My first slope glider: the mini-Weasel.
(The videos on the site sold me -- they're great!)
It's small and light enough to be carried on a hike. Good thing,
since all the local slope sites require significant hiking (but maybe
that's actually a good thing). Bummer that the transmitter weighs
times as much, but that's not the Weasel's fault.
My husband liked the kit so much, he bought one. These were our
introduction to slope soaring (see my tips
Oh, yeah: it's cute and it flies great.
The kit arrived two days after I'd ordered it. The quality really
impressed me. Detailed instructions with
pictures, ailerons already bevelled, and they even included small parts
control horns and wires, mini ez-connectors and micro ez-links.
Joining the wings and getting the dihedral right was hard. I
ended up with almost no dihedral. I hope it doesn't matter too
much. Otherwise I really liked the spar installation technique,
which went just as smoothly as the instructions implied.
instructions talk about using packing tape, yet the photos all show
a weasel apparently already decorated. I was going to use colored
Zagi tape in the steps where they said to use packing tape, but Dave
said no, use packing tape first, then Zagi tape on top. Sounded
heavy to me, but he was vehement about this being the right way (he's
built EPP planes before and I hadn't) so I followed his
instructions. My weasel came out a bit heavy at 5.5oz. Then
Dave started talking about how his of course would be lighter and we'd
see whether that mattered. Sheesh!
Mine is way prettier, though! It has totally different patterns
top and bottom, and I find I like that -- there's certainly no
difficulty telling which side is up.
It came out quite a bit tail-heavy. In the flat grass field it
seemed to fly best with two nickels taped to the nose. Adding an
additional quarter didn't help things. Part of the tail-heaviness
problem is due to the heavy coroplast vertical stabilizer. They
offer the option of a lightweight depron stabilizer; my advice is, take
it. I didn't, because I figured durability was more important
than weight; but having to tape coins to the nose is silly, and I ended
up making ailerons and a depron stabilizer out of a restaurant take-out
container. The depron tail is straighter than the warped
anyway. My only regret is that I'd already used the cool-looking
"flyweasel.com" logo sticker on the coroplast piece. Maybe I can
persuade them to send me a few more stickers. It looks like tails
will be frequently-replaced items, especially if they're depron; they
get munched pretty quickly.
I ordered a receiver battery along with the plane (4-cell 300mAh NiMH),
because nobody here sells receiver batteries and theirs fits the
Weasel's pod nicely. I added a switch, though, and didn't glue in
the battery the way the instructions suggested.
guessing that it's normal after buying a new slope glider that the wind
dies completely for weeks. It was a long time before we were
actually able to try our new miniWeasels in actual slope soaring
conditions, with wind and a slope and all that. But we found
other ways of having fun -- for instance, we tossed them in the car when we went on
vacation. We also discovered that it's possible to have fun
with them using a "discus
launch" technique, or by what we dubbed "Weasel hiking", hiking up a
hill then flying the Weasels along the trail as we hiked back
More techniques like this discussed in my slope
other flying wings, the Weasel apparently needs a transmitter which not
only does elevon mixing, but can properly handle setting small throw on
elevator and a bigger throw on ailerons. I can't overstate how
important this is for the mini Weasel -- it's incredibly sensitive to
elevator throw, and stalls at the drop of a hat if you give it too much
throw, but you can give it tons of aileron. My old JR XF421 can't
this; or rather, it seems to, but the throw adjustments apply to the
servos plugged in to the aileron and elevator channel, not to the
logical functions. So, in other words, if I set 50% throw on
elevator, then the right servo's travel will be half the left servo's
travel. But I needed to upgrade anyway, for several reasons, so I
upgraded to a JR6102.
How do you know when there's too much elevator? I haven't seen
this on other planes, but the Weasel starts porpoising -- it flies a
mini-stall-and-recover sawtooth pattern which is very noticable once
you realize what it means. This is very helpful (at least to a beginning slope soarer) when you're trying
to feel out the lift.
Anyway, get it all tuned, and the miniWeasel flies great!
Reponsive and aerobatic, but smooth and not twitchy. On a
reasonable slope with the right wind, it dances and plays. It
does beautiful rolls and split-esses. I haven't managed a loop
yet (can't seem to build up enough steam) but but they show loops and
vertical rolls in the videos,
so I know it's possible.
I put a "Crashing" section in all my plane pages, but I hesitated to
put one here, because it seems like bonking the Weasel into things is
just part of flying it (at least for beginners like us in a time of no
wind at all). Fortunately, the mini Weasel is all EPP foam, and
has a soft foamy EPP nose that sticks out front. It can scream
straight down, hit the dirt and bounce. Good thing!
It's also relatively soft when it hits people. Practicing hand
launches, I've hit myself several times, and Dave and I have hit each
other. If it hits you at full speed, it can leave a bruise, but
that's about it. So far we haven't hit anyone else, and I hope
that continues. :-)
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