Wednesday 9 September 2009

Vikos - part 3

Flying, first thoughts...
Comparing flight characteristics a always a hiding to nothing. There's never an abundance of analytical data, which means it's down to personal opinions and, as you probably know, we're not all the same.

Whenever I read opinions I always find comparisons with other models useful, at least then I know if my thinking is either aligned with the reviewer or I can calibrate my views accordingly. So you'll find a bit of that below.

You should know these thoughts are first impressions based on a single outing. However those conditions were challenging, with a bumpy, gusty crosswind on an average slope; and that can tell you more about a plane than weeks of good conditions. I'll write more when I can; time hasn't been my friend lately.

I think anyone who has so much as seen a Vikos in the air would agree that it is very responsive on all axes, particularly in roll. It reminds me of a car with muscular power steering; although unlike a car the Vikos still allows you to feel the grip around the corners so that you know exactly how much you can ask of it.

Best in class? Quite possibly. It not only turns tight and fast, it has that priceless quality of of not scrubbing off speed even if the pilot gets it a bit wrong.

Raw speed
This is an interesting one. The section is relatively thick, and the turning performance makes you think it is generating plenty of lift; neither of which you associate with screaming speed. However, stuff plenty of ballast in and 1mm or so of reflex and it's no slouch at all. Indeed during our recent sojourn to Lundy the Vikos was one of most adept and consistent planes when the lift and speed really cranked up.
Encouraging, a bit of reflex and a belly full of lead don't eat into that excellent turning performance.

The Vikos goes about its business in much the same way as a Freestyler and a Martinete; it allows the pilot to fearlessly do what they want and gives some leeway if they get the odd thing wrong. Compared to, say, the Ceres I'd suggest that the Vikos is easier to set up and hence get the best out of.

Over the past few years there have been just a couple of planes that seem to allow pilots to move up a notch or five in the rankings. The Skorpion was one and the Vikos has been another. However, where the Skorpion did this through sheer, brute pace the Vikos achieves this by giving the pilot a platform that they can extract their best performance from and an unbelievable turning performance that gets them out of trouble if they arrive at the base earlier than anticipated.

At around £800 and with a waiting list of just 4 to 6 weeks there is no doubt in my mind that this is the best value package around. If money was no object then it actually still deserves a very close look. Putting price to one side, few other planes give you great quality, extremely competitive F3F performance and the convenience of fuselage ballast?

I can't believe the waiting list and the price will stay this favourable; the Vikos can't stay the proverbial best kept secret for long...