Classic Remote Control Airplanes Kits Reviews – Easy Fly 40
by Bennett Brummer
- Wingspan: 64 3/4 in. (164 cm)
- Wing Area: 712 sq. in. (4594 cm²)
- Length: 51 1/2 in. (131 cm)
- Weight: 5 1/2 lbs. (2.2 kg)
- .40 – 46 2 – cycle
- (6.6 cc – 7.5 cc 2 – cycle)
- 4 Servos required
The Hobbico “FlightStar 40” had very good moments for a trainer but it had a heavy, very weak, PVC sticky-back covering like that used on many other ARF’s. This is a common pressure sensitive covering that wrinkles when it gets too warm or too cold. It is not totally fuel proof so it leaves a gummy residue along the edge when fuel is allowed to attack it.
A couple of years ago, Horizon Hobby Distributors introduced the Hangar 9 series of models including the Easy Fly 40 trainer. With a reported wind area of 712 ¼ square inches and a gross weight of 5 ½ pounds, this gives a wing loading of only 17.8 oz./sq. ft. This is very good for a trainer. The size, moments, and looks of the Easy Fly are amazingly like those of the old “FlightStar 40”. But the most unique feature of this model is it’s covering. It uses a multi-colored, attractive color scheme done in Goldberg’s Ultra-Cote. This means that the minor repairs required during the learning experience can be performed with ease. This seems to have started a trend because more and more ARF airplanes are appearing which are covered with “brand-name” covering materials.
General building quality is very good. Many ARF’s in the past have poor instruction manuals. Some of the Japanese to English translations are laughable at best. This kit comes with an excellent 48 page manual that will take the beginner through each step of assembly with clear explanations and good photographs.
Another unique feature of this kit is the engine mount. Two pieces of precut, angled, phenolic material about 3/32″ thick are provided in the kit. The engine is mounted to these pieces and then to wooden beams. This combination provides the proper amount of right thrust and down thrust. Metal backup plates were added to the bottom of the wood beams to prevent crushing. The phenolic plates also provide a “break-away point” in the event of a crash. This is a very innovative idea.
The Easy Fly 40 is not without its faults. As is the case with most ARF’s, the firewall mounting is weak. It was reinforced with two pieces of ½” balsa triangular stock on the left and right sides. Some of the glue joints in the servo mount area were touched up and some aircraft ply reinforcement was added to the lite-ply servo mount. Additional inspection showed that no additional work was required.
The wing is of D-tube construction, and although it was already covered, it appeared to be well glued internally as it was quite strong torsionally. The dihedral brace fits well and the wing halves were in symmetry.
Some of the forward formers were carefully carved to allow mounting the supplied fuel tank in foam without any binding. The fuel line hole in the firewall was relieved with a Dremel sander and the front of the tank was sealed with electrical grade Dow RTV Silicone. There have been none of the fuel foaming problems so common to ARFs to date.
As is the case with most ARF’s, a lot of the supplied control hardware is junk. The 2 mm wire supplied for pushrods is entirely too soft. Using the same wire for a throttle hookup may invite electrical noise and servo jitter. Some modifications were made to the control system because of this based on personal experience. It is up to the builder to decide if the supplied hardware will be used but it is not recommended.
The rudder, nosewheel, and throttle pushrods were replaced with Du-Bro’s #500 Lazer Rods. A brace is required for the outer sheath of the Lazer Rod at the center fuselage former and at the rear of the rudder servo. This is not difficult to accomplish, but room must be provided for the elevator pushrod that is installed later. The #502 Lazer Rod Pushrod exits work well and look nice. The nosewheel steering arm was replaced with the Du-Bro #664 E/Z Mount Steering Arm that mounts in the coil spring of the nosegear and is attached to the pushrod with a ball link. This provides a very positive steering system that will pop off in case of a hard landing providing safety for the servo. It also eliminates the flat spot normally required for attaching a steering arm which causes a weak point in the nosegear. A Du-Bro #342 Wheel Spacer is used to keep the nose wheel centered on the gear. Adding a little thick CA to the spacer after installation reduces vibration that can cause electrical noise. A #12 Rocket City Missing Link ball link was added at the rudder horn since the rudder is mounted at an angle. The ball link maintains a tight, low friction connection to the rudder. The rudder horn moves up and down as it swings through its geometric arc. This method of attachment eliminates any binding and allows the pushrod to remain straight. A straight graphite arrowshaft was used as an elevator pushrod. It passes through the fuselage center former and goes straight to the elevator horn.
The servo ends of all pushrods were connected to the arms using L-bends and Great Planes nylon “Faslink” snap-on keepers. Based on personal experience, this method of attachment never fails. Z-bends have flat spots that can cause servo arms to wear rapidly. The L-bend maintains a 90 degree relationship to the servo arm reducing the chance of wear. The elevator control horn and the aileron torque rods were connected to the pushrods with #525 Sullivan Gold’n Clevises which have a snap-on spring steel keeper. These are the most reliable clevises available. The few extra dollars spent on these modifications will provide a much more dependable aircraft.
The rest of the plane was built according to the instruction manual. The battery was wrapped in foam and placed under the fuel tank. The plane was balanced at the recommended point with no extra weight required. Larger wheels were installed so the model could be flown from a grass field. Control throws were set as recommended in the manual.
The OS 46FX was started and since it was new, a few tankfuls were run through it on the ground. Jerry Sigur had the honor of test flying the model. The takeoff run was straight. This plane needs to be rotated off the runway because of the downthrust. Once airborne, it offered no surprises. A liitle down trim was added to maintain hands-off flight at about half throttle. Advancing the throttle to the full open position did not seem increase the speed too much but did initiate a fairly steep climb.
Since this is a trainer with about 2 1/2″ of dihedral in each tip, not much could be expected in the way of aerobatics. The low speed stall was dead ahead and it flew right out of it as soon as it regained a little airspeed. Loops were nice and round. Rolls were large barrel rolls. Snap rolls were rather mushy. Inverted flight was a bit of a chore to keep it from falling off to one side. With a little flare to get the mains down first, the landings were very smooth.
With the throws set as recommended, flight is not quite as crisp as some would like but it is an excellent setup for training. More extreme throws just make the plane less graceful. The Easy Fly 40 will never be a pattern plane although James McMaster of Nederland, TX place second in novice class in his first pattern contest using a similar airplane. This airplane is relaxing to fly with the recommended throws.
The street price of the kit is about $110 US, and it comes in two styles, blue and red trim over white and red, orange, and cub yellow trim over white. These are clearly visible combinations. If a trainer is in store, it would be hard to find one better than the Easy Fly 40.