RCU Review: Aeroworks Freestyle Extra 260 QB-L


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    Contributed by: Burc Simsek | Published: October 2012 | Views: 34605 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of the Aero-Works 30cc Extra 260 QB-L ARF

    Burc
    Simsek







    4903 Nome Street
    Denver, Co. 80239
    www.aero-works.net



    A couple of months ago, I was lucky enough to prepare an article on the electric Extra 260 QB-L from Aeroworks which was the first of its kind and I was very impressed by its quality and performance. A few weeks after, I got my first look at the larger 30cc version of this airframe in Toledo and was immediately blown away by its lines, size and quality. Well only a few months after the Toledo show, I was asked if I would be interested in preparing another article on the 30cc Extra 260 QB-L and needless to say, I jumped right in.

    The 30cc Extra 260 QB-L is the second QB-L aerobatic airframe from Aeroworks which means it retains all of the quick build features that Aeroworks is known for but at the same time, all attention has been given to creating a lighter but yet durable version of the airframe. This is apparent when looking at the interior of the airframe for the first time which might leave you asking where are all the plywood pieces. The airframe arrives with an impressive collection of hardware such as carbon gear and main/stab tubes, carbon control horns and ball-link control rods. Like its smaller brother, the 30cc version of the Extra also features the inner and outer SFGs and is targeted towards the 3D pilot. The airframe arrives with templates for the DLE-30 and the new DLE-35RA but can accommodate virtually any engine in that range.

    DLE was generous enough to provide a DLE-35RA for this article which promises more power and the capability to spin a bigger propeller over the DLE-30. The DLE-35RA features a rear access muffler eliminating the need to purchase a separate wrap around muffler which is also a great plus in my opinion. So without any further delay, lets put one together and see what it is capable of.


    • Quick assembly
    • Outboard and Inboard SFGs
    • Easy access hatch
    • Carbon fiber landing gear, control arms and main tube.
    • Quality hardware
    • C.G. Buddy for easy balancing.



    • No spinner included. 



    Skill Level:

    Time Required to Build:

    Frustration Level:

    What do these ratings mean?

    The 30cc Extra 260 QB-L is shipped in a modest box where each of the components are individually wrapped. I was pleased to find no damage to the airframe from shipping.



    With all of the components out of the box and laid out on the table, you might be left wondering where the rest of the parts are until you realize that this is a QB airframe and most of the work has been done for you.

    The fuselage arrives with the canopy ready to go and with all of the access holes for the wiring and stab/wing tubes cut out. Blind nuts have been installed for the cowl and it looks like there is little work to be done for the modeler.

    The bottom of the fuselage features a nice hot air exit vent which will reduce the size of the hole you need to open on the cowling.

    Aeroworks
    Freestyle Extra 260 QB-L

    Price: $499.95 (Accurate as of review date)

    Key Features

    • Strong Light Weight Construction
    • Complete and Detailed Instruction Manual
    • Air Foiled Tail Section
    • Removable Two Piece Stabs
    • Removable Two Piece Wings
    • Carbon Landing Gear
    • Carbon Wing Tube
    • Carbon Non-Flex Control Horns
    • Strong and Light Tail Wheel
    • CompleteHigh Quality SAE Hardware Package Included
    • Removable Inner and Outer SFG?s
    • Pre-mounted Canopy with Quick Release Latch 
    • Engine Spacers Included to accommodate most Engines
    • Professionally covered in ULTRACOTE?
    • Pin Style Hinges Pre-Glued from factory
    • Large control surfaces double beveled for Maximum Throw
    • Pre Mounted Fiberglass Cowl and Wheel Pants
    • Custom Throw Deflectors Included
    • Extra Ultracote? covering provided for small repairs
    • Custom Decal Set Included
    • C.G. Buddy for Quick and Accurate Balancing
    • 6 to 8 Hours assembly Time

    Overview

    Aeroworks is proud to add the new 30cc Freestyle Extra 260 QB-L (Quick Build-Light Series) to our growing line of airplanes. Designed with the demanding 3D pilot in mind, this new airplane features many exciting and revolutionary concepts that are sure to make it the hit of your hangar. The 30cc Freestyle Extra 260 QB-L is the second airplane in our new QB-L Series and it is sure to impress with its light weight build quality as well as its impressive airframe strength and longevity. The new QB-L features all of the Quick Build qualities that Aeroworks has been known for, assembling the new 30cc Freestyle Extra 260 QB-L can be done is as little as 8 hours!

    Included with the new Freestyle Extra 260 QB-L is an extensive hardware package that includes Carbon main landing gear, carbon wing/stab tubes and the new, double truss non-flex carbon control horns. All of these accessories are designed to be rigid and strong while providing the lightest weight possible for an airplane this size. Ball links have been provided for the smoothest in control surface movement while still allowing for 50+ Degrees of surface deflection on the Ailerons and Rudder with over 55 Degrees of deflection on the elevator! Engine mounting templates have been provided for the DLE 30 making installation simple even for the first time gas pilot.

    The airframe itself features a large wing to provide an incredibly low wing loading, perfect for stable 3D flight! The new wing design also features both inboard and outboard Side Force Generators (SFG's) these SFG?s are pre-mounted and can be removed in seconds if desired. Along with the new wing design are the airfoiled tail surfaces that provide great control authority even at low speeds. These extra features make the Freestyle Extra 260 QB-L one of the most responsive 3D airplanes in its class. The Freestyle Extra 260 QB-L extensive build features include; pre-mounted cowling, pre-mounted wheel pants, and a quick release pre-mounted canopy that uses a spring loaded release mechanism, no magnets here!

    Aeroworks is excited to grow our new line of QB-L airplanes continuing with the 30cc Freestyle Extra 260 QB-L. With 20 years in the industry, you can rest assured that Aeroworks will be here to provide you with the amazing product support that we have been known for. 

    Specs

    Wingspan: 79 in
    Length: 69 in 
    Flying Weight: 10.5 - 11 pounds
    Wing Area: 1175 in2 
    Radio Requirements: Minimum 4-channel
    Recommended Engine Sizes: 30cc - 35cc gas





    The canopy is held in place with a spring latching mechanism which makes access to the electronics and tank a breeze at the field. The QB-L aspect of the airframe is readily apparent as you look inside the fuselage. It is hard to not be impressed with the amount of effort that has gone in this airframe to make it light yet durable. Aeroworks has even routed guide strings on the side of the fuselage to route the elevator servo leads which will make sure that they do not interfere with the pull-pull system employed on the rudder.





    The two piece wing arrives with the ailerons pre-hinged with pin style hinges. String has been placed inside the fuselage to help in routing the servo leads. I was surprised to find that the covering over the inner SFG location has already been cut out for you. Spare pieces of covering are provided should you decide you do not want to use the inner SFGs and want to cover up the holes. The horizontal stabilizers are airfoiled and the counter balanced elevators have also been hinged with the same in style hinges at the factory. The six pieces that make up the inner and outer SFGs color match the airframe perfectly.






    The main landing gear is carbon while the tail wheel is out of aluminum. Aeroworks does sell a carbon tail wheel if you decide you want to hop up your Extra later on.A spinner is unfortunately not included in the box but a nice carbon fiber one is available from Aeroworks. The remaining components are packaged in a few bags and include the engine templates, the pushrods and control horns, the pull-pull system and the spare pieces of Ultracote covering which Aeroworks is know for providing (and thankfully so) with every ARF for when you will eventually need to patch up a small ding on your airframe.






    The cowl arrives with holes that have been drilled for easy mounting and the color matched the airframe perfectly. Non-flex carbon control arms are provided for all the control surfaces. Those matched with the high quality ball link type control rods should provide a nice slop free linkage for the control surfaces. A C.G. Buddy is also provided to make the chore of balancing the large airframe very easy and enjoyable.


    Manual


    The 30cc Extra 260 QB-L does not ship with a printed manual. Instead a CD is provided which contains a colored pdf file of the manual.  The pdf file is sperbly detailed in describing the quick assembly process in a step by step manner. The manual calls out the C.G. point along with the recommended throws on all surfaces. On the initial versions of the Extra 260, a couple of extra steps have to be performed to counter sink the rudder hinges which only takes a few minutes to perform when following the detailed instructions available in the addendum to the manual.

    Download the manual 

    Download the addendum







    The assembly process of the 30cc Extra 260 QB-L starts by installing the control arms to the ailerons. The carbon control arms are fitted in place and a small piece of covering is removed from the aileron where the base of the control arm will sit.  I used some sandpaper to rough up the base of the control arms so the epoxy would have something to adhere to. The control rods are high quality ball link type with adjustments capability while the rods are in place.





    To save time, I placed both wings and elevator halves on the assembly table and prepared to glue all four control arms in place with a single batch of epoxy. It is a good idea to assemble the control rods to the arms before you glue them in place to make sure there will be no misalignment of the arms. One thing to pay attention to here is to make sure you choose the right base plates for the elevator and aileron arms. The base plate of the rudder has larger openings so it is probably best to set the rudder control arms and base plates aside before you start the process to make sure you do not get them mixed up.





    The aileron servos can then be installed by using the pre-installed guide sting. I used Hitec 7954SH servos for all control surfaces. The ailerons required 6" extenders to reach the receiver inside the fuselage. Once the servos were in place, I drilled, tapped and hardened the screw holes before using hex head screws to mount the servos in place. The long arms that come with the 7954SH servos are sufficient to achieve full throw on the ailerons when used at their outermost hole. The hole has to be enlarged a small amount to accept the 4-40 bolt of the control arm. Once the servos are in place and connected to the control arms the center position and the length of the control arm can easily be adjusted using the provided spanner.





    The elevator servos are installed next. Aeroworks has provided guide string that are routed through the fuselage in a very tidy manner. A 24" extension is required for both servos. I routed both servo leads and attached the servos in the same manner as the ailerons in no time. 






    Aeroworks has informed me that the first run of Extras requires an additional step to counter sink the rudder hinges which is described in the addendum to the manual. Without this, the rudder does not sit flush against the vertical stabilizer. This is a very simple process which involves marking off a drill bit to adjust the depth and hand drilling a larger hole to allow the wider section of the hinge pins to sink in the holes in the fuselage and the rudder. The whole process takes about five minutes and the resulting fit is very tight. 





    The rudder control arm is then installed in the same manner as the aileron and elevators. .






    Rudder control is achieved using a pull-pull system. Note that the pull wires are not crossed inside the fuselage..






    The tail and main gear are then attached to the fuselage. Tail wheel steering is achieved using a pull-pull spring setup. The wheel pants are pre-drilled and blind nuts have been attached to the inside to make the installation process a breeze. The provided landing wheels are foam and are very light.


    Engine

    Key Features

    The DLE-35RA features a rear exhaust for the perfect tuned pipe setup. It also includes a newly designed piston with re-engineered skirt for less piston weight - resulting in such advantages as awesome throttle response, more power and longer engine life. Producing 400 more rpm than the DLE30, the DLE-35RA comes with engine standoffs, electronic ignition, spark plug and muffler.

    Specs

    Displacement: 34.9cc
    Bore: 1.5 in
    Stroke: 1.17 in
    Weight Engine: 2.06 lb
    Weight Muffler: 2.61 oz
    Weight Ignition Module: 5.26 oz
    Total Weight: 2.77 lb
    Output: 4.1 hp @ 8,500 rpm







    For this review, I was supplied with the new DLE-35RA engine. 


    I really like DLE engines as they arrive with all required components including the muffler, standoffs, ignition, spark plug and even a sticker. The DLE-35RA arrives with a new ignition module which can accept anywhere from 4.8V to 8.4V which means you should be able to run a 2S LiPo directly without a need for  a regulator. Note that the spark cap is no longer 90 degrees but is slanted to a ~120 degree angle. This should make fitting the complete engine under the cowling possible on most models.

    In addition to a providing a larger displacement, the exhaust on the 35RA is on the rear of the cylinder head which eliminates the need to purchase a wrap around Pitts style muffler for this build. DLE also claims that this is the perfect setup for a tuned pipe setup. Even though the Extra 260 does not natively accept a tuned pipe, one could modify the fuselage to fit a pipe inside as there is ample space.

    Even though I have not found any documentation about this, I noticed that there seems to be a small guide added on the right side of the crank case where the choke connection rod can be guided to the front of the cowl for easy access. 





    Mounting the engine is worry free due to the provided template. To achieve the recommended distance from the firewall to the back of the spinner, I had to use four 1" dowels cut down to 1/4". I Hardened the dowels with thin CA, drilled them and mounted the engine with the bolts that were provided with the DLE-35RA.





    The throttle servo mount is then attached to the fuselage. The side of the mount has to be cut to accommodate for the tri-stock in the fuselage. 





    A hole for the pushrod is made on the firewall and once the servo is in place, the pushrod for the throttle can be cut to size and soldered in place. If you are not comfortable with this process, you could probably use a piece of 4-40 all thread rod cut to size to make the connection as well. 





    The provided fuel tank is then assembled and mounted in place using heavy duty zip ties.  For fueling the Extra 260, I used a T connector on the fuel line. The fuel DOT is provided by Aeroworks and works pretty good. At first it was hard to press the DOT in all the way but I trimmed a bit of fuel line around the connection spot to achieve a snug fit. I also mounted two charge switches on either side of the fuselage for the receiver and the ignition battery.





    The provided linkages unfortunately did not fit through the choke guide on the DLE-35 so I used the old servo arm method to mount the choke connector to the engine post. I will most likely change this out when I get my hand on a smaller diameter pushrod. I mounted a 6V2500mAh NiMH battery for the ignition to the left of the engine and zip tied the ignition to the right side. 





    The manual shows the recommended cuts for the DLE-30 engine. I followed the procedure only to find I had to open up the cut a bit more to accommodate the slanted ignition on the DLE-35RA. Aeroworks provides a template to cut vent holes on the front of the cowl which I used in conjunction with a rotary tool to complete the cuts on the cowling. The resulting cuts are very symmetric and do not bother the eye when looking at the airframe from the bottom.





    Before mounting the cowl, I installed the provided fuel vent exit on the bottom of the fuselage using a bit of CA. The cowl, propeller and spinner can then be mounted using the supplied 4-40 bolts and bonded washers. The bonded washers do a great job of keeping the holes in the cowl from getting rounded over time due to the vibrations from the engine. I used the optional carbon fiber spinner from Aeroworks and a 19x8 Xoar propeller. I drilled a small hole on the side of the fuselage to access the needles and the build was essentially completed. 





    The provided SFGs install on the wings with 4-40 bolts and bonded washers. After balancing the Extra using the provided C.G. buddy I ended up with the 6V2700mAh NiMH flight battery strapped in front of the gas tank to achieve perfect balance. I used a Futaba R617FS receiver mounted behind the tank where all the servo extensions reached the receiver perfectly without any further connectors being required. My dry weight came out a tad bit higher than the advertised weight of 10.5 - 11lbs at 11.5 lbs which was mostly due to the heavier NiMH batteries I used.









    I had high expectations with the 30cc Extra 260 especially after flying the 52" Electric version for so long. With the flight and ignition batteries charged, I headed out to the field for the maiden flight. Once at the field, the assembly of the Extra 260 is quite quick. The wings are mounted to the fuselage using the carbon wing tube and are held in place with two bolts and four cotter pins. It is easier to get the cotter pins in and out if you angle the tips a little with a pair of pliers. Once I connected everything and made sure that all the surfaces were moving in the correct directions, I headed out to the starting stand to fire up the DLE-35RA for the first time.

    With the choke engaged, I flipped the prop a couple of times till the DLE-35RA popped. Pressing in the choke and flipping the prop a couple of more times brought the DLE-35RA to life. After waiting for it to warm up, I tried a transition test where the engine died midway through. After richening the main a bit, the DLE-35RA was reaching full throttle and idling like a champ.

    Ground handling was uneventful as I rolled the Extra 260 out towards the runway. With the nose pointed in the wind, I advanced the throttle and watched as the Extra quickly picked up speed and lifted off for the first time. Once in the air, I trimmed out the controls for level flight and just flew a couple of circuits to get familiar with the airframe. I had to land and adjust the throttle curve of the engine to bring the power band to a higher position in the throttle. After taking off and getting braver with the airframe, I brought the Extra low over the runway and rolled it on its side. The resulting knife edge was very easy to maintain and I can say exhibited little to no coupling at all. I rolled the Extra inverted to find that it requires a touch of elevator to maintain level flight. Vertical lines were nearly perfect with only a touch of rudder required to keep a straight line.

    On following flights, I leaned out the DLE-35RA and started to put the Extra through the paces. With the additional power from the engine, the Extra screams down the runway at full throttle and has strong pull through climbs. Snaps are easy to perform even on up lines. Hammer heads and stall turns were a breeze although I was still getting a bit of pendulum effect coming out of the turns. Slow and point rolls were only limited by my flying ability.

    After flying the sport and precision envelope, I was comfortable enough with the DLE-35RA that I started to bring the Extra slow and low over the runway for some low altitude 3D maneuvers. My first attempt at bleeding off some speed and entering a harrier was greeted with little to no wing rock. I was easily able to bring the Extra lower and lower until it was floating right in front of me. Transition to hovering from harrier flight is easily achieved by pulling on the elevator without a major burst of throttle thanks to the 50+ degrees of deflection on full rates on the elevators. Once in a hover, I had no trouble keeping the canopy pointed towards me due to the large ailerons and the control that they provided. The DLE-35RA is very powerful and can pull the Extra out of a hover in a hurry and keep climbing till you say stop. Inverted harriers were even more stable and exhibited less wing rock than upright. Rolling harriers were also easy to perform with very little correction required to keep the Extra rolling with constant angle of attack through the maneuver. 

    Landing the Extra after 10 minutes of flight time, I was pleased to find that I still had half a tank of gas left. With a large fuselage and wing area, the Extra can be slowed to a comfortable speed on final approach with perfect three point landing on every try.

    Check out the video to see her in action!







    Aeroworks 30cc Extra 260 QB-L ARF

    (Pilots, Stills & Video: Burc Simsek and David Smith)



























    Being a QB-L airframe, the Extra 260 assembles quickly and results in a light and durable airframe which is perfect for the 3D enthusiast. With a good amount of the assembly already done for you, only a few quick and enjoyable hours in the shop are required before the airframe is ready to put on a show at the field. I flew the Extra with and without the SFGs for further experimentation and decided that I like to keep the inner SFGs but remove the outer ones. Even without the outer SFGs, I was able to perform nice and stable knife edge passes without any issues and even pull through knife edge loops. The new DLE-35RA looks to be a power house and I cant wait to get it properly broken in. 

    If you already have the electric version of the Extra 260 QB-L, you will most probably agree with me that it is one of the best flying airframes in its class. Not resting on their laurels, Aeroworks has now raised the bar with the 30cc version of this airframe. After flying the Extra for a couple of weeks now, I am very pleased with the quality and the performance that the airframe provides and I find myself picking the Extra out of my fleet as I head out to the field. If you are on the hunt for a 30cc size aerobatic airframe, make sure you put the Extra 260 QB-L on your list. 






    4903 Nome Street
    Denver, Co. 80239
    www.aero-works.net



    DLE Gasoline Engines Product Support
    3002 N. Apollo Driver, Suite #1 Champaign IL 61822

    www.dle-engines.com



    Futaba Corporation of America
    Distributed by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Phone: (217) 398-8970
    Website: www.futaba-rc.com 



    17260 Westheimer Parkway
    Houston, TX 77082

    http://www.bcflyers.com/

    Comments on RCU Review: Aeroworks Freestyle Extra 260 QB-L

    Posted by: kochj on 10/12/2012
    No pipe tunnel??..
    Posted by: jfuller on 10/13/2012
    Perhaps I missed it, but I didn't see what prop the engine turned at what speed. Jamesf
    Posted by: Burc on 10/19/2012
    There is no pipe tunnel but there is space enough to install a pipe if you were inclined to do so. The prop used was a 19x8 which turned ~7800 rpm on the ground but unloaded pretty good in the air. The setup is not lacking for power.
    Posted by: Hi Resolution on 07/09/2013
    How long would the battery last ?
    Posted by: awanglukman on 08/07/2013
    plz tel me how much did i pay for this hobby..."? does it include equipment engine at all?, if so what is the price?
    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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