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Precision Aerobatics IFO

Old 12-20-2004, 01:06 AM
Precision Aerobatics
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Default Precision Aerobatics IFO

Airborne Review by Bob Hickman (Dec 2004 issue)
Do you want a robust little aircraft that will fly the wildest aerobatics imaginable in the space of a basketball stadium? The IFO from Precision Aerobatics could be just the model for you. The IFO’s capabilities also extend to outdoor flying. In the hands of an experienced flier, a large backyard could provide enough space for this model.

The IFO (Indoor Flying Object?) is a 650 mm span flying wing constructed almost entirely from carbon fibre and heat-shrink covering, so it is extremely rugged. It comes with a motor and gearbox. You will need a micro receiver, two sub micro servos, an electronic speed controller (ESC) and a battery pack to complete the model. I used an 8-cell 300 mAhr NiMh battery.

Assembly of the IFO is very quick and mainly painless. I did find that the elevon hinge pins were too large to fit into the pre-installed hinge tubes and needed filing lightly and shortening a little in order to fit. Other than this the assembly was incident free. The motor/gearbox unit can simply be glued in place or mounted on a balsa stick. I chose the latter method, reasoning that it would break in a crash, protecting the motor/gearbox from damage. The IFO’s potential for crazy aerobatics at very low height seems to bring out the more daring side of me, so I may eventually finish up testing its crash survival. Most of the “bits” of the IFO (servos, ESC, receiver) are attached with Velcro, drops of epoxy and cable ties. A little balsa is provided to fashion mounting plates for the servos and battery. Other than the motor mount, this was the only balsa used in the model. The final location of the battery is determined by the need to get the centre of gravity in the correct place.

I found a problem with the motor. The suppression capacitor had been soldered in position with both its leads touching the motor body, creating a potential ESC damaging short circuit. A little bending with some pliers soon fixed this. Suppression capacitors are always worth checking on a new brushed motor.

You will need a transmitter that can be set up with elevon mixing. Large control deflections are required if you want to make the most of the IFO’s aerobatic potential. Forty degrees up and down are recommended. Lots of exponential will tame the model down around the stick centres but still enable some pretty wild gyrations at full transmitter stick excursions. I used 55% exponential and this made the model seem quite sedate until larger stick movements were used, then “Wow”. Try adjusting the controls for about 6 mm of up elevon trim for your first flight. Flying wings always need a little of this. The more rearward the CG the less up trim required.

My monthly Melbourne indoor night did not happen to coincide with magazine deadlines, so test flying was done outside. I had to wait till nearly dusk as it was a bit too windy during the day. You really need near calm conditions. The IFO will penetrate a bit of breeze but it just isn’t much fun in any wind. The supplied motor turns the nine-by-seven inch prop with real authority and provides plenty of thrust. The climb is excellent and the roll rate amazing. Loops can be of remarkably small diameter or somewhat larger. Careful throttle management, particularly when flying indoors, is essential. The flat plate aerofoil used on the IFO generates very little drag when flying straight and level, so fairly low throttle is required. In tight manoeuvres the wing can generate lots of drag and much more throttle is needed. This high lift equals high drag flying wing characteristic can be a real advantage indoors. If the wall is rushing up, simply bank the IFO and pull hard on the elevator. At low throttle it will turn almost instantly and nearly stop. A bit of throttle, to prevent it falling out of the air, and you are out of trouble. Virtually any known manoeuvre that does not require a rudder can be flown with the IFO. I have also flown a whole bunch of previously unknown manoeuvres, some being so weird and happening so quickly that they may never be repeated. Sound like fun? You bet!

HITS : Outstanding manoeuvrability, Excellent use of composite materials, Strong construction, Fast assembly

MISSES: Elevon hinge pins need filing to fit. Suppression capacitor needed bending clear of the motor case.
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