This post is an effort to show the differences between a good 3d kit and a value one, I am updating it almost everyday. Once I am done I will post it.
I often see pilots looking for a lower cost alternative to the big three planes. I got a lower cost model before getting an extreme flight airframe.
First up is the prince
It has all the goodies
48" Extreme Flight Extra 30 EXP
Motrofly 2820 600kv
65mg's and an 85mg on the tail
Ar8000 with telemetry
This was one of my first 3d planes but it started life as a sport setup plane.
This one has a lot of value parts in it.
49" Ebay specialYak 55m
14x7 HK prop
Orangerx with satellite
I've recently gotten back into this hobby after about a 15 year abscence. I used to fly my eagle 2 trainer and some sport planes maybe every two weeks. I saw a link last year to Daniel holman doing some crazy stuff with an extra 300, stuff that I never thought possible and I was introduced to 3d flight.
I'm by no means a good 3d flier. Rolling harriers and inverted harriers are something I am still working on and having difficulty with. Pretty much anything that requires a level linked roll i go all stupid on. Hovers are not perfect yet for me but I work on them trying to keep them straight up. Tumbles, harriers, blenders, pop tops, and KE spins are what I am decent at.
The EF plane comes with a detailed manual and you can download it on the website
The yak had nothing.
The issues with the yak gear
First up the gear that comes with the yak is not that great compared to the extra. The servo horns come straight out of a sport plane. They are the double screw with backer. The linkage is your standard Z-bend with ez-connector (has a nut and screw back though). When I first had this plane I couldn't get 3d rates out of it with the gear so I dropped the hole to the lowest size and dealt with that issue.
The servos on the yak would not center at all. they would often over or undershoot the centering. They wouldn't hunt for the center like some other digitals but they would be off. An opposite deflection would get it to recenter but who wants to do that on inverted flight?
This time around for the yak I picked up some CF horns and arms from HK. I then cut out openings for the horns and then med-CA'd them in place. They have held up so far but the rudder worries me the most.
No mods to the extra other then the 85mg on the elevator but I put that on all my 48" exps.
The extra degree throws
The yak degree throws
CG was slightly behind the tube, I had about an inch extra space with the extra to the tube and the yak had the battery touching the tube.
These planes were flow back to back in an effort to show how they handled the current environment, wind speed was about 5-7mph. I don't think there isn't a wind speed I won't fly in
As you can see in the videos the differences between the two. The extra flys and tracks so well. The lines that it draw are one of the reason people like me love this airframe.
The yak makes a good sport plane and draws some decent lines but in my opinion its not as stable as the extra.
The stability comes into play with the elevators and harriers, for the life of me I couldn't get the yak into a harrier. You can see in the first part of the video how I was doing 45 degree lines to determine CG that it tracked pretty straight on the 45 degree. I kept the yak higher because I just don't trust the airframe.
You can see this in the video with how much lower I got with the extra, its just lot easier to harrier with it and the ability to harrier in a stable alpha leads to everything else. The elevator on the yak took a little work in order to keep the wings level and if I could ever get rolling harriers down I think extra would be a lot smoother.
We all crash at some point
Both of these planes took huge hits, the extra smacked the ground out of a low loop and the yak KE'd into the ground.
Heck even the pro's even crash some times
Also it wasn't a crash but I folded the elevator out of a parachute on a yak. The elevator started fluttering like mad but I was able to get it down and repair it that night. Could have been worse.
The spare parts
3d flight is hard on airframes, the times I have broken stuff flying low is countless.
Sometimes you don't crash but stuff still happens. Take for example my mxs this week, I forgot to securly latch the canopy. Gone and lost over the field. A call to chris at extreme flight the next day and I had new canopy on its way. I've smacked the planes into the pavement and the gear has held up so well, some times the gear brakes but I've glued them back together until I can't anymore. I also flipped a wheel pant on my edge when I put it into a tumble. Like I said EF had the parts shipped out to me really fast.
Since the yak doesn't have a latch on the canopy and just magnets I figured it would hold. Third flight it was gone, found it in the field three weeks later but I couldn't find a replacement canopy for the life of me.
On my maiden of the replacement yak the wind dropped it from about waist height and cracked the gear plate. I still haven't gotten it back to 100% but it can work sometimes as shown in the video.
Well if you've made it this far you will probably recognize that I have picked out the prince as the winner. That doesn't mean all low cost kits are bad but you should look for a couple of things when buying a 3d aircraft.
-High alpha flight, this is probably the most important thing and its what separates the great 3d planes from the good ones. You can see in the two videos where I start the harrier the differences between the two. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't control the wing rock on the yak. It would just whip back and forth. Conversely the confidence that the extra gave me the confidence to fly lower and lower as it was way more stable. A stable high alpha plane will allow you to progress faster as you won't have to worry about the plane tip stalling out. This is the exact reason you pay more for these kits, its the extra R&D time they spend developing the airframe to complete perfection
-Spare parts, people often over look this but spare parts are one of the most important things when buying planes. When I lost my canopy I was distraught because I basically had a flying beer can and couldn't find it for the life of me. Look to see if the place you are buying the plane from has spare parts.
-Durability, no two crashes are the same. I put my first extra into the ground and couldn't figure out why it didn't last when I have seen others do the same. Since then I have nosed in doc austin style my extra and mxs. Both of them took the beating and shrugged it off. I did a full speed roll into the ground and scrapped a wing tip with my slick when one of those cheap servos failed and it barely affected it, which leads me into
-Servos, but good quality servos. Cheap servos are cheap for a reason and when they break good luck getting them fixed. I have yet to find a cheaper alternative to an analog 65MG and 85MG. They are tough servos and have performed so well. Buck up and get some good servos. Digitals will be in my next plane but I'm not sure what ones to get.
So where do I save money, probably an esc and I usually get the ZTW and a 6v BEC or a hobbywing/kforce esc. As I'm progressing though I'm starting to look at CC since people rave about the throttle response on them. A good motor is invaluable, I'm a firm believer in torque and motrofly as those are what I currently run in most of my planes. I have an sk3 in my laser but I don't really trust it and will eventually switch to motrofly with it. The orange RX with satellite has been treating me really well but I can't run 11ms on digital servos.
thats pretty much it and thats my experience in dealing with these kits.