Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Ascot V Ceres

The basics
Both airframes are first rate in terms of fit, finish and strength.
The Ceres costs a little more. The waiting list for an Ascot is probably a little longer.
They have similar span and similar flight characteristics.
In short, they are both bloody good.
But when I'm there on the flight line, which one do I turn to in the heat of battle...?

Ascot - the best bits
It's one of the easiest to fly competitive models there has ever been.
All models react well to lift but the Ascot accelerates like nothing on earth - I flew a 30.94 with mine and it didn't really set off until the third leg; and it was on rails the whole time.
The quality of the components and the way they fit together is truly something to behold; there's a real joy of ownership thing going on that makes you proud to own one. I don't think I've ever seen better quality than a VV model

The fuselage is just the right diameter to get a couple of Sanwas side by side, which opens up enough space for 800g or so of fuselage ballast, which is plenty for fine tuning.

Ceres - the best bits
Bloody hell it's quick. No, really, it is bloody quick. Ballast is a no-brainer; if there's lift, put as much in as your launcher can carry.
And, especially when you have ballast on board, the Ceres is almost impossible to slow up around the corners, no matter how hard you try. It's one of those rare planes that feels like it has a built in thermal.
The wings are a work of art; they are probably the stiffest and lightest units that I've seen commercially available.

Ascot - any niggles?
Not really, no. A few preferences maybe. I'd prefer a nose cone fuz and a ballast tube in there as standard. I'd also probably like to compromise just a hint of the perfect handling for a fraction more pace, but that's a hell of a fine line as you need the handling to get the best out of the pace.

Ceres - any niggles?
Maybe... The wing control horns are just too short. Mine's had a fair bit of flying now and there's enough slop to feel ugly and make you a little uncomfortable. It doesn't affect the F3F performance, although a full blown winch launch or punchy DS outing might make me think twice. Plus the servo frames... whilst a brilliant idea in principle, just don't quite tether the servo enough given that the short horns will multiply any slop out enormously.
Also building and fitting your own fuselage former feels like a bit of an after thought.

So, what's my number one model?
The Ceres. Quite simply it is the right combination of raw pace and turning that suits me. Would I hesitate to fly my Ascot? No of course not, in fact when I broke a Ceres servo arm recently I switched to the Ascot and got a 35.xx with no drama. And perhaps that's part of the reason I go for the Ceres first, I like a bit of drama!

What have I learnt about my next model?
Two important things. Firstly I'm not going back to life without fuz ballast, even if it's just enough to fine tune. Secondly, and most importantly, it will have RDS, even if I have to install it myself. Playing with Inaki's Radical and the new Baudis model make it abundantly clear to me that RDS is the future.

And... I'd make my own clear tail cone again!