Mini Leader – Part Three

The Tyldesley MFC strip was in winter mode at the time of the test flight, and when sizing the model up in the viewfinder to take ground photographs it occurred to me that I might not have fitted the spats! In fact, I had, but the grass was so long that it hid them both. Clearly this wasn't the sort of surface to attempt a conventional take-off, so I found a shorter mossy patch. From here, she was off the deck in around a yard!

I was struggling a bit to stop her climbing, and only when throttled back could I determine that this was down to a combination of forward C of G and a requirement for a touch more down-thrust. A few trim adjustments had her pretty much settled, and after about 10 minutes of pretty impressive performance I bought her in for a fuss-free landing. I was really surprised how stable this little model is and how easy it is to fly, but you need your wits about you as she gets very small in the air. She very nearly disappeared from view on a couple of occasions during her maiden.

After moving the C of G rearward a few millimetres I put the Mini Leader back into the air and concentrated on getting a feel for the thrust line. She was still pulling gently from a vertical dive, so before the next flight I tweaked the thrustline and added 0.2oz (5g) of weight to the tail. This improved the inverted flight somewhat but I did discover (during a lateral balance check) that she now had a tendency to flick under full elevator travel, requiring the rate switch to be thrown in.

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The few flights up to this point were enough to demonstrate that I could get eight airborne minutes with only 1000mAh being drained from the 1800mAh flight pack. I was very happy with this, and the model was proving to be a very pleasant little aeroplane to fly. Ok it's no pattern ship, but it does turn in a reasonably aerobatic routine and I was enjoying the feel and more direct feedback that such a little model gives.

Back on the bench I endeavoured to find the reason for the habitual climbing under throttle and found that the wing had 3° of positive incidence, which I thought a little high; the semi-symmetrical section of this wing could do just as well on perhaps half of that. But no matter, when cruising the climbing was barely noticeable.

This miniature model certainly follows its brief in providing the beginner with a low-wing trainer that has a well-mannered attitude. It's pretty, easy to fly and is well worth considering once you've completed your initial training on a high-winger. The online price tag of around £79.95 is pretty reasonable and the model is a great size to throw in the car for an impromptu flying session, even with the wings attached.

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Electric motors, speed controllers, and batteries are becoming ever-cheaper; gone are the days when the prices of these items prohibited electric flight being cost-effective. Moreover, the FlightPower set-up I used takes all of the guesswork out of the equation and can save you both time and money in the long run.

The only real negatives of the entire review concerned the misalignment of the wing and the weakness of the undercarriage mounting, which eventually failed, breaking the three blobs of cuckoo spit that it had been glued on with, allowing me to do the job properly. The New Power Modélisme Mini Leader is distributed throughout the UK by Helger Distribution, which makes it generally available at any model outlet. By the way it's available in three colours, too: orange, purple and blue. Whichever colour you choose, have fun!

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