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FMA Electric Trainer ARF

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Old 01-28-2006, 05:47 PM
  #1  
Greg Covey
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Default FMA Electric Trainer ARF

Hi,

I'm reviewing the [link=http://www.fmadirect.com/Detail.htm?item=2102&section=65]Electric Trainer ARF[/link] from FMA Direct which is manufactured by Black Horse Model. I'll be deviating from the recommended AXI 2808/24 brushless motor to use a new low-cost 150 watt brushless power system from FMA for about $50.

Specifications:
[ul][*] Wingspan: 52"[*] Length: 42"[*] Wingarea: 491 sq. in.[*] Controls: 4-channel, 3-servos[*] Weight: 2.2 lbs. RTF
[/ul]
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Old 01-28-2006, 05:58 PM
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

The ARF trainer is mostly pre-assembled so there are few parts in the box. The kit does include all the support hardware needed, a color manual, and decal set.
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Old 01-28-2006, 06:01 PM
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Greg Covey
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

A look inside the fuselage reveals light yet strong construction techniques. The control rods and tubes are pre-mounted for the rudder, elevator, and steerable nose wheel.
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Old 01-28-2006, 11:14 PM
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

Everyone is selling the BP-21 these days. It's a good motor although I question it's ability on a 2.2 lb airplane with a max of an 8x4 prop. On an 11.1v lipo that's only going to produce 21 oz of thrust. I don't doubt it will fly it but I don't know how fun it would be.

You'd probably be better of with a BP-12 and swing a larger prop. I'd go with a 9x5 prop on the BP-12 with the 11.1v lipo. It's still under 12amps and give a lot more thrust than the BP-21
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Old 01-29-2006, 08:24 AM
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

Well, that's what testing is all about. If the plane weighs 2lbs all up, and, the power system provides 150 watts, that's 75w/lb which is more than enough for trainer performance. For more details, please read my article called [link=http://www.gregcovey.com/Glow_Conversions_Made_Easy.htm]Glow Conversions Made Easy[/link].

Let's see what happens...
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Old 01-29-2006, 08:30 AM
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

The wing halves are supported by an aluminum bar and a wooden dowel. The design is meant to mount the servo on one side so that the wings can still come apart easily by unsnapping one clevis from the control horn. A mini servo like the Hobbico [link=http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXPB33&P=7]CS-35[/link] is a good fit for size and strength to control both long ailerons. All the hardware needed is included in the kit.
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Old 01-29-2006, 08:37 AM
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

The gears mains installed easily into the pre-drilled plywood base under the fuselage. A couple plastic straps hold them in place.

The wheels are supported by a wooden collar on each side. The outer collar is tacked glued in place with a small amount of CA and kicker accelerator.
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Old 01-29-2006, 12:32 PM
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

If it's the same as a BP-21 then that is not a 150 watt motor. I have one on my GWS Corsair and I love the motor but at it's best it's a 130 watt motor.

Testing on the bench shows @WOT with a TP 1320mAh 11.1v lipo on a GWS 8040HD prop
13.24 amps
128 watts

On a GWS 11.1v lipo with the same setup it's much less (crappy gen 1 lipos)
11.43 amps
104 watts

It will be interesting to see your numbers. I know there are a lot of different windings on this motor so it will be interesting to see if they have improved it.

I do see that they include the GWS 8043 SF prop with their setup. That will probably pull to many amps I would think for the motor. It's only rated at 13amps max. There has also been some discussion on if you should spin those GWS SF props that fast.
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Old 01-29-2006, 01:59 PM
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Greg Covey
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

I will post power measurements and a video of how it flies.

The Cellpro Kokam cells have less of a voltage drop than other brand LiPos. If you design for burst power (since few people fly at full throttle these days), you can really get additional power when needed for take-offs and aerobatics but fly mostly at reduced stick.

That sounds better...

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Old 01-29-2006, 02:05 PM
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

NVM,

Have fun with the build. Can't wait to see the results.
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Old 01-29-2006, 02:16 PM
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Greg Covey
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

I'm not upset. My wording in my last post must emit the wrong tone...sorry. I like input from others which is why I reveal what I doing along the way. I just got busy trying to squeeze in a few more photos before going out.

The Electric Trainer ARF comes with two motor mounts. One for the AXI-like mounting scheme and another for the GWS-like mounting scheme. The FMA brushless power system fits right onto the stick which was then CA'ed in place after testing the cowl position. The two screws that come with the motor are used in the pre-drilled holes to keep it securely on the stick.

I replaced the stock mimi Tamiya connector with a Dean's Ultra.
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Old 01-30-2006, 07:37 PM
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

The steerable nose gear is installed next, before mounting the cowl. All the parts are supplied. I elongated the hole in the fuselage where the control cable runs through to reduce some binding.
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Old 01-30-2006, 07:42 PM
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

A slot needs to be cut in the cowl bottom to allow it to wrap around the front gear mains. I positioned the cowl with tape and then secured it with the four supplied screws.

I added a GWS rubber spinner (no included) for a more finished look.
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Old 02-01-2006, 05:10 PM
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

The stabilizers glued into place using thin CA after first cutting away a portion of the covering. You can also use epoxy or tacky white glue, if preferred. Note that the split elevator joiner rod also needs to be glued before installing it in the tail. You can use either 5-minute epoxy here or CA and kicker accelerator.

To ease the control rod binding, I ended up reversing the rods assigned to the elevator and rudder. This meant that the rudder control rod now needed to be on the same servo arm side as the steerable nose wheel. I simply elongated the hole in the quick link to allow the second rod to be inserted.

The elevator control horn ended up being positioned on the end of the control surface for less binding. After trimming away the covering and CA gluing the control horn to the control surface, I glued a thin strip of lite plywood over the end for added strength.
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Old 02-01-2006, 05:20 PM
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

For glitch-free performance, I used the light full-strength [link=http://www.fmadirect.com/detail.htm?item=2098&section=1]M5 v2[/link] receiver.

It was easily positioned under the servo bay and I used an 8" extension to connect the aileron servo to channel 1. The rudder and elevator servos can be either a mini servo or a strong micro servo like the Hitec [link=http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXN681&P=7]HS-85[/link].
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Old 02-01-2006, 05:30 PM
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

The Cellpro Kokam [link=http://www.fmadirect.com/Detail.htm?item=2072&section=45]3-cell 1250mAh[/link] pack weighs only 4.3oz and provides 150 watts to the FMA Brushless Power System at 15amps. By securing it up front behind the firewall with Velcro, the Electric Trainer balances perfectly.

I CA'ed the On/Off switch in place after cutting a small channel away in the thin plywood brace that holds the hatch.

The aileron servo is easily connected to the 8" extension before screwing on the wing.
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Old 02-01-2006, 05:58 PM
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

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Old 02-02-2006, 01:39 PM
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Greg Covey
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

I added the 4 decals to the wings and the fuselage sides. My Black Horse Electric Trainer was Ready-To-Fly at 29.5oz (1.8lbs) including the Cellpro Kokam 3-cell 1250mAh pack that weighs 4.3oz. The new low-cost FMA Brushless Power System provides 150w at 15amps for a spirited 81w/lb. which is a perfect power level for a trainer.

I can't wait to test fly it and make a video!
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Old 02-03-2006, 02:35 PM
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

I modified the screw on hatch so that it can more easily open by simply pulling the screw head near the On/Off switch. I added a hinge to the front end of the hatch so that the lid closes toward the back of the plane. It is held shut by a snug fit.
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Old 03-07-2006, 02:24 PM
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

I finally test flew the Electric Trainer ARF today and it flies great! Although it looked nice outside, it was only 25 degrees out with a 10mph wind. It felt cold but we were determined to fly on such a sunny day in March.

The Brushless 150 Power System and 3-cell Cellpro Kokam 1250mAh pack power the plane nicely. Flight times were about 10 minutes and we had plenty of power for loops and rolls. At very slow speeds and when dead stick landing, the elevator response was still very effective. The plane will take-off and land in a small parking lot as shown in the video.

[link=http://www.fmadirect.com/new_applications/ARF_ElectricTrainer/FMA_ElectricTrainer.wmv]Electric Trainer ARF Video[/link] Video (4.1meg)
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Old 03-08-2006, 05:42 PM
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

We had some better weather today so I got another video of the Electric Trainer. I'll post it next week after I return from the Memphis Extreme 3D Competition.

In the mean time, here are some flying photos we took today from the second flight.
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Old 03-11-2006, 10:14 AM
  #22  
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

most trainers i have seen have generous dihedral. this plane seems to have little or no dihedral. is it stable enough for a beginner? most beginners need the self righting effect of dihedral. maybe the high wing has enough stableizing effect?
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Old 03-16-2006, 01:53 PM
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

slostick,

Keep in mind that this is a 4-channel electric trainer, not a 3-channel trainer. Dihedral is lessened in favor of aileron response.

Here is a second video showing mostly take-offs and landings on pavement. This time of year, the ground is a soggy mess so we stayed on the hard, dry surface.

[link=http://www.fmadirect.com/new_applications/ARF_ElectricTrainer/FMA_ElectricTrainer2.wmv]Electric Trainer ARF Video 2[/link] Video (7.5meg)
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Old 03-16-2006, 02:01 PM
  #24  
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF


ORIGINAL: balsabuster2003

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The correlary to that is: Nothing is ever as easy as it seems!

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Old 05-12-2007, 01:40 PM
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Default RE: FMA Electric Trainer ARF

I am interested in buying this trainer. However, in 10mph winds described, it didn't look as stable as some other trainers around for the same price. What would you say the maximum wind speed is, and is this plane as stable as others (such as the blackhorse liberty)? Also, if I wanted stability, would it be better to convert a .30 sized nitro trainer (as these are cheaper) as thus I could afford a larger, 300W brushless motor?
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