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Sunday, March 12, 2017

52" Slick EXP Flight Report__Simply Superb

Еще раз спасибо моим друзьям в России, которые в очередной раз возглавить иностранный контингент в блоге хитов за этот месяц. Вы, ребята, рок! Yeshche raz spasibo moim druz'yam v Rossii, kotoryye v ocherednoy raz vozglavit' inostrannyy kontingent v bloge khitov za etot mesyats. Vy, rebyata, rok!

The wind conditions I experienced my first day out with Extreme Flight's superb new 52" Slick 580 EXP did not let up the next day, so we just had to shoot the next day and be a little more careful. I certainly didn't want to re-kit the plane before we had video and have to explain that to "The Boss." This happened once before on a project and he just laughed at me because I was so stressed out about it, but that didn't make me giddy to do that sort of thing again.
Of course, that was not as big of a worry as I thought it might be. Back at my home field on a beautiful (but windy) day with all my friends, one lap around the field was all it took for "The Red Mist" to set in and I was right back into my groove, even though my experience with this plane was two tentative warm up flights in bad conditions. My two previous flights the day before revealed there were no surprises, and I knew exactly what to expect from the plane. I had the confidence to fly it hard even in bad conditions.
But then again, that gets back to this plane being so ....  Simply Superb.
Click To enlarge On All Photos

That really is the only description that fits this plane, from the moment you open the box, through a seamless, almost effortless build, right through a calm, collected maiden flight in bad conditions with the only surprise being how good the airplane really is.

Normally it takes a few flight for me to completely mesh with a plane, but not this one. I knew what I had as soon as I checked the trims, which was zero. It was dead straight right out of the box, perhaps in part because of it's revolutionary self centering stabilizer. You can't get it wrong, and this showed up when I leveled the plane with no trim and it tracked like it was on a rail from one end of the field to the other.

That was the first day, but I have to admit I flew it a little feebly  because of the conditions and more importantly we had no camera guy on hand. You can't get crazy until you have a video or two stashed away, so accomplishing the mission on day one meant simply to get out alive.

Day one, however, was much more than that, though. I fell in love with the plane instantly, ran out the pack and sat down to think about what I wanted to change. Generally each new plane has a list of loathing points that you want to tweak out, be it a CG change, control deflection change or even a mix. This time though it was no trim and no changes., I could not think of anything I wanted to do the plane at all except maybe hit it with another coat of wax.

I scratched my head a bit and thought carefully, and this couldn't be right. How can the plane be perfect in every respect right out of the box? How could I mesh with it instantly and know instinctually how it was going to behave, almost as if it were anticipating my next move?

If course that would take a very special plane, one that is ....

Simply Superb
Click To enlarge On All Photos 
This morning the wind had laid down really nice, so I threw everything in the car and called my buddy Ken to meet me at SPARKS for a video shoot. Ken has been shooting video with me since the early 3DHS days and my first SHP, and he has always been a great friend.
Of course, once I got there the air was howling and it didn't look like a good day. Still, we were here for a shoot, and if there was any plane you could trust in these conditions, it would have to be simply superb.

Since I had not been to SPARKS in a few months, everyone stopped by to visit when I was putting the plane together. It was great to see everyone again, but in the process I plugged the left aileron servo in backwards, and then I forgot to check it! This showed up on take off with one aileron not working and slightly deflected, so I had to fly it in like this in ripping wind. No issue, though because the plane is solid, stable, forgiving and predictable. I instantly knew what I had done wrong, and the plane is so simply superb that I just held opposite aileron and flew it back in. I turned the plug around and finished the flight, and even with everyone wanting to see the Slick fly and watching breathlessly, no one picked up on what I had done wrong! Even in an emergency situation, the plane stayed composed and got me home so smoothly everyone was oblivious to how much trouble I had gotten myself into.

Suitably scared witless, I leaned enough to know how hard I could push in the conditions, and then we shot the first video. This was my third ever flight with the plane, and considering the lack of time and poor conditions, I think you can easily see how simply superb this plane truly is.

On the next flight I had one dicey moment when a big gust blew the plane overhead in a four point roll. I got into that area of disorientation that's 75 degrees above your head and, well,  lost orientation. I gave it the wrong direction rudder on the third point. I nearly got the hill, and a big groan from the gathered throng. After that I pulled my head out and flew a little more sensibly. 

The conditions improved a little for flight two, plus I was into my groove a little more. I was able to push a little harder and find what the plane likes, which is pretty much everything. We wrapped up the day because people were anxious to see the video, and that was it. Another successful mission.
Flying Specifics
Overall the Slick is stable and forgiving, but it's also micrometer precise in big sky maneuvers. The power system is perfectly matched to these 52" birds and doing large maneuvers is just easy. When you pull up into a big climb or loop. the plane doesn't lose any speed, so it's not going to fall off or torque over to one side. You don't have to correct the tracking with rudder, which gives the pilot one less thing to do. The less you do with this plane, the more it does for you and the better you look.
Tracking in knife edge (KE) maneuvers is most excellent. The plane just locks in and flies straight, so with point and slow rolls you simply get your rudder and elevator inputs timed right and the whole thing looks like it's on a string. The Slick slow rolls simply superbly, though in these videos I am giving the ground a little room. We'll get her on the deck first nice day out.
The Slick snaps superbly and is a little cleaner here than the Extra. The Slick seems to lose a little less "oomph" at the end of the snap, and maybe carries out a little more speed, but either way, it is easier to position your exit where you want it and fly it out where you want it, almost like you planned it that way! Snap timing is not really any different than the Extra, but the Slick seems to be just a little more willing to wrap itself up and throw the tail over the nose. It's just fun to tumble it, and even more fun to fly it out because it stays so firmly in control. You fly it in, wrap it up and it comes out the other side calm and composed, and it makes you look good.
KE spins are just effortless. Just jam the sticks in position from any sort of entry and after it thrashes about a little it just drops in automatically. If you are more careful and try to carry momentum into the spin from something like an outside snap or pop top, the Slick goes right in with zero fuss, almost like that's what it wanted to do anyway. Previously nothing rivaled the Edge for this, but the Slick makes it really close, if not even a little better.
While not on the videos, the first day I tried a full rudder and elevator spin with a little power and opposite ailerons. The slick just pivots around it's center, nearly flat and barely losing any altitude. The only other plane I have flow that does this as well is the 60" Laser, so clearly the slick is flying bigger than it really is.

Today was a poor day to be testing harrier manners but by now I was so confident with the plane I just went for it and the Slick responds very well to this. I could see by putting the Slick into the car that the rudder is taller than the Extra, which keeps it in cleaner air when you are in harrier. This allows you to carry the nose even higher and maintain rudder control, while the Slick does seem to be a little less prone to wing rock than the Extra when you fly it sloppily. If you are precise with either one they fly beautifully, but we aren't always precise and the Slick is probably a better bet for the new guys who want to work on their harrier skills.
I'm not one to brag about my pathetic harrier rolls, but with the slick they seem to be much easier and less threatening, especially on the deck. Maybe I am starting to get my stick stir down a little better, or more likely the Slick doesn't fall out nearly as badly as some other planes, and because of it's generous side area, floats better instead dropping. When you start working your rollers low, that first 1/4 roll to KE is terrifying because the plane is going slow and you just know your going to run out of ailerons and lift at the same time and simply cartwheel the thing to it's death. For whatever reason, after one or two harrier rolls that fear disappeared and I was happy doing rollers at least as low as on my best day. I was using less rudder and elevator, and even a little less power, so on a nice day I am sure I can do these slower and lower. In rollers, the Slick just feels good.
Another maneuver you won't see me bragging about much is hovers, but I didn't look real bad with the Slick. The rudder has so much authority you have less chance of getting behind and over controlling trying to bring it back. I'm not sure if it locks in better or it is just easier to keep there because of the authority, but also, here the Slick feels good.

In general, More than any plane I have flown yet, the Slick does everything the way it's supposed to do it. It responds to exactly what you are telling it to do. It goes where you point it and it stays where you point it.
The most overriding thing I can tell you about the slick is something I can't quite quantify. I am just confident in the extreme with this plane. I already know it's character, maybe because it matches my style so much, or maybe because it's just that damm good. Even when I got into trouble, it didn't really frighten me. I just calmly flew it out and only got scared when I had time to think about it later. While I am flying the plane, I tell the plane to go from A to B, and the plane goes from A to B with no fuss. It just flies right. It just flies superbly.
It's Simply Superb

Unfortunately my trunk is only 51.5" wide! Since I want a 74" Slick 580, I'm working on getting a bigger car!


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