RCU Review: Hangar 9 Sopwith Camel


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    Contributed by: Mike Buzzeo | Published: January 2007 | Views: 81817 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Hangar-9 Sopwith Camel ARF

    Review by: Mike Buzzeo (MinnFlyer) Email Me






    Hangar-9
    Distributed through Horizon Hobby
    4105 Fieldstone Rd.
    Champaign, IL 61822
    Phone: (217) 352-1913
    www.hangar-9.com/



    Window Media Player
    Sopwith Camel ARF
    VIDEO

    Poor:
    Acceptable:
    Good:
    Excellent:
    Outstanding:

    Packaging:
    Construction:
    Hardware:
    Manual:
    Easy Assembly:
    Completeness:
    Covering Quality:
    Takeoff:
    Landing:
    Basic Flight:
    Advanced Flight:


    • Excellent Construction
    • Clearly Detailed Manual
    • Scale Fiberglass Cowl
    • Ultracote Covering
    • Beautiful Wood Wing Struts
    • Scale "Bungie" Landing Gear
    • Pre-Assembled Fuel Tank


    • Missing Hardware

    • Holes for landing gear straps too far apart

    During WWI, when aviation was in its infancy, there were as many failed attempts at aerodynamics as there were successful ones. Largely due to this, when a plane WAS successful, it gained instant notoriety. Unfortunately, its fame was also fleeting due to the fact that in most cases, a new design quickly made a former one obsolete.

    Now, any good airplane addict can rattle off a list of WWI planes, but few names stick in the minds of the average person. However, thanks to the late cartoonist Charles Schultz and "A funny looking dog with a big black nose", the Sopwith Camel is probably more famous today than it was in its heyday. Many of us wonder how many good pilots we would have lost if that notorious WWI fighter Ace, Snoopy in his Sopwith Camel, had not constantly harassed the "Bloody Red Barron".

    A famous WWI Fighter Ace and his trusty Sopwith Camel

    As for the plane itself, the "Big Pup", as it was called in its development, acquired the name "Camel", due to the hump in front of the pilot which housed the twin Vickers machine guns, and in general, it was not considered a pleasant airplane to fly. Its short nose moment, combined with the gyroscopic forces of the rotary engine caused it to turn sharply to the right with a nose-down attitude, while it turned slowly to the left with a nose-up attitude. Turns in either direction required left rudder, and a stall immediately resulted in a spin, which the Camel was particularly noted for.

    The Camel only saw about 18 months of action before being replaced by the Sopwith Snipe, but fortunately for the Camel, those were the most grueling 18 months of the war and as such, the Camel was credited with shooting down 1,294 enemy aircraft, more than any other Allied scout.

    The new Hangar-9 version, while not a true scale plane, does come close, especially in looks. The short nose is compensated for by the placement of a 1lb block of lead which is housed forward of the firewall. Since so much nose weight is required, I thought this would be the perfect place to house the new Zenoah G-20ei, which is an electronic-ignition gasser designed for 60 - 90 size airframes.

    This should be fun!




    Name: Hangar-9 Sopwith Camel 60 ARF

    Price: $249.99

    Wingspan: 61 in (1549mm)

    Wing Area: 1288 sq in (83.1 sq dm)

    Length: 44 in (1118mm)

    Flying Weight (advertised): 7.5-8.5 lb (3.4-3.9 kg)

    Flying Weight: (actual) 9.6 lb

    Engine: .61 cu in 2-stroke / .91 cu in 4-stroke

    Engine Used: Zenoah G-20ei Gasoline Engine

    Battery Used: Radio: NoBS 800 Series 4.8v
                               Ignition: NoBS Intellect HR-1400 Ignition Pack

    Radio Used: JR 6102 Tx - (5) JR DS821 Servos.

    Channels Used: 4 total - Elevator, Aileron, Rudder, Throttle

    Prop Used:APC 16x4W


    Items Needed To Complete

    • 4 Channel Radio (Minimum) w/ 5 Standard Servos
    • (2) 18" Servo Extensions (2)
    • "Y" Cord
    • CA Glue (Thin)
    • 30-min Epoxy
    • Zap-A-Dap-A-Goo
    • 4-40 Tap and drill
    • Various Standard Shop Tools






    I was surprised when I first saw the box that the Camel comes in. It seemed so small compared to most of the other ARF's. My first thoughts were, "How big (or rather "How small") is this thing?" Once the box was opened, I was amazed to see how nicely everything was packaged. There's not an inch of wasted space, yet everything was well secured. And the boxes that held parts (like wing struts and landing gear) were used as dividers.

    I still can't believe that an airplane of this size could fit into that small box!



    All major components were present and accounted for, but there were some small hardware pieces that were missing. Apparently many people also did not receive 8 of the metal clips needed for the wire bracing.

    Construction was also excellent. Joints mated well, and were solid with no signs of sloppy gluing.


    Manual

    The manual is excellent. It is clearly illustrated and gives step-by-step instructions and a few great tips. It is not without the usual typos, but all in all, H-9 gets another "A". The only thing that might have been a little confusing was that the manual showed the "Flying Wires" in an unassembled state when in reality, they were already sized, assembled and crimped. I guess it would be hard to complain about NOT having to do all of that!



    CABANE STRUTS





    It was nice to start out with something other than aileron hinging for a change. It was also nice to see the beautiful natural wood used for the cabane struts. There was one blind nut that was gummed up which made it difficult to get the screw in, but fortunately, by following the manuals detailed explanation, I got the cabane struts in the right way on the first try!


    LANDING GEAR





    The tailskid slides easily into place at the rear of the fuse, but I found that all 5 of the locations for the nylon landing gear straps (1 on tail skid, 4 on main landing gear) had the holes too far apart. To remedy this, I heated a piece of scrap pushrod wire, inserted it into the hole in the strap, and melted each hole slightly to elongate them.





    The main gear can now be assembled using a very interesting shock-absorber technique that utilizes "O" Rings as bungies. And the scale wheels look terrific!


    ENGINE


    Since so much nose weight was required, I decided to use the new Zenoah G-20ei. I figured, why use all that lead when I have this baby handy? Besides, the idea of a WWI bipe with that great gasser sound was just too cool to pass up. Home-made 3/4" stand-offs were used.

    Hangar-9 supplies a neat little plywood box to house the huge "chunk-o'-lead" they give you for balancing. I found that since I'm not using the supplied nose weight, I could cut down the box, making it a perfect place to hold the E.I. module.

    This is the box after my modification.

    Zenoah G-20ei
    Zenoah G-20ei

    Zenoah 20cc Electronic Ignition Gas Engine

    Zenoah?s groundbreaking G20Ei isn?t just Zenoah?s first engine with electronic ignition, it?s the first gas engine from any manufacturer that can fit .60-size planes that, until now, were limited to glow or electric power choices. Its dimensions are especially well suited for round cowl models like Hangar 9?s popular Corsair 60 and P-47D 60 ARFs. It has plenty of power for many .90 to 1.20-size sport applications as well. Much of this incredible versatility can be attributed to its lightweight magnesium-aluminum alloy crankcase that gives it an impressive thrust to weight ratio compared to most gas engines.

    Key Features

    • Electronic Ignition
    • Small & Lightweight
    • Easy Operation and Mounting
    • Excellent Power
    • Lower cost Fuel
    • New Magnesium Case
    • Fuel consumption is ½ that of a similar glow engine

    Specs

    • Type: Gas Electronic Ignition
    • Displacement: 20cc
    • Bore: 32mm
    • Stroke: 25mm
    • Cylinders: Single
    • Total Weight: 41.6oz with muffler, ignition, and mount
    • Engine (Only) Weight: 33 oz
    • Crankshaft Threads: 8x1.25mm
    • Benchmark Prop: APC 15 X 6 9500rpm
    • Prop Range: 14 x 6 through 16 x 6
    • RPM Range: 1400 - 10,000
    • Fuel: Gas Oil mix 32:1
    • Muffler Type: Compact Welded can (included)
    • HP: 1.7HP @ 8500rpm
    • Cylinder Type: Nikasil, ring

    Download the manual in PDF format - Click here






    Aside from cutting the box, I also had to slightly elongate the mounting holes so the box could slide over just enough to keep the spark plug wire from hitting the cowl.

    To power the electronic ignition, I used the new Intellect HR-1400 from NoBS Batteries. This new HR-1400 uses light-weight 2/3A NiMH cells with an impedance of 8.5 mOhms giving it plenty of punch in a small package. I got over an hour of flying time on a full charge, yet the pack only weighed 3.5oz.



    COWL





    The Fiberglass cowl sports a beautiful pre-painted dummy radial. After it was cut out for cooling, I locked it in place with some Zap-A-Dap-A-Goo.

    To my dismay, I found that the time I had spent trimming down the cowl blocks (So the carb and muffler wouldn't hit them) was in vain as the cowl had been removed in both of those areas. I just made two new blocks and epoxied them in place where they would be useful.



    WINGS





    The aileron servos use the hatch type of mounting system. Some people have had a problem with the mount blocks coming loose, so I should point out that any time I use this system, I always scratch both gluing surfaces with a razor blade to rough them up. I also make 5 or 6 divots in the block itself with a small drill bit. This ensures two good surfaces for the glue to hold on to.





    The top wing halves are epoxied together and set aside. There's nothing further to do on them until they are mounted.

    The bottom wings are tube-mounted, and require drilling and tapping a 4-40 hole in each side of the forward tube, and the rear anti-rotation peg.





    Once it's time to mount the top wing, the manual suggests that you fast-forward to the "flying wires" section and do them at the same time. I was glad of this suggestion because ever since I mounted the top wing and wires I have not removed them. And if all goes well, I never will! The wires are not difficult really, just time-consuming. So I will keep the plane in one piece for as long as I can (It fits easily in the back of my Blazer).

    I did run into one small problem setting up the wires - the manual tells you how to install them as separate components - Clips, cables, turnbuckles, etc. - but in reality the wires are pre-assembled. I can't gripe about that (In fact, thank you Hangar-9 for pre-assembling these!) but it made inserting the wire through the hole in the lower wing just about impossible. I remedied the situation by running a long 5/32" drill bit through the hole.





    With the top wing installed, the top ailerons can now be slaved to the bottoms by mounting the slave control horns into their respective slots, and linking them with the slave pushrods (That's the most times I've used the word "slave" since I left my first wife!).



    TAIL SECTION





    Now the fin can be epoxied to the stab, the stab covering gets removed in the saddle area, and the tail feathers are epoxied in place.

    Once the epoxy had set, I attached the rudder and elevators with the provided CA hinges.



    RADIO INSTALLATION





    The rudder and elevator servos are installed in line with their pushrods, and the throttle servo mounts between them. The rudder pushrod had a good amount of binding. This may bother some people, but I don't see it as any big problem. The dual elevator servo (which was pre-soldered) slid in place much easier.

    Since I was using a "Gasser", I replaced the metal throttle pushrod with a DuBro Laser Rod.





    Just like many people, I didn't get the brackets for the tail wires. Rather than wait till I could get to the hobby shop, I use what I had available - which was a bunch of electrical wire loops. I just pulled off the insulation, bolted them in place, and soldered some 1/32" music wire between them (being very careful not to get the covering too hot!). This worked great!

    With that done, I gave it a final balance (it still needed 2oz of lead in the nose), and it was ready to go.

    And I gotta say, this is one beautiful looking airplane! For the pictures below, I used a Pro Zinger 18x6 prop. I was really hoping that this prop would work well just because it looked so good on the Camel. The G-20 had no problem swinging it - in fact, I was pretty amazed at how easily it spun it, but it was just too much pull for the plane. After the first flight, I switched to an APC 16x4W which worked out much better.





    The first day out with the Camel it was a little breezy, but not too bad, and that was a good thing. As it turned out, even after adding an additional 2oz to the nose, I was still a little tail heavy. Believe me, you do not want to fly this thing tail heavy - especially on a breezy day! The good news is - I was pleasantly surprised at how well its ground handling was considering the tailskid.

    Back home I added an additional 4oz of lead to the nose. This made all the difference in the world. And don't worry; you do not need to fear adding weight to this plane. The wing loading is so light that it flies like a kite. I think I could have hung my flight box to the bottom and it would still fly.

    With that said, my next flight was still awkward at first. Then I realized that I was trying to fly it like one of my usual "point-and-go" planes. After a while I realized just how scale this thing flew. "Oh yea" I thought, "Just fly it like the real thing". Once I made that connection I really started to enjoy it. More power equals more altitude. Bring the throttle back and she gradually descends.

    I was starting to feel very humbled. It has been a very long time since I flew a plane that actually "Flew" - that is, not just a guided missile - and I was thoroughly enjoying it! There was still a bit more wind than I would have liked, but at the same time, I was really enjoying the challenge of flying those huge wings through the currents.

    When it came time to land, I again had to re-learn how to fly. My typical low approach was not working at all, but I soon realized that due to the high drag ratio, I could start high, and she would just sink without picking up a ton of airspeed. Boy, that was pretty! In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I shot about 10 landings that day.

    Winter was closing rapidly, so the first chance I got I went out to shoot some video. The day was far from the best, but it's very difficult to coordinate the three things needed for videotaping (1 Myself, 2 Someone who can fly while I shoot videos and 3 good weather) so I had to shoot on a pretty windy day. But even with the wind, you can see how nicely the Camel flies.



    Check out the video to see her in action!
























    Hangar-9 Sopwith Camel ARF
    Video (9.7meg) CLICK HERE


    Hangar-9 Sopwith Camel ARF
    Deluxe Video (15.8meg) CLICK HERE



    It's hard to sum up the Camel in just a few words. It is a fantastic replication of the original WWI fighter from its great looks right down to its scale flying characteristics.

    The G-20ie is a great engine for it. Truthfully, it is more power than it needs. I would be willing to bet that a 70 class 4-stroke would be plenty of power, yet it is so cool to have a gasser in a plane of this size! And the Scale look combined with the gas engine sound is enough to give me goose bumps!

    It's a really fun and challenging airplane to fly, but I would discourage anyone below an advanced pilot from trying it. It is not difficult to fly, but if you are looking for a "First Bipe", or a point-and-go aerobatic type of plane, you should look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you are a fan of WWI planes, this would make a great addition to your collection!




    Hangar-9
    Distributed through Horizon Hobby
    4105 Fieldstone Rd.
    Champaign, IL 61822
    Phone: (217) 352-1913
    www.hangar-9.com/

    JR Radios
    Distributed by:
    Horizon Hobby, Inc.
    4105 Fieldstone Road
    Champaign, IL 61822
    Website: www.jrradios.com


    Zenoah Engines
    Distributed through Horizon Hobbies
    4105 Fieldstone Rd.
    Champaign, IL 61822
    Phone: (217) 352-1913
    Website: www.zenoah.com/

    NoBS Batteries, Inc..
    139 Oak St
    Patchogue NY 11772-2844
    Phone: 631-610-5169
    Website: www.hangtimes.com/nobsbatteries.html

    email: hangtimes@optonline.net


    APC Props
    Distributed by:
    Landing Products
    1222 Harter; Woodland, CA, 95776
    Website: www.apcprop.com
    Email: apcprop@aol.com

    Du-Bro
    Everything For The R/C Hobbyist
    Phone: 1-800-848-9411
    Website: www.dubro.com


    Comments on RCU Review: Hangar 9 Sopwith Camel

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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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