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Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 Re-Review
Lots of flights later I look back on my favorite plane
Text and photos by Tom Hintz
Flight video by Clark Ponthier and Gihad Jawhar
Posted – 12-22-2015
An increasingly common question in the FlyingRC.net email asks if I still like something I had reviewed earlier. This of course is a logical question because with experience our opinion of a product can change as we discover hidden traits or deficiencies. I am happy to report that to date there have been zero crashes or disappointments with my Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 but one near disaster (my bad) that demonstrated how easy it can be to lose a plane through no fault of the plane itself.
The only change I had made to the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 was removing the wheel pants because I do lots of touch and goes on our grass runway and even with larger planes, the wheel pants get beat up so I take them off. I followed that with installing DuBro treaded light 4” tires and wheels. I love these wheels on grass and have them on nearly all of my planes. I also added at Demon Cortex and we look at that a bit later in this story.
The original DLE61 still powers the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 and has not missed a lick. I kept it rich longer than need be just because I am paranoid about going lean. With a Vess 22B prop the DLE61 hauls the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 around the sky with authority. It has enough power to pull out of a hover and the throttle response is quick and dependable. Once I got the mixture to where the DLE61 liked it, starting has become easy and dependable.
We had already shot some of the video for this update when my cameramen both had to take time off from flying. I continued hammering my Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 around the sky in the meantime and during one of those flights the rudder servo burned up – literally – and started the framework surrounding it within the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 on fire. I have to take the blame for this one as I had neglected to program in the Overload Protection that is available in the HiTec HS-7954SH Premium Digital Servos. That combined with my decision to fly knife edge continuously for several minutes finally cooked the servo. Click Here to see my story on that incident.
The only other negative issue with the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 have been a bent main gear when I totally whiffed a landing in considerable wind. I have had a few deadsticks and the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 handles them very well with its surprising glide capability. This plane flies light with and without the engine running!
Updating the Control Surface Settings
While installing the new rudder servo I used that opportunity to reset the elevator and aileron servos to the original factory settings using my HiTec HFP-25 Digital Servo Programmer & Tester. While doing that I also added the Overload Protection to those servos, programming them to reduce electrical power by 30% if they stall at or above their rated torque. I zeroed out the ailerons, elevators and rudder in the radio before adjusting center mechanically at the control surfaces. The Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 emerged from this near-fatal incident with increased throw all around which gave the handling a bit more sharpness that I like.
On all of my aerobatic planes I program in three levels of dual rates, selected on a three position switch. One is set to 100%, second about 70% and the last 50%. On most planes, especially my Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 that switch never leaves the first position. I have tried all three settings on the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 early on but since have never left the 100% rate since then because this plane is so smooth and consistent.
When I decided to review the Demon Cortex the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 was chosen as the platform because I was most confident in its flight capabilities and the speed with which it recovers should things go wrong. The Demon Cortex has proven to be a remarkable piece of electronics that can greatly impact the fight envelope of an airframe. With the flick of a switch I can also turn the Demon Cortex off entirely.
The Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 is such a stable platform that I found myself using the Demon Cortex as a training aide. I would practice a maneuver with the Demon Cortex engaged but before long I could turn the gyro off entirely. The built-in stability of the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 was making it easier for me to do elevators and tumble-style moves using the flight characteristics of the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 without the assistance of the Demon Cortex. I think this is due in part to the super-quick but predictable reactions of the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 to radical stick movements.
While I do use all of the control throws that I can get I still fly the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 with the CG where the factory indicates. This is the first plane I have owned that can be this violent in the air without moving the CG back into dangerous territory. Slow the airspeed and the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 lands at a walk.
Better Informed Conclusions
Now with several months of hard flying under my belt I can safely say that the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 remains my favorite plane. It’s no secret that I love AeroWorks planes. I think that from the design to the manufacturing and “the best in the business” hardware packages AeroWorks ARF’s are the best you can get and my Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 is proof of that. I have hammered this airframe all over the Carolina skies without a hint of an airframe failure. Despite its size and rugged construction, the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 still flies very light.
The inherent stability of the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 makes learning new maneuvers easier because you are not fighting tendencies within the airframe itself. The Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 is capable of super-smooth pattern flying or surprisingly slow 3D moves that highlight its light airframe and slow-speed handling.
The Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 has been a joy to own and fly from the maiden day through yesterday morning when I last put it in the air. The recent burned-up servo incident had me looking the whole plane over “just in case” but I could not find a single loose joint or broken part. My Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 remains tough but easy to fly whenever I pull it out of the trailer.
I keep trying to think of a term that best describes the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 flight envelope but I think “all encompassing” is the best. I can’t think of anything the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 refuses to do. If you can’t get the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 to do something there is a better than even chance you are doing it wrong.
Visit the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 web page – Click Here
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