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Old Nov 28, 2013, 07:32 PM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
Joined Aug 2004
2,274 Posts
Mini-Review
The Vitality FT009 review

The Fei-Lun/Vitality FT009 review


Introduction


Hey guys,

In early 2003, my neighbor (who saw my early R/C attempts at flight) invited me to go R/C sailing with him; this led to me to learn a lot from him with regards to the construction, rigging and sailing of these graceful, magnificent watercraft. Iíve always missed the boating experience, perhaps itís because I grew up in Auckland or maybe itís because of those beautiful hand-crafted sailboats my neighbor made; either way it has always been in the back of my mind although I eventually developed planes, helicopters and quads as my passion.

Fast forward to 2012, I had the opportunity to see the final prototype of the Fei-Lun FT007; The performance, reliability and affordability sparked this old passion of mine. I knew that the FT007 was going to become a hot seller, indeed; a lot of you who got the FT007 (and rebrands) are now fans and love it as much as I do.

Building upon the success of the FT007, Fei-Lun recently announced the FT009; a larger, more powerful, water-cooled improvement upon the FT007.
In this review I would like to explore the various aspects of this boat to see if it really does live up to our expectations and whether or not she should be a part of your fleet.

Before we begin, I would like to thank T-Mart for providing the review sample and their willingness to stand behind a fair and unbiased review.

From the dock


The FT-009 comes well-packed in a Styrofoam box. Sheís even got her own plastic stand, unfortunately it was missing one of the three parts so I wonít be able to use it (itís most likely sitting somewhere in the Tmart warehouse )

The box that the FT009 comes in- Styrofoam inserts have been placed to provide maximum protection for the boat

In the box youíll find the following
1x FT-009 boat (assembled, thankfully)
1x 2.4GHz 2 channel proportional radio
1x 7.4V 1500 mAh Lipo battery
1x Spare propeller
1x Lipo charger
1x Display stand
1x Nose bumper (which mine didn't come with for some reason)
1x Instruction manual

The stated range is around 100-150 meters (or around 330-490 feet)
Charge time takes around 4 hours with the stock charger (but the standard balancing plugs, it should allow you to use more professional chargers)
Finally, run-time is expected to be 5-6 minutes.


Construction and design


The FT009, like its predecessor, is made of ABS plastic. This plastic has proven to be quite tough in my experience; it doesnít become brittle even in the freezing lakes around Beijing in the winter.
When I picked the boat up, my first impression was that WOW THIS THING IS REALLY HEAVY!

The boat hull is quite similar to that of the FT007

Letís take a look at what's inside the FT009:

The ESC/Receiver is located in a sealed box in the bow of the boat;
The motor is a water-cooled 540 class brushed motor; it is located behind the electronics bay for better weight distribution. The coupling between the motor and the drive shaft is the same as the FT007 unit but the air-cooling fan has been removed.

Water-cooling system: the water inlet is located next to the drive shaft just slightly forward of the propellers. Tubing brings the water around the motor and exits from the bottom of the hull.

Behind the motor sits the battery bay; located above the drive shaft, it is unlikely that the battery would come in contact with any water that may get into the hull.
Finally, the servo is a standard 3 wired servo. The servo linkage exits the hull through a rubber seal and connects to the large rudder.




An interesting design feature of the FT009 is the double canopy. A plastic cover with an o-ring seal is locked into place with four tabs and provides a watertight seal. A decorative canopy fits above this cover and is locked aft of the canopy.

An additional feature of the FT009 that I appreciate is the hole located at the stern of the boat; from which water could be emptied without opening the boat canopy.

A self righting feature is built into the boat; if the boat becomes inverted, give full reverse then full forward throttle and the boat will right itself.


From the bridge


Included is a very basic two channel 2.4GHz transmitter (the same unit as found on the FT007); it features trims on both the throttle and the steering channels but provides no other functions (not that you really need them for this product anyways). I would say that the plastic is somewhat nice though the finish is quite unrefined. The transmitter feels quite nice to hold in my big hands, and itís not unreasonably heavy even with the 6 ďAAĒ batteries it requires.
The throttle does not have much of any feedback at all, I prefer a little tension in the springs; as to the steering the spring tension is just right for my likings.

On the water

With batteries charged (and yes unfortunately it does take a good four hours to charge this Lithium Ion battery), off I went to the local pond. Binding required a few tries but after the boat is bound to the transmitter, the radio signal is as solid as ever and I could run her as far as I could see without losing control. Off the bat the FT009 is blazingly fast compared to its little sister! There's a really tall rooster tail (which I know you'll appreciate Romeo); Iím surprised that it could manage such speeds being that sheís quite hefty when compared to similar-sized competitors; she gets on plane very quickly and effortlessly.
I do prefer the way the FT009 rides through the water than the comparatively sized WL911 (which porpoises through the water); not to mention that the FT009 feels a lot more powerful.
The improvements on the water-tight seals really make a spectacular difference as very little water (note: almost none) manages to get into the hull after a full-battery worth of high-speed runs.

As for the water-cooling system, well that works very nicely too; the motor had a very slight warmth to it but I would have comfortably ran another battery pack if it weren't for the non-standard battery lead.
For those of you worried about the self-righting system, it works as advertised. I went to test out the boat with our chief test pilot here at HiSKY and we were throwing it into the water in every-which way possible. The FT009 is inherently very stable (VERY low CG) and it almost always self-rights without any input from the user.

Conclusion

Overall, the FT009 builds on the success of its predecessor. She is powerful, affordable and most importantly, reliable. A lot of the problems seen with the FT007 (like the amount of water it likes to ingest) are practically solved with the FT009; this makes me a happy camper.

I do have a few problems with this boat that I would like to point out though, namely the throttle springs (which are barely there), the choice of plugs with the battery (non-standard, Iíll switch mine to Deans plugs) and the lack of run-time.

ďIs it the right boat for me?Ē I think this boat should satisfy those who are just starting out with R/C boats; even those with some experience would enjoy it in my opinion. Iím very happy with her despite the little flaws (remember that thereís never a perfect product) and I think that you get a lot for the price you pay.


Guys, I hope youíve enjoyed my review (and me blabbing on and on) of the FT009. If you have any questions or suggestions, please comment below or send me a PM.

Special thanks goes to Tmart again for the sample and their support of my (always) unbiased reviews.

You can pick the boat up here for the price of 64.89


Here's a video of the FT009 in action, enjoy!
FT009 video in HD (6 min 33 sec)


Pros and Cons


Pros
+ Great value for money
+ Powerful drive-train
+ Water-cooling system
+ Waterproofing performance improved
+ Self-righting feature

Cons
- Transmitter throttle spring provides very faint feedback
- Binding could be a little problematic sometimes
- Non-standard battery plug


*I brought the HiSKY test pilot with me to the pond... and in true pilot fashion, he wanted to make the boat fly!! (I swear these are not photoshopped)

tic-tocs with a boat!


I've always wanted to see a flying boat!
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Last edited by jameschen072; Apr 25, 2014 at 10:16 PM.
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Old Nov 28, 2013, 08:48 PM
Step 1: Tear it apart
MassiveOverkill's Avatar
United States, FL, Melbourne
Joined Feb 2011
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Nice review partner. I'll have to pick one up.
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Old Nov 28, 2013, 08:48 PM
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Looks like a great boat for the money!
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Old Nov 28, 2013, 10:05 PM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
Joined Aug 2004
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Cheers guys, this is really a great boat for the price and its performance is truly amazing, just wait till you see the video! (which I'll upload soon)
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Old Nov 29, 2013, 08:16 AM
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SeByDocKy's Avatar
France, PACA, La Valette-du-Var
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Nice review James

Will order one tmart got them in stock ?

EDIT : They keep the same security system ... I will by-pass it asap
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Old Nov 29, 2013, 08:32 AM
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I ordered it using the B12 coupon 51 USD
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Old Nov 29, 2013, 08:38 AM
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Now I can't imagine to race it in my favorite Lake close to my home.

FT007 racing in le revest les eaux (5 min 51 sec)
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Old Nov 29, 2013, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeByDocKy View Post
Nice review James

Will order one tmart got them in stock ?

EDIT : They keep the same security system ... I will by-pass it asap
Do you have any pics about disabling it? I had my ft007 flip on me the other day and the sensors didnt pick up and it floated away! Luckily next morning I did a search and found it on the other side of the lake!! :O
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Old Nov 29, 2013, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by CWBETB View Post
Do you have any pics about disabling it? I had my ft007 flip on me the other day and the sensors didnt pick up and it floated away! Luckily next morning I did a search and found it on the other side of the lake!! :O
Yes ...

I used a motherboard jumper then I hot glued all the package
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Old Nov 30, 2013, 12:17 AM
Working to make things happen!
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Joined Mar 2013
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Ok...I was going to stick to flying things. But, I got an inexpensive little RC car...yeah, just one little guy. Why am I trying to build a navy now? This looks very cool, and I cannot wait to see some video. It sounds like it would be a relatively good place to start in RC watercraft.
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Old Nov 30, 2013, 02:56 AM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
Joined Aug 2004
2,274 Posts
@Seb: hey ol' pal, I'm still waiting for you to decide on when to come to Asia, we'll go boating as well!
@HeliStorm, here it is!!
FT009 video (6 min 33 sec)


Will hopefully upload a HD version soon, but uploading this 480p one took me all day with my slowww VPN
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Old Nov 30, 2013, 03:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jameschen072 View Post
@Seb: hey ol' pal, I'm still waiting for you to decide on when to come to Asia, we'll go boating as well!
@HeliStorm, here it is!!
http://youtu.be/CWLPGzquNas

Will hopefully upload a HD version soon, but uploading this 480p one took me all day with my slowww VPN

Very nice video James .

James, my trip to HK would be probably in first semester 2014. Now moving next saturday to Tahoe Lake haha
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Old Nov 30, 2013, 08:44 AM
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Looks great on the water, one concern though, it just strands you when battery dies? No warning?
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Old Nov 30, 2013, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by SeByDocKy View Post
Yes ...

I used a motherboard jumper then I hot glued all the package
Thanks! I was just able to follow a red and black wire back to esc and solder the two together and works fine. Looks like it had 4+ water contact points, I can see why this could be a issue if one point fails it wont work. If anyone buys this boat or the Ft007, ditch the safety asap!
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