just the way it is. This Extra is much more capable for flying aggressively than my first one was, and I really appreciate that part.

The high speed precision work is just the way I remember it, which was fabulous. This plane tracks like a laser beam, and point/slow rolls are like they are on a rail. With better centering servos it is easier to set up my moves because the plane stays better trimmed and goes where I point it, and stops where I point it.

With more pitch authority to play with, I am already more confident than I ever was with the first one. Once I knew it did not need any trim I just went into my flying routine and ran her through the hardest stuff I knew how to do. By the second flight the new plane paranoia was gone and I was point rolling and harrier flying her right on the deck, just like old times.

With only a few flights behind us you might think it is a bit early to evaluate the plane, but I don't. I've already had one and knew what to expect, only this plane is a little better because I put what I learned from the first one into this one. That, and unlike the first one, I built the entire thing myself, which delivers it's own sense of satisfaction.

So, my initial assessment is: More of the good things I always loved about this plane. The one most overriding impression this plane always leaves with myself and anyone watching is just how graceful this plane does everything. Even when you get it wrong, the Extra's swoopy lines and sexy profile seem to dampen the way poor flying looks!

This plane is so smooth that it's hard to look bad with it. I was flying the 48" Yak the same day and the contrast was horrifying. If you fly the little Yak badly, you look bad... period. The Extra doesn't seem to care much. It is simply a lovely airplane that does everything with consummate grace.

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In the final analysis, well .... I could not be happier. I've missed having a sweet tracking 60" Extra for about a year and that was way too long. With the 7245MH servos it locks in even tighter, which makes precision maneuvers much easier to execute cleanly. I'm looking forward to putting a lot of mileage on this plane this coming year. Since I almost never get anything RC related for Christmas, this plane was sort of my present to myself. I have been wanting to build this plane since about a week after I sold that last one, and the wait has convinced me to always have one of these around from now on.

Servo Assessment: HS7245MH
After three flights my initial assessment of the servos is that they are faster for sure. They are so much faster that I had to adjust my flying. For day two I turned the voltage back to 7.4 and was much more comfortable with the plane, especially at high speed. They are rated at 7.4 volts anyway, so why stress them out if you don't have to? On 7.4, they are fast enough and strong enough, and I'm pretty happy with the plane set up this way.

This was the first flight with the servos set at 7.4. they are still wicked fast, though the jumpiness I was feeling at 8.0 is gone., Now it feels like every other plane, except the servos are exceptionally strong at high speed and high deflection.

Something else to consider is that I may have been getting a little stalling with my 5245MGs and was just used to it. The new Extra with the 7245MHs is much more responsive at higher speeds. The roll rate was blistering on the first plane, but now it's simply blinding. At full deflection, there is no way I can keep up with it. This still comes in handy for winding up before a blender or tumble. For high speed high energy control, there is a substantial improvement.

Notice the elevator servo arm is the longest double arm from the Hitec PN55709 pack with one arm cut off. This arm is approximately one hole longer than the long single arm I've been using on the MXS and Yak, so I am able to be more elevator throw on this plane than any of my other EXPs. It does not rotate on the pitch axis as hard as the Yak because that plane has a bigger elevator, but the Extra now pitches pretty close to the MXS.

For the rudder I used the long single arm and brought the ball link in to the second hole from the outside. This gives me pretty close to hitting-the-rudder kind of throw, and I can max out my end points. For the ailerons I used the small arm from the pack and it's just right for me.

Centering seems really solid and the plane stays trimmed out. I had a little trouble with that running 5245MGs, and that let the precision side of the flying down a little. With the tighter centering, the plane locks in dead solid. and for that reason alone, these servos are worth the extra money. The 7245MHs are known for their durable geartrain keeping a tight mesh and eliminating play. Sloppy servos make for a sloppy flying plane, but that's not a problem with the 7245MH.

It's too early to make a final assessment, but so far I'm very pleased with these servos. As long as they hold up as well as my 5245MGs did, I will be delighted with them.

New Extra Wallpapers
While I was waiting for the kit I photoshopped up some new video artwork.

Click to enlarge. Right click and "save as."


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