|Propulsion System:||Subsonic Planes Fast Jet Power System|
|Motor:||Motrolfly 2210-2200 outrunner|
|ESC:||Motrolfly FM-30 30-amp|
|Propeller:||Landing Products/Advanced Precision Composites 6x5.5E|
|Recommended Battery:||Sonic 1300mAh 3S lithium-polymer|
|Manufacturer:||Shenzhen DBY Technology Co., Ltd., Shenzhen, Guangdong, China|
|Available From:||Subsonic Planes, 7914 West Dodge Road, Omaha, Nebraska 68114-3417 USA|
|Price as Tested (USD):||$117.85|
|Test Model:||Multiplex FunJET ARF|
|Wing Area:||233 sq. in. (15dm2)|
|Wing Loading:||7.33 oz./sq. ft. (207.8g/929cm2)|
|All-up Weight as Advertised:||22 oz. (624g)|
|All-up Weight as Tested:||17 oz. (482g); Subsonic's prototype weighs 15.87 oz. (450g)|
|Servos:||Batan B1122 nine-gram, coreless, ball-bearing analog|
|Transmitter:||Futaba T6EX six-channel FASST spread-spectrum|
|Manufacturer:||Multiplex Modellsport GmbH & Co. KG, Westliche Gewerbestr. 1 D-75015 Bretten-Gölshausen, Germany|
|Distributor:||Multiplex USA, 12115 Paine Street, Poway, California 92064 USA|
|Retail Price/Average Selling Price (USD):||$99.95/$72.99; I paid $70.99|
Stepping into the rather esoteric world of high-performance electric pusher jets can be a bit daunting, not so much for the flying as for the figuring: How big a prop? What's the current draw? How fast will the prop turn? How much thrust will this setup produce?
There are marvelous computer programs such as Motocalc which can do a lot of the figuring for you. Someone with a practical knowledge of Ohm's Law would certainly benefit from that knowledge. Of course, pretty much any ARF electric plane specifies basics like physical motor size, recommended battery capacity and so on. Cool, but how fast will it fly? Or, what if your model's documentation is unclear? Do you really need the largest possible setup?
Enter Ken Young at Subsonic Planes in Omaha, Nebraska. Ken's done all that figuring for you and provides matched power systems which are literally plug-and-play with pre-installed bullet connectors on the motor and the ESC, not to mention pre-installed Dean's Ultra Plugs on both the other end of the ESC and on Subsonic's line of Sonic lithium-polymer batteries. A thread on the authors' forum here at RCGroups.com which sang the praises of Mr. Young and his company prompted me to contact him to request the privilege of reviewing one of his systems in an existing ARF of mine. There is also a previous review of a Subsonic setup for small planes with standard front-mounted propellers which impressed me as well.
Mr. Young was very enthusiastic at the prospect of reviewing his Fast Jet Power System which will be the focus of this review and which consists of the following components:
Additional bonuses were two Batan B1122 nine-gram ball-bearing servos. Though they aren't digital, Ken highly recommended their use, and they are a perfect fit in the Multiplex FunJET which I used to test the system. He uses these servos in his own FunJET, and they're not only fast, but center accurately as well. The other bonus was one of Subsonic's house brand Sonic 1300mAh 3S LiPo battery packs with slight cosmetic damage rendering it unsalable; it and the necessary servos for your particular setup may be purchased at a discount during your online checkout. No plane, you say? Subsonic has you covered as well; just choose your favorite airframe from their selection of fast foamies.
The Fast Jet Power System setup is good for 28.4 ounces (806g) of thrust, motor speed of 18,425 RPM, current draw of 28.63 amps and pitch speed of 95.96 MPH (154.43 km/h). Expressed in watts, we're talking 320 watts, especially surprising in light of the system's total weight of 6.98 ounces (198g). It's even more surprising when compared with Multiplex's recommended setup. It's not only heavier, but it's rated at only 300 watts.
That's a lot of oomph in a relatively small package.
Even though the FunJET calls for a larger battery in the 2200mAh range, the 1300 saves weight and delivers a strong, albeit briefer punch which is pretty much made up by the weight savings. There are faster setups, but these generally require larger batteries (again, the FunJET calls for a LiPo in the 2200mAh range) and much larger motors. The Subsonic Planes Fast Jet Power System works smarter instead of harder, in a manner of speaking. Instead of overpowering a model with large batteries and large motors in the 150-gram weight range - or five ounces - you'll enjoy plenty of power and performance with a small outrunner weighing in at 43 grams, or just over 1.5 ounces. You'll also enjoy a plane which is easier to launch and to land, powered by a system which actually costs less than some motors by themselves.
A simple change of propeller to an APC 5.25x6.25E is the only difference between this setup and Subsonic's "100mph Power System for Light Prop Jets" system.
This gives a blistering pitch speed of 113.78 MPH (183.11 km/h) at 19,225 RPM at a slightly lower current draw of 27.13 amps, but like anything either electrical or mechanical, there are tradeoffs. Thrust is greatly reduced to only 16.93 ounces (480g), resulting in reduced vertical climb on a model of the recommended size for the 95 MPH setup. This setup is best suited for extremely light planes in the 360-gram (12.7 oz.) range whereas the subject of this review is suited for models weighing up to 21.3 ounces (604g). The all-up weight as advertised for the FunJET is 22 ounces, but as you'll read, the AUW with this setup weighs in at considerably less.
Based on our e-mail correspondence as well as the highly detailed figures on the website, believe me when I say that this gentleman knows his stuff far better than I do. What follows is the result of that correspondence, a nearly perfect blend of light weight, quality components, high performance and affordable cost.
Ready to send a small foam model plane streaking across the sky?
Our official "test mule" for the Subsonic Planes Fast Jet Power System was originally slated to be a high-performance, park flyer-sized Align F-16 Super Speed 400 foam pusher prop jet. An unassembled example was given to me by a flying buddy.
This particular model has been around awhile; Align's website shows an add date of July 29, 2004. Unfortunately, documentation on the model is, according to online sources, incorrect insofar as such trivial matters as center of gravity and control surface throws.
I found out the hard way that the online sources weren't too accurate, either. The result was a totally uncontrollable model which crashed about ten seconds into its maiden flight and for which no parts were available to repair it. Unlike Align helicopters, Horizon Hobby does not support Align fixed-wing models. The motor was damaged as well when it popped off the back of the plane on impact. I shipped the damaged motor back to Subsonic Planes and within a few days, I had a new motor as well as the added benefit of the two servos. These replaced the two nine-gram servos I had on hand for another project and which I'd used on the F-16, making this review all-Subsonic with the exception of the airframe.
The replacement for the F-16 as well as Ken's original mule for this power setup is the popular Multiplex FunJET pusher prop jet. This fast, fun, easy-to-assemble and easy-to-fly foamie boasts Multiplex's "Elapor" EPP foam construction, low parts count, great documentation and easy parts availability.
Since the focus of this review is on the propulsion system and since the FunJET had already been reviewed here at RCGroups.com back in 2007, we'll skip most of the assembly other than what applies to the power system itself.
Should you wish to review the assembly steps and such, feel free to click here.
Right after you're prompted to open up holes in the fuselage for the wing spar, servos and antenna lead, you then move on to the wing preparation and servo installation.
The Batan B1122 analog ball bearing-equipped nine-gram servos, available as low-cost options from Subsonic Planes are nice little units and fit perfectly in the FunJET's servo pockets. Here are some specs:
The servo as packaged from the factory
|Description:||Analog micro-servo, single ball bearing with coreless motor|
|Weight:||9g (11g with connector)|
|Speed @ 4.8v:||.12sec/60deg.|
|Torque:||19.44 oz/in (1.4kg/cm)|
|Manufacturer:||Jiaxing Batan Electronic Co.,Ltd., South Lake, Jiaxing, China|
|Available From:||Subsonic Planes, 7914 West Dodge Road, Omaha, Nebraska 68114-3417 USA|
|Price (USD):||$9.95; discount available at online checkout when purchased as part of a package|
When I connected the servos to the radio in order to center them before installation, I was immediately impressed by a few things. One, the servos were both perfectly centered as delivered. Two, they were nice and quiet and three, they not only centered beautifully as Ken said they would, but they tracked perfectly with no trace of geartrain slop. Keeping the slop to a further minimum was the snug-fitting servo arm.
Not bad for under ten bucks. Heck, Batan even puts a little patch of protective film on the metal ID plate on the case.
Multiplex doesn't suggest any particular length for the servo arm, so I chose the one arm which matched up best with the illustrations and I cut off the unused parts, that is, once I made sure that the arm I chose pointed straight up.
It's now my pleasure to introduce you to the Motrolfly brand of ESCs and motors beginning with step 13 of the assembly manual.
The manufacturer's full name is Shenzhen DBY Technology Co., Ltd. It's a relatively new company and even more recent newcomer to the R/C electronics scene based in Shenzhen, China, one of that country's most successful econonic zones. The company's website tells of its own research and development teams and how their products meet the strict ISO9001 industrial standard.
While the brand name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue - try saying it out loud - I have to tell you that my initial impression of the products was very favorable.
The Motrolfly FM-30 30-amp ESC came packaged in a sturdy, clear plastic bag; the nicely printed header card credited Subsonic Planes as the brand's distributor.
The first thing you'll likely notice is the absence of bare, tinned wires at either end. Instead, what you'll see are pre-installed 3.5mm male bullet connectors at the end of each 16-gauge silicone-jacketed motor lead and a real, honest-to-Los Alamitos, California W.S. Deans Ultra Plug male power connector on the 14-gauge silicone wires at the other end. As nice as Deans Ultra Plugs are, they're a bit clumsy to solder to whatever leads you choose without a way of holding them in place while you do so. I personally don't mind soldering Deans connectors to batteries and such, but I sure didn't mind the fact the soldering was already done for me; the components really are plug-in-and-go.
Should you wish to do so, you may program the ESC to your specific needs either via your transmitter or optional programming card. The enclosed instruction sheet claimed that the factory default setting would work with most setups and a quick test with the motor plugged in verified that claim.
As for the ESC itself, beyond its thoughtfully installed connectors, is the look and feel of the unit. Motrolfly isn't afraid to show off their PC board with clear heat shrink tubing and it's easy to see why when you study the state-of-the-art surface mount electronics. This is nice stuff, friends. Here are the specs:
|Operating Voltage:||6-12 cells Ni-Mh/Ni-Cd; 2-3 cells LiPo, automatic selection|
|Weight:||28.5g; 34.5g with connectors|
|Manufacturer:||Shenzhen DBY Technology Co., Ltd., Shenzhen, Guangdong, China|
|Available From:||Subsonic Planes, 7914 West Dodge Road, Omaha, Nebraska 68114-3417 USA|
The Motrolfly 2210-2200 (size/Kv rating) outrunner motor arrived in an elegant, black satin finish paper box with foam padding custom-fit to the motor and its accessories and topped with the same label as that surrounding the motor's endbell. A clear plastic window on the box lid does a nice job of showing off the motor. Both the motor's base and endbell were finished in a bead-blasted bare metal matte finish; the endbell's center section surrounding the permanent magnets had a black satin finish, topped with the manufacturer's ID label.
Accessories include a nicely machined propeller collet and mounting base as well as full mounting hardware, not to mention pre-installed 3.5mm male bullet connectors on all three leads. Again, no soldering, but the motor's mounting holes didn't want to line up with the backing plate. A quick fix with a 1/8" drill bit through a couple of the holes in the backing plate fixed the problem and a couple of Du-Bro 3x8mm socket head screws and 3mm washers firmly mounted the motor. I'd purchased these screws for use in the original test model, but the screws supplied with the motor will work in this installation.
You may have noticed rather quickly in the above photo that the motor is mounted to the outside of the mount rather than inside owing to the motor shaft exiting at the opposite end of a helicopter-type outrunner. This is Subsonic Plane's recommended method and one which apparently has worked well in the past. It is possible to reverse the shaft should you wish to install the motor within the nacelle, but it's a tight fit and the bearings are easily damaged. Ken has the proper tools and he'll reverse the shaft upon request when you place your order.
Mounting this nice bit of work toward the front of such a long, skinny fuselage presented its own setback in the guise of too-short battery and servo leads; the motor and ESC are fed through the nacelle and through the fuselage before the assembly is screwed together. Note: Hook the motor and ESC to the receiver in order to make sure the motor is spinning in the right direction. When viewing the model from the rear, the numbers at the front of the prop will face away from you and the motor will be spinning clockwise. Speaking of which, prior experience with assembling a Multiplex Mentor for a friend told me the motor mounting and alignment screws were going to be a tight fit. If you have a 3mm tap on hand, chase some threads through the nacelle and the two mounting screws will fit beautifully.
A third screw is used to set the thrust angle; there's even an ingenious slide rule indicator built into the motor mount which allows you to set the angle precisely. Ken recommended the initial factory setting of zero degrees. Chasing this hole with a tap now as I mentioned above will allow for easy fine tuning later.
Extending the servos was as simple as a couple of E-flite 9" lightweight extensions and extending the connection from the ESC to the receiver required only an E-flite 6" extension.
For the battery, I bought a prefab Deans pigtail which consisted of a male Deans Ultra Plug connector with 14-gauge Deans Ultra Wire leads. I had planned to remove the factory connector from the ESC and solder the leads of the pigtail directly to the ESC, but instead I opted to solder a female connector from a dead battery to the pigtail's leads, making a plug-in extension cord which I can easily remove at a future date.
Install the APC prop with the numbers facing away from the rear of the model using the collet which comes with the motor and you're done with the motor installation.
A quick bench test of the system provided a surprisingly large quantity of thrust, much more than I would have expected and which both plastered the blinds against the window from the opposite side of the room and blew a picture frame off my workbench. I was ready for the thrust having tested the system once before in the Align F-16 and it was just as amazing the second time around.
Not bad for a little six-inch prop.
The only odd thing I noticed was the ESC's tendency to abruptly change from low to medium speed with the initial application of throttle. After the initial application from zero to full, the throttle worked in a nice, linear manner. I'm guessing that either the ESC needs to learn its throttle settings each time it's powered up or I'll need to experiment with the throttle's end point adjustments. Ken's own system doesn't exhibit this tendency.
Your choice of receiver depends on your radio, of course. I chose to use the amazing Futaba T6EX FASST six-channel transmitter I've used on almost all my reviews to date; thank you, Hobbico! Regardless of brand or model, your radio must have elevon mixing. Since the up throws on the elevons are slightly different than the down throws, a computerized radio like the T6EX is almost a must, especially given the potential speed of this model.
Ken suggested a receiver with a range of at least 200 meters; fast foamie expert Rob Thomas at Uncle Don's Hobbies in Palm Desert, California (no "Matchbox Twenty" jokes, please... well, maybe one or two) had marvelous results from Futaba's affordable R6106HF park flyer receiver with its 300-meter range. Rob claimed that some of his planes went nearly out of sight and no radio control was lost. For the record, I did a low-power range check on the FunJET once it was assembled and it performed flawlessly.
The manual instructs you to place the receiver in the nose with the battery roughly amidships. For this setup, Ken recommended placing the small Sonic 1300mAh LiPo as far forward in the nose as possible to achieve the proper CG. As it turned out, Ken was right on the money. The FunJET balanced perfectly at the little hemispherical balance points molded beneath the wings. The receiver went in behind the battery and small zip ties were used to clean up the wiring and to help keep the servo leads away from the power leads.
At this point, you're pretty much done with assembly. Even though this plane was going to be flown exclusively at a grass field, I opted to place a strip of 3M 2" clear packaging tape along the length of the belly in order to protect the foam's smooth finish. If you haven't yet set the control throws, now is a good time to do so. Ken recommended the factory throws; I added 30% exponential to tame the controls a bit if needed.
Decals are a matter of taste; most of what's on the sheet scream either "FUNJET" or "MULTIPLEX" with a few flames thrown in. I was going to have a friend and flying buddy who owns a body shop shoot a fancy paint scheme, but I went for the decal scheme suggested on the box art to expedite things. It's a bit un-scalelike bordering on tacky, but I surmised that all of this loud tackiness should be easy to see in the air. The decals are easily removed and I may have it painted later.
We're ready to put this bird in the air with its high-tech, lightweight propulsion system.
Ah, but just how light would this plane be with all of these weight savings?
Margrite Shaw is the cheerful postmaster of the Morongo Valley, California branch of the US Post Office; you would be hard-pressed to find a nicer, happier individual than Margrite and I was confident she'd allow me to weigh the completed model on a postal scale.
I drove the FunJET to the post office, got permission from Margrite to weigh and photograph the plane and so, in came the plane from the car in ready-to-fly trim and onto an electronic postal scale it went.
Once the FunJET stopped rocking on the table, the scale gave the weight which was, in a word, astonishing.
Seventeen ounces, all up. One pound, one ounce or 482 grams. I had to look to see whether or not I'd installed the battery!
Compare that to the advertised AUW of 22 ounces/624 grams. That's nearly twenty-five percent less than what even the Multiplex folks call for. As bulky as the FunJET looks, it's a bantamweight set up in this manner.
I couldn't wait to e-mail Ken with the results; he was surprised to learn that my plane weighed more than his. He reweighed his own FunJET just to double-check his original findings against my new ones.
His result was even more astonishing: His plane weighed in at exactly 450 grams or 15.87 ounces, just shy of a pound.
I'm certain that I didn't add an extra ounce of weight with more glue and decals, so I'll defer to Ken's findings. In either event, this setup results in a relatively good-sized model weighing practically zilch.
Will the Subsonic Planes Fast Jet Power System be up to the task of blasting itself and the FunJET through the air at breakneck velocity?
My first available day to perform the maiden flight was a bit breezy, but not too bad. Since the FunJET is a hand-launched bellyflopper, I chose to use the gigantic, manicured, grassy event field immediately adjacent to Southwest Community Church in Palm Desert, California. The church sits on a three-way border with La Quinta and Indian Wells and is right next door to the world famous Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The church granted permission for AMA-insured electric flyers to use the field when no events were scheduled for either the church or the Tennis Garden and when school was not in session at nearby Gerald Ford Elementary School. Since the flight took place on a weekday in early summer, this wasn't a problem and I had the entire place to myself. A club organized by the aforementioned Uncle Don's Hobbies uses both the church's field and the adjacent Tennis Garden overflow field Saturday mornings; you'll see everything from slow-flying RTF trainers to 150 MPH (240km/h) ducted fans and pusher props, making the field the perfect place to put the Subsonic Planes system through its paces.
I fired up the T6EX, selected my "FNJT" setting and plugged the Sonic battery into the Motrolfly ESC. After a brief musical interlude followed by two beeps signifying that the system was armed, I was ready to go once I double-checked the control throws and the motor operation. Remember that the ESC needs to relearn the throttle travel upon powering up, so run the throttle up full...and hang on to the plane, 'cause baby, she really has some pull.
Ah, yes. Nothing like a bit of the preflight jitters which accompany the maiden flight of a plane with such performance potential. After a couple of deep breaths - and one heartfelt silent prayer in light of the problem with the F-16 - I throttled up full, pointed the plane into the wind and gave it the old heave-ho.
What happened next was simply mindblowing.
The little German plane blasted away as if it had been shot from a cannon. Tracking was almost straight and true with only the slightest bit of wobble, settling down immediately when I placed my thumb back on the right stick. Typical behavior of other hand-launched models I'd flown and which I was ready for.
I admit that I was skeptical of a 43-gram motor powered by a battery of nearly half the recommended capacity being able to produce sufficient grunt to move this thing or to produce anything resembling useable flight time. Any doubts I had disappeared in an instant as the FunJET rocketed away. The model's own manual claimed that it has a slight tendency to roll left, but my trim setting caused slight roll to the right. Throttling back to about half throttle combined with a couple of clicks of left aileron and down elevator got it flying right.
The fun had begun.
There is nothing but good, useable power across the entire throttle range with the Fast Jet Power System. Cruising speed at roughly half throttle appeared to be about 60 MPH (100km/h); goosing the throttle to about the three-quarter point bumped up the speed to an estimated 70 MPH (110km/h). Lowering to one-third throttle gave a nice, lazy cruising speed of about 50 MPH (80km/h). Control was solid at all speeds thanks to the Batan 1122B servos, so solid that any doubts one might have regarding the control of an elevon-equipped model will disappear within moments. There was no evidence of radio glitching or signal loss; the Futaba R6106HF receiver worked flawlessly.
After a minute spent getting the feel of the FunJET, I figured it was time to start pushing the envelope, especially since I only had one battery with me. Slow flight was fun, but I was here to make this thing really boogie.
I brought it around for a low pass, firewalled the throttle and pulled back on the right stick.
Result: More blowing of my mind.
With a sound like a thousand dental drills in concert, the plane streaked forward and then upward with seemingly unlimited vertical performance. In fact, I can't recall any model I'd flown in recent years with the potential to take itself up and out of sight. Yet, the little Motrolfly motor hanging out behind the tail offered all of that potential without the slightest sign of strain.
I didn't try a loop only because the vertical perfomance told me that loops of any size were going to be easy and because my time was limited by the single battery. Instead, I backed off to about three-quarters throttle and did a few victory rolls, Immelmann turns and a beautiful vertical stall which the FunJET pulled off flawlessly aided by the Batan servos. When Ken told me those servos had highly accurate centering, he wasn't kidding.
I pulled off a couple of relatively low passes at full throttle since I wanted room for recovery if anything went awry. The speed was simply incredible in light of the size of the components. Recall that the calculated pitch speed was more than 95 MPH, or close to 160km/h. In this real life application, I estimated the straight and level speed to north of the 85 MPH (137km/h) neigborhood, pretty much what Ken's own FunJET is capable of.
The wind was starting to come up, so I brought the plane around for a couple of low-speed passes to get the feel of setting it up for landing. Delta wings want to fly and the FunJET was no exception. The actual landing was simplicity itself. I came around on a really long base to final and glided in with a perfect sliding stop along the grass, ending a flight of about five fun-filled minutes.
There was one final fear, though: Would all of this high-speed, high current blasting puff up such a small LiPo?
Nope. Not in the least. The Sonic pack was actually at ambient temperature. I could have gotten even more time out of the flight had I wished; it only took 45 minutes to recharge it later that day at 1C.
I let out a whoop of joy you could have heard three blocks away.
The second flight for the video shoot would occur a little more than a week later. Helping out once more was my friend and part-time coworker Ken Alan, vice president of Kaminsky Productions, a major video production company in nearby Cathedral City, California.
Among the usual flyers were my two best flying buddies and regular Saturday morning participants, Bob Rives and Bill Shrewsberry, neighbors who usually arrive in the same car.
If that latter name causes you drag race historians to raise an eyebrow in wonder, give yourselves a gold star.
Bill, a budding R/C pilot, is the same "Wild Bill" Shrewsberry who started in the A/FX class in the early 60s with Mickey Thompson, dominating the class in the 1963 Winternationals with his Pontiac Tempest Le Mans Super Duty, a car he owns to this day. Later, he worked with car customizer George Barris and toured the world as the driver of the drag racing replica of the Batmobile from the ABC-TV "Batman" television series. Bill went on to help develop the most famous wheelstanders and exhibition cars in drag racing history. He worked with the Hurst Corporation in the development and testing of the Hurst Hemi Under Glass, the Hurst Hairy Olds and the Dodge Little Red Wagon. His association with the Dodge and Plymouth dealers of Los Angeles County led to the iconic, candy striped L.A. Dart wheelstanders with their rear-mounted hemis and soon after, the Knott's Berry Wagon '30 Model A panel truck.
He's also one of the kindest, most generous people on the planet and a real asset to the hobby; when people learn who he is, he's more than happy to chat at length about drag racing, R/C flying or both.
As I pulled into the lot that particular Saturday, Bill was already in the air and at the controls of something more pastoral than a fire-breathing, wheelstanding Dodge Dart with a blown, 1500-horsepower Keith Black hemi in the trunk, namely a neat little ParkZone Champ RTF micro.
After hearty greetings all around, the four of us pored over the Subsonic Planes-equipped FunJET. Bob and Bill were amazed at the simple setup, especially since there were not one but two screaming FunJETS in the air ripping holes in the sky at close to 130 MPH (210km/h). I was somewhat familiar with one of the planes; its speed had been verified with a police radar gun at one point. I wasn't going to be able to fly nearly that fast, but then again, I wasn't going to run two 4S li-pos, a 90-amp ESC and an E-flite ducted fan motor, either.
As Ken set up the camera, Bill immediately offered to launch the FunJET, an offer I gladly accepted. It was off to the flight line once the camera was ready and once I powered it up and performed the preflight with help from Bob. An extra pair of hands is always welcome.
With the Motrolfly outrunner and APC prop singing their dentist drill chorus, Wild Bill chucked the FunJET in the air. It left his hand perfectly; the FunJET screamed toward the desert sky with the outrunner's torque pulling it slightly to the left.
Once launched and trimmed, I took it easy so that Ken could track it as it came around for the first in a series of low-altitude, high-speed passes, vertical climbs and victory rolls, calling out my position and ultimate plan for each manuever to Ken. The model proved difficult to track, so the video shows mostly low- and medium-speed flight.
A couple of other pusher prop pilots watched the fun, themselves impressed at the power and performance of the Fast Jet Power System; impression nearly turned to disbelief when they learned of just what the power system consisted of.
It was time to land all too soon, with Ken tracking the FunJET as it eased in for a smooth, gentle slide on the grass.
Another successful flight and I hope for many more like it.
Despite the simplicity of the model's assembly, the plug-in nature of the electronics and the gentle overall flight charateristics, a plane like this with its combination of high-performance power, quick response and its lack of ability to self-right itself like a trainer makes it totally unsuitable for a raw beginner. If you are in fact a beginner looking to start out in the hobby or to move up from a ready-to-fly plane with proprietary electronics to a sturdy foam ARF with discrete, universal electronics, consider the Multiplex Easy Star, one of the finest, easiest flying ARF planes on the market. Contact Ken at Subsonic Planes for a suitable power setup.
Now, if by "beginner" we're discussing someone with R/C flight experience looking to move into the world of high-performance pusher prop jets - which happens to describe me - there is probably no better way to do so. You can opt to use a FunJET as outlined here, or with just a few clicks of your mouse, order a complete, tried and tested combination of an airframe and electronics directly from Subsonic Planes.
The Subsonic Planes Fast Jet Power System is as good a compromise of cost and power as you're likely to find. In fact, it's almost unfair to call it a compromise since it works so well.
Sure, there are faster combinations for the FunJET. All one has to do is to check out the discussion boards right here at RCGroups or do a quick YouTube search; at least one FunJET owner managed to stuff a 760-watt power system in his plane. It's there you'll also find videos of a couple of FunJETs powered by miniature Kolibri turbines. Oh, they're fast, but "fast" comes at a very dear price. One of those engines will set you back about US$3200.
For now, I am more than satisfied with the performance of this system. It performs far better than I expected it to and the fun factor isn't compromised by the levels of excessive speed which can trash a model with even a moment's inattention. That kind of power also calls for beefing up the foam airframe; the 130 MPH FunJET I mentioned earlier required a lot of additional carbon fiber bracing to the wings and elevons to overcome the strain such speed placed on them. If I ever want to take my FunJET to the next level of performance, there are myriad ways of doing so. The Fast Jet Power System can then go into one of Subsonic's extra-lightweight foamies and I'll be zipping along at a hundred with little more than a prop change.
All in all, the Subsonic Planes Fast Jet Power System is one of the more pleasant surprises I've ever had the privilege to review. Despite its small size, it will more than sufficiently power a model which calls for a larger power system.
To put it another way, it's like buying a high-performance automobile which offers the choice of a normally aspirated V8 or a supercharged V6, with both offering about the same performance with a lot of that performance coming in the way of reduced weight.
A Multiplex FunJET or similar model set up with this "supercharged V6" is exciting and fun to fly and will satisfy all but the most hardcore "speed freaks." Keep in mind this system is actually more powerful than the recommended factory setup; the only thing you lose is weight, making the performance gains that much more substantial.
With its combination of affordability, perfomance and all-important customer support from a family owned and operated business, I am proud to give the Subsonic Planes Fast Jet Power System a solid two thumbs up. There may be no better, easier and more affordable way to power a fast foamie, especially for someone just starting in that phase of the hobby.
My sincerest thanks go to Ken Young of Subsonic Planes for his boundless expertise and assistance. I also wish to thank Eddie Tucker, owner of Ground Control Hobbies in Yucca Valley, California for hooking me up with the FunJET, Rob Thomas of Uncle Don's Hobbies in Palm Desert, California for his expertise regarding the choice of receiver, Ken Alan of Kaminsky Productions, Cathedral City, California for his peerless efforts in tracking a very small model plane with an electronic viewfinder, "Wild Bill" Shrewsberry and Bob Rives for helping out as my pit crew for the video shoot and Margrite Shaw of the Morongo Valley, California post office for use of her postal scale. Extra special thanks to RCGroups.com moderator Angela Haglund for helping to bring all of this together and her husband and RCGroups.com moderator Jim T. Graham for making such cool music available for the video.
For the very latest in what's happening in the fascinating world of radio controlled modeling, log on to RCGroups.com and join in the fun here at the e-zines or over at the discussion boards.
Thanks for stopping by and I'll see you at the field!
I'm pleased to say that pluses are many for this system:
As for the minuses:
===============Last edited by Angela H; Jul 23, 2010 at 07:20 AM..
94.9 mph on the doppler
I've been flying my funjet with the subsonicplanes.com package for a few weeks now. The review is accurate, this is an incredible setup.
Since I have more flight time on mine, thought I'd point out some really great features.
First of all, hand launching: I launch mine with the motor off, just throw it straight and level. It will glide just fine and even if you're slow on reactions like me, you have more than enough time to hit the throttle before it even starts to drop. So, don't worry about launching a high power pusher prop plane, you don't need the power on.
I've flimed mine and dopplered it. I am seeing 94.9 mph in fast passes. I've flown it against some "fast" funjets at our field and its every bit as fast as most of them. What people don't realize is that as weight increases, the wing has to fly at a higher angle of attack and therefore drag increases too. One fellow has a funjet that must have the 700 watt stuff in it, its faster but.........
Mine also THERMALS! That's right- it will ride lift almost as well as a glider. Last weekend I spent about ten min with the power off until I got tired of looking up. Then full power dive back on the deck for more fun.
and last, one thing not mentioned is the incredible turning ability. At full throttle I can pull full UP and instantly change direction. Looks like it must pull 60g at least. And nothing breaks.
This is truly an amazing fun package. One flyer that saw mine was actually waving cash trying to buy it.
I higly recommend getting the subsonicplanes package, you'll really like it.
You thinking of getting one?
Ralph, very good review and thanks for the kind words. I really hoped you liked this set up as I enjoy mine very much. I hate flying anything heavy that flies really fast except for the bragging a fast light plane is really a lot more fun.
Guess we need to stock this plane as we really don't have any plane right now that this set up would be good for so we will be ordering some Fun Jets soon.
Ken, it was a pleasure. All I need are another eight or ten battery packs because I might not fly anything else after this.
Seriously though, this plane is going to be a favorite for a long time to come. I have a small but heavy .25-powered Spitfire which flies almost as fast, but hoo boy, is it a handful especially since it's in camo. It's also a bear to land; it wants to bounce on the mains the moment it touches down, no matter how gently I land it.
This thing is a joy...and I can't wait to try and catch thermals! It occured to me that such a lightweight setup coupled with that delta wing might be fun to send up, cut the power and find those air bubbles.
[quote]Expressed in watts, we're talking 320 watts, especially surprising in light of the system's total weight of 6.98 ounces (198g). It's even more surprising when compared with Multiplex's recommended setup. It's not only heavier, but it's rated at only 300 watts.[/quote]
Well, the difference is Power In and Power Out.
The Multiplex power system provides approx. 300W Power output.
and you don't need to use a heavy 3/3200 LiPo pack either. A modern 30C 3s-2200mAh pack is more than capable.
Louis, get one and try it!!! You don't have to go full throttle and at 1/4 throttle its a really nice sport flyer. Paint bottom a dark color and it will be easy to see. Remember its so light you can toss it with the power off and it will glide pretty well.
Nothing like buzzing the field and listening to the glow flyers go "what the heck was that?" and then zooming up to find some thermals and glide around for a while.
This thing is just plain fun!
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