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Electrifly Flylite Slow Flyer EP ARF 35" Review

The Electrifly FlyLite is a beginner aircraft that uses rudder and elevator for control and has a wing loading near 4.0 oz./sq. ft.

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:35 in. / 890mm
Wing Area:261 sq. in. / 16.8dm. sq.
Weight:7.2 - 8oz. / 205-225g
Length:29.5 in. / 750mm
Wing Loading:4.0 – 4.4oz/sq. ft. / 12 – 13 g/sq. dm.
Servos:ES-40 Pico
Transmitter:Futaba 9 Cap Super with TM-7 2.4 GHz Module
Receiver:Futaba R6004FF 2.4 GHz
Battery:Electrifly BP 300 7.4v 20c LiPo
Motor:Rimfire 250
ESC:Electrifly Silver Series 8 amp brushless
Typical Flight Duration:6 - 8 minutes
Manual:Manual
Spare Parts:Parts
Manufacturer:Electrifly
Available From:Tower Hobbies or your Local Hobby Shop
Price:$59.99

Indoor flying is gaining in popularity, but, reality dictates that most of my flying occurs in the great outdoor. Nonetheless, I like the option of doing both. With Electrifly’s FlyLite, the newest indoor/outdoor flyer in Electrifly’s lineup, you can do both. The super light FlyLite is a molded AeroCell foam fuselage with hardened Pro-Formance wing and tail.

Kit Contents

There is no glue required to build the FlyLite and total build time is about an hour. The wing is held in place with rubber bands, while the tail is held secure with magnets.

Kit Includes:

  • Painted foam fuselage with installed linkages (GPMA2581)
  • One-piece wing (GPMA2581)
  • landing main gear (GPMA2584)and steerable tail wheel (GPMA2583)
  • Rubber Bands and accessories (GPMA2587)
  • 8 x 6 Prop (GPMA6610)

Kit Requires:

  • Rimfire 250 outrunner (GPMG4502) $37.99
  • 2 - ES40 Pico Servos (GPMM1200) ($12.99ea.)
  • Silver Series 8 amp Brushless ESC (GPMM1800) $32.99
  • BP300 7.4V 20c LiPo (LXTSR6) $12.99
  • Futaba R6004FF 2.4 GHz Receiver (FUTL7624) $49.99
  • Consider having some prop-saver O-Rings (GPMG1405)
  • Lipo charger
  • Stick-on Weights (GPMQ4485)

Assembly

The FlyLite is an RTF model. It requires no glue, and the build is a process of very simple steps that gets the plane into the air very quickly. The basic design is very repairable, and all the necessary parts are readily available. The instructions suggest using foam safe CA for all gluing with the FlyLite.

Wing

The wing is complete but comes ready to fly for indoor flying. A secondary wing root support is supplied for flying outdoor or for more aggressive maneuvers indoors. In the primary indoor version some rubber band protectors are provided to keep the bands from gouging the wings.

Take your time and follow the directions when installing the wing support: The adhesive is strong and will grab the foam wing making it hard to remove if you don’t get it aligned properly.

The wing also requires a strip of fiber reinforcement tape on the underside. A paper template is supplied and must be cut out before using to mark the wings. The support tape goes right down the center of the CG, and the ¾ inch tape width also becomes CG range. If you will be really pushing the limits of the FlyLite use two strips of tape on either side of the CG marks.

Fuselage

The fuselage has but one real build component: the motor. I really like the method provided to attach the motor back into the cowling. It's something to remember for other tight space installations.

I checked the Rimfire motor for its configuration. It uses an O-Ring prop retainer so I made sure the motor shaft extended forward.

I took one of the small pieces of mounting paper provided and slipped the screw into the motor mount and then the screw through the paper to hold the screws as I placed the motor onto the firewall. I took the motor wires and attached them to the ESC. I made sure the motor was spinning in the right direction before I buttoned them up tightly.

The main landing gear slips into place swept forward. The battery resides in the upper compartment directly behind the firewall. This location is necessary for CG.

Tail

Before you install either the horizontal or vertical stabilizer flex the rudder and elevator several times until the movement is loose.

The tail wheel has to be installed with the tail. I centered the horizontal stabilizer over the opening, making sure to have the linkage hooked up too. The vertical stabilizer slips down and into the slot on the horizontal stabilizer. As it is slipped into place, the tail wheel mount joins to the rudder. A magnet holds it all in place. It's a very good design.

When you get everything in place, reset the tail wheel to align with the rudder if it is off.

Radio Installation

Servos mount in the fuselage on a servo tray. I hardened the hole before setting the servo screw in the wood with CA. The linkages connect to the rudder and elevator. I always center my servos from the radio and receiver. Note that you may have to reverse the servo arm to achieve a centered location.

For both servo arms, I removed the furthest outside hole. I trimmed the arm and mounted it to the servo. Notice you are not trying to center the servo arm with the body of the servo but rather with the linkage to achieve a 90 degree angle between the servo arm and the linkage. I really like using screw-lock connectors. I can get pretty accurate setting on the control surfaces without bending the linkage.

The Futaba R6004FF receiver has very short antennae so there's no need to worry about placement. I attached it to the fuselage side wall with double stick tape.

I used a TM-7 Futaba GHz module for this project so I could also keep using my Futaba 9cap super. It was perfect and really a great way to keep my old trusty 9cap working. I have all the functionality of the 9cap even though I am flying a very simple three channel aircraft. Binding was very simple.

Completion

If you installed the wing support you will likely need from 14 to 21 grams of weight forward for the CG. I put my battery as far forward as possible and then slipped 21 grams behind the firewall within the battery compartment. In the wind outdoors, the extra weight is handy and gives the FlyLite a little more wind penetration. You could also go up a step with the battery for weight and flight duration.

For reference, you might check your CG before you install the wing support to the wing. You can always purchase a second set of wings for about $20 and have a one for indoor flying and one for outdoor flying.

Flying

I needed 21 grams behind the firewall to compensate for the FlyLite being tail heavy using the wing support flight setup.

Basics

Keep in mind the FlyLite is an AMA legal aircraft for park flying and meets the park Pilot program for planes under two pounds and slower than 60MPH. This is a plane built to fly slow and allow the pilot to keep up with the plane movement and react with plenty of time. It can build some speed, not enough to worry with outdoors, but indoors things like basketball goals and walls can come up pretty quickly. The turning radius is tight when you kick in the dual rates.

Control throws (within 1/8”)

  • Elevator – High Rate ¾” up and down – Low Rate ½” up and down
  • Expo – High rate 40% - Low Rate 30%
  • Rudder – High Rate 1-1/4” right and left – Low Rate ¾” right and left
  • Expo – High Rate 40% - Low Rate 40%

Taking Off and Landing

The ground roll is minimal, and it does just fine off short grass. It will lift into the air quickly and climbs very well. While the tail wheel is functional, the liftoff is so quick there is little time to use that control. On a smooth gym floor the tendency to prop torque to the right is more pronounced. I found the best method off a smooth surface is to hit the throttle quickly and you lift off in just a few feet. I like the functionality of the tail wheel for moving around on the ground.

Landing is equally short. The FlyLite can get so slow it will spot land. Slow seed control is good. With a 4.0 oz./sq/ft wing loading you don't get much in the way of stalls. Keeping the FlyLite lined up with the wind is a must (in the video I was flying with a crosswind). On many landings, the wind just tipped the plane over even after I had come to a stop.

Indoors, landings are easy and again the ability to control your FlyLite on the ground is a plus.

You can also fly just fine without the main gear, just be sure to adjust the CG. Hand launching is easy and never presents any initial control problems.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

The FlyLite can roll and loop, but you need a pretty good high rate to stay inverted. It will fly inverted even though it fights the dihedral to right itself. The rolls can be big, so have plenty of altitude or dial up the high rates and get used to putting in some down elevator once inverted. The loops are correlated with the dual rates. I would try the maneuvers outdoors before going indoors to gain some understanding of how much room you need to operate.

This is a design for indoors, but please do not let that keep you from flying on calm days in your local park or even backyard. I have flown the FlyLite in as much a 6-8MPH winds and it does fine. It does take some quicker control, but there is plenty of power to penetrate the wind and bring the FlyLite upwind. In less winds it flies just fine. Into the wind the landings are really a hover and stop.

I have to say the range in speed is pretty good. Slow flight into a slight wind is almost a hover, but full throttle downwind is notable. You can fly across the entire throttle range with little chance for a critical stall. The wing loading is contributory to some wonderful flying character.

I liked pushing what I could do in the wind. When wind is present you can glide the FlyLite very well and extend your flight times well beyond 10 minutes!

Indoor flying is relative to the space you have. I fly indoors across four tennis courts. It would seem to be plenty of room, but the FlyLite can move along pretty fast. It seems big as well indoors compared to many of the other planes I have flown and watched flying indoors. As mentioned above, know how much space you need to do indoor aerobatics. If you have a large indoor arena then by all means full-out aerobatics are possible, but lower the ceiling a bit and you might run out of room in loops and rudder barrel rolls.

Is This For a Beginner?

The FlyLite has many beginner qualities: fairly slow flight and controllability, repairs are simple, it is easy to build, has good flight durations, is truly a park flyer or indoor flyer, and it is quiet. I like that it is portable and just downright easy to fly.

This is a fun plane to fly, and for all of you seasoned pilots, this would be a great indoor flyer or a portable flyer for everyday lunchtime flying.

The durability factor should be mentioned here since in my first 20 seconds of indoor flight another flyer flew into me and took a chunk out of my wing. We both stayed in the air, and I flew all evening with no problems other than a battle scar.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

If you are considering getting into RC, give the FlyLite a try. It does fly great indoors and outside so you get a good versatile plane.

Good:

  • Easy to build
  • Durability
  • Designed as a beginning trainer with three channels

Not-so-good

  • Once you install the wing support there is no going back
Last edited by Angela H; Mar 23, 2010 at 09:49 AM..

Discussion

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Old Mar 22, 2010, 12:40 PM
Why yes, I am an R/C addict!
flyrcehelis's Avatar
About 15 miles from Bristow, OK
Joined May 2009
650 Posts
That little plane is as cute as can be!
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Old Mar 22, 2010, 02:37 PM
More Altitude, Less Attitude!
chickenwing's Avatar
United States, SC, Ninety Six
Joined Mar 2008
547 Posts
I got one last week. It flies very well. Fun and relaxing.

.
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Old Mar 22, 2010, 02:44 PM
Dr. Dave
USA
Joined Nov 2005
1,319 Posts
Comments while I had it indoors were it could be pretty fast. No problem when airspace is clear, but when busy, it can go pretty good. Overall a good little inexpensive flyer. Wish it has ailerons, but I bet someone will figure that out.
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Old Mar 22, 2010, 03:00 PM
More Altitude, Less Attitude!
chickenwing's Avatar
United States, SC, Ninety Six
Joined Mar 2008
547 Posts
Would it be worth it to get an extra wing to use without the doubler and added nose weight for indoor flight? What kind of difference would it make for indoor performance?
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Old Mar 22, 2010, 05:23 PM
WARNING: May contain spam
Xpress..'s Avatar
United States, CA, Alpine
Joined Oct 2007
21,001 Posts
Nice review!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chickenwing View Post
Would it be worth it to get an extra wing to use without the doubler and added nose weight for indoor flight? What kind of difference would it make for indoor performance?
If you're confident flying indoors, then you won't have any problems. They were flying one inside the AMA convention flightline setup 100% per manual. If you've been to the AMA convention in ontario CA, then you'll know it's quite a small place
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Old Mar 22, 2010, 09:17 PM
"On the Wing"
paulo810's Avatar
Ohio
Joined Jul 2006
757 Posts
Looks like a commercial version of the Blu-Baby!

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=681556
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Old Mar 22, 2010, 10:19 PM
Registered User
Brentwood,TN
Joined Mar 2001
489 Posts
Lead added to flylite?

I think one of the cons to this plane is adding a chunck of lead to the "flylite" I mean "flylead". Perhaps this is a poor design? When I am trying to lighten the plane for slowfly, I prefer to lighten the tail versus adding lead. Nice try electrifly. Not a bad looking plane though.
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Old Mar 22, 2010, 10:28 PM
Registered User
jb&theboys's Avatar
Canada, MB, Winnipeg
Joined Jan 2007
28 Posts
I have one of these and it fly great but use the lightest servos and gear you can find and push everything a far forward as possible. Maybe even a little bit heavier motor like a Blue wonder or some kind of a 300 size to help with the cg, I used a eflite 250 and had to add weight. It great little plane for those calm days for just putting around, I love doing touch and goes with it
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 06:24 AM
Dr. Dave
USA
Joined Nov 2005
1,319 Posts
I can not confirm that the indoor wing will eliminate the need for the weight forward lead. I have to agree the design seems suspect when almost 10% of the total weight is added in lead. Perhaps a heavier motor is your only choice instead of lead. For outdoor flying the lead is helpful if any wind is present. Indoors you need some space.

Just a word or two on indoor flying. Not all indoor sites are the same. So to call anything an indoor flyers should also have a caveat that size maters. I fly in both a single court gym and the four tennis courts. Really the gym is not big enough. You are almost always in a turn it seems. The tennis courts are longer, but a low ceiling with many, many lights hanging down. The micro flyers work well there. As well it helps to know that everyone flying is one the same page. One night I had a guy doing 3D (The one that hit me) on one court so basically we had three courts to fly on until some heli guys started flying on the other end thus creating a two-court airspace. I can't imagine the horror of hitting some guy's large heli with retracts with my little Flylite.
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 08:36 AM
More Altitude, Less Attitude!
chickenwing's Avatar
United States, SC, Ninety Six
Joined Mar 2008
547 Posts
A heavier motor would do it, but the 250 seem plenty powerful for this model. Maybe using a heavier battery is a good solution. Someone in a different thread said he was using a 600mAh battery and it balanced perfectly and was giving him 20 minute flights. At least the additional weight would be put to good use. I am using an E-flite 7.4V 430mAh battery and still had to add about 10g to get the CG in a favorable location. Without the weight, it would fly but was very twitchy with any rudder input and would nose up into a slight breeze. Once the CG was corrected, it flew very well. I may try a larger battery and lose the added weights.
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 10:17 AM
Why yes, I am an R/C addict!
flyrcehelis's Avatar
About 15 miles from Bristow, OK
Joined May 2009
650 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulo810 View Post
Looks like a commercial version of the Blu-Baby!

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=681556
That's what I thought. An Oshkosh Special too kinda.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1040899
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Last edited by flyrcehelis; Mar 31, 2010 at 11:16 AM.
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 10:28 AM
Why yes, I am an R/C addict!
flyrcehelis's Avatar
About 15 miles from Bristow, OK
Joined May 2009
650 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyrcehelis View Post
That's what I though. An Oshkosh Special too kinda.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1040899
Although, in retrospect, it is, in essence, a BluBaby.
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 03:01 PM
Dr. Dave
USA
Joined Nov 2005
1,319 Posts
There is room for a thicker battery. Maybe a 640 mAh
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Old Mar 29, 2010, 09:12 PM
Registered User
United States, IL, Peoria
Joined May 2003
810 Posts
I am running a Thunderpower 2 cell 910 to get the weight forward and a Python 60 motor just to get it to balance. It is pretty but twitchy-something not right-going to play with wing incidence to see if I can take out the twitch. Flew it at E-Fest OK-even looped it. no rolls - they are huge and barrel-y. Servo tray is fitted for their servo's-had to cut it to fit my little JR SM8s (too wide). Like the magnetic tail. Hate the wing joiner/stiffener-glue keeps coming up in front.
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