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Precision Aerobatics Addiction X
Cheating what used to be the laws of aerodynamics
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 7-1-2013
One day at the RC Wingers flying field (Mooresville, NC, AMA sanction #1462) I noticed a member flying a very different looking electric-powered plane. He was able to flick this plane around the sky at slow enough speeds to suggest that the plane was only partially aware of gravity. A closer look revealed that it was a Precision Aerobatics Addiction X and now I wanted one.
The Precision Aerobatics Addiction X is a built up ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) that uses unique combination of laser and CNC-cut balsa, ply and carbon fiber to produce an airframe that is both remarkably light and surprisingly rigid. It has a 50” (1,270mm) wingspan 52.4 in (1,331mm) overall length and weighs in at a trim 42.3oz including the 2200mah 11.1V LiPo! It has 744 sq. in of wing which gives it a ridiculously low wing loading of just 8.18 oz. per square foot! The super slow motion that the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X is capable of is sounding more plausible.
I bought the Addiction X iPAs Pro setup and that comes with a PA Thrust 40 brushless outrunner motor, PA Quantum PRO 45 ESC with SBEC, 4 HITEC HS-82MG servos (metal gears), one PA 3S 20-40C 2,200mAh LiPo battery and a special VOX T-40X (Wood) prop designed just for the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X. You can also buy the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X itself and add your own electronics.
I know this is going to sound like crazy talk but the instruction manual that comes with the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X is actually quite good! Lots of real pictures and refreshingly few of the Far Eastern grammatical explosions we see in so many “instruction sheets” these days. The manual included with the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X is good enough that between it and the quality of the assembled components if your plane doesn’t fly, it’s all on you.
The laser and CNC-cut balsa and thin plywood parts are cleanly assembled on high-precision jigs so the resulting structures are straight, true and remarkably rigid. They are also even more remarkably light because of the advanced engineering and the liberal use of carbon fiber components in key areas to provide super lightweight strength that can be attained no other way.
I did have to install the CA type hinges and though the slots for the hinges had been pre-cut I did have to open most of them up a tad with a hobby knife. That added at most a few minutes to the overall build. I also had to install the pre-built firewall/motor mount structure that fits into pre-cut slots and is secured with epoxy and carbon fiber pins. Again, quick, very strong and results in perfect alignment of the motor and prop components.
The major components come already covered and decorated and I thought that might be an issue. I was concerned that the semi-transparent covering might be easily damaged during the building process but that turned out to be a non-issue. I put a work mat down on the surface on which I built the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X and with common sense care the covering survived the build nicely.
The folks at Precision Aerobatics specify where things like servos and such are to be installed to help hit the suggested CG location. I added the “bling” package that adds a bit more carbon fiber (less weight) to the mix so had to add a bit of weight. I wound up with two large metal washers taped in the bottom of the cowl and that put the balance (ready to fly) at the correct location.
The Precision Aerobatics Addiction X is so stable I expect experienced pilots could play with the CG to fine-tune its characteristics but I doubt you will gain much over the recommended settings. I would confirm this later at the flying field. My Precision Aerobatics Addiction X CG is where that instruction manual I gloated over earlier says it should be because it actually does belong there.
At the Field
Keep in mind that I am only recently returning to flying after a 25-year layoff. Buoyed by my crash-free flying success so far I decided to maiden the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X myself. The Precision Aerobatics Addiction X is an “active” plane in the air but it really is easy to control. I took the time to dial in some dual rate and exponential to calm things down at first. I would soon go to flying this plane on full rates with a gob of expo to smooth me out a bit. The maiden flight revealed a slight roll and upward tendency, both of which were fixed with a couple clicks of trim.
The Precision Aerobatics Addiction X uses solid carbon fiber linkages so I had to use the radio sub trim to tweak the zero position of the control surfaces. Once those were dialed in the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X has remained trim free through about two dozen flights at this writing.
The Precision Aerobatics Addiction X certainly is not a racer of any description but excels at low-speed antics. I am no 3D pilot – yet - but the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X is helping me begin the transition to making this plane do things that don’t seem rational. I am already getting harriers with some consistency, am getting way too comfortable in flat spins down to 20 feet (and lower) above the ground and can fly knife edge until I get bored with it!
I did wind up removing the wheel pants and installing larger diameter wheels. The 2”-diameter wheels that come with the kit probably will work fine on pavement or short hard grass. Our field has been blessed with lots of rain plus it was mowed earlier on the day I maidened the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X. That combination of moisture and fresh clippings began plugging up the wheel pants which dramatically simulated stomping on the brakes. I removed the wheel pants, installed a pair of DuBro lightweight 3”-diameter wheels and the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X happily negotiates our runway with ease.
The second day I flew the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X was borderline stupid windy. Gusty winds well into the 25-mph range caused the featherweight Precision Aerobatics Addiction X to bounce around a bit but I still managed to go through five battery packs and doing a bunch of touch and go’s (tempting fate I know) and left with an intact Precision Aerobatics Addiction X and a healthy respect for its capabilities and resistance to wind. I would not have expected that from such a light plane with such light wing loading but it does handle wind well.
Another surprise is that I am easily getting 7-minute flight times with the standard 2200 mAh packs. The Precision Aerobatics Addiction X seldom needs full throttle so the battery drain is kept low. The special VOX T40-X prop seems to pull well at all speeds and grabs quick when you have to nail the gas to get out of trouble.
Landing the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X is as simple as it gets. This plane flies so slowly with full control that you can literally plop it down just about anywhere. Play with the throttle a little and you can come down the runway very slowly, maybe a foot off the ground and have everyone waiting for it to fall out of the sky.
The Precision Aerobatics Addiction X is obviously capable of many things I am not – yet. There are plenty of videos out there showing all the trick things the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X can do in capable hands. An important point of this review is that if you are not yet a 3D pilot, the flight characteristics of the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X helps you learn those spectacular maneuvers with its inherent stability in virtually any position. Plus it can quickly recover from most situations with a blip of throttle and a bit of control input to aim it away from the ground. I have safely recovered from a blown inverted harrier with the tail just a couple feet off of the ground. Gas it, roll it (sort of) level and it climbs out of danger.
The Precision Aerobatics Addiction X is not overpowered by any means but it has what it needs and then some. If you are looking for a bullet in the sky, the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X is not for you. If you want a super capable airframe that will help you delve into the world of 3D flight, get your Precision Aerobatics Addiction X right now!
The Precision Aerobatics Addiction X is an ultra-light, super precise plane with capabilities to keep you looking for the edge of its flight envelope for a very long time. You really have to get used to how slowly the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X will float along without falling out of the sky. The worst habit I had to get myself out of was giving the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X too much throttle for what I wanted to do.
The quality of the airframe is first rate from design to assembly and covering. During my “evaluation” I managed to drag the top of the rudder in the grass for several feet before gassing it in an attempt to pop it up. The hinges pulled out of the vertical stab and with the rudder now waving at me and doing nothing to aid flight I was able to get it upright then on the ground without further damage. It turns out the only thing I had to do was reinsert the hinges, CA them in place (better this time) and go back to flying. There was no damage to the built up rudder or stab!
The Precision Aerobatics Addiction X has a street price of $249.95 (6-25-2013) or you can buy it in a package with various sets of electronic components. I went with the Pro package that sells for $539.95 and had to add my own receiver to get it in the air.
If you want a fully 3D capable plane that is easy (and fun) to fly you have to check out the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X. In recent days Precision Aerobatics announced a larger version of the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X so if size matters to you, they have that covered as well.
Visit the Precision Aerobatics Addiction X product page – Click Here
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