North East Sailplanes Vermont Belle

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April 2005

Looks cool, but...

General Specifications

Build Date - April 2005

Airframe Type - Low Wing Flying Type - Sport Aerobatic
Wingspan = 41 inches Length = 34 inches
Wing Area = 345 sq. inches All-Up Weight = 22 ounces
Motor - SK3530-1400 OR Wing Load = 9.0 oz/sq. ft.
Propeller - 11 x 5 Xoar Wood Power = 354 watts
Thrust = 57 ounces Thrust/Weight = 2.6
Battery Type - Lipoly 3S1P Capacity = 2200 mah
Speed Control - Turnigy 25 Amp BEC - Internal


The Vermont Belle was basically a plane I found on the Northeast Sailplanes web site. I was looking for a low wing sport plane that has a low enough wing load that I would have an easy flyer after my awful experience with the Wattage Extra. I liked the look of the plane and after some checking about, found some good favorable reviews. The plane was relatively inexpensive by 2004 standards so I jumped in.

The ARF build was simple enough and after about three hours was ready to go. Structurally I wasn't really impressed with the plane. It is very light and I think could be made far stronger with very little weight added on. Oh well, you get what you pay for. I did not choose the recommended power because I wanted brushless and lipoly and the web site had not made the jump from brushed/Nimh set-ups. I chose the Mega 16/15/7 innrunner, direct drive with a 9 x 6 APCe prop and a Thunderpower 3s 2200mah pack. The AUW came in around 24oz and the plane balanced without additional weight.

Fly Time! So on the maiden I dialed in 2/3's the recommended throws and 50% expo and hit the power. This plane is fast and twitchy! It was a bit discomforting but I got it settled down, did a few laps for trim and brought it back. It landed smoothly, however a bit fast. For the next flight I dialed down the rates even more and moved the CG back about an 1/8". Second flight went much better. A nice flyer, nothing spectacular but nice. It was still a handful if not careful as the wing section is very thin and it is flat. Landing was much easier and slower with the CG moved back.

Crash! Remember I said "Twitchy"? Well flying too close to the ground I made a mistake and slammed it in. Destroyed the fuse and bent the Mega's shaft. Damn. I ordered a new fuse and rebuilt the dinged up other parts and sent out the Mega. While I have now fully mastered this plane (~2006) I do not fly it much, it just isn't that great. It's still a twitch monster and the thin wing and aileron sections are always changing shape so there is a constant warpage battle.

I changed the motor to an outrunner (2008) with a lower Kv in hopes of being able to run a larger prop and get the plane to be more fun and floaty. It sort of worked. It can now be flown more slowly and will do some decent aerobatics although it really needs another 40% added to the rudder area. I still don't fly it much, it is still a twitch monster.

Buy recommendation - Not Really
Build skill - Novice (ARF)
Pilot skill - Intermediate (Twitchy)
Lesson learned - Do more research!