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The FMA Direct Razor ARF - Speed 400 Version

Spring had sprung and I had nothing to fly. I had a few kits and some half-completed planes but I needed to FLY, not build. I remembered seeing a Razor-Speed 400 at a local hobby shop, and having flown a Zagi I knew flying wings were stable, quick-building, and looked cool too!

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Specifications
  • Airframe: ARCEL (tm) foam
  • Manufacturing Technique: Injection Molded
  • Wing span: 48"
  • Wing design: Swept/tapered
  • Airfoil: Semi-symmetrical w/reflex
  • Approx. wieght w/FMA equip: 20 oz. 1oz. variance
  • Approx. wing area: 3.11 sq. ft.
  • Approx. Flight time/Max speed: 5-14 min/35 mph
  • Wing Loading: 6.43 oz. per sq. ft.
  • Flight characteristics: Docile, thermal, aerobatic
  • Pilot skill level: Beginner to moderate
  • Tx requirments: 3 channel
  • Mixing requirments: Elevon mix @ Tx or Rx
  • Recomended Tx Capabilities: Dual rates or expo

 

Spring had sprung and I had nothing to fly. I had a few kits and some half-completed planes but I needed to FLY, not build. I remembered seeing a Razor-Speed 400 at a local hobby shop, and having flown a Zagi I knew flying wings were stable, quick-building, and looked cool too!  Please note there are several versions of this plane. You can go to the FMA homepage http://www.fmadirect.com to find specs. on the other versions. This review is of the RZR400RTF1

Kit Contents

Upon opening the box (no, I'm not going to give the box dimensions!) I found all parts well packed. For my $114.00 and some change I got: the wing, left and right halves; a complete hard-ware pack; speed 400 motor prewired to an FMA mini 20 esc, capacitors and Shottky diode pre-soldered in place, propeller and propeller adapter shaft, balsa ailerons and lite-ply wing tip fins, two types of Lexan tape, a 2"x4" sanding screen, and the assembly manual. I provided: a Hitec Focus III transmitter, receiver, 2 FMA S-80 servos, and 5 min. epoxy.

Construction

Construction was done following the very complete and well illustrated manual. What can I say? You glue the 2 wings together, attach the canopy and base, install the radio and tape on the ailerons! Actually there are a few more steps and it took me about 6-7 hours to complete the kit. The only deviations I made from the manual were to discard the hatch under the canopy which separates the battery compartment from the underside of the canopy. My rx was to big to fit under the canopy, so I put it in the rear of the battery compartment. I also added a ventral fin directly under the motor to prevent the prop from hitting the ground. I made the fin from the scrap lite ply sheet that the tip fins were die-cut from.

Flying

Do follow the instructions and perform test glides from a hill. On my first test there was not  enough up trim and the plane immediately dove into the grass 10' in front of me. There was no damage. The second glide test went better. With more up trim a decent glide was achieved but I had to power up to avoid a fence and the test glide became the first powered flight. Once  trimmed the Razor flew in a smooth and predictable manor. Stalls are very gentle with no tendency to drop a wing. So far I have performed axial rolls, inside loops, inverted flight, outside loops and some funky stall turns and semi-spins. Landings are easy. Being made of Arcel foam this bird is pretty tough, so I don't worry about where I put it down. But, being a low drag aircraft it likes to glide.   I make very low landing legs and burp up power as needed to make my landing zone.

Summary

In my opinion, for the money this is the best value of any (gas or electric) r/c plane that I know of ! It performs aerobatics, it's stable and predictable, it's inexpensive, simple to build and maintain, but best of all the Razor is a electric powered plane that can serve as a sport plane or as a thermal riding sailplane.  I enjoy it most when I launch and do a few maneuvers, then climb and shut the motor off and hunt for thermals.   So far I have had flights last up to 15 min. by riding thermals.

Travis Ballou

fatman(at)erols.com

 

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