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Oct 20, 2019, 01:04 PM
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Mini-Review

Omphobby S720 Acro Trainer with "snap-on" wings/tail plane (review, work in progress)


While being a big fan of flying, I rarely fly fixed wing. Often because small planes can have trouble handling wind, big planes take up too much space to just casually take it along in the back of your car. Also there aren't always suitable flying spots, you need some area to safely land, unless you become an expert in hand catching. Quadcopters are often more practical, with their VTOL capabilities. But when Makerfire asked me if I wanted to test a new foam plane, I decided to give it a go.

A little while later, the plane arrived, and while the box was somewhat beat up, the contents seemed ok. However, a death in the family threw a spanner into the wheel, and testing had to wait. But since today I finally could make some time, and the weather was fine too, as well as having found a great flying spot for planes with undercarriage, the plane got it's maiden flight, and a few more take offs after that.


To get a first impression what we are talking about, here's a picture and a link:




https://shop.makerfire.com/collectio...c-airplane-rtf

By the time this review was started, the plane was priced at 105 USD.



Unboxing

So, what do you get when you order this plane?






The box isn't particularly big for a plane with 718mm wingspan, but we'll get to the reason for that soon. First an overview of the contents:




Apart from the fuselage, and a bag with some small hardware, we can easily identify the box with the transmitter, and another flat box. The latter contains the wings, and the horizontal tail plane, both in two seperate halves. All these parts simply snap into place in the fuselage.

For the control surfaces, there are no plugs to connect, the connection is purely with a clever system with links, that match up with the ailerons:




Inside the fuselage are some levers, that connect to the servos, which are mounted more to the front inside the fuselage:




A similar setup is used to move the elevator:






The connection here is partially with the same "snap together" system as on the wings, but the control surfaces are joined with a strong magnet.


The small brushless motor is fitted with a special coupling, on which the spinner and prop are mounted. A spare coupling and prop, are included, but not a spare spinner:




The 2S 300mAh battery fits inside the nose, and when the canopy is installed, it seems to be held in place by the front locking tab of the canopy.


Preflight Assemby and Final Checks

First function test was done without installing the wings. This is possible because the wings contain no electronics, and are just mechanically linked to the fuselage, allowing you to test the servo operation without wings installed. All servos and linkages appeared in working order, and the motor spun up nicely too. I did notice that around center stick, at first the servos don't move at all, then suddenly jump to a low deflection angle. So center stick precision might not be as great as with a true hobby grade radio, but we'll have to see how it works out during the actual flying tests.

The wings just snap into place easily, just make sure you line the control surfaces up with the plastic links on the fuselage, and with the main wings, pop in the round locator pin first, then fully insert the square pin. Also feel if the two pins from left and right wing snap fully together, this makes a distinctive sound, and you should have no gaps or slop at the wings, if that is ok.

Same with the horizontal stabilizer, line up elevator with the servo horn, and carefully snap together This takes less force than the main wings.

The prop has a special cut out that fits only one way on the drive coupling that is attached to the motor. A small screw through the center of the spinner holds everything together.


Flying

Because I wasn't sure how the plane would react, and due to personal circumstances, losing my dad, the maiden took place only yesterday, the 20th of october. Weather was great, and I had the perfect spot for it, an area with a large enough paved square, and grass all around, for a belly landing, should that become necessary. RoG went great, and in stabilized mode, the plane flew pretty smooth, yet not to docile. Maybe a more seasoned fixed wing pilot will feel differently , but I didn't feel the stabilization being too rigid.

Landings also went fine, the plane glides pretty well, and remains predictable when getting close to stall speed. To taxi back to you takes more effort, somehow the plane favors turning to the right over left. So to get back in straight line, I had to hold full left rudder, and go easy on the throttle.

Anyway, enough talking, here is some flying footage:

Testing the Omphobby S720 4ch foam plane - part 1 (4 min 50 sec)


Testing the Omphobby S720 4ch foam plane - part 2 (1 min 43 sec)




Verdict:

Based upon my flights so far, with this nicely looking plane, I do like it. It's very convenient that the plane can be assembled without having to connect any servo wires, so also no risk on these connectors failing, because of intermittent contact, or not being fully plugged in. The canopy is also easy to remove and locks well into place.

On a flat surface, take off and landing is quite easy, and the plane flies well too. The "dead zone" on the sticks of the toy grade transmitter is a bit of a shame, but it's possible to get used to, and still fly the plane relatively smoothly. Still, this is one area where I feel a big improvement could be made.

The power setup is good, don't expect to hover the plane on the prop, but it has enough power to recover from a bad landing approach, which combined with good stall characteristics, make this plane suitable for less experienced pilots. I'm glad it is fitted with a brushless motor, so you don't have to worry about it wearing out anytime soon, or something jamming up the gearbox, or stripping teeth on the gears, that you see used with a brushed motor setup.

I was expecting to have gotten 2 batteries with the plane, as another review, on Youtube, did show a second battery being included, but it seems this (no longer?) is the case. Considering how even cheaper planes these days come with an extra batter, I think this is another area where some improvement could be made.

So, all in all, not perfect, it could have been better, but I do expect to be having fun with this plane for some time to come.
Last edited by SoloProFan; Oct 26, 2019 at 03:35 PM.
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Oct 20, 2019, 01:05 PM
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Modifications and Additional Info:


Using Different Transmitter

Since the stock transmitter, while convenient, doesn't offer much adjustment options, and super precise control, a different transmitter would be convenient. Omphobby is apparently coming with a somewhat more hobby grade transmitter, but there is also a way to use your existing transmitter with the S720.

The receiver board is fitted with 2 communication ports, one for Sbus and one for DSM:




More details on how to set this up, will follow asap.




Things the Manufacturer could/should improve

- Less "dead zone" on the transmitter sticks for more precise control
- Button or "flick switch" to select between "Stabilized" and "Sport" mode. A sliding switch isn't easy to operate when flying
- Include at least 2 batteries in the box, instead of a single one
- Improve taxi performance, maybe make the tail wheel move with the rudder
- FPV version maybe? (please no WiFi FPV, but hobby grade 5.8GHz, compatible with common FPV goggles)
Last edited by SoloProFan; Nov 07, 2019 at 11:45 AM.
Oct 21, 2019, 03:12 AM
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Added more info and first flying videos.
Latest blog entry: For the love of the hobby!
Oct 21, 2019, 11:38 PM
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Added (preliminary) verdict, and suggestions on how this plane could be even better.
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Oct 23, 2019, 12:03 AM
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Ah Solo, sorry to hear the news about your Dad. Even if it's been expected it hits you hard.

I came across this plane while looking at alternatives to my Volantex V767-2 Ranger 750. The pusher T720 seems OK as a sub-250gms foamie and while this very similar tractor version is not what I am looking for it might make a great Xmas present for an old mate. Looking forward to your further posts.
Oct 25, 2019, 02:00 AM
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Thanks for the support.

I hope to also test the T720, but unsure if this is going to happen. So far the S720 is a fun plane and being brushless, should last a while too.


Meanwhile, here's a thread by Merch, for the T720: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...ane-RTF-Mode-2
Last edited by SoloProFan; Oct 25, 2019 at 03:26 AM.
Oct 26, 2019, 01:54 PM
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This plane really rocks. With the stock transmitter, it's a bit touchy due to dead zone on the sticks, mostly with elevator, but it has a pretty wide flight envelope. I flew today in windy conditions, where normally I would stick to flying quads, and the S720 did great. It did have a bumpy ride at times, when a gust came by, but I never felt like it got tricky. And yet there was enough wind to just let it stay above the same spot, and just riding up and down a little, but no forward movement relative to the ground.

And the beauty of it is that when I was done hovering, I could just increase throttle, and make headway into the wind. With the brushed micro planes I've flown so far, in such conditions you could barely get into the wind, and often needed full throttle, and some down elevator to get back. The S720 can fly slow, but apparently doesn't have much drag, making it easier to move into the wind.

And despite having been up and on high throttle for some longer moments, the battery came down at around 4.0 volts per cell, which is pretty high. Setup must be quite efficient.

If omphobby can either come with more precise control around center stick, or it uses a protocol that is present in those new multi radios, and they add a second battery to the package, it's just about perfect. Due to the well designed snap-on wings and tail, this is the first plane I can keep in my car easily, and not worry about it getting damaged very easily.

Btw, compared to the boxart and other reviews, I have the landing gear on wrong. But I get the feeling it looks better this way, and it also makes the plane less likely to stand on it's nose during take off or landing.
Latest blog entry: For the love of the hobby!
Oct 27, 2019, 04:33 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoloProFan
This plane really rocks. With the stock transmitter, it's a bit touchy due to dead zone on the sticks, mostly with elevator, but it has a pretty wide flight envelope. I flew today in windy conditions, where normally I would stick to flying quads, and the S720 did great. It did have a bumpy ride at times, when a gust came by, but I never felt like it got tricky. And yet there was enough wind to just let it stay above the same spot, and just riding up and down a little, but no forward movement relative to the ground.

And the beauty of it is that when I was done hovering, I could just increase throttle, and make headway into the wind. With the brushed micro planes I've flown so far, in such conditions you could barely get into the wind, and often needed full throttle, and some down elevator to get back. The S720 can fly slow, but apparently doesn't have much drag, making it easier to move into the wind.

And despite having been up and on high throttle for some longer moments, the battery came down at around 4.0 volts per cell, which is pretty high. Setup must be quite efficient.

If omphobby can either come with more precise control around center stick, or it uses a protocol that is present in those new multi radios, and they add a second battery to the package, it's just about perfect. Due to the well designed snap-on wings and tail, this is the first plane I can keep in my car easily, and not worry about it getting damaged very easily.

Btw, compared to the boxart and other reviews, I have the landing gear on wrong. But I get the feeling it looks better this way, and it also makes the plane less likely to stand on it's nose during take off or landing.
Sounds like our Sunday session here , Henk. Winds varying from pretty calm to blowing a gale. Volantex v761-1, QF008 787 3-channeller & Syma X8C retrieved from the leafy heights. Volantex v767-2 caught in a very bad gust & pitched into a group of saplings - lucky only superficial bruises. And my XK A600 sent off into a deceptive calm, caught & nosed in - major nose repair time then back into the display case. No more EPS for me! Only things handling it well were our XK X520s.
Oct 27, 2019, 07:29 AM
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Nice review solo, and so sorry to hear about your dad. Be well and keep your chin up my friend...
Oct 28, 2019, 02:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oztreecrasher
Sounds like our Sunday session here , Henk. Winds varying from pretty calm to blowing a gale. Volantex v761-1, QF008 787 3-channeller & Syma X8C retrieved from the leafy heights. Volantex v767-2 caught in a very bad gust & pitched into a group of saplings - lucky only superficial bruises. And my XK A600 sent off into a deceptive calm, caught & nosed in - major nose repair time then back into the display case. No more EPS for me! Only things handling it well were our XK X520s.
I think in a strong breeze power and low drag are key. The A600 has good power, but compared to the S720 it struggles more in a breeze. Mine spends most it's time hanging from the ceiling in the attic. It looks great in flight on a calm day, though.

I really should fly my X520 more, if it does well in a strong breeze


Quote:
Originally Posted by elan
Nice review solo, and so sorry to hear about your dad. Be well and keep your chin up my friend...
Thanks. When surrounded with people with a good heart, it makes things a bit easier. And flying is a great way to vent emotions. I made 2 tribute videos for my dad, because I often unboxed new rc stuff at his place, and he was genuinely interested in this new tech:

Memorial Flight for my dad - part 1 (please read the video description, thx) (3 min 26 sec)


Memorial Flight for my dad - part 2 (please read the video description, thx) (4 min 12 sec)
Latest blog entry: For the love of the hobby!
Oct 29, 2019, 12:07 AM
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No news on the protocol this uses, but apparently the electronics have the option to connect to dsm sat or sbus receiver. Which would mean you can fly it with a range of different transmitters.
Latest blog entry: For the love of the hobby!
Nov 01, 2019, 08:09 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoloProFan
No news on the protocol this uses, but apparently the electronics have the option to connect to dsm sat or sbus receiver. Which would mean you can fly it with a range of different transmitters.
Where'd you see that Solo? Got 1 on the way & a spare S-FHSS receiver. It would be nice to add it to my X6 Tx from the XK K110 heli if possible.
Nov 01, 2019, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oztreecrasher
Where'd you see that Solo? Got 1 on the way & a spare S-FHSS receiver. It would be nice to add it to my X6 Tx from the XK K110 heli if possible.

Omphobby told me over email. They promised to send more details on this.
Latest blog entry: For the love of the hobby!
Nov 05, 2019, 09:39 AM
Registered User
I’m starting to really like this Omphobby outfit. Micro brushless motors are so much better than the brushed types XK puts in their trainers.
Nov 07, 2019, 01:47 AM
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Here's the picture that Omphobby promised me, showing the receiver connections:
Latest blog entry: For the love of the hobby!


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