RCU Review: Great Planes L-39 Albatros EDF Jet

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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: May 2009 | Views: 52103 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Great Planes L-39 Rx-R EDF

    Review by: Greg Covey
    Flying Photos : Papa Jeff Ring
    Video Pilot: Paul Weigand

    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Telephone: 800-637-7660
    Telephone: 217-398-3630

    Web: www.greatplanes.com
    E-mail: gpinfo@gpmd.com

    Complete Rx. Ready Package
    Great value and looks
    Superb Flying Performance
    Durable Aerocell™ Finish
    Numerous Magnetic Attachments
    Display Stand and Display Canopy Included
    Spare Parts Available


    Skill Level:
    Low to Moderate

    Time Required to Build: 2 Hours

    Frustration Level:
    No Problem

    Degree of Difficulty Explanation
    Great Planes L-39 Albatros RxR EDF Jet

    The Great Planes L-39 Albatros EDF Jet is now available in both ARF and Receiver-Ready (RxR) versions. The RxR version features pre-installed electronics so you simply install the receiver, battery, and start flying!

    The straightforward design of the L-39 fighter makes it an excellent match for R/C model reproduction. ElectriFly's sport-scale version combines extreme brushless motor performance with advanced HyperFlow™ ducted fan technology. The L-39 exhibits a wide-open flight envelope that all jet pilots will enjoy.

    The L-39's smooth Aerocell™ surface comes already finished with a military-style camouflage trim. The decals are factory-applied and detachable display magnetic armament is also included.


    • Strong, lightweight AeroCell™ construction
    • Factory-finished for aggressive fighter jet looks
    • Included HyperFlow™ ducted fan unit with powerful Ammo 20-40-3500 in-runner brushless motor (Installed)
    • Low parts count for fast, easy assembly
    • Included detailed canopy for static display
    • ElectriFly™ Silver Series SS-25 ESC (Installed)
    • Three ES50 nano servos (Installed)
    • Magnet-secured hatch and wing tips (Installed)
    • Display stand included


    • Wingspan: 25 in (635 mm)
    • Wing Area: 141 in² (9.1 dm²)
    • Weight: 17.5-18.5 oz (500-520 g)
    • Wing Loading: 17.9-18.9 oz/ft² (55-58 g/dm²)
    • Length: 31 in (780 mm)
    • RxR Version Requires: 3-channel radio, micro receiver, and 910-1250mAh 11.1V LiPo battery
    In the Box:

    The L-39 Albatros comes well secured in the box with all the parts protected and wrapped in plastic. I removed the plastic bags on some parts for a better look. A 12-page assembly manual, decal sheet, and 8-page HyperFlow™ manual (not shown) are included. Individual parts are available for the L-39 and the HyperFlow™ ducted fan is easily accessed for maintenance, if needed.

    The decals are factory applied and all the display armament is easy detachable (before flying) via magnets. The L-39 also includes a display stand to keep the model on when not flying.

    The L-39 wing is completely assembled, with two servos installed, and is ready to attach to the fuselage. The tips are held in place by magnets to help prevent damage on those less than perfect landings.

    A closer look at the fuselage reveals that magnetic-secured hatch covers allow easy access to the battery and ducted fan compartments. The ElectriFly™ Silver Series SS-25 brushless ESC and ES50 nano servos are factory-installed.

    The HyperFlow™ ducted fan unit comes completely assembled and ready to run. It was designed using flow analysis and state-of-the-art computer modeling software. The HyperFlow ducted fan and Ammo brushless motor combination produces impressive thrust and speed.

    AeroCell™ is advanced foam that is tough enough to take abuse yet light enough for electric flight. This closed-cell foam delivers the benefits of costly composite construction in a more pilot-friendly, easy building form. AeroCell™ offers the structural strength and rigidity of traditional structures without building and the weight advantages of foam without the brittleness and breakage. AeroCell™ provides a smooth, paintable surface that comes out of the box factory-finished and decaled for stunning presence in the sky!


    The assembly begins with a few quick glues, one for the main wing and another for the stabilizers. Both sections are keyed for easy alignment, so before you know, you have a jet!

    The elevator linkage is pre-installed so you simply connect it to the control horn and secure it with the keeper.

    FASST Receiver & Canopy:

    I positioned my R617FS FASST receiver on top of the folded servo wires and tucked it neatly into the compartment next to the elevator servo. I test fit a 5oz ThunderPower 3-cell 2100mAh pack just in front of the receiver for a perfect balance. The ESC went in up front where I can open some air holes for cooling, if needed.

    Note that a second canopy comes with the L-39 for actual flight. According to the manual, the decorated canopy with the pilots is just for display. We later discovered that it works just fine in flight.

    ElectriFly Battery:

    The Great Planes ElectriFly 11.1V 1250mAh 20C LiPo pack weighs only 3.8oz and properly balances the L-39 when placed as far forward in the nose as possible. This means that a smaller capacity pack may be too light to properly balance the L-39. The slightly thinner pack allows the ESC to fit along the side. My plan was to test several packs to compare balance and the effects on performance.

    Note that I inverted the receiver and held it in place (along with all the extra wires) using a few toothpicks.

    Display Stand:

    The included display stand glues together with either epoxy or white glue. It can be used hold the model with all its armaments and second cockpit with the pilots when not flying.


    After finishing the L-39, I was impressed with all the magnetically-held armaments, wing tips, and alternate canopy for display. Further, the model really looked nice sitting on the included stand.

    I measured the flying model (without armaments) to be 13.8oz without battery. The power levels of my two test batteries were similar due to the added weight. It will be interesting to see if the additional ounce makes a noticeable difference in flight. The ElectriFly 3s 1250mAh 20C pack weighed 3.8 ounces and provided 110w at 10amps for 100w/lb. The ThunderPower 3s 2100mAh 15C pack weighed 5 ounces and provided 122w at 11amps for 104w/lb.

    Test Flying / Summary

    We tested the L-39 over a sunny weekend when the temperature was about 40 degrees F and the winds were about 10mph. The first flight was using the 4oz ElectriFly 3s 20C 1250mAh LiPo pack positioned all the way forward in the nose as far as it could go.

    The little EDF jet flew very well. It had plenty of power and could fly with aerobatics for at least 8 minutes, probably more. The CG was still a touch tail heavy which was noticed when performing rolls and flying inverted. This 1250mAh pack is likely the smallest pack that I would recommend for this model and perhaps the ElectriFly (GPMP0613) 3s 1500mAh 20C LiPo pack would be a better choice for proper balance and increased duration.

    Great Planes L-39 Test Flights Video (14 meg)

    On the second flight we used the heavier 5oz ThunderPower 15C 3s 2100mAh LiPo pack and needed to position it an inch back from full forward in the nose. The power increase of the larger capacity pack was noticeable and the L-39 rolled more evenly with the balance a bit more nose heavy. Flight times went beyond 10 minutes as we landed with power to spare.

    Although not shown in the photos, we also flew the second and third flights using the "display" canopy without any issue. Both canopies and wing tips remained in place for all three flights including the landings. The amount of pre-installed magnets on this model is unsurpassed!

    The L-39 is a great flying jet! The HyperFlow™ ducted fan technology really performs well and the model exhibits a wide-open flight envelope that allowed us to relax at lower speeds or hit full-throttle for fast fly-bys.

    This model requires intermediate flying skills. Paul and I had a blast putting it through many maneuvers and the L-39 remained stabile. I was impressed with all attention to the little details, overall design, and flying performance of this smaller EDF. It truly performs well and looks great either in the air or on the included display stand.

    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Telephone: 800-637-7660
    Telephone: 217-398-3630

    Web: www.greatplanes.com
    E-mail: gpinfo@gpmd.com

    Comments on RCU Review: Great Planes L-39 Albatros EDF Jet

    Posted by: odieyodie on 05/12/2009

    Posted by: odieyodie on 05/12/2009
    Wow Great...... review. Would a modeler/flyer thats experienced with prop jobs have any problems flying this one? What would you estimate the forgiveness factor is and top speed?
    Posted by: andyrew on 06/19/2009
    the towerhobbies website for this plane says that it REQUIRES servos and speed control - they're not included
    Posted by: Greg Covey on 06/19/2009
    odie, It is basically a fast parkflyer that can also fly slower. The main issue is in keeping track of the small size. You should have no problem with your experience. Andy, Why no forum posts for a 5 year member like you? You need to find the RxR version of the L-39 at Tower Hobbies, not the basic version. Here is the link... http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXVHF3&P=ML
    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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