Going Electric - With Electro Flyer!

Where's Electro Flyer Been? Out Flying, That's Where!
By Mark Stringer

Where have I been you may well be asking??? Apologies for not getting an article together for so long but life has been very busy and the weather has been as terrible as ever. Finally some good weather has smiled on us!

Four models ready and waiting to fly, reviews unfinished due to lack of time and suitable weather, but finally everything fell into place and I had one hell of an afternoon down at my local airstrip.With a car full to bursting, batteries and chargers at the ready, off I went to the field.

Bede BD5D
OK, where do I start? Probably the longest outstanding model to be flight-tested is the BD5D. Just as a reminder, it is a superb model that was the last of the stock from the Czech Republic source that stopped doing models. With a Speed 600 pusher and ultra light fibreglass body and in ARTF format it looks wonderful.

A previous attempt at flight had failed due to long grass and small wheels. Everything in the instructions points out that this takes off and lands fast due to the very thin wing section so tarmac should be required for a good run-up. With a Speed 600BB in the back and a freshly mown strip I had high hopes as I had replaced the wheels with larger ones to try and overcome the grass barrier.

So with a fully charged pack and at the top of the slope on the strip I was ready. Full power and a push and off she went, dragging along the grass - no way she was going to achieve the speed she needed off grass!

I went and fetched her back, picked her up and had insane thoughts of a hand launch. The instructions came to mind - "Do not try and hand launch the model as the design, speed and responsiveness does not make it suitable for hand launching" - but if I throw it fast enough surely it will fly?

So, determined after all this time to get her in the air, I went well down the strip (which had a bit of a cross wind) and faced straight into wind at the edge of the long grass to help cushion her if she didn't make it.

Everything checked, full power and good chuck! 20 feet later she arrived in the long grass. No damage done. AH! So she really does need to go fast to get flying.

Back I went, still determined, full power, a run; a powerful throw and off she went.

I kept her very low, getting lots of buffeting from the ground, letting her pick up speed. She flew! She quickly picked up speed and with my heart in my mouth she started to gain height.

At this point I realised that she really is fast - very fast. It was like flying a small aerobatic .40 powered rocket!

WOW!!!!! Is this really an electric model???? Well, it is, but it is very, very responsive, very fast, sounds great and handles like a dream, just not for beginner flyers.

The flight lasted about 6 or 7 minutes before it sounded like she was slowing down so I did a quick landing -a little too quick but no harm done. I retrieved her and opened her up to disconnect the battery. What's that smell? Smells like the battery pack has got too hot, or maybe the speed controller has not coped with all that speed. But NO, to my dismay the motor, a brand new Speed 600BB, was smoking merrily filling the fuselage with smoke.

No damage done to the model but I will have to have a good look at it to find out why it should have burnt out after only one flight.

In summary I will have to go and find some tarmac to take the adrenalin out of the launch and save it for the flight - and there will be lots more flight to come. I still can't believe this is electric; it is just as powerful, responsive and fast as any .40 size model.

Fan-Tastic Models Mig 15
OK. What's next? Oh yes, the EDF Mig that I reviewed. Well it was a little breezy but I was fairly confident that it wasn't too bad even though it only weighs 6oz, so off I went with her all charged up.

A decent throw into wind and off she went, well out of trim initially, elevator wise, but that was soon sorted out and it was a real thrill.

The GWS EDF50 sounds just great and has plenty of power although I do fancy swapping it out for the lighter more powerful 40 and may change to a 7-cell pack for even more oomph, but she is more than capable as she is.

Nice and steady, looks great, handles really well but you can stick the nose down and scream past on a low pass.

An absolute treat! My first EDF model and she will get lots of flight in the future. The only thing I will do is to strengthen the nose section. I have a few ounces to spare so that should be OK, but as the model lands front first and having no undercarriage it does tend to take a bit of pressure on the nose which is quite weak making the foam suffer. Other than that it is a big positive vote for this super little model.

Right then, chronologically I next come to two of the models from my supplier in Hong Kong (I am still having lots of fun with the helicopters but will review these further, later). I know I am a reseller for these but I have to say that they have got their models absolutely right!

Firstly the "Badius" electric powered glider. A lovely looking little model aimed at the first time flyer.

It comes almost ready to fly with motor and radio (27MHz) installed. It comes with motor, 2 micro servos, receiver and speed controller all fitted. Just join the wings with the plastic plate and screw them on, screw the rudder and tail-plane on and connect the pushrods to the elevator and rudder. The wings are tough foam with carbon fibre (I presume) rods as reinforcement; the body is plastic so all together it will take some hefty learning knocks.

All in all it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to put it together, now that really is ARTF!

It comes with a 7 cell Ni-Cad pack and mains charger (well worth getting a DC fast charger) and a nice little transmitter with proportional rudder and elevator as primary stick controls plus a rotary knob for proportional throttle control. It even comes with a spare folding prop.

So, to the flight! I stood on the strip not quite sure what to expect from this little glider.

Throttle at full power and a throw into wind. Now came the shock! She went shooting away - skywards! No lack of power at all. Very controllable and more than enough power. A great rate of climb and nicely responsive to the controls.

After one circuit I throttled her back as she just didn't need full power. She flies beautifully and gains height very quickly and easily at which point you can throttle her right back, or cut the power completely and just glide around. They have got the aerodynamics perfect on this model in every respect and it will make a great first model or just a super fun model for the experienced modeller wanting to go electric.

Landing was as smooth as the rest of the flight - just lovely!

And so to the last model awaiting review - the 4 channel Aerobatic electric model called the "Challenger".

This lovely little model came to me with micro servos for elevator, rudder and a single aileron servo, proportional speed controller, a 280 (I think) motor and plastic prop, all fitted and almost ready to go. A 7-cell battery pack and mains charger completed the package.

This is another quick build kit. An almost symmetrical one piece wing made of tough foam with plastic wingtips and having a real wing section rather than the usual high lift curved section is held in place with bands, so just screw the tail plane/fin in place to the plastic body and connect the push rods.

Mine came with a slightly too large receiver so I replaced it with a GWS 6 channel micro receiver. I have spoken to the suppliers and this has been addressed for future packages (you have the choice of just the kit or a kit with all radio) so this is not a concern.

The rest of the radio was exactly what was needed. I did add a small plate to act as a battery clamp just to hold everything in place nicely and I have sent the details of this to the supplier as well so this should also be taken care of in the future.

A set of transfers for the whole model came on a single sheet, just cut them out and stick them all over it - really cool!

OK, so did this sweet little plane fly? Well, I knew it wouldn't get off from the long grass so, having thoroughly enjoyed the Badius glider I felt happy to give this one a throw. Throttle open, a good throw and off she went - as straight as a die!

Gaining height was no problem at all, just put in some up elevator and she goes up. A little bit of trimming during the first circuit and I was totally at ease with her. This is a real pattern ship in miniature, but not lacking anything in power or performance.

I realised that there was not enough aileron movement for my liking so I kept things reasonably gentle. That said I was happy enough to try a roll, which she did very smoothly. So what about inverted flight I thought. So I rolled her over and instinctively added some down elevator - that's up - if you know what I mean!

She immediately climbed inverted as if to say "Why have you done that?" so I eased off and did an inverted circuit with complete ease.

This little plastic and foam model just doesn't fly like one. She is a perfect precision pattern ship in every respect, she just happens to be small, electric, foam and plastic!

Landing was just the same as the rest of the flight, smooth, precise and easy with slower flight not reducing the controllability - an absolute gem!

Radio Queen
After a fantastic days flying I rounded it off with a flight of my Team Gear powered Radio Queen. This 84" span vintage model flies on 14 cells with a Team Gear Scale Twin motor turning a 16x10 prop. I don't use a BEC controller as she easily carries a receiver battery pack. I had a lovely peaceful relaxing 15 or 20 minutes with her, bringing her down purely because it was getting a bit windy and late, she just seems to want to stay up there forever and you get the feeling she is looking for thermals to stay up even longer.

What's Next?
Well that's it for this month. Hopefully that has made up for my delay in getting things up to date on lots of projects. So what is coming next?

Well, I am building a 54" span Catalina for twin 280 motors and 3-channel radio and Louise is building a 64" span Custom Cruiser that is a Sailplanes International model (they seem to have ceased trading some time ago) of 50's/60's American style high wing aircraft. This should make a nice trainer and of course will have a Team Gear Sport Twin and 14 cells as the power plant.
Other than that, in view of how good the models from Hong Kong seem and based on what is doing really well at the moment I will see if I can get hold of a Wing Dragon. This is a little foam park-flying pusher aimed at being a first model.

I also now have access to micro wireless video cameras with sound, small TFT type monitors or TV's to go with them and USB2 leads that allow you to record your flight video straight to your laptop.

My web site is in dire need of updating and I will do it just as soon as I get chance and add all of the new products. I also hope to add some video clips of all of the models flying and a sample of aerial video to give an idea of what these little cameras can do.

So, until next time, enjoy your flying and keep it electric!

If you have any questions then please get in touch with Mark at:
or check out his web site at: