Lightning Dart - RC Groups
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Jun 08, 2009, 10:08 AM
That Guy Who Flies Wings.
Mini-Review

Lightning Dart


My wealthy benefactor and I decided that there just aren't enough oddball reviews out there, so he decided that I ought to do a build review of an oddball plane. I've always had a facination with flying wings and all of those have been powered by electricity of various persuasions. I saw this model a while back and mentioned that it looked cool to the aforementioned benefactor. Sure enough, a couple weeks later I had to explain to the wife why a large box filled with airplane was being delivered. Well, now that it's here let's get it into the air!
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Jun 08, 2009, 10:22 AM
That Guy Who Flies Wings.
The airplane came double boxed from AK Models, http://ak-models.com/, and arrived in perfect condition. Upon opening the box I found that all the parts were in great shape. The parts were separated into smaller bags and upon my first inspection everything appeared to be there (turns out everything was there!). The covering required a little touch up with the heat gun to take out some wrinkles, but nothing out of the ordinary for an ARF. About 10 minutes took care of everything. The covering is what we locally refer to as Chinacote. It's not the greatest stuff, but seems to work. Not sure on longevity, but it works right out of the box.
For the guidance, I've decided to go with my new Airtronics RDS8000. I've been very happy with this radio and have had no problems, except for a user error involving the range check mode...
Here's the other supplies I used:
Throttle & Flaps, Hitec HS-425BB
Elevons & Steering, Hextronik HX12K MG
Receiver, Airtronics 92824 2.4 Ghz
Battery, Duracell AA rechargeable in a 4 cell flat pack from RadioShack.
Engine, one antique Enya .60-III
Last edited by frednjess; Jun 08, 2009 at 12:09 PM.
Jun 08, 2009, 10:41 AM
That Guy Who Flies Wings.
The first thing you have to do when assembling any ARF from China is to take the instructions with a grain or two of salt. This plane is no different. 99% of the instructions are pictures, albeit good pictures, and the rest can be best described as Engrish. I'm still trying to find my throttle helm and my oil box. Oh well, like I said, good pictures and some salt and we're on our way!

The first step is to attach the elevons and flaps with the included CA hinges. Only the one elevon is shown being glued but it will save some grief on your maiden flight if you go ahead and glue the other control surfaces on.

The next step shows installing the vertical wingtips, which is a mistake. It will save you alot of hassle if you go ahead and install all of your elevon and flap servos before you attach the vertical. Just a little tip.

Time for the wing servos. The elevons are pretty straight forward. Install the servos in the bays, line up the pushrods, install the control horns, and hook everything up. The picture of all of this has a couple of errors. First, the graphics are from the top of the wing (oops). Second, the servo arm is not installed correctly, i.e. not 90 degrees. And finally, the flap control horn is shown installed backwards . Another tip: install the flap servos before installing the landing gear. Saves on some more headaches! I also had to wick some thin CA into the left elevon servo bay as there was a little wiggle in the servo rails. I needed to install (2) 12" servo extensions for the elevon servos, which have 12" leads. Also, a "Y" harness was needed for the flaps.
Last edited by frednjess; Jun 10, 2009 at 10:10 AM.
Jun 08, 2009, 10:58 AM
That Guy Who Flies Wings.
Now back to the verticals. Cut through the film on both the main wing and the vertical, following the contour of the wing to guide you on the verticals. I used a covering iron to help remove the covering from the verticals and this worked well. Mix some 30 minute epoxy (5 or 10 minute would work also) and apply it liberally to both the vertical and the vertical bay. Wipe off any excess with rubbing alcohol. Make sure the verticals are vertical to the wing before the epoxy sets.

Now would be a good time to install the landing gear. I had to drill the LG holes with a 5/32" for the gear wire to fit. I also rounded the hole with a exacto to accomidate the wire bend. I drilled 1/16" holes for the LG straps and applied CA to the holes after running the screw in and out. I was initially concerned with the size of the included wheels as I usually fly off of a grass field. www.performanceflyers.com This concern was unfounded and I have not had any troubles lifting off from grass fields. I filed grooves in the LG for the wheel collars to have a good hold.
Jun 08, 2009, 11:06 AM
That Guy Who Flies Wings.
The next steps involve the center section. First up is the "fore-landing gear assembly". This took a little bit to get figured out. I tried to install the steering pushrod where it should go, but it turns out the is directly in line with the front aluminum wing brace tube. I made a 7/8" offset to go over the tube and down to the steering control horn, then put another 90 degree bend in after the horn to hold it all together. This has worked well so far.
Jun 08, 2009, 11:12 AM
That Guy Who Flies Wings.
I skipped the powerplant installation and went ahead to bolt this monster together. Pretty straight forward, although my rear alminum spar was about 1/8" too long. The trusty hacksaw took care of that, though. Two bolts hold the wing panels to the center section. Simple, eh?
Jun 08, 2009, 11:22 AM
That Guy Who Flies Wings.
Powering this monster is your choice. I usually like electric wings and the plane comes with a battery tray and a very nice motor mount to make your electric dreams a reality. I just happened to have a newly available Enya .60-III and this seemed like a perfect powerplant for this project. The pictures show the engine upright, but my muffler got in the way so I installed the engine on its side. This puts the muffler on the bottom of the plane.
On to the cowl. There is no mention of thrust washer to firewall measurement, so you're on your own. I used 4.5" from thrust washer to firewall and this has worked well. You can cut out the cowl to fit your engine or just bolt it on if you go electric. The cowl is the standard fiberglass type and goes on nicely. I ran into some overheating issues on the ground and went ahead and removed to cowl completely. I'm sure some air inlets would help, but removing the cowl is so much simpler.
Last edited by frednjess; Jun 10, 2009 at 10:09 AM.
Jun 08, 2009, 11:49 AM
That Guy Who Flies Wings.
Fuselage equipment assembly.
The "throttle helm" or servo goes in pretty simply and hooked up well. Here's the big secret with this step. The fuel tank is shown with the connections facing the engine. THIS IS WRONG! Watch the maiden flight video and you'll see why. The fuel tank needs to have the connections facing the NOSE of the plane. Yes, this means really long tubing runs back to the engine and muffler. Trust me, install the fuel tank my way!

The final things to install are the receiver and the flight battery. My receiver ended up on top of the fuel tank, towards the rear. I went with 2.4 Ghz due to the close proximity of all of the parts in the fuselage bay. There just doesn't seem to be a good place to put an antenna without going near a servo or engine. I have had 4 flight so far with zero glitches.
The battery pack sits on top of the fuel tank, towards the front of the plane. A little foam holds it all in place.

The canopy is shown being attached with two screws on either side of the fuselage. I found that the front of the canopy lifted easily this way. I epoxied a small piece of balsa inside the tip of the canopy and drilled a hole through it and the nose, put a screw in then out, a little CA, and it's been rock solid.

Time to check the CG. The manual recommends 150 mm from the trailing edge at the wing root. This is a little hard to interpret, but it can be figured out. There was another thread about this plane and they suggested that 139mm is a good CG. Mine balanced at 2 5/8" from the firewall forward and flies well at this setting.

Check you throws, none are given. I went with 1" up and down with 40% expo on the elevons. This has worked very nicely for me.
Jun 08, 2009, 12:07 PM
That Guy Who Flies Wings.
Let's fly this thing! I did a range check and all looked good. Here's the first flight video. Thanks Ed!
Notice at 2:14 the engine quits. My spotter, Mike, suggested flying vertical and just said keep going. He has some experience with pusher nitros. This is why you should install the fuel tank with connections toward the nose of the plane. With the connections facing the engine, any vertical leaves the clunk floating in air!!! Granted, I didn get to test a dead stick landing! She glides like a dream!
Maiden Flight of the Lightning Dart (3 min 3 sec)


Here's the video from the 4th flight. Check out the 4 point rolls!
Fourth flight of the Lightning Dart (7 min 8 sec)


Here's the synopsis.

Pros: Original airplane, draws lots of attention, flies well, hardware for glow or electric included, good quality hardware, price, Cool factor!

Cons: Instructions are vague, covering is not the greatest quality.

Pilot recommendations: Aileron experience is a must and you need to be able to "know" where your plane is. Flying wings can be difficult to maintain orientation. This would definately make a great 2nd or 3rd plane as it's flying characteristics are very gentle, almost trainer-like. Also, having assembled an ARF before would be helpful as there are couple of items that need some experience to overcome.

Final thought: The best accolade I can think of is, "Knowing what I know now, I would definately buy this plane again".
Last edited by frednjess; Jun 10, 2009 at 10:08 AM.
Jun 23, 2009, 09:05 AM
That Guy Who Flies Wings.
Thought I'd add some more news. I got the fuel tank reversed and all is well. The engine is still finicky, but that's what I get for using a 30 year old engine. I'm up to 10 flights total with zero damage. Great "little" plane!
Jun 24, 2009, 02:08 PM
Aka: Tom Jenkins
ApexAero's Avatar
What about a bubbleless tank or make yours into one with a baby bottle liner?
Like the pylon guys!
Jun 24, 2009, 03:13 PM
That Guy Who Flies Wings.
I guess I'm not familiar with bubbles tanks or using a baby bottle liner. I do think alot of the engine issues are resulting from a foot of fuel tubing to the carb.
Jul 18, 2009, 06:43 PM
Registered User
Iflyrc_vic's Avatar

AKM Order


Took the plunge and order the B2 today. I will probably go electric with the power system. I have a few electrics in my hanger now and I really enjoy flying them when the wind is relatively calm. The electrics are very light and anot normally good windy flyers. I hope this "flying wing" design proves to be a good windy flyer. Got a scale electric (Eflite Beaver), an aerobat (Extra 260), a Lancair EP, and a Furious Bipe foamy. My other planes are slimmers and I like them as well.

This B2 is big enough to fly off grass and may be a relaxing Sunday flyer (windy day flyer as well).
Jul 20, 2009, 09:33 AM
That Guy Who Flies Wings.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iflyrc_vic
Took the plunge and order the B2 today. I will probably go electric with the power system. I have a few electrics in my hanger now and I really enjoy flying them when the wind is relatively calm. The electrics are very light and anot normally good windy flyers. I hope this "flying wing" design proves to be a good windy flyer. Got a scale electric (Eflite Beaver), an aerobat (Extra 260), a Lancair EP, and a Furious Bipe foamy. My other planes are slimmers and I like them as well.

This B2 is big enough to fly off grass and may be a relaxing Sunday flyer (windy day flyer as well).
Can't wait to hear the flying report!
Jul 22, 2009, 06:33 AM
Registered User
Iflyrc_vic's Avatar

Electric Power Combo


I have a 4S setup in my eflite Beaver that may work for the B2. Runs cool with a 70 amp ESC and separate receiver battery.
Turnigy C42-50 700kv
4S 3300mah Lipo
13 x 8 prop
490 watts

What do you think about using this same setup for the B2?


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