The full-scale de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver is an icon for the state of Alaska and country of Canada where ‘normal’ planes don’t like to fly. Being that this high-winged STOL aircraft can be found all over the ‘north country’ speaks for itself. The Beaver is most at home on floats but with tundra tires has landed at places that have never seen an airplane.
The purpose of the Beaver is simple: get people, cargo to where they want to go and if that isn’t enough, it can be used as a crop duster, aerial topdressing. The Beaver is considered by many as the best bush plane ever built. Usually powered by a P&W R-985 Wasp Junior radial engine, the newer Beavers of equipped with a 680 hp PT6A-34 turboprop engine.
Horizon is now offering a giant scale version of the DHC-2 Beaver – 110” wingspan model that has set a new level for ARF models with scale details that make this model a real head-turning item as it sits in the pits or when doing a slow fly-by. Corrugated scale flying surface surfaces, four functioning doors (the rear two have a ‘bubble’ window), and a sharp color scheme are just a few of the refinements demonstrated on this model.
Wingspan: 110” (2800mm)
Length: 66.0 in (168cm)
Wing Area: 1485 sq in (95.8 sq dm)
Weight: 16.5–17.25 lb (7.5–7.8 kg)
Wing Loading: ~26 oz./sq. ft
Radio: 6-channel (or greater) with 7 servos, 6 for EP
Servos: 85 oz. torque (7)
Engine: 30 -35 cc Gas
Motor: Power 160 Brushless
Speed Control: 120 AMP ESC
Batteries: (2) 5000mAh 6S 22.2V 30C LiPo
This model was purchased at an Estate Sale and was missing a few items but generally in good condition. The manual was missing as was the tail wheel assembly, but other than that everything appeared as it should. The fuselage had a small crack in the fiberglass but was not something to be concerned about. Various hardware packages contained all the hardware needed to complete the project.
Wing: Ailerons/flaps/optional lights
Fuselage: Main Landing Gear;Rudder;Tailwheel;Elevator/Stabilizer;Tail Cone;Engine/Tank/Cowl/Throttle;Cowl detail;Interior details (seats);Electronics;Optional Floats;Wing struts;Scale fittings.
Following the instructions (obtained from Horizon’s website), the elevators were joined with Zap’s Thin CA and mated up with the two horizontal stabilizers. This sub-assembly would be joined to the fuselage later in the assembly.
The flaps and ailerons were next on the agenda and were glued into place without any difficulty. For servos, ProModeler (http://www.promodeler.com/servos) #DS180DLHV (180 oz. torque) were used throughout the plane with one exception: #DS360DLHV (360 oz. torque) was used on the rudder. I am very impressed with their quality and price! Also purchased at the same time were a couple of longer servo arms and a flight battery.
The aileron servo needs a 24” extension to reach the wing root. The supplied 4-40 aileron pushrod fit without any modifications. The flap servo required a 6” extension and the pushrod is hidden inside the wing. Again, the instructions and supplied materials fit without any changes.
Surprisingly, the landing gear was next! Most modelers like to wait mounting the landing gear as it can ‘get in the way’ while working on other fuselage matters, but this time their suggestion was followed and it was the correct call. The two piece landing gear bolts securely from inside the fuselage. There is a gap between the two portions of the fairings, and this is where some shock absorbing material is used on the full-scale airplane. Some black fuel tubing could be inserted in the gap for a more scale-like appearance.
The rudder was next on the chopping block and whereas this was a pull-pull arrangement, the rudder horn was glued into the rudder and the lower portion of that horn (and bell crank) fits nicely inside the fuselage. Perfectly lined up, the two pull-pull cables connect to the bellcrank – and all of this is out of sight!
One modification (or contrary to the instruction manual) was made that being the rudder pull-pull cables connected to the outer holes in both the servo arm and rudder bellcrank, resulting in maximum rudder throw.
Now it was time to connect the beautiful tail wheel to the fuselage. Two more pull-pull cables connects the gorgeously crafted tail wheel assembly to the same rudder servo, but this time used the inside holes on the horn resulting is less tail wheel movement. Taildraggers can have a nasty habit of going all over the place on take-off, therefore, with less movement (and some Expo) straight take-offs can be easily accomplished. The tail cone finishes off the back of the fuselage.
At this point the two elevator/stabilizer sub-assemblies are mounted to the carbon-fiber stabilizer rod and secured with a couple of 4-40 bolts. A single elevator servo pushes a ‘Y’ pushrod. This may cause some concern but so far has worked well.
The engine installation came next. The recommended engine (Evolution 33GX) installation would have made this project so much easier but whereas there was an older DLE 30 cc sitting on the shelf and the “Jerry Fun Fund” was dry, the decision was easy – DLE all the way. At one time an Evolution 26GT was considered but I had some power concerns, after all this plane does come in close to 20 lbs! As it turned out the DLE 30 was a good choice for power – NOT for installation.
The engine was to be mounted on an engine ‘box’ that would also include the tank. This ‘box’ would then be slid into another plywood ‘box’ inside the plane and epoxied in place. The good news is that the engine box could be slid back and forth in order to get the propeller the correct distance from the cowl. The bad news is the high and low speed needles are buried inside the fuselage requiring a hole in the fuselage. Luckily the hole is just hidden by the cowl but requires the cowl be removed in order to adjust the engine.
The problem is that the DLE has a rear mounted carburetor and some of the firewall would have to be removed. Not a big deal for yours truly as this has been done in the past more than once, but a relative novice in the building department might give up at this point and throw in the towel. The Evolution 33GX is a forward mounted carburetor and makes installation much more straight forth.
So a section of the firewall was removed and the DLE 30 installed. At this time the tank was also connected as was a manual choke pushrod (4-40). This assembly was epoxied in place with Zap 30-Minute Epoxy mixed with Great Plane PRO Milled Fiberglass. That fiberglass sure seems to turn 30-Minute epoxy into 15-Minute epoxy, so there wasn’t any dilly-dallying.
Being that the tough part was now over, the ‘fun’ parts start. The scale details on this Beaver are well above average. You first notice the corrugated scale surface detail on all of the flight controls, and then you see a complete interior with seats, full cockpit and a scale radial engine. So let the fun began!
The seats come as 8 separate pieces (seat and back). When gluing the front seats on the base, make certain you leave enough room to fit the base back into its proper place. The dashboard needs some patience but sure it is life-like.
Sadly because the DLE sits further back than recommended engine, the supplied tank required a portion of the front center council removed. I found this acceptable as now the fuel level can be viewed from the outside. It was also decided not in install the control yokes as the possibility of them being damaged by the access to the manual choke pushrod.
Both front doors get a lot of use, one for access to the on-off switch, the other door for access to the choke pushrod. The right front door handle fell off on the second or third flight and my attempt to recreate their mechanism ‘almost’ works but needs some refining. The rear doors are not used too frequently and the ‘servo cover’ was used to keep the wiring from the navigation lights interfering with the rudder and elevator servos.
Oops, did I mention lights? When I purchased this ARF, an ElectroDynamics light kit was included! This ‘kit’ was especially designed for the Hangar 9 Beaver (EDR-117C H9-Beaver LiteSys). Contained in this complete system you have navigational (red/green), clear strobe, landing and red strobe: all in one package! All lights are powered on when the receiver is turned on. Landing lights come ‘on’ when full flaps are activated, the landing lights alternate (right on, left off; right off, left on), just like the full-scale Beaver.
The down side of this ‘bling’ is the wiring – what a mess inside the fuselage…more like spaghetti. To un-complicate matters, my buddy made two extensions for each wing; one for the flaps and ailerons and the other for the lights. This made field set-up much easier. Thanks George, now go program my transmitter some more so I can drop the flaps and not balloon or dive!
The wing struts ARE FUNCTIONAL….so don’t leave home without them. One word of caution is required: they will easily break at the wing junction if the strut is moved forward or backward, so be careful. One of mine broke when putting the wing on and the wing rotated on the wing tube! Yea George who fixed it with some JB Weld!
Now on to the cowl….beautifully painted but difficult to secure to the fuselage. After many failed attempts, servo screws were installed out in the open for everyone to see.
The final touch was the wheels….supplied ones were ‘too small’ in my opinion, so some 6” Du-Bro balloon wheels were installed to give the Beaver more of a “Tundra” appearance. I’d really like to see floats on this one, but Arizona isn’t known for its lakes and rivers.
Good news: no additional weight was needed to achieve the recommended CG location of 4”. The flying weight with a full load of fuel was 19 lbs 12 .oz resulting in a wing loading of 30.6 oz/sq. ft. Not bad for a 110” wingspan 20 pound plane.
The first flight resulted in a terrible take-off with the Beaver using up all 50 feet (wide) portion of the paved 750’ long runway. That flight ended in a dead stick and a somewhat bouncy landing. The second flight became interesting because right after another crazy take-off, the left wheel dropped off! After flying around a while, a one wheel landing resulted in one successful adventure – almost ended up on the center line and didn’t break the prop.
With that fixed the third flight was just getting going when the right wheel fell off! Being frustrated it was decided to quit making the video and just fly the heck out of this plane. Loops, hammerheads and aileron rolls just about covered the acrobatic limits of this bird so another one wheel landing come to peaceful end – again without breaking a prop or flipping over. We didn’t get that one on tape, but we did the first one.
New longer Du-Bro axles were purchased and with some 3/16” wheel collars, the wheels are now on (I hope) forever. The supplied axles weren’t designed for the thicker wheels of the Du-Bro ‘Tundra Tires’ so the longer axles provided more material to work with.
So how does this 30cc bird fly anyway? Glad you asked….just like a Cub, but better (now that ought to start a fight of words if nothing else). With the aileron throws at the maximum, rolls are slow and turns really need some rudder and I do mean some (very little) as the rudder is very powerful. A couple of times the Beaver almost ended up in a knife-edge attitude when too much rudder was used in a turn.
While flying and still having trouble with a straight take-off, a club member noticed my rudder and tail wheel didn’t really line up! Humm, so maybe that was the cause of my lack of center-line take off! Some minor adjustments were made to get both parties playing nicely together.
The next take-off was as straight as an arrow. What was happening was the tail wheel was pulling the plane to right and naturally left rudder was added. Then when the tail wheel left the ground, there was already some left rudder now add some torque, bingo: one left turn! I was beginning to wonder if the soft rubber tires were grabbing the asphalt in more ways than one, but it in the end it was ‘operator error’ on my part.
Landings are and will always be a challenge for a Beaver due in part to the shock-LESS landing gear. Now add some big rubber tires and yes, you WILL get a bounce or two unless you happen to land perfectly on grass. For some reason big tires like grass and don’t favor asphalt, especially if you slow down too much like I often do. Mid-flap setting requires some down elevator and full flaps require even more. Many landings utilizing full flaps require a very high idle. Remember your throttle controls your rate of sink and the Beaver is a heavy plane at almost 20 lbs so if it starts to sink too fast don’t count on the elevator to save you – use throttle. The Beaver is very stable at slow speeds.
Overall I think the Beaver is a fine airplane and will fly very nicely on a 30cc engine. Aerobatics are not its forte but beautiful fly-bys make up for the lack of being able to hover, do waterfalls, etc. When parked in the pits the Beaver seems to attract more attention than I thought it would. So in conclusion, ‘It’s a Keeper’, now where do I store it!!!
Very well engineered
Excellent scale details
Tail wheel assembly
Replacement parts available
Light kit available
Engines other than Evolution 33GX require a lot of modifications
Single pushrod for elevator
Cowl mounting configuration
Mixture of SAE and Metric hardware
Functioning door handles get sloppy due to wear in the door itself