The Grumman F6F Hellcat, often dubbed as "the Wildcat's big brother" was a carrier-based fighter plane. Though similar in appearance to the Wildcat, the Hellcat was a completely new design. The plane was powered by the Pratt & Whitney R-2800, which was also used in the P-47 Thunderbolt and the F4U Corsair. Used primarily by the United States Navy, the Hellcat was a simple aircraft, and was later noted to be the least-modified fighter of WWII.
Though not as sleek and refined as some of the other WWII fighters, the F6F was designed to bring its pilot back home after an encounter. With over 200 pounds of armor surrounding the cockpit, a bullet-resistant windscreen, and more armor to protect the oil tank and coolers, the Hellcat did a fair job at keeping the pilot safe.
Meet the new F6F Hellcat Rx-R from Tower Hobbies. Molded in AeroCell foam, the Hellcat gives you a good, scale looking plane that includes high-quality electronics and assembles easy!
Channels Used: 4 total - Aileron, Elevator, Throttle, Rudder
Control Throws: LOW
Elevator, up/down: 1/4" (6mm) 7°
Ailerons, up/down: 3/8" (10mm) 12°
Rudder, right/left: 1/2" (13mm) 13°
Control Throws: HIGH
Elevator, up/down: 7/16" (11mm) 13°
Ailerons, up/down: 1/2" (13mm) 17°
Rudder, right/left: 3/4" (19mm) 19°
Items Needed To Complete
4 Channel Radio (min) w/ Receiver
3S 11.1V LiPo Battery and LiPo Charger
Phillips and Straight Screwdriver
The Hellcat arrived in a plain white box with a single large sticker. I opened the package and saw that the plane was secured in foam cradles and plastic bags. Upon removing the Hellcat from its box, I found that the plane was unscathed during shipping!
Inventory was taken, and no parts were missing. I could tell by the very low parts count that this plane would go together in no time!
The F6F included a lot of features that I really liked. All of the control horns, servos, brushless motor and ESC were all pre-installed, which made assembly a piece of cake!
A few of the scale details that really caught my eye were the gun barrels on the wings, the clear canopy with painted pilot figure, and the three-bladed propeller with aluminum prop hub. One other thing that stood out was all of the molded panel lines - these really helped to give the Hellcat a nice scale appearance!
The instruction manual is very
informative. The illustrations are clear, and the written instructions are easy to follow.
Assembly began by installing the horizontal and vertical stabilizers. Both had their respective control surfaces pre-attached, so installation took just a few minutes and a single machine screw. If this step were any easier, the Hellcat would have come out of the box with the tail feathers already in place!
WING ASSEMBLY AND
Moving on to the wing, I pushed the main gear into their plastic slots, slid the aileron Y-harness through the hole in the bottom of the fuselage, and secured the wing using the single nylon bolt. Please pay attention to the manual and DO NOT over-tighten the nylon wing bolt!
I mounted a Tactic TR624 SLT receiver inside the fuselage, followed by the hook-n-loop strip for the battery. Since the Hellcat is made from AeroCell foam, I added a few drops of thin CA to the edges of the hook-n-loop strip - this helps to keep it in place on the floor of the fuselage as the battery is pulled out.
After the servos had been centered, final adjustments were made to the control surfaces by adjusting pushrod length at the servo arm.
I then installed the prop adapter, three-blade propeller, and hub.
After completing the assembly, I did check the center of gravity on the Hellcat. I found that the plane was slightly tail-heavy, so an ounce of stick-on lead weight was added to the cowl. Don't worry! The manual states that this can be done with no harm to the cowl!
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As luck would have it, we got a really nice flying day in March. In Minnesota, that means it's above zero, sunny, and calm. Actually, the temp was hovering around 20 degrees and there was just the faintest breeze - not enough wind to even determine a directional take-off.
I taxied the Hellcat out onto the runway and was immediately impressed by the ground handling. I really liked the steerable tail wheel! I left the rudder throw set to 3/4" (1- 1/2" total throw)on high and low rates, and it proved to be perfect for turning the F6F on the ground.
I pushed the throttle stick forward and the Hellcat came to life - full throttle is definitely NOT needed to get her airborne! The 30 Amp ESC and outrunner motor have ample power for this warbird, as the plane was off the ground in around 20 feet. After the maiden flight, I found that 2/3 throttle produced a really scale looking take-off.
Once in the air, the trims were adjusted - only slight down elevator was added to get straight and level flight. I was immediately comfortable flying this Hellcat! Again, I found that 2/3 throttle flew the plane in a scale manner. The Hellcat will cover a lot of area in short order, but I never felt like I was trying to keep up with it.
The F6F is more than capable of slowing down as well - I was very impressed by how well the Hellcat handled at slow speeds! I felt at-ease flying the plane right up to a stall, where she just dropped the nose. Adding a little throttle and some up elevator was all it took to get her flying again.
Aerobatics were next on the agenda, and I was not disappointed! Though I prefer to do scale like maneuvers with a warbird, the Hellcat will perform sport aerobatics with ease! Large round loops, aileron rolls and stall turns look really great!
I always get a little edgy when it comes to landing a warbird for the first time, but the Hellcat proved me completely wrong. I flew the plane down to about 6 feet above the ground at one-quarter throttle, then pulled the stick back a bit more and the F6F settled in very easily and rolled to a stop. Not bad for a first landing!
After Shooting the video for this review, we removed the landing gear and hand-launched the Hellcat. With the main gear off, the F6F looks really nice in the air! One item to note: before launching, I added some heavy-duty clear packing tape to the bottom of the fuselage and the wing tips - on landing, this helped the Hellcat glide on the snow, and not get torn to pieces. Though the snow looks harmless enough, it can chew up a foam airplane pretty quick!
Check out the video to see
the F6F Hellcat in action!
It seems to me that the F6F Hellcat isn't as well known or modeled as some of the other warbirds. I'm not sure, but if they all go together and fly as easily as the Tower Hobbies F6F Hellcat, I'm certain that everyone would have one. This plane is a definite keeper! She looks good, flies better, and comes Receiver-ready - that's three checkmarks in the win column for me! Thank you, Tower Hobbies, for bringing us a Hellcat. I know I'll be enjoying mine a lot this year - and for years to come!
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.