Origin Funter Glider Trainer EP RR


Written by Terry Dunn
Take your soaring to the next level
Product review
As seen in the Winter 2018 issue of
Park Pilot.



Bonus Video



Specifications:

Type: Electric-powered glider
Wingspan: 65 inches
Length: 45.6 inches
Needed to complete: Minimum four-channel radio system (transmitter and receiver only); 3S 2,200 mAh LiPo battery; Phillips screwdriver
Power system: 1,200 Kv outrunner brushless motor (included); 8 x 6 folding propeller (included); Hobbywing SkyWalker 30-amp ESC (included); ElectriFly 3S 2,200 30C LiPo battery
Flying weight: 2.22 pounds
Flight time: 10-plus minutes
Price: $129.99
Info: towerhobbies.com


Features:

>> Quick assembly
>> Aerobatic capability
>> Good in-flight visibility
>> Long flight times




>> Be careful before you label the Origin Funter as just a powered glider. This model isn’t quite what it seems. While it has respectable glide performance, it is also a sport model that will crank out impressive aerobatics. Depending on your mood, you can exercise either capability (or both) on any given flight.

This kit is made primarily of molded foam parts. Because most of the power system and radio components are factory installed, there is little assembly work required to make the Funter airworthy. Even the color markings come preapplied. The included manual guides you through the necessary steps.

The only required radio gear is a four-plus-channel transmitter and receiver. I used a Tactic TTX850 transmitter (tacticrc.com) and TR625 receiver. This receiver easily fit in the suggested location.




The Origin Funter is mostly prebuilt. Final assembly is a quick process.


A Y harness is included for the aileron servos. I omitted it and connected each servo to a separate channel on the receiver. This cut down on wire clutter and also allowed me to trim each aileron individually.

In stock form, the ailerons are nearly the full span of each wing panel. There is an option to split the ailerons and use the inner surfaces as flaps. As long as you have a spare radio channel, you’ll just need to provide two additional 9-gram servos and control linkages to implement this feature. Origin Hobby even offers the necessary hardware (minus the servos) in a set for $2.50 (Part #300315). I wanted to keep my Funter as simple as possible, so I decided against the flaps.

Each wing panel slides into place over a carbon-fiber spar. The wing panels are secured by tightening clamps that grip the spar. Make sure that you tighten the clamps adequately and give the wing a pull test. I wasn’t so diligent at first and nearly lost a wing panel on an early flight.

The Funter’s power system consists of a 1,200 Kv brushless motor spinning an 8 x 6 folding pusher propeller. A 2-inch spinner blends the propeller assembly with the fuselage. I noticed a slight vibration when I performed a test run-up.

I removed the propeller and found that the yoke did not fit tightly on the propeller adapter. One wrap of tape around the propeller adapter shaft fixed that problem.

I also placed the propeller in my Du-Bro (dubro.com) propeller balancer. It was slightly off balance, which I was able to correct by adding tape to the light blade. It helps to lightly tighten the propeller yoke to prevent the blades from folding back. Just be sure to loosen the yoke after you’ve finished balancing. The motor now runs vibration free.




A 1,200 Kv brushless motor is included with the model. It provides quick climbs and moderate aerobatics.


The motor is controlled by a Hobbywing SkyWalker (hobbywing.com) 30-amp ESC. It comes equipped with a Hobbico Star Plug (hobbico.com), which is also compatible with Deans Ultra Plugs (wsdeans.com). The ESC’s brake function must be enabled in order for the folding propeller to work correctly. My example was not configured this way. It only took me a few minutes to correct this issue after I downloaded the ESC manual from the Hobbywing website.

The final aspect of the power system is the battery. I used an ElectriFly 3S 2,200 mAh 30C LiPo battery (electrifly.com) during my testing. There is easy access to the battery via the huge, magnetically secured canopy hatch. This ElectriFly battery fits well in the battery bay and self-adhesive hook-and-loop tape holds it securely.

During my first outing with the Funter, I discovered that the rudder requires a slight modification to improve its durability. The bottom of the rudder is a continuation of the flat bottom of the airplane’s long fuselage.

As you flare for landing with a nose-high attitude, the rudder is often the first part of the model to touch the ground. This puts a lot of stress on the rudder servo and the hinge. One of them is bound to break before long. To avoid this, I used an X-Acto knife to add a slight upward angle to the rudder’s bottom edge.

With the battery all the way forward, I had to add .75 ounce (21 grams) of lead in the nose to get the suggested center of gravity. Be aware that there is already factory-installed ballast embedded in the forwardmost part of the fuselage. I cut a slit on the underside of the nose and glued the lead in place with GOOP adhesive.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I prepared the Funter for its maiden flight. Nothing about the model is a strong indicator of its performance potential. It has large control surfaces, but only moderate throws. Its power loading of 88 watts per pound is slightly below average, yet it also has a light wing loading. Rather than continue to analyze and wonder, I took the model skyward to see exactly what it has to offer.

The Funter’s first takeoff was actually a belly-slide off of grass. The model has just enough power to pull off this maneuver and it’s a lot of fun. I’ve repeated it often. The aircraft is also easy to hand launch. There is a good hand hold under the wing that is perfect for an overhand launch. I suggest launching with approximately 75% throttle. Because of the high motor location, using full power will cause the nose to pitch down after your toss.

The Funter has a wide performance envelope. At full power, the model exhibits strong climb performance. That doesn’t mean that you can simply point the nose skyward and rely on thrust. You still have to fly on the wing, but thanks to the model’s light weight, that wing will quickly get you to altitude.

In-flight visibility is quite good, even at high altitude, thanks to the model’s large size and colorful graphics. After you climb to such heights, you can pull back the power to stop the propeller and allow the blades to fold back. The Funter has a nice glide ratio, so you can keep it aloft for a long time, if that’s your goal.




A huge hatch provides access to the radio and battery compartment.


Gliding for duration is fun, but I like models that can cut loose a little as well. The Funter does not disappoint in this area. It can perform four-channel aerobatics, whether gliding or under power. The ailerons are especially effective. They provide the Funter with a fast roll rate that belies its trainer-like appearance.

Elevator authority is good and loops and inverted flight are not a problem. The rudder response is not strong, so yaw-heavy maneuvers such as hammerheads are difficult to perform. Even so, the Funter is surprisingly nimble overall.

The pitch trim changes slightly as you move the throttle. The more power you use, the more up-trim the Funter requires. I suppose you could program a throttle-elevator mix in your transmitter to make it a nonissue, but for me, it hardly seems worth the effort. I usually trim for level flight at approximately 75% throttle. Trim changes during flight are hardly noticeable.

I routinely achieve powered flights that last longer than 10 minutes. The airplane doesn’t need much throttle to fly, even when goofing around with aerobatics. Gliding will stretch out your flight time even more.

Origin Hobby (originhobby.com) offers an optional canopy that has an integrated mount for a GoPro camera. Although I have not tried Origin’s mount, I have added cameras to the Funter in several locations. The model handles the added weight and drag without complaints. If you enjoy experimenting with your models, rest assured that the Funter can handle several ounces of payload.

One of my favorite things to do with the Funter is cruise around on the deck at low throttle. There’s no stress as I slowly carve through banked turns with the wingtips only inches above the ground. And who can resist the temptation of a slide-and-go on smooth grass?

Belly landings are easy and gentle. The only challenge is managing your energy during the approach so that you don’t overshoot the runway. This slippery model likes to keep flying! This is where flaps would be beneficial. Rather than adding separate flaps, I might configure the ailerons as flaperons/spoilerons, but it is likely that I’ll leave things alone and enjoy the Funter’s simplicity.

The aircraft is marketed as an advanced trainer and I think that’s accurate. Its balance of stability and maneuverability favors the latter too much for it to be suitable for an absolute beginner, but it would make a great second, third, or 20th model.

The Funter is slightly too heavy to be classified as a park flyer, but it certainly shares many of the traits that make park flyers so popular. It is easy to assemble and has tough foam construction. Best of all, it flies well as a glider or with the motor spinning. This is the kind of model that you fly when you want to enjoy the pure, simple pleasures of a no-nonsense, well-rounded airplane.

-Terry Dunn
terrydunn74@gmail.com






Article: 

2 comments

Tower web page today, Aug 1st 2018, says this model is "Discontinued" ??

Hi Barry! It appears that is correct. Several products were discontinued after Hobbico went out of business.

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