Flex Innovations RV-8 NIGHT SUPER PNP on Floats Review

Flex Innovations RV-8 on Floats. The RV-8 NIGHT SUPER PNP dons a set of optional Floats and heads for the Lake. Mike McDougall documents the float assembly, installation, and the Maiden Flight.

Splash

Introduction

Flex Innovations RV8 FLOAT SET w/STRUTS & LED
Length:39.5 in
Width:26.5 in
Weight:2 lbs 2 oz
Rudder:1 - Spring loaded pop-up
Servos:1 - Internal mounted
Lighting:Internal LEDs
Manufacturer:Flex Innovations
Available From:Flex Innovations or through your local hobby shop
Street Price:$99.99

For the complete RCGroups Review on the Flex Innovations RV-8 Night Super PNP, please see the follow link:

RV-8 Night Super PHP

Flex Innovations has designed a great looking set of floats specifically for its RV-8 airframe. This Review will address the float assembly and installation as well as the water and air performance of the RV-8 on floats.

First Impressions

My first impression was - Nice Looking Floats! The water rudder looked mighty "square" compared to the beautiful curves and lines of the floats. The wire struts looked plenty strong.

Kit Contents

Here's what's in the kit box:

  • Plywood reinforced EPO floats
  • Heavy-duty water rudder
  • Internal water rudder servo
  • Internal LED lighting
  • 4mm Wire spreader bars
  • 5mm Wire struts
  • Complete hardware package
  • 4-Page illustrated Instruction Manual

Required Tools

  • #1 Phillips Screwdriver
  • 1.5mm hex wrench
  • Thread lock compound
  • CA and epoxy glue
  • Waterproof Tape

Assembly

The 4-page illustrated Instruction Manual detailed the assembly process for the Flex Innovations RV-8 float set. The Manual was filled with excellent step-by-step instructions and detailed pictures to help guide the builder through the entire assembly process.

Spreaders and Struts

Preparation

The assembly process began with installing lock collars on the spreaders and the struts. Since the wires are different diameters, the collars must be matched with the correct diameter wires. Each collar had a narrow tapered side and a larger flat side. The larger side of each collar should be oriented toward the float wood mount for maximum surface contact. Blue thread lock compound was applied to each collar set screw and the screws secured against the provided flat on each wire.

Orientation

The spreader bars were located nearest the center of the float. The struts were located in the outer holes toward the front and toward the rear of the float. The strut with the "U" bend is located toward the front of the floats with the "U" bend oriented toward the rear. The back strut has a slight bend in the sides and the upper portion of the strut should also be oriented toward the rear. The struts would only fit the fuselage one way. The float assembly was test fit to the fuselage to verify proper strut orientation before the thread lock was applied to the outer collars. Even though directions were "followed", the rear strut was installed BACKWARDS! After the rear strut was reinstalled, the collars were thread locked into position.

Fuselage Modification

The RV-8 had two large cooling holes located in the bottom of the fuselage just behind the wings. These holes were designed to allow the cooling air that flowed through the fuselage to exit the airframe. However, for water operations, these large holes could also allow water splashed off the floats to enter the fuselage. To minimize water entry, Flex Innovations provided two covers that would block water entry, but allow cooling air to continue to exit the airframe. A small notch was carved in the front edge of the front cooling hole to allow the rudder servo wire and the lighting wires to enter the fuselage, then the hole covers were glued in place with Medium CA glue.

Once the main landing gear were removed, the area beneath the gear needed to be sealed to prevent water from entering the fuselage. Flex Innovations provided a pre-drilled plastic sheet to cover the entire gear mount area. The sheet was epoxied in place being careful not to get any glue in the gear or float mounting screw holes. When the epoxy had cured, the front strut was attached to the fuselage with the provided aluminum brackets and M3x20 screws. The rear strut was installed in the provided slot in the fuselage and held in place with the rear float retaining plate.

Water Rudder

The water rudder servo lead and the LED lighting leads were routed through the slot under the forward cooling hole cover. The rudder servo lead was plugged into the S8 Port in the Aura 8 and the LED leads were plugged into two open lighting connectors in the fuselage. A flight battery was installed and the rudder and water rudder movement were verified. The water rudder needed a bit of mechanical adjustment to get it centered at neutral. The battery balance lead was plugged into the lighting control plug and the internal LED lighting was verified. Once everything was working properly, it was time to head to the lake.

Completion

The completed Flex Innovations RV-8 with floats weighed 12lbs 5 ounces, with the 6S 5000mAh battery, RTF.

The plane balanced perfectly at 10-7/8" from the trailing edge of the wing with the batteries installed toward the back of the battery tray.

The transmitter countdown timer was set for 5 minutes and 30 seconds. It was set to start and run at any throttle setting above 20%.

Flying

Float planes should perform just as well as their land based counterparts. Steering on the water should be positive and weathervaning should be easily overcome with a bit of throttle. Takeoffs should be straight and require only a minimum of elevator to get the plane unstuck from the water. Let's see how this Flex Innovations RV-8 performs as a float plane.

Taking Off and Landing

The Aura 8 was set to FM2 (Sport Mode), the flaps were left up. The RV-8 easily taxied into position with a very positive steering feel. The throttle was slowly advanced and the plane tracked well with just a bit of right rudder to keep it straight. The plane lifted off the water with barely a touch of up elevator. Subsequent takeoffs with flaps proved to be just as easy. The only difference was that the takeoff runs were much shorter with the flaps.

The RV-8 with floats had a fairly wide landing speed range. The added drag of the floats would slow the RV-8 pretty quickly, so holding a bit of throttle helped the plane gently settle to the water. Too much throttle and the plane would skip and bounce - too little and the plane would "plop" down. Flaps helped slow down the approach speed and shorten the landing slide. Surprisingly there was no change in flap/elevator compensation from wheels to floats.

"Scale" Flight

The RV-8 on floats looked really impressive in the pattern and water touch-and-goes were a thing of true beauty. The Aura 8 settings were still just right even with the added drag of the floats. The model was still responsive and well mannered even as slow speeds. Slow flight with flaps was very impressive.

Sport Aerobatics

When floats are added to most sport models, aerobatic performance really suffers. That was not the case with the Flex Innovations RV-8. The plane was just as aerobatic with the floats as it was with the wheels. The RV-8 easily performed all the sport aerobatic maneuvers I threw at it. With the added float drag below the centerline, the plane hardly needed any down elevator when inverted. The added side area of the floats made knife edge flight even easier than with the wheels.

3D Aerobatics

A 3D float plane is a rarity, but Quique Somenzini was involved with the design of the float version of this RV-8, of course it's gonna 3D! As mentioned earlier, in 3D Mode the flaps moved in concert with the ailerons. The surface throws for the ailerons and the elevator also increased substantially in this mode. The Potenza 70 motor had plenty of power to easily hover the RV-8, even with the added weight and drag of the floats. I'm still not much of a 3D pilot, but the Aura 8 sure made me look good. For a better measure of the 3D capability of the RV-8 on floats, check out this flight video.

Is This For a Beginner?

Aerobatic float planes are not for the absolute beginner. However, the Aura 8 AFCS stabilization system makes this RV-8 on floats an ideal first aerobatic float plane for any intermediate flyer. It's a credit to Quique Somenzini's design and programming capabilities that this float plane is so stable and forgiving.

Flight Photo Gallery

Jesse Webb was once more at the ready on the trusty Nikon and the batteries were fully charged. The winds were mild and sun was shining brightly as we taxied the RV-8 out on the lake for its photo shoot.

Flight Video

Jesse Webb readied the Camcorder as I swapped batteries in the RV-8. I'm always amazed at how well he captures the flights. I hope you enjoy the fruits of his hard work.

RV 8 on Floats (7 min 51 sec)

Final Thoughts

This new Flex Innovations RV-8 on floats is a fully 3D capable float plane. It can fly slow and easy like a well mannered trainer, or it can hang on its prop and rotate around its wingtips - all this while giving the pilot a feeling of complete confidence. I like this new RV-8 on floats a lot. I don't know if there is a real RV-8 on floats yet, but I doubt it flies as well as this Flex Innovations version. s a large EPO foam model shaped like an Iconic Homebuilt that has the heart and soul of a 3D machine. The Potenza 70 motor is plenty stout and the Aura 8 AFCS helps keep the plane tame at all times without limiting the fun.

Pluses

  • Heavy-Duty Spring-Loaded Water Rudder
  • Internal Water Rudder Servo
  • Nice Shape and Outline
  • Good Color Match with RV-8
  • Sturdy Float Struts
  • Internal LED Lights
  • Gentle General Flight Characteristics
  • 3D Aerobatic Capabilities

Minuses

  • Wheel Collars - One Edge Tapered

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Last edited by kingsflyer; Apr 16, 2019 at 11:05 PM..
Thread Tools
Apr 17, 2019, 09:37 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
Thread OP
An RV AND Floats - What an Idea!

McD
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
May 06, 2019, 06:14 AM
Registered User
How difficult is it to switch back to regular landing gear?
May 06, 2019, 09:14 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
Thread OP
Once you have installed the Mylar waterproofing sheet, it only takes a few minutes. It takes longer to fish the wires out of the fuse than to change the gear. I’m thinking of getting a gang plug that will make all three connections at once.
McD
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
May 06, 2019, 07:09 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsflyer
Once you have installed the Mylar waterproofing sheet, it only takes a few minutes. It takes longer to fish the wires out of the fuse than to change the gear. Iím thinking of getting a gang plug that will make all three connections at once.
McD

Thanks! I ordered one with the floats yesterday. Was considering a Carbon Z cub, but this seems to fly a bit nicer and the night lighting sealed the deal. May be one of my last plane purchases. I have too many. But I needed a nice night flyer I could see to complete my collection. Nice complement to my E-Flite Prometheus Bipe. Should arrive Wed. Woo hoo!
May 07, 2019, 09:05 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
Thread OP
I flew mine at night with the floats at SEFF and it was spectacular! I have the AR8010T receiver so I could switch the lights off and on as needed. This allowed me to plug in the lights on the beach with the lights OFF so I would not be "blinded" before the flight. I used a 2200 mAh 3-cell pack strapped on top of the flight pack to power the lights. It worked great. The Nav lights and landing light are powered off the flight pack battery and are on whenever the flight pack is plugged in. I actually taxied out and took off using only the Nav/landing lights and switched on the night lights when I was airborne. Probably not the best way to take off, but it sure made an impression on the peanut gallery! The RV-8 looked great when fully illuminated.

McD
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
May 07, 2019, 05:17 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsflyer
I flew mine at night with the floats at SEFF and it was spectacular! I have the AR8010T receiver so I could switch the lights off and on as needed. This allowed me to plug in the lights on the beach with the lights OFF so I would not be "blinded" before the flight. I used a 2200 mAh 3-cell pack strapped on top of the flight pack to power the lights. It worked great. The Nav lights and landing light are powered off the flight pack battery and are on whenever the flight pack is plugged in. I actually taxied out and took off using only the Nav/landing lights and switched on the night lights when I was airborne. Probably not the best way to take off, but it sure made an impression on the peanut gallery! The RV-8 looked great when fully illuminated.

McD
Sounds like fun!


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