new launch handler is very detrimental to the look
of the plane
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
DF-032 is packaged in a compact box, which is decorated
with a picture of the assembled model.
of the components are tightly packed and I was glad to see
that nothing was damaged during shipment.
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.
combo: $99.99 Kit:
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
plane comes together in one (short) evening, the
most time consuming activity being cutting the stickers!
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. Landing
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 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
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.