As much as I enjoyed my red/white/blue Slick 580 EXP, I still wanted a yellow one, simply because I am a little weird for yellow airplanes. Those seem to serve me really well as evidenced by my original Extra SHP, and later, my yellow 64" MXS EXP. That, and yellow is very easy to see.
Almost everything I wrote in previous article on this plane is the same, though there are a few little changes worth noting.
I got pretty much what I was expecting based off my experience with my red Slick, though now with a little familiarity I am much, much more comfortable and in control of the plane. The red Slick was great from the beginning, but you always have that new plane fear going. Now that I have a second one, all that is left to do is enjoy them safe in the knowledge a crash won't put me out of the Slick game.
Again, and maybe even more so with the newest Slick, there is some sort of intangible I can't quite explain. The plane is very similar to an Extra, though it just feels incredible. Like the Extra, it goes and stays where you put it, except the Slick seems to do this with much more authority. This adds to the confidence I already had in the plane and from here it's just going to be a matter of learning the intricacies of the plane's behavior and working on things like snap timing.
The Slick's snap behavior is a little different from the Extras in that it seems to be a little more willing. For example, you need some momentum to wind the Extra up into a violent snap or tumble, but the slick is happy throwing the tail over the nose even at medium speeds. The Slick also seems to tumble a little more gracefully, but then again, that's always been a hallmark of the Slick.
As far as super high speed full deflection death tumbles, I don't think anything can touch the 48" MXS, but the Slick is still very respectable here and a little better than the Extra. This plane is so nice you probably won't want to abuse it like that anyway.
If you do, however, the Slick does a nice blender. I got my timing wrong on one blender and actually dove it at high speed into a full throttle KE spin with all the momentum behind it. For a few seconds it was whipping around so quickly I did not know which direction it was going! I will try to duplicate that on video once one of my Slicks starts to show some age. Right now I like them so much I am just treating them nicely and trying to preserve them a little, though they are certainly built well enough to take whatever you dish out on them.
Both the Extra and the Slick do sweet, straight, tight waterfalls, so there is nothing to separate them here.
Perhaps the original Slick's best attribute is it's harrier manners, and that's been brought forward into the Slick 580 EXP. You can see in the video I drag the Slick around pretty slowly, nose up, and on the deck in 15mph crosswinds, so clearly this was a design priority when the Slick first went into CAD.
While the original Slick was a bit draggy and not especially impressive on top speed, the Slick 580 is much different. The new slick is long and sleek, like a high speed pattern plane, and it can chew up the real estate pretty quickly. Speed is stability, so the Slick 580 now has improved precision manners to go along with it's huckability.
This plane does superb slow and point rolls, and I am sort of playing around with consecutive rolls using the rudder instead of the elevator. You will see a few in the video and they sort of look like rollers at flying speed. very different.
The Slick's KE manners are so good that I have total confidence flying it out of a stall on it's side. last year I had one of my other planes snap out on me like this, but admittedly I was asking for it and flying stupidly. Still, you would think that would be a lesson capable of dissuading me from trying it again, but like I say, the slick feels so good I am not afraid to do anything with it.
While my rollers are nothing to brag about, they look pretty ok with the Slick. The wing and stab are closer to the thrust line than they are on the original slicks, and this makes everything roll around the same axis and gives very axial behavior. Only the Yak seems to do this any better, but it's a slim margin. I'm very comfortable rollering this plane, and in fact, was instinctually doing them even before I really understood the plane well enough to try that sort of thing.
A plane that feels good can be very encouraging.
I know people expect a detailed analysis from me, but it's pretty straight forward with this plane. If the Extra does everything the way a plane is supposed to do it, the Slick does it just as well and some things better. As an Extra man this sort of pains me a little, but I could turn into a Slick man pretty quickly.
Don't get me wrong........ the Extra definitely still has it's place. It's just the Slick is rather similar and does some things better. The lines are just blurred a little more as we edge closer to having the plane that does everything perfectly. I need to fly them both a lot more to gain a better understanding of them. I'm not rushing it, though. This is a journey I plan to relish.
Something I feel needs to be illustrated again is just how revolutionary Extreme Flight's self jigging (self aligning) stabilizer installation is. This is normally the most critical part of the build, but the Big X has reduced the hardest part of this to simply not spilling a lot of glue on the plane. if you can avoid that, you are assured of a straight, clean build.
Determined to trust the new technology incorporated into the Slick's unique self aligning horizontal stabilizer, I jammed the stab all the way forward, did not measure it, and simply glued it. Now, it makes sense to check it since it only takes a few seconds, but again, I wanted to demonstrate how well the self aligning stab works. After the glue set up it measured absolutely dead on, so now that's two of them that came out perfectly with this system. This will give me the confidence to do them all this way and save myself the agony I used to put into tinkering with getting the stab straight.
I'm going to cheat a little and use photos from 52" Slick EXP__ The New Classic to illustrate how simple the stabilizer installation really is.
I explain the stab installation in detail in 52" Slick EXP__ The New Classic , but the short version is that the front center part of the stabilizer is flat. When you shove the stab all the way forward, that flat part butts up against the alignment formers, and a straight build is virtually assured! From there you simply run a bead of thin CA along the joint, wait for it to set up, then do the other side, wait for it to dry, then flip it over and repeat on the bottom side. It couldn't be any more simple or goof proof..
The rest of the build went pretty much like the first one, which you can read about in 52" Slick EXP__ The New Classic . With the new construction techniques and Xcessories, the builds have never been easier nor more fun than they are right now. It's hard to imagine how it can get any better, though my source deep within Extreme Flight has shared a few things with me, and it is indeed going to get very much better. Each new release will be better build and easier to assemble than the last.
The small canopy of the slick simply demands a pilot, and this one surprisingly is the perfect size. he doesn't look too big or too small. it was almost like he was made for this plane and I am delighted with the look.
Just a few changes on this plane but nothing earth shattering. The second one of any build usually comes out cleaner and more well prepared because you have a better idea what you want from the plane and how to get it. That was also true on this plane.
I used the Xcessories 1.25 arms on my red Slick, but that was so much throw I had a little trouble being smooth with it. Since my radio only has a high and low rate, there is no mid rate for me to use. I either have high or low, and I set up my high rate so I can fly it for everything but precision work. This time I used the Hitec PN55709 set and maxed my travel adjustment (end points). This gives me about 37 degrees of aileron, which is fine for me. I can fly this smoothly, so this was a good adjustment.
If you have triple rates I suggest you use the Xcessories 1.25 arm with all the throw you can get for high rate, then turning the mid rate back to something a little less instense like say 33-38 degrees or so.
I played around with running the full 1.25 Xcessories arm on the elevators of my 52" Extras, but for the Slick I stayed with the G10 arm as specified in the manual. I figured I could always use the long arm and get more throw later, but I was really happy with the plane this way. The pitch authority does not come on with a horrendous bang like it does when running 88 degrees, but is more progressive and easier to modulate.
The Slick snaps and tumbles just fine with the G10 arm and pitches about as hard as my planes with 88 degrees do. This has me rethinking my previous views on big elevator throws. I may be getting away from the big 88 degree deflection I have used in the past on my 48" planes as I look to fly more smoothly and in control. This seems to be a good start.
The Slick still does really solid wall maneuver's, so monster throws don't seem to be necessary. The Slick's precision manners sort of preclude me wanting to beat it hard and pitch it like crazy, and I am finding better ways to bleed off speed other than big throws. You just have to plan it all out a little better in advance, but that too makes for a smoother presentation.
An unexpected benefit from this is that even running the same elevator deflection on low rate as before, now the elevator operates much more smoothly and again, progressively on low rate as well, and the servo also seems to center more precisely.
Yes, I am cheating by using a photo from my red Slick, but the set up is the same. Extreme Flight was out of Xessories arms when I built my red, so again I used the short Hitec PN55709 arm. With my end points at 140 I am nearly touching the elevator halves with the rudder, so you can't get much more throw than that.
Yeah, the Slicks have always been one of the darlings of the 3DXA world, but the EXP treatment with it's long and sleek lines really blinged this plane out. It's simply sexy and swoopy and a fine looking plane. KM's modernized traditional scheme (very well done yet again, Aron) works well with this plane and really accentuates it's unique lines. Maybe the best looking plane I have ever owned next to the 52" Extra EXP, and even then it's a close call between those two.
New Propeller Partner
Thanks to Bob's Hobby Center for providing the Falcon Propellers we used on this project. Bob's Hobby Center is the US Distributor for Falcon Propellers and they have a huge inventory of Xoar propellers as well. Generally I can't tell a Xoar from a Falcon when I am flying them, and they look very similar too. With Bob's I have the choice of either brand, and they usually have every prop I need in stock. Bob's is about 2 hours up the road from me in Orlando. so I usually get my props the next day.
Falcon propellers have served me so well that I am going for consistency and switching to them completely.
There are probably going to be a few partner shakeups this year, though I hope to remain with Extreme Flight for the rest of my life. We have a lot of new things in the pipeline getting set up for the 2018 Doc Austin Retirement Tour. I'm hoping to hit a few events and keep doing what we've been doing, then settle down into old age with the soul mate and maybe fly RC just for grins. No matter how much I try to retire there are still going to be guys who need help, so you won't be completely rid of me until I really go home for the last time.