Review by: Brian RivasPlus X in flight
My first review of The Plus X regular was in the nature of an out-of-the box drool, so impressed was I by the design and execution, but since then it has taken to the air - and I am mightily impressed. For a start, I thought nothing would outfloat my beloved Super AVA Pro-E, or be as relaxing to fly. How wrong I was.
Two comments have stuck in my my mind from an online thread: one is by Joe Wurts, designer of the wing, who described the Plus X as ĎOMG easy to flyí, while the other was from someone who did not appear to own one but said that in spite of the six-servo wing, it looked to him more like a rudder-elevator design with aileron assist. It felt like one of those remarks where contempt precedes familiarity, but it turns out that on a calm day the Plus X will fly very nicely without using any of the wing servos - in fact out of interest I did one flight on rudder only, apart from launch and landing, and there wasnít a trace of nose-drop, even during fairly tight turns. Someone else remarked that itís a bit like a giant DLG, and this is true, for it will practically turn on its own wingtip, while stalling doesnít appear to be in its remit.
To get the maximum from this extraordinary glider will require a lot of experimenting with aileron, flaperon and flap settings, and I havenít even started in earnest yet. For preliminary flights I have mixed the flaperons to operate with the ailerons, but only for about half the upward throw of the ailerons and no downward throw at all. It works well, but Iím sure itís not the optimum. For landing I have about 80 degrees on the flaps and about half as much on the flaperons. Again, that is very effective, with the glider sinking rapidly, touching down at little more than walking pace and perfectly stable. I havenít begun to think about thermal and speed settings yet - but what fun this is!
As for building the Plus X, factory-fitted IDS makes the wing servo installation simple, as does the dedicated fuselage servo mount. I chose to put the receiver in the fuselage with the antennae sprouting in front of the wing and the SBUS unit in the wing itself. This seems to go against convention which has the rx in the wing, but I wanted to keep the antennae well away from all that carbon. My flying field is only 10 minutesí walk away, and as the wing central panel has quite a short span I can carry the glider fully assembled, apart from the wingtips. This saves a great deal of assembly as well as the making and breaking of connections.
The Plus X is a lightweight but very strong glider, although if youíre not used to a design of this size with foam core and carbon-skinned wings it is easy to accidentally acquire a few dents and dings before it even flies. On the other hand, repairs are simple.
I would advise anyone building a Plus X to invest in a set of Vladimirís wing templates.These ensure an error-free set-up, and I find them particularly important for the elevator neutral setting. This is quite tricky without the protractor as there is no reference point, and it turned out that what I was convinced was neutral was actually one degree out. This, of course, had an effect on the CG, which ideally is 105mm from the leading edge at the root.
So pleased am I with this glider that I have ordered one with the Storm layup, as we seem to get so many windy days now. For this I have chosen one of Vladís spectacular new Fire Demon finishes.
The Plus X is one very special sailplane; complex yet simple, perfect for relaxed soaring yet a challenge for those who want to extract its maximum potential. I still have a long way to go!
Review by: Brian Rivas
It feels like a privilege to own something as exquisite as the Plus X. In my experience, Vladimir's Models are the ones by whch others are judged, and no one could fail to be deepy impressed by the design, execution and fit and finish of this beautiful sailplane. You could go over it with a magnifying glass and not find a single imperfection.
Alhough I have not yet flown her, the performance capabilities of the Plus X are almost certainly going to outstrip my own, for although I am a reasonably competent flier and always striving to improve, I am no Joe Wurts - but that doesn't matter: for me there is as much enjoyment and satisfaction in owning a machine such as this as flying it. And as I'm getting on in years now, I want to do these things while I can.
My sample has a three-piece wing - but a five-piece is also available. Combined with a clever two-piece fuselage, this would take up very little space for transport to the flying field. The Plus X is basically a traditional design, but one unusual feature is six servos in the four-metre polyhedral wing: ailerons, flaperons (or inner ailerons) and very large flaps. The various combinations for these is almost limitless, and Wurts has published his own set of values - but I think I will prefer to arrive at them through trial and error. That's half the fun, isn't it?
The wing on the regular layup is extraordinarily light, strong, and impeccably finished. Mine is fitted with IDS frames for KST X08 on ailerons and MKS HV6110 for everything else, and all wiring is factory-fitted, which saves a lot of fiddly soldering. The extra pair of ailerons make the Plus X a nine-channel sailplane, which adds a little complication to things. The receiver is designed to fit neatly in the wing centre section, with a single lead to an SBUS decoder in the fuselage for the extra channels. Hmm, not for me: no way am I going to drill into that beautiful wing for the antenna exit. In any case, I much prefer the rx in the fuselage with the whiskers sprouting out each side, or one vertically and the other horizontal, so I will do it the other way round and mount the four-channel decoder in the wing to handle the flaps and flaperons. It means an extra make-and-break connection for the outer ailerons to the rx, for which I will use a Deans plug.
The tailplane (or horizontal stabiliser) weighs a mere 31.4gm. On another e-soarer I have with a tailplane of comparable size, the weight is 53gm. How does Vlad do this? Amazing! The fin and rudder are mounted on a vertical post with locating peg at the front. Very neat, very light.
And here's another nice touch for the perfectionist; all gap-sealing can be done without the thickness of the adhesive tape disturbing the airflow, as there is a shallow step-down in front of the control surfaces to accommodate the tape so that it is flush with the wing contour.
The two sections of the fuselage are cleverly designed to mate perfectly and are secured with a piece of tape. The boom unit houses the rudder and elevator servos, and I have ordered Vlad's purpose-built mounting plate for these. It would be possible to fashion one's own, but there is literally not a millimetre to spare as the servos have to be mounted at a slight angle so that the servo arm does stand proud of the upper surface.
For power I will use a Florian Schambeck Powerline 1020: these motors are not cheap, but I love the engineering, the power and the reliability. The obvious choice for spinner and prop blades is Vald's own design, and you won't find a spinner with lower drag than this.
I hope I have been able to get across to you what a truly remarkable sailplane this is, even before it has taken to the air, and by all accounts it is not only extremely easy to fly but is something of a game-changer as well. Not inexpensive, of course, but no one ever regrets paying for and getting the best.
Review by: Olav JÝrgensen
I have got a good handful of flights on my Plus X now and must say it is an AMAZING plane.
IT handels extremely well in corcling and can litterally turn around like a DLG.
It it an easy model to "read" for thermals signs and it can fly on very weak lifts....
I have the windy layup with Powerline 1025 Turbo, YGE 65 and a mix of KST/MKS servos. AUW with 3s Tattu 1050 mah is 1340 grams with the C.G just behind 100 mm. Reccomended CG 0g 98-100 is too far forward. I would say around 105mm is way better for this model.....
Although it is a lightweight model penetration is really good.
The best F5J model I have ever flown.....
Spend your time to do a good wing setup as found on RC groups written by Joe W.
Thermal setting was way to big for my taste but the rest up the setup was very good indeed.
This is a keeper