Late last year HobbyKing had a big “Cyber Monday” sale event where I managed to pick up several bargain price models. One of my purchases was the BFG2600 2.6 metre foam electric glider (also sold as the ‘Robbe Arcus Sport 2.6’), which was reduced from £158 to £55. Unfortunately while I have been building and testing out the BFG2600, HobbyKing have discontinued it - so writing this review is somewhat redundant! As I had already prepared all of the photos and drafted the review, I’m going to publish it anyway. If you come across one of these models in a second-hand sale or “new old stock”, you might find this article useful. Read on to see what I thought of the HobbyKing BFG2600 glider.
The BFG2600 is a large format EPO foam electric glider designed for versatile glider flying. The fuselage is a bit ‘chunkier’ than a typical large sailplane model, which makes flying at less-than-perfect slope sites possible. The glider is sold in a plug-and-fly package, which includes an unbranded 3720 size brushless outrunner motor, 60 amp speed controller and 13.5x7” folding propeller. The two-part wings provide a large wing area of 55dm².
The model is intended to be flown with a ~2500mAh 4S (14.8 volt) lithium polymer battery, such as the Turnigy Nano-Tech 2650mAh 4S pack. Also included are six unbranded 9 gram servos for the ailerons, rudder, elevator and flaps. A 3” foam landing wheel is embedded in to the underside of the fuselage, held in place by a plywood frame and metal axle.
The HobbyKing BFG2600 glider has a wingspan of 2600 mm, a length of 1500 mm and a flying weight of approximately 2kg. The completed plane as reviewed had the following specifications:
- Unbranded brushless 3720 size 700 KV outrunner motor (included with PNF version)
- Unbranded 60 amp ESC with integrated BEC (included with PNF version)
- Turnigy Nano-Tech 2650mAh 4S 25-50C lithium polymer battery (via HobbyKing)
- Hitec Aurora 9X Radio Control Transmitter (via local dealer)
- Hitec Optima 7 Radio Control Receiver (via local dealer)
Like every HobbyKing model I have owned, the BFG2600 arrived in a large brown carton which contained the plane in its ‘retail’ packaging. The package arrived seemingly intact and undamaged, however the plane was not in one piece as will be seen later.
The retail box is a simple design with a photo of the model and some specifications printed on one side. Visually the model differs from the Robbe version with different decals, but has the same white fuselage, black canopy and silver nose-cone.
Opening up the carton reveals the model, which is packed quite loosely inside the box. A shaped cardboard retainer is stapled in one end of the box, to restrain the fuselage during shipping, but unfortunately the model is still able to bounce around inside a lot.
Each major part of the airframe was packaged inside its own sealed plastic bag. Also included is an aluminium wing spar, black and white instruction manual and accessories pack (ruler shown for scale - not included).
The BFG2600 is a mid-wing design where each half of the wing slots in to the fuselage, reminiscent of the HobbyKing Sky Eye model I was flying in the 2014 season. As the BFG2600 is a plug-n-fly model, the servos, motor, propeller and ESC were already installed. Getting the plane ready to fly is quite straight forward, only requiring some minor final assembly. Preparing the plane for its maiden flight didn’t take much more than half an hour.
It is worth noting that the BFG2600 has a smaller sibling, the HobbyKing BFG1600 glider which is a 1.6 metre version of the BFG2600. Apart from the size, the key differences appear to be that the elevator and rudder servos are mounted inside the main compartment, and the motor is fitted in a pod rather than in the nose.
One aspect of the design which becomes immediately apparent is the lack of cooling vents on the fuselage. The large 3720 motor sits inside a thick foam cowling with only two very small slots for ventilation. No cooling is provided for the main compartment, except the warmed-up air coming via the motor vents. I have seen lots of reports in the online R/C community of BFG2600 motors overheating and burning out due to the poor cooling design.
The aileron and flap control surfaces are moulded in to the foam wing structure and move using ‘foam hinges’. As with all planes I build which use this type of control surface, I added some Blenderm tape to both sides of the hinge to reinforce the thin foam joint. The unbranded 9-gram servos are factory installed, as are the decals. Unlike the flaps, the aileron surfaces are reinforced with pre-glued wooden strips.
A recessed channel in the underside of the wing provides an aerodynamic way to fit the servo leads from the wing in to the fuselage.
At the base of each wing section, plywood reinforces the mating surfaces where the two halves meet inside the fuselage. These wooden parts were not assembled very accurately, which made installing the wings almost impossible. I had to use a knife to chamfer the outer edges of the wood to make the wings fit together smoothly.
The wing halves are joined and reinforced with a large hollow aluminium tube. This tube is rather heavy and could be replaced with a carbon fibre rod to save some weight if needed. The wings are held inside the fuselage with two 10mm plastic ‘pegs’ which drop down from the top of the fuselage and in to retaining holes in the wings.
The artwork on the BFG2600 is well designed but the decals were not applied particularly well at the factory. The decals were already lifting away from the foam in places and I needed to use a heat gun to achieve a good finish. There were also several places where the decals had not been cut accurately (or at all) such as over the foam hinges.
Surprisingly, one of the flap servos had not been glued in at the factory, so was fixed in place with foam safe cyanoacrylate glue.
Perhaps my least favourite aspect of the BFG2600 model is that the factory fitted control horns and rods do not feel very strong. A model of this size should really be fitted with heavy-duty servo linkages as the large control surfaces can generate considerable forces in flight. I would’ve liked to have seen servo linkages similar to those supplied with the Skywalker 1900, which has thicker gauge rods and bigger plastic linkage parts.
There is a 10mm steel ball bearing recessed in to each wing, held in place with glue and a paper sticker. Presumably this is for correct balance of the plane. I recently removed these ball bearings to reduce weight after adding FPV equipment to plane.
A close up of the wing decals, after being tidied up with a heat gun.
Moving to the rear of the aircraft, the horizontal stabiliser houses the elevator servo and is screwed in to the tail of the fuselage. Like the ailerons, the elevator is reinforced with a strip of wood embedded within it.
The T-tail is designed to be easy to assemble/disassemble using two long Phillips-head screws. A servo extension cable to connect the elevator servo is pre-installed in the tail.
During transit the rudder control horn snapped off, as the plane was not restrained in its box particularly well. This is apparently a common complaint looking through the RCGroup’s owners thread for this model.
I fixed the rudder control horn and took the opportunity to fit a stronger replacement part. Unlike the other control surfaces, the rudder is attached with three plastic hinges rather than a ‘foam hinge’. One of these hinges had not been glued in properly and needed some attention.
A small channel is set in to the fuselage where the wings are inserted, to allow the aileron and flap servo leads to enter the fuselage. Fitting the wings using this arrangement quickly became bothersome, as the wires tend to get trapped behind the wing edges, so I adopted the same wiring mod that I previously used on the HobbyKing Sky Eye.
The plastic/foam landing wheel seems quite robust and spins freely on a metal axle embedded in the fuselage. If using grass runways, this is another opportunity to save weight by removing the wheel assembly.
I applied 3” fibre reinforced tape along the top and bottom seams of the fuselage for some improved resistance to ‘hangar rash’ and ‘unplanned landings’.
This photo shows one of the two plastic pegs which slide through the fuselage and in to the wing halves below. A small hole in the top of the pegs allows them to be extracted using the supplied removal tool (hook).
The main compartment is reasonably sized with enough room for my Hitec Optima 2.4GHz receiver, low voltage battery alarm and the included 60 amp ESC. A plywood base set in to the foam provides a sturdy flat base to the compartment. Space will be at a premium if equipping the plane with advanced accessories like a flight controller, autopilot or FPV system. However, there is a lot of head-room provided by the curved canopy.
The only obvious place to mount the Hitec Optima 7 receiver antenna was on the outside of the main compartment using the Hitec antenna mount supplied with the receiver.
As mentioned earlier, this is the modified servo connecting area for the wings. Servo extension leads are set in to additional channels cut in the foam, secured in place with a generous serving of two-part epoxy glue. A layer of fibre reinforced tape makes up for the marginal loss in strength after removing the foam and stops the wing assembly catching on the wiring.
For the initial flights I simply taped down the excess servo leads under the wing, but when my HobbyKing cable crimping tool arrives I’ll trim these down to a more appropriate length. Centre of gravity stickers (not included) were added to the wings, set in the positions advised by the BFG2600 manual.
Fibre reinforced tape has also been added to the leading edges of the wings and in a few other choice areas to make the plane more durable.
For the maiden flight I wanted to improve the cooling of the main compartment to help the battery and ESC avoid overheating. I cut small triangles out of the front and rear of the main compartment to funnel some cold air through the area.
As the canopy has a ‘stepped’ design, it also needed to be modified to allow air to move in to the main compartment.
The result is a relatively discreet opening on the side of the fuselage which should give reasonable cooling results without drastically altering the flight performance of the plane. I also trimmed about 5mm off the front edge of the foam motor cowling to allow air to circulate more freely around the motor.
This concludes the straightforward assembly of the BFG2600 glider. The plug-n-fly design made assembling the model very easy, although some quality issues delayed proceedings a little.
Some R/C modellers find flying large models intimidating, but as I suspected, the BFG2600 is a very stable and docile flyer, and was reasonably easy to fly. The flight envelope is quite good, with predictable and well-behaved stall characteristics - it is certainly not an acrobatic plane though!
The large rudder makes flat turns easy to accomplish and the plane can successfully take advantage of thermals when encountered. The 4S power system is more than adequate and capable of quickly hauling the plane up to high gliding altitudes with ease.
I have spent a couple of hours in the air with this model now and have really enjoyed flying it. I would class this as an intermediate difficulty aircraft to fly, that is to say, not suitable for novices, but fine as a 3rd or 4th model. A generously sized flying area with minimal trees around is definitely recommended if you are not used to flying a large format model.
Below are two videos which show the BFG2600 PNF in action.
The video above shows some footage from my maiden flight day after assembling the BFG2600. I tried to capture a number of viewing angles of the plane to give a better impression of the flight characteristics.
This more recent video shows some time-lapse footage flying the BFG2600 on a 2650mAh 4S LiPo battery and achieving 24 minutes of flight time. As mentioned in the video description, with the propeller brake turned on I think several more minutes can be added to this time.
In conclusion, the BFG2600 glider is a very nice sport flier, although it is neither specialised as a serious glider due to its heavyweight design nor FPV flying due to the lack of space inside the fuselage.
A number of quality issues let down the model, such as damaged or not glued components from the factory and peeling off decals. The manual provides no instruction on how to enable the propeller brake on the supplied no-name ESC, which is a real shame as the folding propeller is never able to ‘retract’ during flight.
At £55 in the HobbyKing clearance sale, this was a really good value plug-n-fly model. However, due to the numerous quality issues and lack of branded power train components, I would not reccomend paying the full retail price of around £160. As mentioned at the start of this article, the BFG2600 has now been discontinued by HobbyKing (as is the Robbe Arcus Sport 2.6 which this model is based on), so cannot be bought new, but if you find one locally available as a second-hand model, it is worth having a careful look if the price is right.
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