Nearly two years since the first moulded Pike WR
took to the air I finally test flew a new prototype, the Brio.
The new plane has wing and tail aerofoils designed
by French genius (well even France deserves the occasional genius. VBG) Marcel Guwang.
Those of you who've flown a Miraj will already be familiar with the benefits of the 7.5%
thin MG06 wing section.
Comparing the "old" Pike section with the
MG06 is revealing. Even Volz Wing Maxx need
their cases sanding to squeeze in here!
To go with the prototype foam/carbon/wood/glass
wing is a new, moulded MG05 tail, complete with trendy tips.
First flights were on 2/3/02 at the Viking Race
slope at the Bwlch, South Wales and, if there is such a thing, I'm cautiously euphoric...
Throughout I flew the Brio with occasional bouts of
a standard WR to try and compare flight
Personally I hate dickheads who fly a plane in one
set of conditions and proclaim it to be the next world beater, what I would say is that in
the conditions that day the Brio was simply stunning.
The conditions ranged from light to blustery with
the odd big thermal. Throughout the Brio excelled.
The plane simply corners like nothing I have ever
flown before. You can throw obscene amounts of snapflap at it and it'll just bounce back
quicker without a hint of scrubbing off speed. And this is from someone who religiously
runs only 2-3 mm snapflap on most F3F planes.
I was dicking around trying to get it to flick and
it went beyond anything I have ever seen before. To abuse a plane the way I was doing
should be a criminal offence but the Brio just sniggered as my jaw hit the deck.
OK, so we've establish it turns superbly and is
well behaved, what about straight line speed and ballast?
Quite frankly I don't care, it flies so damn well!
I find speed harder to judge as the feedback
between a few MPH is harder to gauge than turning and handling. My gut reaction, and that
of the witnesses, was that it was faster. May be it was simply because it was coming out
of the bends faster but it certainly covers some sky.
Ballast? Don't know. When the wind was getting up
to around 15-20 MPH it started to feel worth a go but I was messing around with the
incidence and didn't want to change any other parameters. Certainly it feels like it'll
need less lead for any given situation.
So, not being the dickhead who makes premature
claims, I'll have to settle for cautiously euphoric.
There are some flying pics from the first flights here.
The second outing was at the
English Viking Race Qualifier event at the Bwlch in South Wales in March 2002.
Conditions were at the other end of the scale with
a constant 30 mph gusting to 55 mph fairly regularly.
We flew four rounds. My 'dead air' time was 39
seconds, I had 3 of those as well as a 45 in a patch of blustery sink. I ended up second
but would not have traded planes with anyone there.
The Brio has an amazing ability to turn tightly
with exceptional energy retention even when conditions are against it. I ended up flying
with half ballast when I would have been using three-quarters with the standard WR.
I simply love the way this plane flys, despite the
fact that a lack of rigidity in the ailerons causes an uncomfortable lack of aileron
response as the speed picks up. Going moulded should make this easy to fix.
The second competition outing
was at BMFA F3F League 2 at the White Sheet in Wiltshire. You can see a few photos of the
There were 36 or so competitors and the conditions
were windy (about 25-30 mph) leaving the air quite choppy and changeable. These were
exactly the type of conditions that I would expect the MG06 to struggle with.
We flew four rounds and I was lucky enough not to
get any really bad air. In the end I won by quite a big margin. All the time I was
carrying very little ballast (half what I would have used with the standard WR) yet the
Brio retained it's energy well. More of a knife through butter than a sledgehammer through
The full results are here.
So, the big question is would I
have won using a standard WR?
Yes, I think I would.
Would I have won by so much? Who knows, may be by
more, may be not by so much.
The Pike WR is a fantastic plane and so is the
Brio. They are both fast, manoeuvrable and very well behaved, yet they are also quite
different in the way they go about things.
The Brio's third competitive outing
was at the BMFA League 3 F3F in South Wales at the Bwlch on Mickey's slope.
Some photos from the F3F and
60" Pylon are here. Next time I
must give someone my camera to get some photos of my own plane for a change.
The day prior to the F3F was the
60" EPP Pylon. Anyone who doubted the class should have seen the final as the racing
was just as good as any of the crunchy stuff.
After some very tight battles I
came out on top using the SuperRonik Sblitz. With a bit of luck I'll post a review here
soon. Full pylon results are here.
Then there was the F3F...
Seven rounds in conditions that
were generally less variable than other races this season - that's not to say they were
consistent, just less variable!
The wind was around 15 mph and most
rounds were won with times in the mid to low forties - exactly the type of conditions
where the MG06 excels.
Round one saw some ragged flying
from me as I was trimming a new tailplane that I'd not used before. I still managed to
squeeze a win though. A little more trimming was carried out whilst walking back to land
leaving me feeling very comfortable with the plane.
Rounds 2 to 7 were just amazing for
me. The conditions were never rough but other planes sometimes suffered from a lack of
grip at the ends. Not so the Brio.
Even in the two rounds where I
encountered terrible air I was still able to flit the plane around the turns and fly very
close with complete confidence.
I don't remember flying seven
better rounds and even if I'd have come last I'd have been very pleased with how well the
Brio encouraged me to fly. The confidence flying a seemingly flick-proof (probably not a
wise thing to say!) airframe with a lot of bite is sure to get the best out of any pilot.
Anyway, it turned out that despite
losing 14 seconds in the last round to Greg Dakin as the whole middle order suffered a
wind change, the Brio still won by quite a way. Full results are here.
Again the question is would I have
won using a WR and again I can't answer it. Although, I am fairly sure I would not have
had the confidence to fly in the manner that I did using any plane other than the Brio.
So the Brio has flown in two UK
League F3F competitions and has won them both - then again at both competitions Pike WRs
were second. I wish I had the balls to swap planes mid competition but for me it would not
be a fair comparison as, in addition to air changes, the planes are different enough to
require a bedding in period and there is no leeway in a UK League competitions to get away
North Yorks - third behind Dave
Woods and Mark Southall.
Another win, this time in
I believe that 3 out of 4 wins mathematically sews up the UK F3F league for me and the
Brio, but my maths has never been infallible so we shall see...
Well if you look here you'll catch a glimpse...
The wing is from a set of
"quick and dirty" moulds taken from the perfect CNC plug, just to prove the
The moulded wing was test flown on 3/8/02 on a standard Pike fuselage but using the MG05
The result was great news for Samba.
By now you'll know what the foam prototype was capable of, the moulded version retains
energy better, is more responsive and the 27% MAC controls makes it turn like nothing
you've seen before.
It is also quite simply gorgeous.
Granted, it is early days, but I can't stop feeling smiley. Part of that is because I
finally have a new moulded plane I want to fly ( I was sick of the WR being my favourite!)
and another part is because I am really pleased for Samba.
They are a dream to work with - they listen, they contribute, they perform.
Having flown the new wing (bearing mind the new fuz is going to be special in itself) I
have no doubt that this will be simply the best model for F3F available at this time.
If you want DS, if you want stall turns into the stratosphere buy a WR (or whatever) but
if you want a plane optimised for F3F you better get behind me in the waiting list for a
I'll put more up soon, including
some photos (5 pilots on the hill today and I'm the only mode 1), until then one final
Volz Wing Maxx HP... after circa 30
hrs use in the foam prototype I chucked them in the moulded wing and was amazed by the
lack of slop. For drag reasons we've gone all bottom hinged. Great in the air but a
nightmare if you're sorting out the geometry on a new wing for everyone else to follow,
however the Volz were faultless. In fact, and I never thought I'd say this, they are
tighter than MPX digitals. They may not have the finesse, but brute force and taughtness
are hard to argue with.
Pike Brio (MG06) wins 2002
UK F3F League... more details?
Pike Brio wins Winter
League (OK so it was only one comp long!) more
about the production Brio.