December 9, 2023

Mini leader flies

I had to opportunity to take my 2 year old daughter and the new Mini-leader out flying on saturday. It was a beautiful morning, wind and cloudless with a crisp frost underfoot.

The plane flew uneventfully straight out of my hands but it seemed tailheavy so I gained some altitude and tried to trim it. My daughter ran about my feet around shouting joyously (she’s never seen me fly before) and that distracted me a bit. Elevator trim seemed not to help, I decided it had to be landed so I could move the battery forward. Strangely, the plane just flew on with the throttle closed. My daughter was by now euphoric with glee and I was stunned and let the controls go, the plane was so stable it would not stall, loose height, even roll – it just flew. I guess when BPLR designs a low wing trainer he is not kidding. It was fantastically stable.

In the end I flew much to slow and flared to high so it dropped a wingtip half-metre above ground. I mistakenly thought it flew like a foamie (it felt like it at times). Not much damage, the battery came loose, broke an elevator (stab still ok…) and prop. My daughter ran off to retrieve the plane (how’s that for great offspring, huh!) and I was as happy as she was.

The plan now is to fix the elevator, move the battery 2 cm’s forward and strengthen the home-made battery fastening-gizmo (i.e, a balsa-stick).

If I can get it to stall turn reliably and if it manages to take off from grass it’ll be my secret weapon at the club contest this spring. I know the judges sometimes favour electric planes…

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