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Old Nov 19, 2013, 03:54 PM
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Canada, ON, London
Joined May 2011
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Build Log
Raptor Electric PNP from skipmillermodels.com

Introduction

So I was blessed with an opportunity that doesn't come my way often, in fact it had never happened before this instance. The stars aligned and I was sent this beautiful model (airplane) to build, document, and review and in exchange I get to keep it! I was - and still am - in awe of the plane, but especially the opportunity. So, before I jump into this build log I just want to give a shout out to Cody Remington at www.skipmillermodels.com.

THANKS!!

Unboxing

The plane arrived very well packed... double boxed and plenty of padding material where needed. All parts were properly secured inside the box and there was no damage whatsoever.

I put together an unboxing video that'll show you exactly what and how this unboxes.

Raptor Electric PNP Unboxing (15 min 37 sec)


The Build

Cody kindly sent me this Raptor to review and comment on and I thought it would be nice to put together a build series on it that might help others see how this ARF goes together, the build quality, and one guy's experience with it.

I'm no expert soaring champion and, in fact, have only been flying RC for about 3 years now. So I'll do my best to give you an average person's perspective on things - including most of the video shot on my hat-cam. You'll see what I see.

Build Part #1 - Intro
Here's part #1 an introduction to the build and a quick repair of a minor issue that showed up. The issue being that one of the wing pegs got pushed into the wing. Easy fix... here's how I did it.

http://youtu.be/MWxbSe6HQ0I


Build Part #2, 3, & 4 - The Wing

I spent the bulk of the time working on the wing. In fact I put 3 videos together just on that topic. I think the wing is the most significant amount of 'build' work on this plane outside of maybe the tail, but that's another chapter.

The wings were pretty straight forward to build. Basic steps were:

- test servos (before installing)
- install aileron servo and fish its wire to the flap hole
- install the flap servo and fish its and the aileron's wire to the wing root
- install control horns on control surfaces
- test servos and throws
- loctite the EZ-Link nuts (or you will lose them!)

Notes:
The servo mounts in the wings do have pre-drilled holes for the covers. You just need to find them and pierce the covering over them to make it easier for the screws to find the holes.

Here are the videos for the wing build. These are kinda long and detailed. I tried to speed up the repetitive / mundane parts, but feel free to do your own fast forwarding too ;-).

Raptor Electric PNP - Build Part #2 - The Wing
Raptor Electric PNP - Build Part #3 - The Wing
Raptor Electric PNP - Build Part #4 - The Wing

Build Part #5 - TIPS

This is actually one video you should watch through. It contains the major tips, gotchas, and uh oh's that I ran into during the build. That is, the build up to this point as well as the following videos. I stuck it in here to break up the video series and to help prepare you for what's coming.

Raptor Electric PNP - Build Part #5 - TIPS

Build Part #6 & 7 - V-Tail

Ok, so the part that I had the most struggle with was the V-Tail. To be clear, the only reason I had a struggle with this was because I was using 5 minute epoxy and trying to take pictures and video, etc. while the glue was setting. Had I used a longer setting epoxy (eg. 20 minute) I would have been fine. Still, it's a note to others to mind how much time you have to do something while the epoxy clock is ticking ;-). In the end, it all came together fine.

The first video is primarily the glueing part and the second video is installing the control horns and linkages, etc.

Raptor Electric PNP - Build Part #6 - V-Tail
Raptor Electric PNP - Build Part #7 - V-Tail

Build Part #8 - Final Assembly

By now, assuming you've watched all the videos, you're probably wishing you'd just dug in and built the plane yourself! In truth, the build process is NOT all that laborious and is very straight forward. I was taking my time and trying to edit video and .... ah, enough excuses.... here's the final assembly video.

It is long, but covers off wiring up the receiver, servos, ESC, motor, etc. as well as all the pre-flight stuff. Here goes...

Raptor Electric PNP - Build Part #8 - Final Assembly

The Maiden Flight

Well... she was finally finished and ready to go. The CG was set and all the nuts and bolts were loctite'd down where needed. Battery charged and ready to fly. Here goes... Oh, and for this video I just did low and close passes - it doesn't show off the gliding capabilities, but does show how maneuverable this wonderful plane is!

Raptor Electric PNP - Maiden Flight

Flight Review

After subsequent high altitude and thermalling flights I have really come to love this bird. Raptor is a fitting name as it soars like an animal. With the somewhat aft CG that I chose and a modest breeze blowing I was able to thermal over the farm fields that I fly at (in my experience) for ever! .

I found no bad habits or tendencies in the Raptor. I have another glider that likes to tip stall at slow speeds, but NOT this one! It's certainly not an indestructable foam glider/trainer, but it would definitely make a great second plane for someone who's just starting out. It is very docile and floats in for landings. I was surprised at how easy I could bring it down. I even did one cross wind landing with it where I practically hovered and set the plane down on the runway! The wind was a little stronger that day ;-).

In terms of durability, the Raptor's construction is not one for hotlining or even warmlining. It does have a sturdy wing leading edge and a solid wing sjoiner/spar; however, the carbon wing rod / joiner is somewhat short. I could be wrong, but I think the niche this glider fits in is in the thermalling category.... no crazy aerobatics or high 'g' turns or loops. Just a take to the field in any wind and have a great flight!

The lines on this plane are spectacular. Every time I bring it to the field someone is complimenting its good looks (never mind the pilot! LOL). I am wonderfully surprised by the fact that the good looks translate so well to good flight. Oh and it doesn't hurt that this is a bird that I can almost go to the field with one flight battery. So far I've seen about 1 minute of power for 10 minutes of flight... remember, I'm a relative noob to thermalling. So someone with skills to read the air and trees and other voodoo stuff would probably stretch that out significantly!

Pros and Cons

Cons

There were really only three:
- Wing peg pushed in out of the box
- Motor mounting bolts were loose (I inspect this on all my planes anyway)
- Motor bell/shaft rubbing on the firewall spacer

These were all very easy to fix and none would I consider show stoppers.

Pros

The positives in my mind are not limited to this list, but here's a few:
- Very nice looks and finishing
- Durable fuse and wing mounts
- Well thought out servo placements
- Predrilled holes for wing servo mounts/covers
- Plug and play ... everything except for the receiver (includes battery and charger!!)
- Very slim and effective airfoil (non-technical lingo ;-) )
- Can be setup for 3 to 7 channels

Summary

Okay, yes, I love this plane! Hi, my name's Jason and I have a problem.... LOL. This plane is fantastic. I wouldn't necessarily hand it to a non-pilot, but it certainly makes novice gliders like me look better than we really are. It flies well, thermals almost on its own, and lands super easily. Over all it comes down to one question for me - would I recommend this to my friends? ABSOLUTELY!! It is such a nice bird to fly.

Cheers all!
J.
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Last edited by Jim T. Graham; Nov 20, 2013 at 12:20 PM.
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Old Nov 26, 2013, 10:25 AM
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United States, PA, Salunga-Landisville
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Great review and instructional videos! Thanks for creating and posting them. I have been looking for a servo tester, and wonder which one you used in the videos? Much appreciated, Gary
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Old Nov 26, 2013, 10:26 AM
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United States, PA, Salunga-Landisville
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By the way, your videos and review convinced me to buy one from Skip - Merry Christmas to me!
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Old Nov 26, 2013, 03:04 PM
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Canada, ON, London
Joined May 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghobs View Post
Great review and instructional videos! Thanks for creating and posting them. I have been looking for a servo tester, and wonder which one you used in the videos? Much appreciated, Gary
Hey Gary, here's the one that I have. It has a number of features to it including an RPM measuring function which I've tried, but found the LED (not LCD) display hard to read in the sun. It's a nice unit and works with both analog and digital servos. Not sure if it works for HV servos, but for the ones on this plane it works great ;-).

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...to_select.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghobs View Post
By the way, your videos and review convinced me to buy one from Skip - Merry Christmas to me!
Cool! I'm sure they'll be pleased ;-) I'm glad my review/work has been helpful. If you have any questions feel free to ping me here. Happy to help.

Cheers,
J
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Old Dec 01, 2013, 02:47 PM
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Joined Feb 2011
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How many degrees of flap throw we're you able to get??? And did you mix flaps to ailerons for more aileron authority??

Jerry in Chico
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Old Dec 01, 2013, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airman74 View Post
How many degrees of flap throw we're you able to get??? And did you mix flaps to ailerons for more aileron authority??

Jerry in Chico
Hey Jerry,

Just measured it and it looks to be about 20 degrees. Also, I did not mix flaps to ailerons. Really didn't find any lack of roll authority with just the ailerons. In fact, if you check out my maiden vids you'll notice that I was doing very tight turns and passing back and forth across the runway (was trying to let my buddy film it - in the end, the camera he was using stank so I yanked that footage ).

Anyway... all that to say that ailerons are already good as-is and flaps are fine for me. Though, I know I've read of some others in tighter quarters wanting more braking power. They modded the flaps in various ways, but I really didn't find it necessary.

Hope this helps... let me know if you have any other questions.

Cheers,
J
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Old Dec 01, 2013, 09:38 PM
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Wow!!! 20deg isn't much for us sailplane guys.. We preffer at least 60deg
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Old Dec 01, 2013, 09:58 PM
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Yeah... I know, but like I said, it was plenty slow for my field. I had no trouble bringing it in for a landing and was actually quite surprised at how short I landed it. I've flown other gliders in for a landing and had to go around for a second run at it. This one just took at most 150 ft ... of the groomed field (plus the ungroomed approach).

Anyway... it is possible to mod the flaps - either cut the skin and extend it a few mm or some have even flipped them over and rehinged them on the bottom. It's all about the way the hinges are made - if my memory serves me, they're "live" hinges made out of the covering. Very fluid and efficient for flight. The downside, yes, is the down travel is limited.

Still... not a big deal for this bird from my personal experiences.

Cheers,
J
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Old Dec 02, 2013, 09:08 PM
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Ok thanks,, this plane looks REALLY good for the money
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Old Dec 02, 2013, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Airman74 View Post
Ok thanks,, this plane looks REALLY good for the money
Yeah... I think you just hit on it. For what you get in this package I don't think you can go wrong... even if one feels the need to mod the flaps... it's definitely a beauty.

Cheers,
J
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Old Dec 06, 2013, 10:03 AM
Takeoff=Option Landing=Must
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USA, NY, Depew
Joined Jan 2009
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spoilers

I've been flying my raptor for couple of weeks. I like the plane, like the price even more.
First thing I did to it was to cut some material out of the flaps at the hinge to get more travel.

Goal was also to make it as light as possible.
So I didn't use any of the hardware, which came with the plane.
No extensions an any parts, all wires soldered and 4 pin Deans connectors one per wing.
Originally I was at 28oz with 1100mAh 3s pack.
I didn't have enough power with 2836 750kV Turnigy motor, so I went with 2836 1000kV, but at the same time I upped the ESC and added external BEC.

With those changes plane was at 30oz,

All good, but I needed the plane to slow down for landings.
I mean really slow down.
Crow is nice, but I was at the point when when roll rate was non existent anymore.
My answer to that was to add spoilers.
I have them on separate channels. It makes this glider 9 channel ship.
Radio is DX9, Right slider controls spoilers.
I tried them yesterday for the first time. Can't tell much because it was windy.
Today should be better test with only 5-7mph.
Another thing I will try is a mix of rudder to spoiler. Right now I have it set at 30%.
Rob
r2hobbies raptor spoilers (0 min 16 sec)
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Old Dec 06, 2013, 10:31 AM
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Nice work Rob! I love the checkerboard and diamond design on the spoilers. You'll have to post some vids when you get a chance of the flights.

Cheers,
J
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Old Dec 06, 2013, 05:37 PM
Takeoff=Option Landing=Must
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USA, NY, Depew
Joined Jan 2009
818 Posts
Just got back from flying 4 packs through the plane.
2 at lunch with winds up to 7 mph.
I could tell the difference how fast was loosing altitude with spoilers deployed.
Also lot more elevator compensation needed than what I had originally for spoilerons.

Real test was after work when wind died down to almost nothing.
Full flaps (about 60 deg) slows it down nice, but adding spoilers makes it elevator down. Big plus is full roll control till the end.

My mix of 30% rudder to spoiler was right on.

I am very happy with the results.
Now I need to practice spot landings.

Rob
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Old Dec 21, 2013, 08:47 AM
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Maiden complete - flight better than landing (snow)

Well, I finished my Raptor, and I love the way it flies! Fast under power, but floats very nicely even without camber adjustments. I have DX8 set up with 3 flight modes in sailplane programming. Throttle on stick only in FM1. Coordinated ailerons and flaps in all modes, etc. More choices than I can handle for now, and my first landing in the snow confirmed it. I haven't been able to program the ESC to brake, so I was fooled by the spinning prop - thought the motor was still engaged (but it shouldn't have been...) - by the time I figured it out, the Raptor had cartwheeled in and lost the tail feathers. Glued them back now, and am ready for flight #2. Will stick with FM1... if I can help myself.

OK, back from flight #2 - excellent! Climbs effortlessly, rolls and loops with ease, floats nicely, and this time the landing was smooth. Love this!

Got some programming and trimming changes to make, but all in all am very satisfied. Can't wait to get out for more!
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Last edited by ghobs; Dec 21, 2013 at 12:04 PM.
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Old Dec 21, 2013, 10:06 AM
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Gary, that's great! Glad the cartwheel didn't wreck too much ;-). Snow? Yeah, we had snow here too, but it's now been raining for a couple days and there's only a skiff left. I gotta get my 8ch rx into my plane!

Oh... and per the ESC if you want the ESC programming guide see the attachment below. I found it via another site... can't remember the link, but had it on my hard drive here. Hope it helps.

Happy flying! And Merry Christmas to all!
J
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