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Written by Robb Wilson
Experience the thrill of early aviation
Read the complete review in the July 2014 issue of
Model Aviation.



Specifications

Model type: Semiscale ARF
Skill level: Intermediate builder; intermediate pilot
Wingspan: 51 inches
Wing area: 552 square inches
Length: 42 inches
Weight: 70 ounces
Power system: 400- to 500-watt brushless outrunner
Radio: Four channel radio; four micro servos
Construction: Balsa/plywood
Covering/finish: Iron-on Mylar covering
Street price: $219.99


Test-Model Details

Power system: Cobra 2826-12 760 Kv brushless outrunner, Cobra DL40A+ speed controller
Battery: Turnigy Nano-tech 4S 25-50C 3,300 mAh LiPo
Propeller: 12 x 6 Master Airscrew
Radio system: Spektrum DX7 2.4 GHz DSM2 radio; HobbyKing OrangeRx six-channel receiver; four Tactic TSX5 micro high-speed servos
Ready-to-fly weight: 69 ounces
Flight duration: 7-15 minutes


Pluses

• High level of detail and a unique design attracts attention on or off the airfield.
• Solid, low-speed performance makes for enjoyably long flight durations using a 4S 3,300 mAh LiPo battery.
• Scale appearance and in-flight performance make this ARF look convincing in the air.


Minuses

• Excess play in the tail linkages makes ground handling slightly difficult.
• Instruction manual is difficult to follow and requires multiple reads to fully understand many of the required steps.


Excerpts from the Review

First impressions: How often does one get to fly a trainer, sport scale warbird, and racing aircraft model all in one airframe? The Blériot Model XI by Maxford USA allows a pilot to do just that. As originally marketed by Louis Blériot, the Model XI could satisfy any pilot’s desire and be used as a trainer one day and a light bomber the next.

Aircraft from the Pioneer Era of aviation were often used for more than one application. Bléiot himself originally used the Blériot Model XI to cross the English Channel. This was a huge feat, because it was the first heavier-than-air aircraft to make the crossing, and the act placed 1,000 British pounds in Blériot’s pocket.

The epic Channel crossing secured a spot for Blériot and his airplane in the history books and provided him with a career in aviation. Taking off from France without a compass and with a French destroyer escort, Blériot crash-landed on English soil on July 25, 1909, prompting the headline, “Britain is no longer an Island.”

Blériot accomplished this with an airplane equipped with a three-cylinder, semi-radial, 25 hp Anzani engine—a modified motorcycle engine that was developed to be lightweight and air cooled. Along with the unusual engine, the Blériot prototype featured wing warping instead of ailerons, a rudder that moved as one piece, and elevators that encompassed the entire outer section of the horizontal stabilizer. The unique design was punctuated with an undercarriage featuring spoked, individually sprung front landing gear attached to the airframe via a large wooden structure reminiscent of a medieval rack.

The Maxford ARF nearly matches the Blériot prototype. From the preassembled open-truss frame to the three-cylinder dummy radial engine, this ARF is a work of art as well as a model airplane.

Other pilots at the airfield commented that the Maxford Blériot looked as though it belonged in a museum. My wife even remarked how attractive this model is. The original aircraft featured wing warping and undercambered wings, but with the limitations of balsa, Maxford substituted ailerons and a flat bottom airfoil.

For scale purists, Maxford includes instructions on how to eliminate the ailerons and make the Blériot a three-channel airframe. Not included with the kit were extra details that add to the model’s realism, including a dummy engine, pilot with seat, and vintage spoked wheels (for roughly $55). Many would-be purchasers may raise an eyebrow, feeling that these optional parts should be included with the kit; they definitely add to the overall scale realism of the model.

The Maxford Blériot requires a radio system, servos, 400-watt brushless power system, and propeller. We used four Tactic TSX5 micro high-speed servos, a Cobra 2826-12 brushless outrunner, 40-amp speed controller, and a HobbyKing DRX DSM2 OrangeRx receiver with a Spektrum DX7 radio.

Slipping the recommended four-cell LiPo flight battery into place is easy, thanks to the open design of the forward part of the fuselage. I was not satisfied with using the single piece of surface-mounted hook-and-loop material that was provided in the kit as the sole means of holding it in place. I was able to borrow a hook-and-loop strap from another aircraft.

Using a 3,300 mAh capacity battery put the Blériot’s all-up weight at 4 pounds, 5 ounces, which is 1 ounce less than Maxford’s specified weight. The wing’s LE is even with the firewall, which normally would all but guarantee a tail-heavy aircraft. The mass of the suspension-equipped main gear negates the need for ballast.

The Blériot’s slow-speed capabilities are impressive. Add a modest headwind and the Blériot can nearly slow to a walk. Basic aerobatic maneuvers such as rolls, loops, and stall turns are possible, but I did not feel particularly pressed to push the model through many.

Landings are beautiful and easy to perform; the Blériot glides down and reconnects with the earth with a light, springy bounce or two. Given the model’s willingness to sip the amps, my 6- to 7-minute flights often saw only 1,000 mAh pumped back into the flight battery

Read the full review in the July 2014 issue of Model Aviation.



With all of the parts on display, it was quickly apparent that this build was going to take time.





Plenty of extra details are available including a dummy engine, spoked wheel sets, and a pilot with a seat.





The Bleriot is literally a box with wings.





The large landing gear assembly aided in keeping weight forward so no dead weight was needed to achieve proper balance





With the rigging complete, the Blériot goes from model airplane to work of art.





Flight Video


Conclusion

Although performing truly scalelike takeoffs is nearly impossible because of the control linkages used to control the tail wheel steering, the Maxford Blériot does not disappoint in the air. Superb slow-speed performance endows this model with the ability to putt around in a scalelike fashion.

If you favor Scale aircraft and have not yet owned a model that dates back to the infancy of aviation, the Maxford USA Blériot is an enjoyable way to experience the excitement of that era. Read the full review in the July 2014 issue of Model Aviation.

—Robb Wilson


Manufacturer/Distributor

Maxford USA
(562) 529-3988
www.maxfordusa.com


Sources

Cobra Power Systems
Innov8tive Designs
(760) 468-8838
www.innov8tivedesigns.com

Tactic
(217) 398-0007
www.tacticrc.com

Hobby King
www.hobbyking.com

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