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RadioCraft Extra 330LX 35% Model Airplane Review

November 20, 2000, Updated 11/25

By Branwell McClory

Yesterday, I finally got my RadioCraft Extra 330lx in the air for the first time.

Firstly, I would like to thank Rob Sarlen for bugging me enough that I had no choice but to get it finished. Secondly, I would like to thank Harry and Ryan over at RadioCraft for putting together a plane that for me, is by far the best flying 35% Class plane I have flown to date...And that includes the planes I have modified to my own liking.

The airframes stock with the exception of adding 2" to the top of the rudder. While all the surfaces come beveled, I did double bevel all the surfaces.

Motor: BME 6.2
Prop: Menz Standard 26-10
Spinner : ZN Line Carbon Fiber
Batteries: 3 x 1600ma Duralites
Switches: Standard sized JR ( Big ones weight too much )
Battery monitoring : I4C
Servos: 2 x MPX Profi per aileron, 1 x Profi per elevator half, 1 x Jumbo Standard on the rudder.
Servo arms: H9 Aluminum with H9 Ball Links
Pushrods: Hollow Carbon Fiber ( Darrel Cady )
Pull-Pull Arm: Nelson

Aileron: High Rate - 30 degrees up & down
Med Rate - 23 degrees
Low Rate - 15 low rate

Elevator: High Rate - 50 degrees up, 45 down
Low Rate - 10 degrees up low rate, 14 down low rate

Rudder: High Rate - 35 degrees
Low Rate - 15 degrees

The plane is setup with the Rudder servo in Pull - Pull mounted at the back of the canopy area. The main batteries are mounted to the F4 former and ignition battery to F2. The Fuel tank is on top of the wing tube with about 1/3 behind and 2/3 in front. Setup this way, the CG is about ideal.

As far as mixing goes, here is where I am at the moment.

Pitch mix : 11% up elevator, left and right ( Its interesting that it's the same left and right )

Roll Mix :   0 left and right. The plane had no roll coupling

Down line mix:      0 No pull out on down lines.  This is the mix done with the throttle to elevator to compensate for pull out on down lines.

Flight Characteristics:

Very clean snaps with a slow rotation for a 35% plane, not as slow as the bigger 40% planes, but slow for a 35% plane.
No over rotation at all at any speed. Snap character is very similar positive and negative.
    Notes: The plane seems to require the same stick input and style no matter what the snap is. For instance. The stick input for a knife edge to knife edge snap is almost identical to a standard level snap.
    Overall, the plane is very easy to snap accurately.

Rolling maneuvers:
The inputs are very symmetrical. What I mean by this is that as the plane goes inverted and then comes around to again, the inputs feel almost identical.
    In general, rollers with this plane are almost automatic and very easy to do well. The large forward side area really makes it easy to be smooth.

Knife Edge:
300L's have loads of side area and excel in Knife Edge flight. This one is no exception. An example of this would be the knife edge loop. With this plane, most of the down side of the loop can be done at idle and at the very bottom, adding in 3 clicks of throttle or so, i.e. just enough to sustain Knife edge, is all that is needed.

The plane paces very nicely and has very well controlled down line speed.

Originally I was a little concerned that the plane would not have the pitch authority I was used to with the modified Caps I usually fly. I though this would be limiting and would get boring. As it turns out, this plane has as much if not more pitch authority than the last Cap I had. Its rock solid in Elevators, waterfalls, Harriers and is super smooth in stalled rolling maneuvers.
    It torque rolls very natural, i.e. no real correction is needed and the acceleration out of them with the new BME 6.2 is truly inspirational.

RadioCraft 330lx , BME-6.2 and MPX servos as a combo.
As a combination, for me, it's perfect. I simply don't see where improvements could be made. The plane flies light ( I haven't weighed it yet, but have a sneaking suspicion that its in the 23lb range ) and the new motor from BME provides really awesome vertical and feels more refined than the old 5.8/100. The MPX servos are trouble free and provide every
thing the plane needs.

I have always had a very strong connection to the 35% Carden Cap. I rely like the fact that it excels at 3D, but can fly precision well on the same setup with Digital servos on board. Up until the RadioCraft, I have not found a plane that brings a bigger smile to me face and does not leave me feeling like I am being limited.
    Well, the RadioCraft out does the Cap. In fact, I have yet to find an area of the RadioCraft's performance where the Cap out performs it. While it would be tempting to say that it's the 300l/330lx design, it isn't. I have flown plenty 300L's that leave me cold for one reason or another. It's something very particular to RadioCraft's rendition of the 300L / 330lx design.

Its really wonderful when some thing comes together and doesn't leave wanting.


Update 11/25...

I got a further 6 flights on the Extra yesterday and am still totally
amazed at how well this plane flies.

Setup the way I have it, it definitely has more pitch authority in 3D than
the modified Cap I flew last season. Its totally stable, predictable and in
general, is a better 3D plane.
This I find interesting because given the % of moving surfaces, in theory,
it shouldn't be.
Hmmm....Seems I am going to have to do some experiments to find out why.

In pattern, there is no comparison, its much smoother then the 35% Cap.
Rollers are about as easy as I have experienced.

The motor is beginning to come in and the power is simply fantastic on this
As to how that would be quantified, given that you can accelerate out of a
torque roll and do snaps after a few seconds, I'd say its sufficient.  :-)

For me, this plane motor combo really breaks new ground. Not only is it the
best 3D plane I have flown at any size, but its also the best precision
plane I've flown in this size range.

For me, this is really exciting.



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