We Test Fly KIA's Ubiquitous Sabretooth
Sabertooth has come a long way fast for KIA. The original aircraft as rolled out was of normal size albeit a bit on the big side. KIA had the foresight to acknowledge that the platform could translate out to a stable larger aircraft, and quickly switched production to the large variants that have come to be the staple of the assembly line today. The newest aircraft have become even larger than the original big group, and made of stronger material. This has gained them massive attention as the potential motherships for the new Demo Team KIA has been forming. It's with these that we went out for the test flights.
And let us just say, these things are massive. Maybe it's the posterboard they're constructed of, but they seem so much bigger than most other planes. Maybe it's the fact that they can carry practically every other plane in IVPAF, including the planes seen to be of a bigger size themselves (the picture on the left depicts one of these flights with the standard big size airplanes departing their motherships). And maybe it's also that they can carry multiples of most planes with no problems. Whatever the case, small birds were scared and small children were provided shade when these things went over. We launched two examples with a pair (one on each) of the aforementioned 'bigger sized' aircraft strapped on board in attempts to piggy back and launch them in flight and these were carried gracefully and not seen to affect flight in any way.
Well, not too much anyway. Sabertooth's glide plan is what can be expected of a large bodied paper plane - it is essentially a straight on glide shortened by the throwing style influenced by the type of plane it is. Although it can take a stronger throw than most other big-bodies, these throws were scaled back so the piggy-backed aircraft wouldn't be lost too early in the flight. These Saberteeth did in fact have longer ranged flights than their regularly constructed cousins, but the flight plans stayed essentially the same. One thing we noticed about the flight plans shared by these biggies: a method of recovery may need to be integrated to the airframe as their weight lent to some ugly damage to the keels due to some landings being more nose down in attitude from their added weight.
It speaks well of the design that no matter what the construction material or the size the aircraft still performs the same in all aspects. The glide is affected by the under-forewing canards and its influences can be seen in most every flight by the subtle deflections of the planes' roll. It adds a neat and unique aspect to the flights, as one could almost imagine a pilot making those deflections as if searching for better wind patterns to fly with. And Sabertooth does a great job seeking that good air. Whatever the size, weight or type of aircraft carried in these cases - be it the Javelin above or the stealthy MSIL project to the right - Sabertooth carried the aircraft smoothly and error free to a release point without damaging itself or the rider. Sure, not all flights separated cleanly, but hey.. What can you expect this early into mothershipping?