Valley View RC 20cc Gasoline Engine Review, Part Two - RC Groups

Valley View RC 20cc Gasoline Engine Review, Part Two

It's user friendly, costs pennies to operate, puts out incredible power and it's backed by world class customer service. What's not to like?

Splash

Introduction

Valley View RC 20cc Gasoline Engine

Displacement:1.22 cu in (20cc)
Bore:1.3" (32mm)
Stroke:1.0" (25mm)
Weight:23 oz (652g) engine only; 32 oz (907g) with all accessories
RPM Range:1650 - 9000
Output:2.5 hp (1.86kW) @ 9000 RPM
Fuel/Oil As Tested:89-octane unleaded gasoline; AMSOIL synthetic two-stroke oil; 32:1 mix for break-in and first flights
Carburetor:Walbro WT-408 single barrel
Spark Plug:NGK CM-6
Ignition:Rcexl CDI electronic with Hall effect sensor
Ignition Cutoff:Rcexl Opto Type K1 optical
Recommended Propeller Sizes:14x10, 15x8, 16x6, 16x8, 17x6, 17x8
Propeller As Tested:Valley View RC 17x6 beechwood
Spinner As Tested:Miracle 2.5" aluminum
Muffler As Tested:J'tec Pitts muffler
Available From:Valley View RC, 5518 163rd Street East, Suite C, Puyallup, Washington 98375
Price (USD):$209.95 plus applicable tax and shipping

When last we met over this terrific little engine from Valley View RC in Puyallup, Washington, it was for my initial impressions of quality, documentation, etc.

My conclusion was overwhelmingly positive and the review can be found here.

With its beautiful machine work, beautiful bead-blasted finish, excellent documentation and world class customer service, this gasoline "noob" but lifelong gearhead was beyond impressed.

All of the first impressions in the world can't compare to actually starting and running this engine, so it's my pleasure to share those impressions in part two of this review.

Break-in

VVRC recommends a 32:1 mix of 89-octane unleaded pump gasoline and a high quality two-stroke synthetic oil such as those from Stihl, Husqvarna or Red Line. I'd purchased a bottle of Red Line through my friends George and Halle Fetty of Valley V Twin in Indio, California, but I didn't need it right away.

Instead, I had a great deal of help from Dan Metz, president of the Coachella Valley Radio Control Club in the desert east of Palm Springs. An avid gas flyer, Dan had all of the necessary support gear and he was even kind enough to mix some fuel of the proper 32:1 ratio using AMSOIL synthetic racing oil.

After tracking down some items such as a voltage regulator and additional digital servos for the throttle and radio controlled choke, I had the engine plumbed and ready to go in a Nitroplanes Pitts Model 12. Getting everything together through the generous help of no less than five different companies took a great deal of time, but eventually, it all came together. The first part of that model's review may be found here.

Although the model wasn't quite finished, I wanted to at least get the engine running and broken in.

Valley View was kind enough to send two of their beautifully made house brand beechwood propellers, including their recommended 17x6 which I installed for the break-in and again later for the first flights. With most of the electronics and such still flopping about as well as a temporary mounting of the Sullivan 14-ounce slant fuel tank fitted with a Sullivan gasoline conversion kit, I arranged to meet with Dan to start and run the VVRC.

I brought the fuselage, lower wing and the Airtronics SD-10GS transmitter I'd received from Mike Greenshields of Global Hobby Distributors just for this project. I was going to fly it with my Airtronics SD-6G, but given the complexity and extra channels necessary for ignition cutoff and two additional aileron servos, it's a good thing that Mike came through with a ten-channel unit at the 2015 Academy of Model Aeronautics Expo in Ontario, California.

The AMA Expo is held in January, I first got the engine started in mid-September and its first flights were in mid-October. Such had been the time it took to gather everything together, install it on the airframe and get it working.

Now that the model was mostly together and at least operational from a testing standpoint, on went the lower wing, up went the Pitts on a starting stand and in went the fuel. After a quick check of the choke and throttle operation, the Rcexl optical ignition cutoff from VVRC and the prop nut (which needed a bit of tightening), we were ready.

I didn't yet have a spinner since the local hobby shop didn't stock one large enough, so once the engine was primed, Dan spun the prop by hand while wearing a welding glove and while I operated the radio per his instructions. This is a method which VVRC does not recommend, but given the lack of a spinner - not to mention Dan's vast experience - it was the only way to get the engine fired up since there was no way to use an electric starter.

After just a few flips, the 20cc powerplant came to life for the first time with a roar! The sound of that big prop and the J'tec Pitts muffler which I'd purchased from VVRC was nothing short of awesome.

The break-in requires about 20 minutes of running the engine from idle to full throttle and back again, holding each for several seconds before repeating the process. At no time did the engine exhibit even the slightest bit of hesitation or throttle flat spotting. It simply went about its business nearly as smooth as an electric motor might - only with a heck of a lot more sound and smell. Perhaps best of all, the carburetor settings are right on the money from the factory and do not need to be adjusted before starting. It's literally gas and go.

For the sake of this review, we double checked the settings prior to starting and found them to be exactly as recommended.

If the sounds made by the engine were awesome, so too was the power. It was so powerful at full throttle that I couldn't pull the Pitts back away from the stand's padded wing stops. At first, I had the very real fear that the stand was going to be dragged across the pits with the thrust of the engine!

Flying

This is where the fun could truly begin.

Several weeks after the break-in run (such is the nature of my schedule as of late), the big Pitts was ready to fly. I thought for certain that the big engine was going to make for a nose-heavy model, but to my amazement, Dan and I discovered that it balanced perfectly.

Dan is also among the best R/C pilots I know, so I asked him to fly the maiden and he gladly obliged.

We started the engine, this time with Dan on the electric starter thanks to the Miracle 2.5" spinner I'd purchased from VVRC. I was on the radio working choke and throttle. In a moment, the VVRC engine roared to life once more. After a radio range check and a successful full throttle test with Dan on the radio and yours truly holding the model in a full nose-up position, it was ready to fly.

Dan taxied out to the runway and lined up the big biplane for takeoff. The VVRC smoothly pulled the Pitts into the air in mere seconds and it was immediately apparent that the engine was a perfect choice for the model. Once more, throttle response was as smooth across the stick's range as it had been on the ground. Speed was excellent as was torque; no problems pulling straight vertical climbs with this engine and prop combo. Dan later admitted that he greatly enjoyed flying the plane and the VVRC engine was a big factor.

My turn on the sticks came a week later. Now that I'd seen how well the plane flew and with such controllable power, I was looking forward to trying it out.

My grandson Stephen joined me behind a safety fence on the flight line to watch me fly the biggest, most complex model I have ever flown or reviewed. Again, the power was not only incredible, but controllable. I was immediately comfortable with the model once it was in the air.

What impressed me beyond the power was throttle response. Most of the flying I did was between half and three-quarters throttle with a couple of full-throttle, low passes over the runway. There was no hesitation whatsoever, even under load. If I wanted a bit more throttle, the VVRC responded immediately without the slightest stumble. Just fantastic.

I asked Stephen if he wanted me to fly the Pitts once more after my first landing, after I'd taxied back to the flight line and before I shut off the ignition. No problem there for either of us! It was back out to the runway and in the air for even more fun now that I was completely at ease with the model and engine. After the final landing and shutdown, a check of the fuel level showed the Sullivan tank to be around eighty percent full! Not only is this engine powerful, it's efficient.

Since club historian George Muir was unable to come to the field for video, I used my own camera to try and follow the action while Dan flew the model once more. Tracking a fast model is no fun viewed through a small LCD screen, but I managed to get quite a bit of good footage.

The engine simply moved the big Pitts through any maneuver which Dan cared to perform. Vertical was basically unlimited; he was able to pull straight up with no effort whatsoever, put the model into a hammerhead and then into a spin. Sadly, this was one of the parts where I lost track of the model, but as seen in the video below, the engine and model make a great combination.

Is This For a Beginner?

As a raw beginner to the world of gasoline powered R/C flight, I would have to say absolutely and emphatically yes. This is, quite possibly, the easiest way for any experienced glow and/or electric pilot to make the transition to gasoline. It's easily broken in, starts easily, runs great and does so for literally pennies per flight.

While I wouldn't even begin to recommend anything like this engine for someone completely new to R/C flight to attempt and fly on their own, it would make an excellent powerplant for a large scale, easy-to-see club trainer.

Video and Photo Gallery

Here's the VVRC engine pulling the big Pitts through the air with absolute ease:

Nitroplanes Pitts Model 12 and Valley View RC 20cc Gasoline Engine - RCGroups (4 min 20 sec)

Here are some photos of the engine soon after installation with the prop and muffler mocked up. I later changed the mounting bolts to longer ones:

This was the break-in session on the incomplete airframe prior to first starting the engine:

Conclusion

The Valley View RC 20cc engine is one of the finest R/C products in any category which I've had the pleasure to review. VVRC truly did take the best aspects of other engines and combine them into a single, high-quality gem of an engine. Any fears I might of had as a new gas user melted immediately as I flew the model for the first time.

So nice was this combination that a couple of pilots at the club offered to buy the model! Frankly, I like it too much to sell it right away, so I plan to buy a fueling station of my own so that I can enjoy flying at will.

Two thumbs, way, way up. This is a winner.

I want to thank Tammy and the crew at Valley View RC for supplying this engine and accessories for the review of the Nitroplanes Pitts. Their customer service is simply unparalleled based on my emails and phone calls, not to mention the business cards with the handwritten "thank you" accompanying each and every order I placed. This is truly one of the best vendors I've ever worked with and I hope to do so again soon.

Dan Metz and John Cunningham of the Coachella Valley Radio Control Club were instrumental in the break-in, final model setup, videography and just plain help and friendship, not to mention Dan's fuel and oil and John's electric pump when the battery in Dan's pump died prior to some test flights. Without them, I simply wouldn't have gotten this engine broken in and flying.

It was a real privilege having my grandson Stephen Squillace at my side for my first flights. He's seen a lot of my projects over the years and he was especially impressed with this one.

Thanks as always to Angela Haglund and Jim T. Graham at the RCGroups.com administrators' desk who work on behalf of we in the authors' forum and you, our worldwide audience of hobby enthusiasts.

Thanks for visiting RCGroups.com!

Pluses and Minuses

Pluses include:

  • Incredibly easy to break in, start and run
  • Ready to run straight from the box with no carburetor or timing adjustments needed
  • Affordably priced
  • Outstanding fit, finish and quality
  • Outstanding customer service from an American company
  • Incredible power for mere pennies per flight
  • Smooth throttle response with no hesitation noted
  • VVRC also has the propellers and other accessories needed to get flying, not to mention airframes
  • Quite possibly the best way for anyone to step into gasoline powered flight

No minuses were noted.

Last edited by DismayingObservation; Oct 27, 2015 at 07:26 PM..
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Nov 01, 2015, 10:15 AM
Tree hopper
gabe221's Avatar
I have one of these. How many tanks did it take to break it in?
Nov 01, 2015, 08:05 PM
Registered User
I have one too. It was a bit less than a gallon. I do that in general. It's a great running engine.
Edwin
Nov 01, 2015, 08:10 PM
Tree hopper
gabe221's Avatar
I maiden the VV Yak with the engine, it was great !! I'm looking forward to flying it again..
Nov 01, 2015, 09:03 PM
Registered User
Mine is in a GP Waco. Plenty of power.
Edwin
Nov 02, 2015, 09:49 AM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gabe221
I have one of these. How many tanks did it take to break it in?
Per the manual, the initial break-in is about 20 minutes at varying speeds and then just flying normally.

Once I get my own fuel can, patch the hole I made in the firewall and make a new choke pushrod, I hope to fly it regularly on the 32:1 mix for now. I don't have the manual handy, so I can't say for sure how much longer I'll need to run it at that ratio, but for now, it's incredible fun.
Nov 07, 2015, 10:22 PM
Registered User
neat engine might have to look at it to replace my Saito 1.00 in my Edge
Nov 07, 2015, 10:35 PM
Suspended Account
Can you tell me that more information about this engine , and which the best of the prices . Can I ordered buy online to this engine with some extra features .
Nov 08, 2015, 07:26 AM
Mach 2
R3gou's Avatar
Those biplanes always look like so much fun!
Nov 10, 2015, 09:22 AM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmcclain
Can you tell me that more information about this engine , and which the best of the prices . Can I ordered buy online to this engine with some extra features .
Of course, David! I linked to the order page up at the top inside of the spec sheet, but here it is again:

http://www.valleyviewrc.com/estore/v...as-engine.html

Just to recap, it comes complete with a muffler and an ignition module. It's tuned and ready to start right out of the box. Even the spark plug is installed and ready.

The muffler is good for upright and horizontal mounting, much like a glow engine's muffler.

The extras I used were the Pitts styled dual exhaust muffler, the spinner and the all-important voltage regulator, all from Valley View.

I've had the pleasure of working with a lot of great vendors and manufacturers over the years and I have to tell you that VVRC ranks among the best.
Nov 10, 2015, 09:26 AM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by R3gou
Those biplanes always look like so much fun!
This one certainly is. My first was a Kyosho Phantom with an O.S. .46 two-stroke. I won it at a club raffle. It was mostly completed and unflown, but whomever assembled it did some really bizarre things to it, not the least of which was cutting the landing gear struts and attempting to reattach them! Had to get a buddy to silver solder them back in place.

Lost that one due to dumb thumbs on takeoff. That said, while the Phantom was fun to fly, the Pitts is even more so. The Phantom was a scale pylon racer and totally incapable of aerobatics.

The Pitts will take pretty much anything you can toss its way. Just too darn much fun.
Nov 10, 2015, 06:26 PM
Registered User
wonder how it would run on 100LL?
Nov 15, 2015, 10:58 PM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elios000
wonder how it would run on 100LL?
Everything runs better on 100LL. I had an old VW Bus years ago and my brother was driving an airport fuel truck at the time. He swung by the house on the way to the fuel depot with a nearly empty tank, I pumped some into that old Kombi and brother, it never ran better.

Actually, I asked about exotic fuels, octane boosters and the like and VVRC said all I'd need was good old mid-grade unleaded.
Feb 15, 2016, 08:27 AM
ken kalynuk, winnipeg CAN
kenair's Avatar
Hi, good review, however in the video I really want to hear how the engine runs, the music is a PIA for us old farts.
cheers - ken
Apr 03, 2016, 04:20 PM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenair
Hi, good review, however in the video I really want to hear how the engine runs, the music is a PIA for us old farts.
cheers - ken
Ah, not to worry. It's a symphony with that Pitts muffler.

Right now, the model is temporarily down for the count. After the issue with the canopy blowing off, it's been sitting idle.

All is not lost since the fuselage is presently in the hands of an expert modeler and sponsored helicopter pilot. He has the band saw and other woodworking tools needed to patch that hole I'd cut in the firewall. In fact, I saw him just today at the field.

He told me the other day that he should have it fixed and ready sometime this week, possibly with additional reinforcement of the firewall. When it's back together and I bring it out for another flight, I'll get video of the engine running on a starting stand. No music.


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