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PlaneAdrenalinRC P-51 Voodoo Reno Racer Speed Trainer Review

If you just can't drive 55, PlaneAdrenalinRC's Voodoo Speed Trainer can help ease you into high speed electric RC

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Wing span: 39.5 (1000mm)
Length: 34.5 in (880mm)
Weight: 24 oz (680g)
Battery: 3S or 4S 2200mAh lipo
Motor: 2418-8 1100kv
ESC: Hobbywing 60 Amp
Distributed by: PlaneAdrenalinRC
Price: $249.95

The male gender dominates the ranks of those who are electric powered RC enthusiasts. I think I am pretty accurate in making this assertion, if for no other reason than I can count the number of female pilots that I have encountered in the last decade of my involvement in this hobby on the fingers of one hand. In fact, I can add in the decade that I spent immersed in the hobby back in the 80's and still have spare digits left on one hand. Having said that, it is all too common to see electric RC pilots bitten by the desire to go fast, and then faster still, and then faster than any other man has dared to go! It must be a machismo thing (except for the part about dominating women that is). Qualities like strength, courage, aggressiveness, and an attitude of "No Fear" often find fellow pilots cramming larger and faster power system components into their favorite ARFs. The intent? SPEED! The potential trouble with these qualities is that most of them will get you into trouble unless they are rooted in intelligence, experience, and wisdom, with a dash of good old common sense thrown in for good measure.

Do you want to go fast? Do you want to do it without burning up motors or speed controllers and puffing your poor lipo packs due to mismatched and poorly engineered power systems? The adage goes "Speed Kills" and even our cute little RC "toy planes" can attain speeds that can transform them into deadly projectiles. Enter PlaneAdrenalinRC. The PARC boys can help you ease into SPEED gradually, which is undeniably analogous to safely, and without letting one single puff of magic smoke out of any of your power system components. PARC takes an everyday, ordinary World Models P-51 Voodoo Reno Racer EP kit, adds in a modestly priced yet powerful brushless outrunner motor, quality Pentium 60 amp electronic speed controller and a pair of APC E series props and creates a purpose engineered "speed trainer". The PlaneAdrenalinRC p-51 Voodoo Speed Trainer can be flown initially on a 3S pack, as a first step of sorts towards tasting a little speed (70-80 MPH range). Once you are comfortable bombing around the skies on that set-up, re-prop, add another cell to the 3S pack and instantly step it up another notch as you flirt with nearly triple digit speeds! And all without needing to buy any additional components. AND, this model includes the versatility of retractable main gear (mechanical). ROG or hand launch with a belly landing in grass for a finale, this model can perform them both with ease. So, are you a MAN?! Of course you are! But, are you an intelligent man ... one who uses gray matter as his ultimate strength and power? Read on to see if you agree that this entire "speed trainer" concept just makes good sense.

Kit Contents

Have you ever gotten the distinct feeling that somebody has already had their grubbies into the product box before you bought it? In the case of the PARC Voodoo, you will have that feeling. But in a good way. Chet and company add all the go-fast goodies to the standard World Models P-51 Voodoo kit and pre-drill the four mounting holes for the motor standoffs. The attention that they devote to each Voodoo before sending it on to the end user transforms this kit from a mere ARF to more of a RTF, meaning that all you need to provide are a radio system and flight lipo(s). World Models packs the hardware and control miscellanies into individual, labeled bags. Each bag has an identifying number that is referenced in the assembly instructions. While the World Models kits have a certain "first generation" ARF feel to them, they are commendably complete kits and very well assembled by their factory workers. The built up balsa and light ply components are covered in their own brand of iron-on covering, brand named LighTex.




In The Box:

  • Fuselage, with removable foredeck hatch
  • Wing halves
  • Horizontal stabilizer, with elevator halves
  • Vertical stabilizer, with rudder
  • Fiberglass cowl and canopy/turtle deck
  • Retractable landing gear (mechanical)
  • Tail wheel assembly
  • 23 page color photo-illustrated assembly manual (PDF)
  • Decal sheet
  • Hobby Wing Pentium 60 ESC with BEC
  • BL 2814/8 1100Kv brushless outrunner
  • Hextronic HXT900 9g servos (4)
  • NoLab D202g Digital Metal Gear servo (1)
  • Servo Y connector cable (1)
  • APC E Series 9x7.5 (4S) and 10x7 (3S) props (1 of each)
  • All required assembly hardware, clevises and control horns




The Voodoo scheme uses a selection of several bright, almost neon colors. The components that PARC has selected for the brushless power system and servos are some of my personal favorite brands, items that are known to offer a solid value without breaking the bank. I have been using Pentium ESC's and Hextronics HXT900 9G servos for years and they are both excellent, dependable products. The P-51 Voodoo EP fuselage features a removable, latching hatch on the foredeck, which serves as a perfect way to access the flight battery compartment. The kit includes a fiberglass cowl and canopy/turtle deck, both painted to match the predominant purple color of the Voodoo scheme. Mechanical retracts are pre-installed in the wing.






Required for Completion:

  • Minimum five channel radio system
  • 3S 1800-2200mAh lipo, 4S 1800-2200Mah lipo

Assembly

PlaneAdrenalinRC has revamped and embellished the original assembly instructions, creating a new color PDF document complete with pertinent photographs illustrating the steps required to ready your speed trainer for flight. I am normally a stickler for pre-reading the assembly manual and then adhering as closely as possible to it as I make my way through a build. I did not receive a paper assembly manual in the box and forgot to hit Chet up for the PDF version that they prepare for their kits. I did poke around on the World Models web site and downloaded one of several PDFs that they have available online for this model. Assembly is very traditional and straightforward. The fact that I was able to assemble this PARC modified kit is somewhat of a testament to how easy it is to build this kit, high performance upgrades notwithstanding. PlaneAdrenalinRC will email a copy of their color PDF assembly manual after the sale is consummated.

Wing

Wing assembly is short and sweet, mainly consisting of installation of the two aileron servos. World Models includes these cool little plastic servo mounting towers. These little mounts are attached to the plastic aileron servo mounting plates, which then in turn mount to the wings. PARC recommends gluing the servos (HXT900) directly to the aileron servo mounting plates, mainly because the HXT900 servos are a little on the large size to use the plastic tower mounts. The penalty that I paid for deviating from their suggested method was that I had to enlarge the servo horn cutouts in the plastic aileron servo mounting plates. I used a beauty supply emery board to make very short work of this task. Mount the servos as is illustrated in the PARC assembly PDF and you will not need to enlarge the servo horn cutouts as much, if at all. I did supplement the aileron servo mounting method that I used by oozing a little hot glue in and around the two servos. The aileron control rods, once assembled, are short and sturdy. The aileron hinges are CA style.






PARC includes a single digital, metal gear servo for driving the main gear mechanical retracts. Before you go to the trouble of installing it, a decision may need to be made. Will you primarily fly your speed trainer from a grassy field or a paved strip? If the former, it may be best to remove the pre-installed mechanical retracts and cover over the slots with some comparably colored yellow covering. Doing so relegates your Voodoo to being a hand launched, belly landed variant. Not to fear, for the PARC Voodoo is easily hand launched and belly landed when using either the 3S or 4S lipos. If you have access to a paved airstrip, you may decide to leave the gear in and perform traditional ROG style takeoffs and landings. Another option worth considering is doing as Jon did! I left the gear in and have been performing BOTH styles of take offs and landings (more on that below). Installing the little digital retract servo is a little tricky, if only because of the limited space to work in. The mechanical gear actuating push rods have a z bend pre-bent into the servo end of the wire. EZ link style connectors are mounted to a properly sized servo horn, with the end of the twin actuating wires getting inserted into these connectors.

It is easiest to get the retracts dialed in and operating smoothly while you are performing the installation of the servo. It took me 20-40 minutes but at the end of the exercise, I had my mechanical retracts operating smoothly and locking at both ends. World Models includes main gear door/strut covers of a sort. I used a little CA to glue the plastic U channels that hold these doors in place to the back side of the gear doors. Once I was sure that the CA had properly set, I used a piece of Blenderm tape as a secondary security measure. The wing attaches to the fuselage by inserting a protruding wooden crutch on it's leading edge into a notch cut into a fuselage former and then pressing the rear of the wing in place and securing it with two small nylon machine screws.



Fuselage



There is little work involved getting the fuselage prepped for flight. Install two Hextronik HXT900 servos in the servo tray, for rudder and elevator, and then connect up the push rods. The outer push rod tubes are pre-installed. The inner metal push rods can be inserted into these tubes from the inside of the fuselage. Pushing them gently through until they contact the place where the covering blocks their exit from the inside of the fuselage is an easy way to determine where you need to make a small incision to allow them to penetrate. The fiberglass canopy/turtle deck is installed atop the fuselage using a series of small screws. It is best to harden the holes with a drop or two of CA. No pilot was provided with the kit and I found no plastic people currently without a ride in my hangar's roster. My Voodoo would thus be an unmanned, high speed drone of sorts! PlaneAdrenalinRC suggests that a round cooling air entry hole be cut into the bottom of the fuselage, forward of the leading edge of the wing.


Tail

Installation of the solid balsa vertical and horizontal stabilizers follows tried and true conventional assembly techniques. Dry assembly is used to check for good fit and alignment. A marker is used to delineate which covering stays and which must go. My tail pieces merged nicely and required no sanding to correct misalignment problems. CA is the recommended means of making these a permanent part of the fuselage.



The twin elevator halves are joined by a small plastic joiner/control horn. Though it seemed a might bit flimsy, I had used the same exact method on the first PARC World Models Mustang that I reviewed and it proved itself very dependably capable of enduring blistering fast speeds without causing any control problems. The empennage control surfaces are attached using CA style hinges. The included tail wheel assembly is quite lightweight and basic in design but it goes together quickly and easily.

Power System Installation

PARC includes the mounting hardware for their 2418-8 1100kv brushless outrunner. They have also taken the guesswork out of properly locating it on the firewall by pre-drilling the four mounting holes for you. Getting the four standoffs mounted to the firewall can be a little tricky but using a pair of hemostats to delicately insert the four screws though the holes from the inside of the fuselage greatly lessens the frustration factor. And do not forget the thread locking compound! A collet style prop mount is included with the motor but the shaft on this piece is not long enough to permit using the included spinner, due to the added thickness of the metal spinner back plate. I have been informed that they will source a longer prop adapter for future kits. I resorted to using an aluminum spinner nut, although the plastic spinner would undeniably clean up the front end of the Voodoo and improve airflow and aesthetics. The Pentium 60 ESC gets installed just behind the firewall. I left mine "floating" in this open space, not anchoring it to anything inside the fuselage.




Completion

Final assembly steps include mounting the cowl to the fuselage. The cowl has a non-typical 45 degree bias cut edge along its rear sides. It takes a few moments of careful positioning to get it right. I put the metal spinner back plate and collet style prop mount on the motor shaft to aid in getting the cowl properly situated. I thought it best to get the front of the cowl aligned with the spinner back plate. Once you have this dialed in, four mounting holes can be drilled. Due to the relative softness of the fuselage, use CA to harden these holes. Though most of the graphics are factory applied, there is a small supplemental sheet included in the box. PARC provides recommended control throws and exponential, although the latter can be a little more subjective for each pilot. The recommended center of gravity is 80mm aft of the leading edge of the wing. There is enough room longitudinally in the battery compartment that this CG should be easily attained by shifting the flight battery forward and aft. PARC mentions that it may be necessary to modify the battery hatch in order to get the necessary clearance for a 4S 2200mAh pack. I have some Thunder Power G4 Pro Power 45C 4S 1750mAh packs that I decided to fly on and they fit with no problem or need to modify this hatch.

Recommended Control Throws & Exponential
Low Rates High Rates
Elevator 8mm/15% 10mm/25%
Ailerons 8mm/15% 10mm/25%
Rudder 20mm/15% Maximum throw/30%

Flying

The PlaneAdrenalinRC P-51 Voodoo is all about options and easing you into the excitement of high speed electric flight. Initial flights are best made using a 3S 2200mAh lipo. I used a 20C 3S 2200mAh lipo and the included 10x7 prop. Do not forget to verify the CG after you hook and loop the lipo into position and also to perform a range check at the field before you fly the maiden. Mistakes are most often made when you are apprehensive and anxious just before a maiden.

Taking Off and Landing

The versatility of this model really shines through when it comes to departures and arrivals. The model comes with mechanical main gear retracts installed in the wing. I decided to use them to perform a ROG style of takeoff for the maiden flights. The runway surface was pavement and even though I intended to perform a deliberately long roll out, the P-51 Voodoo was ready to fly very quickly and fairly leaped into the air. After a minute or two to trim the airplane out, all was good. This particular site has quite a few vertical obstacles (poles, trees, signs, etc) and when the winds are NOT down the runway, landings can be a little tricky. However, this site does have an abundance of soft, green grass. I decided to leave the gear retracted and slide the Voodoo home with a belly landing. The model slows nicely, with nary a sign of a wingtip wanting to drop until almost all of the forward momentum has been squandered. I held the plane off once down in ground effect by applying small blips of up elevator, until it finally kerplopped harmlessly onto the grass.



Several additional 3S flights were performed during this session. Several of these flights started with a hand launch style of take off. Even on 3S, the Voodoo has ample power for easy hand launches. Gripping the top of the fuselage near the CG, I would throttle up to around 60-70% throttle and underhand toss the P-51 at a 45 degree angle.

Landing the PARC P-51 Voodoo on the gear is a little challenging for this pilot. This model likes to carry a little speed down final. Slow it down too much and the controls can start going a little mushy on you. Once you do touch down on the gear, you will need to proactively manage the elevator to keep the Voodoo from nosing over. The main gear could probably benefit from being canted a little more forward, to place them more towards the leading edge of the wing. I do enjoy a challenge though and with repeated attempts, I was able to find the right combination to start nailing some of the landings. It is quite nice to have options though.



If your field permits it, plan B is as easy as leaving the gear retracted and belly landing the P-51. PARC recommends removing the retracts and sealing the retract bays with iron-on covering if you plan on hand launching and belly landing your speed trainer. This recommendation is probably to prevent the retracts from being torn out of the wing during a belly landing. I can report though, that after quite a few belly landings, I have yet to damage the retracts or even the gear doors. If you field is relatively soft and debris free, and you do not carry too much velocity when touching down, you may also find that the main gear can be left installed so that you can perform both types of takeoffs and landings.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

3S Performance Data




A nice feature of this model is that PARC has configured the power system so that you can get comfortable flying on 3S and then ratchet the speed up another notch with a simple prop swap and lipo change. Though the PARC instructions and specifications reference using a 4S 2200mAh lipo, I decided to go with a slightly smaller 1750mAh 4S lipo. I have several Thunder Power G4 Pro Power 45C packs in this size and they are about the same weight as the 3S 2200mAh packs that I used in my Voodoo. This saved me having to adjust the CG for a heavier lipo, or needing to potentially modify the fuselage battery hatch so that it still can be closed over the larger dimensions of a 4S 2200mAH lipo.

I sent my trusty EagleTree eLogger aloft on several flights, to gather in-flight data on both 3S and 4S set-ups. The embedded charts should help readers to get a peek under the hood and see what makes the PARC Voodoo tick. One thing that I noticed while flying the Voodoo, and the in-flight data backs this up, is that the brushless power system does not drain the flight lipos very rapidly at all. It was not uncommon for me to get flights of 6-8 minutes in duration. And this included a lot of pedal to the metal passes and aerobatics! Even on 4S, the Voodoo politely sipped from the Thunder Power 4S 1750mAH lipos and offered up satisfyingly long flight durations. With the power system configured for 4S, the PARC Voodoo really comes alive! The sound of the motor and prop at WOT is a visceral growl that can bring a grin to your face. There is plenty of power on tap to tumble/roll/loop/ spin to your hearts content. I especially loved the way the Voodoo would knife edge. I jokingly commented to my flying partner that the Voodoo is not just a speed trainer but also a knife edge trainer!

4S Performance Data




Is This For a Beginner?

The PlaneAdrenalinRC P-51 Voodoo IS designed for beginners of a sort. Though not for rank tyros, it is purposely engineered to appeal to those who are comfortable flying electric models but find that their palms instantly go sweaty when speed is added to the equation. The versatility of this model is notable and can surely help less experienced pilots slowly acclimate to the full spectrum of performance that if offers. Though it possesses the word "speed" in it's title, it is also quite well behaved at throttle settings of less than 100%. Advanced beginners who can manage a little self control on the throttle stick should be able to safely "grow" into all that this product has to offer.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery







Conclusion

I will admit that the word "trainer", as found in the title of this product, had me wondering how much "fun" I would have with this project. I consider myself an advanced intermediate pilot on a good day, and quite a bit less on other days! Though I was not particularly awed when flying the Voodoo on 3S, going to the 4S configuration provided quite a blast of adrenalin! However, the 3S power system may completely WOW those who have yet to taste speed. It is completely subjective and depends on each pilot's current level of proficiency. The World Models kits have been around for some time now. Though they are not the flashiest ARFs in my opinion, they are well built by the factory and capable of handling high performance power systems. This is the second product that I have reviewed that starts out life as an ordinary World Models ARF and is transformed into a high performance model by the PlaneAdrenalinRC speed shop. The brushless power system components selected for this model perform very well, without costing a bunch of money.




PARC does all of the necessary research and testing to come up with a dependable set-up. The end result is that the consumer can concentrate on flying instead of having to try various power system combinations in an effort to find one that works well. Again, the versatility of the PARC P-51 Voodoo is notable. 3S or 4S, ROG using the retractable gear or hand launch, the choices are plentiful. This feature also makes for a model that is perfect for acclimating to the thrills offered up by high speed electric powered RC aircraft. The coloring scheme is bright but differs substantially top to bottom, so loss of orientation when approaching triple digit speeds should not be a problem. As PlaneAdrenalinRC says ... Fast Builds - Faster Flying.... Lets Fly!!

Likes:

  • Progressive (and safe) way to NOT drive 55
  • Power system produces visceral sound at WOT
  • Versatility of either ROG or hand launch
  • Uses common 3S or 4S 2200mAh lipos
  • High visibility color scheme

Dislikes:

  • Collet style prop adapter threaded shaft too short to accommodate spinner back plate


Last edited by Bajora; Dec 28, 2011 at 01:58 PM..

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Old Dec 29, 2011, 09:12 AM
KK6MQJ
Bajora's Avatar
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Reserved
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 09:30 PM
Ride Blue
jholen's Avatar
United States, WA, Sammamish
Joined Aug 2006
1,495 Posts
Nice article! Top notch write-up and review. Your videos are always impress me.
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Old Dec 29, 2011, 11:17 PM
It took me 30 years?!?!!!
Chandler, AZ
Joined Apr 2007
2,031 Posts
We need some 4S video!

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Old Dec 30, 2011, 09:01 AM
KK6MQJ
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Joined Sep 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btsai View Post
We need some 4S video!

The video contains a mix of both 3S and 4S flying. In hindsight, I could have probably done a better job differentiating between the footage of each.

The clips where it looks the fastest are the 4S clips.

I will try and work up a segment with JUST 4S footage and post it up here.
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Old Dec 30, 2011, 11:51 AM
Got the Slickness
gabrielisrael's Avatar
Seattle, WA
Joined Jul 2010
2,521 Posts
Thank you Jon for this detailed review of our Modified World Models Voodoo offering.

We at PlaneAdrenalinRC felt it was necessary to introduce a very stable flying platform that looks uber-cool, and that could be flown like a Parkzone park flyer, but also had the capabilities to fly up around the 100 mph mark without having to buy another plane or experiment with different modified set-ups.

We designed this offering to be our transition model into our smaller-faster speedy Mini Midget Mustang Racing series.

Our Voodoo flys so well, it builds confidence, and helps those wanting to improve their flying skills with speed without going through alot of wrecked airframes.

Flyers at all skill levels will not be disappointed with the Voodoo!
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Old Dec 30, 2011, 01:33 PM
It took me 30 years?!?!!!
Chandler, AZ
Joined Apr 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bajora View Post
The video contains a mix of both 3S and 4S flying...
I don't see any videos...

???
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Old Dec 30, 2011, 01:36 PM
KK6MQJ
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Joined Sep 2004
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Just a page or two up from the bottom of the review, at the tail end of the "Flight Video/Photo Gallery " section. It is in a Vimeo embedded player.

Do you see it now?
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Old Dec 30, 2011, 01:39 PM
Got the Slickness
gabrielisrael's Avatar
Seattle, WA
Joined Jul 2010
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Here is the Video in the Review

Plane Adrenalin RC - P-51 Voodoo Speed Trainer (3 min 10 sec)
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Old Dec 30, 2011, 01:44 PM
Got the Slickness
gabrielisrael's Avatar
Seattle, WA
Joined Jul 2010
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Here is the PlaneAdrenalinRC sneak preview video

Here is the Speed Shop product line for 2011.

We are just finishing up on the manual for the Nemesis and hope to have Jon review it in the near future.

PlaneadrenalinRC - Very Fast RC Airplanes! (2 min 56 sec)
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Old Dec 30, 2011, 01:45 PM
It took me 30 years?!?!!!
Chandler, AZ
Joined Apr 2007
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It only shows a big white space -- so I switched browsers. (from Safari to Firefox on a Mac). I see it now.

Also, thanks gabrielisrael for posting!
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Old Dec 30, 2011, 01:47 PM
It took me 30 years?!?!!!
Chandler, AZ
Joined Apr 2007
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Nice review, as usual, Jon.

Are you coming to the AZ Electric Fest again this year? Would be fun to see this plane's speed on 4S during the Friday afternoon speed trials.

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Old Jan 03, 2012, 09:35 AM
I hate waiting for parts
Mike_Then's Avatar
United States, NC, Garner
Joined Apr 2001
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Another great review, thanks Jon!
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Old Jan 03, 2012, 10:39 PM
i'd rather be flying...
pilotuku's Avatar
United States, CA, Santa Cruz
Joined Nov 2010
201 Posts
Awesome airplane....

I got mine used but still flies like new until I crashed it (brown out) and got another fuselage and tail assembly.
One of the great things about PARC groups is their service. One email sent, and they are on top of it.

Thanks to Chet for the assistance, great communications.

Great looking plane, flies even better!!! Mine has no bad habits either on slow and high speeds! The stock motor gave me 92mph on 4s. I changed my motor to SII 3014-1220kv, CC 75amp esc, 2200mAh 4s 40c, 10x10APC.
It pulled 974watts @ 82 amps (esc current limiter disabled) 10x10amps.
It dialed in @ 129mph!!! Still no bad habits. Likes to come in hot if you don't pay attention to the throttle on the approach.

On either of my set up, the plane is like a tamed beast off leash!

Great review by the way.... Kudos!

I'll be looking out for the Nemesis...
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Last edited by pilotuku; Jan 03, 2012 at 10:44 PM.
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Old Jan 03, 2012, 11:07 PM
KK6MQJ
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Quote:
I'll be looking out for the Nemesis...
Yeah ... me too!
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