Unicorn

Review 01-Jan-2004 Rene Wallage Video Available Follow this link
Motor Graupner speed 400 wired reverse for pusher configuration Servos GWS Park HPX BB (0.67 Oz - 19 Gr)
Speed Controller ComPro SMM35 Batteries 8 cell AA 1400 and 8 cell AA 1800 from www.CheapBatteryPacks.com 
Channels 3 (Elevon mix and throttle), using a Berg5 Rx and Futaba 6XAs Tx Flight Time

13-15 minutes with the 1400 pack
15-20 minutes with the 1800 pack.
both with throttle management

Propeller Gunther 5x5 Gear Box No

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Wingspan 48"
122 cm
Length NA Empty weight 26.5 oz
750 gr
Max flying weight NA
Wing Area 540 Sq Inch
1.372 Sq Mtr
Wing load 6.35 oz/sq.ft
CG location
from wing edge

Recommended 10” – 254mm from the nose
Currently flying at 10.5” – 267mm

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Building No prior experience needed.  Be patient, and just follow the extremely well written instructions. When using the recommended glues it can be done in 3 to 4 evenings.  Cover either with packing tape, or Oracover.  If you have the ability, use Oracover (or similar).  It makes for a smoother surface.  The supplied wood for the winglets and elevons is of fairly poor quality.  I strongly recommend at least for the elevons to use different balsa right from the start.
Take-off The “Pizza Toss” works very well for me.  Hold the Unicorn by the nose with thumb on top, throw into the wind with motor off as you would toss an overhand baseball.  When the Unicorn leaves your hand give ¾ to full throttle, and by the time your throw arm is on the controls you can start a 40-45 degree climb.
Flight behavior

Very stable, at ½ to ¾ throttle almost docile.  Although it will tip stall while banking steeply at low speed.  At ¾ to full throttle the Unicorn is as aerobatic as any wing, and then some.  In the right hands it can even do 4-point rolls!  Inverted flight needs only a little bit “up”.  With the 1400 pack there is no need to pick up speed with a slight dive at all, for any maneuver.

I would say beginner to intermediary.
Landing Landing needs a bit of planning, because this plane just won’t stop!  Final should start way out, otherwise you’ll be doing a lot of walking.  When done well, the Unicorn will slow down to a crawl, and then gently settle down on terra firma.  It is also supposed to be quite easy to hand catch the Unicorn, but I leave that to those with more experience (and better insurance).
Crash Results The wing as all EPP, and has 3 carbon fiber rods embedded in the wing, so is nearly indestructible. I have tried real hard!  Nose-ins from 20 meters high give a spectacular 5 meter high bounce.
Repairing The only damage you will encounter on a regular basis, are the winglets.  Although the Unicorn will fly without them, it will not track as good.  I always make sure there are a couple of spares in my field kit, made from 2mm balsa.  On real hard nose-ins your motor can shift forward into the motor tube.  More often than not, the propeller will just pop off undamaged.  All you need to do is, with a pair of nose pliers, pull the motor back into place, put a new tiewrap on, and put the prop back on.  And it is always good to have some extra tape and CA on hand.
Other comments I have recently epoxy glued 2 sheets of 2mm balsa together, and shaped new elevons out of this.  They came out 15grams heavier, but much stronger.  Another mod that is advisable (if you have the building experience) is to not use the provided pushrods, but go for flexible ones (eg. Golden Rods)  This way the servos can be close to the centerline, and further forward, making it easier to balance on the CG.  It also enables you to place the control horns in the middle of the elevons and at a 90 degree angle.  So there will be less chance of elevon flutter and more control.
Interesting Links

and there are several more threads and building threads on RCGroups.

FMS plane  
Pictures Unicorn on it's first flight, sloping

Latest Update: Monday, 20 June 2005