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Extreme Flight RC 45" Edge 540T Review

In 2005, the Red Bull Air Race World Series was won by one of two Zivko Edge 540s, with third place going to the other Edge in the field. By 2006 that number grew to 4 planes in the field, again capturing 1st and 3rd, and in this year's series there are 10 Zivko Edge 540s! Does the RC counterpart follow winning suit? Bill Killillay takes a look around the Extreme Flight 45" Edge 540T.

Splash

Introduction


Length:42.5"
Weight:40 oz. as reviewed
Wingspan:45"
Wing Area:420 sq. in.
Wing Loading:420 squares/144 = 2.916 40 oz./ 2.916 = 13.71 oz./ sq. ft.
Transmitter:Futaba 9C
Receiver:Berg 7P - Horizontal
Servos:HS-65
Battery:EVO 2170 25C
and
TP 2200 eXtreme
Motor:Torque 2818/900
ESC:Airboss 35
Manufacturer:Extreme Flight RC
Available From:Extreme Flight RC

Earlier this year, after changing my satellite TV provider service and gaining a new channel called RushHD, I started watching the Red Bull Air Race World Series. It did not take long to notice that the winning aircraft week in and week out was the Edge 540.

The Edge 540T from Extreme Flight RC is the two seat version of this very popular aircraft. With it's awesome design, great flying characteristics and graceful lines it's little wonder that it makes an excellent semi-scale 3D modeling subject. Read on as we explore more about this model from Extreme Flight RC.

Kit Contents

The first thing that I like to do is inspect everything when it arrives. The package arrived double boxed and the items inside were all taped down. After inspecting for damage (and finding none, as expected), I moved on to taking everything out of the individually sealed bags and doing a more detailed inspection.

Required Items

  • 350 Watt BL Motor / ESC System (Airboss 35 with Torque 2818/900 reviewed)
  • 2100-2500mAh 3s LiPoly battery pack recommended
  • 4 HS-65 or equivalent servos
  • 4 Channel Rx - 6 and a computer radio recommended
  • 2" spinner - Great Planes Spinner 2" Nylon Aluminum White used

Kit Includes

  • Very complete hardware package
  • Wheels, wheel pants and axle hardware
  • Very nice pull/pull hardware
  • All required small screws, nuts, etc.
  • Even the longer motor mount screws needed to mount the motor were included

All in all I found this to be a very complete kit right out of the box, and my expectations were high for a great build.

Assembly

After a read through the instructions, I started where the manual does, with the wing.

Wing

Each wing half comes wrapped in it's own plastic covering to protect it. The ailerons are already attached but not yet glued.

Note: There is no need to change the CA hinges or to use the wood glue other than the authors personal preference.

Fuselage

Next, you install the landing gear to the fuselage. This is a simple matter of attaching two screws through the nice quality aluminum LG.

The rest of the fuse preparation is fairly simple: open up the anti-rotation pin holes, the wing tube holes, and the horizontal stab opening. I took this opportunity to build out the motor mount cage and supports. I really like the side supports and the keyed structure throughout the construction.

The air escape holes in the tail are very easy to spot becaue of the wood reinforcements in the tail.

Tail

In the tail section assembly, I again noticed how everything was nicely keyed. Lining up the pieces was simple and foolproof.

Take careful note of the orientation of the elevator when placing it into the now trimmed stab opening. It will only go in one way and then can be rotated into place.

Next up: installing the tail wheel landing gear. It's pre-bent and a pretty simple installation.


Motor Installation

Motor Specifications
  • Windings: 18Turns
  • RPM/V (KV): 900
  • Idle Current (RI): 0.045
  • IO (@8.4V): A 1.08
  • Weight: 3.66 oz 104 G
  • Suggested Pack: 3 Cell
  • Constant Amps: 25
  • Peak Amps (15 Sec): 35
  • Suggested Prop:
  •           APC 11*5.5E (Conservative)
  •           APC 12*6E (Performance)
  • Shaft size: 5mm
  • Peak Watts: 388
  • There are a couple of items to pay attention to when mounting the recommend Torque motor system in the Edge.

    1. The screws you'll need to use are not the ones that come in the box with the motor. There are four 3mm screws included with the rest of the hardware.

    2. The retaining E clip on my motor rubbed on the center hole and I found it necessary to open that up a little to ensure free movement.

    3. The corners of the mount required a little rounding to ensure a good fit on the cowl.

    Once the motor was mounted and the corners rounded I was able to install the cowl with ease. I placed the spinner, lined it up, and held it in place with a little blue painters’ tape. I made sure to mark where the mounting tabs were before I started.

    Main Landing Gear and Wheel Pants

    I normally do not even make a note about the landing gear much less the wheel pants in a review. However, to not do so in this case would be to leave out a detail that I very much enjoyed.

    Installing it onto the landing gear is a breeze.

    Note: This was my first experience using the new Mercury CA products. I really, really like the re-sealable bottle design. Time will tell about the contents of the bottle, but so far so good.

    Radio Installation

    AirBoss 35 Amp Specifications
  • 5 - 10 cells Ni-Cd
  • 2 to 3 Li-Poly cells (User programmable)
  • 2.7-4A BEC
  • Brake: on /off (User programmable)
  • Acceleration: Hard / Soft (User programmable)
  • 8 /16 kHz switching frequency (User programmable)
  • Timing mode (User programmable)
  • Reverse rotation (User programmable)
  • Cutoff Voltage (User programmable)
  • Over temperature cutoff
  • Max RPM (2-pole): 200,000
  • Weight: 28Grams
  • Peak Current: 35 Amps burst to 40
  • MosFets: 18
  • I started my radio installation by attaching the ESC and making sure that the motor was turning in the right direction. I then mounted the ESC to the inside of the fuselage just behind the fire wall area. Later when working on the CG for this model, I found it necessary to move the ESC out onto the motor mount.

    I normally dread installing the control horns; trying to make sure that I get them lined up at the proper 90 degree angles and getting the right part centered over the hinge line, etc. I usually take hours to try and insure a good flying model. However with the Edge that worry is needless! The slots for the control horns are already cut, no measuring, no screwing - just scuff, add glue and let dry for a perfect install every time. So easy a cave pilot could do it. ;)

    I was a little worried about (due to past experiences) the pull/pull setup on the rudder though, as it turns out, my worry was unfounded. The provided cleaves for the servo side slips into the easy connecters and makes adjusting the throw and tension dead simple. I was very impressed with the quality here. Sometimes these little touches go a long way toward making a build a very pleasant experience.

    Completion

    One note here on the CG: I found it necessary to move the ESC from inside the fuselage out onto the motor mount to allow my battery to sit more securely on the tray.

    I wanted to see what I was dealing with in the “watts per lb” area.

    With care and a little planning this model could be built in one to two evenings and be a great flying model that will last for many, many great flights.

    Closer Look - 540 vs. 540T

    While doing research for this review I found it interesting to compare some of the differences between the two Edge models. These really are amazing planes that are pushed to amazing limits on the air race circuit.

      540 540T
     

    Wing Span:24ft 4in 25ft 2in
    Length:20ft 7in 22ft 8in
    Wing Area:98ft2 106.2ft2
    Empty Weight:1170 lbs 1261 lbs
    Max Aerobatic:1550 lbs 1600 lbs single, dual 1875 lbs
    Max G Rating*:1500# +/-10 single +/- 10, dual +/- 8
    Vne**:230kts 230kts
    * This is pushed as high as 14 in the air races
    ** This is 265 mph, again this is exceeded greatly in the air races

    Flying

    What comes to mind when you think of the maiden flight? For me it's don't crash, don't crash, don't crash... (I'm pretty rusty these days.) So what do you think I did on the maiden flight of this one? Yep you got it, 30 seconds into the flight no less. I went to pull it up and... nothing. The plane dumped into some tall grass and weeds and as I walked over I was fearing the worst. But! Not a scratch, not a dent, nothing!! Whew, I got lucky!!

    Turns out the battery that I chose for my first flight was not charged. I swapped batteries and away we went. All the pictures and video below are from subsequent flights. What did I learn from this? Two things: always check my voltage on the pack, and wow! this plane is durable!

    Basics

    From the beginning, this plane felt tail-heavy to me. I've spent a good bit of time since the build working to move the CG forward a little more, and maybe the attentive eye will catch that in the video. I've flown it since the video was shot with the CG closer to the 3" mark, and I'm finding it much more stable and to my liking.

    Taking Off and Landing

    Take Off - one thing to note with this plane: as you apply power, be sure to give some up elevator as it will want to nose over on grass. I've not flown it yet off of pavement.

    Landings - two things to note here: use low rates to land!! *grin* (See video), and with the CG too far aft it's pretty touchy even on low rates. This plane CAN take some abuse. (Yep, see the video again.)

    Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

    One of the things that I find the most enjoyable about this plane is how hard it snaps and handles other tumbling maneuvers. One of my favorite things to do with this plane is a blender into the flattest and prettiest inverted flat spin that I've ever seen in a plane this size. Upright and inverted elevators are pretty straight down with a hint of wing rock and a little forward drift.

    Control Throws

    My control throws and expo are all set per the book by what EF recommends. I did find it neccessary to add a little bit of mix for KE, but it's really thumb mixable out, and for the first few flights I did just that. Beyond that I have no other mixes setup yet. And I've not really found a need for any.

    KE Mix: Rudd to Aileron -5% and -5% on both Rudd to Elevator -2% to left and +2% to right




    ManueverGrade Notes
    Hangar A While I'm still dialing in the expo and CG, all in all this plane will hang in there with the best of them.
    Torque Roll A+ When I could get my fingers locked into it the plane would sit and roll and roll, very vertical.
    High Alpha Level Flight A Like most flat bottom built up planes there is some wing rock
    High Alpha Inverted A A tick of wing rock, but all in all very stable and predictable
    High Alpha Knife Edge A+ Normal and very easy with this plane. I was able to thumb mix it all out. A little adjustment to the lateral CG and I think it could do it hands off.
    Stall Turns B+ This may be a function of my flying or the very aft CG - my stall turns seem to fall to the canopy, but I was able to get a couple that looked nice.
    Knife-edge-to-knife-edge turns A All in all pretty easy
    Tail-slide A Only about 6-8 feet of slide before it plops over. Very predictable and easy to do though.
    Wall A Pretty quick stop with only a hint of drift up. Manageable with power adjustment.
    Flying Flat-Spin A++ WOW, I think the comment after my first blender into the inverted flat spin was that I thought this was the best flat spin I had ever seen.
    Pinwheel A Pretty fun to do once I found the right amount of aileron It was easy to adjust the altitude with power and elevator.
    Elevator A+ Both upright and inverted this plane has little to no wing rock while coming straight down.

    Is This For a Beginner?

    You probably need to have a couple of sportier mid to low wing aerobatic to 3D planes under your belt before you take on this one. This would be a pretty frustrating pile of balsa in short order for the beginner.

    Flight Video/Photo Gallery

    Downloads

    Conclusion

    On the whole, the quality of the parts to the fit and finish were 9.9 out of a 10 in my book. The painless assembly made this one of the more enjoyable builds that I've had recently. In terms of ease, on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the most difficult) I give this model a 2.

    Pluses:

    • Ease of build
    • Durability
    • Great Looks
    • Very complete manual
    • Tail wheel assembly
    • 7-8 minutes of flight with recommended setup

    Minuses:

    • CG a bit tricky to setup
    • Tail wheel assembly
    • Some covering seems needed tacking down

    If your looking for a great looking semi-scale, great flying and very durable aerobatic to 3D plane, this one fits the bill nicely. With the quick and very easy build, quality of the included parts and predictable flying characteristics the Edge 540T is a great addition to any fleet. It fits with wings attached into a small SUV for a quick pickup flight at any time. On the whole, this plane is a keeper in my book. I very much enjoyed building and flying the Edge. It's impressed me several times with it's duality. Extreme Flight has a winner on their hands with this one.















    Acknowledgements:
          Some info and stats taken from the Zivko Aeronautic, Inc. website and stats PDF.
          Some images used courtesy of Red Bull Air Race World Series and Airliners.net.
          Some images and content used in this review came from the very good build and info thread found here.
          The nice flight pictures in this review ame from James Judd at Love of Photography

    Last edited by Angela H; Jul 30, 2007 at 11:20 PM..

    Discussion

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    Old Jul 19, 2007, 01:34 PM
    3DHS Junkie
    800mZero's Avatar
    Rhode Island
    Joined Jun 2005
    5,683 Posts
    Great review Bill,

    Good to see a red one flying----she looked a little unstable in hover---was this cg?
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    Old Jul 19, 2007, 02:32 PM
    Husband, Dad, Skydiver, RC'r
    Bill K.'s Avatar
    United States, NC, Waynesville
    Joined May 2002
    5,559 Posts
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 800mZero
    Great review Bill,

    Good to see a red one flying----she looked a little unstable in hover---was this cg?
    Yes, I'm still playing with finding the CG that I like. I'm also still messing with the Expo a tad.

    It's by far the most durable built up plane that I've ever flown though. As you can tell in the video.

    Your post caught me off guard as I did not realize this had gone live.

    BK

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    Old Jul 19, 2007, 03:23 PM
    Registered User
    Angela H's Avatar
    Nashville, TN
    Joined Nov 2006
    1,510 Posts
    I'm glad you put that picture up - I couldn't get it to show up enough as the thumbnail for the ezone picture, and it sure is a nice shot
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    Old Jul 19, 2007, 05:52 PM
    The sky is my playground.
    Dora Nine's Avatar
    United States, NH
    Joined May 2005
    7,713 Posts
    It sure is...a nice photo. My Yak is just bout done...the Vanquish is started...this one might have to be next. I loved the, "thumbs up shot." It reminded me of a guy who I used to fly with. He had lot's of oops moves, yet his planes' kept right on ticking...I never understood it. Thanks a nice review.
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    Last edited by Dora Nine; Jul 19, 2007 at 06:00 PM.
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    Old Jul 19, 2007, 05:53 PM
    Bigger is better
    ibange's Avatar
    United States, TX, Spring
    Joined Jan 2001
    909 Posts
    I'm curious when you say pinwheel, are you referring to a power-on upright flat spin without losing altitude?

    I have always heard that name used for a hard rudder over from hover back to hover.

    At least that is what I took out of your score card, I might be wrong...
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    Old Jul 19, 2007, 06:51 PM
    WAA-08 Pilot Eventually
    donjiskra's Avatar
    Darien,IL,USA
    Joined Jul 2000
    1,570 Posts
    WOW. GREAT REVIEW!!!
    Excellent desriptive writing with excellent photographs.
    Thanks, Thanks, thanks.
    Don
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    Old Jul 19, 2007, 07:23 PM
    Husband, Dad, Skydiver, RC'r
    Bill K.'s Avatar
    United States, NC, Waynesville
    Joined May 2002
    5,559 Posts
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ibange
    I'm curious when you say pinwheel, are you referring to a power-on upright flat spin without losing altitude?

    I have always heard that name used for a hard rudder over from hover back to hover.

    At least that is what I took out of your score card, I might be wrong...
    It could my understanding of the pinwheel that is wrong, but I thought it was a drawn out rudder turn that goes a full 360?
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    Old Jul 19, 2007, 07:24 PM
    Husband, Dad, Skydiver, RC'r
    Bill K.'s Avatar
    United States, NC, Waynesville
    Joined May 2002
    5,559 Posts
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dora Nine
    It sure is...a nice photo. My Yak is just bout done...the Vanquish is started...this one might have to be next. I loved the, "thumbs up shot." It reminded me of a guy who I used to fly with. He had lot's of oops moves, yet his planes' kept right on ticking...I never understood it. Thanks a nice review.
    Thanks Dora, I wish you could have seen it in real life, this really is one tough plane.
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    Old Jul 19, 2007, 07:25 PM
    Husband, Dad, Skydiver, RC'r
    Bill K.'s Avatar
    United States, NC, Waynesville
    Joined May 2002
    5,559 Posts
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by donjiskra
    WOW. GREAT REVIEW!!!
    Excellent desriptive writing with excellent photographs.
    Thanks, Thanks, thanks.
    Don
    Don, thank you very much for the kind words. Just made my day.

    BK
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    Old Jul 20, 2007, 12:09 AM
    Registered User
    Canada's East Coast, "An Ocean Playground"
    Joined Apr 2002
    4,191 Posts
    re..wing loading

    ...I believe the wing loading figure given is incorrect ...should be 13.79oz/sqft with a weight of 40 oz and a wing area of 420 sq in.

    Bill
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    Old Jul 20, 2007, 03:41 PM
    The sky is my playground.
    Dora Nine's Avatar
    United States, NH
    Joined May 2005
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bill K.
    Thanks Dora, I wish you could have seen it in real life, this really is one tough plane.
    I'm going to keep that in mind. I would have bought this one next after the Yak, however I got a awesome deal on here for the motor, ecs and bec that I couldn't pass up. So the Vanquish is next.
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    Old Jul 20, 2007, 04:28 PM
    Husband, Dad, Skydiver, RC'r
    Bill K.'s Avatar
    United States, NC, Waynesville
    Joined May 2002
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by retiredVTT
    ...I believe the wing loading figure given is incorrect ...should be 13.79oz/sqft with a weight of 40 oz and a wing area of 420 sq in.

    Bill
    I do belive that your correct. Thinking about how it fly's I would also agree.
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    Old Jul 20, 2007, 10:32 PM
    quick, stretch into a monster!
    Mr.Me's Avatar
    Everett, WA
    Joined Apr 2007
    978 Posts
    Quote:
    Some covering seems needed tacking down
    you spelt seams wrong.
    hah! i'm just giving ya crap.
    great review! i never was interested in 3D, everyone does it... but awesome review anyway!
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    Old Jul 20, 2007, 11:09 PM
    Husband, Dad, Skydiver, RC'r
    Bill K.'s Avatar
    United States, NC, Waynesville
    Joined May 2002
    5,559 Posts
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr.Me
    you spelt seams wrong.
    hah! i'm just giving ya crap.
    great review! i never was interested in 3D, everyone does it... but awesome review anyway!
    LOL, I fixed that once. How did that get back in there... sigh... hehe, oh well. Thanks
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