After much discussion on the “X3” thread on RCGroups.com I decided to come up with the following article discussion the evolution of NAN’s Xplorer.
The Xplorer from NAN Models started flying in 2008. It was an immediate success in F3J competition. Over the years the Xplorer underwent three major revisions. Along the way there were some intermediate variations that changed up the current offerring.
In this article we’ll explore the differences in the Xplorer’s versions and variations as well as looking at the evolution in the model over the years.
NOTE: This article is a work in progress.
Xplorer 1 Link
High perfomance F3J competition glider. First in the Xplorer series available in X-tail or 2 piece V-tail fuselage version and 3 different wingspan options. Came to the scene in 2008 with the aim to cover whole spectre of weather conditions. Through the years on the model were made numerous upgrades in terms of increasing the wingspan, impoving handling, surface quality and decreasing flying weight. As the last update is wing and tails made with lighter carbon fiber and is using new fuse of Xplorer 3. Model is suitable for experienced modelars and competitors.
Notes on this version:
This was the first release of the Xplorer airframe. This model was released as a composite molded sailplane with a molded in place vertical stabilizer and rudder. The elevator was a two-piece removable full flying stabilizer. Two notable changes in this version was the availability of a full carbon wing in 2009 and a lightened spread-tow version in 2010.
- Full carbon wing
- Spread-tow wing
Xplorer 2 Link
High perfomance F3J competition glider. Next step in evolution of Xplorer series available in X-tail or 2 piece V-tail fuselage version and 3 different wingspan options. Came to the scene in 2012. With new faster airfoil handling in wind got better and it allowed model to be lighter with same ability to cover the ground. Through the years on the model were made numerous upgrades with new type of fuselage as biggest improvement. Model is suitable for experienced modelars and competitors.
The airfoil differences are shown in differences in thickness of the airfoil:
The X2 airfoil has a sharper leading edge and is thicker at the hinge. The thickness at the spar is the same. The reasoning behind the change was for a “more slippy” airfoil and to enable the pilot to be able to return from downwind without the need for large amounts of ballast.
The X 2.5 marked the transition of the model from an in-place molded vertical stabilizer to a two piece removable tail. This version of the Xplorer has a slightly different vertical and rudder shape from the X3 and new X3 2016.
Xplorer 3 Link
High perfomance F3J competition glider. Most recent version in Xplorer series available in X-tail or 2 piece V-tail fuselage version and 3 different wingspan options. Came to the scene in 2015. Wing kept the same airofoil as Xplorer 2, with redesigned wing-tips and new tails drag is reduced, and speed on the line increased. Next difference is longer fuselage length which improved handling in the air and landing zone. Model is suitable for experienced modelars and competitors.
Largest change in the model since its inception (as of mid-2017). The model’s wing tips and fuselage underwent changes. On the wingtips the ailerons were extended all the way to the tip. The tips were also changed to an elliptical shape. The fuselage also changed significantly. The molded in place vertical stabilizer was changed out in favor of a two-piece removable tail.
Notable Differences from Previous Versions:
- Removable two piece tails
- Elliptical tails
- Longer fuselage
- Ailerons go all the way to the tip
- Elliptical wing tips
X3 (2016) – Also referred to as X3.5
The X3.5 was released to F3J Worlds competitors prior to the F3J Worlds in 2016. The newly designed fuse became available to all customers in later 2016 and is now the standard design with new X3 purchases.
The largest difference in the new fuse is that has become much narrower. The narrowing of the fuse has changed the way ballast is stored in the model. The older the ballast system no longer works with this design. This new design allows the pilot to use metal bars which can be purchased from any local hardware store.
Another difference was the change in horizontal design.
The rudder was enlarged. Also, the pin positions and sizing changed from the original X3 to the 2016 version. At the time of this writing NAN is providing pilots who request the enlarged rudder the option of having it made with the original X3 spacing allowing for the original models to be retrofit with the newer rudder style.