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Jan 08, 2014, 08:45 PM
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Mini-Review

The FMS 800mm V-Tail Trainer review


The FMS 800mm V-Tail (Trainer/Parkflyer) review


Introduction
Hey guys,
Do you remember what your first trainer aircraft is/was? For me, it was a REALLY ugly 2 channel HiTEC Sky Scooter that was patched up in so many places that I swore it had more epoxy/tape than foam.

A decade later, boy has technology changed the game. T-mart sent me the star of our review today, the V-Tail. In this review, I would like to give you my honest and unbiased opinion on this aircraft, concluding with whether or not I think this aircraft is good for the absolute beginner.

Before we begin, I would like to thank T-mart for providing the sample and agreeing to an unbiased review. Their support is much appreciated.

From The Box
The aircraft came well protected in the Styrofoam box




Included is the following:
1x 2.4GHz 4 channel transmitter
1x 800mm V-tail glider
1x Linkage set (packaged with glue and a spare wing bolt)
1x 7.4V 350mAh 15c Lipo
1x charger (no adapter though!)

If I was a beginner with no gear of my own, I think Iíd be quite annoyed by the lack of an adapter for the charger. Iím not sure if it was missing on mine because someone at Tmart took it out and forgot to put it back inÖ or if it comes from the factory like that; Either way, itís definitely something they really should look into.

From The Cockpit

The transmitter is a small, 4 channel unit that seems to be a clone of the HiSKY transmitters FMS uses for their larger aircraft. It is a basic unit with slider trims, dual rates on all 4 channels, a switch that goes between modes 1 and 2, and a delta mix mode. It takes 4x AA batteries.

Stick feel is average for a transmitter of its class but perfectly adequate for the beginner and for this aircraft. Ergonomics are quite nice, though those with bigger hands might find it harder to grip.

The receiver is a small 4 channel unit that fits very nicely within the electronics compartment of the aircraft; it is secured with double-sided foam tape.

The Aircraft
The V-Tail is quite different than what most of us would picture a trainer to be. Conventional trainers are usually high-winged aircraft with quite a bit of dihedral; the V-Tail is a 3 channel aircraft (throttle, aileron and elevator) that is similar in design to that of a sailplane. A ďV-TailĒ (hence the name of the aircraft) serves only as the elevator instead of having both elevator and rudder functions like conventional v-tailed aircraft.
She is quite a pretty aircraft for a trainer, I really like the looks. The plane comes together quite easily within about half an hour or less, as all the linkages for the servos and most of the electronics are already installed. Iíve found that the V tail itself takes a bit of effort to align properly and get the linkages all running smoothly; the wing is easily attached and removable via a single wing bolt.
Being a beginner-orientated aircraft, the V-tail has a slight dihedral to its wings. This helps the aircraft self-stabilize to a certain extent.

As EPO foam is the material used for the airframe, the V-tail is quite robust; any damages that might occur to the airframe itself could be fixed with epoxy, foam-safe glue or even your average super-glue (CA).

Flight Characteristics
As the V-Tail has no landing gear, the user needs to hand launch the aircraft. For those of you who are just starting out, I would suggest that you get someone to throw the aircraft for you so you can concentrate on the sticks. Half throttle is all that is necessary to get the aircraft airborne.

I find the aircraft to be very stable in the air. Iím impressed by the power to weigh ratio that the tiny brushless motor gives; it certainly has the power to pull the aircraft out of trouble. Continuous loops are easily performed thanks to said powerful outrunner, inverted flight is a struggle (I suspect that itís due to the lack of elevator throw and Iíll give it another try after I adjust the rates with a computer radio), roll rate is quite slow with the stock transmitter and a lot of altitude is lost in rolling the aircraft. Again, this may not be the case if the aircraft is flown with a computer radio with high rates and EPA. One must remember though that as a trainer aircraft, the V-tail is designed not to be an aerobatic powerhouse, but as a stable platform in which the user could learn the basics of flight.
At slower speeds, the V-tail is still impressively stable; Stall characteristics are very forgiving and the aircraft is powerful enough to pull out of a stall quite quickly. Glide characteristics are also really predictable.

Conclusion

The 800mm V-Tail from FMS is a very stable platform on which beginners could gather the confidence to move onto larger aircraft. The aileron/elevator/throttle instead of rudder/elevator/throttle configuration makes the V-Tail comparatively more maneuverable for an aircraft of its class and size.
Although the increased stability does take away some of the aerobatic capabilities of the aircraft, the V-tail is still incredibly fun; personally I like to spend lazy afternoons with it, nurse it up as high as I could see her and glide her gracefully back to terra firma: itís part of my definition of a perfect afternoon.
For the absolute beginner, the V-tail is a great first aircraft to learn on; the durability and stable flight characteristics should last quite a long time. The sleek looks of this aircraft along with the gorgeous V-tail makes it a head turner at the field as well.
This review was completed on 1/8/2014 and is accurate per my findings. Please feel free to comment or send me a PM if youíve any questions or comments about the aircraft and I will try to answer them to the best of my abilities. Thanks for reading, I hope you've enjoyed the review!

The FMS 800mm V-Tail is available at Tmart.com



Pros And Cons

Pros
+ Stable flight characteristics. Predictable stall characteristics.
+ High power-to-weight ratio
+ Durable, sleek looking airframe
+ Complete RTF package
+ Low aerodynamic drag

Cons
- No power adapter included
- ďTrainerĒ sticker on the wing
- The tail feathers are harder to assemble than T-tails.

Official Specifications
Wingspan: 800mm/31.5in
Overall Length: 625mm/24.6in
Flying Weight: Around 145g
Motor Size: Brushless 1811-KV3900
ESC: 6A
Servo: 9g Servo x2
Radio: 4 Channel
CG (center of gravity): 35mm (From Leading Edge)
Prop Size: 4*3
Recommended Battery: Li-Po 7.4V 350mAh
Aileron: Yes
Elevator: Yes
Rudder: No
Flaps: No
Retracts: No
Approx. Flying Duration: 8 minutes
Minimum Age Recommendation: 14+
Experience Level: Beginner
Recommended Environment: Outdoor
Assembly Time: 30 minutes
Is Assembly Required: Yes
Material: Durable EPO
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Oct 27, 2014, 03:50 PM
Slope Newbie
I got this plane running about a week ago, and boy was it a blast! It can handle some wind, but with the way the ventilation holes are placed, it makes flying at the beach the much more...interesting.the plane has decent range, haven't lost signal yet. This is going to be a fun glider. I would like to try streamer combat with it, as well as slope soaring.definit.y not lacking in power. Thanks for the review, James. You contributed to getting someone (me) into the hobby.
Nov 25, 2014, 04:58 AM
Soaring Fanatic!
8thelephant's Avatar
Great review James!
What size spinner does the Fox use?
Dec 27, 2014, 07:39 PM
Registered User

Exercise in frustration . . . .


Hi guys,

I got one of these for Christmas and I'm afraid I cannot agree with the comments above.

Unfortunately (my fault I know) I chose to fly in a slight breeze, were talking maybe 10km/h, hardly a howling gale. The first flight the model flew straight and climbed well under power. However I accidentally flew on the leeward side of some trees and the resulting turbulence caused the model to pitch up. Full down elevator got no response so I pulled back and went through a loop. Returned to straight and level flight momentarily when the same thing happened again! Tried the same trick but lost control and impacted the ground. The nose of the model bore the brunt of the impact, with two large cracks appearing in the foam on either side of the fuselage, in line with the magnet for the canopy.

I bought some high strength 'aliuminium' tape (I'd never heard of it before but it's silver and bonds well to the EPO foam) and with a bit of CA glue managed to fix the nose with a reasonable degree of success. C of G barely moved.

So.....to the second flight. This time there was less wind (maybe 6 km/h). Take off was fine, I kept low to the ground and travelling into wind with the intention just flying a short distance and landing straight ahead (keep it simple!) Climbed to maybe 2m off the ground, reduced power to about 50%, gust comes along, nose pitches up, tried to control with down elevator, CRASH!!

I find the model to be extremely skittish in the slightest breeze (because it's so light I suppose). I'm not sure it makes a good trainer.

On the plus side repairs are not too difficult. I think something a bit bigger and more stable would make a better trainer. I'd be interested to hear other owner's comments.

Oh, and the review is correct in that it does not come with a power chord for the charger.

Cheers!


RBG
Dec 28, 2014, 06:00 PM
Registered User
UPDATE

The manual clearly states the C of G should be 35mm behind the leading edge. After browsing a few rc flying forums someone commented on 32mm. Mine was as 33-34mm.

Decided to add some weight to the nose so my C of G is now 30mm.

MUCH BETTER!!! 3 flights, 3 safe landings, no damage. Even managed a bit of power off soaring with the 3rd flight. Wish I'd thought of this earlier :/

RBG
Feb 16, 2015, 05:47 AM
It got away...
Seems like a great trainer. I'm need to check this out. I want to fly planes!!
Nice review James!!


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