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Friday, October 27, 2017

60" Slick V2__Hell Yeah Huckin'__Flight Report

With the release of the new 60" Slick 580 V2,  the 3DHS Slick is back and better than ever. Slick pilots watched in horror as V1 Slicks sold out and were discontinued, but now the plan seems pretty obvious. The 580 V2 is the ultimate expression of the Slick and V2s in more sizes are surely coming. For Slick pilots, life is pretty good right now. I fearlessly predict that we will see a resurgence in planet wide Slick mania.

This is absolutely the coolest plane in the five foot market right now. It's so cool that this is not even close. With yards of carbon fiber reinforcement, clearly this plane is the future, and clearly the direction other companies will have to go if they want to keep up. From strictly a "cool" factor alone, nothing can touch this plane. In fact, if you want to be cool, you have to have one of these. No excuses!

If you would like to read more about the airplane itself, please check out 3DHS 60" Slick 580 V2__Hell Yeah!


Hell Yeah!
I've got to be careful to contain my enthusiasm here. I love everything that comes out of the Extreme Flight Family Of Brands, but this new Slick really surprised me. I knew I was going to like it, but after the build and initial test flight I am absolutely giddy about it. The airframe itself is so nicely done it was almost a shame to build it, though that part was so enjoyable I was already happy before I even flew the plane. It's simply a beautiful piece.

OK, first, this plane flies more in the style of the original 51" Slick than an EXP. Certainly every aspect of flight has been improved, but the Slick's original character is still there. The V2 is still very much a Slick all the way. After looking the plane over really hard and flying it reasonable hard, my best guess is that this is the original Slick concept taken to the absolute extreme. If you loved the original Slick, you can't live without this plane.

I'm not trying to establish a theme here, but my reaction after the first flight was "Hell Yeah!"  The plane took a single notch of up trim once I turned my trim sensitivity all the way down, and that's as good as it gets. From there, the plane felt so good that I just simply flew it. I had expected the same kind of learning process I went through with my 44" Slick. That took a number of flights to learn the plane and gain confidence, but there was none of that with this plane. When you fly something new or different, there is usually a lot of trepidation, and I admit to suffering some of that right up until the wheels left the ground, and then I was completely comfortable and confident. Like the 52" Slick, this one just feels so good that it's hard to believe.

This is the only 5 foot 3DHS plane I have had in about eight years, so I can't really compare it to any other 3DHS planes. All I can really do is compare it to 5 foot EXPs because I have had all of those. he Slick is slightly draggier than the EXPs I am used to flying, so it's down maybe 10 or 15mph on absolute top speed. This isn't a bad thing because the EXPs are a little bit too fast for the fields I am flying at....... a five second slow roll will usually put you out of bounds. With the Slick V2, that 10mph less gives me more time to set up and execute my maneuvers. Still, this plane is no slug. It still goes like hell, and you have to fly it responsibly, but if I were going pylon racing I would take the MXS.

First, it is absolutely crucial that you use the low rate from the manual and adjust it to your liking. Once you put a good low rate on the plane you will be amazed at how much your precision game improves. You can do precision on high rates, but nowhere near as smoothly and precisely as you can with a good low rate. Generally I use the manual rate and then dial the ailerons back to three rolls in five seconds at full speed/deflection. This is easy to keep up with for consecutive rolls, and it's also a great sport setting.

While we are at speed, the Slick's precision manners surprised me a bit. All the carbon in this plane makes it so stiff that it goes where you point it and it simply stays there. Nothing bends and nothing flexes, so it's like an arrow shot out of the sling. It just goes.  You can see my slow rolls are as good as any I have ever done. I was actually getting down there where I had having to watch out for the wall of death off the west end of the runway. That's only about 10 feet tall, and that's probably too low to be doing slow rolls on the first day with a brand new $700 plane, especially one this nice.

Point rolls were really sweet too because the Slick knife edges well. Whether this is from the nicely shaped SFGs or the huge, lift producing fuselage cross section (though it is probably both) the Slick has so much rudder authority in KE that any time I felt like I was too low I just applied more rudder and she climbed right out. This kind of authority gives you a lot of confidence, and the Slick would make a great plane to lean KE with.

With the Slick being slightly draggier there is not much speed build up in diving maneuvers. For things like Cuban eights and shark's tooth maneuvers, you simply cut the power and you have all day to line the plane up and roll it over. You can do stall turns lower because once you stall it, the plane does not accelerate like something with less drag. With the thicker wing, the plane also starts flying again sooner, so you regain control authority sooner. This also plays out really well in 3D where you do things like kill speed with a violent tumble and fly out in alpha.

In general, if I were wanting to go to an IMAC contest, I would want to take this plane. While the 60" would only be eligible for basic because of it's size, I am sure this plane in 80+ inches would mop up in the other categories.

 Snaps, spins, etc
Here is where the true character of the older Slicks makes itself known. Those were extremely gyroscopic, and none of that has been given up in this latest incarnation. Pop tops are simply beautiful and more graceful than most planes. The Slick's unique airfoil likes to stay stalled (which is what makes it so ideal for 3D), so the plane will carry the rotating momentum a little further. In fact, if you hit it really hard the Slick will spin past where you want it to come out, but after one or two of those I learned to anticipate this and a simple application of opposite rudder stops or exactly where I want it. That, or holding the rudder and applying up elevator the plane will settle into a nice flat spin, and you can either carry that around to complete the rotation, or (with enough altitude) just spin it5 around.

The last rotation looks like it is in slow motion, and right before it runs out of steam you can see it's spinning absolutely right on it's center like a top. This is hard to explain in words, but you can see it in the videos.

Upright tumbles are a bit different because the last bit is usually the plane doing one or two backflips. The 52" Slick is a lot like this, but the 60" does it much better. if you just snap the plane with all the controls at once, it will do a conventional snap roll type of tumble without the backflip. However, if you lead with the elevator by about a half a second. that last rotation will throw the tail over the nose.

Outside snaps are simply stable and noteworthy only because the plane does them so cleanly without drama. I'm still learning the timing on these because every so often I will get a half of a snap more than I was after. Like I say, it's strictly a timing thing and I've only got three flights on the plane. Don't worry though..... I plan to fly this plane hard and often, and on video too.

Final word on snaps and tumbles is that you don't need to fly in at terminal velocity to get a good One. Momentum is still important, but medium speed, timing and technique can also get you an impressive tumble, backflip or pop top.

Post stall alpha flight has always been what the Slick has been most famous for and that's not going to change with this plane. The Slick remains the harrier king and you can drag it around nose high with virtually no hint of wing rock unless you get really sloppy. The Slick still makes a superb harrier trainer. With the nose way up there you can spin it around on the rudder nearly within half it's own wingspan. There are several of those in the video, so judge for yourself.

While my rollers are not my strongest maneuver, they still look acceptable with the Slick and I would have to say they are as good as with any other plane I fly. This is not a bad sign on the first day.

Part of my confidence in rollers is the Slick's great KE stability, and part of it is in the plane's floaty nature. To me earlier Slicks felt heavy, and this is probably because they like to have you carry a bit of power in 3D. I've since learned how important that is and now I lead everything with a little throttle. Still, the V2 seems to fly lighter and requires less power than the earlier Slicks. I have no explanation for this other than this is the larges Slick I have ever flown, and also probably the lightest for it's size. Either way, this Slick flies as lightly as any of my EXPs, which is pretty light.

We spent the day filming, so I never had the opportunity to dial in the CG. As a result we flew nose heavy, which works against good walls, elevator maneuvers, and parachutes. Still, there was no hint of dropping a wing or tip stall, which is a classic symptom of nose heavy. I could feel the plane was nose heavy, but this really showed up in my elevator maneuvers when the plane would not drop straight down, and moved forward slightly instead. There was still no wing rock and the plane tracked perfectly straight, so I expect this will get much better when I take the time to get the CG right.

Walls were exceptionally straight and stable, though I expect the plane will pop harder once I get her closer to neutral. In the same vein, parachutes are really straight and stable, but missing that satisfying "pop" when the plane rotates. This will also get better in subsequent flights (hopefully today) after I get the CG more correct.

Speaking of which, that's what I am going to do now...... go flying. I'm cutting this short for now  and will edit this with more observations tonight.

Finally, we generally never publish videos of a maiden. Maidens are usually just a systems check and making sure you have a good platform to start dialing in. They are almost never entertaining because you are working on a checklist of things so you know what changes you have to make. This time, though, the plane was good enough that I simply threw the program out and started enjoying it. The important part to notice is how confident I was with the plane right off the bat.

1 comment:

  1. Great report, Doc.

    I'm anxious to get mine into the air.

    - Depronicus