E-Flite Brio 10 ARF Build-up Review

brio10byeflite.jpgThis year for Christmas my wife bought me the E-Flite Brio 10 ARF R/C plane complete with all the accessories needed to get it flying. About two months ago I was browsing through the latest Horizon Hobby catalog when I noticed a great deal on the Brio 10 with a Park 480 BL motor for only $99. So I figured it would make a great Christmas present and put it on my list. I thought I could wait two months for a new plane but during that two months I managed to buy two other planes, the F-27C Stryker and the Extra 300S FlatOut. They kept me entertained until yesterday when I finally got to open up the Brio 10. Here’s my initial thoughts after almost finishing the entire build of this plane.

The build quality of this plane is awesome. The entire assembly process has been almost flawless, nearly painless, and mostly, just a lot of fun. I cleared off my main workbench and added a 4′ x 4′ sheet of 3/4″ MDF to a smaller table and put it next to my bench giving myself 24 sq.ft. of surface area to work. (I also managed to get my old PC running Ubuntu 7.10 hooked up the garage as well. Now I can spend all day and night in this garage). There have only been some minor fit issues, nothing an Exacto blade and drill or Dremel couldn’t fix though. Without going into a lot of detail, here’s just a short list of some of the pieces I had to trim or modify to fit just right.

Wheel pants – I took a Dremel to the small notch and opened up so that the 2mm nut would fit inside. This makes the pants sit better on the landing gear.
Servo pockets – I had to slice off a small portion of the long-side inside edge to get the E-Flite S75 servos to fit in each location.
Servo arms – I had to drill a 1/16″ hole in the servo arms that came with the S75s in order to fit the little brass collar through. This added just a little bit of slop since the collar has an OD of 0.06″ and my drill bit was 1/16″ or 0.0625″. So it’s very small and almost unnoticeable. The S75s themselves have more slop. The OD of the original hole was 1mm, or about 0.039″.
Control arm slot in aileron – One of my ailerons was missing the slot for the control arm, so with an Exacto blade I cut out an opening.
Wings – the two little guide pins on the wings didn’t quite fit into their respective holes in the fuselage so I made the holes look more like slots so the guide pins would fit.
Firewall – I had to shave just a smidge off the sides and the ears of the firewall in order to get it to fit, even then it was still super snug. I epoxied it on there with 5 minute epoxy.
Rudder & elevator servos – both S75 servos in the tail actually end up hitting each other so they don’t sit flush against the fuselage. My fix for this was to to use (4) 2mm nylon washers. I glued two together to provide a single 2mm washer that is 0.067″ thick and stuck it between the tail end of each servo and the fuselage and then screwed in the screws as normal. This is just enough to counter the tapered tail which causes just the rear portion of the servos to touch.
Firewall stick mount – the manual says to cut 3/16″ off the end so that the prop won’t stick out too far from the cowling, however I had to cut off about 3/8″ for the prop to sit closer to the cowling so it looked better. Also, this is easier to do before you install it to the firewall. The manual has you attach it first and then cut it.
Sealing the control surfaces – I bought that Blenderm tape made by 3M to seal all the ailerons, rudder and elevator. I only taped up the bottom portion of each surface except for the rudder where I taped both sides. This should provide a nice seal to keep air flowing over the control surfaces and not sneaking through them.
Landing gear reinforcement – Most people say the landing gear are in the fuselage is week and needs to be beefed up, unless your landings are silky smooth. I am the worst lander, so I went ahead and CA’d in (11) small pieces of balsa in and around the area where the landing gear mounts. It will either work fine, or I just added a bunch of dead weight, only time will tell. The mass of all the balsa was only 1g.
Loctite – I Loctited any metal-on-metal screw. Such as the 2mm wheel nuts, the wheel, firewall stick mount, outrunner motor to motor mount, wings and the micro control connectors on each pushrod. Any screw that went into wood was left bare.
Battery Velcro – I CA’d down the Velcro to the battery location in the fuselage. I was sick of every time I pulled the battery out, the Velcro came with it. Once I glued it down, it hasn’t come off since.

So as I mentioned, I installed both servos in the tail, instead of doing the pull-pull technique. I bought a Thunder Power eXteme 2200mAh lipo from CheapBatteryPacks.com which weighs in at 170g (6.0 oz.). The battery they recommend for this setup is a puny 1320mAh pack that weighs only 3 oz. Though most people run the Pro-Lite 2100mHa pack which weighs 5 oz., I’ve still read issues where people can’t get the CG right when doing the pull-pull. So I threw the servo in the tail in hopes that it will offset the weight enough to get it so I can balance it. If not, I bought a pack of 7g (1/4 oz.) self-adhesive lead weights that I can add as necessary. Hopefully I don’t need any, or one or two at the most.

Now on to what I screwed up. I actually only messed up one thing during the assembly. I accidentally let the rudder hinges dry on me before I got it fully seated in place. It seriously takes that CA about 3 seconds or less to set. For some reason it got hung up on something, so I was trying to push in the one side, and while messing with it, when I went back to push in the other side it had already set. I was going fast, because I knew it was going to set on me, but I just hesitated one second too long. So I cut them off and went to the hobby shop and picked up a couple more. I was bummed, because I saw it happening as I was doing it and I was thinking don’t set, don’t set, and then it set, and was stuck, with a massive gap. Oh well. At least the slots are about 3x the width of the hinge, so there was room to throw in a new set of hinges. Great Planes makes some CA hinges and sells them in packs of 25. I cut a few to shape and installed them making sure not to let the CA set before it was in place. I didn’t screw up the second time around.

One thing that is kinda dumb, the APC 11x7E prop that is specifically recommended does not come with a centering ring that fits on the prop adapter that comes with the Park 480 motor. The closest insert they have is 0.237″ inches and the prop adapter on the motor is 0.250″. So how is that suppose to fit? I can ream it out, or drill it out, but then whose to say it’s centered any more? And what’s up with the retarded plastic spinner? It doesn’t even fit over the prop and leaves no room for the smaller spinner to screw on and that’s after you’ve drilled out your own 1/4″ hole in it to fit over the prop adapter shaft. I guess that’s why most people don’t even install it, though I bet it would look better with it. I ended up just drilling a 1/4″ hole in the adapter and did a few quick static throttle tests and there doesn’t appear to be excessive vibration, so it looks like it worked.

For the most part though the plane has gone together very smoothly, everything works just as described in the manual. This plane looks absolutely fantastic. Pictures you see on the Internet don’t nearly do it justice for what it looks like in person. I am worried though about the maiden flight. I am afraid something will go wrong or I’ll do something stupid and all that beauty, all the time, all the money, will be wasted in a pile of rubble. As long as I check everything out, and try not to do anything stupid, I think all should go well. Crossing my fingers.

Just for reference, here’s a quick spec sheet on my setup:

E-Flite Brio 10
E-Flite Park 480 1020kV BL motor
E-Flite 40A ESC V2
E-Flite S75 servos all around (I’ve got (2) HS-55s that may go in the tail if the S75s give me issues).
Thunder Power eXtreme 2200mAh lipo battery with Deans Ultra plugs
APC 11x7E prop
Futaba R156F receiver
Futaba 6EXP Radio
Duratrax Digital Ice Charger

Here’s one of the best videos I’ve found of the Brio 10 in the hands of someone who truly knows how to fly. Some day I will be that good…some day. This is not me flying (as if I have to mention that).

And last but not least, here’s a few pics of the build process as well as the completed Brio 10. All I need to do is install the ESC and the battery.

brio10workbenchlaidout.jpg brio10wheelpantmod.jpg brio10onewingdone.jpg brio10building.jpg brio10stabilizer.jpg brio10withmotormountinstalled.jpg brio10rearservospacer.jpg brio10rearservosinstalled.jpg brio10sealingthehinges.jpg brio10spareparts.jpg brio10landinggearbalsa.jpg brio10landinggearmod.jpg brio10done.jpg brio10done2.jpg brio10done3.jpg

About Dan

For a complete biography, stop by www.danmarx.org and click around for a while.
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