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Old Aug 14, 2015, 11:55 AM
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New Product
Freewing/FN-RC 70mm F-104 Starfighter

It's time we start a new thread for a discussion of the new Freewing/FN-RC 70mm F-104 Starfighter.

The specs and pictures below are from the MotionRC website for the PNP version:


Freewing F-104 Starfighter 70mm EDF Jet - PNP - NJ20112P


Looking for something different for your EDF fleet? Introducing Freewing’s 70mm F-104 Starfighter! Own a piece of aviation history with this sleek and storied interceptor, the “Man in a Missile”!

This aircraft is quite a surprise at the flying field because it flies much more stable than it appears it can. Onlookers will swear that it cannot fly slowly due to the F-104’s iconic stubby wings, but in fact Freewing has optimized their RC rendition to handle gently at a wide flight envelope while remaining as true to scale appearance as possible. The key to its performance is its very low weight, optimized airfoil, and economical power system. Molded out of lightweight EPS instead of EPO foam, Freewing’s 70mm F-104 weighs 40-45% less than similarly sized aircraft in the 80mm jet class. Adapting the SU-35’s 70mm 6s 6 blade power system mated with a Hobbywing 60A ESC provides lightweight and efficient power with a 6s 4000mAH battery. The result is an aircraft which can reach top speeds of 90mph, land at 20mph, and fly for four minutes with mixed throttle, while still including the creature comforts we’ve come to expect from Freewing jets like standard flaps and electric retracts.

The 70mm F-104’s size puts it in similar company with Freewing’s 80mm jets, and borrows some of that classes’ features while simplifying on others appropriate for the pricepoint. The magnetic nose cone reduces the long fuselage by nearly 9.5” for easy transport. The wings are removable with screws also, and there is enough slack in the wiring to clear the short carbon spar in the wing. The fuel tank on each wing tip is secured with a sliding plate and two screws for a secure fit. The model flies faster without the fuel tanks, but visibility can become a challenge! There is space under the wooden battery tray to fit a gyro such as the Eagle A3-L, for pilots wanting the added assistance of digital flight stabilization.

We did find that the F-104 is best suited for paved surfaces. The main and nose wheels are 45mm and 35mm, respectively, and the 3mm steel wire struts with metal trunnions are sheathed in plastic like Freewing’s A-10 Warthog. The result is a lightweight landing gear setup which can easily be bent back to shape in the event of a hard landing, but not one which would perform well on taller grass. If operation over tall grass is unavoidable, we recommend hand tossing instead of a traditional rolling takeoff. The wing’s slight anhedral allows the model to skid along its belly and wingtip tanks for stable landings. The model’s EPS foam construction opens up the possibility of fiberglassing directly onto the surface to add strength, durability, and additional customization for pilots wanting to upgrade or customize their F-104.

For pilots who have flown other aircraft in Freewing's 80mm Jet Series, the F-104’s visibility difficulty is similar to the Mirage, while the F-104’s stability is similar to the F-5 or Super Scorpion. Its length can be deceptive; despite being longer than the F-86, the F-104’s wingspan is narrower than the Mirage’s. It truly is a missile with wings! The four tone SEA (“South East Asia”) camouflage color scheme is very easy to see against a blue sky. The solid underside contrasts with the camouflage topside to orient the model during distant maneuvers. The F-104 is optimized to fly our Admiral 6s 4000mAh lipo battery with an EC5 connector. We do not recommend using a larger or heavier battery, for CG and weight concerns. Pre-installed electronics and minimal assembly limits build time to 1-2 hours. The Freewing 70mm F-104 Starfighter is recommended for Intermediate to Advanced pilots only. We recommend that pilots have competent experience with at least two prior EDF jets of this size.

Features:

*Lightweight EPS construction for comfortable handling at all speeds
*6 Blade factory balanced EDF with 2849-2200kV outrunner motor
*80 Amp Hobbywing ESC with EC5 connector and 5A BEC
*Magnetic nose cone, removable wingtip fuel tanks, and removable wings
*Scale sized pilot and historically accurate Vietnam-era livery celebrating the USAF’s 479th TFW
*Electronic retractable landing gear with 3mm steel wire struts and metal trunnions
*Nylon hinges on all control surfaces (superior to foam hinges)
*All electronics come pre-installed for your convenience

Includes:


*Freewing 70mm F104 USA EDF Jet - PNP

Requires:

*Minimum 6 Channel Radio
*6 Channel Receiver
*6 Cell 22.2V 4000 mAh LiPo Battery
*Lipo Battery Charger
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Old Aug 14, 2015, 12:02 PM
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I ordered today, and it has already shipped. Should get it next week, maiden next Saturday. I already have a handful of Admiral 6S 4000 packs for it!

Pat
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Old Aug 14, 2015, 12:06 PM
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Below is some great information and tips from Alpha.Motion regarding set-up/throws, CG, answers to general questions, and pics:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpha.MotionRC View Post
Busy summer, busy summer. I see that some of you are about to receive your F-104s so I wanted to pop in and share some data. FN-RC collaborated directly with Freewing for this aircraft, so I didn’t write the manual on this one and accordingly don’t know what throws they will recommend. But I thought I’d share the settings on the F-104 I’ve been flying for a few months now. These settings are what about 15 other pilots have flown. They’re a little sedate for my liking, but if 15 random people agree these are good settings for them, then certainly that carries more weight for the general public. These are the settings used to accomplish the slow landing shown here (full flaps ~75 degrees, ~5mph headwind):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3By8wAZdMJM

AILERONS: Servo arm: Outer hole, Control surface: Middle hole
Ailerons High: 14mm (60% on my Hitec radio), 40% Expo
Ailerons Low: 12mm (50% on my radio), 35% Expo

ELEVATOR: Servo arm: Outer hole, Control surface: Outer hole
Elevator High: 20mm (100% on my radio), 40% Expo
Elevator Low: 15mm (90% on my radio), 35% Expo

RUDDER: Servo arm: Outer hole, Control surface: Outer hole
Rudder High/Low: (100% on my radio), 35% Expo

FLAPS: Servo arm: Outer hole, Control surface: Middle hole
Flaps Half: 30mm (+4mm of Up Elevator)
Flaps Full: 40mm (+6mm of Up Elevator)

CG point, with the top of the elevator level with the horizontal stabilizer, gear deployed and model upright and ready to fly: 25mm-32mm back from the leading edge of the wing, measured at the parting seam between the wing and the fuselage. Start more nose heavy as you desire, but doing so lengthens the takeoff roll and quickens the approach proportionally.

Other tips:

1) My timer is set for 3:30. As always, I recommend setting your timer on a maiden for 2:30, and spend most of that shooting approaches after trimming and stall testing. The F-104 can fly very slowly with a headwind. Without one, it's not much of a glider, so keep power up just a touch on landings. 'No reason why we need to land it like a rocket. My video shows what to shoot for, and your landing gear will last a long time. Metal trunions for all three retracts, and the wire struts are easily bent back after a rough landing.

2) Cruising at half is fun and easy. Don't feel like you need to blast around at 100% throttle. Keep the model close to you... this one is very much like the Mirage: If you can see it, you can fly it. If you can't see it... time for a dirt nap.

3) Reduce your steering throw or increase expo if you're tipping during landing/taxiing. The F-104 has a narrow stance like the F-16.

4) The nose magnets were a little too weak for my liking. The good news is they make a great gauge of your landings. If you plop it down, the nose will pop off. If you settle in and flare nicely, the nose stays on. Joking aside, some people might want to add another magnet there.

5) EPS is lightweight, which plays into why this model handles as it does. I added a strip of clear packing tape along the leading edge of the wings to repel hangar rash. The EPS is much more resistant to bubbling when placed in direct sunlight, but the black cockpit under the canopy will still bubble so be wary of prolonged exposure.

6) Don't worry if your ventral fin gets ground down during low passes or belly landings. I *think* mine flies better now that the fin has been ground down by 80%, ha.

7) After rotation, keep the model level for a couple seconds to allow it to build speed, before turning. You'll see that at certain angles of attack and speed, a bit of dutch roll is experienced.

8) Once you're comfortable with the model, try accelerating into a vertical climb, reduce power at the top as it runs out of inertia, then pull full elevator. You'll see how the model reacts with an easily recoverable dropout.

9) When I first published this thread months ago, FN-RC had asked us to recommend a second paint scheme to accompany their Taiwanese SEA camo. We ultimately recommended two, the NASA blue belly, and a generic silver fuselage/white winged version with a multiple decal set option to model four liveries. As development progressed, however, FN-RC opted to simplify production with just a single SEA camo scheme and two decal sets (ROC and USAF). Their thinking was if the model was popular, then in the future other schemes might be offered. Probably in 12-18 months.

10) Regarding the chatter about FN-RC's 90mm and 100+mm F-104, that product will not be distributed here in the US at this point. Not because we wouldn't want to carry it, but because according to FN-RC the 90mm and 100+mm are hand built. Basically they have a guy with a wire bow who assembles kits by hand. At this point Freewing is handling the mass production of the 70mm F-104, along with spare parts assemblies, warranty support, etc, which is why this is the only F-104 we will have for the forseeable future. We'll see in 2017 if that changes.
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Old Aug 14, 2015, 12:33 PM
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But with 70mm power.... I want to see it side by side with the smallest of the 80's, the F5.
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Old Aug 14, 2015, 12:44 PM
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From what Don posted on the livery thread, he should be getting his today. I expect to see a maiden report from him by tomorrow.

Pat
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Old Aug 14, 2015, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan D View Post
But with 70mm power.... I want to see it side by side with the smallest of the 80's, the F5.
Based on the videos I've seen, speed seems to be about the same as the F-5. I have both, so I will do a comparison of my own.

Pat
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Old Aug 14, 2015, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan D View Post
But with 70mm power.... I want to see it side by side with the smallest of the 80's, the F5.
Quote:
Originally Posted by crxmanpat View Post
Based on the videos I've seen, speed seems to be about the same as the F-5. I have both, so I will do a comparison of my own.

Pat
I'd like to see this too. I do love that the F104 is EPS strictly for weight reduction. One of my setups will be a high powered 5S, high powered 6S, and another will be a mid range 6S. I'd like to swap them all out to see the difference in them compared to the F5 and Mirage. A high powered 5S setup with the weight savings of the battery and difference in foam weight sounds interesting to me though. I'll look at the exhaust diameter also to see if I'll make a thrust tube to neck in down to a smaller size for potential 5-blades that I may use. The stock PNP 6 blade may do well with the exhaust narrowed, but we'll see.

It will be fin to see people experiment. The stock PNP with the low current 6S setup sounds like a good overall power system for great flight times and good speed.
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Old Aug 14, 2015, 01:21 PM
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T - Cat I am so glad you mentioned the EPS foam. I understand your weight concerns but I am just too rough on planes to buy EPS birds any more. I love this bird and missed the foam type assuming it was EPO, was ready to buy it but thought I would check RCG for a thread first. Glad I did. This one is a no go for me.
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Old Aug 14, 2015, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krashem View Post
T - Cat I am so glad you mentioned the EPS foam. I understand your weight concerns but I am just too rough on planes to buy EPS birds any more. I love this bird and missed the foam type assuming it was EPO, was ready to buy it but thought I would check RCG for a thread first. Glad I did. This one is a no go for me.
I'm with you on the EPS fragile situation. It's difficult because they need to be handled really carefully. There are so many upsides and downsides of both types of foam. I guess we can't have everything, but it would be great if science discovers a new kind of foam formulation providing us with the best of all worlds.
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Old Aug 14, 2015, 01:45 PM
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I have my likes and dislikes for both, but I won't skip purchasing a plane simply because of the type of foam it's made from.

On my EPS birds I like to hit them with 2 or 3 coats of water-based polyurethane. This will help prevent minors dings and scrapes, and will help protect the finish. I use Minwax Polycrylic Satin Finish.



Pat
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Old Aug 14, 2015, 01:53 PM
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Great set up info on the original thread from Alpha.
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Old Aug 14, 2015, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crxmanpat View Post
I have my likes and dislikes for both, but I won't skip purchasing a plane simply because of the type of foam it's made from.

On my EPS birds I like to hit them with 2 or 3 coats of water-based polyurethane. This will help prevent minors dings and scrapes, and will help protect the finish. I use Minwax Polycrylic Satin Finish.



Pat
I use the same exact thing, and I do like the coat it provides. It's still brittle (but there's only such much you can do with just minwax), but it does help.

Maybe someday I will experiment with Foam-Finish to put a hard shell coating on it http://foam-tac.com/uploads/3/2/3/0/...flyer_2014.jpg. Then again, I usually just say forget about it. I'll just fly the hell out of it, and if it wears out after a while, I'll get another. LOL
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Old Aug 14, 2015, 02:03 PM
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I'm using Foam Finish on a Phase 3 F-16 right now. Working good so far, but a little bit of a pain to sand.

Pat
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Old Aug 14, 2015, 02:04 PM
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Yeah, sanding drives me up the wall. Ha-ha
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Old Aug 14, 2015, 02:59 PM
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I have to be realistic, Winwax will not help me much when I kiss the ground a little hard.
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