Well it took awhile before both weather and schedules permitted a maiden, but I finally got her up!
Gave me a chance to test/fix a couple more things anyhow....
So short report as follows:Details
This is a big scale EPO foam Spitfire that is a larger and heavier than, say, Parkzone warbird models. In size, weight and details I would say it is more akin to the large FMS models. It has a 1.4 m wingspan with a very generous chord and wing area, however. The control surfaces are similarly very generous.
Quality-wise, the foam and finish are very good, although the paint doesn't adhere to the foam too well and comes up very easily, so I've had to come up with some padding when transporting/storing. It isn't a completely "scale" representation of the Spitfire, but you would be hard to pick it. The largest deviation is that the undercarriage is fairly widely spaced compared to a full-sized Spit but I'm not complaining about that one!
The servos are not the best though, with all control surfaces hooked up to budget micro servos which is asking for trouble.
The retract mechanism uses regular servos with a sliding pin arrangement that locks positively at both ends (and hence transmits all the forces into the undercarriage rather than the servos). It's a good setup and seems a lot better than the servoless setup on the FMS models which can be troublesome. However, it is still a little on the spindly side and I wouldn't trust it to take bruising landings. I ended up fitting my own skids on the wings and belly for such a situation
There are lots of protuberances sticking out including 2 wing scoops and a chin scoop, but for me that is asking for trouble on landing. Luckily they are on sliding mounting plates and so easily attachable/detachable.Flying Characteristics
The motor is a torquey and on take-off or slow speed it really swings the model to the left. Learning to use a fair bit of right rudder to compensate is the order of the day. Take-off runs are relatively short, however.
Apart from having to watch the motor torque a little, this is a viceless aircraft once flying. Whilst I would say it does not have a spectacular performance, and is relatively slow-flying for its scale, it is nonetheless a real sweetie in the air. This will be most likely from its very ample wing-area. It has enough power, good climb, very responsive elevator, light and accurate ailerons and the rudder will even allow somewhat of a knife edge. Scale aerobatics and low and easy passes are the order of the day. Some have commented that the elevators are very sensitive, but for someone who has progressed from smaller and lighter scale warbirds (including ultra-micros) I had no issue with this at all and enjoyed the control crispness.
I'm afraid I've only done the single flight and landing (see below), and I opted to fly her all the way down with a shallow angle and some speed on. No problems there, I could maybe go a bit slower next time. I didn't hit the sprung gear that hard but had a small bounce. The undercarriage did survive OK, but the plastic split a little around one of the mounting screws to the wing so I can see gear-down landings are probably going to need to be very gentle. I'm thinking now how I might re-inforce the plastic mounting plates here.
As I get more experience I'll expand a little bit more, however the 2nd flight ended ingloriously and illustrated the importance of adherence to RC model flightline protocols!
I was flying with my Dad and, unfortunately he sub-consciously walks towards his models as they are flying without realising it. Now I saw him doing this and should have said something before I throttled up, but there was only the 2 of us on the oval so I figured "should be right" as I lined up away from him. I also didn't say "taking off" so you can guess what was coming. Just as she lifted off (although swung quite a bit to the left) unfortunately the wayward pilot veered right towards his plane at the same time.
It was either the plane or my Dad getting a back-full of propeller, so I chopped throttle and swung hard right and cartwheeled in. Crash-wise, the airframe sustained no damage which is testament to solid construction, but the nylon screws used to secure the wings to the fuselage both popped like a circuit-breaker (I guess better they broke than something else, at least was clean screw break and no threads got stripped) so no more flying was done.Faults/Upgrades
There are quite a few quirks that an owner will need to attend to first before going flying. Without too much detail I would suggest the following short-list:
1. Reversing one of the landing gear servos so that they both go up and down together!
(or plugging the 2 gear servos into separate RX channels and say, mixing on the TX to one toggle switch)
2. Rather than the min 40A ESC recommended, from some owners current draw tests and how hot mine got I think 60A minimum is a lot safer
Rather than the recommended 2200-2600 mAh 3S battery, a heavier 3000-3200 mAh battery works better for CG. I used the heavier batts and was just right, so lighter will tend towards tail-heaviness
3. Replace all the micro servos with good quality 9gs (I used Hextronic HXT-900s)
4. Hinge tape the elevator hinge lines. There have been failures of the elevator hinges
5. You may need to balance the spinner and/or motor. Quite a few have reported severe vibration (not me luckily!
6. Having a spare standard servo for the undercarriage or so may be a good idea as one of mine failed straight out of the box
7. Fit belly skids for longer grass field landings? I think the paint will get hammered otherwise Conclusion
Very nice plane. Not a fly-out-of-the-box proposition with some care and attention needed first, but it looks great, crisp controls, scale aerobatics and a playful pussycat in the air. Not a heck of a lot of straight-line speed for her size, but that isn't my thing anyway with the parks I tend to fly in.