Home RC Airplane Reviews E-Flite Hawker Hurricane Review
E-Flite Hawker Hurricane Review Print E-mail
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Thursday, 19 April 2012 21:46

History

The Hawker Hurricane is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd for the Royal Air Force (RAF). Although largely overshadowed by the Supermarine Spitfire, the aircraft became renowned during the Battle of Britain, accounting for 60% of the RAF's air victories in the battle, and served in all the major theatres of the Second World War.


The 1930s design evolved through several versions and adaptations, resulting in a series of aircraft which acted as interceptor-fighters, fighter-bombers (also called "Hurribombers"), and ground support aircraft. Further versions known as the Sea Hurricane had modifications which enabled operation from ships. Some were converted as catapult-launched convoy escorts, known as "Hurricats". More than 14,000 Hurricanes were built by the end of 1944 (including about 1,200 converted to Sea Hurricanes and some 1,400 built in Canada by the Canada Car and Foundry). The Hurricane was powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin V-12 that produced 1,185hp and propelled the plane to 340mph. The service ceiling was 36,000 feet with a range of 600 miles.


Intro

After nearly a year full of delays, rumors and anticipation the E-flite Hawker Hurricane was finally released. I was able to purchase one only a few days after they came out but due to uncooperative weather I was forced to wait another 2 months before flying the Hurricane. They say that good things come to those who wait, but is that the case with the Hawker Hurricane?

   


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Kit Contents

For this review I opted for the Plug-n-Play model which comes with all the servos, ESC, motor and most of the hardware installed. The kit included the fuselage, wings, wings spar, elevator, landing gear, a detailed manual, and miscellaneous accessories to build the plane and put the finishing touches on the Hurricane. I looked, but unfortunately there were no free kittens contained within the box.

   

The E-flite Hawker Hurricane comes with six digital high-speed metal servos. These servos keep all the moving parts (including the flaps) in order. Normally I don’t get too excited about servos but I can honestly say these things are snappy, noisy and full of juice. Behind the servos is a 60amp ESC that runs the show and at the nose of the plane is a 25-size 1000kv brushless motor that produces 487 watts of power at 48 amps with a 3S 3000mah battery under the hood. The kit comes ‘Retract-Ready’ and if you buy E-flite’s retracts they simply plop into the pre-cut areas of the wings without much effort. Unfortunately, new struts must be purchased if you decide to go with retracts.

   

Assembly

Assembly of the E-flite Hurricane begins on the backside of the craft with the elevator. The two halves of the stabilizer slide over the stabilizer tube and into the rear of the plane. The instructions indicate that the discerning pilot should put some epoxy on the two halves and smoosh them together. This is a good idea but it was so difficult to push the two halves into the rear of the airplane that I skipped the epoxy step. If you skip this step be sure to inspect the elevator between flights to make sure that it has not wiggled loose.

   

After the rear of the plane was attached I flipped the beast over and installed the main landing gear. Since I did not have any retracts (which honestly would have been just as easy) I used the fixed gear. They snap into place and are held down by a plastic cover. Everything is strong and secure and it feels like it can withstand several bad landings.

   

Before proceeding much further it is a good idea to slap a battery in the plane and make sure all of the servos are centered and moving in the correct direction. This is particularly important for the flap servos as you don’t want to break anything should you have them backwards! I made sure the flap servos were forward before installing the Y-shaped linkage to the servos and flap control horns. I made sure the flaps were good and tight against the body in the ‘up’ position because no one likes floppy flaps when you’re flying.

   

The next step was joining the two wings together. For this job I grabbed some 5-minute epoxy and slathered it on the inside of each wing. The wings slide over a spar and joined together beautifully. My lovely assistant was there to wipe any excess residue from the creases of the wings. While the epoxy was drying I swiped a bit epoxy near the rear of the wings for the wing joiner piece. Once everything was dry I threaded the servo wires through the fuselage of the plane and screwed everything down tight. The wing is held on by 4 metal screws and it feels very secure once everything is tightened down.

The final part of the assembly was to connect everything to the receiver and make sure all of the surfaces were flat/flush and moving in the proper directions. Once I was finished with that I stuck on the few visual accessories (intake, antenna, fake lights) and the Hurricane was ready for her first maiden!

Features

The E-flite Hurricane features a 53.5” wingspan and an overall length of 42”. The plane is covered in thick paint that smooths out the foam and gives an overall quality feel to the craft. Surprisingly the Hurricane only requires a 3S battery for flight and during the entire assembly I figured it needed a 4S. Fortunately none of my 4S batteries fit inside the fuselage causing me to scratch my head and take a look at the manual before I fired it up. A long “ooooohhh” escaped from my lips and I was happy the 3S 3000mah battery fit like a glove, so pay attention to your manuals when building planes! The Hurricane also features larger foam wheels that allow for taxiing in short cut grass. The looks and scale details of the Hurricane are impressive but I was a bit underwhelmed with the clevises used to attach to all of the control horns. They are made of soft plastic and are quite a bit weaker than other models of this size. It may seem like a nit-picky point but if your clevis fails on your elevator during flight you may be picking up pieces of your plane instead of just one piece.

    

First Flight

After months of waiting for the Hurricane from the original release date I was stoked to get it and put it together. The assembly took about an hour and that was with a popcorn break in the middle. The plane was looking great and my thumbs were rarin’ to go…and then winter happened. The plane hung in my basement alongside all of its brothers and sisters longing to be flown. A week turned into several, until nearly two months had passed before I was able to maiden the hurricane. Of course the Saturday I decided to fly started out pristine and ended with terrible crosswinds and dusty dirt devils spiraling all around me. Undaunted, I pushed forwarded and decided I was going to maiden the Hurricane despite the atrocious conditions…what better way to test a plane’s worth!

   

I checked over the plane, dropped a fresh 3S battery in the nose and taxied towards the runway. I pushed the throttle forward and at about ¾ power the Hurricane jumped from the runway. I immediately coaxed her up high in the sky to trim her out. Surprisingly, the Hawker Hurricane did not need any trim at all! I was completely shocked. The plane was very well balanced around the 90mm CG point and felt great whether inverted or right side up. The wind was whipping across the wings with wispy fury but the Hurricane handled it very well. Never once did I feel like I almost lost the plane or that I was not in control. It was not the most relaxing flight but it was successful. After 5 minutes of windy flying I brought the plane in and bounced her down to a safe landing.

The wind eventually died down and the following weekend I was able to fly the hurricane non-stop to get a good feel of what she can do and what her characteristics are.

   

Flight Characteristics

For a low-wing warbird the E-Flite Hawker Hurricane has some really nice flight characteristics. The ample wingspan and wing width support the 4lb plane with ease. In the air the Hurricane is a solid performer that can be used to just cruise around the sky or cranked up to perform some mild aerobatics. With the digital, metal gear servos all of the movements feel very snappy and responsive. The roll rate was crisp and this was with the gear extended! Snap rolls are dizzingly fast and inverted flight only requires ¼ stick of down elevator. I was even able to get the Hurricane into a pseudo knife-edge. It was more of a knife slide but the plane performed much better aerobatically than a traditional warbird generally does.

With the flaps deployed the plane slows down to a stable crawl and with a 15 mph head wind I was able to ‘kite’ the plane and keep it in one place much to the joy of everyone in attendance. This is no high-winged trainer so stalls are a reality but the plane stalls at an extremely slow speed and it gives plenty of warning before the stall that things are not happy and a crash may very well be in your future. Prior to a stall the wings start to rock back and forth and any discerning pilot will notice that the plane is about to fall out of the sky, so drop the nose and speed up!

   

The power under the hood is very impressive considering the Hurricane only requires a 3S battery. Most of the time I flew around at ½ throttle which gave the plane plenty of speed and perfect maneuverability. The climb rate is fantastic and if you want to go straight up, the E-Flite Hurricane will touch the clouds in no time, although if going straight up is all you want to do I recommend you should buy a rocket because they go straight up really fast and far but their maneuverability is terrible.

Takeoffs and Landings

Taking off in the plane is not an issue with the large wheels and powerful motor. The plane is a tail dragger so any input to the rudder/steering will be mighty sensitive until the back wheel leaves the ground. The Hurricane can leave the ground in about 20 feet and with less than full throttle.

   

Landings with a typical tail-draggin’ warbird can be a bit hairy but the large flaps take care of any issues. The flaps are very effective and bring the Hurricane to a manageable speed in a matter of seconds. I landed a few times without flaps and the Hurricane does come in a little hot, but once I flipped the flaps down the Hurricane feels like a pup. I was very pleased with how easy the plane was to land and how much fun I had doing it. Touch n’ gos can be done with the flaps up or down. By the end of the day was I getting creative and trying one-wheel touch and gos with the Hurricane, this is not something I typically try with warbirds since they  do not perform well at slower speeds but the Hurricane stays stable at landing speeds.

Is This Plane For a Beginner?

Despite my previous comments about the Hurricane’s nice slow(er) flight characteristics it is still a 5 or 6-channel warbird and would be better suited for someone with at least some aileron experience. The foam is tough and could take a beating, but don’t start with this plane.

Cost….

Perhaps my major gripe with the E-flite Hurricane is the cost. I’ve noticed several manufacturer’s prices creep up and up over the years and I’m not entirely sure if this is because of the rise in gas prices, technology or what. Either way this bird is a bit on the spendy side especially when you consider adding electric retracts ($90) struts ($6) and a receiver ($50) this plane is no longer a $260 plane but $400+! Crazy Thumbs commented on how well the Hurricane flew and we speculated as to whether or not the price was ‘worth it’. I don’t full know yet but I hope E-flite takes a long look at their price point as other competitors continue to catch up and offer some amazing planes for much cheaper.

Conclusion

So was the E-flite Hurricane worth the wait? From my review I would say yes. The plane went together extremely well and most everything about the warbird feels sturdy.  The Hurricane flies beautifully and is a breeze in the hands of an intermediate to advance pilot. It is well balanced and the flight times range from 6 to 8 minutes depending on whether or not you are putt-putting in the clouds or blazing above the ground. I really dig the dark camo paint scheme with the offset mint green underside. It handles wind very well and is an all-around joy to fly. Great job E-Flite!

GRADE: A

Pros

  • Detailed Paint Scheme
  • Good power on 3S
  • Clear, well written manual
  • Easy Build
  • Love the ESC Switch
  • Strong design

Neutrals

  • Only came with one “y” connector, needed two (1 for Ailerons, 1 for flaps)
  • Expensive for BnF and retracts

Cons

  • Need different struts to use electric retracts


Media and FLIGHT TIME!

   

   

   


Thanks to Mike over at RC HOBBIES! Keep the thumbs loose!




 
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