RCU Review: Hobbico Superstar - EP


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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: October 2005 | Views: 159170 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon

    Review by: Greg Covey

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    Dealer Info

    Hobbico Superstar EP
    Distributed exclusively by:

    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021

    Website: www.hobbico.com



    Ratings
    Quality
    Performance
    Ease of Assembly
    Looks
    Price
    Manual


    Hits

    Complete RTF Package
    Stabile Flying Traits
    Spare Parts Available
    Easy to assemble, repair, and upgrade



    Misses

    Small wheels
    Short flights with stock battery



    Hobbico Superstar EP

    My review of the Hobbico Superstar EP ARF will focus mainly on the newest RTF version but will also cover the differences between the three available versions; original rudder-only ARF, Superstar EP ARF w/ailerons, and the Superstar EP Select RTF w/ailerons. Additionally, I will be test flying the model in stock form first and then suggesting several simple hop-up modifications to get optimum performance out of this most "modeler-friendly" trainer in the industry. The Superstar EP has the same reliability of the larger glow-powered SuperStar 40s but with quiet and clean electric power.

    The Superstar EP Select RTF package also includes a version of the Futaba 4YF radio system with S3003 servos which makes it an incredible RTF package value at about $250.



    Specifications

    Package Name: Hobbico Superstar EP Select RTF w/Ailerons
    Price: $249.99 retail

    Features:

    • SuperStar EP uses only high-quality wood components, and comes precovered in a durable plastic film.
    • The SuperStar EP ARF is ready to fly in just 3-5 hours (2-3 hours for Select version)
    • Roomy radio compartment is plywood reinforced and allows for easy installation of standard-sized onboard electronics.
    • One piece wing half with ailerons and metal joiner rod
    • A flat-bottom airfoil supplies excellent lift at slow speeds and also helps keep the model level.
    • Landing Gear: Two piece pre-bent wire 0.098" (2.5mm) in diameter
    • Wheels: Two 1-3/4" (45mm) diameter foam construction
    • Highly efficient 9x5.5 composite prop.
    • Hobbico includes a high-performance Electrifly T-601 electric motor, propeller, Electronic Speed Control (ESC) with metal heat sink, Battery Eliminator Circuitry (BEC) and Kyosho type connector, and 7-cell, 8.4v, 2100mAh NiCd battery (w/standard Tamiya connector).
    • Ninety day limited warranty

    Specifications:

    • Wingspan: 48.75" (1240mm)
    • Length: 36.1" (917mm)
    • Wing Area: 402 sq in. (26.dm)
    • Weight: 3.1lb (1.4kg) Ready To Fly (RTF) or 2.7lb (1.2kg) for non-aileron version
    • Wing Loading: 18oz/sq ft (54.9g/dm) or 15.8oz/sq ft (48g/dm) for non-aileron version



    Superstar EP Select RTF Package
    The Superstar ARF comes with the motor pre-installed and you must install the included ESC along with your own radio system components.
    The Superstar Select RTF version comes with everything pre-installed. Note the Kyosho-type battery connector and the servo lead extension to connect to the aileron servo.
    A T-601 Speed 600 motor comes pre-installed to directly drive a 9x5.5 composite prop and adapter.
    The Select RTF package also includes a version of the Futaba 4YF radio system with S3003 servos.
    Note that the radio system includes a rechargable transmitter battery and wall charger.
    In addition to a complete 16-page manual, the Superstar EP ARF comes with a video to help you assemble and make your first flying experience a successful one.
    An ESC set-up guide for first power-up throttle stick position learning and battery position improvement sheet are also included. The Superstar ARF fuselage is already modified for the improved battery position.
    The battery bay has pre-installed runners to position the battery perfectly. The battery pack is then held secure by a single Velcro strap. Air flow comes through a large opening in the firewall to pass over the battery and keep it cooler during flight. The air exits via the many holes in the fuselage bottom hatch.


    Cooling Modifications
    To help assist in cooling, I decided to remove the foam surrounding the receiver and stick it to the fuselage side using servo tape. On electric powered planes, the vibration is greatly reduced so the foam is not really needed. If you are a first-time flyer, you may want to leave the receiver foam on to protect it in the event of a crash. You can remove it later once your flying skills improve.
    I also moved the position of the ESC up front just behind the firewall opening. This allows the cooling air to flow directly past the ESC on its way to the battery. I CA'ed a few pieces of balsa to keep the wires in place so that the ESC stays put. A cooler ESC will work best as I have a hop-up for the flight duration later on in my review.
    The prop mounts directly to the Speed 600 motor shaft using the supplied collet-style adapter. Note that you should run through the ESC throttle stick calibration before mounting the prop.


    Tail Assembly

    The tail assembled very easy without any glueing. The Superstar RTF Select comes with the control horns premounted. The horizontal stabilizer slides into the rear of the fuselage first and then the vertical stabilizer locks both pieces to the fuselage. The threaded rods are secured with washers and nuts.

    To attach the control rod, first remove one screw from the control horn and twist it to accept the "Z" bend in the rod. Secure the control horn and you are ready to tighten the screw on the servo arm quick link. I decided that my control rods were a bit too long so I cut off an inch.

    The Select RTF wing on the left comes with the aileron servo and linkages pre-installed.
    The wing halves slide together with a metal support bar and thinner trailing edge alignment bar. Although the fit was sufficiently tight so that it won't fall apart in flight, I added the recommended white tape strips for further security.
    It was easy to align the ailerons by twisting the clevis on either servo arm.

    The wingholder rods had plastic tips that screwed in place. These were nicely done my Hobbico and made a secure holder for the rubberbands.

    The CG range was 2-1/2" to 2-7/8" back from the leading edge of the wing. My plane balance perfectly near the 2-1/2" mark. To help keep the pack from shifting sideways, I wedged small foam pads on each side.


    Ready-to-Fly

    My Hobbico Superstar EP Select was RTF at 48oz (3lbs).

    The 7-cell, 2100mAh NiCd pack weighed 13oz and the RTF plane without battery weighed 35oz. I used 6 rubberbands to attach the wing.

    Here are the component weights for the Hobbico Superstar EP:

    • Superstar w/o battery = 35.0oz
    • 7-cell 2100mAh NiMH pack = 13oz
    • All up RTF = 48oz (3lbs)

    I was able to maiden the Superstar EP a few times when it was rather calm and later flew it twice for the video in some wind. All four times, the stock setup worked very well with my only complaint being rather short 5 minute flights. The plane glides well and lands easily without power. The plane steers well on pavement take-offs as long as the power is kept high.

    During the video, the winds were about 10mph. We took off pavement and landed in grass due to the rather short parking lot runway. The Superstar EP had no problem looping or rolling. The plane is designed to be a stabile trainer so it doesn't really care for inverted flight as it tries to upright itself. The lazy rolls (in fact all rolls) were done with aileron, rudder, and elevator control. The EP RTF Select version comes with ailerons.

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