Mike Patey’s Monster Wilga…DRACO! Fly it like you STOL it!
The E-flite DRACO 2.0m is probably one of the most anticipated models to come to market in recent time. Announced in 2019, there have been many a rumbling of its pending release since then. Well, E-flite’s DRACO is here and it is one of the nicest executed models E-flite has made to date…it is incredible! Every detail is characterized, the shape is perfect (Horizon Hobby actually 3D scanned DRACO to make the model from), and this big red beast makes for some fun STOL operations, especially with a bit of head wind.
If you’re unfamiliar with DRACO as an airplane, it literally was one of a kind. It was the master mind of Mikey Patey who took a Wilga 2000 and completely modified and rebuilt the airframe to the extent that very little of the original Wilga remained. He added wing area, modified the airfoil while also adding a fixed slat, installed a full glass cockpit, and at the front installed a PT6A 680Hp turbo-prop engine with full reverse thrust (I believe he also added chord to the control surfaces). In short, the airplane was a beast of a STOL aircraft and in fact, Mike Patey won the 2018 High Sierra STOL Drag competition with it. Unfortunately, the aircraft was totaled in Sept 2019 in a high crosswind takeoff incident. Be sure to check out Mike’s YouTube channel as he documented the build there and is currently building a highly modified carbon cub called Scrappy!
AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES
The E-flite DRACO 2.0m is an impressively large airplane that is been broken down into only just a few large components which means that despite the large size, assembly is quick and easy. Assembly starts with installation of the shock absorbing landing gear via 4 screws which have plastic fairings over a carbon strut and feature the dual shocks of the full size. From there, the tail wheelContinue reading →
The aerobatic cargo plane has been kind of a thing lately and upon seeing the E-flite EC-1500 twin 1.5m Cargo, it most definitely looked like a fun airplane. Being fully aerobatic with reconfigurable ailerons and flaps to suit the desired performance and aircraft response along with an operational cargo door, there was no question I would have fun with one in the hangar! And, I KNEW that I had to drop something…the only question was what would it be?! 😉
Though the model isn’t painted in a scale paint scheme out of the box, the model itself is actually inspired by the C-27 Spartan which has served in the US military and Coast Guard as well as many other forces around the world. Truth be told, I wasn’t too aware of the C-27 Spartan as an aircraft, but I quickly learned through watching videos of the full scale online that it was an impressive beast. It’s is the only cargo aircraft I’ve actually seen execute a legitimate knife edge and it’s pretty awesome to behold! So, as it turns out, those epic knife edge passes with this airplane are indeed scale! 😉 Oh, and you’ve probably noticed the C-27 Spartan livery on the model…I couldn’t handle it, I had to make it a true C-27 and I love it!
AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES
The EC-1500 assembly was a very simple process as the parts count is very low being broken down into only the large components. The vertical tail is attached first and is held in place by two screws. From there, the horizontal tails slide into place over a carbon tube spar and snap into place. I found the snap lock on the tails a really unique features as I’d not seen this before on previous models. Also, there is an elevator torque rod with plastic paddles which slip into each base of the elevators resulting in a hidden elevator pushrod setup. Next, the wings are placed onto the fuselage over the main wing spar and held in place via four nylon bolts. The wing features hard mounted connectors, so no need to keep track of servo connectors or wires at all. Lastly, to wrap it all up, the props are placed on each of the motors.
With the airplane together and on the bench, it’s a pretty cool model to behold. It’s a good size and the cargo bay door is awesome! I can’t sayContinue reading →
At the point I had finished the assembly of the VQ Warbirds Beechcraft Bonanza Vtail we were still on Coronavirus quarantine here in SoCal and all of our flying sites were closed. Well, when our fields opened up again I could not wait to get the airplane in the air! So, the first day out I brought her along and promptly logged 6 flights on the airplane. It took a few flights to get dialed in, and once tuned, I fell in love with the flight characteristics. It has great power and speed and looks awesome in the air with that characteristic vtail.
WHAT’S IN THE AIRPLANE
To recap from our Assembly review, the VQ Warbirds Bonanza Vtail is a nicely sized ARF of all wood construction coming in at a 62″ wingspan. At final ready to fly weight of 9.75lb the airplane flies beautifully and has a really wide flight envelope. The power from the E-flite Power 52 and Master Airscrew prop is awesome as the airplane is quick and maneuvers extremely well (and is happy performing any sort of non-scale high performance aerobatics). Here are the final specs and equipment that are in the airplane:
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, it took a few flights to get the Bonanza Vtail dialed in. Most notably, the airplane wanted to carry down elevator for trim and also would climb at full throttle. I adjusted the CG and thrust line to try and mitigate those characteristics and ultimately they didn’t make significant enough differences to continue exploring (i.e. a much larger thrust line change would be required than I cared to explore as it would require realigning and remounting the cowl). Ultimately, I moved the CG a bit further forward than the recommendation (stock location definitely felt tail heavy) and then addedContinue reading →
There’s something about the less traditional aircraft designs that really draw me in. Most notably they are the v-tail and the delta wing/tailless aircraft. Maybe it has to do with the less conventional nature, I’m not really sure, but when I saw the VQ Warbirds Beechcraft Bonanza Vtail, I was pretty excited about the model. The bonanza is an icon in the private aircraft world and one of the few production aircraft I’m aware of that features a vtail into its design, especially in the private aircraft industry.
Though, commercial and private aircraft aren’t typically in my wheelhouse (I love my military aircraft!), the Bonanza Vtail is one that I do really like the looks of. The Vtail gives an unconventional look to an otherwise conventional airplane and the proportions of the wing and the long tail moment really should make for a really good flying model. Add to that the really nice covering and look of the VQ Warbirds Bonanza Vtail model, it was not a hard sell to get this one in my hangar.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX
This is the second VQ Warbirds airplane I’ve had the pleasure to assemble (first was the B-24 Liberator) and in each case, I have been thoroughly impressed with the quality of the build of the airframes. Pulling this airplane from the box, I was reminded of this as the airplane was a beautifully built and finished representation of the Bonanza. The parts count is generally low, but there is quite a bit of hardware included for pushrods, etc. One of the nice things that became readily apparent was that all of the control surfaces were pre-glued at the factory, so that alleviated one extra step in the assembly process which was nice!
In addition to the airframe, I picked up my power system and servos of course which are listed and linked below. I love keeping the looks of a scale model intactContinue reading →