Friday, July 25, 2008
It's my first real heli. I had some of the toy types, but this is a much bigger step. The thing comes completely ready to fly, all you need to do is charge the lipo battery with the provided balance charger, and put 8aa batteries into the transmitter.
Everything worked perfectly right out of the box. I have some 15 flights on it so far, with no mechanical issues whatsoever. The heli is mostly metal, it's pretty hard to break.
I have been practicing all the basic maneuvers, and really getting the hang of it. No crashes so far. I felt pretty comfortable after only a couple of flights. I have been staying out of the wind, for the most part, but this evening, I took it outside in a pretty fair 10mph breeze and had no real problems with it, but I definitely recommend zero wind or indoors for your first flights. More later, and some pics...
So far, so great...
Update...now I have some 30 flights on it. Everything is still working fine. I bent a skid and cracked the canopy when I hit a tree, no other damage, in spite of dropping 15 feet onto pavement.
I replaced the stock "sport" canopy with a "Lama" style scale one that fit with a little scissors work. I like the look much better.
This was my first heli, and I have to say, the experience was great. I feel comfortable moving on to a more advanced heli now. I highly recommend it for someone who wants to get their feet wet in helis, I have no complaints at all about this machine, and the price is really cheap, too.
It's a big model, very brawny.
I am using a Monster Power 110 motor, which is probably overkill, but it will go straight up. Unlimited vertical.
Power is two 4000mah 4s packs.
Speed control is a Castle Creations 85hv.
Using a seperate 1600 5 cell pack for the radio.
I have Raidentech digital servos on all surfaces, they seem just great so far, not cheap junk, but very nice servos.
It comes with flaps, but fixed gear. It is not retract ready, but installing retract bays should be no big deal, it's a plain wood wing.
Woodwork and covering is superb. Glasswork is good, and very light. The wing and stab tips are fiberglass, too.
I made mine a two-piece wing, it holds up in flight, no problem.
I fitted one of the Nitroplanes WWII pilots, it looks GREAT, and they are very cheap. I had to cut his base down a little to fit.
The only complaint I have had so far is I think the elevator pushrod is a little too flexy for my tastes, so I replaced it with 4/40 rods and a fiberglass tube.
So far, very pleased...
I have about a dozen flights on it, the more I fly it, the more I love it. Incredibly aerobatic, fast, and very very very easy to land. Wonderful plane.
This plane is absolutley outstanding, particularly on two fronts...flyability and scale appearance.
What's in the box? Motor and 64mm fan and 25a ESC, already installed. Five servos, already installed. 2200mah lipo battery. A very useable balance charger that will peak and balance the battery to 12.6v exactly, just like my expensive charger does. A screwdriver, a package of good quality five minute epoxy. All hardware and landing gear. All foam components prepainted and predecorated. A canopy with the frame painted on. Everything you need except a transmitter and receiver.
Construction took about 45 minutes, with no problems and no surprises. Do check the fit of the foam parts, and sand away any paint where you are gluing. Keep in mind that both elevator control horns need to point towards the same side of the aircraft, so the elevators go up and down together. The main gear gets glued into place...there is no real easy way to change that(maybe with some plywood plates?), so you need to make the choice of either gear up or gear down and live with it. I got one and flew it with the gear on, and was so pleased that I ordered a second one so I could have another with the gear off for hand-launching over grass. Frankly, there is not much to say about building it, it's dead simple to get together.
So...off to the field. First takeoff took about 100 feet. It was obvious that it was at flying speed long before that, and that the slightly negative angle of attack from the small nosewheel was keeping the plane down, and I needed to apply elevator to get it off the ground. I suspect the designers did this deliberately, to make sure that beginning pilots would have adequate speed to avoid a slow takeoff and tipstall. If you put on a bigger nosewheel or bent the main gear forward a bit, it would take off a lot faster. Ground handling is exceptional. It will also go from a really easy hand-toss, or will even take off from its belly on smooth grass. Landings are super easy...just leave a little power on and fly her down to the runway, then cut the power. Don't try to "flare" her in, you would not do that will a full-scale F-15(stall a few feet above the runway!), you should not with the model, either. Again...it's really easy to land.
In the air, with the landing gear on, she likes a little dive before performing a loop. With the gear off, without the extra weight and drag of the wheels, she will go up and over with no issues at all. Rolls are just great, very axial and very scale. Speed is decent, no barn burner, but maybe 50-60 mph. It's not "nominal" in any way, it has plenty of power to fly around with authority. Above all things, it's a very EASY plane to fly, dead stable, a perfect first jet, perfect for anybody with a little aileron experience. And it looks just awesome in the air.
On the scale front, the plane is really exceptional. The outline looks great, and there are lots of panel lines and details molded in to the airframe. Even better, there are some really great decal(well...not waterslide decals, but stickers, anyway) sheets included, with dozens and dozens of little grates and "no steps" and details included, and the instructions show where every one goes. I spent an extra hour or more putting all these on(after I test flew it) and they really add a lot of texture and make the model come alive. So far, nothing I have seen on the foamie EDF front has come close to this F-15 on scale appearance. Both paint schemes available are nice, too.
It flies very nicely on the stock power system, but advanced pilots might want a little more urge...it's easy to modify. On the bottom of the plane you will see a hatch right beneath the motor, if you run a sharp razor around the edges, you will cut the glue joint and you can get to the fan to change motors. The battery holder is a simple and clever velcro strap, and I had no problem fitting in a 4s battery instead of the 3s provided. I flew around for about 3 minutes with the 4s, and it was a dramatic difference in speed and climb, but the motor was not made to take it, and burned out after three minutes. So...you will need a different motor, and perhaps a different ESC. The airframe is plenty strong to handle a lot more power. Fly it first, stock, you might be surprised at how able it is in the air, but feel free to upgrade it further, it's a good airframe for that.
At any rate, this plane is a real winner, and a perfect place to get your feet wet in jets...I can put in 5 quick flights on my way home from work, no maintainance, no problems, and fun in the air.
I got this plane to keep my Su-47 company. I already had the excellent Sapac F-22, so the bar for the Nitroplanes one to beat was pretty high. It's considerably smaller than the Sapac one, and made out of a completely different kind of foam. The foam seems to be CA glue resistant, and very tough, highly resistant to dings and damage. It's close to the indestructable EPP foam used on some models, but maybe not exactly the same. It's definitely not regular expanded polystyrene foam, but something better. The tail surfaces seem to be made of a different material, maybe sheet depron. Every single part is included...glue, a decent screwdriver, two 55mm fans with 4300kv inrunner motors, two 18a ESCs, three servos, a 2200 3s lipo battery, and a decent balancing charger for the battery. You can also get it with a transmitter and receiver included. Everything is installed, too. Construction is dead simple, but I will give you a few tips...
The ailerons and elevators are linked by pushrods. Make sure there is zero slop in the system. Make washers out of the spare control horns included, if you need to take up any slack. Make sure all of the nuts on the EZ connectors are CAed or locktited for safety. Make sure you turn your radio on and center the servos before you put the horns on, as they are hard to access once you have glued the wings on. There was a little bendiness in my ailerons due to the pushrods themselves flexing, but this has not proved to be an issue in flight. I added a strip of carbon fiber to the bottom of each stab, as they felt a little floppy, but I don't know if that's really needed...it just made me feel better. A couple of cocktail sticks would do the same job, if you don't have any carbon fiber around. I moved the nosegear steering to the inner hole of the servo and the outer hole of the steering arm to reduce the sensitivity of the nosegear. Both main gear legs have the shock-absorption coil going the same way, so one goes forward and one goes back, this works perfectly. Only three screws are provided for the main gear mounting for each side, three screws is plenty, even though there are four holes. I changed out the provided bullet connectors on the ESC and battery to Deans connectors, to make it compatable with the rest of my fleet. The bullet connectors came off with a touch of my soldering iron and went into my scrapbox for future use on something else. I used only five minute epoxy for construction. The provided contact cement works, but I don't like the stuff, and it takes too long to dry. The whole assembly of the plane took about an hour.
I used a Spektrum radio with an AR7100 RX, which may be overkill, but I had it on hand. You need to set up your radio for Delta mixing...if you cannot get the surfaces moving in the right direction, try switching the two servos into the opposite ports on the receiver...instead of left on aileron and right on elevator channels, plug the right into aileron and the left into elevator, and everything should work fine. I used the control throws shown in the manual, and used a bit of expo, which I highly recommend for the first flights. I ran the motors up slowly for the first time, to make sure the fans were balanced and to get them "bedded in" properly. There were no issues there, and they really howl. I mean, LOT of power. There are neat little blow-in doors on the bottom made out of flexible plastic, to get extra air to the fans at full throttle...they are very clever and work perfectly.
So...off to the field...
First takeoff took about 75 feet of pavement, then she was up and climbing at a 45 degree angle. She needed down trim...I flew a couple of circuits to get some altitude, then reached for the elevator trim...and switched off my transmitter instead. I did not realize that is what had happened...I thought the radio link was lost somehow. The motors stopped, there was no control, and she settled into a nice turning glide and landed in a tree with no damage. Stable airplane. Got her back down and tried again, this time without turning off the transmitter, and she flies beautifully. Quite fast, at least 70mph, with excellent vertical, great roll rate, very aerobatic. Not a difficult plane to fly, but fast and small and silver, it keeps you on your toes. Landings are dead easy, just keep a little power on and fly her down to the runway. The gear system is excellent, capable of taking some pretty rough landings. I have not tried her without the gear yet...while I think the hand-launch would be very easy, I am afraid of the landing, as the bottoms of the intakes are made of sheet plastic, I am afraid of damaging them, my grass is pretty rough.
I'm very pleased with this bird, it has exceeded all my expectations, particularly in the air. I feel no need to upgrade the motor system at all, the performance is more than adequate to me. The plane is very tough, very easy to assemble, looks good, is very inexpensive for what it is. Particularly exceptional is the performance...if you are used to EDF jets that just sort of fly around, this will be a big change for you, because this thing really FLIES. It's certainly not for beginners, but intermediate pilots will have no problem at all.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Every single thing is included in the box except 8 aa batteries for the transmitter. Even a simulator disk and a cable to connect the TX to your PC.
Even a spare scale four bladed prop.
Even good quality English instructions.
Even a screwdriver for the six screws that are needed for assembly.
No glue is required.
It took 20 minutes to put the whole thing together, including the extra detail stickers they included...
The provided 4ch 72mhz radio has worked perfectly, though you could switch it out for Spektrum if you wanted. The lipo charger and 1300mah lipo work perfectly, too.
At the field, the plane is a tremendous flyer. The first flight required only a few clicks of up trim, then I proceeded to do every possible four channel maneuver in the book...stall turns, rolls, loops, cuban 8s, spins, snaps, touch and goes, whatever. It will to it all. It has plenty of power. I took it up to speck height and dove it straight down, and pulled out very hard, nothing fell off, so the airframe can take anything you throw at it, strenght-wise. It's very maneuverable, and very stable, and would be a great first warbird, or a great plane for the more experienced pilot to keep in the back of the car and throw around any place you see a field. THe landing gear comes off in two seconds with no tools, and the plane is very easy to hand launch and belly in over grass.
Construction quality is superb, everything fit, everythign was well made, and nothing has broken in a dozen flights, and the plane has no bad habits. I love it.