Opterra 2M Wing BNF Basic with AS3X - RCGroups Review - RC Groups

Opterra 2M Wing BNF Basic with AS3X - RCGroups Review

It's big, it flies great, it builds fast, it's the brain child of two great pilots, it's the Opterra! Check out this huge wing that can be flown LOS or FPV!

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A 2 Meter Wing with AS3X

Horizon has really been creating some great flying aircraft from great aeronautical designers. The Opterra fits right in with that description! The Opterra is designed by George Hicks and Mike McConville. Mike is the mind behind countless Horizon aircraft and George has been involved in RC and full scale aircraft for decades. The concept here was to create a lightweight wing with a long wingspan and great aerodynamics. It can do everything from sport aerobatics to soaring. Add some FPV gear and you have a very forgiving FPV aircraft thanks to the included AS3X receiver with launch mode and SAFE Select technology.

Review Opterra 2m Wing BNF Basic with AS3X - RCGroups Review (23 min 49 sec)

Aerodynamics and Construction

Wings are tricky beasts to make fly really well. Any wing can fly but when you are in the goggles you really see, and feel, the issues a wing usually has. One of these is the feeling that you are sliding around a corner. This has been the case with many wings that I have flown since my early days in RC. George and Mike created an efficient airfoil with winglets and fins on the fuselage help the model track true in all kinds of air. The weight and large size of this wing also makes it fun to fly in all types of wind. I have pitched the nose up at super slow speed with no stall, the wing simply flattens out. The airframe is constructed of carbon-reinforced, hollow-core Z-Foam material that keeps weight to a minimum while maintaining strength and rigidity.

It's Big and Easy to Put Together

This wing features plug-in wing panels and winglets that are secured with thumbscrews. You can pull off both wings and winglets in no time. Plus there are no screws to lose and you don't need a tool of any kind - THANK YOU!!! Finally the box acts as a carrying case. The foam is very robust and not something I felt I would dent or hurt. This is a rugged wing.

AS3X to the Rescue

The AS3X receiver on the Opterra does a few things for you. The launch mode will help you maintain level flight when you throw it and gives some up elevator. You can see this in my video as I launch with only touching the throttle. Mode two keeps you from getting into too much trouble and mode 3 allows you to fly as hard as you like while the onboard gyro keeps things smooth.

Launch

  • During launch, turn the SAFE Select technology on to keep the wing level and in the perfect climb attitude until you get both hands back on the controls. This comes in handy when you are in the goggles (be sure to have a spotter).
  • I suggest you throttle up after you throw the Opterra. This keeps your hand away from a spinning prop.
  • Be sure to throw hard and up. The Opterra is BIG and you need some air speed to keep it into the air before you get up to speed.

The Power System

  • I'm amazed that this thing is so powerful on a 3s battery. It seems to have all the power you need, even for loops and rolls.
  • When you want to power off and grab a thermal, the folding prop reduces drag so you can glide longer.
  • Be sure to power down when your prop is in contact with the earth. Even though the prop folds you can still smoke the ESC if you keep it throttled up.

Up to 3 Camera Mounting Stations Available

  • The Opterra wing can have no cameras or you can use the different camera nose caps for FPV or HD cameras.
  • There is also a downward-looking camera bay in the belly.
  • I went with a good FPV cam and used the provided weight to get the CG just right

Nose Inserts Provided

  • Insert for GoPro Hero 3 and Hero 4 Cameras
  • Insert for the recommended Spektrum FPV camera (see below)
  • Insert for other FPV cameras
  • Blank insert that can be custom cut for other payloads
  • It also has an external mounting station for low-profile Mobius or Legend HD cameras. This allows pilots to mount an HD camera on top of the nose and an FPV camera in the nose.

Features

  • Fly line-of-site or FPV
  • 3 camera mounting stations
  • Available SAFE Select flight envelope protection
  • Plug-in wing and winglet sections for quick breakdown
  • Brushless motor with folding prop installed
  • Spektrum AS3X receiver with SAFE Select technology
  • Digital metal-geared servos installed
  • Carbon-reinforced, hollow-core construction with durable Z-Foam
  • Lightweight design with a wide performance envelope
  • Vortex generators for better slow-speed stability and control authority

Photos

Learn More

Head over to the Horizon Hobby website to learn more about the Opterra 2M Wing.

Conclusion and Thoughts

You could purchase this at a show like Joe Nall and have it ready to fly before your 3 cell 2200 is charged. It is just so easy to get ready to fly. The AS3X had the plane trimmed without me touching a thing. I did move the AS3X control to a three way switch for access to all three flight modes. The wing is a big sweetheart and super easy to fly. While it climbs out pretty quickly, most maneuvers are slow and predictable. Watch my video to see how she handles. This would be a fine first FPV plane. It is super low stress and can take more than its share of wind. I even like the trim scheme that was pre-applied.

The only problem I had was I used the launch mode to launch and didn't throw the Opterra hard enough (or maybe high enough). It came down nice and level but I smoked the ESC when the prop came into contact with the ground. This would be one thing I would urge you to be careful about. When you land don't think the folding prop will save the motor. You need to get off the throttle. I got this into the air with my first launch but for your fingers sake I would recommend that you not throttle up until the wing is away from you. It has such a generous wing span that it will fly a good ways without power. With all that said, I love this wing. The Opterra would be a relaxing wing to fly line-of-site or via first person video. It is a fun and a low stress bird!

Thread Tools
May 26, 2017, 04:32 PM
Registered User
Bill Glover's Avatar
Nice review!

Is there scope to lose the fixed ballast by moving the pack forward, or using a bigger pack? With all the great design touches in this plane you have to ask why they didn't make the nose a touch longer so it would balance without adding dead weight?!
May 26, 2017, 05:06 PM
Soap Box Junkie
admodesi's Avatar
Ummmm Yeah OKaaaayyyy, I have been building and designing models and UAVs for 36 years, and the (my) rule is: If you need to put dead weight to fix CG problems in a "powered" aircraft you need to fix it, as it obvious that the relative position power-train is too far forward or back. Of course the rule does not apply to scale or gliders.

Really there is no excuse with today's electronic design software. If you have created a prototype that does need weight fix CG problems, then fix it in the second version and THEN put it into production and sell it to the masses. This is a prototype that has not been fixed. All the awful turbulators on the wing is another indication of aerodynamic issues that were not fixed through more subtle design features like washout.
May 27, 2017, 02:03 AM
Leo
Love how it glides.

E-flite Opterra Giant Flying Wing Unbox Unplugged (13 min 31 sec)
May 27, 2017, 11:58 PM
Registered User
Thank you for telling us about putting the flight mode onto a 3 position switch. Too bad there is nothing about this in the instructions. Also it is big and heavy. Needs to be thrown hard. I sure like flying it once it's up.
May 28, 2017, 01:26 AM
If it flies, I can crash it.
rocketsled666's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by admodesi
Ummmm Yeah OKaaaayyyy, I have been building and designing models and UAVs for 36 years, and the (my) rule is: If you need to put dead weight to fix CG problems in a "powered" aircraft you need to fix it, as it obvious that the relative position power-train is too far forward or back. Of course the rule does not apply to scale or gliders.
The ballast is there so you can remove it when you install FPV gear and/or a GoPro (and probably, a large battery for longer FPV flights). If they didn't do it this way you would never get the plane to balance once you loaded up the nose with camera gear. So it's not there to fix a design problem, it's there to make the design better.
May 28, 2017, 04:34 AM
Registered User
Bill Glover's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rocketsled666
The ballast is there so you can remove it when you install FPV gear and/or a GoPro (and probably, a large battery for longer FPV flights). If they didn't do it this way you would never get the plane to balance once you loaded up the nose with camera gear. So it's not there to fix a design problem, it's there to make the design better.
My understanding from the review is that there's a fixed weight in the fus., which is not intended to be removed.

There's additional weight in the nosecone, which is replaced by a camera if fitted. Then there are further weights to be added if the camera weighs less that the nosecone did.

Normally the nose of a model like this would be long enough that the CG could be adjusted/corrected simply by moving the pack fore/aft.
May 28, 2017, 10:10 AM
TEAM GORGEOUS
SZD16's Avatar
So how exactly do you "move" the AXS to a different switch.....
May 28, 2017, 10:31 AM
Administrator
Jim T. Graham's Avatar
When you bind the Opterra your SAFE select is programmed to one of your switches. Mine was set to a two way switch. I went in the radio and set it to a 3 way. That was it. Super simple for anyone that has used switches on their TX.
I found a video demonstrating how to do this...
SAFE RX Setup on Spekrum DX6, DX9, DX18 Transmitters-(Step-by-Step) (3 min 6 sec)
May 31, 2017, 12:25 PM
Registered User
wazoo22's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by admodesi
Ummmm Yeah OKaaaayyyy, I have been building and designing models and UAVs for 36 years, and the (my) rule is: If you need to put dead weight to fix CG problems in a "powered" aircraft you need to fix it, as it obvious that the relative position power-train is too far forward or back. Of course the rule does not apply to scale or gliders.

Really there is no excuse with today's electronic design software. If you have created a prototype that does need weight fix CG problems, then fix it in the second version and THEN put it into production and sell it to the masses. This is a prototype that has not been fixed. All the awful turbulators on the wing is another indication of aerodynamic issues that were not fixed through more subtle design features like washout.
I'm 75 and have been designing aircraft for 52 years. Clearly, time and experience don't always make you right
.I rather like the vortex generators myself. They are pretty big, though, when the boundary layer will be around a sixteenth of an inch. An effective vortex generator at this reynolds number could be much smaller. And that old rule about "If you gotta add stuff to the wing to make it fly right, you screwed up" is more respected in the absence.

Vgenerators add only a little drag, if done right. Washout entails a significant loss of lift, requiring a higher angle of attack, generating more induced drag. I trust that the designers have looked at the tradeoff and chosen the one that gives the best all-round performance. Perhaps a bit of both.
May 31, 2017, 07:39 PM
Registered User
Thank you Jim T Graham. And person who posted video.
Jun 01, 2017, 08:35 PM
Kamikaze Ace
Glacier Girl's Avatar
Well I've had mine for a while now. I removed all the weights, even the ones glued into the front. Instead of the single 3S2200, I use a pair of 3S3000's. Figure weight that does something is better then dead weight. If I install one or two or 3 cameras, I just move the packs around to balance it. Two little bumps of foam were removed to fit the packs, still use the factory tray and Velcro.

Speaking of, the CG points are already formed on the bottom of the wing for ease of checking.

Here's mine, I coated the foam with Plasti-Dip. Helps with hangar rash and such.
Jun 02, 2017, 04:07 AM
Registered User
Bill Glover's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glacier Girl
I removed all the weights, even the ones glued into the front. Instead of the single 3S2200, I use a pair of 3S3000's. Figure weight that does something is better then dead weight. If I install one or two or 3 cameras, I just move the packs around to balance it.
Absolutely. I did wonder if it was designed for a much bigger pack originally then they changed their mind for some reason.
Jun 02, 2017, 11:44 AM
Registered User
FutureVRPilot's Avatar
Well I have over 75 hand launches without the motor running, and flies great, tracks straight. I have used this air-frame for testing, would like to use this for field surveys of vineyards, using Dragon Link and Pixhawk2 ect. I have installed a Taranis receiver and airspeed ind. also a Vario / Alt. , voltage, and a Bigaole 3GA V2 dual aileron stabilizer for testing. The folding prop has no issues, she flies best glide at 18 - 22 MPH ind. I have thermal-ed on the weakest of days, with out any tip stalls in fairly tight turns and ind around 20-22 MPH.. She stalls straight ahead. I do see a need for spoilers. I have flown her in winds of 15 MPH and just fly her with power around turns, going with the wind and back into the wind then you can throttle back a little. FutureUSAviation is my new business after 40 years of Modeling, About time FAA!!!
Images
Jun 03, 2017, 02:44 AM
Registered User
wazoo22's Avatar

Great design, strangely limited market


I can not use an AS3X receiver/stabilizer, since I have my own equipment, made by Graupner, which I like, and can't afford to change in any case. I'd have to rip the AS3X out, with the financial penalty being pretty substantial. Anyone else who does not happen to be using compatible equipment will have the same problem. Plus, personally I prefer not to buy ARF aircraft- I like the building process, and I usually have my own changes to make. For me, modelling isn't just about playing with someone else's toy. It's about the joy of taking a good idea, personalizing it, and perhaps even making it better. Practically every build log/posts here shows that modifying the Opterra is almost a universal process, even if it's only redoing the ballast/nose weights that many find to be irritating dead weight.
A prediction:
Sell a stripped-down version, in which the airframe is just the same, but the buyer can install his or her own gear, and your sales will leap, along with your acceptance.
Again, great design. I'm sincerely sad that I can't build it.
Jim Miller


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