Features of the Small Model
The Rocrow is designed to be a multipurpose flying machine that can be adapted in various ways to look like other species, or to be used for a variety of purposes. It is produced in black or white EPP foam. The Rocrow model is black EPP throughout. This means that if there are any claw marks, the exposed internal foam is still black and it still looks great. The white model can be painted to look like another species. For example we have a Ropheasant (Phasianus colchicus), a Rokarrowan or Stone Curlew (Burrhinus oedicnemus), a Roperegrine (Falco peregrinus), a Rogoshawk (Accipiter gentilis), a Ro-Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) and even a Ro-Australasian Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen). The Ropheasant and Rokarrowan have complex feather patterns on their upper surfaces and these are replicated by photographically true to life stickers. The curved surfaces and all other species are hand painted either in our factory or you can take pride in painting your own.
The wing is made of moulded EPP with an inner wing dihedral to provide some stability, but a level outer wing to allow manoeuvrability.
The upper surface is free of all obstructions that could injure a falcon and has a smooth surface that will allow stickers to be put on. A feather pattern is moulded into the EPP for unpainted models.
The elevons (flaps on the wings) have simple moulded pinch hinges that are very safe for the falcons, cheap to make and easily repaired. They have performed very well in trials. The elevons are controlled by servos embedded in the underside of the wing and covered with removable safety fairings. The servos are high grade units with polymer gears to withstand impacts, but at the same time are easily replaceable. The elevon horns are light but strong carbon fibre set into a groove in the wing, and the push rods are strong, and short for positive responses, with no breakable adjustment linkages and no exposed spikes.
The wing itself is a single moulded piece with a fully embedded W-shaped carbon spar that is hollow circular in section to withstand impacts from all directions. It spans the wing totally from tip to tip at the leading edge to protect the wingtips and 1 year on we have never seen or heard of one breaking. When an unpainted white wing is held against the sun, the carbon spar can be seen.
The primaries are emarginated with tough outer edges to survive impact. The wing profile has some back sweep for manoeuvrability and stability. The centre section of the wing is fully protected fore and aft with lightweight plastic guards where the rubber bands sit.
The fuselage is made of moulded EPP with a double shell around the tube containing the EDF (Electric Ducted Fan).
The fan is deeply recessed to eliminate all chances of a blade contacting a falcon’s foot. We have seen horrendous injuries with quadcopters and propeller planes in the Middle East. The fan blades do sometimes get broken in a smash-crash and can be replaced. These are balanced fans so the replacement blades can be noisier, but they are just as powerful. Alternatively the whole motor is designed for easy removal and replacement.
The fan is covered with a removable lightweight mesh which prevents trailing jesses touching the fan blades.
The electronics are mounted internally and very rarely fail. The electronic speed controller is air cooled. It also carries a transmitter mount and we recommend that you put a radio tag inside your model in case you lose it in a standing crop or woodland. A stabiliser is fitted as standard. This can be tricky to set up so watch our video manual carefully here. Once it is working it allows you to do a hands free launch or use an automatic launcher. It is useful to use the stabiliser just to get up into the air, then switch to semi-stabilised mode for general fun flying. When you have sufficient piloting skills, and there is a falcon out there trying to ‘kill’ you, switch the stabiliser off to give yourself the full range of flight performance.
The balanced 4-cell LiPo battery is fully protected inside the neck of the model and is quickly changed by sliding it in and out. It is locked in place once the wings are on. It allows you to fly for up to five minutes on full power. In practice you do not fly full power all the time, so you can usually fly for ten minutes, which is more than enough. There are battery pockets in the flight box. It is best to use several batteries and after use put each one in upside down in the pockets so that you do not get confused which are charged and which are flat.
The battery is slotted into a padded collar. On the outside of the collar, on the chest, is a small streamlined hook. This can be used for the red neckband and for using an automatic launcher which pulls it up into the sky. The head itself is made from moulded foam which is available in several colours. It may last a long time, or a particular falcon may take pleasure in shredding it, especially if you are slow to reach her. The old head can easily be scraped off the collar with a knife and a new head put on with evo-stik. A small amount of meat, such as a chick leg, can be attached to the head by means of a red bungee neck band. This hooks down to the chest hook. The knot should be on top. This allows you to lift the band to slip the meat under and once the falcon has eaten the meat, she tends to pull at the red tufts of the knot, rather than damage the model. Across the top of the collar is a horizontal moulded tube. This takes a removable steel pin that attaches an optional airbrake. This is a spring-loaded cup. When you flick the airbrake switch on your transmitter the servo arm on the base of the tail releases the trailing edge of the wing. The wing pops up, hinged at the leading edge, to an angle of about 60 degrees.
For the airbrake video click here
This changes the angle of attack of the wing, kills the lift and drives the model and falcon down to the ground. If the falcon has it by the head it should come down smoothly in a steep glide. The arm of the airbrake servo at the base of the tail is a weak link that should break in a smash and release the wing. It is easily replaced with one screw. We want the arm to break first, rather than strain the gears in the servo. The airbrake is useful when flying in confined spaces or with big powerful falcons that can easily carry.
The wings are held on with rubber bands so that when the model hits the ground, if a wing tip hits first, the rubber band provides some ‘give’ rather than transmitting the shock into the airframe and risking damage. Some falcons can cut the band in a stoop, in which case fit 2 bands. The wing can be detached easily from the airbrake cup by sliding the bands off the two ends of the steel pin. The bands can be run parallel to the body or crossing over the body, or even two smaller bands joined together to form a figure eight. They should be tight enough to prevent wing flutter in a stoop.
Some falcons are very hard stoopers and there is a real risk of injury when they strike the model. Although the model is only 650 g, the impact can be tremendous and risky for the falcon. For these falcons we strongly recommend always using the stoop pad. This covers the strike area on the head and shoulders of the model. In extreme cases, also cut off the plastic rim of the airbrake or wing guard in the strike area with a Dremel. The pad is held in place at the front with the red neck band, and at the sides by crossing the rubber bands. There is a light carbon tube in the tail area to protect against the pressure of the rubber bands.
The tail is narrow and tough to resist damage, especially from young raptors who tend to grab by the tail until they get more experience. There are no control surfaces on it to worry about. This means that extra things can be stuck on the tail: shredded bin liner plastic to create attractive fluttering, or even a full length cock pheasant tail that goshawks find irresistible. The vertical fin is designed to promote manoeuvrability and flight performance in the stall. If after a lot of adventures, your tail is chewed up beyond repair and is more glue than foam, it can be cut clean off. There is a faint guideline for this moulded around the fuselage. It is important that the new tail is glued on straight or it will fly like a boomerang.
Thus all your parts are modular and replaceable. Most repairs and replacements can be done yourself often in the field. The flight box is designed to hold all your bits and pieces, batteries, glue, accelerator, spare bands and any other items. Keep them all together in the box. Don’t go all the way to your flying field and then discover you have left your batteries at home on charge (yes, we admit it!).