GREAT PLANES DAZZLER ARF
PRODUCT REVIEW

by Jerry Smith

Dazzler 40 ARF

SPECIFICATIONS
Name DAZZLER 40 (ARF)
Aircraft Type Sport Aerobatic
Mfg. By Great Planes Model Mfg. Co.,P.O. Box 9021, Champaign, Illinois 61826. (800) 682-8948, www.greatplanes.com
Mfg. Sug. Retail Price $199.99
Available From Retail Outlets
Wingspan 48 Inches
Wing Chord 13-1/2 Inches
Total Wing Area 578 Sq. In.
Fuselage Length 43 Inches
Stabilizer Span 18-1/4 Inches
Total Stab Area 110 Sq. In.
Mfg. Rec. Engine .32-.46 2-stroke; .40-.52 4-stroke
Rec. Fuel Tank 8 Oz.
Rec. No. of Channels 4
Rec. Control Functions Rud., Elev., Throt., Ail.
Basic Materials Used In Construction
Fuselage Balsa & Lite Ply
Wing Balsa & Lite Ply
Tail Surfaces Balsa & Hardwood
Building Instructions on Plan Sheets No
Instruction Manual Yes (20 pages)
Const. Photos/Drawings Yes

RCM PROTOTYPE
Radio Used Futaba UAP TX, FMA Flight Pack 5 Servos
Engine O.S. .46 SF, Performance Spec. Muffler
Tank Size 8 Oz. (supplied)
Weight, Ready to Fly 76 Oz. (4 Lbs. 12 Oz.)
Wing Loading 19 Oz./Sq. Ft.

SUMMARY
WE LIKED THE:
Graphics, excellent covering, pre-hinged control surfaces, installed engine mount, quality workmanship, and excellent flying characteristics.
WE DIDN'T LIKE THE:
See text.

Dazzler 40 ARF

The Dazzler ARF is a follow up to the Dazzler kit marketed by Great Planes Mfg. some time ago. It has all the great flight characteristics of a sport/fun fly model and will appeal to those who are inclined toward wild aerobatics and adrenaline pumping thrills. It will do anything, within your ability, when set up properly with the right amount control travel and power. Its good looks and performance will make it a standout at the flying field. The covering with beautiful color graphics coupled with the fast assembly time and flying performance makes the Dazzler ARF an outstanding model to own. Looking at this model, I couldn't help but be reminded how much it looked like a "ukie," with its big fat wing. This airplane is not for the beginner, but it is one for intermediate experience and beyond. If you want to know more about the Dazzler ARF, go to www.greatplanes.com click on Airplanes, then click on Dazzler ARF. From there, you can download the Dazzler ARF instruction manual. A great way to learn what it is like.

Dazzler 40 ARF

The Dazzler ARF kit is an all wood, completely built-up model using conventional balsa and plywood construction and arrived in a box 7" x 16" x 36". The colorful box adorned with photos and Dazzler feature hype is aimed at enticing the modeler. Inside, the components are carefully wrapped to withstand shipping. The hardware bag is very complete, and all of these parts are listed in the 20-page instruction manual and identified as to how many and where they are used. Additionally, you will need a four-channel radio with five servos, engine, propeller (spinner is included with hardware), "Y" harness for aileron and a short piece of fuel line. I was impressed with the workmanship when examining the built-up and covered parts. They were great, absolutely wrinkle-free.

Assembly:

Assembling the Dazzler is easy. The 20-page instruction manual with many pictures (most don't read it until they get into trouble, they just look at the pictures) is written for those with some experience. It does not go into finite detail but relies on the experience of one having been exposed to a moderate level of building or assembling ARF's. However, the manual was well done in all other respects, clearly covering all the requirements needed for assembling and flying the Dazzler ARF. Without going into a great deal of explanation of the assembly process, take it from me, it is simple and fast. Surprise (insert a drum roll with a cymbal crash here) the engine mount was pre-installed, the control surfaces were hinged and pinned, the canopy installed and the rudder and elevator pushrod sleeving was neatly in place. One giant leap forward in the assembling process.

Engine:

I installed an O.S. .46 SF engine (recommended) with a Performance Specialties Nelson Ultra Thrust Muffler on my review model. The Ultra Thrust Mufflers are designed to boost the power level of sport-type engines. They are tuned at a set rpm range and must operate in that range to be effective. Pressure from the muffler is a must. I ran a 12 x 4 Zinger wood prop, needing power not speed, and my engine turned 13,800 rpm. Clearly, enough to make it go straight up with no hesitation. You can actually hear the rpm jump when reaching the tuned range. A top quality piece of hardware. A lighter prop means faster engine acceleration, another reason for the low pitch wood prop. The fuel tank is very accessible under a hatch behind the engine. It looked to be 8 oz. in size.

Dazzler 40 ARF
An O.S. .46SF, along with a Performance Specialties Nelson Ultra Thrust Muffler was used to power our review model.

Radio:

Dazzler 40 ARF
The radio compartment is located in the wing and is a bit tight. An FMA Direct flight pack was used in the review model, along with a Futaba 8 UAP transmitter.

Using my Futaba 8UAP transmitter, I installed an FMA Direct radio flight pack in the Dazzler ARF. The receiver was their Quantum 8 sub-micro, which is very small and light. Five FMA standard PB300BB servos were installed along with an 800 mAh battery and switch harness. The radio compartment is very small so the Quantum was right at home there. A larger standard receiver might be more of a problem in the already over-crowded radio compartment. After installing the servo tray you have a box approximately 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" x 3" to install the battery and receiver. The beauty of using a small reliable receiver such as the Quantum is, that you can use it in any airplane from a park flyer to a giant scale, so you have the best of both worlds and generally mounting space is no longer a problem. In this case it really helped and proved to be "rock" solid through all the flight tests. I did run into a problem installing the servo tray in the wing. The instructions were not clear and could cause you problems.

Under Radio Installation, step 2, in the manual you are asked to draw a line 5/8" down from the surface of the wing. Then glue in the servo tray rails with the top surface on the line. Then glue on the servo tray. Whoops, now how do you get the servo tray in? They didn't tell you which side of the rail to glue it on when and if you got it there. Here is what I did and it worked out great. First check out the tray and make sure the servos fit in the holes. I had to enlarge mine for standard servos. Next, trial-fit the tray in the wing opening. It may be too wide. When satisfied lay it in the bottom of the radio compartment with proper orientation. Measure down 1/2" from the wing surface, strike a line, and glue the bottom edge of the rail on that line. Now, lift up the tray and glue it to the bottom of the rails.

It is much easier to do with no cutting and fitting and the tray surface ends up in the same mounting plane. In addition, the fitting used on the throttle servo output arm is rather high in profile and may interfere with the wing cover, so check it out. To prevent this possible problem I soldered a Sullivan metal clevis to the cable to eliminate possible interference. Adjustment can be made at the engine throttle arm. (No kit is perfect.) Perfection is only in the eyes of the beholder. I called Great Planes and asked about the problem I had. They were not aware of it and admitted they had trouble with the manufacturer with regard to rib spacing in that area. However, that was all. They now have been notified of the problem.

Dazzler 40 ARF
Aileron hook-up is easy with a separate servo for each aileron.

Flying:

Before going to the field for test flights, I checked the C.G. fore and aft and laterally. With my set-up, it balanced perfect at 3-3/8" (25% of the wing chord) from the leading edge. A good starting place. The manual stated 3". Control surfaces were adjusted to the specified amount in the manual and all connections were checked and secured. The batteries were fully charged and the radio range checked. The Dazzler was ready to fly. Clearly, from the very first flight the recommended control surface throws were excessively conservative; almost to the point where it was impossible to save the airplane, if a quick maneuver was required. The high rates specified did help some but more throw was needed. The C.G. specified was way too nose heavy. After changing the control throw travel to up & down 3/4" on the elevator and up & down 1" on the ailerons and moving the C.G. back to 28% of the wing chord, a more noticeable control response at low speeds was noted (where you fly most of the time). This would probably be a good starting place.

The C.G. was moved back to 3-7/8" (28% of the chord) by adding some weight to the tail (3 oz.) and the Dazzler began to maneuver much better and became more enjoyable to fly. Some of you may want to make even more drastic changes to get the Dazzler to do your own special weird maneuvers. The Dazzler is a very stable airplane with that big fat wing and has no bad habits once you get by the trimming and changing things to your style of flying. The O.S. .46 with the Ultra Thrust Muffler was a good choice allowing the Dazzler to hover and go straight up out of it. The first landing was a "grease job." You know it's a good landing when you only have to bend over once to pick up the airplane!

Dazzler 40 ARF


Conclusion:

The Dazzler ARF is a fun airplane, one that will test your skills for as long as it lasts.

The workmanship, quality covering, the colorful graphics, and the completeness of the kit make it a worthwhile value. The overall kit manufacturing, promoting fast assembly, along with a good Great Planes hardware pack and complete instruction manual, make the Dazzler ARF one you should consider for more fun at the flying field - trying to impress your flying buddies! The Dazzler ARF is incredibly capable and surprisingly affordable!

Photos by Jerry Smith. Reprinted with permission.
July, 2002 R/C Modeler Magazine
Editor: Patricia Crews