Eflite Splendor AS3X

 Building, E-Flite, Horizon Hobby UK, Newsflash, Spektrum  Comments Off on Eflite Splendor AS3X
Feb 032013
 

The new Eflite Splendor is new Z-foam aircraft packed full of revolutionary technology and design concepts from World Champion Quique Somenzini’s years of experience designs models of all types and sizes.

The Splendor utilises Carbon Z a composite technology used to made Z-foam rigid. This is achieved by Carbon spars is vital areas mixed with plywood to keep the weight down. The result of this is an incredibly lightweight & stiff structure, whether this is the wings, fuselage or flight surfaces. To be able to achieve this with foam opens the possibilities of what ‘foamies’ can do.

The other technology is the new AS3X park flyer gyro system housed in the AR635 receiver. Like the new VisionAire this RX is used to improve the flight performance of this new design. In an aircraft like the Splendor the 3axis Mems Sensor’s will improve how the plane will hold lines, therefore using the Splendor as a training tool for F3A is a viable option. The AS3X improves an aircraft so that it feels bigger in the air and pilots looking to improve their discipline with aerobatics or learn new schedules can in a relativity inexpensive package.

The Build

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A colourful box, with foam packaging to support the airframe during shipping.

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It’s a big airplane, the biggest Z-foam model to date, it all arrived safe & undamaged.

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The finish of Z-foam is improving all the time, the paint finish is also superb.

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The first part of the build is to install the wire UC. The wire UC is slotted into a plastic groove and held in place with a plastic retainer and two screws on each side. The leg cover is also screwed through this retainer and clips to the wire.

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The leg cover adds that finished look to the aircraft.

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The spats and wheels are pre installed so nothing to do there.

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The horizontal stab and elevator are pre hinged with CA hinges. There is a carbon spar in the tail, a locating pin for the stab that keys into the fuselage.

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The elevator joiner is a square socket joining the two elevator halves to form a rigid connection.

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The horz stab is held in place with two screws each half. A nice touch is that all the fixings on CarbonZ aircraft are now Allen key headed, that bit of extra quality. You can also see the carbon& fibreglass spar in horz stab. The rudder linkage is all connected up and the steerable tailwheel is also pre installed.

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The elevator linkage needs connected, again a touch of quality here, a ball joint at the control surface. The new eflite 26g metal geared digital servos are also impressive, slope free and very smooth.

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The large hatch is gives lots of access to the battery tray and RX.

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It is opened via a new flush mechanical button at the front of the hatch, it is pinned at the rear with two plastic dowels.

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The wings are held in place with 4 screws (2 per panel). A carbon wing tube acts as the main spar. The wing panels themselves are all factory finished, ailerons are hinged with CA hinges & the servos are connected with the same high quality fixings as with the elevator and rudder.

The Flying

The test flight was a uneventful affair. After some quick preflight checks and a range test it was time to take to the air. The 2x3s 3200mah lipos connected in series to give 6s give the Splendor plenty of performance and after a short takeoff run this sleek model was quickly into the air. The AS3X systems reduces trim required and after a circuit I didn’t need any.

I quickly felt very comfortable with this plane, basic aerobatics are a joy to perform due to the neutral & “locked in” feel that the design gives complimented by the AR635. Knife edge is superb with no coupling required at all angles of attack. Although not designed for 3D it is capable of basic 3D, in part due to the AS3X. Harriers are very stable and controllable and hovering & torque rolls are very stable. The new BL50 motor coupled with elfites 60amp ESC’s give a really linear feel to the throttle and in the 3D this makes a lot of difference.

Overall I think this design and the innovations it contains make the Splendor a great choice for F3A or other aerobatic disciplines (iMac and freestyle) if a pilot wants a convenient everyday aircraft to improve their standard for both competition or at the club.

Pictures are below.

 

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Thanks to Horizon Hobby UK for allowing me to test this new aircraft.

Matthew

Parkzone VisionAire AS3X

 Building, Horizon Hobby UK, Parkzone, Radio gear, Spektrum  Comments Off on Parkzone VisionAire AS3X
Jan 072013
 

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The Parkzone Visionaire is a new design from World Champion Quique Somenzini. It is billed as a 3D trainer, now there are plenty of those on the market, way is this one different? As with most things from Parkzone’s range, this new product has a few surprises to set it apart and ahead of the competition.
Quique has designed this with all his knowledge of making a truly brilliant aircraft, features like Carbon Z reinforced foam wings, light and incredibly rigid, vortex tabs along the leading edge of the Wing to distribute the air over the aileron to improve low speed control authority and SFG to improve KE performance and It doesn’t stop there. Quique and Spektrum have developed an all new AS3X full range receiver. This evolves the hugely successful micro AS3X technology first introduced in the Blade Mcpx Micro 3D heli and then into airplanes such as the Beast 3D and Hypertaxi. This receiver is preprogrammed for the visionaire but can be adjusted to tailor the experience, with gain in aileron, elevator & rudder being adjusted. This RX development is exciting as it will reduce the work load of the pilot in 3D, especially in a wind. Perfect for novices learning to 3D and more experienced pilots to improve their skills on a very neutral and true 3D airplane!

Ill do a quick build review and upload a video or two of the early flights and my thoughts.

Here is what Parkzone have to say about their newest product…

….Believed to be the first of its kind the VisionAire is designed to be used as a 3D trainer, and being equipped with the latest AS3X technology it can take pilots all the way from basic right the way up to extreme 3D aerobatics.

The secret to the VisionAire’s flight performance is the onboard AS3X™ technology. This system automatically makes constant and simultaneous minor adjustments to the flight control surfaces, reducing the workload for the pilot whilst at the same time allowing a path of progress towards more extreme flight.

Once skill levels have improved and pilots feel more confident, they can adjust, or even switch off the AS3X system and fly to the maximum of their newly developed abilities.

Constructed from lightweight Z-foam the airframe has been reinforced with carbon fibre and this combined with the hollow section wing design has resulted in a super strong yet lightly loaded model that can stand the extremes of 3D flight with a degree of durability that is not normally seen in models of this type. Removable side force generators (SFG) on the wing tips offer stability at lower speeds and ensure perfect sustained knife-edge flight.

Powered by a Power 10 brushless outrunner motor the model has performance a- plenty and with a large battery hatch the various sizes of flight batteries that can be accommodated ensure more than adequate flight duration.

More practical aspects of the VisionAire are its two-piece wing for ease of transport and its larger than normal wheels that enable the model to take of from less than perfect landing strips and of course as it’s a “bind and fly” model, it can be flight ready in the time it takes to charge the flight battery!

Whilst not intended to be the first model for novice pilots, it must surely be the last model that intermediate to experienced pilots will ever need to learn extreme 3D flight!

Specs

Wingspan 1143mm (45inch)
Length 1088mm (42.5inch)
Weight 1250g (44.1oz)
Motor 1250Kv Power10 brushless outrunner
Battery 2200mAh 3s LiPo
Radio 4-channel DSM2/DSMX transmitter minimum
E.S.C 40-Amp Lite Pro Switch-Mode BEC Brushless ESC (V2)
Servos 4 EFLR7155
Receiver Spektrum™ AR635, 6-Channel AS3X Sport Receiver
Battery Charger300mA–2.0A 2–3 cell LiPo battery charger

Build

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Colourful box

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Everything superbly packaged and protected with foam supports.

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All the kit contents out of box, my first observation is how light yet rigid it all feels!

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Instructions are clear & easy to follow, not that there is much to do or get wrong!

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Undercarriage installation is first, the sprung wire is a snug fit in the slot.

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Plastic clamp piece, restrains the UC well, four self tapping screws hold it in place.

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The horizontal stab, has a long carbon rod making for a very rigid elevator setup. The elevator halves join with a keyed plastic socket joint that also aligns the halves perfectly.

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A plastic furring on the fuselage, makes for a nice snug fit & finish. The stabs are held in place with 8 pieces of Sellotape.

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The elevator clevis is pre installed in the fuse & just needs connected to the elevator horn. Notice the steerable tail wheel fixed to the rudder.

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That completes the fuselage

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The SFG’s are to be fixed to the wing next, a well thought out design here, the underside ones are stiffened & have a plastic edge protection incase of a rough landing.

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The SFG’s fix to a recess outboard on the wing panels. Double sided foam sticky tape is used to fix them. You can clearly see the vortex triangles on the Leading edge, a really nice feature on a 3D aeroplane.

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A close up on the underside SFG, you can clearly see the reinforcement.

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Vortex tabs on the underside leading edge also.

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The wing is connected to fuselage with a strong carbon tube & a screw holds it in place. The aileron Y lead is connected at this stage. You may also make out a fibreglass fuselage stiffener, this keeps the fuselage along its entire length very rigid & strong.

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Large battery hatch, no magnets this time, a push button latch, nice feature. The battery is held in place with Velcro loops & some Velcro fixed to the supplied 3s PZ 2200mah 25c lipo.

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Battery hatch closed, flush finish & easy access from the top. This is important as you need to keep plane still during battery connection to let the AS3X calibrate correctly.

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The RX has a clear vented cover, this is to let the warm air from the power system out and let’s you identify the coloured lights of the gyro easily for setup purposes.

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The finished model, looks great!

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A nice spinner & a new 12×4 prop on the all new 1250kv Power 10 motor.

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Underside view. A good colour contrast.

I hope to test fly this coming weekend. I’m going to study the AR635 manual, I want to learn how it works & experiment with setup, I’ll report on my findings. By default Quique has set it up for the best mix of aerobatic & 3D, so ill start with that, he has done a lot of research and it’ll work great.

Thanks to Horizon Hobby UK for this aeroplane, it might be foam but its packed with the latest technology in RC today!

Here are some videos to wet your appetite.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8uaJxLBrDc

Flight Testing

Conditions for the test flight were perfect to review how the new AS3X RX would perform. There was a medium but steady breeze and it was slightly crosswind. Using the stock 3s 2200mah, the takeoff was short even on a rough grass strip. It was clear to me right from the off this plane was different. The VisionAire had the feel of a much larger aeroplane, the stability in the breeze was very impressive for a just over 1Kg foam model.

I tried some basic aero’s and again it tracked like an arrow. After a few minutes I could tell the AS3X system wasn’t interfering it was working in the background, I couldn’t feel it’s inputs, but I could feel & see the effect. That was less work for me on the sticks.

Flipping the gain/FM switch from the preset general flight into 3D gave me more rates, I’m not sure exactly yet what the gain differences are between those modes but it certainly didn’t feel twitchy in 3D mode. I was still able to fly around in comfort which for 3D novices is a superb thing. In post stall manoeuvres the VisionAire is easy to fly, it still requires you to control it & inputs still have to be correct, but stick corrections in the breeze & against a full stall are reduced greatly, no wing rocking and good tracking at a range of forward speeds in highalpha flight. Both upright & inverted harriers were equally steady and responsive. Rolling harriers proved solid in tracking also, even with the crosswind the drift was so little, I didn’t even notice there was a crosswind. I was really impressed by this.

Knife edge required no coupling inputs (ie elevator & ailerons) to keep the line and when I slowed things down and went to really high alpha KE there was no sign of a snap out or any coupling. I also found that the positive & negative snaps had a really positive stop to them, i deliberately got deep into them at a range of attitudes and was encouraged by how quick the stop was.

My impression of the system is that it really facilitates the flight experience, by reducing the work load. This means you can concentrate more on flying. I’d liken it to having a perfectly setup aircraft without the weeks of setup mechanically & within the TX. It can only benefit pilots off all levels but particularly novice 3D pilots. I let my dad have a flight with it, he has been flying for many years and flys to a good standard. He was able to perform perfect KE passes & snaps, something he would have previously needed to work at on the sticks, he was also impressed how the VisionAire performed and liked the steady feel.

10 out of 10 to Parkzone, Spektrum & Quique. This aircraft displays the AS3X’s capabilities superbly and the new technology will change how we fly in the future.

Some pictures from the test flight, no snow that day thankfully.

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Here is some video footage,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKujVsbu3BQ

Matthew

Eflite Scimitar

 E-Flite, Horizon Hobby UK  Comments Off on Eflite Scimitar
Mar 052012
 

The Eflite Scimitar is the latest design from Quique Somenzini and incoperates the Carbon-Z technology. It is the evolution of the popular F-27q Stryker from parkzone and takes it to the next level.

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 Here is what Eflite have to say about their product.

Overview
The E-flite Carbon-Z Scimitar is true satisfaction for the RC pilot who desires flight performance and adrenaline pounding excitement previously thought impossible from a conventional aircraft platform. The fantasy-scale Carbon-Z Scimitar, designed by world aerobatic champion Quique Somenzini, bursts open the performance envelope with an evolutionary tailless swept wing. At the heart of the advanced Carbon-Z Scimitar is a specially tuned Q-Power system harnessed inside a revolutionary single-axis, vectored-thrust propeller system. In combination with the precision of carbon rod hinged elevons and twin rudders, a refreshing level of maneuverability can be explored after less than an evening’s worth of assembly time.

Product Specifications
Wingspan: 42.6 in (1080mm)
Overall Length: 35.0 in (889mm)
Wing Area: 565 sq. in. (36.5 sq. dm.)
Flying Weight: 4.40 lb (2.0 kg)
Motor Size: 32-size 1010Kv Brushless Outrunner (installed)
Radio: AR600 6-channel DSMX receiver (installed)
Servos: 5 digital high-speed, high-power sub-micro servos; 1 digital high-power metal-gear mini servo (installed)
Trim Scheme Colors: Red, black, and white
CG (center of gravity): 21.8-22.2 in (553-565mm) back from the airplane nose
Wing Loading: 17.9 oz/sq. ft.
Prop Size: 10 x 8
Speed Control : 60-Amp Pro SB Brushless with Switch-Mode BEC (installed)
Recommended Battery: 4S 14.8V 30C 3200mAh LiPo (included)
Retracts: Optional
Control Throw (Ailerons): Low: 34mm up, 17mm down, 35% expo; High: 38mm up, 21mm down, 45% expo
Control Throw (Elevator): Low: 25mm up, 17mm down, 20% expo; High: 44mm up, 36mm down, 55% expo
Control Throw (Rudder): Low: 50mm right/left, 10% expo; High: 80mm right/left, 30% expo
Approx. Flying Duration: 5 minutes
Charger: 3-4S DC Li-Po Balancing Charger (included)
Minimum Age Recommendation: 14 years
Experience Level: Intermediate
Recommended Environment: Outdoor
Assembly Time: Less than 1 Hour
Is Assembly Required: Yes

Needed to Complete
Retracts
A 6+ channel DSM2- or DSMX-compatible transmitter capable of elevon mixing, dual rates, and exponential programming.

Here are some of pictures of the test flight, it was a cold day, 20+mph windy day and the light was fading, but I was well impressed with how it flew, I didnt get to experiment with the vector thrust, but it tracks really well and handles the wind no problem.

Scimitar
 

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I’ll get more chance to experiment in the coming weeks, but I’m excited about this plane, it brings a new side to flying.

Matthew