Topic: mini Leader
Spent a lovely time flying the wonderful little electric Mini Leader at Ekeberg today.
I wanted to try out the new battery the other day and I learned the hard way that old habits are easily forgotten when it comes to these little electric toys.
When you can just take the plane from the car, plug in the battery and strap on the radio and fly, normal routine is forgotten – the antenna was not extended and of course the flight was cut short by severe interference. It landed wingtip and nose, broke the prop and parts of the fuse behind the wing and u/c mount but that was easily repaired.
And then we got weather – lots of it so I’m still waiting for a decent weekend sunny day to fly once more.
The new 1,5ah Flight Power battery and two new C261 servos for the elevator and rudder. The servos are amazingly small AND you can fit standard servo horns. The old waypoint-like servos are really disgusting and will be used in the Bluebird project.
The battery has a different connector than the Graupner/Kokam cells do for the balancer so a crossover was made using a multiplex connector. It’s ridiculous that we can’t have a standard for balancer connectors since it’s a very important safety feature.
I had a great time yesterday flying the Mini leader during lunch! I worked at home and had to drop off my wife and it turned out that the plane, radio and a fully charged battery had been brought along too, and that the subwaystation I dropped her off at was very close to a sizeable park. What luck!
There was a bit of wind but that was OK, it’s no good judging a plane from it’s zero-wind characteristics. I flew a beginner’s schedule called “vingtreff” that consists of a procedure turn, two loops, one slow roll, stall turn and immelmann. I was surprised to see the Mini leader handle stall turns very nicely, the rudder is deceptively small but has sufficient authority for both stallturns and climbing knife-edge.
It was a bit squirrely in wind but that’s to be expected at 600 grams and a park full of turbulent wind blowing over the treetops. All in all it handles much like any other plane I’ve flown in wind. (With the exception of the Calypso which is rock solid in winds you would never attempt to fly in)
My only dissapointment is that rolls are not very axial, to the right they are OK but to the left it barrel rolls. No doubt due to the sentral aileron servo and lack of differential but it’s also caused by a tendency to dive inverted. I’m not used to putting in so much down elevator. It might also be caused by the fact that it has a lot of v-shape and that it is primarily designed as an intermediate trainer. It is exceptionally stable although it waggles it’s tail somewhat at slow speeds.
Another slightly bigger battery pack and better servos has been aquired also. Pictures to follow.
I had another go with the Mini Leader in a park near our house. The battery was slightly more forward. As it turns out, it was still a bit tailheavy so I need to shove it as far forward as possible. I’m not very scientific about CG’s, I measure with a ruler and holde the plane thumb-forefinger and see which way it dips. The instructions must have been off, 8 cm from the leading edge is not correct, 6 cm is more like it.
Still I had great fun. The 1,3 amp cells powering a 9×6 APC-SF prop gave enough power for F3A practice and the controls were super-responsive, it even stall-turned very nicely. Rolls, knife-edge etc were performed with ease. Being tailheavy it snapped very easily but never when I didn’t want it too, proof that the proper CG is not far off. And it hovered very easily but of course it’s no 3D model so the moveable surfaces are far too small to keep it still for torquerolling. I must try a 1,5 or 1,7 amp battery to provide a touch more omph and get the required weight in the nose but I really look forward to the next encounter with this well-behaved little frenchman! Good looks AND good manners in such a budget package is absolutely wonderful. Finally some good clean and wholesome electric fun that’s not just toying around with airborne foam blocks.
But watch out, sometime this winter the O.S 1.60 will be broken in inside my garage :0)
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…
The new 1-meter Mini Leader from New Power modelisme is ready to fly! Hoping for decent weather this weekend. I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy this one a lot!
Currently looking for better servos for it, Hitec HS65HB’s look like the right sort of stuff. Perhaps a Central Hobbies order should be made…