The E-flite F-16 with Delta-V 480 4800 Kv EDF power unit
|Wing Area:||195 sq inches|
|Weight:||28.2 oz. (w/ gear)|
|Wing Loading:||20.7 oz sq ft|
|Servos:||5 E-flite Super Sub-Micro S60 servos|
|Transmitter:||JR X9303 2.4GHz|
|Receiver:||DSM2 AR6200 6-channel receiver|
|Battery:||Thunder Power 11.1V 2600mAh Pro Lite V2|
|Motor/fan unit:||E-flite Delta-V 480 4800 Kv 65mm EDF system|
|ESC:||E-flite 60-Amp Pro Switch-Mode BEC Brushless|
|Available From:||Horizon Hobby|
|Price Delta-V 480 4800 Kv:||$79.99|
|Price 60-Amp Pro Switch:||$84.99|
|Price S-60 servos:||$14.99|
|Price TP 11.1V 2600mAh Li-Po pack:||$62.99|
Good looking, reasonably priced, assembled quickly, looks great in the air, goes where I direct it, can fly down the straight-away at 85 to 90 miles per hour and puts a big smile on my face every time I fly it. That is my one sentence review when people ask me about my E-flite F-16 400 DF with the Delta-V 480 motor fan unit.
The E-flite F-16 400 DF is composed of lightweight, durable injection-molded foam and came beautifully finished in the distinctive USAF Thunderbird trim scheme with molded panel lines and the custom decals already installed. It comes with molded servo pockets, prehinged flight surfaces and a magnetically attached battery hatch/cockpit. I was drawn to it by its good looks and almost bought one with the original smaller motor. Now with the Delta-V 480 EDF system, I thought the plane would have the power to really perform like a scale F-16. I will cover the final assembly and get us to the flying field as quickly as possible. There are a number of F-16s available from different companies but this one captured me for multiple reasons that I will discuss during this review. I am glad to have this one with the Delta-V 480 EDF fan. My motor is the 4800 Kv model and should not be confused with the 4000 Kv version that delivers less performance on 3S.
The F-16's official name is the Fighting Falcon, and it is named after the Air Force Academy's mascot. Its unofficial nickname is Viper because pilots think it looks like a viper coming at them. It was born out of a concept that a light weight fighter plane would have some tremendous advantages in performance as well as cost. It was selected after competition and was developed into a multifunction fighter and ground attack plane. Its first actual combat was as an attack plane as it was used by the Israelis to attack and destroy the Iraq nuclear facility to prevent Saddam from getting enriched plutonium. The Israelis also had the first air to air kill with the F-16 when they shot down an enemy helicopter.
The F-16 has been purchased by many countries who don't make their own planes, and subcontracts have been given to Nato allies who were the first five countries to order the F-16 for their air forces. Over the years the F-16 has continued to receive improvements in electronics and weapons packages, and as a result, it has gained weight and an improved engine to maintain and improve performance. With a thrust to weight ratio of better then one to one its performance has been outstanding.
The Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon has evolved to serve as both an air to air combat fighter and an air to surface attack plane. Accordingly, it is able to carry a wide range of weapons including both missiles and bombs. Although designed in 1971 this multi-role fighter remains in use in the air forces of a number of nations today and will be in use for the foreseeable future. It is still being made for foreign nations and is scheduled to serve in the USAF until 2025. It remains a great performer with the Thunderbirds and is a delight to see at any airshow. I particularly enjoyed watching it perform a slow High Alpha pass over the runway here in Stockton in the 1999 airshow held in honor of Bob Hope. At the end of the slow pass the pilot kicked it up into almost vertical climb. Over 4,400 have been built since 1976, and it serves in at least 25 countries.
The Included Parts:
Other Items E-flite Supplied:
Items I supplied:
E-flite Super Sub-Micro S60 Servo
|Type:||Super Sub-Micro Servo|
|Operating Speed:||0.10 sec/60° @4.8V|
|Torque (4.8V):||12.5 oz-in @4.8V|
|Dimensions:||0.93" x .39"x .74"|
|Motor Type:||3-pole ferrite|
Delta-V 480 65mm EDF
|Motor specs||Delta-V 480|
|Type: Brushless Outrunner|
|Motor Weight 2.9 oz|
|Diameter: 1.10 inches|
|Shaft Diameter: 3mm|
|Length: 2.10 inches|
|Watts: 565 on 3S|
|BATTERY: 3S Lipo|
|Amp draw: 15-24A max|
|Fan: 65mm 6-blade rotor design|
|Static Thrust: 1.6 lb on 3S|
|Continuous Current: 45A|
|Maximum Burst Current: 58A|
|Speed Control: 60A Brushless|
E-flite 60-Amp Pro
|Type:||Brushless Motor Controller|
|Max amps:||75A (15 sec)|
|Continuous Maximum:||60A with reasonable cooling|
|Brake:||Yes - programmable|
|Dimensions:||3 x 1.3 x .5 inches|
|Cells w/BEC:||3-6S Li-Po|
|Input Connectors:||E-flite EC3 connector|
|Output Connectors:||3.5mm female gold bullet|
The Delta-V motor and EDF came already connected together so I simply had to install the unit into the fuselage. The plane came with a set of three extension wires for the motor that run up into the cockpit to connect to the ESC. It was a very simple process to plug the motor wires into the extension wires and run them via the molded slot up to the cockpit area. As for mounting the motor, I lined it up in the slotted space in the foam fuselage and pushed it firmly into place per the instructions. Two plastic tabs stuck into the foam, and a third helped hold the motor wire extensions in the channel molded for the wires. With the motor just resting in the upside down fuselage, I trial fitted the motor cover in place. It didn't fit perfectly. Using my Exacto knife I carefully trimmed a little foam from the inside edges of the cover that rest against the fuselage, and I soon had a nice fit. Per instructions I lightly glued the EDF unit in place so it stays where put but can be removed if needed to work on the motor fan unit. When that was secure and the glue was dry I lightly epoxied the motor cover in place so that it also will stay put but can be removed if I need to access the motor or fan unit. I held it firmly in place while the six minute epoxy dried.
Each wing half has two wing spar joiners that slide into the fuselage and help secure the wing halves in the proper position. I mixed up a small batch of epoxy after trial fitting the wings in place. I glued first one side with 6-minute epoxy, and when it was dry I did the other side per the instructions. The instructions show where to put the epoxy. I had a paper towel with a little rubbing alcohol on it for epoxy clean up as necessary. The ailerons came installed with control horns already attached. That was it for the wings until it was time to install the servos.
The horizontal stabilizers came ready to install with pre-hinged elevators. However, the hinges were very stiff, and per the instructions I moved the elevators up and down to carefully break-in the hinges without breaking them. Once that was done the stabilizers were installed with two screws a side mounting them to the fuselage. Very quickly I was ready for the radio installation.
I installed the landing gear and the landing gear doors to test them out for this review. I hope to do most of my flying with this plane as a hand launch/grass slide landing plane but used the gear to demonstrate it and test it out during this review.
The main gear just snaps into the fuselage after squeezing it together. The landing gear doors are attached in place with two screws each. The holes for the screws are very small, and I started to strip the first screw so I stopped and drilled the holes out with my pin drill so as to not have to fight as much with the soft headed screws. The front wheel got connected to a servo for steering, and where and how that servo was connected to the front wheel depended on the motor selection chosen. The instructions covered the process for the standard motor and with the use of the Delta-V 480 as well. I just followed the instructions for the Delta-V 480 setup and used the parts supplied with the plane and the recommended servo. I had to use my metal file to create a new flat spot on the front wheel strut for securing the servo connector to the strut per the instructions.
Per the instructions, the location for the speed controller when using the Delta-V 480 motor was slightly more then two inches behind the cockpit area on the right inside of the fuselage. This was carefully done to assure enough space for the flight battery that also extends into this area from the cockpit. The controller was mounted using some of the hook and loop material that came with the plane. Per the instructions I trial fitted it back there before exposing the sticky tape on the hook and loop and doing it for real. There is room for the excess motor wires back there as well, and they remain out of the way of the ducted fan and the draw of air for the fan.
I connected the two elevator servos to the receiver after binding the AR6200 receiver to my transmitter. Two servos were used to control the elevators with one mounting on each side of the fuselage per the instructions in spaces molded into the fuselage. I used epoxy to secure the servos in place after roughing up the sides that would touch foam. I centered the servo arms out to the sides at 90 degrees. I used the elevator channel on the receiver for the right elevator servo and mixed the gear channel (fifth channel) to mix with elevator and reversed it for the second elevator servo. With the Delta-V 480 motor they recommend using 12" servo extensions so I did and secured the wires in the channels molded for them on the side of the fuselage. I then connected the elevators to the servos with the supplied control rods and clevises. The control rods were almost too long but they fit.
I did not use a Y connector for the ailerons but instead chose the "Flaperon" wing type on my JR X9303 2.4 GHz transmitter. This made the normal aileron channel the right aileron channel on the receiver and the Aux 1 channel became the left aileron channel. After getting the servo arms in the proper 90 degrees to the side position I mounted them into their proper wing positions with a dab of epoxy. After roughing up the portion of the servo body that would touch the foam servo bay. Servo extension wires are used with the aileron servos and the length of the extension is controlled by the motor selection and the recommended receiver location. For the Delta-V 480 motor the recommended extension length was 6 inches. These were used and secured into the molded channel for them into the cockpit area. The elevator and aileron servo wires are held in place and covered by a decal that is part of the Thunderbird design on the bottom of the wing. I installed these decals at this point, and that prevented me from later changing the servo extension wires for longer ones. (See the sidebar below.)
With all five servos now installed I went to connect the servos and speed controller to the proper channels on the receiver with the servo steering for the front wheel going into the rudder slot on the receiver. Using hook and loop material I went to install the receiver inside the cockpit area just in front of the steering servo per the instructions. The wires from the elevator and aileron servos were too short to allow the receiver to be mounted where directed as-is. I added four 3" servo extensions to mount the receiver. I then connected the speed controller to the receiver using the throttle channel and the instructions called for using a 3" servo extension wire, and that worked perfectly. The final step was securing the battery pack in the proper location. The battery location was also controlled by my motor selection. It was a tight fit and required that I have the speed controller mounted a little more than two inches behind the cockpit area in the fuselage as discussed above. It was also important that I organize the motor and servo wires out of the way as well.
One of the last steps was gluing on the vertical stabilizer on the top of the fuselage and making sure it was on straight while the epoxy dried. Then I glued on the two ventral fins on the motor/fan unit hatch cover on the bottom of the plane. The ventral fins are installed even if the plane is going to be flown without landing gear, and they hold up well to grass landings. I carefully trimmed away the portion of the Thunderbird decal covering the slots for the ventral fins, trial fitted them in place and then secured them with a small batch of epoxy.
I got some blue paint (not a perfect match) and touched up some of the white foam around the motor hatch cover and a couple spots where the decal had not set perfectly due to a bump in the bottom of the fuselage and the wing servo bays and servo wire channels. There were just a few spots but I wanted her to look pretty for her still shots.
Recommended Control Surface Throws:
Recommended Center of Gravity:
I am using my Jr X9303, and I did some programming so that I used the Spektrum 6 channel receiver and no Y connectors despite having two elevator servos and two aileron servos. I used Mix 1 to change Gear to Elevator, and that allowed the elevator connector to handle the right elevator servo and the gear connector to handle the left elevator servo. I set the Wing Type to "Flaperon" and the regular aileron connector handled the right aileron and the Aux 1 channel handled the left aileron. Rudder was used for the steering servo. This same arrangement can be programmed with a Spektrum DX7. It is very simple to do. Check your manual for the programming of your radio system. When using the Flaperon setting like this be sure to set the flaps to zero in all settings so if the flap switch gets bumped nothing bad happens.
After several flights I had revisited my programming several times. My current setup includes a reverse Y-harness for my elevators that is fitted in the front of the cockpit. This gave me identical movement for my elevators and helped balance the plane on the recommended C/G as well. I ended up with flaps available on my three in one switch, and when on final approach I can partially deploy the flaps and still have aileron control. This does a nice job of slowing down the plane and makes for smoother landings.
I strongly recommend trying the programming suggested in the F-16 manual and described by me. That way no Y-connectors or reverse Y-connectors are needed. I ultimately went with a reverse Y-connector as I couldn't get my mix to work evenly with the elevator servos matching movements. The Reverse Y-connector gave me the identical throws I needed. There is aileron control, elevator control and steering on the ground but no rudder. I found flying on the low settings for the control surfaces gave good control and allowed for nice scalelike aerobatic flying. I used the high setting on ailerons only when I really wanted to speed up the axial roll.
The controls worked as they were supposed to, and after getting her trimmed out initially she stayed in good trim. The servos when off were easily moved by bumping the control surfaces but when the radio was powered up the servos put the control surfaces back where they should be. I was a little concerned about the servos because of this but they have worked fine through out the testing.
This is not a park flyer! With a top speed in level flight of about 90 miles per hour my local park is too small a place for me to safely and comfortably fly this plane. You want a large area to really enjoy this plane. I have flown as shown below in an unfinished housing development as well as at R/C flying fields.
The flights can be started with a good firm hand toss at only 10% above the horizon. Don't throw it up, throw it out and only slightly up. I use about 75% throttle and have had no difficulty with my hand launches. I have been told by another pilot that his E-flite F-16 doesn't like to be tossed up with high throttle as that induces roll while still at low speed. A good firm throw with 75% throttle works well for me. With wheels off she can make a nice sliding landing on grass but I like to set up for the landing and bleed off speed while flying in a straight line. Keep the wings level, no last minute turns close to the ground! Land into any wind and give a slight flair just before touching down. She touches first on the Ventral fins and then slides on the belly. (Be sure you take off the decorative landing gear doors when not using the wheels.) With the wheels off the battery needs to be moved forward in the compartment and over where the front strut comes into the cockpit. The servo can be left in place and its weight is probably needed.
So far most of my flights have been with the landing gear attached from paved surfaces. She gets up to flying speed very quickly but I keep her on the ground for a little longer then I need to as it looks better and is safer. Takeoffs have been uneventful thus far. Landings have been a bit more exciting but only because I have landed a bit hot a couple of times. (It has a surprisingly long roll out on smooth pavement when landed hot.) The good news is that it handles well at lower speeds and landings can be made at a comfortable speed. A slight flair just as it touches down on the mains looks fantastic and then she settles in on her nose. Let her slow down to a crawl before you start steering her with the front wheel when landing. As discussed above I am using flaperons and can and have deployed partial flaps while still maintaining aileron control during landings.
She looks great taking off and touching down with the supplied landing gear but she looks much better in the air without the wheels. I'll keep the gear on for a few trips to other fields.
No! This plane is too fast and too responsive with no self correcting tendencies for a beginner. That said, the plane is an easy assembly and handles very well and is appropriate for an intermediate pilot or better who is comfortable with a fast plane.
The E-flite F-16 is reasonably priced and a quick and easy assembly. With the 480 4800 Kv motor It can be flown at a reasonable speed or make some screaming fast passes. The only tough decision was whether to fly with or without the landing gear installed. With a fully charged battery pack, it makes a scalelike High Alpha pass down the runway into a full throttle near vertical climbout just like the real plane. While the Thunderbirds don't fly shows with rockets on the wing tips I am glad E-flite supplied a pair because I think they look great on my plane.
My thanks to Jeff Hunter for help flying for the video and taking of still pictures and for Ken Jackson for trying to take in-flight video and pictures while I flew. Thanks as always to our editor for her assistance.Last edited by Michael Heer; Dec 08, 2009 at 04:15 PM..
|Dec 09, 2009, 03:45 PM|
I've got this same setup but powering it with Hyperion VX 35c 4s 2500 lipo's. I'm using the Delta V 480 4000kv unit though
Sure sounded like you were pulling too many amps out of that lipo. You can hear serious pulsing when you'd go WOT.
|Dec 09, 2009, 05:33 PM|
Thanks for mentioning that. I forgot to discuss it in my review. The battery had no trouble performing in Death Valley in 106 degree heat or in normal temperatures when I fly. The day we shot the video was rather cold and the battery had been out in the cold for several hours before it was used and it was definitely straining that morning at full throttle. I think it was the cold that caused the problem that morning as batteries don't like the cold. I usually do a better job of keeping them warm before flights. I will be getting some higher C battery packs in the New Year. Is that 4S pack you use a really tight fit in back of the canopy? I have been happy most days with the performance on the recommended 3S pack. Mike Heer
|Dec 09, 2009, 07:38 PM|
I really like Horizon Hobby products.
Question regarding the video: I know it is dangerous and illegal (in Canada) to fly such a model airplane on a public street with construction, light poles, and trucks/cars. Isn't this poor practice in the USA too?
|Dec 09, 2009, 08:50 PM|
Nice review. I'd like to see the thing on 4s. Bet it smokes pretty good.
|Dec 09, 2009, 09:02 PM|
Joined Aug 2007
The 4800 Kv version is not intended for 4S. The 4000 Kv version is, and results in similar power and hence performance as the 4800 Kv on a good 3S. Your choice may depend on what batteries you already have in your hangar.
|Dec 09, 2009, 09:32 PM|
This would be the set-up for a 4S set-up correct? I have a bunch of 4S 2200-2700 25C lipos that would be perfect I think...how much room is there for batteries? Thanks in advance.
|Dec 10, 2009, 06:18 AM|
Chicago Northwest subs
Joined Jan 2007
"The Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon has evolved to serve as both an air to air combat fighter and an air to surface attack plane."
The F-16 was built and designed originally by General Dynamics. I assume Lockheed Martin bought in. Great review. Please stop reviewing all these cool planes. I simply can't afford and don't have time to fly all of them!
|Dec 10, 2009, 09:00 AM|
The AMA defines a parkflyer as "incapable of reaching speeds of faster than 60 mph."
2. Having a spotter to watch for automotive traffic is a poor excuse for safety.
Should such activities result in an accident, there would be no insurance, and there would likely be negative ramifications for many.
I'm sorry to bring this up in a thread for a review, but frankly, I'm surprised at the lax attitude towards safety.
|Dec 10, 2009, 10:25 AM|
The area where we flew is a now abandoned new home development area. There has been no construction now for over two years at the site. There is normally no traffic at the site. There wasn't any when we started. At no time did we fly near anyone or any vehicle other then our parked car and we did have a spotter. Gas powered planes can not be flown there but electrics are allowed. The pick up truck went cross country and then came back to get to the road it was on. We stopped the landing when it entered our space. I try to be safety conscious. We didn't fly at our normal local field due to a soccer tournament spilling over the field at the site and not wanting to fly near them. Mike H
I will probably not fly at the site again with anything other then a slow floater type parkflyer. The video was shot in Modesto in North Stockton we fly on paved streets from a different closed development there. Big concrete barriers block the street but guys sometimes take their 4 wheel vehicles off road and drive up to see what we are doing. Same thing with our dedicated flying site out in a county park. I agree with you Michael that we need to be safety conscious.
|Dec 10, 2009, 10:34 AM|
If you are flying with the permission of the land owner or someone who maintains the area, then that is probably OK.
I think all of us, especially those of us who may be in a leadership position in this hobby, have a responsibility to promote safety above all.
|Dec 10, 2009, 10:36 AM|
|Dec 10, 2009, 12:39 PM|
This looks like a vast improvement over the old F-16 with the Art-Tech motor. A fly buddy had the old plane, and it lasted 2 attempted hand launches. To say it was under powered is a very severe understatement. How HH let it go into production was beyond me.
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