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Old Nov 20, 2007, 10:36 AM
No substitute for aspect ratio
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Norwalk, CT aka the Nutmeg State -- I just can't seem to find any %$#@! nutmeg here?
Joined Nov 2003
2,262 Posts
Mini-Review
Cermark Ultimate E Bipe

My friends know that, to maintain a small bit of sanity from my work life, I am a contributing writer to Fly RC Magazine. A few months ago I did this story at their request, but it got double-assigned and lost in the shuffle. So, here's the version that never ran.


Cermark Ultimate ARF
Show the parkflyers who’s boss!


PLANE:
Ultimate ARF
MANUFACTURER: Cermark
TYPE: Wood construction ARF
FOR: 3D maneuvers and aerobatics
WINGSPAN: 30 in.
WING AREA: 300 sq. in.
FLYING WEIGHT: 27 oz.
WING LOADING: 13 oz./sq. ft.
LENGTH: 31 in.
RADIO: 4 channels; flown with a JR 9303 transmitter, JR R610M 6-channel sub-micro receiver, four Hitec HS 55 servos on rudder, elevator and ailerons.
POWER SYSTEM: Cermark CEM 2824-1030 brushless outrunner motor, APC 11 x 5.5 E prop, Cermark ESC 20-BL 20-amp speed control, FMA Cellpro 11.1V 1250mAh 15C Li-Poly battery.
FULL THROTTLE POWER: 19 amps static, 215 watts; 8 W/oz., 128 W/lb.
TOP RPM: 7400
DURATION: 7-8 minutes of spirited 3D flying. One could cruise for much longer, but why?
MINIMAL FLYING AREA: Park or RC club field
PRICE: $119.95
COMPONENTS NEEDED TO COMPLETE: Motor, battery and radio equipment. Cermark Part # CEM Adpter28, prop shaft adapter is required with the recommended Cermark motor.

SUMMARY
Cermark’s Ultimate ARF is a satisfying model in every respect. Open the box and you’ll immediately be struck by an attention-grabbing 5-color factory applied covering scheme and a kit that is both complete and meticulously prepared. Dig into the instruction manual rich in full-color photos and a completed, robust airframe is just a few short hours away. Head to the flying field and prepare to push the sticks as far as they will travel. You’ll have great fun at a modest price point. And, be ready to answer lots of eager questions from your flying buddies the moment you land.

by Steve Pasierb

There are so many nice 3D and other planes constructed of foam on the market that I have been yearning for some balsa, spruce and lite ply in my life. For me, wood is good! There is something about conventional construction with quality covering and overall attention to detail that brings a greater joy. Add performance and a scale-like appearance and I’m hooked. Cermark has delivered in their new Ultimate ARF. Here’s a park-sized 30” span beauty that can rock and roll including flying in wind conditions that would have the foamies running for cover.

ASSEMBLY
Every item that came out of the box was well constructed, beautifully covered in individual color layers rather that pre-printed covering, and carefully packaged in sealed plastic bags. Even the full color instruction manual came bagged! Cermark has added thoughtful touches like robust aluminum landing gear with pre-painted wheel pants that look great and function flawlessly. The cockpit comes already completed with a pilot figure and the bottom battery hatch with two latches is both convenient and secure. The engine cowl no flimsy affair, rather very hard and thick material. All hardware is included and is of appropriate quality. Wing struts affix with aluminum angle braces and either screws or bolts depending on location. These facts and an adequately detailed construction sequence with sharp clear photos result in a quick build with no surprises.

In fact, cannot offer any significant tips, exceptions or recommendations on the construction phase. Every piece fit as designed and the entire airframe came into alignment with ease. Four Hitec HS-55 servos were utilized on control surfaces and to date have performed fine. The Cermark 1030KV outrunner was purchased as part of a complete set named “Hover Package 11” and provides plenty of power turning an 11 x 5.5 APC E prop. There is generous space under the cowl if one would like go for more watts with a bigger motor. I have heard of some aggressive 30 Amp versions flying today.

I’ve found it’s best to store and transport the Ultimate fully assembled. Removing the wings, struts and fiddling with the aileron connections and other mounting bolts is not worth the hassle. Given it’s very manageable size, the Ultimate fits in my car easily even with several other planes.

From the moment we opened the box at the Fly RC offices, to everyone who has seen this plane along the way, the immediate comments are consistently positive. This is just a nice, well-constructed airplane. All that’s fine, but this is no pageant. Off to the field to see if beauty extends to the air.

AIRBORNE
A small plane, four generous ailerons, huge tail surfaces and plenty of power. A formula I can wholeheartedly support! A short and uneventful rollout had the Ultimate airborne and tracking straight and level. A tug on the elevator stick and the climb went perfect vertical giving quick proof that power was adequate. Very quickly I had the Ultimate sorted and gained the confidence to begin putting it through its paces. Thankfully, strong contrast between the top covering in orange, white, black and green and the bottom covering in stark black and white stripes truly helps the pilot keep this little bird properly sorted.

I chose to set-up the Ultimate with both dual rates and exponential. I’m not shy so my starting point was ailerons ½-inch up & down with 45% expo; elevator ½-inch up & down with 60% expo and rudder 1” left and right with 45% expo. Once fully sorted, driving the surfaces even farther is possible and might be worth the adventure. I would recommend setting a low range and high range to accommodate a given day’s conditions and pilot disposition.

After a couple flights on nice flying days to get familiar with its performance and adjust throws, the Ultimate performs as advertised. Right side up, upside down, rolls, snaps, tumbles, knife-edge, hovering and more. Inducing flat spins has been a bit of a challenge, but I’d blame that more on the pilot. At 27 ounces all up, this is no featherweight but the Ultimate moves through the air with a both look and feel of authority and certainty that it not typical of aircraft in this size range.

Stall was what I expected, the plane slowed quite a bit and then the nose tumbled over straight and hard. Recovery was simple and the Ultimate was back in action. It’s particularly easy to produce nice, crisp, fast axial rolls in either direction with little to no correction needed. Quite impressive and will give an intermediate pilot an instant dose of confidence as they learn the plane.

Because Cermark’s incarnation of the Ultimate is well constructed with stout landing gear, I can also do touch-and-go flying on our short grass field or clay baseball diamond that I would never attempt with a foam 3D plane with typical gear. The Ultimate is capable of a quite short and steep final, shows no tendency whatsoever to nose-over on touch down and can quickly jump back into the air or perform a proper roll out and scale-like climb.

Wind is much less of an issue too. Flying the first day for the photographs in this review, the conditions were quite windy. So windy in fact, those others who arrived at the flying field beat a hasty retreat. The photo session requires a lot of close in flying in a fairly tight pattern. Not typical for first flights on any airframe. The Cermark Ultimate occasionally got blown around, but I still had a blast flying it in these adverse conditions that absolutely no foam machine would attempt, let alone handle. One nasty gust while traveling downwind induced a stall that almost did the little Ultimate in, but hard on the power and elevator resulted in a nice if not somewhat lucky save.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS
Be certain to add 1/16-inch washout to the top wing ailerons during construction. This simple step, when setting-up the interconnection between bottom wing and top ailerons, will greatly improve hovering capability and lessen a tendency to snap out on aerobatics. Measure the initial center of gravity between 2 ¾- inch and 3 inches behind the leading edge on the bottom surface of the upper wing at the cabane strut. I used thread lock in several locations on the wing mounting hardware and landing gear.

After flying the Ultimate several times on the Cermark outrunner, I would definitely recommend a larger battery in the 1500-2100 mAh range. I my 1250 is too small and operating near its 15C limit while Cermark’s recommendation of a 1320 is not appreciably larger. Something in a square format, not a long fuselage-shaped pack, will fit best the Ultimate’s front battery bay. The 11 x 5.5 E prop performs great but is near the upper limit for the motor. Some experimentation with an APC 10 x 5 E prop may be worthwhile.

CONCLUSION
I’m blessed with a wonderful collection of airplanes. Only the winners get to stick around long. Others are sold-off quickly to fund future projects. Let’s just say, a “for sale” sign will not be posted any time soon on the Cermark Ultimate. I plan to fly this plane frequently. This is a rugged, good-looking airframe that when set-up with ample power and flown aggressively will reward the pilot with its performance. The only extremely minor thing I might change is the somewhat interesting pilot figure that one observer referred to as, “a demented baby doll wearing goggles.” He’s now fondly known as “Chucky.” With the gyrations this plane successfully goes through during each flight, I’d be demented too if I were in the pilot’s seat! Positioned safely on the ground, however, just leaves me with a smile during and after every flight.

Links
APC Propellers, distributed by Landing Products, www.apcprop.com, (530) 661-0399
Cellpro Batteries, distributed by FMA Direct, www.fmadirect.com, (800) 343-2934
Cermark Company, Inc., www.cermark.com, (562) 906-0808
Hitec RCD USA Inc., www.hitecrcd.com, (858) 748-6948
JR Receivers, distributed by Horizon Hobby Distributors, www.jrradios.com, (877) 504-0233
ZAP and Z-Poxy are manufactured by Pacer Technology, www.zapglue.com
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Last edited by SPasierb; Jun 28, 2008 at 04:10 PM.
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