Hobby Lobby F9F Panther by Starmax
The Hobby Lobby version of the Starmax F9F Panther is a heck of a foamy EDF as it came from Hobby Lobby except the power set needs to be ripped out and replaced because the puny inrunner and 25 amp esc will overheat and either the ESC burns up or the motor gets too hot and melts the fan. HL has discontinued it and it's now available from Banana Hobby with 30 amp esc and 4300 KV outrunner. It comes stock with a 1300 or 1500 mah 3S as I recall.
When the HL version with the little inrunner is upgraded to 2200 3S it is too much for the stock power set. The plane can also be bought on ebay from overseas and it comes with a 4300 KV outrunner and 30 amp esc but even that ESC requires an upgrade when you shoehorn a 2200 3S 30C lipo.
Hobby Lobby doesn't carry it any more. Either buy the plane on ebay or risk buying it from Banana Hobby which has notorious customer service where they take your money and you can wait a long time to get the plane. According to people who bought the Panther from Banana Hobby at the Jan 2010 AMA show in California it comes with 30 amp ESC and 4300 KV outrunner or buy the airframe only and buy what I bought:
RECOMMENDED POWER SET
Dons Wicked 4800 KV and 40 amp Pentium ESC with switchmode BEC. Here is the motor and ESC.
Below is the 40 amp Pentium ESC (it's a Hobbywing):
Don also will sell you a EDO fan and balance it for an additional $12.50 which is really a good idea. It comes back ready to install. This power set requires a 2200, 3S 30C pack for best results. You'll have to open up the back of the battery box to fit the battery. CG is maintained by position the battery about 1" back in the box. The combination is just incredible. You can fly it WOT for 3.5 to 4 minutes straight if you like. It all depends on much you want to abuse your batteries. 20C packs will get warm and eventually puff.
THRUST TUBE VIA "NIP TUCK"
Don also has this plane and advised closing down the exhaust diameter by doing what he called a nip tuck. It's really just cutting 3 inch long with a 3/8" tapered wedge out of the exhaust and gluing back together.
The airframe is a type of foam that does NOT like CA glue of any kind (i.e., regular or foam safe). Assemble with epoxy or low to med temp hot glue. Gorilla glue works too, it's just a bit more messy.
I kept the standard servos that came with it and have had NO problems. However, you can swap them out for Hobby King HXT900 9 gram servos or Hitec equivalents if you so desire.
THIS PLANE WON'T DIE
I have been pretty rough with it. I have screwed up and crashed it and broke in in half when I move the CG too far aft. I have tumbled it down the runway and broke it in half when a LG caught a rut. I now fly without LG since it's faster and it looks better in the air. The last crash was simply losing orientation and nosed it into a farmer's field. My first repairs were with 5 minute epoxy but now if it breaks I just hot glue it back together. spackle, sand, prime and repaint with a custom mixed paint I made from a quart of Lowes Valspar arcylic enamel and black craft paint. A foam brush was used to apply it. A coat of Future floor finish was used to put a clear coat of acrylic on the top coat.
It is a very easy plane to fly. Unlike some EDFs that feel like you are balancing a bowling ball on the head of a pin this plane is quite forqiving.
I added some yellow highlights to help with orientation but even that doesn't work if you get it too far away.
Update: Early April 2010 -- this original plane augered in due to pilot error. A second kit was built to replace it using the same power system. Dayglo orange is used for accent this time (see below).
UPDATE: June 2010 -- 2nd plane was wrought with unlucky events. First, I landed in tall dandelions on its maiden (field was wet and couldn't be mowed) and they cut one tank off and sliced off the other wing. I glued it back together. 2nd flight was uneventful. 3rd flight I had a brain cramp and flew with a pack with a 50% charge. It hit LVC and broke the horizontal stab on a dead stick landing. Glued it back together. 4th flight I had a radio reboot with old AR6000 receiver (takes 3 sedonds) and the plane was totaled.
July 2010 -- bought a grey F9F Panther from BananaHobby. It comes with a 4300 kv outrunner and 30 amp ESC. Assembly is no different than before.
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