FMS Model Votec 322 3D

A scale quick-build, aer­o­batic mon­ster

Electric Flight - - CONTENTS - By Ja­son Benson

A scale quick-build, aer­o­batic mon­ster

FMS is known for its wide range of great-fly­ing foam mod­els. The com­pany re­ally made its name with its jets, but its lat­est of­fer­ing is geared more to­ward 3D aerobatics. I have al­ways loved the looks of the Votec 322, and I was ex­cited to hear that FMS was bring­ing a Votec to mar­ket. This plane is made out of molded foam, which is painted in a highly vis­i­ble orange-and-black color scheme. There are a few parts that are not foam, like the pre­in­stalled Lexan canopy and var­i­ous ABS plas­tic in­serts, de­signed to add strength along with a solid sur­face for screws to be at­tached to.

Ev­ery­thing you need to com­plete the Votec is in­cluded in the box; just add your re­ceiver, flight pack, charger, and trans­mit­ter. The metal land­ing gear ar­rives with the axles and wheels pre­in­stalled and ready for final mount­ing. As far as hard­ware is con­cerned, there is one bag with ev­ery­thing you will need. There are four screws for the wing, four screws for the hor­i­zon­tal sta­bi­liz­ers, one screw for the rud­der, and three for the land­ing gear. The wing halves and sta­bi­liz­ers are plug-in com­po­nents, with car­bon-fiber spars for rigid­ity and strength. There are also two pushrods with ball ends for the el­e­va­tor and rud­der ser­vos. All ser­vos are pre­in­stalled and ready for flight.

This plane is sturdy and durable, and with its large con­trol sur­faces and ex­treme throws, it is an ag­ile and ag­gres­sive air­frame. For this rea­son, I would rec­om­mend this plane for the in­ter­me­di­ate and above pilot.

UNIQUE FEA­TURES

One ma­jor time-saver when build­ing a new model is when the manufacturer pre­hinges your model for you. On the Votec 322, FMS pre­hinged ev­ery­thing for you. The ailerons and el­e­va­tors are hinged with flat pin hinges, which al­low you to setup your Votec with a lot of throw if you so de­sire. The hinge sys­tem used on the rud­der is clever and makes assem­bly and dis­as­sem­bly a sim­ple process. On the ver­ti­cal fin side, there are posts that point up­ward; on the rud­der side are bar­rels that fit around the posts fac­ing down­ward. To in­stall the rud­der, you sim­ply slip the rud­der down onto the posts and put one screw in the bot­tom, which ten­sions against the tiller arm on the tail­wheel to hold ev­ery­thing in place—great job on this de­sign, FMS!

This plane is your ba­sic 4-chan­nel aer­o­batic con­fig­u­ra­tion. There are no flaps or re­tractable land­ing gear to com­pli­cate things, and most things ar­rive pre­assem­bled. The molded pilot and clear Lexan canopy are pre­in­stalled and ready for flight. The el­e­va­tor halves are joined to­gether by molded ABS parts that slip to­gether when in­stalled. There is also a nice set of alu­minum land­ing gear, which mounts quickly and eas­ily to the bot­tom of the fuse­lage.

The color scheme on the Votec is very nice. The orange and black con­trast nicely, and FMS added some other let­ter­ing and markings that look like a watch to re­sem­ble the full-scale MSW Avi­a­tion Votec. All paint and de­cals are preap­plied out of the box. All the hard­ware needed to as­sem­ble the Votec 322 is in­cluded. Ev­ery­thing is met­ric thread, and there is also a nice set of rub­ber wheels, which should hold up to plenty of abuse.

I made no mod­i­fi­ca­tions to my model. I flew it ex­actly as it came, and I was very happy with it. One thing that I did make sure of was that the pushrods were con­nected to the far­thest hole on the servo arm for max­i­mum throw. This made tum­bles, spins, and 3D ma­neu­vers fun to per­form.

I did have one is­sue with the pre­in­stalled speed con­trol. In trou­bleshoot­ing the is­sue (a bul­let con­nec­tor had be­come un­plugged), I got to check out how FMS as­sem­bled the front

of the cowl. The for­ward part of the cowl is held on with two mag­nets, which makes ac­cess­ing the mo­tor and speed con­trol a breeze and will be help­ful if you ever need to make some re­pairs or swap out your elec­tron­ics.

IN THE AIR

The Votec can be flown from any RC model field. The in­cluded wheels are a good size and should per­form well off man­i­cured grass as well. Ground han­dling was solid, and the plane taxis with ease. The tail­wheel is ef­fec­tive and gives you al­most tri­cy­cle gear–like con­trol.

For take­offs, I aimed the Votec into the wind and slowly brought up the throt­tle. The plane was air­borne and climb­ing within about 30 feet, and it took min­i­mal trim to fly straight and true. Land­ing was also a non­event. The plane slowed down nicely and didn’t have any no­tice­able ten­dency to bounce on touch­down.

GEN­ERAL FLIGHT PER­FOR­MANCE

Sta­bil­ity: The sta­bil­ity of the Votec 322 was im­pres­sive. Most small foam mod­els have a heavy wing load­ing and don’t fly well slowly, but the Votec was solid at slow speeds; even in high-al­pha ma­neu­ver­ing, it was con­trol­lable with no bad habits. Track­ing: The Votec is a short-cou­pled air­craft. This, plus the fact that mine seems a lit­tle tail-heavy, made for a model that was “hunt­ing” for a straight line. To re­solve this is­sue, I plan to try some flights with larger bat­ter­ies to add more nose weight. The plane was just a bit pitch sen­si­tive, and I found my­self work­ing to keep it on a straight and level path. Aerobatics: The full-size Votec is an aer­o­batic air­plane, and this model shares that char­ac­ter­is­tic. Knife-edge flight was great, and with the large sur­faces set up for a lot of throw, any­thing is pos­si­ble. I can’t wait to spend some time fig­ur­ing out this model to see what it can re­ally do. Highal­pha ma­neu­vers were con­trol­lable, and I was im­pressed with the 3D ca­pa­bil­i­ties of this model. Flat spins were some­thing that re­ally stood out for me; it was so flat that the plane al­most looked like it wasn’t com­ing down. Glide and stall per­for­mance: The Votec car­ries its en­ergy well when glid­ing, and the stall is gen­tle. In the event of lost power, you should be able to eas­ily get it back to the field.

PILOT DEBRIEFING

Aerobatics is what this plane is all about. If you are look­ing for a good, in­ex­pen­sive plane with which to hone your 3D skills, the Votec is a great choice.

The in­stalled metal-gear ser­vos have long con­trol arms for plenty of throw for 3D aerobatics.

The rud­der at­tach­ment method is ro­bust and well thought out.

Left: The preap­plied graph­ics are a nice touch. Right: The hatch area has plenty of room for your re­ceiver and flight bat­tery.

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