HobbyKing.com New Products Flash Sale

NitroPlanes and Exceed RC's F-35 64mm EDF RC Jet Review

Foam EDFs may seem intimidating, but the F-35 offered by NitroPlanes is a gentle, predictable jet. In fact, it is a great transition plane to EDF flying.

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:27 in. / 686mm
Wing Area:134 sq. in. / 8.7 dm. sq.
Weight:19.7 oz. / 560g
Length:38.6 in. / 980mm
Wing Loading:18.7 oz./sq. ft. / 57g/dm. sq.
Servos:Installed 3 - 9 gram (one for the nose wheel)
Transmitter:FM 4 channel proportional with one dual rate switch
Receiver:6 channel
Battery:11.1V 1300 mAh
Motor:14L in runner
ESC:30 amp
Available From:Nitroplanes
MSRP:$169.95

The F-35 was awarded to Lockheed-Martin and designated the joint strike military fighter of the future. With short takeoff and vertical landing capabilities in some versions, it is a menacing threat. Selected after a five year competition the F-35 outgunned and out flew Boeings X-32.

Nitroplanes version of the F-35 is full of the right stuff. The integral 64mm ducted fan coupled with a 11.1v LiPo is a perfect match. This all-foam EDF has excellent stability both in slow and full power flight, has aerobatic capabilities, and is provided as an ARF with a very short build process.

Kit Contents

My F-35 arrived with no damage and was well protected with a double cardboard carton. Everything in the kit is nestled into molded Styrofoam and has little chance of coming loose.

Kit Includes:

  • Airframe
  • Foam wheels
  • Linkages
  • LiPo charger
  • 11.1v 1300 mAh LiPo
  • 4 channel FM proportional transmitter with dual rate
  • 6 channel receiver
  • Fully painted and decaled fuselage
  • Clear plastic canopy
  • Plastic nose cone
  • Basic instruction manual
  • Glue

Kit Requires:

  • Eight AA batteries for the transmitter

Assembly

Assembly of the F-35 requires nothing more than attaching the wing panels, vertical stabilizers, elevators, canopy, landing gear and nose cone. With the exception of the canopy (glue type), the build can be very quick. Lets a quick walk-around of the F-35

Landing Gear

I put the landing gear on first in order to have a stable platform to work on and keep the foam from getting dented.

Wing

The wing panels are short, and it might seem like the plane might struggle with lift, but the fuselage does a lot of the lifting, too. Both panels set into female sockets and are glued in place. I used 5-minute epoxy.

Because of the matte finish any glue on the paint will show. The ailerons are already attached.

Fuselage

I used some Formula 560 canopy cement and attached the tail vector and nose cone. The fit can be tight, and I would not guess it is vitally important to make it completely onto either surface. No need to sand anything.

Using Formula 560 glue is the only thing that keeps you from getting the build done in short order since it takes a few hours to set, but when it’s finished, the canopy looks great.

Tail

Vertical stabilizers have to be installed. They too have a female and male sockets to make the bond. Stand back, and make sure they are symmetrical.

Once the vertical stabilizers were in place, I installed the horizontal control surfaces, installing the control horns first and being economical with the glue.

Radio Installation

The radio is basically installed, but the antenna needs to be routed. I am not sure if the intent is to move it through the fuselage, but I figured doing so would put it too close to the motor. Instead, I placed it outside the fuselage and used hot glue to secure the antenna. That wire is noticeably stiffer than others I have used. I also took the radio compartment and wrapped the receiver in foam before closing the door so the receiver wouldn’t bounce around and routed the antenna wire up through the door. Note the door has to be flexed to get it around the nose gear.

There are two methods to set up the linkages: use the pre-bent linkage that connects the ailerons with the elevator or use separate servos in the tail. Linkages are provided for both options. The latter has to have one servo with a reversing circuit or wire or it will not work, and simply reversing the servo does not work either. Wiring is installed though, should you decide to use the extra servos. I chose to use the dual setup without extra servos.

Completion

Since there are few options in moving the battery, good engineering and design keep one from having to add weight or make cuts to accommodate the CG. The instructions say that the CG is at 480mm behind the nose. Since I use a CG stand I needed to get a measurement behind the leading edge. That distance should be between 50mm and 60mm for good flight performance.

I also checked the battery and the amp draw. I was pulling 26.5 amps at full throttle. My AUW was 630 grams with the battery that weighed in at 114 grams. My weight was slightly higher than the suggested weight of 580 grams. It did not seem to be a problem: perhaps the foam and glue added weight, but that was all I changed.

Also note the wing loading at 18.7 oz./sq.ft. seems very high but it does not take into the consideration the lifting force of the body.

Radio

The F-35 is shipped with an FM 4-channel radio. Servo reversing is included, along with a delta mix, change plug and a dual rate switch.

Flying

What a wonderful EDF. In fact, both of the EDFs produced by Nitroplanes and ExceedRC have flown extremely well. (I previously reviewed the F-018 Hornet.)

My first flight had a slight glitch: The fan screw came loose, and I lost all thrust. I was lucky to get it back, but the glide slope and slow flight characteristics are excellent so I just glided safely in.

I really like the fact that as I flew the F-35, I was not having to be fixed on keeping it in the air and outside of a stall. In fact, throughout all my flights I do not think I ever stalled the F-35. The body almost acts like an air brake so with a high nose attitude, the plane just settles without a harsh stall.

It was fun to make high speed passes, and there is just enough fan noise to let me know where my throttle and my need for speed were at all times.

Basics

You get a very stable aircraft in the F-35. The large lifting surface of the body contributes to good aerodynamics, and the power to weight ratio is excellent. When I needed power it was quickly there (note in the video when I hit the throttle). It was very much like a prop plane with no delay. In flight it is a real eye-catcher.

Taking Off and Landing

Takeoffs might try your spirit some but only because the nose wheel will want to come off the ground as lift is developed. I really needed to apply some down elevator through the first portion of the takeoff roll and then pull back. Otherwise, just firewalling the throttle made takeoffs less controllable. The roll is not too long: maybe 50 feet on a soft surface and shorter on a hard surface. Grass is likely not a good option unless it is mowed very short. I did not try a hand launch.

Landings are easy. The glide ratio is excellent, and I just closed the throttle and let the F-35 settle to the ground. I never experienced a tip stall. Misses and go-arounds are easy; The fast throttle response will get you back in the air quickly.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

I used the setup as provided, but I think you could get more with your own radio and even using high rate settings. Loops are big, and on the low rate may not become complete without some downward airspeed building first. Rolls are easy and quick and inverted flight is simple. The CG was good enough from the start that inverted flight was very similar to normal flight.

Is This For a Beginner?

It is great for a beginner EDF pilot that has some flight experience. I think for transitioning to an EDF, this is an excellent candidate.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

The F-35 lives up to its full scale brother. It is no wonder it was selected as the fighter of the future. I only wish this version had the VTOL capabilities. It is well-built and engineered to fly right out of the box. I liked the durability, the easy build and excellent flight characteristics. I was not disappointed with any aspect of this project. I still fly the F-35 regularly and use it to increase my EDF proficiency.

The Good:

  • Great looks
  • Easy Build
  • Flies with ease
  • Weight and power are matched
  • Excellent engineering
  • Slow flight stability

The Not-So-Good

  • Should damage to the nose servo occur removing the canopy is difficult
  • Tighten and perhaps use thread-lock on the fan blade screw
  • Really no manual to speak of, just pictures
Last edited by Angela H; May 14, 2009 at 10:09 AM..

Discussion

Reply
Thread Tools
Old May 21, 2009, 07:26 AM
Crash & Burn
rmgmag's Avatar
Glastonbury, CT
Joined Nov 2004
2,501 Posts
Great review. I've debating whether or not to buy this plane.

A couple of questions:

Can it be hand launched?
What kind of flight times were you getting?
rmgmag is offline Find More Posts by rmgmag
Reply With Quote
Old May 21, 2009, 07:37 AM
Registered User
Joined May 2009
3 Posts
Looks pretty squirrely to me... as if it could easily just flip right over at low speeds of course the scale one has a lot of computer assisted stability features.
HeatFink is offline Find More Posts by HeatFink
Reply With Quote
Old May 21, 2009, 08:12 AM
Have glue gun, will travel...
Ken1.8T's Avatar
USA, NY, LONG ISLAND
Joined Mar 2004
870 Posts
I've always liked this bird and have considered pulling the trigger on this one many times. The reports of poor components have kept me away. Dave Powers did a nice review of this bird a while back but he put in a gyro and used a computer radio. I think his review was more of an infomercial as he heavily advertises for Nitroplanes on his site. I do enjoy his videos though.

So Dave78, although your video does not show it, how would you rate the flight speed of this bird. It seems to fly very nice in a slow approach but can she rip by at good speed? Thanks for your independent review!
Ken1.8T is offline Find More Posts by Ken1.8T
Reply With Quote
Old May 21, 2009, 08:38 AM
WiggleWiggleWiggle
ozzi supercub's Avatar
South Australia
Joined Jan 2008
6,066 Posts
This plane is very sensitive in the pitch. I went with Dave Powers recommendatons and had very little aileron movement and lots of elevator. Result- crash. Rebuilt and have now seperate servos for elevator with very little travel and is under control. Flight times on stock battery is hopeless. 4 minutes if your lucky. On the positive side it looks amazing in the air and you can get to the fan easily to upgrade it. I fly mine with and upgraded fan and 2200 3S battery and I can hand launch no probs.
ozzi supercub is offline Find More Posts by ozzi supercub
Reply With Quote
Old May 21, 2009, 09:17 AM
Dr. Dave
USA
Joined Nov 2005
1,316 Posts
Not sure we are talking about the same plane. Not at all pitch sensitive. Believe me I know pitch sensitive. I have flown planes with gyros because they just do not fly well at low speeds. The F-35 is not one of those. I think the movement you see in the video is becaue I was taking low speed fly-by pictures. Never once did I see a tip stall.

I never hand launched it. Just was not worth it to prove or disprove that method with a crash. Also you need a place to land if you use the landing gear. Flight times are in the 7-8 minute range. Depends on how you throttle it. I flew much longer at half throttle as it flies fine that way. It is not a plane that needs firewalled throttle at all times.

I agree with the reduction in control movement. but stick with the plane as delivered. Too much elevator is problematic. If you want another TX and RX change it out, but I never had any problems with either. The components are good enough to fly the F-35 just fine. Adding weight is a no-no.

The speed is not great. Maybe more noise than bistering speed. In a dive it goes great and flat fly-bys are certainly fast. I tend to measure slow speed as much as fast speed. What does it matter if you can't get it back to the runway safely?

Final comment reinforces what I said early and that is this plane is NOT pitch sensitive IMHO. I have flown it many times and never experienced a stall in any flight configuration. Look at the video. Do you think slow flight like you see here would be possible with a pitch sensitive plane? No way. In many scenes if it were pitch senisitve it would have been upside down quickly.

Thanks guys for the comments.
78dave is offline Find More Posts by 78dave
RCG Plus Member
Reply With Quote
Old May 21, 2009, 11:50 AM
Fan-atic
cray2602's Avatar
Plain ole KS
Joined Jan 2008
1,653 Posts
I hand launch mine as much as i use runway for takeoffs. The coolest part of this plane to me is the landings. Ive never seen a plane that can almost stop dead still in the air without tip stalling or dropping the nose. This bird will drop almost straight down nice and gently and still flair to almost stop dead in its tracks when the wheels touch. It looks like a harrier coming down. just awesome. Definately my fav 65mm fan jet that i own.
cray2602 is offline Find More Posts by cray2602
Reply With Quote
Old May 21, 2009, 01:11 PM
Registered User
Joined Mar 2008
138 Posts
cg

was it just me or did it seem somewhat tail-heavy?
I'd like to see it fly again, with the battery moved forward about 1.5-in.

i'm betting it would reveal a whole new plane.
ltbidrawn is offline Find More Posts by ltbidrawn
Reply With Quote
Old May 21, 2009, 04:07 PM
Registered User
Kmart's Avatar
United States, CO, Boulder
Joined Sep 2008
7,433 Posts
Great Review!
Kmart is offline Find More Posts by Kmart
Reply With Quote
Old May 21, 2009, 04:37 PM
AMA 125691
wmcneal's Avatar
Jacksonville Florida
Joined Jul 2002
2,240 Posts
Good review.
I've been flying mine now for a couple of months and like it a lot. I did, however, encounter some problems when I first got it. The motor would not run smoothly consistently. I finally tracked it down to the poorly fitting bullet connectors between the motor and esc. Once I cut those out and hard soldered the wires together it ran smoothly.
As shown in the review, you need to secure the EDF cover. Initially I installed some magnets, but they were not sufficient to hold it on. I ended up just putting a piece of packaging tape across it as well.
Also, the horizontal tail surfaces are very easy to damage if you over rotate on takeoff or landing because the control horns stick down so far underneath and can strike the ground. So go easy on the liftoff and use a long shallow approach for landing.

The only other thing I have a gripe about on the plane is that the plastic tail cone that you glue on tends to deform if you leave the plane sitting out in sun too long.

As for the flying, it is very stable in both pitch and roll. In fact if you want to fly inverted you have to hold it there or it will flip itself back right side up.

Mine was a PNP version so I cannot comment on the included radio. I fly it with my Spektrum DX7, AR6100, and separate BEC.

I found a small plastic pilot figure at Walmart, cut him in half at the waist and glued him in the cockpit. Looks better with a pilot in there.
wmcneal is offline Find More Posts by wmcneal
Reply With Quote
Old May 21, 2009, 05:56 PM
WiggleWiggleWiggle
ozzi supercub's Avatar
South Australia
Joined Jan 2008
6,066 Posts
After some thought I'd thought I'd clarify what I said earlier. I guess any plane with such large elevator control surfaces and 20mm movement up and down might feel sensitive. I have reduced the throws by alot and it is alot better. I'd have to agree on how it floats in, Amazing. One serious problem though is the colour. I will be putting a distinguishing feature on either the top or bottom. Ill say again though, it looks great in the air.
ozzi supercub is offline Find More Posts by ozzi supercub
Reply With Quote
Old May 21, 2009, 06:06 PM
Registered User
Corelli's Avatar
United States, NM, Farmington
Joined Jun 2008
840 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeatFink
Looks pretty squirrely to me... as if it could easily just flip right over at low speeds of course the scale one has a lot of computer assisted stability features.
Squirrely ? Really?


Nice flight there! I liked the way you did those low speed runs til it finally stalled. When it did , u had it back under control in a split second.

Plane looks neat. Can anyone ask my wife if i can have it
Corelli is offline Find More Posts by Corelli
Reply With Quote
Old May 21, 2009, 07:16 PM
Registered User
Joined May 2008
150 Posts
Having flown both, would you reccoment the f18 or f35 for my first edf? I have over 300 hrs on my super cub and i can fly it inverted and what not (no ailerons). Would this be a smooth second aileron plane? I have buddy-boxed an apprentice and the owner of the plane didnt even touch the tx.
love2fish93 is offline Find More Posts by love2fish93
Reply With Quote
Old May 21, 2009, 10:00 PM
Registered User
Joined May 2009
3 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corelli
Squirrely ? Really?


Nice flight there! I liked the way you did those low speed runs til it finally stalled. When it did , u had it back under control in a split second.

Plane looks neat. Can anyone ask my wife if i can have it
Look how it yaws to the left- but when I look at it again I think it may be torque from the motor. If it was in a cross wind it might not have a good outcome.
HeatFink is offline Find More Posts by HeatFink
Reply With Quote
Old May 22, 2009, 07:49 AM
Registered User
Frderick MD
Joined Oct 2004
94 Posts
The F-35 is a great handling plane, with a Spektrum Radio. Stock FM is very slow to respond. It was a new plane with a Dx5. I'm sold on Spektrum now.

Very easy to hand launch. Enlarge the hole where the nose gear was to the size of your finger. Now just stick your finger the hole and fling it!

Works great on only 2 servos. I don't see a need for all the extra cost of servos and extensions.

C.G. - I moved it forward from recommended, seems better to me.
stickyzdc is offline Find More Posts by stickyzdc
Last edited by stickyzdc; May 22, 2009 at 07:55 AM.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Video Warbirds-RC/HET-RC F-20 Tigershark EDF Video CTulanko Electric Plane Talk 6 Feb 15, 2010 04:28 PM
New Product F-35 Radio Remote Control EDF RC Jet made by ?? ace128 Foamy EDFs 17 Aug 09, 2009 12:56 PM
Discussion JetSet44's F-14 | need EDF recommandation Borrow Foamy EDFs 3 Aug 25, 2008 08:32 PM
Discussion Radio Shack's A7 EDF RC-experiences? Ack Electric Warbirds 1 Jan 06, 2006 05:39 PM