15 February, 2012

Fizza Facelift and a New DG1000

Last time out with my Fizza raised some drama when some of the covering on the right aileron became detached at the front of the aileron causing it to balloon up. This created an air brake effect on that side and some very tricky flying! I didn't know what the cause of the odd handling was at the time but in the situation where something appears to have gone wrong there's only one thing to do; land safely ASAP. Happily I was able to do so and that was when I discovered the cause - clearly if I had carried on flying and the covering ballooned more then the point may well have come when it would have been impossible to control.

One thing leads to another and so it was with the job of sorting out the covering. Instead of just putting some new covering on the aileron I've given the Fizza a complete facelift. The flaming decals were made on inkjet vinyl, applied to the airframe then sealed with fuel proofer. I'm going to let the fuel proofer cure for a few weeks before exposing it fuel so there's no outdoor photographs yet, the ones shown here are computer mock ups of what is now my Fizza2 MkIV.

I've got the opportunity of attending a model aerotow meeting in the summer. That's a glider meeting where the glider get's a tow to altitude from a powered aircraft. Somewhat challenging and I'm really looking forward to giving it a try. I've also been considering having a glider with motor for flying from a flat field and hopefully finding a few thermals. It would be nice to have something that can fly off a slope in calm conditions too - my SAS Fusion really prefers a good blow!

Well I think I've found such a model. It's an ST Model DG1000 which is nothing like my older DG1000 (still waiting for some, ahem, maintenance) It's smaller and made of foam. At 2M wingspan it isn't exactly tiny either so should suit may current need. I'm not too keen on foam models, they always seem to collect marks easily and lack rigidity, well we will see how I go on with this one but why did I buy it if I don't like foam? Well, are you sitting comfortably? It's okay, I'll make it brief:
  • It will be more robust for landing on rough rock strewn hill sides
  • It has a retracting motor so
    • can be flown as pure glider or
    • under power
  • With a tow release (to be retro fitted) will let me have a go at aerotow too
  • Price - something that does all that for a total cost of around £135
So, I prepared it for it's maiden fligh with some temporary decals for visual reference and took it down to my club's field. A murky misty day presented itself for the maiden flight and I really had to get a grip of myself and think about whether or not the flight could be safely made. I felt it was okay but was I getting carried away with the occasion? Ground level visibility was acceptable but what about the ceiling? Well I could see the top of all of the power pylons without any problems so satisfied that I was able to make a maiden flight within that limit I went ahead. 

The maiden flight just involved a little adjustment to the elevator trim, a stall test and a few glide tests to find out what I would have to deal with when landing. As I expected the DG1000 has a long glide so the landing required a long, low approach but was no problem. Later I will use flaperons to help break the lift and bring down more easily. I managed to get a second flight in before I ran out of battery power and the mist closed in which would have prevented anymore flights anyway. All in all though a good maiden flight.

 Were you wondering where the motor is?