Skywalker X-8

by FliteTest | April 22, 2013 | (31 Ratings) Posted in Reviews

The Skywalker X-8 is an EPO foam wing designed for long range FPV.

The large cargo space of the X-8 allows you to carry a lot of stuff. David designed this custom 360 degree pan rig that's controlled by the rudder and allows the pilot to see all around as he flying. 

This custom add-on makes the FPV flying experience much better then the stock setup of this foam wing. 

We installed an ArduPilot Mega 2.5 from 3D Robotics to provide additional flying control with options like 'return to home' which allows the plane to automatically fly a designated flight pattern.

Some design issues that we had were things like the wings, which are held on with only this small screw. 

This bump on the nose causes the plane to jump around upon landing.

The large wing is not designed for high speed flying or inverted flight, but the cargo space will allow for extra batteries and components which will give you the option to setup the airplane for long flight times and long range FPV. 

Chad's favorite part of this plane had nothing to do with the Skywalker X-8 itself, but the custom 360 FPV panning system David setup. A GoPro rig like this would be too heavy for a TwinStar II so that is the good side of what the X-8 can do.

Though the X-8 can carry a lot of things and flies great in calm weather, when compared the TwinStar II, we'd choose the TwinStar II or the FT Cruiser swappable.   

This airplane is big!  It's got some unique features that can be very useful for specific FPV setups and with all of the cargo space there are all kinds of options to customize the foam wing for your FPV needs.

The airplane does well as a large FPV plane and is pretty straight forward and relatively easy to fly.

David will be flying this airplane throughout the summer and plans to give an update of how the X-8 continues to perform.

We also had a chance to try out this RF Explorer which is a handheld RF spectrum analyzer. The device helped us fix some issues he had with the EzUHF Rx Long Range UHF Radio Control Link by showing us local frequencies that were interfering with our signal. 

You can see more X-8FPV flying footage here:

 

You can see more images in the Forum post HERE!

We'd like to thank Chris Anderson of 3D Robotics for sending us the ArduPilot Mega 2.5!
You can learn more about the ArduPilot and the other components they have available at www.3DRobotics.com 

Airplanes mentioned in this episode:
Skywalker X-8 FPV / UAV Flying Wing 2120mm
Multiplex TwinStar II  ELAPOR Foam Twin Engine Airplane 
FT Cruiser - Twin Engine Swappable Airplane
 

 

 

COMMENTS

Good Kebo on April 22, 2013
It would be great for you to sell parts to build David's Servo with potentiometer 360 degree camera mount along with a plan setup. I was very smooth. Nice video.
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xuzme720 on April 22, 2013
I had a quick question on the 360 setup. I know that it was said that the rudder channel was used for pan control. With the 10 turn pot being used for position sensing, does full rudder bring the camera to the rear view position and then when released, self center back to forward looking? It appears to be doing that and it's the only reason I can think of to have the pot set up that way, so I just wanted to confirm rather than assume! :)
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Dirt Pilot on April 22, 2013
Great video (as always). Can you do a build video on the pan mechanism and electronics for it? Thanks.
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peoplearegreat on April 22, 2013
Custom 360 FPV Panning System that David built, a build video plans or kit would be awesome! Best one I have seen in a long time!
Please!

Great Job Guys!
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Auxiliarypower on April 23, 2013
I have been waiting to this review for a long time now and thank you guys so much for putting this together.

Pan system..... When is that design going to be on the site. And then in the store.

Could you fly it with dual 5.0 batteries.
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Dan728dan on May 14, 2013
With that amount of wing area i can't see why not. i have 13200mah worth of packs in my EPP-FPV which has ALOT less wing area than the X8. I'm Almost 100% that it will carry it no problem. I will post back when i have flown mine this week.
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ddrueding on April 23, 2013
Great review. I'd had my eye on this plane for quite a while, and as soon as I knew you'd be reviewing it I placed the order. Now the plane has been sitting half-built, waiting for the review to come out.

I was hoping for more information on the electronics, and the modifications you've made to the fuselage/wings to route everything. I'm also implementing a split elevon system, allowing drag rudder, flaps, etc.
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Exhodus on April 23, 2013
I have a good solution for the wing reinforcement! Layer it with paper!
Just get a bunch of brown packaging paper (pretty thick, with high amounts of wood fibers) and white woodglue (elmer glue, pattex doesn't matter). It is water based, so you can thin it with water, I usually thin it until it just starts to drip from a baboo skewer in drops.
Now you need to soften up the finish of the wing with a sand paper, than apply a thin layer of this thinned up white glue, layer the paper on it, than apply a second layer of glue on top.
Now use some plastic giftcard or similar, to wipe of the excess glue, press it to the surface firmly, because in the meanwhile you do force the glue through the fibers of the paper!
When it dries( can take up to a day) you will have a very tough surface that is sandable and paintable! It gives incredible amounts of strengh to any foam!

Make sure you do both sides of the wing at the same time, as while drying the paper will try to shrink and will warp the wing if only applied to one side!

I use this technology on all my airplanes, and it works beautifully!
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MattxJax45 on April 23, 2013
Thanks for the tip! Definitely using this in the future.
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kickss on April 23, 2013
Hi excellent review. Question after davids finished test flying the x-8 how about turning it into a stealth bomber spray it black reinforce the wings and cut bomb bay doors into the bottom of it which open and close by servo and have it drop a massive payload like a water bomb etc. Love the show by the way. Thanks chris.
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iskess on April 23, 2013
Please teach us how to make that pan servo. Maybe even sell us a build kit in your store.
What APM parameters did you use for the X8?
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UndCon on April 24, 2013
On all my FPV planes I have the FPVcamera mounted on a gimbal. The gimbal itself is controlled with rudder/elevators. This gives the feeling of looking into the turn and it feels so natural I never changed it. If you look at my Birdchase fim you see my FPV camera moving about and it is the actual inputs from rudder/elevators.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKar5IfFJ4Y
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Canaweb on April 24, 2013
Can you guys provide a list of all of the FPV stuff you used here? What goggles, transmitters, frequencies, transmitters, etc..
Thanks!
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liveyourdreamsRC on April 25, 2013
I think you guys really need to investigate investing in a ZII wing because it seems more what you want to do. Fast low and aerobatic unlike the twinstar. Great review and can you make a build of the camera pan system. It works great and I really want to know a bit on servo mods. I know Dave did something with it on his website but I haven't gotten around to reading all of the articles even after about a year! Great episode and can't wait to hear back from you on how it flies in a few weeks Dave!
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Airborne Media Pros on May 2, 2013
Hey guys!

Great meeting David at the Toledo show, sorry I didn't meet Chad to.
Anyways, did you guys find the Ardupilot Mega 2.5 difficult to set up in the X8? I ask because I'm trying to set up the OpenPilot Copter Control Board (original) in a flying-wing. It has it's challenges, mostly not being able to set expo in the transmitter and or adjust trims either. Long & Short, I'm working it out, but I sure am adding lots of Hot-Glue Repairs. :)
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liveyourdreamsRC on May 3, 2013
Also after watching the Q and A this week it would be really helpful for a build video. Just so many things David said didn't exactly make sense to me. Great vid on the hot wire cutting by the way, but maybe you could talk more about the formers and how to make those in another episode. Keep up the good work!
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weaponeer on May 21, 2013
I'm going to date myself, but.. in the late 70's, there was a little known trick for covering RC aircraft, that was extremely lightweight, and resulted in incredible light designs, and this method may be the X8 modification that totally changes the X8 flight profile, by making it MUCH stronger, as well as an even smoother wing for better performance, and it "should" allow you to achieve high speeds without flutter (not likely to eliminate it, but due to the stronger wing, it should perform better.

(as someone who hopes to buy an X8 in the future I have an interest in improved performance of the X8, and due to being a disabled Army Veteran on army disability pay, the mods need to be cheap)..

So what is this little known method? rather than covering the wing in fiberglass, which adds weight, which will then require an even larger motor and expense, a couple master scratch builders at that time built a sweet Panther with ducted fan, with extreme detailing including perforated air brakes like the original, etc, and what they used instead of fiberglass, was RICE PAPER.

Just sand, apply, sand, and paint. you then will have an ultra thin glassed wing and body that should be an incredibly strong combination with the foam.

The main objections to the design (other than cost, and time) could potentially be addressed by doing this. in fact you could fill the holes in the nose, as well as use the foam cutter to remove the "double chin". this would also be a great build project, as well as video.

The X8 allows for using or testing, Flaperons, Elevons, Spoilerons, and Stabilator mixing (also another good video).

And personally I wish to add a large oversize air-brake to the rear of the top cove by cutting the top cover cut in half, and the rear section screwed down, and containing the air-brake. (this may be a more effective means of FPV formation flying. rather than cutting power, just maintain the power, and control speed using the air-brake).

I'm personally looking forward to hearing more about the X8, and X8 mods including what I have stated above.

Best Regards

Gary Graham
http://www.youtube.com/user/weaponeer
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peoplearegreat on June 5, 2013
Pan build video as promised...please !
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Gopherdave on July 11, 2013
Hello:

Great review. I found this UAV information on the Scan Eagle, it's quite similar to the X-8. It's insane what these guys had to go through just to fly a UAV over a flooded river to look at it, permits, wavers and certifications. People buzz around with their X-8's all the time shooting awesume video as seen in the review. Check this out, quite interesting.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPlSuEgoIQQ
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Hskaug on March 26, 2014
Hei David
Can you make a diy on the pan servo setup. The 10 turn pot can I use something like this?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/3590S-10K-ohm-10-Turn-Rotary-Wirewound-Precision-Potentiometer-1pcs-/261434110974
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