|Wing Area:||362" sq in (23.3 sq.dm)|
|Wing type:||Molded black EPP foam|
|AUW weight:||Advertised – 11-13oz (312-370gm) Actual - 10.8oz (306g)|
|Wing loading:||~4.3 oz/sq. ft.|
|Wind Range:||5-30mph with decent slope|
|Skill level:||Beginner to expert|
|Transmitter:||Spektrum DX7 (2 channel with mixing required)|
|Servos:||Blue Bird BMS-380 MG Servos|
|Battery:||Dream-Flight 4 Cell NiMh 750mAh Square|
|Dream-Flight:||Weasel evo Limited Edition|
Dream-Flight has produced a couple of amazing models intended for flight at the slope. They have unique offerings made from molded foam that include these bird-like slope models. The distinctive Alula and Weasel gliders are small, light and a total blast on the slope. Another nice touch is they are made here in the USA.
The limited-edition Weasel evo is made from strong, yet flexible EPP foam. Expanded Polypropylene foam (EPP) is something most of us are now very familiar with. It is light wight yet highly durable. That combination is very desirable for the typical treatment of slope gliders, harsh and abused. The Weasel evo flies wonderfully and since it is extremely durable you might find yourself being very bold.
The Weasel comes in a colorful, uniquely shaped box that contained the parts and hardware needed for assembly. This new, limited-edition version features a wing design with fully encapsulated carbon-fiber spars and the internally routed fiberglass joiner tube. This limited-edition version came molded using attractive black EPP foam!
The review package arrived in perfect condition. It was well packaged; double boxed and it contained the distinct blue box that enabled the Weasel to be re-packed into the shipping box for easy field transport!
Included for this review:
The Dream-Flight Weasel glider came in easy to assemble ARF form. Since it isEPP molded foam, the shaping work is all done for you. The kit includes a fiberglass wing joiner tube and all the necessary hardware to complete the kit. Most will find the Weasel can be built in a few hours.
The builder can choose the airframe that can be built; one piece for maximum durability or with a removable wing and fin that will allow it to remain collapsible for easy travel and storage. If you choose the removable wing, the attachment method uses neodymium magnets to securely lock the wing panels to the fuselage.
Done by the factory:
The builder needs to:
Construction, if you can call it that, starts with the fuselage. I used a fine tip marker to highlight the belly-pan trim line. It was easy to trim the the belly-pan with a pair of small, curved nail scissors to cut along the trim line.
The fuselage actually had short wing stubs that include molded holes to receive the servos which enables the servos to stay with the center section for those choosing the removable wing option. Servo wire routing is made easier by the fact the servos stay put in the center section. Disassembly does require you to disconnect the servo linkages from the elevon horns.
Dream-Flight recommends the use of metal gear servos for the Weasel. The abuse they are able to take is far superior to nylon gear servos, so I fully agree with that recommendation. Dream-flight provided the recommended BMS-380 metal gear servos. These servos fit perfectly in the molded servo bays.
The fin was easily attached and has a sub-fin that was molded as a part of the fuselage. No rudder control is used, recommended or needed on this model. The fin remains removable for box transporting of the model. It would have been nice to see a magnet attachment for the fin. This would allow it to pop off in those less than perfect or inverted landings.
The instructions show two methods for construction of the wing panels, one-piece or removable wing. While the Weasel is small I wanted to option of returning that to the box for ease of storage and transport. I figured the added 10 minutes of build was worth that option and it proved to be the better choice for durability. On those less than perfect landings the wing is able to slightly separate from the fuselage allowing for increased durability. I recommend you go with the two piece wing.
The two-piece method of wing attachment is simply brilliant. It uses powerful neodymium magnets that are perfectly recessed into molded holes. Magnet holes are in both the center fuselage section and the wing panels at both the leading and trailing edges. The included magnets are even marked with north and south indicators so you are assured successes when you followed the instructions.
The elevon surfaces were a snap to set up. I used a touch of yellow spray paint on the surfaces, as the Solite covering used is somewhat transparent. Now with a light spray of yellow paint on the elevlons and the yellow Solite provided a deeper yellow. The elevons for the Weasel evo Limited edition were factory-shapped and ready for installation. No cutting was necessary!
Another great feature is the trailing edge of the wing was beveled allowing proper deflection of the elevon control surfaces. This made installation a snap as it you did not need to bevel the control surface! The wing bevel allowed plenty of control authority.
The control horns were installed next. I appreciated the fact the elevons had the control horn pegs pre-drilled from the manufacturer. That made locating and installing the horns a breeze.
The linkages are made from fiberglass rods allowing plenty of rigidity, but they are lighter than wire. The clevis was glued permanently on the horn end and Dream-Works included a nifty quick release type clevis for the servo horn end. These allow the servo-end to release from the horns quickly for wing removal.
A 4-cell NiMh square pack was used to provide radio system power for this Limited Edition Weasel evo glider. The 4-cell pack was needed for nose weight. It tipped the scale right at 51g. This pack powered the model for many hours.
I used a VoltWatch from Hobbico to monitor the cell voltages while out at the field. Works great, and this showed the 4 cell 750mAh pack to be able to provide power for several hours of flight time.
As indicated, the black foam of the Weasel evo Limited Edition was a attractive change from the typical white foam. It, like the white, was very light and being EPP was super strong and flexible. This EPP foam was also easy to fix on those inevitable slope mishaps. The foam did have the typical vent bumps from the molding process. Use of a Dremel tool and round stone had all those tiny bumps gone! Likewise, some 220 grit sandpaper could easily be used to sand those flush. While this step is certainly not essential, I was pleased with the results.
I just somehow thought the limited edition Weasel evo in all black looked like something out of the lair of the Dark Knight. So the Batman logo on the fin, made a great addition to the black and yellow finish.
High contrasting finish on the bottom is very welcome for orientation, thus the added black/yellow checkers on the bottom!
The CG was specified and very easy to locate with two molded dimples on the center section of the Weasel. This was an especially critical step with the Weasel as it must be balanced properly to fly. As would be expected of a delta type flying wing, a bit of additional nose weight was necessary. The mold marks were a welcome addition making balancing very easy. The recommended CG was an excellent starting point for the Weasel test flights. CG is very much a pilot preference so adjust at will, however I recommend very small changes.
With the recommended 4 cell AAA NiMh 750mAh pack this Weasel evo needed about 6-7g of weight in front of the battery pack for proper CG.
The Spektrum DX7 was used for the Weasel as the AR6100 end-plug receiver fit well, and was very light. Rates and starting exponential values were all recommended in the manual. I used the those recommendations setting the elevator to 4mm/8mm and the ailerons at 10mm/18mm. Expo was set at the recommended 20% low rates and 60% high rates.
The manual recommended rates were perfect for the test flights, do not deviate! I found that pitch on low rates was just a tad light for my tastes so I added a touch more pitch control movement on low rates. Roll control authority was perfect for me. Control surface throws are a very much a personal preference, adjust yours at will.
The flight timer was set to count up from zero to measure flight times.
The manual specifies the set up and procedures for initial flight tests. These tests are all done away from the slope to assure CG is correct for first flights. I recommend following them to the letter, it enabled me to get my Weasel setup perfectly for those first slope flights.
Test flights were conducted off a small hill surrounding the lake in our neighborhood. This gentle, tall grass slope was perfect for my first flights and testing. I picked a nice breezy day, just so the Weasel would feel at home. My elevons needed adjustment for neutral but that was a quick task with the included hardware and easy screw adjustments.
I found the CG was just a touch forward, and moved mine back about 1-2mm. Make very slight adjustments to CG or you could have a nasty surprise. Using the recommended 4 cell NiMh pack I found about 6g of weight in front of the battery was needed. This was excellent considering the Weasel is a flying wing and they all tend to be very tail heavy.
My buddy Doug Cohen snapped some pics, while the day was gray and overcast the flying in lights winds was great!
For those wondering, and others who have actually been to the Dallas/Ft. Worth Texas area will understand slopes are in indeed in thin supply. However one of the local gliding groups found a refuse facility that has some nice great big piles of trash. While it does not sound appetizing I can assure you the trash was well covered with dirt and has been over-seeded for erosion control. It actually made a superb site. So with authorization from the refuse site we had a lovely hill for sloping! This was a great find in our relatively flat land here.
So off to Mt. Trashmore for some real sloping flights. This site does need a good breeze for decent lift, but the Weasel did well in a variety of slope and wind conditions. With an AUW of under 11oz there is no question that it will fly in light lift.
I found the Weasel evo was extremely easy to self launch, in fact little more than a toss is needed to get this slope ship airborne. With the fuselage extending below the wing you can hold it right at the CG or further forward if you wish. Although a light toss is all that is needed, it was easy to give a monster javelin type toss too, in order to get a nice zoom off the launch.
In flight the Weasel evo tracks as if it was mounted on rails. It was very easy to fly with light control inputs. It handles winds up to 30mph maybe even more, with some ballast. And importantly it will also fly with light winds depending on slope conditions. If you have very light wind or small slope, you should take a look at the Alula from Dream-Flight as well.
Top speed was very good considering the light finished weight for this ship. It remains responsive and crisp when flying at all speed ranges. I was very pleased to find it moves out really well!
Landings were easy and uneventful. It slowed remarkably well and shows no sign of bad behavior. You can see with a decent slope breeze the Weasel will easily crawl in. It was also easy to hover near the lip of the slope and reach out and just pluck the Weasel out of the air! A fun trick to impress your friends.
With the hallow fiberglass wing tube and the molded bay in the bottom of the Weasel fuselage you have a couple of nifty ballast options.
With a trip to the local hardware store, you can easily find metal rods, or long bolts that can slide right inside the hallow wing tube. Assure you use a balsa or wood plug for each end of the wing tube to assure the weight stays centered in the tube.
Another perhaps easier option was use of the factory molded ballast area. I used lead fishing weights and a piece of packing tape to cover and complete my ballast system. Old car tire balancing weights would work well also.
I have successfully flown the un-ballasted Weasel evo in 10+mph winds on our gentle slope. I have added about 2 ounces (57g) was as much as I have added to the Weasel. Even with the howling on Mt. Trashmore I have not needed more weight than that. With a 4.3-5.4oz/g wing loading I have flown the Weasel with winds ranging from 10mph all the way to 25+mph.
As a guy new to the slopes it was amazing to throw your prized ship off the lip of a slope and see what happens. I have learned a great deal in a short time, but more importantly I can say slope gliding is some of the best RC flying I have ever done. It was an amazing feeling to throw your Weasel evo off the lip when you are getting blown around by the wind perhaps even finding it hard to stand up! Suffice it to say the Weasel is very comfortable in a wide array of slope and wind settings.
The Weasel was also fully capable of any pitch, roll aerobatic maneuvers. Inverted flight was also easy with the Weasel evo if you are the adventuresome type.
The rates recommended in the manual work well, be careful not to get too much throw it may not always deliver the desired results. I can say with in with high rates switched on and proper exponential rates it was a total kick in the pants, yet still remains controllable.
The plane stalls very predictably for a glider with a light 4-6 in/oz wing loading. Recovery from stall was very quick and assured, easy to return to controlled flight. The Weasel was just a pure joy in flight.
The Dream-Flight Weasel evo is perfect for slope pilots who want to have some aerobatic fun. It was very forgiving on lower rates and really kicks up the action while set to high rates. I and new to the slope and had no difficulty flying this plane. It is one for all slope experience levels. With the EPP foam it will be very easy to repair and it offered stellar flight performance, including wild slope aerobatics.
As you can tell the Weasel performs remarkably well, a total blast to fly. I have never posted this many videos on an aircraft review, but everyone was having a blast with the Weasel and they would not give me my transmitter back. So I just shot more video! Thanks to Wendell, Doug and Sondra for video, in-flight pictures and flying!
When first opening the box it was clear that Dream-Flight had put a great deal of time and thought into this Limited Edition Weasel evo slope glider. The EPP foam is very strong, yet has a give to it that lends itself perfectly for the rigors of slope gliding and less than perfectly manicured landing areas.
Assembly of the Weasel was lightning quick and completely straightforward. The instructions were detailed and written for a first time builder. The builder has a couple of building options, including a non-removable wing and another option for removable wings. For review purposes I choose the removable wing option and must admit with a few less than perfect landings the magnet method of securing the wing allows some give when a wing tip hits first. I recommend that method, and it really only adds a few steps to construction.
The Blue-Bird BMS-380MG metal gear servos are monsters. They provided great centering and supreme durability, something needed again with the rigors of slope flying.
It is generally very difficult to balance flying wing models, however I was thrilled when the Weasel required very little nose weight. The 4 cell NiMh 750mAh battery provided most of the weight needed for the Weasel and I found about 6g more weight was needed for my preferred CG. My CG is about 1-2mm behind the recommended starting point. Impressive that this flying wing needed so little nose weight, showing the attention to detail in design of this impressive glider.
Launching the Weasel evo was superbly easy with the fuselage extending below the wing. That enabled anything from a gentle toss to a monster javelin type launch.
It was remarkable how well the 11oz Weasel can handle the winds of the our slope. But have no fear if you need more wind penetration the factory molded ballast cup and wing tube offered the ability to add a great deal of ballast. On my slope I have found little need for more than about 2 ounces (57g) even when faced with ~25mph howling winds.
The Weasel evo offered positive, solid control at all speeds, slow to fast. With the light wing loading it lands with almost zero forward speed. It was in fact fairly easy to grab the Weasel out of the air while flying right next to you!
Acrobatics was where the Weasel really comes to life, setting itself apart. On high rates it was very response and highly aerobatic. Anything you are brave enough to try are well within the ability of the Weasel.
The EPP foam was very easy to repair for those less than perfect landings or aerobatics that look a touch more altitude than you had.
The limited-edition black foam looks simply fantastic and will offer many great unique finishing choices. As you can see the Dark Knight just screamed out at me!
The Dream-Flight limited-edition Weasel evo slope glider proves itself more than capable on the slopes. It was a blast to fly and it looked amazing. I highly recommend the Weasel, although I will warn you the slope bug is hard to get rid of!
|Jan 16, 2011, 05:40 PM|
|Jan 17, 2011, 12:20 AM|
Without talking to Michael first, I am pretty sure these are sold out. Our LHS Dave's central hobbies had a couple on their shelves last fall. They were gone by the time I heard they were around a couple weeks later, unless something has changed of course. I had Dave's give Michael a call on friday, My weasel is getting a little loose. I think its time to turn it into a heavy day special if these are around, or get a fresh one either way
|Jan 19, 2011, 09:36 PM|
United States, TX, The Woodlands
Joined Aug 2009
I just checked the Dream-Flight website and the Weasel is out of stock! Any idea when the limited edition will be available?
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