Yesterday we flew so much and videoed so much that I was too beat to write anything until now. In fact, I was not really planning an article, but with four solid videos the plane certainly deserves some accolades.
I've really been enjoying my Extra SHP for it's carefree and easy flying nature. Since the plane is so forgiving I am using this opportunity to try a few new things, including getting my sloppy rolling harriers down a bit lower. I am trying more things and trying to expand my skills. I think it is helping because when I go back to a bad ass 4s EXP I seem to fly it a little better than before. Some times your game just needs a little shaking up, and flying this plane has been the perfect opportunity to do that.
We shot four brand new videos, and you will find those below. I also offer a few thoughts on batteries, propellers and flying in general.
Extra SHP Too Easy from Doc Austin on Vimeo.
Why 3S Batteries?
Tastes seem to vary, but my experience is that a plane does the most effortless 3D with a power to weight ratio of 180 watts per pound. This is not really my idea ... I learned this corresponding with the great Andrew Jesky. We ran the numbers years ago and this combo comes out at about 200wpp. It's not exactly dead on at 180, but it is close enough with a little extra. I will run some numbers later on this week when we fly the SHP again. I might be getting a little more with these batteries.
At 180wpp you have enough power to punch out of hovers and go vertical, but it is not so much that power modulation is difficult. At the reduced voltage of a 3s pack (as compared to a 4s), power is much more deliverable, both in a linear movement of the throttle, and in short bursts. It also helps that the plane is no so over powered that it is always trying to jump out from under you, especially if you are a newer pilot.
On 3s the SHP is crazy easy to fly. It is light on it's wings and the power system is balanced perfectly to delivery the grunt smoothly. The whole idea of a 3s SHP is to set up a plane that almost any sport flyer can pick up and have instant success with. The plane is so friendly and effortless to handle like this that it gives more people a chance to sample some 3D and enjoy it enough to want more.
For the more adventurous, 4s delivers blistering power and insane speed. this is a good way to go too, but you probably need to have some stick time on 3s before you try something as ballistic as that. Later down the road I will be building a new SHP to fly with 4s 2700 70C Pro Power packs, but we need a little time to put that together. For now I want to air out my 3s Lightning packs
More On Lightning 55C Packs
Every time I take the SHP out I put 6-8 flights on her, so the total number is adding up pretty quickly.
All of my Thunder Power 2250 55C Lightning Series packs now have about four or five flights on them. I am quite pleased with the power I am getting from them. While I have not weighed them, you can tell by holding them that they are light packs. Power and lightness are probably the two things we chase most in setting up a good extreme aerobatic machine, so this is a good start.
Thunder Power has deeply discounted the 55C Lightning series to get them in the hands of the people. The 3s 2250 packs retails out at $36.99, which is favorable when compared to all but the cheapest batteries. Since you have already spent about $425-450 setting this plane up, to me it doesn't make sense to risk compromising performance by buying a $20 pack that has no warranty. While this is an easy, inexpensive 3D machine, it still makes sense to get the most performance you can afford, and that starts with a good battery. For about $74 you can set the SHP up with two light weight, high performance packs, and this plane absolutely deserves it.
I find it amusing (as well as highly convenient) that I can charge these packs so quickly. On my Thunder Power 610C AC/DC charger I can pop one out in about 14-16 minutes, but that is charging only at 8 amps and is very conservative. This is so quick that I can hardly fly fast enough to get behind on my charging. 15 minutes or so is enough time to put fresh pack in the plane, get something to drink, check the plane over, and clown around with the guys a little. Like this you can almost get away with having only two battery packs and rotate them all day. No matter how much I fly, I almost never have two packs on charge.
One time I did get vehind because I forgot to push the button to start it, so just for grins I pulled my Thunder Power TP820CD (nicknamed "Mongo") out of the trunk and nuked the pack at 20 amps. It says right on the pack that you can go to 24.9 amps, so we were safe. That resulted in an 8:16 cycle, which I find to be simply amazing. Back in the old Mini Ultra Stick days, a 2200 15C pack would take a full hour to charge, and any faster was unsafe!
If I noticed any difference between these packs and my 70C Prp force packs it is that power fades a little in the last half minute or so of a flight. This is not dramatic or anything ....... it's just enough that you are aware of it. With the 70C packs, they would deliver full amperage until after you had run them down below the rated voltage, which you don't want to do. You might not think I would like the pack to drop a little power like that, but the fact is sometimes I fly harder and run the pack lower. The slight power drop off acts simply as a warning. I land when I notice the drop off, and usually I still have about 11.5 volts in the pack, which is a nice, fat margin. You want to quit at 11.1 volts, but leaving more voltage in the pack is much easier on them and helps them live longer.
Final word on the Lightning packs is that I believe this is not only going to be a huge battery for Thunder Power, but for electric pilots in general. Everyone is trying to save money, but now you can do that and still fly high quality, high performance batteries from a company that will take care of you.
Those of you who have moved to other brands might want to take another look now that the numbers are so much more vastly in your favor. Compare my videos with other SHP videos and I think you will agree the Lightning packs offer very satisfactory performance. These are probably the perfect 3s packs for this plane.
Initially I flew with an APC 14/7, but it is so hot outside I am switching to an APC 13/6.5. The 13" has a few advantages, mainly les amp draw and higher top speed. I feel like you give up just a bit too much speed with the 14/7, and the 13/6.5 has the right balance for high performance sport style flying and 3D. It's just very nicely balanced all the way around.
For 3D, the 14" prop is better because it gives you a full 1" more of vectored thrust to blow over the control surfaces, thus giving you more control. If you are going to fly mostly 3D, the 14" prop gives you superb post stall control.
I like this set up too, but top speed suffers just a little too much for my taste. For now I am sticking with the 13/6.5. When it cools off a little I will try the 14/7 again. Right now it's 94 degrees every single day and I don't want to torture the equipment quite that hard. Like with everyone else, money is getting tight and I need to stretch as much life out of my packs as I can.
I wanted to run some APC propellers on this plane, but the cut outs in the spinner I am using are way too small. That, and the hub on those props is so thick that you can't get the cone on! As it is, with the 14/7 the spinner cone is about 1/1000th" away from being perfectly seated in the back plate. I have flown it like that and it's fine, but it's not the right way to do it. I'll have a good solution by the time the weather cools off.
Extra SHP Too Easy 004 from Doc Austin on Vimeo.
With a light weight battery a big propeller, and the power system balanced out at around 180wpp, the SHP is simply delightful to fly. It hangs and hangs and hangs there well after the stall, which gives you plenty of time to do maneuvers or make corrections. From a flying standpoint, things seem to slow down to where everything is easier to deal with, which is exactly what the new guys need.
You may have noticed that I fly the SHP in a more controlled and composed fashion than some of my other planes. Part of this is because I only have one of these and it's still fairly pristine. Also, the plane is just so easy that I feel like I have all day to set my maneuvers up and execute. This is helped by the comparatively lower top speed of the 3s pack, and since 3D is not about top speed, this was a righteous compromise.
I am also playing around with a 25% spoileron mix on this plane. The SHP is so light on it's wings and floaty that it doesn't want to drop when you stall it, at least not as much as I am used to. The spoileron mix allows me to bleed off altitude without a speed build up, and I can control the placement of the airplane better with the throttle.
I think newer pilots could benefit using the mix once they have a basic harrier established. From there, you just have to work your harriers until you are sick of doing it.....and then do it some more. Everyone wants to hover the first day, but harrier flight is the building block to all 3D and you will have more success faster if you master this aspect first. The SHP is so easy and gentle that it is perfect for harrier practice.
We are going to take a short break because August is the most brutally hot month of the year in Florida, and I have already gotten dehydrated once this summer. We will probably shoot video on rainy days between showers, but I just can't stand out in the sun and 95 degree heat/99% humidity all day any more. This wasn't an issue when I was 30 years old, but then again, that was 30 years ago.
Probably in early September we will try to build a new SHP and run it on Thunder Power 4s 2700 70 Pro Force packs. Stay tuned.