RCU Review: DMZ Decathlon EP-400


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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: October 2006 | Views: 40878 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Decathlon ARF

    Review by: Greg Covey
    Flying Photos: Papa Jeff Ring
    Video Pilot: Lynn Bowerman

    Navigation


    Manufacturer
    DMZ EP-400 ARFs
    Distributed exclusively by:

    Imex Model Company
    PO Box 15390
    Brooksville, FL 34604
    352-754-8522


    Ratings
    Quality
    Performance
    Ease of Assembly
    Looks
    Price
    Manual


    Hits

    Easy to Assemble
    Great Looking Color Schemes
    Good Flying Performance



    Misses
    Weak tail control surfaces

    DMZ-Decathlon EP 400

    The DMZ Decathlon EP-400 is one of several models available from IMEX Model Company. Although different models (and maybe colors) are available in the EP-400 series, I will focus my review on the Decathlon.

    Various models like the Space Walker, Cessna 182, and Cherokee are also available

    The model includes a geared Speed 370 motor and prop so all you need to complete the assembly is the following:

    • 4-channel Radio w/3 Sub-micro Servos
    • 10-15amp ESC (Electronic Speed Control)
    • 3-cell LiPo Pack

    Decathlon Specifications:

    • Length: 25" (634mm)
    • Wing Span: 35" (885mm)
    • Wing Area: 224 sq in (14dm2)
    • Weight: 11oz-14oz (330g-420g)
    • Motor: 370
    • RPM: 6000-6400
    • Gearbox: 4.25:1 (35:8)
    • Propeller Range: 7.5x5 - 9x4.7

    A Closer Look

     

    The parts are packaged well for protection in the box and each piece or group is individually wrapped in plastic.

    The plane is a unique combination of foam, plastic, and wood. All the control surfaces are pre-mounted and ready to attached the pre-bend and cut linkages. The single piece wing has the ailerons and torsion bars ready to mount the sub-micro servo and attach the control rods.

    The 7-page manual is loaded with step-by-step photos and instructions for a successful assembly.

     


    Motor Options

    The Decathlon comes with 3 different motor mounts. The first is for the stock geared 370 motor which screws into the firewall.

    The second is for a post mount like that used on the FMA Brushless Power System 150 which makes for a nice power upgrade.

    The third mount is called an "Option Mount" and may be for a direct drive Speed 400 setup.

    The stock power system comes with a 9x4.7 prop and custom spinner that is CA'ed in place. I'll take some measurements with several battery setups.

    To power the stock geared 370 motor, I used a Super 20 ESC and 2-cell 910mAh Cellpro pack from FMA Direct. The power system delivered 74 watts at 10.5amps on full throttle.

     


    Assembly

    Wing Servo:

    The assembly begins with mounting the sub-micro servo into the bottom of the wing. The wing is then mounted to the fuselage after first gluing on small wood blocks for the screws to hold the trailing edge. The leading edge of the wing is held by a pre-mounted wooden slot.

    Tail Mounting:
    The tail sections are mounted next. The main wing is left installed to measure incidences to the stabilizers.

    Linkage:
    The control rods easily hook up with the pre-installed clevis and control horns. Since Z-bends are already on the servo end of the rods, I needed to adjust the clevises for proper elevator and rudder centering.

    Receiver:
    I'm using an M5 v2 micro receiver for glitch-free dual conversion performance at a very light weight.

    Gear Mains:

    The gear mains are fully functional just like the rest of the "full house" 4-channel design on the Decathlon. Although these tiny gear are cute, you must keep in mind that they are only meant to be used on smooth surfaces or a hand toss over grass. The plastic pants and foam wheels look great!

    Battery Pack:

    A 3-cell LiPo battery (800mAh - 1000mAh) is held in the compartment with either rubber bands or a Velcro strap. The compartment cover comes with swing latches and can be hinged with tape. I found the press fit to have sufficient hold.

    Ready To Fly:

    My DMZ Decathlon was Ready-To-Fly at 14.5oz including the 3oz Cellpro 3s 910mAh pack.

     



    Test Flying

    Decathlon Maiden Flight Test

    The video of the DMZ Decathlon shows just how well it can fly in 10mph winds. It was a bit twichy but had plenty of power with the stock geared Speed 370 motor. For a small and light 14.5oz Decathlon, this model really performed well and even got off the grass. We landed just after the maiden take-off to adjust the elevator trim because it reached the end point on the transmitter and was not trimmed out. Although the CG seemed fine, the elevator ended up with some down trim to keep it flying level. This was likely due to an incidence offset between the main wing and the horizontal stabilizer.

    CLICK HERE (6.5meg)

     

    Summary

    The Decathlon flew well in the 10mph wind. It had plenty of power and flew about 7 minutes. The thin foam control surfaces on the tail may need some added carbon rods to keep it straight and strong when performing aerobatics in wind. The little foamie seemed to take-off and land on grass very well and it looked great in the air. The plastic wheel pants are not fragile and the wheels functioned perfectly.

    The mix of materials like foam, plastic, metal rods, and balsa formers have made this little Decathlon EP-400 a unique design that is quite robust and performs as well as a larger plane. The blue, black, and white color scheme not only looks great but provide excellent orientation in flight.

    DMZ Decathlon EP-400













    Manufacturer Info



    Imex Model Company
    PO Box 15390
    Brooksville, FL 34604
    352-754-8522

    FMA Direct
    5716A Industry Lane
    Frederick, MD 21704
    Website: www.fmadirect.com
    Sales: 800-343-2934 or 301-668-7614

    Comments on RCU Review: DMZ Decathlon EP-400

    There are no comments

    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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