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Old Jun 30, 2005, 04:00 PM
Uniblab
rwmson's Avatar
Cherry Hill, NJ
Joined Oct 2004
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Plantraco Butterfly First Impressions

I thought that some of you might be interested in some snapshots and first impressions of the 4 gram Plantraco Butterfly. I'm not a super-modeler (like Gorden, the Moderator of this newsgroup), I'm more of a novice-intermediate builder/pilot so I may not be able to answer super-technical questions. I trust that the professionals that read this thread will jump in when necessary.

I want to compliment Bud from Plantraco for his heavy participation in this newsgroup in preparation for the rollout of the Butterfly. He responded to hundreds of questions and was also very receptive to the numerous suggestions that were made. Thanks Bud!

Anyway, let's get started!

My Butterfly was shipped Wednesday afternoon and showed up on my doorstep Thursday morning via UPS Global Express. The shipping cost $26USD but Jason from Plantraco had told me that import duties would have cost $28 if I used standard shipping.

Stand by for photos.

Roger
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Old Jun 30, 2005, 04:05 PM
Uniblab
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Cherry Hill, NJ
Joined Oct 2004
877 Posts
The Butterfly was shipped in a somewhat flimsey cardboard box without any cushioning. The first photo shows that the legs of the aluminium case actually rubbed through the case. This shouldn't be a problem because the aluminium case is lined with foam to protect the contents.



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Old Jun 30, 2005, 04:12 PM
Uniblab
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Cherry Hill, NJ
Joined Oct 2004
877 Posts
The aluminium case is first-class! It will provide excellent protection for the Butterfly and radio. It has locking latches. I think Plantraco overlooked an advertising opportunity by not stenciling their logo on the case.



When you first open the case, you are presented with a DON"T TOUCH warning and the user manual. I encourage you to heed the warning (for reasons to be explained shortly).

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Old Jun 30, 2005, 04:19 PM
Uniblab
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Cherry Hill, NJ
Joined Oct 2004
877 Posts
Underneath the documentation you can see the Butterfly, Radio, and CD.



Underneath the CD was the cable for the Flight Sim. At first I couldn't find the LM30 battery that powers the Butterfly. I eventually found that the battery was stuffed into a slit in the foam (seen above the radio's left stick). The keys to the case were also stuffed in a foam slit (seen above the right stick).

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Old Jun 30, 2005, 04:25 PM
Uniblab
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Cherry Hill, NJ
Joined Oct 2004
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Transmitter Pics:

There is a jack for the flight simulator on the left side of the radio. The trim thumbwheels do not have any type of markings to indicate when they are "centered".



Here's the battery. I marked the polarity of the connectors onto the battery but this isn't really necessary because of the magnetic repulsion that will occur if you try to insert the battery backwards:



Here the battery charging door is open. The charging terminals are clearly marked with +/- symbols.



Four AA batteries were installed in the radio and the battery was plugged into the radio for charging. After a few minutes the red LED below and to the right of the battery went out, thus indicating that the battery was charged. The manual says that a discharged battery will require an hour to charge.

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Last edited by rwmson; Jun 30, 2005 at 06:08 PM. Reason: Battery really can'y be inserted backwards.
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Old Jun 30, 2005, 05:00 PM
Registered User
Elmwood Park,NJ, United States
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i bet you cant wait to fly it, eh? tell us how it flies after you fly it
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Old Jun 30, 2005, 05:03 PM
Uniblab
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Cherry Hill, NJ
Joined Oct 2004
877 Posts
The prop appears to be carbon fiber and looks very sweet! I doubt if it will will break under normal wear, but I think Plantraco should make replacements available. The prop is mounted to the gearbox by a friction-fit plastic cylinder. The user manual says that glueing the prop to the gearbox with CA will act as a good shock absorber in the event of a crash. I am considering whether a less-permanent glue would be more appropriate in order to make it easier to replace the prop (in the event that the cat decides to chew on it or something).

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Old Jun 30, 2005, 05:15 PM
Smooth Air
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Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
Joined Apr 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwmson
The prop appears to be carbon fiber and looks very sweet! I doubt if it will will break under normal wear, but I think Plantraco should make replacements available. The prop is mounted to the gearbox by a friction-fit plastic cylinder. The user manual says that glueing the prop to the gearbox with CA will act as a good shock absorber in the event of a crash. I am considering whether a less-permanent glue would be more appropriate in order to make it easier to replace the prop (in the event that the cat decides to chew on it or something).

Black, rubberized CA works great for stuff like that.

Geof.
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Old Jun 30, 2005, 05:31 PM
Uniblab
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Cherry Hill, NJ
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On to the airframe!

This photo shows the pastel blue color of my Butterfly. I'm not sure if Plantraco is shipping the Butterfly in different colors (the Butterfly in the videos is red). The balsa fuselage is painted a similar color. Note that the forward wing support of my plane arrived broken. I have received a PM from another owner that suffered much more serious damage during shipping. The damage to my plane is easily repaired, but Plantraco may want to monitor this situation. It was mentioned that Customs could have been responsible for the damage.



I also think that it's worth noting that, even with the excellent case, I think it would be easy to damage the Butterfly when extracting it from it's cavity in the foam. If you twist or tilt the airframe while extracting it, the wing or tail could snag on the foam, so if you are not paying close attention to what you are doing your Butterfly could suffer damage just by removing it from the case.
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Old Jun 30, 2005, 05:35 PM
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Saskatoon, Canada
Joined Jan 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwmson
Transmitter Pics:


WARNING: it is possible to plug the battery into the charger backwards! I used a marker to write +/- symbols on the battery. There is a photograph in the User Manual that shows the polarity of the battery's connectors. Here's the battery:


NO - That is INCORRECT.

The Bahoma battery cannot be attached backwards due to the magnetic repulsion.

Please edit or we run the risk of bad information coming to the reader.

Try to attach the battery backwards and you will then understand that this is not correct.
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Last edited by Plantraco; Jun 30, 2005 at 05:54 PM.
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Old Jun 30, 2005, 05:39 PM
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Saskatoon, Canada
Joined Jan 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwmson
On to the airframe!
I also think that it's worth noting that, even with the excellent case, I think it would be easy to damage the Butterfly when extracting it from it's cavity in the foam. If you twist or tilt the airframe while extracting it, the wing or tail could snag on the foam, so if you are not paying close attention to what you are doing your Butterfly could suffer damage just by removing it from the case.

Yes, we have a few customers with damaged units already.

Today's shipments were made with the Butterfly pinned down with foam blocks. We'll see if this alleviates the problem.

I think some UPS guy must be playing soccer with the boxes. We can't yet figure out how the damage can happen - hopefully we will eliminate damage from shipping - this is the whole point of shipping in the briefcase.
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Old Jun 30, 2005, 05:53 PM
Uniblab
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Cherry Hill, NJ
Joined Oct 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morb
Black, rubberized CA works great for stuff like that.

Geof.
Geof,

I'm not familiar with "rubberized CA", although I think I've seen it used in another RTF micro plane that I have. Is this something I can buy at the store?

Roger
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Old Jun 30, 2005, 05:53 PM
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Saskatoon, Canada
Joined Jan 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwmson
Transmitter Pics:
Four AA batteries were installed in the radio and the battery was plugged into the radio for charging. After a few minutes the red LED below and to the right of the battery went out, thus indicating that the battery was charged. The manual says that a discharged battery will require an hour to charge.

Yes, the LP30 cell will be pre-charged - only used for a 1 or 2 minute check-out flight just prior to shipping.

The plane should be fully trimmed out and transmitter should not require any trimming wheel adjustment out of the box.

Too bad there was a broken pylon. We are going to find out how to brace the Butterfly to ensure absolute 100% no breakage in transit.

We tested repeatedly with drops from 5 feet.
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Old Jun 30, 2005, 05:56 PM
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Saskatoon, Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwmson
Geof,

I'm not familiar with "rubberized CA", although I think I've seen it used in another RTF micro plane that I have. Is this something I can buy at the store?

Roger

Use medium CA - it is not totally permanent on the gear - just watch the video on the CDROM, it will show you exactly how to do this job.


BTW - instructions for making repairs are also on the WMV and Quicktime videos on the CDROM included with the set. Please view them.
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Old Jun 30, 2005, 06:10 PM
Uniblab
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Cherry Hill, NJ
Joined Oct 2004
877 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plantraco
NO - That is INCORRECT.

The Bahoma battery cannot be attached backwards due to the magnetic repulsion.

Please edit or we run the risk of bad information coming to the reader.

Try to attach the battery backwards and you will then understand that this is not correct.
Thank you Bud, you are absolutely correct. I have edited the previous post to remove the erroneous information. I apologize for the misinformation.

Roger
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