The Editor heads to the hills with Composite RC Gliders two metre slope soarer.
Last month I covered the build of this sleek moulded glider and revealed its long heritage, it being an updated version of the RCRCM Typhoon. Since the original model first appeared around 2010 there is plenty of information regarding advanced set-ups online, especially for those of a more daring disposition who like to push their airframes to their limits. More on this later…
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However, since this is a review of the latest Edge 2000 X version, I stuck fairly rigidly to Composite RC’s own set up guidance, which can be seen on their website.
The Edge webpage recommends the following control movements:
Elevator: 7 mm up/down
Rudder: 15 mm left/right
Aileron: 10 mm up, 7 mm down
Flaps: 50 degrees
Snap-Flap: 3 mm landing flap, aileron matching
Crow: landing flap 70 degrees down, aileron 16 degrees up, elevator 3 mm down
Speed: flaps 1 mm high, ailerons matching
The Edge can easily be ballasted using the fuselage mounted ballast tube, starting at 310g at stiff breezes above 10km/h and up to 1050g at 28 km/h plus strong winds. A full list of recommended ballast settings is shown on the same Edge webpage.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
To keep things simple for the first flights I concentrated on setting up the main control movements, plus crow braking for landing. Tweaking Snap Flap (auto increase in camber when pulling up elevator) could come later, as would the Speed setting (trailing edge reflex), although I suspected that the Edge would fly plenty fast for me with no reflex (which proved correct!)
After assembling the model at the back of the car, one of my flying buddies, Jonty, quizzed me about the control movements and the Centre of Gravity position, which I had set at the foremost point of the recommend 86 – 89mm.
Now, as you may recall from last month’s article, Jonty is a very experienced Typhoon owner, and he has tweaked his model to the nth degree. His model flies extremely well, so he is a man worth listening to. However, by the end of our chat I was convinced that my Edge would either plummet over the edge of the hill due to not having any thermal camber set or it would be far too nose heavy and would probably stagger around if it did get aloft.
My mood darkened as I climbed the twisting path to the hill’s summit. There was not a lot I could do about the camber as I am still finding my way around the powerful Powerbox Core radio that I have been using to fly my most recent gliders; that would be a sit-down job back at home with a hot brew! But I could do something about the nose weight, having taken the precaution of making the top section of weight from nose shaped layers of roofing flashing, taped together.
Halfway up the local hill is an old quarry; it’s only small so obviously wasn’t very productive, but it gave me plenty of shelter from the stiff nor easterly blowing hard just a few hundred yards away. I quickly whipped off the nose cone and removed the tape from around the nose weight, then I removed a couple of layers of lead.
A rough and ready balance check using my forefingers showed that the C of G had shifted to the back of the recommended setting and was now closer to 89mm. That would have to do and so the Edge and I continued our climb to see what fate had in store…
ON THE EDGE
After a final control check I asked Jonty for a launch. Following a firm throw the Edge soared away, straight as a die and climbing well. No trims were changed and Jonty’s advice regarding nose weight was spot on. In mere seconds all my doubts vanished, and I recognised that I had a pedigree model under my guidance. When you know, you know – and from the off I knew that I had lucked in to a real gem for my future slope sessions.
The Edge was away and flying really well, and the knowledge that it could be tweaked even further, following advice from Jonty and other experienced owners of this airframe online, was enough to put a big grin on my face.
Although the sky was busy with other models, the Edge climbed through the melee with ease, allowing me to pick a clear area into which she could be dived to gather energy, followed by long, graceful rolls and momentum sustaining loops. She was in her element – as was I – but all too soon the cold wind had started to nip at my fingers and face, so my thoughts turned to a slope-side landing.
A WHOLE LOT OF CROW
Despite having flown from the local hills for many years this was actually only the second time that I had flown from this particular slope. And although the lift can be mighty at that location the landing area is fairly tight, with a bunch of nasty looking rocks ready to dash any wayward glider to pieces should you let it wander too far to the right.
Fortunately, one of the regular flyers had stopped by for a chat and to admire the Edge, so I asked Chris to guide me in as I assessed the strength of the Edge’s crow braking set up. After a couple of aborted passes, I had my eye in and could better judge the model’s response as the flaps were lowered. Even at half crow the braking effect is quite powerful, and I was able to really push the model’s nose down to slowly bring her around for a smooth landing. Nice!
Just one problem… Walking to the model showed that one flap was looking a bit strange and my heart sank as I realised that, whilst concentrating on getting her down safely, I had forgotten to raise the flaps at the last moment before touchdown. This had knocked the servo loose and whilst no real damage was done it was enough to ground the Edge for the rest of the day.
Back in the shed I stripped off the flap servo cover and could instantly see that the servo mount had parted company from the wing. Still, rather that than strip the servo gears…
I cleaned the broken areas of epoxy away and abraded both the underside of the mount and the wing skin. This time I used 30-minute epoxy to glue the mount into place, to give it a bit more resilience when landing in rough grass on the slope. And just to make sure with the other wing servos, I ran some beads of epoxy and micro balloon mix along the edges of the other mounts.
During that first session, with a background of a white overcast sky, there were one or two instances when the Edge disappeared momentarily from view, it being a super slim, all-white model under white clouds. So, I took the opportunity to add a patch of bright red self-adhesive vinyl to each wing tip to better improve the orientation when viewed topside, ASW style!
Since being released from lockdown the UK has mostly benefitted from a high-pressure weather system, which has brought us some great flying conditions with bright skies and light, if nippy, north easterly winds.
Occasionally the wind would pick up, but sadly not at a convenient time for either myself or my photographer friend, Barry. So, at the time of writing we have been unable to get together for a slope-side photo session with the Edge. Therefore, all the flying shots you see here are from Composite RC’s stock images.
She’s still a lovely looking glider though, I think you’ll agree, and the review model doesn’t look a whole lot different – it’s just missing a ‘spider’s web’ graphic or two and now has red wingtips!
After just a few sessions with the Edge I am a firm fan. Despite the underlying design being over a decade old she still offers plenty of performance to entertain an experienced slope pilot. Real die-hards will have long progressed to the latest hot ships but for keen sport pilots she still offers a great all-round performance.
Reading Andy Ellison’s Typhoon review from 2010, which he wrote after undertaking much more flying than I have so far been able to enjoy with the Edge, a few comments stand out as being in common with both machines, despite the decade that has passed between them:
“After a few days of cruising around in light air I’d established a number of things. It is quite fast and slippery compared to other models of its size and actually behaves like a much bigger, more expensive slope race machine. There’s some pedigree here waiting to be unleashed in the right hands, and a crispness to the controls…”
“In short, this is a fast and pacey model. It flies like a bigger glider and is almost a mini racer, though it’s not for the heavy-handed in the light and scratchy stuff. Will it make a good first moulded glider? Well, if you’re only used to a foamie Wild Thing or Chris Foss Middle Phase you’ll have a steep learning curve here. But stick with it if the clean lines have grabbed you to the point where you must have one.”
Although the Edge is not my first moulded glider, it is only my third and, in my case, you could replace Middle Phase with Phase 5, as that’s the last model that I flew from the slope. For me the Edge 2000 X represents a decent step up from a high performance, built-up wooden slope soarer and despite its age it still has plenty to offer. Thumbs up all round, I reckon!
Wingspan: 1.998 mm
Wing area: 32 sq. dm.
Flight weight: 1470g
Wing loading: 45.9 g/dm. sq.
Airfoil: JH 6/8
Fuselage ballast: 19mm dia. x 33mm (x10)
Wing ballast: Optional 252g steel joiner
Controls: Elevator, Rudder, Ailerons, Flaps
Motor mount: 34 mm
Spinner: 35 mm
ESC: Hacker X-30-pro
Battery: 3S 2400 mAh LiPo
Propeller: 11″ x 6″
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