Horizon Hobby ParkZone F4F Wildcat 1.0m BNF Basic - RC Groups

Horizon Hobby ParkZone F4F Wildcat 1.0m BNF Basic

A simple parkflyer treatment of a WW2 classic that really delivers on fun

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Introduction

Wingspan: 38.4 in (975mm)
Wing Area: 227 sq.in.
Length: 39.5 Inches (1003mm)
Flying Weight: 25.4 oz (720g)
Motor: 480-sized 960Kv brushless outrunner
ESC: 30A Pro Switch-Mode BEC Brushless
Receiver: Spektrum AR636A with AS3X and SAFE
Prop Size: 9x6
Servos: (4) 9-Gram Sub-micro Servos
Battery: 1800-2200mAh 3S 11.1V 30C Li-Po
Available at: Horizon Hobby
Price: $149.99

The F4F Wildcat from Grumman was a bit out of date when WWII began. It was what the US Navy and Marine Corp had to fight the Japanese in the early part of the war.

The Wildcat wasn't as agile as the Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" but it was a lot tougher and was critical in holding off the enemy in the early going.

The F4F modeled here is painted to represent the aircraft flown by the Navy's first Wildcat ace of WWII, Butch O'Hare.

Kit Contents

This super simple airframe only has a few parts. It's a bit of a throwback to a simpler time in RC electrics.

Assembly

Details that deserve special note:

Flying

This plane is small enough that it can easily be transported to the flying field in one piece. It is also small enough that a full flying field is not always needed, this model can be flown in a typical ball field sized area. Since no take-offs from the ground are possible, it doesn't matter as much about grass length and super smooth runways.

Basics

I flew the Wildcat with a 3S 1800mAh pack and with it pushed all the way forward the model balanced at the correct CG. Either 1800 or 2200mAh 3-cell packs can be used. Going any larger is just going to boost the weight and degrade the performance. Flight times are quite good with the 1800 pack and averaged better than 5 minutes of varied throttle flying.

Taking Off and Landing

Hand launching a model can seem a bit intimidating at first but the Wildcat makes this a very easy process. The mid wing setup leaves a good grip area under the wings. I pushed the throttle to a little more than 1/2 and gave it a level toss into the slight breeze. A hard throw is not necessary, just a toss similar to throwing a dart. The Wildcat was flying right away and any launch concerns melted away. Pushing the throttle to the top provided quick acceleration and a strong climb.

Landings are a simple affair. There were no landing gear or flaps to deal with, I just brought the plane around into the prevailing wind and reduced the throttle to achieve the desired sink rate. The AS3X did a nice job of smoothing out any bobbles caused by turbulence. The glide is actually quite good, a bit of a surprise for such a tubby little plane. As I got near to a touch down, I applied a little up elevator and held it off the grass as long as I could. The speed dropped until flying was no longer possible and a short slide in the grass ended the flight. Landings are gentle and the wear and tear of belly landings is limited. I don't expect any undue damage to result from these landings.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

In my first flight I quickly felt comfortable with the handling and proceeded to see what the little Wildcat could do. Rolls were quick and loops large and the model can turn on a dime. Inverted flight took only a little down elevator pressure to maintain level flight. With the rudder throws that I had, snap rolls were not possible. If I increase both rudder and elevator throws, I expect that snaps might be possible. I performed a couple of Cuban 8's and a stall turn or two. I explored the Wildcat's slow flight capabilities and it was a joy. The Wildcat was easy to control and did not exhibit any nasty stall characteristics.

Is This For a Beginner?

I think that most beginners are a bit leary of hand launching. However, with SAFE active, I believe that a beginner would be able to successfully launch this model. Anyone with a little stick time under their belt will have no problem launching and flying this airplane. The overall broad flight range of this model combined with its superior handling make it a good choice for building confidence.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Conclusion

The Wildcat delivered on the promise of a simple, easy to transport parkflyer with superior performance. I suspect that mine will get a lot of air time in the coming months just because it brings a smile to my face when I fly it. Low on anxiety and high on performance is a combo that is hard to beat.

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Last edited by Matt Gunn; Apr 18, 2018 at 07:41 AM..
Thread Tools
May 09, 2018, 08:44 PM
Modeling Retread
Butch O’Hare for whom Chicago’s O’Hare Airport is named. You can make a long flight delay interesting by finding the display about him. It’s code is ORD because it was originally called OrchaRD Field when the feds started doling out three letter airport codes.
May 11, 2018, 04:47 PM
Registered User
Another great thing about this model that they should advertise is its ease of assembly AND disassembly allows it to go back into its original box, that’s a big value for me since transport and storage is where a lot of hangar rash happens.
Latest blog entry: Testing the blog page
May 12, 2018, 04:40 PM
Registered User
I love this one. It's a good "throw-down" plane. I keep it in my trunk for some after-work RC action. I use SAFE for launching only, it's too intrusive for me when flying. Then to land I turn SAFE back on to keep the wings level. Perfect.
May 14, 2018, 05:07 PM
Registered User

Pre-War colors for my F4F


Well, I liked my F4F so much that I thought I would backdate it to an F3F and Pre-war color scheme. I choose a scheme from a plane from VF-41 aboard the USS Ranger before the US entry into WW2. I have always loved the between the wars colors as they are so vibrant and they really make the Wildcat easy to see in the air.
Basically, I skinned all the foam injection bumps off of the Wildcat and wetsanded it. All the paint is rattle can Rustolem (sp?). I sent Callie a couple of photos of the plane that I wanted to model it after and as usual she did a great job. The airplane still flies as great as it always did, just a bit easier to follow now.

Mike H
May 15, 2018, 11:01 AM
Wishing I was at Torrey Pines
dee-grose's Avatar
I have to agree with you, Mike. Yellow airplanes look great against a blue sky. I'm pretty partial to yellow planes...Champs and Cubs just don't look right any other color, do they?

Andy
May 15, 2018, 01:00 PM
Fly Navy!
Bodie38's Avatar
Hiflyer,
Beautiful livery and great pics. I plan to paint mine as a pre-war VF-41 plane also. What color is your "willow green" tail? It looks like the right shade to me. It's still a F4F though. The early variants with non-folding wings were F4F-3. The F3F was a biplane.
May 17, 2018, 09:55 AM
Registered User
E-Challenged's Avatar
Model should come with non-retract landing gear and option to remove it if desired. Should also have steerable tail wheel linked to rudder. I think that ground maneuvering and using right rudder during ROG takeoffs and taxi-back to pits makes overall flight action much more interesting .
May 31, 2018, 09:31 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bodie38
Hiflyer,
Beautiful livery and great pics. I plan to paint mine as a pre-war VF-41 plane also. What color is your "willow green" tail? It looks like the right shade to me. It's still a F4F though. The early variants with non-folding wings were F4F-3. The F3F was a biplane.

Thanks for the correction to my calling it an F3F, brain fade on my part. The colors were just rattle can Rust-Oleum. I must say however that they spray very well, I got some smooth coverage using several light layers of paint. I didn't do a before and after weight, but the model still flies great. I didn't notice any real change there.

Make sure to post pictures of yours when you are done.


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