Venus-II on the flightline.
|Wing Area:||866 sq. in.|
|Weight:||8.5 to 9.5 lbs.|
|Wing Loading:||22.5 to 26 oz/sq ft.|
|Motor:||.60 - .91 2-stroke, .91 to 1.20 4-stroke|
|Available Online from:||Tower Hobbies|
Hobbico surprised the Pattern-interested arena of the r/c market by providing the Venus 40 ARF -- a good looking, capable entry level pattern, pattern practice, or patternesque sport model that became quite popular. Popular enough that they've followed it with a bigger brother -- the Venus II. This 60 sized ARF provides the looks and performance of a widebody fuselage, great markings, great flying all in the fun of a patternesque performer!
Items Needed to complete:
(A more complete list is included in the instruction manual)
Reviewing Great Planes stuff is easy, due to the well thought-out instructions and the complete hardware package included. With few exceptions, I assembled the Venus-II-2 exactly as the instructions described. I used the included high-quality hardware.
From receiving the ARF, to test-flying, took exactly two weeks (probably 15-20 hours total.) The included printed instruction booklet is very clear, offering additional help, tips, and techniques along with the assembly steps. (They also list the colors and part numbers of all the Monokote colors used. Nice!) As usual for Great Planes instructions, they are posted at the GP website and it's well worth it to get a copy ahead of time. The included hardware is all English (as opposed to Metric) except for the spinner bolt, and is of very good quality.
The wing arrived in two halves, and I joined it with a 1/8” plywood brace backed up with a balsa wood wedge. I did not glass the center section, as the instructions did not direct me to. (The wing joiner seemed kind of light to me, but it has survived the test flights just fine.) Hinging the control surfaces was quick enough with the included CA hinges and pre-cut slots.
Great Planes has planned ahead, for those power-hungry pilots who are planning on fitting a heavy 1.20 sized power plant in the nose: the servos can be mounted in the tail, as cut-outs are already there under the Monokote. Since I elected to use an engine from the other end of the power spectrum, a OS Max .61FX with MACS one-piece pipe, I installed the servos in the center section under the wing.
There are several different engine mounting options, depending on which power plant you decide to install. The manual also includes several templates for drilling the firewall and mounting the included glass-filled motor mount. I selected the OS .90 template, turned 110 degrees, which would position the muffler out the cowling bottom. The .61FX required that I add 1” blocks to the firewall, to move the engine mount forward enough to clear the cowling. Then I was able to drill and tap the glass mount and get the cowling trimmed to fit as per the instructions. The muffler required a large extension to clear the firewall, I used OS Max muffler extension part # E-402, which moved the pipe 1.38” out, just clearing the fuse. Because the MACS pipe is tapped for English threads, I need to replace the included metric bolts with the English version.
The wheel pants were both pre-painted & pre-drilled, and included alignment screws which matched up to pre-installed blind nuts. Nice touch!
If you apply the included decals, seal the edges with clear dope. (I noticed that the Monokote trim was already sealed this way in places. Another nice touch!)
Balancing only required moving the battery pack to under the fuel tank, no additional weight was needed. The final flying weight was 8lbs, 10oz.
Using factory defaults for both low and high rates, 20% expo, balanced (both laterally and front-to-back), we completed our pre-flight checks and lined up for a take-off. While taxing, I fought the very heavy crosswinds unsuccessfully, the large rudder was too much for it's tiny tail wheel. But, once aligned with the runway's centerline, takeoff commenced. It took a lot of runway on our less-than-ideal grass to get airborne, but once we slipped free of the grass, the Venus-II lifted strongly into the bright blue sky. Little rudder correction was used, and once airborne, almost no trim was needed to get her flying true.
Landing was textbook easy, simply lining up with the centerline, touching the rudder (remember the crosswind?) and letter her settle in. I set up the radio for flaps, but they were not needed.
In flight, we quickly defined a line and I executed the sportsman's pattern sequence. This was followed by a runway-long knife-edge, and ¾ of a knife-edge loop. All on low-rates! Inverted was a no-brainer, as the Venus-II tracked straight and true in any attitude. Slow-rolls and hammer head turns were executed with precision. High rates really made the Venus-II respond briskly to the control inputs. I used approx. 20% expo, no mixing.
For those of you that wondered if a .61 two-stroke was enough engine for this plane: for sportsman pattern, yes, it most certainly was. You can see the length of take-off needed for our longish grass field in the video below, and we were airborne. The Venus-II climbed with plenty of power, and most maneuvers were flown at just over half throttle. Vertical was limited, of course, but long wing overs and hammerhead turns were crisp and clean.
In a 30 degree dive, there was no tendency to dip or climb, demonstrating the balance was dead-on. Knife edge pulled a hair toward the canopy, and inverted was hands-off. As expected, the .61FX did not have enough power to maintain a torque-roll, but otherwise the performance was very respectable -- stunts that included verticals (huge round loops, etc) were doable.
The Venus-II has plenty of rudder, and a wide fuse area, so knife-edge stunts were easy and smooth. Like any good pattern plane, the Venus-II slices through the air like a razor, holding any attitude you put it in.
Control inputs were responded to crisply, and smoothly. The first test flights were performed on a windy April day, so bad that my hat kept blowing off! The Venus-II cut through this annoyance like no one's business, and we flew several times while other pilots sat out the conditions. The only issues we faced were the wind causing weather-vaning while taxing. The Venus-II tail is very large, and the minute tail wheel just could not hold against a 10-15mph crosswind.
Several other pilots were waiting in line to try her out. Everyone remarked at how crisp the controls were, and how responsive. Knife-edge flight was easy to maintain, and rolling circles became the trick to try. My friend Alan Parsons performed slow-rolls, spins and ¼ rolls for the video.
Make sure you pre-flight inspect all the links and connections before every flight: We had one clevis snap off the aileron just seconds before taxing out to the runway, on the first flight! Yikes!
The Venus-II is designed to go where you point it. It has no self-correcting tendencies, and can be pretty fast given the right engine. While take-offs and landings were simple and easy, and there was never any hint of speed induced snap or other bad habits, it is still an FAI-type plane. It would make a challenging second or third plane.
In summary: The Venus-II is a well-built, clean-flying ARF that assembles quickly. At the field, pilots lined up to give it a try, and all were pleased with it's handling. It makes an excellent sport plane for Sunday pilots, and is clean and precise enough for competition. The build quality is excellent. It looks good in the air, and as a fine addition to your hangar.
(Note: These “issues” might seem pretty nitpicking, and they are. These were the only "issues" I could find with my Venus-II!)Last edited by AMCross; Jul 19, 2006 at 10:20 AM..
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