The Edge 540 is very easy to transport and setup at the field due to its plug in wings. The hatch is easily removed and two servo connections and wing bolts are all that is required to be assembled before flight. The flight battery is easily installed in the generous nose area but trying to push it further in the nose presents a small challenge to strap it in since the cowl is right over the area where you would want to place a strap.
With all of the typical field preparation and checking out of the way, the Edge 540 was ready for its first flight. With a fully charged flight pack, we took the Edge out to the runway, lined her up and advanced the throttle to bring the tail up and take to the skies for its first flight. Roll out and take off did not pose anything out of the ordinary and it was noted that the steerable tail gear was pretty solid for the brief time that it was actually making contact with the ground.
Once in the air, we trimmed out the airframe and started to experiment with its flight envelope. At full throttle, the Edge 540 and the recommended power system really pulls this airframe around which is fitting for its racer nature. The color scheme is very visible and it was easy to differentiate top from bottom when the airframe was at a distance from us. The pitch was right on during various different passes at varying throttle settings which is a sign of a good airframe.
After a few more passes, we rolled the Edge on its side and noted that knife edge flight was a breeze. There was minimal coupling from the rudder which was easy to fly out with minimal inputs from the ailerons and elevator. Attempting a knife edge loop though was where the coupling was more exaggerated and we had difficulty keeping the airframe in a perfect knife edge throughout the maneuver.
Snaps, stall turns, point rolls were all easily performed and did not present anything out of the ordinary. The Edge 540 performs a very nice Avalanche with the wings leveling out pretty well after the snap on the top of the loop most of the time.
When it was time to slow the airframe down for some high alpha, we were immediately greeted by an unwelcome wing rock. For the most part, it was easy to compensate for however when we were trying to steer around in high alpha using the rudder, the airframe felt a bit too ready to tip stall. Quick burst of power from the powerful motor would easily bring the nose up during these situations but over all it could be described as a bit mushy and I believe this is an artifact of the narrow wings and the speed of the servos that were used. I think the recommended servos are a bit on the slow side, and that coupled with large amounts of exponential on the control surfaces made 3D flight not very enjoyable.
Bringing the nose up vertical and attempting some hovering and torque rolling, the effect of the slower servos were more noticeable. This was most apparent on the rudder servo. On later flights, I changed the rudder servo out for a faster, more powerful servo and it was significantly better for controlling the rudder during hovering. In general, the Edge 540 is 3D capable but seems to be happier flying fast and precise. Shifting the CG back helped in this manner but this made the airframe more sensitive to rudder coupling. Overall, not a big deal as this airframe is really a racer anyway.
When it came down to landing, the Edge 540 exhibited a very predictable and controllable glide ratio as all that was required to land it perfectly every time was to simply line her up with the runway, cut the throttle and watch her glide in for a smooth landing.