|Wingspan:||37" / 940mm|
|Wing Area:||286 sq. in. / 18.4 sq. dm.|
|Weight:||8,5 - 10 oz. / 240 285g|
|Length:||30" / 760mm|
|Wing Loading:||4.3 5.0 oz/sq. ft. / 13 15 g/dm sq.|
|Transmitter:||Futaba 9 Cap Super with R617FS 7-Channel 2.4 GHz Module|
|Receiver:||Futaba R6004FF 4-channel 2.4 GHz|
|Battery:||Electrifly 2S 7.4V 300 mAh LiPo|
|Motor:||Rimfire 250 1750 kV|
|ESC:||Electrifly Silver Series 8 amp|
|Manufacturer:||Carl Goldberg Classics|
|Available From:||Tower Hobbies (LXAGUP)|
Back in October of 2007 I reviewed the Carl Goldberg Falcon .56 MK II. I began that review with the statement, It has been a while since I reviewed a trainer. But now I can say I have reviewed several trainers and enjoy their docile and predictable flight qualities, and among some of the better high-wing flyers, I have to add the Falcon EP.
While in name the two planes are the same, they do differ in size. The larger glow powered version is about 20 inches wider in wingspan, weights about 4 pounds more and has a wing area of about twice this electric version. As you might expect, the wing loading is also different with the electric version having a very low 4.3 5.0 oz./sq. ft. Of the things I look at in a trainer, the wing loading here tells me I will have a slow flying, easy to handle, trainer.
The Falcon was first introduced in 1962. Nearly 50 years later, and after countless pilots learned to fly using some form of the Falcon, we have an electric version meant to give new pilots a great platform for learning. Made of Pro-Formance foam the lightweight plane is strong and resilient to a new pilots thumbs. Couple a great design, with affordable components and for about $200 you have an awesome park-flyer or indoor flyer. In fact, the plane has two build schemas for either flying style.
My Falcon EP arrived in great shape. The packaging is designed to isolate the components and minimize any shipping rash.
What is included?
What is required?
Lets start by taking a look at some of the components. Pro-Formance foam is a high quality product seen in several new Great Planes products. Its durability is outstanding, but rigidity and low weight are where the material shines. It is also pre-painted.
Give yourself about two to three hours to make the build with an overnight wait for the canopy glue to dry. On day two, get your CG and control surface inputs set. Be prepared for some fun.
I removed the tail components and flexed the control surfaces back and forth to take the strain off the servos and give overall better movement of the surfaces. I glued the vertical stabilizer to the horizontal stabilizer and made sure both were square. Take your time, and clear the foam at the end of the fuselage so the tail can slide into place. You will pull very gently at the lower portion of the fuselage to let the tail slide into the keyed slot inside the fuselage.
I squared up the tail with the wings. I had to put on the wings to make sure everything was square. The instructions provide that you can use a small piece of weight (1/4 to 1/2 ounce) to make any corrections. I did not have to add any weight or make any adjustments and was ready to glue. I stabilized the joint with pins. Use thin foam safe CA so the bond penetrates, but does not create a filet of glue.
I went ahead put on the main wheels so the Falcon EP could stand proud.
I got the servos ready to install. Be sure to plug the servos in to center them and install the servo arms. Servo arms may differ from the instructions, but you want one servo with two screw-lock connectors in the outer and next possible hole and one with just one screw-lock in the middle hole. Notice that you may need to have an open hole between the two screw-locks. When complete, I selected the correct servo mount and set the servos in place.
Finish up the fuselage by installing the Rimfire 250 motor. These are great little motors with plenty of power for both hand and ground launching. Be sure to thread the wires through the correct opening by first sticking the ESC leads up and out the front of the firewall. It is not a bad idea to check the rotation of the motor before attaching the motor to the firewall.
Per the instructions, I installed the receiver with the 75mm extension to channel 1 for the ailerons. Ultimately, the receiver will be placed under the platform so you see it from the bottom of the plane. This clears the area of servo wires for the aileron linkages.
The wing is one-piece, but requires you to determine your flying style. I do not like to fly indoors. I have never found the right space with enough width, length and height close to home. So I completed the setup for flying outdoors. Honestly, the Falcon can be flown fine indoors even though set up for outdoors flying. You may experience more weight and therefore less ability to fly slowly (not sure it could fly any slower), but otherwise it should be generally similar in flight character. If you plan on doing aerobatics indoors and have the room, I would suggest going ahead and installing the outdoor components. The reverse is not true, as the indoor setup does not have the wing strength necessary for aggressive maneuvers indoors or outdoors.
The differences between the two are a wing doubler over the top of the wing and fiber-reinforced tape on the bottom of the wing for outdoor flight. It's not much, but it is important since aggressive maneuvers may flex the wing too much. The indoor setup does require the placement of protectors on the fore and aft portions of the wing to protect it from the rubber bands. The wing doubler provides the protection on the outdoor version.
For the servo arm, a wide servo arm extension is provided that gives the smaller S3114 servo more movement and ultimately the Falcon more maneuverability. I marked the wing too for CG per the instructions below, and gave those ailerons a good flexing.
The top of the wing is likely the most difficult assembly of the Falcon. I had to center the pilot correctly per the instructions (54mm back of the leading edge) and then apply the canopy over the pilot. It's not too bad, but dont get glue everywhere, and give the canopy overnight to set up. Good canopy glue will dry clear.
I used the marks I placed under the wing to set the CG. There are three settings: 3.0 (76mm) as an aft setting to slow the Falcon, 2 and 5/8 (67mm) as a recommended CG and 2 and 1/4 as a forward CG for improved smoothness and stability. If you have a CG device you can also use this. The instructions recommend a narrow strip of tape over the lines so you can feel them with your fingertips if you do not have a CG device. I set it up using the middle CG location, and this worked perfectly with the 300 mAh 7.4v LiPo pack up front.
I connected the linkages to the control surfaces and checked the control throws. I am providing here exactly what is in the manual for quick reference:
Elevator High Rate = 3/4 up and 5/8 down
The Falcon EPs heritage serves it well. Flight is outstanding, and the Falcon EP should be as equally adept indoors as I flew it outdoors. The maneuvering ability is tight enough that it can turn in tight buildings, but outdoors it can fly a few more large aerobatic moves. Slow flight is outstanding, and controllability at those slow speeds is what makes this Falcon EP such a great flyer. I have flown several Pro-Formance aircraft and all fly very well; the lightweight material gives strength but low wing loading, a perfect combination.
The Falcon EP climbs very well. Throttle response is excellent, and the Rimfire 250 can get you out of trouble easily. The Futaba S3114 servos provide smooth control surface movement to enhance the flight of the Falcon. Keeping the Falcon EP light is important so use the proper electronics to stay under 10 ounces (285g). Flight times were excellent, and the little 300 mAh 7.4v LiPo, with even a minimum of throttle management, can keep you flying over eight minutes. With the suggested components, the CG was perfect.
Stalls required effort. I moved the rudder stop-to-stop with little indication of a tip stall. Because the Falcon EP has a wing loading of 4.3 5.0 oz/sq. ft. (13 15 g/dm sq.), stalls, even induced, are hard to see; there is little if any wing drop.
I flew in about 6MPH winds in the video and did notice some buffeting, but response stayed strong, and overall I thought the wind was a pretty small influence on such a lightweight plane. In spite of the concave under-cambered underside of the wing, I did not see it wanting to roll over as the wind pushed under the wing. The use of such strong build materials allows for a relatively small side profile reducing wind milling.
On the ground, the nose wheel and rudder can turn the Falcon on a dime and the tri-cycle gear stabilizes the Falcon so there is no wing tipping. Tracking on takeoff is straight and true with little if any prop torque. The takeoff roll can be a slow realistic ROG or you can firewall the throttle and get off the ground in a few feet. Landings are exceptional. I was making dead-stick landings with so much stability I believe I could have set the transmitter down and it would have landed by itself. The glide slope is remarkable.
Aerobatics require some preparation. Rolls need some airspeed with the nose up at roll entry. The high rate setting will take the Falcon over on its back slowly and through the roll. Loops are easy. Inverted flight was very easy to control. The wing design worked well even though it was inverted. There's not a great deal of power to pull out of inverted with an inside maneuver, but enough to get you right side up.
Yes, this is all about a beginner trainer with some great flying qualities: slow flight which allows a new pilot the chance to keep up with control inputs, the size makes this park flyer at 37" (940mm) easy to see, it's durable, the repair of Pro-Formance foam is easy with foam safe glue, and since it's an ARF with a well-written instruction manual gets you into the air quickly with little chance for negative outcomes.
In summary, the Falcon EP has all the attributes of a trainer with the ability to achieve more as one becomes more flying proficient. It can teach a new pilot to take off and land, glide, turn with either the rudder or ailerons, and advance to aerobatics. The Falcon EP will easily become a favorite plane for all around flying.
Forgive the weather, but I shoveled the flying field just to get a chance to fly the Falcon EP. It was a well-spent effort, as I believe you will agree when you see the video. Both videos are the same.
I was just as pleased with my experience on the Falcon EP as the earlier Falcon .56. This is a well-designed plane worthy of purchase and one with literally years of design work and flight. I was most pleased with the slow flight stability and handing, and I think anyone that flies one of the Falcon EPs will agree this is wonderful airplane.
You always, you complete your review thoroughly which could ALMOST be used as instructions. nice job! Good on you for giving your camera person's pic in the build. She deserves lots of credit for the great looking video. This looks like a fantastic plane for lazy fly days or as a second plane for new pilot.
Nice writeup 78Dave!
I learned to fly on the Jr. Falcon way back with a single channel galloping ghost and a Cox Baby Bee .049. Took a winter to build and flew it all summer long. (back then one could only afford a plane at a time)
This rendition looks very FlyLite like which is fine. I have hundreds of flights on my FlyLite with 4 spare kits in the box. Its an excellent lazy day lawn chair flyer. It should be priced like one. I think its a bit salty at $70 but will pick one or 2 up when they go on sale. (hint)
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