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Just bought a Dynam Cessna EP 400...

Old 08-14-2008, 06:26 PM
  #1  
GreekTranslator
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Smile Just bought a Dynam Cessna EP 400...

I just ordered the Dynam Cessna 400 EP the other day from Ebay for $120 shipping included. Delivery is scheduled for tomorrow (8/15).

I noticed a severe lack of information on this plane, and I plan to review it as best I can for all of you (who are interested in this plane), so you can benefit.

I have motley experience with rc. Eight years ago I used to fly big nitro trainers with my dad, but that fizzled out when I went to college. Since then, I have toyed with a .30 size helicopter (no thanks), an E-flite Blade CX-2 (very cool!!), and an Air Hawks Nano Hawk (indoors). I don't think that I'll have a problem flying the Cessna as long as I have a big enough field to let my "skills" come back.

I'll keep you posted on what I think of the kit, and how my first flight goes. It looks like a very fun to fly plane (see videos on YouTube) with great value. The kit includes a brushless motor, a LiPo battery, and full electronics for just $120. I don't think I can go too wrong.

Does anyone have any Cessna specific tips before I maiden it over the weekend? I don't need general beginner tips, please (I have some experience :o).

Thanks!

Oh, also, if anyone knows of a nice, big park (emphasis on "big") to fly in around Greenville, SC, that would be awesome.
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Old 08-15-2008, 06:49 PM
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It's "out for delivery" according to UPS.

I'll post pictures as soon as it comes in, and I can open it.
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Old 08-15-2008, 09:48 PM
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I found another thread on this and ended up writing a bit of my own review on that one.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...4#post10352145

Put on larger wheels if your are dealing with grass.
Make SURE the ailerons end up straight. With the lousy included mechanism I had to modify it to make it work (see link for particulars).

It's REALLY fragile-don't crash it.
If you got a small jst-style charger with it > it's crap.

It flies nice. If your fingers are 'rusty' I'd suggest an experienced flier get it up and trim it out for you.
Did I say it was fragile?

fly

Last edited by flydiver; 08-15-2008 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 08-16-2008, 04:34 AM
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Okay, I got the plane in. Here are my initial conceptions without having flown it yet. I rated the components considering the price of the object, so even though I might give something a "9", that just means it is a "9" considering how cheap it is.

Electronics (7/10):

All the electronics are some never heard of brand with no information about them. But, they do work. As long as they continue to work and don't give out mid flight or something, they'll do for me.

The charger is worth about $50 dollars less than I payed for it. Considering that the charger probably only accounted for $5-10 of purchase price, you may wonder how it is worth $50 dollars less. The answer is simple, the charger has a negative value. This is one of the many reasons that this plane is not for beginners. Experienced electric pilots have other chargers.

The motor/prop/battery combination is VERY powerful for this light lightweight of a plane. I taxied the plane around on asphalt, and it would like to take off in about ten feet if I'd let it.

Build materials/quality (5/10):

The foam is not EPP!!! It is very fragile. I shudder to think what will happen when I do my first hard landing. This is the biggest reason that a beginner should not buy!!

All the control linkages are from the abyss. (see photo of aileron connection). Also, the elevator and rudder control arms arm about as soft as rubber. Everything was very bound up.

The stickers were put on by releasing them from a fan and putting the plane in the fan's draft, I think. I spend a good bit of time just staightening out stickers (see picture of side of airplane).

The landing gear is only good for hard surfaces. The only problem is that if you hard land this thing on a hard surface, you need a new plane. Once again, stay away beginners, unless you have lots of time and money for repairs.

The ailerons were both position 7mm up with no way to adjust without cutting the control wire.

Ease of build (8/10):

No, it did not take 45 minutes, but it did go pretty well. However, I did many things that a beginner would have no idea to do. For instance, fixing the ailerons, alleviating bound up linkages, and knowing what to do when the instructions failed to say or say well (not good instructions at all).

Looks (9/10):

I must say, for a plane with this many issues and that is this cheap, it looks good (after fixing the stickers). I only hope it flies well.

Overall for beginners (3/10)
Overall for experienced pilots (6/10)

Now understand that all these ratings do not include flight characteristics because I have not flown it! Hopefully I'll maiden it tomorrow, and let you know how that goes. Wish me luck!


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Old 08-16-2008, 06:02 AM
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Pretty accurate bench overview.

I replaced the control horns. They were terrible. Removed the z-bend on the ailerons and put on Dubro quick connects so it could be adjusted properly. Had to dry lube the control tubing to keep it from binding.
Expect that front wheel mechanism to fold up and break on you. I doubt you can get spare parts.
I put a large blue stripe on the wing top and lots of red on the bottom. This helped orientation a lot. Looks better too.
If you don't know how to straighten the TowerPro motor shafts stock up on replacement shafts or motors. It bends really easily. I'm not comfortable putting on a prop saver on that much power or extended that far out the cowl. It is a lot of power for that much motor. It'll take off and fly OK at half throttle. Full throttle take offs are pretty thrilling. It'll do vertical at full throttle.

Have a good maiden. It handles a breeze just fine, anything up to 10mph without much issue.
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Old 08-17-2008, 02:24 AM
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Maiden flight completed and the results are excellent! Thank you flydiver for your input and good wishes.

It wasn't looking like I'd get to fly after all. I was helping some friends move from 9am to 4:30pm. Then, it rained for a little while, and my fiancee's family was having a cookout for supper. Finally, at 7:30pm, the skies cleared up, so I took her out for her maiden flight at a local park which has a soccer field. All was clear. No one standing around, no wind, and nicely mowed, flat ground.

Take off:

It happened much faster and easier than I expected! Like flydiver said, it takes off at half throttle.

Flight:

Wonderful!! The only thing that needed a little trim adjusted was the elevator. So, after a little adjustment there, I was in heaven. It flies right where you put it, as fast or slow (within reason) as you want to get there, and it looks great while doing it. There is always that little bit of tension any time you fly a new plane, but I felt comfortable after only about three circles in the sky!

Landing:

That was the easiest landing I've ever done. No, I haven't landing 10,000 times like some people, but I have landing my share, and this was easy! I brought it in about three feet off the ground, let off the throttle, and it landed itself. I thought about wiggling a stick just so I would feel like I did something, but I didn't!

Overall:

After flying the plane, I would have to give the plane at least a 2 point jump (8/10) in overall rating for intermediate/experienced flyers. If it were not for the bad durability of the plane and the linkages that need adjustment, I would highly recommend this plane to beginners. The flight characteristics are astoundingly good for this price--or any price for that matter.

I guess something should be said about field size. I flew it in a park with just one soccer field, but two of the sides are more open field (about the size of another soccer field. Now that I see how it flies, one field would by plenty to fly in, but if you are rusty or on your maiden flight, seek a larger field until you're acclimated to the plane.

Hope this helps. Feel free to ask other questions.
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Old 08-17-2008, 02:55 AM
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Good review. Congrats on a nice flight. I did say it flies nice if you know what you are doing.
If you want a real thrill, take a newbie out, get it up about 200-300 feet and give them the TX. Gets the pulse rate up.

I went flying at a picnic today. Took an aileron plane that is maybe a tad more touchy than the Cessna, but not dramatically so. Without the buddy box that plane would not have lasted 30 seconds at the hands of 3 different people. This group were all pretty coordinated outdoors type folks but without SIM or flight experience. I stand by my feeling this is not a plane for beginners at all unless they have $100 to waste in seconds.
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Old 08-17-2008, 04:23 AM
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That is true, flydiver. I wouldn't want to give any beginners who may have a knack for repairing things a false sense of ease should they decide to buy one. I would certainly recommend,as you said, an experienced person to get it up in the air and teach you some things before trying it yourself. Good input.
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Old 08-17-2008, 09:45 PM
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Took it up again today after church. I made the mistake of ignoring the high winds (gusts to 20mph), and I flew anyway. It flew well, even with the wind, but the landing I knew was going to be challenging given the gusts, wind direction, and sun position relative to the field I was flying on. Luckily, the wind died down and I landed it again with no problems. Note to self: do not fly in high winds!
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Old 08-17-2008, 11:42 PM
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Haven't tried that much wind. 10mph is OK. It is light an bobbles on approach. For higher wind keep the throttle up a touch. Make some passes about 50 feet up and see how far you can turn it down to almost hover. You'll still have room to recover from stalls as you experiment.
Do NOT run out of power. Flying in wind eats more battery and you want plenty to recover and come around again for approaches that go poorly. Try not to cross wind it-those cartwheels will be awful for that plane.

Last edited by flydiver; 08-18-2008 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 08-25-2008, 07:10 AM
  #11  
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Cessna still alive? How are you doing with it? Thought I'd check in.
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Old 08-25-2008, 06:48 PM
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Alive and well. I have done a couple of things to make it last a little longer.

I installed a plastic plate underneath the fuselage where the front gear would come and peck at it when pulled back by the thick grass. That seems to work well. I also made the front gear non-steerable. It takes off in a couple of feet anyway, so that's not a problem. Also, I put some clear wing tape on the tips of the wings to solve the runway rash problem.

It's still flying great. I probably have something like 40-50 landings on it now, so I'm working on seeing what it can do aerobatically. I can do all the typical: inside/outside loop, cuban stuff, hammerhead, etc. normally and inverted; however, I'm having trouble getting it to spin. I don't think I have enough elevator. Had any luck with the spin, flydiver?

Thanks...
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Old 08-25-2008, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by GreekTranslator View Post
I installed a plastic plate underneath the fuselage where the front gear would come and peck at it when pulled back by the thick grass. That seems to work well. I also made the front gear non-steerable. It takes off in a couple of feet anyway, so that's not a problem. Also, I put some clear wing tape on the tips of the wings to solve the runway rash problem.

I'm having trouble getting it to spin. I don't think I have enough elevator. Had any luck with the spin, flydiver?
Thanks...
Good idea on the support plate. I've been thinking something similar. Have also made the wheel non-steering, not necessary.

I did tape the leading edges first thing. Looked like trouble without that. Tips got taped first with fiber reinforced tape then over layed with color as part of the decoration/orientation scheme.

Have not tried a spin - don't know how to do one. Think you need a lot of tail control surface for that. I've never been able to get any of my planes to spin.
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Old 08-27-2008, 10:35 PM
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Took it out yesterday. Wind 8-16 so a bit much. One good flight. 2nd landing a gust right a touch down popped it up 3 feet then dropped on the nose. Another bent shaft and crack near the windshield.
Flew OK in the wind but sure had to stay on top of it.

Borrowed your LG support idea. The plastic block the wire is in was starting to crack away from the firewall. I used a chunk of Ply with a hole drilled in. Much better now with minimal weight added. Good idea.
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Old 09-03-2008, 03:25 AM
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Just wanted to comment on this thread - I've got a Dynam Cessna Ep 400 as well, it's my first RC plane and I haven't had any problems with it, although because the transmitter is mode 1 it took some getting used to. Did the same mods you guys did with the bottom plate to protect against the nose wheel and wing edge tape (great minds think alike). Another mod that I've made is I shoved some shish-kebab sticks horizontally through the plane in front and behind the wings and used elastic bands to hold the wing on (didn't trust the screw.) I've flown it 6 times so far, haven't had any crashes, have managed to do some light acrobatics as well (immelmans, hammerheads, loops, etc.) Today I took it up in the most wind that I've experienced - so much that the plane was almost stationary when flying full power into wind. Was pretty hectic but still a bunch of fun - I was having to climb up high then dive to get enough speed to move upwind! Landings were much easier in that much wind of course.

The only problem that I've really encountered is, as you guys say, the wheels are way too small. I have to land it on 12 foot x 4 foot cricket pitches unless I'm happy to have it completely bail when landing on grass (though it's not as bad if you get it smooth enough, it's still plenty hard). I'm thinking about getting some larger wheels for it, what dimensions would you guys suggest? Did you say you had added some larger ones FlyDiver? Pics would be great just for me to get an idea. I might look at making the nose wheel non-steerable as well. Would save having to do repairs after almost every grass landing and would free up some weight too.

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Old 09-03-2008, 04:07 AM
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The steering mechanism is poor and is bound to fail. Using 2 1/2 MPI wheels
Put a wheel stopper on both sides.

The rubber band mod may be a decent idea. The way it is when the wing hits too hard it tears the mount out of the fuse and both mounts out of the wing. Cracks the hell out of the fuse body with it.

I think I would put a small (1 inch?) disk of thin ply with a hole in the middle for the wing support stick glued to the inside of the fuse or some arrangement like that to support the fuse area. I think a good wing strike now might tear them out.

Keep us posted on reliability. You guys obviously have more talent than my 'student' on this plane.
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Old 09-03-2008, 04:16 AM
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Thanks, my LHS should have wheels that size. Are they foam or plastic?

What's a wheel stopper though?
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Old 09-03-2008, 04:58 AM
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Body is plastic, tire is foam.
Wheel collars.

Many wheels that are large and light will work. The skinny ones work well on this plane. Fat ones work on other planes (heavier). Most planes that will do take off and landing in non-tarmac surfaces have inadequate LG.

Be aware landing gear wire comes in various sizes, wheel axle holes come in many sizes, and wheel collars are many sizes. Getting it to work takes some careful shopping or some ingenuity. The MPi wheels used here go right on as do the collars. I've had to modify other systems with epoxied on brass tubing and such to get it to work.
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:02 AM
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Thanks, I'll have a shop and see what I can find. Will post on here once I've modified anything - these are great little planes but they still have some imperfections.
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:51 AM
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All planes have a need for some 'improvement'. Our group even coined a term for it and named it after me. I'm just so proud!

Unfortunately many of these improvement opportunities are learned the hard way. These groups are great for mitigating some of that process.
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Old 09-03-2008, 06:39 AM
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Default Slight Accident

I can see the park I fly at from my house because I live on a hill, and when I was making lunch this afternoon I saw someone else down there flying so I decided to head down myself. When I got there they'd already gone, but I decided to go flying anyways.

It was about as windy as this morning (when the plane was almost stationary while flying) but a bit gustier. The flight was fine, except on landing I got a gust and the plane banked and hit the ground, wingtip first then the back landing gear, from about 3 feet off the ground. The back landing gear fell off immediately, but examining the plane further I found no other damage. I tried shoving the landing gear back in and it stayed, so I decided to take off and keep flying. I did, and the rest of the flight was uneventful except for a bit of a scare on an attempted landing when there was a lull in the wind and it stalled, but I managed to recover before hitting the ground.

However, when I took the plane apart to go home I found some more damage - the foam around two prongs on the front of the wing that hold it in had completely snapped off! Obviously the elastic bands were doing their job, since I had flown around with the plane like this perfectly fine. I've glued the prongs back in, just because they may as well be there just as a "crunch zone", glued the wheels back in too. The shish-kebab sticks look as though they've flexed a bit as the glue-seal around them isn't sealed anymore, but apart from that the plane seems fine. Still, a lesson learnt: if you think it might be a bit too windy to fly, it probably is.
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Old 09-03-2008, 08:28 AM
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Check the fuse along the area of the windshield and back by the wing retaining screw. Pull gently out on the foam. You may find some small cracks. They can be hidden behind the windshield tape too.

Finding small cracks back at home after the incident seems to be almost the rule for me.
Also check the shaft for true. A sneeze bends them.

Reinforce those wing hold downs. That foam is not strong enough to hold all by itself I think.
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:30 PM
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Had a good look at the fuse, seems to be okay apart from the damage mentioned. Shaft seems pretty good after a short spin-up.

The kebab sticks go all the way through and out the other side, you think they need reinforcing? How would you recommend doing it?

Thanks again eh!
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:54 PM
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As indicated in my post above:

[I think I would put a small (1 inch?) disk of thin ply with a hole in the middle for the wing support stick glued to the inside of the fuse or some arrangement like that to support the fuse area. I think a good wing strike now might tear them out.]

The idea is a light surrounding ply support-cut to fit the space. If one is through the windshield pillar that won't work obviously.

I did drill a hole down the length of the pillar and glued a skewer in there. That would reinforce the area. Thin carbon would obviously work too.
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:38 AM
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Went down to the LHS today and got some wheel collars and foam wheels, the main gear's wheels are only 51mm and I got some 46mm for the nose wheel, so they're a bit smaller than yours but a bit wider as well. They're still much larger than the old ones so they should work out. Had to bend the landing gear to get them on, and when I was putting the second one on the carbon rod snapped, none of my local hardware stores have anything like it so my dad's going to grab some on his way home from work (he works just up the road from a model shop.)

I took out the control rod for the nose wheel as well, it makes the plane a little too touchy when taking off, I freaked out my sister (and myself) today when I was taking off and swerved near her.

Had an awesome flight this morning though, it's a lot less windier today and I had a magpie chasing my plane for literally ten minutes, which was really cool. Must've been in it's territory or something. It was much faster than the plane and easily caught up with it, and looked like it was going to attack. I'd push down each time before it got a chance to strike though. Made things interesting for my sister anyways, I was doing loops with the bird in the middle, having it fly low over us, etc. I said at one point "It's like having another plane, except it's a bird."
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