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ElectriFly F-16 EDF Review

ElectriFly continues to expand on their lineup of fiberglass models, this time with the classic F-16 Fighting Falcon.

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Fan Size: 56mm HyperFlow
Motor: Ammo 24-45-3790
ESC: GP Silver Series 35A
Weight: 32 - 34oz.
Length: 34.5 in (875 mm)
Wingspan: 22.5 in (570 mm)
Distributed by: Tower Hobbies
Manufactured by: ElectriFly
MSRP: $219.99
 
Continuing to build on the great success of the Evader, the folks over at ElectriFly have introduced another quick flying, good looking, trunk sized EDF .... this time with the Lockheed Martin F-16 "Fighting Falcon". Dressed in the General Dynamics colors, the ElectriFly F-16 looks sleek from just about any angle. Powered by the same setup found in the ElectriFly Evader, the F-16 claims to be able to achieve stock speeds in the 90mph range. If my previous experience with the Evader is worth anything, I believe it will do every bit of that (and maybe even a bit more), but unlike the Evader this F-16 also promises some very nice slow speed characteristics (with a working rudder to boot!).

History

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a modern multi-role jet fighter aircraft built in the United States. Designed as a lightweight fighter, it evolved into a successful multi-role aircraft. The F-16 was developed by General Dynamics. In 1993, General Dynamics sold its aircraft manufacturing business to the Lockheed Corporation, now Lockheed Martin. The Falcon's versatility is a paramount reason it was a success on the export market and is serving 24 countries. It is the largest and probably most significant Western fighter program with over 4000 aircraft built. Though no longer produced for the United States Air Force, it is still produced for export. The Fighting Falcon is regarded as a superb dogfighter with innovations such as the bubble canopy, side-mounted control stick, and reclined seat. It was also the first US fighter aircraft to match the English Electric Lightning's ability to execute 9 g (88 m/sē) turns. Although the F-16's official popular name is "Fighting Falcon," it is well known as the "Viper," the General Dynamics codename for the project during its early development. Source: Flightlevel350.com More information on the F-16 can be found here and here.

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Kit Contents

Despite the best efforts of the delivery crew to destroy my review project in-transit, the plane made it to me free of defects, and all the components accounted for in the box. The F-16 is nicely packaged, with each individual item wrapped to keep it free of dings/scratches. Upon initial inspection of the fuselage, I was impressed with the overall quality and light weight of the fuselage. The wings are built up balsa and nicely covered with some red monokote. As with the other ElectriFly electronic components, the included Ammo inrunner has its bullet connectors already soldered in place and just needs to be installed in the HyperFlow fan unit. A simple (but very effective) bungee launcher is included, as well as a display/work stand. Another pleasant surprise while inspecting the fuselage came when I noticed the pre-cut and installed rudder. The hardware bag consists of quality components and short of glue and tools, it should contain just about eveything needed to complete the build. And last but not least, the ElectriFly manual serves as an awesome guide for your build with good pictures and a text summary for each step of the process .... let's get to it!

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Kit includes/features:

  • Pre-painted fiberglass fuselage
  • HyperFlow 56mm EDF unit
  • Ammo 24-45-3790kv inrunner motor
  • Display stand
  • Decal set
  • Hardware bag (control horns, e/z connectors, etc.)

Kit requirements:

  • 4x micro servos
  • 4+ channel Receiver
  • 35A ESC (Great Planes Silver Series)
  • Battery (4s 2200mah)

Provided for review

Tower Hobbies provided the recommended setup for my review including a R617FS 6 channel Futaba receiver, 4x micro servos (Futaba S3156s), a 4s 2200mah 20C ElectriFly Lipo battery and the required 35A Silver Series ESC. Each of the components comes individually packaged with their own respective instruction manual. As usual with ElectriFly components, the ESC and battery already have my preferred Deans connectors in place, which makes getting things installed even that much easier.



 



Assembly

The ElectriFly manual serves as a great guide during your build. Not only does each step have a good visual representation as to what needs to happen, but there is also a detailed text description of each step as well. Assemble your HyperFlow fan unit, run it up before you insert it into the fuselage and seal it into place. Should you decide to-do anything more then run up the fan to verify its direction of rotation, you should consider building a test stand. Even fans of this size can cause a lot of harm in the event things go wrong, and it should be treated with the appropriate respect. Standard construction techniques apply with this model and nothing other then a nice allen wrench, hobby knife, and some epoxy/ca are required to get you going.

Plane stand

One of the cool things that ElectriFly frequently does is include a stand for your model. Not only does it help during the build if you don't already have a stand but once your model is completed it serves as a cool way to display your model as well.

EDF assembly / install

The assembly of the F-16's HyperFlow 56mm fan unit starts by carefully removing a bit of extra material from the center of the fan housing and trimming away any excess "flashing" so the fiberglass adapter will easily slide into place over the rear of the plastic housing unit. Next, heat up the brass rotor adapter and slip it into place over the motor shaft ensuring the flat spot stays centered with your set screw hole. Use a little thread lock (blue is what I use), and tighten the set screw in place. Now the motor can be mounted in the fan housing using the provided hardware. Again, use a bit of threadlock to keep things snug in place, but use it sparingly as threadlock can erode some plastics. Once the motor is in place, I used a bit of medium CA to mount the stator extension to the back side of the fan unit and sanded up the fiberglass adapter to ensure it wouldn't snag or cut the motor wires in any way. After the adapter cone was prepped, I slid it into place and secured it with some thin CA. Be careful using the thin CA as it has a habit of getting into places it shouldn't very quickly. With the fan housing completed, I was then able to install the rotor which is as simple as sliding it over the brass adapter I previously mounted on the motor shaft and securing it in place with the provided 3mm screw and a dab of thread lock. With the unit now complete, I attached the motor wires and ran the unit up to verify it's direction of rotation and overall smoothness. With everything checking out as expected, it's time to mount the unit in the fuse.

NOTE: There is an addendum for this step of the kit which states the included former needs to be sanded a bit to allow it to fit into place more readily, so I decided to start there. A few minutes with some medium grit paper had my former ready to go, but as noted in the directions please do handle it carefully and don't force things into place.

Installing the completed fan unit is not difficult, but I recommend that you try it without any glue a few times to get the feel for what the "correct" install feels like once everything is aligned and installed correctly. Slip the adapter cone in place so that it keys into the tail cone, and then rotate the unit so the wires protrude from the top side of the formers (nearest the topside of the fuselage). Once you are happy with the fit, remove the fan unit and mix up a batch of 30 minute epoxy. Brush it on the fan unit sparingly, and redo the above steps but this time ensure the plywood former you sanded to fit ealrier is in place sans glue. Once the epoxy has cured, mix up a batch of 5 minute epoxy and Microballoons (epoxy will work fine by itself here), and apply a fillet between the plywood former and fuselage. Prepare the housing flange by notching it for the pushrod cutouts and making a relief cut near the bottom of it. Mount it in place with the epoxy and Microballoon technique as mentioned in the previous step, and finally cover up all those exposed wires with the fin cover.



Wings

Assembly of the wing starts by mounting the aileron servos in place into the pre-slotted holes in the underside of each wing half. Per the instructions, simply glue the servos in place after preparing them and cleaning the outer casing with rubbing alcohol. Next install the servo covers and control horns. As usual, make sure the control horn holes are aligned as close to the hinge line as possible. After the glue has dried on the control horns, install your pushrod connectors and pushrods and ensure everything is centered and works as expected via your transmitter.

Installing the wing is pretty straight forward and first requires the anti-rotation pins to be glued in place, as well as a pair of 6" extensions to be hooked up. Once each wing half is prepped, slip the aluminum wing tube thru the fuselage (my wing tube required a bit of sanding to fit smoothly), and each wing half over it respectively. Using blue painters tape (or something similar) outline where the wing panels meet the fuselage and remove both wing panels and wing tube. Using sand paper roughen up the area you outlined with the tape and clean it with rubbing alcohol. Remove your tape, re-install the wing tube, and mix up a batch of 15 or 30 minute epoxy. Push the wings over the tube and ensure they are seated all the way against the fuselage. To help make sure you don't get any epoxy in your servo leads, consider putting a piece of tape over it.

 

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Tail

The vertical portion of the stab is molded into the fuselage, and both the horizontal and vertical control surfaces are pre-cut and hinged. As with its real life counterpart, the ElectriFly F-16 has a bit of anhedreal built into the horizontal stab. In order to ensure you get things set up square (to each other, and to the main wing), a jig has been provided to help during the build. Once the jig is assembled (very easy), slide each stabilizer half in place into the fuselage and slip the jig over them. Step back about 10 feet and verify everything is level, then mix up a batch of 30 minute epoxy. Get a popsicle stick or a small brush and apply a good amount of epoxy in the fuselage where the stabs will reside. Slide the horizontal stabs in place and clean up any excess glue with rubbing alcohol and a paper towel BEFORE you slide the jig into place. This helps ensure no remnant epoxy is left to seal your jig to the stab. Verify everything is aligned correctly and let cure before handling any further.

Hooking up the control surfaces for the tail requires the mounting of two servos in the fuselage, trimming their control arms, running the provided pushrods thru the pre-installed guides, and finally securing them in place with the screw lock pushrod connectors. Take note that the rudder pushrod is of a different length then the elevators.

 

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Radio Installation

The radio installation is as simple as placing your receiver under the removable cockpit, and sealing it in place with double sided tape or velcro. Once in place, run the servo leads up from the various locations throughout the fuselage and plug them into the correct port(s). Make sure you mount the receiver far enough forward as to leave enough room for the battery pack which goes right behind it.

Completion

Completing the F-16 requires the mounting of the bungee hook to the fuselage, placement of the decals, mounting of the battery, checking the C.G. of the model, and also verifying the throws on the control surfaces. I used the default throws and C.G for my maiden flight, and have yet to change them(with the exception of a bit more expo). Ready to go the F-16 weighs in at 32 ounces and is making ~470 watts @ ~31 amps.




Flying

Basics

The F-16 is a very smooth flying plane, but between its size, speed, and colors it can keep you on your toes. That's not too say that it has to be flown like a bat out of hell tho, because whether you are looking for smoking hot low passes, or low and slow high alpha airshow style passes the F-16 can pull it off. I've really enjoyed both how well the F-16 shows off its speed in larger venues with more open areas as well as how it handles itself in tighter venues like small parks and what not. Inverted flight, loops, rolls, etc. are all possible with the stock power system on 4s, and the plane has good vertical to boot getting the plane to a point where it's hard to see pretty quick with a little bit of steam behind it. The rudder is always a nice option to have in any flight condition, and I'm certain a more proficient pilot could use it to knife-edge properly but to be honest I haven't attempted one as I always manage to massacre them regardless of the airframe I try them with.

Taking Off and Landing

Takeoff

Between the good amount of thrust provided by the HyperFlow fan unit and the bungee, takeoffs are a no brainer with the F-16 .... so much so I've yet to try and handlaunch the F-16 as the manual states you can. Simply stake the bungee in the ground, hook the F-16 up to the tow ring, step back about 25 paces, select full throttle and let her rip! Once under the bungees pull, let the plane build momentum and keep the planes nose just above the horizon and the wings level. Try not to make any abrupt movements until the place has released from the hook.

Landing

With the F-16s slow speed handling characteristics it should come as no surprise that landing this plane is not all that difficult and when compared to the similarly powered Evader this thing just gets silly slow during final approach. I've found the F-16 can be landed one of two ways. Either with a higher speed and a shallower glide slope, or with a higher angle of attack and slower airspeeds. My first flights I found myself being a bit more conservative with the jet as I wasn't sure just how far I could push it before it would bite back and found myself using approach style #1 (fast, shallow approach angle), which resulted in the plane sliding on the grass a bit but without any damage at all. On my fourth or fifth flight, after a few minutes of spirited flying I hit LVC, but fortunately I was coming into the wind and was far enough down field to make it back near us. As the plane coasted in, I held it off the ground and kept feeding in back stick until the F-16 was in a very high alpha about 5 - 10 feet off the ground with very little forward velocity. Keeping these inputs the plane eventually just plopped down in the grass resting there letting me know just how slow and agile this plane can be for those more 'targeted' approaches. Whether it's landing style #1 or #2 that suits your fancy, the F-16 gives you options and is pretty straightforward to get back on the ground whichever way you choose.

Is This For a Beginner?

The F-16 is not geared towards a beginner. I suggest you build up your skills a bit before you attempt to fly the F-16. Any pilot with a moderate to advanced skill level shouldn't have any issues flying this plane.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

 




 




 




Conclusion

All in all I've enjoyed both building and flying the F-16. Take your time assembling the fan unit and make sure you try and get it as smooth as possible before you mount everything in place, it'll payoff in performance and reliability. Overall the F-16 is one of those "fly it up close, fly it far away, fly it fast, or fly it slow" kind of planes. With it's smaller size, good looks, and wide flight envelope I suspect I'll be seeing a few more of these at flying fields around me this summer.

Likes:

  • Looks great
  • Handles well in slow flight, but still maintains a good top speed
  • Included bungee launcher and stand

Dislikes:

  • 2d pilot
  • Not easy to access fan/motor once installed

Last edited by Angela H; Sep 20, 2011 at 01:29 PM..

Discussion

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Old Sep 20, 2011, 04:58 PM
Registered User
Sebastopol, CA, USA
Joined Dec 1996
539 Posts
Your review is a masterpiece, but by now I have learned to expect no less from you. Bravo!!

Where you have outdone even your usual excellence is in the layout. It is terrific and absolutely professional. A few of our authors come close, but none touches this one!

I for one would be appreciative if you would start a topic on the authors' page and each week instruct us in one of your techniques. Sure, I have tried to teach myself by going to "view source" and downloading a mass of code, but I'm sure you could simplify things and spoon feed us HTML novices one technique at a time.

Well, hats off to you. And, oh! by the way. That's a terrific airplane.
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Old Sep 21, 2011, 10:31 PM
fly and then fly some more!
nickelbn1's Avatar
Springdale, AR
Joined Dec 2006
2,178 Posts
love the looks of this plane. a tad high priced I think, but very nice looking and seems to fly well. I like the rudder option as well. Definitely would not mind having one!
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Old Sep 22, 2011, 11:26 AM
Registered User
Joined May 2011
420 Posts
Very nice plane. Seriously considering buying it. Would this be a good first EDF?
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Old Sep 22, 2011, 12:12 PM
fly and then fly some more!
nickelbn1's Avatar
Springdale, AR
Joined Dec 2006
2,178 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by PepeM View Post
Very nice plane. Seriously considering buying it. Would this be a good first EDF?
no, it would not. it says right in his review that its for intermediate to advanced pilots. If you are a very advanced prop pilot and just going to a first edf.....maybe. A Parkzone Habu makes a great first edf. this would be a good 2nd.
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Old Sep 22, 2011, 03:06 PM
Registered User
Joined May 2011
420 Posts
I am also considering the Habu. I just like non-foam planes better. Thanks for the input.
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Old Sep 22, 2011, 06:18 PM
Lipo abuser ... smoke on!
gp125racer's Avatar
Joined Feb 2005
1,911 Posts
Thanks for the kind words Albert! I'm hoping to get this thing out again this weekend for some more flights on it
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Old Sep 22, 2011, 07:22 PM
deltas are cool
AIR SALLY's Avatar
Tehachapi ,CA.
Joined Apr 2006
20,641 Posts
great review and the pics are just awsome
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Old Sep 22, 2011, 11:23 PM
The Earth got in the way!
kuczy's Avatar
United States, OH, Canal Winchester
Joined Feb 2007
6,226 Posts
I have the Evader and love the way it flies. I agree with the fan access, but once together I felt no need to change power systems. The Evader is one planes that actually performs just as described. So I imagine that the F-16 really does perform well also.

If they could just get rid of the cheater then I would love these even more.
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Old Sep 23, 2011, 12:24 PM
Thatsright I drankthe rum
K9000wner's Avatar
USA, MN, Robbinsdale
Joined May 2006
1,335 Posts
how a bout a pic of the underside
looks like a HUGE CHEATER hole to me
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Old Sep 23, 2011, 05:31 PM
Aka: Tom Jenkins
ApexAero's Avatar
Palm Beach County, Fl.
Joined Aug 2008
4,421 Posts
The evader is a led sled for the size, the fuse&mold work is so cheesy they have to bondo it up to take paint. Makes me thinks this one's a turd also.
Too bad the shoddy manufactures don't use epoxy.
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Last edited by ApexAero; Sep 26, 2011 at 04:18 PM. Reason: slang removed!
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Old Sep 23, 2011, 05:41 PM
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Double E's Avatar
Atlanta, GA
Joined Mar 2009
889 Posts
I own and fly both the Evader and the F-16. The Evader is a bit quicker than the F-16 but the F-16 includes a rudder. These planes may be a little on the heavy side but they are a huge improvement over the typical foamy. My Evader with Wicked motor easily hits 110 mph and that is pretty quick for this size plane. I think Electrifly have hit a home run with both of these birds.
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Old Sep 24, 2011, 09:10 AM
KK6MQJ
Bajora's Avatar
Joined Sep 2004
13,619 Posts
Quote:
I have the Evader and love the way it flies. I agree with the fan access, but once together I felt no need to change power systems. The Evader is one planes that actually performs just as described. So I imagine that the F-16 really does perform well also.

If they could just get rid of the cheater then I would love these even more.
K9000, Apex ... FWIW, Kuczy demonstrates in his post above how you can nicely express your sentiments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by K9000wner View Post
how a bout a pic of the underside
looks like a HUGE CHEATER hole to me
Uh, there are several photos in the review that show it. No conspiracy there!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ApexAero View Post
The evader is a led sled for the size, the fuse&mold work is so cheesy they have to bondo it up to take paint. Makes me thinks this one's a turd also.
Too bad the nips don't use epoxy.
NOT a very PC way of expressing your sentiments IMO. You "think" it is a turd but I am guessing you have not even seen one fly in person or even seen one with your own eyes? Oh, and BTW, it is "lead sled".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Double E View Post
I own and fly both the Evader and the F-16. The Evader is a bit quicker than the F-16 but the F-16 includes a rudder. These planes may be a little on the heavy side but they are a huge improvement over the typical foamy. My Evader with Wicked motor easily hits 110 mph and that is pretty quick for this size plane. I think Electrifly have hit a home run with both of these birds.
Another polite post that nicely expresses ones opinion. Manners matter.
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Old Sep 24, 2011, 04:40 PM
Aka: Tom Jenkins
ApexAero's Avatar
Palm Beach County, Fl.
Joined Aug 2008
4,421 Posts
Quote:
Oh, and BTW, it is "lead sled".
So how would make the assumption that another has never laid eyes on such a turd let alone fly the turd. Self expression is in the ears of the recipient, I wasn't trying to be polite. Why try to be polite when its this kind of junk that has the potential to vex ones views toward the hobby in general.

Why? it is what it is, all the blown smoke in the world won't change its status.
Remember what WC Fields said? To be polite, my version is "Buyer Beware"
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Last edited by ApexAero; Sep 24, 2011 at 06:30 PM.
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Old Sep 24, 2011, 05:12 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,416 Posts
Nice review Don. I enjoyed watching the video and seeing how the plane could perform and it supported your conclusions in my eyes. I haven't seen one in person but saw an Evader fly a number of times at the West Coast 75 Birthday party over Labor Day weekend and people stopped and watched every time it flew. I even bought raffle tickets trying to win one in the raffle but no such luck. Thanks for the review. Mike H
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