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Fliton's Extra 330S Freestyle ARF Axi E-Conversion Review

Steve Herlacher has a blast exploring this great looking 40-size Extra aerobat, and converting it to AXI and Tanicpacks Lipo power, with resulting performance that outshines most .46 2-strokes, and with only a slight weight penalty!

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:59.84 inches"
Wing Area:720 sq. in.
Adv. Weight:93.46 oz.
Tested Weight:114 oz.
Wing loading:22.8 oz/sq. ft.
Length:57.28 inches"
Servos:Hitec HS-5245MG
Transmitter:Futaba 9Z
Receiver:Futaba R148DF
Battery:2 Tanic 3s2p Lithium Polymer packs wired in series
Motor:Axi 4130/16
ESC:Jeti Advanced 77
Manufacturer:Fliton
Available From:Fliton

When I first saw the Fliton Extra 330 Freestyle I knew I had to have one. Airfoiled tail surfaces, and so much more to offer! It doesn't look like any of the other extra's available and the covering scheme looks Great!

Here are some of the key highlights listed on Fliton's webpage:

  • Custom Decals
  • Pre-painted F.R.P Cowl and Wheel Pants
  • Clear Canopy
  • Airfoiled Tail Surfaces including Elevator and Rudder
  • Duralumin Landing Gear
  • Carbon Wing Tube and 2-Piece Main Wing
  • High Quality Linkages with Pull-Pull Type Ball Bearing Rudder Horn

Kit Contents

Assembly

Lets get started! The first thing I did was run a covering iron over everything to make sure it was stuck on well, as it can loosen up during shipping.

Since there is a quality manual included, and this isn't a beginner's model, I won't bore you with all the steps required. Instead, I'll focus this review on highlights and minor changes I made to my Fliton Extra during assembly.

Wing

To install the main wing, each wing panel slid onto the included carbon fiber wing tube and then bolted on from inside the fuse, a system normally seen only on much larger aircraft. Carbon wing tubes are normally an optional item, sold for $30 or more, but this kit includes one! It sure made it easy to transport and store the wings!

Nice Control Horns!

Next I installed the control horns. The ones included in the kit were very nice and reminded me of ones that come on much larger models. They mounted with screws directly into the aileron, but it was only balsa that it screwed into, not hardwood. I used some longer screws than they provided to make sure they were in deep and I also drilled a hole, ran the screw all the way in and removed it, then dripped thin CA in to harden the hole. After it was installed it felt very tight and I didn't think it would be a problem at all.

I then sealed the hinge line with clear ultracote which I do on all of my models as a precaution against flutter and to provide a more crisp control response.

The wing was now complete and time to move on to the fuse.

Fuselage + tail

Radio Installation

No Tail Pushrod Cutouts In the Fuse

The fuse did not have any cutouts for the rudder pull-pull lines, and the book only showed a vague location. I couldn't put it too far back as there was a former there that would get in the way. The manual showed the lines crossed but I didn't see any reason they needed to be.

I made the dual pushrod for the elevator the way the instructions said to, but I used 2-56 rods, as the stock ones were a little too flimsy and flexed. The instructions didn't show where to cut the holes for the exits and they were not pre-cut in the fuse so I just guessed where they looked right and cut the exits just like the rudder ones.

Landing Gear

There were 3 blind nuts in the fuse for the stock gear, and they did not line up with the holes in the gear. I wasn't sure why they were off so far, I'm sure it has been fixed in the current production models. The blind nuts also popped right out as they were not installed tight.

Warning!

Always wear a mask when sanding or cutting carbon fiber and wear protective clothing, as carbon fiber dust is very bad for you.

The stock landing gear was too short for the larger prop of the electric motor.

The manufacturer indicates they plan to have a taller gear available directly from them in the near future. It will be included in all kits sold after 12/1/04, and available upon request with proof of purchase for earlier kits. This is a REALLY impressive move on the manufacturer's part. Way to go, Fliton!

I could not find any premade carbon gear that were in stock so I had to make my own. I basically made a mold out of blue foam that was the right shape, then layered up the carbon and fiberglass layers in-between 2 pieces of mylar, then I put it in a vacuum bag over the mold. When dry, I cut it out on the band saw and shaped it the way I needed. It took some time and was very messy to make. http://www.fiber-lite.com has a set for the Funtana 90, the extra tall version. They were out of stock at the time of this writing. Theirs are close to the same size as mine are, just a tiny bit taller. If I could've gotten them, I would have had to cut them in half to install them. The size of the gear I made are 6 1/2" tall from axle to the top of the gear, 14" wide at the axles, and 5" across the top where they go to the fuse. Those dimensions left enough room to cut them in half then install each one in the fuse.

Motor Installation

Next I moved on to the motor installation. The extra torque of the electric motor with big prop would be harder on the mount than a glow engine, so I glassed the mount, even though it was built with interlocking parts. I was using the radial mount with the Axi 4130/16 outrunner and for it to match up to the front of the cowl a spacer was needed. I used a piece of 1 3/4 PVC pipe cut to the right length so I had about an 1/8" spinner gap and then used some 6/32 all thread rod and bolted it onto the blind nuts I installed in the firewall, and made sure to locktite everything. The distance from the firewall to the back of my spinner was 5". I was also using the Jeti Advanced 77 opto ESC, from Hobby-Lobby. I also used a Koolflightsystems UBEC to power the radio system from the main battery pack.

Hatch Covering Oops

The hatch on my model had the covering applied reverse from what it should have been. It would only fit on the fuse one way, and when it was fit on properly the colors in the covering did not match. I was told by Fliton that this was a problem in the pre-production models and has now been taken care of so production models should be OK. My solution was to remove the covering on it, which came off no problem, then flipped it around and re-applied the heat to stick it down. It didn't line up perfectly and I had to use some MonoKote that closely matched but it was better than it had been.

Battery Tray

There was not much to do for a battery tray, the hatch was already there as it was where the throttle servo and fuel tank would normally go. I used an 1/8" piece of balsa and laminated it on each side with 1/16" ply, cut to shape and then glued/screwed it in place where you see it. That was it for the battery access!

Completion

The cowl was installed with 4 screws and the canopy was installed with screws as well. I used clear tape for a hinge on the hatch and rare earth magnets to hold it closed. I also added a Tru-Turn aluminum spinner.

And here it was all ready for the test flight.

CORRECTED CG and Throws

The CG was incorrect in my manual, I have been told that it has been fixed. The Proper starting CG is 125mm from the leading edge, mine was right on that mark with the packs dropped straight down in the fuse. (As mentioned in the flying section, I later moved it back approximately 20mm to suit my taste for 3D and hands-off inverted flight.)

There were no control rates in the instruction manual so I just guessed at what I thought would work.

I went with:

  • 1/2" throw on the elevator
  • 1" on the ailerons
  • And 2" on the rudder.
  • I also added 60% expo on the ailerons and 40% on the elevator and rudder.
  • (These are the low rates, on high rates I turned them up to as much as I could get on all surfaces.)

Flying

Taking Off and Landing

I first range checked it with the motor on and with it off and everything was fine. I set it on the ground and taxied out to the runway, it had no problem rolling thru the grass to the paved runway.

Takeoff required only easing into the throttle and before I knew it, it was off the ground and climbing. Just a slight amount of rudder and it tracked straight down the runway and would climb vertically with this power system while doing Aileron rolls. It was also so quiet I could hardly hear it! A couple clicks of left aileron and down elevator and it was flying straight as an arrow. I checked the stall up high with full up elevator and it slowed down quite a bit before dropping a wingtip slightly, which was expected with an Extra.

Landing was no issue at all even with the heavier weight of the electric conversion. I made the final turn with some power and when it was lined up I chopped the throttle and it settled in nicely.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

Extra's are aerobatic planes, and this model was no exception. It had the feel of a pattern plane with 3D thrown in. Point rolls were crisp and axial so the adjustments to the aileron horns to fix the differential problem worked. Knife edge had a tiny bit of coupling to the canopy but hardly noticeable and I could hold it with a tiny bit of down elevator. I could mix it out in the radio if I wanted, but most of the time I just hold it myself. Blenders and inverted flat spins were very good and one of my favorite maneuvers. Rolling circles were easy. It would hover/torque roll easily with this power setup, the pull out from hover was also very good. Inverted flying took a small amount of down elevator to hold level in the first few flights, but after moving the cg back just a touch no elevator was required. Aileron rolls on high rates were almost a blur, so you may not like the rates all the way to the max like I had them.

The first flight I tried a 16x8 but I didn't like it, as it did not have enough pitch speed. I then put a 17x10 on it and the plane came alive. That is the prop I would recommend for this motor combination.

On the first flights I used the Jeti ESC right out of the package with turning the brake off as the only adjustment. The next flights I programmed the ESC for hard timing and the performance and amp draw was up, but the motor was still only warm to the touch. This system draws about 45-50 amps at full throttle and is just over 1000 watts! The videos are of the first couple of flights, hovering was not easy as the CG was a little nose heavy for my tastes for this type of 3D flying. I moved it back about 3/4" and it was better and would hover easier. You can see in the video that the harrier just had some minor wing rock, I had no aileron/elevator mixing in it at all so I imagine a little would take that away.

The battery packs performed great, and were barely warm to the touch even immediately after performing intensive aerobatics!

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Is This For a Beginner?

This plane is definitely not intended to be a first aircraft. There are many trainers out there for that. It would make a good 3rd plane after a pilot mastered his first 2 aileron planes at least and had no problems using rudder for takeoff or landing a plane with a higher wing loading.

Conclusion

The Fliton Extra is a GREAT flying and great looking airplane. Powered with the Axi 4130/16 motor and Tanic packs, flight times of around 10-13 minutes are possible and it had more power than a .46 engine would on the front of it. If you are looking for a .40 size extra, this is the one to get!

Discussion

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Old Nov 30, 2004, 07:37 AM
Registered User
Joined Sep 2004
3 Posts
The vidios were guite informative and seemed ok take off landing but

!7*10 prop on 40 size plane that a radaical mod to much for most tastes

would be better to get three bladed or different wind motor to get smaller props

no info on capasity of titanic cell type cost and weight of cells

best guestimate from titanic site 2*(3s2p 2500mha) at 58 grams per pack = 648grams

2*$175 APROXX =$350

dear santa you know that cute kontronik 55 with G/Box 5.51 and actro 70/16 well it in need of some baterries to..................
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Old Nov 30, 2004, 10:11 AM
Too lazy to repair!
jperch's Avatar
Round Rock, Tx
Joined Oct 2002
3,396 Posts
Steve,
I really liked the review. One thing that I am missing is what is the apporximate cost of this kit? I know that typically this is not part of the review, but I am finding it difficult to find it on the manufacturer's web site. Can you tell us what the street price is?

Thanks,
Joe
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Old Nov 30, 2004, 10:57 AM
luc
I plant balsa sticks too
luc's Avatar
France
Joined Feb 2000
3,585 Posts
nice review. Can you tell me the total weight of your plane (not the adv. one)?
i just bought the same motor/esc combo for a big (5.2kg) gee bee....I hope it will be enough. power is 7S2P and I plan a 15*8 or 15*10 apc e prop...
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Old Nov 30, 2004, 06:30 PM
Registered User
Zebulon, NC
Joined Aug 2000
5,086 Posts
Thanks guys, Seems the weight as tested part isnt showing up. The AUW is 114oz.

Retails in the US im told for $205.00


As for the prop size a 17x10 is pretty common for a .40 size conversion, yes you could go to a hotter motor and smaller prop but you wouldnt have as much thrust for 3d IMO. A 3 blade would look cool on it though


The tanic packs weigh 11.9oz each so 23.8oz total and each one is a 3s2p 4900mah pack so when in series is a 6s2p pack.
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Old Nov 30, 2004, 07:12 PM
Husband, Dad, Skydiver, RC'r
Bill K.'s Avatar
United States, NC, Waynesville
Joined May 2002
5,559 Posts
Well I must say I showed GREAT, GREAT, GREAT self control tonight at my LHS on the way home from work... I stopped by and they had one of these on the shelf, it called to me and I answered, but alas in the end I put it back on the shelf with a slight sniff and hung my head as I walked for the door knowing that I really truely did want to live to see another day... Maybe it was just great fear after all, fear of the wife and the death that would surely follow if I should have brought home 'another blasted' plane... hehe, I shall have to sneak her in...

Great review by the way...

BK
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Old Dec 01, 2004, 12:08 PM
Registered User
Nashville Metro, Tennesse, United States
Joined Jan 2004
65 Posts
330 + Axi conversion review,
Great info and fantastic timing.
I've had the plane for a couple of months and have the Axi 4130/16 and Jeti77 ESC.
Haven't got the batts yet,easily the most expensive part.
Do plan a TP GII 2100 3S2P x2 also. Really great to see your comments and coming attractions. Especially the gear part from Fliton. I got the Axi a Hobby-Lobby and they had at 4130 on the back self that had a 20/10 APC-E on it that they had used on another plane. After seeing that, I hadn't imagined something as small as a 17" prop, let alone anything smaller. I knew it would take a really tall CF gear. Sure will help knowing your experiences. Motor mount info really helpful as well. In fact, It's all a really great bunch of info. I'm about half way throught the assembly right now. Can't really call it building anymore can we? "How sweet it is."
Thanks for doing the review,
Bob Ruppel
Nashville,TN
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Last edited by Bob Ruppel; Dec 01, 2004 at 12:10 PM.
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Old Dec 01, 2004, 12:27 PM
luc
I plant balsa sticks too
luc's Avatar
France
Joined Feb 2000
3,585 Posts
an even better motor mount I have installed on my 4130/16 for my gee bee, sold by esprit model; a tad heavier but much stronger
PS: green wires will be used to attach the lipos. They will rest on the alu motor mounts to find a perfect CG (I hope...)
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Old May 09, 2005, 03:16 PM
Registered User
Stockholm, Sweden
Joined Jun 2001
17 Posts
CG corrections..

Can anyone confirm the error in the Manual regarding the CG position? The manual says 88 mm but the review states 125 mm. I wouldn't want to get the CG that much back-heavy on my maiden flight.

Also, should CG be measured from LE at the wings widest part, closest to the fuselage, or in the middle of the wing??

Regards,

Thomas
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Old May 09, 2005, 03:40 PM
Registered User
Zebulon, NC
Joined Aug 2000
5,086 Posts
CG is measured on the wing next to the fuse. My CG was at 125MM, did you get an older kit with the wrong manual?
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Old May 09, 2005, 05:42 PM
atlav8r's Avatar
Cumming Ga
Joined Apr 2002
2,860 Posts
Yes, Fliton is suggesting somewhere between 115-125mm.
Cliff whitney
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