|Servos:||PKZ1090 metal geared servos 2 in fuselage|
|Servos:||PKZ1081 2 for ailerons|
|Transmitter:||JR X9303 2.4GHz DSM2|
|Battery:||ParkZone 3s 1800mAh|
|Motor:||15-size 720Kv brushless outrunner|
|Propeller:||3-Blade 10.6 x 7.8|
|ESC:||EFL 30A Switch-Mode BEC BL|
|Available From:||Horizon Hobby|
The Messerschmitt Bf-109G is ParkZone's latest release in their series of World War II parkflyer fighters. It is available as a Bind N Fly (BNF) model that binds with all full range DSM2 transmitters and as a Plug N Play (PNP), model which requires your choice of receiver, transmitter with at least four channels and battery.
The four most recent ParkZone fighters (T-28, Corsair, T-28D and Mustang) came with a 480 brushless outrunner motor, but the new BF-109G comes with a more powerful 15-size 720Kv brushless outrunner motor. The plane comes in the paint scheme based upon one flown by Germany's leading ace, Erich Hartmann. It is beautifully done and includes a number of scale touches including landing gear doors, exhaust stacks, gun ports, three bladed propeller, painted spinner and a supercharger air intake. It is not perfectly scale but it is very nicely done and pleasing to the eye. I was ready for my first flight and at the field less than an hour after I opened the box and that included charging the battery pack.
Design of the plane was started in 1934 by professor Willy Messerschmitt who was working at the Bavarian Aircraft Factory. His basic goal was to fit the largest engine he could into the smallest body possible with as few parts as possible. The Bf designation came from the factory where the plane was first designed, Bayerische Flugzeugwerke. The plane first flew in 1936 and was first shown in public at the 1936 Olympics held in Germany. It was flown extensively in the Spanish Civil War by German pilots. Willy Messerschmitt obtained the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke company in the summer of 1938 and renamed the company Messerschmitt AG. The planes designed after that date were designated “Me”, and the 109 was referred to by both the Bf and the Me designations during World War II. The 109 was one of the most produced fighter plane in history with 33,984 having been produced through April 1945. The plane was produced in Spain up until 1954, and a total of over 35,000 109s were produced world wide. (Spanish-made 109s were used in the movie The Battle of Briton.) The plane's design was constantly updated before and during the war with major changes leading to a new alphabetical designation. The ParkZone model is based on the G variant that was produced late in the war. While most famous in the west for its involvement in the Battle of Briton and its dogfights with British Spitfires, it enjoyed its greatest success on the Eastern front against Russian pilots.
Erich Hartmann, the World's top scoring fighter ace with a claim of 352 victories, flew the Bf-109G, of which he said:
"It was very maneuverable, and it was easy to handle. It speeded up very fast, if you dived a little. And in the acrobatics maneuver, you could spin with the 109, and go very easy out of the spin. The only problems occurred during takeoff. It had a strong engine, and a small, narrow-tread undercarriage. If you took off too fast it would turn [roll] ninety degrees away. We lost a lot of pilots in takeoffs."
When flown by the Finns against the Soviets, the 109G had a victory ratio of 25:1 in favor of the Finns. They shot down 25 Soviet planes for every 109G that they lost in combat.
On the History Channel a "Great Planes" episode on the 109 said more were lost on takeoffs and landings than to enemy action. More then 30% or the Bf-109s were destroyed in accidents taking off and landing. This problem was especially acute with new pilots.
(*The restored model is painted in a similar color scheme to Erich Hartmann's but it is not the actual scheme. The model plane is based off of actual WWII scheme and not the similar one on the plane at the Evergreen Museum.)
The BNF Kit Includes:
30-Amp Pro SB Brushless ESC
|Input Voltage:||3S-4S Li-Po, 9-12 cell NiMH/Nicad|
|Momentary Peak Current:||35A|
|Continuous Maximum Current:||30A|
|Dimensions:||1.1" x 2"x .35"|
|BEC Voltage:||700mA continuous|
|Battery Connector:||E-flite EC3 with 16AWG|
|Motor connectors:||3.5 female gold bullet|
15-Size Brushless Motor
|Motor specs:||ParkZone 15-Size|
|Speed Control:||30A Brushless|
ParkZone 3-cell 1800mAh pack
|Dimensions:||1.5" x 3.9"x .85"|
|Maximum Continuous Discharge:||15C|
|Maximum Continuous Current:||27A|
With my BNF model there was very little to do before first flight. Start charging your battery first so you will be ready to fly when the plane is assembled.
The wing came fully assembled and ready to attach to the fuselage. There are two aileron servos in the wing, and their connectors feed up into the fuselage to be plugged into the installed AR500 receiver through a Y-harness that was already plugged into the receiver.
Landing gear was included with the plane, and it is the pilot's option to use them or not. The landing gear mounts to the bottom of the wing under the fuselage. Without the landing gear the plane can be launched with a hand-toss and landed by sliding to a stop on grass. In my opinion the plane looks much sharper in flight and is slightly faster without the landing gear. The landing gear, however, is scale in location and appearance with the included landing gear doors. They can provide a little challenge for taking off and landing because the gear is so close together as it was mounted to the fuselage on the full size plane, but the plane looks very scale approaching and leaving the runway. This narrow space between the gear caused many full size Bf-109s to crash. The landing gear swivels and snaps into place in the plastic mounting pads on the bottom of the wing near the leading edge and just off of center. The wheels must be slanted forward for proper operation. The landing gear doors snap onto the landing gear wire and then snaps up into the plastic pad on the wing to lock in place. There is also a scale tail wheel that came installed in the fuselage and steers with the rudder control. The tail wheel required no assembly but make sure the tail wheel and rudder are properly aligned or adjust if needed.
To remove the landing gear just unsnap the landing gear doors, and then pull up on the wire to get it out of the groove in the landing gear pad on the wing. Rotate it forward to unsnap it. Lift it out, and store the parts in a safe place.
There are left and right landing gear, they just aren't marked as such! Hold the gear up to a landing gear mounting pad and then to the other side. The slant of the landing gear will be visibly different. I want the most forward slant possible which lowers the plane a little bit and gets the wheels out more in front since the plane likes to tip forward AS-IS. But mounting the wheels backwards will just worsen the ground handling and the problem of tipping onto the spinner or worse.
I attached the wing to the fuselage. It mounted with two dowels going into the fuselage at the front of the wing and a bolt securing the fuselage towards the rear of the wing.
A flap option is available for the plane, and the wing has molded servo pockets in it for flap servos. Since flaps are optional and required the purchase of two additional servos they will be discussed below. Operating flaps were not required in the assembly, and the servos needed add a little weight and expense.
The fuselage comes assembled with radio gear installed and connected to the rudder and tail wheel. The horizontal stabilizer/elevator installation is covered below. The only other assembly was the propeller and spinner installation. A three blade propeller and scale spinner came with the plane. Installation was well covered by the instruction manual. The collet (prop adaptor) slides onto the motor shaft and the spinner back plate, and the propeller slide onto the collet shaft. The supplied hex nut goes on next, and I tightened it to secure the propeller and collet in place. With that firmly secured, I put the spinner on and keyed it into the back plate and secured it using a Phillips screwdriver and the supplied 3mm x 10mm screw.
An optional spinner and two blade propeller will be available separately in the near future from ParkZone. They recommend a 12 x 12e propeller for those electing to use a two blade propeller. Two blade propellers should be able to make the Bf-109 fly faster but won't be nearly as scale looking.
The Bf-109 has a very nice built in cooling system. There are three air intakes in the front and four large exit holes in the bottom of the fuselage back behind the wing. These exit holes also serve to lighten the fuselage. They may appear to be larger then necessary but the exit cooling holes need to be about four times the size of the air intakes for the cooling flow to work at maximum. The large holes in the bottom of the fuselage will draw out the air after it has flowed past the motor, the speed controller and over the battery. The air flow should help it operate properly even on hot days in the summer.
To install the horizontal stabilizer I inserted the supplied stabilizer rod into one side of the stabilizer and slid the rod through the fuselage. I next slid the opposite stabilizer piece onto the other side of the rod. Both stabilizers fit into a flange type housing on the vertical stabilizer that fit the stabilizer like a glove. Both stabilizers were then in place with the two elevator control horns on the underside of the elevators. I secured the stabilizers in place with the supplied four pieces of tape to the flanges and the foam stabilizers on top and bottom. Making sure both elevators were lined up in the neutral position, and the elevator servo was properly centered I connected the control rods to the bottom hole on the elevator control horns. I adjusted the clevises as necessary to make sure the elevators were both in the neutral position with the radio system on. The stabilizer/elevator installation was complete.
You need to use a full range DSM2 transmitter to control the BNF BF-109G. The transmitters for use with the plane are: Spektrum DX5e, Spektrum DX6i, Spektrum DX7/DX7se, JR X9303 2.4, JR 12X 2.4, HP6DSM and all SPM module systems. You need to Bind your transmitter to the included AR500 receiver. The process was well covered in the instruction manual. It only took me about a minute to bind the receiver to my JR X9303 2.4GHz transmitter. It is wise to store the binding plug for the receiver in a safe place that will be available at the flying field. I keep one in my flight tackle box and one in my transmitter storage case. Binding the receiver to the transmitter and plugging the servo leads from the ailerons into the receiver when installing the wing to the fuselage was the only radio installation on the Bf-109G.
The vertical stabilizer does not have any markings on it. Included with the kit were two small decals of the Maltese cross that are the proper size for the tail which can be used to complete the plane. ParkZone will be selling option Swastika decals for the vertical stabilizer (not available in all areas). They are part number PKZ4930, and the suggested price is $2.99.
The final step of assembly was confirming the control surface throws were set properly and that the plane was properly balanced. The recommended Center of Gravity (C/G) is 2 3/8 inches from the wings’ leading edge at the "D" shaped indentation closest to the landing gear wheel bumps. Use of the standard equipment, including the recommended battery pack yielded this balance point. Adjust the battery pack as necessary to get the proper balance.
The control throw recommendations are measured at the widest point of the control surface.
Additional Parts Needed
The plane was designed so that the flaps can be made operational, but you will need to purchase the additional items listed above. Operational flaps will add the additional weight and the expense of the two servos, the Y-harness and the minimal weight of the hardware that comes included. Adding working flaps will also reduce the size of the ailerons as the flaps come from an inner portion of the ailerons. This aileron reduction can be compensated for by increasing the throws of the aileron with a programmable transmitter. The process is well explained in the instruction manual step by step.
The inboard flaps can be made operational as well which requires a second flap hardware set (not included with the plane). Per the instructions, the second set of control horns are mounted to the inboard flaps, and the control rods are connected to the previously installed flap servos. The inboard flaps are cut away from the inboard section of the wing making a 1/16" gap for freedom of movement. Now each servo will lower two flaps on each side of the wing. If I were to add flaps I would add this option as it looks very scale in actual operation.
This is a four channel plane when flown without the optional flaps. Control is throttle, ailerons, elevator and rudder/tail wheel steering. I found it to be an excellent flyer with top speed and acrobatics very comparable to the ParkZone T-28 and T-28D. It can do all maneuvers a war bird should be able to do as discussed below. It will turn with just the right stick on ailerons and elevator but turns are smoother and more realistic when adding in some rudder with the aileron.
This plane, like any fighter plane, will stall if flown too slowly! In the forward stall it merely drops straight and recovers. However, flying overly slow I made some turn stalls done at altitude while turning and had her fall on the downside wing before recovery was made. This confirmed: 1) Don't try and fly this plane too slowly. 2) Don't turn near the ground if flying slowly. These two things are true of almost all fighter planes but the previous ParkZone brushless war birds were perhaps slightly more forgiving at slow speeds then I found the Bf-109. These slow speed turn stalls shouldn't be a problem as most pilots will naturally want to fly the plane fast enough to avoid this possibility. I had to fly the plane intentionally slower than I would ever normally fly her to to test this aspect of the flight envelope. Honestly, if you are flying it as slowly as I flew to to get the turn stall you should expect to have problems with a fighter. I considered her flight handling to be normal for a ParkZone fighter plane which is more forgiving than other fighter planes I have flown from some other companies.
I found the speed of the Bf-109 to be about the same as my ParkZone T-28. My ParkZone Mustang is about 10 ounces lighter and smaller, and it is definitely faster than the Bf-109 as it comes out of the box. I will be interested to see how much faster the 109 can fly with the optional 2 blade 12 x 12e propeller and alternate spinner. That said, I like the looks and in flight handling with the three blade propeller.
In the air the Bf-109 is a nice handling plane but requires you fly her and pay attention to what you are doing at slower speeds. I experienced the effect of the motor torque a couple of times when going from slow to full throttle too quickly, and she pulled and rotated to the left. I found it best to increase speed smoothly and the plane accelerated nicely. The landing gear does add drag, and I am sure a radar gun will prove it is a little faster with the gear off. It certainly looks faster to me without the gear. If you can fly the other ParkZone fighter planes you should have no trouble flying the Bf-109 if you stay smooth on the controls.
This plane can be flown from a hand launch or, with gear, it can takeoff from the ground. For hand launch I used about 75% throttle and gave a good firm toss forward at only about 10-15 degrees above parallel to the ground. When I got my tossing hand down to the transmitter I would sometimes increase to full throttle. It wasn't necessary - the Bf-109 quickly got up to air speed and flew fine from my hand tosses at 75% throttle. I have had no torque or roll problems with my hand launches with the Bf-109. Too soft a toss may allow the motor's torque to roll the plane so make sure you make a nice firm hand toss when hand launching. The plane has fairly scale landing gear with scale location and landing gear doors.
Landing without gear was done with a slide landing on grass. This was easy to do with just a slight flair to touch down with the nose slightly up. So far my three blade prop and the plane have handled these landings fine. The slide landings have been on nice grass with solid soil underneath the grass. The bottom of the plane can be protected with a sprayed on coat of dull (clear) covering to protect the paint on the foam. I wouldn't try slide landings on dirt or pavement.
Not all flying fields have grass, and many pilots prefer to take off and land using the landing gear. The scale landing gear location with only a narrow space between the wheels makes taxiing, landing and takeoffs a little more challenging than your normal trainer but they are nothing to fear. I simply needed to plan and execute my landings and takeoffs properly. When taxiing on the ground I keep it slow. Trying to turn on the ground with even a little excess speed can cause the plane to tip and a wingtip to touch the ground or worse. Taxiing out to or back from the runway on a smooth runway with slow speeds posed no problems. The rougher the surface or the higher the grass, the greater the challenge.
The stronger the breeze the more important it is to take off and land into the wind. The narrow landing gear makes the plane more susceptible to being tipped by a cross breeze than is the case with a plane with landing gear with a wider stance. I have found that accelerating reasonably into the wind on a smooth surface the Bf-109 takes off without a problem (at least none yet). I have flown from paved surfaces and hard packed dirt without a problem on takeoff. The grass at my park was too high to use the landing gear. I haven't tried flying from a grass surface but I would want it to be relatively short grass before I would feel comfortable flying from it. I have seen a couple wing touches by others on takeoffs, and in both cases they accelerated rather quickly and tried to lift off sooner than I would have, and the plane's left wing tip touched the runway.
My landings so far have been okay. I only land into the wind. My landings are made with the power on but diminishing. I approach the runway straight and avoid any turns near the ground. I fly power on until touch down and then really lower the power. I make no attempt to turn the plane on the ground until it is stopped or almost stopped. I taxi slowly back to where I am standing. That said, I have still managed to rock the plane from side to side on several landings and have had one nose over after hitting a bump. The wire landing gear is a little springy, however, by being smooth on the touch down of the gear with the ground that becomes a non-issue. I have not tried landing with power off but my plane came with the ESC brake on, and the prop stops spinning with power off. That is good as a slowly spinning prop creates more drag then a stopped propeller. A very slight flair just at touch down with the power going off has also worked on a landing with a short runway. Based on landings I have seen by others when they came in a bit nose down they should expect to nose over about 50% of the time. Have the plane level at the time the two wheels touchdown. The scale landing gear forces me to think before I start my taxi and before I start my takeoff roll. I think about what I want to do and picture it in my mind before I move the stick on my transmitter.
I enjoy the challenge of flying with the scale spacing of the landing gear and knowing that takeoffs and landings on the real plane resulted in reportedly 30% of the crashes that destroyed the planes. (Different historical accounts give different results from 10-30% of all planes destroyed.) Think before you fly, and this plane will make you a better pilot, or at least certainly better at landing and taking off.
I personally prefer the looks of the plane with the gear off. When flying from my local park or where there is nice grass I will fly without the gear. When there is no grass but a nice runway I will put the main gear on. The tailwheel stays visible at all times just as on the real 109s.
I have asked other pilots who own this plane if they read the appendix on page 12 of the instruction manual on takeoffs and landings. No one I asked had read it. My first flights were on other people's planes, and I hadn't seen the instruction manual so I hadn't read it initially either. I found it gives very good information so I have included part of it here in hopes more will read this part of the manual.
"Bf-109G Takeoffand Landing Tips
The parkZone Bf-109G is an accurate rendition of the full-size Bf-109G. Like the full size, takeoffs and landings are more critical than previously with ParkZone warbirds. With the large scale 3-blade propeller there is a lot of torque that is most noticeable during takeoff. The Bf-109G requires right rudder input during the takeoff run to avoid veering left. If the power is applied too quickly during the takeoff, it is possible to have the plane veer left, and also tip the airplane, scraping the wingtips. The torque is also noticeable in the air if the throttle is moved from low power to full power quickly. Always use a gradual application of power and never increase the power to full throttle too quickly.
Due to the scale landing gear placement and angle the Bf-109G can tip up and scrape the wingtips. The airplane needs to be flown from the start of the takeoff run and during landing, taking care to keep the wings level even when rolling on the ground. Abrupt rudder inputs will tip the plane and cause the wingtips to scrape on the ground.
The Bf-109G is easiest to land doing a wheel landing (two point). A wheel landing (two point) is when the airplane touches down on the main landing gear first with the tailwheel off the ground. The Bf-109G can be landed in three point attitude, where all three wheels touch down at the same time, but the wheel landing is easier to accomplish. Because of the large prop, if the power is pulled all the way back when landing, the propeller acts like a large air brake. Fly the airplane down to the ground using 1/4-1/3 throttle to allow for enough energy for a proper flare."
The Bf-109 performs beautiful loops both large and small and does a very nice axial roll. Slow down the roll and add rudder, and you can perform a barrel roll. It flies inverted nicely, and I only had to add in a little elevator to hold it. Just as on the full scale plane the rudder appears to be small but it does the job. A half loop, a half roll and a dive to the deck at full throttle, and I start to feel an adrenaline rush. Get another warbird in the air, and enjoy a game of follow the leader. Any scale type maneuver for a WWII warbird that I could think of could be performed by the 109. I fly her like a warbird, and I love it. I
If you add flaps you remove some of the aileron surface area, and I recommend you increase the aileron throw to 125% to compensate for the loss of aileron surface to get the same type of control that comes standard with the ailerons as sold. That adjustment of aileron control will require a computerized transmitter. If you like aerobatics and don't have a computerized transmitter I would recommend against the flap modification discussed above.
No! This low wing warbird is not an appropriate plane for a beginner. The narrow scale landing gear is not at all beginner friendly for takeoffs or landings. The plane has no self correction if the pilot goes hands off with the transmitter. It is, however, an excellent plane for an intermediate pilot or above. If the landing characteristics of the Messerschmitt concern the pilot, remove the gear, and fly it from a hand toss.
Bf-109G With Landing Gear Attached
Bf-109G Without Landing Gear Attached
The Bf-109G is a good flyer and ranks right there with the T-28 in her handling in flight. The hand launch and skid grass landings have been easy to perform, and while the use of the narrow landing gear can be a challenge it really just requires the pilot to just think and fly the plane intelligently. I have been enjoying the heck out of flying the Bf-109.
My thanks to Jeff Hunter for his assistance in getting the flight videos and in air still shots. My thanks to our editor, Angela, for making this review a smoother read.Last edited by Michael Heer; Dec 08, 2009 at 03:40 PM..
|Dec 09, 2009, 06:52 PM|
Chicago Northwest subs
Joined Jan 2007
Nice review, Mike!. What kind of flight times are you getting, and can the 2200mAh battery from a Stryker be used in the 109?
|Dec 09, 2009, 09:22 PM|
In the vid w/o gear, was the ESC brakes ON or OFF? I notice the prop stopping fairly quickly after throttle sound went off. Yet, the prop still rotated some when it touched the grass.
I have brakes OFF and my props are still spinning for the 200' or so of glide after turning final and touching down.
|Dec 10, 2009, 02:14 AM|
Joined Sep 2004
|Dec 10, 2009, 06:31 AM|
A really minor point - the decals supplied for the fin are not Maltese crosses ... that's the name for the type of insignia used in WW1.
The fin would actually have had a swastika each side, but I'm guessing that was considered politically unacceptable
|Dec 10, 2009, 07:37 AM|
Joined Sep 2004
|Dec 10, 2009, 08:39 AM|
I got mine as "airframe" only. I am going to add a dropable 300L tank on Centerline to mine. No landing gear. Hand-launch with tank, drop, land without it.
|Dec 10, 2009, 10:36 AM|
I belly land my 109 so I reset the brakes to OFF right away but just wondering if leaving it ON is not that bad.
|Dec 10, 2009, 02:42 PM|
Very nice review Michael. I love the pics!
I've been flying mine with the brake on and all stock settings out of the box. I've been executing 2 wheel touchngoes no problem. It will definitely make you better at take offs and landings by flying this bird.
|Dec 10, 2009, 05:21 PM|
Really enjoying all these recent reviews... but if I may be a little picky:
"I'm right handed, and as I throw, my left leg is my anchor and my right leg comes up and forward as I throw with my right hand."
So what you're saying is, you throw like a girl?
Great review and great shots of the model too!
|Dec 10, 2009, 06:40 PM|
There are some restrictions in Germany, but WW2 aircraft there in museums etc. are certainly allowed to have the swastika. So I doubt there would be any issue with scale models.
There are no restrictions anwhere else in Europe AFAIK.
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