Back in August 2012 over the Bank Holiday Weekend, I attended the annual BMFA Nationals event at Barkston Heath in Lincolnshire UK. Having been a relatively frequent user of FPVHub.com forum (previously FPVUK.org) over the past twelve months, I posted a message on the forum to see whether any other like-minded FPV enthusiasts would be attending the event, with the view of meeting up for a beer and a chat in the Hanger on the Saturday evening. I received a couple of responses and made arrangements to meet.
The event came and on the Saturday evening I duly got a call from John to meet up with his companion Rob. It transpires Rob and his colleague John were actually from FlyingWings.co.uk and they were eager to discuss and show off their new prototype flying wing. At this stage they had the ‘Sports’ version and had actually been flying it in the evening flying session at Barkston. What they were excited about however was the FPV version with a specially adapted centre section along with their special GoPro and FPV Camera box for the front of the centre section. Conversation around this new wing naturally progressed and my flying buddy Steve and I volunteered to do an FPV build and test this new bird out.
Two or three weeks later and as promised, a largish box containing the Venturi FPV arrived in the post containing all the bits in the kit:
As can be seen from the above pictures, the kit contains two EPP wings, centre section, GoPro/FPV camera FPV box, motor mount, elevons, spar (glass fibre), wing tips, fittings and instructions showing the Centre of Gravity CoG.
A closer look at the impressive Garalite G10 based GoPro/FPV Camera box:
Motor mount and fittings:
Given I’d previously built a Ritewing Zephyr II; I wanted to base this build of the Venturi FPV around a similar configuration using two 4S Lipo batteries, albeit 2200mAh’s as opposed to 3300mAh’s I had used on the ZII. The next decision was whether to use the centre bay for the batteries, or whether to go with the two batteries either side of the centre bay in the wings. Given I was going to use the Eagle Tree FPV gear, OSD, elogger, GPS and Guardian Stabiliser, I knew space would be tight, so elected for the battery bays to go into the wings. These were cut out using a hot wire bent specifically to the shape and size of the GenAce 4S 2200mAh 25C batteries which I elected to base the build on. Before the bays were cut however, the wings and centre bay were glued together using Scotch Weld P90 glue. A minor change from the standard kit was to reinforce the front of the centre bay running into both wings with a ply plate as can be seen below. All equipment was first loosely located to attain the correct CoG against the included plan.
In terms of other electronic equipment, I opted for the following:
- Hitec 65MG servos (probably overkill, but given this bird can fly over 100mhp, I wanted something which wasn’t going to give up after 10 flights)
- 60amp speed controller Black Mantis 60amp esc speedcontroller from Giant Shark (http://www.giantshark.co.uk/black-mantis-60amp-speedcontroller-p-402907.html)
- NTM Prop Drive Series 35-36A 1400Kv / 550W Motor from Hobby King UK (http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=28673)
The motor mount plate and ply skid section protecting the bottom of the centre bay were again glued with the P90 Scotch weld as shown below: The leading and trailing edges were reinforced with clear weave packing tape secured with super glue to help it stick better the EPP.
The elevons were covered using red solar film. Given I was going to base my covering on carbon effect vinyl; I wanted a striking contrast and opted for the red elevons.
To tidy up the two battery bays and make these more secure; 2mm Correx was used to form a lid which would be secured with a servo arm to keep the battery lids down. The servo slots were also cut out and GoPro/FPV camera box secured with super glue and epoxy. The centre bay hatch also secured with a servo arm screwed into a small ply plate.
Each wing side was then covered bottom then top with the Carbon vinyl covering:
The centre bay was finally covered using red vinyl before being covered in clear weave packing tape to help make sticking the vinyl easier. The covered elevons were secured in place with clear packing tape and the servos were secured in place with plastic covers glued with hot glue. The ImmersionRC Video transmitter was also cut into the rear section of the centre bay as shown and secured down with some velcro:
The final touch of the build was to apply the wing tips. From experience of ripping off my ZII wing tips on several occasions, thus rendering the end of the flying session on that day; I elected to apply a thin piece of ply to each wing edge with the view of using Velcro to secure the wing tips. Ultimately if they come off on a heavy landing, then they can easily be reapplied without the need for glue!
This is the finished Venturi FPV Wing from flyingwings.co.uk
As can hopefully be seen from the above build log; the Venturi FPV build is straight forward to put together. Yes we probably could have put it together a lot quicker without using some of the touches I have outlined above and some of the electronics I have chosen maybe a little over the top. That said, I didn’t want to skimp on the build and ultimately if everything worked out once completed and tested, then I’d have a very good wing to add to my RC FPV hanger. The quality of the included materials is good, I would argue that maybe the motor plate and mount could be a bit thicker, but other than that, everything was as I’d anticipated and went together easily. The first question a builder needs to ask themselves is what power setup you’re going to base the wing on. I opted for a 4S configuration with batteries in the wings, but with a bit of careful planning, the centre bay could be used for battery/batteries as well a radio and FPV gear.
At approx £79.95 for the Venturi FPV version (including GoPro/FPV Camera box) and £69.95 for the Venturi Sport version, it’s a lot cheaper than a UK purchased Ritewing Zephyr II at £129.99. Yes you could probably get a ZII cheaper from the USA, but once you have paid shipping and potential import duty, you’re not going to see this cost reduced significantly. If you want the ZII option to take their GoPro mount (which incidentally is just a Correx box) you’re looking at an additional £30!!! Comparing the ZII Correx box with the FlyingWings GoPro/FPV box is like comparing a Robin Reliant (ZII Correx) to a Bugatti Veyron (FlyingWings GoPro/FPV box) at a third of the price!!
So how does it fly?
Well don’t take my word for it, have a look at the following YouTube flight video which shows some GoPro and OSD video footage from my third flight (second FPV flight) with the Venturi.
The above Venturi FPV flight was flown in approximately 10-15mph winds on the day. Having owned a Zephyr II, I was a big fan of how they fly (not including the launch!). Having flown three flights with the Venturi (1 Line of site and 2 FPV); I’m honestly pushed to say which one is better than the other. They’re both very precise and don’t tend to pitch up significantly when you increase the throttle in flight. Where the Venturi wins hands down and as I have alluded to above, is in the launch! My Zephyr II was a nightmare to get away compared to the Venturi FPV. This maybe in part down to the power setup I have gone with on the Venturi, but I have seen other ZII owners struggle with the launch and some have had to go to the measure of using bungees to launch the ZII.
It’s obviously early days for my Venturi FPV; but is the Ritewing Zephyr II a better wing at £60 more (nearly double the cost of the Venturi FPV)? Hand on heart, a unanimous NO! There is nothing to separate them in terms of flying once in the air. The Venturi wins hands down on ease of launch. Given the Venturi is a couple of inches smaller, it’s more manageable and means I don’t have to take out one of the back seats of my car to get it in!
I would also argue that the EPP employed on the Venturi is going to be more durable than the none EPP material of the ZII, laminating may help out here, but this is not cheap. The GoPro/FPV camera box supplied as part of the £79.95 Venturi FPV kit is streets ahead of the Ritewing Correx box and the Team Black Sheep offering and can be used with the FPV Manuals layer lens kit which will provide a bit more protection to the GoPro lens. I feel I’m qualified to state this, given I purchased the above two options for my ZII, but in the end went for a homemade alternative! These two GoPro Box options alone cost me the same as what I could have purchased a new Venturi FPV kit for!
Yes I was supplied with the Venturi FPV kit free of charge (albeit I purchased all electronics and power system), but I have no vested interest in FlyingWings.co.uk. Prior to the death of my ZII and excluding the fact it was a pain to launch, I loved my Zephyr II. Three flights in however on the Venturi, I feel the guys at FlyingWings have a worthy and dare I say better value for money alternative to the Ritewing Zephyr II. Furthermore, it’s British and will be readily available very soon. Subscribe to my YouTube channel and I will try to keep you updated with future flights of the Venturi.
A big thanks for Steve my FPV flying buddy for his assistance on the build and the guys at FlyingWings (Rob & John) for providing the prototype Venturi FPV which I hope to get many hours of enjoyment flying. On the first flight, I managed a top speed of 108mph as recorded on my OSD. As you can see from the video link above, I notched up a top speed is 89mph here (I wasn't pushing it either given I was flying at my local club among other RC flyers), so this bird doesn't hang around! Duration wise, I can get 14 minutes flight easily and could maybe extend this if I ease off on the power a bit more and reduce the prop down from the 9*6 APC which I have flown the first few flights on.
If you’re in the market for a Wing or even and FPV wing, you should seriously consider this wing from FlyingWings.co.uk. The Venturi FPV will be listed for sale very soon.
Thanks for reading! Drop me a personal message or reply to this thread if you need further advice on the above.