The Hyper Panther is an attempt to take the Panther flying wing design
by Gene Foley (415-586-6104 firstname.lastname@example.org), and make it into
the most bitchin aerobatic flying wing I could imagine. Gene custom built
this little beauty after a series of mutual brainstorming sessions.
The Panther itself is an amazing slope machine. I loved it so much I made several pusher versions - see the ePanther. Thats the ePanther in the background.
The Hyper Panther is the ePanther on rocket power. With a Kontronic geared brushless, 2400mah x 10 cells, and a 14x8 prop it tears 82 oz of thrust, on a 68 oz machine. Can you say "unlimited vertical"? There are 4 wing servos, all hs-81mg's, plus a rudder. The inboard control surfaces are really huge - designed to apply plenty of torque when under power. At the moment, I'm flying it such that the inboard and outboard surfaces do pretty much the same thing, acting as elevons. The inboards have a slightely greater travel range in terms of angle for the same stick movement. I have aileron to rudder mixing on a switch, which is normally off. Elevators is at 70%, aileron 100%.
Like the ePanther and Panther, Gene designs for indestructability. Little
did I realize how quickly we would test it. On its maiden slope flight
(no power, just a weight), flying at Funston, I got about a minute of ripping
back and forth on the slope, then handed it to Gene while I ran off to
find a charged battery pack. As I'm tearing the pack out of another plane,
I hear a sickening whack. I look up to see Gene with his arms up in and
a "I don't f*&^ing believe it" look on his face. I ran up to the observer
deck, and saw the plane (thank goodness noone was hit). It had whacked
the edge of the deck. Damage - blown (piece of $%^&) hs-81 rudder servo
(only one NOT metal gear), spinner toasted, yoke bent. Two almost invisible
dings. I'm kneeling there on the deck when Gene comes over with the xmtr
in his hand (on). He's saying, "I don't know what happened", when WHAM!
another Panther slams into the deck about a foot behind Gene, and slides
down the deck past me. We both stare at it - Gene is totally fried - and
he wiggles the sticks - oh, yeh - the elevons on the crashed plane wiggle
too!!!! Some !@#$%^& was on the same frequency! But where was he??
I had been the first one out, after the gliders had landed - there was
only one other plane we had seen in the air - a Zagi. Up walks another
hang glider pilot - who we'll just call "Dave" - he can't believe it at
first, then he gets very apologetic - and to his credit, he gave me $50
for repairs. WHAT WAS HE THINKING???!!?
I decided this was a testimony to Gene's awesome construction techniques, that the damage was so minimal.
One of the goals was to be able to do vertical hovering. I've only had a couple flights on it so far, and all in a fair bit of wind, but it actually seems surprisingly easy, especially if flown at right angles to the wind, and cheating a bit by keeping a bit of vertical speed.
On the maiden powered flight, I hit the throttle, went vertical, then cranked full over aileron. Holy smokes!!! I've never seen ANY plane roll so fast. And this climbing vertical! I cut power, straightened it out, put it in a dive, and cranked over again. The roll was now something akin to "blender" speed. Yeeehhhaaaaa!!!! Oh, baby...
One of the ideas with the split elevons was to be able to try some settings
which would increase the drag for landing. But surprisingly, the Hyper
Panther (like all the Panthers), has an amazingly low stall speed,
so landing is still gentle and easy (especially with a little wind). Admittedly,
I have yet to try it on a no wind day.
I did stall and spin it on one landing approach, through extreme turbulence behind the observer deck, but it recovered quickly. I've since set the trim point on the inboard surfaces down a bit lower, and this seems to reduce stall/spin tendency.
Before this pix was taken, I had smacked it in REALLY hard doing an unbelievably stupid thing. Watching some scale slopers launch big ships at the Berkeley Marina, I had the plane off over the N end (staying out of trouble). I just HAD to watch one of the launches, and got mesmerized by a blown launch, forgetting that my own plane was plummetting to earth - only to attempt a save at the last second - a second too late. This time I broke the back of the engine compartment, but this was easily fixed with CA. Another toasted spinner and bent yoke (since bent back). I was really pissed at myself when this happened - I couldn't believe I'd let myself get so easily distracted. *sigh* Gotta love Gene's hammerproofing...
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