RCU Review: Great Planes ElectriFly F-16 Falcon


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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: December 2011 | Views: 27538 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Great Planes F-16 Falcon

    Review by: Greg Covey
    Flying Photos: "Papa Jeff" Ring
    Video Pilot: Devin McGrath



    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 Kit with DF, motor, and hardware
    Easy to build with an excellent manual
    Superb Flying Performance
    Plenty of power with a wide range of flight speed
    Bungee launcher and plywood stand both included
    Great Scale Appearance
    Spare Parts Available


    Profile Pilot




     

     

    Great Planes Electrifly F-16 Falcon

    Great Planes ElectriFly recreates the General Dynamics F-16's innovative design in a ducted fan ARF that combines scale looks with top-end speeds of over 90mph! This brushless electric-powered, radio controlled, almost ready to fly EDF design is easy to assemble and is recommended for advanced RC pilots flying at an approved AMA flying site.

    The HyperFlow ducted fan unit with the Ammo 24-45-3790 inrunner brushless motor (both included) produces impressive thrust and speed. The ElectriFly F-16 Falcon provides "jet" excitement in a convenient size. The magnetically attached canopy doubles as a battery hatch, simplifying the installation of LiPos and radio gear. Ailerons, elevators and rudder control make the F-16 highly maneuverable, for slow fly-bys and full-throttle excitement. The F-16 can be hand-launched, or you can take advantage of the included bungee launcher for even easier launching. Also ideal for assembly, the display stand lets you show off your F-16 when it isn't airborne.

    Specifications:

    • Wingspan: 22.5" (570mm)
    • Wing Area: 166 sq in (10.7sq dm)
    • Length: 34.5" (875mm)
    • Weight: 32 - 34oz (910 - 960g)
    • Wing Loading: 27.8 - 29.5oz/sq ft (85 - 90g/sq dm)
    • Center of Gravity (CG): 3-1/4" (83mm) back from the leading edge of the wing where it meets the fuselage
    • Recommended ES: 35A brushless ESC
    • Recommended Battery: 14.8V (4S) 2100-2500mAh LiPo
    • Recommended Radio: 4-Channel Radio system
    • Servos: Micro Servos (4 required)

    Key Features:

    • Fiberglass fuselage with balsa and ply wing and tail assembly
    • Balsa and ply built wing, covered in Top Flite MonoKote
    • Hyperflow 56mm ducted fan unit (included)
    • ElectriFly Ammo 24-45-3790kV brushless inrunner motor (included)
    • Motor Wire Extensions to ESC (included)
    • Dual servo aileron control
    • Clear canopy with lightweight profile pilot, attaches with magnets
    • Bungee type launching system for easy unassisted launches (included)
    • Plywood stand (included)
    ARF Contents :

    The F-16 parts come well protected and sealed in the box. All the control surfaces are pre-installed and hinged. I found a manual addendum that warns you to sand the motor mount former, if needed.

    The bungee launcher, display stand, motor, and ducted fan unit are all included. The kit even includes the motor wire extensions to the ESC.

    In addition to the 24-page step-by-step manual, a separate HyperFlow manual, covering tip sheet, and assembly addendum are also included. A laser cut tail alignment fixture is also provided to insure that the stabilizer halves are glued to the fuselage at the correct angle. A glossy decal sheet allows you scale up the F-16 Falcon when the assembly is finished.

    A closer look at the fuselage reveals the factory-painted fiberglass design. The canopy is magnetically attached and doubles as a battery hatch, making it easy to access the Lipo pack for recharging.

    Although there is a scale duct opening in the front, the large cheater hole provides most of the air intake to the ducted fan unit. The ElectriFly F-16 Falcon was designed to be belly landed on grass so there is no provision for landing gear. The fuselage bottom has a reinforced area, just forward of the CG, with a pre-installed t-nut for the bungee launch hook.

    Components Used :

    The recommended parts for completion are as follows.

     

    Assembly:

    The assembly begins with the included plywood stand. It is used to support the F-16 during assembly and transport. I used medium CA and kicker to secure it after first taping the assembly together. Optionally, you can add your own foam cushion to protect the model from scratches. I used a 1/4" sticky-back white wing saddle foam and secured it with medium CA. The foam is not included.

    While I was at it, I skipped to page 14 and assembled the tail alignment fixture. A little medium CA and kicker is all you need.

    Power System:

    The HyperFlow Fan Unit requires some modification before the AMMO 24-45-3790kV brushless inrunner motor and brass rotor adapter can fit inside. The manual gives some detailed instructions, photos, and tips for the fan assembly and installation inside the fuselage. My only deviation was to use an aircraft grade epoxy (BVM V-poxy) instead of 30-minute epoxy and micro-balloon filler.

    Note that the fan unit is fully tested outside the fuselage with a live radio system and Lipo pack. Once satisfied with the operation, it can be installed into the fuselage. Shrink tubing is supplied for securing the motor wire extensions. The manual suggests taking your time on these steps to insure proper operation and a reasonably balanced rotor.

    A tail cone comes pre-assembled and glued inside the fuselage. The fan unit is then set snugly inside the tail cone unit on one end and anchored by the additional plywood former that you glue in place. The former did need some sanding for a perfect fit. I tied off the three motor wires through the cockpit to keep them in the vertical fin hollow and out of the way.

    A plastic front housing flange and balsa fin cover are also glued into place to increase the efficiency of the air flow

    Elevators:

    The elevator servos are set up properly with the correct arm length and a live receiver. One set up, they are glued into the bays in the wings. Pre-cut custom covers are then tacked in place with a small amount of medium CA.

    The linkage was easy to install. The control rods are pre-bent and cut to length so you only need to drill two 3/32" holes for the horn. I used a razor knife to slightly open the servo arm hole. The instructions tell you how long the servo arm should be and what holes to use on both ends of the control rod.

    Wings and Tail:

    I glued the wings and tail in place with 5-minute epoxy. The wings are aligned by an aluminum tube and carbon anti-rotation pins. The tail is aligned by the supplied alignment fixture.

    Control Rods and Supports:

    After first mounting the servos up front, the control horns are put on the metal rods which are fed into the sleeves before mounting to the rudder and wing halves. The rudder control rod is simply fed into a quick link. The two elevator rods are joined with a third rod going to the servo arm and secured with a couple wheel collars. Both rods are further secured by plywood guides.

    I didn't notice that my elevator sleeves were too long so I needed to cut them shorter after feeding the metal rods inside. It will be much easier to cut them about 1/2" from the support, if needed, before starting this step

    Final Assembly:

    The last few assembly steps are to mount the ESC and launch hook. I deviated from the manual's suggestion of securing the ESC to the fuselage intake and simply secured it to the former with a cable tie.

    Several sticky-back sandpaper pieces are included for hand-launching the F-16 Falcon. I'll try the included bungee launch system and see how it works. The launch hook simply screws into place with a little thread locker.

    Ready-To-Fly:

    My ElectriFly F-16 Falcon was finished and set perfectly on the included stand. I set up the control throws per the manual and added 30% exponential to the ailerons and elevator. Although I didn't measure the power level, it seemed plenty strong when I test ran it up to full power holding it by one wing. I liked the safety arming feature on the Great Planes Silver Series ESC so the motor doesn't spin until you arm it with a throttle stick sequence.

    At first we thought about hand launching the model but the manufacturer's site video really made the bungee launch look easy so we decided to try it.

    Bungee Launch

    Here are some photos from one of the bungee launches. I was surprised at how easy it was to bungee launch. On the video, I show it three times. There was no need to hand launch the plane because the pilot can easily bungee launch it himself.

    F-16 Falcon Test Flights Video (23meg)

    The F-16 Falcon was flown three times in the video by Team Futaba's Devin McGrath. The bungee launch worked perfectly every time. We flew for 5 minutes and each time the pack used only 50% so very little energy is needed to keep the F-16 airborne.

    We didn't see any issues when launching or flying the F-16 Falcon. There was a resonance in the fuselage when the throttle was about 1/3 power but after about half throttle it went away. It didn't seem to have any ill effect. When landing, it seemed to stop sliding along the grass due to the bungee hook so I would recommend adding an aileron linkage cover just in front of the hook.

    The F-16 Falcon performed many maneuvers with plenty of power! It coasted well and flew great at both low and high speeds. The roll rate is impressive on high rates and it was very stable when flying inverted. The working rudder provided additional maneuverability and helped to align the landings.

    While this model would not be well suited as your first EDF, I would recommend it for intermediate level fliers with some fast plane experience. It is always a good idea to have an experienced pilot trim the plane out on the first flight.

    The F-16 Falcon met my expectations for performance and overall design. I didn't care for the profile pilot but it still looked better than an open cockpit and I'll have fun giving it an upgrade. Although I was a bit concerned that gluing the DF inside the fuselage would hinder maintenance, it is still possible to access the motor and rotor, if needed. Further, after seeing the performance, I felt there was no need for any hop-ups.

    The Great Planes F-16 Falcon is a nice step up to a sheeted wing, fiberglass EDF design without breaking the bank. The HyperFlow ducted fan unit, combined with a cheater hole on the fuselage bottom, provides a wide range of dynamic flight while running on low-cost 4s LiPo packs.













    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

    ZAP Glues On-line at Frank Tiano Enterprises

    Pacer Z-42 Thread Locker
    5-minute Z-poxy
    Pacer POLY ZAP(tm)

    Comments on RCU Review: Great Planes ElectriFly F-16 Falcon

    Posted by: kochj on 12/14/2011
    Balancing the turbine blades would reduce the vibration sound that came around half throttle
    Posted by: Greg Covey on 12/21/2011
    Check out the build thread for my profile pilot upgrade. <http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_10689177/anchors_10870325/mpage_1/anchor/tm.htm#10870325>
    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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