While attending a local airshow this summer, I noticed a plane flying that I was not familiar with. The plane was an MX2.
The MX2 is a carbon fiber sport aircraft that started production in 2005. It has proven itself a rugged design both in aerobatic competitions and air shows worldwide. It also has unmatched maneuverability and smooth crisp responsive controls.
After watching the pilot fly his routine, I asked my friend, "Wouldn't it be great if there was a scale, R/C version of the MX2?" After the show was over, I had not put much more thought into our conversation- until recently.
Not long ago, I was reading through a thread on RCUniverse, and came across a picture of the MX2, and I had to check it out! When I clicked on the link, I was redirected to a website called RedwingRC.com. I immediately saw the MX2, and I wanted one! I got a hold of Tim Pastor, the owner of Red Wing RC, and after a few emails, he sent me one of the MX2's for a review.
Wingspan: 73 in Wing Area: 1025 in² Weight: 10-10.5 pounds Length: 68 in Radio Used:Futaba 7C Engine Used:JC EVO 28cc Gas engine Channels Used: 4 total - Elevator, Aileron, Rudder, and Throttle
Items Needed To Complete
4-channel radio with receiver, battery pack, 5-120 oz/in. Servos, and one standard servo
1.20 glow engine to 30cc gas engine
15-30 minute epoxy, and blue threadlocking compound
Various Standard Shop Tools
The MX2 arrived on my front porch courtesy of the white delivery truck this time, and while the double-boxed ARF showed no signs of shipping damage, I would not have expected any due to the excellent packaging job done. The parts were all individually bagged and taped together, preventing the contents of the box from moving around. Once I had removed the parts from the box, I was very impressed to see the quality of all the parts- the covering was almost perfect, with very few wrinkles and the canopy/large hatch had the interior already glued in place.
Some other items that caught my eye were the pre-installed fuel tank, pull-pull rudder cables, the lightweight construction, and accessory package. The fuel tank comes pre-plumbed with gas lines, so modification is only necessary if using a glow engine. The pull-pull rudder cables have been run through the fuselage, and require only the servo ends be adjusted and crimped. These items are real time-savers! In addition, I was impressed by the lightweight rigid structure of the airframe and the quality 'extra' accessories included with the MX2. The aluminum servo arms, servo lead keepers, and ply servo mounting pieces are an added bonus, and Redwing RC even includes a fiberglass tunnel and space in the fuselage should you choose to install a tuned pipe exhaust system.
The manual included with the MX2 is great for any intermediate builder/ pilot. While it is not exclusively written for the MX2, it does a good job of pointing out items specifically for this plane. One of the nice features of the manual is that it is not a 'beginner's manual'- if you are building and flying the MX2, you will want to have a few ARF assemblies under your belt.
I finally found a use for the large round servo wheels! The aluminum servo arms that are supplied with the MX2 must be attached to a servo wheel. Four holes must be drilled in the servo wheel, and then the servo arm can be attached using the supplied bolts and nuts. For added insurance, you will want to put a small drop of thread-locking compound on the four bolts before tightening the nuts. This is a step I never omit, especially when running a gasoline engine. Installing the servo in the wing is easy- simply drill the four servo screw holes and secure the servo to the wing. Normally, I would have also added a drop of CA to the screw holes, but the servo plate has already been soaked with CA from the factory- just a little time-saver!
Once the servo is secured, you can move on to the control horns. I really like the double-horn set-up used on the MX2. The aileron has pockets for the control horns; simply remove the covering from the pockets with a sharp hobby knife, and epoxy the control horns in place. After the epoxy has cured, assemble the push rod and secure the ball links to the servo arm and the control horns, using the included hardware.
It's time to move on to the tail! The covering has already been removed from the fuselage where the horizontal stabilizer will be installed. Remove the pinned hinges and elevator halves from the stabilizer and slide the stabilizer through the opening in the fuselage. Measure and mark the stabilizer, remove it from the fuselage, and remove the covering where the stabilizer will be epoxied in place. Reinstall the stabilizer and epoxy it in place by sliding each way one-quarter inch and applying epoxy to the top and bottom sides of the stabilizer.YOU MUST DECIDE WETHER YOU WILL USE ONE OR TWO SERVOS BEFORE SECURING THE HORIZONTAL STABILIZER. If you are going to use a single servo, an elevator joiner must be installed as you install the stabilizer. Omit the joiner if you will be using two elevator servos.
Once the epoxy has cured, apply epoxy to the pinned hinges and install the elevator halves and rudder- I did find it much easier to install the rudder control horns prior to installing the rudder. The rudder horns are a bit of work to get through the rudder, but they will go if you open up the slots a bit using the edge of the horn as a file.
One more word of caution: if using two servos for the elevator, you will need a reversed servo or a servo reverser to keep the push rods the same length.
I have been using a new epoxy lately called Epo-Grip from Newton Supply Company, Inc.. Epo-Grip is produced for the Taxidermy and Furniture Repair industries, but after some extensive tests I have found that it works great for many of our modeling applications. It comes in many varieties including a fast and slow-setting formula.
The fast-set will give 6-10 minutes of working time, while the slow-set (Called "#30-Paste") has more of a two hour working time. Now this is a lot more working time than the 30-minute epoxy I'm used to, and to be honest, if it's a little cold in the room, it can take several hours to completely set up, but the one big advantage that I really like is that it is a paste, not a liquid. Once mixed, it has the consistency of Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline), so when you put it somewhere, it STAYS there and won't run all over the place. I have used it very successfully for gluing stabs/fins to fuselages and other typical joints that require epoxy, but two things I really like using it for are pinned hinges and for joining wing halves (Where you can smear the paste on the wing joiner and inside the slot and it doesn't all drip to the bottom). All in all, I'm very happy with Epo-Grip's adhesives and I'll continue to use them.
Remove the covering from the elevator servo mounts, and mount the servos. You will want to add a servo lead extension and thread it through the fuselage before permanently mounting the elevator servos. I chose to use two elevator servos, so I repeated the procedure on the opposite side of the fuselage. Securing the pull-pull cables to the rudder control horn, and assembling the elevator push rods completes this part of the tail.
Next, assemble the rudder servo arm just like the elevator and aileron arms, and install the arm on the servo. There is not a lot of room to work in the rear section of the fuselage, but adjusting and crimping the pull-pull cables can be done. For an added measure, I like to pass the cable through the brass swage a third time before crimping the swage. This makes for a very secure crimp that will not pull apart.
The tail wheel assembly must be put together, but it is very easy to do. Once assembled, the carbon-fiber bracket is secured to the bottom of the fuselage with three screws. The bracket must be aligned and the holes need to be marked and drilled on the bottom of the fuselage. I did thread the holes and add a drop of CA to these holes before permanently mounting the tail wheel bracket to make sure the tail wheel assembly was secure. You must drill a hole in the bottom of the rudder for the ball link that the tail wheel wire slides through, then it must be epoxied in place.
That's it, the tail is done!
MAIN LANDING GEAR
The aluminum main gear installs with four included Allen head bolts. Make sure you add a drop of blue thread-locking compound to each bolt before tightening them. The supplied axles are slipped through the gear leg, and tightened, and the wheel is held in place with two wheel collars. Again, you will want to add a drop of thread-locker to the setscrew in the collar before tightening. The wheel pant slides over the wheel and axle, and is held in place with two Allen head bolts, and a little more thread-locker.
ENGINE, FUEL TANK, AND COWL
Using the engine mount template that comes with your engine of choice, align and mark the holes for the engine bolts.
Drill out the bolt holes to the proper diameter, making sure to keep the holes square to the firewall.
Installing the JC EVO 28cc Gasoline engine in the MX2 is easy. I happened to find a package of 3 1/2-inch bolts at my local home improvement store, and they were just the right length. I added wood washers and blind nuts to the back of the firewall to make engine installation a snap.
RC Aero Products JC EVO 28cc Gasoline Engine Spotlight
I ran the bolts through the holes on the engine crankcase, through the engine standoffs, and then into the blind nuts in the firewall. There was enough thread sticking out the back of the blind nuts, so I added a nylon-locking nut instead of using thread-locker.
There are two servo mount-holes behind the firewall, so I installed my throttle and choke servos there. These servo locations make it easy to install the push rods.
Since the fuel tank is pre-plumbed and pre-installed, all that I did was install the fuel lines and secure them with a zip-tie. The tank is set up for a three-line system: carburetor, vent, and filler, and all three of the brass tubes coming through the stopper are labeled to make identification easy.
Now on to my least favorite step of assembly, it is time to cut the cowl. Take your time and remove small segments of the cowl, until it fits the engine and muffler. The cowl has a plywood ring glued inside, so that there are no external screws on the top of the fuselage. Mark the bottom screw-holes with a piece of tag board taped to the fuselage, drill the lower cowl mounting screw holes, and install the supplied screws.
The cowl is the only area of the entire plane where I could find any fault- the paint was a little thin and splotchy in places, and the spinner didn't line up exactly with the front ring on the cowl, but nothing that would stop me from getting an MX2.
RECEIVER AND BATTERY INSTALLATION
The batteries, switches, and receiver are all that is left to install for the radio system. I found a suitable location to install the DuBro Kwik Switches right behind the cowl, on the right side of the fuselage. There is just enough plywood there to mount the two switches.
I chose to mount the receiver on top of the fuel tank, and a battery on each side of the tank. Later, when I balanced the MX2, I found I had to move one of the batteries back by the rudder servo. The plane balanced very neutral in this set-up, which is where I wanted it to balance for the initial flights.
We are almost done! I installed the optional, large Redwing logo on the cowl, and the 'cross' pattern and smaller Redwing RC logo on each wing. The carbon fiber wing tube goes through the fuselage and the wings slide on the tube. There is an anti-rotation pin at the front and rear of each root-rib, and they were a little tight in the fuselage. Using my rotary tool, I opened the holes up just a slight amount to make the pins go into the fuselage easier.
Now that the wings are on, secure them to the fuselage with the included nylon wing bolts, install the canopy, and secure it with the included machine screws. The canopy bolts were a little tight fitting, but that is ok because I did not want to use thread-locker on them.
All that is left now is to take the MX2 outside, take a few more photos, and get it in the air!
The day of flight-testing finally came, and the weather was perfect! There was a slight breeze flowing straight down the runway, and the temperature was just right. After a couple of flips on the prop, the JC EVO 28cc engine came to life, and after a brief warm-up, she was running great.
The MX2 was pointed into the breeze, the throttle advanced, and the plane climbed out and headed for the sky! With the JC EVO 28cc engine in the cowl, the MX2 will take off at three-quarter throttle, and fly effortlessly at less than half throttle all day long. The take off was so uneventful that I forgot for a moment to fly the plane and just watched it head upward toward the clouds!
After a trip around the pattern to trim the plane, I tried some high and low speed passes to see how the MX2 handled. I was impressed! No trimming was needed to fly fast or slow, and the plane handled both very well. It felt as though I was flying a sport plane, rather than a 3D airplane.
Aerobatics? Yeah, the MX2 can do aerobatics- and this is where it shines! If you can think of a maneuver, the MX2 can do it, and this plane will make you, the pilot, look like a pro. From loops to rolls, Cuban eights and Immelmans to snap rolls and lomchevaks, the MX2 was made for aerobatics! I had the privilege of having Minnflyer, from right here on RCUniverse, fly the plane for the video, and even he was impressed by the aerobatic capabilities of the MX2.
Now, I am not a professional 3D pilot, and unfortunately neither is Minnflyer. With that said, we were able to get the MX2 to hover for a few seconds, and got a torque roll out of the plane without moving the GC back. I have absolutely no doubt that any serious 3D pilot would jump at the chance to fly this all-around great flying airplane! Click here to see some great 3D flying of the MX2.
After 15 minutes of flying, it was time to bring the MX2 back down, and again, I was pleased to see how nicely it landed. I cut the throttle to idle on the final turn to the runway, let the plane glide down, and just before I flared, I added in about two clicks of throttle, and the MX2 settled in for a perfect three-point landing. I have seen some aerobatic planes that can be a little touchy on landings, but that definitely does not apply to the MX2.
Check out the video to see the MX2 in action!
Red Wing RC MX2 ARF Or, Download the Video (21meg) CLICK HERE
Well, what else can I say? I am so glad that I had the opportunity to share the MX2 with all who read this review. This plane can do all that you ask it to, and be stable in the air at slower speeds. For the most part, the fit and finish was excellent, and I am proud to add the MX2 from Redwing RC to my hangar. If you're looking for a 30cc aerobatic aircraft to add to your fleet, you just can't go wrong with the MX2!
Everything For The R/C Hobbyist
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.