ARFs are cr@p

Must admit, they look pretty. Some even fly pretty. But they are expensive - you pay a lot of money for a lot of covering and very little wood and even less glue. Got an elevator servo failure and everything from the trailing edge forwards got splintered. I have seen an old Astrohog doing a highspeed cartwheel with minimal damage. With the aid of CA the owner was back in the air a few minutes later. Was it an ARF he would have been back in his car driving back home a few minutes later.....

Now, if we could only shorten construction time with good ol' balsa.

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Ted shuffled out of his cave and grunted these great (and sometimes not so great) words of knowledge:

Many of them WERE CR@P.

The latest ARFS out are not. They are well built, light and built straight.

Not counting your time, you MIGHT be able to build a similar plane and have it come out looking as good, as light in weight, as durable, but not for the same money.

If you want to build one as light - instead of 1/8 lite ply, use 3/32 lite ply, etc. You can do the same things and have it come out as lite. If you are VERY good at covering, it will look as good also.

Will it be any stronger or more durable - I doubt it. And, as long as you don't crash, either one will hold up well.

Reply to
Ted Campanelli

My first ARF was a hanger 9 super stick 40, flew well, crap. Ashamed to admit, a few more since then and some much better, some not much better. I still build kits too. mk

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Depends on the ARF.. some are definitely of inferior quality. There ar

many out now that are excelent models.

The only problem I had with my GP Fokker Dr1 ARF was the rudder an that could be blamed on my choice to stick on a much larger engine tha recommended. appx 2 years of extremely violent aerobatics di eventually wear ot the airframe.. but again, it was heavier and highe powered than the instructions said it was supposed to be ( .91 4-strok and smoke system will do that to a model made for .46 to .60 2-stroke)

I recently got a Polks Hobbies Fokker Dr1 (someone might think I lik Dr1's or something ;) ) which looks to have appropriate consturctio for the recommended .10 to .25 ci glow power.. a bit heavy for th recommended speed 400 electric conversion. It looks like best would b a .28 4-stroke really (but I don't have one) The only complaints I hav with it are the rudder hinges (elevator and ailerons use covering hinge which are good for this size model) and the wheels. While the hinge are probably adequate for a speed 400 or a .10 glow engine.. the .2 I'm putting on will need the rudder to be more secure. the wheels. well I plan to hand make some true spoke type and replace them (because the method I will use will add some shock absorbing to th landing gear)

I also recently got a model made in Checoslovokia and marketed via a Italian company coalled Scorpio. This ARF motor-glider is very hig quality and exceeds the performance i expected by a large margin. Wit the recommended .15 on it... it has climb performance exceeding some .2 powered trainers despite it being close to the same weight.

I can list a lot more GOOD ARF's currently on the market than ba ones...

So.. while some of the "no-name" ARF's you can get off E-Bay are no very good at all (someone in our club got one and we found it ha pressed paperboard ailerons...) there are also many VERY good ARF's ou there

-- fhhuber50677

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If you look at the cost differential between a kit and the same kit offered as an ARF (Top Flite for example), the ARF is far cheaper if you place any value on your time at all.

If the pleasure and sense of accomplishment in building the kit are important, the cost differential doesn't matter.

If your interest is more about flying rather than building, the ARF is probably a better choice IF it is well made.

That said, some have had really gruesome experiences with some of the Chinese- made ARF"s, even to a couple of cases where the airframe came apart in mid air and investigation suggested that the epoxy used to glue everything together had not been mixed with hardener and the epoxy viscosity was all that was holding everything together.

All that said, if you plan to buy an ARF, you will probably be better served to stick with either a well-known manufacturer (Top Flite, VQ, VMAR, etc.) or else a large distributor that will stand behind what they sell (Hobby-Lobby , Tower, etc.)


Reply to
Charlie Funk

you pay a lot of money for a lot of covering and very little wood and even less glue.

I agree. My main objection to ARFs is you don't know who built them and how well they're built. The covering hides everything. I've seen hot melt glue used to attach fuselage formers and servo rails. I've taken a wing out of the box and pulled the ailerons off. No glue was used and no mention of having to glue the hinges in place was made in the instructions. The covering is often low temp and only fuel resistant, not fuel proof. The hardwaer supplied is often metric, which is nicompatible with most of our US stuff, like from Dubro and Great Planes. For example, a lot of the supplied control linkages have

2mm threads and matching clevises. That's fine. However, 2mm is slightly smaller than 2-56, which is the US standard for small clevises. When the supplied clevis is replaced, the US clevis will thread, and the control will operate properly...until flight loads are applied, then it will strip out, probgably crashing the plane.

Now, if we could only shorten construction time with good ol' balsa.

We can, it's called CA. :)


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I don't have a lot of experience with all the ARF's that are available today, but I've have good experiences with a few. I used to think they were very expensive also, until I keep track of all the costs of building a kit (quarter scale). I was amazed how much it really cost to build. Now I look at the prices of ARF's to be quite competitive. The only problem I have with ARF's is seeing the same planes with the same coverings at the field. Maybe they don't crash as well, but they are much lighter and you can have another one in the air in a very short time. Some people lack the skills or time to build kits. This hobby is for all the people to enjoy flying.

For what it's worth, Happy Landings, Michael Lavender

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I have to disagree with expensive in most cases. I have built many kits and have owned many ARF's. I agree there is some junk out there , but if you stick with the better brands ...Great Planes , Goldberg , Sig , Kyosho to name a few , I think they are a bargain if you consider your time to be worth more than mere pennies per hour.

For example , I just bought a Great Planes U Can Do 3d ARF for 139.00, an equivelant kit would run about 25.00 for covering , 15.00 or so for hardware ,wheels , tank, 10.00 for glue ...all approx costs , and you will have approx 135.00 to 150.00 in it. In this case I would have a few bucks more invested plus many hours of my time.These ARF's are covered with Monokote or Ultra Cote with a better covering job than the average modeler can do. All of the ARF's I have owned going back to the 80's..EZ in particular , have been built straight and true. Of course , if one loves to build , then the kit is by far the most bang for your buck giving you many more pleasure filled hours of building.

That had to be one lucky fella to 'cartwheel' with minimal damage. If an airplane is built to fly good....which dictates a light aircraft , then they are built to fly , not crash. I'll take the good flying airplane any day as I plan on flying , not crashing...although I do occasionally :-(...sometimes more than occasionally.

I put in a Quickie 500 Pylon racer one day (ARF) at full throttle (approx 125mph) and only knocked the firewall loose and was back in the air for the next heat.

Some time later I put in a Sig Somethin Extra that I had just built from a tall weeds about half throttle , and demolished it , including busting the crankcase and bending crank on a new OS .46 FX. The only thing left repairable was the tail feathers. Most times , just the luck of the draw.

My biggest reason for buying ARF' time.

I guess I said all that to say this , it really depends on personal preference and where your priorities ly.

Ken Day

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Ken Day

You get what you pay for still seems to hold in most cases. It all depends on how ruff you are with the plane. Bounces, midair and cartwheels are ruff on any plane at some point. I have fondled a few fuses of ARFS and some felt squishy. They seem to be more fragile. The tail feathers would twist. But the Hobbico superstar 40 seemed to be rugged. I crashed it into a fence post( never try to stretch a dead stick) and it put a divot in the wing leading edge. Repairable.

Reply to
jim breeyear

I agree, I like building from kits 'cause I like to build! But recently wiped out my first plane (a VRTF I might add) and decided I wanted to get back in the air a little faster. Picked up a Tower Hobbies Uproar

40 for $79. It went together in less than 12 hours and straight as an arrow. Flew flat with very little trim on the first flight. ...and it's a lot of fun to fly. There is no way I could have kit built the same plane in the same time for the same money. In this case the ARF was the way to go!
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"" wrote in news:

Yeah, this kinda fits the way I've been going - I like to design, I like to build, and I like to fly. But not all of the things that I like to fly are things that I like to design and build. For elegant designs, like many of the old tiemrs, or with small, unusual planes, I nearly always scratch- build. For my .46-size aerobatics, though, I'm flying a Simply Magic (ARF), and before that it was a Hurricane (RTC). And I've already bought a finished plane from someone else to use once the Simply Magic makes that final, sudden landing. I'd rather spend my buiding time on those elegant old-timers, or this little 15-ounce V-tail, or my profile biplanes, or that split-tailed pusher, or -

Anyway, yes, if I built something in the same general class as the Simply Magic - say, a Somethin' Extra - I could build it a little better than the ARF. It would be a little lighter, the linkages would be cleaner, things would fit a little better, it would be less hassle to install the wing. The color scheme wouldn't be as pretty, but the covering would be better- sealed. And in the air, all those little improvements would be pretty much meaningless.

So I build the things I like to build and buy the things I don't.

Reply to
Mark Miller

ARFs and RTFs have their place, as you have illustrated.

Ed Cregger

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Ed Cregger

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