Electrifly’s Syncro EDF sport/glider is one heck of a good value at $100. You get a 55.5” glider configuration that easily converts to a 31.5” highly aerobatic sport plane in one four-channel package with detachable landing gear. The unusual part of the Syncro is that is it powered by the well designed brushless electric ducted fan (EDF) pod atop the wing. It is a screamer, make no doubt about it, but if you have never flown an EDF this might be the perfect pair of planes for you. All parts are available as replacement components.
|Wingspan:||Glider-55.5” (1410mm), Sport 31.5” (800mm)|
|Wing Area:||Glider-400sq.in. (25.8 dm.sq.), Sport – 219sq. in., 14.1 sq. dm.|
|Weight:||Glider 28-29.5 oz.(795-835g), Sport-22.5-24.0 oz., (640-680g)|
|Wing Loading:||Glider 10.1 – 10.6 oz/sq. ft.(31-32 g.sq.dm., Sport14.8-15.8 oz/sq. ft. (45-48 g/sq. dm.|
|Servos:||Electrifly ES50 Nano 9g or Futaba S3107|
|Transmitter:||Futaba 9 Cap Super with TM-7 2.4 GHz module|
|Receiver:||Futaba R617FS 2.4 GHz 7-channel|
|Battery:||Great Planes Power Series 1800 mAh 11.1V 25C|
|Motor:||Great Planes Ammo 24-33-4040KV, Brushless|
|EDF:||Great Planes Hyperflow 370|
|ESC:||Great Planes Silver Series 25A brushless|
|Available From:||Tower Hobbies|
The Syncro is an ARF, but with few build requirements. You get the fully decaled fuselage, wings, tail and canopy, plus landing gear, power pod, the EDF power fan and housing and all the necessary items to complement the build as accessories. The glider wing is shipped as a two-piece, while the sport wing is one piece. Both have their ailerons molded into the Aerocell foam. All landing gear mounts are pre-glued into the fuselage. Control horns are also installed.
The recommended 24-33-4040KK Ammo brushless motor is rated for 18 amps constant current and 28 amps surge current. There is a 30 second limit on surging to 28 amps for cooling. The blend of motor, ESC and battery are a is a design that includes a few parameters: The 1800 mAh 25C 11.1V battery will draw about 21 amps on the ground at full static throttle, but in the air this will drop to below the 28 amp limit, so with this combination, you should be able to fly at full throttle as long as you want.
A second battery recommended is a 2200 mAh 25C 11.1V (GPMG0520), that will draw about 22 amps at full throttle on the ground and this battery will also drop below the 28 amp limit in the air allowing for unlimited full throttle. Should you chose another battery use the amps x C = total amps to make sure you are not pushing too many amps through the motor. A watt meter is your best bet.
A little preparation is required before you get started. You first need to set your servos to neutral so either use a servo driver or hook up the ESC, receiver and servos to make sure they are centered. You will need to trim the servos to make sure the movements are correct. Since I am assuming you are building both wings, you might as well take care of both sets of servos. Trial fit each one into the wing. These will be glued into place with canopy glue that dries clear and holds very well.
The glider wing needs to be joined. Give yourself some time as the canopy glue will need an over-night drying period. A glue brush will come in handy to make sure you disperse all the glue evenly. Place a small film of glue on both sides of the wing center portion and pull these halves together with masking tape, using the dowel plate to help with the alignment. Be careful and not push the tape on to the foam too hard or the tape will remove some of the foam finish when you remove the tape.
Once the center joiner sets, you need to install the spar. Coat the foam and spar with glue and tuck the spar into place. The spar cover will complete the wing, but the servo must be installed as their leads are under the spar cover. Note that this will lock the servo leads into place, so make sure you get everything correct, and make sure your servos are working and installed correctly or you will not be able to remove the spar covers. The Y servo extension will route down through the wing in the provided port cut-out in the spar cover.
A plastic dowel plate will be placed on the forward centerline and an aft wing bolt bushing plate on the rear centerline. Wipe any extra glue off with a wet paper towel.
I recommend you use the canopy glue over 5-minute epoxy even if you tend to build everything this way. The 5-minute epoxy is not flexible, and it yellows over time. Canopy glue is clear and strong. There are other foam “white” glues out there that will work well too.
The wings need some CG marks, so this is a good time to make these for future use. You will have three different CG points identified for both wings.
The sport wing does not require much other than the servos, spar and spar cover. Use the same technique to install these components as the glider wing.
The EDF power pod is a great design and has to also be removed and replaced onto each wing as you change from a glider to the sport version. The pod is initially secured with magnets that hold it until you lock it into place with a fiber bolt. The wing is also recessed so the pod cannot move and your thrust line is never out of alignment.
You will have to do just a little work to complete the power pod. The Ammo brushless motor has to be attached to the EDF housing. Small bolts attach the motor and a fan adapter is then installed onto the motor shaft. Before the fan can be installed a slight reaming of the housing has to occur. This is not difficult at all. The fan attaches only one way, so be sure to get it correct. Notches are provided to help you align the fan to the motor shaft. Be sure to use thread lock on all the bolts.
Once the fan is complete you will need to install it into the power pod. A hard fiber ring is installed inside the power pod to accept the fan. The wires will also need extensions and these are supplied in the kit. If you use the tail cone some trimming will be necessary for the wires to exit the rear of the motor. The top of the pod snaps on with the magnets. Several foam fan cones are provided to improve the airflow into the fan across the flat fan attachment point.
Following the directions, and firmly holding the power pod in your hand, advance the throttle to 1/3, and listen and look for any rubbing of the fan against the housing or any vibration. Hold the throttle at 1/3 for one minute. If all is well after one minute, advance the throttle to full for 30 seconds. The instruction manual does a good job of providing remedies for any vibration or rubbing that may occur. I was efluxing the motor at 92 MPH so you have some really great thrust especially notable with the sport version.
The fuselage is essentially already built. All you will have to do is slip in the landing gear, add the tail feathers, and install the elevator and rudder servos. The Syncro can be flown with or without the landing gear.
The tail is a very simple installation and is aligned with several locking points. Trial fit the tail. I had no problems and the alignment was perfect. While you have the two tail feathers apart take some time to flex the elevator and rudder. Be sure you have the linkages attached to the tail components before you glue them in place. As a final step a small hinge is provided to stabilize the lower portion of the rudder against the fuselage.
The radio will fit with plenty of room in the fuselage with the battery forward of the radio. The antennae wires route just ahead of the servos. You will have some room just to the side of the battery to install the ESC. This is the correct position for weight and balance and cooling.
Both planes have different CG points and both balance differently with the sport wing requiring about 14 grams of weight near the tail. The glider wing does not require any additional weight. Make sure you have the plane balanced before each flight and realize that while you can quickly make the wing changes at the field, you must also reset the CG.
Be sure and set the high rate and low rate control movements for rudder, aileron, and elevator. The sport and glider wings have different settings, so pay attention. I thought the settings were correct for my initial flights and even beyond that, but I found the need to dial in more that 30% expo on the elevator for both low and high rate for the sport wing. I ended up closer to 40%.
I enjoyed flying both of these planes. They are distinctly different in looks and flight character. Both handled well and neither showed any nasty stall tendencies. You would expect this with the glider, but short wing planes can be a handful. I did not find slow speed controllability a problem in any configuration.
The basic flight window is really very closely related to your radio setup. By this I mean take the time to tweak the radio setting to get the best performance and flight stability. I was able to make radio trims in the air that corrected any of my initial setup and nothing had to be changed on the ground. I did find each time I landed I adjusted the expo to get the plane to follow my inputs better.
In the end, the glider version weighed in with the battery and landing gear at 26 oz. (733g) just under the recommended weight and the sport version weighed in at 23 oz (666g) both using the 1800 mAh battery and with the 14g of weight added to the sport version.
Both planes need a hard surface to use the landing gear in my opinion and experience or really short grass. I would say about 50 feet to get them off the ground. I found I needed to use my dual rate on high to get them to get off the ground in the hard surface space I had available. On a longer runway you could get away with low rate elevator movement. They both were very controllable on their take off roll and were responsive to rudder inputs. I had no problem keeping them on the centerline. Once they left the ground I had to be easy on the elevator using the high rate.
I did not launch either of these configurations by hand. I am totally comfortable with the glider, but the quickness of the sport wing would require excellent trimming and a well tossed airplane to make sure you got into the air safely. I am not saying the sport wing will not hand launch, just use some more attention to being ready when it gets airborne. Keep in mind that EDFs develop thrust slower than prop planes. A correct toss is very important, and just a little stronger toss might be required for the sport wing.
Landing the glider means you need to get setup on final a good way out. Get the plane lined up and let it come to the end of the runway. It will glide forever, and once you start chasing the end of the runway you will not land under control. Just let it come in and hold your line and it will land easily. It does have some speed though and floats go give yourself enough room to land. The sport wing is similar, but lands a little hotter. It too will porpoise if you chase the runway threshold, so be steady. Neither showed any signs of stalling on approach, and I had no wing tip still issues to deal with. Light wing loading here and a good design have contributed to this quality.
The glider is aerobatic and can do loops, rolls, fly inverted with the elevator in a high rate to keep the nose up and it glides very well. It is fun to fly. The sport wing is really more than just a sport flyer and can do some really quick maneuvers. On high rate the rolls are very quick and the turning ability of the sport version is incredible. It will turn on dime. My only problem with the sport version was the pod on the top confused my eyes just a bit when the plane was upside down as the pod and fuselage look the same. I had to dial in more exponential to soften the sticks on both the high and low rates otherwise I found myself over controlling the Syncro.
The glider wing is considerably slower than the sport wing and the climb rate is gentle, but positive. Getting to attitude to soar is not a problem, but it is not vertical; there's plenty of power too if you get in trouble. The sport wing has almost vertical climb performance at about 80 degrees I would guess. I think at full power it will climb until you pull back the throttle. It has great weight to power and with that comes speed too.
I quote from the Syncro instruction manual: “The Syncro includes both a “glider” wing and a “sport” wing. With the glider wing, the Syncro is more stable and forgiving. This configuration is better suited to beginners and pilots with little flight experience, giving them more time to think and react. When you’re ready to graduate from the glider wing, the sport wing transforms the Syncro into a more nimble, faster “jet-like” craft perfect for boring holes in the sky!”
I am not sure I can say it any better and I agree 100% that the glider will work well with beginners and has all the design and flight character necessary to help a new pilot or even an intermediate through experienced flyer learn a little or a lot. The ability to hand launch, and land without landing gear also provides another transition in learning to do ground take-offs and landings. I cannot provide enough support for what these glider attributes provide in the way positive learning opportunities.
The Syncro sport version is indeed nimble. I would have to move this from beginner to intermediate or even a slight favor to an experienced flyer, so don’t be too anxious to make the move. The Syncro can turn on a dime and requires attention to not only flying but to a good radio setup to maximize the Syncro’s abilities. Once you get that done, the ability to indeed punch holes is the sky is there.
This is a great combination for about $100 plus accessories. It will fit just about any radio you want to use, and with proper set up, both planes fly very well. Each has character and each can teach most pilots new skills across the EDF experience. I am continuing to fly the sport version to wring out the possibilities.
|Jul 05, 2011, 12:58 PM|
United States, NJ, Brooklawn
Joined Jul 2008
Awesome review! I'm surprised that canopy glue was used. I've never heard of this being a stand in for epoxy. In your opinion 78dave, would foam safe CA/Kicker work as well?
I was waiting to see a build of this plane, as it seems like a great transition into jets.
Might have to make this my next plane.
Two more questions for the community:
1. Is anyone trying out other motor/esc combos on this plane? Just curious.
2. is there an official thread for this plane?
|Jul 05, 2011, 02:41 PM|
Canopy glue works great on foam. Dries clear and does not yellow over time (like epoxy). It allows plenty of time to get things lined up. Excess cleanup is as easy as a damp paper towel. It can take a while to dry, so some patience is required.
CA is too brittle for foam in my opinion.
|Jul 05, 2011, 04:47 PM|
|Jul 06, 2011, 06:55 AM|
Joined Nov 2005
I too was surprised about the glue, but I know epoxy gets stuff and turns yellow. You need a flexible glue - My guess is Elmers is close to the same as would be other foam white glues. Overall, I liked the glue, just need to be patient with the dry times. Really, this is your choice and option do exist.
My flight times were ten minutes plus on the glider and with throttle management I could stay in the air for 30 minutes or more. I was climbing that glider to the moon and then cutting the throttle. The Sport version is shorter, but only because it have really good vertical performance so you tend to run that version WOT more. Both glider really well.
Thanks for your on-target comments folks.
|Jul 06, 2011, 03:27 PM|
|Jul 06, 2011, 03:29 PM|
|Jul 06, 2011, 07:36 PM|
My syncro pics
There's a thread on this in the electric glider section where it should be as it is a glider. But then EDF site is good too but what will it be called?EDF glider/sport?
oh well here's some of my pictures of her.
She is a beaut to fly as a powered glider easy to handle even with hand toss no real worries there. Handles like a charm. It is a good example for thoses who wish to try EDF flying.
|Jul 08, 2011, 10:19 AM|
I got my kit a few days ago and was really pleased with the quality. I think it as good as any Multiiplex foamie I have built. I really like all of the pre-installed magnets.
I have done a quick browsing of the manual. Is the glider wing one piece when assembled? Hauling a one piece 55" wing around can be a pain. I wish there was two piece option.
|Jul 08, 2011, 01:36 PM|
USA, CA, Los Angeles
Joined Sep 2004
The wing looks warped on the head-on photo. After every single Rifle we sold came back to my store as defective for warpage, I think I'll pass on this one as well
|Jul 08, 2011, 04:23 PM|
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