Sunday, February 06, 2005

Perceptions of new dihederal

I've only got an hour or so flying with the new wires. I was a bit apprehensive when I was taxiing out for takeoff. One thing that was absent on the taxi was the noise of the wings flopping around a bit as they usually do. With the slight slack in the old wires, you could easily hear the thimbles on the ends clinking every time you went over a bump or the wind lifted a wing. The new wires are nice and taught, so all that noise was gone.

I advanced the throttle when properly positioned and the takeoff and climbout was normal. My first turn to get out of the pattern was definitely different. The old wires and large amount of dihederal tended to produce a turn with the tail slightly low (uncoordinated for you flying folks) and didn't quite follow the turn too well. With the new, lowered dihederal, this was not apparent to me. The wings rolled over and the tail didn't sag in the direction of the turn. I liked this. Now back to the wings rolling...I was not prepared for the amount of bank angle and it surprised me a bit. The same amount of rudder input created a much steeper bank angle. I'm sure I will get used to this in a very short amount of time. As expected, I also noticed that I had to give a bit of opposite rudder control to "fly out" of the turn, when I didn't used to have to do this. It became a natural thing for me to do after the first two or three turns. That about covers it for turning.

Straight and level flight was affected also, but in a positive way. The wind was blowing about 15-20 MPH at about 1000 feet. This type of wind effected my craft considerably with the old wires. It would blow me around enough where I would have to fight most of the time to keep the heading that I intended. It wasn't hard work, but it required course corrections constantly. Also, when a strong gust hit the plane, I used to be able to feel and hear the wings as the cables on top and bottom would get loose, then tighten up again. With the new wires and their tightness, this is completely absent. Also, gusts don't seem to affect the MX as much with the lowered dihederal. Both of these things will be welcomed characteristics.

Landing seems to be different also, but it may be because of the incidence change in the horizontal stabilizer due to the lowered wing position and how this affects the upper boom tubes, where the stabilizer mounts. I didn't change it before I flew with the new wires because I already needed to trim the front edge of the stab down more to get closer to hands-off flight at cruise. Even with the new wires, it's not enough to fly hands-off on elevator, but it's closer. As you approach the runway for landing, the flare seems to be more predictable and less sensitive than before. As the flare happens, the airplane seems to have less of a desire to "balloon" and float up. I've been having problems with dropping in from 1-2 feet, or floating up and having to add power to keep from dropping in from 4-5 feet. All of this seemed to be gone with the new wires. Once on the ground, the upwind wing didn't want to lift nearly as much and it was much easier to get it down by giving rudder input towards the downwind wing. This makes for much less apprehension on cross-wind landings, and will certainly be a welcomed characteristic!

I didn't notice any increase in cruise speed, but yesterday wasn't a very good day to test in, being so windy. I hope I'll pick up a few miles per hour, but I'll have to wait and see.

With the added security of 1/8" wires versus the 3/32", which seem tiny by comparison, I think the new characteristics were well worth the investment. I think I'll be even happier as I get to fly with them more in the coming weeks and months.


Post a Comment

<< Home