Monday, May 30, 2011

Spektrum DX3C Preview

Spektrum has certainly brought a number of innovative features to RC'ers over the years. From the original DSM add-on module systems that freed people from frequency control and interference to the DX3 which introduced us to the first all-in-one Spektrum radio system. Spektrum has taken another leap forward in recent years with advancements like ModelMatch, DSM2 and Marine Technology. The time has come to bring these advanced features to the entry level crowd, all while mixing in a 20-model memory, computerized operation, exponential rates and much more. The result is the amazing DX3C which has features that far surpass its competition.

The DX3C may be classed as a beginner or entry-level radio but don't be fooled - there's a lot going on inside its case. Featuring a sharp and easy-to-read LCD display, scrolling selector operation, 20-model memory and integrated SD Card Slot just to name a few, the DX3C could be a contender for radio of the year- it's that good. Spektrum's Surface Radio Project Manager Blake Good paid us a visit to share some of the outstanding features this radio brings to the table.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Losi 1/10-scale Short Course Buggy Preview

In the 1/10-scale off-road world Short Course Trucks have changed the landscape. SCT’s look like their full-scale counterparts, they’re fun and they are less hooked up than their stadium truck counterparts, bringing driving back into the equation. Losi has taken what they have learned in the world of short course trucks, sprinkled in some 1/10-scale buggy tech, and mixed in some full-scale buggy styling for their latest vehicle. It’s not hyperbole to state that this new vehicle could completely reshape the landscape of 1/10-scale buggies just as short course trucks have changed the shape of 1/10-scale trucks. I’m of course talking about the Losi 1/10-scale XXX-SCB.

The SCB, or Short Course Buggy, carries over quite a bit of SCT tech, however, just calling it a short course truck with a different body ignores many of the details that have gone into this car. The XXX-SCB features an all-new, super-narrow chassis that, when combined with its body, eliminates the parachuting effect that can plague short course trucks. The XXX-SCB also features a narrow front shock tower, designed to fit under the body. Speaking of the body the XXX-SCB will be available in three different trim schemes, ReadyLift, Rockstar and Stronghold. Check out our video below to see what makes this one of the coolest vehicles we’ve had our hands on in a long time.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Indoor at Easter Time

I have often been guilty of saying that our indoor flying crowd are unpredictable, as far as attendance numbers are concerned and this last evening was typical of that belief. With most people already on the road for their Easter break, it was expected that ‘La Fenice’ would be the only person there. Low and behold, they came in their droves in what could well have been a record number. Showing even more brightness in these dim times was the presentation to us, of the largest flying space we have ever endured at ETSA Park. Our home netball team are due to play their arch rivals, The Magic, this same weekend so all the surrounding, and moveable seating had been put in place in readiness for their huge match and the electrically moveable bank of seats,  previously (and usually) squashed up against the back wall like a huge concertina had been rolled into place, forming one very large grand stand.

One of the advantages of our sport, like many others, is that it is a wonderful opportunity for dads to take members of their family with them and, possibly have them become involved in the actual flying. One such group are the Chapple father and son couple who come down from Berri when possible and, the son, Matthew is one of the most accomplished pilots of, not only models, but also with a full-size Jabiru aircraft going solo after just 8 hours flying. His model flying is always a joy to witness with his dedicated father, never more than a metre away, always willing to tell of Matthew’s accomplishments.

Matthew Waye, the only Model Flight Staff representative on this night was as usual, employed in instruction where and when required, including with another father/son combination; Vin Pike and son Benjamin.

Benjamin amused himself with a small rubber powered model, which he quite successfully launched from the top tier of the very high grandstand.

The Mt. Barker mob, consisting of Alexis Scott and his very accomplished model flier son, Hamish flew a variety of models, Alexis putting “The Beast” through its fantastic manoeuvres, while Hamish was forced to spend considerable time repairing a “foamie” which had almost become a heap of rubble. We again saw it flying before our flying time had expired.

Alexis, the father, caught my eye standing behind a young lad and Alexis is busily engaged in putting “The Beast” through its interesting and exciting paces. Kneeling down was a very busy Hamish, the son, hard at work repairing his foamy so as to enable some more flying before we close. This may be the time to mention a rather tricky subject – that of our departure at the end of a nights entertainment. It rarely happens that we don’t start flying well before our appointed time of 8.30p.m. and quite often, as happened last night, a number of fliers were in the air from the early starting time of 8p.m. giving them a half hour extra entertainment. Why is it, then, that having been given a reminder at twenty past ten each night, that there is ten minutes remaining, that few commence packing up (a quite large job for some) until right on closing time. The duty manager has a lot to do after we leave and I don’t feel that we should abuse the many privileges that he gives us each night. We had twice as many lights on last night and, with a monthly electricity bill of $7,000 – yes seven thousand dollars – it is not hard to see where a lot of that money is spent. So gentlemen, and in some cases ladies as well, as a personal request from me, could you please make the effort to vacate the place BY 10.30p.m.

Do you remember, dear readers, that a few months ago, Peter Melders demonstrated very adroitly, the exciting flying characteristics (a long word) of his “Tri-copter?” He flew it on two occasions, the second time with slightly larger propellers – this may jolt your memory.

Why am I raising that matter, you may well ask for Peter was not in attendance last night. But – what we did witness, was the exciting demonstration of a slightly similar machine, and please forgive me for not getting the gentleman’s name, but this really stirred the cockles of our hearts. Not only did it have three motors, but this model had four and this amazing quad-machine also had a pair of very bright 6-volt powered headlights which, at least, showed which is the leading edge.

Your scribe – “The Phoenix.”

ParkZone's first WWI and Bi-Plane Park Flyer with great scale details

World War I brought with it the dawn of air-to-air combat. Of the many airplanes that saw action, only a handful actually became legends. The Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a was one of them. Flown by many of the British and American aces of the time, it was instrumental in regaining and maintaining Allied air superiority from1917 through war's end. Now you can take to the skies with this outstanding sport scale recreation of the ParkZone RAF S.E.5a. Its winning combination of scale realism and easy-going flight characteristics will capture the heart of everyone who loves aviation classics.

  • Spektrum AR600 DSM2/DSMX receiver, installed
  • 4-channel control throttle, elevator, aileron and rudder
  • 480 brushless outrunner motor; 960Kv, installed
  • E-flite 30A Pro Switch-Mode ESC, installed
  • Servos, installed
  • Durable Z-Foam construction
  • Machine gun, exhaust and cockpit details
  • Authentic World War I trim scheme
Check out the Manual here and visit the website for all the info.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Parkzone Mosquito Mk VI Preview

Constructed almost entirely of plywood and powered by twin Merlin V12s, the DeHavilland Mosquito Mk VI was incredibly fast and maneuverable for a plane of its size. This speed and maneuverability combined with its relatively long range earned it a variety of combat roles during World War II that included everything from low-level reconnaissance to anti-shipping and night fighter missions.

We meet with Matt Andren, the Product Developer on the Mossy to see what has come to life in this new Ultra Micro model. Matt addresses some of the hurdles they had to overcome in order to bring this twin warbird legend to life. Scale details include the twin counter rotating motors, authentic camouflage paint scheme, molded clear plastic canopy, removable landing gear with steerable tail wheel, hidden battery compartment and even dummy cannons. The 4-channel control with elevator, throttle, rudder and aileron provide full control for precise flying and maneuverability. So take a look and get ready to order yours today.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Electrix RC Ruckus 2WD Monster Truck Review

There are times when you want to go run an RC car or truck for the pure joy of running an RC car or truck. This allows you to forget about lap times, shock oils, gearing, tire inserts and just have fun. The Electrix RC Ruckus 2WD Monster Truck is a perfect example of a truck that is designed to simply be fun and durable. Much like its stadium truck cousin, the Circuit™, the Ruckus is designed for the beginner or casual RC'er in mind to be able to just have a ton of fun.

The Ruckus is a backyard basher through-and-through. The raised chassis allows it to get over obstacles that may hamper other trucks. The included 20T motor and 1800mAh Dynamite® Speedpack™ provides enough power to propel the Ruckus over the roughest terrain quite well. We charged up the stock battery and headed out to Eli Field to put the Ruckus through its paces. Between the different terrain options and the race track, we spent a pretty fun afternoon with the truck.

Speed Specs
Ruckus Monster Truck
Part Number: ECX2000 (Orange); ECX2100 (Green)
Vehicle Class/Type: 2WD Electric Monster Truck
Target Audience: Beginning and Casual Monster Truck Enthusiasts
Completion Level: RTR

Track Notes:
We've been waiting for the weather to break here, counting down the days to when we'd see temperatures over 50, no rain and winds to die down to under 40MPH gusts; it's been that sort of spring. Thankfully, we had a break in the weather and I was able to get out and thrash with the Ruckus.
Before I headed out, I only needed to do a minimum amount of prep work. Everything that I would need to get up and running came in the box including the battery pack, charger, transmitter and the AA's for the transmitter. I could have charged up the 1800mAh battery on my Dynamite Passport Ultra charger, but I decided to test out the included wall charger. After a few hours, the pack was completely charged and ready to roll. At the same time, I also charged up some extra 1800mAh Speed Packs to make sure that I would have an afternoon of fun ahead of me.
From the first squeeze of the trigger, the Ruckus didn't disappoint. It had a good combination of both bottom-end torque and top speed. I was even able to pop a few wheelies on high-bite surfaces. Whether I was running the truck on concrete, grass, gravel or dirt, the Ruckus felt at home in all environments and on all surfaces. I will admit to being a bit worried at how the Ruckus would handle taller grass as, while its motor is decent, tall grass could cause excessive drag that could hamper the truck. I was relieved that this wasn't an issue though, as the Ruckus was able to get over everything I threw in its way. I learned very quickly to not underestimate this truck.
The handling of the Ruckus was pretty good on all surfaces. Often 2WD monster trucks suffer from excessive chassis roll or don't handle all that well, but the Ruckus doesn't have this issue. The chassis stays relatively flat while cornering and doesn't traction roll at the rate that other trucks can. Yes, it is still possible to traction roll the Ruckus, but you really need to try. Overall, this is a very good driving truck.

Top Speed/Acceleration
The 20T motor that comes with the Ruckus is the same motor that comes with the Circuit. I am thankful to see that the guys over at Electrix RC dropped the pinion size a few teeth to compensate for the larger tires of the Ruckus. I'd say the top speed was right around 20MPH when I was making speed runs. At the same time, the acceleration was pretty good too, as the Ruckus was able to get up and over just about anything in its path. Now don't be confused, the Ruckus won't set any land-speed records, but it's fast enough to be fun for beginners, but not so fast that it would be difficult to control.

Monster Trucks aren't renowned for their precise touring, car-style handling traits, but the Ruckus is honestly better than many other trucks out there. The normal tendency of these trucks is for them to be overly top-heavy and to suffer from excessive chassis roll. While the Ruckus isn't a race vehicle, it really drives quite well and outperforms expectations. If you really push things, you can get the truck to step out or get a little tippy, but overall the Ruckus doesn't drive like a traditional high CG monster truck.
On the dry track at Eli Field, I will admit that the Ruckus was more challenging to drive due to the loose nature of the dirt and the hard packed surface. I could slide the rear of the truck around if I got on the power too hard (think of it as a drift car on dirt!). Power slides were fun and controllable, and, if I wanted to settle the truck down a bit, I think I could have by simply packing the gear diff with some thick grease, but I was having far too much fun driving to worry about wrenching.

One of the main reasons to buy an RC monster truck is to try to emulate the look and feel of their full-size counterparts. Monster trucks are known for catching wicked air and crushing anything in their path, and an RC monster truck needs to be able to recreate as much of that as possible. The Ruckus is a brilliantly fun truck to drive and it begs to be jumped. The suspension is very plush and I never felt like the Ruckus had bottomed out or ran out of suspension travel. While the jumps at the Eli Field track aren't ginormous, they were well shaped and gave me the opportunity to air the Ruckus out quite well. Again, it never failed to impress as I traversed a variety of different obstacles and jumps. The Ruckus begged to be jumped over and over and over again.

The sealed endbell 20T motor that the Ruckus comes with doesn't have the strongest magnets out there and, as such, the Ruckus has a tendency to keep rolling when you get off the throttle. Tapping the brakes delivers an instant burst of reverse since there isn't a delay, and you cannot disable reverse. Around the track, I found this a bit annoying, but when I was just running around in the open lot or on the dirt mounds, I didn't notice it one bit. Again, this is not a race truck and not designed to carve tight lines—it's designed to be fun to drive. If you need to get off the gas to get around a corner, the truck "whoa's" itself down nicely and makes it easy to turn and continue rolling along.

The power delivery of the Ruckus is smooth and easy to get acclimated to on just about any surface. It's absolutely possible to break the rear tires free on loose surfaces like the track at Eli Field, sand or gravel, and doughnuts are fun and repeatable because of this. When the time comes to simply get rolling forward, the Ruckus has plenty of forward bite to get you moving along in any direction you desire. The included tires are also a bit softer than I initially expected, which can only help, but still provides the forward and site bite that you'll need when you're out just having fun.

Out-Of-The-Box Setup
One of the things I have most enjoyed and appreciated about the Electrix RC vehicles, is just how user friendly and easy to use the vehicles are for the person with little to no previous RC experience. The Ruckus is no different as it comes out of the box ready for tremendous RC fun. The design of the Ruckus begs to be driven hard on a variety of different surfaces and locations. The stock setup is well suited and balanced to this application. As I've mentioned, monster trucks tend to get a bit tippy, especially when changing directions at speed, but the Ruckus seems to borrow quite a bit from its stadium truck cousin the Circuit, as this is perhaps one of the most sure-footed 2WD monsters I've driven. This, more than anything else, is why I think the Ruckus is such a good vehicle for beginners. Instead of having to learn how to drive and control the truck, you can focus on just having fun and learning the basics of driving an RC vehicle.

I wish that trucks like these were available when I got started. From the durable construction materials and design, to the overall performance and handling, the Ruckus represents a great first step for anyone to get into RC. Beyond that, it's the perfect vehicle to share your passion of RC with too. While I may not want to hand the transmitter of my 1/8-scale buggy over to my kids, I have no such worries about letting them drive the Ruckus. I know that, not only can the Ruckus withstand the lack of driving skill they have, but that they can handle driving the truck and not become frustrated. 
The Ruckus reminds me of a game I might download for my mobile device (stick with me here, I promise it'll be good). See, if I want to really get a great gaming experience, I power up my big screen and my HD gaming system and become totally immersed in that world. However, there are times when I want to just go and chill and have fun. And while I still get somewhat into the game on my mobile device, I know that it's there for those bite-sized portions. The same thing applies to RC. If I want to get my hardcore RC fix, I have my race vehicles for that application. However, there are times when I just want to go and get my bite-sized RC fix, which the Ruckus does a tremendous job of. Whether the Ruckus is your first RC truck, your twenty-first, or your one-hundred first, it's one of those vehicles you can't help but have a good time with.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The New, Superbly Equipped Spektrum DX7s

The DX7s is the new Spektrum™ full-range 2.4GHz DSMX™ 7-channel aircraft radio system with integrated telemetry and features that will redefine expectations for its class. It comes loaded with SD card capability, 20-model memory, a large LCD screen and so much more. With a laundry list of high-quality features, the DX7s is the new radio of choice.
  • Two model types provide both airplane and helicopter programming in one radio system 
  • High-speed (11ms) with 2048 resolution provides 2048 steps of travel for each servo and smooth transition from stick input to servo movement 
  • Includes an 8-channel AR8000 that is compatible with Spektrum telemetry modules (sold separately)

Team Losi Racing 22 2WD Buggy Review

Competition breeds innovation. The desire to be better than anyone else is a driving force behind those in the racing community, whether you're talking about drivers or manufacturers. A lot has happened since the last all-new buggy design was released by Team Losi Racing over 11 years ago. We've gone from 2000mAh sub-C NiCad batteries and 12-turn brushed motors to 6000mAh LiPo batteries and 6.5-turn brushless motors. Tires have gotten softer and stickier to better adhere to tracks that are no longer dirt, but high-bite clay. Tracks have also changed from rhythm and washboard sections to Supercross-style tracks. With the demands of tracks and drivers changing, it was only appropriate that a new type of car was due to meet these requirements. The folks at TLR have answered the call with what they feel is the most innovative, original and fastest 2WD buggy ever created in the 22.

The 22 capitalizes on knowledge gained during the development and testing of their multi-National Championship-winning 8IGHT 1/8-scale buggy to create one of the most unique vehicles to come across our bench in a long time. The 22 features an all-new aluminum chassis, big bore 12mm shocks, beefy suspension components and much more. They've even taken the extra step of including all-metric hardware to make this a more "world-friendly" platform. If that wasn't enough, you can also configure the 22 in one of two different orientations – either in a traditional rear-motor configuration, or as a mid-motor chassis. We built the car in the more traditional rear-motor configuration; however, we will be visiting the mid-motor configuration in the near future. We glued up some Pink-compound Losi tires, charged our LiPos and hit the track at RJD Hobbies and Raceway to see if the 22 lives up to all the hype.

Speed Specs
Vehicle: 22 Buggy
Part Number: TLR0022
Vehicle Class/Type: 1/10-scale Competition Level 2WD Buggy
Target Audience: Competition and Performance Buggy Enthusiasts
Completion Level: Kit

Track Notes
If you'd like to see the actual build of the TLR 22, we built it live on our UStream Page. The build took about 5 hours in all and things went quite smooth. Take note when assembling the front uprights; the spindles are labeled "L" and "R" towards the top. You can overlook this (as I did), which will cause you to have to disassemble and reassemble this part when it comes time to install it onto the chassis. I built the 22 per the manual setup even though I knew that many drivers around the country have gone with Dustin Evan's setup. I wanted to test the 22 as it came out of the box, and that included the manual setup.

Speaking of the assembly, I was amazed at just how buttery-smooth the diff and the shocks ended up being when completed. This isn't hype, this isn't hyperbole, it's the simple truth – the 22's diff is the absolute smoothest ball differential I have ever built for any chassis, hands down. Even when it was totally locked down, the diff was ridiculously smooth. The shocks were very smooth as well, just like the larger versions I've used in the past on the 8IGHT 2.0, 8IGHT-T 2.0 and L8IGHT Model. The design works very well when shrunken down to 1/10-scale.

I've been running a good bit of 2WD as of late, both at RJD and in a recent trip to SoCal at OCRC with the last 2WD chassis from Team Losi Racing, the XXX-CR. I really liked the tire and electronics setup that I had been using in that car, and copied it in the 22. That means I used my Spektrum DX3R PRO and SR3520 receiver, Spektrum S6040 servo, Losi Xcelorin 6000mAh 60C LiPo and a Tekin RS Brushless ESC with the latest 212 software. Our track has a 17.5T motor rule in-place and allows both timing advancement and boost, both of which were turned on.

The TLR 22 is unique in that it doesn't include any tires with the kit. Instead, two sets of wheels are in the box, which I really appreciated. You can run older XXX wheels on the back of the 22 if you'd like simply by removing the drive hex. The front, however, uses a totally different wheel offset and mounting configuration that is new and unique to the 22. For tires, I opted to copy what I have been running on the rear of my XXX-CR and glued up a set of Pink-compound Losi BK Bars. Many team drivers, including Matt Chambers and 2011 Reedy Race Champion Dustin Evans, have been running Pink-compound Taper Pin front tires. I was very impressed with how both Dustin and Matt's 22s ran at the Spektrum Electric Off-Road Championships with BK Bars and Taper pins, so I decided to give that a try. I've found most of my setups translate well from RJD to Trackside, so I was hoping for the best.

From the first pull of the trigger I knew I had a totally different car under me than what I was used to. The 22 is very smooth and fluid in everything it does. It's almost as if the car is an organic being. The track at RJD was very damp when I got there and had a ton of bite. As the night wore on and the track got a bit colder and dried out, I found myself looking for a bit more rear traction. I played around with pre-load, camber, travel adjustments, roll throttle and more as the night went on. In the first round of qualifying, I managed to capitalize on some troubles the other drivers had to TQ the first round. The 22 felt very good as I was the only driver to turn 20-laps; however, the track went through a major change between the first and second round and, while I backed it up with another 20-lapper, local driver Travis Chance bested my TQ .

In the main, Travis, Myself and Alan Bachman battled it out from the moment the tone went off. Travis' car let him down less than two minutes in as he broke a drive pin coming off the jumps on the back stretch. His misfortune was the opening I needed, however, as I made a mistake a little later when I hit a pipe and flipped over. This allowed Alan to take the lead but I was in hot pursuit. With less than a minute to go I made my move coming into the infield as Alan overdrove the corner and opened the door for me to get by. A few turns later, I over-cooked the entry of the corner by the loop and Alan tried to take the spot back, but he pushed wide and we touched wheels with Alan getting the worst of it. I wound up hanging on to the lead and took the overall win in my first night out with the 22.

Top Speed/Acceleration
If you are looking to get the holeshot on someone, the 22 will get you out of the box remarkably fast. The 22's transmission and driveline has been designed with today's brushless/LiPo powerplants in mind. The new gearbox is very smooth and the lightweight diff outdrives give it that factory look. This all translates into a transmission with very low rotational mass, optimizing both acceleration and top speed. As I mentioned, I've used this motor, ESC and battery combo in my old car and was always satisfied. With the 22, there were times when I swore I was picking the front end off the ground when I pegged the gas. The 22 is a rocket out of the corner and it's not hurting for top-speed either. Sure, many people think 17.5/Stock instantly means "slow", but that couldn't be further from the truth; especially with the boost and timing adjustment that the Tekin RS provides. We're going faster now in stock than some of the modified classes used to go!

This is one of the more unique reviews I've done lately as normally, when we review a chassis, we're the only ones around. Testing the 22 under the veil of a club race added some interesting aspects. I was able to truly gauge the performance of this chassis against other cars and drivers, which made me work harder to get the most out of the car as possible. I didn't have any other springs or tuning parts with me, meaning I was working in a small box. The 22 didn't disappoint, however, as there are plenty of tuning options designed into the platform.

With the box-stock setup, I found myself looking for a bit more rear grip as the track dried and got colder, but I was able to compensate by reducing my steering travel, reducing front toe-in, adding a touch of rear camber and giving the car a bit of roll throttle. For me, the roll throttle change really helped as the car didn't transfer as much weight to the front end quite as quickly. I also took some mechanical timing out of the motor's end bell after the second round, which definitely tamed things down.

I let Travis drive the 22 and he and I both had the same feeling - the 22 is just incredibly smooth. It absorbs jumps and landings without thinking twice; it lays the power down well and changes directions well. He agreed that the car needed a bit more rear bite for his preferences, but thought the car was quite good.

While the RJD track doesn't have many large jumps, there are a number of smaller technical ones. The main spot to get air is over the big tabletop right before start/finish and the 2 jumps on the back straight. The 22 jumps incredibly level and lands like a wet sponge. The larger diameter shocks shine when both jumping and landing. The 22 just absorbs any imperfection on-track like it wasn't even there. A perfect example is the landing area on the back straight after the first jump. There is a dip there that would grab my XXX-CR and cause all sorts of havoc. With the 22, it was as if it wasn't even there. I'm really looking forward to getting the 22 outdoors to our big track to see if it flies as well on the 1/8-scale track as it did indoors. I have every reason to think it will.

When the track was moist and had the most grip, the stock setup felt really good off power. As bite went down and the track got more slippery I did have to chase the rear of the car a bit off power. Still, I was able to dial this out of the car with some basic adjustments. As I mentioned earlier, I removed pretty much all of the front toe-in and gave the rear some more negative camber in the rear. Some additional roll throttle was the last piece of the puzzle to help settle things down.

The front Taper Pin tires worked well; however, I was left with the same sort of feeling after using them on the 22 as when I've used them in the past. They felt like they had a bit of initial slide to them, then mid-corner they'd hook up and bite. Being an old touring car and 1/12-scale racer, I prefer something that's a bit more consistent feeling through the entire radius of the turn. I'd like to try some Losi 3-Ribbed BK Pre-Scrubbed front tires, which would be pretty similar to what I had on my XXX-CR to see how it would change the front end.

Where I felt like I was looking for a tad more side bite with the stock setup off power, the 22 felt really rock solid on power. The additional rear camber I added to smooth the car out on entry and off power also helped while on power too. Of course, reducing the motor's timing also helped as I wasn't buzzing and spinning the rear tires, which also helped me get better drive on power. The Tekin RS delivered more punch than I could imagine and was an excellent mate for the 22's capable chassis. I did have to be patient getting on the throttle at times though, as this combo begs for you to grab a handful of throttle.

Out-Of-The-Box Setup
There's been a lot of testing and development going on with the TLR drivers since the initial announcement, including TQ's and wins in both the Spektrum Electric Off-Road Championships and the 2011 Reedy Race of Champions. While the box-stock setup is a great launching point, it seems like a majority of the team drivers and racers out there have opted to use Dustin Evan's setup from the Reedy Race. I thought about doing this myself; however, Dustin's setup requires the use of some parts that aren't included with the kit (5-degree uprights for example). Because of this I decided to go ahead and build the 22 per the manual setup.

The stock setup is very good, at least at my local track. It was fast and I could hustle the car when needed; however, it seemed that if I tried to push too hard I would actually turn slower lap times. With the kit setup, I was rewarded with more consistent times if I "flowed" the car more. This actually reminded me a lot of when I would run a front one-way in my touring car. If I tried to hammer a one-way equipped car into a corner, it could swap ends on me or do other funky things. The one difference here though was the fact that, unlike a touring car, a 2WD buggy only has rear wheel drive.

As I mentioned above, the 22 is very fluid and smooth thanks to the larger 12mm shocks, centralized mass and awesome drive train. I was able to turn relatively similar times in both of my qualifiers (about 5-seconds difference between the two), but the car was the best during the main. It seems like the 22 really responds well to subtle tweaks and changes like preload/ride height and camber. While my old car was very fast, to already be on a similar pace with a brand-new chassis a bone-stock setup on it is very impressive. There are a few setup changes I plan on making before my next race to get a touch more overall grip into the car (mostly in the rear) but this is all fine-tuning at this point.

The 22 is one of the finest cars I have ever built from any manufacturer, and I am not alone in this opinion. I have spoken to drivers all across the country and they have all had the same experience. The 22 builds up well, doesn't require any hand-fitting or shimming, and is on-pace right from the box. I honestly can't remember any other chassis that I was this competitive with right out of the box, let alone with something I won with on the first night I raced it. If that's how good the 22 is without any tuning time, I can only imagine how much better I'll do once I find my comfort level. When it comes to the competitive 2WD buggy class, the 22 is in a field all by itself. With the 22, you pretty much have only one decision to make: you'll either race one or end up chasing one.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hangar 9 F4U-1D Corsair 50 Preview

Hangar 9 is proud to present another legend in its lineup of Warbirds, the Corsair 50 ARF. The F4U Corsair, made famous for its ability to out climb, outrun or outfight any enemy in its day, is an exciting addition to the Hangar 9 family. Referred to as "whistling death" by the Japanese in World War II, and the "Sweetheart of Okinawa" by American troops, the inverted gull wing allowed for the huge propeller to clear the deck with its short, stout landing gear. Designed as a carrier-based fighter, it was also the first Naval aircraft to have landing gear retract flush into the wing behind panels for improved aerodynamics, and it was the first fighter to exceed speeds of 400 mph. Its successful reputation and unique flying characteristics have earned the F4U Corsair its place in American military history.

We talk in studio with Bill Brundle, Senior Product Developer with the Air Division about this new Corsair. He walks us through the features and great flying characteristics of this great new model. From a new size series to the optional rotating electric retracts he hits all the points that will show you why this model has to be in your hangar. So watch the video and see what the buzz is about with this new Corsair from Hangar 9.

Monday, May 2, 2011

How To Change the DX3R PRO's Wheel Position

The DX3R PRO is a terrific radio that continues Spektrum's evolutionary process. With top-tier features such as ABS, Servo Speed, a backlit display and integrated telemetry, the DX3R PRO is a fantastic radio. Many drivers have started using the DX3R PRO after running its predecessor, the DX3R. One of the major differences between the DX3R and the DX3R PRO is the wheel positioning as the DX3R PRO features a drop-down wheel position that significantly changes the wheel's position in relation to the rest of the radio. If you've found yourself longing for the original DX3R's wheel position, or just want to try something different, you're in luck as you can easily re-create the original DX3R feel with the PRO.

Everything you will need to make this conversion is conveniently included for you right in the box with the DX3R PRO. From a new adaptor plate to new screws, it's all here. The only tool you'll need is a 3/32" Allen Wrench and a clean place to work. In all, the conversion should take less than 10-minutes to complete from start to finish, and, if you find you prefer the drop-down wheel position, is easy enough to undo. You can also reverse the steps listed in the video if you'd like to add Spektrum's drop-down wheel conversion to your original DX3R.