RCGF USA LLC
4029 E. Golden Acres Drive
Sierra Vista, AZ. 85650
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.rcgfusa.com
It seems as though there's a lot of competition in the gas engine market these days, and there are a few names that everyone is familiar with. Some of the big ones are DA, DLE, and 3W - just to name a few. There's more to the gas engine game than just them! Over the past decade, several smaller companies have sprung up - some have stayed, and some have gone away. But, just because these smaller companies may not be as well known, doesn't mean they don't have good products at good prices!
RCGF, a Chinese manufacturer of gasoline engines, designs and manufactures engines specifically for the RC aircraft market. They have a line of gas engines as small as 10cc, all the way up to 120cc! In this review, we'll be taking a look at the new 15cc beam mount version of this engine.
So, without wasting any more time, let's get the box on the table and see what's inside!
Engine Type: 2 Stroke Gasoline Engine Cylinder Displacement: 15cc (.91 ci) Weight with Ignition and Mufflers: 760g Weight w/o Ignition and Mufflers: 570g Bore x Stroke: 32mm x 19.6mm (1.26 in x .77 in) Carburetor: pump-type designed by RCGF
The sales team from RCGF was kind enough to deliver my engine to me while we were visiting the Toledo Expo. Like most of their engines, the 15cc comes in a full color box with plenty of packing to protect it from shipping damage. Everything required for installation is included - even a custom engine mount!
Double piston rings are standard on this engine, as are the Walbro-style pumped carburetor and reed induction. I have disassembled the carburetor and reeds on several of RCGF's engines in the past to look for debris without finding anything, so I decided to leave this one intact. I really like that they have included two prop nuts - one is a simple locking nut and washer, while the second has a threaded adaptor for a spinner.
RCGF has really stepped up to the plate - their new ignition modules will accept a voltage range of 4.8 - 8.4 volts. This allows the use of a LiFe or LiPo battery pack without the need for a regulator! The included muffler is compact, and should fit in nearly any cowl. The mount is molded to wrap around the engine, and keeps the required installation space to a minimum.
Though the manual is not engine specific, it does a great job of covering all the basics - from which oil to use and how to perform the 'break-in' procedure to helpful tips on troubleshooting and safety. The manual I received was in full color as well!
Installation started with attaching the mounts to the firewall. I did have to elongate the holes in the mounts to get the engine to fit, but this was done easily with my rotary tool and a cutting bit. With the engine resting squarely between the mounts, I marked and drilled the mounting holes.
I attached the engine to the mount using the four machine screws, washers, and locking nuts included with the engine. The throttle pushrod was attached to the carburetor next, and was easy thanks to the throttle arm's convenient location - RCGF has thought carburetor placement out very well. I then attached the compact muffler to the engine - At this point, I realized that the engine mount machine screws were about 1/8" too long, but my rotary tool made shortening them easy.
While technically part of the engine install, I thought it was a good point to show the fuel tank assembly - always be sure to use fuel tubing designed for gasoline, as glow fuel (silicone) tubing will disintegrate quickly in gasoline! I installed the ignition module next to the fuel tank, separating them with a piece of DuBro 1/4" Foam Rubber I really like this foam - it is lightweight and does a great job protecting equipment from vibration.
I'd like to point out that this is the first time I've ever installed an ignition module inside a fuselage, and I was slightly apprehensive about doing so. For as long as I can remember, I have heard that this can cause interference with the radio system. But, for lack of a better place to install it, I did what was necessary.
I used most of a DuBro Fill it fueling system and attached the fuel line to the carburetor. A short pushrod and mount was fabricated to allow accessing the choke easy.
With the engine installation complete, I added a Falcon 15x8 Beechwood propeller and the spinner. The RCGF 15cc was ready for break-in!
Falcon Propellers and Bob's Hobby Center at Steve's Hangar
Bob's Hobby Center at Steve's Hangar is the US distributor for Falcon Propellers. They offer a full product range - i.e. gas wood props,electric wood props, carbon spinners for gas and electric applications, and carbon fiber props for both gas and electric. At the 2014 Extreme Flight Challenge, 13 out of the 15 competitors flew Falcon Props!
As well as being the US distributor for Falcon and Xoar, Bob's Hobby Center is a great, full-line hobby store with knowledgeable, helpful employees. If you're in Orlando, Florida, stop in at Bob's - you'll be glad you did! You can also find Bob's Hobby Center on the web. If you're looking for a full line of high quality propellers, look no further than FALCON PROPS!
Per the instructions, I started the break-in process using 91 octane, non-oxygenated/non-ethanol gasoline at a fuel:oil ratio of 30:1. I use it not only my airplane engines, but all of my lawn and garden engines as well - this type of gas doesn't deteriorate as quickly, and I think it's better for all of the non-metal parts of the fuel system.
With the airplane securely tied down, I closed the choke and switched on the receiver and ignition. To get fuel to the carburetor quickly, I used my heavy-duty starter. Within just a few seconds, the engine popped, so I opened the choke and spun the engine again with the starter. Another second or two, and the little gasser started and stayed running. This was one of the easiest first starts I've ever had!
I let the engine run for a minute at idle, shut it down, and opened the low speed needle about a quarter-turn. The engine was then started again - I noticed a little smoke and some oil coming from the muffler, so I let it run. I gave the throttle about two clicks above idle to allow the engine to run at the recommended 2500 RPM. The fuel tank included with the Seagull Classic Ugly Stick is large enough that I was able to get the recommended 20 minutes of break-in on a single tank, but I thought it best to run another tank through on the ground. On the second tank, the throttle was advanced to full a few times for just a moment - I was impressed by how hard the engine was pulling! With the 15x8 Falcon prop, engine RPM topped out at 7500, and I was happy with this number.
With two tanks of fuel through the new 15cc gasser, it was time to head to the field for the maiden flight of both the engine AND the airplane! At the field, I assembled the Classic Ugly Stick, and got ready to start the engine. The maiden flight took place about a week after the initial break-in, so I was curious to see how well the engine would start after sitting for a week. With the assistance of my flying buddies Jim and Brian (Brian ran the video camera for the start and warm up, and Jim held the plane on the stand) we shot a little video. The 15cc gasser started easily with the help of my trusty heavy-duty starter.
Now that the engine was warm, it was time for a final check-over of the engine and airplane. Everything looked good, so it was time to really put the plane and engine to the test! Now, I'm not going to bore you with a play-by-play of the flight, as the maiden flight was over 15 minutes long. I will tell you this - the engine performed very well and never hinted at any trouble! I was very pleased by how well it ran, and I never felt like the engine would quit running. The 15cc engine and Falcon 15x8 prop were a great combination for the plane, allowing plenty of pulling power for any maneuver! I did have the idle set a little high for the initial flight, but it was still low enough to allow the Classic Ugly Stick to land. Even during landing, I was very happy with how the engine performed.
With the maiden flight done, I brought the plane back to the pit area, allowed the engine to cool for a few minutes, and then re-fueled for another flight. The engine started again very easily, and didn't require the choke, even after it had cooled.
I am very pleased with the new 15cc gas engine from RCGF. Installation was straight forward and presented no concerns, and it started and ran very well. With a total of four tanks of fuel through the engine, it is running strong, and I haven't even leaned out the needles yet! As with my other RCGF engines, I'm pleased, and I look forward to running them as often as I can. It's a good feeling to know you can trust an engine, and I have put my trust in EVERY RCGF engine I own!
RCGF USA LLC
4029 E. Golden Acres Drive
Sierra Vista, AZ. 85650
Distributed by: Hobbico
2904 Research Rd
Champaign, IL 61822
Phone: 1-217-398-8970 www.futaba-rc.com
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.