Extreme Flight Legacy Series 65" Turbo Duster Review - RC Groups

Extreme Flight Legacy Series 65" Turbo Duster Review

Turbo Duster - An Exciting New Aerobatic Sport Scale Model from Extreme Flight.

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Introduction

Extreme Flight Turbo Duster
Wingspan:65 in
Length:55 in
Wing Area:747 sq in
Weight:6 6.5 lb
Wing Loading:20.05 oz/sq ft
Receiver:Minimum 5 Channel - 7 Channel Preferred
Servos:6 Mini, Metal Gear, Digital Servos
Battery:6S LiPo, 4000 - 5500 mAh
Motor:1200-1400 W, 480 - 500 kV Outrunner
ESC:80 Amp
Prop:16x7 2-Blade
Transmitter:Spektrum Dx18 G2
Manufacturer:Extreme Flight
Available From:Extreme Flight and fine hobby shops
Street Price:$349.95

Growing up in South Texas, Crop Dusters were a common sight. I used to watch them swoop low over the crop rows and then zoom up at the last second at the end of the rows just barely missing the power lines and trees. There was something exciting and dangerous about the process. It was hard to take my eyes off the bright yellow planes as they worked their way across the fields. I always wanted to fly a crop duster and be able to make it perform just like those amazing pilots I watched over those dusty Texas fields.

Air Tractor 502 the best crop duster flying you will ever see guaranteed (2 min 48 sec)

Well, I'd pretty much given up on my dream to fly a full-size crop duster, something about age and wisdom I guess. Then I saw that Extreme Flight had introduced a new line of planes called the Legacy Aviation Series. These planes were described as some of the best scale general aviation civilian aircraft, both vintage and modern. And wouldn't you know it, one of the first planes in this series was the Turbo Duster. Looks like I may finally get my wish after all.

Review Video

Extreme Flight Legacy Series 65" Turbo Duster - RCGroups.com (7 min 24 sec)

Kit Contents

  • Built-up balsa and ply airframe
  • High-quality Oracover/Ultracote covering material
  • Fuselage with huge cockpit/battery hatch
  • Two-piece wing with pre-hinged ailerons and flaps
  • Pre-hinged elevator and rudder
  • Fiberglass cowl painted to match the covering
  • 52mm spinner
  • Complete hardware package
  • 28-Page photo-illustrated instruction manual

Required Parts

  • Minimum 5-channel radio system
  • 6 mini metal gear digital servos
  • 6 Long heavy duty servo arms
  • 1000-1400 Watt electric motor
  • 4000-5500 mAh 6-cell 25C Lipo battery
  • 80 Amp ESC with BEC
  • Servo extensions
  • 30 minute epoxy and CA glue
  • Non-Permanent Thread Locking Compound
  • Common building tools

Parts Supplied by Extreme Flight for this Review

For this review, Extreme Flight supplied a Torque 4016T/500 MKII brushless outrunner motor, an Airboss Elite 80 Amp ESC, six Extreme Flight Light Weight Servo Arms, and a full set of Extreme Flight 28 AWG Servo Extensions.

Assembly

The 28-page photo-illustrated Instruction Manual is very good. There are numerous photos and detailed building instructions for each step. The Turbo Duster Manual is well written for intermediate ARF builders who are the target audience for this type of plane. However, some of the pictures in the printed manual were not very clear due to the grayscale printing process. Luckily the online manual shows those same pictures very clearly in full color. I found myself using both media for the build process. As good as this Extreme Flight manual was, there were still a few hints I'd like add to help ease the building process.

Wing

The assembly process began with the wing. All the needed wing hardware was neatly packed into a plastic bag clearly marked "Main Wing". I used a Dremel sanding disc to roughen up the bottom of each control horn. The sanding helped to knock off the surface glaze and prepare the area to better adhere to the epoxy. I found it helpful to trial fit each horn in place before mixing up the epoxy. A couple of the slots needed a little attention with a hobby knife to open them up slightly.

Once the horns were installed, it was time to CA the aileron and the flap hinges. I found that the CA hinge material was difficult to keep centered in the hinge slots so I used some of my wife's dress maker hem pins to help center them. Hemming pins are very thin and worked perfectly to keep the hinges centered and the surfaces barely separated.

The next issue was positioning the surfaces laterally along the trailing edge of the wing. The finished aileron and flap needed to have clearance from each other and clearance from the fuselage for proper operation. I found that a sheet of card stock paper was just the perfect thickness to provide the needed clearance. Starting at the wing tip, I placed a piece of card stock, then the aileron. Next came another sheet of card stock and then the flap. Once all the surfaces were in position, I was able to apply the CA and remove the pins and card stock.

Next up was the aileron/flap servo installation. When I test fit the recommended Hitec HS-5245MG servos, they were just a tad longer than the openings in the wing structure. I was able to trim off a 1/8" sliver of the balsa covering toward the trailing edge of the servo opening and expose the servo mount plywood just below. Once the balsa was removed, the servo fit perfectly.

Fishing the servo wires through a wing has always been a PITA for me. In this case though, I found a method to ease the pain. First I threaded the Aileron servo extension through the structure and out the flap servo hole. Then I taped the aileron and flap servo leads together and they easily slipped through the wing and out the end. Piece of cake!

Once the servos were mounted in the wing, I installed the 1.25" Extreme Flight light weight servo arms. These arms were tapped with 2mm threads that perfectly matched the control hardware provided with the Turbo Duster.

The ball links in the kit proved a little more challenging. I was not able to get the threaded metal pushrods to start into the ball links. I finally used a 2-56 tap to start some threads in the ball links. I would have used a 2mm tap if I had one, and I would have run the tap at least half way into the ball link. To help the pushrod continue to cut threads as it moved farther into the ball link, I used my Dremel cutoff wheel to grind a point on both ends of the pushrod.

Even with all this preparation, the ball links still needed some serious torque to screw onto the pushrod. I used two hex key wrenches to tighten both links at the same time until they were about 2-1/2" center to center.

After final tuning for servo centering and pushrod length, the ailerons and flaps were properly centered and the wing was ready for flight.

Fuselage

The assembly process continued with the fuselage. First step was to mount the landing gear. I found it easier to install the wheels on the gear before I mounted the gear to the fuselage. When I mounted the wheels, the threaded end and the axel end extended out past the wheel and looked like they would snag on things during grass field landings. I used my Dremel cutoff wheel to trim off the excess length of thread and axel. The final result looked a lot cleaner to me.

Once again the dress maker hem pins worked great to help keep the rudder hinges centered. The tailwheel was next and it needed a slight bend to help match the contour of the rudder upsweep. The tailwheel drive bracket needed to be opened up slightly to allow the mounting screw to move freely as the rudder moved to each side.

The rudder servo pushrod was prepared just like the aileron pushrods and set at 2-3/4" as a starting point. The servo was installed and centered before the Extreme Flight servo arm was attached so that the proper pushrod to servo arm 90 degree angle could be set. I found that it was much easier to install the elevator servo at this same time rather than waiting till the elevator and stab were installed and in the way.

The elevator and horizontal stab installation was probably the most intricate portion of the whole build. As stated in the manual, the elevator needed to be installed first, upside down and backwards. Since the top and bottom of the elevator look very similar, I marked the top of the left stab and elevator as I removed them from their package while they were still together. The elevator was a very tight fit, but eventually it slid through the opening and was left to hang down as the stab was installed. When the stab was slid in place, the left top side marking still matched. Winner! In addition, the horizontal stab was perfectly straight with the carbon fiber wing tube and easily positioned in the fuselage slot to achieve proper spacing and alignment. The elevator pushrod was set at 2-1/16" as a starting point.

Once the stab and elevator were installed, there was an ugly gap behind them in the fuselage. Turned out there were two small swatches of covering material the two small pieces of balsa wood included in the kit to fill that very gap. Once the balsa pieces were covered, they could be CA'ed in the gap.

The next part of the build involved the installation of the Extreme Flight Torque motor and Airboss ESC to the fuselage. After mounting the motor with the wires routed to the starboard side where there appeared to be plenty of clearance, I found that the cowl would not fit because it hit the motor wiring. A closer examination of the picture in the manual showed that the motor wiring should be routed toward the bottom of the motor box and the ESC mounted to the bottom using tie wraps.

Once the motor/ESC wiring was sorted, the cowl fit easily in place. I found that inserting a couple of pieces of card stock between the top of the canopy hatch and the cowl insured enough clearance to install and remove the canopy after the cowl was bolted in place.

Radio Installation

The Spectrum AR9020 receiver was mounted with hook and loop fastening material and was installed at the back of the fuselage compartment over the trailing edge of the wing. The remote receivers were installed beside and to the rear of the main receiver with their antennas oriented in different planes and at 90 degree to each other. I marked each wing servo lead and each matching receiver lead with small tape tags to keep them in their proper orientation once the wings were removed.

Completion

The completed Turbo Duster weighed 6 lbs 8 ounces with batteries, RTF. The plane balanced on the recommended CG with the batteries positioned exactly over the wing spar.

The surface throws and exponential amounts were set to the recommended values for high and 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 16x7 prop, the Extreme Flight Torque motor pulled a hefty 72.31 Amps and indicated 1635.6 Watts static power at WOT. This power level calculated out to an impressive 252 Watts per pound! That is definitely 3D power territory. I can't wait to get this baby in the air.

Flying

Basics

The Turbo duster is advertised as a Sport/3D aerobatic airplane. As such, it should have spirited performance, neutral flight stability, plenty of excess power, and rock-solid tracking. Let's see how it performs.

Flap Programming

The Turbo Duster's huge flaps presented an interesting programming opportunity. For the review model, I programmed three flight modes.

Flight Mode 1 had the flaps acting as "normal" flaps on a 3-position switch. Position 1 was flaps up for normal flight. Position 2 was flaps at 45 degrees for takeoffs and landings. Position 3 was flaps at 80 degrees for short takeoffs and landings as well as very steep and slow approaches.

Flight Mode 2 had the flaps coupled to the ailerons. This mode should result in mighty fast roll rates.

Flight Mode 3 had the flaps at full down position and the ailerons at full up position. This is sometimes called Crow. Using 100% differential to limit the aileron up travel, I was able to have only one aileron move downward at a time to maintain aileron control. This mode should result in some very steep and slow approaches.

Taking Off and Landing

The Extreme Flight Turbo Duster had lots of power and flaps. Takeoffs were no problem. When I eased into the throttle, I could stretch out the takeoff run and make it look very scale. When I lowered the flaps and punched the throttle, the Turbo Duster exploded off the ground and headed for the stars. Very impressive performance indeed. However, heavy applications of throttle required a good amount of rudder to keep the plane on the centerline.

Landings were a thing of beauty. The Turbo Duster could be slowed to a walk and gently touched down even without the flaps. Main wheel landings were as easy as flying the plane down till the wheels touched and cutting the power. Holding the nose up and easing the plane down resulted in impressive tailwheel first landings every time. The flaps were very effective and could slow the plane even further. Landing flaps and Crow allowed for some impressive steep landing approaches and even what appeared to be backwards flight on a windy day. The rudder and tailwheel were very effective and the Turbo Duster was a joy to taxi.

Sport Flying

The Turbo Duster is an excellent sport scale model. It is very responsive to control inputs and it will perform all the sport aerobatic maneuvers with ease. Loops can be as big as your imagination and eyesight will allow. Rolls are nice and axial without the need for any differential. Inverted flight is easy and stable with only a hint of down elevator. Knife edge flight is locked in with only a slight bit of coupling to the canopy. Flaps are very effective and need just a touch of down elevator to compensate for the extra lift. Slow speed flight is unbelievable. A good computer transmitter will allow some crazy mixes of ailerons, flaps, and spoilers to really liven up your Sunday flying. Here's just a small taste of what's possible.

3D Aerobatics

I'm simply can't do the Extreme Flight Turbo Duster justice when it comes to 3D. However, the good folks over at NorthWestRC have posted this video of the Turbo Duster doing what it does best. This should give you a better idea of the Turbo Duster's 3D capabilities.

Legacy Aviation 65" Turbo Duster (5 min 22 sec)

Is This For a Beginner?

Nope! The Turbo Duster has no self-righting characteristics. The airframe is specifically designed for light weight and extreme performance, not basic training. However, it is perfect as a first 3D model that can also serve as a sport scale model and an everyday sport plane.

Flight Photo Gallery

Jesse Webb was in command of the Nikon while I was having all the fun on the Dx18. Here are some pictures from the first flight on the Turbo Duster.

Conclusion

The Extreme Flight Turbo Duster is just a great flying plane. It excels as an everyday Sport plane, it's a spirited scale-like crop duster, and it's a hucking 3D phenome. What more could you ask? I'm so impressed with this new Legacy Series from Extreme Flight that I'm going order a backup Turbo Duster right now just in case. I know I'm gonna push this one to the very limits of my abilities and maybe a little beyond, so having a spare is probably my best bet. With a 65" wingspan, the Turbo Duster will easily fit in the bed of most trucks fully assembled. With the wings removed, it will easily fit in almost any vehicle.

Pluses

  • Great Scale-Like Crop Duster Looks
  • Excellent Flight Characteristics
  • Huge Flaps add an extra dimension of performance
  • Fully 3D Capable
  • Highly Visible Color Scheme
  • Everyday Sport Plane Performance Bonus
  • Extreme Flight Servo Arms and Extensions worked great
  • Very high value in a convenient size

Minuses

  • Servo Openings a little tight for the Hitec HS-5245 Servos
  • Control ball links were a very tight fit to the pushrods

Thanks

I'd like to thank Extreme Flight for providing the Turbo Duster for this review. Thanks to Jesse Webb for helping with the photos and video and thanks to our editor Angela for her assistance in editing this review.

Last edited by kingsflyer; Mar 15, 2016 at 10:52 PM..
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Mar 21, 2016, 04:19 PM
Hutch
hutchinstuff's Avatar
After growing up around a AT-301 and watching my father fly the 802 on fires, I think I have to have one of these.... I worked support for Queen Bee Air out of Rigby ID, for a few summers on fires. fun job. winter build....
Mar 21, 2016, 05:33 PM
Registered User
Bill Glover's Avatar
I like that a lot. One small observation though - to be "Fully 3D capable" you must have the ability to couple the flaps to the ailerons (your flight mode 2), as the ailerons themselves appear to be outside the propwash. Not a problem for most modern radios of course.
Mar 21, 2016, 06:24 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
I also played around coupling the flaps to the elevator like on my old U-Control stunt planes and it made a big difference in the loops and "squaring" up the corners.

McD
Last edited by kingsflyer; Mar 21, 2016 at 06:47 PM.
Mar 21, 2016, 08:01 PM
↓↘→ + (punch)
theKM's Avatar
nice review Mike!

To add that the design intent was to be simply as good and capable a sport plane as we could make. what it can do with 3D and aerobatics was a plus and something people can have fun with (a lot of fun with), but it wasn't the primary goal. If people want to get into 3D, we have planes more suited if that is where you want to go... if you want a super well-mannered sports plane that you can throw around that looks like a scale plane, then this is the goal for the TurboDuster.

As Mike found out, it's so dreamy to land... so it's not too much of a stretch that easily my favorite thing to do with the duster is shoot touch-and-goes as the sun goes down
Mar 21, 2016, 08:12 PM
MN WATTS Master
Vintauri's Avatar
Very nice Mike! I hope it's making the trek to Georgia next month!
Mar 21, 2016, 09:20 PM
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theKM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsflyer
I also played around coupling the flaps to the elevator like on my old U-Control stunt planes and it made a big difference in the loops and "squaring" up the corners.

McD
that sounds fun!
Mar 22, 2016, 03:38 AM
Registered User
Very nice ! it 's very good
Mar 22, 2016, 08:33 AM
Registered User
keither's Avatar

duster


Hey Mike another GREAT review and you just sold one! I'm gonna order mine today. Sounds just too good to pass by. BTW; what's the best battery?
Mar 22, 2016, 10:16 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
Thanks for the kudos guys.

Good news Steve, there will be several Turbo Dusters at SEFF this year. I'm hoping Exterme Flight will have one on floats to show off on the pond!

Keither, you know you just can't go wrong with anything from Extreme Flight. I can't wait to see what they come up with next, especially in their new Aces High warbird series.

As for the best batteries for the Turbo Duster, most any 6S battery should work fine, but lighter is always better. EF recommends 3300 - 4000 mAh 6S batteries. The battery area is HUGE and will easily hold much larger packs. FWIW, the RTF airframe without the battery only weighs 5 pounds. Mine is flying on a 4000 mAh 25C 6S pack and flies great. As you can see in the video, it's got plenty of power with this setup. The Duster flies so well at 1/2 throttle or less, after 7 minutes my pack is barely down to storage voltage. Serious 3D hucksters may need to set their timers a little shorter.

McD
Last edited by kingsflyer; Mar 22, 2016 at 10:27 AM.
Mar 23, 2016, 10:04 PM
Wishing I was at Torrey Pines
dee-grose's Avatar
Nice job, McD! Outstanding flying as always.

Gotta say, though, that thing is just begging to have a tow release installed and have a glider on tow! It's got the power to spare, so it would make a great tug, I'd think.

What about it, Arron, have you guys tried that? Tell me you've at least thought about it...

Andy
Mar 30, 2016, 09:49 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
Man that sounded like a great idea. Unfortunately when I looked at the plane, it looks like the existing "structure" for the tow release mount would be pretty far back. The area ahead of the hatch release is all formed plastic and contains only a little bracing structure on the bottom. I still think it's a great idea, but it may take a little head scratching to make it happen. I wonder where the tow attachment point is placed on the full scale versions?

McD
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
Mar 30, 2016, 10:19 AM
Wishing I was at Torrey Pines
dee-grose's Avatar
Full scale tow planes attach the line at the tailwheel area somehow, not up on top like RC tugs do.

I know that the Hangar 9 Pawnee is a popular tow plane. Here's a YouTube video with a rather unconventional tow release setup. Look about 1:48 into the video.

33% Piper Pawnee, towplane. (2 min 38 sec)
Mar 30, 2016, 10:43 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
That was interesting. Looks like that setup allows the attachment point to be closer to the CG. My only experiment with using a tailwheel attachment point didn't turn out very well for the tow plane or the glider. I know the Horizon folks use the Pawnee for a tow tug at their glider event, so I'll take a look at some of their videos.

McD
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
Apr 03, 2016, 11:43 AM
Registered User
yup this went on the must have list. I just got my second plane a sig somethin' xtra I will have to get this and start working on it once that one is built. does anyone know where to get the floats, I probably wouldn't ever fly with them but they look cool


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