RCU Review: Gary Wright E3D ARF

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    Contributed by: Michael Parsons | Published: October 2005 | Views: 48476 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Gary Wright E3D

    Review by: Michael Parsons- email me

    AeroModel Inc.
    2122 W 5th Place
    Tempe, AZ 85281
    Phone: 480-726-7519
    Fax: 480-682-1215





    Gary Wright originally designed the E3D kit to fill a gap in the market for a fully acrobatically capable electric plane that could exist on an inexpensive power system. Today that mission statement continues to live on, however with one improvement, it is now sold as an ARF (almost ready to fly). This plane can run on a simple geared brushed motor such as a Endoplasma/ MEC Gearbox and 10 cell NIMH pack or the new technology Brushless and lithium's. Having owned the original E3D in kit form I was excited to relive the E3D experience.

    Wingspan: 48"
    Wing Area: 600 sq in
    Weight: 48-56 oz depending on power system
    Retail: $139.00

    Radio: 4-6 channel with micro receiver
    Servos: 4 BB metal gear servos with at least 46oz of torque
    Battery: 10 cell NIMH or 3S lithium
    Electronic Speed control: 40 amp or better to match power choice

    Equipment Used:
    Hacker A30 12XL
    Hacker X-40
    3S3P 6 ah Thunderpower pack
    Futaba 3102 Micro Servos (4)
    Hitec Superslim 8
    12" servo extensions (2)

    The plane arrived in great shape (a sincere thanks to UPS!). Well packaged and each component resided in it's own plastic bag. Heck, the box is almost as pretty as the plane itself! A very low parts count assures that it will be a quick assembly.


    From start to finish the wing took 25 minutes to complete. The wing dowels are glued in with 5 minute epoxy and allowed to set up. CA hinges are placed into their respective pre-cut slots and the ailerons are installed with a wick of thin CA. Next the aileron servos are installed as well as the control horns. I already had ball links installed on my 3102 servos from the last plane they were in, so I reused them. A perfect fit and the wing is complete.

    Next on the agenda was installing the tail surfaces. Ensure you measure from the end of each aileron to the H-stab to ensure that it is aligned. I was very pleased to find that the H-stab was in line with the wing with no trimming or adjusting necessary. The elevators and joiner wire installed without a hitch and gave an insane amount of throw.

    The tail wheel slot needed to be opened up a bit to allow the plastic swing hinge to sink in far enough to the fuse. I used 5 minute epoxy on the swing hinge as well as the steering rod that goes into the rudder itself. The rudder goes on so smooth and quick, I was able to use the same batch of 5 minute epoxy and still have plenty of time to wick the CA hinges before the epoxy even started setting up. The tail wheel is installed and held on with a wheel retainer.
    The Elevator and Rudder Servos are installed and linked to the control horns. The Rudder servo had a strange angle of attack from the servo arm to the control horn. I ended up moving the control horn lower to correct that.

    The landing gear is pre bent and is in the normal E3D fashion. I was glad to see that the gear design hadn't changed from the kit version as it works very well, is light and won't pull out even under the ugliest landings. If you do want to dress it up however, Carbon Fiber gear is available from http://www.graphtechrc.com.

    The hatch is held on with two pre-installed spring latches at the rear and a lip at the front of the hatch. I had reservations that this would be strong enough, but time would tell (see flight report) .

    The motor and ESC to be used is the New Hacker A30 12XL out runner and X-40 speed controller. With a burst output at 400 watts, I am interested to see how it performed. I use a UBEC on any plane that has 4 servo's and uses 10 cells or 3S lithium pack. The internal BEC on the X-40 is rated for 4 servos and 3S, so it is up to personal preference.
    The A30 bolts directly to the front of the firewall through pre-drilled holes using 3mm bolts. I found that without using spacers however, the prop hung entirely too far from the front of the plane. This is especially noticeable if using a spinner. I found that using four standards wheel collars and extended 3mm allen bolts in between the mount and motor, provided perfect spacing between the firewall and the spinner.
    The 3S3P that I am using is really overkill, however it is what I have. A 3S2P will drop a few ounces and easily handle the 40 amps peak that the 15x8 APC is producing.


    Arriving at the field, another nice note is how quick the E3D goes together. Sliding the wing on and tightening down the nylon wing bolt took all of a couple of minutes. With the battery slid in, I plugged everything in and checked the throws. Advancing the throttle and seeing the plane leave the ground was like watching an old friend. It flew exactly like the original kit. Harriers, tight loops, knife edge where easily accomplished. Hovering is a strong point of the E3D as well. I did find what I would call a blind spot. The E3D gets into a strange side angle of attack and no amount of rudder would push the tail back under the nose. So the effect was that the plane would fall into knife edge. Another pilot found the same thing while flying my E3D. The fix was to slide the battery for a more aft CG. The tail become much more responsive.

    The Hacker A30 12XL puts out 406 watts peak. This is more than the motor is rated for so I cant recommend running it that high. However I can say that it handles 40 amps peak with not problems as long as the airflow across the motor is adequate. I find this setup to be good for intermediate 3D and will carry the airframe through the maneuvers. For ballistic 3D performance, go with a Hacker C40 12T geared 5:1 on 10 cells or a 3S lithium pack.
    As I suspected, I had a problem with the canopy coming off in flight. A short term fix was to apply some tape during the test flights. I outfitted the hatch with a hatch latch from Atlantahobby.com (part number HLRE001). The process took about 20 minutes and the problem of in-flight hatch removal has been eliminated.
    Low Bandwidth High Bandwidth

    Filming: Mike Parsons
    Piloting: Chris Hinson


    The E3D offers attractive 3D performance at a more attractive price. The build could hardly be more simple or quicker than it already is. The A30 outrunner used is a good entry level motor that will do what you ask of it and has more than enough power to carry the airframe. The best part is that installation is simple and only requires plug and play to get your E3D going.
    As I have come to expect from both Gary Wright and Aeromodel, the quality is outstanding. I forgot how much I have missed my E3D kit (aka: Big Blue) and am happy to have another in the hanger..Grade? A+!

    AeroModel Inc.

    2122 W 5th Place
    Tempe, AZ 85281
    Phone: 480-726-7519
    Fax: 480-682-1215

    Thunder Power

    4720 W. University Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89103
    Phone: (702) 228-8883 Fax: (702) 228-8885 




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    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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