RCU Review: ElectriFly FlyLite ARF

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    Contributed by: Geoff Barber | Published: March 2010 | Views: 35431 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    ElectriFly FlyLite ARF
    Geoff Barber

    Email Me

    Great Planes Model Dist.
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021

    • Quick, Easy Assembly
    • Flies Very Slow
    • Lightweight
    • Can Be Used as a Trainer

    • None!

    Skill Level:

    Time Required to Build:

    Frustration Level:

    What do these ratings mean?

    ElectriFly has done it again! They just introduced their newest design, the FlyLite ARF. This new plane offers a high wing, very light wing loading, and great flight characteristics, while being extremely easy to assemble. The FlyLite ARF can be easily flown outside in calm conditions, but is also right at home in a large gymnasium.

    The all foam airframe consists of two different types of foam. The wings and tail feathers are made of Pro Formance foam, while the Fuselage is made of AeroCell foam, making it very light and durable. It was originally designed for indoor flight training, but all experience levels will have a ball flying the FlyLite ARF!

    I don't know about you, but I'm excited to get the box open and see what's inside!

    Name:ElectriFly FlyLite ARF

    Price: $59.99

    Wingspan:35 in (890 mm)

    Length:29.5 in (750 mm)

    Flying Weight:7.2-8 oz. (205-225 g) with Battery

    Wing Loading:4.0-4.4 oz/ Sq Foot. (12-13 Sq Dm)

    Radio Used:Futaba 7 CAP 2.4 GHz

    Battery: 7.4 V 300 mAH LiPo

    Channels Used: 3 total- Elevator, Throttle, and Rudder

    Items Needed To Complete

    • 3 Channel minimum Radio System with park flyer Receiver (Futaba FASST 2.4GHz R6004FF used)
    • 2 Pico Servos
      (ElectriFly ES40 used)
    • Small brushless Outrunner Motor
      (ElectriFly Rimfire 250 used)
    • 8 Amp brushless ESC
      (ElectriFly Silver Series 8 Amp ESC used)
    • LiPo Battery pack
      (ElectriFly Competition BP300 7.4V 300 mAH used)
    • Small Needle-Nosed Pliers, Hobby Knife, and a #0 magnetized (if possible) Phillips Screwdriver

    The FlyLite comes packed in a nice, colorful box with plenty of pictures. Also listed are all the required equipment and ElectriFly's recommendations for optimal flight performance. Packaging is very secure and keeps all pieces free from damage in shipping. The FlyLite has a low parts count, and getting it in the air should take very little time!

    Some of the features that stood out were the painted wooden firewall, balsa servo tray and the steerable foam tail wheel. One of the neatest assembly features (and one that isn't really visible)is the set of magnets that hold the vertical stabilizer in the fuselage!

    Assembly is very straight forward and the manual is great. It has plenty of pictures, along with clear instructions for each step of the building process.

    We'll start by removing the battery hatch, which is held in place with a lip at the front and a magnet at the rear. The magnet does a great job of holding the latch in place and is very secure. Installing the landing gear is as easy as sliding it into the bottom of the fuselage and the wheels are pre-installed.

    Use the included hook-and-loop tape to secure the battery to the tray under the battery hatch.

    Installing the ESC is next on the list and consists of sliding the motor wires in through the large vent hole in the bottm of the fuse and out through the lower firewall hole. The battery wire on the ESC runs through the open interior of the fuselage to the back of the battery tray and the Receiver wire is routed up by the servo tray. Attach the three wires to the outrunner motor and screw the motor to the firewall using the screws provided with the motor. This is where a small magnetic screwdriver is a great tool to have! If you don't have one, you can simply tip the fusealge up so the firewall is vertical and place the screws in the hole and then tighten them.

    Trim the servo arms to the configuration as shown in the first illustration and then attach the EZ-link to the arm. Attach the arms to the servos and install them in the tray, making sure to use a drop of foam safe CA for added 'bite' in the mounting screw holes. The receiver gets mounted to a sidewall inside the fuselage, wherever it is convenient for access to all the wires.

    Attach the push rods to the pre-installed horns on the control surfaces. The rudder push rod has a slight bend in it, making identification easy. Slide the horizontal stabilizer/ elevator assembly into the pre-cut slot, making sure to get the push rod in the guide tube, and then the EZ-link inside the fuselage on the servo arm. The same process is used for the vertical stabilizer/ rudder assembly, the only difference being that the vertical stabilizer has a magnet at the base that locks it in place in the fuselage. I tried to pull the vertical stabilizer back out of its slot, and I couldn't get it to move without fear of breaking something- that magnet is VERY strong and does a great job holding the tail together and in perfect alignment.

    Slip the tail wheel pin into the tube in the rudder, and you now have a steerable tail wheel! I really liked the foam tail wheel with the plastic hub- this makes for great ground handling (or should I say 'floor handling').

    ElectriFly has included a wing doubler with the FlyLite for flying the plane outdoors. If you plan to fly your FlyLite indoors only, you can leave the doubler off further saving weight. I chose to install the doubler as I do not have access to an indoor flying site. The doubler has double-sided tape on the bottom side and sticks very well to the wing. Be careful if you choose to install it as you have only one chance to get it right!

    The FlyLite also comes with a template (and a spare) on the back cover of the instruction manual. Cut one of the templates out, fold it on the dotted line, and then mark the four corners of the balance range.

    If you plan to fly outdoors as I do, apply the wing strengthener tape included with the FlyLite. The tape runs right through the CG marks done in the previous step.

    Make sure you check the CG- I had to move the battery pack as far forward in the fuselage as possible, and mine balanced right in the middle of the balance range. After you've balanced the FlyLite, it's ready to fly.

    Let's take this little bird out into the sunlight for a few quick pictures, and then see how it flies!

    It was a cold, crisp afternoon on a calm December day for the maiden flight of the FlyLite ARF, and it couldn't have been better- especially for central Minnesota in winter! The wind was non-existent when the FlyLite took off from the infield of a local ballpark, and it was off the ground in just a few feet. After takeoff, I had to pull the throttle back to keep the plane from climbing like a homesick angel. With the under-cambered wing, any speed that is added turns into incredible amounts of lift!

    Slow flying is what the FlyLite does best. At one-quarter throttle, this plane seems to just hang in the air as if being held there by a string! The FlyLite flies so slow it is easy to see why Great Planes designed it as an indoor trainer.

    Simple aerobatics are also within the capabilities of this indoor/ outdoor flyer, but with the three channel set-up, the aerobatics are limited to loops, stall turns, and spirited barrel rolls.

    When the time came for landing, I couldn't believe how easy it was! Simply set up in the direction you want to land and pull the throttle back. The FlyLite virtually landed itself!

    Check out the video to see her in action!

    ElectriFly FlyLite EP ARF
    Or, Download the Video (24meg)

    Previous to flying the Great Planes FlyLite, my experience with slow flyers was limited to a GWS Slowstick. Even though the Slow stick is just what it sounds like, I really like the FlyLite because it LOOKS like a real airplane, flies SLOWER, and you can pick one up for around $60.00! I am happy I had the opportunity to review this slow flying airplane. I just wish I had a place to fly it indoors so I could enjoy it all the time!

    Great Planes Dist.
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021

    Futaba Radio Systems
    Great Planes Dist.
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021

    RIMFIRE 250 and ElectriFly Silver Series ESC Closer Look
    ElectriFly Silver Series ESC and Rimfire 250

    There's a Silver Series ESC for almost any airplane and brushless motor combination.

    • Compatible with LiPo, NiCd and NiMH batteries for maximum versatility.

    • Ready to use with leads and Deans® Ultra Plug® Connector, gold-plated bullet plugs for motor and universal radio connectors already attached.

    • No set-up. Detects starting voltage at hook-up ? and sets the low-voltage cutoff automatically!

    • Superbly smooth, precise and responsive throughout the throttle range. Transition from instant full-power thrust to all-power off in the same heartbeat and enjoy longer flights and cooler operation in the long haul.

    • BECs deliver true rated current and the extra amps that digital servos ? or extra-servo setups ? require. (Except SS-45D & SS-60)

    • Brake/No Brake operation. Stop folding props cold ? or let fixed props freewheel.

    • Protect pilot, plane and ESC with Safe Start programming, and automatic heat and current overload features.

    Comments on RCU Review: ElectriFly FlyLite ARF

    Posted by: mghowell53 on 04/29/2010
    Geoff, Great Review Article.I liked the way you presented the parts of the plane thru the building stage. Regards, Mike Howell mhowell1953@aol.com
    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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