Over the years, many aerobatic pilots have flown biplanes on the airshow circuit. From planes like the Stearman to the various versions of the Pitts' airframe, and one of my favorites - the Ultimate. The Ultimate has been modeled in nearly every size imaginable, from park flyer to 42% scale, and I haven't met one yet that I didn't like! I remember my first encounter with this airframe - it was the World Models 1.20 size Ultimate. I immediate fell in love with it's flight characteristics, and have been a big fan since the first time I flew it!
The Wings Maker introduced a new Ultimate EP at the 59th annual Weak Signals' Toledo Expo Earlier this year. Its small size makes it great for spur-of-the-moment flying, and it looks great too!
Wingspan: 32.5" (825mm) Wing Area: 357 in² (23 dm²) Weight: 24 oz. (680 g) Length: 34" (870mm) Center of Gravity (CG): 2" (5mm) from the Leading Edge of the Top Wing Radio Used:Spektrum DX8 (Not Included) Channels Used: 4 total - Elevator, Aileron, Throttle and Rudder
Elevator, up/down: 15mm
Rudder, right/left: 25mm
Ailerons, up/down: 5mm
Items Needed To Complete (Pre-assembled Combo)
20 Amp ESC
3S LiPo Battery and LiPo Charger
5 and 30-Minute Epoxy
Misc. Shop Tools
The Ultimate EP arrived via my local brown truck, and thankfully it was double-boxed - the outer shipping box showed signs of 'less than desirable handling'. I immediately opened the package and took inventory - all parts were in perfect shape, and accounted for!
There are several features that I really like on this small plane - the battery hatch is held securely in place by magnets, but is easily removed for changing batteries. The pre-assembled combo version of the Ultimate EP also has a pre-installed brushless outrunner motor and three servos. With most of the hard work already done, I'm thinking that it will take very little time to get this plane airborne!
The tail wheel assembly is already installed, along with all of the control horns. The wire landing gear is nearly done, requiring very little work to finish assembly. The Wings Maker has also included a prop, prop adapter, a spinner and even a wrench to make sure everything is secure!
The Ultimate EP's manual covers both the ARF version and the pre-assembled combo. While the instructions that apply to just the pre-assembled combo are not identified, it's pretty easy to figure out. The illustrations and captions are good, and assembly was easy after reading through the manual!
Assembly began by applying the included fiber-reinforced tape to one side of all of the hinge lines - this helps to ensure that the control surfaces stay where they're supposed to! There is plenty of tape included if you're careful when applying it.
Assembling the tail was next, and was easy. Both the horizontal stabilizer/elevator and the fin/rudder lined up perfectly, so I roughed up all of the mating surfaces with some sand paper and mixed up a batch of 5-minute epoxy.
Editor's Note: If you're not comfortable with a quick set-up time, I would recommend a 15 or 30-minute epoxy - this will give you more time to get everything in place.
The landing gear slid into a plywood pocket in the bottom of the fuselage and was secured with a wedge and a small screw. I then secured the foam gear covers with some 5-minute epoxy.
Elevator and Rudder Pushrods
I really liked the push rods! Setting them up was extremely quick and easy. A clevis was attached to each control horn and servo arm, and a carbon fiber rod was slid into the respective clevises. With the servo arms and control surfaces centered, I applied a few drops of thin CA to each clevis, and the push rods were complete!
ESC and Receiver Installation
The ESC was slid through the cooling hole in the nose, and then connected to the motor wires at the front of the plywood battery tray. I installed my Spektrum receiver on top of the battery tray, pushed as far rearward as possible.
Wing Assembly / Installation
It's time to break out the epoxy again! I used 5-minute epoxy in three batches to attach the wings to the fuse in this order: Lower wing (I made sure that the aileron servo wire was run through the hole in the wing saddle), Three wing struts, and Top wing. Doing this step with three separate batches of 5-minute epoxy allows time to make sure each piece is straight and true. Again, you may choose to use 15-minute epoxy if more time is needed for alignment of the parts.
The aileron connecting push rods were then installed in the same manner as the elevator and rudder push rods.
The longest step came next - cutting all of the decals apart and applying them. This step easily took an hour, but was worth the effort!
Lastly, I assembled and installed the propeller/spinner using the special wrench included with the pre-assembled combo version of this plane.
The Wings Maker website calls for a 1300 mAh 3S battery for the Ultimate EP, but I found that a Flyzone 1800mAh 3S not only fit, but the plane balanced perfectly with the slightly larger battery.
That's it! Assembly has been completed, and the Spektrum receiver is bound to my DX8 transmitter.
Let's head out to my flying field and fly this little Ultimate!
After installing the battery and hatch, I brought the Ultimate EP out to the runway. As I taxied the little plane down to the far end of the runway, I was pleased with the steerable tail wheel - it had enough control to direct the Ultimate, without over-steering the plane.
Lined up on the runway, I pushed the throttle stick forward - the tail came up almost immediately, and the Ultimate was flying in a matter of about 20 feet! The 28/30 1000kV outrunner motor sure had a lot of punch! Very little rudder correction was needed to keep the plane going straight for the short time the wheels were touching the ground.
After a quick circuit around the field to adjust the trims (one click of down elevator and three clicks of left aileron) I was already enjoying the Ultimate EP. It flies very true, and presented no bad characteristics at all! No trim changes were needed for different flight speeds, and when it stalled the nose simply fell. I added some power and a little up elevator, and the Ultimate was flying again.
Aerobatics were a blast with this little plane! The Ultimate EP could handle nearly anything I threw at it - though for 3D flying, the ailerons need more movement. I really enjoyed tossing the plane around, and even though the airframe is all foam, it showed no signs of stress!
I set the time on my DX8 for 8 minutes for the first flights, just to make sure I had plenty of power for a 'go-around' or two. As it turned out, I didn't need it. I lined up with the runway, brought the throttle back to just above idle, and the Ultimate settled in very nicely! The little plane touched down easily and rolled to a stop near the end of the runway. With that, the maiden flight was done, and I had a lot of FUN!
One of the best things about flying the Ultimate EP is that you get a big plane 'feel' in a small package - the day of our test flight, the wind was blowing around 5-10 MPH, but the little Bipe didn't mind it at all!
Check out the video to see the Ultimate EP in action!
The Wings Maker has done it again - their new Ultimate EP is a great little plane! I can definitely see this one staying in the back of my truck for those quick flights after a day at the office. Assembly was easy and quick, requiring about 5 hours total, and one of those hours was dedicated to the decals alone. Since the entire airframe is epoxied together, there's no field set up - just grab it and go fly! The Ultimate EP (pre-assembled combo) is also very reasonably priced at $74.99. Just grab yourself some radio gear, a few batteries and an ESC, and you've got the makings of a FUN day at the field without spending a ton of cash! Thank you, Wings Maker, for another plane that looks great, and flies better!
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.