Wednesday, November 23, 2011

5oz w/Bat - Trenches-EPP Pro F3P

1 - 9g servo for ailerons
2 - 3.2g servos for rudder / elevator
T1805 T-Motor w/8-4 prop
Thunderbird 9 esc (it's what I had laying around)
Dualsky 300mAh 2 cell 7.4 (it's what I had laying around - plenty of power)
Nano-Tech 460mAh 2 cell 7.4 (it's what I had laying around)

I've got to admit, I'm not a pattern guy at all but I am into " How light  & slow can I get an EPP plane?" when I first had the opportunity to fly one of these I jumped at it. I wasn't 30 seconds into my first flight when I knew that I just HAD TO HAVE one of these! Flying this slow is wild - I love it! Now, it's not slow 3D, as the drag plates slow EVERYTHING down... including those violently quick / snappy 3D moves. But, I'm loving flying slow... and am enjoying the new challenge of figuring out this SLOW slow flight envelop. Loving it actually! :-)

WARNING: The directions for the plane have you installing the servo arm backwards. I was so intent on following the directions that I didn't notice it till I was setting up the control throws and realizing what I didn't have. Hopefully TechOne will change the directions on this but if not, or if you happen to get an older kit - make sure you note this as you are building.

I built the plane "stock" / just like the instructions said - except for two things.

When I got to fly my friends Trenches the cross bracing kept popping apart in flight. Too much stress at the point where they attach to the fuse. On other EPP planes I have I've discovered that a little heat shrink tubing does wonders to solve this! :-) see the pics below. Basically I put a drop of CA on the tip of each piece of carbon fiber and put it into the heat shrink tubing - heat to shrink - then glue to plane as per the regular instructions.  See pics below. NOTE: The bracing that kept breaking was the four that brace the wings... so that's all I saw "fail" on the plane built stock. 

The other mod I made was on the hinges. When you use tape as hinges on EPP planes... you've got to be very VERY careful as its very easy to inadvertently stretch the tape as you are applying it. When you do that... the tape "pulls" itself back to close to its original size... stretching / warping your wing in the process! :-( So, instead of doing this I mostly use the "welders hinge" technique. I did that on this plane - sparingly - and it worked very well.

The WILDEST thing on this plane is the amount of embedded carbon fiber - its everywhere! The EPP is crazy thin yet they make up for this by embedding carbon fiber all over the plane. Note it on the following pictures - its on the ailerons, the elevator & the wing.

This is NOT an outdoor plane (unless flying in absolutely ZERO wind) but its not designed to be. This is a brilliant performer indoors. So silky smooth - you'll love it!

So there you have it - a great plane! A total blast to fly. LOVING it! :-)

Based off of a blog readers question I felt I should update this post with a clarification. The Trenches utilizes what is called a "pull pull" system (instead of push rods) on both the elevator & the rudder. See pics below - click to enlarge.

These aren't "hard" to setup - just takes a bit of patience playing with it. The only "downside" to them is durability. Comparing to my previously posted plane, the McFoamy - it does NOT use pull pull - intentionally, so as to GAIN durability. With a pull pull system if you plunk the plane in rudder first (which many people do while trying to learn to hover) or whack the elevator "landing" right side up or upside down... the rudder / elevator YANK HARD on the servo... usually stripping the gears immediately :-( there isn't any "give" in the linkage between the control surface (rudder / elevator) and the servo itself. With pushrods there is a "give"  / a flex that happens the length of the pushrod / it'll bow a bit if the rudder or elevator gets whacked. With a pull pull setup - both sides of the servo are taunt... so no matter how the rudder / elevator gets hit - they yank directly on the servo.

Now, :-) ...this update is NOT INTENDED TO DISCOURAGE YOU from getting a Trenches! :-) It is a great flying plane! :-)

My only reason for the update is to let you know that to gain the super slow flight this plane gives you... you are going to take some hits in durability. This pull pull system is a good example of that. Its a fantastic setup - works very VERY well! I highly recommend it - love it! :-) Almost all of the ETOC pilots use it as it saves a bunch of weight! :-) But... those guys don't crash as much as us mere mortals do. :-) So... depending on where your flying skills are at, and how much of a risk this issue may be to you - this may or may not be the plane for you. Me, where I'm at with my flying right now, this is an acceptable risk to me. You, I don't know you and your capabilities. So, FYI - now you know - and can make an informed decision for yourself, based off of your own flying capabilities and budget (though light weight servo prices keep coming down - and they are super easy to change out on this plane if need be).