I initially met Tom of Wing Warrior while I was looking for an electric powered wing. Tom invited me to demo one of his planes and told me I could find him on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Huntington Beach, California. At that time, I had never flown a slope plane, and I was only vaguely familiar with combat sloping, having only seen it done on these slopes a few times. When I finally made it to the cliffs, I saw about eight to ten wings in the air flying unrestrained combat. I was amazed at the ability of these planes to recover controlled flight after hitting each other, and more amazed that after a kill when a plane smashed into the slope, the pilot just picked it up and tossed it right back into the action with no damage. This looked like fun! That afternoon, I tried the sticks with a slope Raider for a few turns, and I was hooked. I left there with my new purchase, an e-Raider, but vowed that I would be back to buy a slope plane.
I flew my e-Raider for a while, and I even sloped it quite a bit on some high lift days, but soon found myself back in Huntington Beach buying a Raider slope wing from Tom. Here is my experience with this great wing.
The Raider EPP Kit And Construction
Although Wing Warrior has four planes to choose from, I decided on the Raider because it is claimed to be the most stable and recoverable in their lineup. The crew at Wing Warrior all spend countless hours flying on the slopes and are continuously testing and flying their planes in order to find what works best. All of Wing Warriors planes are from 100% EPP foam, which is about the most indestructible material in the model airplane industry and also is immune to damage from most adhesives. The Raider is packaged well and includes the wing panels with pre-drilled spar holes, pre-marked servo, receiver, and battery locations, matched balsa elevons, DuBro control rods and control horns, Coroplast winglets, carbon spar, scrap foam, instructions, and the Wing Warrior sticker pack. The builder needs to supply the adhesives, such as 3M-77 (old or new formula) and some type of Goo/Goop, strapping tape, and covering tape or film. (I used UltraCote.)
CNC Cut Wings
The wings are nicely CNC cut and came out of the wing beds perfectly. One quality feature of these wings is the design of the spar system. The wing halves have a hole drilled into them for you. When you are gluing the wings together, you first apply the Goop to one-half of the carbon spar and insert it into the pre-drilled hole, and then you do the same to the other half. This serves three functions. The wings line up perfectly along the spar. The spar is securely in the center of the foam wings. There is no need to cut a slot in the foam and mess around with the glue after the wing halves are joined.
The location for the gear is pre-marked on the wings. I chose to use standard size servos and bury them completely in the foam. There are benefits to using the standard servos in a combat wing such as this. Most important is strength; these servos can live up to the punishment that a combat environment can inflict on the gears. Secondly is weight; these wings typically require extra nose weight in order to balance on the center of gravity so you might as well use heavier/stronger servos and less lead up front. When possible, make the weight functional. An additional benefit of these servos is their low price, which is a benefit that everybody can agree with. By burying the servos and pushrods, you get a clean wing top and further protect your gear from impact. This step is not in the instructions, but you simply need to cut your servo holes deeper and cut slots deep enough for the control rods to fit. I use the blue and yellow Golden-rods for this.
For a receiver I use the Berg-5*DSP 5 channel available from R/C Direct. This receiver is small, lightweight, and has always been flawless, even on crowded slopes. I frequently fly on the cliffs over the ocean, and this is the last place I wanted to worry about my receiver glitching. I am really looking forward to trying one of the new Berg-4DSP (4 channel), as it is supposed to be half the size of the tiny 5 channel. I always recommend using only high quality receivers in my planes, and these fit the bill.
Installing the gear is fairly simple. Everyone seems to have their own technique for cutting the spaces in the foam, so I will not go into that. What I like is to do is trace the exact shape and orientation of the servos and receiver on the foam, and then cut the space slightly smaller. Doing this provides a snug fit, and I never have had to glue the gear in. Once I have the servos in, I cut and glued a thin foam cap over the body of the servos to hold them down and to prevent having a hole under the covering.
Taping And Covering
EPP foam does a great job of absorbing impacts and springing right back to the original shape. That is what makes these planes so damage resistant. This same quality also leaves the EPP somewhat flexible in an un-taped state. In order to reduce the flexibility and improve strength, it is strategically imperative to tape the plane with a high quality strapping tape. I used 3M Scotch(r) Extreme Packaging Tape since it has bi-directional fibers and adheres well to the EPP. The Wing Warrior directions clearly illustrate the pattern to use for tapping the plane. The amount of strapping tape used is a trade off between weight and strength. Not only does the tape add rigidity, it provides a very tough skin to protect the foam. If you intend to partake in serious combat, then a good tape job could mean the difference between surviving an impact and picking up the pieces.
Choosing between UltraCote and colored packing tape for the covering material is a matter of preference. The packing tape is less expensive, easier and quicker to install, and easy to repair. The tape does have one draw back in that it does not look as nice as a film covering. On my Raider, I used UltraCote. The UltraCote adheres well to the foam, looks great, and adds more rigidity to the wing. UltraCote is a great choice for foam since the glue activates at a lower temperature and minimizes the risk of melting the foam; it is also puncture resistant.
Elevons, Control Horns, And Winglets
The Wing Warrior planes come with matched balsa elevons. The instructions recommend that you bevel the bottom part of the elevons where they meet the trailing edge of the wing. Placing sandpaper on a table and running the elevon over the paper easily accomplished this. After that, I covered the elevons with UltraCote. The instructions also recommend an effective and strong hinge method. Per the instructions, I put a strip of clear tape along the top gap, and then folded the elevon all the way up. With the elevon lying on top of the wing, I put a piece of strapping tape from the bottom of the wing wrapped around to the bottom of the elevon. When you lower the elevon to the neutral position, it pinches the bottom tape into the hinge gap, which results in a strong yet free moving hinge. The Wing Warrior kit comes complete with strong DuBro control horns. These are easy to install, but it is good to try to keep the horn perpendicular to the hinge and in line with the control rods.
The Raider comes with precut Coroplast winglets. These are stiff, durable, and easy to install. Again, there are many ways in witch to install these. I chose to use hot-melt glue all around the seam where they meet the wing. I also mount mine flush with the leading edge and let them hang down about an inch below the wing.
Balancing And Pre-Flight
All that was left was to balance the Raider and do a pre-slope test. I used an 1100mha 4cell battery, and I had to place it as far forward as I could in order to get the wing to balance without adding any lead to the nose, again using flight gear is functional weight. Once the plane was balanced at the recommended Center of Gravity, I took it to a park and gave it a strong throw. I decided to do this so that I can get my trim in the ballpark before I threw it off a slope. After a couple of throws, I was able to dial it in to where the wing would fly about 30 to 50 feet before it settled down. Next, it was time to go off to the slope!
Flight And Combat
Until then, I primarily flew my heavy electric powered wing on the slope. As soon as I launched my Raider, it was evident that this plane was much more nimble and quick on the slope. After my pre-slope trimming, all it took was a couple of clicks of down elevator to keep the Raider flying straight and level. Inverted flight is effortless; it rolls quickly and can change directions on a dime. The Raider is not the fastest wing on the slope, but it is very agile. Another thing that I noticed about the Raider is that it can perform well in a wide range of wind conditions. Without any ballast, it floats well in light wind, but if you add a few ounces of weight by taping lead weights on the top over the CG, the plane stays quite stable and penetrates well in the stronger winds. The Raider really comes alive in these stronger winds.
I spent a couple of weeks flying in a non-combat environment before I let my Raider get into any battles. A few times when my plane came in contact with another, I realized how stable the Raider is and learned a few quick lessons in flight recovery. The first couple of times that I fly my Raider in combat were an adrenalin induced blur. These were not formal combat contests; each was the result of a handful of foamies in the air and a quick verbal verification that everyone was up for a little war. The Raider is a blast to fly in combat. The stability instills the confidence to engage the other planes, and the durability reassures that it would not end up in need of any major repairs.
The Raider is a great, multi-purpose wing. The same design characteristics that make it great for combat result in it being a very stable plane to learn to slope on and to use in broad wind conditions. The extreme durability ensures that your investment and enjoyment in this plane will last for a long time.Last edited by AMCross; Jul 19, 2005 at 10:49 AM..
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