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Active Flying with Reflex Wings ?


aquatix
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Did a couple of back to back flights yesterday, first with my trusty Apco Thrust (non reflex), big canopy that I am middle of the weight range on, followed by the new Revo 2 which is 5m smaller, so more heavily loaded. It was early afternoon, very thermic and winds were gusting 7 - 23 mph (measured at local airfield).

As expected the Thrust got punted round quite a lot by the wind and at one stage was averaging over 5m/s climb (with engine idling) and off the scale at peak gusts (on full fast trim). It wasn't the most relaxing or enjoyable of flights, but always under control with a lot of active piloting.

Switched to the Revo 2 to let the deep reflex profile smooth things out, but suffered a 1/4 asymmetric tuck shortly after take off at 100 ft, with trimmers just below neutral. Let them fully out to fly hands free, and if anything it was worse than earlier - not bad in pitch but rolling a lot and very hard to steer a course with the wing tip steering. Then suffered another 1/4 wing tuck (both popped out quickly on slow & fast trim) so decided to call it a day rather than keep going in case things got worse.

Just wondering what others do in such conditions - ie. leave it in full reflex and let the wing take care of itself, go to neutral or slow and fly actively, or fly in reflex but with occasional brake inputs to counter the roughest stuff ? :?:

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Not brave - it was deceptive at ground level as the tree tops weren't bending and even the stronger wind was only felt every 5 minutes or so, although the sock kept changing by over 90 degrees. Mainly sunny but a large amount of tall, lumpy cumulus (slow moving) and streaky cirrus showing cross winds at high level meant turbulence was likely. It would have been a good XC day in a paraglider and I wanted to extend my flying window a bit.

I'm still quite new to reflex wings so interested how people deal with such conditions ....

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Full reflex but hands holding the brakes and risers(so as not to input any brake movements) Just to feel comfortable.

Let the wing do what its designed for, self stabilising

I flew most of the tip 2 Tip on take off trim with no brakes in hand, tips come and go on a lot of wings but thats no problem it still flies ok.

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Not brave - it was deceptive at ground level as the tree tops weren't bending and even the stronger wind was only felt every 5 minutes or so, although the sock kept changing by over 90 degrees. Mainly sunny but a large amount of tall, lumpy cumulus (slow moving) and streaky cirrus showing cross winds at high level meant turbulence was likely. It would have been a good XC day in a paraglider and I wanted to extend my flying window a bit.

I'm still quite new to reflex wings so interested how people deal with such conditions ....

The lines - "sock kept changing by over 90 degrees", and "tall, lumpy cumulus " would tell me not to fly...

Any gusting is bad, but i'd draw the line at 12-14 max gusts, and a max steady windspeed of 10.

Even when conditions are like this, i know its not going to be a 'good' days flying- just a local hop.

GD

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Let the wing do what its designed for, self stabilising.

Pretty much as per manual & what I thought - but all my free-flying instincts were telling me to make the normal inputs to correct it. Tip tucks don't normally bother me but this wing is a bit different with large stiffeners in the tips (probably to reduce possibility of a cravat or tangle) - although if one did happen I'm not sure it would simply pump out as easily as a normal wing.

Gordon, I completely agree it wasn't great conditions and I usually fly the motor in smoother coastal air or evenings - but I wanted an opportunity to test the stability in rougher air. I spent a couple of hours on the field (with others) kiting the wing and assessing any changes in the weather before flying, so although it was upper scale it was still within safe margins and weather stations upwind weren't showing so bad.

I reckon a more active weight shift set-up would have countered the roll better and pitch was OK, but the wing tip steering not nearly as responsie as brakes.

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I've always considered the level of pilot input on a reflex wing required as proportional to the level of trim set.

Full slow the wing is effectively a conventional wing (perhaps even more unstable based on personal experience when "flapped") so I treat as full active flying as though it were an unreflexed profile - which it is in that trim level. Manual - 'Don't use bar at slow trim! .

At Neutral I consider it flies the same as my Epsilon 4 at hands up trim flying. Still active flying as there is no reflex to counter and generate odd results. Surges are a fair bit milder then full slow.

Beyond neutral the level of inputs lower as trim is extended toward fast and subsequent reflex profile increase.

Mileage does indeed vary and overcoming second nature flying inputs has been the largest hurdle coming from active piloting all the time.

For me the difference in surge characteristics put me at ease in comparison to trim settings.

In ridge lift or at height in laminar, it's easy to do some gentle/mild porpoising at varying trims settings and check the need for damping those surges. Back to back tests like this with significant trim adjustments quickly paint a picture of requirements at those settings. You never know until you taste it yourself, and just by tasting you adjust your own levels of acceptance too.

In reflex an active flyer is more likely to yank a brake and reinflate a tip as it deflates methinks, and this isn't a bad thing unless they don't let reflex take over again afterwards. This and weight shift (where possible) is likely a natural response to an active flyer, rather than the 180 degree dive that can result on fast trim at speed with an asymmetric with no input.

While a wing *shouldn't* make you fly in air you would not normally consider, reflex does and will.

Big envelopes make me smile more.

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