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Hacker Model Production: Miss America 1200mm Reno Racer From RC Baron Review

The Miss America Reno Racer by Hacker makes a great Sunday flyer, or if several friends get them and use the same size motor, they can do some friendly racing.

Splash

Introduction

Wingspan:47.25"
Wing Area:
Flying Weight:25.4 ozs.
Length:42.5"
Servos:4 micro servos
Transmitter:Spektrum DX7S transmitter
Receiver:Spektrum 6 channel receiver
Battery:3S & 4S 1200-2200mAh LiPo
Motor:250+ watt brushless motor
Propeller:9 x 6 & 8 x 8
Spinner:1.5"
ESC:50 Amp OS ESC
Manufacturer:Hacker Model Production
Available From:RC Baron
Price:$94.95

The plane's parts came already painted and there were no decals to install. The plane can be assembled in a day, the kit costs less than $100.00, and the EPP foam is easy to repair. If some friends wanted to have some real pilot skill races they could all buy this plane in different finishes (2 different color scheme Reno Racers with Red Baron and MIss America and also 2 other 1200mm planes the Rare Bear and the Furias) and agree on using identical motors, controllers, props and battery packs so that all planes are equally equipped and then pilot skill (and luck) would decide which plane wins in pylon racing. I went with a ESC that would allow me to try different props and battery packs for flying this plane is different ways. She has a limited top speed but she slows down very nicely and can be flown in a sky ballet with spins, rolls and half rolls of various sizes. This is a very enjoyable Sport plane and very nice for relaxed sport aerobatic Sunday Flying. Fellow reviewer, Dick Andersen, was my partner for this review.

Kit Contents

The Kit Includes

  • Pre-decorated EPP foam CNC cut fuselage
  • Pre-decorated EPP foam CNC cut wing with real airfoil
  • Pre-decorated horizontal stabilizer
  • Clear plastic canopy
  • Engine mount
  • Pushrods and complete Hardware
  • Instruction guide

Author Supplied

  • Regular thin CA
  • CA accelerator
  • 3-cell and 4-cell battery packs
  • 50 Amp O.S. ESC
  • 10 x 5, 9 x 6 and 8 x 8 propellers
  • 1.5" (38mm) spinner
  • Brushless Motor of 350 Watts 1,000Kv
  • Four micro servos

Assembly

The assembly of this plane primarily involves making cuts in the wings and the fuselage for carbon fiber rods: slots for the running of servo wires and spaces for servos and the ESC. I find it easiest on Hacker planes to mark my spots for the servos and draw their outline onto the bottom of the wing and the sides of the fuselage and then carefully cut out the foam for the servos to fit in place. I like to do this before any other construction is done. The use of a straight edge helps make the straight line cuts into which the servo wires are inserted and hidden. The use of a new #11 blade makes the cutting of the foam very easy.

Wing

The wing comes in two halves, and the ailerons are pre-hinged. I recommend cutting out the spaces for the two aileron servos and lines for the servo wires to run to the wing root and making cuts for the aileron control horns in the ailerons in line with the aileron servo arms. Putting the wings right side up and lifting one wing tip up to get the desired dihedral, I fit the two wing halves together and check the angle on the wing roots for proper match for the desired dihedral. If necessary a little sanding of the wing root is sometimes necessary to get the desired fit. No sanding was necessary on this plane. I glued the two wing halves together using thin CA. I held the wings together tightly as the glue initially set up and after about a minute, and then I let go of the wing and sprayed the center section with some kicker to help the CA set up faster.

Using a yardstick, we made the necessary cut 3mm deep in the bottom of the wing for the first carbon fiber wing rod. The wing rod was pushed down into foam wing then CA was applied to the cut in the foam that had covered over the carbon fiber rod. Then we sprayed it with Kicker to help it set up and bond properly. We then repeated the process for the second wing rod on the top side of the wing. We then had a one piece wing into which Dick inserted the aileron control horns into the spaces we had made in the ailerons and secured them in place with CA.

E-Z link style connectors were installed on the servo control arms, and the servos were centered before being installed into the spaces previously cut for them in the bottom side of the wing. The servo wires were pushed into place in the slots cut for them to the wing root. They exited the wing at the root on the top side of the wing. There they were connected together with a Y-connector. The servos and their wires were secured in place in the wing with CA.

I replaced the supplied control rod components and used one piece metal control rods with a Z-bend in the end for the servo control arm. The other end was cut to fit into the E-Z link type connector. The control rods were secured in place with the ailerons in the neutral position. The wing was complete and ready to be installed into the fuselage.

Fuselage

As with the wing, the fuselage is pretty much cut and install. Dick Andersen did all the work on the fuselage.

The first step was to use the yardstick and the hobby knife, and following the picture in the instruction, he made a 3mm cut down the side of the fuselage for a carbon fiber rod to help stiffen the fuselage. After the cut, Dick pushed the carbon fiber rod in the the fuselage and then applied the CA with some Kicker to glue the rod in place. When that was done the second carbon fiber rod was installed in the other side of the fuselage.

Next, Dick cut out the spaces in the back of the fuselage for the rudder and elevator servos. He used the servos to mark the outline and then trimmed out the foam so the servos fit in their respective spaces. Dick then cut a line into the foam for the servo wires and the servo extension wires. Dick installed the servo and wire on one side and then repeated the process on the other side. Before gluing the servos in place in the fuselage the servo arms were centered and the holes in the control arms were expanded to fit the Z-bend in the all metal control rods we used instead of the supplied control rod hardware.

Next, the motor mount was assembled per the instructions, installed into the front of the fuselage and glued in place using 5 minute epoxy. The space for the electronic speed controller was cut out, and it was installed from the bottom of the fuselage. The brushless motor was installed, and its three wires were connected to the ESC motor wires. The ESC control wire was run back to the cockpit by cutting a slot for it in the foam. The wires for the flight battery exited from the fuselage behind the ESC as shown in the picture below.

Tail

The horizontal stabilizer was placed flat on the table. The supplied spruce piece was placed on the foam elevator as shown in the instructions. Using the hobby knife and the spruce piece of wood a slot was cut in the foam for the piece of spruce. The spruce piece was placed into the slot and glued in place using CA and kicker. A slot was cut for the elevator control horn and it was installed and glued in place with CA where shown on the instructions.

Next, the rudder control horn had a slot cut in the foam for it, and it was installed and glued in place.

The vertical stabilizer was then glued onto the fuselage making sure it was properly centered on the space for it on the back of the fuselage and then the stabilizer was level to the ground with a vertical fuselage. When the CA and kicker were dry, the vertical stabilizer was glued on top of the horizontal stabilizer as shown in the instructions.

Radio Installation

The control wire from the ESC and the aileron wires from the wing both have channels leading up to the cockpit area. Our receiver is mounted in plain sight in the cockpit, and accessed by removing the canopy. The instructions indicate that the receiver can be placed inside the fuselage once all the wires are connected to it, and it will be out of sight. I think it looks good where we have it.

Completion

The last steps are checking the balance of the plane on the C/G (easily adjusted by the placement of the flight battery pack) and checking the throws of the ailerons, elevator and rudder and programming in any desired dual rates and/or exponential in the transmitter being used.

We got some nice pictures and video that first day, and if you look closely you will notice that we were flying without the canopy. Since that first flight we have added the canopy in place and experimented with different batteries and propellers as discussed below in the Flight section of this report.

Flying

Basics

The plane has four channel control with ailerons, elevator, rudder and throttle. The plane can be flown without using the rudder but turns are definitely smoother using a combination of rudder and ailerons. The plane is capable of reasonable speed and carries herself well with the right prop and battery combination but she is not real fast. To race these planes, it is important to set them up alike and have the skill of the pilot decide the winner if they race. It's best flown with a grass landing area as she comes with no landing gear.

Taking Off and Landing

All flights start with a hand toss into the wind. A firm straight forward hard toss level to the ground and immediately throttle up and start to climb. For those that like to make a softer toss, throttle up to between 1/2 throttle and 3/4 throttle, and toss the plane forward in level or just slightly up flight. Landings are best made over grass and into the wind. Just bring her in on a final approach, and she is easy to land right by you.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

We have tried a combination of batteries and props and a couple different prop locations. After experimenting with the battery on the right side of the fuselage over the wing in the C/G area we determined the weight on the one side affected the performance of knife edge flight on that side. We have moved the battery through the fuselage to equally balance in the middle. While she performed fine with the recommended 3-cell battery pack we found she performed better with the ROC 4-cell battery pack. Using the larger ESC lets us safely play with 3 and 4 cell packs and different size propellers. She was definitely faster with an 8 x 8 propeller then with the 9 x 6 or 10 x 7 propellers. She could not hover with the 8 x 8 but could with the 10 x 7. My favorite move was to slowly stall in a climb by lowering throttle and turn as she fell out of the climb. I found her a very fun Sunday flyer. I actually enjoy flying her more on the slow side then on her fast side.

You can see her speed for yourself with the first video using a 3-cell pack and the 9 x 6 prop and the second and third videos uses the 8 x 8 and the 4-cell ROC pack. The third video features some knife edge flying and some slower end flying with some intentional climbing stalls with fall outs. Because she is easy to assemble and repair if crashed it is easy to try some stunts that you might not consider trying in a more fragile plane. I find her very relaxing and fun to fly doing lazy Sunday aerobatics and trying whatever turns pop into my head.

Is This For a Beginner?

I would not recommend this plane for a beginner. She goes where pointed and doesn't self correct or stabilize if the pilot goes hands-off. But she is not a hard plane to fly and could be a second plane after a pilot has mastered the basics of flying with a trainer.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

This first video is with a 9 x 6 propeller and a 3-cell 1250mAh LiPo battery pack.

Downloads

This second video is with an 8 x 8 prop and a 4-cell 2200mAh ROC battery pack. the battery pack and the prop combined to give the plane more speed.

Downloads

This third video shows some mild aerobatics and more of a Sunday flying type of attitude.

Downloads

Conclusion

The plane is easy to assemble by just following the directions and making the proper cuts with a sharp new hobby knife. I have assembled several Hacker planes now and all have been well designed and easy to assemble. Our only major deviation from the instructions was that Dick went with solid control rods for all control surfaces rather then use the parts and make multi-part control rods. Either can work equally well but there is less chance for making a mistake with the solid control rods Dick used with a clevis on one end and a Z-bend on the other.

The plane is a nice flyer, and I think she is best described as a sport plane or Sunday flyer. She makes a nice first racer, especially if a couple of friends get different colored racers and use the same size motor, prop, battery pack and speed controller. The speed is not that fast! However, with equally equipped planes the racing can be intense and requires pilot skill to make the turns smoothly and quickly to determine the winner. These can actually be more fun to race for some of us then the faster 100mph pylon racers as we stay in our comfort zone. As shown in the video the plane can be flown through a variety of aerobatics.

I was actually surprised by how the plane's color popped when flown in the bright California sun. The results can be seen in the pictures above. We found the plane grew on us and we were happy to take her back out to the field to fly her some more.

Pluses

  • Affordable kit and parts to complete her
  • Easy and quick to assemble
  • Durable foam
  • Should be easy to repair if we ever crash her
  • Look great in the sun, more colorful then in the house by far!
  • One piece plane remains ready to fly
  • Plane is a good size, especially for the price

Minuses

  • Does not come apart for transportation or storage

My thanks to fellow author Dick Andersen who lead a group of us who participated in this review and had fun doing it. I also want to thank Chris and Tim for their participation in this review. Thanks to RC Baron for donating the kit and my thanks to Gorilla Bob for help in selecting the motor for this adventure. Finally, my thanks to ROC for supplying two 4-cell battery packs for extended testing. They performed great in the Miss America. More about them in a future review bot so far these 30C packs have performed well in everything they have powered.

Last edited by Angela H; Apr 09, 2013 at 06:17 AM..

Discussion

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Old Apr 15, 2013, 09:35 PM
Shut up and fly
papabatman's Avatar
United States, CO, Firestone
Joined Jun 2008
10,379 Posts
wow i like it
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Old Apr 15, 2013, 11:13 PM
Certifiable
Dacono Air's Avatar
USA, CO, Dacono
Joined Aug 2009
1,822 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by papabatman View Post
wow i like it
+1 pylon/combat/sunday flyer = fun factor x 3
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Old Apr 21, 2013, 08:46 PM
wjs
William
United States, MI, Brighton
Joined Oct 2012
1,957 Posts
I have the orange reno racer and love it. The epp just makes for simple and solid frame. Easy to build and repair. Like it so much, I will have to get this color.
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Old Jun 04, 2013, 09:15 PM
Slow Flyer
Bombay's Avatar
Richmond, TX
Joined Apr 2008
3,236 Posts
What motor and prop combo are you guys using for some speed?
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Old Jun 10, 2013, 08:34 AM
Slow Flyer
Bombay's Avatar
Richmond, TX
Joined Apr 2008
3,236 Posts
Michael:

Would you say that the 106gram motor chosen is optimal (in terms of size, weight and power) or would you maybe try something different next time (lighter, heavier, more power, higher kv, etc)?
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Old Jun 10, 2013, 06:01 PM
wjs
William
United States, MI, Brighton
Joined Oct 2012
1,957 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bombay View Post
Michael:

Would you say that the 106gram motor chosen is optimal (in terms of size, weight and power) or would you maybe try something different next time (lighter, heavier, more power, higher kv, etc)?
Park 480 or Power 10 or the HK clones of same.

http://www.horizonhobby.com/products...020kv-EFLM1505
http://www.horizonhobby.com/products...00kv-EFLM4010A

Prop it per the motor pages.

I would not do the ESC inside the foam slit thing. Let it cool on one side. The battery, I would put hole slightly smaller then bat cross section ontop of the wing cord. Means you need to cut/drill hole in fuse. Hanging the bat on the side, does work (like mine) but you can tell the vertical cg is off.
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