As is often the case my interest in this plane started when I saw the promotional video for the Allusive 2.2M on the Horizon Website. I have posted it below to start this review. If you aren't interested in the Allusive after watching the video then I don't think this electric sailplane is for you.
|Allusive™ 2.2m ARF by E-flite (2 min 6 sec)|
Allusive 2.2M Electric Sailplane
|Wing Area:||546 sq. in. (35.2 sq. dm.)|
|Flying Weight:||48 oz. (1.40kg)|
|Servos:||(2) wing servos (2) mini servos|
|Transmitter:||4+ channel with V-tail mixing|
|Battery:||11.1V 3S 2200mAh 30C LiPo|
|Propeller Size:||12 x 8 folding|
|Spinner Size:||1.5" (40mm)|
|Assembly Time:||3-5 Hours|
|Available From:||Horizon Hobby|
As I have shared in previous reviews, sailplanes were my first love in RC and remain so to this day. Most of the assembly was very straight forward and easy I came up with a couple of recommendations to make the assembly easier. I have covered these points in this review and they are highlighted with the heading: "Reviewers Recommendations." I hope you find them helpful. Overall the instructions were excellent and the assembly overall was quick and easy but there were a couple of points I wished they had covered differently and I discuss those and share my thoughts on them in the review. Once the assembly is completed the real fun begins!
The plane is a warm liner in that it can make fairly impressive climbs and dives with the recommended motor, battery and ESC. It is also responsive when encountering thermal lift. It likes to be flown relatively quickly and signals lift when flown accordingly. I trimmed her for what I found to be her best Lift over Drag flying speed to maximize forward flight while minimizing drop. Allowing her to fly at the speed made her a very enjoyable plane to fly. Add some additional speed from a dive or a motor run and it performs very nice loops and rolls for a sailplane. E-flite describes her as a capable glider and aerobatic sport model and I agree with that assessment. An enjoyable plane to fly I describe her as a Sporty Sunday Glider.
Before starting the assembly of my Allusive I read through the assembly instructions. In doing so I learned that the motor shaft has to be reversed before installing the motor. I decided to reverse the shaft before starting the main assembly to get it out of the way. The instructions on how to do so come with the motor and I followed them. The main instructions reminded me to use threadlock when installing the setscrews and I did so.
|Motor specs||E-flite Power 15<br>|
|Type: Brushless Outrunner<br>|
|Motor Weight 152g<br>|
|Output Shaft Size: 5mm<br>|
|BATTERY: 3-4S Lipo<br>|
|Amp draw: 15-24A max<br>|
|Prop: 10x6 to 13x6.5 electric<br>|
|Voltage : 7.4-14.4V<br>|
|Continuous Current: 31-40A<br>|
|Maximum Burst Current: 42A<br>|
|Speed Control: 40-45A Brushless|
Recommended Tools and Glue
I trial tested the supplied clevises into the ruddervator control horns and found the holes in the ruddervators were too small for the clevises. I expanded the holes in the ruddervator's control horns using a 1/16" drill bit by hand. This is much easier to do before the control horns are installed into the control surfaces so I strongly recommend you trial fit them and expand the holes at this time if needed as mine did in the ruddervator control horns.
The assembly starts with the wings. The wings come assembled and covered and even the ailerons are hinged. The first assembly step was installing the control horns into the ailerons. The control horns for the ailerons have holes in the mounting bases to differentiate them from the control horns for the ruddervators. I followed the instructions and taped off the area around where the control horns are installed with masking tape and epoxied the horns in place. The next step for the wings was installing the aileron servos.
Specifications for the Recommended Wing Servos
Spektrum A7020 Specs
|Type:||Digital Thin-Wing Servo|
|Operating Speed||(4.8V): 0.11 sec/60°|
|Operating Speed||(6.0V): 0.09 sec/60°|
|Torque 4.8V/6.0V:||47 oz-in./50 0z-in|
|Weight:||0.5 oz (8g)|
|Dimensions:||1.08" x 0.39"x 01.07"|
|Operating Voltage:||4.8-6.0 Volts|
Following the instructions I expanded the holes for the servo mounting screws in the servo mounts with a 1/16" drill bit. I trial inserted a servo supplied mounting screw through the holes and then removed the screw and hardened the thread lines in the holes with thin CA. With the mounting frames now ready I mounted the servo mounting frames into the servo bays using 15-minute epoxy. I carefully noted the position for the frames in the picture in the instructions to get the direction for the mounts correct. The mount is 1/16" space away from the wire channel in the foam. That allowed for the wire to easily be pulled to the wing root slightly later in the assembly.
I connected the 18" aileron extensions to the servo wires and secured them together with dental floss. I trimmed the servo arms so that I had them with a hole 3/8" from the center of the arm. Next, I tied the string from inside the wing to the aileron extension wire and used the masking tape to make a point at the front of the tape to help guide the wire through the wing as directed in the instructions. I repeated the process with the second servo and other wing half. I connected the servos to the receiver and made certain the servos were centered.
I used the recommended A7020 Spectrum thin wing servos and the mounting screws that came with them. It is necessary to shorten these screws before mounting the servos or the screws WILL go through the top wing sheeting. This was reported in "Liftzone" in the Allusive thread by RC Group's member, Barracudahockey. I want to thank him for sharing and I confirmed his findings with my own testing. I recommend leaving the tip of the screws on for making the threads in the servo mount before it is installed into the wing and then cutting off the tips of the screws. I used my wire clippers to cut off the ends of the screws.
With the servo arm centered and the screws shortened, I mounted the wing servos in place. Connected the control rods between the control horns and the servo arms as explained in step 10. With servos connected the final part of the process was trimming the aileron servo cover and then securing it in place over the servo with clear tape.
With the servo now mounted it was time to connect the control rods between the aileron control horns and the servo arms. It is a tight fit for the control rod to fit into the control horn. Once installed there I adjusted the position of the clevis to line up with the servo arm. I had expanded the hole in the servo arm to 1/16" per the instructions so that the clevis could connect.
I connected the wing servos to the receiver and made sure the aileron control surfaces were properly centered in the neutral position. I next cut out the servo covers and carefully fitted them over the servos and secured them in place with the clear tape supplied in the kit.
The instruction manual discussion of the wing skips from page 13 to page 21. I simply jumped ahead to finish my wing assembly. Four guide pins are supplied with one near the front of each wing root and one a few inches from the back of the wing root. The manual refers to these pins as "anti-rotation" pins and that is correct. The wing rod takes the vast majority of the stress. These pins are to keep the wing in proper alignment. I went ahead and epoxied them into the wing at this time being sure not to have any excess epoxy on the pins or wing root.
To complete my assembly of the wing I had two more steps that I choose to do. I added a decal to the top of each wing half as shown on the box and the picture below. Take your time and put them on straight.
I didn't see my last step in the instruction manual but it is a practice that has served me well with sailplanes in the past where the wings are secured to the fuselage with white electrical as is recommended for the Allusive. I put one band of clear tape over the covering on the wing at the wing root. I do this carefully and I press it down hard as I slowly install it all around the wing right at the root. I have found this tape will help protect the covering from being pulled away from the wing sheeting underneath it when the white electrical tape is removed when taking the plane apart. It is completely optional on your part.
The control horns for the ruddervators were installed right after I installed the aileron control horns. As discussed above I expanded the holes in the control arms with a 1/16 drill bit before installing them in place. I installed them with the same method used with the ailerons; masking tape round the control horn location and epoxy to glue the control horns in place. With those attached the stabilizers were fully assembled as the control surfaces came already hinged. I just had to install the mounting pins into the stabilizer sockets and then trial fit them to the fuselage. Having confirmed that all was good I epoxied the pins into the stabilizers and then the stabilizers into the fuselage and confirmed that they were flush with the fuselage. I used some masking tape to hold them in position while the epoxy setup.
Before installing the servos for the V-tail into the fuselage I slipped the recommended 40 Amp E-fite ESC under the servo/battery mounting board. I did this through the space where the V-tail servos will be installed as it was the only space large enough in the mounting board. It was still a tight fit but nothing was overly stressed during this installation of the ESC. I pushed it forward and out of the way and then followed the assembly instructions in sequence for the rest of the fuselage assembly.
E-flite 40-Amp Lite Pro Switch-Mode
|Type:||Brushless Motor Controller|
|Continuous Max Amps:||25-50A|
|Momentary Peak Current:||55A|
Spektrum A5030 Specs
|Type:||Mini Digital Aircraft Servo|
|Operating Speed:||4.8V 0.12 sec/60°|
|Operating Speed:||6.0 V 0.10 sec/60°|
|Torque (4.8V):||50 oz-in.|
|Torque (6V):||60 oz-in.|
|Dimensions:||1.3" x 0.58"x 1.1"|
I am using the recommended A5030 Spektrum digital servos to control the ruddervators on the V-tail. The servos are installed in the servo bay at the back of the canopy with the servo arms closest to the back of the bay. I placed one servo into the bay and all the way to the outside of the bay and drilled four 1/16" holes for the mounting screws. I mounted it in place and repeated the process with the second servo. I originally had the servo wires running forward into the cockpit. WRONG! After taking the pictures below I loosened the servo and pulled the wires back and into the wing saddle area. I then pulled them up and over the servos into the cockpit to connect them to the receiver. Eventually the receiver will be back behind these servos in the wing saddle area so don't run the wires under the wooden tray in the cockpit as I did initially.
I trimmed the control arms for the servos per the manual and installed them onto the servos facing the outer walls of the fuselage but I didn't secure them with a screw. I ran the control rod into the fuselage from back and installed the clevises in place and connected them to the V-tail. Per the instructions I measured where the control rod wire went over the servo arm and bent it 90 degrees and ran the wire up through the servo arm and snapped on a keeper to hold it and repeated the process with the other control rod wire.
As discussed at the beginning I had reversed the motor shaft before starting on the assembly of the Allusive. My motor looked different from the one showed on page 18 of the manual in two of the pictures of motor in connection with the mounting. Mine had a bushing mounted on the now forward part of the motor and the pictures didn't show that. There was space for the pushing in the mounting so I left my motor as I had it. I placed the motor into the fuselage and pushed the propeller shaft through the center of the mount. I lined up the mounting holes in the motor with the four mounting holes in the firewall in the front of the fuselage. I used the four screws that came in the Allusive kit and secured the motor to the firewall from the front as shown below.
Next I installed the two folding blades onto the recommended spinner that needs to be purchased separately. I slipped the tapered spinner adapter onto the propeller shaft and then slipped the yoke with the propellers onto the spinner adapter. I found the right spot to secure the adapter and installed the nut onto the spinner adapter and tightened it with the yoke in the desired space in relationship to the fuselage. I secured the spinner to the yoke with the supplied screw.
|Type:||Carbon Fuselage Receiver|
|# of channels:||6|
|Weight:||0.4 oz (11.0 grams)|
|Dimensions:||1.9" x 0.5" x 0.9"|
The receiver is to be mounted in the wing saddle area but the instructions make no mention of running the antenna wires outside of the fuselage. So while I thought about that I went ahead and ran the servo wires and connected them to the receiver. I ran the throttle wire under the tray until just before the servos and then up so it would be able to go over and into the wing saddle area. I attached it to the throttle channel on the receiver while is was in the cockpit area. I pulled the ruddervator wires to the sides of the servos and into the cockpit and plugged them into the rudder and elevator channels. I plugged the aileron 6" extension wires into the fuselage through the holes in the side of the fuselage cut for them to be able to attach to the wires from the aileron servos in the wing. The aileron extension wires plugged into channels two and Aux 1. With the receiver temporarily in the cockpit area I tested all of the controls and made mechanical adjustments to the control rods and then minor sub-trim adjustments so that they were all centered. When the programming was completed I did the binding process one more time. the location of the receiver will be decided in the Completion process.
I had to install the supplied battery strap into the battery tray. There were slots on both sides of the tray for the strap and three sets of pairs of these slots. I chose the middle pair. I already had the ESC under the tray so it made installing the strap difficult. I secured a piece of string to the end of the strap and installed it into one side of the battery tray. I was able to grab it with tweezers and pull all the string down and the start of the strap. I used the tweezers to get the string up through the slot on the other side and pulled the string and worked the strap over and up through the slot. I also glued a small strip of hook and loop onto the battery tray in the space between the cut outs in the center of the tray. They secure the battery pack nice and snug.
The wing is secured to the fuselage with white electrician's tape. I have used a 3M white accent tape to secure sailplane wings for years and it works great. The tape is used in two strips per side with one on top and one on the bottom. The tape can even be placed on the fuselage and saved for use next time. As discussed above I covered the root of my wings with clear tape to help keep the covering attached to the sheeting and the white tape goes half on this and half onto the fuselage.
The center of Gravity is given at 2 1/2 inches back from the leading edge of the wing. I like to balance my planes without adding ballast when possible. At this point I had three components whose positions could be adjusted somewhat in hopes of trimming the Allusive without having to add any additional weight. They were the ESC under the battery tray but not yet secured. The battery pack which has room for adjustment on the tray and the receiver which I had not yet secured in the fuselage. If the plane proved nose heavy I have the option of going to a smaller (lighter) 3-cell battery if necessary or adding any necessary amount of weight at the tail. To start the process I placed the ESC and battery as far back as I could in the cockpit and moved the receiver back under the wing saddle. None were secured in place as this was a trial balance. I was close to balance and obtained balance by moving the receiver as far back into the wing saddle as I could.
Recommended Control Throws
I programmed in high trim rates at 15 degrees and low trim rates at 10 degrees for the controls.
With all of the controls working in the desired directions and centered where I wanted them I rebound the receiver to my Spektrum DX 9 transmitter. I performed a range check and it was now time to fly the Allusive 2.2 meter.
The plane has ailerons, throttle and V-tail. The ESC should be programmed to have the brake on although the first flight for media I had not yet programmed the brake. The motor running slowly and barely turning the propeller works as an actual brake after the brake is programmed on in the ESC. Control is best if differential is programmed into the ailerons so they move less in the downward direction allowing better control for turns. Aileron/rudder mixing that can be turned on and off is also recommended. With the mixing on the turns are easier to make smoothly unless you are very good combining your right/aileron stick movement along with left rudder stick movement. Being able to turn the mixing off is needed to perform most of the aerobatics and her pretty nice axial rolls. Programming some up ailerons to assist with landing landing is also a good idea for the Allusive.
All flights start with a launch. I have the propeller out in front and to the side of my head pointing straight out in front of me. I move the throttle up to 3/4's speed and give a good hard toss straight forward as I take a couple steps forward as well. I always launch into any wind. So far all launches have been good and straight forward.
Landings and have all been slides to a stop on nice green grass and again are done into the wind. The plane can glide quite a long distance, especially with ground effect and so people with short fields may have trouble learning to land her. I have nice long landing areas and a lot of sailplane experience. However, if you have a shorter field you might want to program in some raised ailerons which helps kill lift and works as a landing aid. When landing and close to the ground avoid ALL sudden turns.
I recommend a three leg landing approach as I find it very helpful in adjusting for the different conditions encountered, especially wind but also lift. First leg is down wind and I dive if necessary and make a 90 degree turn when I think my plane is the right distance down wind from me to be on the ground when it comes back to me. I turn onto final and continue to descend while flying in a straight line into the wind and land when it is ready and slide to a stop. So far the Allusive has landed pretty close to me but if I misjudge and need more space I have it and would rather walk then make a stupid mistake to try and land next to me. As with much of life, practice and experience make us better.
It has been flown at two thermal fields and one slope and it has been very fun to fly at both sites. It climbs well and performs excellent loops both large and small. It does very nice rolls for a sailplane. The plane likes to be flown relatively fast and when flown at her proper speed with the motor off it does give tells when thermals are encountered and with aileron and rudder mixing it cores very nicely to take advantage of thermal lift when encountered. At the slope the plane can be flown with little to no wind using the motor and handled wind up to 15 mph very nicely as well. When a nice wind of about 10 mph suddenly died it was nice to be able to turn on the motor and avoid the walk of shame to retrieve a plane.
No! E-flite has labeled this to be a plane for an intermediate pilot or better and I agree. There are much better trainer planes for beginners. Save the Allusive until piloting skills are intermediate to expert. The plane likes to fly and glide fairly fast and an experienced pilot should be in control for landing.
The video below was shot at Modesto Reservoir on a very windy day. The wind sounds can be heard on in the video. the brake had not yet been set on the ESC but we could stop the propeller from spinning with a slight glide up with the motor off. It assisted as a brake in the landing.
|E-flite's Allusive 2.2M Electric Sailplane (4 min 28 sec)|
The control surfaces came already attached using film hinging that was sealed at the factory. This simplified assembly and has worked as an excellent hinge in flying. The assembly was quick and enjoyable overall. Even stopping to take pictures and type up the assembly portion of this review I was done in two days and very happy with the results.
I was able to mechanically set up the V-tail and no electronic trim was necessary. Ailerons on individual channels will allow me to program in raised ailerons to help serve as brakes for the plane. On the first flight we used a slow turning motor/propeller to help slow down for landing.
My friend Jeff Hunter programmed in some rudder and aileron mix and that is turned on and off with a flick of a switch on my Spektrum 9 transmitter. The mix gives gives great control. The plane is a joy to launch and fly so it is a very enjoyable electric sailplane and sport plane for Sunday flying. I have loved flying her. I would not want to compete with her in any competition that has landing points. The plane was designed for fun flying and not competition in my opinion and at that it truly excels. As mentioned above for this review it has been flown at two thermal sites and at one slope site. The slope has large landing areas but bringing her into the wind I found the plane could land in a relatively small space.
For this review three of us have flown her and we have benefited from Jeff's excellent touches in his setting up of the mix. We all found her to be an excellent flyer. We limited our motor runs to a minute or less with long periods of climbing. We did one long motor run of two minutes and landed immediately thereafter and found neither the motor or the battery to be more than slightly warm. The temperature was in the mid 90s. If I was going to do continuous motor runs I would test further and consider cooling holes but I have found no need for my mixed flying.
I would like to thank E-flite and Horizon Hobby for supplying this kit and the accessories for this review. I want to thank my friend Jeff Hunter for his assistance with flying for the media shoot. Finally, I want to thank out editor for her assistance with this review.Last edited by Michael Heer; Jul 13, 2014 at 09:57 PM..
|Sep 20, 2014, 01:16 PM|
United States, VA, Waynesboro
Joined Dec 2005
The Power 15 has a 5mm shaft.
The prop/spinner assembly.
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