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Hobby People Phase 3 EF-16 EDF Review

Michael Heer reviews this new ducted jet from Hobby People that has proven very popular (with good reason) with Ezoners!

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Introduction

This was my first experience with a ducted fan plane. I have owned a lot of planes that look like jets or were models of scale jets but they were pulled or pushed by props. I have flown other's ducted fan planes, and I have almost taken the plunge into ducted fans several times. I wanted a plane that looked and flew great, but wouldn't break the bank in doing so. Initial reports by fellow Ezoners on the Phase 3 EF-16 EDF caused me to think it would fit that bill. It did! Stick with me for the quick assembly (I do mean quick), and go with me to the field to see it in flight!


Wingspan:26"
Wing Area:195 sq. in.
Weight RTF:20 oz.
Length:36"
Wing Loading:15 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:2 Airtronic Super Micro 9 gram servos
Transmitter:JR 7202
Receiver:Berg 4L from Castle Creations
Battery:Impulse 11.1 V 2100mAh 16C LiPoly
Motor:KMS KBM 21/EF Brushless
ESC:KMS KBSC 30amp with BEC
Manufacturer:Phase 3
Available From:Hobby People
Price:$139.99

Kit Contents

Although the parts count was relatively low the kit was very complete and even included a brushless motor and ESC. The instruction manual was one of the best that I have seen in several years and allowed me to assemble the plane quickly and with confidence.

Kit Contents Per the Instruction Manual

  • Decal Sheet
  • Reinforcement Sheet
  • Exhaust Cone
  • Ducted Fan Assembly
  • Stabilator/Taileron Supports
  • Machine Gun
  • Intake Support
  • Fuselage Top
  • Fuselage Bottom
  • Wings
  • Stabilators/Tailerons
  • Control linkages
  • Vertical Fin
  • Hook & Loop Material
  • Reinforcement Board

Additional Items Needed

  • 2 Airtronic 94091Z super micro 9 gram servos
  • Impulse 11.1 volt 2100mAh 16C Lipoly
  • Berg 4L Receiver
  • Servo mixer or computerized transmitter w/ elevon mixing
  • Exacto knife with a new blade
  • 5-minute epoxy
  • Deans connectors for battery and ESC
  • 2-twelve inch (305mm) Cirrus servo wire extensions
  • Scale to weigh the battery
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Straight edge ruler
  • Z-Bend pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Scissors
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Sanding block with 220 grit sandpaper
  • Drill with assorted bits
  • Pencil
  • Soldering iron, solder and flux

Assembly

The instruction manual was very complete with over 50 pictures showing the assembly process and made the assembly process quick and easy. I started by soldering the Deans connectors onto the battery (female) and the supplied 30 amp ESC (male) so they were ready to be installed when I started actual assembly of the plane the next night. I also cut out the decals the first night to get them ready for my assembly. The brushless motor came installed inside the ducted fan unit and connected to the ESC.

Fuselage

I used a matched pair of Airtronic servos with identical length servo arms that were properly centered and just installed the servos as indicated. Per the instructions I test ran the ducted fan assembly to make sure the motor wires were properly connected to the ESC and the motor was running in the correct direction. It worked as it was supposed to work. If the motor was not connected to the ESC correctly when installed I would have had to take apart the plane to correct it. So testing was a must!

The weight of the battery affected the location of where the ducted motor assembly was mounted inside the fuselage to balance the plane properly. My Impulse 3-cell 2100 mAh battery weighed 5.7 oz or 161.59228 grams. That required me to mount the motor unit back from the lip molded in the foam by 1 1/2 inches. The instructions didn't mention it, but I needed to cut 1 1/2 inches from the back end of the clear duct to have it fit the fuselage and the black plastic exhaust cover.

Finally, I cut a 45 degree angle of foam out in front of the servos (shown in mixing video) to allow for full servo arm movement without making the inside of the hole any larger.

Battery Mounting Tip

If you just attach the Velcro to the foam with just the self-adhesive, it will peel away from the foam with the battery. The same will happen if you just epoxy the Velcro to the foam. The key is to punch some small holes into the foam with a toothpick where the Velcro will be glued, and then apply the epoxy and the Velcro.

Wing

Assembly doesn't get any easier than this since the wing has no spar and no moving parts. I just mixed up a big batch of five minute epoxy and spread it on the fuselage and the wing root wherever these parts joined together. I pushed the wing on flush and wiped away any excess glue that came out. I made sure the wing was mounted flush to the fuselage side and bottom. I glued the wing panels (right and left) on one at a time just to make sure I had the best connection I could get.

Decals

With the wing joined to the fuselage the instructions had me cut out and install the decals to the bottom of the wing at this point. I took my time to make sure they fit smoothly with no wrinkles. I had my wife help me with these two bottom of the wing decals. I added most decals prior to assembly.

Tail

The vertical fin just glues place after the decals are applied. There is no rudder on this plane. The controls are on the full flying horizontal stabilizers and are all called stabilator/tailerons. They control both elevator and turning functions. There is a right and left taileron, so I checked that out before adding the decals and installing to the fuselage per the instructions. You need a mixer or a computerized transmitter to properly control the stabilator/tailerons. Per the instructions I used my Z-bender and wire cutter in connecting my servos to the stabilator/tailerons but the instructions did a great job of taking me through that. I was tempted to use EZ connectors rather then make the Z bends, but I assembled per the instructions.

Radio Programing

I used my JR 7202 transmitter, and I selected the Delta wing programming and connected the servos with one to the aileron slot and one in the elevator slot. I had to use a little sub-trim adjustment to square up the servo arms. On this plane, just as with a flying wing, it is critical that a pair of matching servos be used with identical servo arms, programmed for identical throw. I also reduced throw on both servos to 75% of normal.

Downloads

Completion

I carefully double checked that my controls were working in the proper directions and that the throws on both sides were equal. I double checked the throws using the palms of my hands as flight control surfaces. The instructions gave a wide range for the CG (range was from 7 1/2 inches to 6 1/4 inches from the TRAILING edge of the wing) so I started at the front of the range (7 1/2") and moved my way back with practice. I have settled at 6 3/4" from the trailing edge as a responsive point with no control problems.

Recommended Taileron Control Throws

  • Elevator 1" as measured from the FRONT
  • Aileron 1" as measured from the FRONT

Flying

WOW!

Basics

I strongly recommend a computerized transmitter over electronic mixers. Despite years of operating flying wings with elevons, I carefully checked that my control surfaces were working properly before my first flight and I always double checked that I was on the correct program before launching.

The plane cruised very nicely at half throttle once I had climbed to my cruising altitude of about 125 feet and can be flown slower. Cruising at half speed makes bursts of speed and high speed vertical climbs and straight down dives seem even more spectacular. Slower flying gives longer flight operation from the battery. Flown too slowly, it will stall. I had no trouble recovering from forward stalls. Intentional stalls in turns caused the plane to slide a little sideways and down in stall, and I would not want that to happen near the ground. To avoid this, simply don't turn hard at 0 -15 feet above the ground when going slow for a landing. Only a slow turn while landing should cause an intermediate pilot any real problem with this plane. I had no problems with the plane that I didn't intentionally create. It had no bad handling characteristics that I found.

Taking Off and Landing

There are no wheels, so I started every flight with the motor running hard and a good strong toss forward and level. It had lots of power so it started climbing almost immediately but it does need a good firm toss. Although it could fly very fast, it does a nice job slowing down and landing via a slide on the grass. I made no turns on my landings below 20 feet, and it was a pussycat to slide to a stop. I strongly recommend landing on grass as pavement will damage it with repeated use and landing on soft dirt will get dirt in the intake and damage the fan and/or the motor. Most flights have been at a grass field at a local park. An intermediate pilot with aileron or elevon experience should have no trouble hand launching or landing this plane.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

There is no working rudder so aerobatics requiring rudder either can't be performed or don't execute as sharply as they would with rudder. That said, this plane did very nice axial rolls, loops, split S turns and much more and did them smoothly while I was in complete control (the maximum wind I have flown in so far was about 10 miles per hour).

I am deaf in my right ear and have been since first grade and I am protective of what hearing I have in my left ear. Ducted fan planes can make quite a whine. The EF-16 wasn't as noisy as I expected it to be, nevertheless, I strongly encourage pilots to consider wearing an ear plug or some cotton in the ear on the side you launch from for at least the launch. More importantly, if you have young children protect their hearing! Keep them well away from you and the plane when you launch or run up the motor while you are holding the plane. Many ducted fan planes out there make far more noise than this one, but don't risk your hearing when it is so easy to protect and still enjoy this great plane! Or you can learn to say, "What?" all the time as I do!

Is This For a Beginner?

NO! It is quite simply too responsive for a beginner pilot. Beginners usually overreact, and it takes them several flights to learn they only need to make small movements. This plane goes where it was told and has NO self-recovery functions. It would be a very good plane for the intermediate pilot who has flown an aileron equipped plane or a flying wing with aileron/elevator mixed function.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

Great instructions and a well designed kit make the assembly process a joy. Aside from the soldering and cutting out the decals which I did earlier, I started assembly after dinner and was done before Jay Leno came on, working very leisurely. Access to the receiver and battery pack were good and those are the only items I usually touch once a plane is built. The battery supplies good power for five minute plus flights without getting too hot. The Airtronic servos have worked perfectly including on some high speed dives with power on from a speck in the sky to pull outs just above the ground. Now Hobby People needs to sell an enemy fighter for dogfights. I suspect there will be squadrons of these flying at clubs across the country!

My thanks to Jeff Hunter for flying the demo flight for the video.

Pluses

  • Easy to assemble
  • Plane launches well with merely a firm level forward hand launch
  • Not as noisy as many other ducted fans
  • Has good speed with the supplied motor/ESC combo
  • Enjoyable to fly at only half throttle
  • Capable of five minute + flights
  • Slows down nicely for slide in landings
  • Very good performance at a reasonable price
  • Recommended Impulse Lipo battery fit perfectly and worked well
  • The Airtronic servos have worked perfectly

Minuses

  • You really want a nice grass strip for landing
  • The decal on bottom of fuselage (only that one) was hard to apply without some bubbles/wrinkles and shows wear from landings if not covered with tape.
Last edited by Angela H; Nov 05, 2007 at 08:37 PM..

Discussion

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Old Nov 02, 2007, 08:55 AM
Dr. Dave
USA
Joined Nov 2005
1,316 Posts
Nice job Mike. I learned something at iHobby from a vendor about the decals. I know the large thin sheets are a bear. He said first spray the surface of the plane with a solution of dish soap and water. I maybe put a cup or two of water into a spray bottle and then a couple of drops of dish soap. Liberally spray the surface and then apply the decal. You can slide them around and work the bubbles out. The water does not mix with the glue on the decal sheets (not like the old kind you soaked in water) and after wiping down the decal with a light cloth to work out the water the decal sets up and it is perfect. I will never wrestle another decal without soapy water.
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Old Nov 02, 2007, 09:21 AM
3DHS Junkie
800mZero's Avatar
Rhode Island
Joined Jun 2005
5,682 Posts
Can the plane roll from level flight?

Very impressive cheap model that appears very scale.
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Old Nov 02, 2007, 10:28 AM
Registered User
Henry V's Avatar
Long Beach
Joined Jan 2004
1,402 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by 800mZero
Can the plane roll from level flight?

Very impressive cheap model that appears very scale.
Hell yeah! Stock set up has been dopplered or radared at 80-85 mph .
Now try flying it with a 5 blade alfa on 4s w/ a LSJS motor 100+mph...simply incredible!.....However, reinforcment of the tail where the elevons pivet is HIGHLY recomended...Brows through this 135 page thread to see what other "ezoners" have" done....balancing the elevons is also a good idea.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=706277

Great review Michael....It is an awsome plane! Hobby People did a great job
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Old Nov 02, 2007, 10:32 AM
Timelord
Doctor Who's Avatar
USA, IN, Muncie
Joined Mar 2002
2,411 Posts
Nice job Mike

Looks to be a nice flying jet
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Old Nov 02, 2007, 10:44 AM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,378 Posts
Dear 78dave:
Dohh!
I have known about uses for soap in water for years in model railroading where it was called wet water. You sprayed it on the artificial grass or fine gravel and then your water and white glue mix could be applied with an eye dropper and instead of beading up it would filter through and secure your ground cover. I forgot it could also be used with decals. I knew that once in a previous modeling life. Thanks for sharing the tip, it is a good one and works
great. Guys make note of it! Mike
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Old Nov 02, 2007, 12:25 PM
Ship first, Improve often
L0stS0ul's Avatar
Virginia
Joined Apr 2005
5,008 Posts
Great review.

This is definitally a great plane and can look simply stunning when painted up. There are some guys that have done some amazing scale work with it.

The only mods I've done to mine were to reinforce the taileron area. They only provide the plastic peice so I put some CF rod underneath it to reinforce it. Other than that mine is completely stock and I love it.
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Old Nov 02, 2007, 04:27 PM
"Have Glue - Will Travel"
dawnron1's Avatar
Ft. Worth, Texas
Joined Jan 2004
2,428 Posts
Great review as always, Mike!
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Old Nov 02, 2007, 04:39 PM
Nup, I got nothing!.....
evo62's Avatar
Gold Coast, Australia
Joined Jun 2007
2,174 Posts
Thanks for the review. Good to see someone mention hearing protection. As an Audiologist I thought I might add my 2c.....

Noise exposure can lead to (generally) a high frequency hearing loss, with corresponding trouble following conversation without visual cues or in background noise, increased TV volume, or tinnitus (ringing in the ears). However, this normally needs repeated, long term exposure to loud sounds. The standard in Australia is 85 dB (C weighted peak sound pressure level) is considered safe for a daily 8hr exposure, which is about as loud as standing at the kerbside of a busy road. I don't have one of these but my SAPAC Hawk running on 4s is pretty noisy but is around 90 dB (average club/quieter nightclub noise) so I hope this fact doesn't turn any potential pilot away, which is safe for about an hour continuous noise exposue. The couple of minutes spent getting ready for a launch should be safe for your ears.

However, those noisy gas/nitro fliers are a different kettle of fish altogether......
cheers
Clovus
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Old Nov 02, 2007, 06:25 PM
Targeted and... FIRING !
D B Cooper's Avatar
United States, MI, Eastpointe
Joined Aug 2007
670 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by 78dave
Nice job Mike. I learned something at iHobby from a vendor about the decals. I know the large thin sheets are a bear. He said first spray the surface of the plane with a solution of dish soap and water. I maybe put a cup or two of water into a spray bottle and then a couple of drops of dish soap. Liberally spray the surface and then apply the decal. You can slide them around and work the bubbles out. The water does not mix with the glue on the decal sheets (not like the old kind you soaked in water) and after wiping down the decal with a light cloth to work out the water the decal sets up and it is perfect. I will never wrestle another decal without soapy water.

Amen; That does work very well. Of all places to get building tips, I was told about the dishsoap decal trick by a user on Pennock's Fiero Forum
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Old Nov 03, 2007, 07:21 PM
R/C CRASHER
tkoguy's Avatar
United States, CA, Corona
Joined Dec 2004
852 Posts
f16

here is my ouwn f16, just got her finished got to maiden her tomorrow
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Old Nov 04, 2007, 07:41 AM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
USA, TX, Trophy Club
Joined May 2002
14,474 Posts
Mike great review - do you know what the power system draws?

Mike
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Old Nov 04, 2007, 04:49 PM
Blam!
Daniel C's Avatar
Las Vegas
Joined Oct 2007
563 Posts
I just got back from my maiden flights and I barley need to give it any trim, just a few clicks left and two down.... its locked on at level flight. This jet is sweet, I love it. The only complaint I have is that I wished would roll more level (tends to roll a bit out of axis). but other than that for the price of this baby (I set mine up stock, but gave it a tiger striped paint job) its bad ass!!!

On a 2150 mAh pack I am keeping it safe at 6 min flights, not sure what the power draw is though...
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Old Nov 04, 2007, 06:47 PM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,378 Posts
Hi Mike:
Sorry I don't know. Mike H
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Old Nov 04, 2007, 06:54 PM
Registered User
CFisher1421's Avatar
Geneva, IL
Joined Jul 2007
1,506 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel C
- SNIP - (I set mine up stock, but gave it a tiger striped paint job) its bad ass!!!

On a 2150 mAh pack I am keeping it safe at 6 min flights, not sure what the power draw is though...
There seem to be several ways to do the tiger striping - anywhere from decals to freehand...how did you do yours? I'm tempted to try this scheme too but I'm also tempted simply to build this bad boy and get him up in the air...forget the pretties..
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