Monday, October 27, 2008

THE SUMO 3D - designed by Firetrappe - this one built by my friend Larry Vogt

Here is a unique little plane! ☺

(See more pictures below this write-up. To get a bigger view, double click on them to enlarge.)

Have you ever seen something as repulsively ugly—and yet so utilitarianly elegant at the same time! ☺

This plane has been around for awhile – I’ve seen it online many times. It has a pretty hefty fan base – which I’m thrilled because its highlights so well all of the EXCELLENT qualities of EPP! ☺

Even so… with its “different” look, I wasn’t convinced at first that this was a plane I should build. Another strike against it in my book is that I’m pretty much a 3D only guy – and while I do fly park flyers from time to time… this just didn’t look like it would be much fun for me. So, I never pursued it.

That is until now! ☺

A few weeks ago I received an email from a friend who flies frequently at a local indoor flying club. He told me that a couple guys had built the Sumo & were really enjoying them. So I grabbed the first day I could get free & ran up to the club with my camera & my video camera – hoping to get some footage for my blog & a short post on this quirky little plane! That was this past Thursday—and boy oh boy am I glad I made the trip! ☺

I walked into the club and immediately Larry Vogt (the gentleman pictured with the Sumo) waved me over – pointing excitedly at the Sumo! Larry didn’t know I was coming – but – he knows I’m an EPP lover! ☺

Larry walked me through all of the details on it then took it for a flight so I could get some footage. I’ll post the “specs” below – but for now, the flights he took in the gym / the footage in the video were all of this plane flying on a 2 cell battery. This produces great “park flier” like flights, but no 3D capability. Being a 3D guy, this plane was turning out to be what I’d expected—a fun & unique park flier, but… nothing worth building myself, as I’m into 3D. Larry himself even said it wasn’t capable of much in the way of acrobatics.

☺ Then it happened. ☺

Larry offered to let me fly it.

Now… I’ve got to tell you… I DO NOT like flying other guys planes… but, this is an ALL EPP plane…. with the prop COMPLETELY protected by epp! So… there’s really NOTHING to break on this plane! ☺ So… I accepted his invitation to fly it! ☺

Larry had it set up with high & low rates; with the low rates set with coupling on had the aileron & rudder – and nothing on the high rates. Larry recommended I start with the low rates (as some others in the club had been a bit afraid of the plane… thinking it might be too twitchy on high rates – being flown in such a small confined area)… so I did. As you can see in the video (I’m the 2nd guy to fly on the video… he’s the 1st) that only lasts me about a minute & I’m bored. I needed more throw – more 3D type control surfaces – so I landed & had him switch his radio to high rates and then launched again.

☺ That was fun! ☺

This unique little plane, underpowered on a 2 cell (for 3D flight) still flew pretty well—even got some inverted flight in—but, as you can see on the video—not much hovering capability without a 3 cell battery.

I think you can hear me on the video say something like, “Larry, I think it’s got more acrobatic ability than you thought!” ☺ That’s code for “I’m having a TON MORE FUN with this plane than I thought I would!” ☺

THANK YOU Larry! ☺

Many thanks to Larry for giving me access to his plane for this write up—and for letting me fly it! I am very grateful! It definitely changed my view of this unique little plane!

I must say—I’m going to have to build one of these now! I’m a busy guys – so I’m not sure how long that’ll take me to get to – but – stay tuned & I’ll post on it eventually! ☺

Turn up the throws—put a 3 cell on it—and it should be some VTOL fun—with epp “crash & survive” ability! ☺ Nice!
I LOVE this epp stuff!

To download the plans to this great little plane, click on THIS at then scroll the thread to get the plans, building instructions & all stats on the plane - and a ton more pics & video's. Enjoy!

See below these pictures for Larry’s thoughts & setup / specs on his Sumo:


***All electronics are the same as “The Bug” setup—see their website

***Indoors Larry flies a 2 cell, 3 cell outdoors

***He couples aileron & rudder for indoors (flew fine on full rates w/ no coupling for me – though for personally I’d set it up with WAY more throw especially for the elevator & ailerons. Not necessary for the rudder as it was pretty effective as it was. It’ll fly knife-edge with almost no rudder because of the MASSIVE amount of surface area on the side of its fuse! ☺)

***Does NOT hover on a 2 cell, but does fine on a 3 cell for VTOL (Vertical Take Offs & Landings) and hovering (I haven’t seen a VTOL or hover, but trust Larry’s word as he says he’s done it outdoors easily with the 3 cell)

***He cut a 9.6 prop down to fit the size he wanted (this is the way its flown in the video)

***Only carbon fiber used is along the trailing edge of the wing – and – a piece above & below where the propeller “almost” touches the fuse—as the epp is thin there & needs reinforcing. Double click on the pictures above to enlarge them… and you’ll see these 3 pieces of carbon fiber.

***He buys his epp, "9mm medium" (through for $37.50 he got 6 pieces of 9mm epp in 12x36inch sheets. Other guys at the club have purchased theirs through (Larry raved about their Tower Pro SG51R servos—a 3 PACK for only $19.95 – I haven’t used them, but for the price, he says they are great – and don’t strip out like others do.)

***His Sumo turned out to have the CG 1 inch behind the prop (w/his mods – he extended the nose by an inch & the length of the rear fuse by 1 inch)

***Hinges—Larry used hot glue as hinges, not blenderm tape! Interesting idea! He takes a hot glue gun & runs just a couple inches along the hinge line, then wipes it clean / smooth along the hinge so that there is just a little bit along the hinge itself. He does this a couple inches at a time till each hinge line is complete. When this dries it makes a nice flexible hinge that works great. The Sumo in the video has all its hinges done this way (see picture of hinge).

***Larry also recommends the new radio for only $99 that carries. It’s not spread spectrum, but—bang for the buck, he swears by this radio’s amazing features at such a low cost (again, I’ve not used it, but it does sound intriguing—and does indeed appear to be a good value for what you get, especially if one were just getting into this hobby).