One of my favorite segments of the RC hobby is 3D / IMAC flying. I’m nowhere near the skill of the pro pilots such as Andrew Jesky or Joe Smith but I have fun with it and find it challenging to try out new maneuvers. It helps keep things fresh when I go out and fly. I have most flown 3D Hobby Shop aircraft and have been very happy with them. However sometimes I love to have something smaller and durable to fly and that is where EPP comes in to play. I had heard about Twisted Hobbys airplanes but I never really took a close look at them until a few guys were flying them at WATTS over Owatonna. I was impressed at how well they flew but retained the durable and flexible qualities of the EPP foam. They also impressed another club mate of mine and so much so that he had to have one. Lucky for me he does not like to build so after some talk about which one he wanted we struck a deal that I would build it for him.
Ordering the kit
I ordered up the kit, optional landing gear, a tube of welder contact cement, a couple tuff props and a power pack including the recommended motor, esc and battery. I had plenty of the servos on hand and a spektrum RX so with that I placed the order on a sunday night. Early monday morning I had a shipping notice and by the time I got home on wed the box was there waiting for me. That was great service on shipping and from what I hear from others it’s what you expect from them! Kudos to Twisted Hobbys for fast shipping!
I opened up the box to check out the contents. Everything was packed well with loose parts in bags that were also taped down so they would not shuffle around in shipment. The motor and esc came with matching bullet connectors and a JST connector already installed. The foam looked great and the printed graphics were excellent. All the hardware you need is included with the kit including some special screw on servo horns to give aileron differential and extended throw on the tail feathers. Overall I was very happy with the completeness of the kit. The only thing that was not included was a printed manual. This does not bother me as I like the PDF versions you can download and either print yourself or just follow along on a computer or tablet. I’m sure this helps keep the cost of the kit as low as possible. A build video is also offered on the site and user support threads are up on RC Groups and 3DRC forums.
The build went very well. The parts fit together very well and everything squared up well with minimal jigging required. It is best to use the recommended welder glue on the EPP as it creates a strong joint but has just enough flexibility to give a little in a hit instead of cracking and breaking free like CA would do. However it does take a little time to setup fully so some patience is required when building the plane. It took me about 4 evenings with about 1 hour each evening to put the plane together. If I had a solid day I’m sure it could be done faster but with a full time job and a family I have to pick my building time when I can. I only had a couple things that I didn’t like.
1) The landing gear is nice however the screws included for the wheels could be just a bit longer. I found that it was hard to get the wheels secured on the gear without rubbing on wheel pant support. I think having just a couple more mm of length would have given a little more flexibility in mounting them correctly.
2) The servos get installed and glued in pretty tightly to the airframe. I am concerned that if replacement is needed that it will be difficult to get at them cleanly. However they are in the middle and well secured. With foam planes like this it’s often a balance between making it easy and keeping it light. I’m sure that if it comes to replacement time it wont be too bad as EPP is quite forgiving and easy to patch a piece in with some welder glue.
Other then that I love the plane. The biplane style takes more time and care to build with the double wings. Making sure both are square and straight when gluing is critical to a good flying airplane.
Flying the Pitts
I often like to test fly a build that I do for someone else. In this case I really wanted to see how this plane flew. I had heard so many great things about it I just had to see for myself. Lucky for me the afternoon that I finished it was a perfect day for a test flight. I brought my oldest son out as we had a couple planes to try out and he’s good for shooting some video if even with just my iPhone. I warmed up with my 3D Hobby Shop Yak 55. It’s another great plane that I bring out almost every flying session. After my warm up session I was ready to see what this Pitts could do. We plugged in the 2 cell 450 lipo and set her down on the runway. A quick burst of throttle and it was off! I needed just a little aileron trim but nothing I would be worried about. After just one lap I could feel this plane was stable and very forgiving. A few aileron rolls later and it was to high rates right away. Popping it into a hover is very easy there is very little torque effect and hardly any rudder is needed to keep it upright. Knife edge is effortless with basically no rudder needed. I was even able to pull off a couple half rolling circles but I still loose it on the back side and being my first flight plus not being my plane I did not want to dump it and scrape it up before handing it to my friend. My son was great at getting most of it on video and I’ll put the video at the bottom of this post.
My overall thoughts
I am very impressed with the Twisted Hobbys Crack Pitts. I may just find a way to purchase one for myself. However I’m also interested in the Crack Yak and the Extra Slick. So I may have some decisions to make. I know many would tell me to get them all but there is only so much in the hobby fund and only so much space in the garage to store them all. The service from Twisted Hobbys was great. The build was decent although I would recommend someone new to building really read over the online material or get some help from someone with a little EPP building experience. Flying the plane is great. I think anyone with basic aerobatic skills would have no problems flying it. Basically if you can loop, roll and fly inverted your ready for this plane. I would happily recommend this plane to anyone interested in a small foam biplane. It’s durable and flies great.
Check them out at http://www.twistedhobbys.com