The Wings Maker is a relatively new company that has an outstanding like of airplanes. Not only are their planes great fliers, but they are relatively inexpensive. I have seen several of the aircraft n their lineup and I have always been impressed. The Handyman is one of their newest offerings and from what I have seen so far, it?s a very impressive airplane too!
This all-foam combo setup comes complete with an out runner motor and servos and they are pre-installed! Not only are the control horns already in place, the ailerons are already connected to the servos! All you need to do is epoxy the tail on, attach the pushrods for rudder and elevator, install the wheels and prop, slide the wings on, add your ESC, battery and receiver into the spacious flow-through compartment behind the motor and she?s ready to fly!
When I received the handyman, we still had plenty of snow on the ground in Minnesota, but I had another trip to Florida approaching, so I discovered something they DON?T tell you: The tail can be taped in place to make it removable. Remove the tail and spinner and the completed plane will fit right back in the box! (Ok, I had to remove a slot of foam for the prop nut, but that?s all) So when it was finished, I boxed it back up and shipped it to Florida so I had something to fly while I was down there!
Packaging was superb! The box top is double-layered, corrugated cardboard and the bottom is molded foam. All of the major parts fit within the molding perfectly so there can be no shifting.
The Fuselage is nestled into it?s bed and held in place with a few foam straps and blocks. There?s no way this thing can move in shipment.
The wings come out of the box ready to go, with servos installed and connected to the control horns!
Tail components have control horns pre-attached and ready to glue in place, and the rudder already has its tail wheel in place.
The out runner motor and tail servos are also pre-installed and several trim sheets are supplied so you can choose between a red or blue color scheme.
For this combo version, the manual is practically unnecessary. If you got the non-combo "Kit version" you?ll find the manual a bit lacking in written instruction as it relies mostly on symbols and pictures.
A roll of tape is supplied so you can strengthen the molded hinge lines. A carbon fiber wing tube is slid through the fuse, the wings are slid onto the tube and joined with a rubber band. Two small bands and one large were supplied. Neither size seemed perfect, but I found that wrapping the small one a few times made the wings secure enough for my comfort.
The stab gets some epoxy, then slides in place. The rudder is molded into the rear of the fin and the rear is epoxied to the forward fin. A note here: I have used this same type of foam in another Wings Maker design and I have found that epoxy doesn?t adhere to it very well, so after adding the epoxy, I recommend that you poke a few holes with a toothpick to give the glue something to grab on to.
As I mentioned in the intro, I skipped the epoxy altogether and taped the rudder on to make it removable for shipping.
Now the pre-formed pushrods snap in place and the tail is finished.
The landing gear slid into their slot, a plywood holder is then slid in place and held with two socket-head screws.
A collet is placed on the motor shaft and the prop hub is bolted to the collet. Then the prop blades are screwed to the hub and the spinner is added.
ESC, RECEIVER AND BATTERY
Now the ESC can be placed under the battery tray by inserting it through the forward air intake. The receiver goes in the rear of the battery compartment. I just stuffed the antennas inside, but if you?re using a 72MHz radio, the antenna can be routed through the flow-through channel and out the back.
I used a 3-cell, 2200mAh LiPo pack.
Time to add the decals and bring her outside.
The timing of the Handyman's arrival was perfect. I was able to shoot the assembly pictures, re-package it and ship it down to Florida in time for my planned "working vacation". The Florida weather was not cooperative for the first few days, but eventually we got a few calm mornings and I was able to get some flights in before heading in to the office.
The maiden flight was everything you would hope for - no major trim adjustments and she flew very nicely. However, before the next flight I ran into the same minor problem that I had with the DF-032 Panther (also by TheWingsMaker) which is made of the same type of foam: Glue does not stick well to the surface of this foam - The hatch magnets and the metal coins the magnets mate with came loose after only a few flights.
I removed both sets of magnets and coins and reattached them using 30-minute epoxy, but I poked holes in the foam with a toothpick after applying the epoxy to imbed it into the foam and I scratched the surface of the metal to give the glue something to grab on to.
The next time out I really got to wring it out. The recommended control throws are small - too small for 3D flying (although the airframe seems totally capable of it). With the recommended throws, it flies like a little pattern plane - very smooth and stable! The wide fuselage is great for knife edge flight. Even with the modest rudder throw, the Handyman would hold a knife edge at 3/4 throttle.
I asked my dad to fly it around while I shot some still pictures. My dad had just turned 89 and does not really care for electric planes, so I was curiously amused when he started asking so many questions like, "How much did that cost?" and "Where can I get one?"
A few more trips to the field and several flights later I was really starting to like this little plane. Loops, rolls, hammerheads, you name it, it performed them well. It's very aerobatic yet very stable and with a 2200MAh LiPo pack I was getting flights over 17 minutes long. Then I finally got a calm, sunny morning so I asked my friend Dennis Reingold, who does a lot of electric flying, to take her for a spin while I shot some video. Dennis seemed to be as impressed as I was with the Handyman's capabilities.
The Handyman is definitely a winner. In its combo version, it's ready in less than an hour and it's a blast to fly! The foam construction is very durable, but you will want to re-glue the magnets as I mentioned earlier. Aside from that, I found nothing to complain about. This is a great, "throw it in the car and go" airplane and while not for beginners, any flier who has a few intermediate planes under his belt could easily handle it.
I have a feeling that this is going to be my "go to" electric airplane for a while - that is, if I can get it back from my dad!
Futaba Corporation of America
Great Planes Model Distributors
P.O. Box 9021; Champaign, IL 61826-9021
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.