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The Air Hogs Storm Launcher Hydro-Foam RTF Flying Boat Car Airplane!

Michael Heer reviews this all terrain vehicle that is controlled by differential thrust as well as an elevator. See what he thinks of this much awaited and much discussed new RC vehicle! (And don't miss Stormy's first movie trailer!)

Splash

Introduction

Just like a lot of fellow Ezoners I saw the ad of a hydroplane boat racing across my Ezone screen and clicked on it. I watched the short video and I clicked on a retailer and placed my advance order to be the first on my block to get the limited summer release of the Storm Launcher. Then like a kid waiting for Christmas I kept checking the thread with discussion of the Storm Launcher and waiting for word my Storm Launcher had shipped. Finally, I got my special e-mail informing me: "Your Storm Launcher will ship on 10/14/06." OH NO! My "Summer Christmas" was gone, kicked out two months. Like many other Ezoners I shared the pain of that e-mail. Just when I thought all was lost I got a reprieve and a chance to review the Storm Launcher. With my loyalty clearly placed with my fellow Ezoners on the waiting lists for the Storm Launcher I pledge to do my best to help you decide if you keep your name on those waiting lists or if we should cancel our orders and see what else is out there.

But before we meet the star of this review let's get a look at some work from his upcoming movie....

Downloads

The kit -- an All-In-One Package IS Available!

The big beautiful foam Storm Launcher comes full assembled and ready to fly.
The big beautiful foam Storm Launcher comes full assembled and ready to fly.
Width:15 inches
Length:19-1/4 inches
Height:6 inches
Weight:9.6 ounces RTF
Battery:2 cell Air Hog Lipoly 740 mAh
Controls:Differential Thrust & elevator
Transmitter:Custom Air Hog 27mHz
Charger:Custom Air Hog Lipoly charger
Manufacturer:Air Hogs Storm Launcher
Available:In October at Target, Walmart, E-Toys and more

I received an all-in-one package that had the battery and charger included...until I received this I thought they were only available separately. Everything was well protected in 2 boxes.

The antenna & ribbon for the transmitter and two spare props were in one bag; instructions were in another. No specific instructions for the charger were included but there were lots of warnings about the Lipoly battery and what to do and not do with it. The most interesting instruction was to not get the battery wet...but it installs on the Storm Launcher on the bottom center of this land, WATER, air vehicle?? Well other than possibly while running it in the lake I will keep the battery dry.

Interesting Materials

The Storm Launcher is made using three types of foam. In the front is the dark spongy and somewhat heavy foam. This foam bounces and is intended to survive impacts with other objects and the first thing I hit was my leg while making a high speed pass on hardpan and I hit a slight outcropping and it kicked off line and hit me. There was no damage to the Storm Launcher ... or to me. Most of the machine is made of the lighter and more brittle white foam. This will dent or break if it hits things but fortunately it is "mostly" protected by the darker foam in front. The fins vertical and horizontal are apparently made of atype of foam that is even tougher -- and skinned -- than what meat trays are made of -- Depron. It is softer and less brittle than the main body but it also is breakable. In the center area is a hard plastic shell protecting the receiver unit, servo and the battery plugs in the Storm Launcher. The plugging in of the battery is easy but the removal is a bit of a battle (In some cases an all out war!) Although the Storm Launcher box says it is for ages 10 and up I recommend only older teens and adults try and remove the battery as (at least on my model) it was really really in there.

TX, Battery & Charger

Everything I needed to operate the Storm Launcher arrived in that one box with the exception of a small Phillips screwdriver that I needed to open the hatch on the transmitter to insert the included six AA batteries. While installing the batteries into the transmitter I looked the transmitter over carefully and realized it was like none I had ever seen before. I would have to read the instructions while the Lipoly battery charged. My Storm Launcher instructions discussed that the battery and charger were available separately. I looked again for instructions for the charger but I couldn't find any. Warnings on the box and the Storm Launcher instructions but no charger instructions. Looking the charger over it was obvious that one unit plugged into the wall and its cord plugged into the table charger and the battery could only go into the charger one way. There was a + and - sign on both the battery and the charger to guide me and there was a bump in the bottom of the charger and a matching notch in the battery that would prevent putting the battery into the charger backwards. So I connected them and started the charging process. A red light started flashing on the front of the charger. I didn't know what that meant but I didn't think it was good. After an hour it was still flashing red so I disconnected the charger and took out the battery. I didn't feel good about the flashing red light because of green dots and a green bar on the front of the charger had the numbers 70 and 100 by them respectively and by the red dot there was a zero. I tried taking the battery out and putting it back in a couple of times on the charger but it kept flashing red.

The battery pack is a two cell Lipoly battery of 7.4 volts with 740 mAh. The battery does not have a normal connector and it is encased in yellow plastic. It is a Lithium Polymer battery that was assembled in Indonesia with cells made in Korea. The pictures above show it better than I can describe it.

I used the attempted charging time to read the instructions on the transmitter and on the Storm Launcher. Here is a short video to explain the transmitter functions.

Downloads

Charged? or No?

The first session was going to be a motor break in session and just running on the grass. I went to the park and noted the wet sticky grass and knew that might be a challenge. I turned on the transmitter and then plugged the battery into the Storm Launcher. (It only can go in one way thanks to that notch.) I held down the Storm Launcher starter button on the transmitter for four seconds and the left prop spun briefly. I was ready to go so I gave it full throttle and it started forward and ran for about five seconds and stopped. It was about 90 feet away and I didn't know for certain what the problem was but I suspected the battery wasn't charged because of that red flashing light on the charger. I tried all the controls for a couple of seconds but got nothing.

I turned the transmitter off and then back on. I held down the start button for the Storm Launcher for four seconds or so and again the left prop spun. I gave it full throttle and the motors ran for three seconds but the Storm Launcher didn't move from the wet sticky grass. After that nothing. I repeated this same process three more times. I strongly suspected the battery but with no instructions on the battery charger I wasn't sure. The problem might be in the Storm Launcher.

Getting the battery out of the Storm Launcher was a bit like a life and death struggle. It really wanted to stay in there. When it let loose my right arm really went flying sideways and then backwards with it. I wouldn't want to see ten-year olds trying to get the battery out.

Correcting the problem

I went to work and plugged in the charger and pushed the battery into the charger with perhaps a little frustration. It was in the same direction as the previous night but now, for the first time, I had a flashing green light. I took that as a hopeful sign. After about 45 minutes or so it started doing a double green flash. From the markings on the front of the charger I took that to mean it was 70% charged. It continued charging and finally after another 49 minutes gave a solid green light. Per the charger I took this to mean it was now 100% charged. While I don't know why it didn't charge the night before, I was 99.9% certain that had been my problem. The solution might have been shoving the battery in hard out of anger or the fact that it had been run at least a little.

Motor Break-in

Sessions 2 & 3

Session 2 was during my lunch break and was for motor break-in and I found it could traverse hard ground and short grass but on the sandy infield of the local park the spots with deeper sand would sometimes turn it and prolonged sand slowed it down considerably. It couldn't handle thick 4 inch grass yet, but this WAS the motor break-in period.

Session 3 was after work and was done at a local park golf course. It could get up some real speed in the fairway! But when going full speed it didn't respond to the novice setting on the controller when I tried to turn. I Learned it turned better if you let off the throttle and tried to turn at a slightly slower speed. Even still the novice setting wasn't very good on the grass, and the expert setting, while better, still required throttle management for high speed turns as well as use of the differential thrust. I made the first jump when The Storm Launcher was launched going over a sand trap off the earthen rise that bordered it. I landed in the rough on the other side of the trap and sort of stuck in a nose down position in the tall grass. About that time some golfers arrived at that hole's tee so it was time for me to leave.

LAND

Sessions 4 & 5

Sessions 4 & 5 were in Oregon and were performed in several paved parking lots. On pavement the Storm Launcher got going very fast and slid a long way at speed. With the transmitter on the novice setting I found I could turn with differential thrust at slow speeds but not at all at high speed. At full throttle it just went straight despite my efforts to turn. With the setting on Expert I had more turning ability at slow speed and middle speed but it was a dragster running down the pavement at full throttle.

I had my first extended flight in Lake Oswego when I went up a dirt ramp at the end of the parking lot and went airborne while going full speed. There was no use of the elevator to get airborne -- just a jump off a ramp. However after the jump, it leveled off at about fifteen feet in the air over a slightly sunken field and tracked a nice straight line for a couple hundred feet over a nice grassy field. I gave some short right turn commands and it turned much much more responsively in the air than it had on the pavement. I had very good control for a differential thrust guided "plane." I kept my turn movements short and repeated them quickly (I was on Expert setting.) I circled the field and did about 520 degrees and the Storm Launcher was coming back at me when I made a nice landing on the thick grass that was about three inches long. Despite my resumption of full power it wouldn't move in the thick wet grass.

Controlled TAKE-OFF!

Session 5 was at a nice smoothly paved parking lot and my control problems were the same but I learned to turn by reducing throttle and giving a short right stick side movement and I could get a slide turn to the right. If I was going too fast, no turn, but with throttle manage of slowing down slightly when I wanted to turn, hit the turn and then hit the gas, I was able to make several nice fast oval loops around the parking lot. Too much turn input however and I would often do a 360ish spin. Tried to take-off and got up speed and gave the elevator full up and the back bottom of the SL hit the ground and it slid on it as if it was a magnet attracted by the parking lot. After proving this was the case by doing it a couple more times, I applied only a little up elevator and the weight stayed on the front of the Storm Launcher and it lifted off and I was able to fly a controlled circle around the parking lot. I would have continued but a couple cars turned into the parking lot and I shut down and landed as they parked in the middle of my aerodrome.

WIND

Sessions 6 & 8

Both of these sessions were on windy days and I learned the Storm Launcher was really hard to fly in gusting wind. I managed a couple of short hops but that was all. It operated on the ground fairly well even though the wind was just as strong at ground level. If I stayed off the elevator I could race around the ground at near full speed. I later learned it could handle water operation pretty well in the wind as well! It was just air performance that suffered in wind.

FRIEND Flying

Session 7

This session was done in Modesto and was done on grass and was the first session that was videotaped (First video below). I had my friend, Jeff (Jarhead) Hunter, operating the Storm Launcher and I started the camera when he picked up the transmitter. It was on Expert setting. No practice time for Jeff. He learned it took a lot of directional control to steer it on the ground at speed and very little to turn it in the air. The first video below shows Jeff crashing after his first take-off, as he gave to much right turn command and let off the throttle. The way to steer was short bursts for best control. After that one crash the lesson was learned by Jeff as he flew the Storm Launcher very well after that...But Jeff is a quick study!

SEA (water) -- Impressive!

Session 9-10

These were the first sessions where I got to play in the water with my Storm Launcher. The plan was to test the control and turning ability of the SL on water and resist the temptation to fly. I would do speed runs but I would stay off of the elevator. The goal for session 9 was to determine how well it turned on the water and how fast would it go and not get airborne if the elevator was not used. I am happy to say I resisted temptation and it would go full speed on a calm pond and stay on the water. I also had very good control on calm water as I had learned to let off the throttle a bit at the start of a land/water based turn. On a choppy pond the Storm Launcher would sometimes get airborne from a wave, especially heading into the wind. I was pleased with the Storm Launcher as a water vehicle especially in calm conditions. Storm Launcher would spin out and change direction suddenly going thru waves sideways on occasion in session 10. Other than the occasional unexpected change of direction from a wave I hit at an angle it was a blast in the water.

I would caution against using the Storm Launcher in salt water as salt water is very corrosive and can easily ruin electronics. All my operation was in fresh water.

SPEED HOPS

Sessions 11-12

These sessions were in front of my house and the operation primarily involved racing down the street and making a big turn and coming back and doing a short straight flight on the return with a landing, a slide and then repeating the run down the street. This involved about ten minutes of total operation time (five minutes a session) with time for charging taking about an hour and fifteen minutes each. During this time I entertained a lot of kids (including this big kid) and became pretty good at making my end run turns at a good speed while usually keeping control. For something so simple it was certainly a lot of fun.

AIR

Sessions 13-15

Sessions 13 & 15 were done at the local park and I used the sidewalk as my runway and flew around the park. It was relatively calm conditions for those two sessions with at most a 5 mile per hour breeze and I enjoyed myself. The purpose of these sessions was to get some flying time and then some videotape of take-offs and flights and analyze the flying performance of the SL. While I recommend that everyone use the Expert setting on the ground or water I recommend that everyone start flying using the Novice setting.

My best flying so far was in session 13 when it was completely calm. Unfortunately, no camera person was with me. The movement of the stick to one side in the Novice setting lead to a smooth, large turn! The same amount of movement in Expert caused a crash.

Let me repeat that: "The movement of the stick to one side in the Novice setting lead to a smooth, large turn!"...


"smooth large turn"...
"SMOOTH!"
I never honestly expected it to fly THAT well!

I knew it would fly but in calm conditions I was making turns left and right and with just minor throttle changes that were smooth and easy to do. I have never flied anything with differential thrust that handled any better than the Storm Launcher did in CALM conditions. In a breeze it develops a wobble and requires more effort to control but it remained controllable left to right, but as the breeze got stronger controlling the elevator and SLs pitch became more difficult. Getting level flight in a breeze vs. nose up flight took some practice on throttle and elevator. I found it easiest to get up speed and from a climb use a little down elevator to get into a shallow dive and then give it a little up, level off and reduce throttle just slightly so that it stayed in level flight. It takes some practice but you get a lot more speed in level flight vs nose up flight. That speed meant more control on light breeze days.

I gave myself a lot of space and set the control on Novice and tried for a long flight. In calm conditions on session 13 I was very successful. During session 15 I had a long flight in the breeze but my control was not as smooth. My control of elevator was most affected by wind, although SL does get pushed sideways. I started to operate on the Expert setting again and used small movements. Session 14 was out at our clubs flying field at the reservoir and was on a very windy day. The SL was fine on the ground but with the wind instantly changing direction by up to 60 degrees it was not a good day to fly... anything!... light. What started as a run into the wind was a lift off with a side wind as seen in the third video below. The good news was that even on a windy day it could be operated well on the ground. Don't fly in high wind. It was time to make some modifications to the Storm Launcher and see how that affected operation. But before that, I have to talk about the battery.

About the Battery!

The battery slides into the Storm Launcher and then there are two little plastic prongs that fit into holes at the back of the battery to help keep it in place. From my experience those prongs and holes are not needed because that battery does not want to come out of the Storm Launcher! When I went to remove it I gripped the plastic center sides of the SL firmly with my left hand. I lifted the prongs out of the back of the battery and grabbed the battery sides with my right hand and pulled for all I was worth. I am not exaggerating! I pushed it a little from side to side as I pulled back hard and felt like I was getting nowhere. Suddenly, it came loose and my right hand was flying out with the battery. I have serious question if the ten to twelve year-olds will be able to get the battery out without destroying the Storm Launcher...IF my unit is representative of how the battery sticks. I thought it might loosen up but after thirty charges and runs, it is still a battle for me. I can see people changing the connection system to avoid this fight. (The manufacturer may be working on this issue for the main production. It may be corrected on the next batch, time will tell.)

From a safety standpoint the battery and charger seem to be safe to use as the battery cannot be placed in the charger the wrong way. But if all of the batteries are as hard to remove from the SL as mine was, then it will take older teenagers or adults to remove the battery.

Somehow after the twenty second charge, my battery dropped from just under five minutes operating time to 50 seconds operating time in just two or three sessions. On the plus side it would then recharge in fifteen minutes. The manufacturer is replacing it for me. I think this charging/run time problem was total independent of the sticking issue. But I wonder if it was in some way related to the flashing red light problem I had at the start. (Haven't seen the red light since then.) Since then I have been able to get about two-three minutes operating time if I use the battery hot off the charger.

Hop-ups

Tools needed

  • Exacto knife for surgery
  • Small Phillips screwdriver

I performed no alterations to the Storm Launcher during the first fifteen sessions for this review. I wanted to fully test the the basic unit as it came. That was completed with the fifteen session. As posted here in RCGroups.com, several things can be done to help improve performance. One is removing the propeller guards as they are relatively heavy and add drag. I would leave those on if children would be playing with or near the SL but if you are an adult removing those guards was a quick weight & drag reduction. The foam airscoop was removed to remove some weight and some drag as well. The top spoiler (but not the side fins!) was removed as unnecessary, according to one of the inventors and hea dvised that the elevator actually works better with it removed (he's right). Finally, the decals can be stripped off the vehicle. Other changes are of course possible but I decided I would try these first three...the removal of the prop guards, the air scoop and the top spoiler.

To remove the prop guard I pulled off the propeller with needle nose pliers. I used the small Phillip's screwdriver to remove the screws holding the prop guard on the motor. I removed the prop guard and replaced the screws...they also hold the motors in place... and prop and repeated the process on the second motor. I saved the guards in case I neededed to reinstall them.

I used an Exacto knife with a nice sharp new blade. I cut off the air scoop that was only decorative. Next I cut off the upper spoiler but left the fins intact. The fins are now more likely to be damaged in an overturn crash but they can be easily repaired with clear packing tape or replaced with new fins cut from the top fin just removed or from a foam meat tray from the store. Time to see what if any difference these changes made. The removal of these parts was only a reduction of .4 ounces. Only about a 4% weight reduction but the effect on reduced drag was significant.

With those parts removed I noticed little difference if any in handling on the ground or water but it became a more stable flier and had better response to elevator input in my opinion, particularly up elevator coming out of a dive. It was much easier for me to maintain level flight after the alterations were made.

Are the Mods Recommended?

If the Storm Launcher is going to be operated by an adult I recommend making these three modifications. I made the above three changes all at once so I can't discuss what one of those individual changes might have done. However, I later cut off the exhaust cone in back and sanded it and the spot where the air intake had been and it seemed to fly slightly better after that.

Is this for beginners?

An unqualified yes! Everyone can operate it on the ground and the water without any prior RC experience. There is a learning curve to high speed turning because at full speed there may not be much differential thrust available and Newton's law of things traveling in one direction want to continue traveling in that direction seems to prove true. The beginner especially should operate in an open space. Flying on the Novice setting was amazingly easy in CALM conditions. The elevator trim tab has to be set properly and you have to learn throttle management but turns are relatively easy if you can manage the elevator properly. In winds over 8 mph you can still operate the Storm Launcher on the ground but the beginner shouldn't try to fly it if he doesn't want to break it, as side (brittle white foam) impacts are more common.

Expect to have to repair/replace your vertical fins at some point.

My Storm Launcher had a number of crashes and the tail fin was still perfect after an hour and a half of actual operation. But it is light weight foam and after one hard landing the fin finally broke at the base on one side. It was easily repaired with foam safe cynoacrlyic (CA) glue. Later the other side broke when a big wave hit it on the side. Again easily repaired with CA. I may have to replace the fins later. I will just use the horizontal fin I cut off or a meat tray from the grocery store. Just expect that you will need to do this at some point if you buy one and don't worry about it. My Storm Launcher has almost three hours of actual operating time on it and while it still looks good and works fine I can tell that the white foam of the main body is not as firm as it once was. I may be making clear tape repairs in the near future. No big deal just try and keep it light.

Gallery/Video

Modified Storm Launcher

Downloads

Conclusions

There was a lot I liked about the Storm Launcher! The foam combination seemed to do a good job of protecting the vehicle while keeping it light with the majority of the vehicle being of the white foam. Two friends that had DIFFERENT MODELS of flying hydros said the Storm Launcher took a lot more abuse without showing damage than their models had and they were favorably impressed. I also liked that the SL for the most part stayed on the ground or the water despite going at full speed so long as the elevator wasn't used to supply up. (Unless I hit a ramp or a wave I stayed earthbound when I wanted to for the most part.)

I am pleased to say I found in calm conditions to breezes of five miles an hour or less it was a very good flyer! I felt I was in control about 85-90% of the time and that was excellent based on my experience with differential thrust planes. Elevator control was the occassional problem even in calm conditions and more so in wind. I felt I was in command when it was in a calm sky. Keep it on the ground if the wind gets to 8-10 mph or more. On land or water with waves I felt I had less control of the direction than I did in the air. A spot of sand, some thicker grass or the edge of a wave and I was off in a new direction not of my choosing. On pavement at high speed I had more of a dragster type vehicle than a steerable vehicle if I stayed at full throttle for reasons discussed above. Yet with a little practice and learning how to vary the throttle to slow down a bit I developed pretty good control on pavement, hard dirt or calm water.

I broke off the complete upper fin from each side once and I broke off the vertical fins a couple times each after removing the top fin. (WARNING: A big splash of foam safe CA and kicker can generate enough heat to melt the foam. Use a little CA or wait on the kicker if you accidently put on a lot of CA. This was learned on a previous project the hard way.) I had a crack in the white foam against one side in the back from vibration from a big nose first crash into a curb while making a video. With two and a half hours plus of operation my Storm Launcher was working as good as it did after the first couple of break-in sessions. Had to replace some tape on the front as I wore it out and it travels faster and better with the tape. The modified Storm Launcher works noticeably better in flight than does the stock version of the Storm Launcher. The reduced weight and drag made a difference. At the end of the review my only complaint was that #@*#!%# battery holder on the Storm Launcher and how hard it remains to remove the battery from the holder. I hope they will be selling individual batteries or a lot of RCGroups.com members will be hot wiring their SL to use a different battery. DON'T hot wire if you will be having children operate the Storm Launcher unless you will always supervise!

There was a real learning curve in controlling my Storm Launcher on the ground on different types of surfaces. However, as I learned to control direction on land with speed modification as well as thrust differential I was won over by the Storm Launcher. I have operated it for the most part in fairly wide open spaces when flying other than my street hops. Be sure to give yorself a chance to learn how to control the Storm Launcher by giving yourself sufficent open space when you first start. I could fly mine from the first time I tried, but on the ground it was trial and error.

Except for the battery & holder I give the Storm Launcher a very big thumbs up! I am keeping mine and my order for the Storm Launcher. I have a friend who wants one as soon as possible!

The most important thing about the Storm Launcher is that it is undeniably fun to play with on land, water or air. While it could be broken quickly, it can last for hours of fun as mine has so far. Using a little common sense will go a long way to keeping it in good shape.

Thanks

I want to thank my friends who helped with this review. Useable camera work included Ed Holt, Dawn Marchini, Mike Atwood, Dave Harmon and my wife Star. My thanks to Jeff Hunter who piloted the Storm Launcher for one of the videos. My thanks to a couple other friends who will remain nameless and who will never be allowed near my video camera again...nevertheless, thanks for trying. My thanks to Michael Connally and Ernest Butler for supplying the Storm Launcher package to RCGroups.com for the review.

Postscript:

I stopped reading the posts on the Storm Launcher when I learned I was doing this review. Since I finished my review I have had a chance to read some of the posts. I am sorry to see others have had problems with the sticking battery, but not surprised. I have good control right and left on the novice setting in the air. I note some readers don't have enough right control especially while flying. I had no such problem. I see others had the red light problem the first time they tried to charge. Not sure if they ever got their battery to work or not. I would be interested if anyone who had a red light and got it to work later had their battery die after 20 plus uses like mine. I haven't read all the posts but I haven't read one about a short life battery that worked so mine seems to be a fluke (lucky me).

I am very interested about better power through use of other batteries with rewiring. I might be trying that myself in the future. I hope Michael Connally and others will add posts on conversions to the postings after this review. My Storm Launcher is a very good machine and I am sure creative Ezoners will continue to find ways to make their's even better.

Last edited by AMCross; Oct 19, 2006 at 04:27 PM..

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Old Sep 22, 2006, 09:26 PM
Registered User
Sebastopol, CA, USA
Joined Dec 1996
537 Posts
You really raised the bar!!!

Yes sir, that video leaves the rest of us in the dust! A hard act to follow. Informative, and a whole lot of fun. It is really nice to see creativity blended into one of these reviews. And the rest of the review is clear and thorough. I enjoyed it beginning to end.

Now just between you 'n me, how much is this thingee gonna cost?

ALW
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 09:57 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,252 Posts
The advance prices were $79.00 for the Storm Launcher at most stores and $69.00 at Walmart with the battery pack and charger going for approximately $30.00. I don't know where they will be selling the all in one pack as I reviewed. Thanks for the nice comments. Mike
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Old Sep 23, 2006, 08:21 AM
c/f
Registered User
Joined Jan 2004
3,311 Posts
Nice review......

Further enhancements to better performance....

These batteries afford me a straight vertical run into an outside loop within first minute of flight and inverted flight for next couple minutes. Then flying at 50% allows flight times in excess of 7 minutes...

Watt meter readings on my well broken in motors show 11.4amps @ 7.1VDC

Be sure to read the data sheet info since it has ALLOT of informative and usefull reading material on Lipo battery lingo, applications, relevant to any battery choice....


http://aircraft-world.com/shopexd.asp?id=3894

These chargers will charge it thru balance plug safely and quickly, though one must purchase and figure out plug details on all pieces involved.


http://www.horizonhobby.com/Products...rodID=EFLC3100

optional 110v convertor:


http://www.horizonhobby.com/Products...rodID=EFLC4000

Heres a digital one that can do two batteries at once a personel favorite since with high quality batteries one can bump up the charge current beyond 1C charging at own risk:


http://www.commonsenserc.com/product...eeb0ffe7fd5ca8

Here is some Diamond Skin Depron rudders, they are a Lexan coated ripstop nylon adhered with 3m77 contact cement I'm offering, PM if interested....
Diamonds skin material weighs a mere .5oz per sq/yd
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Last edited by c/f; Sep 23, 2006 at 08:55 AM.
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Old Sep 23, 2006, 06:15 PM
Test your skills....fly IMAC!!
sun.flyer's Avatar
Swanton, Ohio
Joined Feb 2005
7,990 Posts
Hey Uncle,

I second Albert on your terrific review. I do have a question for you though, it may have been the day you were filming but the new AirHog seems a little unstable inflight. I know in some of the videos there is some wind but I just wondered what your take was on this. My son (o.k., and I) have been flying the heck out of his AirHog Aeroace since July and it has flown just wonderful. The lipo is finally showing signs of depleation but has been a very stable flyer even with some wind. Great job once again, always a pleasure reading through your reviews and watching your videos.

Tim
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Old Sep 23, 2006, 07:52 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,252 Posts
Dear Nephew Tim, (We aren't related)
In calm conditions and with a full charge I had no or very very little wobble with the Storm Launcher. However with a depleted battery or wind I had wobble. I had a couple great flights with a perfect loop and my video person zoomed in and lost the Storm Launcher and then the camera focus went looking for something... he said nothing while I flew for the next four minutes around us and at us, end result, my best flight on camera had no usable footage. Jeff's video was with me on the camera but on a breezy day and on expert setting his first flight. Most of my video was taken with the battery after it had gone bad and from the posts my battery seems to be a fluke. The replacement battery from Mike Connally hasn't arrived yet but it is coming.
So calm conditions pretty smooth most of the charge. Windy conditions wobble above 5 mph or if gusty conditions. Smoother and better flier after I removed the guards, the air intake, the top spoiler and eventually the exhaust. Take care and send money, Uncle Mike
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Old Sep 24, 2006, 02:43 PM
Random Flier
Oxford (UK) and Mtn View CA (USA)
Joined Nov 2002
1,374 Posts
Great review!

Quick question if I may: is the stock charger a 100-220v type, or is it 110v only? Enquiring minds from across the pond would like to know!
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Old Sep 24, 2006, 08:19 PM
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Joined Sep 2006
2 Posts
Hi! i just wanted to ask you a couple of questions since i am thinking of buying it for myself... besides those upgrades you made to it, can the motors be changed too? just to get more speed out of it since i have seen other prototypes (which are not from airhogs) that people are selling through eBay... (those are a lot faster)
last question: how long does the battery last if it is correctly charged from the beggining. approximately how long does it take for the storm launcher run out of batteries in one run
thank you!
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Old Sep 24, 2006, 09:37 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,252 Posts
Hello guys:
I will try to answer your two questions. My charger was just for 110. However the box was in English and French They may well have a different wall unit for Europe that plugs into the table unit charger.
My battery when it took a charge just last a little over six minutes and was soon just under six minutes running time. But mine was admitedly bad and from what I can tell a fluke. From the posts I have read it appears most people are getting from 6-8 minutes but if that is wrong I hope some-one chimes in. I am sending a e-mail to ask someone else these questions as well who might be better able to answer them. Mike
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Old Sep 24, 2006, 10:28 PM
c/f
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Joined Jan 2004
3,311 Posts
6-8 minutes is with after market batteries and throttle management, most reports of stock batteries and newbies are 4-5 minutes use. I say nothings wrong with your batteries. If you stay off the ground and hand launch it airborne is where the longer flight times come from. on the ground running in grass is worst scenerio.....

Heve you put a watt meter to it? I have it draws 11.1 -11.4 amps so do the math on a 700-800 MAH pack.
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Old Sep 25, 2006, 11:18 PM
Just one more plane!
JWarren's Avatar
Port Saint Lucie, Florida, United States
Joined Aug 2004
2,537 Posts
Just wanted to say, that was a very nice review Michael!

I like!

John
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Old Sep 27, 2006, 08:06 PM
Experienced R/C Repairman
barnyardflyer's Avatar
Three Oaks, Michigan
Joined Sep 2003
2,527 Posts
Nice job on both the videos and review.
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Old Oct 06, 2006, 07:00 PM
I want to fly everything!
Lance Nordby's Avatar
Hillsboro, OR, USA
Joined Mar 2004
931 Posts
This product was advertised on Speed channel last weekend between the F1 race and AMA superbike race. Cool!

Although I think this toy is a little silly it's great to see any kind of r/c aircraft advertised on tv. It is good for the future of the hobby.

I noticed that in some of the video clips in the commerical that the horizontal wing was not in place. Hmm.
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Old Oct 07, 2006, 02:07 AM
Eye Drather Beef Lying
ElectRick's Avatar
Jacksonville, FL
Joined Aug 2002
2,696 Posts
I just saw it advertised on The History Channel (I think)--for only three payments of $39.95.

Where did I put that phone....

Rick
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Old Oct 08, 2006, 12:11 AM
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Columbia Regional, Missouri, United States
Joined Dec 2002
726 Posts
just thinkin......



My charger for my BCX helo looks like it would work very well for the storm launcher. The batteries for my helo are E-flight 800 2 cell li-po...mmmmmmmmm....I wonder...... My E-Flights weigh just over 1.5 oz........What do the storm launcher batteries weigh?

PHIL I.
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Last edited by phil I.; Oct 08, 2006 at 12:17 AM.
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