RCU Review: Fliton Extra 260 Mini


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    Contributed by: Burc Simsek | Published: October 2009 | Views: 21399 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Fliton Mini Extra 260
    Burc Simsek

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    Low Bandwidth (8.6MB)

    High Bandwidth (37.7MB)

    Packaging
    Covering and Decals
    Flight Characteristics

    Weak Landing gear
    Servo Horns

    Skill Level


    Time Required to Build:
    4-6 hours


    Frustration Level:
    Hmm...

    The Extra 260 needs no introduction.  Though a little old, the marketing for the Fliton mini 260 promises it to be a an airplane to help expand your flight envelope.  I recently was lucky enough to pick one up at a local swap meet for only $50 so lets put it together to see if it lives up to the hype.

    Kit Name: Fliton mini Extra 260
    Price: $99.95 retail price
    Wingspan: 42.25 "
    Wing Area: 335 sq. in.
    Advertised Weight: 22 - 24 oz
    Suggested Motors: Hacker A20:20L, E-flite Park 450, AXI 2212/26
    Suggested Battery: 3s 1500-2100mAh
    Suggested ESC: 25-30A Brushless
    Radio equipment: 4 Channel + Receiver

    Tools Required:
    • Hobby Knife
    • Ruler
    • Small Phillips screwdriver
    • 1/8" and 1/16" drill bits
    • Pliers
    • T-pins
    • Thin CA
    • 10-minute epoxy
    • Clear Tape

    Packaging and Contents
    Since I purchased this from a fellow flyer at a swap meet, I cannot comment on the original packaging as the box had been opened and the items had been shifted around. However, I was lucky enough to find the items in their original wrapping and none of the parts seem to be damaged.
    Contents
    Wings
    Parts
    Manual and Decals
    Tail Section
    Hatch and Fuse

    The contents of the box reveal a fuselage with a magnetic hatch, wings and tail assembly both requiring ailerons and elevators to be hinged, fiberglass cowl, landing gear, wheel pants and parts to complete the Extra 260. Each part was individually wrapped as shown in the picture.

    Nowadays we are used to ARFs being only a several hours of easy to modest skill assembly. Most manufacturers strive to add features that simplify the modelers life in terms of assembly ease. The Fliton mini 260 unfortunately does not fall into this category. The control surfaces are not pre-hinged, the motor box is not assembled and requires assembly, the elevator comes in two pieces and had a unique assembly procedure, and the canopy is not already built in to the hatch and it requires trimming and affixing to the hatch. However it does promise to be very light and with the proper setup, should fly very well.

    For this review, I choose to use a Park 480 that I had sitting in my drawer along with a Castle Creations 36A Phoenix brushless ESC. Since I primarily want to use this as a light 3-D machine, I choose to drive the ailerons with HS-55s which should provide enough speed and power to roll at slow speeds and the tail section will be driven by HS-65 carbonite geared servos which should allow for stronger and faster movement required in high alpha flight. I will use a mixture of 3S 2200mAh batteries that I have in my battery box as suggested by the manual and with the Park 480 plan to swing a 12x6 EP propeller. With that out of the way, lets start putting this 260 together and with any luck be ready for some weekend flying.


    Removing the Covering & Wings
    The assembly starts by removing some covering to expose the slots for the wing to fit the fuselage. Using a sharp hobby knife remove the covering as described in the manual. There is a total of 5 holes per side that need to be opened up. This is followed by opening a exit hole in the bottom for air to escape. Lastly the rudder servo bay and the elevator stab holes are opened up. Note the unique mounting location for the rudder servo.
    Removing Covering
    Side Covering Opened
    Cooling, Servo and Elevator

    Next up is the hinging of the ailerons to the wings. Note the nice lightening holes on the side of the wings. The wings have anti rotation pins on both the front and the back. Drive T-pins through the center of the supplied CA hinges to aid in aligning and slotting the aileron. Once the aileron is seated, deflect it to what you estimate your max throw will and wick in a few drops of thin CA. Do not use kicker on this step allow for the CA to soak in and setup naturally. Repeat this on the back side and other wing.

    Lightening Holes
    Pinning the CA hinges
    Thin CA hinges

    At this point I used some blenderm tape to seal the gaps and also provide some additional support for the ailerons. Though I do not think that sealing the gaps for a model this size is required, it does not hurt. At this point the wings are ready to receive the servos and we can move on to the tail and fuselage.

    Max Deflection
    Sealing Gaps
    Wings Hinged

    Remove the covering to expose the bay for the aileron servos and install your servo of choice making sure that the gear faces the aileron. I used a HS-55 which fit without any hassles or need to trip the bay and I did not require any servo extenders to route the wire in to the fuse. Prepare the horns that are supplied and determine the mounting location of the horns. I simply placed the wing in front of my desk lamp to find the location on the aileron that has the reinforced horn mount location. After mounting the horns, the screws will protrude on the top side so use a wire clipper to take the sharp edges off. Repeat the procedure for the other wing. 

    Aileron Servo
    Horns
    Horn Location
    Arm Direction
    Screws Protruding
    Clip Sharp Tips
    The supplied control horns and linkages are not up to the task of providing a solid link from the servo tot he surface. The holes in the horns are too wide to accept the thin linkage that is provided. The free play here causes the aileron to move up and down quite a bit without any servo movement which can cause flutter and the loss of the airplane if not addressed. To address this issue, I simply created a smaller hole using a T-pin next to the holes that already exist. Drive the T-pin through the plastic and then force the z-bend of the linkage in to the newly created hole. This will create a solid link to the servo.
    Aileron Servo
    Horns
    Horn Location
    Linkage
    For the ailerons, I did not use the supplied EZ connectors as I am using the lightweight Dubro micro arms. Instead I choose to simply make another Z-bend on the servo side.

    Tail Section
    Next, hinge the rudder in the same fashion as the wings and wick in some thin CA while deflecting the rudder. Nothing special here but pay attention to getting full deflection while maintaining the gap to a minimum. Blenderm tape can be used here to seal the gap.
    Hinge Rudder
    Rudder
    Rudder Deflection

    The stab has a unique slot to help center it in the tail. Insert the stab and check from the rear of the plane to see if it is parallel with the wings. Mine was off quit a bit so I shaved a little bit of the slot on the bottom right and top left hand side (as seen from the rear). After I was satisfied with the result, I measured from the wing tip to the stab and centered the stab. Once it measured and looked about right, I marked and removed the covering. Finally, I wicked in some thin CA to set the stab,

    Stab
    Stab Not Level
    Trimming
    More Trimming
    About Right
    Removed Covering

    The elevator halves are supplied as two separate pieces and Fliton supplies a handy leveler to make sure they are parallel to each other. However, I did not completely understand why this was designed this way as most other ARFs supply this either pre-hinged or in a single piece that can be slid in before the stab. The two pieces must be epoxied together during the hinging process. One of the inner CA hinges is used to drive through the connection join but requires some persuasion with a hobby knife. I removed the covering of the connection point and hinged the longer part of the two halves. After test fitting the two halves together, I used 10-minute epoxy to join the two at the previously removed covering location and pushed in all the hinges. The supplied levelers are then used to make sure the elevator halves stay parallel as the epoxy cures.

    Set Stab Angle
    CA or Epoxy Stab
    Done
    Remove Covering
    Ready for glue
    Hinge Elevators
    Note Location of Hinge
    Epoxy Halves
    Slide in Aligners

    As the epoxy on the tail section is curing, I turned the plane around and started to work on the motor mount.


    Motor Mount
    The motor mount is supplied in six separate pieces and requires some assembly which is described in quite some detail in the manual. The first step requires you to glue the fire wall to the supplied brace. The two pieces fit together only one way so make sure you test fit them first and make sure that the marked side faces outwards. The side pieces slide in the front of the fuse. I test fitted all the pieces and once comfortable with the fit, removed the hatch and used thin CA to set them.
    Motor Mount Pieces
    Slide in Sides
    Slide in Bottom
    Then the Top
    Firewall
    Remove Hatch before CA

    Make sure you do not leave the hatch on as you apply thin CA or you will glue the hatch to the fuse.


    Landing Gear
    The landing gear is a straight forward assembly except I had to widen the wheel holes and thin the sides to fit the axles properly.  The axles are screwed in from the inner side of the landing gear and held in place by two nuts on the other side.  Make sure the outer nut is very tight and use some locktite or CA to hold it in place or you may loose your wheel or seize the wheel during taxi and flip the plane on its nose and break your prop.  The wheel pants are screwed in to the landing gear using a small tapping screw to fasten to a small wood block that is glued to the inside of the wheel pant.  The holes are already drilled on the landing gear which makes things easier.  The landing gear is fixed to the plane by sliding it to the holes on the side of the fuselage and using 4 self tapping screw to fix it to the wood base.  I added some CA here to make sure that these wood screws would not work themselves back out of their holes.
    Landing Gear
    Axles
    Widening with 1/8
    Removing Lips
    On Its Feet
    CA Wood Supports
    Wheel Pants
    Score the Fiberglass
    Screw in Pants

    Once the plane is on its feet, the wheel pants can be aligned for clearance, drilled with a 1/16 bit and screwed in.  I also used a few drops of CA between the wheel pants and the landing gear to make sure that the wheel pants would not work themselves loose on touchy landings.


    Tail Linkages
    The rudder and elevator servos are installed next.  Using the Hitec HS-65 servos, I had to enlarge the precut holes with a hobby knife.  I used 2 6" extensions to route the servo wires to the front of the fuselage.  The elevator and rudder control horns are installed in the same fashion as the ailerons. Using a 1/16" drill bit makes things easier during this process.  The supplied linkages were used to connect the elevator and rudder to the servos however I did  have to create new holes in the horns to make sure that they were tight similar to the ailerons.
    Rudder Servo
    Elevator Servo
    Locate Hard Spot
    Horn Installed
    Linkages
    Drill
    Cut a Channel
    CA and Tape
    Bend

    The model is not supplied with a steerable tail wheel.  The tail section has a block of balsa that is ready to receive a pre-bent wire.  I used a 1/16" drill bit to drill a small hole and inserted the bent end of the supplied wire. I then cut a small channel in the balsa block and used some medium CA and kicker to install the landing skid. I used a small piece of tape to make sure that it would not pop back off during transport and landings.  The final step involves bending the wire to resemble a landing skid.


    Motor and ESC
    The motor and ESC I used for this project was a Park 480 that I had laying in the drawer to be controlled by a 36A CC ESC. The Park 480 is shipped with a cross 'X' mounting brace for fire-wall mounting.  Using this, I marked the locations of the holes and drilled them using a pilot 1/16" drill bit.  The kit does not supply hardware to mount the motor so I dropped by he local hobby shop and picked up a bag of 4-40 bolts and blind nuts.  After making sure the pilot holes I drilled lined up with the holes, I enlargened the holes and installed the blind nuts.  The motor then screwed right on without any hassles.
    Power Setup
    Mark Holes
    4-40/Blind Nuts
    Pull in Nuts
    Blind Nuts Set
    Mount Motor
    ESC Location
    Insulated
    Zip Tie Leads

    I choose to locate the ESC under the battery tray, insulated by a small piece of foam, and fixed it in place by using zip ties.


    Final Setup
    The canopy has to be cut and trimmed along the marked lines by using a small scissors or body reamer and installs to the hatch with the supplied tapping screws.  I added a few drops of CA to make sure that it would not blow off during violent maneuvers.  The metal screws on the bottom of the hatch can be adjusted in or out to make proper contact with the magnets. The magnets provide a pretty good connection of the hatch to the fuse. The cowl is held in by 4-6 of the supplied self tapping screws and is a simple process as the screws do not have to line up to any special location on the back.  
    Canopy
    Cowl
    Wiring
    Left
    Front
    Right
    I choose to use a 12x6 APC prop and used the 4mm supplied spinner nut to hold it in place.  A small white spinner would make the Extra shine out and look more scale.

    From the supplied decals, I choose to use only four stickers.  These have to be cut and trimmed to size but they are self adhesive so this was a straight forward process as well.
    Being located in Houston has it's advantages and disadvantages in terms of weather. We can fly most year round if it is not raining or too windy. We were lucky enough that the weather was a comfortable 85F and calm with 0-5mph winds for the maiden. After strapping down a 3S 2200mAh battery and arming the ESC, I set the throttle trim so that the motor was barely idling.  I like to do this on all my electrics so the motor never stops and it helps on reducing the amount of force that is exerted on the frame and motor box when advancing throttle from idle to full. Since there is no steerable tail wheel, I positioned the plane in the middle of the runway and advanced the throttle to about mid stick and the Extra started to gain speed. It was airborne in about six feet. Once airborne, I climbed to a safe level to trim out the extra for level flight. It required a few clicks of up elevator and left aileron to fly straight.  I rolled inverted to check the CG and it was started diving and pulling to the canopy indicating that it was close but slightly nose heavy. After a few circuits I gained a little altitude and experimented with the stall characteristics of the Extra. No surprizes there except it liked to drop its left wing a lot in high alpha.

    Harriers are rock solid upright and even better inverted but require a significant amount of rudder to maintain while inverted. Entering harriers from flight by performing a wall was not up to my expectations as the Extra would want to climb out and throw a wing. Rolling harriers are very easy to do and the rolls are very axial.

    Hovering was a mixed feel. When there was no wind, the Extra locks in perfectly and starts a slow torque roll that is fairly slow and easy to control.  However, with the slightest wind, hovering requires almost full right rudder to maintain. This may have been due to the setup of the plane or my ability to control it. On the video there are a few hovering scenes. You may be able to see a few where the rudder is barely moving and in a few I have full right rudder to maintain it.

    Inverted flat spins slow down and spin very nicely.  I was not able to do very nice upright flat spins but I cannot usually do that on smaller planes very easily without inadvertantly snapping. Blenders are very violent and entering knife edge spins or spins or waterfalls from blenders are very easy.

    Knife edge flight is where this plane shines and it exhibits very little coupling towards the canopy. Knife edge loops are clean and manageable with the Park 480 pulling out strong at the bottom.

    Bringing in the Extra for a landing I was greeted with an unpleasant surprize as the plane toppled over and broke the prop as soon as the wheels touched the ground. However there was no damage to the rest of the plane. It turns out that I did not properly tighten the second inner nut of the axle, and when this came loose, it rotated all the way to the wheel and locked it in place. A quick fix with a thin hemostat fixed that problem and the Extra was ready for a few more flights.

    I tried several very slow harrier landings and the landing gear did not seem to like anything but a gentle drop from a few inches off the deck. The landing gear mounts inside the fuselage came loose after a few harrier landings even though I had used CA to lock them in place. Around the fourth or fifth harrier landing, the right landing gear snapped at the bend. I guess I will be looking for some stronger replacements soon.


    Low Bandwidth (8.6MB) High Bandwidth (37.7MB)

    I've always liked the way the Extra series of aircraft fly and my favorite would have to be the 260 due to the wing position. This Extra does not disappoint in terms of flying manners. It is a very light and acrobatic airplane that would make any pattern or 3D flyer happy with its aggressive flight envelope. I would not recommend this as a first or second model to a beginner due to the complex build and acrobatic flight envelope. Experienced modelers that love Extra 260s can make this little model really perform with some slight modifications. The build quality is not up to the standards of where the industry is today with pre-built motor boxes, attached canopies, pre-hinged surfaces, self aligning tail and stab etc... Having said that I don't think that it will not be a problem for most modelers to build and appreciate this model. I would think that finding spare parts would be however very difficult but I have not verified this

    In summary,
    I would rate this plane somewhere between C+ to B- as there are many other Extra 260s out there today that are easier builds and better flyers such as my all time favorite the Precision Aerobatics Extra 260 (at twice the price) and the e-flite Extra 260.  
    Website

    Comments on RCU Review: Fliton Extra 260 Mini

    Posted by: williamk1956 on 10/22/2009
    RIP, Fliton.....
    Posted by: lashbuick on 12/10/2009
    What distance did you use for c/g recommened c/g seems incorrect. I am tail heavey with 2200 mah 3s and biiger end of recommened motor. Thank you for all help. Dan
    Posted by: Burc on 12/11/2009
    I did not mess around with the CG that much on this plane. The Park480 and the TP22003S worked out fine in their default locations to allow me to fly inverted hands off which is how I like to setup my 3D airframes.
    Posted by: davin_breeze on 03/17/2010
    Excellent review !! I recently bought the bigger version from a friend (John Glezellis 260) 51" wingspan, and he isnt my friend anymore...J/k. With the Hacker A30 , It seems the CG is non-existent trying to put a 4cell lipo (2170MaH) or 3cell (3300mAh)cannot position battery any farther back due to the wing spar being in the way.
    Page: 1
    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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