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Jul 17, 2018, 05:43 AM
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Arxangel's Avatar
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Volantex Phoenix V2 / 2400 Glider - build log / review / mods (Phoenix 2400 update)


Hey guys, here is my review of the new Volantex Phoenix V2 PNP motor glider (KIT version)! This is my first plane of this type, so please be gentle with the criticism if I have missed something! I have now also updated the thread with the Phoenix 2400 materials, please refer to UPDATE 3 for that review.

You can also find the review, as well as a full parts list, in my blog: ArxangelRC.blogspot.com

In all honesty, my second ever plane was sort of a motor glider, it was an LRP Pocket Stream, and it was small... around 780mm in wingspan, and that was ages ago! Since then I haven't really flown anything similar... until now that is!

The plastic fuselage makes this plane quite durable and it is made out of some very smooth and glossy material, which I am sure will reduce drag in flight, and should improve flight efficiency as a result. Unlike the Ranger 2000, the Phoenix V2 comes with the flap servos already installed, for obvious reasons. Another good news is that a lot of its parts are the same as on the Ranger, so if you have both you can easily swap them should the need arise!

In terms of flight performance... I don't have an easy comparison for a glider, but in my opinion it flies exceptionally well and for quite a while on a small battery. I've not had a model with a front mounted motor for a while, and it was certainly a feat for me to balance this one, even with a small battery!

Volantex Phoenix V2 - a pretty darn good motor glider! (10 min 22 sec)


Volantex Phoenix V2 - thermals, endurance, and its FPV future!!! (5 min 49 sec)


Volantex Phoenix V2 with ArduPlane on Omni F4 Pro... AWESOME!!! (7 min 37 sec)


Volantex Phoenix 2400 - the BETTER Phoenix glider!!! (7 min 54 sec)


Volantex Phoenix 2400 - antenna tracker and a Split Mini 2 on the tail (6 min 6 sec)


10k Subscribers and the Phoenix 2400 finally running into clouds! (5 min 14 sec)



SPECIFICATIONS FOR PHOENIX V2

Wing span: 2000mm
Wing area: to be determined
Length: 1132mm
Flying weight: 1444 grams for my current setup /w battery
CG: middle of the CG markings on the wings


SPECIFICATIONS FOR PHOENIX 2400

Wing span: 2400mm
Wing area: to be determined
Length: 1182mm
Flying weight: will measure it soon
CG: middle of the CG markings on the wings


ARRIVAL STATE

Box arrived undamaged, and there was no damage on any of the plane's parts. All is good!


WHAT I LIKE

Since there is a lot to cover... lets start with the fuselage! It is very slick and smooth, and you can tell the idea here was to minimise drag as much as possible. It just looks so clean and simple... it is beautiful actually, and definitely designed for a single purpose in mind - best gliding performance.









Even though the Phoenix V2 has a plastic fuselage, like the Ranger 2000, it is not made of the same material. The fuselage on the Ranger is more like matte finish, feels rougher to the touch, and is a bit more flexible, so it can sustain a tremendous amount of crashing, while the fuselage on the Phoenix is more glossy and definitely smoother, and is supposed to be the same material Volantex make their boat hulls out of. Not as flexible as the Ranger, but there are always trade-offs, and it should still be a lot tougher than foam.





Next are the wings, now a proven tip stall resistant design, they are identical to the ones on the Ranger, only difference is these come with the flap servos pre-installed.





Naturally, the CG is marked on the wings, which makes setting up and balancing the plane so much easier and quicker!



There are two square alum tubes inside each wing side, one is very short, and only goes up to the first opening, you can sort of see it through the foam on the photos. The second one goes almost all the way to the wing tip, and that gives the wings a lot of rigidity.





And again, all control surfaces, save for the rudder, have carbon rods in them for added rigidity, and ALL control surfaces have proper hinges installed. I've said it before, and I will say it again - this saves a TON of work and time when putting these planes together.











The flaps have been hinged as well, but are fixed in place, so they wouldn't move around in case you decide not to use them. The two foam pieces visible along the hinge will need to be removed before use.



All of the wiring for the wings has been done, and I do like this new white tape they use to cover the cables.



And I can never stop praising these new locking mechanisms. They do a great job and are very quick and easy to use. Haven't had an issue with them so far, and I hope I never find out how they handle a crash!



Some people may not be sure why Volantex use these aluminium tubes instead of carbon ones, but in reality these are much more durable during assembly and disassembly of the wings, and are more flexible... they can survive a crash, while the carbon ones just crack since they are too stiff!



The spars are also aluminium, but are quire stiff. They fit very tight in the tubes in the wings... so even if the locks fail, I am pretty sure the wings will stay on due to friction alone!





The moulding for the wings in the fuselage is a very good fit, and in conjunction with the locking mechanism I don't think these will be going anywhere! Besides... I've done some pretty extreme things in flight with this plane, and the wings remain firmly attached!





The wiring for the ailerons is also done, although the Y-cable for the flaps is not installed. I do like these slots in the plate, which hold the cables, so I don't have to dig them out of the fuselage every time.



Just like on the Ranger, tail servos are at the back of the fuselage, which makes a world of difference here, since this plane has the motor at the front, so moving weight to the back becomes even more critical if you want to have a chance to use a battery larger than an AA NiMh cell!





Since the air that gets in at the front of the plane needs to get out of somewhere, that opening is right at the back of the fuselage. Another purpose that this opening can serve, is to wire... something... to the tail, or on top of it... but what...?







Another great thing I love about this model is the wheel. It gives the fuselage some clearance so it wouldn't get scratched on landings.



On the inside of the wheel there is this foam piece covering the opening, and preventing dirt and bits from getting in on landings. Its a nice touch!





On the inside the layout is very similar to that of the Ranger 2000, I am actually willing to bet that the top plate is absolutely the same! All the wiring has been routed to the top plate, where the receiver should go.



Apparently, the wings on the Phoenix V2 are mounted further forward on the fuselage, I am guessing to help with CG given the front mounted motor.



The canopy is also the same between the two models and can be used as spare part from one to the other.





The tails are the same too, and unlike with the Raptor, where a lot of people were complaining about the reliability of the tail assembly... I am yet to see one person complaining about it on the Ranger... and I think the same would be valid for the Phoenix.



They have even glued on the self-adhesive velcro for the receiver.



The battery straps are also pre-installed, although experience has shown they should move to the rear most holes, in order to balance the plane properly.



Continues in next post...
Last edited by Arxangel; Apr 10, 2019 at 04:33 AM.
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Jul 17, 2018, 05:44 AM
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...continued from previous post!

And what do we have here?! Finally a Volantex model that comes with an XT60 connector from the factory, and not a T-connector. I will not have to be replacing this one!



The motor, along with the ESC, are also installed. The metal plate holding the motor does seem like a good idea to reinforce the fuselage in this area.





The motor turned out to be a beefy 4023 1050Kv, and I was really surprised why the recommended battery was a 3S, rather than a 4S one. This motor should be able to take a 4S without much drama.



The foam canopy is actually the only sort of FPV related part on this plane, but that is understandable given that this is a glider, and it is not primarily meant to be an FPV platform. If you can load up the tail with some weights, you might be able to mount a pan/tilt at the front and keep the balance!



All of the hardware to assemble the plane was been provided and luckily nothing was missing!




WHAT I DON'T LIKE

I know this is not a big complaint, but having quick power connectors for the servos on the wings that just plug when you attach the wing to the fuselage would speed up assembly even more, and just makes the whole thing so much cleaner. Besides, unlike foam, you already have this plastic fuselage that is stiff enough to hold the connectors, so you wouldn't need to make some expensive plastic adapters for the wings, like what the Believer has.



Second, the original bolt the wheel came with was sticking out more than 1cm from the side, and I could just imagine it getting caught in the grass when landing! Is it really so difficult to source 10mm shorter bolts for this in the factory?



The next issue I have is with the cooling inlets... since they do not start right at the front, I don't think the motor is getting as good of a cooling as it can, because even when I fly very gently it still comes down warm, and the reason is that perhaps the inlets do not blow air directly on it! I understand they can't be put right at the front of the fuselage because they will weaken the motor mount area, but still... might have to figure something out... or just replace the motor at some point with a better one that would heat up less.





And last... as usual, I know this is a cheap model, compared to many others out there, and that means they also have to use cheap components to bring the price down, etc., but for a long time I've not been a fan of Volantex ESCs, and in this particular case, even though this one says it can operate up to 4S, it does, but at full throttle it starts to screech and stutter and I am guessing it has some timing issues with the motor at that voltage. Also, on a glider it should come with a brake programmed on it, so it would stop the prop from spinning and this reduce drag even more and improve gliding performance! Its the little things that count!




THE BUILD

Alright, so lets get the build going. First, I mounted the control horns on the control surfaces. Each horn needs to be secured with 4x screws.



Note that the holes on the horn need to be facing the servo. On the rudder, the horn needs to be left side, when looking at the rudder form the back.





I absolutely love the fact that on the elevator and ailerons the control horns are mounted over the reinforcing carbon tubes. Should make them much more durable and will not squish the foam.



Since I am planning on using the flaps, I installed the control horns there as well.





I wanted to draw your attention to something interesting that perhaps not a lot of people may have paid attention to! Do you notice how the aileron servos are like a mirror image to each other on the wing, but the flap servos are noticeably mounted in different directions? That is so because they are meant to be connected to the same channel on the receiver, receiving the same signal, hence the aileron servos are mounted in a mirrored fashion so they would work in different directions when an aileron command is given. As for the Flaps, they are mounted in a way that allows them to move in the same direction when the signal is given, down or up, which is how flaps are supposed to operate.



Next step would be to install the servo horns. To make that easier and more precise, make sure you can power up those servos and centre them, and easiest way to do this is with a servo tester, or alternatively by connecting them to your receiver, powering everything yup, and making sure there are no trims on the radio.





The proper way to install the servo horns is like this - when the servo is powered and centred, mount the servo horn at 90 degrees relative to the servo, pointing up. Once done with the tail servos, you can move on to the wings.



Before installing the servo horns on the wings though, I made sure to cut the flap holders and release them so they move freely.





Then power and centre the servos on each wing.



The servo horns here need to be installed in the same way - 90 degrees to the servo, pointing up.



Note how one of the holes on the servo horn is larger, this is where the push rod should go. I love the fact that Volantex started doing this, because a while back these did not come with an enlarged hole, and every time I had to go look for the right size drill bit and do it myself, and if you are at the field... chances are you will not have the right tools to drill it through and it may ruin the flight day!



Next up you need to assemble the tail. There are 6x screws of the same size for that job.



First, you need to put the horizontal and vertical stabilisers together.





Then screw them together with two of the screws, but make sure to tighten them just enough and not overdo it, so you wouldn't strip the plastic.



Next, mount the tail on the fuselage and use the other 4x screws to mount it.





And now finally it is time to install the push rods.



They come with the clevises pre-installed, but you will need to adjust them a bit to fit the length needed. The longest one is for the elevator.



Make sure you sleeve the rubber band thingy on the push rod before mounting it in the servo, because it is used to hold the clevis closed and prevents it from opening in flight.











Continues in next post...
Jul 17, 2018, 05:45 AM
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Arxangel's Avatar
Thread OP
...continued from previous post!

Almost done now! Once the push rods were installed, I installed the flap Y-cable in much the same way as the aileron Y-cable was mounted. I will know which is which because the flap cable will not have the name tags on it. In a situation like this quick connectors mounted on the fuselage and wing that just connect when you mount the wing would simplify this so much!





Next, I replaced the super long wheel bolt with a 35mm one, which fit absolutely perfectly.





And now we move on to the front of the plane.



The adapter holding the spinner is collet type, meaning you sleeve it over the motor shaft, and when you tighten the nut on top, it will push down on the collet and it will squeeze the shaft, securing the prop on there.





Looks pretty good in my opinion! In addition, this prop turned out to be perfectly balanced from the factory, so I didn't have to do all that additional work.





I do love spinners, they look so clean and tidy, and just look good!



When the tails of both the Phoenix and the Ranger are aligned, it turns out the fuselage of the Phoenix is about 1-2cm longer than that of the Ranger, not including the spinner and prop.



They also have a bit different front design.



Tested how the wings fit, and they fit very well, a bit tight, but that is good since they will stay put even during some extreme manoeuvres!



Next in was the receiver. I used the D8R-XP from the Ranger G2.



Since I didn't want to have to use a LiPo alarm, I decided to add an FrSky voltage sensor here.



Soldered some cables to a 4S balance plug and split them so I would also get power for the external SBEC that will be powering the receiver and servos.





Decided to use a 4S 1800mAh battery here, and that front mounted motor meant that I had to push it as far back as it can go and still barely managed to get the balance right.



Once everything is done this is one beautiful plane for sure!



Sadly, with the black hatch also mounted it is too nose heavy, so I will have to fly without it for the time being.



And now it was time for the maiden flight!


























THE VERDICT

The quality of the Phoenix V2 definitely impressed me, and the one thing that I have always loved about these Volantex models has been the plastic fuselage. Even though this is not the exact same material as that on the Ranger 2000, it still has some flexibility and is a lot tougher than foam. Not to mention that after so many FPV oriented models, with all the gear mounting platforms, plates, pads, etc., the 'cleanliness' of this fuselage is refreshing and once you put it together it does look quite pretty!

Assembly is standard for a PNP Volantex model, and it should not take more than 30-40 mins in the worst of cases. Everything is a good fit and comes together quite quickly, but you would need a wrench or pliers to tighten that prop nut, and one is not included with the set.

Once you get to flying, the plane did require some up elevator trim, although it is possible that it needs a bit more CG correction to the back, but other than that take off is absolutely easy and trouble free, give it some throttle chuck it at an up angle and its off without any drama or suicide attempts, like some other models I know of! Once it takes to the skies it just glides effortlessly through the air, like a glider should, and a brake on that ESC would have helped even more, hence why I will probably replace it, so I can actually program that in. Trying to tip stall the model yielded no results at all... it just entered into a tight turn, and even applying rudder in the same direction as the turn to make it stall didn't really do anything - the moment you let go of the sticks it just goes straight and there is no stalling at all! Deploying the flaps does require that you lower the throttle, otherwise it will shoot up like a rocket. With the flaps down thermals have an even more severe of an effect and you can definitely have some good fun hunting them, and the flight should last a good amount even with a smaller battery!

Overall I am very happy with this plane, and even though it is not primarily designed for FPV, I do believe that pure fun should also be a good reason to won something, because I know I do enjoy flying this one and hunting for thermals! I wouldn't recommend it to absolute beginners, but if you have a bit of experience flying this one should be a good fit, and will open up a whole new world of RC model flights, unless you already have some experience with gliders! A very good job on the part of Volantex yet again!

Stay tuned for more updates.
Jul 17, 2018, 05:51 AM
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Arxangel's Avatar
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Reserved...
Jul 17, 2018, 02:39 PM
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arcticflyer's Avatar
I think you would be better served over on the electric sailplane thread....just sayin
Jul 18, 2018, 04:08 AM
Have a great museum day! TB54L
ralfrcgroups's Avatar
Did the plane come with both hatches - the black one and the white one for FPV-gear?
Jul 18, 2018, 07:14 AM
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jimjim06's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralfrcgroups
Did the plane come with both hatches - the black one and the white one for FPV-gear?
Yes, at least the Ranger 2000 I just got came with both of them.

Nice Reveiw Arxangel!
Hope someone does a comarison flight between The Ranger and This Phoenix!
I bet the Phoenix climbs much faster to height with the bigger prop, but Im in no hurry, so I choose the Ranger cuz I wanted a pusher prop for once.

BTW, my ranger arrived with flap servos mounted in the wings, a new batch, I guess?

Loved your YT


Tommy
Jul 18, 2018, 08:22 AM
Have a great museum day! TB54L
ralfrcgroups's Avatar
No, I didn't mean whether the Ranger comes with both hatches (mine also came with both), I wanted to know whether the Phoenix 2000 V2 comes with both hatches....
Jul 18, 2018, 08:27 AM
Registered User
Thank you Arxangel for the very detailed photographs and the review.
I'll be looking forward to this model arriving for the UK.
I note there are some quite nervous guys waiting for their overseas shipments to be delivered.
Go With the Flow
Bruce
Jul 18, 2018, 11:07 AM
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jimjim06's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralfrcgroups
No, I didn't mean whether the Ranger comes with both hatches (mine also came with both), I wanted to know whether the Phoenix 2000 V2 comes with both hatches....
Jul 18, 2018, 11:18 AM
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jimjim06's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by arcticflyer
I think you would be better served over on the electric sailplane thread....just sayin
I 2nd that!


Tommy
Jul 18, 2018, 11:40 AM
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Arxangel's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by arcticflyer
I think you would be better served over on the electric sailplane thread....just sayin
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjim06
I 2nd that!


Tommy
Hmmm... not sure if I can move the thread there... I read through the forums and this seemed like the right place... sorry if I have chosen wrong!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ralfrcgroups
Did the plane come with both hatches - the black one and the white one for FPV-gear?
Yes, the Phoenix V2 does come with both of these.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjim06
Yes, at least the Ranger 2000 I just got came with both of them.

Nice Reveiw Arxangel!
Hope someone does a comarison flight between The Ranger and This Phoenix!
I bet the Phoenix climbs much faster to height with the bigger prop, but Im in no hurry, so I choose the Ranger cuz I wanted a pusher prop for once.

BTW, my ranger arrived with flap servos mounted in the wings, a new batch, I guess?

Loved your YT


Tommy
Thanks mate, appreciated! I will have to get my Ranger 2000 back in the air and will surely do some sort of comparison between the two, would be interesting to see... although the Ranger can certainly carry a lot more batteries! I guess the new batch of Rangers might be coming with the flap servos installed... mine didn't... but that was a while back!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baustin
Thank you Arxangel for the very detailed photographs and the review.
I'll be looking forward to this model arriving for the UK.
I note there are some quite nervous guys waiting for their overseas shipments to be delivered.
Go With the Flow
Bruce
Haha, thanks Bruce, glad you like it!
Jul 20, 2018, 11:54 PM
Registered User

Prop size


Hi
I have flown this plane‘s predecessor a lot.
May I suggest you use a bigger prop rather than a higher voltage battery? With a 13 or 14 inch prop this glider will simply raise out of your hand, no throwing required. It will also climb vertically in a beautiful slow-motion.
Regards
Robert
Last edited by kbert71; Jul 21, 2018 at 01:13 AM.
Jul 21, 2018, 01:38 AM
Registered User
Arxangel's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbert71
Hi
I have flown this planes predecessor a lot.
May I suggest you use a bigger prop rather than a higher voltage battery? With a 13 or 14 inch prop this glider will simply raise out of your hand, no throwing required. It will also climb vertically in a beautiful slow-motion.
Regards
Robert
Might try a larger prop, but I am not giving up on the 4S setup for now! Volantex do that the same size motor in lower Kv, so will try to get one and see how it will perform, but even now I don't have to throw the plane, it does get going out of my hand... its just a habit of throwing them... I really barely do an effort or put any force in the chuck! Will get some larger props though and will give that a try as well!


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