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Stevens Aeromodel E-CAP 232 .40 Kit Review

Eric Anderson is absolutely ecstatic with the Trussloc construction of this laser-cut assembly. The only thing Eric seems to enjoy more than building this plane is flying it!

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Introduction


Wingspan:55"
Wing Area:550 sq. in.
Tested AU Weight:47 oz.
Length:50"
Wing Loading:12.4 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:Hitec HS-81
Transmitter:Hitec Eclipse
Receiver:Hitec Electron 6
Battery:Apogee 3S2P 4160
Motor:Hacker C40-12T
ESC:Castle Creations Phoenix 45
Manufacturer:Stevens Aeromodel
Available From:Stevens Aeromodel

Did you ever play with Legos when you were a kid? Or maybe you have a child or grandchild who played with them? There is something subliminally satisfying about the clean way they snap together and everything fits perfectly. The Stevens Aeromodel Cap 232 40e reminded me of those days of building Legos with my boys. Everything fit together cleanly and perfectly. The quality of laser cutting was excellent, but it was more than that. The design was sheer elegance. From the moment this kit arrived on my doorstep, I just couldn't stop until I had the completed project gracing the building table.

Kit Contents

The balsa came neatly stacked and looked more like a balsa brick than a collection of precision cut parts, but perfect parts fell out of sheet after laser cut sheet. The included hardware was impressive in its attention to detail. Everything was there, including the wheels, landing gear, spinner, Dubro quick links, and even a velcro strap to hold down the battery. The cowl alone was just huge. And of course the rolled plans were included that showed where everything fit together.

Assembly

The instruction manual was easy to follow and clearly laid out. There were a few minor differences between the kit and the instructions, such as the landing gear was pre-bent instead of having to do it myself (and I hate having to bend landing gear!). The thing that set this kit apart from all others I have built was the unique TrussLoc construction method.

From the Stevens Aeromodel website: "This laser-engineered kit employs the Stevens Aero TrussLocô construction method; a truly revolutionary 100% laser-cut interlocking warren truss construction method introduced to the modeling industry by Stevens AeroModel in 2002. The TrussLocô assembly allows the builder to create a warp resistant, ultra-light, ultra-strong assembly, that is both functional in-flight and beautiful to look at; and it frames in a matter of hours not weeks."

Tail

Like most kits, I started the build with the tail feathers, but that was where the similarities ended. Time and again in the instructions I was reminded NOT to use glue until everything was in place. Like those Legos you played with as a kid, everything fit together perfectly and was held in place by the interlocking design.

Fuselage

The fuselage was a delight to assemble, and I say assemble rather than build, because that was exactly what I was doing. Once again, everything locked together and was perfectly cut. I didnít have to sand a single part to get it to fit.

The motor mount came with numerous options and at this point, the build was contingent on which power system I intended to use. There were motor plates for rotating can motors, like the AXI, and for more conventional motors such as the Hacker or Aveox series. Additionally, the choice of gearbox also determined which faceplate I was going to use.

Wing

The final phase of the build was the best of all. The wing could literally have been assembled in my lap and still would have come out perfectly straight and true. Again, glue was only used sparingly until the final step when I went back over all joints to finally bond everything together. It was almost a shame to cover the plane when I was done, because it was a work of art.

Completion

For covering, I used the new Stevens Aerofilm Lite. It is a super lightweight adhesive backed film that is made by the manufacturer of Solite and is imported directly from the manufacturer in England by Stevens Aeromodel. It went on easily and shrank up with no problems leaving a nice, tight covering job.

Power System

For my power system, I chose to go with a Hacker C40 12T motor in an MEC Superbox at a ratio of 5:1. My ESC was a Castle Creations Phoenix 45. My receiver was a Hitec Electron 6 and I went with Hitec HS-81 servos all around (metal gears on the rudder). The battery was an Apogee 3S2P 4160, rated for 44 amps continuous (10.5 c) and 58 amps in a 5 Ė 10 second burst (14 c).

My final weight with everything installed was 37 ounces. With the 10 ounce battery added, my ready to fly weight was 47 ounces, easily within the target weight of 45-55 ounces listed in the instructions. After testing several different props with my wattmeter, I settled on an APC 14x10. At full throttle I was drawing 42 amps static and 410 watts, close to 140 watts per pound.

Flying

We have been blessed here in Eastern Virginia with some incredible weather for the first few days of December and I was quick to take advantage of the opportunity to test fly the newly completed plane. Once at the field, everything was connected and checked for proper operation and I was ready for the first flight, butterflies notwithstanding.

I headed the CAP into the slight breeze and increased the throttle. The plane tracked straight with very little rudder input required until it was airborne in about 40 feet. Climbout was uneventful and two clicks of left aileron were all that was required to result in straight and level flight at only 1/3 throttle. The first five minutes were spent getting a feel for the plane, and by that time, I had a huge grin on my face. The best way I could describe the flight characteristics of the CAP would be to say that it was very precise. The stall was very gentle, just mushing forward until speed could be built up. Rolls were fluid with very little rudder or elevator required to maintain the line during the roll. Loops were large and smooth. Inverted flight required only slight down elevator and all transitions between maneuvers were very smooth. Snap rolls were crisp and knife edge flight was also easy to maintain, although the plane did pull slightly toward the landing gear (a little mixing with the transmitter would easily take care of this tendency). With the power system used, vertical lines were limited only by my desire to keep the plane in sight. After five minutes of fun I brought the plane in to check it out and the landing was uneventful, except that the CAP just wanted to float like it didnít want to come down.

After a thorough examination to make sure nothing was out of place, I put her back up to try some more aggressive maneuvers. The CAP definitely didnít disappoint. Just like itís full size counterpart, this plane is at home with any maneuver you can think of. High alpha flight was a breeze with no tendency of the wings to rock when in a Harrier, and spins, both upright and inverted, were a thing of beauty. Another five minutes of throwing the plane into every imaginable situation, I again brought her in to check things out and to give my face a chance to relax Ė that big grin was causing my jaw to hurt. Further flights have reinforced my initial impressions.

Flight Video

Due to video equipment failure, flight video is temporarily unavailable. Please visit this article again after Christmas and Santa's delivery of a new video camera for added flight video!

Conclusion

The Stevens Aero CAP 232 40e is an impressive feat of efficient design. The unique TrussLoc construction method makes this kit a joy to build, but the real reward comes the first time you advance the throttle and get airborne. The handling characteristics of this airplane are phenomenal and can make any pilot look good. While the term "flies like it is on rails" tends to be overused, that really is the case with this plane. It tracks straight and true and goes where you point it. If you are ready to be spoiled forever, give this kit a try. You won't be disappointed.

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Dec 09, 2004, 09:52 AM
Too lazy to repair!
jperch's Avatar
Eric,
Nice job on the review. I have been flying my CAP for, wow, close to a year I think. It is without a doubt my most favorite airplane of all time! The only down side to it is that it is a better flyer than I am a pilot and I am no where near to being able to push it to its limits. But I have a huge blast slowing it way down and just putting in doing very slow touch and goes. In fact, I can easily get it to fly slower than many of the 40 sized trainers at my field. I am very familiar with that big grin you describe. I have it every time I fly my cap!

Well done,
Joe
Dec 10, 2004, 01:02 AM
Registered User
High speed pass's Avatar
Eric,

Perfect timing for the review to come out. I just received my Cap 40. Canít wait to get started building it. I am thinking of using the same Hacker and MEC gearbox that you are using. Do you have a close up picture showing the Hacker and the MEC gearbox installed? Was it necessary to install the ľ optional spacer kit when using the MEC box, that is shown on Stevens AeroModel site. Also would you make any changes on what power system to use if you had it to do over again?
Dec 11, 2004, 02:49 PM
Deep Sea
Navy Diver's Avatar
Joe,
Thanks for the complement. I had a great time doing the review and can't wait for the spring fly-ins to show it off to the IC crowd.

High Speed,
I'll see what I can do for a pic of the power system installed. Yes, the spacer is optional or the prop adapter won't clear the front of the cowl. I wouldn't make any changes to the power system, it seems perfect for this plane.

Eric
Dec 16, 2004, 08:06 PM
Registered User

Typical Battery Duration


What kind of battery duration can you expect with the battery you used in the review? Also, are there any other battery combos you would recommend?
I like to get 10 minutes minimum for a given flight.
Dec 17, 2004, 09:11 AM
Too lazy to repair!
jperch's Avatar
Edavis,
I am not sure about Eric's setup but I use a Hacker B40-12S and a Maxon 4:1 gearbox. I run a similar battery 3s2p Tanic 2200's for TP2100's. The static current is close to 40A at WOT. However, I almost never need that much throttle. So the average draw over the flight is much lower. I have only run the battery down until it cut off once and, of course, I did not time it. But I think it was probably really close to 10 minutes.

I hope that helps,
Joe
Dec 17, 2004, 08:13 PM
Registered User
High speed pass's Avatar
Joe,

What size prop are you running with your setup?
Dec 17, 2004, 11:11 PM
Too lazy to repair!
jperch's Avatar
It is a 13x8 APC electric prop.

Joe
Dec 18, 2004, 02:05 AM
BOSS
j_z_123's Avatar
Anybody using digital servos? Which kind?

I'm planning to get one and use it to enter a pattern competition this summer under the Sportsman class. What do you guys think?

I'll be using a Hacker C-40 12T, 4:1(?) or 5:1 MEC box, 3S2P tanic 5000's.

This setup is directly out of My Freedom 3D (except the gearing) which is 68oz.. I think this plane will have more than enough power.

What do you guys think?

Thanks!

Jon Ziering


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