RCU Review: Kavan He-162 Salamander - EDF

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    Contributed by: Erick Royer | Published: April 2003 | Views: 39599 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon

    HE-162 "Salamander"
    Electric Ducted Fan Jet

    RCU Member: Erick Royer



    Wing Area:

    Wing Loading:
    Retail Price:

    36" (914 mm)
    28.7" (730 mm)
    217 sq. in. (14 dm2)
    19.4 oz.
    S 7055
    12.6 oz. sq/ft.
    Hobby Lobby

    No. of Channels:

    Fan Unit:

    Kavan Ducted Fan 300 size motor.
    Hitec 555 Micro Receiver

    3 (ailerons, elevator, throttle)
    Hitec HS-55 Micro Servos (ailerons-2,
    Futaba 8UHF
    8 Cell NiCD 600 Mah
    Kavan EDF

    I N T R O D U C T I O N


    In 1944, Germany's air defense problems were increasingly worsening; On top of that Hitler's industrial plants were often the victim of Allied bomber raids always straining what little resources they had left. Germany needed a new fighter that was less expensive and also able to be produced faster. From this thinking the Heinkel HE-162 was brought forward to fill the void. Pilots were to be recruited largely from the Hitler youth and the initial production rate at the beginning was to be 1,000 aircraft per month, rising quickly to 4,000 aircraft per month. Extensive component sub-contracting as well as underground assembly facilities were to be used to produce the numbers desired. The specification was issued on September 14th, 1944 and the aircraft was to be ready for mass production by the January 1st 1945. Production requirements called for a minimum of strategic materials as well as the use of non-specialist laboring its manufacture. It also had to weigh less than 4,409 lbs, be able to take off in no more than 1,640 ft., and carry two 30 mm cannons. The result was an aircraft with a one-piece wing of wooden construction, a semi-monocoupe fuselage of duralumin, and a plywood nose and nose wheel doors. In addition to the 153-gallon fuel tank behind the cockpit, the wing was sealed between main and auxiliary spars to provide an integral tank with a 39.6-gallon capacity. The supplied BMW 190-003E-1-turbojet engine mounted on top provided the aircraft with 1,764 lbs. of thrust, simplifying installation and avoiding problems with intake and tail pipe ducting. Chief test pilot Flugkapitan Peter flew the prototype on December 6th, 1945, bringing the aircraft to a speed of 522 mph and an altitude of 19,685 ft.

    On December 10th, before military and government personnel, the starboard wing leading edges were torn off during a high-speed pass that resulted in the crash of the aircraft and the loss of life to the test pilot. The second prototype flew on December 22nd along with other development aircraft in the program that lead to the findings of some aerodynamic problems. The third and fourth prototype flew on the 16th of January 1945. Both of these aircraft had a few design changes to correct the problems from the earlier setbacks. These changes included wingtip extensions as well as increasing the overall surface area of the vertical tail. The 30 mm cannons proved to be to heavy for the lightweight airframe so instead two 20 mm cannons were substituted. A total of 116 HE 162s were built, and more than 800 were in various stages of assembly when the underground centers were overrun.

    Full Scale Specs

    Type: Single seat fighter
    Span: 23 feet 7 1/2 in.
    Length; 29 ft. 8 1/4 in.
    Height: 8 ft. 4 1/2 in.
    Weight: empty 4,520 lb. max. take off 5,941 lb.
    Armament: two 20 mm MG 151/20 cannon
    Engine: one 1,764 lb. thrust BMW 003A-1 turbojet


    Max speed: 522 mph at 19,685 ft.
    Range: 410 miles
    Service Ceiling: 39,500 ft

    Operators: Luftwaffe


    To be honest, until I saw this plane on Hobby Lobby's website, I had never heard of it before. I remember thinking how funny looking it was. It wasn't until I got on the Internet and did some research on this amazingly odd looking aircraft that I started to appreciate it. Comparing the pictures of the full-scale plane to the picture on the box, I was very impressed at Kavan's ability to duplicate this magnificent aircraft with such scale detail.

    The Salamander is powered by a speed 300 motor and an electric ducted fan (EDF) unit that is housed in a pod above the wing. A 3-channel control system (throttle, elevator, and ailerons) is all that is needed to fly the HE-162. The plane is constructed completely out of foam. A lot of detail is molded into the foam such as panel lines, rivets, and hatches. The top of the fuselage and wing surfaces are painted olive green and the bottom surfaces are sky blue. This is my first "foamie" and I was very impressed with the quality and detail.

    Kit Contents as they come out of the box

    C O N S T R U C T I O N


    It is important to note prior to assembly that foam surfaces on the model can be easily dented and bruised if proper care is not taken. I like to place an old beach towel on my building bench to provide a cushion that will protect the foam parts.

    Assembly begins by installing the servos in each wing panel. I used two Hitec HS-55 Micro servos for the ailerons. Before mounting the servos, I connected them to the receiver to make sure that they were centered. The Hitec servos come with 2 different control horns: one with large holes and one with smaller holes. Be sure to use the servo horns with the smaller holes for this model, as the pushrod wires are very thin.

    Servo is installed the the wing and
    the hatch is held in place with
    clear tape

    The servo lead exits the hole near
    the root of the wing.

    The instructions will have you epoxy the servo directly inside the wing's servo pockets. Thinking ahead, I decided to wrap the servo with electrical tape first and apply epoxy to the tape rather than the servo's case. To install the servo, I fed the wires through the wing halves and out the opening near the root. I mixed up a couple drops of 5-minute epoxy and held the servos in position until it cured.

    Next, I attached the aileron pushrods to the servo horns and marked the control horns location on the pushrod. I made an L bend on the pushrod and cut off the excess wire. The rod is held in place on the control horn with a small piece of plastic tube, that is CA'd to the wire.

    The last step is to install the servo hatch covers to the wing with clear transparent tape. Alternatively you could use epoxy, but in case the servo ever failed, I wanted to be able to remove the hatch.

    I created a 1.5" spacer from scrap wood and used it to prop up one wing tip while laying the other wing flat on the table. This gave me the proper dihedral for the wings center section. I used a sanding block to lightly sand the angle until it was correct. I did not glue the wing halves together at this time.


    Using the picture on the box cover, I was able to determine how the vertical fin was positioned on the horizontal stab. I roughened the glue surfaces by placing small holes with a T pin. I used this method throughout the model to ensure a strong glue joint. I mixed up some 5-minute epoxy and attached the fin to the stab making a left and right side. Be sure that the fin is 90 degrees. Once the glue has cured, I mixed up some more epoxy and made a small fillet on either side of the joint to increase its strength.

    Vertical fin attached to the
    horizontal stabilizer with 5-minute

    Supplied template is use to obtain
    the proper angle of the tail surfaces.

    I installed the two plastic bulkheads next. There is an indentation in the foam on the inside of the fuselage to indicate where the bulkhead goes. My hands are rather large causing me a bit of a hard time reaching in to set them in place while the epoxy cured. The bulkheads have slots in them on the sides for the landing gear wire (if you choose to use the gear) so you must make sure they are glued in well.

    Main bulkhead is held in place with
    5-minute epoxy. It also serves as the
    main landing gear mount.

    Front bulkhead is epoxied in place.
    It serves as the nose gear mount.

    I installed servo rails next. I attached a Hitec HS-55 Micro Servo to the rails prior to installing them so I could be sure the spacing was correct. I mounted them as far back and as high up as I could in the cockpit area to allow room for the battery to slide in and out. I attached the servo rails to the fuselage with 5-minute epoxy, and used some of the extra epoxy to attach the elevator pushrod tubes to the top of the rear bulkhead.

    Balsa servo rails are epoxied into

    I trial fit the wing halves in the fuselage, using some light sanding to ensure a good fit. I mixed up a generous amount of 5-minute epoxy to secure the wing in place. It is important to not only put epoxy in the center of the wing, but also run a bead where the wing meets the fuselage. I used a small spatula soaked in rubbing alcohol to make a nice even fillet. I held the wings together while the epoxy cured making sure that the dihedral angle was correct, and the wing was properly seated as shown in the instructions.

    Slide the wing halves into the
    fuselage and check for proper fit.

    Use a generous amount of epoxy to
    attach the wing halves together
    and to the fuselage.

    After the wing has cured, I glued the fuselage cover in place with 5-minute epoxy. Be sure to use a good amount of glue on this as it also serves as the mount for the motor pod. If you get excess epoxy on the outside of the fuselage, you can use your finger dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove it. If you use paper towel and alcohol, make sure you do not rub too hard or you might remove the paint.

    Next, I trial fit the tail surfaces in the fuselage. They fit pretty well without any adjustments to the openings. The kit includes a foam angle gauge that you will need to use to correctly position the tail surfaces. I applied 5-minute epoxy to the openings in the fuselage and slid one stabilizer into position. Then, using a Popsicle stick, I applied epoxy to the end of the stab where it will meet the other horizontal stabilizer. I slid the other stabilizer into position and placed the gauge on top of the tail surfaces. This part was a little tricky because I had to hold the stabilizers, the gauge, and the plane all at the same time. Looking at the fuselage from behind, I made sure that the top of the gauge was level with the top of the fuselage cover. This will ensure the angles remain correct in relation to the main wing.

    Elevator pushrods are connected

    Completed tail surfaces

    I connected the pushrods to the elevator control horns and secured them in place with the small plastic retainer and a drop of CA. I installed an EZ-connector on the servo arm and slid the two elevator pushrods through the connector, making sure everything is centered before tightening down the setscrew.


    The main ducting for the EDF unit comes as 4 separate plastic pieces. Using a sharp knife, I cut the parts away from the mold. There is a lip on each piece that will allow it to mate with the other half. Following the diagram in the manual, I constructed the front and rear tubes, gluing them together with medium CA.

    Completed Duct Tubes

    At this time, I prepared the motor and fan unit. The first step was to solder the capacitors from the negative and positive terminals to the outside can of the motor. It helps to scuff the motor a bit with some sandpaper first. Next, I soldered the wire harness to the motor, making sure the polarity correctly matches the plug on the Jeti speed controller. I mounted the motor to the fan housing and attached the fan as indicated in the manual. There is a section of the manual that deals with balancing the fan blade. The fan can spin at a very high rpm and if the fan is not balanced, it can vibrate and cause damage to the model or worse. I checked my fan blade and found that it was pretty close to perfect so I decided to leave it alone.

    EDF Components

    Jeti Speed Controller

    Before installing the fan unit in the plane, I connected the battery and the speed control to the EDF and checked to make sure the fan spun in the proper direction when the throttle was advanced. Everything checked out OK, so I proceeded to mount the EDF to the rear plastic tube. This is simply done by wrapping electrical tape around the fan unit and tube. I cut a hole in the bottom of the tube for the motor wires to enter the fuselage. Next, I glued the intake lip to the front tube with medium CA. I cut 3 pieces of foam, 40 mm long, and attached them to the 9, 12, and 3 o'clock positions on the front tube.

    Motor installed in fan unit

    Fan unit is attached to the rear tube
    with electrical tape

    The outer pod comes in 2 halves, an upper and lower. Using a flat razor blade I cut away the excess foam making sure I was really careful to have a straight seam where the two halves will join together. I attached the front tube to the lower pod with a small amount of 5-minute epoxy. The only part that gets epoxy is the inside lip of the intake ring. The remainder of the tube will float inside the foam pod. I cut out the indentation on the lower pod for the motor wires with a sharp knife.

    Wrap foam around the front flange
    on the fan unit

    Cut flashing away from the upper
    and lower pods

    Next, I glued the lower pod to the fuselage cover. Again, I used 5-minute epoxy for this. Be very careful that the pod is correctly positioned along the centerline of the fuselage. Make sure the hole for the motor cable matches up with the hole in fuselage cover.

    Apply the foam dampening material to the front lip of the EDF unit and place a 40mm piece of foam at the 12 o'clock position on the rear tube. I carefully fit the EDF unit into the flange of the front tube. It is a tight fit and the foam will reduce vibration from the fan. Once the completed plastic tube is in place, the top foam pod is glued onto the lower with 5-minute epoxy. I found that you really needed to compress the outer pods together to obtain a tight seam along the sides, so I opted to glue the left seam first. Then, once it cured, I compressed the top cover and held pressure on it while I glued the right seam. I covered the glue joint with green self-adhesive tape. The last step was to epoxy the antenna ring on top of the pod and the fillets on the back of the wing.

    The front tube is mounted to the
    lower pod.

    The EDF unit is installed to the
    front tube in the lower pod.

    Completed EDF Unit

    View inside the EDF unit.


    The kit comes with some green paint, that I used to detail the canopy frame. When the canopy was finished, I epoxied a pin to the back of the canopy and inserted it into the fuselage. It will act as a hinge to gain access to the battery. There is a tab on the front of the canopy that slides under the front of the cockpit opening to secure it in place.

    Inside the cockpit, I made a balsa plate (not included in the kit) that I glued to the bottom of the cockpit floor to support the battery. I used Velcro to hold the battery in place. Before installing the battery, I checked the center of gravity (CG), which is between 40-45mm from the leading edge of the wing. The Great Planes CG Machine is an excellent tool for this. I positioned the battery to obtain the proper CG and made a mark on the battery and fuselage so if I needed to remove the battery, I could easily put it back in the correct location.

    The last step on the kit is the installation of the landing gear. I do not have access to a paved runway and the included wheels are too small to work in the grass, so I opted to leave the gear off the plane.

    The kit comes with decals to complete the authentic look of the aircraft.

    Elevator servo, speed control, and
    battery are all installed

    The Receiver is installed on the
    front former.

    F L I G H T R E P O R T

    Video of the HE-162
    (High Band Width Version - Windows Media File 4.0 meg.)

    Video of HE-162 with landing gear From Hobby Lobby
    (Windows Media File 1.6 meg.)

    Video of HE-162 without landing gear From Hobby Lobby
    (Windows Media File 1.7 meg.)

    This HE-162 is considered a park flyer. However, because it uses an electric ducted fan for propulsion, you'll need to give yourself a little more flying area than with a propeller-powered park flyer.


    As I mention above, I am choosing to hand-launch the model. To accomplish this, grab the fuselage below the main wing, apply full power, and toss it straight and firmly into the wind. Let the HE-162 build up speed for about 10 yards before applying up elevator. The model will drop as you release it but if properly balanced and trimmed, it will begin to fly and remain level. You do not need a big running start, a simple hand toss should be sufficient.


    To be honest, I was not sure what to expect with this model. The generous dihedral in the main wing led me to believe that it would be stable, but the EDF mounted above the wing concerned me that the stability might suffer. I am glad to report that this model is very stable.

    Our test flights were with a 10 mph steady breeze. This is probably the most wind that I would fly the model in. The 300 size EDF moved the plane along at a good rate. I would not call it fast, like you might expect from a jet, but I would not call it a slow-flyer either.

    Most of the flight was either at full power or very close to it. On high rate ailerons the model rolls pretty well. Several attempts were made at a loop, but the model would keep falling out at the top. Being that this was a scale Warbird and not really designed for aerobatics, no other maneuvers were attempted.

    The HE-162 feels much like a trainer in the air. It is very stable and controls are soft when setup as the manual directed. There were no bad stall characteristics exhibited.


    Landings were simple. Just reduce the power on final and expect the model to float a bit. Keep feeding in up elevator until the model just about flairs. And it will touch down gently on the belly every time.


    The HE-162 was a real pleasure to fly. The average flight time was 4-5 minutes with the 600 mAH 8 cell battery pack.

    S U M M A R Y






    Basic Aerobatics


    Low Speed Flight:

    Instruction Manual:

    High Speed Flight:

    Ease of Assembly:

    Stall Characteristics:

    Kit Completeness:

    Scale Flight:

    Finish Quality:



    • Very Scale looking

    • High quality construction

    • Short assembly time

    • Excellent flight performance

    • Good Parts Fit

    • Setting proper angles on wing and tail surfaces can be difficult

    • Foam can dent easily if not careful

    HE-162 "Salamander" EDF

    If you are a fan of scale German warbirds, or have a love for electric ducted fan aircraft, the Heinkel HE-162 "Salamander" is for you. Kavan did an excellent job providing good part fit and scale detail. All of the components come painted and ready to assemble. The instructions are good for any intermediate modeler. Once airborne, the model has excellent flying characteristics with no bad habits and not to mention that unmistakable whine of the EDF. Check out Hobby Lobby for more information on this great model.

    April 2003

    P R O D U C T I N F O R M A T I O N

    Hobby Lobby International
    5614 Franklin Pike Circle
    Brentwood, N.J. 37027 USA
    Tel: 615-373-1444
    Email: sales@hobby-lobby.com
    Web Site: www.hobby-lobby.com

    Hitec RCD USA, Inc.
    12115 Paine St.
    Poway CA, 92064
    Phone: 858.748.6948
    Fax: 858.748.1767
    Web Site:
    Futaba Corporation of America
    Distributed Exclusively in the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021; Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Website: www.futaba-rc.com

    Comments on RCU Review: Kavan He-162 Salamander - EDF

    There are no comments

    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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