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Pike Brio Prototype

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 performance.

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! Only kidding.

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.

Competition 1

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.

Competition 2

The second competition outing was at BMFA F3F League 2 at the White Sheet in Wiltshire. You can see a few photos of the competition here.

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 bricks.

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.

Competition 3

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 with that!

Competition 4

North Yorks - third behind Dave Woods and Mark Southall.

Competition 5

Another win, this time in Huddersfield.
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...

The Future...

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 concept.
The moulded wing was test flown on 3/8/02 on a standard Pike fuselage but using the MG05 tail.
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 Brio.

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 word...

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.

Newsflash...

Pike Brio (MG06) wins 2002 UK F3F League... more details?

Pike Brio wins Winter League (OK so it was only one comp long!) more details?

More info about the production Brio.

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