Airplane Tips and Tricks

Airplane Tips and Tricks

 

 

FreeWing RC Jet 1522MM F16 PNP Airplane Model EPO Retract Landing Gear ESC 90MM EDF W/O Battery & Radio

more info:http://www.freewing.co.uk/freewing-f-16c-thunderbirds-super-scale-with-12-blade-90mm-edf-jet-pnp-rc-airplane

Wingspan: 1023mm(40.3inches)

Length: 1522mm(60 inches)

Flying Weight:3550g

Thrust: 3150g

Material: EPO Foam

EDF Diameter: 12 blades 90mm

Servos:  4 pcs 9g plastic servo, 5 pcs 17g metal servo

http://www.freewing.co.uk/freewing-f-16c-thunderbirds-super-scale-with-12-blade-90mm-edf-jet-pnp-rc-airplane

Motor:  3748-1550KV out runner motor

ESC: 130A ESC

Vector

Terminology:

There is no clear industry standard definition for RTF, PNP and KIT. Every manufacturer makes up their own definitions.

The generally accepted definitions are:

KIT means that you can get a complete foam body of the plane, prebuilt but not pre-assembled; No any electronics are loaded.

ARF/PNP means you can get the RTF minus RC system as well as battery.

RTF (Ready To Fly) means that you get a complete playable model which includes everything including electronic parts—equipped model itself and RC system, battery and so on, by which you can play after you slightly assemble it.


The PNP Model Include:

Complete model body

Landing Gear

EDF: 90mm EDF

Servos:  4 pcs 9g plastic servo, 5 pcs 17g metal servo

Motor:  3748-1550KV out runner motor

ESC: 130A ESC

The PNP Model DoesNot Includethe Following Parts:  

Battery: 35C 6S 22.2V5000mAh Li-poly Battery

Radio

Charger

 

Delivery Time and Cost:

Delivery to US UK AU CA GE FR takes 8-14 business days

Delivery to other countries take0s 10-20 business days

Friends from East Europe, South America, and Middle East, please contact me for shipping details before purchasing or else there may be many troubles.

 

On May 1, “The city’s Hot practice” Shijiazhuang unmanned aircraft, crossing machine Racing League Vanke station competition in Vanke Jade Park Kick-off.

Shijiazhuang unmanned aircraft crossing machine Racing League by the Shijiazhuang Municipal Sports Bureau, Shijiazhuang City Sports Association guidance, Hebei Horse Sports Technology Co., Ltd. hosted a total of 6 stations this year, Vanke station competition-led station.

In addition to the event to include Shijiazhuang high level of unmanned aircraft, but also attracted from Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei more than 160 unmanned aircraft enthusiasts to participate in the elite group and experience group of two groups, including the elite team to use the crossing machine, experience group of players using drones.

During the exciting race, several drones flew in a space that was well fenced, through obstacles, and the operator on the sidelines wearing FPV (first person main view) of the glasses remote control UAV, this novel exciting “play” is known as the “aerial f1” of the Crossing Machine racing competition It is reported that the unmanned aircraft crossing machine Racing competition is a new competition, the contestants are more young people.

Among them, the crossing machine belongs to one of the unmanned aircraft, the highest flying speed of up to 280 kilometers. In Europe and the United States, a large-scale drone race can bring billions of dollars in income. China launched the drone race in recent years, and the first national drone racing event was held in 2017.

RC gliders, also known as sailplanes, can offer the beginner a very gentle introduction to the radio control flying hobby, but can also offer the experienced rc pilot some truly exhilarating aerobatic and racing opportunities – such is the diversity of radio control gliding.

But is there a difference between both names?

Well, technically speaking a glider is any motorless aircraft capable of stable unpowered flight, even if over just a short distance. For example, man’s early attempts at flight were done in simple gliders, and flights were no more than a few hundred feet long.
A sailplane is a motorless aircraft specifically designed for sustained unpowered performance, primarily by using columns of warm air (thermals) to keep aloft. But in reality, and especially in the rc flying hobby, both names are commonly used to describe a model aircraft without a motor.

 

Easy RC flying.
Simpler rc gliders are excellent for introducing newcomers to the hobby. The majority of conventional beginner rc gliders are 2 or 3 channel, with control to either rudder and elevator, aileron and elevator or rudder, aileron and elevator. By conventional I mean gliders with a wing, fin and tailplane.

The alternative is the delta-wing type (or ‘flying wing’) and these are common for slope soaring. These gliders are usually just two channel with both aileron and elevator controls mixed in to control surfaces called elevons.

A two channel glider, although simple, can still be a lot of fun on the slope, particularly if it has aileron control instead of rudder. Having aileron control means that the glider can be rolled more easily, and it just makes the glider more aerobatic and fun to fly.
A foam delta-wing type glider is fairly durable, generally speaking, which makes it very beginner-friendly.

 

The more advanced rc gliders and larger sailplanes can have more channels still, with additional controls for flaps or spoilers, air brakes and even tow line release hooks in the nose and retractable nose wheel.

Simpler two channel conventional rc gliders like the timeless Goldberg Gentle Lady for example, shown below, are not at all complicated to fly and their design makes them inherently very stable, making such gliders perfect for the novice.

Flying rc gliders of this type can be a very peaceful and relaxing experience. Typically flying speeds of such gliders are much slower than the speeds of powered airplanes and their stability gives the pilot plenty of time to react. Gliders like the Gentle Lady are very forgiving in the air and won’t punish you for making mistakes with your Tx sticks!

Intermediate/expert RC gliders.
Of course, different types of rc glider and sailplane have different flight characteristics and at the other end of the scale the sleek racing gliders can be thrown around the slopes at crazy speeds and in stronger winds.

These models are typically moulded from glass fibre and/or carbon fibre, and are commonly referred to as mouldies. They can be ballasted up (made heavier) by inserting metal weights into a special ballast tube inside the fuselage and/or wing, and this extra mass gives the glider more inertia and better penetration into the wind (i.e. makes them fly faster).

Such rc gliders can be very expensive and the faster speeds demand good reactions and co-ordination – this is not the sort of model you want to break due to inexperience!

And while on the subject of speed, did you know that the fastest radio control aircraft in the world is a glider?! Not a jet but an rc glider! Yep, the current world record has just exceeded 500 m.p.h in the sector of dynamic soaring.
So you can see that radio control gliders offer more than you might expect!

A big advantage that rc gliders and sailplanes have over powered radio control aircraft is that of flight duration; if the conditions are favourable with good lift during a rc slope soaring or thermal flying session then you can keep your glider aloft for a very long time. No need to land for refueling or replacing a motor battery pack, although you do of course need to keep an eye on the TX and RX battery levels to keep the radio signal strong.

RTF vs. ARF RC gliders.
Unfortunately there are few Ready To Fly rc gliders available compared to powered rc planes, and this is a shame for beginners who just want to get flying without any assembly fuss.
It seems that the only RTF gliders around are of the powered variety. Presumably this is a reflection on market demand, and in my opinion it’s a shame that at least some manufacturers aren’t offering a good selection of 2 or 3 channel RTF gliders for sale.

An Almost Ready To Fly (ARF) glider is the next best option but obviously you’re going to have to buy, install and set up the radio gear yourself. A certain degree of aeromodelling knowledge is required to complete and set up an ARF rc aircraft, but if you’re completely new to the hobby there is plenty of help around.
The range of scale gliders from Seagull is a good one, and the quality of Seagull aircraft is very good. Having had a couple of their aircraft, I can vouch for their quality.

 

Categories of RC gliders and sailplanes.
There are several different categories of radio control glider, as well as a large diversity of model designs ranging from general sport gliders to expensive carbon racing ones to large scale vintage sailplanes. Below are some examples of and brief introductions to the more popular types…

General sport gliders.
These come in a large variety of shapes and sizes and are suited to flat field flying with assisted launch, or the very popular sector of slope soaring.

Typically three channel (rudder, aileron & elevator), sport gliders can handle a variety of conditions and are, usually, aerobatically capable. Sport rc gliders can be non-scale or scale, although many scale gliders of this type are labelled as ‘aerobatic’ rather than ‘sport’.

 

Construction, as with any rc aircraft, can be traditional balsa and ply or foam such as the popular Multiplex Cularis, shown below, or GRP (glass reinforced plastic aka fibreglass). This latter material is very common in rc glider construction.

 

Hand launched gliders

Gliders that are specifically designed to be thrown upwards from a strong hand launch are generally smaller, to make them more manageable. You might see them referred to as chuckies.

A simple two channel example is the Great Planes Fling, shown right, although owner feedback about this particular glider hasn’t been great. Gliders like this one can also be launched with a simple ‘high-start’ launching system (catapult / bungee) so if your throws aren’t quite strong enough then you can still get airborne. But with the right throwing technique and strength a hand launched glider can easily reach an adequate altitude without any external aids.
Once launched, either by a throw or catapult system, flight duration is achieved by using thermals and wind to keep the glider aloft.

Discus Launch Gliders (DLGs).
Following on from the standard hand launch gliders mentioned above, a Discus Launch Glider is a newer breed of rc glider that’s become very popular with flat-field flyers.

A DLG has a specially designed wingtip handle (a strong pin running vertically through the wing) that is held between index and middle finger. The pilot spins in a 360 degree circle and launches the glider upwards on exiting the spin, just like a field athlete launches a discus (hence the name DLG…).

You don’t need to be strong because the force needed to power the glider upwards is generated during your spin, and then the design of the glider aids the steep climb.
With the right technique a Discus Launch Glider can reach a surprising height. Once the glider has leveled out after its vertical climb, your thermal-seeking can commence.

The big advantage with a DLG, and indeed a normal hand launch glider, is that you don’t need to be on a hilltop or in an area large enough to take a long bungee/Hi-Start system. A DLG can be launched from a relatively small space, as it goes vertically upwards.

Thermal soarers.
RC sailplanes that are intended for thermal soaring tend to have larger wingspans, up to 4 meters for the serious competition models. Their construction is kept as lightweight as possible and they have a low wing loading, this combination keeps their glide rate (vertical descent) to an absolute minimum.

There’s a definite skill to thermal soaring; if the pilot can’t successfully locate the thermals then the glider won’t stay airborne for any great length of time. That said, a thermal soarer will out fly a sport glider (time aloft) under the same conditions, simply because of its better glide rate.
A fairly typical ‘pod and boom’ type rc thermal soarer is shown below:

Combat RC gliders.
Combat gliders are generally much smaller than traditional soarers and are typically made from EPP (Expanded Polypropylene) foam, a material that’s incredibly tough and resilient to damage, making the gliders very durable. The tail feathers can be sheet balsa or, more commonly, fluted polypropylene sheet (eg ‘Corflute’), a very bendy and crash-resistant material.

EPP combat gliders are commonly covered in reinforced tape to add strength, and then coloured tape to finish. All this tape also adds to the durability. Other ways of finishing them include paint and low-heat iron on covering film.

The idea with combat gliding is to fly as a group and try to knock your opponent’s glider out of the air. Because the EPP rarely gets damaged, it’s quite safe to fly straight into another glider at full speed!

Combat gliders are a great deal of fun, but even if you can’t get a group together flying one on your own is equally exhilarating. Because of their general design they can be very maneuverable indeed and in the right conditions can be flown fast and aerobatically. Highly recommended for some low-worry slope soaring fun!

Scale RC sailplanes.
A scale model aircraft is one that is modelled from a full size aircraft, and there are plenty of full size gliders and sailplanes that make excellent subjects to model.

A big attraction of such a model is the build itself, as well as the flying. I’m currently building a 1/5 scale Letov LF-107 Lunak, which you can read about right here.

Below is a photo of a fellow clubmate’s beautiful large-scale sailplanes, these are about 5 meter wingspan. Obviously not all scale gliders need to be this big!

 

Well those are just several of the basic categories of rc gliders and sailplanes; as has already been mentioned radio control gliders have many many types, shapes and sizes from traditional built-up kits meant for relaxed soaring to modern carbon fiber racing machines capable of incredible speeds and performance.

Whichever type of rc glider you choose, you’ll be entering a hugely popular sector of the radio control flying hobby. The ease of control and gentle flying characteristics of many gliders make them a great attraction and introduction to the hobby, and I can highly recommend giving rc gliding a try especially if you live near an open slope that faces the prevailing wind!

So, then, radio control gliding is a hugely popular sector of the rc flying hobby with its dedicated followers, be they slope soarers or flat field flyers. Perfect for the beginner and advanced rc pilot alike, rc gliders and sailplanes will give you a truly rewarding experience.

From a personal point of view, rc gliders are my favourite form of radio control flight. They require very few accessories and there are no noise issues to worry about. In fact, the only real concern is whether or not your radio gear batteries will last as long as you want to fly for!
The challenge of having to seek out lift and use the air to keep your glider aloft, rather than just rely on motor power and thrust, is an addictive and exhilarating one.

Talk About FREEWING $100 JETS REVIEW

If you like jets, you’re going to like this article! The F-8 Crusader and the F-105 Thunderchief are both aircraft that we’ve made vlogs on recently, but we really like to test the aircraft that we review in detail. This way, we can give you a realistic impression of what the planes are like to live with over a long period of time. With that in mind, we took them to one of our favourite flying fields and blasted them into the sky.

 

Style and Detail

Both of these jets are superbly detailed. Based on Cold-War fighter-bombers in an era when jets were becoming established in the USAF (the United States Air Force), each capture those sleek aluminium lines.

 

 

The F-8 has quite a unique intake duct. Like it or not, it’s modelled to perfection.

 

 

The colour schemes on both jets are also fantastic.

 

 

Our daring test pilots Bob and Josh agree on the quality of the remarkable levels of detail put into these small jets.

 

 

Both the F-8 and F-105 feature elevons in the wings, much like would be the case for a delta wing. It’s quite a unique feature which adds to the nimble manoeuvrability of these jets. It’s worth noting that having elevons like this means that you need to use a transmitter capable of elevon mixing.

 

 

The jets feature similar levels of detail to Motion RC’s FlightLine F7F Tigercat (63″/1600mm wingspan) that we reviewed a while back. It’s quite incredible what is available these days. Great flying and great looking models are getting more and more prevalent (which is good news!).

 

 

 

The F7F featured amazing detail in the canopy, radial engines and panel lines.

 

 

It had no less than six servos in the wings, not to mention the retracts. Alex’s favourite feature was the attention to detail inside the wheel wells which were painted with olive drab paint, just like the real thing!

 

 

Flying Characteristics

Back to the jets, the first thing to mention about the performance is this: these things have some serious speed.

 

 

Their menacing, pointy lines are the first indication that they’re going to rip through the air like the real things.

 

 

It takes a lot of concentration to fly fast aircraft like these. Having said that, the technology inside these little jets mean that they remain surprisingly stable at any speed with ‘axial rolls and predictable behaviour’ as Motion RC state on their website.

 

 

But how fast is it? Officially, the F-105D Thunderchief can hit a top speed of 72mph using a 3s 1000mAh-2200mAh lipo. This makes chasing it with the FT 270 Quad a little challenging, especially when the F-105 punches the throttle.

 

For the F-8, Motion RC says that it can reach 68mph with a 3s 1000mAh-2200mAh lipo.

 

 

Hand launches are easy as the small form factor makes them lightweight and easily ‘grabbable’ under the plastic skid tray.

 

 

Launch! Alex’s hair trembles with excitement.

 

 

Spec Comparison

Can’t decide which one’s for you? We can help with that. Here is a brief comparison chart to help you choose your favourite jet. What’s great is that they’re both great options for intermediate fliers as an introduction to the world of EDF’s. Whichever you pick, it’s sure to live up to your expectations.

 

 

F-8 Crusaider F-105 Thunderchief
Top Speed (with recomended battery) 68mph
72mph
Recommended Battery 1000mAh-2200mAh lipo
1000mAh-2200mAh lipo
Material EPO Foam
EPO Foam
EDF 64mm 5-Blade EDF
64mm 5-Blade EDF
Motor 2627-4500kV
2627-4500Kv
Wingspan 530mm / 20.8in
545mm/21.46in
Length 800mm / 31.5in
825mm/32.48in

 

So as you can see, they’re fairly similar in spec and perform very similarly too. So, perhaps choose which one you prefer the look of.

 

More Video and Our First Impressions

As mentioned earlier in the article, we previously did a couple of vlogs featuring each of these planes. If you’ve missed them and would like to see what our first impressions were with these planes out of the box, here is each of them for your enjoyment.

F-8 Crusaider

 

 

 

 

F-105 Thunderchief

 

 

 

Check out both of the $100 jets in this article, along with other awesome products, on Motion RC’s website.

Freewing F-105 Thunderchief 64mm EDF Jet – PNP
Freewing F-8 Crusader 64mm EDF Jet – PNP

 

I had originally intended for our last article and this one to be a single write-up. However, as I continued to write more and more on the construction, I realized that the article really needed to be split into two. Also, since detailing and the application of raised rivets is extensible to more than just speed brakes, I figured a single article on this process would be good since it is a process that can be applied to aircraft as a whole. As with the last article, I’ve also included a how-to video to help illustrate the process which is at the end of the article.

 

Let’s Get Things Ready
buld-an-rc-jet—skyray-88Last time we built our speed brake assemblies to where we had 4 fully functional speed brakes that could be installed into the airframe. However, detailing the internals is quite a bit simpler with the speed brakes outside of the airframe and broken down into their components. The first item of business was to finish the inside speed brake by adding the sheet metal close out surface on the inside. This was cut from 1/64″ ply and glued onto the basswood stiffeners that create our hinge mentioned previously. Additionally, to get a nice sheet metal look to the exposed fiberglass on the inside, 3M glazing putty was used to fill in the voids of the exposed glass cloth. The putty was applied, sanded when cured and lightly primered (I like to use EVERCOAT lacquer primer). When necessary, a second application was applied to ensure the interior was completely smooth. It has to look like metal afterall!

 

Raised Rivets
From there, raised rivets were added throughout the interior to simulate the full size aircraft as much as possible (I actually placed the raised rivets on the inside liners before even gluing the balsa edges). The rivets used are a laser cut vinyl rivet available from Chad Veich Models. What’s nice about these is that Chad will custom cut whatever size and spacing needed for your project. In the case of the Skyray, I needed two spacings based on what my resources showed.

Note that with these rivets being vinyl, they are most effective as a raised rivet since there will be a raised definition once placed on the surface. Based on that alone, they are not the best choice if one is looking to apply a flush rivet. Flush rivets should be flush to the surface and are more accurate with a recessed definition. I will show how to do flush rivets in a separate article when we get to that on our Skyray. (For flush rivets, I like to use a pin vise and sharpened tube. I plan to use the vinyl rivet carrier from Chad’s raised rivets as a guide when the time comes.)

 

To apply these raised rivets, it’s simply a matter of plotting out the rivet pattern on the receiving part first with a pencil and applying the vinyl dots along that pattern appropriately. The rivets are transferred by first peeling away the main carrier to expose just the rivets on the backing. A piece of scotch tape (clear so we can see the placement) is then placed over the rivets and a burnishing tool is used (a wood sculpting tool works well) to help transfer the rivets from the backing to the tape. From there, the rivets are placed as appropriate onto the parts. It really is that simple when dealing with these vinyl rivets as they are pre-cut and spaced perfectly for us. The most difficult part is getting the rivets off of the backing and onto the scotch tape. Additionally, if at any time we make a mistake or anything like that, it’s simple to peel away the rivets and start again or add and remove as necessary.

So, how does the Freewing F-14 Tomcat fly? In short, pretty darn awesome! The distinguishable shape of the F-14 looks menacing in the air and the flight characteristics are fantastic. As discussed in my assembly review of the airplane, there are some tricks I’d highly recommend in setting the airplane up which at the end of the day, provide a great flying airplane. This comes from not just flying this particular airplane, but also flying the Freewing production prototype (stock and tailerons only) as well as the twin 70mm F-14 I helped design, test, and fly for my folks at JetHangar.com. They have all exhibited similar characteristics and fly very much the same.

In my assembly review, I covered the installation of two 6s 30C 5800 mah batteries that I’m using in the airplane. To maintain the CG, the battery area was modified so that the batteries could be pushed as far back as possible up against the swing wing carry through spar. This maintained the CG well per the manual (87mm measured back from the leading edge of the forward most hatch cut on the overwing fairing hatch) which has shown to be about perfect! Also the manual provides a trim elevator setting (31mm measured from the top of the fuselage to the leading edge of the tail) that is a very good
starting point for flight. Note that there is nothing to worry about regarding CG with wings extended vs wings swept. I found that the airplane could use just a touch more back pressure for flying around, but for me not enough to warrant adding any kind of mix. Also, the CG doesn’t change as a result of the change in wing position either. These have been the case with every F-14 Tomcat I’ve flown and are two of the most common questions I regularly get.

For the control throws, this is where it’s interesting. The control system on the full sized Tomcat uses the tails as the primary surfaces for commanding pitch and roll. The wing has spoilers to augment the roll control with the wings extended which are then disabled with the wings swept. Lastly, there are full span leading edge slats and trailing edge flaps. Now, in the case of the Freewing F-14 in the stock configuration it’s setup a bit differently than the full sized airplane. There are outboard wing ailerons and inboard wing flaps in addition to the taileron surfaces.

All of the servos in the airplane are routed into an electronics board which automatically sets the mixing between the outboard wing ailerons and the tailerons. That’s all well and good and works well for flying with the wings extended, however in this stock configuration the wing ailerons remain active while in the swept wing position and that causes problems. Disabling the ailerons in the wing swept position is absolutely necessary for a good flying model in the swept wing position. So, to get around this, we must program the two aileron servos separately by directly plugging them into the receiver (bypassing the electronics board) and programming their function independently (more discussion on this below). Note that the airplane flies well with the wings extended in the stock configuration, but I found the high rate aileron recommendations much too hot for my liking.

Since we’re programming the wing ailerons independently, I’m using the ailerons more as the function of the turning spoiler like the full size by having them act trailing edge up only to help augment the roll control provided by the tailerons when the wings are extended. Also, since we’re playing with the ailerons in this way, the scale geek in me figured why not set the airplane with full span flaps while we’re at it for a little more scale swag?! By doing this, I was pleasantly rewarded with a beautifully landing airplane that when executed right lands extremely softly! Lastly, having two rates on the tailerons between wings extended and wings swept is an absolute must! I mitigated that through some switch assignments such that the rates change automatically depending on where my wing sweep switch (and subsequently wing position) is. I talk through the radio programming methodology a bit more below. Note that based on the Freewing wing sweep actuators used, the airplane does not have a mid sweep capability, i.e. the wings can only be commanded to fully swept or fully extended.

So, after many flights, here’s what I have converged on for control throws. They suit my style of flying and should be a good starting point to tune to your desired feel. Keep in mind these are purely linear with NO exponential (I’m not a big fan of expo typically). Also, there is plenty of authority running tailerons only, I’ve flown the airplane in that configuration and it works very well. However, the roll stick input requires just about max deflection for a decent 360 degree roll.

Wings Extended:
Roll – tailerons 1-1/4″, wing ailerons mixed with 3/16″ trailing edge up only
Pitch – elevator 1-1/4″
Full span flaps
Partial Flap – 5/8″ with a 3/16″ up elevator mix
Full Flap – 2″ with a 1/2″ up elevator mix

Wings Swept:
Roll – tailerons 1/2″ (no wing aileron throw)
Pitch – elevator 1-1/4″

DOWNLOAD THE SPEKTRUM DX FILE HERE!

f14-dual-2

RADIO PROGRAMMING METHODOLOGY
My go to radio system is the Airtronics SD-10G which is an excellent radio at an excellent price. It’s a 10 channel radio with a ton of capability which made programming the F-14 Tomcat fairly easy. Since radio systems vary, I figure it best to talk through the methodology I used here which should work across most systems I would hope. In order to do what I’ve done exactly, a minimum of 9 channels are required so that the ailerons can be programed individually to function with the flaps as well as act like a turning spoiler. If limited on channels, then it limits the functionality of the ailerons to work only as ailerons (2 servos connected with a y-harness) or as flaps (flying airplane tailerons only and connecting the aileron servos through a y-harness with a reverser on one side). I’ve flown the airplane tailerons only and it flies very well, so if channel limited and you want the full span flap, that is a very good option. That said, I do like the addition of the outboard aileron functionality as it adds a little more roll responsiveness with the wings extended that you don’t get flying with tailerons only.

So, utilizing the 9 channel setup (I have a 10 channel receiver in the airplane) the aileron servos were plugged directly into the receiver using 2 available auxillary channels (bypassing the stock electronics board, all other channels are plugged in and remain in the stock setup). This maintains everything essentially stock with the exception of the aileron servos only.

Ailerons as Flaps
f14-flapI first setup the ailerons to work in conjunction with the flaps. This was done by assigning the two aileron channels to the flap switch and simply adjusting the servo direction and the servo position (using the end point adjustments) at each switch position to match the flaps in each down position.

Ailerons as Turning Spoilers
f14-ailTo actuate the ailerons as a turning spoiler, I used two separate channel mixes, one for each aileron servo aux channel), that were mixed to the standard aileron channel. This channel mix was then assigned to my swing wing switch such that the channel mix is active with the wings extended and then inactive when switched to the wings swept position (disables the ailerons in the swept wing config). Within the channel mix is where the deflections of the aileron servos are set and adjusted. Since I’m using them acting trailing edge up only, it required only adjusting a single end point for each mix/servo (approximately 25%). Again, this is within the channel mix only. Note that since this is outside the traditional aileron setup and aileron channel, these channel mixes do not work in combination with the traditional aileron dual rates. However, some creative switch assignments and an additional channel mix or two could probably create this. I didn’t find this necessary since I only wanted the ailerons active with the wings extended and tuned the rates to the desired feel I wanted with my tailerons on high rate.

Taileron Rates with Wing Position
In addition to the above, I assigned my aileron dual rates to the swing wing switch (in addition to the normal dual rates switch) so that with the wings swept, the tailerons automatically reduce to low rates. This is important as the airplane will otherwise be extremely touchy in roll with the wings swept if the tailerons remain at high rate. The airplane will be on its back if you simply breath on the stick!

ESC Calibration
The last item of business before flight is to calibrate the speed controllers to the transmitter (procedure is available here). By following the procedure, the ESCs will tune themselves to the transmitter settings and ensures that each fan is producing the maximum amount of thrust each time it’s powered on. If you change the transmitter at anytime, then the ESCs should be recalibrated. I didn’t do this calibration on the production prototype but did on this airplane and this airplane has notably better performance! So, this is an important step!

One thing to note, I noticed some thrust robbing openings in the exhausts around the taileron servo cutouts and where the motor wires exit into the fuselage. I sealed these up by removing the fan hatches and adding some packing tape f14-sealsinternally over the taileron servo and using hot glue to seal up around the motor wire exit. After placing the fan hatches back onto the fuselage, I used a long dowel to completely seal the packing tape over the hatch areas too. Any leaks in the exhaust ultimately reduce thrust and performance. Though it may be small, every little bit helps for maximum efficiency of the system.

 

 

FLYING THE FREEWING F-14 TOMCAT
Flying the F-14 Tomcat is an absolute blast and with the 5800 mah packs, I can get about 5 minutes of pretty hard flying if I want to push it. Currently, I keep the timer at 4 minutes and fly the airplane as hard as I like and the packs measure out at about 3.78v/cell. Every F-14 I’ve flown has been a great flyer and the Freewing F-14 is no exception. The F-14 configuration as a whole is just a great platform for an awesome flying airplane. Plus, you can’t beat the shape of the F-14 in the air. It’s one of those iconic airplanes that is unmistakable…though it always seems to conjure up quotes from the movie “Top Gun” whether you want them or not…”No my ego doesn’t write checks…I have an ATM card!” 😉

Here’s a full flight video from a fun flying day at the PVMAC Prado Air Park. Thanks Brent Hecht for manning the camera for this flight.

With the wings extended, the airplane is a wonderful flying machine that flies easily and will handle most of what you throw at it (rudders are very effective though, so be aware). The airplane is plenty fast enough and the vertical is quite good. To give you an example, I’m able to perform a 1/2 cuban 8 return from takeoff just like the full size which is a great deal of fun! Recently I’ve gotten into performing a roll on takeoff followed by a 1/2 cuban 8 return and the airplane handles it like a champ! The slow speed handling is excellent as well and the airplane will visually give you an indication of the onset of stall. As you get slow, the wings will start to rock as you approach the stall speed which is your indication to apply power and increase the speed. This is another characteristic of all F-14s I’ve flown. Note that this is less prevalent when slow and with full span flaps.

f14-flt-1

 

 

 

The airplane flies just as easily with the wings swept too. Flying circuit after circuit in the swept wing configuration is easy with low rate taileron and the airplane carries speed well overall in that configuration. Pulling hard tight turns does bleed the speed off in this configuration, which is a characteristic of a delta type platform so keep that in mind.

 

 

Overall, the trickiest part I have found is managing the transition time from wings extended to wings swept and visa versa. Once you’re aware of it though, it’s easy enough to plan for. As noted in the radio setup, the tailerons are automatically set to switch to high and low rates during wing transition. However, this does not occur proportionally to the speed of the wing transition (I wasn’t sure I could program this into the radio). As a result upon hitting the swing wing switch, the wings transition over a second or two, but the taileron rates immediately change. So, when the wings sweep back, the taileron rate will initially start out sluggish (they switch to low rate) and become increasingly more effect as the wings transition aft. Conversely, when sweeping forward, the taileron rates are immediately high and touchy and then become less sensitive as the wings transition forward. It’s really not a big deal, but is something to keep in mind. You’ll quickly become aware of it when you experience a quick roll response as the wings sweep forward. It’s easily manageable…in fact, my favorite maneuver has become rolling while the wings transition like they used to do as part of their airshow demos.

Call the Ball!
At last, the world can rest easily as there is a nicely done F-14 Tomcat ARF that is affordable for most folks. The $580 price tag is an excellent value and you get a well engineered and great flying model. It’s foam which has it’s limitations (if you’re a builder, my folks have a kit at JetHangar.com), but even so it’s pretty nice. I can’t help but think how awesome this airplane would be after stripping it down and refinishing it…but for now, we’ll keep it stock. Now guys, remember, as these become more prevalent and more Freewing F-14 flight videos come online, remember to post responsibly…the internet really doesn’t need another RC jet video featuring the “Top Gun Anthem” or “Danger Zone” playing underneath it…it’s hard to believe, I know! Although, if you’re up for a challenge, how about a few videos featuring “Take my Breath Away” or “Heaven in Your Eyes.” 😉 I mean, they are from the Top Gun soundtrack afterall!

Here are a few more videos I’ve captured of some friends flying their Freewing Tomcats. It really is a very cool foam jet and we’ve been having a lot of fun with them!

 

 

BONUS! Here’s video of the last F-14 Tomcat demo at NAS Oceana in case you’re looking for some maneuvers. 🙂 Who doesn’t love the Tomcat?! I remember the Tomcat demos being one of my favorites when I was a kid at air shows. The full size airplane was an absolute beast!