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  1. #1
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    The EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes is a large fiberglass jet model with sheeted wings. It comes complete with landing gear, fiberglass canopy, missiles, and all hardware. The model can be powered by a 90mm to 101mm ( 3.5" to 4" ) EDF unit.

    Features:[ul][*] Top quality wood construction[*] Fiberglass fuselage and canopy[*] Sheeted built up balsa and plywood wings[*] Comes with all hardware and accessories
    [/ul]
    Specifications
    [ul][*] Wing Span: 47.2 in / 1200mm[*] Wing Area : 521 sq in / 33.8 sq dm[*] Flying Weight : 6.6 lb / 3000 g[*] Fuselage Length : 58.7 / 1490 mm[*] 4-Channels Radio System Required[*] 5 Servos Required
    [/ul]
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  2. #2
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro

    The fuselage and parts come well secured in the custom box. All the parts are covered in plastic or bagged. The control surfaces arrive attached with hinge material but need to be CA'ed in place after alignment.

    The fiberglass canopy is pre-finished and only needs the latch mechanism attached. The landing gear are fixed with a steerable nose wheel assembly. Two sheets of finishing decals are supplied and the 7-page manual, although sparse, provides sufficient photos and text to complete the model by an experienced assembler.
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  3. #3
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro

    A closer look at the fuselage reveals the size, quality finish, construction techniques, and high level of pre-assembly. The T-nuts are already installed, and glued in place, for the gear mains and steerable nose wheel assembly. The battery and servo trays are also pre-installed.
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  4. #4
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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    Greg, does the wing tube look large enough? It doesn't in the pictures. Is it aluminium? I like the gear set up but wish it would be adaptable to retracts.

    What fan and motor are you going to use?
    Revver #125, Pico Owners Club #3
    R/C Anonymous. My name is Evan and I have not flown for 14 hours.

  5. #5
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    Yes, the aluminum wing tube appears to be fine at first glance and touch. We'll know more as I assemble the ARF.

    My power system will be a WeMoTec Midi Pro 90mm EDF, AMMO 36-88-1280kV Inrunner Brushless motor, Castle Creations HV85 ESC, and an 8s FlightPower LiPo pack. The motor appears to be a great fit for high-powering a low-cost 90mm EDF and at only $100. On an 8s LiPo supply, it can provide burst power up to 2000 watts at a 74amp burst current. This delivers 6.9lbs of EDF thrust and is within the AMMO 36-88-1280kV Inrunner specifications.[ul][*] WeMoTec WMD0015 Midi Fan PRO for 5mm Shaft Motors [*] Great Planes ElectriFly Ammo 36-88-1280kV Brushless Electric Motor[*] Castle Creations Phoenix HV85 ESC[*] Two FlightPower EVO25 3700mAh 4-cell (14.8v) LiPo batteries in series
    [/ul]
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  6. #6
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    After gluing in a pair of 2-1/4" long hardwood slats, the Midi Pro fan fit perfectly in the ducted fan bay. I'll be using the air intake ring that comes with the Midi Pro fan because the bay area opens into a large area.
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  7. #7

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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    Greg,

    Are you going with the stock landing gear or is there room for or better yet are retracts practical for this airframe?

    Harry
    I fly army UAVs and no its not like flying R/C!


    Harry

  8. #8
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    Harry,

    My current plan is to start with the stock fixed gear and do grass take-offs. This is largely due to the constraints of reviewing the model unmodified. If the model flies well and goes as fast as I am expecting it to go, then I may revisit the gear design because less drag means more speed.

    Regards.
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  9. #9
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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    I was looking at the 101mm fan at united going hmmmm....

    This looks nice at a pretty good price but to be honest I don't like dealing with some companies because parts are impossible to get and customer service is spotty.

    Nitro Planes has had some very nice planes though and this looks like another.
    Revver #125, Pico Owners Club #3
    R/C Anonymous. My name is Evan and I have not flown for 14 hours.

  10. #10
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    The assembly begins by securing the ailerons to the wing halves with thin CA. The servos are then either glued to the bay covers or screwed to the supplied blocks that are glued to the covers. I glued my servos to the covers with CA.

    I had two Hitec HS-322HD servos and two HS-81 mini servos available so I decided to use the heavier (and larger) 1.5oz HS-322 servos for the aileron control since it was near the CG. The lighter 0.6oz HS-81 servos will be used in the back for elevator control.

    All the hardware was supplied in the kit including the nut and keepers for added security. A string was installed inside the wing to help pull the servo wire through to the end.
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  11. #11
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    I skipped over the gear installation to install the wings. The fiberglass fuselage was only cut out for the aluminum bar so you needed to drill two holes for the wooden dowel supports and a slot for the servo control wire on each side. The fuselage had impressions for these areas so it was easy to drill and cut in the proper places. The four wooden dowels, two per wing half, were glued to the wing with epoxy. A T-nut is pre-installed in each wing half between the aluminum bar and servo wire opening. Once the wing is pressed against the fuselage, a M4x20mm hex head screw and washer hold it securely in place from inside the fuselage.

    There wasn't a photo for the missile assembly but I could see the correct orientation from the "Main Wing" drawing on the back of the manual. This was a two step process in which you first glued the missile mounting piece onto the wing end, with 5-minute epoxy, and then glued the missile in place. I shaved the side of the missile to be glued flat before gluing it in place. The covering was also removed from the wing end before gluing the mounting piece in place.
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  12. #12

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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    Greg,

    Will you be posting this review on the RCU Magazine with some video?

    Saul

  13. #13
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    Hi Saul,

    Yes, I will.

    I'm a bit backed up with other projects and the AMMO motor I want to use doesn't get released for another month so there may be some delay in my posts. Since this model requires a runway (grass or paved) I can't fly it until Springtime hits upstate NY in April or May anyway.

    Regards.
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  14. #14

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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    Thanks Greg. Question: I see that you are using a 90mm fan & a 4 cell lipo pack whereas the website says the plane requires a 101mm fan (a 4" fan) & a 6 cell lipo pack. Explain please.

    Thanks,
    Saul

  15. #15
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    Saul,

    Read it again...it says two 4s in series for an 8-cell total. This is my best guess. It may actually use 8s to 10s depending upon my measurments. Sometimes the Kv rating on motors is not always accurate so it is important to take measurements of current, power, and RPMs.

    A 101mm fan is the maxiumum that will fit. A smaller fan can be used in many applications, especially if it is more efficient and more powerful. Sometimes a smaller fan can be used to reduce weight as well because the motor, ESC, and batteries weigh less.

    Regards.
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  16. #16

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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    Hi Greg,

    I took a look at the plane again on their web site & it says 22.2 volts which would be 6s.

    Saul

  17. #17

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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    Greg you may already have looked at the other site that deals with electrics that has zone in it but I thought I would point this out to you in case you havent. Some of the guys have stated that there may be a nice CG error with regard to what the manual states. Might be worth looking into.

    Harry
    I fly army UAVs and no its not like flying R/C!


    Harry

  18. #18
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    Hi Saul,

    Nitro only has a recommendation for a power system for the model without specifics. It is merely a suggestion. I am trying my own new setup using a motor that has not even hit the market yet. If it works, it will provide more power for less cost than others in the same range. Time will tell...

    Harry,

    Thanks for the heads up. Don't be afraid to say E-Zone or RC Groups here. I started my electric flight obssesion as a moderator on the E-Zone back in the late 90's until about 2003. If you saw the manual for this Predator UCAV EDF, you would be suspicious of the CG too. It is the price we pay for such a discounted yet excellent value model. I will take a closer look at the CG soon.

    Regards.
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  19. #19
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    I thought this next step was going to be much more difficult but it turned out quite easy since the non-marked area to be cut inside the servo frame was soft enough to use just a razor knife.

    The Hitec HS-81 servos fit perfectly in the plywood bay frame opening. I secured 36" HD extensions to the control lines by first tying the connectors with Firewire and then covering them with shrink wrap. The lighter .6oz HS-81 servos will provide 42oz/in torque on my 6v CC BEC.
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  20. #20
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    The elevator linkages installed nicely using the included hardware and keepers. One servo was connected to the elevator input on my Spektrum receiver and the other was mixed into the AUX2 channel. When using a Spektrum receiver, remember to use mixes 5 or 6 to have the trim work both channels together.
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  21. #21

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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    I know where the CG issues are coming from now. I couldnt pass up this nice looking airplane for 130 bucks so I got one and have it 90% done.

    The motor is no where near far enough back. To even get close to hitting the CG with where the motor sits even when its all the way back in the saddle you will have to put weight in the back or slide the batteries over the intakes on the airframe. I had to line up the back edge of my packs with the lip of the inlet and I was at about 7.25 inches back from the wing. That was with my 8S1P 3850 packs. I plan on going with an 8S2P 4000 but this is going to add another few ounces and I dont know how much farther back I can reall y push it before the packs get into the airflow. Not that it will matter a whole bunch as long as I am not restricting the airflow since I am not going to run inlet ducts but then its a pain to plug in the batteries.

    Harry
    I fly army UAVs and no its not like flying R/C!


    Harry

  22. #22
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    I'm approaching the point where I can check the CG so I marked settings of 7.25" and 8.25" on the wing bottom.

    The main landing gear mounted very well without any issues. The holes were pre-drilled in the fuselage and T-nuts already mounted in the former. I only needed to cut off the excess axle length with a Dremel tool.

    The steerable nose gear installation was not as easy. The hole for the gear wire was not marked on the fuselage so I installed the plastic piece inside the fuselage first since the T-nuts were already installed. I used a long rod with a sharpened end to press through the gear wire holes on the plastic piece to create an aligned hole from the inside to the outside. The hole was then opened with a 11/64" drill bit.

    All the holes in the plastic piece also needed to be opened. I used a 1/8" bit for the screw holes and a 11/64" bit for the gear wire. The smaller nose wheel hole was also opened with an 11/64" bit. Once installed, it allowed me to finally sit the Predator UCAV on its own wheels.
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  23. #23

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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    Looking great Greg! I cannot wait untill you maiden this thing. There doesn't seem to be any videos of it out there yet.
    Life is short, fly more!

  24. #24
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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    Thanks. I was little bummed to see that the release of the new Great Planes ElectriFly Ammo 36-88-1280kV Brushless Electric Motor was delayed until late May. I am hoping to use it in this project as a new choice for the highest power at the lowest cost.
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  25. #25

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    RE: EDF Predator UCAV from Nitro Planes

    Just purchased one of these kits and can't wait to get it in the air. Anyone else working on or flying one of these birds yet? I'd love to see some video. Anyone trying to put retracts on?


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