Bug
Wingspan: 23.5 in
Wing area: 340 sq in
AUW: 6–6-1/2 oz
Wing loading: 2.75 oz/sq ft

LightFlite Bug

Bug

The Bug is a 4-channel rudder-and-elevon aerobatic foamie from LightFlite. With its huge control surfaces and large control throws, the Bug is highly maneuverable. With its carbon-fiber skeleton and EPP foam wing and fuselage, it is very rugged. It is also a blast to fly!

The Bug's resemblance to the IFO and T-IFO is unmistakable.

Bug Bug Bug

A couple of short flight videos are here and here.

Bug flight video

The maiden flight of my Bug was on 2007-02-21. Here is the 'first flight' report I posted on RC Groups:

I got the kit a month ago. I bought the "Indoor Season Special" from LightFlite, which included a CD-ROM motor, ESC, servos, a really handy motor mount, propellor, and glue. The kit instructions were good. I pretty much finished the kit two weeks ago. (Except I *still* haven't tidied up all of the servo and antenna wiring.) It's been windy and well below freezing ever since. Today the weather broke! Winds were calm, the temperature was 50F, and it wouldn't get dark until 1800, so I rushed home from work and...

The doggone thing flies, and is rugged too! On my first takeoff, I tried to circle the cul-de-sac but only got 3/4 of the way around before ramming directly into a streetlight about 15 feet above the ground. No damage. The second flight, I kept it low, got 1-1/2 times around, and rammed a mailbox. No damage. Cool!

As it got dark, it got harder to keep orientation. Several times I turned the wrong way out of a banked turn and rammed head-on into the ground. No damage, except one wheel came off its axle. I made a new wheel retainer, CAd it in place, and kept flying. A number of times, when the motor cut out during a steep turn (see below), the Bug nosed right into the asphalt. No damage.

As built, my Bug is both heavy (about 6.8 oz with a 460 mAh battery) and tail-heavy (CG all the way back in the 'aerobatic' position). This is probably because I painted only the tailfeathers -- I tried to spray a light coat, but probably added 0.25 oz or so of paint -- and applied the glue more heavily than necessary. LightFliteRC says anything over 6 oz is heavy. On the other hand, since I'm new to 3D, and the bug is kind of saucer-shaped, I wanted a paint job that would aid orientation, and this one does that. I think it's an attractive "retro" color scheme, too.

The only problem I've had so far is that the motor is prone to randomly cutting out, generally after the battery pack has been in use for four or five minutes. Don't know whether it's a problem with the receiver, ESC, or motor, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's the receiver.

I've got the servo travel dialed way back, so it's not too aerobatic yet, but it still turns on a dime and is quite fun to fly. Can't wait for another warm, calm day...

Bug

The problem mentioned in the flight report turned out to be the cheap brushless speed control (ESC) provided by LightFlite. I replaced it with a Thunderbird 9 from Castle Creations, and have had no problems since.

Bug

There was also a problem with the TowerPro servos provided by LightFlite; the two elevon servos moved at different speeds. On an elevon plane like the Bug, this is very bad; for example, a simple "up elevator" command induces some roll as well. I have replaced those servos with higher-quality Hitec HS-55s, and the Bug handles much better.

On the other hand, the LightFlite brushless CD-ROM motor is very powerful and has performed flawlessly.

Some Bug resources: