When I first heard that E-flite would be releasing a model of the F-86 I will admit I was a little skeptical. Most models F-86 models are a bit off from scale and almost always have an intake that is much larger than scale. What a pleasant surprise it was the first time a saw a picture of it. The first thing I noticed was the small size of the intake, or should I say the lack of size of the intake. I was impressed with the size of the intake but quickly began to think this thing must have cheaters holes for the fan (Going off of the previous Hawk release). Finally a small affordable F-86 with no cheaters, a small intake and a beautiful close-to-scale outline.
There is no doubt about the important role the F-86 played in the Korean War and beyond. Lets jump right in and see why this particular model of the F-86 stands out above most, if not all in its class.
|Wing Area:||256 sq. in.|
|Wing Loading:||29.94 oz/sq. ft.|
|Servos:||Sub Micro (4 required) & Micro (1 required)|
|Battery:||4S 14.8V 3200-3300mAh Li-Po|
|Motor:||E-flite15 DF 3200Kv Brushless Motor|
|Available From:||Horizon Hobby|
The F-86 was triple-boxed, packed in a kit box, carton box, and shipping box. And as one might expect, there was no damage to the kit inside.
Once out of the kit box it is immediately obvious that this is a very stunning model that looks the part of its full scale counterpart. Many things set this apart from others in its size class and even some above its class. The E-flite F-86 Sabre has an incredible finish, a very close to scale outline, straight unobstructed airflow to and from the fan, no cheater holes, and maybe most importantly, a scale looking intake. Those that have been around the jet world long enough have seen their share of cartoon looking intakes on the front of F-86 models.
The F-86 fuselage is a work of art by itself. The fuselage is made from fiberglass and is painted with a silver metallic paint (different color silver is used to outline the gun ports and exhaust...nice touch!). The fuselage comes with the basic decals for three silver variants factory installed. Clear coat is sprayed over the entire fuse, and the shine is enough to make many a hot-rodder proud. The wing panels are built using standard wood wing techniques and are covered with a high gloss UltraCoate finish. The wing panels themselves are very light and very thin…much too thin for the E-flite electric retracts which would be a perfect match if they did fit.
One of the most important parts of good ducted fan aircraft design is indeed the ducting. And the ducting on the F-86 looks very impressive. The intake is made from a very tough but not too heavy fiberglass. No collapsing intake here! The air traveling down the intake has a straight unobstructed path to the fan. And once out of the fan, the air has a straight unobstructed path down the lexan exhaust tube. As designed, its hard to imagine a ducting system that could provide better efficiency than this while maintaining the scale look of the original aircraft.
The canopy and hatch system provides ample room into fuselage for aircraft assemble and inserting and removing the flight battery. The hatch is held in place by a small dowel rod at the front end and a set of magnets at the rear. The rest of the airframe parts and supplies all look up to the task out of the box. I was very impressed with the quality of the E-flite Sabre. It is very obvious that a lot of time and effort went into the planning and successful execution of this production kit.
(Provided by Horizon Hobby):
Recommended Accessories to complete the model:
The wing panels are made with "standard" wood construction techniques and are covered with UltraCote film covering. The Ailerons are factory installed on each panel with the covering also acting as the hinge material.
I mounted the aileron servos into the wing servo pockets with a servo mounting strap (after I glued the aileron servo mounts into the wing). The servo mounts are a bit different than what most models use. The servo strap holds the servo down in place very well but the servo itself is not screwed into the mount.
I glued the control horns into factory drilled holes in each aileron. The aileron pushrod linkages are made from small pushrod wires with a z-bend at the servo horn. For the other end of the pushrods, I bent the pushrod wire to a 90 degree angle and attached them to the aileron control horns with pushrod keepers.
Although flat wood servo covers are provided with the model, they are not used with the recommended servos (The recommended servos are a bit to thick too fit below the wing profile). The kit also included a set of plastic covers for servos that stick out above the bottom of the wing. Before I installed the plastic covers, I needed to cut them out from a pre-painted form sheet. I mounted the covers to the wing with the included clear tape.
The wings on the F-86 incorporate two carbon rods that pass through the fuselage into the wing panels. The wing rods serve as an alignment tool and as a strong spar system for the wings. Before attaching the wing panels, I removed the paint on the side of the fuselage wing saddles.
After the paint was removed, I epoxied the wing panels to the fuselage with 10 minute epoxy. Note: Also make sure the wing rods are epoxied into the wing panels.
In order to get the proper angle of the dihedral on the F-86's horizontal stab, E-flite has included a stab jig (3-piece. needs assembly). I assembled the two horizontal stab pieces on top of the jig and had a perfect stab in no time.
After removing the covering from the center section of the stab, I glued the stab into the factory cut slots at the rear of the fuselage. Note: Care must be taken here to ensure a straight and level stab. The elevators can be temporarily installed and used as a guide to help with centering.
After the stab was installed, I glued the elevators to the stab using CA hinges and thin CA.
The rudder for the F-86 is made from fiberglass and has a wood post inside its leading edge. Pin hinges are used to attach the rudder to the fin. Before attaching the rudder, I needed to cut two of the hinges to size in order to fit properly in the rudder. I used 10 minute epoxy to first glue the hinges into the rudder, and then the rudder assembly to the fin.
The rudder and elevator control installation is very straight forward. The elevator and rudder servos are screwed into factory installed wood mounts on the side of the fuselage. I ran wire push rods inside of the factory installed plastic push rod sleeves. The wire push rods are then secured to the control horns on the control surfaces with a 90 degree bend in the wire push rods and push rod keepers. The push rods are held in place on the servo end with quick connectors.
As shown in the manual, the gear installation looks simple...and for the most part it was but I did run into little snag with the nose gear. The main landing gear provided no issues and was installed very quickly. I installed the factory bent main gear wires into the gear channels in the wing and secured them with landing gear straps. Next, I secured the wheels to the gear wires with wheel collars.
As provided, the diameter of the nose gear wire was bigger than the hole in the wheel collars (It is noted in the manual (as an "E-tips") that the tip of the nose gear wire might be slightly enlarged due to manufacturing. I found the entire wheel support part of the gear wire to be over sized)...it was also a very tight fit with the nose wheel. At first I thought I might have used the wrong wheel collars but they were all the same size. I didn't want to drill out the nose wheel and wheel collar holes and accidentally get them out of round so I decided to grind down part of the landing gear wire itself. After the diameter of the wire was reduced, I sanded it smooth with 600 grit sand paper and put a little bit of grease on it. Next, I installed the wheel and the wheel collars and inserted the nose gear assembly into the mounting hole in the fuse.
I installed the servo for the nose gear steering using the same installation method as for the ailerons (servo mount and strap). A steering bellcrank and set screw are used on the inside extension of the nose gear wire to keep it in place and provide for control horn for the steering.
Mounting of the radio components could not have been much easier. I used hook and loop material to attach the speed controller and receiver to the inside of the fuselage.
**From the manual..."Note: When flying your model in locations where the air temperature is very high, you will need to mount the ESC between the wing rods. Cut a hole in the bottom of the fuselage so the fins of the ESC can be exposed to the air flow outside of the fuselage. This keeps the ESC cool and prevents over-heating."
Before installing the intake tube I needed to install the hook and loop battery "seat belt" around it. The intake is then installed by sliding it into the fuselage and keying it into a lip in the nose of the fuselage.
After working on many edf kits in the past, I found the intake installation on this kit completely refreshing...it fit perfectly and required no glue!
I followed the assembly instructions for the fan and within 5 minutes had it completed and ready to install.
Before installation can begin, I needed to make a paper template to mark the location where the fan fairing would be exiting the thrust tube. After marking the exit location, the template is then moved over to the thrust tube where the template opening is traced onto it. The marked location is then cut out with scissors.
I mounted the fan to the rails with four screws and made sure to add thin CA to the screw holes to help harden the wood. Without the CA you won't be able to get a very tight installation. The front of the fan keys into the back of the fiberglass intake tube. I inserted the exhaust tube through the back of the back of the fuselage and attached it temporarily to the fan with tape. At this point the exhaust tube sticks out past the end of the fuselage. I marked the out line of the fuselage against the thrust tube, removed the thrust tube, and cut of the excess. I then reinstalled the exhaust tube and attached it to the fan with tape. The fan assembly is then covered with a hatch that is taped in place.
After the installation of the fan was complete, I needed to finalize the intake installation with two plywood intake mounting assemblies. Each assembly is made from three parts that must be glued together. I glued the assemblies to the intake tube and then secured them to the mounting tabs in the fuselage with screws. After this step, that makes three places that the intake is secured in place (the front of the fuselage, the front of the fan, and to the intake mounting assemblies). The intake is nice and secure without being directly glued in.
Luckily for me the canopy is factory cut and painted. It also has the entire wood frame assembly installed (Cutting and painting canopies is one of my least favorite steps in assembling models). All that was left for me to do was cut the cockpit floor to shape and install it into the canopy with tape. A pilot is not included with the kit so the tape installation makes it easy to add one later.
Before I could balance the airframe properly, I needed to mount the flight battery. The flight battery is mounted to a piece of hook and loop material that is attached to the top of the fiberglass intake. The hook and loop seat belt strap is then used to secure it in place.
The assembly manual recommends a C.G. between 145mm and 155mm. I balanced my model at exactly 150mm. I used the control throws and expo rates listed in the manual. I found the low rates to be perfect for normal flight. On the other hand, I thought the high rates were a just little much at the suggested expo levels so I added 10 percent more expo to the high rate setting.
|CENTER OF GRAVITY|
|CONTROL THROWS:||High rate||Low rate|
|ELEVATOR:||1/2 inch (12mm) 10% expo||5/16 inch (9mm) 5% expo|
|AILERON:||3/8 inch (10mm) 10% expo||9/32 inch (7mm) linear expo|
|RUDDER:||3/8 inch (10mm) 10% expo||3/16 inch (5mm) 5% expo|
At this point the model was done except for installing the decals. I couldn't wait any longer. I was curious about how much power I would be getting from the fan and if the almost scale sized intake would hamper its performance. A quick run up showed performance would not be a problem. I was seeing 51 amps and 797 watts at about the ten second mark of the run up and the fan was pushing the F-86 against my hand very nicely.
I took some pictures of the F-86 with only the decals that are factory applied. From this point the modeler can choose markings for one of three different versions.
I chose "The Huff" markings for my model.
As a reviewer, I try to stay away from online chatter and forum threads about a particular airframe that I know I will be reviewing. That wasn't the case for this review. Some of the web chatter started to make its way back to me from a few friends that knew I was reviewing the F-86. I read some of the posts detailing some of the difficulties taking off and landing this airplane. I am usually not nervous when flying a review project for the first time and this project wasn't much different, but I definitely was a little more diligent in planning my maiden routine and flight duration. After all was said and done, for me, any apprehension I had quickly went away. The E-flite F-86 flies well. Takeoffs and landings are very predictable (I am flying from pavement) and flight is easily controlled and very spirited.
Before my maiden flight, I did a range check and performed my usual control throw inspection. Everything checked out fine so I made my way to the flight line. I set the aircraft on the ground and began to taxi out. It became clear fairly quickly that I had way too much control throw on the nose gear steering servo. I made my way back to the pits and lowered the throws in my radio (I currently have 4mm of control throw for takeoff and landing). After making the adjustments, I taxied out to the runway and prepared for takeoff. I lined up the F-86 on the runway, took a brief pause, and slowly advanced the throttle. The F-86 began to roll almost immediately. I went to just over 1/4 throttle to get the feel of the F-86 under speed on the runway. All seemed well so I went to full throttle and accelerated down the runway. I slowly began to feed in some up elevator as the plane gained speed. I had just flown my Habu prior to this flight so I was expecting lift off at a certain ground speed. The F-86 needed a little more room to lift off but as I fed in a little more elevator it responded with a smooth lift off. I began to feed in a little more elevator to gain some altitude and the F-86 responded positively. It had plenty of control authority without being overly sensitive (low rates).
Subsequent takeoffs have proven to be hassle free. The F-86 lifts off in a very controlled manner as long as I don't give too much control input. If too much elevator input is given, the F-86 will respond by "leaping" off of the ground. I currently have 14 flights on the F-86, all of which have been from pavement.
Maiden flight - After the takeoff and climb out, I did a few half throttle passes to get used to its flight characteristics. Ok, so I threw in a roll and a half Cuban eight in there too. The F-86 required only a few clicks of right aileron and up elevator to fly level hands off. The maiden flight took place in fairly light winds with the occasional gust to about 10mph. The F-86 tracked very well with only the slightest indication of the famous Sabre tail wiggle. I felt very in control of the airframe at all times. It is the proverbial point and go airframe.
The F-86 comes alive at higher speeds. I clocked the F-86 at 107mph downwind and 91mph upwind. It is rather quick on the recommended power system…and that is with the fixed gear dangling down. The F-86 handles high speed turns well. I find myself yanking the F-86 around a bit because it is very nimble and responds positively. But be careful, too much pull on the high rate elevator in tight turns and the F-86 can snap out. Speaking of transmitter rates, I find the high rate settings for the elevator and ailerons to be a little too much for my taste. I tried the high rate settings but remained on the low rate settings for the remainder of the flight which provides for a more in control and smoother flight.
The F-86 will fly slower than you would think without stalling, but you need to continually stay on the elevator to get it to slow down. If at any point I would release elevator, the nose of the F-86 would push down immediately. When slowing the f-86 down for stall tests, I did notice that the wing began to slightly rock before falling off the side. My F-86 almost always stalls to its left. The stall is not violent and is easy to recover from with some power, elevator, and altitude. Leave yourself some room if you test the stall.
During my maiden flight, the F-86 fan quit in mid air. I made a very gradual turn back to the runway for a landing. The landing was uneventful although a little quick…I didn’t have much time to think about approach and landing decent. I walked out to the end of the runway and retrieved the F-86. At this point I thought I might have gotten a little carried away but when I looked down at the timer on my transmitter, it revealed that I had been in the air for a little over 3 and a half minutes…a bit shorter that I was anticipating. When I got back to the pits, I gave the throttle a quick burst and the fan responded immediately with quite a bit of power. I pulled off the hatch and began to remove the battery. While removing the battery I noticed that the speed controller was no longer mounted to the side of the fuselage with the hook and loop material. The material had melted off of the back of the controller. I grabbed my temperature gun and got a quick reading. The controller was 168 degrees, and that was almost three minutes after touchdown. I got a reading from the battery as well and it was 108 degrees…very good. I put the battery on the balancer and saw that the individual cell voltages for the battery were 3.84, 3.84, and 3.85. It became clear rather quickly, or so I thought, that I was having an overheating controller issue. I flew the F-86 two more times that day and had the same issue both times. The F-86 cut out in flight forcing me to land. The temperature of the controller at the end of those flights averaged 172, all else looked fine. The air temperature that day was about 89 degrees. I decided to pack up the F-86 and head home for the day.
I sent an email to Horizon Hobby describing my issue. At that point they had not received any other complaints of overheating with the controller and decided to send me another controller and motor to test (note: There is a recommended “high temperature ESC location” noted in the manual for fliers in very hot climates). I had purchased a new fan earlier for another project so I decided to use my new fan with the other new components as well. I installed the new fan / motor combination as well as the new controller. I noticed my first fan unit ran a bit smoother so I decided to stick with it. I also wanted use the original fan because it would be easier to figure out where the true problem was. With only one new component, it would be easy to tell if the controller was the issue.
Since the controller swap I no longer have cut outs in flight. I have 11 flights since the controller was changed. The controller still temps in the 160 degree range but it doesn’t seem to be a problem.
With the controller problem solved, I am more relaxed when I fly the F-86, although I was always comfortable with its flight characteristics.
After becoming comfortable with the F-86’s flight characteristics, which honestly did not take long, I began to test the airframe a bit. First, I went back and revisited a roll but this time with much more speed. Rolls are executed very easily. At high speed and high rates I can get a little bit of over rotation, but on low rates at any speed the rolls look majestic on this scale airframe. At lower speed a bit of down elevator is required to keep the F-86 on a level flight path. The rolls are just a bit off center. At one point during a roll I decided to stop while inverted and continue my pass down the runway. Inverted flight is very easy but does require a bit of up elevator control to remain level (amount is speed dependant – quite a bit at lower speeds). The F-86 has a very distinctive look in the air while inverted with the tall tail fin sticking down.
I wanted to see just how effective the rudder was in flight so began to wiggle it back and forth while the plane was level. The rudder is not overly effective, but will push out the rear and begin to dip the wing in the direction of the control input. I tried a few point rolls with the F-86. The point rolls look great but I was unable to hold them for too long due the lower rudder effectiveness (yes, I realize this is a scale airframe with a small rudder. I had flown my Habu prior to this flight and the rudder on the Habu is very effective in rolls and knife edge flight). I tried some knife edge flight and was able to keep the F-86 on its side easily with some elevator and aileron input, but the rudder will not hold the F-86 level and it begins to lose altitude rather quickly. The F-86 will perform a snap roll but it’s a rather subdued elegant version. I also tried some hammerhead stall turns while on high rate rudder. The F-86 will perform a stall turn but I needed to add rudder quicker than I expected in order to get it to begin to kick over. Once it starts to go over the rest of the turn is easily executed. Loops with the F-86 can be rather larger due to the power level and the fact that the F-86 maintains it speed very well. There is no need to power through the top of a loop as long as I hit the top with enough speed… although it is fun to do high speed loops. I did try a loop at lower speed and quickly realized the need to carry power. The F-86 snapped out before the top but recovery was very easy.
The F-86 performs all of the basic 4 channel maneuvers well. Half Cuban eights, split-S’s, immelman turns, loops, etc…. are all performed with relative ease. As with most scale “point and shoot” airframes, I needed to fly in and out of maneuvers. This airframe is not going to help correct any flight control input imperfections, but it is rather easy to fly.
As noted in my flight report, my first three landings were without power due to an ESC issue. Even under those circumstances I find the F-86 easy to land. The key for me to having successful landings is to approach the runway with a nice flat glide slope. No diving at the runway! The E-flite F-86 is a fairly slippery airframe and if you dive from the end of the runway for a landing, you will be punished with a very fast approach and landing. You must fly the F-86 to the ground with continuous back pressure on the elevator. If I let up on the elevator at any point the nose would drop quickly. Once on the ground I find that the F-86 "sticks" well with no tendency to bounce (Pavement). In relation to a Habu, since many have seen those land, the F-86 lands a little bit faster but not fast enough to cause any concern.
The F-86 is now my go to weekend flier (I still fly my other aircraft, but the F-86 almost always goes as well). It is a nice one piece compact scale package that packs great performance for its size. I also find myself pulling it out on days when the wind would ground some of my other aircraft. The F-86 handles the wind very well. So far the fastest wind speed I have flown in was gusting up to 18 mph. For those of you nervous about landing the F-86 pick a day when the wind is blowing directly down the runway and you will be able to slow the F-86 down very nicely.
The E-flite F-86 is not for a beginner. It would be best for a modeler that has completely mastered a more forgiving edf airframe like the Habu or has fast scale or sport plane experience.
I began this project hoping for the possibility of having an everyday scale edf jet, and the E-flite F-86 fits that description well. I sometimes get caught up deliberating whether or not to take a particular airframe to the field due to wind or other circumstances. With the F-86, it's a no brainer. I just grab it and go. The F-86 was easy to assemble due to the great design and high level of prefabrication. The F-86's flight characteristics set this ARF apart from many others in its class, but its design, fit and finish, and overall looks take it to the head of the class.
A scale jet deserves a nice set of retracts...and E-flite happens to make some of the nicest electric retracts on the market. It would have been a HUGE plus if their retracts fit. Here's hoping their next jet will have an option for them.
Joined Mar 2009
Great review, I purchased one several months ago and subsequently sold it. After reading the forums here, describing the long landing approach that is nessesary and the fact it doesn't like grass I decided it wasn't suitable for my flying field. All in all a beautiful looking jet, just wish I had a place that would suit it...
btw: Isn't this the foamy section?
Good review Kevin. It was fair and pointed out valid points such as no retracts. I wish they would have made the jet just a tiny bit bigger.
I wish someone would make thinner electric retracts for 70mm edfs up to 5 pounds.
You fly the jet beautifully; very smooth and scale manuevers. I really liked the inverted pass into a sort of half reverse cuban.
Hey, ApexAero, you're teasing us. Do you have a thread for the retract install? What are you using for the door sequencer?
Sorry Corelli thats Tailslide5.0's f-86 from the f-86 thread, it hauls the mail huh!
He's one of many speed mentors here! He used sapac gear and modified the nose arm to fold flat, uses a separate servo/spare channel on the door.
Cool stuff I just saw was a fellow added speed brakes to the rear fuse sides like scale
He also did a highly modified windrider f-35 with a 90mm that did like 150 or better.
Eflight F-86 finally Maidened Yesterday!!!
Well I finally was able to maiden my Sabre yesterday. I have had many problems with stripping or melting servos (7) 3 nose wheel steering, (2) in the wings, and one rudder servos stripped. I reduced the rudder low rate to 10% and was able to run stright down the paved runway. I removed the steerinf servo from under the intake tube to the side of the fuse and ran a Durbo steering cable toit that works grate. No more stripped gears.
The maidened flight was at our club field here in Libbock, TX and was a very dark gray overcast day with 7-8 knts wind down the runway. It would not get up to speed with a 4000 amp 4s 20c "Blue China" battery drawing about 44 amps and 550 watts on the stock setup. One of the other guys had a freshly charged 3600 amp 4s 40-60C battery that we tried and got 52 amps and 690 watts. I made the decision to "Go For IT" as I had just about had enough of this model. IF it didn't make it airborne on this attempt it would become a static display model and I would use the innerds for something else.
It took off in about 150 feet and climbed out at about 60 degrees as I fed in 95% of my down trim to get it level. It was all over the sky and got real SMALL against the dark overcast! The ailerons were VERY sensitive and it was hard to keep level. When I switched to low rates it snapped into a left dive from about 600 feet abour 3/4 of a mile away! Glade I pilot eyes as it was a dot going stright in! I flipped back to high rates and "gussed" at what attatude the F-86 was in and pulled full up! Was a good guess as it pulled out and missed the cotton plants!
I flew it back over the field and after fighting the usper touchy wings made a single approach and successful one bounce landing "Was a HOT landing"!
I will work on reducing throws and adding 75% expo all around. It does not need much aileron throw!!
I will try again this weekend with the new setup.
NFG Check Six
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