Are you looking for something different but do not want to spend a whole bunch of cash in the process? Take a look at the CrazE EP Wing available from Tower Hobbies. Coming in at less than $50 for the ARF the CrazE is a great airframe to keep in the back of the car for when the mood strikes to fly something different. Requiring only an inexpensive ~400W electric setup along with two servos for flight control, the CrazE can be assembled for not much more than its ARF asking price. The assembly process is short and can be completed in just a few short hours to be left with an airframe that is ready to tear up the skies on a moments notice.
- Easy to transport
- Wide airspeed range
- Quick assembly process
- Easy access to flight battery
- 3S/4S LiPo Battery Capable
- Wingspan: 35 in
- Wing Area: 404 in²
- Weight: 21-24 oz
- Wing Loading: 7.5-8.6 oz/ft²
- Length: 19 in
What You Get
The CrazE is supplied is a simple box that is essentially the size of the single piece wing. There is not much in the way of protection in the box but luckily there was not damage to the box from shipping. Taking all of the components out of the box, it is immediately evident that this will be a quick assembly due to the low parts count that is evident from the parts laid out on the table.
The recommended and supplied components for the CrazE are two mini servos, a 40A ESC and a 388W 1000kV motor sized in the 30-35 casing. These are easy to source components if they do not already exist in your spare parts drawer.
The flight battery that is provided for the review is a 4S2100 Flight Power Battery. I really like these batteries for their quick charge capabilities. It is not hard to find chargers that can charge these batteries to their flight capacity in less than 15 minutes.
Assembly of the CrazE starts with the attachment of the motor box to the single piece wing. The motor box is glued and held tight using a clamp. While the glue dries, the motor can be attached to the motor box and the motor leads routed inside the box.
The elevon servos will be installed in the small hatch in the middle of the fuselage behind the motor box. Specific instructions to set the servo arm angles to achieve the desired reflex are provided in the manual along with a small cut out reflex gauge.
The targeted reflex is shown in the picture below. However, this is from an un-flown and un-trimmed airframe. After trimming the airframe during the first flight, I found that the airframe came down with different angles than expected including alignment at the root of the elevons so it is probably best not to obsess about aligning the elevons to each other and to the wing tips as they do not really effect the flight performance. There is an addendum available on the Tower Hobbies product page which contains instructions on how to perform this alignment if required.
With the motor box and the servos installed, it was time to glue in the vertical stabilizers and slap on the stickers and the CrazE was ready for its first flight.
With the CrazE bound and programmed to my Jeti DS-14, I set the control throws as documented in the manual and added a good amount of exponential to the controls. Launching the CrazE can be achieved in one of two ways. The first is the typical under belly grab and overhead toss which you are probably going to find is difficult to perform since there is no real good place to grab the airframe from the bottom. The second approach was the wing tip toss which was my preferred approach as I did not want my fingers next to a high RPM APC propeller. A gentle toss is all that is needed to launch the CrazE as the powerful motor will take care of the rest.
Once in the air, I trimmed the CrazE in a few short circuits around the field and that is where the fun began. The CrazE is very docile and almost impossible to stall when flown with low throttle settings. At the upper range of its throttle range is where the CrazE comes alive and starts to behave like its namesake. Rolls and loops can be performed at blistering rates and inverted flight is easily controlled with a touch of down elevator to keep the nose up. Bringing the airframe to full throttle is where I truly appreciated how fast this airframe was capable of moving about the field with the 4S power setup. At full throttle I did notice that the airframe was not tracking level but that is to be expected from such as short airframe so I did not bother to try and remedy it mechanically but rather left it to my fingers to compensate.
Flight times were easily over 10 minutes when the throttle was used sparingly but come on, with some much power on tap, you will be landing this way before that. With a lack of rudder control, the CrazE is limited to what it can perform in terms of aerobatics but your typical roll and loop combination of maneuvers can be handled with ease. On my first landing, I was disappointed that the CrazE broke the propeller upon its touchdown in the grass which caused our day to be called short.
After spending a few afternoons with the CrazE, I think I can verify that it delivers on the marketing promises of great fun for less than $50. Realistically, it wont be less than $50 considering you still need to power and control it somehow but it is pretty inexpensive overall given that it does not require expensive components to be completed. The flight envelope offered by the CrazE is very good encompassing a wide speed envelope balanced with good flight times on the recommended battery sizes. With so much going for it, there is little to not like about the CrazE.