RCU Review: Exceed RC F/A-18C EDF Jet

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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: January 2009 | Views: 61605 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Exceed F/A-18C

    Review by: Greg Covey
    Video Camera : Papa Jeff Ring
    Video Pilot: Lynn Bowerman

    Nitro Model Planes, Inc

    13240 Amar Rd
    Industry, CA 91746
    Ph: 626-968-9860
    Fax: 626-968-9830

    Complete RTF Package
    Great value and looks
    Superb Flying Performance
    Durable Finish
    ElectriFly/E-flite compatable charge/balance connector
    4-cell LiPo Pack Included

    Requires External BEC
    (until Feb. '09)
    Rubber Keepers Needed
    Missing Control Horn Screws
    Aileron servo holes too small for Z-bend rods

    Exceed F/A-18C RTF EDF

    The Exceed RC F/A-18C EDF Jet from Nitro Planes comes in either RTF or ARF versions. The 31" wingspan Jet has a Blue Angels finish and 70mm brushless EDF that is now powered by a 4-cell LiPo pack. Exceed RC's high quality foam provides great durability and the F-18 RTF can be put together quickly.


    • Wingspan: 780mm (30.7 in)
    • Length: 1160mm (45.7 in)
    • Flying Weight: 850g
    • Wing Area: 12.5dm^2
    • Wing Load: 68g/dm^2
    • 70mm Ducted Fan (2.75 in)
    • Servos: Five 9G Servos
    • Motor: 2836 Brushless Motor
    • Speed Controller : 45A
    • Power System: 4-Cell 2200mAH LiPo
    • Radio System: 4-Channel TX and 6CH Rx

    Key Features:

    • Ready-To-Fly, Easy to Assemble
    • Fully Proportional Elevator, Rudder, and Throttle controls
    • Includes 4-channel Transmitter, Receiver, Servos, and Flight Battery
    • Includes Powerful Brushless Motor and controller
    • Innovative Wing and Fuselage designed to improve aerodynamics
    • Durable Fuselage and Wing Construction
    In the Box:

    The parts are well protected in the box and each piece or group is individually sealed in plastic. Even the instruction manual has a protective covering.

    I removed the plastic and bubble wrap from the battery and transmitter for a closer look. The 4-Cell 2200mAH LiPo pack has a ElectriFly/E-flite compatible charge/balance connector and comes with a Dean's Ultra compatible connector already soldered on the power leads. The 4-channel 72MHz FM transmitter has channel reversing switches but needs 8 AA batteries (not included).

    A closer look at the fuselage reveals that it is 45.7" once the nose is attached. It has excellent details and the decals are already applied. The ESC has great cooling and the battery box (shown below) is easily accessible.

    The intake and exhaust ducts looked very clean.

    The wing halves, fins, and stabs were ready to glue in place once removed from the plastic.

    All the control rods are pre-cut and bent with the clevis installed. A small tube of glue is also supplied.


    The assembly starts by gluing the nose piece to the fuselage. I used the supplied glue for this step.

    I decided to use 5-minute epoxy to glue the wing in place. It dried hard and fast which allowed me to hold it until the epoxy set. The servo arm hole needed to be drilled slightly larger with a 1/16" bit to accept the Z-bend end of the control rod. I added my own rubber keeper to help hold the plastic clevis in place.

    The servo control line was then connected to the fuselage extension and I sealed it in place with some clear shipping tape. I add a small piece of yellow trim tape to complete the "Y" in the decal.

    The horizontal stabilizers were glued with 5-minute epoxy. They fit on the fuselage in a way that was self-aligning.

    Since there were no screws left to attach the control horns, I glued them in place with epoxy after first sanding the bottom side. Perhaps you were only meant to use two screws per horn on the ailerons but the manual wasn't clear on this issue. Like before, I added my own rubber keepers to help secure the clevis to the control horn.

    Since the two elevator servos are connected to a Y-harness going to the receiver, I assumed that the black servo on one side was normal direction and the other red servo was reverse direction. In any case, they worked fine once tested.

    Landing Gear:

    The gear was pre-bent and ready to screw into place. The steerable nose gear (controlled by the rudder channel) was held by a set screw against a flat spot on the metal rod. I used thread locker to help keep it secure.

    I'll likely paint the powder blue plastic areas with royal blue for a closer match to the fuselage.

    BEC/Receiver Issues:

    The Exceed F/A-18C was originally designed for a 3-cell LiPo battery pack but now ships with a higher voltage & capacity 4-cell LiPo pack for more power. Please be aware that while the included ESC can handle the extra voltage and power, the BEC on board the ESC can not properly handle the higher voltage under all loading conditions. If you purchase this model before February 2009, you will have to supply your own BEC to fly this plane safely with the 4-cell LiPo pack and disable the BEC on the included ESC by removing the red center BEC pin on the connector that plugs into the throttle channel. I used a Castle Creations CC BEC from Tower Hobbies for my external BEC. The CC BEC supply lines needed to be soldered to the ESC battery connector and then plugged into the receiver.

    Since I fly in a high RFI area, I cannot use the supplied single-conversion receiver so I swapped it out with a Spektrum AR6100 2.5GHz receiver from Horizon Hobby. Since I am using a Spectrum receiver, the programming wire pin was removed from the CC BEC before plugging it into the throttle channel.

    When using the supplied 72MHz Exceed R/C receiver, remember to route the antenna wire along the outside of the fuselage toward the rear. My F/A-18C model came with an Exceed R/C 4-channel ST*E001 transmitter and an 8-channel ST*E002 receiver on channel 50.


    The Exceed F/A-18C was Ready-To-Fly at 32oz (2lbs) including the 8oz 4s LiPo pack. I measured 500w at 35amps which will provide a strong 250w/lb performance. It was time to test fly!

    Test Flying / Summary

    We had an opportunity to test fly the Exceed F/A-18C this weekend in some pretty harsh conditions. The sky was gray and the cold winds gusted from 15-25mph but it didn't seem to phase the smaller EDF using the 4s LiPo pack. Since the plane had so much power on take-off, we could almost immediately throttle back to trim it out at a more relaxed speed. The plane flew very well and can easily be hand-launched. We even landed it in the frozen snow without even a scratch! Much of the flight was at half-throttle because it had plenty of power for loops or fast fly-bys.

    Exceed F/A-18C Test Flight Video (9 meg)

    The F-18 had great control and stability, even without having rudder control. The light wing loading and high level of power make this model extremely versatile in flight. It will easily loop from level flight. You can either cruise by at partial throttle or push the left stick up for strong vertical climbs. The flights lasted from 5 to 7 minutes depending upon the amount of throttle used. Due to the high level of power and low wingloading, I expect the F/A-18C will take off from short grass without issue.

    Nitro Models has reported back that a new version will be available sometime in February '09. The new Exceed F/A-18 will have an external BEC that connects to the main battery and provides power to the on-board electronics. Until then, it is recommended to use your own external BEC.

    Overall, I was impressed with this model. The strong performance, great looks, and durable finish all come with a value that is hard to beat. You'll need intermediate flying skills for a successful experience and have plenty of fun whether to fly off pavement or just give it an easy hand toss.

    Nitro Model Planes, Inc
    13240 Amar Rd
    Industry, CA 91746
    Ph: 626-968-9860
    Fax: 626-968-9830

    Castle Creations
    235 S. Kansas Ave.
    OLATHE, KS 66061
    Phone: 913-390-6939

    Comments on RCU Review: Exceed RC F/A-18C EDF Jet

    Posted by: racer/flyer on 02/02/2009

    Posted by: racer/flyer on 02/02/2009
    Looks like a lot of fun. Thanks for another good review.
    Posted by: Chilll on 02/15/2009
    Nice flying
    Posted by: Charliedip on 04/01/2009
    Too bad there was snow on the ground. I would of liked to see it takeoff and land.
    Posted by: Charliedip on 04/01/2009
    Too bad there was snow on the ground. I would of liked to see it takeoff and land.
    Page: 1
    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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