RCU Review: The Wing Makers DF-032

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    Contributed by: Laurent Caekebeke | Published: August 2013 | Views: 12368 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of the Wings Maker DF032

    • very fast! and yet very capable of slow flight
    • good quality overall
    • Easy to hand launch

    • The color used to taint the foam,
    • The new launch handler is very detrimental to the look of the plane
    The DF-032 is the latest edition of the DF-032 Panther released by Wings Maker a few years ago. This recently introduced plane features much more than just a simple name change which no longer uses ?Panther?. The manufacturer has taken much of the user feedback from the original DF032 Panther into account, and enhanced several features in its new edition, most notably improving the hand launch capability of the airframe.

    The DF-032 is available for purchase in two versions: a basic and more affordable kit; and the pre-assembled kit combination which includes the motor, the EDF and the servos. In this review we are testing the latter. 

    The DF-032 is packaged in a compact box, which is decorated with a picture of the assembled model.

    All of the components are tightly packed and I was glad to see that nothing was damaged during shipment.

    The kit includes: the two wing halves, the wing tips, the carbon fiber spar, the fuselage, the fan and the motor, the two servos, a decal sheet, and a launching pad on wheel.

    Manufacturer Information
    Pre-assembled combo: $99.99
    Kit: $49.99

    The Wings Maker's electric jet series.
    Hot aerobatics at high speed and relaxing flying at low speed.
    Lightweight and strong EPO foam provides structural strength and rigidity.


    Wingspan: 33 in (850mm) 
    Length: 26.5 in (675mm) 
    Weight: 24 oz (580-600g)
    Battery: 2100mAh 3S LiPo
    ESC: 30A
    Motor: Brushless 28/31

    The main assembly will involve attaching the rudder, wings and wing tips to the fuselage. The wing servos have already been attached at the factory which will make assembly a quick process.

    A launch pad is provided with the DF-032 to allow for ground take-off. The launch pad contains 4 non-steerable wheels and fits the fuselage fairly well. It can also double as a display or build stand during the assembly process.

    There is a proprietary connector included for the ESC. The high friction battery pads prevents the battery from moving sideways, while being secured with velcro bands. The glass fiber re-enforced taped is provided to strengthen the elevon hinges.

    The included manual thoroughly covers all steps needed to bring the kit to fly mode; for the pre-assembled combo, we only need to follow a subset of these tasks. The manual is the same in for both the basic and pre-assembled kits and therefore it is up to the user to differentiate between the two and what is needed.  Make sure you don?t miss a step. Luckily, the assembly is very straight forward and anyone with some building experience will get through with ease.

    The foam used on the DF-032 seems to be the same as the DF-032 Panther, and it has the same drawback: it is almost impossible to glue. We tried Epoxy, CA, CA with kicker and nothing worked very well. We had best results when the two surfaces to join were roughened, and had a few toothpick holes poked through them prior to applying the glue. This allows the glue to flow in the cracks and interstices and "mechanically" hold the pieces in place. For this type of job, 30mn epoxy works better than 5mn, as it is less viscous and will flow better in small holes.

    As mentioned before, a proprietary connector is provided to make the connection to the motor. You will have to provide your own ESC and solder on the bullet connectors before seating them in the plastic connector. After wiring the DF-032 and getting it ready for flight, we observed a current draw of 37-40A on the bench and 36A-41A in flight. The recommended ESC is only 30A so it would make sense to use a 40A ESC instead.

    The plane comes together in one (short) evening, the most time consuming activity being cutting the stickers!

    Take off - hand launch
    The first take off was a bit of a wild ride! I had increased the throw to +/-20mm, which proved to be way too much. The DF-032 was behaving like a fruit fly at a Las Vegas buffet ? jumping around in all directions all at once. The plane was brought back for a landing, and the throw was reduced to +/-10mm; this was much better! Once the throw was reduced, the plane was very easy to launch. One of the complaints on the Panther was the launch knob was too small and hard to grab. The Wings Maker listened to their customers, and they enlarged it in the DF-032 to make it much easier to grab and throw. Problem solved! A nice feature is that the plane does not require much correction to keep it straight during the launch.

    Perhaps for the next iteration, Wings Makers can consider replacing the knob with finger holes as this might look more esthetically pleasing and remain just as effective.

    Take off - the launching pad
    The foam launching pad has a cutout for the DF-032 to rest on, while it rolls on the runway. It was very difficult to get the launching pad to roll straight, and most of the time it would veer into one direction. On a day with no wind, that could be ok, but if there is some wind, failure to launch is almost garanteed. The hand launch take-off is far more secure and easy.

    The flight
    The DF-032 flies great, and has all the same capabilities that made the Panther so enjoyable during flights. This plane is fast, and will make some nice and long speed pass at full throttle that will make your heart race. The aerobatic capabilities are limited by the absence of a rudder of course, but roll, loop, and cuban 8 are clean and easy. The pleasant surprise with this plane was its ability to slow down to very low speed and stay stable and controllable.

    We had a flight recorder onboard, which allowed us to have a reading of the current consumption: At full throttle, the plane pulls up to 40A on the ground, and up to 41A while airborne. I recommend selecting a 40A ESC with 45A burst, rather than the 30A / 35A burst recommended in the manual as this will allow you to go at full speed with no fear of seeing smoke coming off the plane. All flight tests performed were done with a 2200mAh, 3S 25C battery.

    Flight time will vary a lot depending on the throttle management, but we have seen flights anywhere between 7mn to 15mn.

    Landings are truly eventless, and it only take a few practices to know how to get the DF-032 land at the exact spot you want it. Quite precise! Another option is that could you can hand catch this plane if there is a bit of wind to reduce its ground speed.

    The Wings Maker DF032

    With the DF-032, the Wings Maker brought us the natural evolution of the DF-032 Panther. All-in-all the DF-032 second generation brings some nice new features on the table, most notably the ability to launch the plane easily. It?s true that some hard core loyal pilots to the original model might miss the old Panther sticker.

    Again, the DF-032 is a good flying very affordable EDF plane, which comes with a lot of neat and fun features

    Flyzone Home Page

    Pictures and videos were shot at:

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    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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