Flyzone's Acro Wot Mk. II
A British invasion of the R/C sport electric kind!
By Jim Wiggin/photos by Angela Haynes
If I were to ask any one of my flying buddies what their go to second airplane was after their primary trainer, I would no doubt get a short list of aircraft. Granted, during my era of primary flight, there was a list of favorites such as the Sig Four-Star 40, the Goldberg Tiger and of course the Great Planes Super Sportster. All the aircraft had one thing in common. To get you a set of low wings and some room to try aerobatics without completely removing that comfort zone of stability your primary trainer gave. These “second” planes gave us the confidence to do the basic aerobatics that would be the building blocks before advancing to more advanced sport, Pattern, scale and aerobatic aircraft.
AT A GLANCE
Type: R/C electric sport scale
Wing span: 49 inches
Wing area: 410 sq. in.
Length: 39.5 inches
Weight: 38 ounces
Wing loading: 15 oz./sq.ft.
Motor: 30-24-920 Kv
Battery: 3S 1800 mAh Li-Po
Radio: Futaba 8FG w/AnyLink
Dist. by: Hobbico
P.O. Box 9021
Champaign, IL 61826
Like us Yanks, our brothers over in the United Kingdom have a similar list of classic great planes. If you are a British modeler, the Name Chris Foss is a name you know well. Chris is a modeler and designer of many model aircraft but his most famous may just be the Acro Wot. Like our favorites, the Acro Wot gained popularity in the 1980’s and was of the standard fun fly, 40 size planes. Its looks were sleek, clean and had the look of a fullscale home built or aerobatic plane. It was designed to take the pilot, who had successfully mastered his trainer, and take him to the next step. The Acro Wot did that and so much more. In fact, it is still revered as the go to fun fly plane of Britain. Convinced that those Brits were on to something, Flyzone started paying attention and with some work with Chris, developed a smaller electric version of the British aerobatic plane. Flyzone would follow the same course it had been on with recent releases, 50-inch or so wingspan, roughly the size of a .10-.15 nitro plane, Aerocel foam and fast easy assembly. I say assembly because that is really all it is, no glue is required. Flyzone would also release this airplane as either a RTF, complete with a Tactic TTX404 four-channel radio system or as a Tx-R where one binds their transmitter to the Tactic receiver in conjunction with an Anylink.
I received the Acro Wot MkII in the Tx-R version. What this means is you must supply your own transmitter and flight pack. The Tactic receiver is already installed and must just be bound to your transmitter with AnyLink. For the purpose of this review, I received an AnyLink as well as a 3S 1800 mAh Flyzone Li-Po. Remember, this is assembly work. Rather than go step by step through the short but well written manual, I will discuss some of the highlights of the aircraft before going on to the flight report. The box is typical Flyzone, colorful and informative. Unpacking the box shows the care that Flyzone has taken in ensuring your Acro Wot will arrive in tiptop condition. I was impressed at how well the Aerocell foam had captured the look of the original Acro Wot and how smooth it was. The colorful trim scheme is already applied at the factory and not only accentuates the lines, but gives it a fresh modern look that is easily visible in the air. The wing is symmetrical and the tail surfaces are air foiled. This alone will make the plane track better. All the servos, as well as the receiver, brushless motor and ESC are installed. Do take note of the addendum sheet located in the manual. The size and type of screws used to secure the gear to the fuselage has been updated. Everything is keyed. Once the gear is attached, tail surfaces installed along with the wing and bolting on the prop, you’re done. I had the entire airframe built in the span of maybe 30 minutes.
Pay attention to the addendum regarding the main gear as the screws used (above left) to secure the gear are now self tapping, not machine as illustrated in the manual. The rudder horn (above center) also locks the tail gear in place keeping the wear on the foam rudder to a minimum. All one really needs is a Phillips screw driver and a 10mm wrench (above right) for the prop nut, it doesn’t get anymore turnkey!
I next followed the instructions that were included with the Anylink and proceeded to use the device with my Futaba 8FG. It was simply a matter of using the included industrial hook and loop adhesive to apply the AnyLink module to the back of my 8FG transmitter case, plugging the AnyLink’s cord into the 8FG’s trainer jack, and turn on the 8FG. Next, plug the flight pack into the Acro Wot and push the bind button on the Tactic Receiver and I was done. I spent the rest of my time fine-tuning the servo expo and rates. One thing I did notice and bears checking, check that all of the servos are at neutral. I had to adjust one of the arms on the port side wing servo. Checking this will allow your servo to have complete and equal throw on both sides of the flight surface. Don’t get lazy and use your sub trims to center the servo.
With the radio set up and battery charged, I set off to the flying field the next day. I checked the center of gravity and found it spot on. The first flight was done with low rates and about –20% expo on the aileron and elevator surfaces, -15% on the rudder. Take off was smooth and only required a small amount of pressure of right rudder stick to get the Acro Wot tracking down the runway nice a straight. The tail will lift off quickly but avoid the temptation to yank her back, let the Acro Wot build up speed and she will become light quickly. Immediately I had to dial in some trim, a few clicks down and a few clicks right. With trim out of the way, I found the Acro Wot would fly a nice straight line at around 3/4 throttle, hands off. Landing the Acro Wot is a non-event. In fact, down right easy. I simply lined the plane up to the runway, and steadily decreased power until it settled in on its mains. It will want to keep the tail up a bit, so be ready with the rudder.
About a week later I had a chance to really fly the Acro Wot at a local all electric fun fly and try some aerobatics. With the rates on high and expo turned up a bit to –25% on all surfaces, -20% on rudder, I took off and shot straight up vertical into a hammerhead. The maneuver is easy enough, power on, straight up, reduce power till forward momentum is lost. As the plane is about to tail slide, deflect rudder, point the nose down and gain speed before resuming level flight. Inside loops, both tight and large are easy as are the outside loops. Rolls on high rates are very nice and more of a corkscrew on low rates. Inverted flight is very easy, a bit of pressure is required on down elevator but still very manageable, Cuban eights are a thing of beauty. My favorite maneuver with this plane is the knife-edge. High rates, and a bit of throttle to rudder work, but by no means hard and easy to learn for the aerobatics rookie. Short of 3D, this plane can do a whole range of maneuvers all the while not taking the pilot out of a comfort zone. The plane has no real bad habits. The day I was flying, we were getting winds anywhere between 10-15 MPH and the Acro Wot had no real problem with this. Battery time varies on throttle usage. For now, I have set my timer on seven minutes. During the flights where I had a lot of wind and was using a higher throttle output, seven minutes gave me enough time to land with room for a go around before finally hitting the cut off at 8 minutes, 23 seconds. Calm weather will not require as much throttle and your results may vary.
On low rates the Acro Wot is a docile flyer with no bad habits, excellent for a second plane. Once you become comfortable, turn up the rates and the Acro Wot becomes a hot rod. Typical fun fly patterns such as the kinfe edge (above left) are no problem with just a bit of rudder coupling. When your ready to bring it in (above right), the Acro Wot rewards you with solid tracking, even in a breeze that would ground smaller electrics.
This plane has become my go to fun fly plane. Since it is electric, I can simply toss it in the back of the Jeep and head to the field. With its size and air foiled tail surfaces, winds that would ground smaller electrics is not an issue. Yet it will still fit in most small cars or in my case, my trusty Wrangler. In other words, a minivan or large SUV is not a requirement. That said, it is most definitely not a park flyer. You will need a bit larger space to fly the Acro Wot. I prefer my local flying field. I believe the Acro Wot MkII is the perfect transition from a primary trainer, say the Flyzone Sensei. On low rates, the Acro Wot behaves nicely with predictable flight characteristics. Open up the throttle, turn up the rates and it becomes a great aerobatic trainer and fun fly plane. So once again, like the Beatles or Pink Floyd, James Bond and Aston Martins, the British got it right with the Acro Wot. Now Flyzone allows you to take part of your own “British invasion” at the local field.