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Great Planes U Can Do 3D EP FlightFlex Park Flyer ARF Review

J. David Johnson explores this exciting new 'nearly indestructible' "ball it up, bounce it, and fly it again" 3D Trainer included-brushed-motor-powered park flyer foamie.

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Introduction

Complete plane - Ready to Fly!
Complete plane - Ready to Fly!
Wingspan:33.5"
Wing Area:369 sq. in.
Weight:15 oz.
Length:36.5"
Wing Loading:5-6 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:Futaba S3107/3108
Transmitter:Futaba SkySport T4YF
Receiver:Futaba
Battery:ElectriFly 1500mah 3 cell (11.1 volt) lipoly
Motor:included stock brushed motor, 5:1 gearbox, prop & prop saver
ESC:ElectriFly C-30 Brushed Motor Controller
Manufacturer:ElectriFly
Distrib by:Available Online From:Tower Hobbies

The new U-Can-Do-3D EP is an interesting new offering from Great Planes' electric modeling line, ElectriFly. Featuring an interesting new flexible construction termed FlightFlex, the plane is considered more durable and resilient to the occasional crashes you might have, especially when learning 3D. I've always liked the U-Can-Do-3D, so an opportunity to build a small, electric version was appealing. Let's take a look at how it went, shall we?

Kit Contents

The U-Can-Do-3D EP can be purchased through retailers such as Tower Hobbies" as an "Ultimate Combo", with a full complement of Futaba and Great Planes products for a one-stop shop approach. The kit arrived complete and offered all the necessary items to complete the fuselage except adhesives. It was a nice touch to have the motor, gearbox, prop and "wobbly adapter" included. No guess work as to what prop to find, etc.

Basic Kit Package Includes:

  • Airframe, with zip-open battery compartment (!)
  • Brushed 280 ball bearing motor
  • 5:1 gear drive
  • Prop and Prop Saver

Requires:

  • 4-channel radio
  • 4 micro servos (9g or less)
  • micro receiver
  • two 6", two 12" extensions
  • 30A ESC
  • 1200-1500mAh 3C lipo battery & charger

Assembly

Alright now... don't blink! The U-Can-Do-3D EP is a VERY fast build.

Cool Zippered Access!

Besides the obvious flexible nature of the construction, the other standout feature of the aircraft is the zippered access to internals. A simple and effective way to replace the battery and allow access the various items inside the airframe.

I first glued the wing into the fuse. This is perhaps the most critical step in the setup, as you need to be careful not to flex the fuse when aligning it to the wing. I also had to keep an eye on the wing in relation to the fuse side... it's imperative that the wing is as square to the fuse as possible.

I just dropped in the receiver and battery and that was it. A little Velcro (supplied) was used to attach these items to the inside of the pocket.

Hope you didn't blink because the plane is ready to fly! It was an easy build, and the only real concern is the Velcro... the adhesive backing didn't seem to adhere well to the foam material.

Flying

Half throttle and a gentle push at handlaunch and the UCD3DEP were airborne. It was surprisingly stable and not real "flirty". The stock brushed motor proved to be a good power source and the plane had plenty of power to loop, hover and pull out, etc. A brushless could REALLY make this thing ballistic.

Basics

Smooth. I really expected the plane to be "all over the place" due to its flexible nature, but that simply was not the case. At low rates and low speed it just soared around gracefully. It could easily loop inside and out without snapping, and rolls were pretty fast. As far as the basics, this parkflyer performed similar to the larger versions of the well known U Can Do family.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

As an aerobat, the UCD3DEP is a competent airframe. It was fun to hover and, although I had my CG a little forward, it still was easy to catch when it fell from a hover, thanks to those massive elevators.

Snaps kind of suffer because of the twisting of the fuse and it sometimes came out of the snap in an odd position.

Waterfalls were neat and the walls and elevators were very nice. Surprisingly, knife-edge flight wasn't as easy as I had expected from my experience with the larger glow versions. It's not that the rudder isn't authoritative; it's just that it seems axially unstable on its side, as if it wants to return to horizontal. It could be due to the battery "flopping" from side to side, changing weight distribution.

Still, overall it was a good experience and flew well enough to be enjoyable. It handles very very well at slow speeds as well.

Is This For a Beginner?

Because of it's symmetrical airfoil it's probably not a good airframe for the novice, however it would make a nice second or third addition to your hangar.

How About Someone New to 3D?

This is billed as a 3D trainer, and it's a very good choice for that. It performs a lot of the basic 3D manuevers surprisingly well, with a few week spots due to the flexibility of the materials. Plus it has very good slow flight capabilities, without any unexpected stalls. A lot of the challenge of 3D is the fear factor of smacking the ground with these low altitude stunts. The unique construction means she survives most scrapes and bangs with the ground, and if she DOES tear, repairs are surprisingly quick and simple.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

The U-Can-Do-3D EP is an interesting offering. It's flight characteristics are not head and shoulders above the rest, but are in line with many other offerings. The FlexFlight feature of the plane is its main selling point, and although it's not indestructible, it sure does take minor mishaps in stride. Plus, even when she does suffer damage, the material is more prone to tearing than smashing, and therefore is VERY easily repaired with some epoxy.

If you are looking for the best performing aerobat, you might want to consider other offerings, but if you like the U-Can-Do line of aircraft (and I do), the EP version does it a fair amount of justice in the small parkflyer category. And its ability to be "healed" easily makes it an interesting option for a personís first aerobatic plane. The suggested Futaba Skysport 4YF 4 channel radio is a nice match for the plane and features reversible channels and the newer Futaba trainer port, matching the 9C.

Discussion

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Old Dec 01, 2005, 07:56 PM
Big Prop Driver
Chris Saindon's Avatar
Memphis, TN
Joined Oct 2001
17 Posts
Easy fix for the bad knife-edge roll coupling

Somone else on this group mentioned an easy way to fix the roll coupling in knife-edge flight about 6 months back when I got my UCANDO. Simply take a straight edge and a sharp Exacto and taper the rudder so that it is about 2 inches wide at the top and about original lenth at the bottom. I can attach a photo later. What you end up with is a forward slant on the trailing edge of the rudder which reduces the induced drag at the top of the rudder when you deflect it in knife edge, thereby reducing that tucking tendancy.
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