Foam Jet Refinishing Ep5 – Freewing F-14 Final Mods, Custom Programming & Flights

Flight of the Flir Cat…The Sequel!!

I tell you what, it has been quite the journey getting here!  As a project, this Freewing F-14 Tomcat refinish took much longer than I had originally planned based on all of the other distractions that have come through the shop, but I’m so happy with how this model turned out in the end.  It did take a few flights to get tuned and I have made a few small modifications in the process since our last installment, but otherwise I’m happy to report that the Tomcat is flying quite well.  The F-14 Tomcat has such a great look and presence in the air, you just can’t beat it!

Oh, and I love the looks of the low viz Navy camouflage by the way, especially with the Flir Cat nose art.  The low viz gray is not the greatest color against a blue sky, but a dirtied up Tomcat flying around just presents so authentically!  I may have to consider this or a similar paint scheme when it comes time to build my 1/10 scale DCU F-14.  All in due time of course… 🙂

Well, in wrapping up this series, I thought I’d touch on some of the final F-14 modifications I made in finishing the airframe up, talk through the programming in more detail since I’ve had a number of questions about that, and then talk through how she flies in her refinished state.

 

SOME FINISHING TOUCHES

One thing I was never fully happy with upon finishing the F-14 in our last installment was the look of the nose gear.  While it was perfectly functional and didn’t look bad, it lacked the scale look I wanted.  Well, Continue reading

Spektrum AR10360T Receiver Review, E-flite F-16 Custom Programming, & AS3X Setup

10 channels of power…and 1 receiver to rule them all!

I personally love having the option for more channels, especially when building my own scale aircraft.  While not always necessary, having channel options available is almost always helpful and it opens up opportunities to add scale functions and/or customize the controls more to your liking.  And that’s not to mention having individual servo setup across the same functions.  So, I was excited to finally see the AR103060T and AR10100T 10 channel receivers released from Spektrum.  It opens of channel options in a lighter weight package while also supports all of their new technology.  Having been flying the NX10 for some time it is nice to finally be able to utilize all of those 10 radio channels.

My goal in putting together this review is to introduce the receiver and some of its key features and then from there run through some programming and then talk through setting up AS3X.  The subject for all of this is the E-flite F-16 80mm EDF as I had been wanting to try out a more scale flaperon type control setup that included tailerons to help recover the loss in roll authority when the ailerons are deflected as flaps.  Spoiler alert, I really like the result with that airplane!

A QUICK RUNDOWN OF THE AR103060T RECEIVER

In short, the Spektrum AR10360T receiver is a full range 10 Channel AS3X/SAFE Telemetry Receiver compatible with a DSM2® and DSMX® (note that the AR10100T is the same, but does not have AS3X/SAFE).  While many of the standard features of the receiver is similar to the current Smart/SAFE 6 channel and 8 channel receivers, the 10 channel receivers feature integrated barometer and vario telemetry data as standard.  Additionally featured is an SRXL2 port for an SRXL2 Remote Receiver (SPM9747 or SPM4751T) to add Continue reading

E-flite Viper 90mm EDF Jet Assembly & Flight Review

If the E-flite Viper 70mm EDF is great, then the E-flite Viper 90mm EDF is even greater-er!

The Viper Jet as a design is about as a perfectly proportioned jet for a model as one can get.  It flies well on the wing giving it a really wide speed envelope while also having a nicely sized empennage that helps keep it stable and responsive on the controls.  So, it’s no surprise that it’s been a popular subject within the jet community for a while as they are great flying models and the E-flite Viper 90mm EDF is no exception!  I can only imagine how nicely the full scale Viper Jet flies!

The E-flite Viper 90mm EDF stems from the lineage of the E-flite Viper 70mm EDF which has been my go to recommendation as a first jet since first flying it a few years ago.  The primary differences are of course size, but also some additional accoutrements in the form of lights, shock absorbing landing gear, gear doors, and full Smart telemetry.  In terms of performance, they both offer a similar flight envelope while the 90mm flies bigger and heavier having overall more speed and vertical performance.

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

The E-Flite Viper 90mm is a good sized model that comes well packed and assembles quickly.  Assembly begins with installation of the horizontal tail which is held in place by two screws.  From there, the wings slide into place over two carbon Continue reading

E-flite F-16 Falcon 80mm EDF Assembly & Flight Review

The 80mm Falcon Cometh!

There’s something about F-16’s and how they fly that I really like.  To me it blends the traditional flying on the wing type jet with the more flying on the thrust type delta wing configuration.  To me, it means you get something that flies quickly, maneuvers really well yet has the slow speed characteristics of the delta being able to hit the high alpha.

So, when I learned about the E-Flite F-16 Falcon 80mm EDF I was quite excited, especially seeing all of the added details in the design.  I knew that if it flew anything like the E-flite 70mm Thunderbird, it would be a blast…and I think it’s safe to say that it has exceeded my expectations!

 

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

The E-Flite F-16 80mm is a very complete kit that includes all metal scale landing gear, full lights, and external weapons/stores and assembles very quickly.  Also, all of the servo attachments have hard mounted connectors, so there’s no loose wires to have to contend with either.  The assembly process starts with installing the horizontal tails.  They have a pre-installed shaft that slides into the fuselage and is then held in place by a screw on each side (servo attachment is a traditional Continue reading

E-flite DRACO 2.0m Smart BNF Assembly & Flight Review

Mike Patey’s Monster Wilga…DRACO!  Fly it like you STOL it!

The E-flite DRACO 2.0m is probably one of the most anticipated models to come to market in recent time.  Announced in 2019, there have been many a rumbling of its pending release since then.  Well, E-flite’s DRACO is here and it is one of the nicest executed models E-flite has made to date…it is incredible!  Every detail is characterized, the shape is perfect (Horizon Hobby actually 3D scanned DRACO to make the model from), and this big red beast makes for some fun STOL operations, especially with a bit of head wind.

If you’re unfamiliar with DRACO as an airplane, it literally was one of a kind.  It was the master mind of Mikey Patey who took a Wilga 2000 and completely modified and rebuilt the airframe to the extent that very little of the original Wilga remained.  He added wing area, modified the airfoil while also adding a fixed slat, installed a full glass cockpit, and at the front installed a PT6A 680Hp turbo-prop engine with full reverse thrust (I believe he also added chord to the control surfaces).  In short, the airplane was a beast of a STOL aircraft and in fact, Mike Patey won the 2018 High Sierra STOL Drag competition with it.  Unfortunately, the aircraft was totaled in Sept 2019 in a high crosswind takeoff incident.  Be sure to check out Mike’s YouTube channel as he documented the build there and is currently building a highly modified carbon cub called Scrappy!

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

The E-flite DRACO 2.0m is an impressively large airplane that is been broken down into only just a few large components which means that despite the large size, assembly is quick and easy.  Assembly starts with installation of the shock absorbing landing gear via 4 screws which have plastic fairings over a carbon strut and feature the dual shocks of the full size.  From there, the tail wheel Continue reading

E-flite Focke-Wulf Fw-190A 1.5m Smart Assembly & Flight Review

E-flite’s Extra Smart Butcherbird!

When I think of the axis aircraft from WWII, Kurt Tank’s FW-190 designs are the first that always come to mind.  The iconic airplane was the backbone of the Luftwaffe (alongside the Bf-109) and the number of variants that existed really spawn the imagination of what was and what might have been.  Performance with the twin row BMW radial engine powered FW-190A tended to suffer at higher altitudes, so follow-on variants featuring a longer nose housing a turbosupercharged V12 filled that gap and are the designs that I personally find especially intriguing.

So, seeing E-flite’s FW-190A 1.5m announcement, I was very excited to see the model come to market as the shape combined with beautiful scale landing gear looked to be spot on!  That’s not to mention that the 1.5m wingspan really makes for a good sized, yet still manageable for transport kind of model.  Though the paint scheme out of the box is representative of the replica operated by the Planes of Fame museum in Chino, CA, it’s ripe for a repaint as I can imagine what it would look like with a wartime scheme all dirtied up like a warfighter!

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

The E-flite FW-190A 1.5m is a nice large airframe that is been broken down into only just a few large components which means that assembly is quick and easy.  Assembly starts with the horizontal tail which is a left and a right piece that slips over a carbon spar and each are held in place with a machine screw each underneath.   The wing center section is held in Continue reading

Flight Review — Legend Hobby 86″ A-1 Skyraider S.E.A. Camo

Droppin’ off a load and watching it explode…in my Spad…

Well, we’ve talked through the assembly and painting and weathering, at last, it’s time to talk through flying the Legend Hobby A-1 Skyraider.  You’ve probably figured out by now that I love how this beast flies!  It has incredible presence and with the new paint and bomb drops, it presents much like the real thing in the air.  It has been extremely fun and frankly I would fly the airplane every weekend if I could and I can’t wait to get it out to some events (if they happen this year).

A LITTLE HISTORY

The A-1 Skyraider was first conceived in June 1944 to meet a US Navy request for a new carrier-based, single-seat, long-range, high performance dive/torpedo bomber.  Designed around the Wright R-3350 Duplex-Cyclone engine used in the B-29 Superfortress, the result was one of the world’s largest and most powerful single-engine/single-seat combat aircraft capable of carrying weapon loads greater than that of the Boeing B-17.  Coming too late for WWII, the Skyraider served from the late 1940s into the early 1980’s worldwide proving instrumental in both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts.  Being among the first aircraft to perform strikes in North Vietnam in 1964, Skyraiders proved essential in close-support missions over South Vietnam due to their long loiter times, large bomb load capability and ability to perform accurate strikes when needed.  Being a piston driven attack aircraft in the jet age, the A-1 Skyraider became a flying anachronism and was affectionately nicknamed the “Spad” after the WWI French biplane.

 

WHAT’S IN THE MODEL

One quick note about the model itself if you’ve not seen my Assembly Review or my Painting & Weathering tutorial.  This particular model started as a Legend Hobby Southeast Asia camouflage A-1 Skyraider ARF.  Coming in at 86″ wingspan, the airplane has great presence both on the ground and in the air.  I opted for a large 12s electric setup to keep the scale integrity of the cowl which flies the Continue reading

Assembly Review – Legend Hobby 86″ A-1 Skyraider S.E.A. Camo ARF

Cruisin’ into town and looking all around…in my Spad…

Having grown up in the hobby, there are certain models that I recall seeing as a kid that have inspired a fascination for that aircraft well into adulthood.  One such aircraft for me is the A-1 Skyraider.  Having seen two immaculate representations with folding wings at the US Scale Masters in the late 80s/early 90s (built by Diego Lopez & Gene Barton), it started a long fascination with the Skyraider for me.  There was something about the airplane that I just liked and having since seen the full scale Skyraider fly, they are an impressive beast!  Being a piston driven attack aircraft in the jet age, the Skyraider was a flying anachronism and was affectionately nicknamed the “Spad” after the WWI French biplane.

So, needless to say I was very excited to see the Legend Hobby A-1 Skyraider came to market!  At 1/7 scale sporting an 86” wingspan, it offers a very nice sized ARF with an accurate scale outline.  It also includes some really nice details through a fully detailed cockpit and an assortment of external tanks and rockets.  A Skyraider isn’t a Skyraider without external stores afterall!  Additionally, each of the three external tanks pylons come setup to accept E-flite payload releases which means the external tanks can be made droppable very simply.  So, with a little 3D printing the sky’s the limit as to what this model can and will carry!  More on that to come as for this article, we’re talking through the assembly of the model.  I have a full repaint planned which we’ll talk through next where I’ll touch on the stores mods I made and then we’ll finish it up with a full flight review…but, spoiler alert, this model flies incredible! (see my first flights video at the bottom of this article)

 

ABOUT THE MODEL

The Legend Hobby Skyraider kit comes available in multiple color schemes (US Navy Gray/White, US Navy Blue, AF Camo) without any markings applied or as an ARC.  Of course, markings are included, but coming as a blank canvas, this also allows for full customization and there are so many great color schemes for the Skyraider to choose from!  This particular model is the Southeast Asia camouflage ARF and was dressed in the kit supplied markings for the initial flights.  Having a very unique and characteristic shark mouth, the model represents Skyraider BuNo 137628 which was assigned to the 22nd Special Operations Squadron (SOS), 56th Special Operations Wing (SOW) that flew from Operating Location Alpha-Alpha (OL-AA) at Da Nang, South Vietnam.

In the process of assembling the Skyraider, I decided to go with Hitec digital D645 servos for all of the primary surfaces and analog HS-645MGs for the remainder.  Continue reading