[Headline: Going big: Modifying a Carbon-Z Cub]
I have a rule about RC airplanes: I don’t want an aircraft that will make me cry if I crash it. When I stick-built my first airplane, I was so nervous that my hands were shaking before I got to the field. The investment of hours in build time can make a maiden flight more nerve-wracking. I had so much blood, sweat, and tears in the airplane that the thought of crashing it was overwhelming.
I often hear pilots complain about ARFs, but there is something about a prebuilt airplane that takes most of the anxiety out of flying. You can quickly get it in the air and fly it without the fear of turning a masterpiece into a jigsaw puzzle.
In the past, I had an awesome 72-inch wingspan Carl Goldberg Bücker Jungmann built from a kit. It was heavy, but it could spin, knife-edge, and fly great. Plus, it looked good in the air. Lately, I have had a desire to fly something bigger.
The Carbon-Z Cub
When Horizon came out with the Carbon-Z Cub, I had to have it. It was designed by my RC hero and friend, Quique Somenzini. He not only knows how to design a great airplane, he is also an amazing ambassador for the hobby.
With an 84.6-inch wingspan, I believe this is the largest foam RC airplane in production. It looks great and everyone who owns one has nothing but good things to say about it. It is almost ready to go right out of the box.
The model I purchased came with everything—metal gear servos, Spektrum AR635 receiver, .50-size brushless motor, 60-amp ESC, and the AS3X gyro for added stability. This aircraft also has flaps that are ready to use, a mechanism for towing sailplanes, and you can purchase a set of floats if you like flying off of water.
You can fly the Carbon-Z Cub in a realistic manner with the provided motor, as well as hover and knife-edge. The real trick is finding one in stock because the demand is so high.
When the Horizon website listed the aircraft as back in stock, I decided that I should buy one while I could. Before the airplane arrived, I began buying parts to modify it. Do you need to alter this airplane? No, but I think I’m like most modelers in that I can’t leave well enough alone. Half the fun is making the airplane your own and making it an even better RC platform.
Carbon-Z Cub Modifications
The Power 60: Like every hot-rodder, I feel that you can almost always use a larger motor. The stock motor is fine for a scalelike performance, and it can make the airplane hover. I wanted more than enough power to rocket out of hovers.
I didn’t have to stray from the Horizon Hobby website to order a Power 60 470 Kv motor that fits on the stock mounting plate. (You will have to make the hole in the mounting plate slightly larger for the retaining collar.) The Power 60 will spin a 15 x 8 to a 17 x 7 propeller. I chose a 16 x 8 APC for good flight times and performance.
Castle Creations Talon 90 ESC: I added the Talon 90 for extra headroom. A bigger ESC will allow you to run larger propellers without releasing “the magic smoke” from your ESC. The Talon pumps out up to 20 amps of peak power and 9 amps of continuous power. The case helps with cooling, but I cut a slot in the foam over the ESC to get more air moving over the cooling fins.
Aluminum nose cone: I like how an aluminum nose cone looks on an airplane, so I purchased one from Horizon Hobby. The E-flite 2.5-inch aluminum spinner is a perfect fit for the Power 60. My APC propeller also fits.
Morgan Mill Battery Tray: This thing was too slick to pass up. You access the battery from the front window of the airplane. Although this works well, it is tricky to get big hands like mine in there.
The Morgan Cartridge system replaces the plastic tray and makes inserting and removing your battery a snap. Slots allow you to change the CG and locking mechanism to make sure the battery doesn’t go anywhere. It’s a smart solution and easy to install.
Wheels: I ordered some 6-inch inflatable Du-Bro rubber wheels to replace the hard stock wheels, but they were too heavy compared to the stock wheels. I will leave the stock wheels on for now.
Landing gear: You can get this aircraft off the ground so fast and it floats back so easily that the stock landing gear is fine. I put soft Velcro around the rear bar to eliminate vibration and keep it tight in the slot.
If you want to go all the way with modifying this airplane, you can order some scale Cub landing gear from the Cublandinggear.com website. These handmade articulated gears work with rubber bands. Mine haven’t arrived yet, but they look cool in pictures and have the added benefit of keeping the hard knocks of landing away from the airplane. If I was running the stock motor, I would stick to the stock landing gear for weight, but with the Power 60, the custom gear should work fine.
ReadyMadeRC Battery Voltage Tester/Alarm: I have started adding voltage alarms to my airplanes and quadcopters. They attach to the balance plug. When the aircraft is on the ground or in the shop, they show the voltage of each cell. I use them in the air to let me know when I have to land. The alarm is loud enough to be heard from a distance. For me, it ensures that I won’t drain my LiPos too low. The batteries in my Carbon-Z Cub aren’t cheap!
Tiger Cub: Tiger teeth on a Cub? I had to do it! When I was a kid, I read every book about the Flying Tigers. When I put this airplane together, it popped into my head that I should add teeth and eyes to the Cub. I ordered decals from eBay and I think it looks great. It is also a good way to distinguish my Carbon-Z Cub from others in the sky.
I hope my list of modifications helps you in your quest for the perfect Carbon-Z Cub. It’s an awesome machine and these alterations make it faster, more reliable, easier to use, and even more attractive!
I’ll be flying this big airplane until it gets too cold outside. I will also post individual reviews and build threads on RCGroups.com, if you want more details.
Fly it like you stole it![dingbat]
Morgan Mill & Manufacturing