Tower Hobbies Kaos 60 GP/EP ARF - RC Groups

Tower Hobbies Kaos 60 GP/EP ARF

The Tower Hobbies Kaos 60 is a great everyday sport plane that can also be flown in vintage RC pattern events. It is very mild mannered and can easily perform all the usual sport aerobatic maneuvers.

Splash

Introduction

Tower Hobbies Exclusive: Kaos 60
Wingspan:62 in (1575 mm)
Length:57.5 in (1460 mm)
Wing Area:748 sq in
Weight:7 8.25 lb
Wing Loading:22-25 oz/sq ft
Receiver:Futaba R617FS
Servos:4 or 5 Standard-sized Servos
Battery:6S LiPo, 3800 - 4400 mAh
Motor:1200W, 500 kV Outrunner
ESC:50 - 80 Amp
Prop:APC 15x8 2-Blade
Transmitter:Futaba 8FG Super
Manufacturer:Tower Hobbies
Available From:Tower Hobbies and local hobby shops
Street Price:$179.97

When I first started flying RC in the late 60's, I was always impressed by the guys flying Pattern Planes. Those big graceful planes could trace perfectly circular loops one after the other and then string together endless axial rolls from horizon to horizon. When I finally saved up enough money, I bought myself a Bridi Kaos kit. It took me several weeks to build and cover the Kaos and then several flights to get it even close to trimmed out. Remember, "back in the day" everything had to be adjusted mechanically - no sub-trims, no expo, no dual rates, and no model memory.

That first Kaos taught me a lot about Pattern flying. I learned that having a good pattern plane was only part of the equation. Practice, practice, and more practice was needed to get that plane to fly the maneuvers as well as those other flyers at our field. Over the years, I've owned a number of Kaos', and I've loved every one of them. However, as the years have moved on, I found that I enjoyed the flying much more than I enjoyed the building, and a Kaos took a lot more time to build and cover than I was willing to invest. I also found that I preferred electric as my preferred power source and the Kaos ARFs that eventually came on the market were not properly designed for electric power.

Imagine my delight when I saw the Tower announcement of their new Kaos 60 ARF. The Tower Kaos not only boasted of an electric power mounting option, but it also included a large battery hatch and removable wing panels. I was hooked!

The big Brown Truck finally stopped by with my new Tower Kaos 60 kit, so it's time to open the box and get started.

Kit Contents

  • Built-up balsa and ply airframe
  • High-quality covering material
  • Fuselage with canopy and large battery hatch
  • Two-piece wing with aluminum joiner tube and pre-hinged ailerons
  • Pre-hinged elevator and rudder
  • Fiberglass cowl
  • Glow motor mount and glow fuel tank
  • Plywood electric motor mount parts
  • Tricycle landing gear with 2-3/4" nose wheel and 3" mains
  • 2-3/4" plastic spinner
  • Complete hardware package
  • 24-Page photo-illustrated instruction manual

Required Parts

  • Minimum 4-channel radio system
  • 4 mini servos (5 for glow)
  • .60 to .91 2-stroke glow engine
  • 1100 mAh LiFe receiver battery (glow)
  • 1100-1500 Watt brushless electric motor
  • 3800-4400 mAh 6-cell 25C LiPo battery
  • 75 - 80 Amp ESC with BEC
  • ESC and Aileron Servo extensions
  • 30 minute epoxy and CA glue
  • Non-Permanent Thread Locking Compound
  • Common building tools

Parts Supplied by Tower Hobbies for this Review

Tower Hobbies supplied a powerful Rimfire .80 brushless outrunner motor, a Castle Creations Talon 90 ESC, two FlightPower 4000 mah 3-cell Lipo battery packs, a Futaba R617FS seven-channel FASST receiver, and four Futaba S3010 standard high-torque servos.

Assembly

The 24-page photo-illustrated Instruction Manual is very good. There are numerous detailed photos of each building process and a good explanation of each step in the process. This manual is well suited for the intermediate ARF builder. This Review will attempt to give some useful tips to help with the building process. The first tip would be to install the two trim decals on the wings before starting the assembly process. Use the manual illustrations to help with the decal placement.

Wing

The airframe assembly process began with the wing. The ailerons were pre-hinged and CA'ed in place - a really nice touch. Each aileron servo position had a pre-cut opening sized for a mini Tactic TSX25 servo. Since I planned to use standard size servos, each opening had to be enlarged slightly. The instruction manual detailed the areas to remove for the larger servos.

With both of the aileron servos mounted and the linkages and control horns in place, the next step was to assemble the main landing gear and fit them to the wing blocks. The main gear had flats machined into the trailing edge of each strut for the set screws on the wheel collars.

Using the end of a gear strut, I was able to check the width of the slots in the gear blocks. I found that each block needed a little trimming with a Dremel bit to allow the gear strut to fit all the way to the bottom of the block slot. Once the slots were widened, the gear struts were installed and checked to be sure they slanted toward the rear of the aircraft.

Fuselage

The assembly process continued with the fuselage. A trial fit of the vertical stab found that the assembly would not seat into the slots in the horizontal stab. The rudder was hitting the elevator joiner rod and could not move forward enough for the tabs to fit in the horizontal stab slots. Careful examination revealed that the rudder covering had not been removed over the clearance slot area.

Once the excess rudder covering was removed, the vertical stab was easily installed onto the horizontal stab. I inserted a dress makers hemming pin into the lower rudder hinge to hold it in alignment while the rudder/elevator assembly was fitted to the fuselage.

With the tail feathers firmly attached, I turned my attention to the nose wheel assembly. Like the main gear, the nose wheel strut had machined flats for the set screws. The instruction manual was very intentional to mention the use of thread locking compound on the screws of the nose wheel assembly. However, the white nose block is made of a hard plastic material rather than the more familiar nylon seen in other models. Thread locking compound has a very deleterious effect on any plastic material. It causes plastic to become very brittle and fail. Therefore, special measures must be taken so that the nose block does not come in contact with ANY thread locking compound at all. This is what happens to a Kaos nose wheel block when it comes into contact with thread locking compound.

I mounted the nose gear assembly to the firewall and lightly tightened the mounting screws. Thread locking compound was applied to the screw threads exposed on the back side of the firewall. The screws were backed out two turns, and then fully tightened down. The excess compound was wiped off and the job was done.

Next up was building the plywood motor box extension for the Rimfire .80 motor. It took me several tries to get the parts sorted out and dry fit together in the right orientation. Once I had them laid out in the proper location, the front panel was epoxied together. When I inserted the blind nuts into the provided holes, the top edges of the blind nuts extended above the front panel. A few strokes with a Dremel grinding wheel removed the edges and allowed the top panel to fit flush. Building the box was a messy and sticky process, so I wore gloves and used rubber bands to hold the sides in place till the epoxy hardened.

Once the epoxy had set, the motor box was very sturdy and easily bolted in place on the firewall. The Rimfire .80 was a perfect fit on the motor box and the Talon 90 ESC was easily mounted to the bottom of the motor box for a nice clean installation.

Before I started the radio installation, I noticed that the canopy/hatch was pretty loose and the latch pin would not slide all the way forward. It seemed that the oval shaped hole in the canopy was cut perpendicular to the angled surface at the back of the canopy and the latch pin was parallel to the fuselage top. The pin would only go a little way into the canopy slot which allowed the canopy to move on the fuselage. After I enlarged the hole at the top of the slot, the latch pin would slide all the way forward and the canopy was held firmly to the fuselage.

Radio Installation

The servo mounting tray in the fuselage was designed for Tactic mini servos, so the spacing had to be adjusted for the full-size Futaba S3010 servos.

The Futaba R617FS receiver was mounted with hook and loop fastening material to the side of the fuselage just ahead of the servos. The antennas were routed through coffee stir sticks and mounted at right angles. The two 4000 mAh LiPo battery packs were mounted to the rear of the battery tray to achieve the recommended CG location.

Completion

The completed Tower Kaos weighed 7 lbs 3 oz with batteries, RTF. The plane balanced at 4-1/2" from the leading edge with the batteries positioned to the rear of the battery platform.

The surface throws were set to the recommended amounts for high and low rates. Since I prefer some exponential, I set 25% Expo for high rates and 20% Expo for low rates. I then set the transmitter countdown timer for 6 minutes and had it start and run at any throttle setting above 20%.

With the recommended 15x6 prop, the Rimfire .80 pulled 57.94 Amps and indicated 1294.5 Watts static power at WOT. This power level calculated out to an impressive 180 Watts per pound. Since a good pattern plane must be able to fly the sequence even in windy conditions, this level of power should be very adequate.

Flying

Propeller Change

While the APC 15x6 propeller flew the Kaos very well, I felt it needed just a bit more speed and since I intended to fly from some grass strips this season, I felt it needed a little more prop clearance. I switched to an APC 14x7 prop and the improvement was impressive. Static Wattage and current usage dropped slightly with the smaller prop (1169.7 Watts & 52.32 Amps), but flight times went up. I felt the plane had better speed, better acceleration, and better vertical performance. The remainder of the flying evaluation and the video were all based on the 14x7 prop.

Basics

The Tower Kaos is advertised as a Vintage Radio Control Society legal Pattern plane with strong sport plane roots. It should have spirited performance, neutral flight stability, and rock-solid tracking. I think our Kaos excels at all three areas.

Taking Off and Landing

The Tower Kaos had plenty of power and, thanks to the tricycle gear, the takeoffs were straight down the runway without any rudder correction required. Under full throttle, the Kaos could be rotated and climbed out at a steep angle of departure or, with a mild throttle application, allowed to break ground by itself and eased into a shallow climb out. Either way, the plane felt rock solid right from the throttle up.

Landings were a thing of beauty. The thick wing airfoil provided excellent control authority throughout the entire landing pattern. The Kaos could be flown all the way to touchdown with a little power, or powered back and the nose held high through touched down. The tricycle gear allowed for straight roll outs and excellent ground handling all the way back to the pits.

Sport Flying

The Tower Kaos was very true to it's Sport Plane roots. It could perform all the normal sport plane maneuvers with ease. The strip ailerons took a bit of getting used to, but on high rates, the Kaos had an adequate roll rate. I had to move the CG back to it's rearmost location and use high rate rudder to get the Kaos to perform snapping and spinning maneuvers, but only mid rate rudder was needed for sustained knife edge. The more rearward CG also allowed easier inverted flight with less down elevator pressure needed for level flight.

Classic Pattern Aerobatics

With the rates on Low, and careful attention to smoothing out the maneuvers, the Tower Kaos flew a very respectable VRCS Pattern Sequence. The Kaos flew very smoothly and it would maintain heading nicely on its own. There was very little coupling to the gear during knife edge flight and only a little down elevator needed during inverted flight. There was plenty of power for long vertical lines and large looping maneuvers.

Is This For a Beginner?

Not a chance. The Tower Kaos is designed for neutral stability and has no self-righting characteristics. However, it is perfect as a smooth flying sport plane or a first-time pattern plane.

Flight Photo Gallery

Thank goodness my friend Jesse Webb was behind the Nikon because I was having way too much fun flying this new Tower Hobbies Kaos.

Flight Video

Jesse Webb was once again on video duty as I taxied out the Kaos and lined up for takeoff. He was right on target as I put the Kaos through its paces. Snaps and spins really needed high rate rudder but Jesse kept right on filming even when the maneuvers were completely unrecognizable. Low rate rudder kept the takeoffs and landing smooth. Overall, the Kaos flew every maneuver very smoothly. However, it looks like the pilot still needs a lot more practice before he can compete in any Vintage Pattern Events.

Tower Hobbies Kaos 60 - RCGroups.com (7 min 54 sec)

Conclusion

The Tower Hobbies Kaos 60 is a great everyday sport plane that can also be flown in vintage RC pattern events. It is very mild mannered and can easily perform all the usual sport aerobatic maneuvers. Strip ailerons make the rolling maneuvers a little slower, but it won't take long to get used to that minor quirk. If you are comfortable with a low-wing aileron plane, the Kaos is the perfect next step and it is the perfect plane to transition into the world of aerobatic flight. Whether you are poking around the pattern at half throttle, or blazing past the pits at full bore, the Kaos is rock solid and you have that wonderful feeling of being in full control at all times. The generous canopy/hatch area makes battery installation easy and the two-piece wing makes transportation a breeze.

Pluses

  • Excellent Flight Characteristics
  • Vintage RC Competition Legal
  • Excellent Sport Plane Performance
  • Two-Piece Wing
  • Generous Hatch Area
  • Attractive Color Scheme
  • Very High Value

Minuses

  • Minor Parts Fit Issues
  • Servo Openings Sized For Mini Servos

Thanks

I'd like to thank Tower Hobbies for providing the Kaos 60 model for this review. Thanks to Jesse Webb for helping with the photos and video.

Last edited by kingsflyer; Mar 18, 2016 at 01:04 AM..
Thread Tools
Mar 29, 2016, 06:00 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
Man I love this Kaos!

McD
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
Mar 29, 2016, 07:43 PM
West Coast Director, CPA
Vertigo II's Avatar
There isn't much to not like! They hit a home run with this one. With a larger capacity battery, we regularly fly it through a full Master's pattern with about 25% left in the pack.

Robert
Mar 29, 2016, 10:35 PM
Registered User
Great review. I have been very happy with mine. They need to fix the hatch latch problem for those of us that still fly glow. The latch can't handle the vibrations and fails. Other than that, go buy one. You won't be disappointed.
Mar 30, 2016, 01:39 AM
Registered User
I have to say that it's nice to see an engine in the nose of your Kaos lfd47. It's even nicer to see you call it glow.
Mar 30, 2016, 09:14 AM
Wishing I was at Torrey Pines
dee-grose's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsflyer
However, it looks like the pilot still needs a lot more practice before he can compete in any Vintage Pattern Events.
Vintage? Are you referring to the plane or the pilot?

Couldn't resist that one, Mike. Nice job on the review.

Andy
Mar 30, 2016, 10:12 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
Yes!
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
Mar 30, 2016, 02:07 PM
jrb
jrb
Member
jrb's Avatar
Nicely done!

Mine on order -- looks like late May.

Got everything but the Kaos.

I went with the recommended Tactic TSX25 mini digital high-speed 2 ball bearing servos.

Wonder why Tower sent you the S3010s?
Mar 30, 2016, 02:30 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
When I was assigned the review, Tower was out of the Tactic servos. The S3010s were my choice from what was available at the time. I've used the Tactic servos and would have preferred them for this project, if they would have been in stock.

McD
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
Mar 30, 2016, 04:59 PM
Crash tests done dirt cheap!
Krumpel's Avatar
Great review, and Jesse did a wonderful job filming your flight. Been thinking about this one as I have the smaller Tower Kaos with a Saito 56 on the nose and love the way it flies. I find the older pattern ships much more attractive than the newer flippy/floppy designs. I can remember seeing the 1960 era designs flying on reeds and thinking how much I wanted to fly something like that. Now after a 40 plus year hiatus, I can.
Mar 30, 2016, 05:14 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
I flew my Falcon 56 on reeds with an OS 40HP. Luckily by the time I got my Kaos I was flying a Kraft Gold Medal Series radio.

Rumor has it that the 40 size may be next to get the Tower Hobbies electrification treatment. I hope it's true.

McD
Last edited by kingsflyer; Mar 30, 2016 at 08:40 PM.
Mar 30, 2016, 05:28 PM
Registered User
Fentonflyers's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsflyer
When I was assigned the review, Tower was out of the Tactic servos. The S3010s were my choice from what was available at the time. I've used the Tactic servos and would have preferred them for this project, if they would have been in stock.

McD
Nice review McD. I am getting ready to put mine together. I have some of the TSX25's but I recently purchased a couple of these for another build.

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXFWGS&P=NW

They seem identical to the TSX25 but have metal gears. I am thinking of using these for the rudder and elevator. I have been very pleased with the 6 or so flights I have on them in a 60 sized 3d plane.
Mar 30, 2016, 05:37 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
They look like a good servo. Specs are pretty close. Let us know your impressions once you get them flying in the Kaos.

McD
Last edited by kingsflyer; Mar 30, 2016 at 05:50 PM.
Mar 31, 2016, 04:18 PM
Registered User
DustBen's Avatar
That fuselage looks short. It might be because of photography or how the graphics are presented.

On the original Kaos, it was 48" from the prop flange to the tail post.

How long is this Kaos?
Mar 31, 2016, 06:03 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
I measured 51" from the rudder hinge line to the back of the spinner. Maybe this picture will give you a better perspective.

McD
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28


Thread Tools