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Great Planes, Electrifly Fokker Dr-1 ARF Parkflyer Review

This is the third in the World War I series from Electrifly. Mike takes us on a tour of the Fokker Dr-1 from basic history through the quick assembly and enjoys some spirited flights.

Splash

Introduction

The Fokker Dr-1 is the highly anticipated third plane in this series of World War I Parkflyers from Electrifly. The first two, the SE5a and the Fokker D-VII, have both proven excellent flyers and are treasured planes in my hanger. They use the same Rimfire brushless motor as this Fokker Dr-1, so I expect the same outstanding performance that I have received from the other planes. This is my fourth electric Fokker Dr-1, and so I am used to its sometimes interesting ground handling characteristics. Let's start off with a little history on the real Fokker Dr-1 and get rolling with a review of one of my all time favorite planes.


Wingspan:29.5"
Wing Area:315 sq. in.
Weight:22 oz. with battery
Length:23.5"
Wing Loading:10 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:4 Futaba S3114 micro servos
Transmitter:JR 7202
Receiver:Berg 4L
Antenna:Azarr Antenna
Battery:11.1 V 1250mAh Lipo
Motor:Electrifly Rimfire 28-30-950 brushless
ESC:Electrifly SS-25
Manufacturer:Electrifly
Available From:GreatPlanes
Retail Price:$99.99

Brief History of the full scale Fokker Dr-1

Flown by some of Germany's top aces and in particular Manfred von Richthofen for his last 19-20 kills) The Fokker Dr-1 is probably the most famous plane of World War I. Only 320 of these planes were built (compared to about 5,000 allied SE5as. It was known for its great maneuverability and fast rate of climb, but was slower then other planes at that time.

The Dr-1 had a top speed of only 103 mph or 115 mph and a ceiling of climb of either 14,000 or 19,685 feet (depending upon the source). It had a welded steel tubing fuselage that was braced with internal wires and three cantilever wings (4 counting the "wing" between the landing wheels) that were supported by single interplane struts on each side (no external bracing wires). It was usually powered by a 9 cylinder Oberursel engine supplying 110 HP. If a LeRhone engine was available from a downed allied plane, it was preferred over the Oberursel (which was a copy of the LeRhone).

It was considered a hard plane to fly and was limited to skilled pilots for that reason. A number of planes self destructed; the top wing frequently broke apart in dive situations. German ace Heinrich Gontermann had 39 kills, and after receiving his new Dr-1, took it up for a test flight only to have his top wing shred in a dive over his own field. He was killed in the crash. The next day Lt. Pastor died when his Dr-1 shed its top wing in flight. Their deaths lead to a grounding of the plane and an investigation into poor gluing techniques, water penetration into the wing ribs and problems with the ailerons. Those problems were "corrected" in November of 1917.

It was learned after the war that the top wing had 2.55 times the stress on it in high speed aerobatic maneuvers (including dives) compared to the bottom wing, and that stress contributed to the top wing failures. Interestingly, the best Dr-1s were reportedly made by the Albatros company under license to the Fokker company. All Dr-1s were equipped with twin synchronized Spandau machine guns.

Kurt Wolff (with 33 kills) was downed while piloting a Dr-1. Werner Voss (with 48 kills) got 8 of his kills in seven days in his Dr-1. Voss was downed in his Dr-1 while fighting 7 British aces at the same time on September 23, 1917. He managed to get shots into all seven of their planes in the battle, but didn't down any of them. Lothar von Richthofen, Manfred's younger brother, got 3 of his 40 kills flying the Dr-1 and was injured when his Dr-1's top wing also shredded in flight and he crash landed. It was also flown by aces Paul Baumer (43 kills), Karl Bolle (36 kills) and Josef Jacobs (47 kills). While only a small number of these kills occurred from the Dr-1, the plane was very popular with the German aces from the late summer 1917 through the spring of 1918.

Manfred von Richthofen was recorded to have flown seven different Dr-1s. At least one of those planes had the markings used on this Electrifly model. I have been unable to confirm the actual color scheme on his final plane, but it was probably largely painted red, may or may not have had white patches on the wing or fuselage, may have had green on the fuselage, but likely did have a white rudder. The most popular pictures/paintings show the plane with the Maltese cross German markings on it. The histories I have read indicate that the actual markings of his "final" plane were most likely the straight German cross. (The plane was stripped of fabric by allied souvenir hunters shortly after it crashed.) Investigation in the 1990s confirmed that Manfred von Richthofen was killed by ground fire while chasing an enemy plane close to the allied trenches and behind their lines. In so doing, he violated one of his own combat rules and paid the penalty. Richthofen famously described the Dr-1 when he proclaimed: "It climbs like a monkey and maneuvers like the devil."

Kit Contents

Kit Requires:

  • Electrifly part # GPMM3122 Bullet adaptors to connect motor and ESC
  • Azarr antenna
  • Electrifly 3.0mm prop adaptor
  • Electrifly Powerflow 10 x 4.5 propeller (comes in pack of 2)
  • 1 24 inch Y-connector for the aileron servos
  • Soldering iron & solder
  • Exacto knife with a new blade
  • Cyanoacrylic glue, aka thin CA
  • CA accelerator (kicker)
  • Small flat blade screwdriver
  • Small Phillips screwdriver
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Monocoat type covering iron - optional
  • Flat black paint and brush or black magic marker (optional)

Assembly

PLEASE NOTE: I strongly recommend strengthening the glue joint on the motor mount. I tell why and show how I did it in the Flight section of this review. This is a SAFETY concern of which the manufacturer is aware.

My Dr-1 arrived with some notable wrinkles in the covering on the fuselage, middle and top wings and both ailerons. This was in contrast to my SE5a and Fokker D VII that arrived almost wrinkle free. I got out my Topflight heat gun and iron and spent about 45 minutes getting them as wrinkle free as I could. The heat gun did very little but the iron did a pretty good job getting rid of most of the wrinkles.

Wings

All three wings came assembled and covered. When installing the strut connectors to the wings be sure to reference the directions to get the pieces in the proper places and facing the correct direction. (NOTE: They do not all face the same way.) I glued the dowels into the middle and bottom wings, trial fitted them and bolted them in place, and then removed them and set them aside until final assembly.

I used a 24 inch Y-connector. With the string installed in the top wing, I snaked it into place per the instructions, pulling it carefully back and forth. It took me about 20 minutes total. I have noted on RCGroups that some people have had problems with this step. Make sure the Y-connector is long enough, and tape the string to the front top middle of the connector you are pulling forward. Don't be afraid to flip the wing around so you can use gravity to help, and avoid the wire locking on rig as you pull it through.

I connected the aileron servos per the instructions and stuffed the excess wire into the inner wing bay. The Futaba S3114 servos fit perfectly. I set the top wing aside until final assembly.

Fuselage

The fuselage comes assembled and covered. Using their recommended motor and escape, the assembly was a snap. Bolt the motor to the motor mount, and bolt the mount in place. Plug the ESC into the motor with the GPMM 3122 adaptor pins (matches the controller's three motor wires to the correct size to plug and play with the RimFire motor.). The ESC secures to the side of the fuselage with Velcro, out of the way but still with good cooling..

Tail

To attach the horizontal stabilizer to the fuselage some covering material needs to be removed from the plane and the horizontal stabilizer per the plans. I did this with a NEW Exacto knife blade but per the tip in the instructions it could have been done using a soldering iron.

Radio Installation

I cut off all but 2" of the Berg receiver's antenna and installed an Azarr antenna in its place. This allowed for the antenna to be entirely hidden within the fuselage and yet still give me full range of reception. You will have no range problems with this receiver and antenna; if you can see the plane you will have control. A space has been made in the fuselage for the rudder and elevator servos wires to fit. Insert the servo in the center and slide to the side and install. The Futaba S3114 servos once again fit perfectly.

Completion

I had everything perfectly installed inside the plane before I attached any of the wings to the fuselage. The bottom and middle wings are installed with two dowels and two bolts each - quick and easy. I attached the cabane struts to the underside of the top wing before attaching the Y connector to the receiver. With the bottom and middle wings in place, I connected the cabane struts from top wing to the fuselage and middle wing without any trouble, and only then did I install the four outer wing struts.

With the wings installed, the landing gear with its "fourth wing" installed easily per the directions. I put on the cowl, and then added the propeller adaptor and the propeller.

The scarf is a nice finishing touch for the pilot. Although I built the pilot as shown, at the end of this article, I used a seasoned veteran pilot from a prior plane and gave him 1/2 the scarf.

The balance point, per the instructions, is 2 inches back from the leading edge of the top wing. This was where I balanced (CG) my Dr-1. My plane's weight was 18.2 ounces RTF without battery. The recommended battery weighed 3.8 ounces for a total flying weight of 22 ounces.

The Control Throws

High Rate Low Rate

  • Elevator: 3/8" 1/4" up & down
  • Rudder: 1" 5/8" right & left
  • Ailerons: 3/8" 1/4" up & down

Recommendation for Tail Skid Duration

If you fly from pavement, I recommend that you glue a small strip of carbon fiber to the bottom of the tail skid and going up the leading edge slightly. The wood will wear fairly quickly but the carbon fiber will take the abuse much better. When/if it wears out replace with another small piece of carbon fiber and keep the wood in like new condition on the tail skid.

Flying

Basics

I hand launched the Dr-1 with a forward throw and a little more then 1/2 throttle. It made turns with just ailerons and elevator, but turns were better with some rudder. The Dr-1 can be flown slowly and looks very nice and scale in the air. It can also be flown with full throttle and looks like it is ready to fight a Mustang. The short wings made it seem a little wobbly until I remembered that small movements were all that was needed. I got used to flying her before I went wild and crazy (and in my case that is still pretty tame). In the air, I experienced the drag and the sliding of the plane that goes with flying three wings, but it was fun and not at all threatening to me.

Taking Off and Landing

The instructions suggest that you may want to use dual rates for extra elevator throw while the plane is on the ground to help avoid ground loops or nose overs. I programmed it in to my transmitter, but in calm conditions on smooth surfaces such as concrete, asphalt or hard dirt I have had no troubles. The wing between the wheels is very low, and I don't plan to try flying off of fields with long grass because of that. I have flown once off of short grass (golf fairway) and that posed no problems for take-off and landings. For review purposes, I flew at a local park with freshly cut grass that was 1/3-1/2 inch above the wing between the wheels and I was able to take-off, but nosed over on landings. Using the additional throw on the elevator and giving up as soon as possible on touchdown and throttle down I was able to not nose over about 1/2 the time in the park grass.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

You will really want to use your rudder with this plane! Turns are smoother using ailerons and rudder, but aerobatics like barrel rolls require use of the rudder and practice to make them bigger and smoother. Do them with some altitude for recovery time as you first start out. Make use of your throttle - the plane looks and handles differently at full speed vs. a more scale speed. Have fun with it, but keep your mind ahead of the plane. If you have a computer programmable transmitter, 25-30% rudder- aileron mix makes for nice smooth turns.

The ailerons give a quicker response then the Fokker D VII, but slower then the SE5a. I can do a quicker axial roll with the SE5a, but I can turn 180 degrees slightly faster with the Fokker Dr-1 and in slightly less space but it is a close contest.

Flight Times & speed

I have enjoyed six to eight minute flights with all of my Great Plane's World War I fighters. A fully charged battery is not taxed by this length of flight, and I get to do enough tricks and stunts to keep myself happy. They all can be flown for a longer time than that (including the Triplane) but the maximum length of your flight will depend on how fast you fly. Most of my flying is done at about 70 % throttle and I can get over a ten minute flight and still have a few short full throttle run ups during the flight. I have had one fifteen minute flight while flying just above half throttle and doing scale speed runs for a video camera. I did, however, end that flight with a dead stick landing.

Motor Mount Failure In Flight

After my test flights, I had read a few posts on RCGroups about people having the motor mount fail in flight. Prior to the video flights, I added a little thin CA to the plywood motor mounts in my Dr-1. I had to remove the prop and cowling to do this. I looked it over carefully, and it appeared to be fine. During the shooting of one of the video flights, the motor mount dramatically failed in-flight. The pilot, my friend Jeff Hunter, safely landed the plane even with the motor gone.

Downloads

The motor blew through the cowling and destroyed it and the outer ring with the magnets shredded and was lost. Other then that the damage was minor thanks to Jeff’s piloting skills.

Repairing/Strengthening the Motor Mount

With a new plane, this should be the starting point for strengthening the motor mount.

This modification took less then 15 minutes including clean-up. The motor will not pull out now, but I have to order a new cowling.

Great Planes has come up with a tech note repair for the Great Planes Dr1. My repair is essentially the same, but after I added the glue per the tech note, I added the fiberglass cloth and epoxy.

Is This Plane For a Beginner?

This plane is not for a beginner. Nor should it be a first aileron trainer. It is too maneuverable for those without aileron experience. That said, it is a great plane for the pilot who has learned how to fly an aileron plane. It is capable of great acrobatics for the intermediate and expert pilot.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

I really had a wonderful time assembling and flying this plane. The plane looks and handles beautifully in the air. All three of the planes in this Electrifly series fly well, but they are all different. The Fokker Dr-1 is slightly more aerobatic than the Fokker D-VII, slightly less than the SE5a and a slight challenge on the ground, especially in tall grass. These are planes that I can own, store and transport without breaking the bank. I can't wait to see if they have a fourth plane in this series. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying my new DR-1.

Pluses:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Good Instructions
  • Balanced perfectly with recommended motor/battery/ESC
  • Cowl attaches with pre-installed magnets
  • Climbs like a monkey
  • Maneuvers like a devil

Minuses

  • Wrinkled covering
  • Covering hard to shrink
  • Motor mount must be reinforced

Detailing Tips from fellow Ezoners

Some Ezoners have come up with some very nice detailing tips on the SE5a and the Fokker D-VII. They have agreed to share these tips with you here. I will be doing some of these details on my Dr-1 now that the review has been completed.

Assembling the pilot

From Claybuster in Boomer's SE5a thread:

"Reading back in the posts I noticed you guys got different pilots and didn't use the one that came with the kit. I also read from boomer that gluing the two pieces together doesn't give you much surface to glue. What I do is first glue the two pieces together before doing any trimming, then cut the bottom of the pilot out and coat the inside of the seam with 5 min. epoxy wider then it needs to be, and keep the epoxy kinda thick. I then trim the plastic around the pilot and sand the edges down with a small drum sander in my Dremel. if you run out of plastic the epoxy takes over in the seam and can be sanded smooth. try it some time and save a few bucks instead of buying a new pilot."

Machine Gun sight

From Claybuster, same thread as above:

"I was looking at the machine gun I made and thought something wasn't right. I noticed in some pics. that some of the machine guns had a large sight on it, so I decided to make one. I used a small diameter music wire and bent it into a circle and soldered some other pieces in as cross hairs. (I gotta get a life). I think it stands out a little better now. One thing I do when i make machine guns, after painting is to shave off some pencil lead and then rub it on the gun, it really gives it that gun metal look. The pics really don't show this very well."

Cockpit

Boomerace made a very nice cockpit for his SE5a starting with pictures of gauges and going from there. The Dr-1 has some obvious controls in the cockpit and not very many gauges from the pictures I have seen, but unless you are entering a scale contest, I suggest you simply have fun with it. Besides there is very little room in this model's cockpit, and the air holes help keep every thing cool.

Step

The real Dr-1 had a step rail on the bottom of the fuselage to make it easier for the pilot to get into the cockpit. This scale detail can be added by using a staple and gluing it into the bottom side of the fuselage under the cockpit.

Bottom Wingtip protectors

To protect the wingtips of the bottom of the wing from being easily damaged in a ground turn or sideways tip slide they added wooden pieces to the outside bottom of the wing for protection from ground strikes. These looked like axe handles on the real plane and can be fashioned out of small pieces of spruce or even from small wooden food skewers.

Making it look more like fabric covering is on the plane and dulling down that bright red

This final tip is from Claybuster and requires the purchase of Liquitex Matte Varnish from a craft or art store. I got mine at Michael's and used a discount coupon as it is a bit pricey. A 16 ounce bottle should do about 5 + planes. Using a sponge brush, brush on the Liquitex from one direction and let it dry. Come back, and put on a second coat in a 90 degree direction change from the first coat. It dulls up the shiny bright color of the covering, and makes it look more like a fabric covering at the same time. It can dry streaky, but don't let it set all bubbly. The pictures below don't really do it justice.

Last edited by Angela H; Aug 14, 2007 at 01:20 PM..

Discussion

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Old Aug 14, 2007, 01:57 PM
The sky is my playground.
Dora Nine's Avatar
United States, NH
Joined May 2005
7,707 Posts
Well your pilot has some amazing skills to land that plane after the motor mount failure...I'd suspect I'd be all done at that point. Thanks for an honest/good review. You easily could have omitted the motor mount failure to make for a "good" review--butyou didn't and I like that. Now after having a dozen or so flights on my Fokker DVII. I may just have to get this one too.
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Old Aug 14, 2007, 02:52 PM
Fokker Ace's Avatar
Joined Aug 2006
1,552 Posts
Wow! I've waited FOREVER for a review of this one. Nicely done. Lots of good info. Worth the wait.

I know a lot of people have grumbled about the color scheme but the deal breaker for me right now is the size. I just wish it were a bit bigger - maybe another 5 or 6 inches. I know the cost involved with that extra wing, but it seems so tiny to me and I only fly off grass.
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Old Aug 14, 2007, 03:50 PM
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floss's Avatar
Auckland, New Zealand
Joined Sep 2005
1,308 Posts
Top review, great pics.

Steve
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Old Aug 14, 2007, 03:52 PM
Grumpa Tom
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United States, CA, Los Angeles
Joined Sep 2003
23,857 Posts
I'll wait for GP to fix the motor mount problem.
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Old Aug 14, 2007, 05:01 PM
Registered User
St.Petersburg, FL
Joined Feb 2004
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I found this model to be extermely disapointing. I'm by no means an expert pilot, but I build and fly a lot of WWI models and this is the worst flying one I have ever had. I flew mine 5 times and it never once broke ground without bending the U/C on landing.

I found it to be a total squirrel in the air. I went over it with the local electric model guru and we could not discover any misalignments or warps, it was balanced perfectly and the control throws were what the instructions recommended.

The U/C sub-wing is set at a large positive incidence when mounted using the holes provided. This was not so on 1:1 Dridekkers. I also found the wing incidences, as assembled, were incorrect. I reduced the incidence of the sub wing. Increased the incidence of the lower wing by gluing a piece of wooden coffee stirrer to the wing saddle at the TE. This brought the TE flush with bottom of the fuselage resulting in about a degree + incidence on the lower wing. The mid wing was dead neutral as assembled. I adjusted the upper wing to about 1 deg of negative incidence.

The above mods greatly improved it's performance from barely controlable to just plain hard to fly. It would not turn at all with ailerons. I found it necessary to turn with the rudder and stay off the ailerons unless I needed to level the wings. They aren't fooling when they tell you it needs 1 5/8" rudder throw.

The last flight ended up going straight in. I was turning final over the hycanth covered pond off the end of our club field's runway. It was standing on it's nose atop the hycanths. I don't know how it managed to do it, but it had bent the U/C even though the only contact points were the front of the cowl and one lower wingtip. It was recovered relatively dry and undamaged with only two of the strut mounts broken and the U/C bent.

I had already broken the motor mount tipping over while taxiing. The glass repair described in the review should be done during initial assembly as it will prevent certian damage to the cowl when the mount does break.

Since I had bought all new gear for it, I decided to cut losses and pull the gear out before it became damaged. I gave the carcass to a local modeler who collects such junk. I kept the Spandaus, pilot and dummy engine, but was sincerely glad to see the last of the the rest of it. Another local modeler had bought one and decided not to build it after opening the box. His was one of the ones with badly wrinkled covering. He sold me the once opened kit for $10. After the first 2 flights I was glad to get it as I knew then that spare parts would be a plus. I ended up giving that kit away.... and felt like I'd ripped off the guy.

Sorry for the negative comments, but thats how I see it. I cannot in good faith recommend this model to anyone.

sp
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Old Aug 14, 2007, 05:43 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
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I agree with Sperry that the motor mount repairs should be done before the first flight but Tom they are really quick and easy. As for Sperry's comments on flying all I can say is that I have had no such problems. I can turn with aileron only but using ailerons and rudder the turns are smoothier. This is my fifth Triplane and the fourth with working ailerons and rudder and it performs very much like my other ones I own in regards to handling. Its top speed is much faster scale wise them my large Great Planes Dr-1 that is of a currently discontinued model but the handling in turns is fairly comparable. Mike
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Old Aug 14, 2007, 06:32 PM
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St.Petersburg, FL
Joined Feb 2004
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Tactfully put Michael :-)

I didn't mention a third local modeler who also had one of these models. He flew it once, cussed a lot and pulled the gear out and hung it up for display. I saw the flight and he was all over the sky fighting it every second. I was amazed he got it down in one piece. Had I not witnessed this and later compared notes with him, I would never have posted such negative comments, but he had essentially the same trouble turning it with ailerons. Otherwise I'd have written off the whole thing as something I did.

Had I used old gear, I would have fooled around with it more and maybe gotten it sorted out, but I was lucky to have gotten as far as i did without breaking brand new servos, motor and ESC (I used the recommended gear)

I'm glad to hear you had a good experience flying yours as that proves it can fly correctly. I hope others who have or get this model do as well.

I do wish that they had left the spurrious colors & marking scheme alone. They could have done it in all black and put Jacobs' God of the North Wind markings on it for the same cost as the scarlet they used.

You did an excellent job on the review, I especially liked the historical data and detailing tips.

sp
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Old Aug 14, 2007, 06:35 PM
We shall serve the Lord
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United States, TX, Kingsland
Joined Sep 2005
5,136 Posts
First Class review, Mike. I can't believe you got the mount failure on video. What a shot! The pilot did a better job of continuing to fly the plane than the video photog who got some great shots of the ground LOL. Excellent suggestions for mount reinforcements.
Mike McD
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Old Aug 14, 2007, 07:20 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
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Mike as the videographer all I can say is yeah...I screwed up big time on that one. I normally can follow a wounded plane all the way down but the bang caused me to look with my eyes and not my camera. Mike
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Old Aug 14, 2007, 07:26 PM
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WARREN, MICHIGAN
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Mike,
Great review ! I really enjoyed the detailing tips Thanks for remembering me.
Mike
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Old Aug 14, 2007, 08:53 PM
J. Titors Gr Gr Grandpappy
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Charlotte,NC
Joined May 2005
2,021 Posts
Thank you for an honest review. I had very similar experiences with this plane. Great Planes sent me a replacement after I sent mine in for warranty repair. (Motor mount failure in mid air also). I fully expected to read this article and hear "it is well behaved" and "it goes where you point it" and "it tracks well". It is what it is. The real planes of that era have their own special quirks. I believe it is responsible to let people know what they are getting into. No kit is perfect and addressing the motor mount problem and offering a solution is a great thing. I am glad mine didn't fail during a run up in my shop . You also addressed the covering issues.You are a man of integrity. I plan to rebuild mine to keep as a hangar queen. I might also mention this is one plane that actually flies better in the wind. I found it much easier to land in a stiff headwind as that lowers the groundspeed.
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Old Aug 14, 2007, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sperry
I found this model to be extermely disapointing. I'm by no means an expert pilot, but I build and fly a lot of WWI models and this is the worst flying one I have ever had. I flew mine 5 times and it never once broke ground without bending the U/C on landing.

I found it to be a total squirrel in the air. I went over it with the local electric model guru and we could not discover any misalignments or warps, it was balanced perfectly and the control throws were what the instructions recommended.

The U/C sub-wing is set at a large positive incidence when mounted using the holes provided. This was not so on 1:1 Dridekkers. I also found the wing incidences, as assembled, were incorrect. I reduced the incidence of the sub wing. Increased the incidence of the lower wing by gluing a piece of wooden coffee stirrer to the wing saddle at the TE. This brought the TE flush with bottom of the fuselage resulting in about a degree + incidence on the lower wing. The mid wing was dead neutral as assembled. I adjusted the upper wing to about 1 deg of negative incidence.

The above mods greatly improved it's performance from barely controlable to just plain hard to fly. It would not turn at all with ailerons. I found it necessary to turn with the rudder and stay off the ailerons unless I needed to level the wings. They aren't fooling when they tell you it needs 1 5/8" rudder throw.

The last flight ended up going straight in. I was turning final over the hycanth covered pond off the end of our club field's runway. It was standing on it's nose atop the hycanths. I don't know how it managed to do it, but it had bent the U/C even though the only contact points were the front of the cowl and one lower wingtip. It was recovered relatively dry and undamaged with only two of the strut mounts broken and the U/C bent.

I had already broken the motor mount tipping over while taxiing. The glass repair described in the review should be done during initial assembly as it will prevent certian damage to the cowl when the mount does break.

Since I had bought all new gear for it, I decided to cut losses and pull the gear out before it became damaged. I gave the carcass to a local modeler who collects such junk. I kept the Spandaus, pilot and dummy engine, but was sincerely glad to see the last of the the rest of it. Another local modeler had bought one and decided not to build it after opening the box. His was one of the ones with badly wrinkled covering. He sold me the once opened kit for $10. After the first 2 flights I was glad to get it as I knew then that spare parts would be a plus. I ended up giving that kit away.... and felt like I'd ripped off the guy.

Sorry for the negative comments, but thats how I see it. I cannot in good faith recommend this model to anyone.

sp
My experience was similar to this fellow's, and the under carriage is far too soft, and yes, Virginia, you will use it many times in the most unusual ways. The final indignity, for me, was when the shaft on my rimfire let fly and I had to attempt a dead stick in high winds: I finally gave up on the remains.
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Old Aug 14, 2007, 11:43 PM
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Holtenbacker's Avatar
Modesto, California USA
Joined Jan 2004
732 Posts
In the third paragrapgh of the history of the DR1:

"It was considered a hard plane to fly and was limited to skilled pilots for that reason.
A number self destructed..."
Even the skilled pilots had problems.

Looks as though history IS repeating itself.
Production problems knocking out skilled pilots
with an aircraft that is hard to fly.

The lucky made it through
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Old Aug 15, 2007, 03:39 AM
Foam Floats Better
UAVPilot's Avatar
The Big Country of TX.
Joined Oct 2004
2,958 Posts
I bought one of the Electrify Fokker DR-1 ARF, i received it a few weeks ago directly from Tower Hobbys. I had not read anything about them on RCG at all. The only thing I did read about it was the review done by RCU which read pretty much just like the instructions, but it did familiarize me with the product before I received it in the mail.

My first impressions after opening the box was, those Chinese girls have some skills. I thought the kit was nicely built for the price. I mean, I have always wanted to build a RC DR-1, but an electric scale one would take a lot of work. I had built a electric Sopwith camel about 18 years ago in the infancy of electric flight. It weighed 3 pounds and had 1 whole pound of thrust. A Nice DR-1 one would go good with it. The only one I have ever built before was a Balsa Static display model when I was a kid (long ago).

Anyway, I thought the kit was very nicely built and looked forward to getting it flying. Most kits sit around in my shop awhile before I get to them , but not this one.

I knew mine was going to be lighter then stock so I figured it would be hard to balance.
I used a Hand made Double Stator CD rom motor built from parts from Don at Strong RC. It was over 1/2 ounce lighter the suggested motor. I also used a much lighter speed control , lighter servos , 6100 RX, Kokam 3s 910 batterys.

My AUW with battery was only 18.5 ounces, this is including 1/2 ounce of weight I put in the front just to keep the CG Correct. I started with 1 ounce of extra weight in the nose , but was able to remove 1/2 of it after the first flight.
The motor I made from Dons parts gives me 22 ounces of thrust with a 10x6 prop so power was not a problem.

As I was assembling it I had noticed that the motor mount area looked very weak, as it was only light balsa holding on the plywood mount. I thought that that would never hold up to the type of flying I plan to do so I had planed to reinforce that area before the first flight, but I didn't even make it that far.
In order to use my motor and a standard firewall type mount, I used the supplied three armed motor mount but bolted it behind the box mount on the firewall. Then I was able to mount the Firewall mount on it that the bearing tube of the motor to slide into.
I wanted to use a 10x4 Topflight wooden prop for scale looks but the first time I throttle up, there was a slight vibration and the motor shrapnels the front mount before I even had the chance to reinforce it. Luckily the plastic nose piece was not damaged to bad but the balsa ring with the magnets in it where spread to the Netherlands of the deepest reaches of my shop. So I just used some scotch tape to hold the cowl on, that will work till I order a new one.

I glued the front back together and added some carbon fiber triangle stock (don't asked where to get it, I made it myself), and then throttle it up again. Still had some vibration and then the make shift three arm motor mount broke lose. Never says die, so I rebuilt that part and sandwich it with carbon fiber sheet. The front is pretty bullet proof know. Also decided to use a plastic GWS 10x6 DD prop till I get the wood prop to fit properly.

On to flying.

I didn't want to maiden it in front of my yard like I do many of my other airplanes, cause I knew that this one would be un predicable in take off and landing.
My place is only 1/2 acre of land surround by trees, power lines, and a chain link fence. I can land between my fence or in the street , which has curbs and power lines going over it.

So I took it to the nearby soccer field. The grass was to high to take off from, and there was only a very bumpy gravel road in the middle of the field to take off from. The wind was blowing from several different directions at once ( I swear) so I just lined it up in the gravel and hit the throttle.

Take note that I didn't even look at the manufactures suggested control throws. I had dialed in as much control throw as I could get and put in some expo on the elevator. I also used aileron differential as I was using flaperon setup on mine. I didn't have any problem routing the two servo extensions through the wing as I later read in RCG. I thought it was nice that the string was already there. I just tied it around the extension end , then wrapped it with Scotch tape in such a way that there was no sharp edges to catch.

Anyway, hit the throttle and it was off the ground in about two feet with the head wind I had. couple a clicks of trim and I was grooving. This thing flew much better then I had anticipated. Of course, I can fly pretty well and enjoy flying planes that are a challenge, but this one proved pretty tame in the air. I didn't find any real bad habits, it grooved real well at high speed, you could bank and yank with the best of them, loops where real tight. It did snap out with full elevator input though, just how I like it.
But I did have 1 inch of throw compared to the suggested 3/8 throw that I later read.
It did slow down very nicely, much slower then I thought it would, but it still handled amazingly well IMOP. Keep in mind that my hands automatically control the rudder and ailerons at the same time with out me thinking about it. So it seemed like it turned very nicely to me, even at low speeds. But it ain't no Cub for sure. It handle about what a short coupled plane with a short wingspan, very little vertical area and a lot of drag should handle.

What really amazed me was that it really wouldn't stall, it would just get real mushy and wallow around till you weren't really flying it anymore, a little throttle and it was back flying.

Scale flight was easy to achieve, just throttle way back and cruise using momentum as your tool, however full throttle aerobatics where a hoot!. It would knife edge into a loop , but it didn't like it, and would snap over the top real quick if you weren't on top of it.
Going vertical then breaking into a full down elevator snap resulted into some great multiple end over end tumbles, thought it was going to fly apart but it held firm.

Landings where of course tricky. My best one was in the gravel road with a head wind. This keep the roll out short and simple. I quickly gained enough confidence with it to try flying it at my shop.
Flew it again in the morning with no wind, in the street at my shop. Take offs where tricky with the slick tail skid on asphalt, so I put a rubber booty over the skid to give some resistance. This helped in the line up somewhat. You still have to be on the rudder and ailerons though to keep it out of the curb. If all else fails, full throttle and pull back to vertical take off fixes it. Not scale but it beats hitting the curb.
Landings are real tough on asphalt with curbs and no wind. Especially when there are a couple of cars parked in the way. I made very few with out rubbing a wing tip or two. But to me , that was the greatness of it, I found it a challenge to land, which made me try harder. The Mailman saw me flying it in the morning and stop to look at it. He has seen me fly plenty of planes in the mornings. He really though it looked nice and was impressed on how well it flew, looping , rolling , flying it inverted down the street under the power lines dodging the trees.
He did notice my bad landing though, Oh well, can't grease them all in .
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Last edited by UAVPilot; Aug 15, 2007 at 06:00 AM. Reason: Added Pic
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