Rage R/C Golden Age Se­ries Beechcraft Stag­ger­wing RTF

Amaz­ing mi­cro RC with flaps and re­tracts

Model Airplane News - - CONTENTS - By Rick Bell

Amaz­ing mi­cro RC with flaps and re­tracts

The most iconic bi­plane of all time has to be the Beechcraft Model D17 “Stag­ger­wing.” With its neg­a­tive stag­ger con­fig­u­ra­tion (up­per wing stag­gered be­hind the lower wing), the Stag­ger­wing was the brain­child of Wal­ter Beech and was highly sought af­ter by the mil­i­tary and by civil­ians alike. Be­cause of its stretched fuse­lage, re­tractable land­ing gear, and clean aero­dy­nam­ics, the Stag­ger­wing had awe­some speed and was used in a lot of races, such as the 1933 Tex­aco Tro­phy Race, which it won. In 1937, Jackie Cochran set a women’s speed record of 203.9mph—not too shabby for a bi­plane! If you ever see a Beech Stag­ger­wing on the flight­line, do your­self a fa­vor and check it out; you’ll un­der­stand why this iconic plane is still highly cov­eted and sought af­ter to­day.

The Rage Golden Age Se­ries should also in­clude “mu­seum-scale” in its ti­tle as the

Beechcraft Stag­ger­wing is a gem in the mi­cro world, and it pro­vides ex­cit­ing flight per­for­mance that’s ideal for in­door or out­door calm air con­di­tions. Like Rage’s other of­fer­ing, the Spirit of St. Louis, the

Stag­ger­wing is a highly de­tailed model, ready to fly right out of the box. Molded out of De­pron-type foam, the Stag­ger­wing weighs in at an as­ton­ish­ingly light

2.4 ounces com­pletely as­sem­bled, and— get this—it in­cludes work­ing flaps and re­tracts! Ev­ery­thing needed to fly the model is in­cluded in the box, so you can be air­borne as soon as the bat­tery is charged.

UNIQUE FEA­TURES

The Stag­ger­wing comes fully as­sem­bled. Ev­ery­thing needed is in the box, which also dou­bles as se­cure stor­age. The elec­tron­ics in­clude a 4-in-1 board, and in­di­vid­ual ser­vos for the ailerons and re­tracts. Pow­er­ing the bi­plane are two brushed mo­tors that are geared to­gether.

The 5-chan­nel 2.4GHz trans­mit­ter has nor­mal 4-chan­nel con­trol for rud­der, el­e­va­tor, aileron, and throt­tle, plus a 2-po­si­tion switch on the top left for the com­bined flaps/re­tracts. That’s cor­rect: Hit the switch and both the flaps and re­tracts work up and down at the same time—pretty clever and one less switch to keep track of! The trans­mit­ter is also used to charge the in­cluded 1S 200mAh LiPo bat­tery. Other items such as the fully de­tailed dummy ra­dial en­gine, sym­met­ri­cal air­foil with rib de­tail­ing, fly­ing wires, coun­ter­bal­ances on the el­e­va­tors, and a real­is­tic trim scheme make the Stag­ger­wing stand out in a crowd. The top half of the cowl is re­mov­able for ac­cess to the bat­tery—just be care­ful han­dling it as it’s del­i­cate. The com­pli­cated re­tractable land­ing gear is a work of art in it­self, and I don’t ever re­call work­ing re­tracts in a model of this size—and they work very nicely. Just like the full-scale Stag­ger­wing, the flaps are on the bot­tom wing and the ailerons on the top wing. Rage also pro­vides a scale-shaped pro­peller and spin­ner.

But the fin­ish­ing touch is the graph­ics, which are fac­tory ap­plied. In­stead of the usual stick-on vinyl that you nor­mally see, Rage uses water-slide de­cals. The de­tail and sharp­ness of them makes you think that they’re painted on. Just amaz­ing!

When I un­packed the model, it was ob­vi­ous that the plane was ready to fly: All com­po­nents are in­stalled, and you only need to place the supplied AA bat­ter­ies in the trans­mit­ter. The Stag­ger­wing is pow­ered by a 1-cell LiPo bat­tery, and you charge it by us­ing the built-in charger in the trans­mit­ter; it takes ap­prox­i­mately 20 min­utes to fully charge the bat­tery. The bat­tery is in­stalled in the nose un­der the cowl and uses a mag­net to keep the cowl in place. The two brushed mo­tors are geared to­gether and pro­vide good thrust and flight-time du­ra­tion; I was get­ting six to seven min­utes, eas­ily. Spare parts are read­ily avail­able should you have an in­ci­dent with terra firma. When you power up the model, the con­trol sur­faces will wig­gle to let you know that the re­ceiver and trans­mit­ter are bound, so don’t be con­fused into think­ing that there are any gy­ros on­board.

IN THE AIR

For its light weight, the Rage Stag­ger­wing is a spir­ited flier, and it eas­ily han­dled the gen­tle breeze we had to deal with. Be­ing that my main fly­ing area is grass, hand launches were manda­tory and easy since there’s plenty of power on tap. I did use our club’s start­ing stand as a makeshift run­way, and take­offs from a hard sur­face were easy. Land­ings re­quired some power all the way to touch­down, and I landed the model in the tall grass along­side the run­way, with the land­ing gear re­tracted to pre­vent any dam­age. You’ll need a fairly large in­door venue for the model as it re­ally zips around. I did try fly­ing the plane in some moder­ate wind, and while it was doable, this plane is best suited for calm con­di­tions or fly­ing in­doors.

GEN­ERAL FLIGHT PER­FOR­MANCE

Sta­bil­ity: Given its gen­er­ous wing area, the Stag­ger­wing is pretty sta­ble. The model doesn’t have any gy­ros on­board, and I re­ally didn’t feel a need for any.

Track­ing: The Stag­ger­wing tracks true and is mes­mer­iz­ing as it flies by. You would think that, with its small size, the Stag­ger­wing would be “flighty,” but noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth.

Aer­o­bat­ics: The Stag­ger­wing isn’t meant for aer­o­bat­ics, and I didn’t at­tempt to do any. Fly­ing in a scale­like man­ner suits the model well. It does, how­ever, have enough power for loops and steep climbouts.

Glide and stall per­for­mance: Be­ing a very light scale model, the glide per­for­mance re­quires that you keep the nose down some to keep some air­speed up. Stalls are gen­tle and eas­ily flown out of with the ap­pli­ca­tion of power. The flaps are ef­fec­tive, and with the added drag of the land­ing gear, you need to fly the model to terra firma.

The Beechcraft Stag­ger­wing from Rage is a great-fly­ing mi­cro-scale model. It has plenty of power to han­dle mild wind con­di­tions at the fly­ing field.

Con­sid­er­ing how small and light­weight the Stag­ger­wing is, it has ex­cel­lent de­tail­ing and fea­tures.

In the closed po­si­tion, the gear doors clean up the belly of the plane.

The land­ing gear are not only re­tractable but also real­is­tic and scale-look­ing.

The in­cluded trans­mit­ter is a 5-chan­nel ra­dio, and there’s a switch to ac­ti­vate the gear and flaps.

The flight bat­tery charger is built into the trans­mit­ter.

Right: Mag­nets hold the up­per part of the en­gine cowl­ing in place to act as the bat­tery-com­part­ment hatch.

Left: When the land­ing gear are down, so are the lower wing flaps.

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