This review was first published in 2005. The kit is still available.
Traditionally, the model that we fly after our first high-wing trainer is the one on which we cut our aerobatic teeth. A good ‘follow on’ low-wing trainer encourages us to repeatedly push our aerobatic skills, leaving the comfort zone of the high-winger far behind. It’s the trusty companion to see you through the trauma of looping, rolling, spinning, stall turns and inverted flight. In fact the correct ‘second model’ can be very exciting and absorbing to fly, yet docile when needed.
ALL WEATHER CAPABILITY
The essence of club aerobatics is practice; any interruptions in the training programme will set the aspiring pilot back. Continuity of flight is the name of the game, so a first aerobatic steed must be reliable and capable of flying in all weathers, especially here in the British Isles!
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PROOF OF CONCEPT
Statistically, a first low-winger is more likely to get stuffed than your first high-wing trainer. When learning on a high-winger you probably had a tutor handy to snatch back the cuddle box – or switch you out of the buddy-box loop – when imminent danger loomed. However, by nature, a low-winger tends to be your own solo machine. You’re bound to overcook it sometime – that’s how we learn and that’s why, in my book, ARTF ‘first low-wingers’ are a gift from heaven. You don’t have too much emotional attachment, they’re quick to build and replace, and they’re usually very good value for money. This last point is important, for although safety is paramount, you need to feel that you can take some risks as you expand your aerobatic flying skills.
The Whittaker doctrine (designed expressly for discussion) says that a follow-on trainer should possess a number of essential attributes:
● Low-wing airframe: a model that requires you to constantly tell it what to do, rather than relying on the stability of a high-winger.
● Easy to build: to get you in the air fast having soloed your trainer.
● Easy to repair: better to deal with the inevitable ‘happenings’.
● No cowl-bashing required.
● Upright, uncluttered engine installation – we want flying hours, not tinkering.
● Simple tank access for the inevitable bouts of ‘clunking’.
● Preferably a tricycle undercart, to provide good ground handling, positive take-off steering and a steady support to the fuselage when starting the engine.
● Ample rudder area for good ground control, slick aerobatic performance, neat spin entry and exit, and (maybe) knife-edge.
● A touch of dihedral for improved stability; this gives the opportunity of a mid-flight ‘breather’ when that aerobatic workload gets a bit too much.
● A long moment arm (wing to tailplane distance), plus sufficient tail and fin volume to confer smoothness of flight.
● Good docile inverted performance, with not too much forward stick required.
● Good, straight, non-screwing-out tracking through loops.
Correct execution of the performance-related points above will only be exhibited by a properly trimmed-out aircraft. Your best bet here is to befriend a knowledgeable and experienced clubmate who can look at the model in flight, analyse its performance and know which corrections to make.
Since we want hours in our logbook, it goes without saying that this first low-winger will require a sturdy, uncritical and reliable power plant. In this respect I have a soft spot for the Enya SS and O.S. LA series of engines. These non-ball raced sports types have simple carburettors, are reliable, easily adjusted and enjoy longevity. Okay, doctrine done, let’s get on with this here review.
SUPER SPORTS 40
I’ve admired the simple but well-integrated lines of the World Models Super Sports 40 for some time. Although it’s essentially a box fuselage, I think the canny addition of a simple moulded cabin makes quite a difference to its looks in the air. I know I’m a bit of a soft touch when it comes to sports low-wingers, but I think this model has a flavour of the AeroSubaru when viewed in the right light! Well covered and well trimmed, I reckon it looks quite handsome in a no-nonsense sort of way.
As with most middle-market sports ARTFs, there’s very little building required to complete the model. However, the assembly was not without incident. The first concerned the tailplane, which is supposed to be retained by two bolts into captive nuts. This is a useful way of stopping an inexperienced builder from weakening the tail assembly when cutting back the film covering in order to glue it on. Unfortunately, on the review example, one of the blind nuts inside the fuselage hadn’t been correctly glued in and fell out, with the result that I ended up gluing on the tail after all.
Surprisingly, the wings are retained by two metal M3 bolts, and not nylon types. This means a duff arrival will almost certainly rip out the retaining plate. Furthermore, when I came to retain the wings… you’ve guessed it… both M3 captive nuts had fallen out! By this time I was thinking of putting out a contract on the World Models captive nut quality assurance guy. A useful mod’ here would be to fit larger section nylon bolts into new captive nuts inside the fuselage.
There’s no cowl bashing at all when mounting the engine – oh, joy! Just drop it in, bolt it all up and connect your radio. Very refreshing! Engine access doesn’t get much better than this, though the nature of the fuselage means there’s no tank hatch, access being via the radio compartment.
Radio installation is very straightforward, with standard servos simply dropping in. Pushrods are retained to the servo arms by screw connectors, which I routinely cyano’ once the control run is adjusted to the correct length.
Getting the model to balance at the recommended C of G point (78mm / 3.1” back from the l.e.) required the addition of some lead in the nose. I felt that this balance point was perhaps a bit too far forward, but in the interests of objectivity I duly added nose weight to accord. Incidentally, before fixing the lead I noticed that the model sat tail down on the bench and wouldn’t rest on her wheels without it. This didn’t bother me one bit, since I felt that the C of G should go back to the main spar in any case! Anyway, for the first few flights she went up with the stated C of G, carrying a lead passenger.
As is traditional with my blighted review dates, I waited two weeks for better weather. We’d had dispiriting weeks of blustery blows, and no gaps in the unsettled climate to exploit. Valour eventually overcame discretion and I opted to fly, even though it was windy and threatening to rain. I was clearly suffering from cabin fever but reasoned that a good trainer has to be an all-weather flyer and so decided to go for it. The upright and workmanlike Enya started first time, and after a few runs in the late morning to bed her in, was ready to fly after lunch. Only one or two of the old lags braved the weather as we attempted the test flight, with clubmate Gareth Williams taking the Tx and yours truly manning the camera. In between starting the engine and walking out I noticed tetchily that the supplied foam wheels had developed flat spots from standing in the wet grass; I vowed to replace them with bigger, non-foam air wheels.
At the strip the run-out was a bit leisurely, the wet grass and waterlogged foam wheels not helping much. After covering more than half the strip she gently lifted into the air, and although I wasn’t flying her I could see that she was rock steady… the climb-out and first few circuits were delightful. Gareth soon had her looping and stall-turning, with the odd inverted pass thrown in. At one point he hovered her – not bad on a cooking .40! During the second flight the skies darkened further and the ever-present rain became far too heavy to continue, but we were jubilant – she had flown well.
CLEAR FOR TAKE-OFF
With the all-important review snaps out of the way, I returned three days later on a superbly clear, sunny, but very windy day. She was lined up and I slowly opened the throttle. The result was a surprisingly event-free and scale-like take-off, though she felt a bit too docile, again with a long-ish take-off run. In the air she’s proved to be vice-free, and landing approaches can be accomplished at silly-slow speeds. She’ll not drop a wing in anything like normal flying, and dead-stick approaches are slow, measured and positive. Since Gareth flies in a different mode to me and wasn’t at the field at the time, I had to re-trim the model for a second ‘maiden flight’.
At this point my ZAP 9 almost got the better of me, since copying across a model memory resulted in crossed trims; the possibility of this happening hadn’t occurred to me during the normal ‘stick and range’ testing (My ZAP is the heli’ version, and it has annoying non-intuitive habits). Also, of course, with digital trims there was no visual feedback. In the event there wasn’t any danger since the model was only slightly out of trim and completely flyable, and even I can manage with a bit of stick offset.
However, after a couple of minutes of pumping, bleeping and watching her fly, I realised that the throttle trim was operating the elevator, and vice versa. Also, for good measure, the sense of operation was reversed. That’s right, wrong trim and wrong sense. Once this sunk in, a couple a bleeps of up elevator and she was right as rain. And what a flyer – utterly rock steady, yet surprisingly manoeuvrable and all the while performing in a predictable and pilot-friendly way. The Enya proved to be a perfect match for this model, and had oodles of power to spare. After six straight flights, even on a bitterly cold day with a biting 25mph wind, I couldn’t get enough of the Super Sports 40.
I landed her, gassed her up, and sent her upstairs again all day. I only had one forced break, when a violent, short-lived hailstorm battered the strip. I can report that she flies very well in hail – the noise on the Solarfilm in flight is awesome to behold! I flew her almost non-stop from 10.30am to 6.30pm, with one more stop for lunch and another for a NiCad change. The model loops and bunts a treat, and with lots of rudder dialled in she stalls and flick-rolls like a pro. She does need a good waft of rudder to initiate a spin, and the roll rate on suggested throws would put most competent sports pilots to sleep; very safe, but dial in a bit more and enjoy yourself as soon as you can hack it! The only teething problem to report was a loosened steerable nose wheel assembly, which was easily sorted with a firm lean on the screwdriver.
C OF G REVISITED
After a few flights too assess the model’s performance I bent the rear undercarriage back a tweak to get the model to sit correctly, having removed half the lead from the nose. It took off better with a much shorter run, and air-handling was hardly affected. Getting bolder, I tweaked the rear legs a bit further back, and removed more of the lead, thus putting the C of G on the main spar – exactly where I would have liked it in the first place. This time she took off quickly and gently and felt pleasantly light and responsive on the sticks.
Ignoring the trifling annoyance of the escaping captive nuts, she is one heck of a flyer. The C of G issue is also minor and almost certainly relates to the substantial build quality of the rear fuselage, and perhaps an overly cautious recommended C of G. As it is, my example flies very safely at the stated position with added nose weight, and flies even better with the C of G back on the main spar. The supplied foam wheels will do, but buying better ones is at the top of my ‘to do’ list. Preferably chrome… or maybe whitewall chromed… even better!
The Super Sport 40 / Enya SS 40 combination is a model marriage made in heaven. Value for money is excellent, with the Webb model / engine combo deal costing just £129.99 at time of writing. This little ‘plane is an ideal follow-on trainer that looks surprisingly sport-scale in the air. Many Sunday flyers will love the Super Sports 40 for her easy handling, yet broad performance envelope. She’s capable of all club sports aerobatics and even some more extreme evolutions, especially if you have the bottle for it. Pound for pound and putting sheer practicality in the balance, she’s hard to beat, and you wonder why such simple sports flying ever gets overlooked in favour of vacuous electrics and frighteningly big petrol models.
Next morning, against a superb blue sky marbled with cirrus clouds, I was flinging her about like a Viagra-crazed pensioner. I promptly received two firm offers to purchase her. However, as our American cousins say, this one’s a ‘keeper’.
Name: Super Sports 40
Model type: Sport aerobatic ARTF
Manufactured by: World Models
UK distributor: Steve Webb Models, www.stevewebb.co.uk
RRP: £89.99 (Dec 2010)
Wingspan: 1422mm (56'')
Length: 1219mm (48'')
Wing area: 0.36sq. m (3.9sq. ft.)
All-up weight: 2.4kg (5 lb 5oz)
Wing loading: 6.7kg / sq. m (22oz / sq. ft.)
Functions: Aileron, elevator, throttle, rudder (4 servos).
Control throws: Ailerons ±8mm, elevator ±12mm, rudder ±20mm
Rec’d engine: .40 – .50 two-stroke or .49 – .52 four-stroke
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