E-flite's new Ultra Micro flyer reviewed - 3/3/11
Credit where it’s due, this really is a stunningly pretty little thing. Its big brother, Hangar 9’s 89” span behemoth is an imposing drop of aeroplane and E-flite have managed to imbue this little sibling with sufficient touches to ensure that it too stands out from crowd. The ultra-micro crowd in this case.
The model follows the ready-to-fly (RTF) formula used by co-brand Parkzone, so supplied in just a bind’n’fly (BNF) version complete with a battery and charger. It’s beautifully made with a moulded EPS foam fuselage, stamped foam flying surfaces and, as you can see, nicely finished too; the finely applied paint finish, tiny ‘scale’ decals, spinner, struts and flying wires all adding to what can only be described as the prettiest RTF indoor model you’ll find. The flying wires, incidentally, are functional and ensure the wings remain rigid through high-G manoeuvres.
It’s a four-channel machine fitted with a new Spektrum receiver, the AR6400LBL that integrates the role of ESC and two servo outputs for rudder and elevator. Connected as they are, both top and bottom ailerons are functional and driven by two 1.7g long-reach servos, one under each lower wing. Upfront you’ll find another new item, a 180-size E-flite outrunner driving a 5 x 2.75 prop while power is from a 2S 120mAh Li-Po battery.
The charger supplied is designed to use a 12v power source so flight preparation is just a case of topping up the battery, slipping it into the large cavity revealed by the removable cowl piece and binding the model up a DSM2 radio. That’s not quite all. This is an aeroplane designed with a performance remit so the dual rates and exponential settings outlined in the manual shouldn’t be ignored, expo being essential to soften the handling, even at the low rate settings.
This is a very light little beast so it’s important to appreciate the effect small changes in the battery location will have on the C of G. Establishing the recommended C of G is easy though and the model can be launched with a gentle underarm lob or rise-off-ground from a smooth surface. The small wheels are unlikely to cope with even the shortest of grass and, anyhow, the spats will soon start to suffer.
I’d strongly suggest the first flights be made outside as The Beast doesn’t hang about and while the slow speed handling is excellent and she’s manageable in larger indoor spaces, it’s sensible to gain familiarity and confidence where obstacles won’t be a worry – needless to say, this one’s too nice to plough into a wall on the first outing. I’m must reiterate - this model moves along at a fair old clip so take things steady at first while trimming and adjusting those rate and expo settings.
This is a precision aerobat, smooth and fast yet blessed with a fine low-speed envelope where it won’t bite or trip the unwary. Indeed, it’s possible to stooge about with tight circuits and figure-eights with confidence. The Micro Beast hasn’t been specifically designed for 3D so the ability to fly from the prop shouldn’t be expected from anyone other than an expert. A few things can be coaxed, harriers for example aren’t a problem but the more aggressive stuff isn’t really on the menu.
That’s not a criticism though and what’s particularly impressive is how the model will do practically everything you’d expect from a standard-size i.c. aerobat so loops, rolls, bunts, knife-edge, point rolls, spins and so on, fall easily within the repertoire. Duration from the 120mAh battery is in the region of 4-5 minutes but E-flite will sell you a 180mAh pack that’ll extend this and provide noticeably more grunt too. Re-charge times are around 20-30 minutes so it’s worth getting a couple more packs. The model has proved to be pretty robust - not indestructible of course - but it’ll endure the bumps and knocks surprisingly well.
It's important to stress again that this little model doesn't hang about and although I’ve flown it (very carefully!) inside, for anyone other than an expert, it does feel like a machine for outdoors. That’s no slight and if you’ve access to a small, clear space, perhaps 2-3 tennis courts worth of grass then, for just about the first time, you can fly a near uninhibited aerobatic schedule with a model that’s not going to intrude on the surroundings. This one’s perfect for taking on holiday or flying from the back of the car wherever the opportunity presents. Take your time with The Beast, test, trim, be prepared to get acquainted and you’ll soon come to appreciate just what a clever little animal it is.
Name: The Beast
Model type: RTF Ultra Micro aerobat
Manufactured by: E-flite
UK distributor: Horizon Hobby UK
Wingspan: 14.7” (372mm)
Fuselage length: 15.7” (400mm)
All-up weight: 2oz (57g)
Battery: 2S 120mAh, 20C Li-Po
Power system: 180 2300Kv brushless outrunner, 5 x 2.75 prop. ESC integrated as part of Spektrum AR6400LBL Rx unit.
Functions: Ailerons, elevator, rudder, throttle via ESC
Its arrived, but without the manual - here's some flying notes By Andy Harris
by Andy Harris
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