Showing posts from 2013


In this last day of 2013, I'm sending you my warmest wishes for 2014. I wish you and your family or close people, a year full of happyness and successes, both on the personal and professional side.  Happy flying and safe landing to all !
En ce dernier jour de 2013, Je vous adresse tous mes vœoeux pour 2014 et vous souhaite, ainsi qu'à ceux qui vous sont chers, une année pleine de joies et de réussites, tant sur le plan personnel et familial que professionnel.  Bon vols à tous !

bye bye 2013 !

With 2013 ending in about 24 hours, it is time to have a quick look at a past season. I have to say that it has been a good season, both in term of flying time and F3F results. I was lucky to try new spots in Ardèche, one becoming the next national championship slope. I had lot of super flying sessions in excellent conditions in the alps, despite spring has been rainy and cold. Summer has been much better, with good wind. On the F3F side, I'm satisfied with my results: I started with a second place at La Muela Eurotour (Spain), followed few weeks later with a second place at the Pyrénees cup Eurotour near toulouse. As I didn't do a third eurotour contest, I'm not well placed at the final eurotour ranking, but it doesn't matter as it was not the priority. End of august, I retrieved my title of national F3F champion, after letting it go for 3 years to my national team mates (Alexis, Andreas, Matthieu). I also won the french league at the last contest of the season. Last…

Gyro, the following ...

It seems that USA and Czech Republic officially proposed a rule change to be discuss and vote during april 2014 CIAM plenary meeting. the proposal is the following:

Type the text changes in the space below:

5.8.2. Characteristics of Radio Controlled Slope Gliders 
Maximum surface area ..................................... 150 dm2 Maximum flying mass . ....................................... 5 kg Loading .............................................................. less than 75 g/dm2 
The use of any onboard-sensed data to automatically move the control surfaces or to modify the aircraft geometry is prohibited. 

Minimum radius of fuselage nose 7.5 mm in all orientations (see template below). 

Type out the reasons in the space below:

Although the general rules state the model must be directly controlled by the competitor, this addition makes the rules absolutely clear gyros and other types of on board automation are not permitted in F3F. 

to be continued ...

Mobius and Solius

Yesterday Afternoon, I took the opportuinity of the weather window to go flying my Solius equiped with the Mobius cam. I went to the castle of Bon Repos in the country side of Grenoble. The light was good for aerial pictures and video. Here is the result.

You can find more pictures on my picasa album here.

CRRCsim: the Needle 115 is now available

Thuro, the designer of the Needle Serie (100, 124, 115) just released the CRRCsim version of the Needle 115, in 3 different color schemes.
You can download the Needle 115 here. Then, after unzipping the file, you just copy

files with .ac extension  in the directory "Objects" of CRRCSim files with .xml in the directory "Models" of CRRCSimfiles with .rgb in the directory "Textures" of CRRCSim Then start CRRCsim, and use the configuration menu to change of plane and color scheme.

Many thanks to Thuro ( providing this new plane for this great slope simulator !

Video: F3K World Championship Denmark 2013

A very nice and professional looking film from Dennis Westhoff about the 2013 F3K World Championship in Denmark:

F3K World Championship Denmark 2013 - OFFICIAL AFTERMOVIE from Dennis Westhoff on Vimeo.

Video: Back to summer ...

I found some unedited footage shot, dating from end of June. It was during a flying session at Puy de Manse by a cold (for the season) day, but with very good lift conditions. I'm flying my Pike Precision with 1.4kg of ballast.

Winter flying

This is the moment of the year where there is not much flying activity,  because of cold temperatures, possible snow and low wind. Fortunately, last days gave us some coller temperatures at about 11 to 12°, some south wind. A good opportunity to drive to a local slope and fly the Needle 115. Below is the video I filmed with the onboard Mobius and my EOS 650D.

Winter flight with the Needle 115 from Pierre Rondel on Vimeo.

Video: SZD-54 Perkoz equiped with a Merlin VT80 turbine

I just received a mail from Olivier Bruni who released a superb new video featuring a SZD-54 Perkoz equiped with a Merlin VT80 turbine. The SZD-54 Perkoz is from PARITECH, and the onboard cam is the now popular Mobius, tested on planet-soaring few weeks ago. A big thanks to Olivier for sharing this video ! You can visit his blog (Passions Aéro) at the following URL.

New pictures of the Needle 115

I did a lot of pictures of the Needle 115 with my Canon EOS 650D, while my teammates were trying it. this gives the following photo album:

Snow and F3F practice

A super but freezing afternoon at Puy de Manse. We met there with several F3F pilots. Weather was absolutely superb witha cristal clear sky .... but only zero degree and 13 m/s of wind. We flew from 12:00 to 3pm. Everybody was well equiped with warm clothes, so we resisted rather well, flying around 15 minutes, then go behind the slope, protected from the wind, and with the help of sun to warm up again before to return to fly. The landscape with all the snow that falled yesterday was just awesome !

Aerial pictures with the Mobius Action Cam

Below are some aerial pictures donc with the Mobius action cam. It is in timelapse mode (1 picture every 2s) and at the maximum resolution 2304x1536 before resizing while transfering on picasa web. I'm pretty happy with the result as it can give nice perspective pictures, with excellent quality. Overall a great cam !

Col de Faisses, N115 and Mobius

With fall arriving, the slope season is ending here in Europe. However, last week-end, we had superb condition with cool temperatures and good south wind. I drove to Col de Faisses in order to fly the Needle 115, and also do a video and some aerial pictures with the Mobius action cam. The place is wild and beautiful so perfect for this exercice. 

We flew almost 3 hours non-stop, with or without the cam, and moving the cam between the wing tip and the center to obtain different perspectives.
After some quick editing, this gives the following video. The camera filmed in 1080p, but the editing output is 720p for upload and file size reasons. But it gives a good idea of the quality you can expect from this excellent tiny Mobius cam.

Despite I had also the Pike Precision and the Needle 100, I flew only the Needle 115, and enjoyed it a lot in a medium wind (9 to 10 m/s I would say). I flew with 700 of ballast all the time.  Below is a video taken with the GoPro3 mounted on the helmet. You …

Laurac, last comp of the french league

Last week-end was the last contest of the french league which includes 13 competitions from March to end of october. Over these 13 competitions, 3 has not been validated because of the weather. Before the last competition, scores were very close and 3 to 4 pilots could still win the league. I arrived on Friday to fly all the afternoon, and push the testing of the gyro on my Pike Precision in strong conditions before the comp, as the organiser added a local rule allowing gyros, in order to really know if it was giving a clear advantage. During that time people continue to fight on RCgroups forum without having flown at least 1 flight with a gyro onboard :) !

the wind was really strong on Friday, with an average of 70 km/h, with some cross wind, as usual for this VKR2010 slope A of Laurac. I flew the Pike alternatively with and without the gyro activated, then flew the Needle 115, then switched back to the Pike. At the beginning, I had to reduce the gain to 30 or 40% because this time …

Mobius Cam ... the GoPro killer ?


Have you have seen on Planet Soaring, I'm a fan of on-board cam, and also aerial pictures. I have started years ago with a basic 640x480 resolution cam. Then I purchased the GOPRo1, and more recently the GoPro Hero 3 to benefit of the progress in term of resolution and features. But the problem of the GoPro series is that it is not suitable for mounting it on a small to medium glider because of the size and the weight. Therefore, I gave a try to the Keycam 808#16 V2 Lens D which provide 720p video with fish eye effect, in a very small size and weight of 20g, in brief the ideal cam to mount everywhere on a glider without impacting the flight too much. To be honest, I like very much the view from the wing tip where you can see the entire plane, and of course the scenery behind. This year appeared on the market a new cam which is the result of the collaboration between the designer/manufacturer of the keycam 808#16, and several aero-modellers. This is a superb and effici…

techno explained

For those who are curious about technology and who wanted to learn more about how a MEMs gyro works, here is an interresting reading. click HERE to download the PDF document.

Hereafter also is a quick view about how it works:

Some feedbacks about the use of the Gyro at slope

Below are my first feedbacks after trying the Eagle Tree Guardian gyro on my Pike Precision. It is mounted only on ailerons, all other servos are connected directly to the receiver. I did this for 2 reasons:
1/ Consumption: Without re-cabling everything, there is only one + and one - wires to power the gyro and the 4 servos behind the gyro. Given the consumption of the digital servos, I didn't want to take any risk.
2/ V-tail mixing. When using a gyro, the V-tail mixing MUST be performed by the gyro itself, and not by the radio. Therefore you loose the mixing/tuning features of the radio.
Last week, I did a first attempt that was a failure because my gyro had the heading lock feature enabled causing the glider to exit the bank and yank or EM turn by itself, like the beginning of a dynamic stall. I suspect the gyro to think on the 3 axis together and combine the reaction , and because I had only the ailerons connected, it created some side effect.
Anyway, for the second attempt ye…

Gyro ... text explanation ...

After my  posts about this topic, I received lots of questions/comments regarding the reason why I agree now that Gyro are prohibited. Problem of this controversy and debate is that most of people are mixing their personal wish and are failing to analyze the text itself. They don't read the text as it is, they don't analyze the wording. A good example is when you ask the question: Do you think that the current rules allow or ban the use of gyros ? The answer is "I'M AGAINST GYROS !" which is obviously not answering the question. "Yes maybe but I don't care, I'm against" they repeat! This will not make things to progress for sure !

So let's your opinion aside, and please have a factual look at the current rules.First observation: Model definition differs between F3B, F3J and F3F
F3B  Definition of a Radio Controlled Glider Model aircraft which is not provided with a propulsion device and in which lift is generated by aerodynamic forc…

Gyros ... important update !

Since the debate around gyros started, almost 2 weeks ago, we were all focusing on the various category specific sections, as mentioned in Tomas’s email to CIAM delegates. It is obvious that these rules were everything but clear. A rules which is subject to interpretation is a bad rule …

But while debating/fighting we just missed another general section (pointed by Tom Kiesling and Mike Evans) that describes the categories included in the F3 category (Radio Controlled Flight).  And in this section, one sentence says it all as you can judge by yourself.

1.3.3. Category F3 - Radio Controlled Flight 

This is a flight during which the model aircraft is manoeuvred by control surface(s) in attitude, direction and altitude by the flier on the ground using radio control. 


Gyro in F3x ... things are finally moving a bit !

Thanks to Roman Vojtěch (, who relayed the RCgroups debate about the use of gyros in F3B/J/F and expressed his concerned to Tomás Bartovsky who is the Czech Rep. NAC FAI CIAM Delegate but also the RC Soaring Sub-committee chairman. Tomás sent a letter to all NAC FAI CIAM delegates asking to answer a simple question about what is their interpretation of the current rules. The letter is hereafter.
Dear Friends,

At present we experience a kind of technical revolution. The electronic stabilisation devices (hereinafter gyros), which were not working well in the past, are today effective, cheap and readily available. Many years ago, when rules for F3B, F3J and F3F classes were created, the authors could not imagine the development of electronic stabilisation devices. For this reason we have an unsatisfactory description of allowed means in the FAI Sporting Code at present. The German proposal for general banning of gyros, which was prepared for clarification of the…

Gyro or not Gyro ? ... get ready !!

The F3x community is currently boiling  while discussing the topic about gyros on RCgroups. There are three camps: the "anti-gyro", the "pro-gyro", and the "I don't mind about gyro" camps. 
How did it come on the table?
Suspicion about using gyros in F3x gliders started during the 2012 F3F World Championship in Rügen, Germany. For some pilots, the supremacy of the leading pilots was suspect. However, no protest has been written during the competition, but I heard that a claim deposit has been done later to the CIAM. At the end of the season, a German rule change proposal to ban gyros has been rejected by the CIAM. At this stage it was not clear if it was rejected because of a bad wording, because of a wrong place in the rules, or for some other reasons. Few weeks ago, some info came after an F3B competition that gyros were authorized, and that some top pilots were using them. As usual, if it is confirmed, people using gyros will stay quiet and not cla…

Book: RC Aero Design, aerodynamics for everyone

Few words about the writer: Franck Aguerre is engineer by education, but is also an aeromodeller for ages, and writer for specialized paper magazines. He is a very active  designer who created lots of models (some have been published) which became very popular like the Crobe, a best seller now available in short kit. Franck is also the author of the PredimRC software, available in 2 version (one is freeware, the second one with more features being commercial). After writing many technical articles about aerodynamics and aeromodel design, Franck decided to go to the next step by rpoposing use this book RC Aero Design.
152 pages to know everything !
The book is presented under at the A5 format with a soft cover. The printing quality is excellent, with lots of sketches and drawings which illustrate the text. The few pictures here and there are not as good, the paper being not glossy. Overall, this book is very good printing quality, at the level of the ones sold by the large…

New maiden of the Pike Electro

Sorry for not updating you earlier regarding the Pike Electro but I have been very busy last days. Let's come back to the second Maiden flight with the new combo made of a Sloperacer modified Leopard 2860/2730Kv and 5:1 Reisenauer Micro Edition gear box with high torque pinion, an YGE 90 LV controller, and a 17x11 propeller. The Leopard motor is initially an inrunner for boat (!). The motors are 4 pole designs, 12 slot rotors, hand wound with high quality double bearings and rated up to 1300w. With a 3s battery, it can deliver around 800w of power. To be safe, I did this flight at the slope. Everything went well except that I wrongly configured the motor switch command so I didn't have brake (shame on me !!!). This is at the slope that I did the following video. One week later has been the big day, as I was awaited to do some demo at the Icarus Cup all over the week-end. I did 7 demo flights, and I can tell that I was gaining confidence after each flight considering how well …

Icarus Cup 2013, 40th anniversary

This is the biggest paragliding/hangliding meeting in europe but aside, there are plenty of other exhibition, including a big aeromodelling show. During 2 days, we coudl see everything flying like aerobatics, 3D helicopters, synchronized aerobatics with airplanes and helicopters, patrols, warbirds, electro gliders, foamies, skymen, pylon racing and even more. This year we have been lucky with the weather, and had lot of spectators during the 2 days. Overall the 40th Icarus cup is a really big sucess, and I really took lot's of pleasure to be part of this aeromodelling show with my clubmates. Here is the photo album I took during the 2 days.

A nice video

Stéphane, from Toulouse, sent me this nice video filmed in the pyrénées with beautiful landscapes at Pic Du Céciré. Stéphane flies a Snowflak, his own creation, an home made aerobatic glider inspired by the Lunak, with a very nice decoration.

Little SnowflaK In Big Mountain from pgts on Vimeo.

Breaking News !

France won the 2013 F3F European Championship in both team and individual ranking. Frederic Hours is the new European champion. The team composed of Frederic Hours, Sébastien Lanes, Andreas Fricke and Laurent Lombardo (TM) won the team title by a margin of 500 pts over the second team, Slovakia.

Congratulations to the team France. This is a great achievement !

Pike Electro, ready for the second maiden flight

After changing the motor by the SlopeRacer motor (Modified Leopard 2860/2730Kv and 5:1 Reisenauer Micro Edition gear box with high torque pinion) and the ESG by a YGE 90 LV, my Pike is ready for maiden for tomorrow. Flying weight is 2kg581. I hope I will be able to film a bit. The propeller is a 17x11 instead of a shor 14x9 with the Kontronik motor I had. The YGE has a nice feature that allows to connect in parallel the BEC and an extra receiver batterie on the receiver, doing the perfect redundancy, at the condition the receiver battery if almost full before the flight to avoid to the YGE ESC to spend its time to recharge the receiver battery. No need of the optocoupler cable. 
Stay tuned !

Video: European Gliding Championships 2013

I found the following video about the last European Gliding Championships in Vinon-sur-Verdon (South of France). It is not RC, but the video is superb with awasome slow motion sequences.

European F3F Championship

This week is the European F3F Championship in Slovakia, on the slopes of the sky ressort of Donovaly. You can follow the competition on the organiser website, and the french team's blog located here:

Cette semaine se tient le premier championnat d'Europe de F3F en Slovaquie, sur les pentes de la station de sky de Donovaly. Vous pouvez suivre la competition sur le site de l'organisateur, mais aussi le parcours de l'équipe de France sur le blog de l'équipe

Col du Glandon

Last week-end was the F3F contest of le Col du Glandon. For people who don't know, this is the place were the french F3F was born in 1994. The particularity of these slopes is that there are at 2000m and are facing 2 valleys. They provide smooth and homogeneous flying conditions thanks to the breeze. The down side is that they are capricious and the probability to fly is lower than elsewhere because of the specificity of the moutain climat. This week-end the weather forecast was very bad anouncing rain and storm. However, the different forecasts were predicting a possible weather window in the middle of the day for both Saturday and Sunday, therefore we couldn't cancel the competition without trying.
Saturday, we arrived at the slope around 12am and installed the equipement. We started to fly in a light breeze between 3 and 5 m/s, creating a light lift. We managed 4 rounds before the wind die. We waited a bit, doing some free flying, before to go down.

Sunday the appointment …

F3B in Teillé

Pascal Tournache visited the aeromodelling field of Teillé (near Nantes) and had the chance to watch an F3B contest there. A good opportunity to discover this category, very far from big scale gliders he is used to pilot. Below is the photo report he did during that day.

2013 French F3F Championship

What a F3F championship !
Last week end was the 2013 F3F National Championship over 3 days. 23 pilots were qualified for it. Location was one of the 2 superb slopes of the south Vercors, with the cliffs of Fond D'urles in case of south wind, and the deep slope of le Col de Menée in case of north wind. Weather forecasts decided to give 3 days of North wind. The slope is the ideal slope every F3F pilot dreams about. But there is a "but", you must deserve it with a 45 minutes walk and climb 200m of altitude during 1.5 km, from the car park. And we did this 3 days in a row !
On Friday, after reaching the slope around midday, conditions were very very light. After a first juge briefing with the CD, then a competitor briefing, we started the championship with a round zero allowing the pilots to discover the slope. Immediatly after, we started round 1. Until 5:30 we managed 4 rounds, in a light but straight wind. Everybody was flying with no ballast in order to fly at the edge…

Video: ASW15 aerobatics

Here is a video I did 2 weeks ago and showing my friend Gérard Prat doing low speed aerobatics with a 4m wingspan ASW15 from Airtech. You will notice the intensive use of the camber to slow down the plane and create lift as conditions were light.

Needle 115, the video

Below is the video I filmed on sunday while doing the maiden flight. The wind is starting from around 6m/s and increasing to 9m/s, so the plane is empty at the beginning, then with 200g, then 640g of ballast. Nothing replaces a real confrontation in competition, but this video allows to glimpse that the N115 is well born and has a real potential for F3F. I will do new videos as soon as I can fly the Needle again.
Needle 115 from Pierre Rondel on Vimeo.

IAR 35, a Romanian acrobat glider

Thuro, the designer and father of the popular Needle serie is working in parallel on a very interresting project of a big aerobatic semiscale.
The choice is a nice looking Romanian Aerobatic Glider, called IAR 35, an all-metal full acrobat glider. Only 4 exemplars remains in the worl, all in Romania. After the accident of one of the prototype, the IAR 35 has been grounded, and the production has even not started.
The semi-scale is 1:2,18 scaled which will give a 5.3 wingspan.

No or very few information are available for this plane, so Thuro didn't find any sketches or 3 views plan. He simply started from good quallity pictures and a Romanian contact of Thuro did some measures on request. Then Thuro developped the whole model in CAD, and also created new airfoils for it.
The project is at the beginning. The master of the fuselage is done, and the mould too. The next challenge is now to mould a llight but strong fuselage which is not that easy with such size.
Below is an interresti…