I finally purchased the Solius RR to fly sometimes at lunch break closed to my office, and also do some aerial pictures with the GoPro3. I like the look of the Solius that reminds me the Blanik L-33 Solo.
The review starts very badly with an uncomplete RR kit. the tailplane was missing, and also the user manual and the ESC user manual. This is very unusual for MPX, but shows that nobody is perfect, despite the "made in germany" writen on the box. A mail to the french representatives Bruno Blin and Claudette Hoydem remained without answer which is, from my point of view, a bit annoying (is customer care not important ?). The missing parts couldn't have been removed after leaving the manufacturer, because the cardbox was perfectly new, untouched, still sealed with the original tape, and because I choosed myself the box among 15 kits at the reseller stock. Hopefully my reseller, very reactive, fixed the problem quickly by providing me the missing parts.
What do you get: 2 wings, hopefully, 1 fuselage, 1 tailplane, user manuals, and a small pocket with accessories.
Fuselage is beautifully assembled: Elevator and rudder Servos are in place in the fin and hide with some white vinyl. the elevator control command is very simple and without slop. I just needed to adjust the length and lock with some cyano on the metal clevis on servos side. The positionning and lock of the tail on top of the fin is perfect.
In the front of the fuselage, motor and ESC are in place. I found the fuselage compartiment not very convenient but usable. The ESC takes lots of place, in front of the battery compartiment. Another bad surprise what the the motor was cabled inverted, so I had to remove the glue fixing the cables, the swap to wires to get the right rotation direction. I moved the ferrite ring that was too close to the ESC so I could place it more conveniently. As received I used the full range DMSS JR RG631B 6ch Receiver which is tiny and placed on the floor of the compartiment with 2 sides tape. Antennas are located at 90°, one in the direction of the fuselage, and the second one across, using cotton buds that I cut at the needed length to host them. The satellite antenna is across the fuselage. Once the receiver and the antennas installed, I cut a small piece of EPP at the exact shape to cover, protect, immobilize everything, as you can see on the pictures. As battery, I use an hyperion 1900 mAh G3 EX. the battery compartiment, is very deep. I think that the received could be moved at the rear of the compartiment if you don't need access to it.
Wings are also beautifully made and assembled. No more carbon tube as spar and joiner, each half wing receives a aluminium tube around a fiberglass rod as spar and joiner. The root of the wing is a big plastic part that allow to connect the wing together and provide the integrity and stiffness as the half wing joiner are secured. Stiffness obtained is good.
I found the wing servo connectors very hard to impossible to plug, so impossible to exctract without damaging the wires. So I sanded them a bit to ease installation and extraction. Here again, given MPX reputation, this is a bit disappointing. I removed the servos cover to change the control command position at servo side, in order to get more travel on ailerons. I replaced the servos covers using some blenderm.
On the radio, I set 150% of the travel everywhere to adapt the setting to my piloting. Then if needed, I will reduce.
Last saturday with low wind at the slope was a perfect day for the maiden flight. I installed the battery in oder to get the right CoG, indicated at the intrados of the wing with a very convenient mark you cannot miss. After a quick check of the servos direction and travel, and I throwed the Solius in the air. The climbing rate with the motor is very good with an angle around 45° to 60°. I few seconds you reach a confortable altitude, then you can soar and start thermalling. At full throttle, I noticed a vibration creating an ugly noise. This is a shame because at half throttle, the motor is really silent.
The Solius is agile and light at the sticks. It is rather stable in trajectory. The gliding ratio and the cruise speed are pretty good so you can move quickly from one place to another place, without loosing too much height. This is a very good point for thermalling. This feeling is reinforced by its ability to easily circle, sometimes very hard, without any bad habits. When you push the elevator stick the solius accelerates well, but the top speed remains reasonnable, which is better given the foam structure of the plane. During the diving, the smallest change of angle makes the wing tip to move as thers is no spar until the extremity of the wing. I will probably rigidify the wing tip with some carbon flat rod.
Aerobatics is preasant. Vertical manoeuvers are lacking of amplitude, because of the low inertia of the solius. the looping generally ends as a "comma" if you don't use the motor to help. Rolls are well axed, the 4 steps roll is possible if you do the right corrections during the rool, using the rudder. The inverted flight is very easy with or without motor. I was surprised to find myself to gauge the throttle while pepraring a low inverted flyby.
I flew all the afternoon, mainly without motor, using the lift of the slope. The solius penetrates wind pretty well. However, I regret a lot that, because of it design and architecture, it is impossible to ballast it, as it was on the Easyglider (in the joiner).
In conclusion, I would say that the Solius could have a been perfect considering the following flaws/issues:
- My RR version kit was not complete
- The wing is not flap ready
- Motor vibration at full throttle
- Motor wired inverted
- No place for ballast
- Wing servos connectors to sand
Despite all there, I still consider that the Solius is a real step forward in the foamy world. It is a true glider with real capabilities that will allow any pilot (from intermediate to advance) to enjoy, relax, thermal. in the air you really get the feeling that it is not a foamy.
Here are some pictures in flight. Sorry for the light, but the sky was grey with lots of clouds. when coming back from La Muela, I will do other pictures with sun this time, and also some video.
Stay tuned !