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Horizon Hobby Hangar 9 Christen Eagle II 90 ARF Review

"If you’re a sport flyer ready for more advanced planes or an aerobatic pro looking for a fun, sport scale model, the Christen Eagle II 90 has what you’re after." Well, maybe I am a little of both ... OK, much less pro than sport flyer, but let’s see if the Christen Eagle II has what I'm after.

Splash

Introduction

Often there are aircraft that modelers would love having but for one reason or another they don't come to fruition. The Christen Eagle II might fall into that category for one reason more than others. A proper Christen Eagle II must have a proper finish ... and a proper finish would normally involve a magnitude of hours of painstakingly applying the colors of the "feathers" that make up the Christen Eagle II scheme. Hangar 9 has bypassed that step for the modeler and provided a very authentic ARF replication of a Christen Eagle II that any modeler would be proud to have in their hangar. Hangar 9 states ... "If you’re a sport flyer ready for more advanced planes or an aerobatic pro looking for a fun, sport scale model, the Christen Eagle II 90 has what you’re after." Well, maybe I am a little of both ... OK, much less pro than sport flyer, but let’s see if the Christen Eagle II has what I'm after.

From the manual ... Introduced in 1977, the Christen Eagle II was the brainchild of avid aerobatic pilot and entrepreneur, Frank Christensen. His idea? Give pilots a refined, aerobatic kit plane almost anyone could build. The sporty little two-seater was so well-received that a slightly modified, single-seat version became the plane of choice for one of the greatest aerobatic demonstration teams of all time—Charlie Hillard, Tom Poberezny and Gene Soucy, otherwise known as The Eagles. The trio flew the plane from 1979 through 1995, thrilling millions at air shows all over the world.

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Wingspan:54" Top wing
Wing Area:878 sq. in. Total
Wing Loading:26.14 oz. sq ft.
Weight:9lbs. 15.4 oz. (airframe without flight or receiver pack 7lbs. 13 oz.)
Length:50.25" End of rudder to tip of spinner
Height:17.5" Ground to top of top wing
Wing Loading:xxxx oz/sq. ft.
Servos:DS821 by Spektrum
Transmitter:DX8 DSMX by Spektrum
Receiver:AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver by Spektrum
Battery:4000mAh 4S 14.8V 30C LiPo,12AWG EC3 by E-flite
Motor:Power 90 Brushless Outrunner Motor 325Kv by E-flite
ESC:Phoenix ICE 100 BL ESC by Castle Creations (75 Amp is recommended)
Manufacturer:Hangar 9
Available From:Horizon Hobby

Kit Contents

Kit Contents:

  • Fuselage with Hatch
  • Upper Wing Set
  • Lower Wing Set
  • Tail Set
  • Canopy Hatch
  • Fiberglass Cowling
  • Landing Gear
  • Plastic Gear Fairings
  • Wing Tube Set
  • Wing Strut Set
  • Fiberglass Wheel Pants
  • Main Wheels
  • Tail wheel Assembly
  • Wing Transport Frames
  • Hardware Pack
  • Push rod Set
  • Engine Mount Set
  • Plastic Spinner
  • Electric Power Mounting Set
  • Misc. hardware

Recommended items for completion (electric version):

  • AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver
  • Spektrum DS821 digital servo (4) - (5) for glow version
  • 3-inch (76mm) Servo Extension (4)
  • Power 90 Outrunner Motor, 325Kv
  • Phoenix ICE 75 Brushless ESC
  • APC 17 x 8 propeller
  • 4000mAh 4S 14.8V 30C (2)
  • 9-inch (228mm) Servo Extension for ESC
  • EC3™ Battery Series Harness,
  • JR Chargeswitch

First Impressions

What was my first impression after removing the kit from the box? ... "I'm glad I wasn't the one who had to cover this kit". The Christen Eagle II ARF 90 looks great. The colors really pop and the finish on my kit was very well done. There were a few bubbles and wrinkles but they were nothing to complain about. The Fuselage is a bit shorter than I was expecting for a 90 size airframe but it sure has some girth. While I had the fuselage out, I wanted to take off the canopy/cockpit assembly and check inside the fuselage. The canopy/cockpit assembly is removed from the fuselage by sliding back two latches that are located on the side of the canopy/cockpit assembly (The front of the canopy/cockpit assembly is aligned to the fuselage with two tabs). The latches are aligned with holes in the fuselage. It was a little awkward to remove the hatch (awkward holding the airframe and sliding two latches at the same time ...and the latches were not entirely smooth) and I could tell by the indentations on the side of my fuselage where the hatch pins aligned that the person who built my kit had some issues too. The fiberglass cowl and wheel pants are very rigid without being too heavy...tough wheel pants are always appreciated, especially by those flying from grass. The wings and tail surfaces were built with precision and were very rigid as well. The main gear seemed very sturdy and is painted in a nice matching white paint. Everything looked to be about what I expected or better, but the one thing that worried me was the plastic main gear fairings...they on the other hand didn't appear to be thick enough to handle anything but the best of landings. With everything inventoried, I pulled out the well executed manual and began my usual read through. After I was comfortable with the task ahead I moved on to the build.

Assembly

Landing Gear Installation

The landing gear installation is very straight forward and resembles that of most tail dragging aerobatic aircraft with a few extra nice touches. A gear cover is used to conceal the screws that attach the gear to the fuselage and gear fairings are used to contour the gear to the side of the fuselage.

The gear are attached to the fuselage with three socket head screws and then covered with a well fitting landing gear cover to conceal the screws. Although the manual recommends gluing the cover in place I chose to use 3m tape to hold it in place.

Small plywood plates are added inside of the wheel pant by the modeler that will later serve as the securing plate for "anti-rotation" screw to keep the wheel pants from rotating on the axles. The wheel assemblies consist of the axles, wheels, wheel collars, and metal and plywood washers. These assemblies are inserted into a hole in the wheel pants and secured to the main landing gear with a large aircraft nut...but before you do this, make sure the gear fairing are trimmed and installed onto the main landing gear.

The landing gear fairings are trimmed for final fit by the modeler. Care must be taken when cutting them for final installation. I found the plastic to be a bit brittle. When I was making my rough cuts before final shaping I did have one of the fairings crack just outside of its final trim mark. Luckily it was outside of the final trim mark so it didn't show up in the final assembly. I would have liked the fairings to be made from fiberglass. It seems they have the potential to crack on those less than stellar landings when the main gear might flex. I will do an update on this later if it becomes an issue.

***Note: Although I show the fairing installation picture here because it is part of the sequence, I did not permanently install the fairings until I was closer to the end of the build. I was waiting on the proper glue for installation but continued with the build. You might notice that some future pictures show the fairings in various states of attachment.

Tail Installation

The horizontal stab and elevators come slotted and have the hinges inserted at the factory, although the hinges are not glued. The elevators are also joined at the factory with a joining wire that already has the holes cut into each elevator half for attachment. This is provided un-glued as well to facilitate ease of installation for other steps along the assembly process. As provided the elevator halves were perfectly aligned with the joining wire in place which is not always the case with ARF's.

The hinges are glued in with CA as outlined in the manual. The elevator joiner wire is attached with epoxy. The manual recommends a "t-Pin" method to align the hinges and then remove the pins before gluing both sides of the hinge while it is inserted into the elevator and stab. I find if I hinge the elevators first, let them dry, and then glue them into the stab I tend get a stronger hinge bond (it’s easier to get glue directly down the slot), so I opted for that method.

As with any horizontal stab assembly most of the time spent on installation comes from aligning it on the fuselage. I used all the recommended ways outlined in the manual for alignment but also added an extra step to help ensure it was straight. I drilled a small hole at the front end of the fin slot so that I could see the stab through the hole while it was temporarily mounted on the fuse. I had previously marked the center of the stab at the tip so now I could align my mark on the stab with the center of the hole I drilled.

Once I was sure it was aligned properly I marked the outline of the fuselage onto the top and bottom of the horizontal stabilizer. The stab is then removed and the covering inside of the marks I just made was cut away to facilitate a proper wood to wood bond when the stabilizer is permanently attached. After I attached the stab permanently, I inserted a small factory covered wood block that fills in the space at the rear of the stab opening.

Before permanent installation, the fin must also be marked against the fuselage and have the covering below the fuselage line removed. I used slow curing epoxy and builders square to ensure proper alignment of the fin. I attached the rudder to the fin with CA hinges using the same process I used for the elevators.

Tail Wheel and Control Horn Installation

The control horns are attached to the control surfaces with the provided screws. Why is it worth mentioning something this mundane? Because the provided screws are the proper length as provided! It is a small pet peeve of mine, having to cut screws that are way too long. So many ARF's come with hardware screws that seem more of an afterthought than well thought out.

To attach the tail wheel, I needed to mark the mounting holes for the tail wheel assembly and drill two small holes at the rear bottom of the fuselage. Self tapping screws are then used to hold the assembly in place. A nice touch for the steering assembly is the addition of the steering bracket to the bottom of the rudder which is attached to the tail wheel. This makes setup and especially maintenance much easy than having the wire "tiller" arm inserted inside of a hole drilled in the rudder.

Elevator / Rudder Servos. Receiver Installation

At this point I installed the elevator and rudder servos into a factory installed plywood tray in the fuselage. There is nothing out of the ordinary here and there is plenty of room in the fuselage to easily complete these steps. The servos are installed using the hardware provided with the servos.

Although there is a spot on the radio tray for a on /off radio switch, I decided not to use a switch. I have moved almost all of my receiver batteries over to A123's which I plug directly into the receiver via a Deans connector. I mounted the receiver and a telemetry module to the radio tray with Velcro.

I used the factory installed push rods to connect the servos to the control surfaces. Z-bends are used on the servo ends and threaded clevises are used on the control surfaces.

Aileron Servo Installation

While I was preparing for the aileron installation onto the bottom wing panels I noticed that the covering didn't quite cover the entire internal surface on one of the wing panels where the aileron attaches. This is not much of an issue for electric flyers, but if you fly glow you will want to cover any open wood areas. Before moving forward with the aileron servo and linkage installation, I glued the aileron hinges using the same process I used for the elevator and rudder installation.

I mounted the aileron servos to the wing mounts with the servo hardware. A servo extension wire is needed to get the servo connection out to the end each wing panel. I used a small piece of dental floss (manual recommended) tied around the connection to prevent it from pulling apart. The servo extension is pulled through the wing panel with a factory installed pull string.

After I attached the aileron servos to their mounts, I then attached the servo mount assemblies to each wing panel with four small wood screws. The aileron control horns are screwed into the ailerons with wood screws but unlike the rudder and elevator, there is no backing plate used for the control horns on the ailerons (they are screwed into the wood of the aileron). It makes for a nice clean installation when viewed from the top. The control linkages for the ailerons are made from straight push rods with screw on clevises for both the servo and control surface ends.

Cabane Strut Installation

Before the cabane struts could be installed, I needed to cut away the covering over the strut holes. The cabane struts are installed in the fuselage holes and attached to the fuselage with machine screws. Use the manual for proper orientation of the struts.

Next, I installed the upper center wing rib on top of the cabane struts. The center wing rib is held in place with socket head screws and nuts.

Electric Power Installation

Who doesn't like options? Although the parts for installing the electric motor are listed on the parts package as "parts for EP option", there was no option for me ... EP all the way! Although, I can understand the draw of putting a nice 4-stroke engine in this airframe as well.

Although the manual recommends installing the battery tray at this time, I decided to move ahead to the motor installation. The battery tray is not entirely rigid and I was contemplating some small additional reinforcement...more on this later.

Before I could install the motor, I needed to drill the firewall in preparation for the motor box. A much welcomed "tool" for drilling the firewall is the included WOOD template. The template lays out the proper placement for drilling the pilot holes for the motor box in the firewall...much better than the usual paper template! After the template is removed, the pilot holes are drilled out in preparation for the motor box attachment.

Next, I attached the motor box to the firewall with socket head bolts and blind nuts. Wood triangle stock is then cut to length and glued around the motor box for additional support.

I attached the E-Flite Power 90 motor to the firewall following the instructions and hardware supplied with the motor.

I used a Castle Ice 100 esc (that's what I had on hand ... the manual recommends a Castle Ice 75) that I mounted to the side of the firewall with professional strength Velcro. Note: Before the maiden flight I moved the controller to the inside of the battery compartment. It made it easier to connect the batteries and I also did not want to extend the battery wires on the esc.

At this point I decided to go back and revisit the battery tray installation, but there was one thing bothering me. The screws used to attach the motor box to the firewall reach into the battery compartment. As long as the flight batteries are secured there should not be an instance where the batteries contact the metal screws in normal flight. But, in the event of a nose first crash, I can imagine a small ball of fire coming from the battery compartment if the batteries shift forward into the metal screws.

In order to feel a little safer with my new project, I decided to cut the motor box screws off with a Dremel and then add small pieces of balsa to protect the batteries in the event of a nose first crash.

Battery Tray Modification

After removing and repositioning the batteries on the stock battery tray a few times it became obvious that as provided the tray could stand to be a little more rigid. One of the sections between the lightning holes made a slight noise that I didn't want to repeat as I was pulling off one of the packs from the Velcro on the tray. I decided to reinforce the tray with another plywood plate cut into the shape of the original tray. The two trays were then glued together with thick CA. I also moved to one plywood strap that now overlaps at the center of the batteries instead of two at the ends of the batteries.

Cowling Installation

As provided, the fiberglass cowling is very rigid and has a nice glossy finish that matches the rest of the airframe. The manual has a few steps in it that have changed somewhat. One of the most obvious changes shown in the manual is the location of two of the cowl mounting screws. In the manual they are shown in the sides of the cowl, but the pilot holes that are factory drilled in the cowl are on top. The cowl is held in place with four small wood screws after it is aligned with the spinner back plate.

Wing Installation

Although one of the best things about a biplane is the look of the two wings it also seems to be one of the worst things about it when building a model of one ... more specifically alignment of the wings. Hangar 9 has taken all of the guess work out of this process and provides the modeler with a system that should provide success every time.

The Christen Eagle II uses a system of interplane struts with aluminum alignment pins. These are secured into factory drilled holes in the top of the bottom wing panels and bottom of the top wing panels.

I inserted a screw through the bottom of each of the wing panel bottoms and up into each of the interplane struts to secure them into place on the bottom wing panels.

Next, I slid each of the wing panels onto the lower wing tube and secured them to the inside of the fuselage with socket head screws.

I placed the upper wing tube into the left wing panel and slid it through the hole in the upper center wing rib on the cabane strut. ** Be careful when sliding the upper wing panels into place. It is easy to scratch the bottom of the upper wing against the alignment pins in the interplane struts! The wing panel is then set in place by inserting the alignment pins into the bottom of the top wing panel and then securing it with a screw through the top of the wing that goes into the interplane strut. Although the manual doesn't recommend it, I used washers on the screws that are inserted into the interplane struts to spread the load on the wing panels. Next, I slid the right upper wing panel onto the upper wing tube and secured it with the same process used for the left panel. The two upper wing panels are held together in place (one panel has a tab, the other has a slot to receive that tab) with a socket head screw through the top of the wing.

I used the included 270mm threaded rods, nuts, clevises, and silicone tubing to make aileron connecting rods. They are secured between the top and bottom ailerons via a tab on each aileron that is factory installed.

It is always nice to have a small addition to a kit that provides some sort of convenience in assembly or transportation. The wing transport frames are that nice surprise in the Christen Eagle II kit. The transport frames allow the right and left wing panels to be transported as complete sub-assemblies without having to remove the screws or interplane struts.

Spinner upgrade

The Christen Eagle II ARF 90 kit comes with a white spinner but I opted for the aftermarket aluminum spinner recommended by Hangar 9. Unfortunately, as provided the aluminum spinner does not work with the stock prop adapter provided with the Power 90 motor and the screw provided with the aluminum spinner (the screw is too short to reach the adapter). Hangar 9 recommends a separate TRU-TURN adapter made specifically for the power 90 and the aluminum spinner...so I ordered that. Unfortunately, the hole tapped into the top of the TRU-TURN adapter was now too small for the screw provided with the aluminum spinner and the TRU-TURN adapter didn't come with a screw. Still following along? The solution? Stay with the stock adapter that comes with the power 90 motor and just buy a longer screw for the aluminum spinner… and in the process save yourself some aggravation and about 20 bucks.

C.G. / Control Throws and Final Preparation

With the plane balanced at the recommended C.G. my battery packs hung off of the back of the battery tray by about a half an inch. The manual included the control throws for the control surfaces but no exponential rates are noted in the manual, however there are some recommendations on the Hangar 9 web site (listed below).

Exponential:

  • Ailerons: Low: 33% expo; High: 42% expo
  • Elevator: Low: 30% expo; High: 42% expo
  • Rudder: Low: 35% expo; High: 45% expo

Completion / Ready for Flight!

Flying

Taking Off

My Christen Eagle II had been built for over two months at his point so as you can imagine I was really looking forward to getting it in the air. Although the manual doesn’t show any recommended transmitter expo rates, The Christen Eagle II page on the Hangar 9 website does have some recommended settings. Even though I am not a fan of expo, I decided to go with the recommended expo for the first flight.

I initially had the rudder on high rate when I began to taxi out for my maiden and it quickly became obvious the low rate setting would be better. On low rates, the Eagle II taxis well (all of my flights have been from pavement) but it can begin to get “squirrely” on the ground if you try to taxi at a high rate of speed or if there is some cross wind.

Take offs with the Christen Eagle II are mostly uneventful, but there have been a few that were interesting. I find that if I slowly feed in throttle until I am up to flying speed I begin to drift on the runway especially in any kind of crosswind. Although, if you punch the throttle and just go for it you can end up in similar drifting situations … or more likely completely off course! The large prop will torque this airframe fairly easily if you get overly aggressive with the throttle. My preferred method of takeoff is to slowly feed in some throttle to get it moving on course and then smoothly, and somewhat quickly, feed in throttle until the tail begins to lift off (let the tail lift off, if you try to hold it on the ground it can become hard to steer and might end up taking off before you and it are ready). At the point where the tail lifts off, I feed in more throttle and slowly begin to add some elevator after the plane reaches flying speed. At lift off I am usually somewhere just over half throttle but not quite at ¾ throttle. It took a few attempts to find that perfect throttle transition speed on takeoff, but after I did I was happy with how easy it was to get it tracking and lifting of smoothly from that point forward. After my maiden lift off, I was surprised at how little trim it needed … just a few clicks of down elevator and right rudder.

*Note: Although I have not flown my Christen Eagle II from a grass strip I have taxied my eagle in short grass. In the grass, I felt like I had more positive control of the Christen Eagle II. It didn’t “drift” as much. I look forward to flying it from a grass strip in the near future.

Landing

Landing the Christen Eagle II is mostly uneventful, but there have been a few that were interesting. The Christen Eagle II settles in to the landing pattern very well. As a matter of fact, it seems to do this better than the maybe 6 or 7 biplanes I have flown. Even when slowing it down just before touchdown it still has great positive control. I find that if I let the Eagle II bleed off speed while using the throttle to help determine altitude, and use a small final flair, it settles onto the ground somewhat easily. Bleeding off speed with the prop running allows me to set it down on the runway with only a moderate amount of up elevator. The few Chopped throttle landings that I have tried have had mixed results … one was good and the other was not so good which is why I no longer tried them after the “review” flights. If you chop the throttle the Eagle will descend quicker as you slow it up for landing. It can also drop somewhat quickly if held off without throttle just before touchdown which could result in kangaroo landings.

One thing I recommend against doing with the Christen Eagle II is bringing it in too fast and trying to force it on the ground. This is not an airframe that “sticks” to the runway. If you are anywhere near flying speed and you hit the runway you will most likely be back in the air or experience multiple landing syndrome. The landing gear that is provided has some spring to it so always try to set it down fairly softly. If I landed the Eagle II a little fast I was also rewarded with some control issues on the runway before it came to a stop.

Basics

After I had the Christen Eagle II 90 ARF trimmed on my maiden flight, I flew a complete circuit of the field just to get the feel of the airframe in the air. What I noticed was that I was really feeling the effects of the expo on this airframe. It felt soft in control. I only have a few airframes in my hangar that I use exponential on, mostly jets, but I decided early on this wouldn’t be one of them. I landed and promptly removed all expo settings from my transmitter.

Without the expo, The Christen Eagle II flies better. Actually, I can’t recall a biplane that I have flown that feel as neutral in the air when doing basic flight…it feels very stable and is rather easy to fly at moderate speeds and lower rates. The Christen Eagle II tracks very well and responds positively to input but it doesn’t have that complete precision feel … not that it needs to, it’s a sport aerobatic airframe. The E-Flite Power 90 electric motor provides this airframe with enough power for unlimited vertical climbs. All of that power can also propel this airframe to speeds faster than “scale”. The airframe is much more responsive near the higher end of its flight envelope and had a nice howl as it cuts through the air. At the lower end of its flight speed envelope it becomes a little mushy but I never felt like I was out of control, it still responds well. The Christen Eagle II has a fairly soft stall but can fall off to a side. Recovery is straight forward with a little power and some elevator. Don’t punch the throttle to recover from a stall; the torque from the prop can induce a spin.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

The Christen Eagle II is a sport aerobatic dream and with the rudder being very effective the Christen Eagle II provides spectacular spins and snaps. The snaps are incredibly violent when entered in to at high speed and high rates (If you are flying an electric version, make sure those packs are strapped in good!). The Christen Eagle does have a tendency to over rotate on snaps and spins when on high rates by a fair amount so make sure to allow for that. On low rates and a lower rate of speed the snaps and spins are very graceful … but again be aware of slight over rotation. Inverted flight is easily accomplished and only a moderate amount of down elevator is needed to maintain level flight.

As stated before the rudder is very effective so I was looking forward to some nice long knife edge passes. I thought I would need a high rate rudder to accomplish this but I was wrong. The Christen Eagle II has a fair amount of rudder/roll coupling so when I applied high rate rudder while rolling to the edge it promptly flipped itself back out towards its wheels. On low rates, there is still coupling with rudder input but it is much more manageable. Extended knife edge is possible but it takes a bit of corrective elevator and some aileron. The Christen Eagle II performs some of the most graceful and easily executive stall turns I have ever performed, especially when a slight amount of power is added at the top of the turn. Loops can be as big as you like. I usually don’t find myself looping my planes in a normal flight routine, but with the power on tap here it is fun to pull up and power into a gigantic loop that takes up the entire sky over the flying field. Rolls are easily executed but some down elevator is needed If doing a slow roll or traveling at a lower rate of speed. Rolls are ever so slightly off axis but still look great. The Christen Eagle II 90 ARF will handle four channel sport aerobatics with ease. Loops, rolls, split-s turns, stall turns, Cuban eights, and snaps were all easily executed.

**I have been experimenting with different C.G. locations by moving the batteries further up into the battery compartment. With the batteries moved up about ¾ of an inch from the stock location I find the Christen Eagle flies better and is a little more precise in advanced maneuvers. It still doesn’t have that complete precision feel but that’s not exactly what this airframe is designed for.

Main gear Fairings ... update

I was initially concerned with wheel fairings that are included with the Christen Eagle II kit ... and what I thought could happen, did happen. The Right wheel fairing cracked on my second landing. I was landing with a slight crab and touched down on the right wheel first. The plane rocked back and forth on the wheels before it came to a complete stop and the right wheel fairing split. I used a Dremel cutoff wheel to cut both of them back so the main gear legs could no longer touch them when flexed.

Is This For a Beginner?

No, this is not for a beginner, although it would be a great choice for someone with intermediate flight skill who is completely comfortable with a tail dragger. Depending on the surface you are flying from, the tail dragging part can make a difference with how comfortable you are with this airframe based on skill level.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

Let's remember what Hangar 9 stated in the manual ... "If you’re a sport flyer ready for more advanced planes or an aerobatic pro looking for a fun, sport scale model, the Christen Eagle II 90 has what you’re after." I was after a well crafted, attractive, good sized, powerful, great flying, everyday electric biplane. What I got was mostly that. Where did it come up short? Well, The Christen Eagle doesn't disappoint...it flies great, and to say it came up short probably isn't fair, but I was hoping for a little more precision when the airframe is pushed to the outer edge of its flight envelope (I will say things improved when I moved the C.G. forward some). For the sport flyer it does it all. For the more advanced flyer you will notice little things like over-rotation in snaps and spins, a little less than locked in feel on point rolls, and coupling in knife edge and rudder maneuvers. Overall, am I satisfied with the Christen Eagle II ARF? Yes! I might have been looking for something this airframe can't completely provide but what I did find is an airframe that I thoroughly enjoy flying and having in my hangar.

Pros:

  • Overall Appearance. The Christen Eagle II ARF looks the part of its full scale counterpart...and the colors are incredibly vibrant.
  • Fit and finish. The fuselage, wings, and tail surfaces are beautifully built and finished. The colors pop in flight. The cowl is rigid and has a nice clear coat finish.
  • High level of prefabrication. Most if not all of the hard work is done at the factory.
  • Solid design. The airframe itself is rather light for it size but still feels very rigid overall. The design of the wings, interplane struts, and cabane strut come together for an uncomplicated but rigid wing mount system.
  • Wing transport frames!
  • More than enough power with the recommended E-Flite power system.
  • Great flight characteristics. Can easily be a daily flyer. Very aerobatic. Settles into the landing pattern very well.
  • Quality components used. The hardware and accessories provided worked as intended.
  • Instruction manual. Once again Horizon Hobby / Hangar 9 provide and exceptional manual that is easy to follow.
  • Flight time. I average almost 8 minutes of mixed flying with plenty of aerobatics.

Neutral:

  • I find the recommended C.G. to be a little aft. I have moved my packs up about ¾ of an inch and find that it flies a little better.
  • With the recommended 17x8 prop, there is a noticeable amount of prop torque when advancing the throttle quickly. I switched to a 16x10 and find there is less prop torque. I will be experimenting with other prop sizes in the future.
  • Recommended battery packs hang off of the back of the battery tray at the recommended C.G.
  • The landing gear is a little springy and will bounce you back in the air quickly on those less than stellar landings.
  • I like that Hangar 9 includes a pilot, I just wish it was a little more attractive.

Cons:

  • Awkward hatch latch system.
  • Plastic wheel fairings should be more rigid.
  • Battery tray should be more rigid.

Wishes:

  • Fiberglass wheel fairings!

**Thanks to Tim Vincent, Michael Magnacca, Greg Poppel, and Ken Scruggs for their video and photographic services.

Last edited by Angela H; Aug 03, 2012 at 05:09 AM..

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Old Jul 27, 2012, 05:57 PM
RCG -Minus Member
microflitedude's Avatar
United States, SC, West Columbia
Joined Oct 2009
1,440 Posts
Great Review Kevin, this one is going on the "list".
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Old Jul 28, 2012, 08:11 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
United States, TX, Kingsland
Joined Sep 2005
5,014 Posts
I'm sure the color scheme is scale, but it looks like the top and bottom look almost the same. The "feathers" run at the same angles and the color sequence seems to be the same from center to wingtip. How do you tell top from bottom at a distance?

McD
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Old Jul 28, 2012, 08:47 PM
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kevin's Avatar
ohio
Joined Aug 1999
3,599 Posts
thanks microflitedude...

kingsflyer, its actually pretty easy to tell top from bottom at a distance because the top wing is lifted from the fuse and displays as seperate while the bottom wing looks to be 1 part with the fuse (and the fin is prominent at a distance). If you get too far and you are in a bank, well, i think any plane might look like a blob under those circumstances

quick note: it appears I left the wing loading out. it is 26.14

Also, i fly with the 16x10 prop all the time now. it torques the airframe less and speed is up at partial throttle (and full throttle - but extended full throttle is rarely needed).
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Old Jul 29, 2012, 01:58 AM
Team Park Pilot - Airborne
OzparkPilot's Avatar
Australia, NSW, Sydney
Joined Nov 2006
4,459 Posts
Great review Kevin - I have had a few Eagles including a 25%er that I converted to E power ( Power 160 ) and it flew GREAT but to be honest, I sold it as battery swaps were a real pain.
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Old Jul 29, 2012, 11:11 AM
iumop ap!sdn w,I
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Joined May 2005
6,434 Posts
Excellent and truthful review! My experience with my Eagle has been spot on with yours. It's refreshing to read a truthful review for a change. A recent magazine review of the Christen Eagle actually stated that it had very little knife edge coupling...

I have been flying mine from cement as well, and have noticed the same ground handling issues. I haven't tried low rate rudder for take off and landing, but I'll give that a try next time I'm out. I did add a little toe-in to the main wheels though, and that helped a bunch.

Great tip on adding washers to the wing strut attachment bolts. I originally did mine as per the manual, and the screws started to pull through the wing ribs. I used thin CA to harden up the screw holes in the ribs, and then used washers. I haven't had any issues since then.


kingsflyer - I was worried about orientation too with the stock color scheme. It hasn't been a issue though. The shape of the Eagle is very distinctive, and I haven't had any issues. Even during rolling circles and such it's easy to tell top from bottom in my experience.





w~w~w . r~c~t~r~u~t~h . c~o~m
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Last edited by G.P.; Sep 03, 2012 at 12:55 AM.
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Old Jul 29, 2012, 07:08 PM
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United States, IL, Oquawka
Joined Nov 2003
116 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsflyer View Post
I'm sure the color scheme is scale, but it looks like the top and bottom look almost the same. The "feathers" run at the same angles and the color sequence seems to be the same from center to wingtip. How do you tell top from bottom at a distance?

McD
The wheels are generally on the bottom Sorry, I couldnt resist....please forgive ..
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Old Jul 30, 2012, 02:56 PM
I hate waiting for parts
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United States, NC, Garner
Joined Apr 2001
6,650 Posts
Glad to see that some wood ARF model manufacturers continue to show support for the option for electric flight. I converted many a glow wooden airplane to e-power... some good, some not-so-good... and swore I'd never do it again. This looks to be a beautiful scale ARF model that's mostly well-thought out for electric power. Thanks for another great review!
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Old Jul 30, 2012, 03:15 PM
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United States, IL, Oquawka
Joined Nov 2003
116 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_Then View Post
Glad to see that some wood ARF model manufacturers continue to show support for the option for electric flight. I converted many a glow wooden airplane to e-power... some good, some not-so-good... and swore I'd never do it again. This looks to be a beautiful scale ARF model that's mostly well-thought out for electric power. Thanks for another great review!
I recently did the H9 DeNight Special, its another one that is very well thought out for electric also, and flies great also!
Its very tempting to go after one of these Eagles after reading this review, I've always liked bipes.
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Old Jul 31, 2012, 06:14 AM
"Aircraftus Fragmentum"
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Motor City USA
Joined Mar 2007
3,591 Posts
Very Nice. On the WANT list.
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Old Aug 01, 2012, 06:33 AM
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Canada, ON, Guelph
Joined Jan 2003
23 Posts
Beautifull airplane! I had a couple of minor issues with mine. It has one flight, using Rimfire 80, Turnigy 100 esc, 14x6 prop, and 5 cell 3700 bat pak.
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Old Sep 20, 2012, 04:21 PM
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Arcadia, NC
Joined Feb 2009
13 Posts
Power?

Kevin,

I agree with your other respondents: This was a comprehensive and well-written review. However, I did not see any power measurements in your report. Did you check how many watts your set-up produced? And would you be willing to share this?

Thanks
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Old Sep 20, 2012, 05:38 PM
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United States, CO, Fort Collins
Joined Jul 2009
7 Posts
It does amazing inverted flat spins too!
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Old Sep 20, 2012, 05:53 PM
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United States, CO, Fort Collins
Joined Jul 2009
7 Posts
FYI careful application of one band of white electrical tape around the bottom of each of the landing gear fairings has held up for nine months and more than fifty flights off grass, it is barely noticeable. It does occasionally (and embarrassingly) flip over forward, as landings come to a stop on long grass. "Move along, nothing to see here folks".

No damage except for a few grass stains on the spinner! (still a one out of eight event for me)
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Old Sep 21, 2012, 09:21 AM
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kevin's Avatar
ohio
Joined Aug 1999
3,599 Posts
yes, i do have the power system numbers on a piece of paper somewhere in the basement...and yes they should have made it into the review


But for now (going by memory here don't punish me if they end up being off ... I will update it later) ... after a ten second run somewhere around 1480watts and 50 amps with the stock setup.



Quote:
Originally Posted by GiantModeler View Post
Kevin,

I agree with your other respondents: This was a comprehensive and well-written review. However, I did not see any power measurements in your report. Did you check how many watts your set-up produced? And would you be willing to share this?

Thanks
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