Millennium RC MicroSSX ARF Review

Review by Nicholas Turner, Staff Contributor

Equipment Used:

- AR6110

- Eflite Park 250 motor

- Castle Creations Thunderbird 9 ESC

- 3x 5 gram Hextronic servos

- Spektrum DX6i and DX8 TX

- APC 6x4 prop

- 2S 360mAh Rhino lipo

Pros:

- Perfect for a small field flying

- Quick build

- Super quiet

Cons:

- Hard to get the horizontal stab mounting box square

- Can be really fast

- Mounting holes covered by covering made it hard to clear and glue

- Max throws for elevator causes it to hit bottom of rudder

- Required a lot of down elevator trim

Summary:

I won this little ARF in 2010 from RC Radio Network. It wasn’t until the fall of 2011 until I was able to build her, and I picked a heck of day to do so. On the day of the build the remnants of Hurricane Irene was hitting us, so I was not 100% focused on the build, I’ll get into this later.

 

Unboxing

The wing, rudder, ailerons, elevator, vertical stab, and horizontal stab came built and covered as seen in the photos. A quick inventory showed everything needed was there.

 

Building

The bulk of building this ARF is building the plywood boxes that mounts the horizontal stab to the carbon fiber fuse (square rod for my ARF), a couple of formers on the wing for the fuse, battery location, and firewall. Being it had been many years since last using CA with plywood; I had forgotten how long plywood can take to set. Newly married, recently moved and first big storm in the house, my mind kept wondering and checking on the trees outside. Thus, when it came time to build the horizontal stab box, I didn’t get some of the really small plywood pieces for the horizontal stab mount as square as it should have been. This can be seen in the pictures above. The precovered horizontal stabilizer needed to have the mounting holes widened/cleaned out to get the mounting block to attach. This was also my very first time using hinge tape. I applied it in the following method: hold surface to max angle on one side, attach tape length of the surface, repeat for other side. While this worked well for the rudder and elevator, I struggled with the ailerons. The ailerons didn’t get attached in line with airfoil of the wing and I had to split a large difference. Push rods are attached with z-bends at the servo and control horn. The manual didn’t call for V or U shaped bends to allow for adjustment, so all adjusting of servos had to be done prior to the Z-bends being made, or through the radio programming afterwards. Given the size of the airframe, there’s not a lot of options as to where to the place the RX and ESC. I stuffed the RX in the wing, taping it down to the covering just forward of the servos and stuck the ESC to the LE of the wing where the battery tray attaches to the wing.

 

Flight

The maiden flight was a handful due to my hiccups in building; horizontal stab not level and ailerons mounting being off. But I worked through the flight and got her trimmed out. A lot of down elevator trim was needed. The first several flights on the plane I had a 6x4 slow flyer prop on, per the manual. I did not like the way she flew. So after both of the props were busted, I switched to an APC 6x4 and she came alive. Also on the first few flights I hated the way she performed in turns. A quick check on my DX6i indicated I had mistakenly programmed 100% expo. I reduced this down to around 10-15% and she flew much better. With the APC 6x4 prop she is a fast little mover. The only problem I have in flight are loops. Since I failed to get the horizontal stabilizer mounting block square, she does not track well in loops without significant aileron correction. Aileron rolls are quick and axial, snap rolls look odd as they aren’t quite crisp (could be my building mishaps), immelmanns are easy as well as Cuban eights and split S, and she’ll perform a hammer head but requires aileron input in the vertical due to the horizontal stab issue. Inverted flight requires a decent amount of elevator input to keep her level. Due to the horizontal stabilizer issue, I am unable to perform knife edges. I keep flight times around five to six minutes and this has proven to get the batteries close enough to storage charge. I fly off of grass, so hand launches are required as the landing gear is light and flimsy and there is only a tail skid.

 

Conclusion

Overall the Millennium R/C micro SSX is a blast to fly, even with an improperly attached horizontal stabilizer. She’s great for parks and small open fields, due to the speed backyards would be tight if trying to fly there. I think this ARF is a great stepping stone from foam to balsa planes as it requires some minimum wood building skills that are easy to come learn. Is this plane for a beginner? NO, she’s fast and responsive, skill sets that are learned and typically possessed by intermediate pilots. Is she a good second plane? I’m going to say no due to her speed and responsiveness. This is an ARF designed for a pilot that can handle small, quick, responsive planes without the use of stabilization systems. Whenever I have it out at the local AMA field or the park, she gets attention due to her size and speed. I enjoy flying this plane when I can and keep it in my rotation of micros for lunch time flying.