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Hitec Multiplex Blizzard Hotliner ARF Review

Multiplex brings a cool Hotliner to market that will not require a king's ransom to purchase!

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Introduction


Wingspan:55"
Wing Area:301 sq. in.
Weight:35.5 oz.
Length:36"
Wing Loading:12.4 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:Hitec HS-55 (2), Hitec HS-65HB (2)
Transmitter:Spektrum DX7
Receiver:Spektrum AR6200 Full Range (Rev. 1.6 Firmware)
Battery:Multiplex Li-Batt 3S1P 2500mAh 18C
Motor:Himax 3516-1350 Brushless Outrunner Motor
ESC:Multiplex MULTIcont BL-55 Speed Controller
Typical Flight Duration:5-10 minutes
Prop:9x6 Folding prop
Manufacturer:Multiplex Modelsport
Available From:Your Local Hobby Retailer or Preferred Etailer
Typical Street Prices:Plane $149.99; Power Pack $154.99; Servo Pack $107.99

The whistling whoosh of a sound that a Hotliner makes as it screams by you at high speed with the power off will make you giggle like a school girl. It will also get under your skin and stay with you... at least until you start to see how much money it could take to get started into this exciting genre of high performance radio controlled sail planes.


A Hotliner can be loosely defined as a fast sailplane with an electric motor. This can range from a fairly simple sailplane to 3000+ watt competition F5B planes. A Hotliner must meet the following basic criteria:

  • Sailplane with at least aileron and elevator control
  • Electric motor
  • Can climb at an angle of 70 degrees or more

Though Hotliners have been around since the early 1990s, the high tech advances in brushless power systems and lipoly battery chemistry have caused their popularity and performance to take off like a rocket to the moon ... pun intended! The typical high performance Hotliner is of composite construction with plenty of carbon thrown in and high end radio and power system components. It requires a fairly significant financial commitment to get it airborne.

But would you like to get a taste of what Hotliners are all about without plunking a huge wad of your hard earned and inflation ravaged dollars on the barrel? (Brrrrrr... is it getting cold in here?!) How about a Multiplex Blizzard? Made of Multiplex's durable Elapor foam, it will not put near the same dent in your billfold as a full blown Hotliner, but it will assuredly give you a real taste of what hotlining is all about!


Kit Contents

I was struck at how svelte the box containing the Blizzard was. Multiplex always seems to do a little creative engineering on their packaging. The review model shipped to me from southern California and arrived with all components intact and undamaged. Hitec/Multiplex included their high performance Tuning Power System and a Hitec Servo Pack, both specifically configured for the Blizzard. Though you could probably assemble your own components, using these pre-configured and matched sets ensures minimal modifications and also expedites getting the Blizzard off of the building table and into the air.

In The Box:

  • Molded Elapor parts including two fuselage halves, two wing halves,two v-tail panels.
  • Two rectangular CFRP wing spars
  • One coil of GRP longeron stock(8500mm in length)
  • Injection molded plastic parts, including a canopy, front and rear fuselage fairings, wing center section doubler, servo covers, trim ballast cover, etc
  • 3 9G steel ballast balls
  • Building Instructions (in five languages)
  • Decal set
  • Spar cover stickers
  • All required push rods, control horns, push rod connectors and miscellaneous hardware





Required for Completion:

  • 400-600 watt brushless power system
  • Appropriately sized lipoly battery
  • Full range receiver (minimum four channel)
  • Four sub-micro servos
  • Servo extensions
  • Connectors of builders choice for the battery and speed controller main power connections

Included for Review:

  • Blizzard Tuning Power Set (Himax 3516-1350 brushless outrunner motor, BL-54 brushless speed controller, 9x6 folding prop, 39mm spinner and all required motor mounting hardware
  • Multiplex Li-Batt 3S1P 2500mAh 18C lipoly battery
  • Multiplex Servo Pack (two Hitec HS-55, two Hitec HS-65HB)
  • M6 Multiplex high current plug and receptacle for plug in aileron connection (PN#8 5133 and 8 5213)



Servo Pack Power Pack








Assembly

NOTE: Ezone reviews are not intended to be build guides, or to take the place of the assembly instructions typically included in a kit. We instead try to use the bandwidth we are blessed with to highlight how the plane performs in flight, something no assembly instructions could ever properly achieve! Having said that, here are a few highlights of my build of the Multiplex Blizzard.

The Blizzard instruction manual is a 40 page, line art illustrated black and white composition in five languages. If English is your language of choice, you will be using a total of 12 of those pages. The figures and graphics are all located in the center of the manual, which requires flipping back and forth between the text and figures while building. .

I typically use a combination of cyanoacrylate glue, accelerator and epoxies when building a plane. Multiplex foam planes are made of Elapor. It is a good idea to pay close attention to the factory recommendations for the best results:


Read this important note before selecting which adhesive you will use on the Blizzard


Multiplex Modelsport Blizzard Assembly Manual

One thing that really struck me as I prepared to assemble this kit was the roll of GRP. I wish I had stretched it completely out before I started, just to see how far down the street it would have reached! The specifications list it as being nearly 30 feet long. I think this particular component is one of the main ways that Multiplex is able to take "foam" and get it to fly at triple digit speeds.


Wing

I encountered a little difficulty when attempting to glue the two wing halves together. It took me several tries to get the CA to set up properly. There is not very much area for the adhesive to work with at the wing roots. Ensure that they are perfectly lined up.

The assembly manual stresses that haste is essential when installing the two rectangular carbon spars into the wing. They fit snugly, and you definitely do not want the glue to start to set up before you get them completely inserted into the wing. Dry fit them first, and then work quickly when installing them with CA. The wing receives a lot of GRP, both longitudinally and also on a bias. According to Multiplex the twenty pieces of fiberglass applied in a herringbone pattern to the top and bottom of the wing substantially add to the torsional rigidity of the wing.


The aileron hinges are an integral part of the wing halves. All that is required is to cut them free at their ends.


The Hitec HS-65HB servos fit snugly into the wing cutouts. I used hot glue, as I normally do when mounting servos to foamy planes. In order to get the aileron servo horns to fit under the protective push rod fairing covers, I nipped the end of the servo horn off to make it as short as possible. The top side of the servo gets covered with a piece of white adhesive tape. The aileron push rods are short and connect to the servo horn with a z-bend. The other end connects to the ailerons by means of a sturdy Multiplex swivel connector. The same swivel connectors are used on the tail surfaces. (See photo below)




The Multiplex M6 aileron servo quick connectors are a nice touch and using them will eliminate the need to unplug the aileron servo leads when removing the wing. Instead, you will end up with a slick and quick connection for the two aileron servos. Simply mount the wing to the fuselage and the aileron connections are complete. If you do opt to go this route, basic soldering skills are required. Be judicious in the amount of heat you apply to the little green connectors when making them up or you may overheat them and distort the connector. Care is also in order when using a heat gun on the heat shrink. The aileron servo leads get pressed into slots in the wing halves and are out of sight once they are inserted. I used the back side of a butter knife to push them deeply into the slots. Using anything sharper could damage the leads.



When soldering the connectors, I attached the mating connector to help keep the pins aligned while heat was applied and also provide a little more surface area to dissipate the heat of the soldering iron across.


A plastic doubler gets glued to the center section of the wing. It acts to disperse the load applied to the wing when attaching and securing it to the fuselage with a pair of nylon screws.


Tail

Parts of the tail assembly must occur BEFORE beginning the fuselage assembly, while other parts will occur after the fuselage halves are joined. The servo(s) for the elevator and/or rudder must be installed before the two fuselage halves are glued together. Rudder control on the Blizzard is optional. If you opt to use it, you will need to remove the foam from the second tail servo mounting area on the fuselage. Hitec HS-55s get glued into fuselage for controlling the tail. One servo for elevator only, two servos if you prefer rudder also. Elevator only control will require two push rods getting connected to the single servo. Deciding to use rudder will mean one push rod gets connected to each servo, and your transmitter will need to be capable of doing a V-tail mix if you go for the rudder option. I used hot glue to secure the servos, and I Dremeled out a recess in the inside wall of the fuselage for the servo extensions.




After gluing the fuselage halves together, the two v-tail surfaces can be glued to the rear plastic fuselage fairing. It is important to make sure they are both properly positioned in the fairing before the glue dries. Both v-tail surfaces receive a generous complement of GRP longerons. The control surfaces and method of connecting them to the servos is exactly the same as the ailerons.


Fuselage

The fuselage comes out of the box in two halves. Several GRP longerons get installed on the inside of the fuselage halves as well as on the outside. It is best to carefully lay out and plan the installation of all of the fuselage components as much as possible before you glue the two halves together. I used nylon ty-wraps and hot glue to neatly anchor everything to the inside walls of the fuselage halves. The extensions that came in the Servo Pack were a little on the long side, and I ended up having quite a bundle of excess that I had to neatly coil and secure. One of these days I WILL buy a crimper and start making my own custom length servo leads and extensions.


The other side of the M6 aileron servo lead connector gets made up for installation into the fuselage. It is necessary to use a couple of servo extensions to make up this side of the connector. Cut off the end that does NOT plug into your receiver, and solder it up to the M6 connector. This connector gets glued into a rectangular plastic piece, which also has the threaded holes into which the two wing retainer nylon screws will anchor.


After preparing the fuselage innards, it is time to glue the halves together. The bright blue front fairing/motor bulkhead can now be attached, as can the rear fairing.



The lower rear of the fuselage comes with a unique ballast box, into which up to three of the included 9 gram steel balls can be inserted to assist in hitting proper CG if necessary.


Radio & Power System Installation

The Tuning Power Set that came with the review Blizzard includes everything you will need to install the power system, and then some. Not all of the included hardware will get used. The photo below shows which main pieces will be used.


Though the motor came with the bullet connectors pre-installed, I decided that it would be best to shorten both the motor and speed controller leads considerably. The interior of the Blizzard is not exactly cavernous, and leaving an excess length of wire would only make it seem more crowded. When inserting the motor, I removed a little foam from the inside fuselage wall to provide a little extra clearance for the motor wires.


Look closely to see who manufactures the ESC!

The assembly instructions recommend that you populate the fuselage by putting the receiver all the way to the rear under the wing with the battery resting in front of the receiver.


I decided to swap the positions of these two components, mainly because I did not like the idea of squirreling my receiver away in a location that would definitely prove a little difficult to get to. Occasionally I have had to rebind my Spektrum receivers, mainly due to moving models around in the memory of my DX7. In any event, I was much more comfortable moving the receiver forward to a position in front of the battery. While some may instantly react with panic to my decision to mount the Spektrum AR6200 full range receiver directly adjacent to the 55 amp speed controller, I conducted some very long range checks before I threw the Blizzard aloft for the maiden. And I have had no control anomalies at all with the components arranged as such. I located the satellite receiver behind the lipoly battery, pretty much directly under the wing saddle.



The power set includes a prop and a matching bright blue spinner. The Blizzard kit contains a solid nose cone should the builder wish to build it as an unpowered slope glider. The clearance between the motor bulkhead and spinner is impressively tiny. The spinner is designed to generate airflow into and through the fuselage, with said airflow exiting through two vents just aft of the leading edge of the wing, on the sides of the fuselage.


Completion

The Multiplex 3S 2250 lipoly battery is a snug fit but this actually helps secure it in place. The assembly manual provides all of the needed data on control throws and center of gravity, including some flap and elevator compensation settings I have not yet tried on my Blizzard. Strangely, the manual recommends a CG 70mm back from the leading edge of the wing in a drawing but the text suggests 50-60mm. I went with about 65mm, using all three of the ballast steel balls in the rear compartment.



Additionally, I decided to utilize the suggestions in the Manual Addendum that was published a few months after the Blizzard released. The word on the street is that some were subjecting their Blizzards to extended high speed dives and a few were experiencing some flutter. The Addendum shows how the Blizzard wing can be reinforced using Scotch Extreme Packing tape. This tape kind of looks like white carbon fiber in my opinion. Not only did I apply it as recommended in the Addendum, I lined the bottom of the fuselage with it to afford some protection during the landing slide out.



Manual Addendum

The included decals cover the extreme packing tape and dress the airframe up a little bit. I added a few red and black bars to the underside of the wing in an effort to help with orientation but I can honestly say that I have yet to really be able to pick them out while the Blizzard is in flight.








Flying

Taking Off and Landing

Light it up, and toss it! It is really that easy. When hoisting the Blizzard over your head in preparation for the launch, she feels a little porky but in a good way. Running the Himax motor up to mid or three quarter throttle results in a Blizzard that wants to yank itself right out of your hand. This one is very easy to hand launch yourself. I prefer to use my left hand and keep my right one on the elevator/aileron stick. I just give it a solid toss, straight forward at a small upward angle, and she is off to the races. I have asked others to launch for me, mainly just to see the look on their face when I advance the throttle. Once out of their hand, going to wide-open-throttle and flicking in a little up elevator usually gets their head a’shaking in disbelief, as the Blizzard rockets straight up!



Your first landing, and perhaps your second and third and fourth, will probably see you come in a little too hot. I repeatedly set up for a landing and ended up coming in too fast, which meant the Blizzard was NOT yet finished flying. It seems the high speed performance of the Blizzard can mislead you into shooting approaches that are a little too fast, but I have found that the airframe will slow very nicely. I will normally bleed most of my speed off by flying a slow circuit or two and if I am still too hot on final, I will add a little throttle and make another slow trip around the pattern. Landings are easy, and the heavy duty packing tape on the bottom really protects the fuselage from any damage as it slides to a stop.


Aerobatics/Flight Performance

The Blizzard is definitely a high performance sail plane. The first time I pushed the throttle to the stop and aimed her skyward, I burst out in spontaneous nervous laughter! Whoaaa! Now THAT is cool! I stayed on the juice as long as I was comfortable, killed the throttle, rolled the Blizzard inverted and let the nose fall. Letting it build speed, I slowly feathered in up elevator until it leveled off and blew by us at head level. Another HUGE grin on my face!

This is the style of flying that the Blizzard is designed to perform. WOT climb outs until you can hardly see it, kill the power and then bring her straight back down to earth in a screaming, power-off dive. I am in no way, shape or form a true Hotliner pilot but I do believe it is all about energy management? The idea is to take the plane up as high as you possibly can, shut the motor down and then build as much speed as you can and try to stay off the throttle for as long as you can, making as many passes as possible before again reaching for the throttle, and then it starts all over again.




A nominal peak power output of 450 watts with an AUW of 35.5 ounces = 200 watts per pound !!!

The Blizzard will do aileron rolls, stall turns and loops. At full speed, the Blizzard likes a deft touch on the controls, especially the elevator. A good setup recommendation is to put the elevator push rods on the hole nearest the HS-55 servo spline and then dial the throws down in the transmitter. This gives you better resolution and finer control of the elevator and will help in any over-controlling.

While the Blizzard is certainly not a pure Hotliner, it does let you dip your toes in the water and see what that style of high performance flying is all about... and it does it with a mere 500 watts of power, a 3S 2500 class lipoly battery and a couple of inexpensive servos. In the Eagle Tree plots below, you can see that we made about 17 WOT climbs to altitude and only used about 1300 mAH worth of the battery. The Elapor foam is durable and solid. Though I have yet to damage my Blizzard, I have read of many people making amazing repairs to Elapor using nothing more than hot water.

Is This For a Beginner?

Now that I am in my mid-forties, I have found myself struggling a little vision-wise. Even on days with picture perfect visibility, I have to work when my plane gets out a good distance away from me, and the Blizzard REALLY kept me on my toes and tested my eyesight. The thin wing, coupled with the v-tail configuration and dominantly white coloring make this plane disappear during certain orientations. The Blizzard is probably not for beginners but best left for those who can handle a little speed and an airframe capable of getting out of sight in just seconds.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery









Downloads

Conclusion

The Multiplex Blizzard is an inexpensive and economical entry level hotliner that is eminently repairable should you suffer any minor "oops" while acclimating to this type of flying. The Elapor foam is sturdy and takes a beating. Multiplex has obviously engineered the Blizzard to deliver some serious fun, and it does it without a requiring am extreme investment in time and money. The components are an interesting blend of plastic, carbon and fiberglass and contribute to the Blizzard's high tech, streamlined look. They manage to cram a lot of smiles into the slender Blizzard kit box!

Pluses

  • Entry level Elapor hotliner will give you a taste of the fast life without making you assault your piggy bank.
  • Excellent fit and finish on this foamy flyer
  • Cool pseudo-carbon fiber looking canopy
  • Plenty of strategic carbon and fiberglass reinforcing make this foamy able to fly fast.
  • Tuning Power Set a good match for Blizzard airframe
  • Will bring an uncontrolled smile to your face when it whistle-whooshes by!

Minuses

  • Cutting and gluing all of the fiberglass reinforcing pieces gets a little monotonous
  • Starting down this Hotliner highway is sure to be an expensive proposition when you decide the Blizzard is no longer satisfying your need for speed and you need something faster!


....and a special thanks to Blueskyrider and Gp125racer for their invaluable assistance
Last edited by Angela H; Jul 20, 2009 at 10:50 AM..

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Old Jul 02, 2009, 08:43 PM
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theKM's Avatar
central PA.
Joined Sep 2004
20,187 Posts
Nice review Jon!

I really want one of these planes. After standardising on 2220 3S packs I have a boat load of them around. I'll have to refrain from downloading the vid or my credit card is sure to get dinged...

Reckon that these are the coolest things to be molded in Elapor thus far.
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Old Jul 02, 2009, 11:14 PM
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Bay Area
Joined Feb 2004
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Great step by step and complete review Jon. I like all the pictures as well.

I recently built one for a friend and it is one of his favorite planes. He recently started to take it to the local slope for some fast and furious slope flying. It really holds its own against my 60" slope racers! If you think the Blizzard is fun on the flying field, take it to the slope. It is awsome!

Just be careful during slow downwind turns, they are prone to tip stall and many people I know have crashed because of it. I estimate it takes darn near 200' to recover from the stall once it rolls over and heads for the ground (this has only been the case on the flying field). We have not seen this on the slope yet.

Take care,
Kevin.
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Old Jul 02, 2009, 11:20 PM
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Joined Sep 2004
13,644 Posts
I'd love to met up with you guys some time, Kevin, and check that out. Sounds cool! Love to shoot some video too, and stills.
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Old Jul 02, 2009, 11:45 PM
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Bay Area
Joined Feb 2004
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Sunday afternoon, Fairmont hill in Castro Valley / San Leandro, 2pm, 8-12mph winds.
Perfect Blizzard conditions.

If you are planning to come out I will have to finish repairing Dan's Blizzard.

Yes, that's right repairing. Last week we were racing back and forth in front of the ridge. I brought one of my 60" slope racers out to see how it would do against the Blizzard since making some changes to the snap flap program. Last time the wind was a bit too light and I couldn't get it on step to keep up with the Blizzard. This time the wind was right. If I nailed the turn I could pass the Blizzard, if not it would go right by me. Very fun neck and neck back and forth racing! I normally stay a few feet away from the Bliz, but we were starting to really get in to it. So I figured what was the worst that could happen? We'd slap wings bump a bit, so thought what the heck and went down in close wing tip to wing tip on the straights, and in the turns we were stacked on top of each other. Then in one turn we touched, got locked up, and both planes dropped about 80' down. The Blizzard got the worst of it. I felt so bad, I told Dan I would fix it for free. The front section was bent pretty good, but everything else was fine. The Blizzard can really take a licking! Boiling water got the front fuse back straight and true.

Let me know if you can come out,
Kevin.
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Old Jul 03, 2009, 01:04 AM
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flyingrandy55's Avatar
USA, TX, Keller
Joined Apr 2006
487 Posts
Kevin,
I maiden'ed mine and that very same thing happend to me as well. I was exploring the slow flight envelope in order to bring it in for a landing. I was at 80' or so up. Stall spin to the ground. Good news----------no damage! Keep a little speed in the turns, I agree. Other than that I loved the way mine flew. I put a no-name outrunner equal to the Axi 2826-10 in it and ran it on 4s! What a great little plane. I did induce wing flutter on the high speed side of a dive once. I guess it was 120+ mph in a very high dive. I backed off (pulled up) and all was well! The european side glasses the wing to avoid this!

It was sort of a pain to build with all the glued stiffners that had to be cut to fit then glued in place! I did not like the build portion of the model.
The flying part you will love. Oh and DO wrap the wing exactly as pictured in the update with STRONG packing tape!

Randy
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Old Jul 03, 2009, 01:29 AM
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cryhavoc38's Avatar
United States, WA, Woodinville
Joined Mar 2007
8,057 Posts
Nice review Jon,

I saw one over at ToddsModels. Might have to make a trip over there and see if he still has one in stock.
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Old Jul 03, 2009, 08:23 AM
Eggs @ Tea
Dover DE USA
Joined Feb 2007
506 Posts
yes packing tape a must on the wing tips especially when the foam starts to get broken in from all the flexing you will do.... my blizzard is a blast at 500 Watts i did put a little too much gloss tape and clear tape on this beast and she is slick too much where i need 2 circuits to land lol .... signs of flutter , the plane will pull one way or the other followed by a machine gun sound and hardly any control so WATCH OUT!!! i shake flying this monster!!!
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Old Jul 03, 2009, 09:35 AM
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Carlsbad, Ca
Joined Mar 2007
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Nice review Jon,

I was wondering when we'd see one on the Blizzard.

Kevin,

The tip stall is bad on the slope as well and doesn't seem to change whether you build with or without the rudder. Keep your turns fast and no worries.
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Old Jul 03, 2009, 11:00 AM
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United States, CA, Los Angeles
Joined Aug 2004
3,087 Posts
Excellent review!!

Multiplex provides yet another great plane no doubt.

I'm looking forward to seeing more people flying in this fun category. The guys at my local field have been talking about this one for months!

If I could have just two planes for the park, it'd probably be this and a Funjet, with some sort of Neu / Castle super light shared battery combo; something that climbs really quick but doesn't have crazy top speed. Multiplex continues to take foam to new levels with true performance and excellent handling (I have a Microjet and an EZ Glider = more grins per dollar than just about anything ;-)

Cheers,

Eric
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Old Jul 03, 2009, 12:05 PM
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Gary, IN, USA
Joined Jul 1999
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The addendum for using the tape follows it's recommendation in one of our discussion groups, also. I tried it on a new Multiplex Easy Star and it is the best I have ever used in over 50 years of RCing.
Scotch Extreme is fiber reinforced 2" wide tape and said to be their strongest. Scotch Premium is 2" wide clear packing tape and great for leading edge covering. The best part of both of these tapes is that when you use a 220 degree iron on them, the adhesive bond becomes almost permanent and the tape also shrinks slightly for a nearly flawless surface.
Cut 3/4" wide strips of the Extreme and use on both sides of the tail surfaces and also on the fuselage between the wing and tail for a composite like rigidity.
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Old Jul 03, 2009, 12:08 PM
flying since 2000
sfluck's Avatar
Winterthur ZH, Switzerland
Joined Mar 2009
514 Posts
wow thanks for this review! Tomorrow I'm going to buy me a Blizzard!!!!
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Old Jul 03, 2009, 12:15 PM
Eggs @ Tea
Dover DE USA
Joined Feb 2007
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YEAH its a must have!!!! get your reaction time practice till then
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Old Jul 03, 2009, 01:30 PM
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USA, NJ, Mt Laurel
Joined Oct 2007
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So the consensus is 110 mph is max for this bird?
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Old Jul 03, 2009, 02:10 PM
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Bay Area
Joined Feb 2004
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Jim,

Thanks for the heating tip. That is a great procedure that I would never have thought of doing on my own.

Kevin.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Petro
The best part of both of these tapes is that when you use a 220 degree iron on them, the adhesive bond becomes almost permanent and the tape also shrinks slightly for a nearly flawless surface.
Cut 3/4" wide strips of the Extreme and use on both sides of the tail surfaces and also on the fuselage between the wing and tail for a composite like rigidity.
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