The opportunity to review the Mini Leader was a timely one, as I was actively looking for something with its attributes. The model is a new release from the French company New Power Modélisme, represented in the UK by Helger Distribution. Designed by that French bloke Benoit Paysant-Le Roux (whose brother Christophe is a bit good at flying), the Mini Leader is one of a range of model designs that Benoit's created for a very diverse field of modellers.
Being electric it's somewhat of a change for me, but with the ever-increasing popularity of similar size models that will fly on 3s Li-Pos I felt that I had to find out what all this electric stuff is about. Dare I say it, this dedicated petrol-head has to admit that coming back from a flying session without smelling like a garage forecourt has its advantages, especially with 'her indoors'!
WOT, NO MOTOR?
The box art and website state that the model comes with a motor supplied, but despite rooting around the contents I couldn't find one. I naturally assumed this was an omission, but after a short chat with John Norris at Helger Distribution the mystery of the missing motor was cleared up... The UK spec kit isn't supplied with one! As luck would have it, those awfully nice chaps at FlightPower were anxious to receive a little exposure for their new range of matched motors and stumped up a couple of 'Synergy' flight packs for review, and one such pack suited the Mini Leader perfectly. This consists of a re-badged AXI 2808/14 motor (with mount and prop driver), a 3s1p EVO 1800mAh 20C Li-Po and a 10 x 5" APC 'E' series propeller. These flight pack combinations take all the guesswork out of motor, prop and battery selection having been previously proven across a number of applications. You do still have to supply an ESC, though, so eBay got a visit and I was able to pick up a Tower Pro 25A job for just £6.99. Mind you, it did have to come from Timbuktu!
FlightPower's Synergy pack is a bonus for those of us who can't decipher the codes and names for all the various motors available today. The Mini Leader's manual tells you to use a 150W set-up, which equates to approximately 13.5A @ 11.1V (150W ÷ 11.1V = 13.5A). This simple way of estimating amps gives you an idea of what battery to use, so if you want a full throttle flight of 10 minutes duration you'll need a 2250mAh pack. FlightPower supply their flight pack with an 1800mAh Li-Po, so I'd have to throttle back a bit or settle for shorter flights! However, the AXI2808/14 motor is nearer to the 200W mark, and I was a little concerned that it might be a bit too much for the Mini Leader...
With the flight pack to hand plus a set of Hitec HS55 servos and a new synthesised JR R70 Rx, I was ready to put her together. Be sure to read part two to see how it went.
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