Friday, January 30, 2009
By Jamie "GFBurke"
Name: Swift II Dragon
Type: Electric EPP foam wing.
For: Beginner to advanced pilots
Flying weight: cca 300 g (10.6 oz)
Radio: Airtronics RD6000 Super / Berg4 / 2x 7-9g servos
Power system: SCM-3223 motor / Scanner RC SCS-15A ESC / Dualsky 3s
CG: 180-185mm from nose tip
The swift series has been one of the best selling series in RC wings across the board. With many modifications, a wide variety of power systems to choose from and unique flying characteristics setups, the swift platform is a very affordable RC plane. Also make note, there are a wide variety of custom printed wings to choose from (even plane white).
The Swift II is the middle man in the swift wings. There is also a Swift Mini and I currently own and fly the Maxi Swift. The Maxi Swift is a bit slower and "floatier" then the II and mini.
Everything you need in the wing kit is included for the Swift. Take a look at these pictures for a close up as to what you get. Really, you will just need electronics and CA (or goop). Control horns, rods, tubes (etc.) and manual are all here. I decided on going with this Dragon scheme. MS Composite also sent me this motor and speed controller. This combo is esthetically sexy being red and black. I've never used Scanner products before, but I'm already a fan.
I always start off by laying everything out so I can see it. Read through the manual (5 times) to make sure I wont miss anything. The first step was to put the two halves of the main wing together. Be sure the bottom the wing is facing up when you join them. I used a thin spread of goop, then some CA and kicker around the edges to make it stay while the goop dried.
While the main wings where drying, it was time to get my electronics laid out, tested and soldered together. I don't use bullets any longer, I would rather solder the motor to the ESC directly.
The motor and the Swift kit did not include long enough screws to go through the motor mount and into the motor. Luckily I found some screws that where a bit longer and the same thread type for the motor.
(In some of these pictures you will notice I did attempt to put the motor inside the motor mount - this would have worked, however I would have had to use a tiny prop)
The pre-hinged EPP planes are great. I'd rather have them do it then me attempting to make hinges. The swift series all have pre-hinged control surfaces. One issue that we find with pre-hinge, is that the control surface is much to stiff of the box. Some attempt to cut and re-hinge, some say to bend them back and forth to loosen them up. However I found a method that didn't take ANY work and made them feel like tape hinges.
Just fold the surfaces up under the plane. Let sit over night. When you go to test them out, you will be amazed on how they feel. The stock control horn will no longer be an issue (some where putting larger horns on attempting to get a better throw).
It's really nice of the manufacture to make holes where the electronics go. The placement and size of the holes may have made since at one point in time, however the electronics used today will not work with the stock cutouts. I do like the fact they show you where to put the servos, but beyond that, they cut outs are not much help.
You will have to cut the holes larger depending on what electronics your going for. Lay them all out and decide where to put things. Remember, on a wing you want everything up front as far as you can.
Glue in the motor mount with the motor set in. Put your servos in where they should go. Then you will see where to put the rest.
Once things are laid out well. Cut your holes out the exact size you need. I used some of the EPP that I had to cut out and used it to fill in the part of the holes I didn't need.
Next up was figuring out where and how to mount a lipo. I'm going with a 1000mAh 3s lipo. The instructions are not much help (generally) and after you see how others are dong it, you will come up with a method. Some mount the lipo on top of the plane, some don't for cosmetics reasons. I'm one of them.
Find out where you need your CG with the battery. I then cut out the battery compartment so my 3s would have a snug fit. It's very hard not to cut all the way through the wing when doing this.
I then took some Gorilla Glue and made a thin layer on the inside of this compartment. Then laying down some velcro, let this sit overnight. When you come back, you will notice you have a very hardened compartment.
I then took some very strong 3M reinforced tape and layered it to make a door. It's about 4 layers of this really strong tape. I then glued one side into this compartment I made. Placed my lipo inside and found where the tape went over the lipo and touched the EPP on the other side. Once determined, I made a velcro spot on the EPP for the door. I did end up using staples on the velcro and tape door. Then tape over the edges.
This is a very strong door and I will only be landing in grass.
The other mod I had to do was to make protectors for my servos. Again, this may be why many builders put the servos on the top of the wing. But again.. I wanted to keep the top really clean. So I found some round servo horns and slid them half way into the EPP with CA. These should work fine as they are taller than the servo arm.
It was time to find my CG and do the bench tests. Finding out the power pull and figuring flight times. Here is where it came out:
18A @ 204w with 8x6 GWS HD prop - 3s Xpower 1000mAh 25C
14.6A @166w with 8x4 GWS HD prop - 3s Xpower 1000mAh 25C
308g RTF (with lipo)
218g (no lipo)
I figured to go with the 8x4 prop since I'm using a 15A ESC and for longer flight times.
Here is the finished look
(next to Maxi)
The very first maiden of this craft was amazing. My building skills must be getting better because I did not have to touch trim or move CG - it was perfect. Gave it an underhanded toss at around 1/2 throttle and the swift just lifted up. I was able to maintain flight at around 1/3 to 1/2 throttle. This kept it nice, slow and floaty. Once I got the real feel of her, I punched it. The 14A of power made it go from slow, to ballistic! Really, this did not look natural transitioning to full throttle. It took off so fast, it really did remind me of a UFO video when the little dot just zips away! BAM - gone. I was blown away at the preciseness even after the speed boost. Still, no trims needed. Pointing the nose to the clouds revealed she didn't care and would just keep going. Taking it to a speck, then cutting the throttle and floating around is just 'fun'.
Landing on grass is what I do. She has no issues coming is slow and plopping down at your feet. All around.. just what I've wanted from RC flying. Slow and floaty if you want. Fast and furious if you want. Then easy landings.
A beginner aircraft?
If you have help from someone that has a delta wing and could assist in building, CG, trimming. Yes. I have taken this from 7ft up, full throttle into the ground nose first. It bounces and laughs. Of course fly in a grass field and you should be fine. I see no reason why this could not be a second plane to an RC enthusiast if you have your orientation down.
Things I would have done differently now that I've built one:
This is the first time I can say this - NONE.
Now that I have an airbrush, I may go over the bottom electronics with white paint. :)
-Buy one. Buy two. You need this.
- MSComposit should give us the cut out EPP chunks that they have removed
- Scanner RC should give longer screws OR MSComposite should include the screws needed for this setup
- How do you program this ESC? Manual does not make since (to me).
I enjoy this much more then I do the bigger brother - the Maxi Swift.
Soon! When the weather is liking me!
random swift vids