Good flying plane.
Very easy battery access.
Attracts a lot of attention
at the flying
flying stabilizer arrangement is a bit flimsy.
Manual has no suggested control throws listed.
of my earliest aviation memories is of four F-4 Phantoms
thundering down the runway taking off in formation. Not
only did the ground shake but the air seemed to shake as well as
the four blue and gold jets took to the sky. That was the
annual 4th of July air show at the Willow Grove Naval Air
Station outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I guess I'm
showing my age because the Blue Angels flew the F-4 from 1969
until the end of the 1974 season when they transitioned to the
Designed for the Navy as a super sonic fighter/interceptor, the
Phantom was the only airframe ever to be used by both the US
Navy Blue Angels and the US Air Force Thunder Birds flight
The Exceed-RC Phantom is available in several color schemes from
Nitroplanes.com so when I was given the choice of which one I
wanted for this review it only took a second to make up my mind
when I found out the Phantom was available in the Blue Angels
The Blue Angels were commissioned at the end of World War II by
Admiral Chester Nimitz. In addition to my boyhood
connection with the Blue Angels, flight testing on the model
will take place just a few miles from NAS Jacksonville Florida.
NAS Jacksonville was the original home base of the Blue Angels,
and the location of their first public air show performance.
An electric ducted fan model has been high on my wish list for a
while so lets get started and see how the Exceed-RC Phantom goes
together and more importantly, how it flies!
F-4 Phantom EDF ARF Price: $179 Length: 31" (788mm) Wingspan: 21.3" (542mm) Weight: 20 oz (540g) Motor/Fan Used: 59mm fan and brushless motor combo
is supplied and installed Radio used: 4 channel FM radio
is supplied Battery used: Supplied 18C 1300Mah LiPo
and Outrage 25C 1300Mah LiPo
8 AA batteries for the transmitter
Small Phillips screw driver
Low tack masking tape
box arrived with out a scratch. The contents were in perfect condition
and packed in individual plastic bags. The first thing I do with
any review is sit down and cast a critical eye on the provided
instruction manual. There are several pages of warnings
dealing with flying high performance aircraft and instructions
on how to safely handle lithium batteries.
There was even a paragraph about keeping your hands and clothing
away from spinning rotor blades. Since inadvertently
getting your fingers caught in the fan would be nearly
impossible, I'm going to assume they mistakenly included that
from a helicopter manual. If you should find any rotor
blades however, be sure to stay away from them.
The booklet also includes a kit inventory and that inventory
matched what came out of the shipping box; so far so good.
The back of the manual even includes some flying and
troubleshooting tips. With all that though, the actual
assembly instructions (shown in the above photograph) are a mere
single page of pictures and notes. Since there isn't a lot
of work to do, I don't anticipate the assembly taking very long.
The F-4 Phantom is a very complete kit; all that you need to get
in to the air is 8 AA batteries that get installed in the
transmitter. The fan and 25 amp speed controller are
pre-installed and both the battery and ESC have standard Deans
connectors that are already soldered. The airplane also
comes with an 18C 1300mah motor battery that can be charged from
the balance charger that is also included in the kit.
The overall appearance of the F-4 is very good and the paint
doesn't seem too delicate. Some foam planes end up looking
ratty pretty quickly but the paint held up surprisingly well.
I did notice two interesting things when inspecting the parts.
The Blue Angels flew the F-4J Phantom but the mold they used to
make all of the Phantom models is a Wild Weasel variant.
The result is a rather large electronics package on top of the
vertical stabilizer that isn't on most of the full scale
Phantoms. This can be remedied by a bit of sand paper and
some Testors model paint if one wishes.
On the plus side, out of curiosity I looked up the tail number
that appeared on my Phantom in the US Navy BuNo database and was
amazed to find out that they had correctly numbered not only a
Phantom, but one that served with the Blue Angels! The
markings, by the way, are the water slide decal variety and
appear to be well applied.
Included 4 ch radio system
Included LiPo balance charger
The nose gets glued on first
Landing gear installation
Flying stabilizer installation
isn't a whole lot to do on the Phantom so let's get started.
The first thing I did was to put the battery on the supplied charger
and let it charge while I was building the model. After I
glued on the nose cone I installed the landing gear. The
pictures show the gear legs to the rear but the holes for the leg on
my model were towards the front so I installed them with the legs to
the front. I'm not sure which is "correct" but they work just
fine the way I installed them and the CG was spot on. When I
installed the nose gear I just lightly tightened the set screw so
that I could make some final adjustments after the radio was powered
fourth step has apparently lost something in translation. The
caption says "install the rudder" but the picture shows the aileron
which is already installed and hinged. What they actually want
you to do is install the aileron control horns. Make sure you
don't crush the foam when you tighten down the control horn screws.
we are supplied with a basic four channel radio there is no dual
rate or exponential throw available. This means that all of
the control sensitivity adjustments are made the old fashioned way,
by adjusting servo arm and control horn distances. My first
flight was with the pushrod installed in the middle hole of both the
control horn. Since the manual gives no guidance in the form
of suggested control throws, I figured I would start in the middle.
Let me tell you, if you're not ready for a roll rate of several
rolls per second, start with the servo end closest to the servo and
the control horn on the farthest hole and work your way more
sensitive from there! I didn't actually install the pushrods
yet, I will do that when I power up the radio and make sure the
servos are centered..
it came time to install the full flying stabilizer the manual says
to "install the horizontal tail wing". After staring at the
parts for a few minutes it dawned on me what they were trying to
accomplish. The first step is to figure out which half of the
control rod gets mounted to which stabilizer half.
control rod is two pieces, one gets glued to each elevator half. The
two, when overlapped, form a round rod that is held together by two
screws. The half that makes up the bottom half of the rod gets
glued to the left elevator half. Instead of the supplied
silicon type adhesive I would recommend medium thickness, foam safe
CA here. I wish they had supplied screws and nut plates
similar to the control horns for this step; you will see why later
on. If you use CA, let it sit and dry without using any
Elevator close up
Elevator push rod
the elevator halves are drying, use a sharp knife and cut away
any mold flash that might be obstructing the hole where the
control rod will pass through the fuselage. Go ahead and
install the control horn and then insert the control rod halves.
If you assembled everything correctly the two screw holes on
each half should line up and the elevators should have about a
1mm gap on each side between the fuselage and the elevators.
Leave the pushrod off until we power up the radio and center the
Dry fit and glue the main wings and the vertical stabilizer in
place and allow them to dry. Don't be stingy on the glue
when you install the wings. Unlike some other kits I've
worked on, the glue won't pull the paint off so use enough that
a little excess pushes out and wipe it up with a paper towel.
Though it isn't mentioned in the instructions, your Phantom will
look a little strange with no canopy. Dry fit, trim, and
glue the canopy in place. I used a little bit of
blue painters masking tape to hold the canopy down while the
glue dried. As I mentioned before the paint is well
applied and a low tack tape won't pull off any clumps of paint.
At this point the battery was charged so I went ahead and
powered up the radio, centered the trims and installed the
battery. Battery access on the Phantom is simple and
convenient. The battery door actually appears to be a
front landing gear door. I had several people ask me if
the little F-4 had retracts installed because of the battery
door sitting open on the table. My transmitter came
without the switches set correctly. The correct switch
positions for this model from the left are up, up, up, dn, dn.
Once I had the servos centered I set the nose wheel to what
appeared to be straight and tightened the set screw. After
a few taxi tests around my cul-de-sac I made some final
adjustments and used a bit of thread locker on the set screw.
The aileron servo arms looked well positioned so I went ahead
and installed the pushrods and made sure the control surfaces
were flush with the wings. The elevator servo arm needed
to be removed and repositioned as shown in the photograph to get
proper movement of the elevators. Install the pushrod, cut
off the excess and put a small drop of thread locker on both
As one of my favorite magazine writers says, "nose heavy
airplanes may fly poorly but tail heavy airplanes may fly only
once." With the battery installed I checked the CG against
that shown in the instruction manual. My feeling was that
this was a bit far forward given that about 80 percent of the
wing was behind it but as this was my first jet I figured I
could swap the gear around if flight testing showed it was nose
heavy. The Phantom flew so well at the CG shown I didn't
feel the need to adjust it later on.
That is all there is to do, the Phantom is ready for flight
When a calm day finally arrived I double checked that the
control surfaces were all moving the correct direction and did
some high speed taxi tests. The Phantom seemed to have
plenty of power so I put the battery on the charger to top it
off and answered questions from the small crowd that had
gathered to check out my new toy.
Back on the runway I slowly advanced the throttle and at just
over half throttle the Phantom jumped off the runway. I
took it up for a few circuits around the field and it needed a
little up trim and that was about it. I had three things
come to mind during that first flight. The ailerons are
very sensitive, the elevator is sluggish, and the plane
becomes very small very quickly.
took it up, pointed the nose into the wind and started backing
off the throttle to see how the Phantom reacted as it stalled.
The Phantom is so light it doesn't do anything silly but the
controls become completely ineffective before the plane drops
it's nose and keeps flying. A little power is all it took
to recover. The Phantom flies around at just over half
power and will zip right along at full power.
After about 3 minutes I set up for my first landing approach.
I was a little generous with the power and the plane sailed
right on past me. You have to get the nose up to slow the
plane down enough to land. The problem was I ran out of
elevator and bounced down the runway on the second try.
Back on the bench I played with the control linkages to slow
down the ailerons and get more elevator response. I also
put the battery on the charger and gave the plane a complete
post flight inspection. The access door on the bottom of
the plane that I thought was glued in had worked it's way loose
and was within a few seconds of departing the aircraft in
flight. The solution to this is regular clear tape around
the perimeter of the hatch. If the hatch needs to be
removed to service the fan or speed controller simply cut the
tape with a sharp razor and apply the new tape over top to avoid
pulling the paint off.
I'm not one to wait on batteries to charge at the field so I
contacted Bobby Smith at
RReModels to see what he had on hand that might fit the
Phantom. Bobby sent me an
Outrage 1300mah 25C battery that was identical in size and
weight to the stock battery. After a few cycles I could
tell a moderate difference in flight as the motor seemed to have
a little more top end and a little more kick.
It took me a few flights to get used to the Phantom but it
wasn't long before I was having a ball. The Phantom will
do all of the standard maneuvers that you would expect from such
an aircraft. The only exception is that slow rolls aren't
all that slow because there is no rudder. Nice long take
off runs are accomplished by using a bit of down elevator.
Scale looking, nose high landings are no problem as soon as the
pilot gets the feel for the relationship between angle of attack
and the proper power setting.
was a little worried about the elevator installation and this
proved correct on the 6th flight. I did a split-s into a
fast down wind run and the left elevator departed the airplane.
After a spectacular crash I walked up to the airplane and was
surprised to find that with the exception of a little road rash
the Phantom was in good shape. A little glue and a little
paint and it was in the air again the following weekend.
The Exceed-RC Phantom is a fun
little airplane. I had been looking for a small electric
ducted fan jet so it came along at exactly the right time.
The plane assembles quickly and you could easily be in the air
in the time that it takes the glue to dry and the battery to
The only issue I had during
assembly was figuring out how the elevator went together.
I would recommend beefing up the elevator control rod attachment
or using medium CA or even epoxy to attach the elevator halves
to the control rod.
The flight performance exceeds
that of many of the electric ducted fan jets I've seen at our
field with the exception of the higher end (and much more
expensive) ones. Some adjustability in the radio would be
nice but when you consider what you get for the cost, the
overall value is very high.
I flew my Phantom with the
supplied landing gear but if you're flying off of a grass field
the Phantom has a finger hold on the bottom of the plane for
hand launching. With full power applied I'm pretty sure
the Phantom will fly out of your hand with nothing more than a
gentle toss towards the horizon. Belly landings in grass
should not pose a problem either and the little jet would
probably look even better in flight without the landing gear
hanging down for the entire flight. I did confirm that the
Phantom will take off and land with no problems with the landing
gear installed on a grass field that is in good shape.
Overall I'm very pleased with
the Exceed-RC F-4 Phantom and I'm hopeful that I will get to try
some of their other EDF offerings.
Outrage RC Sold by:
RReModels.com 1260 N. Nova Road
Daytona Beach, FL 32117 Phone: (382) 212-5100
Product used: Outrage 3S 25C 1300Mah LiPo
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.