The love affair with the Extreme Flight Extra EXP continues still, and will probably never end. Like I say, if airplanes are women, the Extra is the classy, elegant brunette that you take home to meet your Mom, and the one you probably end up marrying. At this point, it looks like I am an Extra man for life, which is fine since I love brunettes too!
The 60" Extra has it's own special allure. This size plane has special meaning for me because I grew up flying 0.60 nitro powered 60" Ugly Sticks, 60" Kaos, and other planes of that size. This size has always been my idea of a serious plane. Of course, this changed with the arrival of the very serious 48" class electric 3D planes from first Extreme Flight and shortly later 3DHS, but the 60 size planes still have a different kind of appeal for me and I hold them in a special reverence.
As far as the title of "Scorch Trials," I just couldn't come up with anything we have not already used, so I "borrowed" the title from a movie we recently saw! It's getting up into the 90s in Florida right now, so the title is not entirely inappropriate.
I was not even planning to shoot video this week, but my friend Octavio Battaglia has some serious video shooting skill. Lately with the dodgy lighting conditions at SPARKS, the focus has been fading in and out, which is a bit maddening when you are trying to make quality video. Octavio found the fixed focus feature in my phone and we think that has fixed the focus problem. At least it has on these videos. So, thanks Octavio!
As you can see, Octavio does really good work and he didn't miss a shot all day. There was a hiccup on the forth video when the camera shut down right at the start, but Octavio got it working and caught the tail end of the opening sequence in a way that was so comical you can't even plan things like that. We laughed so hard that we sat there and cried, but you'll see it when we get to Scorch Trials 004.
I think it pretty much goes without saying that the 60" Extra is my flagship. When it's a special occasion or I really want to look good in front of a crowd, this and the Extra SHP are the two planes I take.
This particular Extra has not gotten much use for the last year because of other projects, but with the lull in things to write about or projects to build, I really wanted to get back to flying it. I was only able to put two or three flights at a time on it before I would put it away for a couple of months, so I never got into the confidence building groove you have when you are very familiar with a plane.
I am very familiar with the 60" Extra in general, but each individual example has a little bit of it's own character, and that's where you find the extra performance. Some of them require a little more or less rudder in a particular move, or a different throttle setting, or ...... you get the idea. Even when you have two identical airframes you will almost always get the most out of the one you fly more often, simply because you know it's character better. I have not flown this plane particular plane enough to learn that character.
I always loved flying this plane, but I was not willing to push it 100% and on the deck. Essentially, I didn't trust myself with it, mostly because I was still angry with myself over the last one I crashed. While I usually laugh off a bad crash, my last 60" Extra crash really rattled me. I was such a stupid and unnecessary crash that I am too embarrassed to even tell you what happened, and the worst part was that I was not even screwing around or pushing the plane hard. Essentially I was just not in the game that day, and when I flew the newest Extra I had a hard time getting that out of my head. I simply love the 60" Extra so much that tearing one up and having to wait to get another one messed with me pretty badly. Essentially, it destroyed my confidence.
Of course, this is just silly. You can never allow yourself to fall in love with anything that flies, but with the Extra it is simply too late. The only way around it was to get another Extra kit and set it up as a back up. Now that I have that done, I am not nearly so worried about the one I am flying now.
So, now, I am actually back to being able to get a little bit crazy with the plane, which is what I enjoy most.
We have run so many articles on this plane that there isn't much left to say other than it just gets better and better and better every time I build a new one. I didn't built my first one, and it was hinged too tightly. Still, it flew spectacularly, though it did not have the pitch authority (because of the reduced throw) I need for my signature high rotation maneuvers. I did build my second 60" Extra EXP, and it flew perfectly in every single way, which is part of why it was so upsetting to lose it, especially to a stupid mistake.
After breaking through with the newest Extra, I have to say it is perfect too. For some odd reason it likes to be a little more nose heavy than my other ones, thus illustrating how identical airframes can be different in the air. Once I got that figured out, the Extra sort of came to me and my confidence with the plane swelled in a single day.
Again, after so many flights and videos and articles, there isn't much more to say other than how much I love the plane. I am learning to fly all of my planes harder and harder, and get more and more out of them. I hope these videos illustrate that.