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LightFlite.com's RC Bug Kit Review

Inspired by the legendary IFO, the foam and carbon LightFilte Bug is as tough as they come. It's ideal for the park or indoors ! Ronnie Pope gets the Bug.

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:23.5"
Wing Area:340 sq in
Wing type:8mm EPP foam reinforced with carbon fiber
AUW weight:6.5 oz.
Length:23"
Wing loading:2.8 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:3 – Tower Pro SG-50 servos for elevons, rudder and elevatorAvailable from LightFlite.com
Transmitter:Spektrum DX7
Receiver:Spektrum AR6100
Battery:LightFlite 2 cell or 3 cell 460 mAh lithium polymer batteryAvailable from LightFlite.com
Motor:LightFlite Custom Wound 1100kv Brushless Motor w/ Prop SaverAvailable from LightFlite.com
ESC:10 Amp continuous/ 13 Amp Burst Brushless Speed Control, auto cell detectAvailable from LightFlite.com
Available From:LightFlite.com

When it was featured at the annual NEAT fair in 2006, the LightFlite.com Bug was an instant hit. Constructed of tough, durable EPP foam and reinforced with a carbon fiber frame, it's one of the most unique RC airplane kits available anywhere. It is as stable as a trainer in slow flight, yet has excellent 3D capabilities. It can fly indoors or outdoors, in a neighborhood park or backyard, is incredibly crash-resistant and a breeze to transport. The Bug is available in several different versions - from kit to completely ready-to-fly with a Spektrum DX6 radio. As the LightFlite website says, "Beginners and advanced pilots alike all agree... the LightFlite.com Bug is simply a MUST HAVE!”

Kit Contents

The review package shipped from LightFlite.com and arrived well packed in a thin box with no damage. The kit ships with the EPP foam parts in the orginal EPP die cut sheets to prevent damage; they simply pop out of the sheets. The parts count was very low assuring a fast build. The excellent 23-page instruction manual included photo illustrations and easy-to-follow text.

Kit includes:

  • 13- pre-cut carbon rods for frame, landing gear, control rod and servo linkage assembly
  • 5- cable ties
  • 3- pcs. black/clear tubing (main frame)
  • 2- pcs. styrene strip (fuselage landing gear brace)
  • 2- rubber bands for wheel treads
  • 1- magic motor mount tube with x-mount motor base
  • 1- pc. .032 music wire for servo pushrods
  • 1- pc. red heat shrink tube for control horn construction
  • 1- pc. sml heat shrink for servo linkage construction
  • 1- roll 3M Blenderm hinge tape

Kit requires:

  • Brushless CD-Rom type outrunner motor
  • 10x6 GWS HD propeller
  • 2 or 3-cell 460mAh LiPo battery
  • 3 micro-servos
  • Minimum 4-channel receiver
  • 3 channel minimum transmitter w/elevon mixing

Recommended by LightFlite.com and used for this review:

  • LightFlite.com Custom Wound 1100kv CD-Rom type outrunner brushless Motor w/prop saver
  • LightFlite.com 10 Amp / 13 Amp Burst Brushless Speed Control, auto cell detect
  • 2 - LightFlite.com 460 mAh LiPo batteries(2 cell and 3 cell)
  • 3 – Tower Pro SG-50 servos for elevons, rudder and elevator
  • 1 - GWS 10X6 'HD' propeller
  • 1 - tube UHU glue

Assembly

The Bug’s assembly was very fast and easy thanks to the excellent instructions. All the carbon rods were pre-cut at the factory, which was a huge time saver. The recommended UHU glue is excellent contact cement, and it adhered to the EPP very well. Even a beginner can complete the Bug in just a few hours of simple assembly.

Wing

The Bug wing is a one-piece design, and the pre-cut elevons are hinged with Blenderm tape. The wing features unique EPP standoffs which aid in stiffening the elevon pushrods and to set the proper height of the control horns. There are even markings on the wing and fuselage to aid with proper servo and pushrod placement! The main carbon frame gives the wing tremendous rigidity.

Fuselage

The fuselage comes pre-cut in two places. I fit it into slots in the wing and secured it with UHU glue. If you've ever assembled a profile foamie, this step will be very familiar. I roughened the LightFlite Magic Motor Mount with sandpaper and then glued it into place with UHU glue. After the glue dried, I installed the LightFlite motor. NOTE: Insure that the motor mount screw is adequately tightened!

Power System

The LightFlite 1100kV custom-wound motor is the perfect powerplant for the Bug. It’s lightweight (25 grams) yet powerful and can swing a GWS 10 X 6 HD prop on either a 2 or 3-cell LiPo pack with ease. It produces 12 oz. of thrust on 2 cells and a whopping 18 oz. of thrust on 3 cells - a nearly 3-to-1 power to weight ratio! Since the Magic Motor Mount' places the motor out in front of the firewall, it gets plenty of cooling.

The LightFlite R/C 10 amp continuous/13 amp burst brushless speed control with automatic cell detection attaches to the motor using Deans micro 4-pin connectors with the 4th pin removed. This allows quick and easy switching of the motor rotation. The ESC attaches to the side of the fuselage with Velcro. I attached the battery onto the fuselage above the wing, also using Velcro.

The servos are wrapped with nylon tape and attached to the wing and fuselage with UHU glue. LightFlite RC includes instructions and materials for making servo arm extensions allowing for maximum elevon throw. The receiver attaches to the side of the fuselage with Velcro.

Tail

I hinged the rudder with Blenderm, then installed the carbon pushrod and secured it to the rudder servo.

The landing gear assembles using carbon rods and plastic tubing - a simple yet very effective design. Even the wheels are made of lightweight EPP foam with rubber bands attached for traction. A carbon rod extends from the landing gear axle rearward into a piece of tubing and then into the fuselage to absorb the shock of less than perfect landings. A small plastic plate strengthens the vinyl tube where it enters the fuselage.

Completion

The 10 X 6 GWS HD propeller was attached to the wobbly prop adapter with a rubber o-ring.

The Bug weighed in at just under 6.4 oz. ready to fly, with a wing loading of just 2.8 oz. per square foot! Amazing!

Flying

The CG point LightFlite recommends is 3 7/8" back from the leading edge for conventional flying or 4 1/8" for 3D-type flying.

I maidened the Bug on a calm morning. Although I initially use between 30% and 40% exponential on most planes, I set the Bug up with 70% exponential on all control surfaces - even the rudder. I decided on the LightFlite 3S 460mAh LiPo pack for the maiden because I like the extra punch that a 3S pack delivers (although the 2S pack provides plenty of power and would be an idea pack for calm days or indoor flying).

The GWS 10 X 6 HD propeller produces lots of thrust with more than enough pitch speed. The Bug excels with thrust over pitch speed, which is why it is so stable yet maneuverable at low speeds. The Bug is definitely not a rocket ship, but will move out at a fast clip at full throttle with the LightFlite motor.

Takeoff and Landing

The LightFlite R/C Bug rolled out and leaped off the ground in less than 5 feet, climbing at a fairly steep angle. I immediately eased back to a little less than half-throttle and the Bug settled into a very slow high-alpha flight. The Bug likes to putt around at one third to half throttle most of the time, so flight times of 5-7 minutes are easy to achieve, and even longer flights are possible with throttle management.

With an all-up weight of just over 6 oz., the Bug doesn't need much runway to land. Due to its flat-plate wing, it's not really a power-off “glider” but needs only a little power to touch down smoothly and easily.

Aerobatics/Flight Characteristics

The Bug has a fairly gentle stall, but recovers very quickly when power is applied.

Whether big and smooth or tight and small, inside and outside loops are easy to perform with the Bug - even from level flight!

Due to its large elevons and huge amount of control throw, the Bug performs very fast and precise rolls especially on high rates. On low rates, rolls can be very smooth and predictable (which is a good thing since the Bug does not self correct).

Nice, flat spins are possible thanks to the Bug's very effective rudder.

Hammerheads are a blast to perform with the Bug, again thanks to the large rudder. Just apply a small amount of rudder input and the tail kicks right over.

Is this plane for a beginner?

Definitely! Although some 3-channel experience would be a plus, I would still highly recommend the Bug as a great first plane. It's easy to build, is very stable in the air, and the EPP-and-carbon frame design is as tough as nails. The Bug can definitely take a lot of abuse that a first-time pilot might dish out, and it really handles wind well despite its extremely light AUW. It's also an excellent choice for seasoned pilots who are looking for an exciting aerobatic park flyer.

Flight Video and Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

The LightFlite.com Bug was very quick and easy to assemble. It's a perfect plane for the neighborhood park or to get a few flights in on your lunch break. It has a Fun to Fly rating of 10 in my book!

Pluses:

  • Stable at low speeds, yet very aerobatic
  • Excellent design and a tough, crash resistant airframe
  • Quick assembly with excellent instructions
  • High-quality materials
  • All necessary components available from the LightFlite.com website - from kit version to Ready-To-Fly

Minuses:

  • Absolutely none!

The LightFlite.com Bug is a wonderful performer and the recommended power system is a perfect match for it. If you're in the market for a great first plane, a relaxing Sunday flier or a plane that can go from mild to wild with the flick of a radio switch, the LightFlite.com Bug is the plane for you. Order yours today at LightFlite.com!

Last edited by Angela H; Jun 20, 2007 at 01:24 PM..

Discussion

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Old Jun 20, 2007, 02:28 PM
ODB VI September 2014
1987tc's Avatar
United States, OK, Weleetka
Joined Dec 2000
8,534 Posts
Nice job on the review Ronnie! I knew you would like it!
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Old Jun 20, 2007, 02:59 PM
"Have Glue - Will Travel"
dawnron1's Avatar
Ft. Worth, Texas
Joined Jan 2004
2,428 Posts
Thanks Wes! It has quickly moved to the top of my 'favorite planes' list!
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Old Jun 20, 2007, 03:08 PM
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rcsoaringhk's Avatar
HongKong
Joined Jun 2007
99 Posts
Great review, good work.
Top of my fav plane list too!
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Old Jun 20, 2007, 03:15 PM
Fly it like you stole it..
Tram's Avatar
Florence, Al
Joined Oct 2000
29,301 Posts
Hmm..

This lil' guy looks like it would be a good replacement for my Mini Gee Bee..

Jeff
www.CommonSenseRC.com
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Old Jun 20, 2007, 03:32 PM
"Have Glue - Will Travel"
dawnron1's Avatar
Ft. Worth, Texas
Joined Jan 2004
2,428 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcsoaringhk
Great review, good work.
Top of my fav plane list too!
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tram
Hmm..

This lil' guy looks like it would be a good replacement for my Mini Gee Bee..

Jeff

www.CommonSenseRC.com
Jeff, you can not go wrong with the Bug!

Ronnie
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Old Jun 20, 2007, 05:26 PM
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pda4you's Avatar
USA, TX, Trophy Club
Joined May 2002
14,479 Posts
Man I am glad you didn't have any "bug" on your teeth when you "landed" there!

One happy pilot.....!

Great review...
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Old Jun 20, 2007, 05:33 PM
"Have Glue - Will Travel"
dawnron1's Avatar
Ft. Worth, Texas
Joined Jan 2004
2,428 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by pda4you
Man I am glad you didn't have any "bug" on your teeth when you "landed" there!

One happy pilot.....!

Great review...
Thanks Mike! And I forgot to mention , thanks VERY MUCH for your and Wendell's work on the stills and video!!

Ronnie
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Old Jun 20, 2007, 09:29 PM
Im stupider than you!
Pekin Illinois
Joined Aug 2006
1,722 Posts
Still amazed with mine, Never would I have imagened a plane I could recommend to a complete beginer and yet it does excellent 3d!!! Im also flying an e-flite Extra 260 profile and Im using the same power package (Stock Bug stuff), plenty of verticle on 2 or 3s. Bug is simply awesome.The motor is a steal also,very strong and quiet. EDIT BTW the main thread is in indoor/micro forum.
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Old Jun 20, 2007, 09:49 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
United States, TX, Kingsland
Joined Sep 2005
5,058 Posts
Great job on the review, Ronnie. The Bug looks like it could be a more durable replacement for my Mini IFO. Don't ask.

Kudos to your video photog! I was impressed he was able to keep up with the bug as you put it through it's paces.

Mike McD
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Old Jun 20, 2007, 09:55 PM
ODB VI September 2014
1987tc's Avatar
United States, OK, Weleetka
Joined Dec 2000
8,534 Posts
I have bounced mine off of one of those large round hay bales. no damage. And as a matter of fact I was able to keep it in the air too. Verry tough plane.
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Old Jun 20, 2007, 10:34 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,432 Posts
Looks like a nice replacement for my IFO if I ever kill it. Ronnie have you tried doing a "Falling Leaf?" Climb to a safe height and do a vertical 180 with the motor off by going into a dive. When upside down give up elevator until if falls/flips back to right side up and so on. It is my favorite move with the IFO and the Bug should do it nicely as well. Enjoyed the review. Mike
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Old Jun 21, 2007, 01:11 AM
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bolarobric's Avatar
Cerritos, Ca
Joined Jun 2003
318 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Heer
Looks like a nice replacement for my IFO if I ever kill it. Ronnie have you tried doing a "Falling Leaf?" Climb to a safe height and do a vertical 180 with the motor off by going into a dive. When upside down give up elevator until if falls/flips back to right side up and so on. It is my favorite move with the IFO and the Bug should do it nicely as well. Enjoyed the review. Mike
Great Review Ronnie. Hey Michael do you have a video of that "Falling Leaf Manuever" Sounds like a pretty cool manuever!- Robert
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Old Jun 21, 2007, 02:05 AM
To be a great Astro Boy
edoc's Avatar
Brodhead,WI,USA
Joined Jan 2001
917 Posts
Great review.
I flew one at Toledo. Incredibly fun plane. Will build mine for the indoor season.

After Etoc one of the European Etoc competitors came in. He was given the Bug to try out. Within minutes he was doing rolling circles around his head (very close in) and then played jump rope with it. Someone was video taping it. If anyone has seen the video, Let us know where it is!
Tim
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Old Jun 21, 2007, 01:00 PM
Im stupider than you!
Pekin Illinois
Joined Aug 2006
1,722 Posts
No comparison between the Bug and Ifo in flight, Guess which one flies better. jmho
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