RA Cores TwoFo – an Electric Airplane Review

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Introduction

I had originally thought of adding the name of the airplane to the title photo, but it came out so perfectly that I decided to just use the photo! Yes, this is an electric airplane review for the new RA Cores TwoFO. Many of you are familiar with RA Cores’ BluFO – for those that aren’t, it’s a delta wing airplane with a pusher propeller, and it’s made from Depron Foam or EPP Foam.

So what could be better than having a lightweight foam airplane that flies well? How about making it a double! The new TwoFO is a slightly modified version of the BluFO in that it incorporates a pair of motors in a conventional tractor configuration. Still interested in this unique, foam, ‘kit built’ twin? Read on and find out if you’ve got what it takes to conquer the TwoFO!

Specifications

Wingspan:   24 – 1/2″

Length:    25″

Weight (w/o Battery) 12 oz (340 g)

Equipment Required

1000 -1600 mAh 2S LiPo Battery 

Two 2805-2840kV Brushless Outrunner Motors

Two 12Amp Brushless ESCs

Two 9-Gram Servos

Two 6×4 Propellers – Clockwise and Counter-Clockwise rotating

One Y-Harness

4-Channel (Minimum) Transmitter and Receiver (Transmitter Must be Delta Wing Capable

Equipment Used

RA Cores’ TwoFO Completer Kit – comes with all required equipment (Except LiPo Battery)

Hitec Flash 7 2.4 gHz Transmitter 

Hitec Optima 6 Lite – 6 Channel 2.4 gHz Receiver

Zippy Compact 1000mAh 2S 40C LiPo Battery

XT60 Battery connector for ESCs

First Look

The TwoFO arrived in a plain mailing box – inside I found the kit wrapped in a plastic bag. The Kit consisted of four sheets of pre-cut 6mm Depron Foam with (optional) decals pre-applied. All hardware required to get the TwoFO in the air is included – this consisted of several flat carbon fiber sticks, two carbon fiber rods, pushrod ends, magnets, heat-shrink tubing, and motor mounts and control horns. The motor mounts and control horns are the only wood parts in the whole kit, and both are laser cut.

For this review, I will be using RA Cores’ TwoFO completer kit. If you would like to purchase your own electronics, you can, but Jim (the owner of RA Cores) has the completer kit available at a decent price.

At the time of this review, the manual had been written but most of the illustrations had not been inserted into the manual. Jim says the manual will be completed soon, and will have all necessary illustrations. The TwoFO can be built without illustrations by experienced modelers, though, so if you’ve built a few foam airplanes you’ll be able to build this one.

One last item to cover: Adhesives. The main adhesive for assembly is Beacon Foam Tac. It is specifically designed to work well with foam, and is a great adhesive for the TwoFO. I also used foam-safe CA and foam-safe CA accelerator in a few places, so pick up those when you buy the Foam Tac.

Assembly

Assembly began with gluing a flat carbon fiber stick to the two long edges of ‘Wing 4’. I taped the two sticks in place and set it aside while the Foam Tac dried. There are two Elevons and two ‘Wing 5’ parts. All four of these pieces were beveled before hinging with Foam Tac. Check out the instructional video below to see how I made the hinges!

So now that the elevons have been attached to the ‘Wing 5’ pieces, they and the ‘Wing 3’ parts are glued to the ‘Wing 4’ Assembly. The outer, flat, carbon fiber sticks were also glued to the assembly at this point as well.

‘Wing 1’ and ‘Wing 2’ parts were glued in place next, followed by the ventral fins.

The Dorsal fins were glued in place next, followed by the dorsal and ventral carbon fiber reinforcement sticks. These carbon fiber stick will provide some ‘torque support’ when the motors are running.

There are 16 of the quarter-round pieces in total – eight of them are used to make ‘gussets’ behind the two light ply motor mounts. I did use foam-safe CA and foam-safe CA accelerator to glue the gussets and motor mounts in place. The rear half of the motors were then attached to the two mounts, followed by the motor and ESCs. I did have to solder the motor wires to the ESCs, and the ESCs are attached to the bottom of the wing with adhesive-backed Velcro.

I cut a hole in the wing just large enough to get the XT-60 battery connector through to the top side of the wing. Two more small holes were cut in the bottom  fuselage sides to allow the ESC wires into the fuselage. The bottom fuselage sides were then glued in place, followed by the two inner lower fuselage formers.

I installed the two 9-gram servos with some foam-safe CA and acclerator before gluing the fuselage bottom in place. The removable top hatch came next – it was assembled and set aside for now.

The top fuselage sides and nose were glued in place, along with the rear magnet mount. While not necessary, I found that a few T-pins helped hold the nose piece in place. The masking tape I have been using can ‘dull’ the surface of the Depron if left in place too long. The magnet and light ply control horns were secured using foam-safe CA and CA accelerator.

Final assembly included assembling and installing the carbon fiber pushrods, installing the Hitec receiver, and gluing the Tip Fins in place. I checked the Center of Gravity (CG) after attaching the propellers to the motors. To reach the required CG of 12.20″ behing the point of the nose, the 2S 1000mAh LiPo battery sat just behind the receiver in front of the magnet plate. With the batteries charged, the TwoFo was ready to head out for its maiden flight!

 

Photo Shoot

 

Flight Report

I finished the TwoFo with just enough time to load it in my van to head to Iowa for the 42nd annual SIG fly in. My buddy Joe Vermillion and I arrived a day early to catch up and  maiden some planes before the event started – the TwoFO included. As I knew the skies would be filled with planes once the event began, it was nice to shoot photos and video with a clear sky!

With the LiPo connected and a last minute check of controls surface deflection, the throttle was advanced and the Two took off from a light underhand toss. It was only at this precise minute did I realize that I had forgotten to check the actual throws! The TwoFO reacted very quickly to my input, but within a second, I was able to fly the plane easy – I simply moved the sticks less! Even at full throws, the plane flew fine, so I just kept flying.

I was immediately having fun with this plane – I hadn’t flown one quite like it before, but it was quite stable in the air! Because of the wild control throws, the roll rate was about 720° per second, and loads of fun. Slow speed flight was great – there was a headwind blowing at approximately 5-8 MPH, and the TwoFO would nearly come to a stop in the air. High speed passes were nothing spectacular, but that’s not the kind of flying the TwoFO was designed to do – it was meant as a purely enjoyable fun-flying machine!

Simple aerobatics are easy and fun – I mentioned the blistering roll rate previously, but it really does roll quick! Loops are easy, and the power system is more than adequate. One of the options in the manual is to set up differential thrust in the motors. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to set this up before packing the car, but with the differential thrust programmed, I’m thinking the TwoFO could even do some light 3D-type maneuvers. The motors definitely had the power to hover, but the lack of a rudder (so to speak) made it hard to hold a hover for more than a couple of seconds.

The LiPo battery was getting a bit tired, so I brought the TwoFO in for a landing – the plane nearly landed itself! Throttle control was simple, and a light touch on the right stick was all it needed for a perfect ‘drop’ into the grass! I was pleased by the effortless landing!

I really enjoyed flying this plane – it was immediately comfortable and presented no bad habits. hand releasing was easy, and the plane simply flew straight away from my hand. normal and aerobatic flight are enjoyable and easy. the 2S 1000mAh LiPo flew the plane for approximately 10 minutes and still had 40% life left. Over all, I am very happy with how well the plane flew!

Check out the flight video of the new RA Cores TwoFO!

 Summary

In this time of kit and ARF aircraft, I am not really sure what to call the TwoFO. While it is not a ‘stick built’ kit, it certainly is not an ARF either. I would tend to classify it as a kit rather than an ARF. With that being said, this kit built fairly quickly in just a few lazy evenings. One of the best parts of this plane is that it does not require expensive electronics. Jim already has a completion pack available for the TwoFO, making it easy to not only get it all right, but get it at a decent price as well. His shipping is a flat $10.00 whether you buy one kit or 12, so get your field buddies together and order in bulk. I have a feeling that once your buddies see this new TwoFO from RA Cores, they’ll want one too!

 

Contact Information

RA Cores

racores.com

Hitec

hitecrcd.com

 

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