From the Bench: RealFlight 9 RC Flight Simulator — Review, Customization & Crashes!

Customization & Crashes = Good Times!

Hey guys!  We have another full video post this week.  My son and I have been playing with the new RealFlight 9 Horizon Hobby Edition and have been having just as much fun with it as we did with RealFlight 8!  The nice thing is that the software comes with everything you need including a new Spektrum inspired transmitter that features much more logical and realistic switch positions which really helps in creating a more realistic simulator experience.  Having a number of new aircraft including some of the new Horizon Hobby releases, the simulator is packed full of features including full customization, training tools and full multi-player that allow you to fly over the internet with others too.

The best way to show RealFlight 9 is through video, so our review video is below.  A good simulator is most certainly a worthy investment, especially if you’re learning.  AS I always say, if you crash once in the simulator, it will have paid for itself if you compare to actually crashing an airplane.  Also, if you’re flying with SAFE, the sim is the place to get used to flying without it. I do find myself flying a bit less cautiously in the sim, but this is definitely the place to do that and to push your limits to improve your skills.

E-Flite F-4 Phantom II Assembly & Flight Review

E-Flite’s Phabulously Phantastic Phlying Phantom…wait, was that excessive? 😉

This week we’re looking at the E-Flite’s F-4 Phantom II.  The F-4 is an unmistakable airplane and E-flite has put together a really nicely engineered kit here that flies great!  Also, it’s another jet with SAFE select, so this adds to the growing number of EDFs with this as an option if that’s something you’re looking for.

The F-4 is an iconic airplane with a colorful history that served for quite a long time with a number of different countries.  It was produced for over 20 years and the last US F-4 drone was only just retired back in 2016.  Though it wasn’t designed as such, the F-4 could technically be considered the first JSF since it was the first jet fighter to serve in all three branches of the military.  It started out with the Navy as the F-4B.  Catching the eye of the Air Force they decided to make a few mods and then started flying the F-4C and then later the F-4E of course.  Well, the funny thing is, the Navy took note of some of the F-4C mods and incorporated those into what became the F-4J and later the F-4S.  Obviously, this is an oversimplification…but the C and J models have a number of similarities.

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

Pulling the airplane from the box, you are met with a nice smooth airframe with a nice low parts count.  It’s impressive in fact considering the complexity that could be with the F-4 airframe.  As a whole, the is engineered extremely well.  The parts count is low and everything aligns so there’s not guess work on the alignment anywhere, most notably Continue reading

From the Bench: RealFlight 8 Horizon Hobby Edition — Review, Game Play, & Fun!

Will a Corsair fly without wings???

Hey guys!  We have a complete video post this week.  My son and I have been playing with the new RealFlight8 Horizon Hobby Edition and have been having so much fun with it!  The software comes with everything you need including the transmitter and is packed full of features.  Having over 150 aircraft to choose from and over 40 flying fields to fly from, it’s pretty easy to spend hours flying anything and everything in RealFlight.  Not to mention there are now multi-player features that allow you to fly over the internet too.

We figured the best way to show the RealFlight game play is through video, so our review video is below.  The scenery is fully interactive and we were certainly having some fun with that.  A simulator is a great tool for pushing your skills forward since you can really push the limits of your abilities and if you crash, you can simply hit the reset button.  Also, if you’re flying with SAFE, the sim is the place to get used to flying without it. As you’ll see, in the process of making this video, we crashed far more than we landed and it was a blast!

 

E-Flite ViperJet 70mm EDF Assembly & Flight Review

E-Flite’s latest jet, the 70mm EDF ViperJet!

When the opportunity came up to review E-Flite’s new 70mm EDF ViperJet, I could not pass it up!  This airplane is a great looking little jet that flies just incredibly well.  Also, the Bind n Fly version has SAFE Select available, so if you’re newer to RC and looking to jump into jets, this is a nice option to have.  The truth is, this airplane makes for a wonderful first jet with or without SAFE.  Obviously, without SAFE, you’ll want to have some proficiency on the sticks first before jumping into a high speed jet.

Now when we talk about the ViperJet it is indeed a real airplane, so we are technically talking about a scale jet here.  The full sized airplane is actually a home built aircraft.  So, for a cool $500,000 and 3500+ hours for assembly, you too could have one!  I kid of course, but the thing is that the proportions of the full sized airplane make for a great flying model that handles much like a purpose designed RC sport jet.  So based on that, what you get is some fun aerobatic flying in a scale looking package.  It’s been a pretty popular design within the jet community for that reason.  Obviously, what’s on the model is not a scale paint scheme, but I have to say I quite like it!  This guy with two thumbs is a sucker for splinter camouflage.

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

The ViperJet comes nicely packaged and assembles extremely quickly.  The kit has a very small parts count, which primarily just requires bolting the on the tails, the dorsal and then the wing.  The most difficult part was routing and connecting all of the wires as Continue reading

UMX Adventures – E-Flite UMX Pitts Flight Review

The Ultimate in ‘Mike Rowe’ Aerobatics…

As I had teased in my E-flite UMX A-10 flight review video, I’ve been having a lot of fun with the E-Flite UMX Pitts biplane and so wanted to put together a flight review video for it.  E-flite has really built up an awesome line of UMX airplanes and this Pitts is one that I’d been eying for a while.  Scale aerobatics are a fun and welcome change to my otherwise scale warbird and jet flying and when they came up on sale a while back, I quickly picked one up.  I’m glad I did because the airplane is an absolute blast to fly.

The full scale Pitts is a pretty iconic aerobatic airplane and what’s interesting is that the aircraft that are campaigned by both Sean Tucker and Skip Stewart are based on the Pitts airframe.  Highly modified of course, but still based on the Pitts.  So that tells you a lot about the design as those guys do some pretty incredible flying in those airplanes.  They’re even approaching some of the 3D aerobatics that we’ve been doing in the RC world and it’s pretty crazy to watch.  So, trying to replicate that in small scale is always a fun challenge and this tiny Pitts does a good job of it.

 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

Just like the UMX A-10 and other E-flite UMX aircraft, the Pitts comes out of the box completely ready to go.  Bind and setup your Spektrum radio and you’re good to go in about 10 minutes.  E-flite has done a great job with the shape of the airplane and the color scheme is a great choice.  It’s a pretty awesome representation of the pitts.  The Continue reading

From the Bench – Quick and Simple Foam Warbird Painting

To Paint or not to Paint…

If you saw my E-Flite T-6 Texan review last time, then you saw the results of the repaint that was done on that airplane.  I thought it would be worth doing a separate video and article on what was done since it was just a quick and dirty spray can paint job that I did through the course of a weekend with all of the painting done over the stock paint with minimal prep.  This is worth discussing because sometimes we just don’t want to go to the extent of filling panel lines, or sealing up the airframe with polycrylic or anything like that.  Sometimes, we just want to do something quickly, but still get good results.  The difficulty always is, however, that stock paint just loves to lift up off of that EPO foam.  Thankfully, with the right tools, we can avoid that.

It’s interesting how something like this, though not entirely difficult, is all that’s needed to really refresh a model and make it stand out.  As I mentioned in my review, I have really enjoyed flying this AT-6, but following the repaint, I absolutely fell in love with the model even more!

 

PAINTING TOOLS & PAINT

First things first, let’s talk about what we need.  What we’re doing here is literally just applying a new paint job over an existing stock paint job.  There’s no paint stripping involved, so it’s important that we use very low tack tapes for masking.  I had heard Continue reading

E-flite 1.5m AT-6 Texan Assembly & Flight Review

North American’s Pilot Maker, E-Flite Edition!

The AT-6 Texan is such a classic looking airplane and it’s one that I’ve always had a soft spot for.  You regularly see them at airshows and the airplane sound is unmistakable as it maneuvers since the propeller quite literally beats the air into submission as it flies.  So, I was excited to see the E-flite AT-6 Texan come online as it looked to be one of the nicest and scale looking Texans out  there in recent memory.  So, I was excited for the chance the review the airplane!  In short, this is a great flying airplane that I’ve really fallen in love with I have to say.

In the process of this review, I liked the airplane so much, I decided to do a quick repaint on the airframe into something a little more colorful.  We will touch on that here somewhat, but I will be posting a separate video and article on that process soon.

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY

E-Flite AT-6 comes in a large long box and I found was nicely pacakaged.  The wing is a single piece in there which is really nice and the reason for the long box.  It’s almost comedic comparing how short the fuselage is compared to the wingspan.  Based on the single piece wing, what you end up with then is an extremely simplified assembly that basically requires attaching the stabilizers with a couple screws and then attaching the wing.  That is about the extent of the Continue reading

From the Bench – Horizon Hobby/Spektrum SAFE Select Technology Tutorial

Fly Boldly and be SAFE!

As I mentioned in my E-Flite P-47 Razorback and Cessna 150 reviews, I’ve been wanting to provide a separate discussion on Horizon Hobbies’ SAFE Select technology that’s featured with their bind and fly aircraft.  The P-47 and Cessna are both great next step type airplanes for those that may still be learning and so the technology is there to help folks learning to fly and hopefully protect them from getting into trouble.  I found that there wasn’t a whole lot of documentation about SAFE Select out there, so I thought that it would be worthwhile to talk a little bit about it and give some tips for using it effectively.  As we get started, note that this is a technology that’s part of Horizon’s Spektrum bind and fly setups, so if you’re using your own receiver and radio in the Horizon airplanes, then obviously, this wouldn’t apply.

WHAT IS “SAFE” AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

First of all, what is SAFE?  What is it all about?  SAFE is a feature that can be turned on that, when flying your aircraft, is intended to keep pilots from getting the airplane into an attitude that could spell trouble.  There are multiple levels of the technology which includes SAFE Select which is what is in the Bind and Fly P-47 and Cessna that basically pitch and roll limits the airplane to keep the aircraft from going inverted but still maintains a good level of controllability.  It’s intended Continue reading