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Yardbird RC's F-18 Park Jet Review

Let's take a look as Tim Tworek goes to full afterburners building and flying the new and exciting Yardbird RC F-18 Park Jet.

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Introduction

 Yardbird RC's F-18 Park Jet
Yardbird RC's F-18 Park Jet
Wingspan:24"
Weight:12.4 oz.
Length:35.25"
Servos:(2)-YB1122
Transmitter:DX-7
Receiver:AR 6100
Battery:Dualsky 3s 1300mah
Motor:Dualsky XM2826CA-12T
ESC:Dualsky XC1812BA
Manufacturer:Yardbird RC
Available From:Yardbird RC
Retail Price:$59.99

Following the the huge success of their Mig 29 and YB-22 park jets Yardbird RC is proud to introduce the newest addition to their fleet, the F-18 park jet. This great looking little fighter comes packed with all kinds of advanced features that are sure to turn some heads at any flying field or park. The new Yardbird RC F-18 park jet comes with a fantastic three color paint scheme, extensive decal package and a new lighter weight motor box. It all adds up to a foamy jet that is absolutely easy to assemble and a real blast to fly.

Kit Contents

I was extremely excited when my new Yardbird RC F-18 arrived, and as I was eager to get the build under way. The kit arrived in perfect condition, and I was immediately impressed by the new pre-painted color scheme that Rick Meeks and the crew at Yardbird RC had incorporated. After checking everything over and ensuring there was no damage and that all the parts were there I eagerly grabbed the manual and started looking over the content.

Building one of Yardbird RC's park jet kits is about as easy as it gets when it comes to building a flat foamy pusher jet. I almost had to force myself to slow down a bit; I wanted to get right into the build instead of giving the manual a look through first (always a good habit to get into).

The Yardbird RC F-18 Park Jet Kit Contains:

  • A stunning new three color paint scheme
  • Extensive use of carbon fiber (pushrods, wing/tail spars)
  • Lightweight custom motor mount and control horns
  • Clear molded canopy with two depron pilot figures
  • Easy to follow build/flight manual
  • Very complete hardware package
  • A precut tail angle protractor (more on this later) VERY NICE FEATURE!!!

The Yardbird RC F-18 Park Jet Kit Requires:

  • 150W brushless outrunner
  • 18-20A brushless speed controller
  • (2) 9 gram servos (or similar)
  • APC 7 x 5 prop
  • 3s 1300mah LiPo battery pack
  • At minimum a 3 channel radio capable of v-tail mixing
  • Foam safe glue
  • Miscellaneous building tools (X-Acto #11 blades, small screw driver, etc.)

Items Used To Complete My Yardbird RC F-18 Park Jet:

  • Dualsky XM2826CA-12 brushless motor
  • Dualsky XC1812BA brushless speed controller
  • Dualsky XP 3s 1300mah LiPo battery pack
  • APC 7 x 5 thin pusher prop
  • (2) YB1122 9g ball bearing servos
  • DX-7 transmitter with an AR 6100 receiver
  • Yardbird RC Ultimate RC Foam Glue

Assembly

The Manual (Including Supplemental Instructions)

The Yardbird RC F-18 comes with a very nicely organized and easy to follow step-by-step assembly manual/flying guide. The picture illustrations that accompany the text make it quite easy to build the F-18, and at no time did I have any moments of "Hmmm... I wonder what they want me to do here?".

The manual does come with a supplemental instruction sheet that explains the new upgraded and lighter weight motor mount assembly and the new plywood constructed control horns. Just like the manual, the supplemental instructions are very clear and easy to follow.

Airframe Assembly

I used Ultimate RC's foam glue for nearly the entire build of the YB F-18 park jet. I found the glue works extremely well when used sparingly: less is best. I found that using just a thin coat of the Ultimate RC foam glue provides a very secure bond between the depron parts, and it sped up the dry time of the glue considerably. The depron parts can actually be repositioned quite easily even after several minutes after the glue has been applied. The only minor downside I saw to using the Ultimate RC foam glue was that the total cure time takes 12-24hrs.

Building the Yardbird F-18 park jet is about as straightforward a build as you can get with a depron foamy airplane. Before any of the gluing and assembly happens, the milling tabs from each piece of depron need to be removed. This is easily done using a sharp X-Acto blade or fine grit sandpaper.

BRING ON THE CARBON!!

I really like the way that Yardbird RC’s use of carbon fiber in the F-18 park jet. I think at times some manufacturers use too much carbon fiber on their depron models to the point that it actually hinders the airplane’s flight performance, but not so with the Yardbird RC F-18. The model only uses carbon fiber in the areas that really benefit from its extra strength (see pictures above). It's mainly constructed out of durable 6mm depron foam that is capable of holding it's own shape much better than 3mm milled out foam airplanes and doesn’t require more carbon fiber

I found that the F-18 really fell together like a well crafted puzzle. All the depron tabs interlocked into the precut slots exactly as the manual indicated, and I found little or no trimming was needed to get the parts to fit perfectly. One really nice feature that Rick Meeks and the crew over at Yardbird RC included on the F-18 kit is a tail angle protractor. The protractor is designed to hold the 15 degree angle on the vertical stabilizers while the glue sets, virtually eliminating any guess work as to how the vertical fins should be mounted with the correct angle. NICE TOUCH!!!

Motor Installation

Powered By Dualsky

  <b>Dualsky XM2826CA-12</b>
Dualsky XM2826CA-12
Type: Brushless Outrunner
Recommended Prop Range: 7x3-8x5
RPM/Volt (Kv): 1450
Weight: 44g
Max Efficiency: 12A
Max Power: 150W (15sec.)
Maximum Burst Current: 16A (15 sec)
Cells: 2-3S LiPo

The Yardbird RC F-18 comes with a new lighter weight motor mount setup than which adds some additional strength to the airframe and better cooling to the motor. The new lightweight plywood motor mount fit together perfectly, and installation was a snap.

The Dualsky XM2826CA-12T motor includes a very nice bolt on prop adaptor which was great to see even on a small motor like this one. The prop is an APC 7 x 5 pusher prop which glides effortlessly in between the F-18 wing decks on the back of the airplane.

Radio and Battery Installation

  <b>Dualsky XC1812BA</b>
Dualsky XC1812BA
Type: Brushless speed controller
Weight: 19g
Max Output: 18A, 25A surge
Cell #: 2-4 LiPo w/ 3 micro servos
BEC: Built-in 1A

Yardbird RC, in addition to upgrading their motor mount parts, also has done a terrific job of upgrading their control horns. The new plywood control horns fit like a glove in the precut slots, and were glued in place using Ultimate RC's foam glue. The carbon fiber pushrods are nice and light yet add plenty of stiffness during full deflection of the elevon control surfaces (which can exceed 45 degrees). The YB1122 servos just drop right in to the fuselage sides and glued in place using the Ultimate RC glue. This setup has worked absolutely flawlessly through the several dozen flights I've put on my Yardbird RC F-18.

Adding The Finishing Touches

New Clear Canopy and Pilot Figures!!

Yardbird RC really came out with a great new feature on their F-18 kits by incorporating a clear plastic canopy AND two depron pilot busts that, when installed and finished, give the F-18 a SUPER awesome finished look. I used a black Sharpie to add a helmet and to highlight the oxygen masks on my two pilot busts. The pilot figures were glued in place using the Ultimate RC foam glue, and I decided to use Pacer canopy glue to glue my canopy to the upper fuselage pieces.

Yardbird RC F-18 Ready For Deployment!!!!!

My finished Yardbird RC F-18 park jet came in at an AUW of 12.4oz. This is well within the manufactures suggested 9.5-13.5oz. flying weight. For the first few flights I balanced my Yardbird RC F-18 at the suggested 2.25in. but have since moved it back slightly to 2.5in. to better suit my flying style.

Control throw setup

Control throws were set per the instruction manual:
Low Rates UpLow Rates Down High Rates Up High Rates Down
Elevons 35 degrees 35 degrees 45 degrees45 degrees

Flying

Basics Including Takeoffs and Landings

Watt's Up!!
Amps: 16.4A
Watts: 183W
Watts/Lb.: 236W/Lb.

The first thing I noticed when I went to hand launch my Yardbird RC F-18 was that there was GOBS of power with the stock motor setup for a safe and effortless hand launch. The easiest way to hand launch the F-18 is to lightly grasp the rear deck area between the elevons and hold at least a 30 degree nose high angle while simultaneously applying approximately 3/4 throttle. There is no need to throw the F-18 out of your hand because the airplane simply accelerates vertically once it's released. It really doesn't get any easier than that!!!

Once airborne, my Yardbird RC F-18 demonstrated it had a very wide speed envelope: from super, super, stable slow flight to unlimited verticals at full afterburners (...I mean full throttle). I really came to appreciate the three color covering scheme in-flight which makes the F-18 quite easy to see at any attitude and most sky conditions. The F-18 tracks tremendously well, and I was pleasantly surprised at the crisp roll rate that my F-18 exhibited even on low rates. Flying my F-18 on high rates is fun and lively and with the proper expo dialed in on my radio I found the airplane to be very responsive without any bad tendencies.

At full throttle, my Yardbird RC F-18 covers a lot of airspace in a short amount of time. With my setup, the Yardbird RC F-18 has ballistic power and it always gets the glow/gas guys attention every time I have it out at the field (which has been a lot). Flying at mixed throttle settings, I easily see between 10-13 minute flights (depending on throttle management) per charge on my Dualsky 3s 1300mAh pack. My Yardbird RC F-18 can also be flown comfortably in a fair amount of wind. I've flown my Yardbird RC F-18 in winds of 10-15 MPH, and with the excellent power of the stock setup, it has no problem with wind penetration. I actually like flying my F-18 with a little wind out as I can really slow it down to a crawl and really, really, slow high angle of attack flight is so much fun.

Landing the F-18 is easily done by slowly lowering the throttle to just a click or two off of idle and then closing the throttle once you’re a few inches off the ground. The only thing I need to do now is get more packs so I get my F-18 back in the air faster. The F-18 is really a great little flyer!!

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

  Dualsky XP 3s 1300mAh LiPo pack
Dualsky XP 3s 1300mAh LiPo pack
Weight: 112g
Size: 18x35x88mm
Max Continuous Current: 32.5A (25C)
Max Continuous Output: 341W
Max Burst Current: 65A (50C)
Max Burst Output: 663W

The Yardbird RC F-18 has no problem performing basic aerobatic maneuvers such as loops, rolls, split Ss and Cuban 8s. However, it was fun trying to fly some more advanced 3D maneuvers with it as well. While not designed or intended to do so, my F-18 has the power to hover and harrier. You do need to be very quick on the sticks, have a slightly aft CG and be able to produce at least 45-50 degrees of throw on your elevons in order to pull these maneuvers off. I could manage them sometimes, and sometimes I couldn't, but it was fun trying. The one aerobatic maneuver the F-18 actually performed fairly well was the rolling circle. It has no rudder control, but through the use of smooth elevon and throttle control, a fairly nice rolling circle could easily be accomplished.

Inverted flight required a slight push of the elevator stick to maintain straight and level, and I'm looking to move my battery pack back slightly to reduce this even further.

Flying An F/A-18 At Home

So we all know that there are going to be days where the weather outside just is not going to let you fly your Yardbird RC F-18. What to do??? How about flying one on your computer? Yep, you can fly training missions, and fly in "Operation Thunderbolt".

I must warn you that this game is very addictive as I've spent WAY to much time playing it myself. This is just something fun I found on the internet and is in no way associated with Yardbird RC. Enjoy!! :)

F/A-18 Hornet Adventure Game

Is This For a Beginner?

Not quite. While the Yardbird RC F-18 has no bad habits or tendencies it does not have the self-leveling qualities that many of today's modern trainers have. I think it would make for a very nice 3rd airplane once you have mastered the basic principles and controls of a slower aerobatic model.

Photo Gallery

Flight Video

Downloads

Conclusion

Yardbird RC has really raised the bar on flat foamy park jets with their new F-18. It offers a super easy build, great new color scheme, a clear canopy and pilot busts that add tons of scale realism and fantastic flight performance that will please most any park jet enthusiast. This little park jet is sure to turn heads at your field or local park the moment it comes out of your vehicle. It's small enough to be easily transported in most any vehicle which should make it a great choice for your everyday flyer.

I think the Yardbird RC F-18 would make for a great addition to anyone’s fleet, especially for anyone that is looking for an affordable, great looking, and fantastic flying park jet. It sure has been getting a lot of flight time in my fleet. Now I just need to order more flight packs!!!

Pluses:

  • The new three color covering scheme looks fantastic
  • Parts fit was nearly perfect
  • Carbon fiber reinforcements only where needed
  • Great new clear canopy and pilot bust figures
  • Awesome flight performance and speed envelope
  • Very affordable fun

Minuses:

  • While I was quite pleased with the overall quality of the Ultimate RC foam glue product, it would be nice if it had a shorter bonding time.
Last edited by Angela H; Oct 23, 2008 at 09:12 PM..
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Old Oct 24, 2008, 08:29 AM
MarkFitzgerald is offline
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Need more time....
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Great Review! This may be my first 'jet'. I didn't notice what level of expo you programmed in. Can you post it please? Thanks!


Mark
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Old Oct 24, 2008, 09:10 AM
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My F-18 came in on Wednesday - hopefully, I can build it tonight and fly combat with it tomorrow or Sunday. This is a replacement for my F-22 night fighter, uh night flyer.... I may just go ahead and transplant the LEDs to the F-18 as well....
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Old Oct 24, 2008, 09:13 AM
Ken1.8T is offline
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Oh man, just when I thought I was done with YBRC...
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Old Oct 24, 2008, 09:16 AM
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Well done!

The F-18 was my first purchase from Yardbird and although I agree with sunflyers review, I would like to add my experience with this plane. My first flight was a bit longer than it should have been (having way too much fun), so when my battery voltage dropped, my plane became unstable and hard to fly. I was at a rather low altitude and needed to bank to avoid hitting a light post, but with very little thrust available, the plane has the tendency to fly straight. I ended up hitting the pole and then the ground sustaining heavy damage from cast aluminum and about 10 feet of elevation.

She is now repaired and flying just fine, but I am definitely monitoring my flying times more closely.

MJ


I'll be adding some video of the F-18 with aileron upgrades. Amazing roll rate.
Here are a few pictures.. (wish I could take the credit for the beautiful work, but this one belongs to my friend).


Video is up, click on the following link.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showa...mentid=2158615
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Old Oct 24, 2008, 09:26 AM
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With my F-22, I kept the timer set at 8 minutes. I flew it like I stole it most of the time....
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Old Oct 24, 2008, 10:18 AM
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Nice review and great video, Tim! I thought we were gonna see a nice inverted pass down low there at the end. Oh well...

Andy
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Old Oct 24, 2008, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Johnson
Well done!

The F-18 was my first purchase from Yardbird and although I agree with sunflyers review, I would like to add my experience with this plane. My first flight was a bit longer than it should have been (having way too much fun), so when my battery voltage dropped, (my) plane became unstable and hard to fly. I was at a rather low altitude and needed to bank to avoid hitting a light post, but with very little thrust available, the plane has the tendency to fly straight. I ended up hitting the pole and then the ground sustaining heavy damage from cast aluminum and about 10 feet of elevation.

She is now repaired and flying just fine, but I am definitely monitoring my flying times more closely.

MJ
Yes, the F-22 responds the same way if power is lost. It has little of any glide slope unless you are coming down at 45 degrees or more! Kill the throttle and flat spins are cool at altitude. Still a super fun flyer at your local park as well as club field. A real attention getter!
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Old Oct 24, 2008, 11:00 AM
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Nice looks.

What is the final cost with all the components that were used to build this one...including motor, esc, battery, etc?
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Old Oct 24, 2008, 02:40 PM
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Yardbird F18

Very good review. Congratulations to Yardbird RC for engineering such a great little foamy. I own it and the YBF22 as well. Both are excellent aircraft!

The F18 turns heads at the field. At first the reaction is generally "what is that?" "Is that a kit or scratchbuilt." Then when they see it fly, jaws drop. It can float along at a walk or bolt vertical like a rocket. The aircraft is stable and predictable, and a whole lot of good fun!

On my F18, I reinforced the bottom of the nose area with a CF flat rod and some clear tape. Other than that, mine is stock, except of course for the little video camera sometimes mounted in the right engine battery compartment area.

Here is a video I made of the Yardbird F18 on a very windy day.

Yardbird RC F18 : Flyby Frenzy (6 min 14 sec)


And another one with the Yardbird F18 on a beautiful late fall day.

Wringin' out the Yardbird R/C F-18 powered by Dualsky brushless motor. (2 min 58 sec)


I usually get 10 minutes on a 1300 mah Dualsky pack. You can see in this video I flew a little too long on a charge.

GREAT JOB YardbirdRC!

Made in the USA! YEA!!!
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Old Oct 24, 2008, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkFitzgerald
Great Review! This may be my first 'jet'. I didn't notice what level of expo you programmed in. Can you post it please? Thanks!


Mark

Sure.

Low rates:

Aileron - 50%
Elevator - 50%

High Rates:

Aileron - 85%
Elevator - 75%

Tim
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Old Oct 24, 2008, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dee-grose
Nice review and great video, Tim! I thought we were gonna see a nice inverted pass down low there at the end. Oh well...

Andy

Thanks Andy!!

Sorry no DOD low inverted pass.

Tim
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Old Oct 24, 2008, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bombay
Nice looks.

What is the final cost with all the components that were used to build this one...including motor, esc, battery, etc?

Per the Yardbird RC Website:

Motor: $39.99
ESC: $29.99
Battery: $44.99
Servos: $12.95 x 2

Total = $140.87

Once again very affordable.

Tim
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Old Oct 24, 2008, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sun.flyer
Sure.

Low rates:

Aileron - 50%
Elevator - 50%

High Rates:

Aileron - 85%
Elevator - 75%

Tim

Is that Expo or Control Throw?

on my F-22 (the components will be transplanted to the F-18), I have the control throws set at 150% on high rates with low rates set at 60%. If I remember right, I have 60% Expo across the board...
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Old Oct 24, 2008, 05:18 PM
sun.flyer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTalon
Is that Expo or Control Throw?

on my F-22 (the components will be transplanted to the F-18), I have the control throws set at 150% on high rates with low rates set at 60%. If I remember right, I have 60% Expo across the board...

All expo.

Setup is based on my own personal preference and definately might very from person to person.

Tim
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