E-flite/hori­zon Hobby Opterra 2m Wing

A per­fect fly­ing wing for FPV fly­ing

Electric Flight - - CONTENTS - By Jason Ben­son

A per­fect fly­ing wing for FPV fly­ing

For years, E-flite has been push­ing the lim­its with its plane de­signs, and the new Opterra is no ex­cep­tion. This ae­rial video/fpv plat­form has some­thing for every­one, and even if you don’t want to out­fit it with a cam­era, it will def­i­nitely keep you en­ter­tained.

The Opterra is con­structed com­pletely out of car­bon-re­in­forced Z-foam that has been hol­low­molded to keep weight at a min­i­mum. I re­viewed the BNF (bind-and-fly) ver­sion, which comes an AS3X re­ceiver with SAFE Se­lect tech­nol­ogy that you can bind to your Dsmx/dsm2-com­pat­i­ble 5-chan­nel ra­dio; it’s also avail­able PNP (plug-and-play), which would re­quire a re­ceiver and ra­dio. Both ver­sions need a 3-cell 2200–3200mah Lipo to get air­borne. The Opterra wing comes with an op­tional cam­era nose with up to two for­ward-fac­ing sta­tions for FPV or HD cam­eras as well as a down­ward-look­ing cam­era bay in the belly, de­signed for a Gopro-style cam­era.

Pi­lots tran­si­tion­ing from their first trainer will ap­pre­ci­ate the SAFE Se­lect flight sta­bil­ity, which al­lows them to set up the plane to suit their flight skills, and more ad­vanced pi­lots will ap­pre­ci­ate the Opterra’s abil­ity to cap­ture ae­rial video and still shots. Also, if you are part of the grow­ing group of FPV pi­lots, the Opterra can be out­fit­ted with an FPV sys­tem for any num­ber of ac­tiv­i­ties. This plane re­ally has some­thing for every­one.

PI­LOTS TRAN­SI­TION­ING FROM THEIR FIRST TRAINER WILL AP­PRE­CI­ATE THE SAFE SE­LECT FLIGHT STA­BIL­ITY, WHICH AL­LOWS THEM TO SET UP THE PLANE TO SUIT THEIR FLIGHT SKILLS, AND MORE AD­VANCED PI­LOTS WILL AP­PRE­CI­ATE THE OPTERRA’S ABIL­ITY TO CAP­TURE AE­RIAL VIDEO AND STILL SHOTS.

UNIQUE FEA­TURES

There are only two con­trol sur­faces on the Opterra: elevons that pro­vide both el­e­va­tor con­trol and aileron con­trol. Both of the sur­faces ar­rive pre­hinged and ready for flight. The hinges are pressed into the Z-foam and will pro­vide years of use. In ad­di­tion to the car­bon-fiber re­in­force­ments and the Z-foam parts, there are a host of ABS plas­tic fit­tings and pieces. All come 100 per­cent ready to be as­sem­bled and flown with no ad­di­tional work needed. Now let’s talk about my fa­vorite part: All the de­cals are preap­plied for a great-look­ing de­sign.

You lit­er­ally don’t need a sin­gle tool to as­sem­ble this plane and fly it. The only fas­ten­ers you will use are the plas­tic cam locks for the wings and winglets. Ev­ery­thing else comes pre­in­stalled and ready to go.

I made no mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the Opterra when I as­sem­bled it. As a mat­ter of fact, the end of the box boasts a “sim­ple as 1, 2, 3” state­ment, so I de­cided to put it to the test. I charged my E-flite 2200mah Lipo bat­tery the night be­fore and did ab­so­lutely noth­ing to the Opterra prior to ar­riv­ing at the field. I didn’t even open the box. On the morn­ing of the photo shoot, I cut the tape from the box and dug in. West Coast se­nior edi­tor John Reid was not amused and went off to fly his drone. By the time he had flown one bat­tery, I had the Opterra as­sem­bled, bound, and ready to fly—nice work, E-flite!

IN THE AIR

The Opterra is what I like to call a “chuck and skid” model. This means that you have to throw it for take­off and skid it in on land­ing, so a grass field is op­ti­mal. I flew it off our dirt run­way, how­ever, with no prob­lem, and the pre­in­stalled skids did a great job of pro­tect­ing the bot­tom of the plane.

GEN­ERAL FLIGHT PER­FOR­MANCE

Sta­bil­ity: On my first few flights, I was fly­ing fast and ex­e­cut­ing py­lon-style turns with no stall present. At slow speeds, the Opterra han­dles

well, and I never felt as if it were lack­ing con­trol. The in­te­grated vor­tex gen­er­a­tors re­ally do their job. Track­ing: Be­ing a blended-wing model with zero tail mo­ment, the Opterra is not de­signed to track like a pat­tern plane. The set of ver­ti­cal fins near the fuse and the winglets do a great job of min­i­miz­ing yaw drift, and this is prob­a­bly one of the best fly­ing-wing de­signs I have ever flown. The Opterra goes where you want it and re­quires little in­put, es­pe­cially with the AS3X en­gaged. Aer­o­bat­ics: I per­formed some loops, rolls, ver­ti­cal fig­ure-8s, and in­verted flight, and all were fairly ef­fort­less. Glide and stall per­for­mance: I must say that I am not even sure the Opterra will stall. Even with the mo­tor off and fly­ing at a walk­ing pace, the Opterra just keeps float­ing along with what is per­ceived as zero sink. We have a small hill on fi­nal ap­proach at my field, and after cut­ting the mo­tor on the down­wind leg and stay­ing less than 5 feet off the hill, the Opterra still glided the en­tire length of the 800-foot run­way, only for me to power up and go around. Its glide and stall per­for­mance are ex­cep­tional.

PI­LOT DE­BRIEF­ING

What a fun plane to fly. It’s large and easy to see, and it’s sta­ble and con­trolled at all speeds—it’s just plain fun. One thing I would like to men­tion is the launch of the Opterra: I don’t like launch­ing a pusher plane with the mo­tor run­ning, and with the Opterra, it re­ally isn’t nec­es­sary. With SAFE mode en­gaged, I gave the Opterra a firm toss and ap­plied the power after it left my hand, and it dis­played very little sink and I had no fear of it hitting the ground.

SAFE Se­lect tech­nol­ogy makes launch­ing the Opterra a non­event.

There is plenty of room un­der the canopy for FPV equip­ment and the bat­tery of your choice.

The pre­in­stalled fold­ing pro­pel­ler is ideal with the in­cluded power sys­tem. Note the air vents on the spin­ner— a nice touch.

Cov­ered ser­vos and link­ages re­ally help stream­line the air­frame.

A 3S 2200mah bat­tery pro­vides low wing load­ing and plenty of flight time (up to 30 min­utes!).

The PNP ver­sion comes with a As3x-en­abled AR636 re­ceiver in­stalled and ready for flight.

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