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Thursday, March 15, 2018

3DHS 60" Slick V2__Old School

Ten years is an eternity in the world of 3DXA airframe development, and many good planes have become outdated and fallen by the wayside. The 3DHS Slicks have been around since, I believe, 2007 or so, and while the flying characteristics were always among the best, the newest construction techniques passed it by. The Slick too could have fallen off the deep end except for it's rabid and loyal following, so updating the plane restored it's place near the top of the heap. It's great to have it back in improved form, with all the latest construction tweaks and liberal use of mixed composite materials. Essentially, it's better than ever.

I enjoyed my yellow 3DHS 60" Slick 580 V2 so much that I absolutely wanted a second one. Unable to choose between the yellow or red/white/blue color schemes, it was inevitable I would eventually have both anyway. Some planes are so nice that they make you greedy, and the Slick V2 is one of those.

As seen in 3DHS 60" Slick 580 V2__Hell Yeah, the Slick is full of carbon fiber and composite construction. Part of this is for added strength and part of this, maybe inadvertently, makes this maybe the coolest plane we have ever seen. It's also probably the nicest. Everything coming out of the Big X company lately has raised the bar, and the Slick is, so far, the supreme example of that. Both of my Slicks came out of the box so beautifully turned out that I almost hated to build them. When they were built I almost hated to fly them, because they were just so damm nice. For a closer look at the quality built into these Slick V2s, read 3DHS 60" Slick 580 V2__Hell Yeah!

With a little more knowledge of the plane, I was able to crank this one out in six hours. You might notice there are no servos in the plane, but that's because I sent them in for service. This gives me plenty of time to check and recheck everything. Don't worry though, we will fly it later in the report.



It's not the carbon alone that makes the plane cool. First, it's a Slick, which is enough to score maximum style points in anyone's book. On top of that is another stunning Aaron Bates graphic presentation. Along with the 52" Extra EXP, this is my favorite Bates scheme.

The liberal use of mixed composite materials and carbon fiber just pushes the entire package into the legion of legendary cool. This plane routinely gets more attention at the field than any plane I have ever owned. People are always dropping by and wanting to check it out. It looks like I am going to have to file a sport report on this plane because so many sport pilots think it's too cool. Judging from it's super solid and gentle manners on low rates, I am sure this would make a sweet sport plane. From the quality construction and superb flying characteristics, to it's blindingly blinged out carbon reinforcements, this plane ticks all the boxes for just about everyone.

Outside of the 44", I have not had a Slick in probably six or seven years. I really enjoyed the 44", and wanted to put together a 60" Slick V1 (with printed covering) together, but the timing was all wrong. I was kind of disappointed to miss out on that plane, but the new V2 more than makes up for it.

Looks like Christmas came a little early again this year.

Usually the second of any build goes much more smoothly and ends up closer to perfect than the first. Being equipped with a bit more knowledge this time, I was able to get the CG extremely close. On my first 60" Slick I used less elevator and later added more. This time I already knew the plane is stable enough to take everything I could give it, so I used the 1.25" arm and pegged my end points. Essentially, I ended up with the same set up I had on my original 580, and I liked that plane so much I went into the first day of flying with a high degree of confidence.

I've changed a few things around for this plane, but nothing too significant outside of adding a few minor set up tweaks. Inside the plane I wanted to tidy things up a little,, so I paid special attention to getting all the wiring and antenna done neatly.

With a pull cable system you need to pay attention to keeping the servo wires out of the cables. Here I used some monofilament to fish the elevator servo wire through the round holes in the bottom of the fuselage formers. It was a bit of a pain, but it keeps the servo wire secure and prevents it from tangling in the pull wires.

Set Up
Again. I use my custom drilled 1.25" Xessories arm on the ailerons. My machinist friends, cansfan, drilled holes at 7/8" from center, which is the same as the small Hitec PN55709 arm I have been using for years on my 60" planes. I could have used the inner hole on the standard 1/25" arm, but I would have had to turn my end points back to about 100%. This way I peg them at 140% and that gives me the aileron response I am used to from my other planes.
On elevator, same basic set up as before, though this time I've got the ball link all the way out and my end points pegged. Plenty of control with that kind of movement. Again, the arms are the perfect length, and everything bolts on. It could not be easier, and it's also great to work with such high quality stuff.

Here I set up my pull cable ends the same as I chronicled in Working With Pull Cable Systems. I tried to minimize and streamline the cable and this is probably as clean looking as I could have made it.

 At the other end, I used the recommended Xessories arm and used the inner holes. With my end points cranked out to 140%, I've got perfect throw in both directions.  This ended up being the easiest part of the whole build because it did not require any kind of tinkering. I just set it up and it was perfect.

The only surprise this time was how much I missed flying this plane. I have been keeping myself entertained flying my 52" Slick and Extras, but everything else being equal, it's hard to beat the bigger plane for smooth, confidence inspiring, sure footed manners.

 Usually the Florida winters are pretty mild, but this year it's hitting us pretty hard, and it's been tough to get some video footage. I think you've all seen enough footage of me flying in crazy winds, and it's not the kind of conditions you like to fly a new plane in anyway, especially one this nice.
This time I already knew exactly how I wanted my throws and rates set up, plus the CG, so it was easy to hit the set up just right. About all that was involved was getting the plane trimmed, but that only took a couple of clicks of right aileron and we were set.
Here I simply picked up where I left off with my original V2 and it was pretty much like flying the other plane only the colors are different. These V2s are so smooth and stable, and they feel so good that it doesn't take long at all to feel right at home on the deck. I was originally planning to put an Aura 8 stability system in this plane, but it's so perfect I don't want to risk messing that up. I really don't need this plane to be any better, but testing and setting up an Aura is something I plan to try soon.

One place you need to use a little restraint with the Slick is on low waterfalls. The plane does them so well that the ground stops being intimidating and you'll start doing them lower and lower, or worse, one after the other, until you simply run out of air. That's what happened to my first one and while strictly my own fault, it was an ugly mess. I was also furious with myself until I could get another one up and running, and that usually helps you forget about smashing the last one.

I'm still experimenting doing tumbles with this plane, though it's mostly the timing I am working on.  The Slick is really, really gyroscopic, and snaps and tumbles with blind impunity. As I have said before, the Slick likes to throw that tail backwards over the nose on the last rotation of a tumble and no other plane have flown (except the 42, 44 and 51" Slicks) does that so consistently every time. It's almost a signature of this plane.

Solid harrier has always been the hallmark of the Slicks, and the V2 is really no different here. I tried my usual 25% spoileron mix, but it did not improve anything enough to be worth the extra distraction of another switch to flip. The Slick harries so solidly that it's better to just concentrate on flying it and only resort to switch flipping when choosing high or low rates. It is a lot like the Edge this way. Forget the switches and just fly it.