Saturday, 8 March 2014

The Aresti 2m was maidened 7th March 2014.

Prototype Aresti 2m not quite our usual 'white ghost' but just some basic colours 
50 mph winds is crazy conditions to chuck off any new model but a prototype with so much expectation and promise made a tense moment as we approached the point of no return! Even when I fought to lift the plane to head height against the wind, never was there any doubt it was going to be too much, honest! Of course adrenaline and blind optimism had taken over. However, we did sensibly load up with approx 800g (out of maximum 1100g) of ballast which gave an AUW of just under 2.8kg. Nevertheless, a huge weight for a plane of this type. So with no regrets, the Aresti went out almost spot on with no sense of the anguish and drama beforehand. It only required a tiny amount of aileron trim and a smidge of up trim balanced at 94mm cg. (For Mini Vector flyers that’s equivalent to 82mm pro rata).  First flight was by Greg Lewis, a recent returnee to flying, an acrobatic pilot by heart but also an accomplished competitive pilot now beginning to make his mark in F3F and F5B. Flying was at Pule Hill in Marsden, West Yorkshire.

Relief shows on Greg Lewis after the onerous task of  maidening a completely new plane in crazy conditions. Exhilarating first flight and perfect landing- relief was not the only emotion after a flight like that!  

I was completely blow away literally, the energy retention and speed especially inverted made a flowing flight pattern which looked so smooth despite the extreme conditions. Pule Hill has a good compression edge and just keeps working even with high winds. However for pilot and on lookers at the edge the wind speed was uncomfortable just to keep standing. It was easily 60mph + here!

Greg, naturally was quite tentative on the first flight but still had a ball with huge half pipes, right way up and inverted with really axial rolls thrown in. Fears about the ailerons being too small were unfounded but the overriding impression was the momentum; efficiency of the airframe and how incredibly well it tracked. Gradually Greg eased into a full on session, carving sky in flowing continuous manoeuvres culminating in a perfect landing; coming in at speed to cut through the rotor, then only at the last minute using the brakes to slow down with the Aresti gently nestling itself in the long grass. It must have been a huge mixture of the relief and euphoria as he let out huge cry and punched the sky. Now that’s a maiden, I'll never foget!
Greg launching for Jonathan Wells, who has no respect for a new model and put the Aresti through a masterclass in acrobatic flying in fast flowing style carving the Yorkshire skies! 
 Young Jonathan Wells turned up just after whilst we were buzzing recounting the first flight. He flies the same mode as Greg and he took Greg’s comments about the trim being virtually spot on (even CG) at face value. He was launch and as soon as it left the hand the Aresti rolled to the left and was inverted, followed shortly by Jonathan’s party piece of rolling loops (and bunts). Then extended knife edge right across the slope first with the top facing out then reverse with the top facing towards the slope in one heart stopping pass! There was also spins, inverted and right way up all linked by fast continuous acrobatics with lots of inverted halfpipes and multiple rolls, fast and slow from almost any position. The Aresti flew inverted just as fast as the right way up. Hopefully we have this exciting flight on video and I’ll post here.
Many flights today with the 1600mah 2/3a battery cautiously changed once but room for much bigger, even sub C size, in old money 

Several more flights ensued one with full ballast (approx 3.1kg AUW) but subsequently found around 2.9kg was ideal for the conditions today. A crazy weight for an acrobat!    
Just as quick upside down, CG at 94mm just about spot on. 

James Hammond has designed another brilliant plane. It features his own wing section and has a much bigger fin and rudder with increased side area at the nose area. It also has an elevator instead of all moving tail- all in all subtle but significant changes to his Vector series of designs. The construction of the Aresti is also a much stronger spec than his previous series.
The design changes over the Vector series are subtle but belies the fact that virtually everything has changed and the improvements are stunning in performance!  

I don’t think many will even contemplate flying any model in the conditions flown today but a fully symmetrical acrobatic glider was not just flown but it was just mind blowing and beautifully behaved with some of the cleanest and most axial rolls I have ever seen. In fact, the acrobatic display was with so much energy and inertia it made vertical 8's look easy, well perhaps in the hands of our test pilots! 

This was just a prototype, as some small construction details will be revised for the production models but from today despite flying in only high wind conditions I think we are fairly close to signing off the final spec. More testing will be done over the next few days and if you want to be one of the first to get you hands on the new Aresti 2m send me an email at to get on the list. The price is expected to be £450.      

Below are some construction details of the prototype. 
6mm birch ply radio tray all the way back to TE
ballast tubes in wings for 15mm diameter
modification done to the prototype
narrow but deep so lots of
reinforcement for side loads 
Super strong DS Style horns in G10 
10mm Flap servo with 7.5mm arm and still more room for
flush install. Up to 15mm servos possible. 
8 slug (19D x 35L)ballast tube with ply reinforcement adding
even more strength to the fuse 
Bell crank tested weighed 9g, Servo in fin weighs same,
no brainer! 
10mm Aileron servo using 6mm arm with flush
install. up to 13mm will fit with blister cover    

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