Wow!!! That's my reaction to my first flight on the Atos VR. I'm pretty excited so you may have to take some of what I write with a grain of salt, but I am getting ahead of myself. Felix arrived last night. He was up and ready to work on the gliders by 8:20 this morning. He was a little distressed that we had mixed up all the parts, but we got them sorted out without any trouble. It turns out that the gliders were all finished, but they were not test flown.
As he was showing us how to assemble them, he described what the changes were from the V model and why those changes. The main change that allows for most of the other changes is the movable tail. On the basic Atos, the size of the flaps and how much bar pressure you have it limited by the angle of the tail. Too much flap area and you can't control the bar pressure and loading. With the VR, he was able to increase the flap area significantly. As you pull on the flap cord the tail starts to pitch up. After 20 degrees of flap deployment the tail stops changing pitch. There were a lot more little changes that I may go into later.
We got most of the gliders assembled by noon. Felix used Jim Y's glider as the example so he was off right away to fly. I finished next and jumped in line. The tow was the easiest I have ever had, even though there was plenty of bounce in the air. It was no problem flying with one hand. I felt no yawing. It was like all I had to do was think about staying behind the tug and the glider read my mind.
I was towed up into some verga (rain), but the last 300 feet of the tow the tug pilot pulled me back out of the rain. I was in lift at 1,900' so I released and started climbing. The glider turned so easy it never felt like it has the 44' span it has. This glider turns faster and easier than any glider I have flown in the past. Felix said to thermal with 10 degrees of flaps. I found this had me thermaling at 27 mph indicated. I did have to push out a little bit, which was caused by my hang point. I moved it back 1 cm after landing so I can thermal without any bar pressure.
On glide with the glider clean, the no hands on the bar trim speed was 47 mph. The glider felt rock steady. What I really like is there is no great build up of bar pressure as you speed up, just a nice linear increase. I only flew to 60 mph indicated because the air was not smooth enough to go faster. The maneuvering speed of the VR is 53 miles per hour. At this speed it was tested with full control deflection in any direction and not not exceed the strength of the glider. I am using a pitot tube airspeed indicator so all my airspeeds are indicated not true airspeed.
The VR felt very stable on landing approach. I used full flaps. The wind was blowing 8 to 10 mph so it should be an easy landing, which it was. I will have to wait for a no wind landing to really get a feel for the landing characteristics. If it's any indication, all the VR landings I saw today were great.
Felix holds court.