The complete Harrier 46 ready to go to the field.
|Wing Area:||751 sq. in.|
|Wing Loading:||17.6 oz/sq. ft.t|
|Servos:||6 MX-S6 Standard Servos|
|Receiver:||Futaba R128DF 8 Channels|
|Available From:||Horizon Hobby|
This plane is a blast to fly! The Seagull Models Harrier .46 3D is the smaller sibling to the very popular Harrier .90 3D model. It is relatively large for a .46 sized plane but the structure has been designed to reduce the weight of the plane. This is one Almost Ready to Fly (ARF) plane that does not hide anything from view as the plane is almost entirely covered with Transparent Ultracote.
The Kit is very complete and includes parts that are bagged and wrapped for protection during shipping. One neat feature was having all of the nuts and washers already on each bolt. For example each engine mounting bolt needs two washers and a nut. In this kit the washers and nut were already on each bolt. This makes gathering the needed pieces very easy during assembly and saves the frustration that comes from digging through a bowl of loose parts for each part. Fiberglass wheel pants were also included.
Items required to complete the kit:
This was my first time to use an Evolution engine. I have always been very picky about the brands of engines that I use. My flying time is often limited by work and family obligations so when I go the field I want to fly, not work on an engine. This engine exceeded my expectations for operating ease, power, and reliability.
The Evolution Engine was supplied with a more complete instruction manual than most engines. The manual explains that the motor has been set at the factory and shows exactly how to connect the engine to the servo. I followed the setup geometry in the manual and only needed a slight endpoint adjustment in my transmitter to have the throttle moving smoothly through the entire range from idle to full power. I was pleasantly suprised to find the engine truly WAS properly tuned out of the box and ran perfectly on first start!
One feature of an Evolution Engine is the SetRight needle valve. These motors have been run and set at the factory. The SetRight feature also includes a stop on each of the high end and low end needle adjustments to limit adjusting the engine. These stops can be easily over ridden or removed. However the stops seem like a good idea to help inexperienced or even experienced users from over adjusting the needle valves.
This plane goes together very FAST! Assembly time for most people should be between six and ten hours. The instruction manual is adequate for the experienced pilot but it is not quite up the same standards of other kits distributed by Horizon Hobby.
Thanks to the two-piece bolt-on design used for the wings there is no need to waste time using epoxy join the wings together as most ARFs require.
The assembly manual suggests mounting the engine so that the drive washer is 120 mm from the firewall. However the cowling would not slide on far enough for the drive washer to clear the cowling. So the motor was moved out another 5mm on the engine mount beams so the cowling would fit.
Trimming the cowling for the engine was one of the most time consuming steps. A piece of poster board was used to create a template that allows marking the cowling. By taping the template to the side of the plane several inches behind the cowing, it was possible to trim the template to clear the protrusions from the motor. Then the motor was removed and the cowling was slid in place and the template was used to mark the locations where the engine would need to protrude through the cowling. A Dremel tool was used to make the required holes in the cowling.
One unusual feature is the lack of a separate vertical stabilizer. Instead, the fuselage is uniquely tall where a fin would be, and the rudder is mounted directly to the fuselage. This means that the horizontal stabilizer is the only surface that has to be glued to the fuselage, saving a few minutes of assembly time compared to most planes. It also means the model has an enormous amount of fuselage side area for the rudder to push against, providing awesome rudder authority and knife edge performance.
The Harrier 46 is designed to use six standard servos.
The plane is designed for two elevator servos. The mixing capabilities of the Futaba 9C trasmitter were used to adjust each elevator for equal movement. Other radios can be used by using a reversing Y-harness or mechanically adjusting the linkages. The assembly manual does not cover these options; however, information on these setups is usually available from a local hobby shop, fellow flyers, or RC Groups forums. The kit includes 2 mm linkages for hooking up all of the control surfaces. These worked fine, however some people may feel more secure using larger control rods such as 2-56 or 4-40 linkages.
The receiver battery was moved until the recommended center of gravity was achieved. The final step was to program the transmitter to adjust the high and low rates for each control surface. This is one of the few ARFS that I have found all of the hardware to be usable. I omitted the wheel pants since I normally fly from a grass runway.
The first three flights were made without any adjustment to the needle valves!
The new Evolution .46NT engine sprung to life when a starter was applied. Next something happened that I have never had occur before with a new engine. I pulled the stick back to idle and...the motor idled perfectly! I advanced the throttle and the motor went to full throttle! A quick test, holding the plane with the nose high, confirmed the plane was ready to fly. The initial flights were made using an APC 10-7 propeller. The plane flew very well but was slightly faster than the type of flying that the Harrier 46 excels...we'll experiment more later. The first three flights were made without any adjustment to the needle valves!
Now it was time to put a flat wide 3-D prop on the plane, I switched to an APC 12.25x3.75 propeller. A couple of clicks of the needle valve and slight idle trim adjustment were all that were required to tune the new setup. Now a good plane became a fantastic plane!
Takeoffs and Landings and non-events. The Harrier 46 tracks straight and takes off following a short run. Landings are also very simple. The combination of light weight and a relatively fat airfoil give the plane the ability to land at a snail's pace.
Aerobatics are what this plane was built for! When high rates are turned on, the plane is much more capable than the author. Loops can be any size from very large to barely longer than the length of the fuselage. Rolls are axial and can be extremely fast. Knife-edge flight is excellent. I noticed a slight amount of tucking towards the gear on one side. With the 12.25x3.75 propeller, the plane had lots of thrust and would pull through maneuvers more like a plane powered by a four cycle engine.
For a better sample of the planes 3D capabilities I handed the controls to Mike Connally. Mike was able to hover the plane down on the deck. Maintaining a hovering attitude did require a substantial amount of elevator. The plane performed an excellent blender and did very well in Knife Edge flight.
The plane performed its namesake maneuver very well...both upright and inverted. Using the ailerons raised slightly as spoilers helped calm the wing rocking that I induced during Harriers.
NO! This plane is not designed or intended as a trainer. Even though on very reduced control surface movements it could be a second plane, it should really be a third or fourth airplane. Although it is very easy to take off and land, it is capable of very abrupt maneuvers with extreme control surface movements and the light structure may not hold up to learning mistakes. Additionally, it has no self-righting
Horizon Hobby has a winner in the Seagull Models Harrier 46! The plane is quick to assemble, fun to fly, and looks great. I really enjoyed assembling and flying the Harrier 46. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Evolution .46NT engine performed in this plane with the APC 12.25 x 3.75 prop.
Be sure to watch The E-Zone, roughly the first week of March, where you'll find Wendell's electric conversion of the Harrier 46!Last edited by AMCross; Aug 31, 2006 at 03:00 PM..
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