HK Specter 1800 - RC Groups
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Jul 09, 2012, 06:15 PM
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HK Specter 1800

It's finally here and you guys won't have to put up with me talking about my future glider! Until I get bored with it and want a bigger one!!!

As you may or may not know the Specter is the HobbyKing version of the Passer-X from R2Hobbies. It arrived nicely packed in a double box. No damage. Everything seems straight and well-made. The only thing I've found wrong is that the Z-bend on one of the aileron pushrods was broken but I was planning on using my own anyway. So far I couldn't be more pleased for $106.00 plus shipping.

Well? I'm going to get some dinner and start on the build. Barring unforeseen delays I should have her ready to fly by tomorrow.
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Jul 10, 2012, 09:31 PM
JimNM's Avatar
Let know how you get along with the Spectre. I am waiting for servos to arrive so I can finish my PasserX. I had the fuse and tails done in an hour and the KDA 2220-L motor fits superbly well. The stock prop is a load for that motor on 3s, so I will be watching temps carefully. I will try to avoid opening the fuse. ALES, here I come!
Jul 10, 2012, 09:47 PM
Registered User
Will do, Jim.

I'm running into some Chinese issues so it's taking me a bit longer than I had hoped. I'm using the same motor but it's the only part that has dropped in. I finally just ended up moving the ruddervator HXT 900 servos forward to get clearance beneath the wing and I still had to grind the corners off. I'm leaving the tail for last so I don't knock it off as I grind and file to make everything fit. I think I might end up replacing the nylon wing bolts with metal ones because they seem really soft and easy to strip.
Jul 11, 2012, 11:31 PM
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Well? I'm done and ready for a maiden flight tomorrow, weather permitting. It's a bit heavier than I had hoped but the KDA 22-20l has gobs of power and I didn't have to add any weight for balancing. I think I'll start with a 9.5X8 and it should climb vertically. If not? I'll go to the paddle blade 10X6 and probably order a 11X6. Once I got the pushrods freed up it went pretty fast but I spent about a half a day beating my head against the V-tail mixing. Now? Two last drops of Loc-Tite and then off to rest up.
Jul 13, 2012, 05:37 PM
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Still no joy on the weather front. I did try to sneak in a flight at dusk yesterday but the darn kids were playing soccer on my runway. Sigh... I'll either have to try and beat them to the field in the morning or journey out to the country.

BTW. My plane weighed almost as much bare as HK claims for an AUW. Either they are lying or I got one that's drastically overweight. I fear it's not going to be much of a floater.
Jul 14, 2012, 09:39 PM
R.C. Designs - I fab. things
DrlSgt's Avatar
I was looking at this ship because of it's size and HK claims that it will float real nice. But then the info I got from them after that said it was more of a warm liner. Guess I'll have to watch this thread and wait for your report. If this ship won't float, I'll just stick with my Cularis.
Jul 14, 2012, 10:23 PM
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I deflowered the Specter tonight and couldn't be more pleased. I almost lawn darted it on the first test glide but, after about 5 clicks of up trim, I had to hit the spoilers to avoid the fence on the second. Climb with the KDA 22-20L and 9.5X8 prop is awesome! About 10 seconds at 70 degrees got me as high as I wanted in the twilight.

It's still just one flight in dead air but, DrlSgt, I think it will float quite well. I purposely tried some flat slow turns and it handled well and didn't drop a wing. The high speed performance seems good too. Power off rolls don't even lose much altitude.

While I won't know for sure until I hunt lift I'm sure I won't be disappointed. I was apprehensive because it turned out a bit heavier than I wanted but it seems to handle it well. And this is a glider that really, really, needs spoilerons and/or a very big field because it has a very flat and moderately fast natural glide angle.

Now? I'm going to celebrate with some good local beer. There will be more to come.
Jul 15, 2012, 12:38 AM
Registered User

HK KDA 22-20L (gives excellent performance with 9.5X8 or 10X6) I have now upgraded to a HobbyKing 2834 1250kv motor. (This gives warmliner performance with the 9.5X8. I'm afraid to use full throttle for anything but straight up!) [I have gone back to the KDA 22-20L with an 11X6 prop. It's a little slower but has better low speed thrust.]
HK 9.5X8 prop with 32mm spinner.
11.1v 20C 1300mah lipo
HK "Blue Series" 40A ESC
Turnigy/FlySky micro 6 channel RX
4X HXT 900 servos
Last edited by peterlngh; Jun 12, 2013 at 11:20 AM. Reason: New motor
Jul 15, 2012, 06:56 PM
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More initial thoughts.

My Specter weighs almost 800grams and, unless I was just unlucky and got a heavy one, I don't see how one would achieve the advertised 680 grams with a useful motor and battery. Perhaps they weighed theirs without the battery? Although it surprised me I don't really think it will be too serious.

In 40 years and a whole lot of gliders I've never had one fly so far on a simple hand launch. My regular field wasn't available today (Damned kids and their soccer fetish!) but, now that I know it won't bite me, I did some more test glides with the battery moved fore and aft. I had over 100 yards of space and was popping the spoilers to bring it down before the fence. This is a very clean design and the CG is not very critical. I was moving it about 6-8mm with just a minor elevator trim change. My foam ASW 28 goes from diving through a whole flight to uncontrollable porpoising with that much change in the CG.

The motor was a little warmer than I would like so I added some scoops to the air inlets, made from the shaft of a plastic spoon, and drilled a 3/8inch exit hole in the fuse at about 1/2 cord. The fuse seems strong enough to shrug off a hole. I even think it might be a bit too thick which would account for the extra weight.
Jul 15, 2012, 08:59 PM
Registered User

2X15 minute flights.

I'm going to love this plane!

There was a little weak lift and I could have really extended my flights if I were more familiar with the plane and battery combo. I did some aerobatics for the crowd and it stunts quite well. I don't have quite enough throw for a decent spin but loops, rolls, and wingovers are very easy. No pitching with rudder but one does get a bit of roll which is just fine with me. One could pretty much fly this bird using the ailerons only for trim, stunts, and sharp turns into the landing.

Speaking of landing; with it set up for spoilerons and those big ailerons it has very nice glide slope control. It does pitch up with spoilers but it's easy enough to manage. With a little head wind I expect that it will be even better.

Is it a "floater"? I guess that depends on what one means. It will give you decent flight times with no lift but it does like a bit of speed for its best glide angle. Call it what you will I think it's a damned fine glider at this price.

BTW. The increased cooling really did the trick. I even did a couple full power circuits just before landing and the motor was barely warmer than the 90 degree ambient temp. This plane would fly very well with less power but it's pretty damned fun!
Jul 16, 2012, 08:40 PM
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Tried it out in nearly 20mph winds and it handles wind great. I just moved the battery a few millimeters forward. I've tried the CG from around 62mm-70mm back from the leading edge and it doesn't really seem to make a huge difference. A couple clicks of elevator trim and it flies great.

With the wind I barely used the spoilers for landing. I was able to just use a little back stick and it "mushed" almost straight down. No sign of a tip stall so far. I love this plane!
Jul 16, 2012, 09:33 PM
Registered User
I should add that I also love the KD A22-20L motor. With the 9.5X8 prop it howls, pulls the 800gram Specter nearly out of sight in a few seconds, and is barely warmer than the ambient temp now that I provided a little more cooling. If the Specter had control surfaces in the right spots I think it would hover like a 3D plane. I'm dead certain it would with the 11X6 prop. I'll be ordering another as soon as it's back in stock at HobbyKing since I'm planning on another 2 meter glider sometime this fall or winter.
Jul 17, 2012, 07:20 PM
Registered User
Have I mentioned that I love this plane?

I finally got to work some real lift this morning and I continue to be impressed. I could have flown out the battery with a single climb but I was having too much fun stunting down from a speck so I was making 3-4 climbs per 25 minute flight. It just might be the best glider I've ever owned and it's definitely the best I've owned with a 2 meter or less span.

I did come up with one negative though. The area where the wing bolts hit the wings is showing some signs of stress so I'm going to add a little plywood and soak the balsa with CA.
Jul 20, 2012, 07:03 PM
Registered User
I was able to trim a little weight off. I soldered on my shortened aileron extensions, which eliminated the connectors, and trimmed off the ends of all the bolts and pushrods. 16grams removed for an all up weight of 780grams on the nose.

At this weight my climbs are 9-12 seconds. I don't have an altimeter but that's about as small as I like it. Just for kicks I might try it on 2 cells when I get a bigger prop. With the 3 cell and a 9.5X8 prop I hold it level for about a second then pull into a 70-80 degree climb and it's still accelerating when I shut the motor down.

I've been expanding my aerobatic routine. Loops and rolls, power on or off, are very good. Inverted flight is fair. I still haven't managed to figure out the V-tail so I can get a real spin. Wingovers are great but hammer heads are difficult. And it does excellent tail slides. I also tried out flying the "ridge" created by the line of trees along the edge of my strip. If I were better at it one could fly all day with a 5 mph wind into said ridge. I just keep finding more good things about this plane.

That being said; it does sound like the "real" R2 version of the Passer-X is a couple ounces lighter. So, if one is going to try using it for ALES or other competitions where every gram counts, one might be better served with the "real" Passer-X. If you are a sport flier and HK has the Specter in stock? Go for it. It's a damned good sailplane.
Last edited by peterlngh; Jul 20, 2012 at 07:12 PM.
Jul 23, 2012, 04:38 PM
Registered User

Color sheme.

I'm still finding more to love with each flight. I almost have my spoiler/elevator mix dialed in. I also decided how to use my old scraps of covering and the result is better than I had hoped. I've always liked an asymmetrical scheme to help with orientation and it works pretty well. The red really shows up when I'm fairly close and the dark area is visible as high as I can see the plane.

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