Weekender by Hitec Extra 300S P2GO
|Wing Area:||418 sq in (26.97 sq dm)|
|Flying Weight:||3.1 lb (1400g)|
|Wing Loading:||17.1 oz/sq ft (52.1g/sq dm)|
|Construction:||Multiplex Elapor expanded polyolefin foam airframe; steel landing gear; plastic tailwheel; polycarbonate canopy and wheel pants; plastic wheels with foam tires; composite propeller with plastic spinner|
|Servos:||Four Multiplex MS-13020 17g analog mini|
|Transmitter:||Hitec Optic 6 Sport 2.4 computerized 2.4GHz aircraft|
|Receiver:||Hitec Optima 6 2.4GHz aircraft|
|Battery:||2200-2500mAh 3S or 4S lithium polymer|
|Motor:||Multiplex WB3720 600Kv brushless outrunner|
|Propeller:||Multiplex 12 x 8E three-blade composite|
|ESC:||Multiplex WE-50A 50-amp with Multiplex battery connector|
|Typical Flight Duration:||Approximately seven minutes with a 2600mAh 4S battery|
|Manufacturer/Distributor:||Hitec RCD, 12115 Paine Street, Poway, California 92064 USA|
|Skill Level/Age:||Intermediate; 14+|
|Available From:||Any hobby shop which stocks Hitec and Multiplex products|
If ever there were a company we in the authors' forum can count on for parts, accessories and tech support, it's Hitec RCD in beautiful Poway, California.
I'm proud of my working relationship with Hitec's Suzanne Lepine and Bryan Shaw and I know that I can always turn to Suzanne if a review subject needs servos and such.
However, I've never done an all-Hitec review.
Get ready for an encounter with a brand new model, a brand new brand and their first in-depth online review. On August 1, 2013, Hitec introduced the Weekender by Hitec Extra 300S P2GO on their Facebook page. The "P2GO" designation means the onboard electrics less the receiver are installed and ready.
First introduced in Europe under the company's Multiplex brand name, the Facebook entry shows the first cases of this fantastic new model being unloaded from the back of a tractor-trailer at Hitec's loading dock.
Presented for your perusal is a sample taken directly from one of those cases.
Keeping with the all-Hitec theme of the review, Suzanne forwarded a Hitec Optic 6 Sport 2.4 computerized radio system which I'll be covering under a separate review.
Shall we begin?
The Extra Flugzeugbau 300S is a single-seat variant of the Extra EA-300 aerobatic monoplane designed by Walter Extra and built by Extra Aircraft of Hünxe, Germany. First flown on March 4, 1992, the 300S is powered by a fuel injected 300 horsepower (224kW) Lycoming AEIO-540 engine.
The 300S is further differentiated from the rest of the EA-300 line by a wingspan reduced by 19.5" (50cm) and larger ailerons.
Aerobatics are what the full-scale 300S excels at with an airframe stressed to ±10 G.
The Extra comes nearly complete with:
The following items are necessary to complete the model:
For the benefit of those who have never done time with a Multiplex model, let me state quite simply that they are, in my opinion, the gold standard of foam model aircraft in terms of fit and finish. The bare foam is so smooth as to be slightly glossy. There are no visible injection marks other than three innocuous little marks atop the headrest in the cockpit. Crisply molded cooling vents, panel lines and fuel tank caps are present along with a beautifully applied red paint job with silver pinstripes and preapplied decals. There's even a pair of foam exhaust pipes painted to look like heated metal. A clear polycarbonate canopy is factory applied atop the cockpit as is an attractive instrument panel decal...but there's no pilot bust. Adding one would entail the removal of the canopy and may result in possible damage to it, the paint or both.
That's really too bad since this model has a place to mount a bust and one would greatly augment its already fantastic looks.
Rare earth magnets are used to attach the cowl and the battery hatch and quite powerfully, I might add.
With only seven major airframe components and subassemblies waiting to come together with little more than a screwdriver, Hitec claims an assembly time of less than 45 minutes and with only twelve simple assembly and setup steps, they're right.
Time to get started and to run this model through some high-G hijinks.
Interestingly enough, the landing gear assembly is the first thing to go on, mounted with four 3x15mm screws.
The manual, while excellent overall, doesn't show photos or drawings of the hardware. Still, it was pretty easy to surmise which screws I needed and which I verified with my electronic caliper.
The airfoiled horizontal stabilizer with its preinstalled elevator and control horns is next. It mounts with a single 4x40mm machine screw. No epoxy, no measuring!
Next comes the vertical stabilizer. Some rather long tabs help secure it in place along with two 2.6x12mm screws. So, with very little effort, I now had a nearly complete and perfectly true tail section.
The pushrods for both the elevator and rudder are identical, so there's no chance of mixing them up. The manual suggests inserting the Z-bend through the middle hole of the elevator control horn. Then, the other end is inserted into the ez-connector already mounted on the Multiplex servo and gently tightened with the 1.5mm wrench with the final tightening to follow after the radio setup . Easy stuff, but the set screw will have to be backed off in order to insert the pushrod.
Attaching the rudder is equally easy. Its hinges simply snap into place within clips already mounted to the vertical stabilizer. The setup is much like a toy car with a solid axle which snaps into the chassis, with the result being as freely moving a rudder as one could possibly hope for.
Connection of the rudder pushrod in the same manner as that of the elevator pushrod brings us to the halfway point of the basic build.
Like I said, easy stuff.
Two screws and two tension springs are all that are needed to install the preassembled tailwheel. Mine, however, came with a very definite flaw.
The bellcrank for the springs was off a good 45 degrees. Twisting it back in place only served to fracture it; I later learned that the bellcrank is keyed to a flat atop the tailwheel mounting shaft, so the factory really had to force it in place to get it as wrong as they did. It was still a snug fit and I elected to hold it in place with a dab of CA until Hitec could send another.
That second tailwheel had a warped bracket, but I went with it anyway. It caused a problem of its own later on and I'll discuss it further down.
Once the ends of the springs are fed through the rudder, through the bellcrank and snugged down with a small phillips and some dabs of blue threadlocker, it's on to the wing, prop and receiver.
Installing the wing halves is as easy a job as any wing installation I've done. The carbon fiber spar is inserted into one half, that half slides in place in the fuselage and the other half slides atop the spar and into the fuselage as well.
The prop and spinner are next and are typical. Backing plate and collet over the motor shaft, prop and retainer nut next, spinner and its mounting screw for the finish.
The receiver installation is equally straightforward with the recommendation that a 6" Y-harness be used for use with a four-channel radio. I was using the six-channel Optic 6, and so set it up for use with dual aileron servos.
Since this is a Multiplex model using off-the-shelf Multiplex components, the battery connector is, well, Multiplex.
Soon after, I ran into my first real problem.
The rudder servo lead was a very loose fit in the extension and pulled out as I was plugging everything in. Removing the servo wasn't much of an issue, although the screws put up a bit of a hassle.
One of the mounting plates came off with the servo since it had been poorly attached with only a tiny bit of contact cement. After chasing the hole with the screw so that it wouldn't bind when being reinstalled, on it went with some regular CA and on went the servo lead with some tape to hold it in place.
I now had a second problem which manifested itself later at the field.
The lead coming off the servo needed to be flexed a bit in order for the servo to slide into its hole and atop the mounting tabs. Pretty much SOP for most models, but doing so did some internal damage to the wiring which resulted in a jittery rudder servo. I thought I'd corrected the problem at the field before its maiden flight, but it started up again on takeoff.
Definitely a hairy ride with that wagging, yawing tail, but the Extra came down fine after the servo settled down about halfway through the flight. Hitec replaced it at the same time as the tailwheel, even going so far as to send a second servo just in case. I popped off the plate, reattached it with some five-minute epoxy and made sure that I had enough room to insert the servo without any undue strain on the lead. Interestingly, the plug on the replacement servo was a better fit in the extension than the original, but I taped it down with electrical tape just in case. No more jitters.
Centering the control surfaces, using some threadlocker on the grub screws holding the pushrods and checking the CG at 76 - 86mm behind the LE of the wing completes the model.
Time to try flying it again, or so I thought. One of the metal plates which helped to hold the battery door in place via magnets lifted off, another victim of too-little contact cement, so out came the CA and kicker once more.
Not good. The kicker reacted with the paint, lifting it in a few small places and causing some ugly white spots of bare Elapor foam, all before I'd gotten beauty shots at the field.
Solution: The Home Depot.
Most home improvement stores will mix a sample of eggshell gloss latex interior paint for about three bucks, optically color matched to any color sample a customer brings in. I got them to match the color of the battery door and, miracle of miracles, the match was absolutely perfect. I now have enough paint to touch up that model for a lifetime, but for three dollars, I'm one happy camper.
I'd made the return trip to the Coachella Valley Radio Control Club near Thermal, California to make another attempt at flying the Extra. Unfortunately, club videographer George Muir couldn't make it, but I was determined to fly this model now that everything was working.
After hooking up a nearly new ZEUS Battery Products 2200mAh 3S li-po and after another range check, it was time to go.
No control surface settings are given, but this is an aerobatic machine. I went with 100% throws on high rate and 75% low rate with 35% expo.
Ground handling with the warped tailwheel was strange, making the Extra turn sharply left but with little right. No matter. I wanted to see what this bird would do in the air.
What it did was nothing short of spectacular.
The elevator was a bit sensitive, but other than that, the Extra flew as if it were a computer simulation. Absolutely no bad habits. It was relatively fast and stable and I felt immediately at home.
I kicked in the high rates and was rewarded with fast, laser straight victory rolls and loops as large or small as I wanted to make them. Inverted flight was effortless given the lack of dihedral and the symmetrical airfoils.
Before long, I was really getting into the swing of things with stall turns, knife edges, split-esses, Immelmann turns, Cuban Eights, you name it. I was even pulling off near-perfect four-point rolls with almost no rudder input.
I didn't want to push a new battery too hard, so in it came for a landing. It's a lightly loaded little beast, best landed with some power on and on a nice, shallow glide slope.
What I really wanted to see was how it would do on four cells.
I had two unflown Mad Dog 2200mAh 4S packs with me which I'd planned to use on another review subject, one which balanced tail heavy and neither I nor anyone else had any weights with them.
Perfect. In went one of the four-cells and after a quick check of the CG, it was back in the air.
If the Extra was lively before, it was downright fast with the Mad Dog under the hood. Not only that, I now had unlimited vertical climb at my command. I mean unlimited. It just pointed straight up and kept climbing with no signs of slowing or stalling.
After many of the same stunts with a few low runway passes thrown in, it was time to land once more.
Problem: That warped tailwheel gave way on a slightly bounced landing.
The part where the tailwheel passes through to be retained by the bellcrank is only held in place by thin plastic in three areas. I didn't know if the slightly skewed angle of the tailwheel added some leverage, but I know that it shouldn't have broken. In fact, it broke clean off.
Before I returned to the field for the video shoot, I built a straight, new and properly aligned tailwheel assembly out of the unbroken parts of both units and I sent the broken parts and that jittery servo back to Hitec for evaluation.
That shoot would take place on a beautiful late summer morning back at the Coachella Valley Radio Control Club with the aid of club videographer George Muir.
I wanted to fly with one of the Mad Dog four-cell packs, but those were set aside for another review subject that same morning. Instead, I used a Sky Lipo 2200mAh 4S pack with a homemade Deans adapter which I generally use for reviews of Nitroplanes.com products. The pack was a perfect fit, so it was off to the runway.
The Extra took off like it had been shot from a cannon; I pulled straight up so quickly that George actually lost the model in frame. Once more through the repertoire, ending in a smooth landing - and no broken tailwheel.
George asked me to take off once more so that he could get a proper shot, so I obliged him with a more civilized takeoff, a lap around the pattern and one more landing.
I knew this was going to be a fun flier, so after George left for the morning, I proceeded to run three more packs and yes, the tailwheel held up fine.
The Extra's aerobatic capabilities are limited only by the pilot's experience. It will perform any standard aerobatic maneuver one can throw at it and will do so beautifully. This is one of the most accurate - and fun - aerobatic performers I've ever had the pleasure of reviewing.
As with any model of this type, i.e., a low-winged aerobatic stunt model, it lacks the stability and self-righting characteristics of the average trainer. It's wonderfully stable for someone accustomed to flying such a model as this, but it's totally unsuited for a beginning pilot.
I had a blast flying the Extra for this video:
|Weekender by Hitec Extra 300S P2GO Airplane and Hitec Optic 6 Sport 2.4 Radio (1 min 50 sec)|
It's clear that Multiplex had an equally good time:
|MULTIPLEX Extra 300S [english] (2 min 31 sec)|
With the introduction of the Weekender by Hitec Extra 300S P2GO, Hitec has brought a formidable weapon to the popular electric sport plane market. Experienced pilots are going to have a blast with this model. It's fast, fun, accurate and, except for a few small glitches such as the tailwheel, paint and minor factory problems with adhesives, is a high-quality model more than worthy of consideration. This is a model which belongs at the top of anyone's short list and I give it as high a two-thumbs-up as possible. The good and even great points simply outweigh the few small problems.
I cannot thank Suzanne Lepine and Bryan Shaw of Hitec RCD nearly enough for the privilege of reviewing this model and for the fantastic Optic 6 radio and extra Optima 6 receiver. George Muir is the terrific videographer of the Coachella Valley Radio Control Club and he can be found with camera in hand on most Sunday mornings recording the goings-on at the field. Angela Haglund is the RCGroups.com administrator responsible for getting each and every review proofread an posted; none are possible without her.
To you, our worldwide audience, thanks once more for stopping by and enjoy your stay here at RCGroups.com!
So many pluses, so little space:
A few minuses:
|Sep 21, 2013, 10:29 AM|
I was lucky to get a chance to fly the Extra 300S at the NEAT fair. It is quite a plane. I immediately ordered on after the flight.
Since the plane was set up with full throws and the elevator was set up with no expo, I had to adjust to that. The more experienced pilot/owner is used to those setting and he makes it look simple . Having said all that, if I set up a bit of expo on the elevator I will be fine.
I can't wait for my plane to get here.
|Sep 22, 2013, 02:52 PM|
That's what I wound up having to do. I simply added a bit more expo and she quieted right down. I can still go absolutely nuts with it in the high rates and do so with a bit more accuracy.
Thanks for the compliment! Ditto to Ducati Mechanic at the top of the page.
|Oct 26, 2013, 02:04 PM|
Joined Aug 2009
I understand it is a new product so I don't want to be harsh. Suggestions to the manufacturer: 1 Please get rid of the multiplex ESC to battery connector, had to switch to Deans. 2. The inside of the wings needs LESS hollow space and more rib-like foam. 3. Tail wheel design misaligns the wheel easily 4. Hard to install/remove the battery if you want to slide it forward and back in the inclosed space. 5. Please get rid of the proprietary 3 blade prop 6. Grub screws on aileron control horns are so tight that it is impossible to unscrew them 7. Pls use more glue to secure the canopy, it fell off during the first flight 8. Motor mount does not contact enough foam material to be a solid piece. Had to glue a piece of plywood after having removed some foam on the nose. Flimsy as a result 9. Installed two small stall strips, helps a lot! 10. Consider Vision Aire type of vortex feature on the leading edge. 11. Beef up the wing pls, Acromaster has the best wing design in that reguard The good: 1. Excellent landing gear, the best I have seen 2. Easy to assemble 3. Excellent hinges 4. Great " Multiplex" foam that resists crashing very very very well 5. Great electronics and preinstalled horns. Fantastic! Flying: 1. Very very agile 2. Bad habit: -tends to tip stall at lower speeds including landing 3. Needs speed to perform well (typical aerobat) 4. Excellent motor power I use a 4S 2200 Lipo, 10 min+ of flying on 75% throttle. Fantastic! Great value overall but consider installing two small stall strips (so called tublerones) Does not like winglets! Don't install them!
|Nov 09, 2013, 12:08 PM|
Joined Nov 2011
I own the european Multiplex version of the extra 300s. Is this exactly the same model?
If that's the case there is a warning not to use epoxy on the elapor.Also use of kicker is a nono.
|Jun 16, 2014, 04:14 PM|
I've gotten mine very slow on purpose in the air and it shows no wing stall or fall off tendencies at all. I've never had it stall on landing and I've come in a bit too slow at times. It is a floater for sure.
|Jun 19, 2014, 01:13 AM|
Joined Jul 2009
For another review of the Extra300S, read Ken Myer's write up in the Ampeer, his online electric flight ePub. Find it at http://www.theampeer.org. It kind of continues where Ralph's left off. Both provide excellent information & observations about this great plane.
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