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Apr 24, 2012, 04:24 AM
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MWcores Starfire Flying Wing - Consolidated info, reviews, video, build logs, advice

An independent consolidated review & info on all the Starfire versions.
I've built eight Starfire core sets now, all built different (park flier, slope and DS gliders). I currently own around 12 flying wings, no two alike, have many hundreds of slope flying hours and done in flight comparisons with other slope wings. I wanted to share some reviews and info on these relatively unknown high performance flying wings.

Thread info:
Various versions
Flying application / version choice.
Reviews / comparisons.
Video demos.
Build logs.
Recommended parts and build methods.

I'm not on the MWcores payroll, I just love building and flying a performance wing and their was very limited details available on this little gem, so I've consolidated all the essential info and links in this one thread, enjoy.

click link below to continue on with the starfire info thread
Continue to "MWcores Starfire Consolidated info" thread


Starfire insane slope speed frontside, 25 knots, Modified MWcores EPP flying wing (9 min 49 sec)

Last edited by cleansurf2; Apr 27, 2013 at 05:20 AM.
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Apr 24, 2012, 04:30 AM
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They are EPP core sets only (not kits).

Were available from MWcores and ebay.
As of Jan-2013 Jeff has closed his web site and has advised me on my latest order that he will only be selling occasionally on ebay. Though your best bet is to contact him on RCgroups. So if you can source a Starfire now, you've got lucky. I have added the specs below to cut your own starfire.

__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ __________

Starfire Versions
* Starfire (SF48-SF, Standard airfoil) - 48 inch, 13% thickness airfoil, 2 degrees washout. At the moment only the standard 48" version is shown on the web site. Max airfoil thickness at root / mid /tip = 30 / 25.5 /15
Recommended beginner-Intermediate. High lift in slow-mid speed. Maintains good control and glide at low speed. Excellent all rounder park or slope. Standard airfoil makes building and component fit easier.
For intermediate level flying, I recomend the cut down mod (41") like described on the PW51 varient.

* Starfire PW51 Version (SF48-PW51) - Thin sleek PW51 airfoil version is on request at the same $, with 1 degree washout as opposed to 2 degrees.
CG = 137mm. Max airfoil thickness at root / mid /tip = 26 / 22.0 /14
Recommended Intermediate-Advanced. mid to high speed flying. Wide slope wind envelope, using airspeed to make up for low lift airfoil in light winds. You want to fly this smooth to maintain good air speed to maintain good lift and handling.

Modification: * SF41-PW51 (Cut down SF48-PW51) - I did a cut down version of the SF48-PW51, reduced to a 41".
CG (140mm max), root / mid /tip = 25 / 22.0 /14
Recommended Advanced. If your intermediate pilot and slope on a remote site, safely away from anyone else, go for it. Otherwise this beast could be deadly. Huge wind envelope of 5-40 knots (depending on build and ballast options). Handling like the other Starfires is smooth and predictable with great stall characteristics, but the speed and a high role rate makes this wing a handful in concentration levels. Choose colouring wisely as you want every advantage in visual orientation. The build space for components is also very tight on this cut down thin airfoil (as the thickest part of the wing has been removed).

* Starfire 60" (SF60-PW51, Big 60" Starfire). Here is the 60" build thread with some really handy build tips I have learnt over time. There is a park flier build earlier in the Starfire 60" build thread. I noticed a slight difference in sweep angles compared to the 48" core sets.
My build came in at 1.8kg AUW with a nice finish, very fast . Expecting 200kmh+ DSing in the right conditions. I have flown front and DS on the SF60, with a good build like mine, it tracks really well in the DS grove

__________________________________________________ _____________________________________________

My personal best Starfire glider DS speeds:

SF48-PW51: 101mph
SF41-PW51: 128mph
SF60-PW51: DS flown, no speed measurements yet (Awesome DS plane)

__________________________________________________ _____________________________________________

Starfire Review
My experience is that the Starfire performs exceptionally well in the flying wing category for park/slope and especially pure slope flying. My YouTube Channel has a range of "Starfire flight video demos" of my different builds in various conditions.

Evaluating a wing performance:
You can get a powerful motor to push anything fast, but in my opinion, slope flying is by far the best way to evaluate the aerodynamics and efficiency of a flying wing. My perfect flying wing would perform with good speed, momentum and handling. So far the Starfire is the pick of what I've tried, and for an experienced pilot, the SF41-PW51 is my favourite high performance sloper.

__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________

Starfire core sets:
Being just foam core sets leaves build technique completely up to your imagination. This can be excellent for experienced builders, but a little overwhelming for the uninitiated. There are build logs on the "Starfire build log thread" to help out. I would only recommend the PW51 versions to experienced pilots and builders. I have given the main build points on post #6 of this thread to summarise best build technique from my Starfire builds experience.

They can be tricky to build without needing some nose lead for CG balance, keep the aft build weight as low as possible.

Incorporating a motor can be very rewarding, but it can be a little tricky given the CG balance point. The motor needs to be mounted in a cutout, near the CG in most cases to keep a light build, good glide and good power to weight ratio. MWcores has plenty of other wing cores that may be easier to build/balance for a pure park flier as do many other suppliers. I will be ordering a MWcores 36" Phoenix next for a park flier build, it's also a dual sweep wing, which has advantages.
__________________________________________________ ________________________________

MWcores has closed shop now unfortunately, so getting a Starfire may be difficult.
Jeff has advised he will still cut the occasioal core set, contact via RCgroups mail is probably you best bet.

Here are the specs for recreating the Starfire profile. Well worth doing

These are for the 48 & 41" PW51 airfoil versions:
Airfoil: PW51
Sweep: Inner cores = 30 and Outer cores = 15 degrees.
Wing twist: 1 degree (total)
Outer core: Chord = 230 & 143 (full airfoil), Length = 330mm
Inner core (SF41): Chord 263 & 230mm, Lenght = 187mm
Inner core (SF48): Chord 280 & 230mm, Lenght = 278mm
Length is measured flat edge to flat edge (90 degrees to the chord), not along the sweep.
Last edited by cleansurf2; Oct 25, 2013 at 07:12 PM.
May 13, 2012, 01:52 AM
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Slope flying & even DS is where the Starfire performs really well for a foamy.

Note: See post #5 for best build tips summary.

Pictured are my 2 starfire slope soarers:
* 48" starfire (pink), build thread, rebuilding since some damage from a DS session, removing the nose cone (which will mean adding lead to balance CG, increasing AUW meaning wind envelope will slide to the right).

* 41" starfire (SF41-PW51, orange), build log, this is now my recommended build method. This is my highest performer, best suited to an advanced pilot, huge wind envelope tested from 5-40 knots + DS in excess of 100mph.
Some pics below to show how slope and DS works.
NOTE: This is my old build method, I now recommend FG I-beams, see the SF41-PW51 build log.
BUILD LOG - MWcores Starfire EPP flying wing PW51 airfoil slope glider (8 min 31 sec)

See the SF60 in action, DSing in 16-19 knots.
Starfire 60" DS flying wing (SF60) - Maiden DS flight - EPP foam performance slope wing (4 min 29 sec)

DS explained

Last edited by cleansurf2; Mar 30, 2013 at 06:58 PM.
May 13, 2012, 02:50 AM
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Powered Starfires

The Starfire performs well as a dual platform park/slope flyer. The standard airfoil allows more space for motor and larger battery. Balancing CG is difficult though and the motor needs to be mounted around the CG to keep the weight low without needing lead, over sized battery or nose cone to balance.

There are some good tips on the build thread I put up regarding motor position and thrust angle with regard to motor position relative to fwd or aft of CG.

Build log for this Orange wing Note, I did end up having to do a rebuild on this as the center section was not strong enough, details further along in the build thread.

Nice build by "NintySix" using FG rod.

Also pictured below a blunt nose motorized version I made. It works fine but at around 54" I find it docile in maneuverability, I use it for slope flying on really light days where I need a motor to get some altitude back.

A lot of other builds and good info and Videos on the build thread also.
Last edited by cleansurf2; May 19, 2012 at 07:29 PM.
May 18, 2012, 07:31 PM
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Best build tips summary

Build tips

Tip #1. Use Fibre Glass (FG) rod in an I-beam configuration. It can follow the curves and contours of the dual sweep panels. I used the 2.5mm FG rods (10 pack) from HobbyKing and it's stronger more rigid and way more durable than the CF, also a lot easier to install. If you intending on DS flying then I would suggest dual I beams (the extra weight in the beams and counter balance should not be an issue for DS, which often need a much higher wing loading to cut through the turbulance).
Use PU glue (polyurethane), it expands to penetrate into the foam and space fills around the FG rods, also has flex. Other glues can detach over time.
Most single sweep flying wings are east to build using carbon fibre (CF) spars. The dual sweep starfire does not allow for a simple consistent single strait line per side. CF rod installs are difficult and clumsy as a result, especially on the PW51 version.
Friends have had good success with CF ribbon as an easy install with good rigidity results, though they where single sweep wings.

Tip #2. Any of the cheap (<$8ea) HK 12gram metal gear servos are fine, even for DS they have coped well. Resolution is not great so make sure you use a short servo arm and longer elevon horn and bottom hinge the Elevons. HK now have a decent thin wing servo for around the same price that's better.

Tip #3. Covering technique, after trying several methods, I have found laminate film by far the best, its easy to apply (practice first) and provides wing rigidity and a smooth surface without any need for strapping tape etc.. It also can be reheated to repair LE impact dents.

Tip #4. Removable fins. Note, use FG rod to avoid breaking/cracking issues.
Sloper: Check out the removal single fin technique I used on my 60 Starfire DSr and SF41-PW51 sloper build (post #398). Also pic-2 below. Very happy with the results and relative simplicity of the build technique. The single fin makes for more axial rolls. Also possibly less drag, not sure how this really compares to what wing tip fins give to wing tip vortex reduction.
Wing tip fins: Slope or motorized versions, this build technique also worked well.

Tip #5. Elevon hinge, hinge from the bottom. 1. Peter Wicks (PW51 airfoil fame) advises all flying wings should bottom hinge for performance (speed). 2. Gives longer leverage on the control rod horn allowing for a short servo arm which means improved servo resolution. Servo resolution becomes more critical in higher speed performance wings, as you need very little Elevon deflection at speed. Experiments so far indicate silicon hingers are a simple effective hinge method for fast wings.

Tip #6. CG Balance:
* For motorised builds you want to completely eliminate CG balance lead if you can to give best power to weight ratio. This will likely mean needing to place the motor near the CG, see my hints on motor thrust angle relative to CG on the build thread for my orange wing.
* For slope gliders, you will probably need some lead. I found the lead soldering rods allow for a spread of the weight and load. Make sure if you are using a single antenna 2.4G Rx, that the antenna is as far from the lead as possible and not running in a parallel direction.
Last edited by cleansurf2; May 28, 2013 at 03:55 AM.
Jun 10, 2012, 04:08 AM
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Flying wing Vs traditional aircraft shapes

I have a couple of more traditional shaped RC planes, but I keep coming back to flying wings.

Look and application: Traditional planes can look very nice and may have some slight advantage in visual orientation. Personally I prefer the simple abstract look of flying wings. My Flickr account shows my photographic abstract taste.

Performance: As a flying wing is pure wing, aerodynamic performance is extremely good. With the right air foil, limited washout and CG tuning for minimum reflex, efficiency and lift is excellent. Making them great for slope soaring.

Durability: EPP and the simple shape make them the most durable airframe available. For e-powered wings, the motor is rear mounted safe from impact.

Flying: Simple bank and yank turning. But don't underestimate their capability. I'm still improving after hundreds of hours. You may never truly master flying wings, which is good.
Last edited by cleansurf2; Jul 01, 2012 at 03:17 PM.
Sep 02, 2012, 09:02 PM
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Hi -- please help!


I watched your bat wing flying in high winds -- cool!

I'm planning to drop a flying wing from a weather balloon,
at 35,000 feet or higher...

Winds up to 50 mph up there.

Flying wing makers can't really give me flight characteristics
in such winds.

For stability, and to minimize horizontal distance covered,
do you think it would be preferable to point the plane
directly into the wind (so it would be pushed backward, because
it's forward velocity would not be enough to overcome the wind),
or to fly spirals as it descends (in this case, it would also be pushed
in the direction of the wind because the upwind leg of the spiral
would not be strong enough to overcome the wind)?

Or perhaps would it be best to have it fly with the wind (is this
the most stable orientation in a high wind?) and have it be
in a dive to get it thru the high winds as fast as possible...

Other ideas for a stable return home, preferably minimizing
horizontal distance covered?

And please share any direct personal experience with flying
a flying wing as a glider in high winds.


Sep 07, 2012, 01:42 AM
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Re: Dropping flying wing from a weather balloon.

My how to and issues.
How to:
1. As the weather baloon is drifting with the wind, when the plane is droped there will be effectively nil wind for the plane at drop. After drop the wind will take effect over several seconds.
2. So just let it fall vertically then pull up to glide.
3. where you fly, spirals or continuous glide into the wind will depend on your position/perspective from where you are controling the flying wing.

I do not advise this.
1. You would be operating at ilegal hights.
2. Where would you be controling the plane from, I can see this going out of visual range and lost (dangerous).
3. Sounds like you don't yet have sufficient RC flying expirence to be experimenting like this.
4. All this issues can contribute to bad PR for the RC comunity, which can result in even more restrictions/regulations that only hurts the hobby for all.

In conclusion, I would advise enjoy flying and building up your skill set. Consider safety and regulations so that we will all be able to continue to enjoy the hobby. I'm happy to assist and share my experience regarding all aspects of flying wings. I probably have 600 hrs up slope flying and I'm only just getting to the stage of being able to do DS flying, so plenty of fun and learning to do without the need for the baloon stunt. Hope this helps, all with best of intentions.
Sep 07, 2012, 08:48 AM
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Reply and thanks

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. A bit of background:

I am a lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol, a civilian volunteer organization
affiliated with the US Air Force. I am working with the FAA and many
experts to ensure I do not violate any rules or regs.

Also, I am the project manager, trying to educate myself. I am working
with an expert RC flier, who will hold the primary responsibility for
the RC work. I already ask so much of him, so I am finding other
sources of information...

The wing will be equipped with an autopilot chip, so we will not
be controlling it from the ground initially. It will have a pre-programmed
series of waypoints which it can fly to (lat/long and alt).

With your flying wing experience, have you found the wing flies with
enough stability into a strong head wind that it can maintain this
posture for long periods (even when travelling "backwards" with
respect to the ground)? How about flying spirals in strong winds?

My only intention is to support the RC hobby. I will be certain
to dot the i's and cross the t's.

Thanks again!
Sep 07, 2012, 07:56 PM
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Appreciate the background info. Given the circumstances, I'm happy to assist.
I think a flying wing is probably your best coice because:
- Simplistic design should make the baloon lift easier.
- Basic wing design also minimises weight (only 2 control surfaces and the entire airframe provides lift.
- Should be able to fit all your additional electronics, though you are likely to need a wing around 60" or more depending on your electronics payload. May also have to build up a pod in the center to fit all your gear.
- Flying wing offers excellent strength, durability and glide ratio (airframe is all wing).
- Stability is good, but you have to ensure CG ballancing and elevons are tuned for peak performance.
- They are one of the most popular airframes for slope flying due to glide ratio and stability (when properly tunned), so the wind at altitude should be no problem, especially seeing it should be consistant unlike ground level wind effected by obsticals.
- The aircraft won't care about its perspective to groud speed + or -. So long as it have enough forward airspeed, it will fly.

Assuming it will be a glider only, flying power drain is minimal so battery requirements for flight are not big. I could see military applications is this type of endevour.

Sep 09, 2012, 03:20 PM
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fliteline dave's Avatar

starfire 51 thin core

Jeff is cutting me a set of starfire 51 thin cores could you direct me to the build thread that will best suit me ill be sloping with this plane and do not plan on dropping it from a weather balloon? lol i have about two weeks till i get the cores and would like to have the necessary parts ready for the build i already have all the radio gear and have been building some park flier combats with laminating film and a by directional tape from 3m the winds in my area are generally very strong (north eastern British Columbia ) 20-40 knots average i will need a strong build that will retain energy at the bottom

thanks dave
Sep 10, 2012, 03:04 AM
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Build advice


Your lucky if you got Jeff to cut you a Starfire, I emailed him a couple of days ago and due to health issues he has closed his site. He may not continue with the buisness at all.

As for build advise, I have been refining my technique for the starfire, as the dual sweep makes CF rod a little difficult. Also I am stearing away from CF rod, as FG rod i-beam configuration is far more robust.
SF41-PW51 build
Phoenix 36" build
Sep 10, 2012, 11:40 AM
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fliteline dave's Avatar

fg rod

what is the size of i beam rod you are using i have never seen this stuff on hobby web sites so you must be getting it somewhere thanks for the amazing build logs you have posted very helpful also i don't know why Jeff is cutting for me but he seems really nice i hope that i was not imposing on him when i placed an order with him he seemed very willing to go out and cut a set for me i cant wait to get my self a fast wing i ordered two zagis and they are so slow i used to cut my own airfoils so i know what a fast wing is like unfortunately they were cut from pink foam that was veneered with maple would not take the ground well and flying on the cliff is a near ground thing
Sep 13, 2012, 04:27 AM
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There is a link to the FG rods from hobbyking on post 5 of this thread "Build tips".
You have to pay additional shipping for a cardboard shipping tube for the rods, so best to stock up on all the FG and CF rods you may want in the one order to spread the shipping cost.

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