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Old Feb 03, 2016, 09:36 PM
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WL Toys F959 Electric Sailplane

This is my review of the WL Toys F959 Sky King Electric Sailplane. It uses the 2.4GHz ISM band. It's a 750mm Wingspan 3 Channel RC Electric Glider/Sailplane. It comes in two color schemes, Blue and Red accents on a white background. I believe the intended market is for sailplane beginners such as myself. I got mine from GearBest.com. So far they only have it in a RTF version.

The price was right for a small park flyer. I received mine quickly but with the Chinese new year about to start, shipments may take longer or stop altogether. Once the Chinese New Year begins, nothing will be shipped I am told before 13 Feb this year.

OVERVIEW
Electric Sailplane
Wingspan - 750mm
Length - 565mm
3 Channel 2.4GHz ISM band
Price: $49.34
Online Retailer, GearBest.com - http://www.gearbest.com/rc-airplanes/pp_239913.html
Motor - brush
Weight - 58g
Prop - folding
Construction - EPO foam
Power - 7.4V 2S 300mAh LiPo

RTF Version includes:
Airplane with removable wings & carbon fiber spar for stiffness
4ChTransmitter
2x servos (Elevator & Rudder)
1x 300mAh LiPo
Charger with Power Supply (missing US power cord adapter)
Manual

SKILL LEVEL
I started flying helicopters 5 years ago and electric park flyer planes 3 years ago. This is my first ever glider/sailplane. I consider myself an intermediate flyer of airplanes but a newbie with gliders/sailplanes. My first flight with the F959 was a handful the first 2 minutes. After that I got comfortable with the F959's flight characteristics and was able to enjoy about 7 or 8 minutes of fun with this little plane.

There was very little wind. My first 2 attempts at hand launching ended up in nose-overs but the third try was a charm. It just needed a little harder throw and off she went. I also added full nose up trim on the Tx to assist and then trimmed it out once airborne. I think this was due to my placing the battery all the way forward for a nose-heavy configuration.

This is not for a beginner RC pilot new to RC even though it is a very basic sailplane. It is for an intermediate RC pilot of airplanes. A newbie would become frustrated getting airborne I believe. But I have very limited experience with gliders/sailplanes so I may be completely wrong.

An alternative to the F959 for a beginner might be the HF-120 small plane/glider. It can be found at GearBest.com here.
http://www.gearbest.com/rc-airplanes...ampaign=414941

WHERE TO FLY
This glider requires some space to fly. Unless you are an experienced RC pilot, you will need some airspace to enjoy flying this little plane. I flew in the local park well away from trees and people, and was glad I did. If I had taken off near the parking lot or trees, I may well have ended up in the top of a tree or hitting a car during those first few frantic minutes of flight. At just barely over 2 ounces, it would not have hurt anything. But getting it down from a tree is not something I relish.
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Last edited by hifinsword; Feb 04, 2016 at 11:47 AM.
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Old Feb 03, 2016, 10:09 PM
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F959 Sailplane Assembly

I easily assembled the plane in 5 minutes without reading the instructions. The sailplane is already pre-assembled except for needing the wings attached. It uses a 3mm carbon fiber rod for a spar that is inserted into one wing. The rod with the wing is inserted into the fuselage opening for the wings, and then the other wing is placed on the rod sticking out the other side.

To insert the LiPo battery, the plastic canopy/windscreen must be removed and the foam battery hatch removed. The battery is placed in the cavity forward of the receiver (Rx). Once the battery is charged, you connect the battery to the Rx, and bind to the 4Ch Transmitter (Tx). This procedure is typical of the V9xx series of helicopters and the V9x9 series of quadcopters - the battery is connected first, and then the Tx is turned on second in order to bind the Tx and Rx. The foam battery hatch cover is replaced and the plastic windscreen goes back and is held in place with some sticky substance inside the windscreen.

The elevator (ELE) & rudder (RUD) are already preassembled using clevises. On the sides of the airplane are some stickers that read "modle" instead of "model". That's very reminiscent of the V911 "corter" versus "copter". It won't affect the flight ability though.

The manual has the CG at 30-36mm aft of the wing's leading edge. On the maiden flight I placed the battery all the way forward for a nose heavy maiden flight. It can be placed within a wide range to hit the proper CG. That puts it forward of the receiver. The charger is setup for Chinese or European markets. There was no adapter for the U.S. setup included. That was disappointing, but an email to GearBest had an adapter on its way to me within 24 hours.

There is a second foam battery cover with a hole in the front of the cover. The manual says this is for a FPV setup.

The manual does not mention anything about setting up ailerons (AILs) as an option that would make the F959 a 4 Ch sailplane. However the rear edge of the wings have the AILs outlined, and it would be easy to cut out the sides to free up the AILs. See the post below on possible Mods.
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Old Feb 03, 2016, 10:15 PM
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The F959 sailplane Transmitter

The Tx uses the FlySky (FS) protocol. It is a advertised as a 4Ch Transmitter. I believe it may actually be a 5Ch Tx. It has the HI/LOW servo ranges on a left side shoulder button and a PHOTO/MOVIE button on the right shoulder which would be a 5th channel I think.

This is similar to the WL Toys helicopters and quadcopter Transmitters that have those type of corresponding aircraft on the face. This one has an airplane on the face to distinguish it from the other two (quad & helo) type Txs.

The LED shows the percentage of movement as you move the sticks. Center stick is 50%. In low rates the values when moving the sticks are from 20% to 80% on the AIL, ELE & RUD and 0 to 100% on HI rates. Throttle is always 0 to 100%.

Just to be sure it is compatible and using the FlySky protocol, I flew my V913 with this F959 Tx and it flew it just fine. It is small but does the job. Any FS Tx should be able to fly this sailplane.

The channel sequence is Futaba based AETR. Each channel's number is shown left of the value in the LED if it is moved.

The rudder servo is connected on the Rx to the aileron channel. It came as a Mode 2 Tx with the throttle on the left stick and the ailerons (in actuality controlling the rudder) and elevator on the right stick. To bank and turn the plane you move the aileron control or right stick. The rudder channel function of the left stick is not used with the F959.
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Old Feb 03, 2016, 10:20 PM
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Flight characteristics of the F959

As a newbie to sailplanes, I will have to revisit this post once I have more experience. The first third of my first flight was similar to my first airplane flights, trying not to crash. Once I figured out how she flew, it was fun to zoom around. Because there was little wind, I had to use the motor quite a bit. It was really a powered flight except for the times I went high and drifted back down to a safe but not so perfect landing.

RUGGEDNESS
This plane is so light, sliding into a landing is a non-event. After my not so perfect landing (small cartwheel) I noticed the wings were slightly pulled out after landing. It's something to keep an eye on as the plane gets some time on it. But it's something that could easily be fixed with tape if it becomes a problem.
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Old Feb 04, 2016, 06:13 AM
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Mods to the F959

Obviously the 3 mods that would be contemplated are the conversion of the brush motor to a BL one. The 2nd is the addition of aileron/spoilerons. The 3rd is the addition of a camera.

BL MOTOR CONVERSION
This would require a new Rx, ESC, and of course a BL motor. I am not familiar with a WL Toys Rx that has a BL motor setup for airplanes. But that would be the ideal product to use if you wanted to continue using the included Tx and FS protocol. If you did not care about using the FS protocol, the possibilities are almost unlimited.

AILERON/SPOILERON ADDITION
Since the aileron positions are already outlined, cutting them loose is not a problem. Hooking up servos would probably require linear servos like the ones found in other micro and ultra micro airplanes. Depending on which picture you are looking at concerning the Rx, it may have 1 or 2 spare channels in addition to the AUX Ch. If only 1 Ch is available (Ver.2) you could use a Y-harness for ailerons. Another version (Ver.1 on GearBest.com 's website) shows 2 spare Channels open in addition to the AUX Ch. The AUX Ch on the Rx has 4 pins. One of the open connectors on the Rx has 3 pins and the other one has 2 pins on it.

The rudder would be moved to the currently open channel and the ailerons would be placed where the current rudder servo is placed. I know the rudder channel works since I did fly my V913 with the F959 Tx. Using spoilerons would require a more advanced Tx with that capability.

The AUX Ch is for an optional camera mentioned in the manual. No camera is shown as a spare part on GearBest's website. It is assumed the other open Chs are for the ailerons. The Version 1 Receiver board has 4 channels plus the AUX channel. There is a Ver.2 Rx board that only has the 3 control channels plus the AUX channel. It would take some experimentation and minor surgery to add ailerons but it looks fairly straightforward.

CAMERA/FPV
The Rx has an open Channel connector for the addition of auxillary functions. The obvious choice would be a camera with video and picture functions. The included extra battery hatch/cover has a hole for a camera. Making it a FPV platform would require a new advanced FlySky Tx or a separate system for FPV.
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Old Feb 04, 2016, 06:20 AM
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Overall impressions of the WL Toys F959 glider/sailplane

If you just want to grab something small enough to fit in any size car and get some flight time, this is an ideal platform. It inexpensive and easy to fly if you have some RC plane experience. If the wings are removed, it's very compact and could store almost anywhere. Even with wings attached, it has a small footprint.

I would not recommend it for indoor flying. It needs a park size area to fly well. GearBest.com has it in 2 colors. If you already have a FS Tx, this one provides a spare. I do not know if a BNF model will be available in the future but having a spare Tx around for my WL Toys helos is a plus.

My first flight lasted about 7 mins and I still had 30% left in the battery. That was flying on a very little wind day and using the motor quite a bit.
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