FMS F3A Exlporer Foam Pattern Plane - RCCanada - Canada Radio Controlled Hobby Forum
RCCanada - Canada's Radio Control Hobby Forum
Precision Aerobatics Discuss Precision Aerobatics in canada

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-16-2016, 11:23 PM   #1
Max
Administrator
★ Site Supporter ★★ Administrator ★
 
Max's Avatar
 
I am: Max P.
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Aurora, Ontario
Radio of choice:
JR and Spektrum

Feedback: 21 / 100%
Posts: 13,661
Total Props: 151
FMS F3A Exlporer Foam Pattern Plane


       Remove this ad - become a site supporter!
Hi guys.

This is a follow-up to my search for a small electric pattern capable airplane that I can use for practice. This summer, my work has interrupted my usual summer flying routine and has taken me away from the ability to get to my home field to fly.

So I was in the market to find a small electric pattern capable plane that I can take with me when I am on the road.

Last week I bought the FMS F3A Expolorer F3A from Alex here on RCC.

This will be an assembly thread and my observations of this plane once I get it flying.


So lets start.

The plane was brand new in the box when I bought it from Alex. He also has the larger FMS Olympus, which is a plane I also had my eye on. When he purchased the Olympus, he also bought the Explorer. His reason for selling the Explorer is simply time- He's been flying the Olympus exclusively. So when he put it up for sale, I snapped it up

Here is what you see when you open the box:

Right away I am impressed with the packaging. Everything is nice and snug and perfectly nested.

Check out how each brace in this package is perfectly contoured to cradle the part. This is some serious investment in packaging engineering!!


Check out the landing-gear nest:


Tail feathers nicely nested as well:
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Explorer01.jpg
Views:	177
Size:	50.2 KB
ID:	1075865   Click image for larger version

Name:	Explorer00.jpg
Views:	170
Size:	64.4 KB
ID:	1075873   Click image for larger version

Name:	Explorer02.jpg
Views:	171
Size:	53.9 KB
ID:	1075881   Click image for larger version

Name:	Explorer03.jpg
Views:	169
Size:	50.3 KB
ID:	1075889  

__________________
RC Test Pilot; FPV Instructor, Airplane Instructor; Helicopter Instructor

My Aircraft Albums: http://www.rccanada.ca/rccforum/album.php?u=13173

Last Photo added: Dec 15; Warwing Foamy for FPV
Max is offline   Quick reply to this message.

Sponsored Links - Subscribe to remove this ad.
Old 10-16-2016, 11:33 PM   #2
Max
Administrator
★ Site Supporter ★★ Administrator ★
 
Max's Avatar
 
I am: Max P.
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Aurora, Ontario
Radio of choice:
JR and Spektrum

Feedback: 21 / 100%
Posts: 13,661
Total Props: 151
Re: FMS F3A Exlporer Foam Pattern Plane

The more I look at this plane, the more I am impressed with the amount of design work went into it. This is no fly-by-night crank-em-out "toy" plane. This is a well though out model. It looks solid and everything fits tight. Take a look at the way the elevator halves are mated. Were not talking flimsy piano wire here. Instead the mating halves are a nested set of D-boxes.



Reading the review page on the FMS website, I read a couple of people complained that the elevator Carbon-fiber rod is too long. The solution they claimed was to cut it down so that it would fit. THIS IS WRONG!! Yes, its true the rod only goes in half as far as its supposed to before it "feels" like it bottoms out. But this is not the case. Check out how long the rod is compared to the elevator halves. Yes, it "looks" long and yes, it does bottom out when you insert it into one half of the rudder. But if you simply twist and push, the rod goes further in until it bottoms out solidly.

I did this push-twist until it bottomed out with both halves of the elevator's before I assembled it. After that, it went together without a problem.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Explorer04.jpg
Views:	170
Size:	35.9 KB
ID:	1075897   Click image for larger version

Name:	Explorer05.jpg
Views:	164
Size:	43.3 KB
ID:	1075905  
__________________
RC Test Pilot; FPV Instructor, Airplane Instructor; Helicopter Instructor

My Aircraft Albums: http://www.rccanada.ca/rccforum/album.php?u=13173

Last Photo added: Dec 15; Warwing Foamy for FPV
Max is offline   Quick reply to this message.
Old 10-17-2016, 01:32 PM   #3
Max
Administrator
★ Site Supporter ★★ Administrator ★
 
Max's Avatar
 
I am: Max P.
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Aurora, Ontario
Radio of choice:
JR and Spektrum

Feedback: 21 / 100%
Posts: 13,661
Total Props: 151
Re: FMS F3A Exlporer Foam Pattern Plane

I have assembles many ARF foamies, and I can say some are well thought out kits and others are a dogs-breakfast.

This one falls into the former.
I love how each set of hardware is individually bagged so that you grab a bag and only use what's in the bag before going to the next step.

Check out the baggies here. Nice, neat and organised. Makes putting it together that much easier.




Landing gear is next on the assembly. Super easy to install. I love the little locking cover plate that holds it all together.


One thing I am skeptical about is the landing gear cover. The gear itself is bent wire with a plastic cover to give it that "streamlined" look. Looks pretty but I suspect the cover may be prone to turning. Who wants to deal with trim issues every time the cover twists slightly?? The cover does seem to have a locking feature, but its a little tab and the idea is to jam it onto the matching plastic part on the fuselage. Might have to tape this down to keep it from moving
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Explorer08.jpg
Views:	146
Size:	57.0 KB
ID:	1075969   Click image for larger version

Name:	Explorer07.jpg
Views:	147
Size:	52.0 KB
ID:	1075977   Click image for larger version

Name:	Explorer06.jpg
Views:	147
Size:	46.8 KB
ID:	1075985  
__________________
RC Test Pilot; FPV Instructor, Airplane Instructor; Helicopter Instructor

My Aircraft Albums: http://www.rccanada.ca/rccforum/album.php?u=13173

Last Photo added: Dec 15; Warwing Foamy for FPV
Max is offline   Quick reply to this message.
Old 10-17-2016, 06:54 PM   #4
Max
Administrator
★ Site Supporter ★★ Administrator ★
 
Max's Avatar
 
I am: Max P.
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Aurora, Ontario
Radio of choice:
JR and Spektrum

Feedback: 21 / 100%
Posts: 13,661
Total Props: 151
Re: FMS F3A Exlporer Foam Pattern Plane

Next step is to install the control horns. The control horns have a ball link on the end. A nice touch!!

I have had experience with control horns bolted through foam getting wobbly over time as the foam compresses slightly. A good solution is to glue the horn to the foam. It keeps the foam from compressing loose from the horn. the glue acts to keep the 2 bonded and prevents compression.
The kit comes with who-knows-what glue. I prefer to use a glue I am familiar with. I used the flexible and foam safe "Foam-Cure" cement from Hobby King.

I spread it on both sides of the foam nest at each point where the horns are to be mounted.

Then I used the screws that came with each bag to attach the backplate to the horn. After turning the screw dozens of times wondering why the screw wont catch on the backplate on the other side, I discovered that there are 2 lengths of screws. One short and one long.

The long one on the edge closer to the pivot end of the control surface (where its thicker) and a shorter one that goes on the thinner end of the control surface. I didn't realize this when I grabbed the screw (at random) from the bag. I had inadvertently picked up the short one and was trying to get it to catch on the thick side of the control horn... DOH!!! I only made that mistake once..LOL All the other's went in fine once I paid attention to which screw went where
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Explorer11.jpg
Views:	141
Size:	56.5 KB
ID:	1076697   Click image for larger version

Name:	Explorer12.jpg
Views:	142
Size:	37.8 KB
ID:	1076705  
__________________
RC Test Pilot; FPV Instructor, Airplane Instructor; Helicopter Instructor

My Aircraft Albums: http://www.rccanada.ca/rccforum/album.php?u=13173

Last Photo added: Dec 15; Warwing Foamy for FPV
Max is offline   Quick reply to this message.
Old 10-17-2016, 10:38 PM   #5
bigdbc
RCC Contributor
 
bigdbc's Avatar
 
I am: Dean A
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Surrey B.C.
Radio of choice:
Spektrum DX8
# of RCs: 10+

Feedback: 4 / 100%
Posts: 297
Total Props: 4
Re: FMS F3A Exlporer Foam Pattern Plane

I have been eyeballing 1 of these for awhile. I look forward to your flight reports.
__________________
I fly/drive/crash electric RC's.
Carbon Z Yak,3DHS Viper,HK Edge 540T,HK Sky Eye,
Hyperion Enigma,PKZ Icon A5,Redcat Volcano Pro,ECX Torment. E-Revo ++++
bigdbc is offline   Quick reply to this message.
Old 10-18-2016, 11:44 AM   #6
Max
Administrator
★ Site Supporter ★★ Administrator ★
 
Max's Avatar
 
I am: Max P.
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Aurora, Ontario
Radio of choice:
JR and Spektrum

Feedback: 21 / 100%
Posts: 13,661
Total Props: 151
Re: FMS F3A Exlporer Foam Pattern Plane

Hi Dean. i will be sure to let you know how it flies!
__________________
RC Test Pilot; FPV Instructor, Airplane Instructor; Helicopter Instructor

My Aircraft Albums: http://www.rccanada.ca/rccforum/album.php?u=13173

Last Photo added: Dec 15; Warwing Foamy for FPV
Max is offline   Quick reply to this message.
Old 10-18-2016, 11:48 AM   #7
Max
Administrator
★ Site Supporter ★★ Administrator ★
 
Max's Avatar
 
I am: Max P.
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Aurora, Ontario
Radio of choice:
JR and Spektrum

Feedback: 21 / 100%
Posts: 13,661
Total Props: 151
Re: FMS F3A Exlporer Foam Pattern Plane

One thing I found lacking was the O ring (fuel tubing) they give you to lock the clevis onto the pushrod. The one supplied with the kit was way too loose when slipped over the clevis.
So I went to the spares container I had kicking around and pulled out some old, used fuel tubing. the ID of the tubing was considerably smaller than the one with the kit. I cut several O rings from the tubing and here is a comparison of the original with the one I cut from a scrap of fuel tubing:


The replacement fits nice and snug. That puppy aint going anywhere
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Explorer09.jpg
Views:	126
Size:	34.6 KB
ID:	1076937   Click image for larger version

Name:	Explorer10.jpg
Views:	127
Size:	54.7 KB
ID:	1076945  
__________________
RC Test Pilot; FPV Instructor, Airplane Instructor; Helicopter Instructor

My Aircraft Albums: http://www.rccanada.ca/rccforum/album.php?u=13173

Last Photo added: Dec 15; Warwing Foamy for FPV
Max is offline   Quick reply to this message.
Old 10-18-2016, 11:52 AM   #8
Max
Administrator
★ Site Supporter ★★ Administrator ★
 
Max's Avatar
 
I am: Max P.
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Aurora, Ontario
Radio of choice:
JR and Spektrum

Feedback: 21 / 100%
Posts: 13,661
Total Props: 151
Re: FMS F3A Exlporer Foam Pattern Plane

I love the dual CF stiffener rods that go inside the wing. They nest inside 2 CF tubes moulded in the wing.

The rear rod is surprisingly long. Its almost the length of the wing. Once assembled it gives considerable torsional and lateral rigidity. I'm starting to like this little plane.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Explorer13.jpg
Views:	129
Size:	68.3 KB
ID:	1076953  
__________________
RC Test Pilot; FPV Instructor, Airplane Instructor; Helicopter Instructor

My Aircraft Albums: http://www.rccanada.ca/rccforum/album.php?u=13173

Last Photo added: Dec 15; Warwing Foamy for FPV
Max is offline   Quick reply to this message.
Old 10-28-2016, 10:46 PM   #9
Max
Administrator
★ Site Supporter ★★ Administrator ★
 
Max's Avatar
 
I am: Max P.
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Aurora, Ontario
Radio of choice:
JR and Spektrum

Feedback: 21 / 100%
Posts: 13,661
Total Props: 151
Re: FMS F3A Exlporer Foam Pattern Plane

So a little problem...

As I was finishing up the assembly of the model, it was time to add the RX and get the controls setup.

This is where the problem started.

I lookid inside the model and here is what I found....
No ESC!!
...WHAAATT???


Did somebody make a boo-boo??
I thought the plane was PNP.

I wnt online and I looked up the specs from the site the Alex bought the plane on:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Specs on the website:
INCLUDES:

40" wingspan FMS F3A Explorer - (PNP)
REQUIRES:

4-channel 2.4GHz transmitter - Click Here for recommendations
4-channel receiver - Click Here for recommendations
3S 11.1V 2200 mAh Li-Po Battery - EPR22003
Li-Po battery charger - Click Here for recommendations
Hmmm.... It doesn't say you need an ESC...
...It does say PNP..... Hmmm

For a second I thought maybe Alex might have taken it out before he sold it to me. But I quickly ruled that out when I considered the packaging was sealed and unbroken when I bought it from him.

So I gave Alex a call. Alex was so sweet. He offered to let me buy an ESC and he would pay me for the cost of the ESC. As much as it was a very kind offer, I could not in good conscience have Alex pay for an ESC on a model that was brand new. (plus he sold it to me for a smoking good price) I asked him if he should perhaps get in touch with MotionRC and explain the situation. He said he would and we agreed i would not buy one until it was settled from MotionRC.

With that in mind, I still needed an ESC. Transplant time!!! I'm itching to fly it and I don't have a spare 40A esc kicking around. In my hangar, finding a donor plane to "borrow" an ESC is not that hard. Eeny-meenie-minie-moe... I ripped an ESC from one of my float planes... Not planning on flying floats anymore this year... LOL

So now to the next problem:
The motor leads are short and located inside the fuselage under the battery tray. There is no way to get your fingers in there to connect the leads to the ESC, nor is there enough room to try to connect them with a set of long-nosed pliers or similar tools. The battery tray does not come out- it is nested in slots on either side of the fuselage that are moulded in. The tray was probably installed into the fuse when the 2 halves were glued together in the factory. So what do? I resorted to a trick I learned with my other models. I fished the motor leads forward through the opening in the cowl. Then I stuffed the ESC into the fuse and also fished the ESC leads out the front of the cowl as well.


Then its a simple matter of connecting the leads and stuffing them back into the fuse.

The kit comes with a Y harness for the ailerons, so both can be plugged into the aileron channel. But the manual also suggests its better to connect each servo to a separate channel so that each aileron can be independently sub-trimmed. I used a 6 channel receiver which allowed my to set up each aileron separately.

After I bound and set up the direction and throws, its ready to fly!!

PS- some good news. I talked to Alex later and he told me he called MotionRC about the missing ESC. They told him to file a claim on the website. I'm hoping that they correct their mistake and send Alex an ESC so that I don't have to buy a replacement.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Explorer14.jpg
Views:	105
Size:	54.0 KB
ID:	1083378   Click image for larger version

Name:	Explorer15.jpg
Views:	106
Size:	46.6 KB
ID:	1083386  
__________________
RC Test Pilot; FPV Instructor, Airplane Instructor; Helicopter Instructor

My Aircraft Albums: http://www.rccanada.ca/rccforum/album.php?u=13173

Last Photo added: Dec 15; Warwing Foamy for FPV
Max is offline   Quick reply to this message.
Old 10-29-2016, 11:10 PM   #10
Max
Administrator
★ Site Supporter ★★ Administrator ★
 
Max's Avatar
 
I am: Max P.
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Aurora, Ontario
Radio of choice:
JR and Spektrum

Feedback: 21 / 100%
Posts: 13,661
Total Props: 151
Re: FMS F3A Exlporer Foam Pattern Plane

Ready to Fly:

The specs call for 2200 Lipo.

When I balanced the model, I found the Lipo had to be tucked a little further forward to get the correct CG.


I set throws to appropriate amounts with the idea that they will have to be dialed in after a few test flights.

First flight, the plane was out of trim but not anything that could not be overcome with some in-flight trimming. It was windy so trying to fly the intermediate pattern was awkward. I wasn't sure if the problems I was having was with trims and throws, or the wind is making the small foamy fly awkwardly.

Landing was good but I did have a prop-touch on the landing that chipped off a bit of prop. Not having my tools or spare props, I ran up the motor and gently tipped the model on its nose over a rock. Being very gentle with lifting the tail, I got the long end of the prop grind down against the rock until it was the same diameter as the chipped end. Not the recommended method of balancing a prop, but hey, it worked
I made a few more modifications to the throws.


Next flight was better than the first and I flew 2 sets of intermediate pattern on that battery. I'm liking this model. The up-line vertical performance was great too.

I only had to batteries. So more flying will be necessary to really wring this model out.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Explorer16.jpg
Views:	94
Size:	101.0 KB
ID:	1084354  
__________________
RC Test Pilot; FPV Instructor, Airplane Instructor; Helicopter Instructor

My Aircraft Albums: http://www.rccanada.ca/rccforum/album.php?u=13173

Last Photo added: Dec 15; Warwing Foamy for FPV
Max is offline   Quick reply to this message.
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the RCCanada - Canada Radio Controlled Hobby Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

Member names may only be composed of alpha-numeric characters. (A-Z and 0-9)

!!ATTENTION ADVERTISERS!! If you intend on advertising anything on this forum, whatsoever, you are required to first contact us here . Additionally, we do NOT allow BUSINESS NAMES unless you are an Authorized Vendor. If you own a business, and want to do sales on this site via posting or private message, you will need to follow the rules. Shops, Stores, Distributors, Group Buys without being authorized will see your account terminated.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:
Your Name
Your first name and last initial is required if you plan on using the forum.
Location
Which city & province you live in. This is mandatory for classified listings.
Radio of choice?
Which radio is your current favorite to use?
Number of RC Vehicles?
How many boats, cars, planes do you own?

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
vBulletin Message

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:26 AM.


vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2016 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.