Building the ultimate Ritewing Zephyr - RC Groups
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Jul 21, 2010, 07:11 AM
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trappy's Avatar
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Building the ultimate Ritewing Zephyr

I love my current Zephyr. It does about 130km/h (80mph) in the straight and up to 250km/h (150mph) in a vertical dive. It has quite a few flight hours on its back and is still going strong. In the past I noticed that I wanted to go further and faster than the current Zephyr could take me. Using thermals I was able to achieve that, but it's pretty hard to thermal something as heavy as my Zephyr - this brings us to this build thread, where I'll be going through the basics of building the ultimate Zephyr in terms of stability, weight and power.

The old build was done using the "Riteweave" method that most people here are already familiar with: 3M90 glue and thin fiberglass weave appropriately named "Riteweave" to stiffen the wing. While it adds insane amounts of strength, the weight gain is about 700g for the whole wing, or 500g when being very stingy with the glue and riteweave here and there. Still, the build takes quite a bit of time to complete (~4-5 evenings)

Moving on to the present. The new way the ritewings will be built from here on is using a laminating film. Consider it a monocote on steroids (stiffer, more durable). it is glued and then ironed onto the wing, giving it a lighter yet stronger finish - and the build time is reduced considerably. When everything is laid out properly, the wing should be built in 2 evenings.

Initially I wanted to build something that is light for thermals and with lots of batteries. Having seen the Zephyr from my buddy Chris84, however, I'll build this one here for the ultimate in speed and range and leave the thermaling to the Supra.

I've just ordered all the gear:

Plane: Ritewing Zephyr 60" & 3mil laminate, available from RCG user klique
Propulsion: Hacker A-30 L (~1100kV) and Hacker ESC, 10x6 folding prop, ~600W
R/C: EzUHF 8ch diversity RX with active-robot 433 antennas.
FPV: 2.4GHz 500mW lawmate, EzOSD, L1D vario
Battery: 2x 4S 3300mAh Flightmaxx
Servos: 2x Turnigy 380 MAX digital servos, 4.1kg. I will probably need to upgrade to 6-8kg at some point

Expected specs:
Weight: aiming for 2kg, will probably end up at 2.2kg
Flight time: between 25 and 40 minutes
Flight distance: between 20km and 30km.
Max altitude: 3000 - 4500m
Cruise speed: 60km/h
WOT level flight speed: 150km/h

The new Zephyr will be a bit heavier than my existing one, but it will have twice the power and almost twice the endurance. this will allow me to go further, higher and faster. a plane like this should not be built by someone new to FPV or R/C in general, especially not with the kind of power and weight. if you're getting started, the build technique used here combined with the power setup of my old zephyr will give you an awesome plane for moderate speeds and winds. this bird is primarily for long range flights, something I really want to get into now (10km+). the old zephyr is comfortable with 5-8km distances.

So, this is it for now. I'm in Switzerland this week but should be able to get started on the weekend. Hope there'll be some discussion going on the new build technique. Since this is the first build-thread using the laminate technique, I'll post instructions how to properly build using this method in case some of you want to follow with their own ultimate Zeph
Last edited by trappy; Jul 21, 2010 at 08:08 AM. Reason: added summary
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Jul 21, 2010, 07:21 AM
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Nice Trappy, I can't wait, I am looking for a wing design that can handle the wind without getting the beat out of it.
Jul 21, 2010, 07:29 AM
Derek_S's Avatar
So does the ritewing come with this laminate film already installed, or do they provide it and you install it?

Or do you purchase it elsewhere? I am not familiar with this product.
Jul 21, 2010, 07:31 AM
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edit, nvm.
Jul 21, 2010, 07:31 AM
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trappy's Avatar
the ritewing needs to be ordered with the laminate film, it's available starting now. both the plane and the laminate is available from klique. if you're interested in ordering, just tell chris you want the same as I have, he will help you with putting the purchase together.

the laminate is like transparent monokote but much stronger. You need to install all the gear first, then add glue & paint, then iron on the laminate. more details on how it's done as my build progresses.
Jul 21, 2010, 07:57 AM
i will be following this build with great interest!
Jul 21, 2010, 08:03 AM
CrashMeUp's Avatar
How heavy is the old Zephyr if you don't mind me asking?
Jul 21, 2010, 08:07 AM
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hugy's Avatar
Could you give a price indication of the products u use.
Jul 21, 2010, 08:10 AM
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hugy: a bit over $1'000 all up. obviously I'm not paying full price on the L1D and I wouldn't add one if I had to I haven't done the math exactly as I've got most of the components lying around already. prices are completely out of my head and may or may not be accurate (exchange currency etc). keep in mind this is no longer a toy plane, so while the price may seem steep you couldn't build anything even remotely as performant with much less money. if I went for cheap stuff all the way I could maybe shave $200 off the total, but the chance of crashing increases dramatically.

Zephyr + laminate: ~$200
Engine/ESC: ~$200
Battery: ~$100
RX: ~$150
TX + cam + Vreg: $~150
Servos + Prop: $50
EzOSD: $230
L1D: $130

CrashMeUp: ~1.7kg. using the laminate build technique you should be able to get it down to 1.4kg with the same power setup and 3S2P 2200mAh
Last edited by trappy; Jul 21, 2010 at 08:22 AM.
Jul 21, 2010, 08:43 AM
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Tall order my friend, tall order, ultimate does get my expectations up


Jul 21, 2010, 08:46 AM
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I think I sent you the vid already from chris84 flying at the meetup. this thing rips!! most important, however, is the added endurance. flight behavior is roughly the same, and the speed range is a bit bigger. btw sander, have you done any measurements with the VSN505 and the EzUHF? the EzUHF antennas will be on the wingtip, but one can't be too careful these days
Jul 21, 2010, 09:21 AM
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hugy's Avatar
What will happen with the old Zephyr. It deserves a worthy place
Jul 21, 2010, 09:23 AM
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trappy's Avatar
the old zephyr will still remain fully operational
Jul 21, 2010, 09:32 AM
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Jul 21, 2010, 09:45 AM
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yeah. 1.4kg is very possible. keep in mind the zephyr benefits greatly from being heavier, but it's easier to fly when lighter.

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