Adagio 280 BNF Basic

By Andy Griffith Go soaring with this park-size hybrid. Product review and flight video. Featured in the Winter 2015 Park Pilot.


Type: BNF glider Skill level: Beginner Wingspan: 56 inches Length: 29.9 inches Weight: 11.2 ounces Price: $179.99 Info:


• Carbon-fiber-reinforced Z-Foam construction • Two-piece, removable plug-in wing • High-efficiency folding propeller • Five-channel control with flaps for aerobatic maneuverability and spot landings • Ready for your six-channel DSM2/DSMX transmitter and 3S LiPo battery

Product Review

Closely resembling the outline of the full-scale MDM-1 Fox, the Adagio is a small-motor glider constructed of Z-Foam and powered by a 280-size electric motor and folding propeller. Available only in a BNF (Bind-N-Fly) version, the Adagio is equipped with six micro servos, a speed controller, and a receiver that has an integrated Spektrum AS3X stabilization system. The three items you will need to purchase if you don’t have them on hand is a five-channel DSM2/DSMX radio system, a 450 mAh LiPo battery with JST connector, and a charger capable of charging LiPo batteries. E-flite provided a 3S 450 mAh 50C LiPo battery for the review and I’ll be using my Spektrum DX18QQ radio to guide the Adagio. Looking over the model, the fuselage has the receiver, rudder, and elevator servos, along with the ESC, motor, and folding propeller preinstalled. The battery and radio compartment is accessed via a hatch that is held in place with small magnets. The bottom rear of the fuselage has holes to provide airflow for the electronic components. The removable wings are held on with a small Phillips screw and two micro connectors. When I flipped the wings over, I discovered that they have two carbon reinforcement rods running nearly the full length of the wing. There is also a carbon wing rod that extends 7.25 inches into each wing and the wing roots seat in pockets in the fuselage. This great attention to detail should eliminate most of the flex in the Adagio’s high-aspect ratio wing, especially during aerobatics and dives. My fuselage had a slight bow on one side. I used a couple of 1-pound flexible dive weight bags to hold it straight and set the fuselage in the sun for about an hour. When I removed the weights, it was perfectly straight. Gathering everything that I needed to assemble the Adagio took approximately 15 seconds. All you really need is some medium CA and a small Phillips screwdriver. Z-Foam can be adhered with regular CA, so there is no need for foam-safe adhesive. I powered up the Adagio and bound it to my DX18QQ transmitter. I noticed that while the rudder servo arm was centered, the elevator servo arm was off center. I removed the servo arm and moved it one tooth on the output shaft so that it was a nearly perfect 90° to the pushrod. I also programmed a throttle-cut switch at this time. The wing rod slides into place and the wings slide onto the joiner rod with a tab sticking through the fuselage. A small Phillips screw goes through the tab and holds the wing in place. There are four female servo leads, but nothing is clearly labeled. The aileron leads come in toward the LE (leading edge) and plug into the lead going into channel 1. The flap leads come in toward the TE (trailing edge) and plug into the Y-harness going into channel 5. The next step is to install the stabilizer and connect the elevator linkage. Instead of medium CA glue, I used Zap Gel CA. The gel worked perfectly and after leaving it on for a few minutes to make sure it had cured, I connected the elevator pushrod and centered the elevator and rudder. With the battery and hatch installed, I checked the CG (center of gravity) and the Adagio was perfectly balanced. Despite being equipped with wheels, the Adagio needs to be hand launched because when the folding propeller powers up and extends, it will hit the ground. Wheel landings with the power off and the propeller folded are no problem. Advancing the throttle to full power, I gave the Adagio a straight-and-level toss and it flew away with plenty of authority. The aircraft isn’t a hot rod, but it will climb under power at a reasonable rate. I cut the throttle at roughly 150 feet and drifted around to get a feel for the Adagio. Control response felt perfect with the recommended high rate, so I never bothered flying it in low rate. After drifting, I pushed the nose over, let it pick up some speed, and pulled the Adagio into a loop. I was looking for wing flex, but could see very little. It seemed my initial assumption was correct: the carbon rods create a stiff wing. I noticed a pleasing whistle emanating from the Adagio as it scooted past at a good clip. Advancing the power again, I tried some loops and rolls. Under power, the Adagio will loop from level flight and roll fairly well considering its wingspan. It will even do a respectable-looking rolling circle!

The red-and-white color scheme is easy to see in a variety of conditions and the AS3X keeps the aircraft stable, even in mild wind.

Carbon reinforcements in the wings, along with a generous wing rod, keep the wings from flexing too much during aerobatics.

The E-flite 450 mAh LiPo battery fits perfectly in the nose and provides 4- to 6-minute flights.

The elevators are hinged and the tail wheel is preinstalled. I used Zap Gel CA to glue the stabilizer in place for a solid installation.

Back to glider flying, I took it back up and tested the flaps. Its large flaps make the Adagio balloon, and some down-elevator mix was indicated. With the power off and full flaps deployed, you can put the Adagio in a steep approach, building up a lot of speed. This should make the aircraft perfect for anyone with a limited landing area. Inverted flight required only slight down-elevator pressure to maintain altitude. The AS3X stabilization system makes the Adagio fly solid while inverted. Working in lift, the Adagio will respond to both thermal and slope lift but you have to watch the entire fuselage. The AS3X will dampen classic lift indicators, such as one wing lifting up. If the aircraft isn’t too high, it’s easy to see when the Adagio starts going up. I had one flight of 20 minutes, using only approximately 1 minute of motor-run time. Not bad for an aerobatic sailplane! When it’s time to land, the Adagio slows down nicely and touches down on paved runways or grass just fine with the flaps up or down. I prefer landing in the grass because paved runway landings scuffed up the paint on the bottom of the wingtips, but this could easily be prevented with a well-placed strip of clear tape. The Adagio is simple glider flying at its best. There is no need for a hi-start launcheror a tow plane, or an SUV to haul it. Simply charge a battery and fly at any park or flying field. The power system is adequate for mild aerobatics and for getting the Adagio to altitude to search for lift. The flaps add a dimension not found in many models of this size and allow the Adagio to land nearly anywhere. I flew the glider in winds of 8-10 mph and found it still enjoyable to fly thanks to the AS3X technology.


Still looking for a motor or two for my Adagio 280

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