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Old Oct 29, 2014, 12:31 AM
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Mini-Review
WLtoys F959 Sky King 3-Channel Airplane RTF

Introduction

WLtoys F959 has to be the largest flying toy in WLtoys' current product range. From wing-tip to wing-tip, it's wider than two F939s! I am very excited to receive the plane from Banggood for this review, especially knowing it is likely to be running on the FlySky protocol.

Watch my unboxing video to see F959 up close.

Unboxing *NEW* WLtoys F959 3-Channel Plane Glider (7 min 28 sec)



Likes

It works flawlessly with my Turnigy 9X (ER9X firmware; FlySky protocol) with my F939 profile. I just need to adjust the servo midpoints i.e. subtrims and its ready to fly! The ability to fine-tune the controls makes this plane so much more enjoyable to fly. With some expo at the elevator, I was able to maintain level flight effortlessly. As there are no ailerons, I found its flight behavior totally unexpected. It took me a while to hit the sweet spot for expo at elevator and aileron.

F959 is super stable, especially when compared to its "brother", F939. I have absolutely no doubt that beginners will fly this plane with ease. With only the rudder to turn the plane, I find it harder to make the mistake of "oversteer" as compared to a 4-channel plane. If F939 is flies like a Mini, then F959 flies like a bus. There is much more time for the pilot to react. Things happen relatively slowly. Power delivery is smooth. Propelled by brushed motor, powered by a tiny 2S battery, F959 is definitely not the most powerful plane around. It's good enough for loops and surfing light winds.

I had several bad crashes due to strong wind, yet the plane survived unscathed! It is high durable, crash resistant, underscoring its suitability for beginners. The wings detach when it needs to, to avoid absorbing the full brunt of impact. Simple insert the wings into the sockets and it's good to go!

It's the time of the year again when night falls earlier. Usually when it gets dark, it's family time for me. That changed as F959 comes with LED lights. It's pure joy to fly it at night; feels magical at times.


Dislikes

My greatest complaint of the plane is the lack of aileron control. I peeked at the receiver board and it does show an unused socket beside the elevator servo, that could possibly be for the aileron servo. I would like to add servos to the aileron control surfaces but I don't know of a good way to do so.

It should be a surprise that the stock transmitter is not good. I couldn't tolerate the large dead zone and low resolution of controls. Getting the right pitch control (elevator) is especially difficult. On the bright side, turns with the stock transmitter are acceptable. The way the plane turn is slow, in such a way that it tolerates unprecise rudder commands from the low resolution transmitter. Sorry for the awkward expression but I don't really know how to put that in words. Put it in another way - I was unable to enjoy flying F939 with the stock transmitter but with F959 and the stock transmitter, I did have fun.

I don't like the camera module for several reasons. It does not have a wide field of view, so sudden movements will produce nauseating videos. The videos were free from jello, due to the foam tape that secures the camera onto the camera module platform. The design of the camera module could be improved. It is very difficult to extract the memory card as it is blocked by part of the foam.When mounted, the camera points down slightly and its lens can only swivel further down, not up. In level flight, the recorded video shows more of the ground below than the horizon, which I don't like. While I had start / stop video recording from the stock transmitter and hearing the confirmation beeps, there were times it did not record. I recorded at least 5 clips but when I returned home, there were only 2. I prefer to use my 9X but I don't know of a way to start/stop video recording with it. That leaves me with the only option of using my Mobius (with wide-angle lens) for video recording, but I can't find a place on F959 to mount it.


Conclusion

F959 is a great beginner's plane. It is fun to fly, highly stable and durable. Hooking it up a pro-grade transmitter will bring out the best of the plane. If it has aileron controls and a brushless motor, it will be perfect!


Miscellaneous


Center of gravity is stated to be 30 to 33mm from the leading edge of the main wings. Or, where the carbon rod is (you can see the faint shadow of the black rod inside the foam).

Battery appears to be of a proprietary dimensions. Be sure to insert the battery fully. When fully inserted, the battery is completely hidden from view. Take note or you have a tail-heavy plane (not good!)

The brushed main motor appears to be the same as the common brushed motors for micro helicopters such as V922. This means motor replacments can be bought easily.
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Old Oct 29, 2014, 12:31 AM
FyreSG is offline
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Videos

*NEW* WLtoys F959 3-Channel Plane Glider - Day and Night Flight! (8 min 55 sec)


WLtoys F959 3-Channel Plane Glider - Onboard Video (3 min 5 sec)
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Old Oct 29, 2014, 01:46 PM
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Thank you for your time to review this bird, it looks like yet another good deal.

I hope they'll be selling those folding props as spares (for other projects)
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Old Nov 01, 2014, 09:26 AM
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Thanks for the review on this neat little motor glider. I've been thinking about buying one, myself. The bright LEDs could make it a great night flyer. I say "could" because the stock factory configuration is backwards from the standard international navigation light convention. It wouldn't have been that hard for the manufacturer install the lights properly - red on port, green on starboard. The pictures on the Banggood site show how they corrected it. ...by installing the wing backwards. (Don't try this at home!)

Sorry for the rant, but incorrect nav lights just drive me nuts. (I know, I could walk there in no time. )

So, I would have to correct the lights. Can the LED strips be removed without making a mess of things? Also, are the wires on the bottom taped over? They look rather susceptible to landing damage.

Again, thanks for the review!

Rick
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Old Nov 01, 2014, 10:57 AM
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Hi Francisco and Rick,

Thanks for your compliments. Glad you like it.


Francisco, I'm sure replacement parts will be sold. Give the sellers some time to stock up their inventory.

Rick, yes, the LEDs make it an excellent night flyer. I didn't realize the colors were wrong! I should not be difficult to rectify because the LED strips are "sticky", like tape. You can easiler pull them off the wing and reposition them the way you like. I should probably do that later.

Nothing was taped, even the enamel wires! I taped them with clear tape after my maiden flight.
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Old Nov 01, 2014, 11:52 AM
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Thanks. It's nice to know the colors are an easy fix. As for the wires, I guess it never occurred to WL Toys than somebody might belly it in on gravel or asphalt. All I need now is a BNF option. (Yeah, I know, you've never heard that line before.)

I see it's the same price with or without LEDs, but I presume that'll change once they've come off of "coming soon" status.

Rick
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Old Nov 01, 2014, 07:05 PM
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Yes, I'm surprised by the lack of protection of the LEDs and wires. FWIW, it is actually possible to hand-grab it instead of landing its belly. The plane glides so slowly that it is possible to just hold it with your hands as it flies by. Or, just when it is near you, cut throttle then gradually pull back on the elevator. Is there a proper term for "landing into the pilot's hands"? I may do a video of me catching it in the air.

I have reminded BG to put out the BNF version, as well as ask WLtoys for 4-channel and brushless versions.
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Old Nov 01, 2014, 08:53 PM
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Swapping red/green LEDs around

Swapping the main wing LEDs was effortless. Then I got over-confident and tore the LED strip of the horizontal stabilizer (rear wing). Now the tail starboard side only has green LEDs, port side has no lights.

To remove the LEDs at the tail, you can't just pull it out. The part of LED strip inside the fuselage is glued to the fuselage and the horizontal stabilizer is stuck together with double-sided tape. After cutting away the double-sided tape with a knife, I thought I could just pull out the LED strip. I was wrong. The center of the LED strip is glued to the tail and I tore the LED strip right at the center.

Hopefully BG sells the LED strips. Until then, I have to fly my F959 without red LEDs at the rear wing.
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Old Nov 01, 2014, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FyreSG View Post
Is there a proper term for "landing into the pilot's hands"?
Not in the full scale aviation world. Back in the day, I used to call it a hand land, but for me it usually ended up more like a belly punch. ...or worse. Hey, a small glider back then was a 2-meter ship.

Sorry about the LED. I didn't mean to make you damage your plane.

Thanks for passing on the BNF request. I should make the same requests to them.

Rick
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Old Nov 01, 2014, 10:06 PM
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No worries, it's not your fault. I got too carried away by the apparent ease of swapping the LEDs.

I've also sent BG links to HK Bix3 clones. Hopefully they'll sell them at good prices.
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Old Nov 30, 2014, 08:00 PM
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I tried the onboard video camera today. It's not good.

WLtoys F959 3-Channel Plane Glider - Onboard Video (3 min 5 sec)
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Old Dec 06, 2014, 11:19 AM
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I just noticed that camera is a ~25$ add-on. However the video quality is almost the same (I would say slightly worse) than a 10$ 480p 808 key camera. This 808 I just bought weights 16g, maybe it would be a better investment, even if you had to use velcro to stick it to the F959.

Its a #3 that I purchased from:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/280792605286

Thanks for keeping us posted. I would say the F959 is still a good deal.
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Old May 08, 2015, 06:39 AM
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Banggood is now selling the receiver for this plane:

http://www.banggood.com/WLtoys-2_4G-...-p-976666.html

It seems the F959 can be converted to a 4channel, as there is an open slot for a micro servo (ailerons).

There's another 4 pin slot which is used for the camera?
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Old May 12, 2015, 06:18 PM
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I ordered one of these planes from banggood.com today using PayPal. The order went through with payment confirmed. Am hoping all goes well and that I receive it in a reasonable time.

I'll be putting a fisheye lens on the front of the camera to help widen the field of view a bit.
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Old May 12, 2015, 08:02 PM
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The existing lens is very small. I don't think it's possible but I wish you luck! The onboard camera is pretty bad; not only the narrow FOV but the color reproduction and noise too. It may be better to mount a Mobius there instead.
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