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Legacy Aviation Mini Turbo Duster - RCGroups Review

Whether you fly sport aerobatics or just enjoy lazy laps around the field, the 44" Mini Duster from Legacy Aviation is a dream to fly! Join us as editor Matt Gunn and pilot CJ Kurella take this little crop duster for a spin around the Doylestown Barnstormers home field.

The Legacy Aviation 44" Mini Turbo Duster

The Little Brother to the 65" Duster

Product:44" Mini Duster
Retail price:$169.95
Wingspan:44"
Motor used:Omega 103g 1030kv
Propeller:Falcon 12x6e
Spinner used:40mm white EF
ESC used:Airboss 45A
Servos used:Six Futaba S3156
Battery used:3s 2200mAh

The Mini Turbo duster is one of two crop-duster style airframes currently available from Legacy Aviation - an Extreme Flight family of brands; a much larger giant-scale version was announced at Toledo this year and is expected to be available soon. With a 44" wingspan and an all-up weight around 37 ounces, the Mini Duster is quite the performer on a standard 3S 2200mAh LiPo with the suggested Omega motor. It's a great sport aerobatic platform and can even perform more advanced 3d maneuvers, but it's equally at home making lazy laps at the field. In this review, I'll quickly assemble the little Duster and give you a full flight report from the beautifully-manicured grass at The Doylestown Barnstormers home field. As with all of my reviews, I will reference some of the main building steps as we go. Always follow the manual when building an aircraft. Let's get started!

Link to the Legacy Aviation Mini Turbo Duster Manual

The Mini Duster is a balsa built-up ARF that features partial sheeting on the leading edge of the wings and aft fuselage/turtle deck. The plane is covered in either a red and white, or yellow and blue scheme. Inside the fuselage are a pair of carbon rods that span from in front of the landing gear to right behind the wings.

The large vacuum formed canopy is held in place with a slide latch in the rear; it opens up to reveal plenty of access for electronics installation and battery placement. The canopy attaches in the front with a lite ply slot and a pair of magnets in the middle.

The wings feature a large chord and relatively sporty airfoil that provides plenty of lift while still retaining great aerobatic performance. Inboard are large flaps that are hinged like the ailerons, allowing you to set them up as flaperons for increased roll rate and the ability to use crow (flaps up, ailerons down). The wings attach to the fuselage with fiberglass tabs and hex-head bolts.

The included hardware kit features metal pushrods, ball links, and fiberglass control horns. Slots are cut in the control surfaces for the horns, requiring you to remove the covering over them with a hobby knife and glue them in with 2-part epoxy. Extreme Flight servo extensions were used in this build: a pair of 12" extensions for the ailerons and a pair of 6" extensions for the elevator and rudder servos.

The Omega 103g 1030kv motor and Airboss 45-amp ESC are the perfect fit for the Mini Duster. When paired with a 12x6e APC prop and a 3S 2200mAh LiPo, the 44" Duster makes loads of power for unlimited vertical climbs and can fly around for over 10 minutes with variable throttle settings.

I utilized Futaba S3156 micro digital high-torque servos on all control surfaces. The S3156 puts out 33 oz-in (2.4 kg-cm) at 6V, and has a 60-degree speed of .11 at 6V.

The faux turbine exhaust stacks were mounted with CA to the fiberglass cowl. Scuff the cowl and the base of the stacks with sandpaper, then glue in place. The cowl mounts to the fuselage with included Philips-head wood screws; after test fitting the cowl with the motor mounted, tape it in place and drill your holes for the screws with a 2mm bit or the tip of a hobby knife.

All control surfaces require CA at the hinges. Dry fit them first, then slightly pull the control surface out to expose the hinge, add a drop of CA on either side of each hinge, and fully seat them. Make sure to check the full movement of the control surface and give each one a gentle pull to confirm they are glued in permanently. The horizontal stab should test fit without CA first; start by cutting the covering away to expose the slot for the stabilizer, test fit, then insert the left elevator half. Next, test fit the right elevator half and check that they are perfectly lined up, then glue the elevators together at the fiberglass spar and the hinges.

Extreme Flight/Legacy Aviation makes installing the servos in the wings a painless affair by including pieces of string in the wings to tie to the servo leads and pull them through. After carefully cutting the covering away with a hobby knife, tie the string to the end of the servo wire, pull the string through, and mount the servos.

Control Surface Rates and Throws

The Extreme Flight manual for the Mini Duster suggests the following control rates and throws:

  • Elevator: Low rate-8-10 degrees; 15-20% Expo. Aerobatic rate-30-40 degrees; 40-50% Expo
  • Rudder: Low rate-20 degrees; 45-50% Expo. Aerobatic rate- 40 degrees; 60-70% Expo
  • Aileron: Low rate-15-20 degrees; 40-45% Expo. Aerobatic rate- 30-35 degrees; 50-60% Expo

The 44" Mini Duster was balanced at exactly 2" (50mm) back from the leading edge.

Review Video

Legacy Aviation 44" Mini Turbo Duster - RCGroups Review (4 min 58 sec)

At the Field - Flight Report

The Legacy Aviation 44" Mini Turbo Duster is one of those airframes that performs very well at almost any throttle setting. Pull way back on the left stick and drop the flaps, and the Duster will float around at a proverbial snails pace; coordinated rudder and aileron make lazy turns a refreshing change from banging the sticks around at higher throttle. At higher speeds, the Mini Duster tracks straight and feels locked in. It's a full capable airplane for most aerobatics.

With tall landing gear, a short tail moment, and relatively small wheels, the Mini Duster needs full up-elevator and careful throttle to get moving if the grass is thick. The above photo shows the limit of what the Duster can takeoff and land on without nosing over.

The Mini Duster surprised me with great knife-edge flight, requiring minimal down-elevator to maintain level flight. Even with the small rudder size, the Duster needed only average input to keep from sinking, with no excessive throttle.

With the Omega 103g motor, 12x6e propeller, and a 3s 2200mAh, the Mini Duster has unlimited vertical performance and power on tap to muscle through any maneuver. Flight time are deceptively long, given the power output; I was able to fly for roughly 10 minutes with 25% left on the LiPo, at varying throttle settings.

Conclusion

The Legacy Aviation 44" Mini Turbo Duster takes the crop duster airframe to the next level with unlimited sport aerobatic performance from a 3-cell LiPo. It can be flown mild or wild, and has excellent flight duration around 10 minutes with varying throttle settings. The airframe builds quickly without any surprises or issues to note, making it perfect for anyone wanting to get into the air in a hurry. I personally feel that balsa built-up airplanes are making a solid comeback, thanks to their lightweight design, rigidity, and great flight performance; the Legacy Aviation 44" Mini Turbo Duster is just such an airplane.

Thanks for reading my review. A huge thanks to Extreme Flight for supplying the Mini Turbo Duster, and CJ Kurella for piloting during the photo and video shoot.

Last edited by Matt Gunn; Jun 06, 2017 at 03:11 PM..
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Jun 06, 2017, 12:05 PM
RealRCReviews
PontiusPilate's Avatar
We loved this one also. My favorite plane of 2016.
Jun 06, 2017, 02:03 PM
Registered User
iPad Pro vs this - such a tough call
Jun 06, 2017, 05:14 PM
Registered User
Steven Horney's Avatar
Awesome looking plane! You said in the review that it has a balsa fuselage, but it looks to be primarily light ply from the photos. Is that correct?
Jun 06, 2017, 05:51 PM
RCGroups Editor
Matt Gunn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Horney
Awesome looking plane! You said in the review that it has a balsa fuselage, but it looks to be primarily light ply from the photos. Is that correct?
Yep. Lite ply and balsa. Thanks!
Jun 06, 2017, 05:53 PM
Registered User
Steven Horney's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Gunn
Yep. Lite ply and balsa. Thanks!
Thanks!
Jun 17, 2017, 06:08 PM
John,not Zerts.JOHN, NOT Zerts
Saving up the $$$....


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