Review: Sonic Models Skywalker X-8 From Great Hobbies - RCCanada - Canada Radio Controlled Hobby Forum
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Old 04-13-2015, 07:18 PM   #1
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Review: Sonic Models Skywalker X-8 From Great Hobbies

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Skywalker X-8 Review

My review of the Sonic Models Skywalker X-8 flying wing distributed in Canada by Great Hobbies. The X-8 is a huge 2 m FPV wing with a belly full of space for your FPV equipment or other payload. Very stable in the air and an easy flying airplane. Comes ready for your flight camera in its belly and the nose can be easily modified for FPV pan/tilt gear.

Manufacturer Specs:
  • Wingspan: 2120mm
  • Weight: 880G
  • Motor: 2820 KV730
  • Speed regulator: 60A
  • Servo: 17G
  • Battery pack: 4S8000MAH
  • Propeller: 12X6~13X8
  • Take-off weight : 3200 g

Configuration as Reviewed:
FPV Gear:
Flight Review Video:
+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.
Review Notes:
ARF Quality
The kit comes in a huge box and is pretty complete. There are a few extra parts you may not need and you will need to supply a few of your own that are not provided. You'll need to grab some motor mounting hardware as well as a couple 30 cm+ servo extensions. Also, some 5 or 10 minute epoxy to anchor the wing joiner halves properly. Some hot glue for the quasi-temporary motor mounting and you're off to the races!

The foam (EPO moulded) is of typical quality and seems very durable. Any dents/bruises will be easily cured with the steam/warm water and/or foam safe glues.
Great Hobbies is working with Sonic Models to get the manual fixed asap. A draft has already been emailed to me and is a significant improvement! Once they finalize it I will update this post with a link to the doc.
The instruction manual provided needs work. It needs updating to match the parts in the kit as well as the english could probably use a touch-up as well. That said, if one takes their time and thinks about the build it isn't insurmountable to put this together without the instructions.

Build Complexity:
Building this FPV wing is not that tough. In fact, the discrepancies in the manual were the only things that made it tough at all. The basic steps to build this are straight forward:
  1. WINGS:
    1. Mount the servos & aileron horns in the wing, connect the ailerons, run the servo extension along the wing.
    2. Glue the wing spar cover onto the wing being careful not to get glue in the spar channels.
    3. Epoxy the wing half of the wing mounting plate on the surface of the wing's root. (Note: there are left and right mounting plate pairs.)
    4. Attach the wing tip to the end of the wing.
    5. Repeat a-d for the other wing.
  2. FUSE:
    • Plan and run your electronics (eg. receiver, ESC, Motor, lipo mounting/velcro, belly cam, FPV gear, etc.
    • Mount motor to firewall.
    • ** Locate and cut vertical channels for the wing servo lead plugs in the bottom fuse sides. **
    • Glue fuse top to fuse bottom being careful not to get glue in the wing spar OR servo lead channels. (Leave the motor mount off for this part. It can be slid into place later.)
    • Plug in the motor and mount the motor mount/firewall with a bead of hot glue near the rear brim (so that rubbing alcohol can be used to free it later if needed.)
    • ** Mount the canopy via strong velcro / other fasteners. Use something in addition to velcro - velcro alone will NOT hold! **
    • Balance and mount your propeller. ** If it's a folding prop ensure it will not fold back past the centreline!! **
    • Insert wing spars, plug in servos, and latch the wings on the fuse (ensure all three latches are secured on each wing).
    • Set your servo throws on the elevons so that you get a safe max deflection with elevator+aileron in each direction.
    • Add d/r and expo in your transmitter (50/60/100 d/r and 20/25/30 expo is a good starting spot for 3-way d/r switches).
    • Check your CG with the battery in place is approximately at the rear of the two parallel finger holds end.
    • With transmitter on, plug in the flight battery. Check to ensure elevons are working and in the right directions!
  4. FLIGHT:
    • First flight - have a friend launch for you if at all possible. So you can have both hands on the controls.
    • Launch straight out / at a _very_ slight up angle (if any). ** Watch out for the prop!! Pull the launch hand back quick! **
    • Throttle on launch will depend on the power setup - the reviewed setup required full throttle for launch, but then cruised at about half.
    • Line up for your approach at least 100 ft past the edge of the runway.
    • Coast in, applying power when needed.
    • Power off, glide it to the ground, and ever-so-gently flare just before the nose hits.

Flight Characteristics:

The X-8 is a very large and lumbering plane that pretty much floats around the skies. The only rough thing about its flight characterisics is the launch and that is only because of the power system chosen for the review. The power system chosen for endurance and not for raw thrust.

The X-8 with its large wing stabs and lifting airfoil doesn't stall and flying this thing FPV or otherwise is definitely easy. It is stable, takes wind pretty well, and goes where it's pointed. Just remember it's not meant to be a high speed or sport/aerobatic wing and you'll be fine!
Uber Tips:

This kit is not unlike most kits out there. It has its imperfections. Here are a few tips to save you some headaches that you might otherwise experience.
  • Mount the servos so the control arm is on the TOP of the wing.
    • This will prevent wing hardware catching on the ground during landings.
  • Pick up some 60 cm (24") servo extensions for the wing channels.
  • Cut the vertical channels for the servo plugs in the fuse bottom BEFORE you glue the top on!
  • Do not permanently glue the firewall & motor into the fuse.
    • You need to remove the firewall to mount/unmount/service your motor.
  • If you use a folding prop ensure the prop cannot fold past the centre line.
    • If it folds past centre the motor will vibrate the firewall out of the plane!!
    • One method to avoid this is to tighten down the folding prop screws so they are snug instead of free (which is normal for a tractor glider).

Overall Impression:

I liked the X-8 for its FPV potential and summer weather may prove it to be a decent FPV glider platform as well. If one were interested in aerial surveying this would also be a great platform for that. It is a nice easy flier, but definitely bump the power combo to a 12x6 inch prop and make the launches a bit easier. The 11x6 was chosen for endurance - which it has, but the benefit of more power would be worth the loss of a few minutes of flight.

Thanks for checking this review out. Feel free to post comments below... I'm happy to answer any questions you may have.

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