Alpha 2M RCGroups Review

Jason Cole puts the Alpha in the air and finds out what this 2M composite thermal duration plane has in store for pilots.

Splash

Introduction

Wingspan: 78.54 inches (1995mm)
Wing Area: 443 sq. in. (28.6 dm2)
Length: 45.5 in (1155mm)
Flying Weight: 18.87oz (535g)
Motor: Hacker B20-12L
ESC: Castle Creations Talon 25
Prop Size: GM 10x6 Folding Prop
Servos: MKS DS75KN (6)
Receivers: Jeti R7
Flight Battery: 2s 650mAH
Price: $529.95
Available at: Soaring USA

The Alpha 2M is a lightweight "mini F5J" composite glider. It's easy to build and and uses a high aspect ratio wing along with 1.5 degrees of dihedral in the center, and 7 degrees of dihedral on the tips to make it a great thermal flyer.

It's looks great and it should be a nice blend between F3K and F5J models that is perfect for those wanting a smaller and more affordable option for thermal duration and sport flying.

I'm excited for this review so let's check out what's inside the box and get started with the build.

What's in the Box

The box was well packed and it took some time to remove all the parts and unwrap them. You'll find the carbon fuselage which has a very nice magnetic hatch, fiberglass wings and tails and a carbon pylon for the horizontal stabilizer. The accessory bag includes two wing joiners, one is straight and the other has some dihedral to it. They also included fiberglass control horns, springs for the tail surfaces, servo covers for the wings, a fiberglass plate for mounting the fuselage servos, screws for mounting the wings and horizontal stab and some pull string hardware.

There is a lot of prefab work done at the factory on this plane like pre-cut servo slots in the wings along with cable routing holes, pre-cut slots control horns and pushrods, pull-spring holes, pre-shaped springs and a pre-installed fiberglass motor mount. Those details are appreciated and the fit and finish of the parts was fantastic. I'm not sure if the kits comes with the Soaring USA wingbags or not, but they were included in my box and they are super nice!

Other Items Used for the Review

A big thanks to MKS Servos for providing the servos and GM for providing the prop and spinner. Thanks for helping with the review!!

Assembly

I started the build by glueing in the rudder and elevator control horns. The slots were pre-cut, so it was a matter of sanding the horn slightly, taping off the area and glueing them in place.

Next I glued the vertical stab to the fuselage, cut a slot for the elevator pull string and glued the pylon to the fuse.

The rudder, elevator and flap servos are to be mounted on a fiberglass plate under the wing. I installed the plate first and then cut a slot in the side of the fuse near the vertical stab for the rudder pull string to pass through. The surface springs were pre-made and ready for installation. It was quick and easy.

Now I was ready to install the servos on the plate. I would have preferred to mount the servos in frames, but you need to glue them to the plate for this plane. They need to be close to the middle to allow for the flap pushrods to pass on the sides. The rudder and elevator servos are installed first towards the rear of the plane. I installed the pull strings using the included hardware.

Next I installed the control horns into the flaps and ailerons. Then I soldered servo wire to the two aileron servos and ran the wires through the wing. The aileron servos are glued into place and a solid pushrod with L bends is used to connect them to the control surfaces. The kit includes some rubber like pushrod keepers you can use to make sure the pushrod wire doesn't come off of the control or servo horn during operation.

Then I installed the flap servos, cut some slots in the fuse and ran the pushrods through the fuselage. I installed the motor for which you'll need to drill mounting holes in the fiberglass mount to match your motor. Then I connected the ESC and ran my receiver back towards the wing, leaving room for the 2S 650mAH lipo flight battery.

Flying

Take Offs

Super easy! The fuselage provides a nice grip so even in the wind, you can safely get a one-handed launch off. The power system I used had plenty of punch so just an easy toss forward is all it takes to get into the air. It can climb out near vertically if you want.

Flying

The Alpha 2M is a joy to fly. It's a mix of a hand launch glider and a larger F5J ship. It has qualities from both types. It turns tightly for low level thermals like a DLG, but it has more range and speed than a DLG. It floats well, but not quite as well as a 4M F5J plane. It flys fast when needed and climbs out nicely in thermals. I used the dihedral wing joiner and I prefer it to the flat one. The flat one is great for aerobatics and slope soaring, but for thermal duration style flying the extra dihedral works well. I have my CG at about 62mm with no extra weight required to balance, but the manufacture suggests 78mm. I will add some tail weight to push the CG back some and see how I like that.

The color scheme shows up nicely and while it is half the size of a traditional F5J plane, you can still range out pretty far with it. I was able to fly it at an F5J practice event and while I couldn't keep up with the floatiness of the 5J planes in dead air, I could out thermal them at times. I did manage to win a round with the Alpha getting the lowest launch, full time and a 50 point landing beating out 5 other 4M planes. The handling feels great and I was quickly smiling even on the first flight after finding some lift and watching it go up.

Be sure to watch the video below so you can see it in action in light wind and windy conditions.

Landings

It lands great! The flaps are very effective like on a DLG and that makes it easy to put it down right on the spot you want. I've had a bunch of landings now, some soft and some harder dork landings and the fuselage and GM spinner have held up with no issues.

Video

Photos

Conclusion

The Alpha 2M is a blast and really one of the best values out there for soaring. It can practically keep up with planes twice its size, but it's only a quarter of the price. If you are serious about competing in F5J, this probably isn't for you. If you are interested in F5J and just want to have fun and not worry so much about winning, the Alpha will reward you well and it won't break the bank. You could use this as a travel plane and take it on vacations and find it equally at home in thermals or in slope lift doing aerobatics. The quality is top notch and the only thing I didn't really care for was the servos needing to be glued in place instead of using frames. Other than that, it's very user friendly with the magnetic canopy and the wings and horizontal being removable for transportation if needed. This 2 meter keeps the cost down, but the fun is way up and I'm not sure there is anything more important than that. Be sure to click the link below and visit Soaring USA's Alpha 2M page to get your plane on the way.

Check out the Alpha 2M at Soaring USA

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Last edited by Jason Cole; Oct 07, 2020 at 09:50 AM..
Thread Tools
Oct 07, 2020, 11:32 AM
Registered User
Nice review Jason
Oct 07, 2020, 03:27 PM
Registered User
Gratter's Avatar
Thanks for the review. Thought I had made the decision on my next plane choice but now I am up on the air again. So to speak.

Can you show us how the flaps are attached to the servos?
Also is the fuselage deep enough under the wing to get servos standing up?
Last edited by Gratter; Oct 07, 2020 at 08:25 PM.
Oct 08, 2020, 08:45 PM
Registered User
Thanks for posting this review Jason. Is the Hacker B20-12L geared or direct drive? Thanks. Steve
Oct 08, 2020, 11:12 PM
Registered User
landru's Avatar
Lovely flight photos of the model against a dramatic sky.

I've had my eye on the Alpha. The review only makes me more interested.

The Hacker motor mentioned is a geared inrunner, I believe:
https://hackermotorusa.com/shop/hack...s/b20-12-l-41/
Oct 09, 2020, 05:45 AM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Thread OP
Yep, it’s geared. Flew it yesterday with the CG at 78mm and it got even better on thermal turns and lift indication. I’m keeping it there.
Oct 09, 2020, 06:28 AM
In F3J size does matter!
roydor's Avatar
That motor is rated for 220 watts and 69 grams. For a 2 meter model, a small outrunner would be a cheaper option. You could also find one with a thicker output shaft for landings.
Oct 09, 2020, 06:51 AM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Thread OP
Finding a smaller out runner that fits is going to be a challenge. I couldn’t find one that fits due to the motor wires sticking out of the top.
Oct 09, 2020, 10:54 AM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Thread OP
Nice. The mega and X-power might work but I tried to put that Axi 2212 long sailplane motor in and it will not work. The wires come out of the side of the motor and rubs against the outer rotor. It's just too tight of a fit.
Oct 09, 2020, 11:26 AM
In F3J size does matter!
roydor's Avatar
The Xpower is slightly on the heavy side but the Mage looks good
Xpower has a smaller motor but a bit small I believe. It could probably pull you up to 150-180 meters in 30 sec which may be enough for this small model. Ecalc check is required to see if it isnít too small.
https://www.topmodel.fr/en/product-d...er-f230714-f5k

Another option is to do something like on the attached picture. Not the prettiest solution but it works, and will allow a cheap outrunner.
Oct 09, 2020, 11:38 AM
Registered User
landru's Avatar
I wonder if this little 55g Leopard would fit?
http://www.icare-icarus.com/Leopard-...LT_p_1278.html

The one I have in a 750g 2m glider pulls it vertical like a rocket. Not at all necessary in a thermal glider, of course. But plenty of fun.
Oct 09, 2020, 12:03 PM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Thread OP
It might fit, the only thing you have to watch out for is the wires coming out of the side of the motor. Unless you mod holes like the photo above, it's hard to get one of those in the fuse without the wires causing issues.
Oct 09, 2020, 12:11 PM
In F3J size does matter!
roydor's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Cole
It might fit, the only thing you have to watch out for is the wires coming out of the side of the motor. Unless you mod holes like the photo above, it's hard to get one of those in the fuse without the wires causing issues.
I use a slightly bigger version of that in my F5Jís and using a cable retainer in it like in the pictures.
But it is a geared setup so again, pricy.
Oct 09, 2020, 01:02 PM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Thread OP
I like that, but there's just no room in this fuselage for that solution. The wire gets pinched between the fuse and motor housing. You really need a motor with rear exiting wires or a much smaller diameter outrunner.


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