It looks real for sure!
|Weight:||17-19 oz. (19 oz. as tested)|
|Servos:||2 Spectrum S75|
|Motor:||Little Screamers Super Park Jet|
|ESC:||Castle Creations 25 amp|
|Price:||$60 (+ $5 for EDF version)|
|Available From:||6mm FlyRC|
Yes, I am susceptible to love at first sight. That's what happened when good friend and ace RCGroups reviewer Jon Barnes showed up at our flying field with his 6mm FlyRC Douglas F4D Skyray. It looked like a great grey lawn dart with a nice cockpit and pilot hard at work within, but did it ever fly! I decided on the instant that I had to possess one.
The Skyray was an interesting little airplane. The result of The US Navy's investigation of German delta-wing research, Douglas's designer, Edward Heinemann created a carrier-based interceptor with a fantastic rate of climb, intended to protect the US fleet from attack by bombers. In 1953, a prototype set a new world speed record at 752.9 MPH. Only 419 Skyrays were built. Their service life extended from 1956 to 1962.
6mm FlyRC, producers of an armada of Depron military jet fighters, describes their Skyray quite accurately as "fast as lightning and rock solid at slower speeds." The Skyray reviewed here is powered by an outrunner and pusher prop mounted in the tail. An EDF powered version is available for an additional $5.
This is not an ARF kit. There is nothing tricky about assembling it, but a great deal of careful adjusting and fitting by a patient builder is required. The full instruction manual is downloadable at 6mm Fly RC. Consult it to determine whether this is a project for you.
The Skyray comes in an unadorned flat cardboard box. As almost all the parts are either 6mm Depron foam or pink foam, there is no need for fancy packing. Everything arrived undamaged.
Needed to complete the Skyray:
The CD that comes with the kit contains excellent photo-illustrated step by step instructions for assembling the Skyray. In addition, there are suggestions for painting and finishing, a sheet on assembling the canopy, and instructions for several of 6mm's other models.
Most of the flat Depron parts are supplied oversize in order to allow for trimming them for a correct fit. Once laminated, the pink foam parts of the nose and air intakes must be carved to shape, so be prepared to do a lot of cutting, fitting, trimming and sanding as your put your Skyray together. There is nothing difficult about this, but please understand that we are not talking about an "insert tab A in slot B" ARF. I found a Great Planes Power Plane very handy for the initial rough cuts. Just adjust if for a shallow cut and take it slow and you will save a lot of time with it.
The photos and captions that follow illustrate the major assembly steps. For more detail refer to the downloadable instructions.
For starters, the wings, aft fuselage core, and carbon fiber spar are assembled on a flat surface. Since this airplane is basically all wing (and you sure don't want warps in it) you want to make sure that the surface is absolutely flat. In addition to heavy books to weight down the parts while the epoxy sets, I find that zip lock sandwich bags filled with sand make convenient weights to place on smaller and less flat areas.
The carving and sanding starts with fitting the top sheets to the aft fuselage. Maybe someone can figure out all the angles and form them by putting the Depron sheet through a table saw or disk sander. As for me, it was just sand or file and test fit over and over again. Notice that a series of pin holes on the vertical fuselage core mark where the top of these sheets should be aligned.
The underside sheeting needs to be curved by lightly scoring it with parallel lines and then formed with the assistance of gentle application of heat at a low temperature.
The forward part of the fuselage is a fairly simple matter of laminating, gluing, and shaping.
The two servos are cut into the lower aft fuselage sides. The location doesn’t seem to be critical.
Notice how the aft underside of the elevons is tapered (as indicated in the instructions). This very much affects how the plane will fly.
Where to put the electronics is up to the builder. I cut a hatch, retained by a tiny but powerful magnet, into the upper surface of the aft fuselage and slipped the receiver and ESC into it. The ESC to battery wire is extended into the foremost nose compartment.
The motor can be installed to a stick mount. Alternatively, I made a simple cross shaped radial mount out of plywood and used sharp bamboo skewers to make sure it was solidly attached to the sheet Depron at the rear of the fuselage.
I used an initial coat of water based polyurethane, after which the foam is sealed sufficiently to withstand any paint you might choose. I used inexpensive spray can paint from the hardware store. Look on 6mm's site for downloadable decals.
Control throws, expo settings, CG location and tips on painting are all included in the instructions. The bay in the front of the nose (which I forgot to photograph) will hold 3x2100 LiPos. With them in front and the electronics inside the aft fuselage, the plane balanced without additional weights.
I liked the looks of my friend Jon's Skyray and loved to see it racing through the sky. That's why I got one for myself, and that's what I love about it. In spite of its skydart-like looks, the Skyray is stable and responsive.
The Skyray needs to be hand launched. In the video, my friend Glen grasps it by the wingtips and gives it an upward toss, but once the plane is trimmed you won't need an assistant. I just grasp it by the vertical fuselage element just above the CG point, point it slightly upward, rev up the motor and let it pull away from my hand.
The original Skyray was designed for the task of landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier. Likewise, the model Skyray can approach very slowly in a nose up attitude and can be set down at hardly more than walking speed. Since I fly over soft and well tended grass, I bring mine in fast and shallow, bellysliding over the grass. When touching down, especially if you are doing it my way, try to have the elevons in a neutral position. If they are deflected, you risk tearing off the downward projecting tip of the elevon that is deflected upward. (Sounds confusing, I know, but take a look at the elevons in the construction pictures and you'll see what I mean.)
What was the Skyray designed to do? Blast off from a carrier, climb very fast, and chase bombers and that's just what this one likes to do. It will climb vertically as far as you want to go, and it will chase across the field at an impressive speed. It can roll like crazy and is at ease inverted. It will do just about anything you might expect from a powerful interceptor with the exception of actions that require an operational rudder. I suppose you could add one, but I don't really see the need. In short, the Skyray handles well, is not vulnerable to stalling and is loads of fun.
No way. This is for a builder with some experience and is for pilots who are at home with fast and agile aileron (and/or elevon) aircraft.
If you have some building and flying experience, you are going to like this Skyray. This one is for screaming across the field followed by a victory roll or two or three. It looks great in the air, and it looks harder to fly than it is. I like both the kit and the finished airplane and can find nothing to criticize. I thought it well worth the time spent building it.
1) For at least the initial flights, pick a large flying field. This baby can cover a lot of ground. Once you get used to it, you will be able to keep it within a "park sized" space. 2) Before you build, why don't you make a tracing of all the parts in case you need to make replacements. There is lots of extra foam in the kit.
|Jun 13, 2008, 12:03 AM|
VERY COOL!!!! im the designer of this model, and it was a pleasure working with 6mmflyrc to get it kitted. believe it or not....i built 13 skyrays, of all differnt size/build methods to finally come up with the best all around ray. thanks for the review! looks great! i didnt know Jon's had a clear canopy, he must have added it recently it is truly, in my opinion, one of teh most versitile park jets/edf's out there, with not a single bad habbit. i need to build another one. heres a link to some other vids of my skyrays on 6mm's site.
again, GREAT job! glad you like it
|Jun 13, 2008, 02:55 AM|
Great review! It's nice to see this bird, 6mmFlyRC and Brent get some more rave reviews. I love mine. It's the EDF version. Here's a lot of build and finish pictures. In flight pics and madien video are at the end (that's one of mine on the 6mmFly page Brent linked to):
I think I'll go fly mine again...
|Jun 13, 2008, 01:47 PM|
Sebastopol, CA, USA
Joined Dec 1996
I would rate the difficulty at 7.5 to 8.0. The number seems like a scary high, but it seems to me that the scale is weighted towards designs for beginners. If you can fly something that is reasonably fast and has ailerons, you will be OK.
|Jun 16, 2008, 01:16 AM|
heres a few pics of a the pusher version of the kit i did.
looking back on all my skyray pics...i really need to build antoher! sold my last edf last fall...starting to miss the old gal's! what awsome flying jets the skyrays are.
|Jun 16, 2008, 09:12 AM|
|Jun 16, 2008, 01:11 PM|
just as good if not better. i was getting about 100mph with a het fan, and about 500W, and awsome vertical. the pusher will do the same on about 350W, but thats just the loss in efficientcy with edf's. but then theres that cool factor...
|Jul 06, 2008, 02:33 AM|
Russian Federation, Sakha, Yakutsk
Joined May 2006
Ordered my Skyray. Gonna do the Drone Controller...
Last edited by FrogChief; Jul 06, 2008 at 02:48 AM.
|Jul 21, 2008, 08:22 PM|
this is a well done review ...i am C/N's dad and i've flown most of his rays ...i had to have one but i wanted a bigger one so i used his plans and did a 33-34" inch version i did a built up wing 70mm edf and retracts it flies as good as these 28" 6mm kits ...the 6mm kit with a 70mm and 500 watts is lighter and performs well ...some day i would like to do the kit and add retracts that would be cool.thanks for doing the review this plane really got the two of us hooked on edf ,but as a pusher this is one of the best allround flyers i have seen.
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