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Pacific Aeromodel Edge 540T .40

Robert Menter reviews the Aeromodel 40-sized Edge 540 ARF. This edge provides great big-plane features like plug in wings and exceptional 3-D performance in a small-plane package that will fly on a quality .46 2-stroke and a simple 4-channel radio.

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Introduction


Wingspan:59" (1500mm)
Wing Area:620 sq. in. (40 dm2)
Weight:6 lb. (2.724kg)
Length:52.5" (1333.5mm)
Wing Loading:22.3 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:JR 537
Transmitter:JR 6102
Receiver:R700
Engine:OS .46 AX
Prop:11x6 then 12.25x3.75
Manufacturer:Pacific Aeromodel Mfg., Inc.

Pacific Aeromodel, Mfg. Inc. makes, among other ARFs, a 40, 60, and 27% sized Edge models. If the bigger ones go together like the 40 sized ARF, they would be high on my list to build! I rate this ARF high in the quality of design, assembly strategy, and materials used, looks, and flying characteristics. It was a joy to put together and it got lots of attention at the field the first time . . . but more about that later.

The design is excellent. The laser-cut parts fit well, and many little nice touches will make you smile as you see how the manufacturer did little extra preparations for you. Folks at the field were surprised to learn that the Edge 540 T 40 has big plane features like plug-in wings, tail mounted elevator servos and pull-pull rudder. One very nice "small plane feature" is that the edge can be built and flown on a simple, basic 4-channel radio, without requiring any mixing or other high-end radio features for basic flight. I chose to fly mine on my JR 6102 and utilize its dual rates and other features, but it is definitely not required to fly this aircraft.

I hate to admit it, but although it runs against some people's opinion of the very grain, the background and past, of the hobby, I am an ARF person. I prefer to fly rather than build. I have built my share of control line kits with the dope and tissue construction. Iíve also done a fair number of ARFs, and so I have seen many types and grades of ARF kits. This Edge 540 T40 ARF by Pacific Aeromodel Mfg., Inc. is very high on my list right now. Why you ask? Here are some of the main reasons.

Packaging

From the very start of this experience, I found pleasant surprises. First, the plane arrived from the manufacturer in a sturdy box, the layout of all the parts was well thought out and executed.

Everything fit nicely and tightly into the box; the boxes were clearly labeled as to whatís inside, and the instruction manual sat atop everything, just begging to get started. Everything in the box arrived in perfect condition. The large parts -- the fuselage, canopy, wings and tail feathers, cowl and wheel pants -- were all plastic-wrapped. Everything but the fuselage and canopy was also in its own box.

The aluminum wing tube was even shrink-wrapped to protect it from dings, and to protect other plane parts. The kit is laser cut and fit and trim is excellent. The covering is very good looking and well done. The fiberglass cowl and wheel pants look great and colors match the covering well.

Assembly

The Manual

The manual says that it is written for "experienced ARF assemblers" and this is true. They make a lot of assumptions here about the assemblerís knowledge and experience in putting ARFs together. If you are not experienced, youíll want to get some help. This is not a "gentle way" to say that the aircraft is difficult to build -- not at all! Simply that it assumes you have assembled an ARF before and understand the basic concepts.

The instructions are well thought out, and take you through assembly in the order necessary to accommodate the manufacturing methods used. Some of these techniques make assembly much easier, since they actually do a lot of the work for you; screw holes are pre-drilled, and theyíve even installed an antenna tube which exits the bottom of the fuselage. The servo wire pull strings were pre-installed in each wing so I didnít have to fish the cables through. Very nice.

One weakness of the manual is that the pictures tend to be blurry, so it wasnít always easy to see how things go together, which makes it more important that an experienced builder is involved.

The manual itself contains the above "novice" caveats, as well as a warning that putting too much motor on this plane will void the warranty. My copy even contained an added slip of paper with a printed "note" which advised using candle wax to facilitate the tight fit of the wing tube, if needed. It was needed and it did work just fine. Nice touch, thanks Pacific!

Main Structure Assembly

The plane is strong and light, using stringer construction for most of the fuselage, except where the battery, radio, servos, and wings go, and of course, the firewall and forward section. I would have preferred a little more glue in the model, so I beefed up the firewall and wing areas with epoxy to increase strength. The Turtledeck is foam and the tail feathers are built-up. The covering is good quality and well done.

The tail feathers went together very easily and lined up with the wings with little adjustment. The slots for the CA hinges in all control surfaces are pre-cut, so installation was quick and easy. Another nice touch. Pacific Aeromodel supplied extra pieces of covering to apply over control surface joints and over the holes in the fuselage where the main landing gear screws in.

Engine Selection

The manual claims the Edge retains very light wing loading for excellent handling in the air, and cautions not to overpower the model. I flew this light ARF with the OS Max .46 AX, not sure how it would do, but mindful of the admonishment by the manufacturer that too heavy an engine would be a real balancing problem, and too strong an engine would void the warranty and risk the model. In my installation, however, with a 46 AX on board and the battery shoved up right behind the fuel tank, I had a mildly tail-heavy airplane. Pacific suggests I could mount my battery under the tank box, right against the firewall, to better balance with the lighter engine. Based upon my installation, the Edge would balance more easily with a 4 stroke. Not having a 72 or smaller (recommended) four-stroke, I opted to go with the 46 AX and a bit of lead in the nose.

As you can see, the finished plane looks very good!

Flight Test

Day One

The first flight tests were conducted on a warm day in May. I bench tuned the OS Max AX 46 motor with an 11 x 6 prop. This is the preferred prop for the motor under normal circumstances, though not for the plane, and I wanted to fly a known quantity on the Edge to ensure that the cooling under the cowl was adequate.

Flight one was a pure and simple trim flight. I flew the new Edge using a JR 6102 radio and set dual rates as recommended by the manufacturer. With the cowl on, and the radio set on low rates, I lined the Edge up for take off and throttled up. She lifted off nicely and climbed, on a steady rise; I always gain lots of air speed and ascend smoothly to gain enough altitude to set my trims and see if everything is operating as it should be. No surprises here, so I trimmed the bird and flipped to high rates.

The Edge is very maneuverable, and responds instantly and smoothly. She rolls on axis, stays where you point her, and even with an 11 x 6 tries to hold position in a harrier. Of course the plane was not properly propped, so it would not "harrier" or hang on the prop, but I did aim her straight up to see what she would do. With the 11x6 prop she climbed up fairly high before losing pull. I found that I needed to make minor trim adjustments on elevator and ailerons to achieve straight and level flight. Once done, the plane flew hands off with ease.

I landed and adjusted the OS Max 46 AX a bit, as I was concerned about cooling, but it ran fine. I did some basic maneuvers to test things out, inverted flight to see if there were fuel tank issues, snap rolls and knife edge to check out basic flight characteristics, and a few "upstairs landings" to see how she would glide on final. My edge dropped fairly fast in a glide, reminding me that it is a scale aerobat, rather than the dedicated 3D trainer I had been flying. All seemed good. The plane flew very well! I landed it as I had only limited flying time that day. She is smooth and sure on landings! The big tail surfaces caused the plane to weather vane in the puffy gusts of 10 mph wind that were kicking up as I came in. The great test left me wishing I could stay and prop up with a 5 pitch screw.

Day Two

It was a hot Saturday with 10-15 mph winds kicking straight down the runway. The plane assembles nicely and everyone there liked the look and build of the Edge. "The Edge is light." "Nicely Covered." "Good looking plane," were a few of the comments.

I decided to leave the 11 x 6 prop on and get in a warm-up flight as well as a refresher on how the Edge performed so I could see the changes with the lower pitch props Iíd brought to the field. I chose a Master Air Screw 12 x 5 and an APC 12 3/4 x 3 3/4 for starters.

I fueled up and started the motor. At that moment the motor started revving wildly on its own. Quickly, I reached for the throttle cut-off and shut down my transmitter and receiver. I ran over to a friend who keeps a frequency scanner and sure enough, there was activity on my frequency. My pin was the only one on that frequency, so I did a quick check of the other fliers and no one was on my channel. Needless to say, I scrubbed my flying for that day.

Day Three

On a hot and somewhat breezy day, I brought out the Edge, this time sporting an APC 12.25 x 3.75 prop. After adjusting my high end, I took her out onto the runway and throttled up. The Edge climbed smoothly and quickly. Turns out, the OS 46 AX was plenty of motor to fly the plane. I had set up the plane with dual rates; low rates for take offs and landings, and high rates for fun. On the first flight, I checked out my standard maneuvers: inverted for the fuel system and stability checks, knife edge, snap rolls and aileron rolls. The Edge is quick and sure. I got rapid aileron rolls both left and right with the recommended 3D rates.

I am new to 3D maneuvers but I was easily able to hover and torque roll the plane. My harriers are coming along, and the plane can do more than I can at present. Itís got plenty of tail feathers, and being so light, it looks like itís floating up there. The Edge tended to drop fast in a harrier, and added throttle brought the plane forward rather than bringing up the nose enough. That could have been the more forward CG Pacific recommends as its starting point, or even pilot error; Iím still perfecting my harrier technique, but I have better luck on my non-scale 3D trainer, which has a whole lot more wing. The Edge demands more pilot skill, which just makes sense, as it is a scale type airplane and is optimized for IMAC style aerobatics rather than pure 3D. Itís a great plane to practice with and itís a lot of fun to fly.

I let a friend fly it. "Crazy quick," was his response as he snapped a roll to knife-edge. Some one said, "Snap roll only once into a knife-edge." My friend laughed and said, "Not sure I can do only one!" I let another good pilot fly it and he enjoyed the planeís responsiveness. "Itís got plenty of speed for a 3D plane," he yelped. "Almost too much!" He flew the plane, trying lomchevaks, hovers, and other moves, all with panache! "Great plane!" he shouted. "Thanks for letting me fly it!"

This Edge is no trainer, and it is not self-correcting. It does what you tell it to do and stays exactly where you put it, as a good aerobat should. Other planes I have flown do not reveal my true flying skills. They compensate for my deficiencies. The Pacific Aeromodel Edge 540 won't hide my weaknesses; it will, however, provide hours of fun and excitement, and instead force me to do things properly and enable me to grow as a pilot.

I just got a call from a friend who had flown my 40 sized Edge. He just bought the 60 sized Pacific Aeromodel Edge 540. Heís putting it together now. I will, of course, want to fly that . . . strictly for comparisonís sake. Oh yeah!

Downloads

Conclusion

The edge 540 is an excellent design, with lots of big plane features and yet the ability to be flown on a budget .40 sized engine and a simple 4-channel radio. The manual could use a little more detail and clearer photos, but an experienced ARF builder should have no problem assembling this plane.

The kit is exceptionally well designed, carefully packaged, and easy to assemble, but where this model really shines is in the air! It is a very capable aerobatic plane, with great 3D moves, but it is not as forgiving as a typical 3D trainer model and I would not recommend it for someone just moving up to basic aerobatics without the help of an instructor. The Edge has a lot to teach me, and I'm looking forward to learning!

Discussion

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Old Aug 06, 2004, 11:43 PM
Registered User
Dublin, Georgia, United States
Joined Apr 2004
16 Posts
Got it!! LOVE IT>>> Just will have to get a new fuel tank after LOTS of headaches wtih a YS 63!! LOL



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Old Oct 14, 2010, 10:39 AM
Registered User
USA, MO, Kansas City
Joined Mar 2010
53 Posts
Need control throw settings and cg fo this plane, lost manual

Pacific Aeromodel Edge 540T 40 size lost manual

I would greatly appreciate it if someone could post or email me the recommended control settings high and low rates, expo and cg.

Thank you in advance!
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