RCU Review: Alfa Models F4U-1 Corsair - EP


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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: March 2004 | Views: 76738 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon

    Review by: Greg Covey


    5614 Franklin Pike Cr.
    Brentwood, TN 37027
    (615) 373-1444
    sales@hobby-lobby.com
    www.hobby-lobby.com


    Watch videos of the
    F4U Corsair

    High Wind Flying
    No Wind Flying*
    *Compliment of Hobby-Lobby


    • Very little assembly needed
    • Hardened surface resist dings
    • A great flyer that can handle some wind!

    • Instuctions need work

    The Alfa Models Corsair ARF plane is almost finished as it arrives in the box. You simply install your motor, two servos, receiver, and battery. The wing is removable for transport and storage in its box. Both the wing and fuselage are hollow molded foam with a hardened surface to resist dings. Hard plastic sheeting is used where the model contacts the ground.

    Handlaunching is easy with a good grip area behind the wing. A sheet of waterslide decals for 3 scale versions are included in the kit. The Alfa Models Corsair is designed for 3 channels; elevator, aileron, and speed control.




    Kit Name: F4U Corsair
    Manufacturer:
    Alfa Models
    Distributor:
    Hobby-Lobby
    Price:
    $119.00

    Wingspan:
    32"
    Wingarea:
    188 sq. in.
    Length:
    25-3/4"
    Weight:
    about 16 oz.
    Motor:
    geared Speed 300

    Parts Suggested:

    2 Hitec HS-55 Micro servos
    Hitec 555 Micro receiver
    MP Jet 8030 Short 3mm prop adaptor
    P09060SF APC 9x6 slowflyer prop
    GR3306 Graupner Speed 300 motor
    JE110AW Jeti 10 ESC
    MJ8043 5:1 ball-bearing gearbox
    PC7208F4 8-cell, 720mAh NiMH folded pack


    Alternate Parts Used:

    MP Jet 8031 Long 3mm prop adaptor
    FS300 3-blade 9x7 prop
    FM122 2-cell Kokam 1200mAh Lithium pack

    Kit Parts:

    Still in the box, the Alfa Models Corsair is almost finished
    The kit contains very few parts, a manual,
    drawing, and decal sheet

    The Alfa Models Corsair ARF plane is almost finished as it arrives in the box. You simply install your motor, two servos, receiver, and battery. The wing is removable for transport and storage in its box. Both the wing and fuselage are hollow molded foam with a hardened surface to resist dings. Hard plastic sheeting is used where the model contacts the ground.

    Handlaunching is easy with a good grip area behind the wing. A sheet of waterslide decals for 3 scale versions are included in the kit. The Alfa Models Corsair is designed for 3 channels; elevator, aileron, and speed control.

    When the parts are removed from the box, you can see just how closely finished the Corsair really is. The assembly diagram and 4-page instruction sheet are all that is needed for a successful completion. The aileron and elevator linkages are already installed. You simply mount the servos and connect the linkage using the supplied quick links.


    The firewall is pre-installed and ready for mounting the geared Speed 300 motor or optional brushless setup. A top hatch is pre-cut and latch pre-installed to allow easy access to the batteries and radio components. It is held securely in place using a locking latch.

    The wing and elevator are semi-symmetrical so the model flies like a much larger model providing a smooth and responsive flight capable of performing even in the wind. (Watch the video)



    Power System:

    The motor and gearbox require assembly before wiring the ESC

    I'll be using the geared 5:1 Speed 300 power system for my review and a Jeti 10 ESC with an 8-cell, 720mAh, NiMH pack. I'll also be testing a 2-cell Kokam 1200mAh pack to reduce weight and add duration.

    The pinion gear that comes with the (MJ8043) 5:1 gearbox for SPEED 300 motors needs to be forced onto the motor shaft. I tapped my pinion gear on while supporting the other end of the motor shaft with a solid metal surface. A small Locktite tube also comes with the gearbox but I did not use it since the pinion fit on the motor shaft was so tight.

    I plan to replace the APC 9x6 slowflyer prop with a black FS300, 3-Blade, 9x7 prop for a better scale look. The 3-blade prop requires the longer (MJ8031) Long 3mm Prop Adapter to work with the supplied hub and snap washer in the kit.

    Note that the 3-blade, 9x7 prop has a similar thrust and current draw as using a 10x7, 2-blade prop. This means that a 7-cell, 720mAh NiMH pack or a 2-cell Lithium pack will be a better fit in my power system.


    Motor Mounting:

    The firewall is pre-installed and already marked for the 3 screw holes needed to mount the MJ gearbox. I drilled 3 small holes in the firewall and mounted the motor in only a few minutes. When mounting my gearbox, I used a little white glue on the screw threads to keep them in place.

    Wing Mounting:

    The Corsair wing comes ready to mount under the fuselage with only a single nylon screw. The design uses custom molded plastic pre-glued into both the wing and the underbelly of the fuselage. This technique locks the wing securely to the fuselage and allows your wing to be removed many times without the wear usually associated on connecting foam parts. This feature was a nice touch by Alfa Models.

    Note that my Jeti ESC enable switch is mounted in a small cut that I made off of the hatch opening. I supported it with two tiny screws and some white glue. This provides visibility of the switch position and easy enabling of the power system after the battery has been plugged in. Alternatively, the switch can be mounted inside the fuselage since the hatch provides for easy access.


    Cowl and Prop:

    To mount the cowl, I used a few pieces of double-sided transparent
    tape around the fuselage nose.
    The 3-blade 9x7 prop offers a better scale appearance to the nose

    I used a longer MP Jet 3mm adapter (MJ8031) to mount my 3-blade 9x7 prop. The washer that comes with the MJ prop adapter is replaced with the one that comes in the Alfa Models kit. I needed to wrap a few turns of masking tape around the prop adapter shaft for a snug fit on the 3-blade prop.

    The finished look is great and will be a closer match to the full-scale F4U Corsair.


    Linkages:

    The linkages are pre-installed and the supplied quick links allow for easy servo installation

    Since the control rod linkage is already run and hooked up to the elevator and ailerons, you simply install the servo and connect the rods using the supplied quick links.

    The aileron control rods are thin so you need to run them through a small piece of supplied tubing before tightening the quick link.


    Battery Placement:

    Since I am using a 3-blade (FS300) 9x7 prop instead of the normal APC 2-blade, 9x6 SF prop, an 8-cell pack would draw excessive current in my geared Speed 300 power system. I choose to use a 2-cell (FM122) Kokam 1200mAh Lithium battery to reduce the voltage and weight while providing a longer duration flight. The current draw is about 7amps at full throttle with the Kokam 2-cell pack.
    Shown here is where the pack placement balanced the plane. The NiMH pack balanced just slightly aft of the Kokam Lithium pack shown in the photo.

    My finished Alfa Models Corsair was ready-to-fly at only 13oz

    The 2-cell Kokam pack weighed about 1.9oz and made my Alfa Models Corsair Ready-To-Fly at only 13.0oz which is 3oz under the stock flying weight! The lighter plane with a 1200mAh battery is a 20% drop in weight and should feel more like brushless power!


    Flight Testing:

    I test flew my Alfa Models Corsair about 6 times and it is a great flyer! The power level with the geared Speed 300 motor is more than adequate as we flew it on several windy days. At full power, my motor would cut out after several seconds because the current draw was a bit too high on my 2-cell Kokam 1200 pack with the 3-blade 9x7 prop. The cold outside temperature probably didn't help either as it saps the strength from Lithium cells.

    Alternatives here are to trim the prop tips back about 1/4" to 1/2" on each blade or use a 2-cell Lithium pack capable of delivering more than 6amps of current.

    It worked fine with the stock 8-cell, 720mAh, NiMH pack but we limited our full throttle usage during the first half of the flight. The 7-cell, 720mAh, NiMH pack could also be used to limit the maximum current draw with the 3-blade prop. The Corsair launched with just a toss while holding it just behind the cowl in front of the leading edge of the wing. Alternatively, some folks say you can hold it behind the wing but I found that more difficult.

    Typically, I ready the plane in one hand and hold the transmitter in the other. I flip the throttle up with my lower lip and toss straight away!

    Here are some classic Corsair angles as it flies in for a close inspection
    of our communications tower at work
    .

    The Alfa Models Corsair was easy to assemble, requiring very little work to complete. It was very fun to fly and looked spectacular in the air! Although we found it easy to fly and land, it is a bit fast to be considered a trainer or first plane.

    One of the videos is from Hobby Lobby and shows the Corsair flying in calm, almost perfect conditions. My second video shows the Corsair flying in very windy conditions and landing on icy snow several times. The dynamic range of flight and power of the geared Speed 300 motor in this plane is quite evident.

    The Corsair is very maneuverable and will perform large loops and rolls with ease. I had no additional protection on my plane and it landed on snow and ice without incident.

    I found no problems with my Corsair and continue to be impressed with the Alfa Models line of great flyers!




    5614 Franklin Pike Cr.
    Brentwood, TN 37027
    (615) 373-1444
    sales@hobby-lobby.com
    www.hobby-lobby.com

    Comments on RCU Review: Alfa Models F4U-1 Corsair - EP

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    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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