Freewing F-14 Tomcat Setup & Flight Review

It’s time to buzz the tower…If there was one…

Freewing F-14 Tomcat Flight Review and Setup

So, how does the Freewing F-14 Tomcat fly?  In short, pretty darn awesome!  The distinguishable shape of the F-14 looks menacing in the air and the flight characteristics are fantastic.  As discussed in my assembly review of the airplane, there are some tricks I’d highly recommend in setting the airplane up which at the end of the day, provide a great flying airplane.  This comes from not just flying this particular airplane, but also flying the Freewing production prototype (stock and tailerons only) as well as the twin 70mm F-14 I helped design, test, and fly for my folks at JetHangar.com.  They have all exhibited similar characteristics and fly very much the same.

AIRCRAFT SETUP & CG

f14-cgIn my assembly review, I covered the installation of two 6s 30C 5800 mah batteries that I’m using in the airplane.  To maintain the CG, the battery area was modified so that the batteries could be pushed as far back as possible up against the swing wing carry through spar.  This maintained the CG well per the manual (87mm measured back from the leading edge of the forward most hatch cut on the overwing fairing hatch) which has shown to be about perfect!  Also the manual provides a trim elevator setting (31mm measured from the top of the fuselage to the leading edge of the tail) that is a very good
starting point for flight.  Note that there is nothing to worry about regarding CG with wings extended vs wings swept.  I found that the airplane could use just a touch more back pressure for flying around, but for me not enough to warrant adding any kind of mix.  Also, the CG doesn’t change as a result of the change in wing position either.  These have been the case with every F-14 Tomcat I’ve flown and are two of the most common questions I regularly get.

For the control throws, this is where it’s interesting.  The control system on the full sized Tomcat uses the tails as the primary surfaces for commanding pitch and roll.  The wing has spoilers to augment the roll control with the wings extended which are then disabled with the wings swept.  Lastly, there are full span leading edge slats and trailing edge flaps.  Now, in the case of the Freewing F-14 in the stock configuration it’s setup a bit differently than the full sized airplane.  There are outboard wing ailerons and inboard wing flaps in addition to the taileron surfaces.

All of the servos in the airplane are routed into an electronics board which automatically sets the mixing between the outboard wing ailerons and the tailerons.  That’s all well and good and works well for flying with the wings extended, however in this stock configuration the wing ailerons remain active while in the swept wing position and that causes problems.  Disabling the ailerons in the wing swept position is absolutely necessary for a good flying model in the swept wing position.  So, to get around this, we must program the two aileron servos separately by directly plugging them into the receiver (bypassing the electronics board) and programming their function independently (more discussion on this below).  Note that the airplane flies well with the wings extended in the stock configuration, but I found the high rate aileron recommendations much too hot for my liking.

f14-board

Since we’re programming the wing ailerons independently, I’m using the ailerons more as the function of the turning spoiler like the full size by having them act trailing edge up only to help augment the roll control provided by the tailerons when the wings are extended.  Also, since we’re playing with the ailerons in this way, the scale geek in me figured why not set the airplane with full span flaps while we’re at it for a little more scale swag?!  By doing this, I was pleasantly rewarded with a beautifully landing airplane that when executed right lands extremely softly!  Lastly, having two rates on the tailerons between wings extended and wings swept is an absolute must!  I mitigated that through some switch assignments such that the rates change automatically depending on where my wing sweep switch (and subsequently wing position) is.  I talk through the radio programming methodology a bit more below.  Note that based on the Freewing wing sweep actuators used, the airplane does not have a mid sweep capability, i.e. the wings can only be commanded to fully swept or fully extended.

So, after many flights, here’s what I have converged on for control throws.  They suit my style of flying and should be a good starting point to tune to your desired feel.  Keep in mind these are purely linear with NO exponential (I’m not a big fan of expo typically).  Also, there is plenty of authority running tailerons only, I’ve flown the airplane in that configuration and it works very well.  However, the roll stick input requires just about max deflection for a decent 360 degree roll.

Wings Extended:

Roll – tailerons 1-1/4″, wing ailerons mixed with 3/16″ trailing edge up only
Pitch – elevator 1-1/4″
Full span flaps
     Partial Flap – 5/8″ with a 3/16″ up elevator mix
     Full Flap – 2″ with a 1/2″ up elevator mix

Wings Swept:

Roll – tailerons 1/2″ (no wing aileron throw)
Pitch – elevator 1-1/4″

DOWNLOAD THE SPEKTRUM DX FILE HERE!

f14-dual-2

RADIO PROGRAMMING METHODOLOGY

My go to radio system is the Airtronics SD-10G which is an excellent radio at an excellent price.  It’s a 10 channel radio with a ton of capability which made programming the F-14 Tomcat fairly easy.  Since radio systems vary, I figure it best to talk through the methodology I used here which should work across most systems I would hope.  In order to do what I’ve done exactly, a minimum of 9 channels are required so that the ailerons can be programed individually to function with the flaps as well as act like a turning spoiler.  If limited on channels, then it limits the functionality of the ailerons to work only as ailerons (2 servos connected with a y-harness) or as flaps (flying airplane tailerons only and connecting the aileron servos through a y-harness with a reverser on one side).  I’ve flown the airplane tailerons only and it flies very well, so if channel limited and you want the full span flap, that is a very good option.  That said, I do like the addition of the outboard aileron functionality as it adds a little more roll responsiveness with the wings extended that you don’t get flying with tailerons only.

So, utilizing the 9 channel setup (I have a 10 channel receiver in the airplane) the aileron servos were plugged directly into the receiver using 2 available auxillary channels (bypassing the stock electronics board, all other channels are plugged in and remain in the stock setup). This maintains everything essentially stock with the exception of the aileron servos only.

Ailerons as Flaps

f14-flapI first setup the ailerons to work in conjunction with the flaps.  This was done by assigning the two aileron channels to the flap switch and simply adjusting the servo direction and the servo position (using the end point adjustments) at each switch position to match the flaps in each down position.

Ailerons as Turning Spoilers

f14-ailTo actuate the ailerons as a turning spoiler, I used two separate channel mixes, one for each aileron servo aux channel), that were mixed to the standard aileron channel.  This channel mix was then assigned to my swing wing switch such that the channel mix is active with the wings extended and then inactive when switched to the wings swept position (disables the ailerons in the swept wing config).  Within the channel mix is where the deflections of the aileron servos are set and adjusted. Since I’m using them acting trailing edge up only, it required only adjusting a single end point for each mix/servo (approximately 25%).  Again, this is within the channel mix only.  Note that since this is outside the traditional aileron setup and aileron channel, these channel mixes do not work in combination with the traditional aileron dual rates.  However, some creative switch assignments and an additional channel mix or two could probably create this.  I didn’t find this necessary since I only wanted the ailerons active with the wings extended and tuned the rates to the desired feel  I wanted with my tailerons on high rate.

Taileron Rates with Wing Position

In addition to the above, I assigned my aileron dual rates to the swing wing switch (in addition to the normal dual rates switch) so that with the wings swept, the tailerons automatically reduce to low rates. This is important as the airplane will otherwise be extremely touchy in roll with the wings swept if the tailerons remain at high rate. The airplane will be on its back if you simply breath on the stick!

ESC Calibration

The last item of business before flight is to calibrate the speed controllers to the transmitter (procedure is available here).  By following the procedure, the ESCs will tune themselves to the transmitter settings and ensures that each fan is producing the maximum amount of thrust each time it’s powered on.  If you change the transmitter at anytime, then the ESCs should be recalibrated.  I didn’t do this calibration on the production prototype but did on this airplane and this airplane has notably better performance!  So, this is an important step!

One thing to note, I noticed some thrust robbing openings in the exhausts around the taileron servo cutouts and where the motor wires exit into the fuselage.  I sealed these up by removing the fan hatches and adding some packing tape f14-sealsinternally over the taileron servo and using hot glue to seal up around the motor wire exit.  After placing the fan hatches back onto the fuselage, I used a long dowel to completely seal the packing tape over the hatch areas too.  Any leaks in the exhaust ultimately reduce thrust and performance.  Though it may be small, every little bit helps for maximum efficiency of the system.




FLYING THE FREEWING F-14 TOMCAT

Flying the F-14 Tomcat is an absolute blast and with the 5800 mah packs, I can get about 5 minutes of pretty hard flying if I want to push it.  Currently, I keep the timer at 4 minutes and fly the airplane as hard as I like and the packs measure out at about 3.78v/cell.  Every F-14 I’ve flown has been a great flyer and the Freewing F-14 is no exception.  The F-14 configuration as a whole is just a great platform for an awesome flying airplane.   Plus, you can’t beat the shape of the F-14 in the air.  It’s one of those iconic airplanes that is unmistakable…though it always seems to conjure up quotes from the movie “Top Gun” whether you want them or not…”No my ego doesn’t write checks…I have an ATM card!” 😉

Here’s a full flight video from a fun flying day at the PVMAC Prado Air Park.  Thanks Brent Hecht for manning the camera for this flight.

With the wings extended, the airplane is a wonderful flying machine that flies easily and will handle most of what you throw at it (rudders are very effective though, so be aware).  The airplane is plenty fast enough and the vertical is quite good.  To give you an example, I’m able to perform a 1/2 cuban 8 return from takeoff just like the full size which is a great deal of fun!  Recently I’ve gotten into performing a roll on takeoff followed by a 1/2 cuban 8 return and the airplane handles it like a champ!  The slow speed handling is excellent as well and the airplane will visually give you an indication of the onset of stall.  As you get slow, the wings will start to rock as you approach the stall speed which is your indication to apply power and increase the speed.  This is another characteristic of all F-14s I’ve flown.  Note that this is less prevalent when slow and with full span flaps.

f14-flt-1

The airplane flies just as easily with the wings swept too.  Flying circuit after circuit in the swept wing configuration is easy with low rate taileron and the airplane carries speed well overall in that configuration.  Pulling hard tight turns does bleed the speed off in this configuration, which is a characteristic of a delta type platform so keep that in mind.

Overall, the trickiest part I have found is managing the transition time from wings extended to wings swept and visa versa.  Once you’re aware of it though, it’s easy enough to plan for.  As noted in the radio setup, the tailerons are automatically set to switch to high and low rates during wing transition.  However, this does not occur proportionally to the speed of the wing transition (I wasn’t sure I could program this into the radio).  As a result upon hitting the swing wing switch, the wings transition over a second or two, but the taileron rates immediately change.  So, when the wings sweep back, the taileron rate will initially start out sluggish (they switch to low rate) and become increasingly more effect as the wings transition aft.  Conversely, when sweeping forward, the taileron rates are immediately high and touchy and then become less sensitive as the wings transition forward.  It’s really not a big deal, but is something to keep in mind.  You’ll quickly become aware of it when you experience a quick roll response as the wings sweep forward.  It’s easily manageable…in fact, my favorite maneuver has become rolling while the wings transition like they used to do as part of their airshow demos.

Call the Ball!
At last, the world can rest easily as there is a nicely done F-14 Tomcat ARF that is affordable for most folks.  The $580 price tag is an excellent value and you get a well engineered and great flying model.  It’s foam which has it’s limitations (if you’re a builder, my folks have a kit at JetHangar.com), but even so it’s pretty nice.  I can’t help but think how awesome this airplane would be after stripping it down and refinishing it…but for now, we’ll keep it stock.  Now guys, remember, as these become more prevalent and more Freewing F-14 flight videos come online, remember to post responsibly…the internet really doesn’t need another RC jet video featuring the “Top Gun Anthem” or “Danger Zone” playing underneath it…it’s hard to believe, I know!  Although, if you’re up for a challenge, how about a few videos featuring “Take my Breath Away” or “Heaven in Your Eyes.” 😉  I mean, they are from the Top Gun soundtrack afterall!

Here are a few more videos I’ve captured of some friends flying their Freewing Tomcats.  It really is a very cool foam jet and we’ve been having a lot of fun with them!

BONUS!  Here’s video of the last F-14 Tomcat demo at NAS Oceana in case you’re looking for some maneuvers. 🙂  Who doesn’t love the Tomcat?!  I remember the Tomcat demos being one of my favorites when I was a kid at air shows.  The full size airplane was an absolute beast!

OCEANA VIDEO

73 thoughts on “Freewing F-14 Tomcat Setup & Flight Review

  1. Great review once again! I really want one of these bad now. Great explanation of the radio and mixing setup. I have seen Chris’s F-14 fly many times and it flies like its on rails! The power and the sound of the fans is impressive!

  2. Good review there Chris, IMO the CG is something the average guy says yep its CLOSE , close doesn’t GET It. Although I tend to make the CG a little NOSE heavy . BTW the F14 photographs GREAT.

    • Thanks joe! Agree, cg can make or break an airplane quite literally, haha! As you mention, I also find that scale airplanes do best slightly nose heavy. That’s my preference.

  3. Hey Chris,
    really enjoyed your review!
    I fly mine totally stock but with a gyro. I fly all my jets with a gyro.
    In this one I am using a HKing Orange 3ch V2 gyro hooked up to a 9 channel Orange receiver. Question is, if I turn my ailerons into flaps I would have to negate the gyro’s aileron function and turn it off so it does not interfere. I suppose what I am trying to say is can I still do all your mods but keep the gyro with pitch and yaw control only?
    cheers
    Babs….DownUnder….way way down, under!

    • Thanks! I’m not sure that’d be required would it? Wouldn’t you run the gyro with the tailerons as the roll function primarily? Maybe I’m not understanding how you have it setup?

      • The taileron mixing is done on the F14 board so that has not changed. I do not put my gyro in delta mode on jets with mixing all done by the manufacturers electronics. You did say though that you bypassed the board with the ailerons that plug into the receiver, so that means AIL on the Gyro is also bypassed to go straight to the receiver. Not sure how this will work but might need to put the gyro into delta mode for the tailerons to work as I have read somewhere the F14 mixing relies on ailerons being plugged into its board. Confusing huh? Might just to play around with it.

        • Yeah, not sure how much I can help. I have very little experience with gyros and I’ve never used a 3 axis system. Experiment with it on the ground and see if it works the way you’d expect. Then try it in the air with an option to disable the gyro via a switch to avoid getting in trouble if it’s not working right.

          • Sounds like the go. I’m a little surprised you have not tried gyros being the rcgeek? Anyway, thats cool, thanks for the feedback!
            Babs

          • Well, I have my opinions on multi axis gyros and I’ve not really found an airplane I felt really needed one. :p Truthfully, a well tuned airplane shouldn’t need one, but I do understand the benefits. Multi axis gyros are not allowed in scale masters competition (rudder gyros only), so it’s not really been an option as I like to compete in that scale competition. I think they’ve somewhat recently been allowed in top gun, so if I ever make it there, then I would have to use one, otherwise I’d be competing with a handicap.

    • Yeah, 30c is plenty in most cases when you have the capacity. Technically, based on the advertised rating, these packs would handle 174 amps continuously. Though I don’t believe they’d truly survive at that over time, but even so we’re still talking huge headroom with these setups only pulling 80 or so amps. I’ve been using 30-35c packs in all my aircraft for years including 130+ amp 120mm edf setups. Higher c rating also means heavier packs too.

      • I use a rule of thumb with lipos. Their actual capacity is half of their C Rating. For a battery to handle 174 Amps continuously would heat up so much it would either melt the solder joints to the wires or the wires would heat up because they can not handle the amps. Hence the 1/2 C rating. In your case 174 A is more realistically half that = 87 Amps which it can handle comfortably all day long. So 70 to 80 Amps max on the F14 is a walk in the park. Thats how I work out which lipos to use for various jets. I am also into double lipos (in Parallel) so they share the load.
        Interesting topic. cheers..

  4. You closed that video with something like “I hope it was some help”.
    We’re you ever !
    You have a real gift bud, thank you so much. I’ve been flying r/c for a long time but EDF’S are new to me. As much easy to understand set-up detail you provided made this very,very easy.
    I see why you wanted full flaps. The landing manners are so good as to be amazing,jet or not.
    Thank you again, killer job ! Doug

  5. Outstanding review and setup piece – thanks for all your effort!

    Is there a noticeable “dutch roll” tendency with the wings swept on this model? Most jets with highly swept wings have this yaw/roll coupling issue and use “yaw dampers” to counter it. My JHH F-14 has a noticeable dutch roll tendency with the wings swept – thinking about adding some yaw stabilization on this one….

    • Thanks! With the wings swept, the wings will rock occasionally. It’s not bad, but every f-14 I’ve flown has had it as a characteristic. But nothing I thought significant enough to stabilize. On a calm day, the airplane doesn’t do it at all, but when the conditions are bumpy it’s much more prevalent.

  6. Loved the review. Here’s a question:

    I have the SD-10G as well but to date have only used FHSS-1 receivers (8ch). I’m looking at getting the 10ch FHSS-3 receiver to do a similar set up. However, I noticed that Airtronics recommends digital servos due to the high frame rate. Usually MRC/Freewing specifically states if the servos are digital, but on the F-14 it doesnt specify, so I’m assuming their analog? Have you had any issues with this?

    Thanks so much
    James

    • James, thanks! Ive had tons of flights with the airplane and I’ve not had any issues with the fhss-3 receiver in the airplane, it’s been rock solid. I was a little concerned with it initially not knowing the resolution/frame rate, but didn’t see any issues while setting it up so knew it would be ok.

  7. “What a Site” Absolutely awesome Chris !!!

    I am scratch building myself a F-14. You have put me straight on a lot of things.

    Two questions:

    l. It looks to me like you are having no cooling to the batteries. Is this correct and I am assuming you are having no problem with that?

    2. How are you powering the radio? A separate battery, BEC or off a ESC? The retracts I am using in this F-14 require no more than 6 volts at any time.

    I am thinking I would use a separate LiPO battery and a BEC on it to control the voltage.

    I really appreciate your help.

    • Hi George, thanks for the kind words! You probably don’t remember me, but I remember meeting you many years ago at an Arizona jet rally event with my dad. We were talking about phantoms both my dads and yours. I’ve seen your f14 build thread and you’ve got an awesome project going that is really coming together beautifully! I have a dcu tomcat kit (same scale as the Avonds) I’ll be building once I can get my Frankel skyray done. Anyhow, regarding the batteries, there’s not a lot of direct flow for cooling. I don’t find battery cooling a big requirement these days as batteries with the higher c ratings just generally run cooler. Esc cooling is a must though when you’re dealing with large fans and high current draws. I’ve found placing the esc at the top of the exhaust duct partially exposed to the airflow works well. The radio on this freewing tomcat is powered through a separate bec which pulls power from one of the flight packs. That’s how it comes stock. For yours, I would highly recommend running a separate receiver pack. You could do this through a separate bec and lipo pack as you mentioned or simply using a 2 cell life pack though peak those are a little over 6v. I noticed you’re building ailerons into yours. Wings extended this works well, but I’ve found with wings swept the airplane flies best tailerons only. Something to think about as not a lot of roll throw is necessary in that configuration. What fans are you planning to power your tomcat with?

  8. I was in the Sacramento Davis Aeromodelers for a short time waiting for my wife to retire so we could leave the state and move to Tennessee. I still have a lot of friends in that area.

    A lot of them attended the Scale Masters in 2014. They told me your “Mosquito” was awesome. But what most of them commented on as much as your “Mosquito” was how great a person you were and how much they enjoyed being around you.

    Now that impressed me as much as your modeling skills.

    I do remember visiting with your Dad many times. I have been to the shop and I even purchased two of your Cougars back in my earlier days. And I also remember the visit at Arizona with you and your dad and that we all sat and talked for hours.

    I have tried to contact your dad a couple times in the recent years but he doesn’t reply to my E-mails. I get the feeling he doesn’t like me anymore.

    I plan to use a pair of “Lander” 90mm fans. I am also going to use a set of their retracts that they make. I am very impressed with the set I have. They rotate 90 degrees and travel 100 degrees.

    Yes, in my EDF F-4 Phantom, I too placed the ESC in the duct tube. Figured if it gets enough force in there to fly the aircraft, it will definitely keep the ESC cool. LOL

    Thank you for your advise on powering the radio. I felt with two batteries in there powering the fans, I did not want to be taxing one of them only for powering the radio.

    So I will go now. Does your dad still have his Ford Fairlane? It sure was awesome and just about my favorite car.

    • Thanks George. I can’t take credit for the mosquito, that belonged to Tom Wolfe and that airplane was amazing. Tom won the comp with the airplane. I finished 4th with my mirage IIIRS. That event was so much fun I’m hoping to get up there this year if I can.

      On contacting my folks, I can help with that. Depending on the email address you’re using, it can be goofy at times. Shoot me an email through my contact form and I’ll get you in touch with them.

      So you’re planning on using 90mm fans. I don’t know anything about the lander fans. What are the specs on it? My go to 90mm is tthe jetfan90. It’s a pretty awesome fan.

      Good luck with the project, I look forward to hearing more about it! If there’s anything more I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to ask.

      • The “Lander” fans are all metal for cooling and come in various set ups. 6,8,10 cell up to 12 blades and up to over 11 pounds of thrust.

        http://www.parkrcmodels.com

        I am using them in my 7.5 pound EDF Phantom’s with 6 cell and they fly them exactly like I want it.

        BTW: I may have gotten the plane wrong at the Scale Masters, but not the person they were all talking about.

        • Thanks for the clarification that’s very kind of you to say, thank you. Thanks for the note on the lander fans, I’ll take a look! Also, got the email I’ll send it on to my folks.

  9. Hi Chris,

    I am quite surprised that my last post on my thread about the F-14 construction did not get any responses except one.

    I was trying to show a whole new concept and a different form of construction. I thought it would really draw some comments.

    I am curious, did this post offend modelers? And if so, how did it do that?

    If it did, it sure wasn’t my intention to do that.

    • Hi George, honestly, I haven’t seen the post. I don’t get to rcu as regularly as I’d like to based on everything I have going on. I’m sure nothing to worry about regarding the post. You have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share! I know it’s appreciated and it’s awesome that you’re putting it out there to inspire modelers of all experience levels!

  10. Hi,
    We’ll I certainly didn’t read anything offending whatsoever.
    However I didn’t see anything mentioned that was “a whole new concept” or that dealt with ” a different form of construction”.
    People here are commenting on Chris’s outstanding review, flight test and set-up videos of the FW F14, not so much on other F14 kits/arfs.
    Guys here have already picked out & bought the FW F14. It’s proven to be a great model, and many aren’t much interested at this time in making any major
    modifications.
    There’s got to be some threads on that kind of sunbject around,
    But you certainly didn’t offend anyone, chin up mate 🙂

  11. HI Doug,

    So using the fuselage as the support for the wings instead of installing formers and aluminum housing was nothing new in fiberglass construction of a F-14. Doing the same on the wings is nothing new either. OK

    I agree, I think the FW F-14 is a outstanding ARF for those who buy ARF’s

  12. Sorry, I think you misunderstood George. That sounds like a cool project.
    Howrver, this thread is on the FW F-14 assembly & flight review, and I don’t see anything at all like that in this thread, you probably have it somewhere else, that’s all.

  13. Thanks for your sharing of experience.I want to know where the control throws of elevator or aileron measure from,leading edge or trailing edge?

  14. Chris,
    Great article on the Free Wing F-14. Just received and completed the assembly. Now I’m about to begin the radio programming. As it happens we are using the same radio, “airtronics SD-10”, I have both versions of this fantastic radio… Is it possible for you to share the exact settings and mixes that your using, it would greatly reduce the time it would take me to figure all of this out since I’m not yet a wiz at all of the functions and mixes that this radio is capable of.

    Thanks and regards,
    Terry McBride

      • Thanks, I would appreciate that… I ran into another problem… When I changed over to the Airtronics 10ch receiver, so that I could separate out the ailerons as you suggested, the elevators deflected in max opposite direction. After much troubleshooting and converting back to the original 8ch setup, I discovered that it had nothing to do with the receiver but occurred when I unplugged the single aileron connection at the rear of the Freewing controller board. Also noted that the elevators don’t seem to operate as smoothly as I would expect… Just a hint of jitter… Could this be related… Any suggestions.

        Thanks and regards,
        Terry

        • I’m not sure about why the servos would max out like that. I do remember experiencing something similar, but can’t recall the circumstances. The truth is, there’s really no need to run through the board when you have sufficient channels which will probably alleviate that. On the tail servo jittering, they’re not the highest quality servos and that will probably go away under load. The other option is to replace the servos altogether. Hs85s are a drop in replacement.

          • HI Chris, George Miller here,

            I have been thinking along the same lines you have mentioned here.

            Eliminating the circuit board they have in this F-14.

            As you know I have already eliminated the ailerons on my re-work version.

            But being I am re-working this F-14, I haven’t actually installed the radio or tried to set up the controls yet.

            I also feel I can remember during flight to change the rate on the elevons when I swing the wings.

            I also have a sequencer that I could use for the nose wheel doors.

            So I am trying to figure out what actual use I really need for this circuit board. Just one other thing I have to hope will not fail !!!!

            Please tell me what other actions it does and if I am right on my thinking here.

            Am I correct that it doesn’t lock out the flaps when the wings are retracted?

          • Hi George, the primary function of the board is to handle the stock mixing they have between the ailerons and tails which simplifies the rx setup and reduces the minimum required channels. But, if you modify the controls to do your own mixing like we’ve done, it’s completely unnecessary. You can use it to power the lights, but beyond that, might as well just run everything straight into the rx.

        • Terry, just a heads up I’ve posted some info on my sd10 setup in reply to a comment further down in this thread. I just wanted to let you know in the event you didn’t receive a notice it was posted. Thanks!

    • Hi everyone, I’ll be looking forward to those Airtronics SD10 settings ! Ive went ahead & ordered one, off Chris’s recommendation.
      Ive got my F14 set up per his set up guide, but the Airtronics is unter bit different than my DX18, and wouldn’t such a guide help out !
      Does the Airtronics use transfer able SD Cards ? If it does id gladly pay for this set up on one of those 🙂
      Doug

      • Unfortunately, without specific cables, it’s not very easy to transfer files on Airtronics radios.

        In terms of my SD-10G radio setup, since I’m still using the control board, I have it setup as a normal wing. IF bypassing the control board, then it needs to be setup as a delta.Channel list is as follows:
        1 elevator (tail 1)
        2 aileron (tail 2)
        3 throttle
        4 Rudder
        5 Retracts
        6 Flaps (inboard flap servos)
        7 wing sweep
        8 aileron 1
        9 aileron 2

        For switch assignments
        EL-D/R 2 17
        EL-D/R 3 18
        AI-D/R 2 8 OR 14
        AI-D/R 3 9 OR 15
        AUX2L 2 AND 13 (ail 1)
        AUX2H 3 AND 13 (ail 1)
        AUX3L 2 AND 13 (ail 2)
        AUX3H 3 AND 13 (ail 2)
        AUX4L 14 (swing wing)
        AUX4H 15 (swing wing)
        GEAR 24
        FLAP1 2 AND 13
        FLAP2 3 AND 13
        FL>EL 26
        C-MIX1 26 (elev mix for wing sweep)
        C-MIX2 13 AND 10
        C-MIX3 13 AND 10

        The c-mix’s are 20% for the aileron mixes trailing edge up only, -8% for the elevator mix (adds up elevator) with wings swept and a -48% FL>EL mix for the full span flap (it needs lots of up elevator trim).

        Those are the key points I can think of. Also, for the DX users, I have a DX9 file I can send via email from a friend of mine. Hopefully this helps!

  15. I’m using a DX9 Black for my radio and the ar9 for receiver. Could someone send me the file that has the correct setups that is used here. Please feel free to contact me by phone as well if there is anything I need to tell or explain. my info is below:

    mtnman423@yahoo.com

    (423) 291-9856

    Things have a tendency to go into my spam folder. If you have sent me the file please text me as well so I know to look for it. Thanks for everything in advance.

      • I just ordered the F14.
        Would you please send me the set-up. I’ll be using the DX9.
        Been looking forward to this for a long time. Info in the site is going to be my guide.
        Many thanks for the help.

        James Duke
        marineconsltmgmt@yahoo.com
        803 206 9396

        • James,

          Please note that since this comment, I’ve added a download link in this article. The link is just below the control surface deflection information. If that doesn’t work for you, please let me know, thanks!

  16. Hello Chris,

    Amazing review!

    Many thanks for your channel and this blog, they are really informative and helpful. I’ve been away from flying rc airplanes for 10 years, so I am a bit unfamiliar with the latest technology, so reading through your blog and viewing your videos on Youtube really helps to get back on track.

    The F-14 Tomcat is my favorite airplane, and always dreamed to have an rc model, but back in the day the only options were either very expensive real jet engine models or propeller driven ugly adaptations of the Tomcat, but nothing that would be affordable or good looking. That changed with the introduction of the EDF.

    The first one I ever saw was the the twin 70mm F-14 at JetHangar.com if I remember well circa 2004, unfortunately never was able to acquire one.

    When I saw your video review about this Freewing Tomcat I just knew I needed one, and after almost 20 years wanting a Tomcat I finally have it! 😀

    I have a quick question though, I see you are using 2 5800mAh 30C Lipo, I’m browsing to get those same pack and came across a 8000mAh 30C Lipo pack! do you think this would work better on the Tomcat? https://hobbyking.com/en_us/zippy-flightmax-8000mah-4s1p-30c.html?___store=en_us they seem to be a bit lighter than the 5800 pack too.

    I have a Taranis QX7, but I’m not sure using that radio on the Tomcat is a good idea, I was thinking to get a Graupner MZ 24 Pro or a Spektrum Dx9 Black Edition for this plane (any thoughts or recommendations would be appreciated)

    Anyway, keep doing a fantastic job, and I wish you well.

    Rickie.

    • Hi Rickie,

      Welcome back to the hobby and congrats on the F-14! 🙂 For batteries, I’d recommend sticking with the 5800s. The 8000s are pretty large and heavy (Though I’m guessing you’d run a single pack instead of dual packs). Of late, I’ve been using the Roaring Top 5800 packs and really like them a lot! They’re a touch lighter than the Zippy’s and put out the same, if not more power: https://rcjetwerx.com/product/is-35c-5800-6s/ I’ve been converting most of my airplanes over to the RT packs in fact. Regarding the radio, I highly recommend the MZ-24Pro. I have one that I’ve been using since January and it’s a fantastic radio. In comparison to the Dx9, it has more channels and significantly more programming capability. To give you an idea, I had the Dx18 setup in the Tomcat and swapped it to the MZ for the programming capability. IF you end up with an MZ, I can send you my radio program for it. I’ll just have to figure out how to pull the file which shouldn’t be difficult.

      Thanks so much for the kind words and encouragement! 🙂

  17. Really nice write up! How difficult do you think it would be to add spoilers to the wings? Could the ailerons and flaps be tied together physically (using just the flaps servos) and then use the aileron servos to control the newly added spoilers? I would still mix to disable the spoilers during swept wing flight as you have done.

    • Thanks! Fixing the flap and aileron together isn’t an issue. I know a couple guys who have done that. On the spoilers, I suppose it could be done. It would require a bit of modification to make happen though. The wing is pretty thin, so utilizing the aileron servo to actuate a spoiler isn’t a bad idea since it’s already there. Definitely would take some figuring out though.

  18. F14 arrived today. I’ll be using the motor and esc out of the
    Motion RC Avanti S. Do you have a wiring diagram on how to set this up, also do I need to disable the bec on one of the bec’s?

    • I don’t have any wiring diagrams. That said, definitely disable the bec’s. The stock setup uses an external bec I believe, I’d recommend something similar in your case too (or even an external Rx battery) vs using a bec in one of the speed controllers.

  19. Thx for the help Chris. BEC will be here Monday. I notice a lot of play(slop) on the elevators, is this normal. Wondering if there in a way to tighten this up?

    • The stock servos are pretty sloppy. I never had any issues with them though. I did eventually replace them with hitec digitals which solved that problem real quick. I found some chafing on the stock servo wires which is why replaced them. Not because I was having issues with the servos.

  20. Good morning Chris,

    I have it almost together and set up per you(I think). DX 9 radio.
    The wings will not go out to the fully extended position. How do I adjust this?

    Thx
    James

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