RCU Review: E-Flite Ultimate Fx 3D


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    Contributed by: Michael Parsons | Published: April 2006 | Views: 34666 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon

    Review by: Michael Parsons- email me


    Distributed exclusively by:
    Horizon Hobby
    4105 Fieldstone Rd.
    CHAMPAIGN, IL  61822
    Support Phone:
    (877)504-0233
    Sales Phone: (800)338-4639

    Website: www.e-flitrc.com
    Website: www.horizonhobby.com


    Packaging
    Assembly
    Flight
    Price
    Manual
    Final Grade



    14mb



    7mb

    The Ultimate FX 3D from E-flite is a vacuum formed full fuselage plane based on the profile Ultimate ARF also from E-flite. The plane maintains the flat plate wings and elevators, however now it boasts an airfoil rudder and full fuselage that is bound to increase stiffness. Along with a full fuse, it has a fiberglass cowl, vac u-formed canopy and wheelpants to complement the look.


     

    Wing Span: 28 in (710mm)
    Overall Length: 31 in (790mm)
    Wing Area: 435 sq in (28 sq dm)
    Flying Weight: 14.5-16.5 oz (410-470 g)
    Motor Size: Park 370 In runner or Park 400 Outrunner
    Radio: 4 channels w/3 sub-micro servos
    Servos: 3 Sub-Micro
    Trim Scheme Colors: Red & White w/Black & Silver, White
    Prop Size: 12 x 6 (included) for inrunner or 10 x 4.7 - 11 x 4.7 with Outrunner
    Hardware Included: Yes
    Speed Control recommended: 20-Amp Brushless
    Recommended Battery: 11.1V 1200-1320mAh Li-Po
    Gear Ratio: 6.6:1, 0.4 Module (66T spur with 10T pinion) gearbox (included)

    Equipment Used:
    Park 370 4100 KV and Park 400 920 KV
    Thunderpower 3S 1320mah Pro-lite
    (3) E-flite S75 Micro Servos
    E-flite 20 amp Electronic Speed Control


    The FX 3D comes in a very colorful and attractive box. Since we aren't flying the box lets dig in! I have never opened up an E-flite product that wasn't very well protected with wrapping. This was no exception. The lower tip of the rudder was compacted slightly, but I could find no evidence of impact on the box. I assume it happened before packing.

    Everything looked great and finding out the cowl is fiberglass was a plus. As well as finding the ailerons and rudder are pre hinged. One less thing for me to do will yield no complaints.

     

    As mentioned earlier, the ailerons are pre-hinged for you. Also, the upper and lower wing connector horns are installed saving time. I love time savers.

    The outer struts are tabbed to the lower and upper wings. There is no guesswork here as it takes very little time to square them up to the wing and allow the CA to flow in. I use kicker sparingly to ensure I have no paint bleed.

    The lower wing and center ca bane strut is also tabbed for no guesswork in where they go. The instructions recommend using Hot Glue to attach the lower wing. I avoid using Hot Glue as I like to keep a plane or two in the car for those quick after work fix's. On even a mild summer day here in the south, the inside of the car can get to well over 100 degrees. That is more than enough to break down the Hot Glue. I have learned that the hard way. So I used medium CA and kicker.


    After the CA had setup overnight, I realized that I had a problem. The wing did not meet up with the fuse side. The only contact area was on the TE and LE of the wing. After rereading through the manual, there is no mention of this, nor is there a step that I missed. I called a friend who is in the process of building one. I had him check and his too has the same gap. It appears that you are supposed to sand the wing to fit the contour of the front and rear bulkhead. I will have to reinforce from the inside with some lightweight balsa strip and medium CA, but it will still leave me with a gap. Be sure to check your fit before gluing your wing! This will and did cause problems a bit later in the build.

     

    One side of the elevator is already pre hinged for you. The other is loose to allow it to be fed into the fuse. I found that I had a little over one degree of lean to the left when I slid in my stab. I removed it and lightly sanded the slot until the stab sat even. Finishing up requires only hinging the remaining elevator and gluing the stab in the fuse and carbon fiber joiner rod.

    The gear included is a pre bent wire type that simply slides in the fuse. If you do not plan on removing the gear, then install the laser cut ply piece and flow in some foam safe CA.

    The wheelpants are well done and already have the ply support plank glued on the inside. This gives the mount screws something to bite into. Very simple installation, but be mindful that the axle wire is a bit deeper than the wheelpants. A simple fix is to drill a hole through the other side to allow the wire to pass through. This is the only way to get the wheelpants close enough to mount the bracket.

    Remember those time savers I keep mentioning? How about another one. The canopy is trimmed and read to be glued onto the hatch. I used Formula 560 canopy glue to attach it to the hatch. It goes on white, but dries clear.

    The servo holes are precut and of course a perfect fit for the S75 servos. Quick link hardware is included in the kit and makes short work of hooking everything together.

    I ran into a problem with the Rudder servo control linkage. The angle of attack from the servo to the control horn produces binding. The servo will barely deflect due to this angle. I had to cut off the existing control horn since it was already installed and utilize a spare that I had on hand. This corrected the binding and allowed for smooth rudder movement.

    Remember that above? Here is where we start seeing the effects of not having the wing flush. The aileron joiner rods are precut to length for a precise fit. The 10 mm or so gap in the wing saddle pushes the wings further apart. Basically making the precut joiner rods non useable. I fabricated new ones out out of carbon fiber rod, the existing joiner rods and heat shrink. They work well although using the stock solution would have saved time.

    The Fiberglass cowl fits very nicely to the fuse and remains attached using four small screws provided. The battery is intended to sit against the fuse with hook and loop Velcro.

     

    I have a choice of two separate power systems. The first is the E-flite Park 400 920kv outrunner and the second is the Park 370 4100KV geared 6.6:1. Both will utilize the E-flite 20 amp ESC and a Thunderpower 3S 1320 mah lipoly.

    I put both motors on my test stand to test the numbers. The Park 400 sports an 11X4.7 APC prop and the Park 370 geared uses the stock 12X6 prop (included). Below are the numbers. I would say equally matched!

    Motor
    E-flite Park 400
    E-flite park 370
    Prop
    11x4.7 APC SF
    12X6 E-flite
    Amps
    14.5
    15
    Watts
    151
    152
    Thrust
    27.8 oz
    28 oz
    The Outrunner solution requires that you modify the stick by cutting it to allow proper alignment to the cowl. I am going to fly it with the Park 370 first and then cut the mount to the required length in the field to mount the Park 400.


     

    With the bad weather we have had around here as of late, I welcomed the sunshine (even though it came with wind). The thrust to weight was going to be plenty, but it would mean being quick on the sticks. Getting into the air, some quick passes and rolls on high rates showed good responsiveness. Snaps and tumbles are a blast and with the short tail moment, it rotates around to neutral in no time. Blenders are quick too and the plane really winds up.

    Harriers experience a bit of wing rock, but harrier rolls are clean and manageable. Hovering is rock solid, once you get it locked upright. The only thing that took quite a bit of effort to control is Knife edge flight. I experienced more than a fair amount of coupling to the belly. It is controllable manually, but would it would be much better to mix it out if you have a computer radio.

    One last word of advice. If you have a rough field, do not use the wheelpants. You'll see in the video that I take off with both wheelpants attached and land with only one. I had an unexpected landing when I got caught downwind. The wheelpants didn't have a chance. They look great, but anything other than a manicured runway or pavement will be hard on them. I removed the second Wheel pant for the photo's.

    Low Bandwidth High Bandwidth

    Credits:
    Filming: Tony Lockhart
    Piloting: Mike Parsons

    The E-flite Ultimate 3D FX is a quick building ARF that has a great presence in the air and is a lot of fun. Turn down the rates and the 3D FX is smooth and docile, or turn them up and go wild. Which motor did I like best? Both! Either the Park 370 in the provided Gearbox or the Park 400 outrunner powers this plane very well. They are very closely matched in performance, so choose based on your personal preference.

    I hope you enjoyed the article as much as I enjoyed writing it. Until next time, keep the electrons flowing!

     


    Distributed exclusively by:
    Horizon Hobby
    4105 Fieldstone Rd.
    CHAMPAIGN, IL  61822
    Support Phone:
    (877)504-0233
    Sales Phone: (800)338-4639

    Website: www.e-fliterc.com
    Website: www.horizonhobby.com

     

    Thunder Power
    4720 W. University Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89103
    Phone: (702) 228-8883 Fax: (702) 228-8885
    info@thunderpower-batteries.com

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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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