Home RC Airplane Reviews Blitz RC Works F-5E RC Airplane Review
Blitz RC Works F-5E RC Airplane Review Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 09 August 2011 00:23

History

The F-5 started life as a privately-funded light fighter program by Northrop in the 1950s. The first-generation F-5A Freedom Fighter entered service in the 1960s. Over 800 were produced through 1972 for U.S. allies during the Cold War and for Switzerland as well. The USAF had no need for a light fighter, but it did specify a requirement for a supersonic trainer and procured about 1,200 of a derivative airframe for this purpose, the Northrop T-38 Talon.

The improved second-generation F-5E Tiger II was also primarily used by American Cold War allies and, in limited quantities, served in US military aviation as a training and aggressor aircraft; Tiger II production amounted to 1,400 of all versions, with production ending in 1987. Many F-5s continuing in service into the 1990s and 2000s have undergone a wide variety of upgrade programs to keep pace with the changing combat environment. The F-5 was also developed into a dedicated reconnaissance version, the RF-5 Tigereye. The F-5 also served as a starting point for a series of design studies which resulted in the twin-tailed Northrop YF-17 and the F/A-18 series of carrier-based fighters. The Northrop F-20 Tigershark was an advanced version of the F-5E that did not find a market. The F-5N/F variants remain in service with the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps as an adversary trainer. The F-5 carries a crew of one and is powered by 2 GE J85-GE-21B turbojets capable of thrusting the jet to Mach 1.6. The jet has a range of 870 miles and a service ceiling of 51,800 feet.


Intro

After reviewing the Blitz RC Works F18 Jolly Roger I was extremely impressed with the plane’s agility, speed and power. While flying the F-18 I wished it had retracts. Soon after the review I was going through Banana Hobby’s website and looking for planes that had a similar power setup as the F-18, it was then that I came across the F-5E from Blitz RC Works. The jet had a different shape and design but looked sleek with the retracts up, and it sported the same power plant as the F-18. Curious about its performance, I ordered one.

   

Kit Contents

The kit arrived on my doorstep in less than a week. Banana Hobby’s ordering and shipping system have definitely improved over the years. The box was in great shape and I was pleased that no parts of the plane were damaged in transit. I bought the Almost-Ready-to-Fly version for the review and the jet came nearly 95% pre-assembled. The kit included the fuselage, wings, elevators, rudder, retracts, nose cone, miscellaneous hardware, manual and glue. The servos, motor, esc, nose gear and fan unit were already installed in the main body of the jet. In addition the F-5E came with a BEC and a deans plug already installed on the ESC for my convenience.

   

   

Assembly

Assembly started with the controls horns on the ailerons, elevator and rudder. This is as simple as twisting a small screw through a hole, but the screws were barely long enough, so the foam may need to be compressed in order for the screws to go all the way through. Once one screw is started the process is much easier for the rest of screws. After the control horns were hooked up I pulled out the sandpaper and began scuffing up the inside edges of the rudder and elevators in preparation for epoxying them to the jet. When there was little to no paint left on the surface areas, I whipped up some 5-minute epoxy and attached the elevators, followed by the rudder. Be sure to test fit both areas prior to permanently adhering them in place.

   

The next step was to epoxy the wings onto the plane. This isn’t a complicated step, yet it left me scratching my head for a few minutes. The inner leading edges of the wings have two ‘nubbins’ (official word) on them that made fitting the wing difficult. Furthermore there were two foam strips in an unmarked bag that were slightly curved and looked like they attached to the wing somehow. I sat there for a few minutes looking at it, thinking that it all seemed too complicated. I called the lovely assistant over and she too thought it looked ‘off’. Suddenly it came to me and I felt like an idiot that it was ever an issue. The two nubbins on the inner edge of the wing need to be sliced off and the wings will fit perfectly onto the contour of the fuselage. The random stripes of foam in the unmarked bag go on the outer edges of the wings as ‘missiles’ although they are the sorriest looking missiles this side of the Indian Ocean.

   

I mixed up a generous amount of epoxy and held the wings tight to the body as the glue dried. Make sure you get plenty of epoxy covering all inner surfaces since the surface area of the wing connection is not very big.

When the wings had finished drying I test fitted and installed the mechanical retracts. Each retract has its own servo that pulls or pushes it open and this makes setting them up a cinch. Like all mechanical retracts it is imperative that they are fully locked out when the gear is down, otherwise the wheels will collapse with any substantial pressure.

 

With everything connected, I centered the servos, attached the control rods, glued on the nose cone and canopy and sat back to admire my work.

   

   

Features

The Blitz RC Works F-5E features a 29.9” wingspan and an overall length of 51.7”. The jet is made out of EPS foam that looks great, but is more fragile than EPO and other types of foam. A 2350kv motor powers the 70mm fan and it is all controlled by a 45amp ESC that includes an external BEC. The plane has a battery bay that perfectly holds a 4S 2200mah battery. The jet has fast lines and a scale paint job that looks realistic in the air.

First Flight

Perfect temperature and a gentle breeze greeted us for the maiden day.

I did a thorough check of all of the control surfaces and determined the jet was ready to fly. At this point I still had not done a static watt test so I was unsure how the jet would fly, but I was hoping since the power system was the same as the F-18, she would soar like an eagle with a jet pack. I have since run the test and on a 4S 2200mah 30C battery the jet pulls 38 amps on 593 watts, which is surprisingly less power than the F-18 that has the same EDF setup.

I throttled the plane up and she shot down the runway straight and true. The jet wanted to dive like a dolphin in the sea so I added in some up trim until she was flying mostly level. Things felt ‘ok’ in the air but the elevator was too sensitive, almost to the point that I was sure the F-5E was tail heavy. The roll rate was a sight to behold and overall the power felt solid.

I didn’t like the way the jet was flying so I landed her to see if any adjustments could be made.

After adding in only 1 oz of weight taped inside of the nose and dialing in 25% expo on the elevator I put the jet back in the air. Almost immediately the F-5E flew with more authority and stability. All of the ‘weirdness’ was gone and the jet cut through the air with less twitchiness. I was finally having some fun. Everything about the jet felt better.

    

Four minutes of flight time passed and I landed the jet to check the battery. Each cell read 3.78 so there was still enough juice for another minute of flight time, but I wouldn’t stretch it much beyond 5 minutes unless the entire flight has been a lazy one.

Flight Characteristics

The Blitz RC Works F-5E EDF jet flies very well. All of the controls are responsive and quick. The plane can complete an aileron roll faster than a blink of an eye and the elevator has so much throw, tight loops are the norm. The rudder is a nice feature and one that is not often seen on EDF jets of this size and price range. The plane can slow down a little, but with the narrow wing span too much reduction in speed will cause the jet to tip. Inverted flight is beautiful and an only the tiniest touch of up elevator is needed to keep the inversion level.

All of these flight characteristics were experienced after adding in the nose weight and expo onto the elevators. Depending on battery size/weight or altitude other F-5Es might need more or less weight in the nose. The original CG setting in the manual is too far back in my opinion and needs to come forward by at least ½”, maybe more.

Takeoffs and Landings

The retractable landing gear (why doesn’t anyone ever call them ‘takeoff gear’?) are not the strongest I have ever seen but they are strong enough for this plane. The nose gear has quite a bit of slop in it, but I did not feel any ill side effects from it while blasting down the runway. On the ground the jet was not too tippy and tracked straight down the runway when heavy throttle was applied. After gathering speed for 20 feet the plane will liftoff with only a little up elevator.

   

Landing the F-5E can be tricky, but doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you remember to keep a little power on when approaching the runway. Once over the runway decrease the throttle and the jet settles down to the ground. Be careful about flaring too much, or too soon, otherwise the nose will pitch dramatically back up towards the sky causing a stall or if you’re quick on the throttle; a kick ass harrier landing.

 

Is This Plane For a Beginner?

No, it is best left for intermediate to advanced pilots. The combination of EDF, 4-channels and EPS foam could spell disaster for the new pilot, especially if there are any balance issues.

Conclusion

The Blitz RC Works F-5E is a nice looking plane that flies well once the balance is hammered out. The plane is a middle of the road performer that delivers enough power to stay out of trouble, but not enough to break any speed records or have unlimited vertical. The Blitz RC F-5E is a tad unique when compared to other EDFs and I really like the flat, flush underside of the plane. The EPS foam is smooth and the paint is outstanding. Assembly is easy despite my brain lapse with the wing ‘nubs’.  The jet is priced extremely well given the included features.

GRADE: B

Pros

  • Good value for the money
  • Decent power, better than several offered by Blitz RC Works
  • Foam and paint are scale
  • Fast Shipping

Neutrals

  • Balance was a little off and needed some nose weight to fly better

Cons

  •  Nothing Major


Media and FLIGHT TIME!

   

   

   

   

 



 
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