HobbyKing.com New Products Flash Sale

Hobby Lobby Skyblazer F-86 EDF ARF Review

Do you need a quick EDF fix? This EPO F-86 may be the fastest way to get it!

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:27.5" (700mm)
Wing Area:186 sq. in.
Weight:16.5 oz. (460g)
Length:27.5" (700mm)
Wing Loading:12.8 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:9g servos (3)
Transmitter:Spektrum DX-7
Receiver:Spektrum AR6110
Battery:Thunder Power Pro Power 45C 1750mAh 3S
Motor:4300Kv brushless outrunner
Fan:64mm - 5 blade impeller
ESC:Freewing 30 Amp
Price:$129.99 ARF; $89.99 Airframe only
Flight Times:4-5 minutes
Manufacturer:Freewing
Etailer:Hobby Lobby

Are you a new EDF pilot? Have you been flying them for a while already? Have you not yet taken the step into this genre of radio control planes? In any case, I am here to tell you that Electric Ducted Fans are where it is at right now, and Hobby Lobby has come up with an F-86 that may be the perfect candidate for an entry level EDF. Though there are other F-86 EDFs available, the EPO construction of this one results in a tough little airframe that is more resistant to damage from those less than perfect launches and landings. And its battery requirements are a very modest and affordable 1600 3S class lipoly battery, which also contributes to this being a light airframe. Read on and see if you do not agree that the Hobby Lobby F-86 Skyblazer is an excellent choice if you want or need to get in the air fast and want to go fast, all without spending too much coin.

But first, a short full scale back-history is in order, to get you primed for the excitement of flying this F-86 Skyblazer scheme!


While most folks today are very familiar with the USAF Thunderbirds air demonstration team and their red,white and blue F-16s, many may not realize that their roots lie in a team known as the Skyblazers. Founded in 1949, the Skyblazers first flew the P-80 Shooting Stars. They then switched to the Republic F-84E Thunderstreaks in 1950. A fatal accident in 1952 saw the team disbanded. The Skyblazers were reformed in 1953, this time flying North American F-86 Sabres. They continued to perform in Europe until January 1962.


Kit Contents


In The Box

  • EPO foam fuselage, wings and tail section
  • Pre-installed power system: 64mm fan with 4300 Kv brushless outrunner motor and 30 amp speed controller
  • 1600mAh 3S lipoly battery
  • Pre-installed 9g class servos (3)
  • Miscellaneous hardware and control horns, small screwdriver
  • Drop tanks/landing skids, with plastic covers and plastic nose skid
  • Servo Y cable (for ailerons)
  • Water slide decal sheets
  • Full color photo illustrated assembly manual








Required for Completion

  • 1-2 hours of your time

Assembly


The included assembly manual is 10 pages long and illustrated with color photos. It is not very lengthy but then the assembly of this Skyblazer F-86 does not take very long at all. It includes important key information like recommended control throws and suggested center of gravity.




F-86 Skyblazer Assembly Manual

An ARF like this F-86 Skyblazer comes out of the box with almost everything already installed, but I sometimes find it necessary to do a little disassembly before I begin the assembly. Some of us like to peek "under the hood", to see what the installed power system components look like. The fan and motor are easily accessed by means of a removable hatch on the underside of the F-86. The outrunner motor is a 4300Kv brushless unit, coupled to a 64mm fan equipped with a 5 bladed impeller. The speed controller is a 30 amp unit.




Assembly of the Skyblazer F-86 will take but an hour, perhaps two if you are on the slow and methodical side like I am. The short list of steps that need to be completed includes making up and installing the aileron push rods, installing the control horns on the ailerons and elevators, attaching the tail feathers and gluing the drop tanks and nose skid plate to the wing and fuselage. Most of the decals come pre-applied but there are additional decals supplied that can be used to dress the drop tanks up a little.


The elevators come pre-hinged to the horizontal stabilizer. All that is required to assemble the empennage is to install the two control horns to the elevators and then glue the horizontal and vertical stabilizers to the fuselage. I chose to use five minute epoxy. Though it is important to ensure that everything is perpendicular and symmetrical, the foam pieces come with aligning mechanisms built in. The fit is snug. I did a quick visual check before the epoxy set up to verify that the tail looked right.




Another quick step to be accomplished on the short road to getting the Skyblazer into the air is making up and installing the aileron push rods. The aileron servos are already pre-installed in the wing halves. One end of the aileron push rods are a z-bend, while the other end are a coarse pitch thread onto which a clevis gets threaded. No clevis locking devises are included in the kit, so a piece of fuel tubing or heat shrink should be used to secure all of the clevises for a little peace of mind. Precut grooves for the aileron servo leads are provided. I used small dabs of hot glue to neatly anchor the servo leads in these channels.




Grab the four little round wooden discs and four long screws and attach the wing to the fuselage. Though you may elect to use servo extensions to connect the aileron servos to the receiver, I like to minimize the number of radio connections that could potentially fail. The servo leads will just reach to the receiver, although I had to use a pair of curved tip forceps to get them plugged into the receiver.


Once the wing is attached, the landing gear can be installed. Do not look for anything round like tires in the kit box however. A pair of foam drop tanks serve as the landing gear for the Skyblazer F-86. And to ensure that they stand up to many landings, even on harder surfaces, a pair of thick,plastic protective covers are also provided. I mixed up another batch of five minute epoxy and painted the inside of the plastic shells, pressing the foam drop tanks firmly in place until the glue set up.



More five minute epoxy can be used to affix the drop tanks to the bottom of the wing. Mix up enough epoxy to also attach the slightly curved plastic nose skid to the front underside of the fuselage.




Completion




The Skyblazer comes out of the box with all of the servos having been installed at the factory. The only piece of the radio system that the builder must install is a receiver. I just purchased my first Spektrum AR6110 receiver, and its wee size is perfect for the Skyblazer. There is not an abundance of room left under the canopy after the lipoly battery is in place, so the smaller the receiver is the better. Though it is possible to run the ailerons through a Y-cable, I like to put each one on its own channel when I have a receiver with extra space available. This has the advantages of allowing you to individually adjust the end points and throws on each aileron, as well as helping minimize the servo wire clutter in the battery compartment. The assembly manual provides the following control throw and center of gravity recommendations.

Control Throws
Ailerons 7/16" up, 5/16" down If using Y-cable, set for 7/16" to 1/2"
Elevator 7/16" up and down


Center of Gravity = 3 to 3 3/8" back from leading edge of wing, at wing root



Lets FLY!!

Flying

Taking Off and Landing

An EDF without landing gear requires a hand launch. While some may cringe a little at the thought of having to huck a plane out into the air in front of them, I am here to tell you that you can do it. The Skyblazer F-86 is a good candidate for perfecting your hand launch technique. (I do advise in getting a capable friend to hand launch it for you on the first flight or two though).The low wing design of the F-86 makes it a little more difficult to launch it overhand style, in my opinion, although it can be done. If you watch the Hobby Lobby video, you'll see Jason Cole execute a perfect overhand launch. This style of hand launch can somewhat be compared to holding/launching a shot put. You place the plane flat in your upraised, open palm and shove it forward.


I personally prefer hand launching low wing EDFs with the underhand method. It is quite easy to grip the fuselage of the F-86 when using this method. A nice underhanded, arcing toss works very nicely. The Skyblazer F-86 has a high enough power/weight ratio that even less than perfect launches will not necessarily end in a crunchy landing. It is not uncommon to have the plane come out of your hand a little too nose high. Resist the urge to grab up elevator; feather in a little down elevator to push the nose down. The Skyblazer will quickly get on step and accelerate to cruising speed. Reassuring indeed is the fact that EPO foam is very resistant to any "oops" that may be encountered as you dial in your hand launch technique. In the launch photo below, I released the F-86 a little too nose high. I often do that. However, the F-86 has enough power at WOT that it will mush along until I ease the nose down a little, at which time it will quickly get on step and accelerate away.


When your 4 minutes or so of fun are up, it is time to return the F-86 to base. The overall light weight of this airplane make landings easy and effortless. Just point the nose into the wind and ease the throttle back to a few clicks above idle. The F-86 will drop towards earth in a shallow descent. When entering into ground effect, slowly apply up elevator until the rear of the drop tanks/landing skids connect to the ground. Once the nose of the plane drops, I find it wants to catch and flip on the grass I usually fly from. If your grass is shorter, or if you land on a hard surface, it is easier to keep the F-86 right side up as it slides to a stop. The light all-up-weight of this airframe, coupled with its EPO composition, means it will stand up to those less than perfect landings.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

The Skyblazer F-86 does not come equipped with a rudder. I did toy with the thought of bashing one in to add knife edge flight capabilities. However, remembering the electric radio control plane mantra of "Lighter is always Better", I decided to let it go and instead fly it on just ailerons and elevator. The F-86 has enough power that you can still have plenty of fun with it. Aileron rolls are a little ungainly, mainly due to the low wing configuration. A little aileron differential would assuredly clean the rolls up a bit. With a slight diving entry, the Skyblazer can be looped but remember to ease the power off on the down side of the loop. I am pretty sure that the wing does not contain a spar. Extreme maneuvers at full throttle could result in the wing being overstressed in my opinion. Like most EDFs, where the F-86 really shines is coming in hot and down low on the deck. It looks great, and I never tire of making hot, jet-style passes with it!

Is This For a Beginner?

If you have never flown a radio control electric plane, this plane is not the best way to successfully ease yourself into the hobby.

However, if you have a set of thumbs accustomed to flying aileron equipped aircraft, with time on a low wing airplane as an added bonus, I think you just may be good to go with this Skyblazer F-86. The power system has enough power that you can pull the throttle back to 50-60% and cruise around at a little more sedate speed until you get comfortable with it. Though this is not the fastest out-of-the-box EDF available, its performance is very respectable and a WOT pass will put a smile on your face.

The durability of the EPO foam is also a feature that is very beneficial for beginning EDF pilots. Though extreme acts of dumb thumbs could potentially render it beyond repair, this airframe will stand up to a surprising amount of abuse and pilot error, with minimal damage.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery











Downloads

Downloads

Conclusion

The first thing many notice about the Skyblazer F-86 is the nice price. All that you need to add is a receiver, and you have a respectably fast 3S EDF that looks great in the air, takes only an hour or two to build and will not set you back hundreds of dollars. The smaller size of the 1600 3S class battery means you can pick up another battery or two and keep your F-86 in the air almost non-stop. Though you may be able to cram an ubiquitous 3S 2100-2200 sized pack in the battery compartment, it was designed around and flies much better on a 1600-1750 sized 3S pack. The wing is removable, but the F-86 is small enough to fit in the trunk of most cars fully assembled. If the stock power system is not fast enough for you, you can easily remove it and upgrade to a more powerful setup. Hobby Lobby also sells an airframe only version if you prefer to go this route from the beginning. Powering it with an excess amount of watts may require adding some reinforcing carbon in critical areas.

Pluses:

  • Great entry level EDF that will not tear a gaping hole in your wallet
  • EPO foam construction, while not indestructible, stands up to a fair amount of abuse
  • Pre-installed servos and power system
  • Builds in an hour or two
  • Modest battery requirement means you can pick up a spare or two, for non-stop flying
  • Drop tanks with hard plastic covers make for great belly landings

Minuses

  • No clevis locking devices included
  • 30 amp speed controller may be a little too close to full throttle current draw
  • Diameter of intake unnecessarily larger than scale


Last edited by Angela H; Jan 20, 2010 at 08:01 PM..

Discussion

Reply
Thread Tools
Old Jan 19, 2010, 09:33 PM
Clear Skies & Contrails
xplaneguy's Avatar
Edwards AFB, CA
Joined May 2009
2,529 Posts
Nice Review! Great videos!

Regards,
Tony
xplaneguy is online now Find More Posts by xplaneguy
RCG Plus Member
Old Jan 19, 2010, 09:48 PM
The Earth got in the way!
kuczy's Avatar
United States, OH, Canal Winchester
Joined Feb 2007
6,237 Posts
Nice review. I love my Hobby-lobby Skyblazer. I did notice something different on mine, it may have already been addressed but, my motor is gold.
kuczy is offline Find More Posts by kuczy
RCG Plus Member
Latest blog entry: 3DHS 92" Edge
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 19, 2010, 09:49 PM
cmd
Registered User
cmd's Avatar
Niceville, FL
Joined Oct 2004
1,216 Posts
Very good review and data. Thanks very much.
cmd is offline Find More Posts by cmd
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 19, 2010, 10:26 PM
Registered User
USA, FL, Doral
Joined Jul 2006
1,297 Posts
Great review and videos!
funny thing, i was about to pull the trigger on this model...but the video made me change my mind...too slow....but looks great on the air!
so thanks again!
yucafrita is offline Find More Posts by yucafrita
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 19, 2010, 10:29 PM
Registered User
gazza2003au's Avatar
Sydney, Australia
Joined Jul 2003
4,481 Posts
Kuczy there are two different motors a 3cell and 3cell 4cell motors the 3-4cell motor is gold
gazza2003au is offline Find More Posts by gazza2003au
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 19, 2010, 10:38 PM
Registered User
United States, CT, Brooklyn
Joined Oct 2009
270 Posts
I just flew my F-86 and crashed.. A/C needs small wheels.. I could not find in the Instruction manual any mention to a nose skid plate or where it should be placed. Why are replacement parts not sold????
Aeroplanecolt is offline Find More Posts by Aeroplanecolt
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 19, 2010, 10:52 PM
The Earth got in the way!
kuczy's Avatar
United States, OH, Canal Winchester
Joined Feb 2007
6,237 Posts
Thanks I did not know that
kuczy is offline Find More Posts by kuczy
RCG Plus Member
Latest blog entry: 3DHS 92" Edge
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 19, 2010, 11:00 PM
Registered User
Prof100's Avatar
Canton, Michigan USA
Joined Jul 2007
16,453 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeroplanecolt View Post
I just flew my F-86 and crashed.. A/C needs small wheels.. I could not find in the Instruction manual any mention to a nose skid plate or where it should be placed. Why are replacement parts not sold????
Jon,
As I posted in the other thread this is a excellent review, as always.

Thanks.

Aeroplanecolt,
You are right, those instructions are missing. The little square plastic piece goes on the bottom of nose in a location where the plane tips forward and hits the ground.
Prof100 is offline Find More Posts by Prof100
RCG Plus Member
Last edited by Prof100; Jan 19, 2010 at 11:13 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 19, 2010, 11:02 PM
Registered User
Prof100's Avatar
Canton, Michigan USA
Joined Jul 2007
16,453 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by gazza2003au View Post
Kuczy there are two different motors a 3cell and 3cell 4cell motors the 3-4cell motor is gold
How do you know the gold motor can handle a 4S? Have you flown yours with a 4S? If yes, what were the amps and watts? I have a gold motor in my USA Hobby Lobby version, but I suspect it might overload the motor.

Bill
Prof100 is offline Find More Posts by Prof100
RCG Plus Member
Latest blog entry: A123 2S 2500 mah wiring diagram
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 19, 2010, 11:12 PM
Registered User
Prof100's Avatar
Canton, Michigan USA
Joined Jul 2007
16,453 Posts
This plane can fit a 3S 2200 but if you use a 30C or better pack watch the amp draw because it exceeds the 30 amp rating of the standard ESC. It would be wise to install a 40 amp ESC.
Prof100 is offline Find More Posts by Prof100
RCG Plus Member
Latest blog entry: A123 2S 2500 mah wiring diagram
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 19, 2010, 11:17 PM
Registered User
gazza2003au's Avatar
Sydney, Australia
Joined Jul 2003
4,481 Posts
Quote:
How do you know the gold motor can handle a 4S? Have you flown yours with a 4S? If yes, what were the amps and watts? I have a gold motor in my USA Hobby Lobby version, but I suspect it might overload the motor.

Bill
an australian distributor is claiming the orange motor to be good for 4S i was drawing i think 26A on a 2200mah 3cell pack so i cant see amps going over 35A
the color may not play a big part but the freewing motors come in 4300,4500,4800kv the included motor being 4300kv the lowest in there range makes me think it will be good for 4cell otherwise freewing would have sold the models with the 4500/4800kv motor and stated they can only be ran on 3cell
gazza2003au is offline Find More Posts by gazza2003au
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 19, 2010, 11:19 PM
Live to fly
bighead93's Avatar
Sacramento
Joined Apr 2005
5,557 Posts
Even a good 3S 2200 25C is pushing the ESC! Great write up...and I love flying my F-86! I have noticed that it is safer to landing on hard pack/runway compared to landing on grass. Grass landing have ripped off my drop tanks twice : ( I slapped on a couple of layers of packing tape and it is working well! Great plane at a great price!
bighead93 is offline Find More Posts by bighead93
RCG Plus Member
Latest blog entry: RCX racer
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 19, 2010, 11:21 PM
Registered User
Prof100's Avatar
Canton, Michigan USA
Joined Jul 2007
16,453 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by gazza2003au View Post
an australian distributor is claiming the orange motor to be good for 4S i was drawing i think 26A on a 2200mah 3cell pack so i cant see amps going over 35A
the color may not play a big part but the freewing motors come in 4300,4500,4800kv the included motor being 4300kv the lowest in there range makes me think it will be good for 4cell otherwise freewing would have sold the models with the 4500/4800kv motor and stated they can only be ran on 3cell
OK, but let's get the color right. Is the claimed 4S motor gold or orange?

BTW, I love Sydney and Melbourne. I spent a couple of weeks there back in the late 1990's.

Bill
Prof100 is offline Find More Posts by Prof100
RCG Plus Member
Latest blog entry: A123 2S 2500 mah wiring diagram
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 19, 2010, 11:26 PM
The Earth got in the way!
kuczy's Avatar
United States, OH, Canal Winchester
Joined Feb 2007
6,237 Posts
I didn't mean to start any confusion on the motors. Is there a link to the motors you guys are talking about?
kuczy is offline Find More Posts by kuczy
RCG Plus Member
Latest blog entry: 3DHS 92" Edge
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
New Product Hobby Lobby Skyblazer F-86 EDF Bajora Foamy EDFs 1412 Aug 22, 2012 10:27 PM
Discussion F-86 Skyblazers EDF Jet ARF Jason Cole Hobby Express (Formerly Hobby Lobby) 25 Aug 26, 2010 09:15 AM
Video Hobby Lobby F-86 EPO Jet Jason Cole Electric Plane Talk 12 Apr 20, 2010 10:04 AM
Discussion New TJ100HP fan unit available Tamjets Electric Ducted Fan Jet Talk 81 Jan 14, 2010 10:36 PM
For Sale Hobby Lobby F-86 Sabre w/fuel tanks albireo Aircraft - Electric - Jets (FS/W) 4 Sep 23, 2009 07:47 PM