|Wing Area:||710 sq. in.|
|Wing Loading:||15.4oz/sq. ft.|
|Servos:||(5) Futaba S 3001's|
|Battery:||1400mAh 4.8V AA flat pack|
|Engine:||O.S. 50 SX|
|Landing gear:||Aluminum, taildragger|
|Tank:||As supplied, 260cc's/8.79 fluid oz.|
|Hinges:||As supplied, CA type|
|Available From:||Cermark and your local hobby shop|
There have been many planes recently that have been converted from glow fuel to electric power. The Banchee G-3D is going the other way!!! This plane has it's origins in Gary Wright's legendary E-3D. That's right, this plane was originally designed as an electric powered flyer. Cermark has told me that their goal for this plane was to have one plane that will do both pattern AND 3D aerobatics, and do them well. All that's left is an easy assembly job and we will find out if they succeeded!
What I used:
The ARF came with a very nice 2-1/2" plastic spinner and the necessary control rods to assemble it. I changed these items out of personal preference.
The manual on the Banchee was a little bit thin. There were only 6 pages to it. It did however, have all of the necessary information to assemble the plane and was illustrated well. It did not have any instructions for the decals. It did include set up tips such as the amount of exponential to use. It was easy to use and a 3rd or 4th time ARFer should have no trouble with the planes assembly steps. No online manual was available at the time of this article.
The wing was a no brainer. It was built as a one piece unit and the belly pan was already installed. All that was left up to me was to CA the ailerons on it and install the servos and linkage.
I ran into a small snag. The wing tips that extended the outer edges of the ailerons were cracked. This was due to the box being just barely long enough for the wing. Cermark has told me that this was a known problem and it should be remedied by the time this article is published. Rather than wait on a new wing I decided to fix the problem. Two pinholes in the covering, a little thin CA and about ten minutes and... no more problem! I wish everything was this easy to fix... It was kind of trivial really.
The fuselage was just about as easy as the wing. The assembly was rather uneventful until it came time for the engine. The engine mounted to two beams that were in a fully sheeted cowl that was open only on the bottom.
This was the point where the needle nose pliers and the grinding tool came in handy... I was sort of working in a hole to get the engine mounted, but, it wasn't bad. I did have to bevel the edges of the mounting beams to get the crankcase of the 50SX to seat all the way down. I did put a 46FX in there and it didn't need anything other than bolting in. I also relieved the corners of the engine "hole" for a little more working room.
Then came time for the muffler and needle valve cutouts in the cowl. As usual, I took my time doing this. After all, cutting it out is easy, putting it back is not. I marked the low and high speed needle valves as well as the muffler and muffler bolt holes on the inside of the cowl with a marker then pushed a T-pin through from the inside to mark the holes on the outside after I removed the engine. This method worked very well. The only trouble I had was a slight enlargement of the muffler cut because, well, I sneezed. That was embarrassing....
At this point, I suspected it may be a little nose-heavy. I trial fit the receiver and battery as far to the rear of the wing bay as I could and checked the balance. That was where they needed to be. I mounted the battery against the canopy floor with the receiver at an angle with one end on the battery and the other end on the canopy floor just behind the throttle servo tray. It was a tight fit. I routed the antenna out the bottom of the fuselage just behind the wing bay and tied it with elastic to the tail wheel. Since the muffler was on the left side of the plane, I mounted the switch and remote glow lead on the right side, toward the rear of the bay.
I then bolted on the wing again and checked the balance. I was at 4-3/4" from the leading edge. The manual stated that the CG should be at 4" BUT for best 3D performance should be 4.5 to 4.8" back. Cool! No extra weight needed.
All that I needed to do now was setup the control throws. I did use separate channels for each aileron for adjustability. The manual gave me figures for both low rates and "3D" rates in inches AND degrees along with the exponential percentages for both. That was a nice touch and I set my 9C accordingly on low and middle rates. I set the high rates on my transmitter on "kill" -- as far as they'd move.
|Control||Travel, Inches||Travel, Degrees||Exponential|
|Control||Travel, Inches||Travel, Degrees||Exponential|
I don't know why I get nervous on the maiden voyages... But I do...
Taxi testing the Banchee showed no problems with tail bounce or nose over tendencies at all. It tracked very nicely on the ground.
I approached the takeoff carefully with those big surfaces and eased into the throttle. Very little correction was needed to keep it going straight. The plane started to "feel" a little light but I kept slowly advancing the throttle and she just took off at slightly less that half throttle. It was a pretty steep climb-out but not scary and it had enough pull to do it, so I let her climb. The throttle was at half. I needed to give her 2 "beeps" of right, and 3 "beeps" of down trim and she was flying hands off!
The first test I performed was a stall. The Banchee doesn't really stall... it "Elevators" with full up on either low or 3D rates on the elevator...in other words, it just descends. Stalls are a non issue with this plane.
The Banchee flies very nicely indeed! It's a very light feeling plane that tracks superbly in the sky.
On low rates the loops are a thing of beauty. They're about 75' and straight as an arrow, both inside and outside. On 3D rates, it closes up considerably but still tracks true.
Aileron rolls on low rates are not particularly fast but, they are axial and graceful. They just look right. On 3D rates, rolls get a lot quicker but still, they aren't the fastest I've ever done. They just feel right for this plane.
On low rates, the snap rolls are more like "drunken barrel rolls" but, on 3D rates, snaps are quite crisp and easy to do! Single snap rolls are easy and stop almost immediately.
Inverted flight is almost like upright flight. About the only difference is it takes a very tiny bit of "down" to maintain level inverted flight. Anything the Banchee can do upright, it can do inverted as well, except landing of course.
There was some of the standard coupling toward the canopy while in knife edge flight. As powerful as the rudder was, kinfe edge loops aren't be out of the question. I haven't had enough nerve to try that just yet...
With the CG set as recommended, I had a hard time getting it to 'lock in' a hover. I added 1.5oz. of weight to the tail and that moved the CG back to 6". It got a lot better! It still isn't a hands off hover but, plenty managable. The really cool part is that the solid flight characteristics are still there! The only drawback I found was that it became a little bit pitch sensitive. Harriers had a bit of wing rock. Waterfalls were sweet. Flat spins were almost completely flat.
The Banchee will fly at such a low speed that landings are fun. She will just fly along with 3 clicks of throttle at a jogging pace 6" off the runway until you want to set her down.
Is the Banchee for a beginner?? No. It would be a great 3rd plane. While it is very docile on low rates and very easy to fly, it is a high performance airplane. It has no self correcting tendencies at all which means you'll have to tell it what to do. In this class of plane this is a desirable trait, but for a beginner it could be dangerous territory.
The Good Stuff
The Not So Good Stuff
The folks at Cermark have a winner with the Banchee G-3D! It was an easy assembly taking only 9 hours with about 2 of those just for engine installation. The flight characteristics at the recommended CG make this plane an ideal pattern flyer at the expense of some of the 3D flight, but, with a rearward CG, the 3D abilities are on par with any of the 3D planes I've flown. At the rearward CG the 'on rails' feel of the Banchee has NOT gone away! They DO have a plane that will do both pattern and 3D. I even put a pilot in the Banchee. He's mild mannered normally but, he gets mean when he's mad! I think he reflects this plane's dual personality very well.
Thanks to Don Sims and Nick King for the camera work.
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