Showing posts from August, 2013

Video: ASW15 aerobatics

Here is a video I did 2 weeks ago and showing my friend Gérard Prat doing low speed aerobatics with a 4m wingspan ASW15 from Airtech. You will notice the intensive use of the camber to slow down the plane and create lift as conditions were light.

Needle 115, the video

Below is the video I filmed on sunday while doing the maiden flight. The wind is starting from around 6m/s and increasing to 9m/s, so the plane is empty at the beginning, then with 200g, then 640g of ballast. Nothing replaces a real confrontation in competition, but this video allows to glimpse that the N115 is well born and has a real potential for F3F. I will do new videos as soon as I can fly the Needle again.
Needle 115 from Pierre Rondel on Vimeo.

IAR 35, a Romanian acrobat glider

Thuro, the designer and father of the popular Needle serie is working in parallel on a very interresting project of a big aerobatic semiscale.
The choice is a nice looking Romanian Aerobatic Glider, called IAR 35, an all-metal full acrobat glider. Only 4 exemplars remains in the worl, all in Romania. After the accident of one of the prototype, the IAR 35 has been grounded, and the production has even not started.
The semi-scale is 1:2,18 scaled which will give a 5.3 wingspan.

No or very few information are available for this plane, so Thuro didn't find any sketches or 3 views plan. He simply started from good quallity pictures and a Romanian contact of Thuro did some measures on request. Then Thuro developped the whole model in CAD, and also created new airfoils for it.
The project is at the beginning. The master of the fuselage is done, and the mould too. The next challenge is now to mould a llight but strong fuselage which is not that easy with such size.
Below is an interresti…

Pike Electro Maiden Flight

I finally had a chance to try the Pike Electro last week-end but, again, had some trouble with the motor (Kontronik Kira 480-43) and ESC (Castle Creation ICE Lite 100). Hopefully maiden flight was at the slope, so I could fly without motor for the launch before to start the motor. Problem is that each time I was starting the motor, the ESC was cutting it after 2 sec (over current detected, according to the logs ! ). This is very surprising because following advises from  specialist, I sized down the propeller to 13x8 in order to stay in the confort area, and the current was not supposed to exceed 70Amp maximum. The cut threshold was set at 100A. Several attempts has been done, and each time the ESC was cutting after 2s, except during the last start where I got more motor time (about 10s), but this time when I stopped, I didn't have any break despite it is correctly configured and it was working well earlier !!
To be honest I'm lost with this setup. This ESC is a brand new one…

Needle 115 maiden flight

Yesterday, I took the opportunity of a few hours weather window to maiden the N115.
It weights 2371g, but I needed about 300g to obtain the right CG at 89mm. With the new fuselage coming, I hope I can go down to 2200g which should be ideal from my point of view.
The first flight was in light condition, let's say around 6m/s. The Needle has been launched and every thing went perfect, no trim needed! In the air, the N115 was very smooth, tracks exceptionnaly well, less noisy than average, and already showing a good speed in straight line, and excellent energy management turns capabilities. No bad habits detected.
Later in the afternoon, the wind increased a bit, so I put first 200g in the joiner, then later 1 slug in the wing compartiment (240g) and 1 more slug in the joiner (total 640g), as the CG is approximatively located on the rear half of the joiner.
I did some runs starting with altitude and has been impressed by the acceleration, the speed and the energy in turn (EM turn). t…

Needle 115 assembly

Nothing special to say about the assembly of my Needle. In the fuselage the work consist in installing the servos tray. I made a longer one in order to go almost up to the wing root as reinforcement. The tray is glued first with epoxy, with some carbone in the corners. Then I applied 2 layers of 110g.m2 fiberglass going on the side of the fuselage to make the traya nd the fuselage as one piece. I do this on all my F3F ships and I'm very satisfied with the robustness it gives. The Elevator servo is a MKS DS 6125-H a,d the rudder one is a MKS DS 6125-e. I used a tiny RG611B  receiver, DMSS modulation, 6 channels. The battery is an hyperion LiFe 2100 mAh which fits very well in the nose. The Zepsus magnetic switch is connected between the battery and the receiver. This means I'm in HV, no voltage regulator in front of the receiver. For this reason, I installed 2 S-BEC in front of the rudder and elevator servos.
I didn't follow the standard servos installation in the wing, us…


During the summer, Corps is often visited by people spending their holidays in the area to enjoy mountains, but also flying conditions. The week-end of the 17th of August, I wend again woth Joël Marin to the slope of Corps and met there Gérard Prat from Bellegarde, Michel Leroyer from Britanny, Eric Merlin from Nice and Christian Magnus from Germany. Conditions were small at the beginning but growed a bit during the afternoon, so we could have lots of flying time. It was the opportunity for me to try the Alpina 5001 from Tangent, thanks to Eric who kindly propose me the transmiter, which I couldn't refused ! I flew the Alpina 2 times 15 minutes, did some thermalling, some flyby and some aerobatics. The plane has lots of presence in the air, has a high cruise speed, and the wings are very stiff. Overall a very nice plane that will probably become a collector if Tangent is not waking up quickly, because after retrieving their freedom after the acquisition of Graupner by SJ propo, T…

Livre: RC Aero Design, l'aérodynamique à la portée de tous

(Note: English version to come soon)

Quelques mot sur l'auteur tout d'abord. Ingénieur de formation mais surtout aéromodéliste de longue date et pigiste pour les magazines spécialisés, Franck est un concepteur insatiable qui a commis déjà beaucoup de modèles (donc beaucoup ont été publié d'ailleurs dans les revues) qui ont marqué les esprits, je pense notamment au Crobe qui est un best seller. Il est aussi l'auteur du Logiciel PredimRC, décliné en 2 versions (l'une freeware et l'autre plus évoluée et intégrée, payante).  Après avoir écrit un certain nombre d'articles/dossiers technique sur la conception de modèle et sur l'aérodynamique qui est son pêché mignon, Franck a décidé de passer à l'étape supérieure en nous proposant cet ouvrage RC Aero Design.
152 pages pour tout savoir !
Le livre se présente au format A5 avec une couverture souple. La qualité de l'impression est d'excellent qualité, ainsi que les nombreux schémas explicatifs qui ac…

Some pictures

Here are some pictures taken last saturday in Corps, with some nice gliders, with pretty good flying conditions.

La Meije - La Grave

La Meije (3984m high) is a mountain in the Massif des Écrins range, located at the border of the Hautes-Alpes and Isère départements. It overlooks the nearby village of La Grave, a mountaineering centre and ski resort, well known for its off-piste and extreme skiing possibilities. While driving several times from Grenoble to Briançon, I always promised to myself to stop there one day, and do some aerial video of the place. I did it last sunday by a beautiful summer afternoon. It was very windy (probably more a strong thermal breeze created by the valley), so I found a place with a slope facing the wind. I flew the Solius equiped with the keycam 808 # 16 V2 Lens D. Lots of turbulences, I had many difficulties to land safely, but I least I flew there and obtained this video.

La Meije La Grave from Pierre Rondel on Vimeo.

Flying session at col des Faïsses

Below are some pictures of last sunday afternoon at col de faïsses near Corps. Flying conditions were disapointing with a very light south wind. On top, I discovered that I forgot my Pike Precision fuselage at home, some had only my Needle DSL which was not really adapted for such light conditions. Anyway, I could fly a bit. Thomas Delarbe did a flight with his brand new Stinger, and Frederic from the 2013 national team  did some laps with his freestyler 3. It is a shame because the day before (Saturday) and the day after (Monday), conditions were great with strong wind. This is slope flying, everyday is different, even on the same slope.

Transport/Protection bags from

Image is based in Austria and manufactures premium quality wing/fuselage/tailplane bags for modelers including airplanes/gliders and helicopters. I received the N115 set of bags and I can tell that I'm impressed by the quality, finish, design.
Bags are made of high-quality 3-layers padded fabric (200 g/m² and 300g/m² are available), silver color with a light reflective effect that protect from the sun. An orange reinforcement fabric binding stip is used all around the bag to make a nice finish, a perfect combination with the grey from my point of view. Binding strips are available in the colors black, red, yellow, blue and orange.
Bags are closed with large velcro strips, and the fuselage bag is finished with a premium quality zip. Tail bags and fin bag (for the N115 which is a crosstail glider with a removable upper fin) can be used with the tailplane mounted on the fuselage.
All bags are really beautifully made, and components fit perfectly in them.
To know what glider b…

Needle 115: New Kid On The Block !

I'm a very lucky man as I received the very first Needle 115 (except the prototype of Thuro). This is a preproduction model in the sense that the fuselage is the original one with removable upper fin, a one piece tailplane, and a fuselage moulded in 2 piece. This will be changed soon to a more standard fuselage as the current fuselage is harder to produce. The Needle arrived in a very well packed parcel, everything was solidely secured, so normally no damages could happen.
The Needle 115 is the intermediate model between both famous Needle 100, which is a super fast model in medium to strong condition, but handicaped by it smaller size, and the Needle 124 who desmonstrated to be very competitive in F3F, but sometimes too large with its 3.15 wingspan. The Needle is the new kid on the block, who will fill in the gap between the 2 other Needles.
How does it look ? Esthetically speaking the new Needle 115 is mixing the wing shape on the Needle 124 with the Needle 100 like fuselage, b…
The F3F contest of Briançon is always a week-end apart in the season because of all the specificities like the 4x4 ride to the slope, the high altitude slopes (2200 and 2400m), but also the warm and friendly hosting by Frederic Hours with a BBQ the first evening, and a Pizza party the second evening. This year, we have flown the entire contest on the south slope, a large and deep slope without real edge. On Saturday, we managed to start on time and did 7 rounds with 30 pilots before to end the day. We had some fast times below 40s, but also some slow times with some cross wind from the left. At the end of the day Frederic was strongly installed at the first place of the ranking, followed by me, Andreas Fricke and Sebastien Lanes. 
Sunday, the wind was supposed to be stronger, which was the case but finally it was not better because was a bit crossed and was increasing the te difference between pilots having a thermal, and pilots flying without. We did additional 4 rounds for a tota…