Legacy Aviation 44" Turbo Duster Review
Review by Adrian Apodaca, RealRCReviews Owner
- Omega 103g Motor
- Hobbywing 50a ESC
- HS-70MG Servos
- Futaba 14SG w/ R7008SB rx
- 3s2200mAH Lipo
- Strong, well-built model
- Wallet friendly price
- Looks great!
- Quick build (even for me!)
- Small enough to keep wings on
- Big battery area
- Zero bad tendencies in the air
- Aerobatic as heck!
- Big ailerons and flaps
- A breeze to land
- Suitable for intermediate to expert
- Handles wind pretty well
- Elevator was a bit wonky (details below)
- Has made me want the 65" version LOL
I spent the first 11 or so years of my life in Sand Diego and I have a lot of extended family in Chino, close to LA. If you don't know Chino, it is known primarily for it's agriculture. That means tons of dairies and tons of farmland. When we'd travel to see my grandparents, I used to love seeing the Pawnees and AgWagons spraying the fields, sometimes we'd even stop the car and watch for a while. I always thought they had a cool look to them. I never tired of seeing them swoop low, spray, and punch out to make their turn to repeat the process. Soon after getting into RC aviation, I started my hunt for an RC crop duster. E-Flite had just discontinued their park-sized Pawnee, but I discovered that Hangar 9 had an 80" version. My buddy and mentor John Redman hooked me up and gave me his Pawnee all set up with a 14cc 4 stroke gas engine. It continues to be one of my prized possessions.
Fast-forward a few years to when ExtremeFlightRC and 3DHS merge to make one great company. One of their new companies, Legacy Aviation, launched with a few very sweet, scale looking planes... with a twist, they are aerobatic as heck! I drooled at the site of 65" Turbo Bushmaster and the 65" Turbo Duster. Neither were in my budget at the time, so I went with the Little Foot. It was a great plane, but not exactly what I was looking for. THEN recently, Legacy Aviation announced their 44" version of the Turbo Duster. Let me tell ya, most of the time I order something, I think about it, I put it in the cart, back out of the cart...sleep on it, visit the site about 50 times. With the 44" Turbo Duster, I just chucked it in the cart and checked out. A brief conversation with whoever runs the ExtremFlightRC facebook page mentioned the Turbo Duster was really aerobatic, but also made for a nice sport plane. He also mentioned that it was more of an easy flier compared to the Little Foot. It had been a long time since I had anticipated the arrival of a new plane with such excitement.
One more note, I am not a fancy, 3d, huckin' expert pilot. I am a decent pilot, but nothing crazy. This review is from my average Joe perspective. Just because this plane is high-performance capable, doesn't mean that guys like me won't be attracted to it. After all, it is a beautiful plane. Enough yappin', let's get to the review part.
Unboxing / Assembly / Programming:
My Turbo Duster arrived in the same way as my 3DHS Slick and my Little Foot did, double boxed and with all the parts bagged and secured with tape. Absolutely no complaint there. ExtremeFlightRC charges a few bucks for shipping, but they send their planes priority, which is nice in that you get it quicker and with more security.
The plane parts themselves were pretty tightly covered, and the joints looked well glued. I did some ironing anyway and went over the major joints with some thin CA as recommended in the manual. The hardware was organized into small bags but not labeled, which is not a big deal...it's not rocket science to see which parts go to the various parts of the plane. The Turbo Duster scheme is done in the traditional way of using different colored covering. This made me happy as I wasn't a huge fan of the printing on the Little Foot. The manual states that the Turbo Duster is a quick build, and I agree with them. It is by far the quickest ARF I have ever built. The only part that slowed me down, as usual, was centering the tail feather / elevator assembly. A little patience goes a long way when assembling this part, so take your time.
As I mentioned in my only CON in my list, the elevator assembly was a bit wonky. You need to slide one half of the elevator into the tail feather and glue the other side of the elevator to the composite rod attached to the tail. It is already attached on one side, and the other side has the slot precut for you. On mine, the slot wasn't quite deep enough to sit flush. I supposed I could have cut or filed it deeper, but when I test fit it, I felt it was close enough to flush. The result was a tiny bit of warp in my elevator, but it is really slight. I may revisit it later, but for now, it is a non-issue for me.
I used the recommended servos for my build and they fit nicely after I trimmed away the wood in the servo slots a bit. Legacy makes widening the slot easy by having a score on both sides of servo slot, so if you need to open it up slightly, you just cut in a little and a 1mm stick of wood comes out. Top to bottom the slots allow you to use whichever holes in the servo to screw them into the wood. I did find the recommended push-rod lengths to be a bit off, but perhaps that had more to do with my servos or servo horns. The linkages are easy to adjust and also give the push rods a lot of durability and rigidity for those high-performance maneuvers. The landing gear only mounts one way, so that is really fast also. No wheel pants to goof around with so adding the wheels is also a cinch. Finally, the motor and ESC are easy to install and adding the cowl is just like any other plane. Gluing the faux exhaust pipes comes early in the manual, but if I had to do it over, I'd add them last. That would take the worry of knocking them off during the build. I know I probably took longer than an expert builder would, but I was finished so quickly with this, I was almost certain I had skipped a step. Nope, I was done and it was time for balancing and programming. With my setup, I found that the plane balanced best with my 3s2200mAH battery pushed up to where the motor box hits the fuselage. When balancing, you might find it easier to hold your fingers toward the end of the wings at the recommended distance. I found it wobbled less this way and I was able to balance the CG more accurately.
When it comes to programming, I always try my best to stick to the suggestions in the manual. I ordered the wooden throw meter from ExtremeFlightRC and that made measuring my throws easy peasy lemon squeezy. I took my best guess at how much of a down-elevator mix to use for the flaps, and figured I'd fine tune that at the field.
If I had to make this segment of the review one line, I would simply say, "Flying this plane is EFFING SWEET!" As always, I was nervous going into my maiden flight (video below), but once I got in the air, the nervousness all went away. This is one of those planes that you fly and just smile and think, damn, this thing feels smooth. With just a click or two of left rudder trim, this sucker felt so perfectly dialed in. The recommended throws and expo feel perfect. It allows you to cruise around and do some nice sport flying, but jam your sticks to their extremes and you unleash a dragon. I need to get this into the hands of a 3d expert to see what it can really do. You may be able to find some expert flying footage on ExtremeFlightRC's facebook site. I think a couple of their sponsored pilots spent some time wringing the Turbo Duster out for a video. I will post more flight videos as I fly it more, especially if I can get one of my expert buddies to fly it for me. The video below is the only one I took that day as the skies were crowded and I wasn't able to fly in close or experiment more as I was having to keep track of 3 other planes in the air.
I have blown about 20 packs through this plane and I love the Turbo Duster more with every single flight. This is one I will never sell or give away. After dialing in my flap mix, I was able to fly around nice and slow, but this plane slows down nicely even without the flaps down. They can be used for STOL take-offs, but the Turbo Duster without flaps can take off in just a few feet of runway. As for landing, this thing is a breeze. Line it up, lower throttle, glide it in with a touch of throttle and your down smooth as butter. I really can't find a negative to say about this little birdie. The roll-rate is amazing, the rudder authority is outstanding and the elevator is really effective. Turning with ailerons only is nice and even, but you can add some rudder if you like making coordinated turns. I didn't find the Turbo Duster needed any differential either. I'm pretty sure, there is nothing this plane cannot do. It knife-edges effortlessly and it inverts just as easy as any other plane sport plane. In my opinion, this is truly an amazing design. Even though my Hangar 9 Pawnee is way bigger, it flies a bit too scale. The 44" Turbo Duster is the crop duster I have been waiting for my whole life. Since posting this review, I have added another video below the maiden video. It's slightly better in that I fly closer to the camera and am a little more relaxed with the plane.
Legacy Aviation has absolutely knocked it out of the park with this plane. And here I address my second CON listed above. If this plane is this darn sweet, I can't even imagine how amazing the 65" version is... and now I'm depressed that I don't have one yet! So whether you are an intermediate pilot, or a hardcore 3d pilot, I challenge you to fly this plane and not fall in love with it. I didn't want to let anyone fly it yet, but it sure did get a ton of attention at my field. I think at least 12 people approached me to ask about the plane wondering who made it where they could get one. If you want to save a few bucks building this, you can go with a more budget ESC and probably buy some cheaper servos. Heck, you can go with a cheaper motor if you want also. I wanted mine as close to Legacy's set up, so I did everything they recommended except for the ESC. I'll wrap it up by once again reiterating how much I love this plane and how nicely it flies. If I were rating on a 1 to 10 scale, this one easily gets a 10. Now do yourself a favor and go order your Turbo Duster now!