|Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: June 2005 | Views: 33810 | Email this Article
integrated design with one-piece wing and superb fiberglass
great even in wind
to see orientation in flight
value for FAI competition
Ultra-RC has a fantastic looking 2-meter pattern plane called
the Icepoint. The design was based upon the success of their
3D Quest, to cater to the flyers wanting a cost effective
alternative to the more expensive artistic freestyle type
designs. The construction consists of the traditional ?built-up?
balsa and ply techniques but the building time is greatly
reduced as the wing is pre-mounted, joined, and, glassed.
The stabilizer is an adjustable two-piece design.
Icepoint hovers and 3D?s very well, but you have the
best of both worlds in that it flies competitive FAI with
the best of them. A key trademark of this plane is that it
is very light and has superior knife edge performance with
very little (if any) knife edge coupling required. Although
the model is typically powered by a YS 1.40 or OS 1.60, I
will be converting it to clean, quiet, and, most importantly,
highly reliable electric power!
Wing Area: 1100 sq. in.
Ready-to-fly weight: 9 - 10 lbs.
& covered wings, tail assemblies, and fuselage
necessary hardware including pushrods, landing gear, wheels,
servo trays, wing joiners, and a photo illustrated instruction
Eric "Evil" Henderson's review of the Icepoint
powered by a OS 1.60 FX.
Laser-cut balsa & plywood construction.
Once piece wing (pre-joined, glassed, and pre-mounted)
and built- up two ? piece stabilizer.
beveled control surfaces.
Factory applied Oracover covering with vinyl graphics.
Pan / Cowl: Precision matched pre-painted fiberglass.
Pants: Pre-painted fiberglass.
Pre-formed and tinted.
Gear: Molded pre-painted composite. (Fixed to the fuselage)
Aileron Servos / Pull-Pull Rudder
Slots: Pre-slotted for ?easy-type? CA hinges
Time: Ready to fly in 10 ? 12 hours.
I won't be competing in FAI world-class competitions, I
can take advance of using some cost-effective parts. Typically,
the power level requirements for competitive F3A are an
incredible 230watts/lb to 250watts/lb! My setup will provide
about 160-170 watts/lb which will reduce the cost considerably
while still providing my Icepoint with an impressive power
level for maneuvers.
is my power system setup:
Advance PLUS 77-amp Opto ESC (modified)
SKYVOLTS 8s 3.2AH packs (two 4-cell packs in series)
Programmable Digital Servos (168oz/in)
16x10 or 17x10 e-prop
my initial Icepoint setup, I am trying to extend the operation
of the Jeti 77-amp Opto ESC by using a few suggestions from
our friend in Finland, Hannu Vuorinen. In order to push
the Jeti 77-amp Opto ESC to the limits, I attached an extra
0.1oz finned heatsink using JB Weld.
I removed the shrink wrap (which will help cool things already)
and sanded the surfaces of my Jeti heatsink and the finned
heatsink. The JB Weld is like a metallic epoxy that dries
super hard and is conductive to heat. While this procedure
voids the Jeti warranty, I have never needed to return any
of my dozens of Jeti ESCs. You can purchase light aluminum
heatsinks like this one at Radio Shack or surplus electronics
Icepoint has a large belly pan that air flows through for
the tuned pipe so I will use this to both hide and cool
the modified ESC to provide burst performance up to 2000
Icepoint arrives in one BIG 7' long box! Initially, I thought
there may have been shipping damage because the outside
box had several large holes in it. After I removed the outer
box, I opened the inner box and was surprised to see such
amazing quality in the packaging. The inner box was framed
with crate wood. The Icepoint fuselage and one-piece wing
were tightly wrapped in protective bubble-wrap and then
supported by custom foam ends.
Parts and Quality:
model is built strong yet light. I observed no defects in
either the construction or finish. The Icepoint construction
is highly integrated so there are few parts in the kit.
manual was carefully written and contains clear color photos.
The Icepoint building time is very short so it can be made
ready to fly in only 10 ? 12 hours
Icepoint is designed for a YS 1.40 with a tuned pipe in
such a way that only part of the engine resides in the main
start the assembly, I jumped to my favorite part of mounting
the motor. The Icepoint is designed for a YS 1.40 with a
tuned pipe in such a way that only part of the engine resides
in the main balsa area. This design, combined with sturdy
plywood formers, left a smaller than usual space available
for an outrunner. Another good choice for this model would
be an in-line geared motor like the Hacker B50 or C50 Acro.
Fortunately, my Actro 40-4 motor has a thinner profile than
the AXI 5330 motor and just fits inside perfectly!
started by removing the thin plywood brace across the bottom
and marked the position of the plywood mount for my Actro
mounted my Actro motor using the Actro Rubber Damper Shock
Mounts and some 4mm t-nuts for the plywood end.
used 4mm nuts with washers on the G-10 (circuit board) end
that comes mounted to the Actro motor.
ordered a 2-3/4" White CBA Spinner from Tower Hobbies
to match the nose. While I wait for my spinner to arrive,
I decided to get back on the manual assembly sequence and
start the rudder/tailwheel assembly. The tailwheel assembled
without issue and the rudder was attached to the vertical
stabilizer using the stock CA hinges.
rudder uses a pull-pull control system with steel cables.
My Hitec HS-5645MG servos provide 168oz/in torque on 6v
so i'll have plenty of power and accuracy for my rudder
elevator assembly is quite easy. I like the idea of hidden
control horns from a top view. The elevator was glued in
place using two drops of thin CA on each side of the hinges.
The seam between the elevator and the stabilizer was straight
Icepoint horns mounted easily by first drilling some pilot
holes for the screws and then gluing them in place with
either CA or white glue.
6v UBEC is wired in parallel with the battery connector.
The higher voltage makes the servos stronger and faster.
I add a second layer of shrink tubing around the Dean's
Ultra connectors to assist in unplugging them. Typically,
I run the output of the UBEC to a Tower Hobbies System 3000
On/Off Switch assembly since it is a "plug-n-play"
safety solution. The motor will remain disabled when no
voltage is fed to the Opto ESC control inputs.
Jeti Advance PLUS ESCs are extremely easy to program. You
first set the jumpers on the Programming Card for your preferences,
connect the ESC control cable to the Programming Card, and
power up the ESC. In about 1 second, the ESC beeps and it
is ready to go!
mounted the ESC directly in the air flow where the tuned
pipe would normally go. A few pieces of plywood were epoxied
in place to hold the ESC. An opening cut in the front of
the fiberglass bottom will force air through the tuned pipe
area cooling both the ESC and the motor.
my aileron linkage, I replaced the stock hardware with some
Hangar 9 3-1/2" Titanium Pro-Links and 4-40 HD Ball
Links. A Hangar 9 3-32 Swivel Clevis Horn was also used
along with the Hitec aluminum arm that came with the HS-5645MG
servo. The result is a tight and precise linkage that is
easily adjustable for fine tuning.
Titanium Pro-Links 4-40 x 3-1/2"
3-32 Swivel Clevis Horns
4-40 HD Ball Links
needed to cut some plywood blocks to secure the servo in
used the stock gear mains hardware but ran into a spacing
problem when following the assembly technique in the manual.
My guess is that the plywood bracing was thicker on my pant
set causing the wheel to rub.
easy solution was to cut away some of the plywood to allow
the nut hub to sink slightly into it. This freed up sufficient
space to allow the wheel to spin properly.
pants look great and the composite gear mains mounted easily
to the fuselage using the supplied t-nuts. After the gear
mains were mounted to the fuselage, I positioned the Icepoint
on the floor and aligned the pants before drilling the hole
for the second set screw. The second screw locks the pant
canopy required some cleaning to remove the sticky tape
residue before mounting. It mounted easily to the fuselage
using the supplied screws.
ran the receiver antenna wire into a plastic tube and then
inserted the tube into the fuselage.
mount the battery packs, I glued some Industrial Strength
Velcro pads onto the plywood area at the bottom of the plane
meant to house the fuel tank. The two 4-cell Kokam 3.2AH
packs fits perfectly in this area and will be easy to recharge
by simply removing the fiberglass bottom piece. The two
packs plug into a Kokam Series Connector Module to make
an 8s configuration that weighs about 1.5lbs.
motor, ESC, and battery packs will all be in the air flow
from the front opening in the fiberglass cover to the rear
opening meant for the tuned pipe.
installed some #4 T-nuts in the belly pan for a simple technique
to hold it in place. I used a dap of epoxy to help secure
the T-nuts. The #4 socket head screws can be tightened (or
removed) by finger or a 3mm hex wrench for easy battery
swapping in the field.
elevator "Y" linkage is assembled from a carbon
tube and metal rods. I drilled a hole through the carbon
tube and then inserted the end of the metal linkage rod
which was bent at a 90 degree angle. The two rods were first
wrapped by thread and then glued with CA and kicker. I added
some heatshrink tubing around the area for additional support.
help feed the "Y" linkage assembly through the
Icepoint fuselage I first ran some of the Sullivan yellow
inner nyrod from the rear of the plane into the open wing
saddle area. The nyrod was then screwed onto the metal rod
ends of the "Y" linkage after first opening up
the center holes with a drill.
"Y" linkage was then pulled through the plane
out the slots in the rear. Note that by following the pictures
in the manual, the "Y" assembly is too long by
about 5". This can be easily solved by first measuring
the length needed and cutting the carbon center tube shorter
by about 5".
my case, I will simply cut the metal rod shorter by the
elevator servo, bend a right angle into the end and use
a snap link to secure the linkage to the elevator servo
Icepoint was ready to fly at 10.43lbs. The plane balanced
perfectly at 7.5" back from the leading edge at the
root using the two 4-cell Kokam 3.2AH packs.
are my measured weights:
RTF w/o batteries = 8.81lbs
4-cell 3.2AH packs = 1.62lbs
was able to test the power system on my Icepoint by myself
using the Tail
Trap from JL Power Products. I measured 2100 watts at
88amps with the APC 19x10 e-prop. This is a bit more than
I planned for the Jeti 77-amp ESC so I will reduce the prop
size by 1" and re-measure. If I was using the new Jeti
90-amp Advance Plus ESC, then this power level would not
be a problem.
made some more measurements with difference prop sizes.
Unfortunately, I didn't have a 17" prop. I was surprised
that the readings were so high with the 18" prop but
it was not balanced before testing. The 16" prop was
balanced first and seems to fit my target goal of around
1700 watts. Keep in mind that the limitation in my power
system is the Jeti 77-amp ESC. Depending upon the flight
performance, I can change it out in the future for the new
Jeti 90-amp ESC and then push the motor to 2000-2500 watts
burst. I will also measure the motor temperature after a
flight with the current setup.
Icepoint with the 16x10 APC e-prop has about 160 watts per
88amps, 19x10 APC e-prop
83amps, 18x10 APC e-prop
78amps, 17x10 APC e-prop
68amps, 16x10 APC e-prop
I forgot my RPM measurements, everything else was perfect
for the Icepoint maiden voyages. My pilot was local pattern
expert, Scott Miller from the RCCR club.
waited for our turn to hit the runway and never looked back!
some slight trimming, Scott put the Icepoint through a light
workout that lasted about 6 minutes and we brought it back
in to measure the pack voltage. We discovered that we used
only about 1/2 of the 3.2AH capacity.
quickly felt the motor, ESC, and two 4-cell Kokam 3.2AH
packs. Nothing was more than warm and the ESC was actually
cool. I was very happy!
second flight with the new packs was a bit longer at 8 minutes
and Scott made the Icepoint work harder this time. At the
end of the flight, the voltage still measured only about
2/3 capacity. This makes the Kokam 3.2AH cell look very
promising for FAI competition.
said that the Icepoint is a magnificent flyer! He said that
I need a little more power to match the 1.40-size glow engines
used in competition. This will not be a problem because
my current limitation in the power system is the Jeti 77-amp
ESC (although it seems to be running very cool with my modification)
at 1700 watts. By the time this review is published, the
new Jeti 90-amp Advance Plus ESC that can handle over 4000
watts will be available at Hobby Lobby.
was able to beta-test the new Skyvolt system for my
Icepoint. The new 4-cell, 3.2AH Kokam packs are pre-wired
to a special connector so that each cell can be monitored
during charge and discharge for optimal safety, longevity,
and investment security. This new approach in Lithium
cell safety and protection will be available soon
Cell Pro 6s Discharge Protection Module (DPM) can
monitor up to a 6s Skyvolt pack to provide a warning
when the voltage gets low and use any ESC to cut off
the voltage to the motor. There are two dip switches
on the DPM but Switch #1 currently has no function.
The units will work out of the box without doing any
setup, but they perform optimally when you tell the
units which way low throttle is using Switch #2 and
use the learning procedure mentioned in the manual.
that two DPMs can be daisy-chained for up to 12s
Cell Pro Charge Protection Module (CPM) is used with
any Lithium charger to monitor individual cell voltages
and disconnect the charger when the first cell reaches
4.2v. This extends pack life by preventing overcharging.
Note that this does not balance all the cells in the
pack, only the Skyvolt Charger (not shown) provides
true cell balancing during a charge.
is my Skyvolt system installed in the Icepoint. The
packs are mounted as before but they now connect to
the Cell Pro 6s Discharge Protection Module (DPM) instead
of directly to the ESC. The ESC control line is then
routed through the DPM to control the motor shutoff.
Since everything is mounted with Velcro, I can easily
swap back to my non-Skyvolt packs and continue flying.
The ESC simply reconnects as normal to the receiver.
was easy since everything was plug-n-play. The DIP
switch #2 is enabled the first time to learn the off
position of your transmitter so that the DPM can properly
pulse the motor when the first cell goes below 2.55v
under heavy load. Note that the DPM can both monitor
and alter the throttle signal so it knows when the
motor is at or near full throttle and it can softly
warn the pilot that the batteries are low without
an abrupt motor shutdown.
optional LED/Speaker module appears to be quite useful
as it relays visible and audible problems. It will be
interesting to check if I can hear it in flight but
I will most likely rely on the motor pulsing feature.
If you leave accidentally your battery connected for
an hour with the transmitter off, the audible alert
will let you know about it. The LED/Speaker module has
many other alert features like checking to see if all
the batteries are properly charged and testing for brown
out conditions that may mean a loose connection.
For the second round of flights, the 16" prop was replaced
with a 17" prop. We flew the Icepoint three times with
the 17" prop and it was noticeably stronger. In fact,
it climbs on a knife edge so we could do a knife edge circle.
I measured about 1900 watts at 78amps with the 17"
APC prop. Upon landing, the motor and battery packs were
slightly warm and the ESC was cool. Although an 18"
prop may work as well, I will leave that for a future test
when the new Jeti 90-amp ESCs become available at Hobby
Lobby about mid-May.
our third and hardest run, we flew the Icepoint in heavy
wind performing knife edge loops and strong vertical runs.
Under these conditions, our flight duration would not meet
the 10 minute FAI routine. For people thinking about a competition
setup, the Actro 40-5 motor on a 10s Lithium configuration
would likely provide a longer flight duration.
Icepoint lands surprisingly slow and handles windy conditions
with ease and grace. Everything fit very well in the Icepoint
assembly with the only problem areas being the wheels rubbing
on the pant and the "Y" linkage installation for
the elevator halves.
the Icepoint is a complete winner! We had two pilots fly
one with an electric power system and a third fly one with
a glow-powered engine. Everyone was very satisfied with
the performance of the Icepoint and would recommend the
model to any pattern-flying enthusiast or competitor.
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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