Includes radio and power system, battery, and charger.
needed to assemble.
Easy battery access via magnetic
surface damage out of the box.
Wing pegs didn't align to holes in the fuselage.
HERE for explanation
complete: less than 1hr
Level: No problem
the 1950's, before the advent of spy satellites the only
reliable way to assess the capabilities and intentions of your
enemy was to fly over and take pictures. Since not many
hostile countries were in a hurry to give the USAF permission to
operate reconnaissance aircraft over their military facilities
the Air Force required an aircraft that could operate outside
the envelope of intercept fighters and surface to air missiles
of the day. Designer Kelly Johnson and the Lockheed Martin
Advanced Development Projects division (aka "Skunkworks")
submitted a design proposal based on the existing F-104 Star
Fighter. The design was rejected by the military but a
large contract was awarded from the CIA and the U-2 Dragon Lady
With an operational ceiling over 70,000 feet, the U-2 over flew
the Soviet Union with impunity and public secrecy until May 1st
1960 when Francis Gary Powers was shot down over while flying a
mission over the Soviet Union.
U-2's were also staged in Orlando, Florida during the Cuban
Missile Crisis of 1962 and provided vital intelligence while the
United States and Soviet Union approached the brink of nuclear
The unique design of the aircraft provided several operational
challenges to pilots. At altitude the U-2 only had about a
10 mph window, too slow and it would stall and loose precious
altitude, too fast and the aircraft would exceed it's maximum
speed and airframe failure would result. The U-2 was also
a handful to fly at low altitudes and to land as the unassisted
flight control system was designed to operate at very high
Phase 3 U-2
Spy plane EDF RTF Price: MSRP $239.99 Wing Span: 66.5" (1690mm) Fuselage Length: 40.5" (1030mm) Flying Weight: 21.2 to 22.9oz
(600 - 650g) Motor/Fan Used: Included Battery Used: Included 3S
1650mah LiPo Radio Equipment: Includes 2.4Ghz Hobby
People Aerosport 5 channel radio system,
Airtronics receiver, and servos.
4 AA batteries
always been a fan of the U-2 and the work done at Lockheed's
Skunkworks so I was excited that someone was finally coming out
with an R/C model of one. I was even more excited to find
out that I would be reviewing the Phase-3 U-2 EDF Ready To Fly.
The U-2 is available in 3 versions from Hobby People. The
fully equipped version that we are reviewing, a version that
comes with everything but the transmitter that's ready to bind
to your existing Airtronics 2.4ghz radio, and an unpainted kit
version that comes with just the motor and fan. Given the
number of U-2 variants that were produced, the kit would make a
great project to recreate one of the later U-2s or even the blue
and white ones used by NASA for high altitude research.
unpacked the U-2 and sat down for a few minutes to study the
included 8 page instruction booklet. I'm a stickler for
instructions and the Phase 3 manual that accompanies the U-2
includes everything that I think a good manual should.
Specifications for the installed components, a complete kit
inventory, safety warnings, and a replacement parts listing were
all there. The manual contained easy to read instructions
and lots of photographs, so it would be hard to make a mistake
based on the manual.
The RTF version that we received for review includes everything
you need to get the U-2 in to the air in about the time that it
takes you to balance charge the included battery with the
included battery charger. In addition to the battery and
charger, the Airtronics receiver, servos, 40 amp esc, motor, and
fan are all installed and ready to go. The transmitter
uses for AA size batteries and that is the only thing you need
to track down to get started.
Included 2.4Ghz radio
Balance charger and LiPo
reviewing the charging instructions in the manual I hooked up the
1650 Mah 3S LiPo battery to the included charger and set it aside to
charge while I assembled the airframe. I would also recommend
covering any areas that the foam parts are sitting with a towel to
protect the finish.
empennage is attached without glue using factory applied double
sided tape. I was a little dubious about double sided tape
holding the tail feathers on an EDF jet but reviews are built
according to the instructions unless there's a really glaring error.
Everything seemed to hold up just fine during flight testing but I'm
sure if anything happens, a little foam safe CA will fix things
right up. The tail is self aligning and when we peeled away
the tape and stuck everything together, the elevator and vertical
fin were perfectly straight. Connecting the elevator control
rod completes assembly of the tail.
Installing the wings was the only real frustration that we
encountered while assembling the U-2. There are 3 carbon rods
in each wing that get inserted in to corresponding tubes glued into
the fuselage. The right wing on the review aircraft went in
fairly easily. There is no double sided tape and in fact the
only thing holding the wing in place is the aileron extensions, and
the pressure of the rods against the tubes. Again, I was a bit
skeptical but it's held up well enough so far. I considered
covering the gap with black electrical tape but have thus far not
found the need.
40A Speed Controller
aircraft, the pins on the left wing were not lined up nearly as
well as the right wing and I had to put so much sideways
pressure on one of the rods to get things to line up and slide
in place that I was afraid I was going to break it. I
eventually managed to get the wing panel in place but I'm glad I
can transport my U-2 without trying to take the wings off as the
left wing would probably be a bit of a chore. The good
news is, the fit is so tight that I'm sure I wont have any
problem with this wing slipping on the pins in flight.
That's all that is required to get the U-2 ready to fly. I
spent a few minutes researching some pictures of the full scale
U-2 and used them to place some of the decals that were included
with the kit. They are a nice touch and a very realistic
subdued red. The decals are quite delicate so take your
time and ensure that the backing is soaked thoroughly so that it
slides away from the surface without pulling on the decal.
PowerLog 6S watt meter test
PowerLog 6S output graph from full throttle runs
the decals dried and the battery was charged, I decided to run
some tests on the power system. The first thing I
discovered was that the receiver was not bound to the included
transmitter. The transmitter has it's own instruction book
and I had the transmitter bound up to the included Airtronics
receiver in just a few moments.
battery has to be pretty far back to get the U-2 to balance at
the recommended 70-75mm from the leading edge at the wing root.
Mark the battery and install some velcro so it doesn't slip.
Since the aileron servos were pre-installed, and the
instructions specified which hole to install the pushrod I only
glanced at the throws and they appeared to be what was specified
in the instruction manual.
ran a few tests with my watt meter/data logger and attached the
output graph. This accomplished two things (three if you
count disturbing my neighbors). It allowed me to get a few
cycles on the LiPo battery before heading to the field, and it
let me make sure everything was operating within safe
As you can see from the chart the ESC peaked at 34 amps.
The 40 amp speed controller should have enough over head for the
peak full throttle loads. The C rating of the included
battery may be another matter. I couldn't locate the exact
battery included with the U-2 (the part number in the manual
came back to a decal set) but most of the similar ones I found
were 20C. That would put the estimated capacity of the
included battery at 33 amps continuous so I will be keeping an
eye on the battery temperature.
The system produced 380 watts at full power so at a pound and a
half, the U-2 EDF should have respectable flight performance.
The only thing left was to head to the flying field and try out
Sitting on the bench, the unique look of the U-2 drew a crowd of
onlookers as soon as I took it out for pictures. Given the
large military population of the Jacksonville area, any military
aircraft model generally draws war stories. The first
comment about the U-2 though was from a youngster that said he
just learned about the U-2 while studying the Cuban missile
dragged a helper along for the first flight just because I
always like to be on the sticks for any surprises. I
contemplated giving it a gliding toss or two but I was confident
in the power system, the CG was right in the recommended range,
and the control throws looked good. As I powered up to
full throttle and my helper Frank gave the plane a throw
straight and level into the wind. The U-2 flew straight
out and started climbing but I found out that even with full
down trim I needed forward stick to keep it straight and level.
I brought it around and landed in the grass to see what was
going on suspecting the CG was too far back. I moved the
battery forward and tried it again to much better results.
After the first two test flights the U-2 was successfully
launched by the pilot without any issues. It's not going
to rocket out of your hand, but you don't require the arm of an
NFL quarterback to safely launch it either.
The marketing materials claim that the U-2 EDF flies in a scale
manner. Having seen the real thing in person an number of
times rotate and climb at a 45 or 50 degree angle straight out
of sight I would have to disagree with that assessment.
The plane does fly very well though, and full power gives a good
positive climb rate. I thought that the wing design might
give a tendency to tip stall like high performance sailplanes
but was pleasantly surprised by it's docile handling even at
fairly low airspeeds.
U-2 certainly isn't designed to perform aerobatics and lacking a
rudder the models repertoire is somewhat limited in that regard.
It will perform loops and, owing the large ailerons, a
respectable roll despite the glider like wing. Loops do
require a little nose down to build up some speed to make the
maneuver look like a loop and not merely a flop over.
If you're throwing the coals to the fire the whole time, keep
your flights in the 4 minute range to be safe. With a bit
of throttle management however, 6 and 7 minute flights are
within safe battery usage limits. In the two days of
flight testing for this review we probably put a total of 10
flights on the supplied LiPo battery and it showed no signs of
any problems. ESC and battery temperatures were not an
issue, and the Aerosport 2.4ghz radio performed flawlessly.
I would not recommend this model for a beginner but anyone that
has some time flying sport models with ailerons shouldn't have
Landings are easy but if you don't have any wind make sure you
have plenty of room to line up because the U-2 will float a
pretty good distance even with the power cut. Flying
higher and floating around is a real pleasure with the U-2.
It's not going to win any races, nor any thermal duration
contests, but it does pretty well in between.
The mission of the full scale U-2 required it to remain
covert and its design and flat black color helped achieve that.
While that may be a desirable quality in a real aircraft, when
flying a model it has certain...uh...drawbacks. Be careful how
far you stray and against what background you choose to fly or
you might find your U-2 EDF rather hard to see.
Some audio portions of the video are muted to eliminate wind
The Phase-3 U-2 RTF EDF is an
excellent value when you consider it includes everything needed
to get into the air with the exception of 4 AA batteries.
The fan, receiver, ESC and servos are preinstalled and wired
from the factory. The battery, which comes with its own
balancing charger, uses a standard Deans connector and doesn't
require any soldering. I thought the included transmitter
may be a hindrance with it's lack of dual rates or mixing but
the U-2 simply didn't need anything. The only thing I
missed when compared with a computerized transmitter was a
Assembling the U-2 and applying
the decals takes about as long as charging up the battery.
The only minor annoyance was the fit of the wing pins and that
was pretty easy to over come. Battery access via the
magnetically attached canopy is convenient.
As I said in the flight testing
section, this isn't a plane for a beginner. Any pilot with
some aileron experience shouldn't have any troubles adjusting to
flying the U-2 though. Hand launches are no problem even
if you don't have a helper, just make sure you have some room to
build up speed to climb. If you have the mentality that
anything that doesn't disappear straight up in 5 seconds is
underpowered then you may well find the U-2 a bit underpowered.
Aside from the climb rate however, the flight envelope of the
U-2 is quite realistic (indeed its a lot easier to land than the
If you're looking for something
different, the U-2 is a great looking plane that's a solid
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.