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Glow Engine Powered BRIO 10 Electric
BY: Mark Fuess

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Specifications

Wing Span: 41 in (1040mm)
Overall Length: 40 in (1015mm)
Wing Area: 325 sq in (21 sq dm)
Flying Weight: 28-34oz (795-965 g)
Motor Size: Park 480 Outrunner, Power 10 Outrunner, Six Series
Radio: 6-Channel or greater
Servos: 4 Sub-Micros
Trim Scheme Colors: UltraCote White (#870), Fluorecscent Blue (#896). Pearl Bright Yellow (#85200), and Fluorescent Violet (#899)
CG (center of gravity): 3-7/8 to 4-3/8 in (100 to 110mm) behind the leading edge
Prop Size: 11x7 to 12x8 Electric
Spinner Size: 1-3/4 in

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This is my second E-Flite aircraft, the first being the EDGE 540. I was very impressed with it, so I decided to get the BRIO 10. The quality of the BRIO 10 is 100% first class. The airplane is engineered for hard-core 3D maneuvers and it's certainly built to do exactly that. My goal for the BRIO 10 is to convert it to glow, since I have an EDGE 540 powered with an Outrunner. The airframe is super light weight and needs a little re-enforcing to support a glow engine.

Before I began assembling the airplane, I felt it necessary to adapt the engine first. When the engine is ready, the rest of the airplane will assemble fast.

The first thing needed is balsa tri-stock in all the joints of the stand-off box.  This will provide the needed radial support for a glow engine.

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I installed the factory OUTRUNNER firewall first, using GORILLA GLUE, then mounted the new firewall to the original one.  All of the air-flow cut-outs need to be blocked off, so I used 1/64th inch ply to cover the holes. This also strengthened the stand-off box even more.

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Here is a photo of the stand-off box completed. The engine is in place and the box covered. The other holes will be blocked of next. You really don't want those cooling holes when using a glow engine.  I decided to set the engine in the inverted position, since this minimizes the cutting on the cowling. I was unable to find any sort of Pitts style muffler for the .15 so I'll have to cut the cowling a bit.         

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The bullet fuel tank fits nicely. I have a small tank support towards the rear, and the tank is held in place using Velcro. This allows easy removal of the fuel tank if needed.  Here you also see the throttle servo installed and connected.

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With all the vent holes blocked and the engine accessories done, I painted the whole assembly with Black Dope several times to fuel-proof it. The Magnum XL .15 engine is set & ready. The overall weight difference between the glow and electric is minimal however, the weight distribution is substancially different. The glow engine has much more nose-weight. In order to balance it a few changes need to be done. The rudder servo needs to be mounted at the rear of the fuselage. There's a cut-out already there and ready for use. Next, the air-exit on the bottom of the fuselage needs to be closed off and/or covered with UltraKote. I decided to use an 850 MAH Nickel Metal Hydride battery for my electronics. It's an AAA size pack and can be moved anywhere in the fuselage as needed for CG ballast. You'll find the overall weight for the glow to be very close to the E-powered version.

The overall airframe is more than strong enough to carry a glow engine. The fuselage has a fully sheeted top & bottom and this makes the fuselage super strong. Just bare in mind that glow engines vibrate, and you need to isolate the electronics accordingly. My selection for a receiver is the SOMBRA LABS Shadow 3. This is a super-small synthesized receiver.

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This is a photo of both the receiver and Programmer. The programmer is used to set frequency on the receiver, then its un-plugged. I believe this is the smallest dual conversion receiver available, and it supports 7 channels! It's also AMA and FCC approved.

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I installed the receiver on the servo rails using Industrial Velcro. This provides maximum vibration isolation and it's easily removed as needed. I've used Velcro for 37 years on all of my airplanes and it has proven to be the best possible method for support & vibration isolation. The fuel tank is held in place with a Velcro strap.

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Another item I changed is the SKID. The factory one is in a fixed position whereas mine actually allows it to steer. This is a good addition to the airplane! I have used wheels however the skid is just as good, if not better. The skid is made of 1/16" music wire.

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It's rapidly approaching completion having all the electronics in, and control surfaces set & trimmed. The biggest job remaining is fitting the muffler. I am attempting to avoid cutting the cowling any more than absolutely necessary. The after-market muffler selection  for a small glow engine is SLIM PUCKENS at best. Another item I'm pondering is the canopy latch. I'm not so sure the magnet latch will hold up with glow engine vibration, so I decided to add a spring latch to the top.

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This photo illustrates the external portion of the latch.

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This is the torsion spring assembly located in the fuselage. There's a tapered slot behind the spring to allow easy closing & opening of the canopy. When closing the canopy the latch simply locks without your having to pull back on it. The canopy is now firmly locked in place.

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About the engine used:

SPECS:

Bore: 15mm (.729in)
Stroke: 14mm (.668in)
Displacement: 2.47cc
Practical RPM: 3,000-18,000
Power Output: .45 bhp
Weight w/Muffler: 165g
Prop Nut size: 5mm

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Additional SPECS:

Static Thrust: 24 ounces
RPM: Master Airscrew Schimitar 8x5 12,200
Actual HP: .266

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UPDATE: First Flight

The Brio 10 flew excellent, however the Magnum .15 did not provide good thrust. The engine just doesn't have the power of an Outrunner 480. The .15 pulled the Brio slow and mushy, however it ran good,  it just didn't pull the airplane too well. I tried several props before deciding to go to a bigger engine. To correct the problem, the .15 is being replaced with a Thunder Tiger Pro.36 engine. It will be about 4 ounces heavier but the power is incredable.     

SPECS:
Displacement: .365 cu in (5.98cc)
Bore: .8189" (20.8mm)
Stroke: .6929" (17.6mm)
Power Output: 1.0 at 14,500
Maximum RPM range: 2,000 - 17,000
Practical RPM range: 2,500 - 14,000
Weight (w/muffler): 11.4oz (323g)

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The Thunder Tiger Pro 36 makes 6.85 pounds of thrust on a 10.5x4.5 prop. This will fly the Brio with lots of power to spare.

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I decided to radial mount the 36 to save a little weight. This is purely an option! A nylon engine mount will work fine. Here you see the mount being milled out of a piece of 1/8" thick T6 aluminum. The aluminum radial mount weighs nothing compared to a conventional nylon mount.

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Here is the finished radial mount ready to install on the engine. This mount weighs a mere .4 ounce and it's rock solid!

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I used bigger screws to install the radial mount. They are counter-sink M3x.70mm hardened steel screws. I also used Loctite Red on them as well. The engine is ready for the BRIO. I first set it up as an inverted engine but the engine didn't run consistantly, so I set it up as a side-mount. This completely fixed all the tuning issues.

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The 36 is really screaming at a solid 13,700 RPM pulling an APC 10.5x4.5 prop at an amazing 6.85 pounds of thrust! And that's with it running on Cool Power 10% nitro. There's no doubt that the Brio will fly with Extreme Authority. I happened to try and APC 8.5x7.5 Pylon prop to see what it would do. The thrust was down to 3.75 pounds but the speed was awesome, at a whopping 109.38 Miles Per Hour! I'm not looking for speed so I think I'll pass on the Pylon prop. All its lacking is balance and re-do the cowling to fit the 36. I modified the muffler to get a straight down exit for the exahust, this helps keep the airplane a little cleaner as you can see by the mess on the pavement. You may have noticed I had to put a bigger fuel tank in it. 3.5 oz. just wasn't enough. 

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Here are the factory supplied Carbon Fiber wires installed. I believe this airplane will need them. The wire installation is unique in that you use thru-holes and glue the wires in place. What a great idea! I'll have to try this on other airplanes.

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This is the "old" cowling fitted, however it will be replaced with a better fitting one soon. This one will get me by for the maiden flight. The Brio is balanced and ready. The battery pack was cycled several times to be sure it will be OK.

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This is the front view of the Little BEAST! There's lots of engine hanging out!

There is absolutely no doubt this BRIO 10 is on the extreme upper end of the power to weight ratio, almost to the point of self-destruction. It will be flown very gentily, for at least the first few flights! I didn't care much for that big muffler hanging out, so I made a new exhaust...

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I made this from a block of aluminum I had laying around the shop, and it's 1/2 the weight of the original. I did end up moving the pressure tap though.

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Here it is installed, and ready for the new cowling. It didn't change the power band of the engine but it is a bit louder!

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With the new exhaust pipe directed below the airplane, it stays a lot cleaner now and looks a lot better.

ABOUT FLYING the "BLAZING" BRIO:
The combination of a 36 Glow Engine and Brio 10 is not for everyone! This is a very aggressive flying airplane and should not be flown by novices.You'll also find that it does the most voilent snaprolls EVER SEEN, and has a VERTICAL CLIMB that's second to none. The Brio will hover at 4 clicks of-idle, and accellerate straight up like a sling shot. I'm getting roughly a 14 minute flight on 6 ounces of fuel so I would consider a 4 ounce tank to start with. The micro-servos & receiver are holding up well inspite the engine vibration. It balances perfectly by moving the battery pack to the rear of the fuse, and the landing gear is holding up great. I have found that the factory recommended control settings are adequate but you'll need to use exponential. I have -60% on the elevator, -45% on the ailerons. Any less than this will result in a twitchy flying airplane. Finally, keep your prop pitch low, like 4 or 4.5. High pitch props similar to 10x6 or 9x7 will push the Brio to speeds it can't cope with, and self-destruction will happen. 

WORD of CAUTION!
The Blazing Brio can easily fly out of sight in any direction because of its small size. Keep it fairly close especially on overcast days. Landing is no big deal, but you must keep the landing speed up until it touches down. The Brio will dead-stick very nice, but you must keep the nose down to keep the speed up. ALSO (very important), the tail-feather wires are NOT an option when using this engine!

For even more go-power, an OS 32 is superior. It puts out 20% more power than the Thunder Tiger and both are identical in weight and mounting. I can't imagine why anyone would want more power than this, but it's available if you want it!

CONCLUSION:
The Blazing Brio is a rock-solid, high powered aircraft. After 15 flights I checked it over and all's well. Should you decide to try your hand at this, you won't be dis-appointed. It's a lot of fun to fly and it really attracts the attention from on lookers.

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UPDATE:1
The Brio flies FANTASTIC with the Pro 36! Very short & aggressive take-off in about 2 feet, and will go vertical totally out of sight at 1/2 throttle. It performs every aerobatic maneuver flawlessly and lands gently.

UPDATE:2
The landing gear support is finally giving out after 24 flights. The thin plywood base can only take a very limited amount of stress from the extra weight. If you beef it up prior to flying, it will save you some grief later on. I let mine go until it broke out then had some extra repairs to do. I removed the original support all together and put a 3/16" plywood base in it. That's over twice as thick as the original one.   

* * * FLY SAFE * * *         

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mark.fuess@comcast.net