Too much joy, you know, like when you are doing something you aren't supposed to be doing and loving every second of it.,
Remembering when we were young, the times we were doing something completely blissful was usually right before we got caught, and that instant lasts forever when you are flying a Demonstrator. It's so much fun you know that you are being a bad, bad boy. Truly, too much joy.
So, I just had to build a second one. You know, just in case.
My initial reaction to seeing the first photos of the Demonstrator was that, thankfully they finally put a nice landing gear on it, because the old Edge 1.5 Huck this plane is based on flew pretty well. Now it's going to be a nice plane. What caught me out was just how much nicer 3DHS has made this plane. The carbon motorbox, battery tray, anti rotation pins and supports, plus carbon reinforced servo mounts and cowl tabs not only stiffens up the plane considerably (which makes it fly and track better), but the bling value makes the Demonstrator as much fun to show off to people than any plane I can remember.
The capper is the superb printed color scheme with carbon style flames licking over the entire plane. From a cool standpoint, this plane is simply blinding.
Even though that's more than enough, that's not the real story behind this plane. The real joy is the most important part, which as always is the flying. I flew enough 1.5 hucks to know I was going to like this plane, but the surprise was how much better the improvements stiffened the plane, and how much better that makes it fly. I've got to be honest and say the 1.5 in my eye was never as good as the SHP, even for the new guys. Remember the SHP is my baseline plane, and I judge every other plane by how it compares to this. The 1.5 was a decent plane, but the SHP was always going to be better in every way. Now though, the Demonstrator is at least it's equal, so equal in fact that I can't separate them. If I had to choose just one, it would come down to flipping a coin.
As much fun as I have had over the last 10 years flying SHPs, the Demonstrator gives the same kind of giggles, only with sizzling coolness.
I've been using Hitec HS65MGs in my current Demonstrator and while they have been great, after 300 really hard flights they are getting a little tired and I wanted to upgrade for this plane. They have been great, but since this is a new plane, I wanted the very best of everything for it, including servos.
My friends at Hitec RCD were kind enough to send me a set of HS5070MH servos, and the new Demonstrator was a good opportunity to put them into play. These servos run on 7.4 to 8.0 volts, and as such, have much better speed, torque and centering. This is going to show up big in how well the new plane will fly. There's going to be no stalling or blowback, which will give you a more responsive plane. Also, the plane will track like a laser beam with their precision centering. Major upgrade for only a few dollars.
Also worth noting is that this HS5070MH is under stressed in this application, so they just sort of do the job loafing around. It's like using a hammer to drive a thumb tack, but the benefit is the servos are having such an easy time of it that reliability goes way up.
When I built the Murder SHP two years ago I went with the HS5070MH and they have been off the chain stellar. I beat that plane hard and often, and there was ever going to be a servo that screamed
"enough", it was going to be in that plane. Still, they are going strong.
Since the Demonstrator is the same weight and size, this servo is idea and about as good of a servo as you can find in this size. The HS5070MH is the same size servo, and in fact even uses the same bolt pattern, but it's a little taller. Hitec kept this in mind when they designed the servo and they did not make it too tall for use in current planes. Basically, you can just swap the out for your HS65MGs and have an instant upgrade.
To feed these servo 8.0 volts, I rely on the trust Castle Creations 10 amp BEC. This is such a good little unit that I even use it in planes as big as my 60" EXPs.
Power SystemBy now most readers know what's coming next. Of course, it was going to be a Torque and an Airboss.
But of course.
I started my association with Extreme Flight in 2008 representing the Torque and Airboss brands. That's 9 years of absolutely dead solid perfect reliability, so even if something else was recommended, and Torque and Airboss was still going to go into this plane. In this case it's my favorite of all of them, the venerable, versatile and bulletproof Torque 2814. I have flown this motor on 3, 4 and even 5 cells and it's always had great power, smooth running, perfect reliability and it's very own distinct turbine like sound. On 3s it just sounds like a sewing machine, on 4s it's like a turbine engine with the governor taken off and the throttle jammed open. On 5s it lets out a blood curling howl that's frightening to hear.
For those of you who are replacing their older beloved wire geared 48" Edges, or even SHPs, your Omega 130G will bolt right in and work just fine. The Omega 103 will work too, but you might find it to be a little underwhelming.
Worth mentioning is that if you buy the Torque/Airboss power system with your kit as a combo, you save about $70. That drops the price to where the motor is essentially almost free, or to the point the entire power system is very competitively priced with "budget" power systems that won't be nearly as good. If you already have a power system, that's good too, but if you need one for this plane, there's no better way to go than the Torque/Airboss power system combo.
I wanted to mount the ESC on the bottom of the motorbox, but I could not get the deans plug to come out where I wanted it. I may play around with it later, but for now it was essential to get the article finished and get some video in the can and on the net.
As such, I simply mounted it on the side of the motorbox and the deans plug comes into the battery compartment where it is out of the way for battery change out, but perfectly positioned to plug it into the battery.
Aileron Set UpSport flyers might think this set up looks wrong because the pushrod is not at a straight angle. The reason we set the pushrod this way is because in 3D we run so much throw that you want the pushrod as straight as you can get it at maximum throw. Bolting it to what appears to be the wrong side of the control horn actually gives you perfect geometry at full deflection.
In a major upgrade 3DHS is now supplying double ball link hardware. Ball links give you smoother, drag free operation, as well as eliminating any slop or looseness in the pushrod system. They are also much easier to set up that the old swivel connectors, You just bolt them on and you're done. I love this upgrade.
Elevator Set Up
Again, it's just a simple dual ball link set up. If you follow the manual, it's really hard, if not impossible to go wrong. The kit comes with hardened allen head bolts and lock nuts, so again it's just a simple bolt together operation.
I used the standard arm that comes with the servo and pegged my end points. This gives me slightly less than bevel to bevel deflection, so it's plenty of throw with no danger of the servo binding. Like the rest of my set up, this comes straight out of the manual. The entire plane is extremely well thought out.
You want your pushrods to be as straight as you can get them, so to achieve this for the elevator. I bolted the ball link to the inside of control horn. The alignment is absolutely perfect, which assures smooth operation and good centering of the control surface.
Ruder Set Up
I'm going to cheat a little here and point you to the picture above because it also gives you a good view of the pull/pull rudder cables. The slots in the fuselage come precut, so it's a simple matter to tuck the loose covering into the slot with a trim iron.
Pull/pull systems are not difficult to set up or maintain. You just need to know a few tricks, and you'll learn those on your own after you do a few of them yourself. The only thing that makes me crazy on pull/pull installations is that's it's not easy to do a clean looking installation. You've got the crimp piece and the wire loop and the extra wire hanging out, and to me I just cringe when I see work like that.
I think I've come up with a decent enough looking solution though. First, I slide the crimp piece very close to the threaded adjuster piece, and I pull the slack wire so tight that the loop you would normally see flattens out against the crimp piece. I crimp, run a little thin CA onto the crimp piece, and once the glue sets up I cover the whole thing with some heat shrink tubing.
It's not perfect, but it looks so much better than having everything exposed that I an reasonably happy with it. I am probably going to always have one of these planes, so I will work on making something even cleaner looking. I have a little bit of OCD on things like this, which always drives me to trying to do things better.
Here's what the cables look like hooked to the servo. You use that standard Hitec HS65MG servo arm that comes with the servo. Again, I got the crimp pieces as close as I could to the connector pieces, got the loop wire as tight as I could and heat shrunk the entire thing to make a neater looking package.