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ElectriFly Tiger Moth ARF
ElectriFly Tiger Moth ARF
by Jay Smith
The deHavilland D.H. 82 Tiger Moth biplane was the primary trainer for Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) before and during World War II. Since its first flight on October 26, 1931, the aircraft was Britain’s equivalent of the PT-17 Stearman that was America’s Primary Trainer for US pilots. More than 8,700 Tiger Moths were manufactured; with approximately 4,200 going to the Royal Air Force. There it trained thousands of pilots for WW II service and then continued to serve the post-war RAF until 1951. The ElectriFly model is based on a full-size Tiger Moth flying in New Zealand.
Being a fan of biplanes and having had a Tiger Moth as my first electric RC airplane several years ago, I was thrilled to see the new ElectriFly Tiger Moth press release. After seeing one picture of this little gem with its scale details, I knew I had to have one.
The box the Tiger Moth comes in is impressive inside and out. On the outside the box is adorned with several photographs showing some of the scale details such as the molded in ribbing and the deHavilland logo wheel hubs.
The box also carries the Park Pilot Program Legal Aircraft Logo. This states that the ElectriFly Tiger Moth meets all the aircraft requirements of the Academy of Model Aeronautics’ (AMA) Park Pilot Program.
The ElectriFly Tiger Moth therefore weighs less than 2 pounds (the Program’s upper weight limit) and has a level top speed under 60 mph (the Program’s upper speed limit). For complete Park Pilot aircraft details, visit ParkPilot.org.
The AMA Park Pilot Program offers non-AMA members the opportunity to become AMA members at a much reduced cost. Park Pilot membership includes a great magazine “Park Pilot”, $500,000 personal liability insurance, $2.5 million liability insurance for the flying field owner (see insurance details) and membership in the world’s largest sport aviation association – the AMA. For complete information and details about Park Pilot membership, just click here.
In the box you will find all the parts neatly packaged inside plastic bags and secured inside the box with tape to ensure nothing gets damaged.
The parts count is low and a lot of work has been completed by ElectriFly for the builder. As you can see in the picture, the decals are pre-applied, the windscreens are factory installed, the rudder and elevator arrive pre-hinged, the landing gear is assembled, and the push rods are installed. These are all really nice touches!
The recommended equipment for the Tiger Moth includes a Rimfire 250 outrunner motor, an 8 amp ElectriFly ESC, 2-cell, 7.4 Volt, 300mAh ElectriFly battery, an 8 x 6 Slo-Fly propeller, R6004FF Futaba receiver, and two ElectriFly Pico servos. Whenever possible, I like to use the manufacturers suggested equipment as it fits without modification and ensures you will be successful when assembling the model.
The required hardware to complete the model is pictured. This has to be the smallest amount of hardware I have ever used to assemble a model!
In this picture showing the top wing, rudder, and elevator you can see the molded “ribbing” that gives the Tiger Moth a scale appearance. Also, on the wing are molded leading edge slats, which look almost like reversed ailerons. It was nice to see this level of detail incorporated into this size of model.
Assembly begins with the wings. The manual states the following: “If you will be flying your Tiger Moth aggressively by flying it outdoors in windy conditions or performing aggressive aerobatics, or if you will be using servos, batteries or a motor larger than those recommended, apply two six-inch strips of ¾-inch fiber-reinforced tape to the bottom of both wings.”
I skipped the tape as I plan to fly the Tiger Moth like a Tiger Moth with the recommended equipment.
There is a protective skin that covers the top of the bottom wing over the holes for the landing gear that must be removed. This is easily done with a hobby knife.
The manual also has a CG marking template in the back. The instructions advise to use the template to poke small holes in the top of the bottom wing using a pin. The holes can then later be used to help locate the CG using sharpened pencils. I chose not to make holes in the wings for aesthetic reasons.
The bottom wing is glued to the fuselage using thin, foam-safe CA. Make Sure the wing is straight and centered before gluing.
The cabanes are then inserted into the pockets of the fuselage. An addendum to the manual advises if you have any difficulty inserting them, try to bevel the edges. I was able to get them fully seated without sanding and glued them into place once I confirmed they were aligned.
Once the cabanes are installed, it’s time to attach the outer struts and mount the upper wing. The notches in the upper wing for the cabanes and outer struts make it simple to lineup the wing. Just be sure to check the wing alignment to confirm everything is straight prior to gluing in place with foam-safe CA.
After the foam-safe CA has dried, the manual instructs the builder to use canopy glue as a fillet for the wings, cabanes, and outer struts. I have been using canopy glue for all types of projects and appreciate the fact that it dries clear and stays flexible. Using it on the Tiger Moth worked great. I added a CAA tip to the canopy glue and this allowed me to apply a very small amount of glue right to all of the joints. Canopy glue does require up to 24 hours to fully cure, so keep that in mind.
As with the wing, the builder needs to use a hobby knife to remove the skin on the horizontal stabilizer, elevator, and rudder. I also worked both control surfaces to confirm they had a free range of motion.
Make sure that the slot for the elevator control horn is on the right side and that the stabilizer is parallel to the bottom wing.
The fin was then glued to the horizontal stabilizer using foam-safe CAA to tack it into place and then canopy glue was also used as a flexible backup.
The control horns are connected to the pushrods using the included micro FasLink connectors. The control horns are then slid into the precut slots and glued into place.
The Tiger Moth comes with screw-lock connectors making it quite easy to center the rudder and elevator. The manual instructs to mount the screw-lock connectors 7.5mm from center on the elevator and 10mm on the rudder.
I connected the servos to the receiver to see which side of the servo arms center best and then cut off the other three sides. I mounted the screw-lock connectors after opening the hole in the servo horns slightly to allow the connectors to pass through.
The servo bay, located on the underside just forward of the bottom wing, has a foam cover as you can see pictured above. This is a nice touch to allow access to the servos and then it can be reattached to hide them.
The ElectriFly Pico servos fit perfectly into the servo bays and the holes are predrilled for the servo screws. This makes installation super easy.
Following the manual, I attached the receiver to the back of the front fuselage former with hook and loop tape. The motor is screwed to the motor mount box using the supplied screws and the ESC is attached using Velcro as well. The battery is installed between the motor box and the firewall, vertically using the supplied Velcro.
The power system is a plug-and-play with the bullet connectors pre-installed on both the Rimfire outrunner motor and the ElectriFly Silver Series 8 amp speed controller. The mini Deans plug is also already installed so no soldering is required.
The plywood landing gear struts add to the scale appeal of the Tiger Moth and must be glued to the wire landing gear. I roughed the inside of the struts with sanding paper for better adhesion and glued using Welder glue. Having used it in the past, I knew it would hold up better than CAA.
The rear of the struts goes into the openings on the bottom of the wing. This allows the landing gear to have some shock absorption.
Before mounting the cowl, the manual instructs the builder to bevel the bottom corners of the front fuselage former. I found using my high-speed rotary tool with a sanding disc made quick work of it. The cowl is then mounted using the three small screws. I pre-drilled the holes for the screws using a small 1mm drill bit.
The Tiger Moth comes with provisions for optional flying wires. I chose to use silver thread for my flying wires to more closely represent the full-scale model. Pre-drilled holes in the cabanes and wing struts are quite helpful. I did find it easier to use a small needle to help feed the thread through the holes. Foam-safe thin CAA was used to attach the thread to the cabanes and wing struts once I was satisfied with the tension of the thread.
The included profile pilots are a nice addition and are easily inserted into slots in the cockpit. You can see the instrument panel decals are also pre-installed in each cockpit.
My completed model weighed 7.8 ounces ready to fly. The manual provides both low and high rate movements for the control surfaces. However, I did not setup dual rates as I knew I wouldn’t be using the low rate setting. The Center of Gravity (CG) fell within the range listed in the manual.
I also took the time to balance the propeller which I found to be a bit out of balance right from of the package.
Note: If you are using a Futaba radio, the throttle channel must be reversed for electric aircraft.
The Tiger Moth really looks nice no matter what angle you view it from. The detailing of the model is thoughtful for something in this size and price range.
I picked a calm morning for flight testing and utilized a hard surface. I was excited to finally get the Tiger Moth flying after a few rather windy days following completion of the model.
Getting the Tiger Moth airborne is simple but does require a bit of up elevator or the airplane will nose over on the ground. Also, a small amount of rudder is required to keep the Tiger Moth in a straight line as it will break slightly to the right. Once in the air, you can release the up elevator.
While it is possible to get the Tiger Moth in the air quickly, I enjoy extending the take off run slightly with the tail off the ground.
The Tiger Moth required about seven clicks of up elevator for level flight at approximately 60% power. The rudder didn’t require any trim adjustment.
Under full-power, the Tiger Moth can climb continuously at approximately a 30° angle. It can also easily loop from level flight. The Tiger Moth can also do an impressive stall turn. However, for the sake of scale flight and longer flight times, I would recommend flying the Tiger Moth at 50-60% throttle except during vertical maneuvers.
Even though the Tiger Moth does not have ailerons, turning is not an issue as tight turns and Figure 8’s are quite easy. A little up elevator input along with rudder will allow for beautiful turns with no loss of altitude.
With a wing loading of just under four ounces per square foot, it was not surprising that I couldn’t get the Tiger Moth to stall. At full up elevator and zero throttle, the airplane simply glided with no tendency to drop the nose or a wing. It was obvious this little biplane wants to fly!
The most fun I had with the Tiger Moth was flying around low and slow and shooting several touch-and-go landings. Another benefit to this style of flying is longer flight durations; approximately five minutes with the 300mAh battery.
Landing the Tiger Moth is slow and simple. Line her up with the runway and slowly reduce power down to just a couple of clicks and she will settle in nicely and make a beautiful landing. Be sure to hold in a little up elevator to prevent her from nosing over and you will be rewarded with a very scale looking roll out.
The ElectriFly Tiger Moth is truly a delightful model that is great for early morning or late evening flying. Designer Mark Hampe has done an admirable job producing a model that is both easy to build and fly while retaining the look and character of the famous WW II trainer. I look forward to flying some indoor missions with mine this winter.
For more information on this fine aircraft, go to: ElectriFly.com
Additional Equipment used in Test:
|Excerpt: Being a fan of biplanes and having had a Tiger Moth as my first electric RC airplane several years ago, I was thrilled to see the new ElectriFly Tiger Moth press release. After seeing one picture of this little gem with its scale details, I knew I had to have one.|
Post date: 2010-07-07 12:22:00
Post date GMT: 2010-07-07 16:22:00
Post modified date: 2010-07-15 11:43:24
Post modified date GMT: 2010-07-15 15:43:24
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