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Monday, February 6, 2012

E-Flite UMX ASK-21 BNF


Great looking 34" span model handicapped by E-Flite's 
lack luster UMX value proposition.
Hmmm... high price, looks great, no motor, no battery, weak beer cooler foam and heavy Wing Cube Loading for a pure sailplane.  A 3-axis gyro system?  Huh?  Why?  This isn't going to turn out well.

Wingspan:   33.9 in (860mm)
Overall Length:   17.0 in (432mm)
Wing Area:   80.4 sq. in (520 sq. cm.)
Flying Weight:   2.56 oz (72.5 g)
Recommended Rx Battery:   3.7V 1S 150mAh 25C Li-Po

First things first.  I'm not giving poor Horizon Hobby a UMX pass anymore.  They are babied by industry reviewers like a butt naked emperor copping an attitude.   Listen, this for your own good:  Styrofoam is not acceptable in 2012 unless the price point is class-trailing.  Flaky, junk servos that cost as much as real servos are not acceptable in 2012.  Tiny brushed motors are unthink... oops, check that, you didn't even include a motor. 

Second things second.  Great flying airplanes can make up a lot of lost ground from a loser value prop.  But not when the airplane is a pure sailplane with a Wing Cube Loading of 6.1.  That's not completely off the reservation from common WCL guidelines:

Gliders - 1 to 4
Trainers - 4 to 7
Aerobats - 8 to 11
Scale - 12 to 15
Racers - 16+ 


But this diminutive cutie has no motor and is pretty small for a sailplane, so you'll have to fight Mr. Reynolds and his one-size-fits-all air molecules all day, every day.  A WCL of 6 is an uphill battle for any sailplane.  Most sailplanes and gliders that reside on the heavy side of the WCL spectrum dwell there because of the weight of their pint sized motor.  Hmmm....
WCL = 6 is heavy, even for a motorized glider.  
Too bad, because the ASK has no shortage of motors.
So I'm still wondering...

UM"X"?  Really?  What's eXtreme about a pretty heavy sailplane with no motor?  AS3X to fight wind?  Don't  sailplanes play in wind?  Oh boy, I'm confused.

The included highstart is a neat idea and it adds a slingshot's worth of value to the box.  E-flite's stratospheric price-tagged, 3.2 oz UMX Carbon Cub is another option for joint venture capital partners, it is comes all set up for towing the ASK-21:
$169, 24" Span, diminutive 180 Brushless Motor, 180 mAh proprietary battery
But why wouldn't I tow it with a 4-cell 55" Super Cub that's about same price with a 2.4 GHz 4 ch radio?
$189 for 55" Span, 3745 Brushless Motor, 2200 mAh 4-cell and 2.4 GHz Tx/Rx included.

Why, that 4S Cub could even tow this modest, 102" span DG-1000:
Under $1 per inch of wingspan.  
$100 buys 102" of fiberglass and balsa
Or this or this or this:
$99, 102" Span
$85 for 80" Span with 200W brushless motor.
$90, 102" Span, no included motor.

Again, it's hard to imagine what the folks at E-Flite are doing each day, because it obviously isn't flying RC models on Planet Earth.  Time for more grades and less babying:


Appearance: B+
Cute and toy-like.  Lacks presence compared to 102" span competition.

Airframe:  D+
WCL is too high for a non-motorized sailplane.  Not enough airtime.  

Power System: F
Omitted but seems priced-in.

Build Quality/Durability: D

Low quality Styrofoam and not much of it.  Rube Goldberg servos.

Value: F
EPO foam glider convention is $1/inch.  Minus 30% for Styrofoam = $24 Street Price.

Overall Grade:
D-
Hard to imagine a sensible buyer.  Are the adults on vacation, E-Flite?
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