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Great Planes ElectriFly Fokker DVII WWI ARF

Mike Llewellyn explores this great looking scale WWI electric ARF!

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Introduction


Wingspan:36” 914mm
Wing Area:360sq” 23.2dm2
Wing type:Built up balsa
AUW weight:Advertised - 25.7oz 730g
Actual 22.7oz 647g
Power/Wt:112 W/Lb.
Length:27” 685mm
Wing loading:9 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:4 – Micro
Transmitter:4 Channel +
Receiver:Mini/Micro 4ch+
Battery:ElectriFly Power Series 1250mA 3s LiPoly
Motor:ElectriFly Rimfire 28-30-950 Brushless Outrunner
ESC:Great Planes Silver Series ESC 25amp
Available Online through:Tower Hobbies
Manufacturer:ElectriFly

Great Planes and ElectriFly continue to roll out some impressive small planes. This newest release is an all-wood ARF class WW1 fighter familiar to everyone. As a small child I played with a Fokker DVII plastic toy, and ever since then I have wanted an RC version. This new plane has had a non-stop grin on my face. Another welcome feature is the Fokker DVII is not commonly modeled, something always a plus for me in aircraft selection. For those who prefer all wood models this certainly fits the bill.

History Fokker DVII

In 1917 Anthony Fokker and Reinhold Platz began work on a new fighter aircraft. The first DVII's showed up in service in April 1918 and in the fall of that year there were about 800 of these planes in service.

Powered by either Mercedes 160-180HP or a more powerful 12 cylinder 185HP BMW made the Fokker DVII a formidable aircraft. The plane was also able to fly to high altitudes and altitude was a good thing in a dogfight. It topped out at 116mph and a ceiling of nearly 20K feet. Supposedly the BMW version was the one to have and was extremely popular with the German pilots. Helping it in the popularity contest was the fact that it was easy to fly.

The Fokker DVII had twin Spandau synchronized guns that fired through the revolving propeller.

The engineers of the DVII had it right when they put the "strength" inside the wings with two plywood spars. These internal spars enabled the DVII to eliminate the drag of external flying wires. This would soon become the future for all airplanes.

An engineer can know he has done something right when at the end of the war, as a condition of the Versailles Treaty, the remaining German Fokker DVII’s had to be handed over to the Allies. The DVII was certainly an amazing airplane and a formidable foe.

Kit Contents

The ARF was well packaged and the contents in the box were very well protected. Upon opening the box it was immediately clear this has the same quality and detail work found in the new SE5a - also a member of the ElectriFly all wood WW1 series (recently reviewed by Mike Heer). The amount of pre-fabrication will make this aircraft ready to fly in record time.

Kit includes:

  • Pre-covered wood fuselage and wings
  • Lightweight plastic cowl
  • Battery hatch
  • Hardware (EZ type connectors, pushrods and horns)
  • Applied decals and markings
  • Unpainted pilot figure
  • Wood for motor mount
  • Picture assembly guide and instructions

Kit requires:

  • Motor
  • Propeller
  • 3s LiPoly battery
  • 4 servos 7-10g type
  • Receiver
  • 4 channel minimum transmitter
  • 25A ESC

Equipment Used in this review:

  • ElectriFly Rimfire 28-30-950 brushless motor
  • ElectriFly Silver Series 25amp Brushless ESC
  • ElectriFly Power Series 1250 3s LiPoly battery pack
  • Futaba 3107 Micro Servos
  • 10x4.5 ElectriFly PowerFlow Electric Propeller

These components are from the ElectriFly recommended equipment. It is nice to see manufacturers do some of the hard work for us, making it easy to select the right equipment for success. I do recommend the Rimfire motor as it will bolt right to the airplane with no modification.

Part weights

As with all ARFs, the builder has very little control over the final flying weight. Power system and battery can make a difference but it is nice when manufacturers spend time to use proper quality components and keep the weight down.

ARF Weights
Final AUW: 22.7oz (647g)
Top wing 93g
Bottom wing 45g
Fuse 92g
Cowl 12g
Hardware 54g
Rudder 5g
Stab and elevator 14g
Landing gear and wheels 31g

Final weight of the aircraft ready to fly was 22.7oz or about 647g. This is quite a bit lighter than the estimated weight -- always a good thing. Even though the Fokker DVII is a tad heavier than most small airplanes, two wings keep the loading very light at 9oz/sq ft. So no need to be concerned about the final weight it flies great!

Assembly

This aircraft is nearly complete and needs only minor assembly to have it ready to go. Cabane struts and the landing gear structure are all pre-bent, saving significant work.

Done by the factory:

  • Wings, fuselage and tail feathers are built and covered
  • Hinge slots cut
  • Pushrods tubes pre-installed
  • Wings are joined (no gluing here)

The builder will need to:

  • Install radio system
  • Install the power system
  • Install the cabanes
  • Install the pre-built land gear structure
  • Paint the pilot

So for most builders 8-9 hours will have this airplane ready to fly!

Fuselage

We started by attaching the bottom wing as a reference point to keep the horizontal stabilizer true.

The RX goes on an access plate forward of the landing gear structure.

Motor ESC installation

Wings

I just love biplanes. Wow, now – this is not really a true biplane, so before you correct me I will correct myself. Since the lower wing is smaller than the top wing, it is technically a sesquiplane. Yep, when one wing is significantly smaller than the other it is a sesquiplane. With that said – I am still going to call it a biplane, so there!

The wings are covered with a lightweight film and include pre-installed correct German cross markings and the distinctive scalloping in the wing. The wings are the correct shape with the top being tapered with no dihedral. In fact the ailerons are scale as well, being tapered and extending past the wing tips.

The ailerons were attached with CA type hinges in the pre-cut slots. The slots are quite a bit larger than the hinges included so I tacked them into one side with a tiny amount of medium CA. This held the hinge in the proper place while I attached the surface, then used thin CA as normal to fully glue and secure the surfaces.

Just as the full scale, this DVII model has ailerons only on the top wings. When I installed the included fiberglass horns in the pre-cut slot, I was careful to score the end of the horn with sandpaper to attain better adhesion.

Pull strings were included for the servo wires.

The servo wire exit hole it off center so the wire will travel down the cabane strut and be less noticeable. In fact if you have some red paint now would be a good time to paint the wires so they will be even less noticeable.

Cabanes

Be especially careful that you use the correct strut mounts in the wings.

Landing Gear

The landing gear structure is impressive and very scale. It includes the small “wing” covering the solid axle and has the narrow stance and tall wheels familiar to WW1 birds. The large wheels look fantastic.

Cowl

The cowl was pre-cut and painted to match the covering. Color match was excellent. They recommend screwing the cowl. Although pre-cut, the cowl top did need to be trimmed to allow the battery hatch removal. (Great Planes indicates the battery hatch should slip under the lip of the cowl but mine would not fit without further trimming.)

Battery Tray

Finish

The iron on covering was excellent. ARF’s have come a long way in the last few years, and this is no exception. I could not find a single wrinkle to take out.

Scale cockpit and guns

I just had to add some scale instruments (not included) and the guns (included). About an hours' work and the final results look good. One thing I would now change - the included painted balsa base for the guns is too small. The spread on the actual guns was much wider - so take this into account when gluing yours.

Power system

ElectriFly Rimfire 28-30-950 Brushless Outrunner

  • Motor statistics:
  • Motor Diameter – 28mm
  • Motor Length – 22mm
  • Weight - 54g
  • Shaft - 3mm
  • Shaft length - 12mm
  • Continuous current - 14 Amps
  • Max current - 20 Amps
  • KV (rpm/v) - 950

My thoughts on the motor: This is my first Rimfire motor. It is light weight and powerful --easily able to handle 10 inch props on 3s voltage.

Motor

The Rimfire brushless motors are fairly new to the RC scene. The motor is quite impressive, check one out! The Rimfire brushless motor proved surprisingly powerful. It uses a 3-bolt pattern and it fits in the included mount perfectly. I did have to use slightly longer screws than the ones included. It was nice to at least see some included - all too uncommon on most kits.

Amp draws

The motor produced the following results:

Motor statistics : 112 W / lb.!
Prop Amps Watts Voltage
9x4.5 ElectriFly 15.4 162 10.8
9x6 APC-sf 14.6 156 10.9

As can be seen, this tiny motor is very strong and it gives this 22.7oz airplane plenty of motivation. In fact with 112w/lb, it flies with abundant power. Thrust propellers are more welcome than speed ones on this airplane - it is plenty fast and does not need significant airspeed to fly "scale". Even though you are propped slightly over the maximum continuous amps, the in flight amp draw will drop some and the motor and battery had no issues with extended full throttle runs.

ElectriFly Silver Series 25amp ESC

ElectriFly Silver Series 25amp ESC

  • Size – 40mm x 26mm x 8mm
  • Weight – 26g

My thoughts on the controller: The ESC performed flawlessly out of the box. It started and ran the outrunner without jerking, stuttering or hesitation. Considering the large props this motor spins, that is very impressive. It auto selects cutoff voltage and handled 4 servos with no issues.

The ESC is covered in yellow shrink-wrap. Wires on both the motor and battery end were very long. This is a plus! The ElectriFly Silver Series 25 ESC selects a cutoff voltage based on the charge state of the battery when connected. Make sure batteries are fully charged or your low voltage cutoff may be too low. Or do what I do - time your flights and never use LVC.

Battery

ElectriFly Power Series 1250 mAh 15c LiPoly battery

  • Cells - 3s
  • Capacity - 1250 mAh
  • Weight – 103g (111g - measured)
  • Size – 80mm x 40mm x 20mm

My thoughts on this pack: The pack has performed flawlessly and is very impressive. It holds voltage very well.

The ElectriFly Power Series 1250mAh 3s battery was included for use in this review plane. It is touted as a 20c pack. With amp draws in the 14-15amp range, the 1250 at full throttle is being pushed to about 12c. It had no trouble keeping the voltage up at those amp draws.

Pre-Flight

CG

Attaining the proper CG on biplanes is a constant battle. Full-scale ships had very heavy, generally water-cooled, engines that made the short noses necessary. I am impressed when CG's come out right - the Fokker DVII balanced about 2mm rearward of recommended -- certainly within reason. Use of a more square back allows the forward CG to be attained. After the first flight I needed some up trim so the 2mm rearward will be just fine.

Rates and transmitter setup

Rates were set as recommended in the manual:

Recommended Throws:
Surface High Rate Low Rate
Aileron 14mm 9.5mm
Elevator 13mm 8mm
Rudder 25mm 13mm

I usually like 25-35% expo on ailerons and elevator, so I used 25% expo for initial values. I later changed ailerons to 15% and elevator to about 10%. Many pilots may decide they not need any expo.

Although throws are a very personal preference I have found Great Planes to spend more time than most kit manufacturers selecting throws that work well. I was perfectly happy with both low and high rate recommendations.

The flight timer was set to count down from 7 minutes. That gives ample time for landing before the 1250mAh batteries are depleted.

Flying

Are you ready! I sure was - having the SE5a, I had very high expectations of the DVII. We all know that some small biplanes can be a real handful to fly. Not so with this amazing airplane. I could not find a single bad habit, and this small bird puts a smile on my face whenever I fly it! Anyone with a little time on a low wing aileron plane will be just fine with this vintage war bird.

I had to snap some pictures of this amazing plane. It has true scale lines and it looks fantastic.

Takeoff

With the lower "wing" on the landing gear structure, I found I had to be careful with long or even medium length grass. Thankfully it is not on the ground long with 3-4 foot rollouts. It has an aggressive climb out rate so no issues getting to altitude quickly!

Stalls

This plane stalls very predictably for a model with a light wing loading. When stalled, it simply gave a nose drop and slight wingtip drop. It slows very well before it will stall and remains controllable down to the last second. Recovery is quick, but watch for torque as you slowly advance throttle when using larger propellers.

Landing

The DVII slows very well but make sure your first landings are directly into the wind. You should give the plane a nice flare, especially when on grass. The small wing covering the axle and skinny landing gear structure will catch grass and tend to flip the plane over if you carry too much speed. It looks very realistic as it "bounces" on the ground too! Very nice.

The manual recommends landing on high rates. At first I didn't, so I had issues with nose overs. Switching to high rates on elevator for landing allowed full up flair and minimized the nose-overs on my long grass. It is a joy to land and will literally crawl.

Overall

Just like the rival SE5a, this Fokker DVII is a pure joy to fly. The basics behind me, it was time to have some more fun with this little war bird. Do note this little plane is capable of flying very quickly for a biplane. I find the DVII is a bit slower than the SE5a -- much more scale in flying speed.

Coordinated Turns

The Fokker DVII responds well to coordinated turns using both rudder and aileron. I use a 30% aileron to rudder mix to smooth out turns. If you know where your left stick is – use it! The rudder is quite effective.

Loop

Loops need full power until the top and require attention to make them nice and round. The plane will drop off a little at the top - but I can tell you that just looks right with a WWI fighter! Although the wing loading is light, the plane is heavy enough that it needs power through the loops. It does loop easily from level flight and does not exhibit any snap characteristics even on fairly tight loops.

Roll

The rolls are a joy as well. They have a nice barrel element, just what you would expect on a vintage biplane. It has good aileron authority. I made sure to remember to add some rudder as that will kick it through the rolls much faster. High rates are welcome when doing rolls.

Split S turns

The plane does these like a champ. Keep the speed up and you will be fine.

Stall turns

The DVII loves these! The rudder is very effective and kicks the tail over nicely. I can just picture the full scale doing this! A real trademark maneuver for this beautiful airplane.

Recommended power system

Power is fantastic and, with the PowerFlow 10x4.5 prop, was set to about 80% power settings for spirited flight. Most flying is done at 70% power settings. It has abundant power and does not leave you wanting for more. This prop's pitch keeps the plane very scale like, and it flies well with the low pitch.

The recommended power system is perfect for the DVII. At 15amp draws the plane flies very well and has abundant power. Pitch speed is fine with the 10x4.5 propeller.

Is this plane for a beginner?

The DVII is not a difficult plane to fly but it is definitely not for the first time pilot. Ground handling requires attention as it does not have a tail wheel but a skid. It has a narrow stance and it is easy to tip and catch the lower wing. It also requires attention on landing - especially on grass. You must flair and keep the landing speed low or you will get the dreaded ground loop.

The DVII is NOT at all hard to fly and does not exhibit any bad behavior. However, it does not exhibit any self-correcting responses, something a beginner needs.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

I am a true scale airplane nut and warbirds abound in my fleet. I always look for planes that are not commonly modeled and this certainly fits that category. The scale finish and looks are excellent.

Assembly is fast and I found everything on this ARF to align well and go together smoothly. With all those cabane struts and two wings, the level of prefab is very welcome and saves the builder a large amount of work. It also makes proper incidence setup a snap. The landing gear assembly alone would have taken many hours to build and align properly.

"I like it EVEN better than the SE5a, no small task..."

Flight characteristics are excellent. Having flown many bipes from Ultimates & Pitts to Jennys and the Great Planes SE5a, I am no stranger to how biplanes handle. Some are a real handful to fly, but not the Fokker DVII. If this one flies anything like the full scale, I can see why the German pilots loved this airplane. In fact it is a true joy to fly. I like it even better than the SE5a, no small task. It handles so well in the air; it slows down and handles basic WWI aerobatics with ease. I must say - very impressive.

The Great Planes ElectriFly Fokker DVII is priced right and available now. Beef up your WWI fleet and add this plane to your hangar. I highly recommend it! Check it out at your local hobby shop or buy direct at Tower Hobbies.

Hits:

  • Excellent looks
  • Prefabrication nearly 100%
  • Stellar flight performance
  • Fast assembly
  • Complete hardware kit

Misses:

  • Trimming of cowl necessary to allow proper propeller hatch clearance
  • Very tight fit of the recommended 1250 3s battery
  • Aileron linkage wires too short
  • Very tight fit to pull servo leads through whing

Be sure to check out the eZone review of the Great Planes SE5a!

Thanks again to Ronnie for the Video and in flight shots!

Last edited by AMCross; Dec 13, 2006 at 02:49 PM..

Discussion

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Old Dec 14, 2006, 02:42 PM
Flying electric since 1986
Mark Wolf's Avatar
USA, IN, Brownsburg
Joined Oct 2000
1,764 Posts
I just finished mine a few days ago, just waiting for the winds to die down long enough for a maiden.

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Old Dec 14, 2006, 04:07 PM
Electricholics Anonymous
claybuster's Avatar
WARREN, MICHIGAN
Joined Jul 2005
1,959 Posts
Mike,
Very good review!!! I'm glad you added a few of the scale details and didn't do it straight from the box. It gives others some great ideas.
Mike
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Old Dec 14, 2006, 04:49 PM
"Have Glue - Will Travel"
dawnron1's Avatar
Ft. Worth, Texas
Joined Jan 2004
2,428 Posts
Mike,

Excellent review as always! The DVII is such a great flier, and a pleasure for me to shoot and to video.

Ronnie
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Old Dec 14, 2006, 06:05 PM
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Gerry Markgraf's Avatar
S. Calif
Joined Mar 2000
1,409 Posts
I flew my Fokker DVII for the second time today. What a great airplane - it has no vices. I was climbing and rolling at the same time. Landing was a little hot on grass, but it stayed upright on the wheels and made me smile. Its a great design.

Gerry
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Old Dec 14, 2006, 06:37 PM
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pda4you's Avatar
USA, TX, Trophy Club
Joined May 2002
14,474 Posts
Thanks guys! It is a fantastic plane and great flyer.....

I need to add some more scale details now - like dulling with that stuff you use Mike...

Great fun!

Mike
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Old Dec 15, 2006, 01:32 AM
Warbird crazy!
new2rc's Avatar
United States, CA, San Mateo
Joined Sep 2004
3,728 Posts
Super review Mike and Ronnie.

Thought for sure it would be the British plane first for me, but that may have changed . This plane really stands out and is very scale indeed.

I think you helped my concern for the recommended power system. More than enough power for sure here.

John and Christo
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Old Dec 15, 2006, 08:54 AM
Hold my beer and watch this!
Jeremy Z's Avatar
Northern IL
Joined Oct 2005
2,380 Posts
Nice job Mike. I want one in the worst way, but I'm still recalling what a hassle biplanes can be compared to monoplanes. (mostly in terms of them being especially susceptible to hangar rash & transport damage)

I'm spoiled by my Multiplex planes, in other words.

I wish Multiplex would make a nice WWI biplane, like an Albatros DV..
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Old Dec 15, 2006, 10:57 AM
Registered User
Elkridge, MD
Joined Sep 2005
305 Posts
Wow - Looks GREAT! I love the faux wood finish on that prop - I have to try that. Had it up in any wind at all?
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Old Dec 15, 2006, 12:34 PM
Hold my beer and watch this!
Jeremy Z's Avatar
Northern IL
Joined Oct 2005
2,380 Posts
I just checked out the videos. A suggestion, if I may: For at least part of the videos, have your videographer keep something stationary in the frame, such as trees or the ground. This lets us see how fast or slow the plane is. Zooming in too closely lets us see the plane closer, but then it is shaking all over the screen. Tripods help a bit.

My videos need the same type of thing, but my wife gets angry with me if I'm too demanding, hehehe.
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Old Dec 15, 2006, 12:50 PM
"Have Glue - Will Travel"
dawnron1's Avatar
Ft. Worth, Texas
Joined Jan 2004
2,428 Posts
Jeremy,

That's a good point, especially on a mostly cloudless day like we had for the first video. I'm always thinking more like a photographer(close ups) than a videographer

Ronnie
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Old Dec 15, 2006, 03:19 PM
Registered User
Alabama
Joined Apr 2004
80 Posts
Like mine TOOOOOOOOOOO

Love it, flying w/ an Axi & 9x6 APC. By the way, this is a sclae paint scheme,
flown in Jasta18 by Lt. Raben. That is why there is a raven on the side. Keep up the good revews.
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Old Dec 15, 2006, 04:01 PM
Registered User
Joined Nov 2005
11 Posts
I sure want one of these. have a Hobby Hangar with OS 70 FS which flies great. How does this electric do in the wind?
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Old Dec 15, 2006, 04:15 PM
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pda4you's Avatar
USA, TX, Trophy Club
Joined May 2002
14,474 Posts
Quote:
How does this electric do in the wind?
Very well considering it has a 9oz wing loading....but that does limit it a bit...

Mike
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Old Dec 15, 2006, 04:23 PM
Flying electric since 1986
Mark Wolf's Avatar
USA, IN, Brownsburg
Joined Oct 2000
1,764 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigfoot21075
Wow - Looks GREAT! I love the faux wood finish on that prop - I have to try that.
It's super easy and takes all of a minute to do. All you need is a brown Sharpie marker. Color the prop brown, then smear it with your finger. I got the idea from someone else on RCGroups and so take no credit for it. I did give the prop a light coat of clear to protect it, as the marker can rub off even after dry.

Color, smear, clear.

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