Sukhoi SU-26

Sukhoi SU-26

Pretty thing isn’t she?

Overlander’s 30-size electric aerobats aren’t new, they’ve been around for a year now and the 6 models in the range have been very popular. Price has something to do with it, with the exception of Seagull’s slightly smaller Extra and Edge, you’ll be hard pushed to find a comparable 50″ span, lightweight electric aerobat for the money. 

A spell of over-exuberant flying ‘retired’ my much-loved SebArt Katana recently; the options were stark – pay £70 for this 50″ span Sukhoi or getting on for twice the money to replace the Katana. Not a tricky decision, besides which, yellow’s my favourite colour.  

I’ve been told that the Overlander electric range are made in the SebArt factory a story I’d give credence with some parts bearing a distinct resemblance to the Sebby stuff. Whether it’s true or not, the quality of this Sukhoi is very good, not quite in the same league as your average SebArt machine it has to be said but fine non-the-less. 

FIT OUT
These machines seem to go together in a couple of evenings so it’s important to have servos, extension leads and power-set at the ready from the start. I transplanted the gear from the Katana so four JR DS385 digital micro servos, the Hacker A-30 motor, 14×7 prop and Hacker 40-amp ESC went in. It’s a proven power set and the ESC is a switch-mode unit rated to handle the servos so a separate battery receiver pack isn’t required – it all worked swimmingly in the Katana and it’s all worked mighty fine in this Sukhoi too. It would be wise to have a small separate receiver battery pack if your ESC is of the linear (non-switch mode) variety. As far as servos go, use 2kg torque units as a minimum, digital or analogue.

You could add a pilot but somehow they don’t suit models of this type.

Build wise there’s little to report – cyano the hinges, drop in the servos, connect it all up and the job’s done. The servo recesses were too big for the 385s so I used thin ply to bush the holes.

One major critisism levelled at models of this type centres around the undercarriage and the way the legs seem to part company with the rest of the airframe with sickening ease. It’s happened to me although I’ve found the weakness isn’t the ply airframe mount itself, rather the weak structure into which the mount sits. Make no mistake you’ll love this aeroplane so it’s important to do something about the u/c area at the build stage to avoid unecessary sadness later, besides which – the construction methods used by models of this type means that they’re very difficult to repair down the line. My cure was to fill the gaps between the frame stringers either side and above the mount with liteply fillers and all set inplace with a generous layer of epoxy. Some add a fibre-glass bandage which is also effective.   

The motor mount accomodates a Hacker A30 without any alteration and the motor shaft protrudes sufficiently from the cowl too. I spray painted the spinner from the Katana, rubbing down, then adding two coats of grey primer and two coats of gloss red. I was worried the paint may put the spinner out of balance but all was well. The spats are easy to fit and reasonably strong too so only poor handling should shorten their life.

Look after the landing phase and the Sukhoi will look after you.

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The good old 2200-2500mAh 3S Li-Po packs were king not long ago and the model would still fly happily with these but I use my 3200mAh 3S packs in 30 size models these days, they’re heavier for sure, but that helps the model penetrate in a breeze and produces flight times at around the 8-min mark.

FLYING
The model tracks a little to the left on take off but nothing that a little rudder can’t handle. To an extent the peformance hasn’t been a surprise given the ‘known’ power train but it’s still impressive non the less with a pretty unstoppable climb rate. She’ll prop-hang happily and the knife-edge is one of the best of any model I’ve flown with no coupling required (something this particular model is now well known for).

Spins are pretty frenetic with the sticks in the corners, blenders too. What’s great about the model is the she looks fantastic in 3D or ‘pattern’ mode – the Sukhoi is one of my favourite full-size aerobats so I can pretend she’s IMAC’ing when the sticks aren’t in the corners.

She’ll drop a wing when slowed down which is something to be particularly aware of when landing but generally this is a safe and pleasant aeroplane. Just to expand on that point though, the model shares a trait common to the 30-size electric aerobat in that she’ll drop the last few feet if you bring her in too slow for landing. This is where the u/c is at risk and where even a little bump can cause a dis-proportionate amount of damage to the structure. I’ve lost count of the number of flyers (myself included) I’ve seen walk out to retrieve a model they’ve assumed is ok, only to find a shattered u/c mount and crumpled fuselage structure.

Models like this clearly aren’t for beginners but anyone with basic aerobatic experience will get along with the Sukhoi. It’s vital to take things gently until you’ve establish the feel of the model and trimmed her properly and you must have the skill to land proficiently using throttle. Getting the best flying ‘feel’ is, more often than not, a case of getting the battery positioned properly. In this respect it should go well into the cavity created by the motor extension frame. Retain the battery with a releaseable cable tie and velcro – velcro alone won’t do.  

I’ve yet to fly a better knife-edge machine.

So there you have Overlander’s Sukhoi SU-26, she’s affordable, she’s pretty, she’s a little delicate but she’ll knock your socks off.  

FOOTNOTE
I still hear reports that Overlander have sold this model with a Thumper 3542 1250Kv motor. It’s a great motor but the Kv figure is too high for the model and means you can only use 11-12″ props which limits the machines 3D performance. Using a 14″ prop with this motor generates a 60-amp current draw which is way too much.

Whatever you do make sure you use a motor that’s no more than 1000Kv (the Hacker A30 is 900Kv). Remember the smaller the Kv, the bigger the prop you can swing; aim for a 13″ or preferably 14″ prop for this model.  

DATAFILE
Name – Sukhoi SU-26
Type – ARTF 3D aerobat
UK distributor – Overlander (direct or via model shops)
RRP – £99.99
Wingspan – 49″
Length – 46.5″
Wing area – 465 sq. in.
All-up weight –  3lbs

 

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