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May 04, 2020, 09:06 PM
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Mini-Review

MD-Tech Pterosaur 1400 EPO 4 Channel Trainer


Banggood have sent me this plane for review at my request. It is available in kit and PNP versions, but they sent me the PNP version. This includes everything you need except the battery, radio receiver and transmitter. Four 9g servos, brushless motor, 8060 two-bladed prop and a 30A ESC are included in the PNP version, but not with the kit.

Banggood also have a white version, which for some reason has a separate listing on their site here.

It’s available from the China, USA and Australian warehouses. My Banggood contact has given me a code, BGPLAUC, which you can use at checkout to get a 15% discount from the normal price. For Australian buyers, postage is free from the AU warehouse. In my experience, delivery time from the AU warehouse is usually pretty good, but from the CN warehouse it can vary enormously, and probably the COVID crisis isn’t helping at the moment.

Specifications

• 1400mm Wingspan, 1120mm length
• Flying weight – Banggood says 870g, but mine weighs only 730g ready to fly with a 1480mAh 3S battery
• Battery recommendation: 3S 1500-2200mAh
• 2212 1400KV brushless motor

I asked for this plane because it’s strongly reminiscent of the plane I taught myself to fly RC with, the Art-Tech Wing Dragon. Some may remember this from the early 2000’s. It’s a pusher, which has the great advantage for a beginner that it’s almost impossible to break the prop in an accident. This Pterosaur comes from MD-Tech, and the similarity of the name to Art-Tech, as well as many similarities with the Wing Dragon, makes me think the two companies might be related.

It arrived well packaged in a solid box, 800x250x140mm, with a divider to keep the foam parts separate from the hard parts.

For a PNP, there is quite a lot of assembly required. I’ll go into that in my next post. It goes together quite well, but there are a couple of “gotchas” buyers should be aware of – nothing too serious, and they won’t trouble you at all if you read my post .

Because of COVID restrictions, I unfortunately haven’t been able to fly it yet. However, my impression from assembling it is that it’s well designed and well executed, and goes together well. And for the size it’s quite light, so I’m expecting it to be a slow flying, easy to fly “floater”, and suitable as a trainer.

I’ve fitted a receiver and tested out the electronics – all good. The motor/8060 prop combo seems to have plenty of push. Sometimes PNPs from Banggood have inferior electronics, and it’s better to choose the kit version, but I don’t see any such problem with this one.

So subject to the cautions I will mention in the next post, and a flight test, I give this one a thumbs up.
Last edited by 1auriec; Jul 31, 2020 at 06:54 PM.
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May 05, 2020, 02:02 AM
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Assembly


These notes are for the PNP version. I think though that most of it will apply just as well to the kit.

The plane arrived with an instruction sheet (in fact there were two identical ones in my box). It has good colour photos showing 23 steps, with brief narrative in English and Chinese for each step. It's quite straightforward, but be aware that you have to install the 3 guide tube mounts to the carbon fibre fuselage tube RIGHT AT THE START, not at step 11 as they say in the instructions. Once you have the tail holder fitted, you can't get them on any more, as there is a rubber sleeve pre-glued to the rod that prevents them from being pushed on from the front end. The rubber sleeve is required to make a nice tight fit when you install the fuselage to the red front section.

I realized this too late, so had to take the tail off again to be able to fit the guide tube mounts.

Installing the rod onto the front section (step 15) is one of the trickier parts. You need to thread the front end of the carbon fibre tube into the hole at the rear of the red front section, and push it in until about half the rubber sleeve is inside - one of the photos shows this pretty well. The front end of the CF tube fits into a white plastic holder in the middle of the red section. The photo at step 15 makes it appear that the tube goes right to the front of the holder, but I found this couldn't be done because the rubber sleeve would then have disappeared right into the red section, contradicting the photo at step 11.

When I say red section, in the photos it appears white, as there are red and white versions of this plane.

When fitting the motor to its mount, pay attention to the orientation of the mounting plate so that the wires are at the bottom so you can easily get them through the fuselage hole provided.

Strangely, the ESC is fitted with an old fashioned Deans T connector, rather than an XT30 or XT60. You will need to fit one of the more modern plugs if your battery requires it, or use an adapter. The ESC cables are rather short anyway, so it is likely you won't be able to get them to reach to the battery in the nose. I am using an old battery that has a Deans plug and rather long cables, so I don't think I'll have that problem. If you do, you will need an extender.

The ESC also has a little red JST battery connector, I've no idea why. It is a 30A ESC and the JST connector is rated at far less than 30 A. Don't use it!

The pictures on the BG item page show the plane with a 3-bladed prop, but mine came with a 2-bladed one. The 2-bladed one appears quite adequate though. I was pleased to find it arrived perfectly balanced, unlike most props I have seen. Make sure you fit it with the convex side pointing to the front. The mounting is one of the conical ones which grips the motor shaft harder as you tighten up the spinner. You need a black plastic ring to make the prop fit on the shaft, but a set of the rings is supplied - in fact my plane came with two sets, for no known reason.

The rudder and elevator servos are mounted well forward, and there are very long push rods going to the rear. This is not ideal, but narrow transparent tubes are provided for the push rods to run through to reduce friction. These are quite effective. The instructions show the servo horns pointing downwards when in the central position, but a colleague suggested it would be better to mount them straight up instead, to avoid damage from hitting the ground in a rough landing. I did that - I don't think it makes much difference, as in any case they're going to be protected by the landing gear.

A useful mod might involve putting rudder and elevator servos in the tail to avoid the need for very long push rods. I did this successfully with the Wing Dragon Sportster in the picture above, by running long servo extension leads down the inside of the carbon fibre tube. You then have extra weight in the tail, but the Pterosaur has plenty of space in the nose so I think you could move the battery well forward to compensate. Because the servos required in the tail would not have the extra load of long push rods, you might be able to get away with smaller ones. Then you would save the extra servo weight as well as the weight of the push rods, guides etc. and the whole plane could be lighter. If I were building this plane from a kit I would certainly consider doing it that way.

The two aileron servos are mounted in the wings with short push rods to the ailerons. A Y connector is provided to enable them to be driven from a single aileron channel. The aileron servo leads are not quite long enough to enable them to be plugged into separate channels on the receiver. If you wanted to do that, to enable flaperons and/or differential on the ailerons enabled at the transmitter, rather than mechanically, you would need extension leads.

All control horns are of the type that push through a slot in the control surface and then have a retaining piece fitted that ratchets on to make it tight. In the rudder and elevator, the slot is pre-cut for you, but on the ailerons there are two holes, clearly for a different type of control horn. Possibly a design change was made but not incorporated in the final manufacture. No problem, just use your modelling knife to make slots like the others.

The connections from the push rods to the horns on the control surfaces are of a type I haven't seen before. Rather than a threaded push rod and a clevis, the push rod passes through a plastic piece with a grub screw to enable the position on the push rod to be adjusted. There is a short protuberance on the plastic piece that goes through a hole on the control horn, and is held in place with a tiny split pin. This seems to work perfectly well.

This is NOT one of those PNP planes where you can complete the assembly in less than the time it takes for the battery to charge for the first flight. It takes a bit longer. However, it's mostly good fun, with things fitting together as they are supposed to.
Last edited by 1auriec; Dec 13, 2020 at 07:55 PM.
May 20, 2020, 08:25 PM
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That coupon comes up as working on the AU warehouse site, Laurie. However the 24-hour shipping sure doesn't! I wouldn't be surprised if they are just holding off till the stock runs out from full-price orders. Then you can go whistle! We've had that treatment before. Think I'll just get my cash back and pick up some stuff I need off a local Ebay site.
May 21, 2020, 11:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oztreecrasher View Post
That coupon comes up as working on the AU warehouse site, Laurie. However the 24-hour shipping sure doesn't! I wouldn't be surprised if they are just holding off till the stock runs out from full-price orders. Then you can go whistle! We've had that treatment before. Think I'll just get my cash back and pick up some stuff I need off a local Ebay site.
Thanks for the information. I'm tempted to ask my BG contact about this. She's been very good with coupon-related matters before.

I still haven't flown this model yet, but intend to as soon as I've fitted it with a Rx I'm happy with, and if the weather cooperates. I tried a pretty old Rx, a Spektrum AR6100, but I wasn't happy that the range was good enough when I tested it.

I notice also that the Pterosaur name seems to have been dropped by BG now. I'd update this thread title but it doesn't seem to be possible.

Perhaps the makers and BG realised that naming a plane after a dinosaur might not be the greatest marketing. After all we don't have the Ford Triceratops or the Hyundai Velociraptor.
May 22, 2020, 02:35 AM
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I just did a check on the BG Web site and tried to use the coupon - the plane is on special at the moment, 13% off, at AUD 102. When I tried to use the coupon, I got a message saying "1. This coupon is not available for limited offer products.".

Even without the extra discount it does seem quite cheap for a plane of this size, with four 9g servos, 30A ESC and brushless motor and prop all included.
Last edited by 1auriec; May 22, 2020 at 02:54 AM.
May 22, 2020, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1auriec View Post
I just did a check on the BG Web site and tried to use the coupon - the plane is on special at the moment, 13% off, at AUD 102. When I tried to use the coupon, I got a message saying "1. This coupon is not available for limited offer products.".

Even without the extra discount it does seem quite cheap for a plane of this size, with four 9g servos, 30A ESC and brushless motor and prop all included.
Thanks for checking, But actually when I went to cancel the order the "Processing" had gone to "Shipped!" So no doubt it'll turn up sometime. It's not for me anyhow but for an old mate who's showing the first signs of maybe Alzheimer's - keeps losing planes/quads. Was gonna set it up with a flight stabilizer and my Rx/Tx combo and only give them to him when we're watching him. We're all well on the wrong side of 70.
May 24, 2020, 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by oztreecrasher View Post
Thanks for checking, But actually when I went to cancel the order the "Processing" had gone to "Shipped!" So no doubt it'll turn up sometime. It's not for me anyhow but for an old mate who's showing the first signs of maybe Alzheimer's - keeps losing planes/quads. Was gonna set it up with a flight stabilizer and my Rx/Tx combo and only give them to him when we're watching him. We're all well on the wrong side of 70.
I can relate to you - I'll be joining your club soon as I turn 71 in June! I think your plane should arrive pretty quickly as you've ordered from the AU warehouse. China order delivery is pretty random at the moment, not many transport options out of Shenzhen and Hong Kong I think.

I think this model should be quite suitable for your purposes. I'm expecting it to be a nice slow flyer, giving your friend time to think. And easy to see because it's quite large.
May 28, 2020, 03:20 AM
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White version now available in AU warehouse


Just noticed that the white version of this plane is now available in the AU warehouse, here. Pricing is slightly different, but I can assure you they are the same model apart from the colour.

I'm not sure why Banggood has separate listings for the white and red versions. For other items they usually just have one listing with a choice of colours.
May 28, 2020, 03:58 AM
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Well she arrived today with the usual Banged-up-good packing damage. Carton completely squashed 1 end but surprisingly small amount of damage to contents. Some dings in the wings but tail, elevator and plastic fuselage OK. The carbon fuselage to tail rod is squashed and split on the front end so that'll reduce its strength and usefulness. We'll see if anything else got roughed up when we stick it together on the weekend. Here's hoping.
May 28, 2020, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by oztreecrasher View Post
Well she arrived today with the usual Banged-up-good packing damage. Carton completely squashed 1 end but surprisingly small amount of damage to contents. Some dings in the wings but tail, elevator and plastic fuselage OK. The carbon fuselage to tail rod is squashed and split on the front end so that'll reduce its strength and usefulness. We'll see if anything else got roughed up when we stick it together on the weekend. Here's hoping.
That's disappointing. It would have taken a lot of force to damage the carbon fibre rod like that.

I'd definitely be complaining to BG and trying to get a replacement for the whole lot. Mine arrived from China pretty much perfect, but yours comes from Sydney and gets broken! Not good enough.
Jun 04, 2020, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 1auriec View Post
That's disappointing. It would have taken a lot of force to damage the carbon fibre rod like that.

I'd definitely be complaining to BG and trying to get a replacement for the whole lot. Mine arrived from China pretty much perfect, but yours comes from Sydney and gets broken! Not good enough.
That carbon fiber tube is an odd size so good luck finding a replacement when it gets stuffed! (9x7.5mm by 800 long - plenty 6,8 and 10 mm by 1mm wall tubes available but that size looks to be an orphan!)
Jun 04, 2020, 11:46 PM
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First flight - very short video


Well, here at last is a flight video. Very short, as the field was a bit small and I was happy to get just a first impression. I flew with a 2S 2200mAh battery and I was never above half throttle. Weight around 740g ready to fly. I put another velcro strap forward of the supplied one so I could move the battery right to the front to get the CG in the right place.

I am using a simple 4-channel setup, but it would be easy to have the aileron servos on separate channels and set up flaperons.

My initial impressions though are that it is all I had hoped for. Very slow flying, very easy to fly, just really nice.

MD-Tech Pterosaur 1400 EPO 4 Channel Trainer - First flight (1 min 26 sec)
Last edited by 1auriec; Jun 21, 2020 at 04:02 AM.
Jun 05, 2020, 02:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oztreecrasher View Post
That carbon fiber tube is an odd size so good luck finding a replacement when it gets stuffed! (9x7.5mm by 800 long - plenty 6,8 and 10 mm by 1mm wall tubes available but that size looks to be an orphan!)
Well, the old Wing Dragons had similar carbon fibre fuselages and I was never able to break one of those despite many brave attempts . That's why I was so shocked yours could have been broken in transit. They must have driven a truck over it.

BTW thanks for drawing attention to this thread in your comment to Andrew Newton's outstanding YouTube review.
Jun 08, 2020, 02:29 AM
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Flying it again today - I am really starting to like this one.

I've been flying indoors and small park flyers less than 750mm wingspan for so long now I've forgotten what it's like to fly something quite a bit bigger. This is a great way to get back into it. Very nice to fly, slow, but with a bit of get up and go if you want it. Highly predictable and can be flown very accurately close to the ground.

Last time I flew with a 2200mAh 2S lipo, and was very tentative as the video above shows. This time I used a 1600mAh 3S 25C, and I think that's a better match. Plenty of power for nice, elegant loops, even an Immelmann. I saved the rolls for next time, as I'm not sure how much height it will lose in the roll. I'm not very good at coordinating elevator with ailerons to improve the rolls.

13 minutes flight time with this battery, and there was still a little left.

I was concerned the small 50mm diameter wheels might not work very well on the rather rough surface of the rugby field I was on, but there was no problem at all. I think that's because the whole thing is so light - less than 800g. It lifts off so easily the wheels don't have a chance to stick.
Jun 12, 2020, 05:16 AM
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Hi, 1auriec - it looks like a great Flyer. I have ordered the white version from Banggood a couple of days ago, shipping from the Czech Republic warehouse to UK. Will see how it arrives. I have read through your detailed build instructions and seen the video which is great! Quick question if I may. What accessories such as Glue etc do you need to build this model. Just so I can anticipate and have everything for the arrival.

Many Thanks!

Tom


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