As everyone saw from my previous post, I had ordered the TechOne Venus 3d Pro as my new 3d plane for honing my 3d skills. I had seen this plane for a great price from Nitroplanes in the ARF version and also took advantage of the Easter weekend 10% off sale which made it even nicer. So after getting this plane in and everything put together I wanted to post my thoughts on the build process, quality of the plane, and maiden flight characteristics.
The build process was actually not that bad although when i opened the box I wasn't sure how well things would go since I saw several packages of parts, rods, pieces and a thick manual. It came across as rather intimidating, but nonetheless, after getting a feel for all the parts and how everything went together, it wasn't too bad. The manual is a very high quality manual as far as the quality of the pictures and the manual print material itself, however, I found that it could have been a little more detailed in some of the picture explanations as to what steps needed to happen to get a couple of things accomplished, like installing the prop for instance. They don't tell you that you need to insert the metal washer/adapter in the prop, they simply say install the prop with the prop saver o-ring. Well, you quickly realize by the intense vibration and the propeller going off track that something isn't right.
Other than the lack of details on a few steps, the manual is actually pretty decent. Due to a couple of mods that I did out of the box, I spent a good 2 and a half hours on the build itself just making sure everything was put together correctly and making a few things more secure by my own means.
Quality of the plane
All in all, I think the quality of the plane and parts are actually pretty good. The EPO foam is sturdy and cut very precisely to go together exactly as the manual describes. There are a couple of complaints here that I would like to mention though. Just about everyone that I have seen who have written or made videos about this plane are complaining about the quality of the little plastic clevices that attach to the servo linkages. There is a little plastic piece inside the clevice that no matter how careful you are with installation, you are bound to break at least one of them while putting this plane together. I noticed they put two extra ones in one of the parts packs as I am sure they realize just how flimsy these pieces are.
Also, the rudder is supposed to be controlled by string that is provided in the kit. I am not sure why they decided to go with string on the kit for the rudder when they use rods for everything else. I decided not to use the included string in my installation of this plane as I had some extra 3mm carbon rods that I used to hook up the rudder instead of the string. I feel much better about the longevity of the rods and the performance of them overall in comparison to having the rudder operated by string.
The landing gear can also be spotted as a possible weak link. They are basically pieces of foam with carbon rods ran through them to make them sturdy. I can see these flex a great deal no matter how careful you are with your landings, you are bound to have one of these break if you are not performing a hand catch.
***Update*** I wanted to update the review of this plane to mention a couple of other things that I have done that were necessary. As I didn't know this in the early review above, the servos that come stock in this plane are garbage. They didn't last for me for more than a month of flying. I replaced all with Hextronik HXT900s across the board and they are rock solid. Also, I mentioned the weak landing gear on the plane. I have since completely removed the landing gear altogether as I fly this mainly in my front yard and no matter how short the grass is, the landing gear and wheels are just not large enough to handle the grass. The gear setup is really just for indoor flying at a gym or similar setting. I didn't notice much change in flight characteristics or CG by removing the gear. There may have just been a couple of clicks of trim difference between before and after but that is it.
I have mentioned a few negatives above, so I don't want everyone to think that this plane is all negative. I just wanted to give an honest opinion on a few areas that I feel everyone will not be completely satisfied with. Overall though, I think the plane is of good quality and good buy.
To prep for the maiden flight, I hooked up my servo tester and made sure everything was centered. You will definitely want to make sure you center up your servos as this will help you to see if and where your carbon rods need to be adjusted that operated your control surfaces. The included clevices have a screw that tightens around the carbon which allows you to lengthen or shorten them depending on what you need.
After getting everything centered, I went ahead and set about 70% EXPO on my DX8 on all control surfaces just to make sure nothing was too wild on the first flight. I actually had the control surface linkages set on full throws and didn't change the throws on my DX8 either. With the EXPO, the Venus was very predictable on the maiden and I had no issues with radical surfaces at all. I hope to post some flight video of the plane in a post coming very soon.