Friday, July 25, 2008
E-domodels F-15 from Nitroplanes
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.