RCU Review: Northeast Aerodynamics Giles MX2


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    Contributed by: Ed Alt | Published: September 2007 | Views: 37792 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon

    Review by: Ed Alt

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    Distributor
    Northeast Aerodynamics
    PO Box 1054
    Hollis, NH 03049

    Sales/Support Phone:
    603-465-6508


    Website:
    www.ne-aero.com



    Media



    Hits
    Packaging
    Rugged Construction
    Highly Visible Color Scheme
    Ease of Build

    3D Performance



    Misses

    Slightly oversized wheel pants
    Tail wheel assembly




    Introduction
    Northeast Aerodynamics introduces the 29% scale Giles MX2, blending the all-out high energy aerobatics capabilities of the Giles G-202 with the proven wing plan form of the Extra 300 series. The result is a versatile aerobatics performer that can perform any maneuver you will see in an IMAC aerobatics sequence or virtually any 3D maneuver you want to throw at it. The MX2 meets IMAC scale rules and with its 84" wing span, it is also IMAA legal. It's big enough to make its presence known, but is still an economical sized model that lets you get started in Scale Aerobatics style competition without breaking the bank.


    Specifications



    Kit Name: Northeast Aerodynamics Giles MX2
    Price: $400 retail price, $440 with optional custom wing bag
    Wingspan: 84"
    Wing Area: 1369 sq. in.
    Flying Weight as tested: 15 lbs 2 oz
    Motor: DA-50 -R
    Radio equipment: Spektrum DX7 with AR7000 receiver, 4 JR 8411 for elevators and ailerons, 1 JR 8611 on rudder, 1 Spektrum DS821 throttle servo and a HS-5475HB choke servo, Tech-Aero Designs 10A
    dual programmable regulator with Tanic 2100 mAh LiPo.

    Tools Needed to Complete the MX2:
    • Phillips and pan-head screwdrivers (various sizes)
    • Canopy Glue
    • Electric or hand drill
    • Hinge Glue
    • Needle-nosed pliers
    • Masking tape
    • Vinyl tape
    • #11 knife
    • Thread-locking compound
    • Small Metric sockets
    Accessories Needed for completion:
    • Receiver, battery and power switch
    • Standard Sized High-Torque Servos (Digital Servos are preferred)
    • ΒΌ-scale High-Torque Servo for Rudder (Digital Servos are preferred)
    • (1) Throttle Servo (1) Choke Servo; Optional
    • (1) Rudder Servo Control Linkage (2) Aileron Servo Control Linkages (2) Elevator Servo Control Linkages
    • 22-AWG servo wire to support your servo installation
    • 40cc to 50cc engine and muffler, ignition battery and switch
    • (1) 3.5? spinner (1) throttle cable 16-20 ounce fuel tank (1) 12"; Tygon fuel line
    • (1) Axle Set with matching wheel collars

    MX2 Assembly
    Packaging
    Wing in its wrapper
    Wing underside
    The packaging is well thought out to protect the contents in shipping. The box contents were in perfect condition on arrival, wrapped with light protective foam and bubble wrap, with hardware parts neatly bagged. An optional custom wing bag fits right into the packaging and for an extra $40, it's a very good value. The standard color scheme covering job on the MX2 is nicely done in Ultracote, with a distinctive and highly visible red, white, blue and yellow color scheme topside. The bottom is done in a large blue and yellow checkerboard scheme, which leaves no doubt of the attitude and orientation of the model in flight, even in difficult lighting conditions. My MX2 came with the standard aluminum wing tube, but a carbon fiber wing tube option is available as well. At slightly over 15 lbs before fueling, it's a reasonably light weight model to begin with, but for that extra bit of performance, going lighter with a CF wing tube could have some advantage.

    The cowling is a painted fiberglass one piece unit that perfectly matches the Ultracote covering colors. It features the lower air scoop detail of the full scale MX2 for added realism. The mounting holes for the cowl are pre-drilled and already fitted with hardware, requiring only that you make the cutouts for cylinder head clearance and for cooling air to exit at the bottom. It's a somewhat unique mounting method in that the bottom two mounting bolts are accessed from the front (through the bottom air exit) and the top two bolts are accessed from behind, inside the cabin. This makes it very easy to get at the bolts for quick removal or attachment of the cowl. The fiberglass wheel pants are rugged and light, although slightly oversized from a pure scale perspective. However, that does allow for fitting larger wheels if that is your preference for flying off of rougher fields.
    Main fuselage box structure

    Another view of the main box
    Radio Compartment
    The fuselage construction of the MX2 is rugged, yet reasonably lightweight. It's very accurately constructed, with CAD designed, laser cut parts used throughout. There was no need to re-glue any of the glue joints as is often the case with an ARF. The main structure is a plywood box that ties the engine mounting plate, landing gear plate and wing tube socket support together, which is then tied to the fuselage sides via two main formers and interlocking plywood spacers. For extra structural security, the landing gear plate is joined to the engine box bracing members with aluminum brackets. All in all, it's a very solid structure that leaves ample space for the fuel tank and accessories.

    The floor of the fuel tank compartment is a light plywood for securing the fuel tank. I glued a pair of popsicle sticks to the underside of the tank floor running fore-aft to provide an anchor point to mount the tank with Velcro straps. The radio compartment is large and has a light plywood platform in the aft section for mounting a single rudder servo, and can also be used to mount interior on/off switches, small receivers or regulators. In my case, the Spektrum AR7000 receiver easily fit in front of the rudder servo, with room left to neatly secure the servo extension wiring. The fuselage sides are balsa on the exterior, with light plywood doublers in the cabin area. The ply doublers have some cutouts placed in a way to make it easier for you to add additional equipment mounting platforms if required. My installation didn't require that, but it's a good option to have.
    JR 8611 rudder servo with customized servo arm
    Elevator hinged & installed with JR 8411
    Rudder hinged & rigged, with a view of the tailwheel
    The radio compartment has a light plywood mounting tray for a pull-pull rudder linkage arrangement. It's firmly anchored in the laser cut slots in the fuselage sides and is also a convenient platform for mounting other accessories of your choice. Most receivers will fit nicely in front of the rudder servo. The rudder servo opening fits the slightly oversized JR 8611 with just a small bit of trimming. The rudder servo control arm is made from a salvaged pair of Nelson single arm servo arms which I drilled to mount on a Hangar 9 servo wheel. The sweep angle of the servo arms is set to keep the rudder cables taught at all times by matching the offset of the control horns on the rudder. Single piece servo arms are available that accomplish the same thing, but it's always good to keep costs down by re-using things in the shop.

    Hinging the rudder and elevator with 30 minute epoxy was easy and quick, due to the accurately pre-drilled holes for the hinge point style hinges that are supplied with the kit. All of the control arm hole locations are precisely factory pre-drilled to accept 6-32 bolts or all-thread rod that is epoxied into the holes after they are threaded with a 6-32 tap. I prefer using all-thread rod since it is not brittle and stands up to vibration for the life of the model. This makes for a very inexpensive and effective control system, which only requires a set of nylon control linkages on a model this size. Since the kit does not provide the control linkage hardware, I used 6-32 DuBro sliding lock control couplers. They fit the nylon linkages with zero slop and are easily adjustable. Using the DuBro couplers also allows for the use of the JR heavy duty nylon servo arms, which are lightweight and more than adequate strength for a 29% model. The pushrods I used were made from 1/8" OD carbon fiber rod with 6-32 threaded stock epoxied into each end. A short piece of 1/8" ID aluminum tubing was used to slip over each end of the CF pushrods to prevent them from splitting. A dab of thin CA is all that is needed to prevent them from sliding out of position.

    The MX2 has servo mounting locations available for one or two optional tail mounted rudder servos. Based on my experience when balancing the model, I think it's unlikely that tail mounted rudder servos would be the best installation choice unless a larger, heavier engine than the DA-50-R was used. As you will see in the flight video, nothing more than a DA-50 would ever be needed to motivate the MX2. It has all-out unlimited vertical performance even while the engine is running rich for break in. In fact, a strong 40cc engine should pull the MX2 through any maneuver without any trouble.

    I used the tail wheel assembly provided with the kit and decided to just leave it free castoring. In hindsight, it is better to add the steering linkage since this type just tends to drag along turned sideways, but from my experience with this style of tail wheel, it's never very effective in ground steering anyway. They tend to be hard to move under load, so I have usually ended up just using them them as a skid. I would suggest replacing the tail wheel with one of your choice if you want that for better ground handling.
    Wheel pant with mounting hardware
    Wing root view
    Wing Hinging
    JR 8411 & Aileron linkage
    Side mount bolt hole locations
    DA-50-R side mounted
    The aluminum main landing gear is very rugged and is bolted on with the 4mm bolts provided. The wheel pants are a little bit over sized in my opinion, but at least that gives you the option of using larger wheels if your flying field conditions call for that. They are well reinforced in the mounting location to prevent cracking from ordinary use and are pre-cut to clear the wheel axle. The 3 mounting hole locations match the pre-drilled locations in the gear legs, so no effort is required for proper alignment. I substituted 4-40 hardware for the 3mm stuff provided with the kit. I have enough trouble finding the right sized hex wrench once out at the field, so I don't need to complicate the occasional tightening of a loose wheel pant by trying to find the right metric tool. Regardless, it was the easiest wheel pant installation I've ever done: you mount the wheel to the axle, slip the pant over it and bolt it on.

    The wing has the anti-rotation dowels pre-installed in a very rugged ply and balsa laminated root rib. 4mm "T" nuts for securing the wing are already embedded within that structure. Here again, due to the CAD design and laser cut parts, both wings have their incidence factory set with dead-on accuracy. Hinging the ailerons was next. Just as with the tail surfaces, the pre-drilled hinge locations were spot-on and made this chore much easier. The same 6-32 control linkage hardware was used for the ailerons as was done for the tail surfaces.

    The DA-50-R with Slimline Pitts style muffler is the recommended power package for the MX2, which fits the engine box and cowl without any modifications required, except to make the normal cutouts in the bottom of the cowling for cooling air flow. However for the setup for the RCU review, a standard Johnson muffler was used as a personal preference. This required making some minor modifications by mounting the engine on its side, which meant that some additional elbow grease was needed to cut out the openings in the cowl in the side for head clearance, as well as in the bottom for cooling air to exit.
    Engine box detail
    Throttle servo mounted inside the engine box
    TruTurn 3 1/2" red anodized spinner adds to the looks!
    The business end of the MX2!
    Radio & fuel tank installation
    Although it's not shown in the pictures, a choke servo was added just behind the engine box. The throttle servo was right up front inside the engine box, with no fear of ignition noise interference since a Spektrum receiver was used. Everything fit perfectly when the cowl was mounted and the prop and TruTurn spinner bolted on. The MX2 engine box is designed to accept the DA-50-R with its standard aluminum offset mounts. Once again, I found this to be a very simple installation, with the only complications being that I modified the engine hole locations for a side mount. The 3 1/2" red anodized TruTurn spinner really adds to the MX2's looks!

    I eventually decided to add 1/4" plywood mounting spacers to raise the rudder servo up, which provided more clearance between the elevator servo wiring that I routed up to the receiver. I used one of my own 10 amp dual programmable failsafe regulators, mounted to the left side of the cabin with a 2200 mAh, 2 cell Tanic LiPo in front of it. The ignition battery isn't pictured, but it's the 4.8V 1100mAh NiCad provided with my Spektrum DX7 and is mounted on the left side of the engine box, with plenty of clearance for the cowl. The AR7000 receiver has its little auxiliary receiver mounted off to the right side of the cabin.


    Time to fly!
    I balanced the MX2 exactly as recommended in the instructions for a starting location; 5? back from the leading edge of the wing where it meets the fuselage. The recommended balance point ranges from this to 6" back if you want slightly wilder feel to things if you are doing a lot of 3D, but I felt that it performed well all around when set to 5". For my DX7 setup, I used the following throws and mixes, which worked very well to provide smooth rolling, effortless knife edge and locked in vertical lines without any significant compromise to other flight performance:

    Flaperon 10% differential
    Throttle -> Elevator mix: 6% down at idle
    Left Rudder -> Aileron mix: 5% to correct adverse roll
    Right Rudder -> Aileron mix: 11% to correct adverse roll
    Left Rudder -> Elevator mix: 8% to correct belly tuck
    Right Rudder -> Elevator mix: 10% to correct belly tuck
    Control throws are max or nearly max on all surfaces (adjustments on some by 15 to 20% reduction to match throws for example). Then:
    Low rate elevator is 45% Expo at a Dual Rate of 50%, 70% Expo at a Dual Rate of 100% (full throw).
    Low rate rudder is 45% Expo at a Dual Rate of 41%, 65% Expo at a Dual Rate of 60%
    Low rate aileron is 50% Expo at a Dual Rate of 47%, 75% Expo at a Dual Rate of 85%

    At slightly over 15 lbs empty, the MX2 was putty in the hands of the DA-50-R, even while it was still being run quite rich for break-in. The vertical performance was truly unlimited with a Xoar 22-10 prop and there was never a question of whether it could pull through power demanding maneuvers like huge knife edge loops and vertical upline snaps.


    Giles MX2 Video (High Res)
    CLICK HERE to Watch


    Giles MX2 Video (Low Res)
    CLICK HERE to Watch



    MX2 Ready to Roll!













    Wrap-Up

    Northeast Aerodynamics has entered the Scale Aerobatics arena with an affordable, high performance and good looking model. The MX2 is a good choice for starting out in Scale Aerobatics (IMAC) competition and stands out the most in 3D / freestyle aerobatics flying for a model of its size. The MX2 is up to the task for Basic, Sportsman or even Intermediate class competition. One tendency that it did show was that when doing a knife-edge to knife-edge snap, it would rock a bit in the yaw axis when the snap was stopped and rudder was added back to hold the line, but otherwise the snap characteristics were well behaved. Tracking through looping figures was good and fast, slow and point roll performance was good as long as the speed was kept at a moderately high cruise.

    I found that it had little tendency to rock its wings in Harriers, especially when inverted, which is unusual in this size range. No aileron reflexing was needed at all, but no doubt it would clean up the slight wing rocking during an upright Harrier if it was used. Normal speed and high alpha knife edge performance was very good, as were blenders, flat spins, knife edge spins etc. It does Walls and Parachutes well and can be slowed down for 3D rolling maneuvers in any direction. Rudder authority during vertical hovering is adequate and would be improved with an additional 10 to 15 degrees of rudder throw. I hinged my rudder just a little too tightly and couldn't quite get all the throw from it that it really needed to have a better feel during hovers.



    Supplier List

    Northeast Aerodynamics
    PO Box 1054
    Hollis, NH 03049
    Sale and Support Phone: (603) 465-6508 7pm to 10pm EST Mondays and Thursdays
    Website: www.ne-aero.com
    email: info@ne-aero.com


    TruTurn Products
    ROMCO Manufacturing, Inc
    100 West 1st Street
    Deer Park, TX 77536
    Phone: (281) 479-9600
    Web Site: www.tru-turn.com
    E-mail: spinnerorder@truturn.com
    product used: 3 1/2" Red Anodized Ultimate style spinner

    Comments on RCU Review: Northeast Aerodynamics Giles MX2

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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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