Home RC Airplane Reviews Blitz RC Works F-18 Jolly Roger Review
Blitz RC Works F-18 Jolly Roger Review Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 27 July 2011 21:53


History

The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F/A-18 Hornet is a supersonic, all-weather carrier-capable multirole fighter jet, designed to dogfight and attack ground targets (F/A for Fighter/Attack). Designed by McDonnell Douglas and Northrop, the F/A-18 was derived from the latter's YF-17 in the 1970s for use by the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The Hornet is also used by the air forces of several other nations. It has been the aerial demonstration aircraft for the U.S. Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, since 1986.

The F/A-18 has a top speed of Mach 1.8. It can carry a wide variety of bombs and missiles, including air-to-air and air-to-ground, supplemented by the 20 mm M61 Vulcan cannon. Its two General Electric F404 delivers 17,750 pounds-force (79.0 kN) each with afterburner, giving the aircraft a high thrust-to-weight ratio. The F/A-18 has excellent aerodynamic characteristics, primarily attributed to its leading edge extensions (LERX). The fighter's primary missions are fighter escort, fleet air defense, suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD), air interdiction, close air support and aerial reconnaissance. Its versatility and reliability have proven it to be a valuable carrier asset. Carrying a crew of 2 it has a range of just over 1,000 miles and a service ceiling of 50,000 feet with a rate of climb at 50,000 feet per minute. In other words....amazing.



Intro

Sometimes I’m not even looking for a plane and they just fall in my lap, or in the case of the F-18 Jolly Roger they are shoved into my lap. After a very successful and enjoyable day flying on the 4th of July, Crazy Thumbs came by my house for some delicious food before he had to go to work. Who works on the 4th of July? People that hate independence apparently. After stuffing his face like a fat seagull and kicking back in my easy chair he mentioned that Banana Hobby was having a big 4th of July sale. From past experiences I have found that the airplanes from Banana Hobby can really be hit or miss. This was a good opportunity to review a couple of them and see how they stacked up again previous birds. In about a week and half the Jolly Roger was on my doorstep.

   

Kit Contents

The Kit arrived double boxed and in excellent condition. Inside the box was a fuselage, wings, elevators, vertical stab w/rudders, landing gear, ordinance, an instruction manual and many small accessories to complete the Jolly Roger build. Foam jets are generally very simple to put together since most of the plane is fuselage and the majority of electronics are already installed within. The F-18 comes with a 50 amps ESC attached to a BEC, motor/fan and servos for all the control surfaces. The only thing it needs is a receiver and a 2200mah 4S lipo battery.

   

Assembly

The kit includes glue that is meant to be used on the plane, but I have never liked the consistency or drying time of the glue so I threw it aside. Following the manual I started with the landing gear and screwed them into the designated holes. The main gear feels mostly secure but to be safe I added some CA to the screws and all around the bracket that holds them in. Once the glue was dry the gear felt much more solid.

   

When the gear was finished I moved to the rear of the plane and focused on the elevators. I test fitted the elevators and found them to be extremely tight so I lightly sanded them to promote a better adhesive surface and to be sure that I could fit them in the slots the entire way.  Since the elevators were already a tight fit I opted to use Medium Foam Safe CA to attach them to the fuselage; 5-minute epoxy would be another appropriate choice. The elevators took no time to dry so I was able to immediately focus on the wings. The edges of the wings were covered in paint so I sanded all of the appropriate areas down before attaching them. Once again I did a couple of test fits to ensure everything was flush. It is not a bad idea to also test fit the vertical stabs at this point before epoxying the wings since the vertical stabs sit down on top of the wings in a groove.

   

After a few test fits I mixed up some 5-minute epoxy and slathered it on like butter on a stack of flapjacks. I was careful to wipe any excess epoxy away while it dried, but I still managed to goop a little blob of it on the top of the plane. The right wing was epoxied in a similar manner as the left.  After the wings were dry and secured the vertical stabs were epoxied on top of the wings and the jet was essentially done.

   

The only thing left was to screw in the control horns, attach the servos and slap on the nose and canopy. The nose is made out of thin plastic and is a bit weaker than I had hoped, but it is not the end of the world.

Once everything was attached I hooked up a battery and receiver to test the control surfaces and motors. The good news was that all of the servos moved beautifully and in the correct direction. The bad news was that the motor would not beep, boop, move or arm. I checked and re-checked the connections and everything was connected correctly. I tried setting my throttle trim to zero but no matter what I tried, the ESC would not come to life. Finally I swapped out the ESC with Castle Creations 60amp I had laying around and tested to see if the ESC or motor was dead. Within seconds of plugging in the new ESC the entire F-18 came to life with a loud raspy motor, and happy servos. Unfortunately I was not happy that the stock ESC was apparently DOA.

   

   

Features

The Blitz RC Works F-18 features EPO foam that is covered in a sweet paint job giving the jet realistic lines that are easy on the retinas. The jet also features a 70mm fan and motor combo that produces a satisfying 45 amps on 712 watts. In addition to the ample power, the jet has working rudders on both vertical stabs. I have owned several EDF jets, but none of them had working rudders unless they were thrust vectored jets.

I thought it was a nice feature that the Blitz-RC Works Jet came with a working BEC for all of the servos, it is too bad I could not say the same for the ESC.

First Flight

I was excited for the first flight since I could tell the jet had plenty of power for some fun.  Generally anytime a medium sized 70mm jet pulls over 700 watts of power you can bet it will be a good flier.

The Jolly Roger was no disappointment. Going through all of the pre-flight checks I made sure things were moving in the right direction and that all of the clevises were attached and snapped. With a green light on the tarmac I throttle up the plane and at about ¾ throttle I pulled back the elevator and was greeted with the F-18 jumping off the ground like an Olympic high jumper. The jet took to the air without a hiccup, but it did need around 8 or 9 clicks of up trim to fly level and a few clicks left to prevent a slight roll. With the Jolly Roger trimmed out I felt in complete control of the jet zooming through the air. The plane really has a good amount of power for being a stock setup. It doesn’t go 100mph (so if you’re a beginner and really want to go 100mph this plane is not for you) but it has much better speed than other stock jets I have flown and reviewed.

   

Rolls are fantastic and inverted flight is nearly hands off. The elevator has quite a bit of throw on the lowest setting so some Expo is definitely recommended to help smooth the surfaces out. I personally did not use any Expo but an effective setting would be 40% Expo with 80% movement. This will help those that have twitchy thumbs or jittery bones.

   

After 4 minutes of flight I brought the plane around for a landing and discovered that when the power is off the plane comes down to earth in a hurry. I didn’t damage anything on the first landing; I was just a bit surprised and expected the jet to float farther than it did.

Flight Characteristics

I am always leery of ordering anything from Banana Hobby but the Blitz RC Works F-18 has superb flight characteristics. At full speed and full roll the plane’s wings resemble a blender, yet the plane tracks straight and true.  The jet balances nearly perfectly with a 4s 2200mah battery in the tray and the slow flight capabilities are impressive! The plane does stall and when it does the nose drops dramatically until the F-18 can pick up enough speed to regain level flight. Surprisingly I did not notice much tip stall tendencies. With the dual rudders hooked up the plane can do some interesting maneuvers that feel like a step towards thrust vectoring. The rudders have plentiful movement on even the lowest settings so I can only imagine what the jet can do at full throws. It would be WILD!

Takeoffs and Landings

What could be easier than pushing up on one stick and pulling back on the other? Well, eating pie for one, but taking off with this jet is a close second. The F-18 tracks down the runway very well and is not too tippy unless you give it dramatic steering left or right. At about ¾ throttle the jet wants to leave the ground and it only needs a short amount of runway to get up to speed.

   

Landings can either be dead-sticked or carried with some speed. Be aware if you fully cut the throttle the plane will drop quickly, but if you keep a minimal amount of power spinning the fan, then the Jolly Roger will float nicely towards the earth.

Is This Plane For a Beginner?

As cool as the F-18 is, it is not a beginner RC airplane. I can only recommend it to a beginner if they promise to hang it in their room until they have had ample experience with ailerons and planes that carry some speed.

Busted ESC and Banana Hobby Support
As stated earlier in this review the F-18 EDF arrived with a non-working ESC. The BEC attached to the deans plug was working, thus the servos all moved when I commanded them too. Unfortunately I could never get the ESC to come to life. It doesn’t smell burnt and it never gets even the slightest bit warm, so I am not sure what to think besides ‘it is dead’. I have written Banana Hobby about the issue and at this point I am on my 3rd email to them. In the past I wrote them about a broken impeller and within a few days they sent me a new one. I have several ESCs laying around and I don’t necessarily need one to fly the plane, but at this point it is just the principle of the matter. I will keep this review up to date with any new correspondence or information I receive from Banana Hobby.


Conclusion

The Blitz RC Works F-18 was pushed on me by a friend and I was unsure what I would think of the jet, but after flying it and reviewing it I can say I love it! It is an excellent deal for the price. It is not over loaded with features like retracts, lights and detailed pilots, but it is a solid, basic jet that looks great in the air and flies with little effort. I am disappointed that it came with a bogus ESC, but only time will tell if Banana Hobby can make it right. In the meantime I will be flying this jet with a grin on my face.

GRADE: B

Pros

  • EPO Foam
  • Solid Paint
  • Powerful Stock Motor
  • Nice Price

Neutrals

  • Weak Nose Cone

Cons

  • ESC was dead on arrival

 

Media and FLIGHT TIME!

     

   

 


 
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