Acuity 62″ Pattern Plane – AJ Aircraft

So after about a year back in RC,  I got bit by the pattern bug. I looked around and contacted some friends to see what I might have been able to buy used from someone, but didn’t really find exactly what I wanted.

On the recommendation of a friend, I looked at AJ Aircraft’s Acuity. It comes in a 2 meter version as well as a 62″ version. For many reasons, mostly because this will be my first season to fly pattern, I went with the 62″ version. Also, I already had the 6s 5000 mah batteries that I needed to run this plane as it would be set up.

I set this plane up with a Hacker A50-16s. I used a Castle Creations Edge 100 amp esc, which is too much, but again, what I had and perfectly suitable for that setup, so on it went.

I propped it with a XOAR 16-10e wooden prop for now. The 16-10 seems to pull it just fine. It is not fast and I do use WOT in an upline, but it has plenty of power and great flight times. After 7 minutes of pattern flight, I still have about 20-25% of my battery left.

I moved to this plane from my Kaos. It is much different than the Kaos. After flying this plane for a while, the Kaos feels like it weighs 3x as much, even though it doesn’t. AUW on the Kaos, with the 6s/5000 is 7lb 14.6 oz. AUW on the Acuity 62″ with the same battery is 6lb 15.4 oz, so it’s really only about a pound lighter. The Acuity is so much more maneuverable and so much more agile… it’s a joy to fly. Learning to fly the pattern with the Acuity in a crosswind is more tricky as it is more susceptible to deviation from crosswinds. It “weathervanes” more than the Kaos did. A wise person told me that learning to fly pattern is all about learning to use the rudder, and that is correct in my experience.

WEIGHT BREAKDOWN

Fuselage (rtf no batt): 3 lb. 14.4 oz.

Canopy and thumb screws: 5.6 oz.

Right Wing: 8.3 oz.

Left Wing: 8.4 oz.

Wing Tube: 1.2 oz.

Gensace 6s/5000mah Lipo: 1 lb. 9.5 oz.

Total AUW RTF: 6 lb. 15.4 oz. 

The CG is supposed to be about a half inch behind the wing tube. With my 6s/5000 all the way forward, mine balanced perfectly. This is great because when I move the CG back later on as I set it up for snap rolls and other maneuvers that perform better with a CG further back, I simple will move my battery back on the tray. There is a good 3-4″ to do this. I’m not sure if this was incorporated into the design, but it worked out perfectly at least on my model.

I set my plane up very simply with a Spectrum AR610 receiver and Hitec Digital Mighty Mini servos for elevator and ailerons and a full size high torque Hitec digital rudder servo. I am not running a separate receiver battery.

Overall, I love this airplane. For about $450 delivered, I found it to be a great value for an entry level pattern plane. It will no doubt carry me much further than the Sportsman class as well.

It was packed brilliantly in a large box with lots of compartments and using lots of tape… instead of styrofoam. It had foam where needed, but it is very smartly packed in a non-wasteful (and easy to dispose of) way. Assembly is very simple and straightforward using the PDF building plans available on AJ’s web site.

Below is an eCalc report on the setup of my Acuity 62″.

eCalc result for Acuity 62″ setup with Hacker A50-16s on 6s/5000mah lipo with 16-10 prop

 

EDIT 5/31/18

I’m a little over 100 flights in and loving this plane. I haven’t pushed it aerobatically. I’m sticking to perfecting the Sportsmans pattern with it. It’s competitive against the litany of 2 meter planes that i have faced in competition as long as my thumbs are cooperative.

I’ll soon be ordering the 2m version and moving the 62” to backup status.

 

Tower Hobbies WW II Foamies: P-51, Corsair, Hellcat

Tower Hobbies makes a line of foam PNP airplanes at the $105 – $120 price range that are really good planes for the money. My Millennium Master is the civil aviation part of that line. The warbirds are a Corsair, four flavors of P-51 and a Hellcat. These are plug-n-play foam planes that fly well on 3s and are tough. The Corsair seems to be the toughest, as you can see by the number of them in the photo below.

Smiling faces. Before the Gaggle. Photo: Dave Schaefer



We fly them aggressively, all at once and generally in the same area. This presents several challenges to the pilot and generates lots of energy among the group. Just keeping up with your own airplane is sometimes a challenge. It is inevitable that two of them share the same airspace at some point. These planes are amazingly tough and still fly well after multiple major repairs. This is defined at our club as a Gaggle.


Ace GLH Electric Conversion

One of my favorite planes to fly back in the day was the Ace GLH with a Cox Tee Dee .051. Of course those planes are long gone now… or are they? At a swap meet I discovered short kits. Because of the affordability of laser cutters these days, there are lots of guys out there cutting these old kits that are no longer in production. The selection seems nearly endless.

I found the GLH short kit at Balsa Workbench. I got great quality parts for two GLH planes. Dealing with Rob was easy. The short kits include basically all curved cut wood. The sheeting, leading and trailing edges and spars are not included. Still, for a $20 short kit and a bit of balsa stock, I’m flying a fast blast from the past.

I found the plans on Outerzone. You can also download the GLH plans here. I opened them in Adobe Reader and printed them from there. Adobe gives you an option to print a large document in tiles and you can even include cut lines so you can assemble the full-size plans with accuracy.


The Power Setup

For the first one, I ended up with a 2450 kv, 18.5 mm Lumenier drone motor. I run it on a 3s/1000mah 25c lipo with a 6-5.5 APC prop and it checks out perfectly on the meter and runs great. It generates ~35 oz. of thrust and flies the plane in the 85 mph range. It’s a handful to fly and took several flights to get it trimmed out nicely, but once that’s done, it’s really a smooth flyer and handles wind amazingly well for a 19 oz. plane.



GLH II

I built this one a little differently. I used a motor from an EDF. Details on the setup are in the slideshow. Ecalc was spot on in the calculations for this power combo. It’s a screamer!