I wanted a faster and more agile plane than the very excellent Skywalker so I chose the X8. I ordered a black one back in February and it arrived in early July. The build was straight forward, following the previous build threads on this and other forums. Therefore I will only describe the decisions and changes I made to my X8.
I had a full set of stuff including Eagle Tree logger, OSD, guardian etc. removed from my venerable and now retired EasyStar so no decision required. I had an E-Flite BL32 in the draw from a previously crashed Pulse XT which is a 600w motor and turns a 13x6.5 prop on 4S battery. So I can use my existing 4S 5000mAh batteries from my Skywalker. The only choice I had to make was either 1.3GHz or 5.8GHz as I have both. I decided on 5.8 so ordered a new LR VTx from Simon. This works very well, so far, as it stays nice and cool but have not yet flown FPV.
The enormous space inside the X8 means that everything can be spread out and tied down well. I started off with the Turnigy Plush 60 ESC but have now swapped it for a Castle Creations Phoenix 60 as it matches the motor better.
I chose to use velco and velco straps to hold the batteries. There are 4 positions to play with.
The biggest choice was on camera positions. I took Coyote's advise on flight camera and ordered a WDR 650 from SecurityCamera 2000. Again the image looks good on all testing but the proof will come later. I also wanted to use my GoPro for HD filming but where to put them? Once again developing and idea stolen from Coyote I decided to use a GWS 360deg sail winch servo mounted on the top of the fuselage. However, and this is the difference I have elected to have three alternative camera set-ups:
High speed or long endurance: WDR650 in the nose and no GoPro (lowest drag and weight)
Aerial Photography: WDR650 in the nose and GoPro on the sail winch servo:
Sport flying: WDR on the sail winch servo with head tracking, no GoPro. Not built the tilt mount yet.
So it all went together easily and balances well with a single 5Ah battery in the most forward position if no GoPro fitted and in the second position if it is. The two rear positions are either side of the CofG so can be used to extend flight time.
So off to the local club field for a first flight. The launch was very easy and the plane was stable. It needed about 10 clicks of down elevator to counter the excessive wing reflex near the fuselage, no trim needed on the roll axis. It was agile but seemed to use a lot of throttle to maintain speed. I had one OMG moment when I slowed it down too much and a wing dropped, I applied full throttle and some down elevator, then pulled up and recovered the plane and my dignity. The video has got to be the worst quality ever as I realised afterwards I had the focus switched to macro - plonker. It is only raw footage as it is not worth doing anything with, at the least it is a record of the first flight.
I have subsequently reduced the reflex on the wing, so that the wing follows the line of the fuselage, and taken out the down trim on the elevons and it flies much better, I guess it was like having crow braking on all the time. The cruise current has reduced from 15A to 9A. It cruises at 70-80kph. Four flights so far and I am very pleased with the plane and equipment choices. It flies well but really floats on landing, each landing has resulted in a long walk to recover the plane.
Next challenge will be to set up the Eagle Tree stabilisation and RTH and then FPV it. Nearly did that this afternoon but it started to rain.