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Hobby King HE-162 Review Print E-mail
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Friday, 22 July 2011 23:28


History

The Heinkel He 162 Volksjäger (German, "People's Fighter") was a German single-engine, jet-powered fighter aircraft fielded by the Luftwaffe in World War II. Designed and built quickly, and made primarily of wood as metals were in very short supply and prioritized for other aircraft, the He 162 was nevertheless the fastest of the first generation of Axis and Allied jets. Volksjäger was the Reich Air Ministry's official name for the He 162. Other names given to the plane include Salamander, which was the codename of its construction program, and Spatz ("Sparrow"), which was the name given to the plane by Heinkel. The HE162 sported a crew of 1 and is powered by a BMW 003E-1 axial flow turbot that is meant for ventral attachment. The maximum speed of the jet was 562 mph with a service ceiling of 39,400 ft. and a rate of climb of 4,615.




Intro
There are many unique and interesting aircraft that came from the Luftwaffe in WWII. When I first saw a picture of the HE 162 as a young lad, I thought it was quite strange looking. I imagined a bunch of German engineers standing around a table saying (in a German accent) “We’ve got this new jet engine, but what should we do with it? Why don’t we stick it to the top of a plane and see if that works?!”  And thus the Heinkel HE162 Volksjäger was born. Many months ago I spotted the 162 on Hobby King’s website, and wanted to get it, but never got around to it. Fortunately my indecisiveness paid off as it finally showed up in the USA warehouse and I had the funds, so I had to order one.

   

Kit Contents

The HE 162 arrived in about a week, tightly packaged in a small-ish box. I knew the plane was a smaller than a standard 40” model but it was smaller than I thought it was going to be! The kit contained only a few pieces that need to be attached to the plane. In the box was a 2-part fuselage, wings, elevator, vertical stabs, a manual, glue and small accessories to put it all together. Everything was wrapped in plastic and arrived in perfect condition. The plane is made out of EPS foam which gives the jet a smooth finish and looks great, but EPS is not the most repairable foam in the world so crashing is not advised.

   

Assembly

Assembling the Hobby King HE 162 is easy considering the motor, esc, fan and servos are already installed. The plastic control horns are secured to the ailerons and elevators with 4 screws that keep everything tight and snug. The elevator and vertical stabs glue onto the rear of the plane and I used medium foam-safe CA to complete the job. The EDF fan unit simply screws into the top of the plane, but there was glue or some other sort of hard resin that had seeped into one of the holes, so I had to drill the hole out in order to get everything secured. The wings need to be secure with CA or Epoxy but I would highly recommend using epoxy since it is much stronger. I used 5-minute epoxy for the wings after sanding away a little paint on the inside of the wing joint.

   

   

Once the big parts of the plane were installed small things like the landing gear and cockpit were all that was left. The landing gear is a simple installation but as I quickly found out, the gear needs to be bent OUT for a wider stance; this is probably a bit easier to do before installing the gear. After the gear was installed the HE 162 was finished!

   

Features

The Hobby King HE 162 features a realistic paint scheme and mostly scale lines. The jet comes with a 30 amp ESC that drives the 4 servos and 4300kv inrunner motor producing 231 watts and 21amps on a 3S battery. I was majorly concerned about the lack of watts during the full throttle test, but the WWII jet is very light when compared to other planes of the same size.

First Flight

I like all of my maidens to take place at the field and location I am used to flying at. As it turned out I finished assembling the HK HE-162 a day before I was headed to a warbird fly-in at a different field. I brought the 162 along to show off, but also to see if I felt comfortable enough to fly it.

The field we went to had a much larger and wider landing strip than I was used to and there were practically no trees around to crash into. After the warbird show was over I fired up the HE-162 and got her prepped for the first flight.

There was a steady breeze blowing, but otherwise the weather was perfect for a maiden. After placing the warbird on the tarmac I throttled up and as the plane gathered speed I tried to steer it from going to the edge of the grass but at the lightest touch of steering input, the plane tipped and skidded on the edge of the wing. Undaunted, I brought the plane back and tried it again. Before I could even get the plane up to take off speed I barely touched the steering and it immediately tipped and thrashed around like a cat in a bag. This happened two more times before I was able to finally get the touchy bird into the air. In the end the ‘trick’ was to not touch the steering at all or at least not touch it until the plane was at full speed and tracking straight and true down the runway.

With the warbird finally in the air I was underwhelmed by her performance. The plane looked tail heavy in the air, but it actually didn’t feel tail heavy on the sticks. However, it was extremely underpowered and needed nearly full throttle the entire time while in flight. The manual calls for a 1300mah battery but I ran a 1500mah 3S battery for the first flight. The roll rate was aggressive and almost scary on full throws and I never did try a full loop on the first flight. After 4 minutes of flying I decided to land and check the battery. The 3S battery had about 3.72 left in each cell so it was a good decision to land.

Flight Characteristics

The HK HE-162 flies well once it is in the air and as I discovered on later flights, the plane balances and flies much better using a larger battery. After hogging out a tiny bit of foam from the rear of the battery tray, I discovered I could fit in an 1800mah 25C battery. The battery was a tight fit, but the plane felt much better in the air for balance and power. Using a stronger battery with a higher 'C' rating gave the 162 a boost in power and took the edge off of having to fly full blast the whole time.

With the battery I felt more confident to try different maneuvers and the little jet handle them all. Like many EDFs it does better if some speed is kept while turning, but having longer wings than a Delta or sweptback shape certainly allows for slower flight. At slow speeds the jet starts to feel a bit tippy and wants to roll, so be aware when flying it slowly as to what the limit is. Rolls are blazingly fast and loops are a struggle since so much power is needed just for level flight.This won't be a plane for doing tricks, but it does have enough power for slow, scale flying.

Takeoffs and Landings

The most difficult aspect of the HE 162 is the takeoff. The plane is feisty on the ground and any input on the rudder channel causes the jet to tip and rock wildly. What I have found is to skip slowly rolling on the power, it is better to jam the throttle forward and get up to speed as quickly as possible. The plane needs a long rollout before it will even think about lifting off the ground, so make sure you have at least 50 feet or more of runway. I do NOT think hand launching would be a good idea with this model.

Landing is much easier since there is very little steering involved. Since there is no rudder, be aware that the approach is best made straight on and if any adjustments are needed while airborne, they must be made with the elevator and ailerons. The HE-162 will float awhile after power is cut so cut the power earlier than you would for a prop plane. Gently roll back the elevator and the plane will settle into the runway for a perfect landing.

Is This Plane For a Beginner?

No! I’d stay away until at least the 3rd or 4th plane. The HE-162 is very slow and while that might seem like a good thing for learning on EDF, it is not very forgiving and a bit touchy. Better to stay away until more experience is spent on other airplanes. EDFs that barely have enough power to stay airborne are a bit frightening to fly and require quick thinking and even quicker thumbs should anything go wrong.

Tragedy Strikes!

After logging a few flights on the HE-162 I was getting comfortable and doing more and more daring maneuvers with the jet. I still felt like it was fairly slow in the air, but I was getting used to its limitations. The bigger battery had definitely woken things up and with more power and longer flight times I was a happy little flier. Then one day I took it up like any other time and flew it around for about 2 minutes. Things were going really well until I suddenly had a feeling that something wasn’t right. After a flyby I throttled down for some slower flying but I could hear that the motor ‘whine’ had not changed tone, as if it wasn’t responding to my input. At this point the HK HE-162 actually was still responding to my sticks because I was able to turn it back over the runway. Right after making a left turn for my final approach the plane suddenly shifted in the air and rolled over on its back and went straight into the ground! The whole time it was doing this I was yelling at the plane “it’s not me it’s not me!” as if that would somehow stop it from going in.

The plane went down behind a small tree so Crazy Thumbs and I trekked our way over to assess the damage. As we got closer we could hear the receiver beeping and physically see that the receiver/airplane was not responding to any of my input. The controls were completely locked out.

It was glaringly apparent that my radio had lost its bind with the receiver and I thought that was odd since I had never had a problem with Hobby King’s Orange receivers. When I opened the receiver hatch in the HE-163 I remembered that I didn’t put a normal Orange receiver in the plane, but a brand new 9 channel Hobby King Orange receiver in the jet! I thought that maybe the bigger receiver needed more juice to run and that perhaps my battery had been sucked dry, but when I tested the battery it still read at least 3.9 volts per cell. Needless to say I won’t be using a 9-channel receiver again.

   

The most unfortunate part of the crash is that this model is made out of EPS foam which is not as repairable as EPO or Z-foam. The nose was crunched and will never be pretty but I am happy to report that we were able to fix her and fly again!I was very lucky that most of the crash damage was limited to large, clean breaks. The last EPS model I crashed literally shattered like glass and there was no way to put it back together again.

 

Conclusion

The Hobby King HE-162 is a very unique and inexpensive RC airplane. I have long been intrigued by the plane’s overall design. The 162 flies ‘ok’ once in the air, but it could definitely use a motor upgrade. For what it is, it is a good airplane I just wish it was made out of something more durable than EPS foam.  The landing gear is a bit weak and needs some tweaking in order for the plane to track straight. I enjoyed flying the plane and was very sad to crash such a unique offering from Hobby King. This one is an ok buy. I loved the looks and ease of assembly, but the power left a lot to be desired. If you're looking for a cool/fast/first EDF...keep looking. If you're looking for an HE-162 that is inexpensive and flies slowly, then the Hobby King HE-162 might be for you! With a few small upgrades the Volksjäger could be outstanding, as it is, it is just okay.

GRADE: C+

Pros

  • Unique, one of a kind

  • Fairly inexpensive ARF
  • Clean design and looks

Neutrals

  • Some drilling required to attach the EDF unit

Cons

  •  EPS Foam
  • Weak power system
  • Landing gear needs bending and tweaking to allow the plane to taxi efficiently

 

Media and FLIGHT TIME!

   

   

   


Update! Back together and destroyed...again.

The HE-162 was put back together with a little glue and some TLC she flew again. Check out the pics below.

     

Pieced back together she flew just like before the crash. And then...tragedy struck again. The plane went down in a blaze of glory. Please enjoy the aftermath photos.

      

 
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