flight envelope - the perfect aerobatic tutor!
would be real plus if the stickers were applied by the manufacturer,
or at least pre-cut.
canopy magnet are not strong enough and it will pop in flight
on hard snap-roll.
of balance spinner
aerobatic is without a doubt one of the most challenging
and demanding disciplines in RC flying airplane. It
is not a question of being bold and doing inverted
flight right above the runway or torque-rolls with
the rudder touching the grass ? that can be
left to the skilled 3D pilots. Precision aerobatics,
or pattern aerobatic, is about announcing what you
will be performing and delivering it with perfection.
In a sense, we could compare pattern planes to classical
music, where the partitions are well known, and the
orchestra has to reproduce it, respecting every note,
every pause, and every emotion that could be embedded
in the masterpiece.
When you want to perform at this level, you need a
meticulously designed plane, and the high-end ones
tend to come with high price tags. Wings Maker decided
to build a plane which incorporates numerous qualities
these high-end pattern planes have without the hefty
price tag. This affordable model is named the Commander,
which we are reviewing today.
transportation box is simple, with a picture of the finish
plane glued on the front. Keep the picture! It will come
handy when it will be time to stick on all the decals.
package is dense, with little-to-no space left between parts.
Less volume means less packaging which reduces the transportation
cost and helps protect the environment! Let's encourage
the manufacturers to use this type of packaging.
is what you will find in the kit:
the main body parts (fuselage, wings, canopy, tail)
motor and servos are already glued in place.
Pre-assembled Combo: $159.99
- The plane that truly follows your command.
- You owe yourself a Commander to prove that
you can fly just as good as the guy out there.
- Doing perfect loops or axial rolls will no
longer be a challenge.
- Symmetrical airfoil wings with precision control
surfaces for F3A maneuvers.
- Carbon fiber wing joiner and landing gear
for optimum performance.
- Plastic hinges specially designed for foam
models ensure safe and smooth operation of control
- Powerful outrunner motor (optional) enhance
unlimited vertical aerobatic performance.
- Durable foam construction takes care of un-intentional
- Kit and pre-assembled combo version available.
: 4 Mini Servos (SV3031),
Outrunner Motor 37/48 Deluxe-750Kv (KM0374811),
cells 14.8V 3200 mAh Li-Po battery &
cells 14.8V 3200 mAh Li-Po battery &
kit we received came with this note, requesting
to replace the washers with wider one. It might
be a case of an importer trying to improve the kit,
or a temporary manufacturing patch.
ESC-to-motor connection is propriatery. The pin
used in this connector are standard in diameter,
and one could choose not to use the plastic protection.
aileron, rudder and elevator hinges are interestingly
made. The foam bends to form a sealed hinge all
way long, and it is re-enforced with plastics pivot
glued in place, as shown on this picture.
is an undercut on both side of the fuselage to mount
the wing - that is nice and allows for a gapless
tail is ready to receive the rudder and the elevator.
Note the servos are already installed by the manufacturer.
placed the light in such a way the surface finish
would show on the picture. You can see the difference
between the top of the stab (right) and the bottom
(center). The vents used during the molding
process to let the air out of the mold left slight
impressions on the parts. There are some way to
reduce this effect, but it can hardly be removed
entirely. Overall, the parts show a good molding
and finition quality.
the Commander is very straight forward, and completing
it should cause no trouble at all. All the parts
come together easy. There are only three things
that I found which could be improved:
manual does not cover the pre-assembled combo
version, only the kit version. Therefore, you
will have to read through all the steps and check
if that step has already been done by the manufacturer.
This is particularly cumbersome as the kit comes
with a few un-used parts, and I had to read through
the manual several times to ensure I did not miss
a step during the assembly.
stickers! The pleasure to add the final touches
on the plane quickly faded when I realized that
every single piece of decal had to be cut and
applied individually. We are looking roughly at
a couple of hours of work for any one with two
useable hands. The end results, I have to admit,
is quite pleasing.
washer for the prop is too thick and will have
to be replaced with a thinner one.
Every thing else is very straightforward and will
not cause any issues for anyone who has built an ARF
before. Only a few parts had to be glued in place.
I recommend using CA and kicker for all needed gluing
where foam is involved - epoxy will just not bound
well on this foam.
only left thing to do to install the landing gear is the mounting
onto the fuselage with 4 screws. Easy!
canopy/battery hatch provides a fairly wide access to the
fuselage. There is a lot of room, so installing the radio,
the ESC and the battery is very easy. I found the model CG
to be right when the 3300mAh battery was placed just behind
motor washers before replacement (left), while being
replaced (top) and after replacement (right).
One advice: replace them one by one, so the motor
stays in place and you won't have to re-align it.
propeller washer is too thick for the collet length. There
is barely enough threaded length for a nut. However,
the nut used with no washer would be too small for the
prop, and it will bite into the plastic with time. I
use a thin washer, and it was fine.
soldering was required to mount the propriatery connector
onto the ESC.Better not forget to slide the lower part of
the connector before
soldering the female socket.The finish connector is pretty
clean. Note that it can be plugged backward as well, so the
direction of rotation can be adjusted at a later time.
ailerons servo are mounted, with the linkage already installed.
They were pulled out here to have a look at the servo itself.
No problem there, all is firmly attached.
two half-wings are held together with a rubber band. It doesn't
have to be super-tight. Here is an easy three steps to put
it on. Start with the provided rubber band folded in two,
and put it on the front side of the hooks, which are easily
accessible. No need to fold the rubber band in three or four,
two is already good enough.
Once you have the rubber band on one side of the two wooden
hooks, just slide your finger under the top part of the rubber,
and bring it to the other side.
Now bring the other side of the rubber band underneath the
second hook, and you are done. (And I am very glad I have
pictures to explain that!)
flight recorder shows current spikes up to 52A, and averaging
48A at full throttle.
is very comparable to the measurement made on the ground
taking some time capturing still shots of the plane on the runway
and admiring how the Commander indeed looks like a modern pattern
plane, it was time to let the electrons flows, and get the plane
The tail wheel does a good job at steering the plane on the
ground, and taxiing the Commander on the runway is very easy.
It is better to keep some up elevator to firmly keep the tail
on the ground. The plane is very light, and lifts off very easily.
Take-off happens at around 20ft at half-throttle, with no tendency
to veer to the right or the left. This is a nice feature as
it reduces the work load for the pilot. The plane required only
four clicks down on the elevator to fly neutral, and one click
to the left on the ailerons.
The Commander is very well behaved and accepts to be slowed
down without showing any intention to stall?its light
weight and large wings must have something to do with that.
Inverted flight tells us that the recommended center of gravity
is right, since only light pressure on the stick is required
to keep the plane level. It might be pushed a little rearward
to improve the controllability when flying at a high angle,
but not much further. This is not a 3D plane!
It is time to test the plane against its vocation: being a precision
aerobatic plane for wannabe pattern pilots! The aerobatic figures
follow one another with ease. The plane recovers from all manoeuvers
quickly. To get out of a spin, the pilot just needs to center
the stick, and the plane centers almost immediately.
The knife edges are as simple as it gets: the Commander has
no tendency to roll in or out of it. The pilot only has to focus
on the rudder and the throttle to keep them straight and leveled.
With the rudder on the highest rate, it will even be possible
to pass a loop on the edge.
Snap-rolls are sharp and clean. It takes practice to stop at
the position we want the plane to be, but that is true for any
plane. The little something that bothered me is that the canopy
has tendency to fly off on very hard snap-rolls. I eventually
used tape to hold it in place after being tired to walking across
the field to retrieve it, and that fixed the issue.
Most of the flight happens with the throttle between 1/3 and
2/3. Only the fast climbs are done at full throttle. There is
more than enough power to fly all standard figures properly.
The airframe is very efficient, the low drag helps reducing
the power consumption. All flights were done with the timer
on the radio set to 7mn. The charger consistently charged the
battery back to 3300mAh by injecting around 1600-1800mAh. That
is very safe on the Lipo! There is one thing to notice however:
the manual recommends a 40A ESC, and the current log clearly
shows that this is exceeded every time the plane is going at
full throttle, whether it was level or going vertical. (see
After a couple of flights, an odd sound started coming from
of the motor, and it quickly became a nasty vibration. The spinner
and propeller assembly was oscillating so badly the throttle
had to be cut, and the plane was dead-stick landed. The prop
was balanced, the motor inspected and tightened, the shaft measured
for wobbling and the spinner thoroughly checked, but nothing
helped: as soon as the spinner was put back on, the whole rotating
assembly was oscillating. I even bought a new spinner from another
brand, just to end up with the exact same issue. Eventually,
I used the propeller directly mounted on the hub without the
spinner and it worked fine. That is how I fly the plane now
- a little less pleasing for the eyes, but far more the ears!
We are lucky enough to have a very wide hard runway for our
reviews, so there is no need to take off from grass. The commander
EP 40 has fairly small wheels, with low wheel pants, and despite
of that, I believe the power is there to lift the plane off
any surface, including grass. As long as the propeller does
not have to cut its way through the grass, that is!
Maker Commander EP40
Commander EP 40 reached its goal of being an introductory
airplane to aerobatic pattern flying. It flies great,
and has the power to perform all maneuvers in the
book. The model is strong and will take a few "learning
mishaps" for the pilot to fly it like a pro.
There are a few details that we would like to see
improved, and we can only encourage the Wings Maker
to build from the knowledge gained with this already
good plane and propose many more pattern planes in
the future. The Wings Maker Commander EP 40 is a plane
that will help any intermediate pilot sharpening their
aerobatic skill, it is easy to build and very robust.
And, at a recommended price of $159 for the pre-assembled
combo, it is hard to compete with!
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.