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Thread: FTC Hunter 680mm Flying Wing /w FPV system - review / build log / mods

  1. #1
    Navigator Arxangel's Avatar
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    FTC Hunter 680mm Flying Wing /w FPV system - review / build log / mods

    Hey guys, here is my review of the FTC Hunter 680mm Flying Wing, but this one actually has an FPV system on it!


    You can find the full parts list as well as this review in my blog: ArxangelRC.blogspot.com


    As some of you may know... I am not the biggest fan of flying wings, which is probably also obvious from the very few posts I have on such models... this being the 3rd actually! With that being said, the Hunter did offer a tempting gear set for its size and price - in addition to the PNP gear, you also get an FPV system, which includes a camera and a video transmitter.


    In addition, the plane is also equipped with a flight stabilizer, which actually makes flying it a bit easier, although it does have its quirks... but it is there nonetheless! The FPV system works well, and according to the specs the Vtx is 100mW, which should be enough for most people. Everything comes pre-assembled and wired up, pretty much all you have to do is add a battery and a radio receiver, and a set of video goggles with a video receiver, and you're good to go!


    I was also quite pleasantly surprised by the material itself - it is very flexible at the wingtips, but also quite stiff at the centre of the plane, where it matters. The top and bottom plates really do a great job to hide most of the electronics and keep them safe in the event of a crash, which could make this plane a potential candidate for a beginner model!







    SPECIFICATIONS


    Wing span: 680mm
    Wing area: to be determined
    Length: 450mm
    Flying weight: 198 grams according to specs (249 for my current configuration)
    CG: Will update...




    ARRIVAL STATE


    Since the plane is a one piece model and comes in a Plug-n-Play configuration, it arrived in a triangle shaped box, which was in very good condition and there was no damage on the Hunter... so nothing much to report here!




    WHAT I LIKE


    OK, lets start from the fact that this one actually comes with an FPV system on it! I know it doesn't sound like much, but unlike racing copters, there aren't a lot of plane models that come with an FPV system already installed and wired. From experience, the Hubsan H301S and XK A1200 come to mind, and hopefully the new SkyEasy 1050mm plane, but that's about it! For me at least, one of the most annoying things that I have to do when I get a new plane that is PNP, is to have to wire in the video system, because even though the plane was designed for FPV... the wiring already in it was NOT! At least with the Hunter we do not have that problem!








    Along with the FPV system, the flight stabiliser is also mounted under the top plate.





    The last of the protected gear is the ESC, which is also providing power for the stabiliser and the video system.





    Moving to the outside of the Hunter, right at the back is the 1306 3100Kv motor, spinning a 5040P prop, not the 4045 listed in the specs!





    Moving to the top of the plane, you will find the battery lead and the radio receiver lead! Keep in mind that you need an SBUS receiver in order for the stabiliser to function properly, hence why I am using the X4RSB receiver.





    You may also notice that servos, push rods, and control horns have been already installed on the model, and seem to be trimmed properly, as I did not have to do any trimming even when flying without stabilisation.








    Between the two servos at the front you have some velcro and a velcro strap for the battery.





    And here is the whole top plate in all of its glory! With everything else tucked away below... things certainly look clean on the surface!





    If I can also bring your attention to the hinge line of the control surfaces you will notice that there are no hinges other than the foam one! Normally I'd be writing a 10000 word complaint about this if it were a larger model, but at around 250 grams AUW, this plane should be fine with these hinges! Not a good idea on a 4kg plane though!





    I also have come to appreciate the curved up wing tips! I am not sure by how much, but I am pretty sure they are helping stabilise the wing a bit in turbulent conditions, as it showed some pretty impressive stability while it was getting knocked around in the mountain on its maiden flight!








    And finally here is the bottom of the plane. The plate here is a lot smaller than the one on top, but then it doesn't have to cover any electronics, and it is here only to reinforce the top one!





    What I find curious is that I can see no holes for a spar, so I assume that either the plane doesn't have one... which would be fascinating indeed, or the spar was placed in the injection mould, and hence is integrated inside the plane at the time of manufacturing, which would be even more awesome!










    WHAT I DON'T LIKE


    Well... first there is the fact that absolutely no manual came with this plane, and also the fact that the CG is not marked anywhere. This, of course, resulted in the plane being tail heavy during the maiden and trying to tip stall a few times. Later, when I moved the battery further forward it would no longer tip stall... but it would have been nice to have had a user manual or at least some indication of where the CG is.


    Second, the stabilising unit is a tad weird! The auto level mode would rock the Hunter too much side to side if there is wind, and turning in these conditions looks very shaky! Beginners might be a tad surprised by this performance and may crash the plane! The gyro mode works well, but it is not a mode for first time flyers, so at least some experience would be needed! Even though it has potential to be a great beginner model... I would be hesitant to recommend it for that!


    Third, the way the video antenna is mounted stock is about as far from optimal as you can get! With it lying horizontally and pointing forward, you would only really have a good video reception only when the plane's wings are oriented towards you, and that is only if you have remembered to place your video receiver antenna horizontally as well! That little fact actually caused some issues during the maiden, as you might have seen in the video above!




    Continues in next post...

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    Navigator Arxangel's Avatar
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    ... continued from previous post!

    THE BUILD


    Right... honestly, there is nothing to really build here, but I did make one modification to the plane after the maiden, to remedy the antenna orientation issue! After almost loosing the plane due to the bad reception because of the way the antenna is installed in the factory, I used my foam cutter to make a vertical hole in the foam, and inserted the antenna there! The following flights showed a much improved video reception on the ground, no matter how the plane was rotated relative to me! And all is still nice and clean on the outside!











    The antenna is barely sticking out of the underside.





    On the top, I mounted the 3S 25C 1000mAh Zippy battery at the front, and the X4RSB receiver behind it!





    Because I didn't want the receiver antennas flapping around on the model, I cut some clear plastic tubes into smaller pieces and slid the antennas in them - one vertical, and one at a rough 45 degrees to vertical. The tubes are not glued into the foam, but are a tight fit, so I don't think they will be sliding out anytime soon!





    I even decided to put on some of the stickers.





    Looks pretty decent when I think about it!










    THE VERDICT


    Alright, so the FTC Hunter certainly is a neat little package, and in theory should be quite easy to setup and get flying! In reality it requires the person to have some experience dealing with these things and flying, because the stabilisation system it comes with doesn't necessarily do the best possible job!


    On 3S the plane has lots of power and can go vertically, and possibly using a lighter battery could improve that vertical speed even more, though at the cost of flight time. The ESC does not have any specs on it, so I am not sure if it is 4S compatible, but I am pretty sure that the motor should be able to handle 4S if you do down to a 4" prop... should make this thing pretty interesting... but again... even less suitable for beginners!


    As for the FPV system, the camera is quite OK to be honest, and the wider angle lens would allow for some more comfortable proximity flying, whereas the 100mW output of the Vtx should be more than enough with the correct receiving antenna on the ground, for some good distance, should you desire it, but you do have to put the antenna vertical before you can hope to achieve any notable distance!


    In terms of flight performance, in addition to good verticals, the Hunter is also quite agile and is fun to fly for sure! What really stunned me was that it was able to maintain level inverted flight without any correcting input from me, and this is the first time I am flying a plane that is capable of that... and it is a wing!! Really was a shock! All of this is in the gyro mode of course, the auto level mode doesn't give you a lot of freedom!


    And a few more things you should keep in mind! First, when you are setting up the receiver... since this plane doesn't have a rudder, channel 4 is where you have to program a 3-position switch for the flight modes! Second, when the plane is powered, but not flying, the stabiliser will move the control surfaces in very weird directions and in a weird way, and will appear as if it is not working properly! Don't be alarmed, just throw the plane in the air and fly it, it will be fine, it just doesn't handle being shaken around on the ground very well!


    So, stay tuned as there will be future updates on this one!

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    Last edited by Arxangel; 18th January 2018 at 04:13 PM.

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    UPDATE 1 - a few tests and some HD on-board footage

    Right, so the first few tests are a fact, and the results are in! First off, at some point I managed to range test the Vtx and the new antenna mounting location and position (vertical, compared to horizontal from the factory). I was able to get out to around 350 meters, with very good video reception, and that was in a very RF polluted area, so the new antenna position seems to be quite right!


    I also did an endurance test with the 1000mAh 3S battery I had chosen for the model. The Hunter was able to fly for around 21 mins, drawing 755mAh out of the battery, which is pretty good! With some better throttle management I am certain it will be able to go even longer! Next flight I mounted the RunCam 2 on top of the battery, just so I can have some HD on-board footage from it, and it actually flew very well with it. Overall flight performance was a bit sluggish now, with the extra weight up front, but it was good nonetheless! Enough reading now... enjoy the video, along with the HD on-board footage!


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