In-between…Chocofly Kobuz 3

Over the past few months I’ve sold a few planes that I wasn’t flying enough (Snipe DLG, 2.5m Tomcat, 3.4m DG600 and my 5.14m Chocofly SB-14), so there was some space in my budget and hangar. During our club’s traditional flying week in Hahnenmoos in the third week of June Dani Aeberli from Chocofly sold me a spare Kobuz 3, one of his latest new models, a small one, with 2.18m wingspan. I was very impressed with its performance and since the colour was yellow/black I couldn’t resist – spotting a potential for cool decorations.

The kobuz has been sitting in my workshop since my return from Hahnenmoos at the end of June. As I limit my work on planes to rainy or cold days (the other free days are for flying or cycling), I only managed to complete it last week. Much work went into the “smoked” canopy, an option that’s definitely much cooler than the standard intransparent black cover that comes with the plane (it always annoyed me on my DG600). Chocofly provided the smoked canopy glass, the seat pan, a 3D printed control stick and the printed instrument panel, as well as two 3D printed parts to attach the front and rear of the canopy. Putting the parts together and figuring out a canopy lock that works flawlessly required a bit of time. The canopy set also came with a plotted sticker for the canopy frame. Unfortunately this was in white, a no-go for this plane. Dani however kindly provided the plotting file, which I was able to convert to my Silhouette Cameo so that I could plot a perfect black canopy frame sticker. The result can be seen on the pictures below. Once I had fired up my plotter and unable to resist the great yellow “canvas” of the plane, I also fitted it out with some the symbols and brands of my Flemish/Belgian background. For those unfamiliar with Belgian beer, Rodenbach is a fantastic beer made in my birth town of Roeselare in Flanders, Belgium. The beer is unlike anything else you will have ever tasted, and definitely worth trying (I always keep a crate of it in our cellar).

The epoxy Resin of the battery board hardened out on Saturday morning. And I got lucky with the weather, with great slope conditions forecast for Saturday, so I maidened the Kobuz on Saturday afternoon, on our favourite slope. The first flight was tough. I had just spent almost three hours non-stop airborne with my JS3 (totally awesome), and had a hard time convincing myself to land and having a go at the Kobuz. I’d programmed the Kobuz based on the settings suggested by Dani, the owner of Chocofly. Since I know he loves flying with huge throws, I had already reduced them by a third. But they were still way too big for my taste. The plane also needed quite a bit of left trim. On top of that the lift suddenly stopped after 30mins of excellent conditions and I had to make a quick landing into the slope. That also gave me time to further reduce throws, increase expo and adjust trim. With those changes, the second flight went way better. Soon I was doing 230kmh flybys and having great fun. Unfortunately after 20 minutes the lift again suddenly stopped and another quick landing into the slope cut the flying fun short.

Before leaving to the slope my wonderful wife handed me a few bottles of Rodenbach beer to take along. They provided a very welcome toast with my flying buddies after a great day on the slope and a successful maiden flight.

After two relatively short flights my first impressions: this is a really really cool little plane. I’m amazed at how well it retains speed, even with “only” 2.55kg. It also thermals surprisingly well, although it’s hard to keep it in the air when conditions turn bad (but of course the JS3 is not really a comparison here…). As I had to give quite a bit of up trim with positive camber and down trim with negative camber, I’ll be moving the CG backwards on a next flight. I’ve also increased camber quite a lot over the suggested values (I always program three positive camber settings on the right slider of my transmitter, small, medium and huge), which the Kobuz seems to very comfortable with. This is a plane that I’ll be taking along as a 2nd “in-between” plane on excursions to the slope.

Note: when I bought my Kobuz and wrote this blog post, I wasn’t aware that the smoked canopy was actually a one-off production. Following the success of my Kobuz pictures on social media (and the fact that it really does look very cool), Chocofly has now included this canopy in the list of available options :-). Way to go Dani!