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MaxJet F-35 Review Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 29 December 2010 20:59

Max Jet F-35 Review

History

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, stealth, multirole fighters under development to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions. The F-35 has three main models; one is a conventional takeoff and landing variant, the second is a short take off and vertical-landing variant, and the third is a carrier-based variant. The F-35 is descended from the X-35, the product of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program. JSF development is being principally funded by the United States, with the United Kingdom and other partner governments providing additional funding. It is being designed and built by an aerospace industry team led by Lockheed Martin. The F-35 took its first flight on 15 December 2006. The United States intends to buy a total of 2,443 aircraft for an estimated US$323 billion, making it the most expensive defense program ever. The United States Air Force (USAF) budget data in 2010, along with other sources, projects the F-35 to have a flyaway cost that ranges between US$89 million and US$200 million over the planned production of F-35s, depending on the variant. Lockheed Martin expects to reduce government cost estimates by 20%.

Intro

After having a full day of gorging myself on turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie I was ready to partake in some midnight black friday deals. I stayed up late despite the food coma my body wanted to succumb to. After searching and watching I was a little disappointed with the 'deals' that were on the Internet so around 1am I headed to bed. I woke up the next day and found that the deals were still going on and by late afternoon Nitroplanes' Black Friday deals were in full swing. There were quite a few planes to choose from, but I settled on the Max Jet F-35 which included a steeply discounted price and free shipping to boot!

Kit Contents

Less than a week after ordering from Nitroplanes, the jet arrived with another plane I had ordered. I was so excited to receive two planes at once that I cleared out my plans for the night and went home. I chose the receiver ready version of the F-35 from Nitroplanes' site. I already had a DX7 so I didn't need another transmitter. The plane was well packaged but I could tell that the plane I ordered was originally a Ready-to-fly version since the box had been opened and some things had been taken out. I was a little nervous but after unpacking everything I found that nothing was missing. In fact they accidentally left in the small 2S -3S Lipo charger that comes with the RTF version. Yay for extra stuff!

The plane came with everything needed to build including glue and a nice screwdriver. The servos come preinstalled, as well as the motor/fan unit so I knew it was going to be an easy build. During my initial inspection I was impressed with the smooth foam and paint job of the plane, especially one that cost under $100!


Assembly

Laying all the parts out on the table I knew the plane would be a quick build. I prefit all the pieces together to make sure things looked straight as well as centered the servos and servo arms BEFORE epoxying the wings together. Take note unless you have an angled screwdriver you may not be able to remove the servo arms from the servos in the fuselage once the wings are in place (see pic).


Epoxying the wings together is a cinch with 5-minute epoxy. After the wings I moved onto the elevators and decided to add my own CA hinges since the supplied plastic hinges had a very cheap feeling about them. Using a sharp Xacto knife I was able to cut a small slit to insert my extra hinge on both elevators. The elevators were then glued onto the hinges but I noticed after the glue dried that the edges of the elevators rubbed against the side of the fuselage creating a noticeable squeak. No one likes a squeaky jet so using sand paper I filed down the edge of the fuselage to provide extra clearance.

The vertical stabs on the rear of the plane are a little tricky since they attach to the body at an angle. It is easy to think you have them in correctly only to realize they are off. Make sure to pay close attention to their position before gluing.

The landing gear was the last thing to attach before I glued on the canopy and thrust nozzle. For the first time in the history of building planes I figured I would do it right and actually use canopy glue since the build called for it. I purchased a $4.99 bottle of glue that basically looked and smelled like regular ol' Elmer's Glue. Y'know....the kind kids eat in 1st grade. I glued the canopy and thrust nozzle but after 15 minutes to let it 'set' the glue held about as well as a wet sponge. Irritated, I cleaned the glue off, used CA and in 30 seconds both the canopy and thrust nozzle were attached!

NOTE: I have since learned that the canopy glue can take nearly an hour to fully set. I don't have enough patience for that.

Since the plane was originally a RTF there was a bundle of unlabeled wires where the previous receiver once sat. It took a little guessing but after a few tries I was able to put the right wires in the correct place on the receiver.


Features

There are no overwhelming features of the plane, but I do really like the look and paint job of the F-35. The foam is very smooth with no large bumps or bubbles. The paint job seems thick enough to do the job and hasn't rubbed off or flaked off when my fingers touch it. The foam is  slightly more prone to hangar rash when compared to Z-foam on the Parkzone Warbirds. All the decals were installed at the factory and look great. The landing gear looks a little wimpy but is enough to do the job.

One of the strange 'features' of the plane is the size of the receiver and the battery tray. I know the plane calls for 1300mah batteries which are a little small in my opinion for an EDF Jet. Nevertheless, the battery tray for this bird is tiny. I could barely fit a 3S 1000mah battery in the tray, never mind trying to fit a 1300 or higher! I decided to do some cutting and sliced out the wooden support located inside the tray. This allows me to fit batteries of the 1600-1800mah size. In order to fit the bigger batteries in I had to wedge them in, no velcro secures them, they are tight on their own!


First Flight

The day of the first flight was a cold day with a steady east wind blowing through the area. Despite the cold weather I wanted to take advantage of the clear day since we had been drowning in rain for several days.
I took the plane out to the strip, did a range check and one last look over the control surfaces to make sure everything was moving the correct way. Throttled up and with a loud whine the plane rolled down the runway....and kept rolling and rolling and rolling. I was having trouble getting the plane in the air with only 3/4 throttle so I slammed the stick forward and finally the jet decided to lift off. The wind picked up dramatically as my little jet tried to stay in the sky. The plane felt fairly balanced with only a few clicks of up elevator to even her out. It was hard to get a great feel of the F-35's speed and flight ability since the wind was so gusty. The plane felt very 'tippy' which can most likely be attributed to the small wings. After 4 hairy minutes of windy flying I brought the plane down in one piece. I was surprised that the plane handled slower speeds fairly well.

Flight Characteristics

The plane flies ok for an EDF. You are not going to break any speed records with this jet and will need 3/4 or more throttle to keep the plane in the air. The F-35 rolls very quickly and feels a little nose heavy, but may change depending on the size of battery in the jet. I tested with only a 1600mah battery which is a size bigger than the 1300 mah battery the manual calls for. I will need to do more testing since the day was such a windy day. The good news is the plane can handle the wind, which is surprising considering the small wingspan.

One important key to flying this EDF and many others is to keep your speed up in the corners. The plane really likes to drop if you let off the throttle while turning. Be aware of this or you may be taking your plane home in a plastic bag.

Takeoffs and Landings

It is a good idea to use full throttle on takeoffs otherwise you may eat up too much runway before the plane gets enough speed to get up. It took more speed than I thought it should need which makes me doubt the ability to hand launch this little jet. Plus there are no great 'holds' on the underside of the plane to grip and hand launch the plane with. I will test more and see if my theory holds, but for now I would suggest keeping the gear on and throttling up to the max for a takeoff.

Since the plane needs a healthy amount of throttle to stay in the air it surprised me how well the plane floated when I was ready to land. I throttled way down to about 1/4-1/3 throttle on my landing and the plane just kept on floating. I made the mistake of flaring too soon and the jet floated back up to 4-5 feet off the ground before stalling and landing slightly harder than I'd prefer. The landing gear held up well despite my spunky landing.

Is This Plane For a Beginner?

No, unless you like to crash you should not fly this plane if you have no RC Airplane experience. I know the plane looks crazy cool and you want to pierce the skies like a hot knife through butter but please don't fly this until your thumbs are quick and agile and you at least some RC Airplane experience.

Conclusion

I really like the paint and looks of this plane. In fact right now I am glancing over and admiring this sweet looking jet. My maiden day was a windy day and it definitely affected the performance and ability of this little jet. I will be doing some more testing on calmer days to get a better feel for how the F-35 really flies and updating this review afterward. Even with a healthy tail wind I can tell the plane is no speed demon and rolls very quickly. It is not a beginner plane but someone with aileron experience should be able to fly it on low rates their first time out.

Rating: C-

Pros

  • Great paint job, decals and scale looks
  • Amazing price
  • Easy to put together
  • Sounds nice and loud
  • Will sharpen your concentration levels

Neutrals

  • Not the fastest EDF out there
  • Needs a lot of throttle just to stay in the air

Cons

  • Battery tray is ridiculously small
  • Flight times will be very short (under 3 minutes) if you use the recommended 1300mah battery



Are you ready to pierce the sky?!

4 CH 64MM EDF 3D Aerobatic Electric Ducted Fan RC Fighter Jet ARF "Receiver Ready"(Camo)

 
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