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My First ARF - A GWS EStarter

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Old 02-15-2004, 11:42 AM
  #1  
xanatos
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Default My First ARF - A GWS EStarter

First of all I'd like to say that I am quite new to RC (of any kind). I have flown one
other plane - a Multiplex Easystar and found that a pleasant introduction to the hobby. I
was however looking for something a little more challenging to build and a little more
responsive in the air.

I chose the GWS E-Starter ARF because it had gotten reasonable reviews on this site and
others for ease of building and repairability. I wasn't so much worried about ease of
building as I have been building static models for years but I knew that I would be
putting the repairability to test early on!

I ordered both the kit as well as 3 pico servos, receiver, crystal and ICS300 speed
control. I also ordered a Sanyo 8.4V 730mAh battery pack. I already had the transmitter
so I didn't have to worry about that.

The kit arrived in quick time but unfortunately the main wing was damaged during delivery
. I contacted the vendor and they agreed to send a replacement wing. I wasn't however
going to wait for that to arrive and I decided to put the repairability to the test by
fixing the wing. The damage was limited to a fairly clean break about 3 inches from the
left wing tip. I used the enclosed GWS glue and left it to dry. The results were quite
good and I decided to continue building.

The kit proved quite easy to build even for a novice like myself. The only real
challenges were

1) In order to install the aileron torque rods into the main wing a deep channel has to
be cut into the wing itself - I was constantly worried about cutting too deep and it was
difficult to keep the channel level with the wing.

2) Aligning the horizontal stab perpendicular to the vertical stab was easy but then
aligning that combination with the main wing proved challenging. I would appreciate if
someone could provide some hints on how to do this.

I had read that the default tail-dragger configuration caused a lot of stress on the tail
and so I decided to attempt to build a trike landing gear configuration. It turned out
quite easy to build this as the kit provides an additional mount for the landing gear. I
won't go into the details because there's an excellent description here
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...hreadid=100725. The kit certainly looks a
lot better in this configuration but I'll get to its performance later.

Installation of the receiver, speed control and servos again was quite simple. The speed
control and receiver is fixed with hook and loop and the elevator and ridder servos fit
snugly into a pocket in the fuselage. The only hitch is that servo hole in the main wing
is much larger than the pico servo. I had to glue some scrap foam into the hole in order
for a snug fit.

On to the flying! I took the model to a local park - its about 2 soccer fields in size so
I had more than enough room. After checking the control surfaces I started it up and hand
launched it - too much white stuff on the ground for a ROG attempt. I took off well
enough but after 30secs the motor cut out. I did use a new battery but I had cycled it a
number of times through the charger so I thought it would be OK. I landed well enough and
returned home to see if I could figure out the battery problem. Also note to self - test
the motor in the workshop not at the flying field!

With subsequent experiments using other batteries it seems that cycling a new battery
through my charger (an eflight pinnacle) is simply not enough - I have to cycle the
battery by discharging it through the planes motor. Has this been anyone else's
experience?

So after getting the battery probs sorted it was back to the field. This time the motor
performed much better - much more responsive and "plane-like" than my Easystar and it
handles breezy conditions much better. I was soon doing some easy loops and low speed
flybys and I'm getting flight times of around 8mins. A pleasure to fly.
The trike gear however, for me, was a mistake. There is only
grass to land on and inevitably the front gear catches and I do a nose over or the gear
itself bends.

I have flown a number of times and performed two major repairs on this plane. One after
flying it into a tree and breaking the fuselage into 3 pieces and the other time when I
had not correctly set the elevator trim and nose dived it into the snow breaking the
motor mount. Both were easily repaired - the first using the included GWS glue and
packing tape and the second with CA.

As a beginner I do recommend this plane - perhaps not as your very first plane for while
it is very repairable it isn't too happy with hard landings (what planes are I guess!)
Probably the only thing I would do differently is stick with the default tail dragger
configuration rather than the trike but other than that I'm very happy with my first ARF. I hope
this story has been of interest.

Regards All

Ian
AMA 797651
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Old 02-15-2004, 04:29 PM
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sierra gold
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Default RE: My First ARF - A GWS EStarter

Great mini-review!

I appreciate your taking the time to pass along your experiences and suggestions. I have a kit at home and it will be my next project.

Thanks,

Sierra Gold
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Old 02-15-2004, 06:07 PM
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xanatos
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Default RE: My First ARF - A GWS EStarter

Thank you and have fun with your kit!

Ian
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Old 03-28-2004, 03:12 AM
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Default RE: My First ARF - A GWS EStarter

The EasyStar is also my first plane and I'm also considering the EStarter for my second. Although, I'm not much into the model challenge like youare.

Thanks for the post.
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Old 03-28-2004, 03:37 PM
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sierra gold
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Default RE: My First ARF - A GWS EStarter

I would "add" to this review that I had a fellow pilot build his E Starter with just R and E and it flew fine... much like the GWS Beaver. He plans to add in the ailerons as a phase 2.

This might be a good approach to allow using the E Starter as a first plane.

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Old 04-20-2004, 07:02 PM
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Default RE: My First ARF - A GWS EStarter

Just a note, I started my E-starter as a tail dragger, and first landing the tail wheel caught and ripped the rudder in two. Have switched to the tricyle setup, as I also got that from what you listed, doesn't seem like either way is better than the other. As the front gear also will break with about as much ease. So I've gone wheelless. Works just as well, just remember to kill your throttle, otherwise you'll break a prop. Speaking of, has anyone tried different props than the one it comes with? Seems it has become very hard to find GWS ES1080 props right now, Horizon and everyone else is out of stock. Let me know if anyone has tried and had luck with other props.
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Old 04-21-2004, 07:50 AM
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Default RE: My First ARF - A GWS EStarter

I've had similar trike gear experiences with my EStarter. My original plan was to mount a steerable nose wheel to the firewall, but I quickly abandoned that in favor of mounting the nosewheel in the front gear pocket. With the gear that far back, it just knuckles under. No good.

In the end, I only installed the main gear in the front gear pocket. No tailwheel, and I don't have any trouble taxiing or taking off.
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Old 04-21-2004, 12:42 PM
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Default RE: My First ARF - A GWS EStarter

Good post. I agree, the E-Starter is an excellent value.

A couple of suggestions for you.

Don’t use the motor to discharge your batteries. In static condition like that, you will burn it up. Get three of the two filament tail light bulbs from Walmart and connect to drive both filaments; that’s two amps each, six total, about the same as the motor.

An inexpensive, but very worthwhile change is to replace the stock GWS prop with an APC 10X7 or 9X7. You will find it much better.

A more costly change, is to go to ThunderPower 2S 1320 li-poly batteries. It makes the E-Starter lighter and will increase your fly time from 5 – 6 minutes to 15 – 20 minutes. The near constant discharge rate will mean at the end of 15 minutes that you will have more power than you do 1 minute into flight with your current battery. Batteries upgrade is about $30 AND you will new a charger that accommodates Li-Ploy battery that will be about $50. Worth every penny!!
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Old 04-21-2004, 07:00 PM
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Default RE: My First ARF - A GWS EStarter

hi,
i hoped that you would be able to tell me how much you paid for it all
like everything but transmitter (pico servos reciever.......)

thanks
paul K
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Old 04-21-2004, 07:53 PM
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Default RE: My First ARF - A GWS EStarter

I don't want to take xanatos's thread. His was post was excellent. Maybe he can give you his prices also. My list was:

http://www.allerc.com/

E-Starter $35.00
(2) 8.4 V 7 Cell 650 mAh KAN $32.00
(3) 18 Gram Sub-Micro Servo $36.00
Castle Creations Pixie 20P $40.00
DUBRO Mini E/Z Connector $2.50
DUBRO Tail Skid $1.50

http://www.servocity.com/html/5-ch_555_fm_rx.html

Hitec 555 Receiver $56.00
RX Chrystal $8.00


MISC:
(3) CF rods $7.00
Glue $15.00
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Old 04-22-2004, 09:05 PM
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xanatos
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Default RE: My First ARF - A GWS EStarter

Wow let me see. Here is the receipt from horizon


Item# Description QTY Price Sub-Total
GWS2095 FLT PK(FUT/HRC)3-NAR 1 $84.99 $84.99 (3 x naro servos + R6N receiver)
GWSXFRM44 FM MICRO RX CRYSTAL 1 $7.99 $7.99
GWSBP7N730 8.4V 730MAH NI-MH 1 $24.99 $24.99 ( not a good buy)
GWS1045 E-STARTER ARF PARK F 1 $39.99 $39.99
EFLC2015 PINNACLE DC 1-14C PE 1 $79.99 $79.99 ( got a charger as well)
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Old 04-22-2004, 09:07 PM
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Default RE: My First ARF - A GWS EStarter

The flight pack also came with an ICS300 speed control not spectacular but functional

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