Phoenix Model and Tower Hobbies 1/5 MXS Aircraft GP/EP ARF

A red white and blue MXS 1/5 scale sport plane to quickly assemble and fly. Check out the opening video and see if you are as interested as I am in this plane.

Splash

Introduction

Phoenix Model 1/5 MX Aircraft MXS GP/EP ARF (2 min 40 sec)


Wingspan: 57.9"
Wing Area: 597 sq in
Weight: 6.17 lbs
Wing Loading: 24.90 0z sq dm
Length: 52.2"
Servos: 4 Futaba S3001
Transmitter: Futaba 14MZ
Receiver: Futaba
Battery: 6S LiPo
Receiver Battery: LiFe 2-S 6.6V 3200mAh
Motor: Rimfire .46 Brushless Motor
ESC: Silver Series 60A ESC NO BEC
Manufacturer: Phoenix Models
Available From: Tower Hobbies
Price: $199.98 ARF

The MXS is actually a scale sport plane. I bring this up because so many RC sport planes are just RC models with no relationship to any full size plane. The full size MXS is manufactured here in America in North Carolina. What could be more appropriate for an American sport plane then to be beautifully modeled in red, white and blue with stars on the wings? The plane can be powered with either a gas engine or an electric motor as mounts are supplied for both and a fuel tank is included for the gas option. I went with the electric motor option. The plane is not for beginners as this model was designed for intermediate or better pilots that know how to fly. She is not hard to fly but she is built light to allow for quality aerobatics and she has a mid wing on the lower side of the fuselage. I have found her to be strong enough for all the flight maneuvers I have attempted I don't think she is designed with the robustness required to withstand accidently abusive landings by beginner pilots learning how to fly. I think the pictures inside the fuselage display exactly how this model was built. My plane has withstood the review process well and the only damage was slight and due to the flight battery shifting during one of my flights as described below.

With the exception of needing to slightly modify the RimFire's X motor mount (A fifteen minute process for me.). The plane assembled very quickly. I also want to note that I installed my wheels into the wheel pants in a different manner than recommended in the instructions and I recommend my way of installing them but take your choice. Let's: Get Her Assembled! and go fly this beauty.

MXS Kit Contents

Kit Contents

  • Fuselage with removable cockpit with pilot
  • Two piece wing
  • Wing Rod
  • Vertical stabilizer and rudder
  • Horizontal stabilizer and elevators
  • Main landing gear struts, pants and wheels,
  • Painted fiberglass cowl
  • Tail wheel
  • Motor mount
  • Spinner
  • Control rods
  • Assorted hardware
  • Decals
  • Instruction Manual
  • Gas Tank and Engine mount not used

Additional Parts Required/Supplied by Hobbico but NOT part of the Plane Kit

  • Minimum 4 channel transmitter/Author's 14CH Futaba
  • Minimum 4 channel receiver/7 CH FAST Futaba receiver
  • RimFire .46-.55 (I have the .46 size) Brushless outrunner motor
  • 60A Silver Series Brushless ESC Without BEC
  • 4 standard size Futaba 3001 servos
  • 1 Futaba Y-harness for aileron servos
  • 2 Futaba 9" servo extension wires
  • 1 On/Off switch for the radio gear
  • Radio Battery LiFe 6.6V 3200mAh
  • 6-Cell 5500mAh battery pack
  • Extra Velcro

Tools and Supplies Needed

  • Medium CA
  • Thin CA
  • 30 minute epoxy
  • 6 minute epoxy
  • Hand or electric drill
  • Assorted drill bits
  • Hobby knife with new #11 blade
  • Straight edge ruler
  • 2 bender pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Masking tape
  • Thread lock
  • Paper towels
  • rubbing alcohol
  • 3 x 5 index card
  • Non permanent marker
  • Dremel drill with small grinding tools.

PHOENIX MODEL PROMOTED FEATURES

Promoted Features

  • Construction: Balsa and ply
  • Wing: Two-piece with joiner tube
  • Aileron Control: Dual servo
  • Covering: High-quality self-adhesive
  • Fiberglass Cowl in three colors
  • Landing Gear: Aluminum pre-bent main gear, spring wire steerable tail gear
  • Wheels: Two Main and one tail wheel with gear
  • Wheel Pants: Fiberglass
  • Spinner: Red plastic 2.3" (58mm) diameter
  • Fuel Tank: (Not used in this review)
  • Engine Mount: Two piece composite (Not used in this review)
  • Motor Mount: Plywood with metal bolts and aluminum sleeves

The MXS Airplane in Full Scale

MX Aircraft Inc was founded as a company in 2001 with a goal of making state of the art sport, aerobatic and race air craft using modern materials and design. They are located in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina at the Wilkes County airport.

The MXS is a single seat, carbon fiber aircraft utilizing advanced, state-of-the-art composite materials, sophisticated development tools, novel processes and world class engineering skills blended to create a unique combination of structural performance, quality and durability. With immediate presence both dynamically and statically, the MXS clearly demonstrates its purpose and intent. This presence and aggression is communicated through technology.

Assembly

I recommend installing the decals that go on the plane before starting the assembly. It is easier to do it on a flat surface before any parts are assembled. Fortunately, the location of the stars on the top wing halves is already marked with the other covering making the installation of the top stars easy. For the rest of the decals I just looked at the pictures in the manual and on the box. I had a pair of decals I didn't use and I put a pair of decals on the wheel pants. I also glued the rudder into the vertical stabilizer using thin CA to secure the hinges. You can do it know as I did or wait until later per the instructions.

Wing

The wing comes basically assembled and nicely covered. There was only finishing work needed for the wing.

Installing the Ailerons into the Wing

Per the instructions I test fitted the hinges in the aileron and with them centered I installed the aileron into the wing. Tilting the wing, with the aileron down. I applied three small drops of thin CA on the top side of each aileron hinge. After ten seconds I tilted the top of the wing down and applied three more drops per hinge and it wicked into the wing. After thirty seconds I flipped the wing over and repeated the process with the hinges on the under side of the wing. With one wing half done I repeated this CA process on the other wing half. The ailerons were now installed into the wing. Be sure to use thin CA as it really wicks nicely into the wing on the hinges.

Installing the Aileron Servos

The first step was using my hobby knife to cut away the covering over the servo arm exit opening on the aileron hatch cover. I next prepared the aileron servos by installing the rubber grommets and brass eyelets that came with the servos. Next I plugged in a 9" servo extension wire onto the servo wire and taped the two together.

NOTE: My next step is not in the instructions for this point but it makes sense to me to connect the aileron servo to the receiver and make certain that it is properly centered so I don't have to back tract any steps to have the servo properly ready for use.

I removed three of the four servo arms and placed the servo in the hatch cover with the remaining servo arm extending out of the cover at 90 degrees (properly centered per above.). Using a 1/16" drill bit I drilled pilot holes through the blocks of wood on the hatch cover for the servo mounting screws. I then secured the servo in place with the four mounting screws that came with the servo.

I found the guide string in the wing and taped it to the connector on the servo extension and secured the string going forward over the connector as shown below. I carefully pulled the string from the wing root until the extension wire came out at the wing root. I then fitted the servo hatch cover and drilled four 1/16" pilot holes for the screws from the MXS kit that are used to mount the hatch cover in place. I secured the hatch cover with those four small screws. I then repeated the process on the other wing half. NOTE: The aileron hatch covers are installed on both sides with the opening for the servo arm on the outside servo bays in each wing!

Installing the Aileron Control Horns

The control horn for an aileron is properly positioned per the drawing on page three of the instructions. The holes in the control horn are in line with the hinge line and the horn is in line with the servo arm. Using a pin through the screw holes I marked onto the aileron where the two screws should go. I drilled two 1/16" holes for the mounting screws and secured the control horn in place with the screws going into the back plate on the top of the aileron. I then repeated the process with the other aileron.

Installing the Aileron Control Linkages

I centered the aileron on the wing and held it centered with masking tape top an bottom. I next took a 2mm x 180mm threaded wire and screwed on a clevis at least 14 turns. I slipped a piece of silicone tube onto the open end of the control rod and up to the clevis. I attached the clevis to the outer hole on the control horn. I then aligned the control rod over the servo arm and mark for a 90 degree bend that will go through the outer hole of the control arm. Using pliers I make the 90 degree bend in the wire and then using the cutters I cut the wire off 4mm past the bend. I installed the wire in the control arm and secured it in place with the supplied snap. With everything in proper alignment I slipped the silicone tube up over the clevis to secure it in place.

I then repeated the process on the other aileron.

Note: In the manual the next step is installing the wing to the fuselage. I recommend delaying that one step as done below.

Installing the Tail Part 1

The first step is cutting away the covering from the fuselage where the horizontal stabilizer will be installed. I decided it would be easier to do this on both sides of the fuselage without having the wing installed so I moved this step up one place and using my hobby knife I removed the covering over the stabilizer slots on the sides of the fuselage. Since I was already cutting I also removed the covering over where the vertical stabilizer is installed.

Installing the Wing to the Fuselage

I started by continuing to cut away covering from the fuselage. I cut the covering away from where the wing rod gets installed, the two circles where the wing mounting bolts go into each wing half. Lastly I cut away the cover from the open bay behind the wing rod. This is where the aileron servo wire will enter the fuselage. With one side done I cut away the covering from the same locations on the other side of the fuselage.

Next I installed the wing rod into the fuselage and then installed one wing half. The aileron servo wire went into the fuselage. The wing half is secured against the fuselage with two nylon bolts through the fuselage side from the inside and into the wing. With one side done I installed the other wing half in the same manner. This mounting of the wing is temporary to help me with my tail assembly.

Installing the Tail Part 2

Installing the horizontal stabilizer

Per the instructions I drew a center line on the top side of the horizontal stabilizer. I trial fitted the stabilizer into the slot in the fuselage. Eye balling from above I made sure the stabilizer was in proper alignment with the wing, (A string can be used to measure from a spot on the wing tip to a spot on the outside edge of the stabilizer. The string should be the same length for both sides if the alignment is correct.)

When the alignment was correct I used a water soluble marker to mark a line on the stabilizer's top and bottom both sides next to the fuselage. Using my hobby knife I cut inside those lines and removed the covering to give wood on wood contact between the fuselage and the stabilizer. I wiped away the marker lines and then mixed up a batch of 30 minute epoxy. I applied a thin layer of epoxy to the top and bottom of the exposed wood on the horizontal stabilizer and inside the fuselage and installed the stabilizer and double checked for proper alignment once more. I then carefully removed any excess epoxy with a paper towel and rubbing alcohol. Checked the alignment once more and set the plane aside for the epoxy to set up.

After the epoxy had initially setup I double checked the position of the hinges in the elevators and the horizontal stabilizer in the same way I installed the ailerons above using thin CA. With the elevators installed I used the elevator control rods and horns as guides and drilled two holes through each elevator to mount the elevator control horns in place with the connector holes right below the hinge line.

Installing the Vertical Stabilizer

As discussed above I had already removed the covering over the slot for the vertical stabilizer in the back top of the fuselage. Next I trial fitted the stabilizer into the fuselage and marked its location with a water soluble felt marker. I removed the stabilizer and using my hobby knife removed the covering under the line this made for wood to wood contact between the vertical stabilizer and the top back of the fuselage. I wiped away the lines from the marker. I also cut through the covering and the wood in the back of the fuselage to allow the bottom hinge in the rudder to fit into the fuselage as I had already attached the rudder to the vertical stabilizer as described above.Using a triangle I slid the vertical stabilizer back into position on the fuselage making sure it was vertical. I then removed it. I mixed up a batch of 30 minute epoxy and glued the vertical stabilizer in place checking to make sure it was vertical. When the epoxy had setup I moved on to install the rudder.

Installing the Rudder

As stated above I had already installed the hinges into the rudder and secured them there and in the vertical stabilizer with thin CA on both sides. Before installing the decals at the start of the assembly. The instruction manual calls for installing the rudder at this time. I had needed to cut open the back of the fuselage for the bottom hinge from the rudder and make that slot wide enough for the rudder to slip in. This it did as described above when I slipped and glued the vertical stabilizer into position. When the epoxy securing the vertical stabilizer into the fuselage was dry, and with the rudder hinge properly positioned in place during that installation process. I glued the bottom rudder hinge into the fuselage using two drops of CA on the hinge per side rudder and fuselage and the same on the other side of the fuselage. The rudder was installed into the fuselage and stabilizer. If you prefer you can do all of the rudder assembly to the stabilizer and fuselage at this step in the assembly.

Tail Wheel Installation

Following picture 26 on page 6, I installed the two nylon control clasps. To do this I slightly expanded the opening on the front of the holes in the clasps so I could start the steering wire into the clasps. I trial fitted them in place on the rudder while resting on the control wire from the tail wheel mount and held the tail wheel mount against the fuselage where it would be mounted. It looked good so I mounted the Tail wheel mount in place by drilling 1/16" holes through the two screw holes in the mount. I mounted the tail wheel mount in place with two 3mm x 2mm screws in the back bottom of the fuselage per picture 26. With the control wire in place under the rudder and in the clasps I secured the clasps in place with one screw each through the clasp and the bottom of the rudder and back into the clasp on the other side of the rudder. I really liked this tail wheel steering assembly!

Fuselage

I removed the wing from the fuselage to give me better access to the fuselage.

Installing the Main Landing Gear Struts to the Fuselage

Four nuts were installed in the fuselage at the factory for securing the struts in place. The first step was to feel for those nuts and carefully cut away the cover from over them. I slipped the struts into proper position and secured them in place with a lock washer and a regular washer on each bolt and two bolts per strut. I first installed the inner nuts as I could hold the strut up and more easily get the bolt into it and start tightening it with the strut holding the bolt on the mounting nut. With the struts mounted in place I moved on to install the main wheels and their wheel pants.

Installing the Main Wheels and Wheel Pants

I used no drill in my installation of the wheels into the wheel pants. Instead I used my hobby knife to remove a slice of the wheel pant and the wood attached in the wheel mount area. I cut a short slice above the wheel axle mark in the pant and two lines down and through the bottom of the wheel pant per the picture below. These cuts were on the inside of the wheel pants and I made one right and one left pant. I lightly pressed on my cut line and repeated tracing the cut line until it was through the fiberglass and the wood.

Leaving the wheel pant aside for the moment I took an axle and remove a nut and the wheel retaining hardware from the axle. I loosely attached the wheel axle through the aluminum strut with nuts on both sides behind the washers. I slipped the thick washer onto the axle followed by the wheel and the locking collar. I secured the locking collar in place. I picked up the wheel pant made for that wheel side and slipped it down over the wheel between the aluminum strut and the inner washer. Using needle nose pliers and a regular pair of pliers I tightened the nuts and the axle was secured in the strut and the wheel pant was secured in place as well per the picture below. My method is not per their instructions but it worked very well and was easy to do.

Installing the ESC

Silver Series 60A ESC
Silver Series 60A ESC
Type: Brushless Motor Controller
Continuous Maximum Current: 60A with reasonable cooling
Momentary Surge Current: 72A
Input Voltage:
BEC: No BEC Circuit, opto-isolated
Max Output Power: 3000 watts
Weight: 3.13 ounce
Length: 2.3"
Width: 0.7"
Height: 1.9"
Brake: On/Off
Thermal Cutoff: 230 degrees F
Timing Angle: 12 or 20 degrees
Operating Frequency:
On resistance: 0.004ohms
Price: $99.98

AUTHOR'S NOTE

When I went to install the ESC as shown in a picture, in the instruction manual, I didn't like the arrangement. There wasn't enough wire to get the battery connector on the Silver Series 60A ESC comfortably into the front of the fuselage. Instead of mounting it on the side of the built out mount that came on the fuselage as shown in the manual, I mounted it on top. It was secured in place with two screws I supplied on one end. The battery wires were over an opening in the top of this motor mount extension and I directed the wires into the fuselage through this opening. For the throttle wire from the ESC I later used my drill and created a small rectangular square so that the throttle wire could go through there and run back to the radio compartment. This location had the throttle wire to the side of the battery tray in the fuselage and out of the way. That change is why you first see the throttle wire with the battery wire in the front. I moved it out of the way before the first flight.

Installing the RimFire Motor

 RimFire .46
RimFire .46
Motor specsRimFire .46
Type: Brushless Outrunner
Motor Weight 9.5 oz
Diameter: 42mm, 1.65"
Length: 60mm, 2.36"
Output Shaft Size: 5mm, .20"
Shaft Length: 17mm, .67"
Lead Length: 3"
BATTERY: 5s-6s Lipo
Constant Watts: 1110W
Maximum Surge Power: 1850W
Prop: APC 11 x 5E thin electric
Prop Adapter: Aluminum included
Voltage Used: 18.5-22.2V
Maximum Continuous Current: 60A
Maximum Surge Current: 100A
No Load Current: 4.6A
Speed Control: High Voltage Brushless
Motor Connectors: 4mm gold plated bullet connectors
RPM/V kV: 800KV
Price: $99.98

At first sight this looked like it would be an easy install but any paragraph starting this way means there was a problem. The propeller shaft attached to the Rimfire motor with four supplied bolts that came with the motor. That did install nicely. The X mount came with the motor and installed to the motor with the four supplied screws that came with the motor. (Don't install the X mount to the motor yet!) Unfortunately, When I went to install the motor to the plane using the X mount I discovered that the supplied bolts that came in the plane kit couldn't fit through the mounting slots on the X-mount. Since those same supplied bolts fit into the nuts that came mounted in the just installed motor mount it meant I needed to use those bolts and had to expand the slots on the X-mount to fit the kit supplied motor mounting bolts.

To fit these mounting bolts through the X mount; I got out my Dremel drill and a small sanding/grinding attachment. I used the grinding attachment in all four motor mount oblong slots and used it from both sides widening the slots. I worked at slow speed on each slot for about three minutes a slot. The center spaces were now all wide enough for the bolts to fit so I did a test to see if they would properly align with the mount on the fuselage. Three spaces aligned and one needed about a minute's more grinding work. It took me about 15 minutes of work to get the X-mount to be able to be installed with the supplied bolts and some slight additional time to actually mount the motor. The alternative if I hadn't had a Dremel drill and grinding attachment would be to get out a thin file and file all four openings to be large enough to fit the bolts. Or to buy a new separate motor mount kit. My solution only took me about 15 minutes and very little effort on my part. I don't want to imagine how long a file would have taken me.

When installing the X mount to the motor it is CRITICAL to use Loctite or similar product. The screws included with the motor are used to secure the X mount to the motor. They will most likely vibrate loose if Loctite or a similar product is not used so be sure they are secured tightly using Loctite. There is open space behind these screws when the X mount is mounted to the motor mount and that space will allow them to loosen if not properly secured.

The plywood motor mount was bolted onto the front of fuselage using THREE 60mm bolts, THREE aluminum sleeves, THREE washers and THREE lock washers. I capitalized THREE because all previous motor mounts of a similar design have used 4 bolts. The pictures on page 7 of the manual clearly marked where four bolts go to properly secure the plywood motor mount in place. However,as seen in the next group of pictures that top bolt mount was not used. Only three bolts were used but the mount seems perfectly sturdy. The RimFire motor was next secured to the motor mount using the X mount that came with the motor and four 16mm bolts, washers and lock washers that came with the plane kit.

Installing the Motor to the Motor Mount

I ended up installing two washers I supplied between the X mount and the plywood motor mount to move the cowl our just a fraction further. It is not necessary but it is what I did. The plans call for using the four motor mount bolts, four lock washers and four washers to secure the X mount to the plywood motor mount and thereby mount the motor. I simply added two washers (that I supplied) per bolt between the X mount and the plywood mount. I also use Loctite on the bolts and their mounts on the inside of the motor mount for the last couple of turns per bolt.

Installing the Motor Battery

The Battery is installed in the very front of the fuselage, inside the fuselage. I glued a small piece of hook and loop material to the bottom back end of the battery mount in the fuselage and put the matching hook and loop material on the bottom of the battery. I also used a hook and loop strap around the wood battery mount and the battery to secure the battery in place in the fuselage.

THIS FAILED IN FLIGHT! See solution in Flight section below.

Radio Installation

I installed rubber grommets and brass eyelets on two Futaba S3001 servos. I temporarily connected them to my Futaba receiver and made sure they were properly centered. Then I mounted them into the fuselage to handle the elevators and the rudder. They have the high torque that these control surfaces will need in flight. I cut off three of the four servo arms off of the selected servo arm for both servos and widened the outer hole and next to outer on the remaining arms with a 1/16" drill bit. Twisting the bit by hand.

Installing the Futaba receiver was easy. I plugged in the servo wires for the throttle ESC connection, the rudder and elevator servos into the receiver and then the Y-harness connector for the ailerons. I used two pieces of Velcro to secure the receiver in the fuselage on a sloping piece of wood to allow room for the receiver battery on the flat bottom of the fuselage.

It was at this stage that I also made and connected the control rods for the elevators and the rudder. I earlier described installing the control horns to the control surfaces and connecting up the control rods to the ailerons. Now I cut away the covering over the two exit holes near the tail of the fuselage for the elevator control rods. The elevator on each side had its own control rod. With the covering removed from the exist holes I ran the two elevator control rods back from the cockpit area and out of the exit holes on each side with the threaded ends sticking out of the exit holes. Per the instructions I screwed a clevis connector onto the end of each of the elevator control rods while tightly holding the control rod with a pair of pliers. Per instructions I screwed each clevis 6mm onto the control rods. I lined up the plastic connectors with the elevator control horns one at a time and then connected them using a supplied small black bolt through one side of the control horn, the connector clevis on the control rod and then into the other side of the control horn where I had previously started a small hole with a 1/16 drill bit as discussed above.

With the two control rods attached to the elevators it was time to connect them to the elevator servo up in the cockpit area. The elevator control rods go into a three wire holder they call a metal "Domino." I had used a Domino in my recent review of the Ryan STA and I enjoyed how it worked. One elevator control rod each secured on the outside holes of this device. I slipped the two elevator control rods into the "Domino" and slid the domino into proper position. With both elevators secured in the neutral position at the back of the plane, I tightened the Allen nuts on the control rods and cut off the excess elevator control rod wire. A supplied third short wire is secured in the center hole of the Domino and it goes up to the elevator servo arm. I bent this third wire 90 degrees to go through the servo arm's outer hole which I expanded to 1/16" by hand with a drill bit. I slipped the wire into the middle hole on the Domino and then the bent end into the elevator servo arm and then secured the wire in the servo arm in place with a plastic keeper. I then adjusted this wire in the metal Domino with the elevators still in neutral and I then tightened the Allen nuts in the metal domino as tight as I could get them and then used non permanent Loctite to lock them in place. The elevators were connected to their servo.

Installing the rudder control rod was a simple process. I cut out the exit hole for it on the back right side of the fuselage and ran the control rod out with the threads coming out towards the rudder. I screwed on the plastic clevis connector and secured it in place to the control horn as I had done with the two control rods for the elevator. Next I made a 90 degree bend of the wire at the rudder servo arm, trimmed the wire, installed it in the servo arm and installed a plastic keeper to secure the wire. I had to disconnect the plastic connector from the control horn and twist it a few times to get the rudder mechanically centered. The elevator and rudder control rods were connected to their servos and ready for operation.

Mounting the Cowl Using Guide Stripes

Before starting this process I used my propeller reamer to ream out the spinner mounting plate so that it fit on the propeller shaft. I use the spinner back plate as a guide in mounting the cowl and so I got it ready to serve as a guide.

The cowl will be secured with four supplied 3mm x 12mm wood screws. Using masking tape I made four strips marked from one end at one, two and three inches. I taped one strip each with the end of the strip centered on the wooden mounting area near the end of the fuselage. One at the top of the area covered in white covering and one near the bottom as shown in the picture below. The cowl slid onto the fuselage and the spinner plate and prop nuts were installed so as to not be in contact with the cowl when it was secured in place. I made certain the cowl was properly centered. Using a ruler and a black marker I made four blacks dot where the mounting screws should go through the cowl. I carefully drilled four 1/16" pilot holes through those black dots and then expanded them with a 5/32 size drill bit. I secured the cowl in place with the four wood screws. I then temporarily removed the screws and removed my guide strips. I then secured the cowl in place with the four screws.

Over the years I have learned to very carefully install the screws supplied with the spinner into the back plate to cut the grooves in the plastic for the screws without stripping the head of the screws. I did that on my work bench before starting to assemble the spinner and prop on the propeller shaft. I used my propeller reamer to ream out the propeller so it would fit onto the propeller shaft. I installed the back plate, the propeller, the propeller washer and the nut onto the motor shaft. Using a small crescent wrench I tightened the nut stopping to make sure the propeller was properly positioned for the spinner to fit in place. After the propeller was properly tightened I installed the spinner.

Although I though I had the propeller on very tight it managed to move back and push the spinner out of its back plate during the first flight as shown in the picture below. The propeller stop pin is not in line with the position the propeller needs to be in to fit the openings in the spinner. After the first two flights I took off the spinner and retightened the propeller in the proper position using rags so i could hold the propeller in place while tightening the nut to secure it in place with a crescent wrench. So far it has stayed in place.

Completion

Center of Gravity (CG): 3.5" (90mm) back from the leading edge of the wing at the fuselage was recommended in the instruction manual. This was used in the initial flights and the video shot below. I later moved the LiFe battery a little further back but still on the wooden floor and balanced at 95mm back of the wings leading edge. I recommend you start at the 90mm mark as I did.

Control Throws: Low/High Per the Instructions

  • Ailerons: 8mm up/down 10% expo 10mm up/down 10% expo
  • Elevator: 8mm up/down 12% expo 10mm up/down 12% expo
  • Rudder: 25mm right/left 15% expo 40mm right/left 15% expo

The first part of the video below was shot with the high throws. To reduce my rudder to 40mm I had its end point adjustment at 65%. I adjusted that to 100% for the second half of the video as more rudder movement was needed for the aerobatics. After further test flying my controls had final throws adjusted as follows:

Mike's Control Throws Low/High

  • Ailerons: 10mm up/down 10% expo 14mm up/down 10% expo
  • Elevator: 8mm up/down 12% expo 12mm up/down 15% expo
  • Rudder: 40mm right/left 15% expo 60mm right/left 15% expo

Flying

My friend Chris Tapangcura maidened the MXS and flew the two first batteries through her so I could shoot pictures and he was the pilot for the videos below. He recommended maximum rudder and I went to 100% throw for the second flight. Even at 100% rudder throw he was not getting enough rudder throw for the knife edges he wanted. I later increased it to 115% throw in my Futaba Transmitter for high rates for better aerobatics. Just don't interfere with the elevator movement was my friend Bill's advice and I didn't come near that. The plane handles very civilly at the recommend throws but I wanted/needed more range of movement for my standard aerobatics. I recommend you start with the recommend high rates except have rudder at 60mm and adjust from there until you are happy with how she handles. The plane handles beautifully for me at my recommended settings above.

Basics

The plane is set up with four basic controls: throttle, ailerons, elevator and rudder. I have programmed my transmitter so that I have both high and low rates as recommended in the manual and posted above. The plane is very aerobatic and can perform any standard aerobatic I have attempted. For basic flight I have noted that turns are smoother if I include about 25% rudder with the aileron movement. If you have a transmitter that allows you to switch in and out of rudder and aileron mix I recommend it. If not just use the right and left sticks together to blend the ailerons and rudder for smooth turns. The plane can be flown in a very scale like safe and sane general aviation manner and that was done for my first flight. The plane has a wide speed range and with minimal throttle for level flight very long flights are possible with the 6-cell 5500mAh battery.

Taking Off and Landing

My takeoffs have all been from hard surfaces including packed dirt, asphalt and concrete. I don't have a grass runway. I have lined up the plane into the prevailing wind and accelerated slowly and try to make my takeoffs in a scale like fashion. I think it looks best that way and I have sure and steady control. If there is a cross wind I use rudder to straighten the plane as needed. The plane has sufficient power to make a much faster takeoff but I caution of trying to take off to quickly. I want some air flowing over the control surfaces to give me full control of the plane. I want to avoid too much torque with an instant takeoff. My scale like takeoffs have worked excellently.

All landings have been made into the wind and are performed best with power on and descending for landing. Power off too soon and you may find a rather bouncy landing. Smooth power on landings but slowing down look the best and are best for the plane. The second landing in the video below shows you can turn the motor off before touch down when speed is up and have a nice smooth landing. The gear is wide enough that I have no trouble with control provided I slow down before attempting to turn while taxiing the plane back to myself. If you can't wait to make your turn back I recommend some clear 3-M tape on the bottom outer edges of the wing on both sides.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

The plane did nice rolls and loops with the recommended throws on the ailerons and elevator but as discussed above we needed a lot more rudder movement to fly proper knife edges and tail stalls. With proper rudder movement the MXS is a very nice Sunday and aerobatic sport flyer. I have not tried to do 3D flying other than hanging on the prop at altitude and then climbing out of the vertical hover and going back into sport flight. She has a very nice range of speed. A high speed pass down the runway seems particularly impressive after several slow speed passes. The increase motor noise as well as the speed captures attention and even gives me a thrill. I have flown her as a nice relaxing Sunday flyer at slow speed and simple turns in the sky with a few loops and rolls thrown in with a couple high speed passes. I have also flown her from one aerobatic maneuver to the next with tail stalls. dives with spins. Immelmanns, rolls and loops as well as inverted circles around the field. Fly her as you like, with just occasional aerobatics or nonstop aerobatics. The MXS performs the aerobatics nicely and looks great while performing them. The sold blue with a star on the bottom of the wing and the colorful pattern on top made orientation easy even at a distance and on cloudy days.

SECURING THE BATTERIES

I secured the receiver battery to the front floor in the fuselage with two pieces of Velcro that I supplied. I epoxied the Velcro to the floor as the self sticking adhesive came loose with a thin layer of balsa on it. I initially had this battery all the way at the front of the little floor panel and the plane balanced at 90mm back of the wings leading edge. I moved the battery back to the middle of the front balsa floor area and installed another piece of Velcro with epoxy and the plane balanced at 95mm back of the wings leading edge. The battery has stayed in place with the Velcro epoxied to the front floor of the fuselage and the regular sticky backing on the battery.

The main flight battery has a tight fit through the front most bulkhead and this prevented me from using a solid strip of Velcro on the bottom of the battery tray. I used a small piece on the back of the tray and on the battery where it was over the back of the battery tray. I was principally relying on the battery strap to hold the battery in place. On Chris's first flight the battery moved back a little. I made sure the strap was as tight as I could get it on the next two flights. It didn't move on Chris's second flight but it did slid back on my first flight that afternoon. Despite the C/G now being too far back I was able to land the plane without damage. My solution was to add a second battery strap and to add some Velcro to the battery to be in contact with the battery strap. Just adding an inch wide strip of Velcro and the second battery strap ended all battery movement and I am able to change the flight battery quickly at the field.

Be CERTAIN you have your batteries secured in place!

Is This For a Beginner?

NO! Phoenix Models doesn't recommend this plane for beginners and as stated in my opening neither do I! Beginners can be hard on planes, especially when landing or making controlled crashes. This plane is designed and built for the person that already know how to fly so I recommend it only for Intermediate and better pilots.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Phoenix Model's 1/5 Scale MXS RC Sport Plane (7 min 16 sec)

Conclusion

With the exception of my needing to expand the holes in the Rimfire's X mount to fit the bolts supplied with the MXS motor mount; the kit went together quickly and smoothly. I cover anything I did different from the manual in my assembly discussion. I had the main battery slip twice and came up with a different way of securing the battery to the flight straps that stopped the slippage and I recommend that to your attention above. As for the flight characteristics and handling of the plane I have been very pleased. The recommended power unit of the RimFire .46 and the 60A Silver Series ESC allows for a nice speed range and full throttle has allowed for all aerobatics I have tried. I love the color scheme but I have always been fond of red, white and blue. I hope to have this Phoenix model in my hangar for years to come with lots of chances to fly her. For appearance and handling I give her two thumbs up.

Pluses & Minuses

Pluses

  • Colorful plane and over all assembly is quick and easy
  • I like the tail wheel steering assembly
  • Very pretty cowl and landing pants
  • Flies very nicely as a smooth Sunday flyer or a nice aerobatic Sport flyer
  • The recommended .46 Rimfire motor and system does a good job of powering the plane
  • Field assembly is just mounting the batteries and four wing bolts.

Minuses

  • X mount mounting holes need to be expanded to fit the included mounting bolts and nuts for the motor mount
  • Propeller likes to slid back a bit in the spinner as the propeller stops are not properly positioned in the spinner.

Thanks

I want to thank Phoenix Models and Tower Hobbies for supplying the MXS and the additional parts supplied for the review of this plane to RC Groups. I want to thank my friend, Chris, for his assistance with this review and our editor for her assistance with this review as well.

Last edited by Angela H; Oct 13, 2015 at 01:57 PM..
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Oct 15, 2015, 06:29 PM
Crash tests done dirt cheap!
Krumpel's Avatar
Thanks for the review Michael. I have one of these sitting in the shop awaiting it's turn in the build que. I plan to power it with a Saito 72 but it probably will not see a maiden till Spring.
Oct 16, 2015, 08:10 AM
A Thousand miles from nowhere
crosswind_92's Avatar
Nice review, looking forward to seeing one powered with nitro as well.

I have the same .46 motor in a Decathlon on 4s swinging a 13-6 apc, how would the clearance be on this model with the larger diameter prop?
Last edited by crosswind_92; Oct 16, 2015 at 08:13 AM. Reason: another thought
Oct 16, 2015, 10:48 AM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Thread OP
I am going to be out of town this weekend but early next week I will take some pictures with a tape measure to give you an idea of your proposed clearance. Mike Heer
Oct 18, 2015, 07:51 AM
Registered User
Hi -

Nice review. Several of the members in my cub have the Extra and it seemed to be a nice flyer. I believe that airplane was a little larger.

I realize that when asked to review a product, the writer is limited to using the equipment provided. Looking at what was used, I believe that the plane could have been built a little lighter thus providing better performance:

1) The plane is too small for a 6S pack. I have several airplanes in that general size and I normally use a 5S ( I also happen to fly pattern, so 1/2 a pack for the big plane is a 5S pack). With the new batteries available to us you can ask for 1100-1200 watts out of a 5S pack without too much isssue. A 4500 mah pack would be adequate for 7-8 minutes of sport flying. This could save 6 oz or so. To use a 5S pack, the motor would need a Kv in the 520 or so range (ie AXI 4120/18 or the 490 Kv OS, but with a 16x10 prop).

2) Electric planes do not always require full size servos. For the ailerons, I would have used a couple of mini's which would save an ounce or two (anything with a torque of 45 in-oz or above would probably work.

3) In a plane of this size I would used the BEC off the ESC to power the radio. Once I started flying pattern I went back to using a separate receiver pack. Flying through the advanced sequence (about 7 minutes) the 74in wingspan, 10.5 lbs plane consumes only 60-70 mah out of the receiver pack. The plane also has 5 servos (2 ail, rudder, 2 elevator). The biggest advantage for an electric plane is the lack of vibration; the servoes are not constantly trying to find center.

4) For the motor mount, a plywood box might also save a little bit of weight. It takes a little more effort but it does save some weight.

All in all, it looks like a nice plane.

Teo
Last edited by viva_peru; Oct 18, 2015 at 09:24 AM.
May 25, 2016, 10:56 AM
Electrons were young...
I know this is an old thread but I was looking at this plane.

I am wondering about the power system used in the review, a Rimfire 46 with a 6S battery and an 11x5 prop. According to E-Calc that setup would draw over 100amps.

Do you know what the measured amp draw was and what the flight times were?


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