Clearly something has to give. We are planning extensive flying and videoing with the 60" Extra EXP, and this is before the new Laser and Pantera EXPs project begin. I've been flying the Project Blue MXS so much that even my beloved Extra EXP has not been getting much air time.
I think the MXS probably suits my flying style a little better than the other two EXP series planes. To me it flies like an Extra EXP with a lot of pitch authority. Since I love the hard pitch maneuvers, this works really well.
Extreme Flight Tough
This particular MXS has had a really hard life right from the start. It's been landed in the high grass at full speed both right side up and upside down, and waterfalled into concrete, but she still looks like a brand new plane (besides a patch or two) and flies even better than my newest MXS. Obviously I have broken a few gear legs, but that's cheap considering most other planes would have simply fallen apart by now, while the MXS shakes it off and keeps being awesome.
What happened was that I tried to come in over top of the hill, but under the sun, and drop in down low over the runway. Unfortunately I didn't let it drop fast enough and I flew it through the sun, temporarily blinding myself. I did the rest of the stick movements by memory, by apparently didn't give it enough of something and we we ran out of airspace pretty quickly.
That was a 100 MPH crash landing into fairly long grass. I think most brands of airplanes would have simply exploded in that impact because the grass grabbed the landing gear so hard that it is a miracle it did not rip the block out. Once it scrubbed off a little speed the wheel pants dug into the dirt, and there was still enough energy that the plane flipped tail over nose. If nothing else, I can't think of any other plane that would have come through that incident completely unscathed like the MXS did.
A lot of what has repeatedly saved this airplane is obviously the strategic use of composites, but also we don't talk much about the extra sheeting on the fuselage below the belt line. It adds a little weight, but it also stiffens the airplane up considerably. The MXS was intended from the beginning to be capable of great violence, so it was important to make it rugged.
The cumulative damage can always be seen in the wheel pants, and I have been through about three sets on this plane. Extreme Flight pants are extra thick and durable, with wood on the inside to back up the area on which they are mounted. I haven't actually damaged a wheel pant enough to make it unusable, but the paint takes a beating when you bounce the plane off the runway. After awhile it's just embarrassing to have so much visible evidence that your landings suck, so I changed them out.
The point, though, is that you can hammer an MXS that hard on a daily basis and it will just soak up the abuse. I never really intended to abuse this plane quite so much, but when you fly them super hard it's unavoidable. After you should have killed it a few times it almost becomes a joke, and I am completely fearless with this plane. If I kill it, I deserved that a long, long time ago, so I just fly it really hard and don't worry.
Of course, toughness is just one of the MXS' virtues. Like I say, it is the one that suits my style the best, so lately this MXS always seems to go with me every time out. With the MXS, everything is so instinctual, and I think you can see that in the videos with my confidence. We probably won't be doing much with the MXS for awhile since the Laser and Pantera projects are just around the corner. Until then we are hoping to do a lot with the 60" Extra.