|Wing Area:||846 sq. in.|
|Weight:||5 lb 3 oz|
|Wing Loading:||14.2 oz/sq. ft.|
|Servos:||(5) HITEC HS-322HD|
|Transmitter:||9C w/Spektrum Module|
|Motor:||Atlas AM2927/07 Outrunner|
|ESC:||Atlas Black 45 Amp BEC|
|Max Power:||380 Watts|
|Power Loading:||72.38 Watts/lb; 4.58 Watts/oz|
|Available From:||Hobby Lobby|
The RCM Funster is a real "Blast from the Past".
The original Funster was offered as a balsa kit, powered with a 40-size glow engine. The plane was first described as an upside-down Telemaster, and it's easy to see the family resemblance to the Telemaster: the Funster had the same lifting airfoil horizontal stab and the same high lift wing airfoil (and probably why the flight characteristics of the Funster were so similar to a Telemaster). However, the addition of the stylish turtledeck, the big canopy, and the tricycle landing gear gave the Funster a look all its own.
The modern Hobby Lobby Funster ARF is a big improvement on the old RCM design. All the parts are expertly precovered in a highly visible yellow and red trim scheme, the framework has been lightened and set up for brushless electric powered flight, the wing is now two-piece with an aluminum tube joiner, and the flaps make takeoffs and landings a joy.
Recommended by Hobby Lobby and supplied for this review:
The seven-page assembly manual was adequate for seasoned builders, new modelers or first-time builders will need to get help from someone with some ARF building experience. But the Funster is an easy and quick build. To add to the time savings, the covering was perfect right out of the box, and I still haven't had to fire up my heat gun or covering iron because the material is still tight.
Construction begins with hinging the various surfaces. To my surprise, the hinges were already glued into the moveable portion of each surface. Just to satisfy myself, I gave each individual hinge a good tug. They were all well anchored, so I proceeded to drill 1/16" wicking holes in each hinge slot on the fixed surface and started gluing the hinges in place. When you install the control horns, take extra care because the shorter M2x12 screws are used on the rear of all four control horns and on both of the front holes of the rudder control horn. The remaining 6 longer M2x14 screws are only used on the front holes of the elevator and aileron control horns.
Unlike other ARFs, instead of a glued center section, the Funster wing had a two-piece removable unit held in place by the wing tabs at the front and the wing bolts at the rear. The wing used an aluminum wing tube to strengthen the center section.
The servo lead pull strings were installed in each wing half and tied off to short lengths of ply that were glued to the wing ribs. You had to break the small ply pieces loose from the wing before you pulled the servo extensions through each wing half. The manual recommended using 24" aileron servo extensions, which allowed you to plug the aileron extensions directly into the receiver. I didn't like the idea of making repeat connections directly to the receiver every time I removed and installed the wing, so I installed three short 6" servo extensions at the receiver for the aileron servos and the flap servo and installed 12" aileron servo extension leads in the wings. This allowed me to plug the ailerons and flaps into the 6" extensions instead of directly into the receiver. I've noted both of these options in the required parts list.
The nose gear had a nice flat spot already pressed in place from the factory. The only problem was that mine was 180 degrees out from where it was needed! I ground a new flat on the side opposite the factory flat, and it worked perfectly.
The motor mount for the brushless motor was already installed on the firewall. For those fliers wishing to do a glow conversion, it would be a simple matter of removing the electric mount, epoxy coating the engine bay area, and installing a suitable glow engine mount.
I cut a cooling air exit hole in the covering on the bottom of the fuselage just in front of the elevator to help pull cooling air through the fuselage.
The manual showed the elevator horn mounted on the right elevator half and the rudder horn mounted on the left side of the rudder. I reversed these and improved the nose wheel steering rod installation and also improved the nose wheel steering response.
This was the rudder/nose wheel control horn configuration that worked best for me.
This routing for the nose wheel pushrod was much straighter and improved the steering response. There was plenty of room in the fuselage for the AR7000 and its remote receiver. Note the three 6" servo extension leads for the aileron and flap servos.
The battery compartment was spacious and the large hatch cover with it's magnetic fasteners made battery change outs very easy.
The completed Funster, RTF, weighed exactly 5 pounds and 3 ounces - the first time I'd had a model come out to exactly the manufacturer's advertised weight. I checked the center of gravity, and with the flight battery all the way forward, the CG was exactly at the rear of the recommended range. I set the control surface throws at the recommended amounts for low rates and for maximum deflection for high rates. I programmed in 25% exponential on low rates and 30% on high rates. I then set flap points at the recommended 15 degree and 30 degree flap angles. In addition, I set a mix with full flap (75 degrees) with 25 degree upward aileron deflection. This is sometimes referred to as "Crow". It's used with sailplanes to slow them down without tip stalling. I've used this mix on a number of planes with good results and thought I'd see what it would do on the Funster.
The Funster was a joy to fly. The tricycle gear made takeoffs and taxiing easy. The Atlas Outrunner motor had plenty of power for this plane. Comments heard during the flights included, "majestic," "slow flying," "easy to see color scheme," and "smooth flying.” At only 70+ Watts/lb of power, the Funster is not a 3D powerhouse, but a gentle flying masterpiece. The plane "flew on the wings" like a real plane.
I let my video/photog guy, George Brugnoli, fly the Funster to get his opinions. George has been flying a little over a year now and has become an accomplished flyer, but he still remembers what it was like learning to fly. Here are his comments:
"As a relatively new pilot I wasn't sure how to classify the Hobby Lobby e-powered Funster. It flies very light and is amenable to being flown quite slowly without worry about stalls or loss of control. In a glow fuel trainer, no matter how slow they actually are, everything seems to happen too quickly for the new pilot. The e-powered Funster, on the other hand, is happy just hanging around while the trainee figures out what command to give it next. Conversely, the Funster responds like a sports model, in that it tends to hold whatever position it was last ordered to assume. The ailerons have good authority on low rates, but the rate of response (for instance, the rate of rotation during a roll) is rather slow. Because of this, the new pilot has time to learn how to properly execute a roll, including that little blip of down in mid-roll that makes all the difference. The flaps really slow it down, making it a breeze to land. Even in a light breeze, the Funster seems to prefer to land with basically no throttle, just a bit of flare right before touchdown. The downside of this is that so little throttle input is needed, the student may not learn enough about throttle control during approach and landing. Nice problem to have! So from a new pilot perspective, the e-powered Funster is sort of a hybrid. With its tricycle gear, a perfectly satisfactory trainer. And, with its low wing and forgiving character, a wonderful second plane, that can be flown slowly enough to help the fledgling pilot learn how to properly execute basic aerobatic maneuvers."
I think George liked the Funster!
Since the Funster used the Telemaster lifting airfoil wing and lifting airfoil stabilizer, I knew the takeoffs would be easy and the landings would be slow. I wasn't disappointed. Even without the use of the flaps, the Funster took off after a very short roll and landed nice and slow. The manual recommended using 15 degrees of flaps for takeoffs and 30 degrees of flaps for landings. Using these settings shortened the takeoff roll and slowed down the landings even more. As solid as the Funster flew, the flaps seemed to add to the stability while slowing the plane down.
Yes, the Funster was capable of flying aerobatic maneuvers. The Funster felt right at home looping and rolling and stall turning. There were limits, however; Snap rolls were more like barrel rolls and normal spins were not very tight, but inverted spins worked pretty well. Inverted flight required a lot of down elevator, and I could not get it do an outside loop. Touch-n-Go’s and landings were pure pleasure. I found myself flying for 10 minutes, shooting touch-n-go’s for the whole flight.
Remember that "Crow" function I described earlier? Theory had it that by raising the ailerons it increased the washout of the wing tips, and it added drag to slow down the plane. In practice, actual landings were really short and slow in the Crow configuration. The plane was so stable in Crow, that I had to try a short field takeoff in that mode. I gave the Funster full up elevator and applied full throttle. The nose wheel lifted almost before the plane began to roll and the main gear lifted off in less than 6 feet! I eased up a little on elevator, and the Funster poked its nose up at a 45 degree angle and kept on climbing. The Funster had true STOL performance in Crow.
The Funster was a perfect flight platform to learn all about how to use flaps. I was able to dial in various amounts of flaps and see how each amount effected the flight and landing characteristics of the plane without any fear of getting in trouble. This was a much better learning tool than trying to get things right on a touchy warbird.
Yes! However, a beginner would need some help building the Funster due to the somewhat limited construction manual. Even a true beginner should be able to fly the Funster on a buddy box with the help of an instructor pilot.
The RCM Funster has all the great flying characteristics of a Telemaster 40, but with the wing on the bottom and tricycle landing gear. This plane is a great, slow flying airplane. Takeoffs and landings are a thing of beauty with the Funster. Advanced flyers will enjoy the relaxed flying characteristics and beginners will enjoy its forgiving nature. Better get yours soon; they are going to be in great demand.
|Jan 03, 2008, 12:32 AM|
Joined Sep 2007
Thanks for the review and the heads-ups on things to look out for. I bought a Funster during HL's Thanksgiving Day sale and it has been sitting in the box waiting for me to finish up a couple of other projects. The review and video has me pumped to get her in the air!
|Jan 03, 2008, 07:51 AM|
I built one of the original kits in the late eighties and flew many many flights with it on a .49 four stroke, at 7300ft elevation! I sold it when I moved and heard that it trained at least two other new fliers before being retired. Great plane, makes me want another one.
|Jan 03, 2008, 06:05 PM|
Thanks Ronnie & Mike. I owe much of the quality of the review to you both. It's a pleasure to get to do a review of a plane like the Funster. This electric version flies even better than the origianl gas version.
|Jan 03, 2008, 06:21 PM|
I think Atlas may have changed the availibility of some of their motors. The /10 is not listed in the Atlas literature that came with my /07 motor. The /07 is not listed on the HL site, but the /10 is listed. The /07 motor has the nomenclature as a ".46 Trainer" style motor and is listed as a 740 RPM/V motor. That's the same kV rating as the /10. I'd recommend that you order the /10 from HL. The Specs show it to be the same as the /07 in the review.
|Jan 03, 2008, 06:46 PM|
I purchased the Atlas 2927/10 and on the paperwork from HL it says the /10 was foramlly numbered /07 and is a stock number change only. The last 2 numbers now refer to the number of turns when it previously referred to rpm/v.
I purchased the funster as well. Great review and heads up on the steering.
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