FMS Futura V2 80mm EDF available from Horizon Hobby - RCGroups Review

Follow along with the assembly and flight review of the FMS Futura V2 80mm EDF jet, distributed exclusively in North American by Horizon Hobby. Learn how to set up the Spektrum AR637T Smart Receiver and check out the telemetry. Then join Mike McDougall for his first flights of this 80mm EDF jet.

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FMS 80mm Futura V2 EDF - RCGroups Review

80mm Futura V2 EDF
Wingspan:41.7 in
Length:46.1 in
Weight:5.5 lbs
Servos:8 Servos Installed
Radio:Minimum 6 Channel DSMX/DSM2
Battery:6S 22.2V 4000 to 5000 mAh LiPo w/EC5 Connector
Motor:Brushless 3280 Inrunner - 2100 kV
Fan Unit:80mm 12-blade
Manufacturer:FMS
Available From:Horizon Hobby online or through your local hobby shop (in North America)
Street Price:$329.99

Not long ago FMS released a new Futura V2 80mm EDF Jet. The original Futura Sport Jet was developed in conjunction with a team of Sino-German engineers at Tomahawk-Aviation. Luckily the V2 still retains the original CNC machined trailing-link suspension landing gear, large electronics bay, and stout airframe. However, the V2 has been upgraded to include 13g all-metal gear servos, improved plug-type wing connectors, and a larger, higher kV inrunner brushless motor. The new V2 promises higher performance, improved reliability, and better servo response.

Horizon Hobby sent a Futura V2 to RCGroups for Review and included the Spektrum AR637T Smart Technology AS3X receiver. This new Spektrum receiver is compatible with the new Smart Batteries and Smart ESCs as well as having full-range telemetry capability. In addition, the AR637T receiver features programmable AS3X stabilization and SAFE functionality. While I doubt most large-scale EDF pilots would want or need SAFE, it is there should they choose to enable the function.

This melding of improved EDF Jet performance and Spektrum AS3X stabilization should prove to be a powerful combination. Let's open the box and get this baby put together! Since this will be my first 80mm EDF, I'm pretty excited, and slightly apprehensive.

First Impressions

My first impression was HMMM, I'm not too sure how that shade of Blue is going to show up on a clear Blue Bird Texas Day. As I unpacked the parts, the next thing I noticed was that the wings looked TINY compared to my usual prop driven planes. They looked more like the size of a stabilizer. The small hardware packet was hidden under some foam sheeting in a triangle-shaped recess of the molded foam shipping container.

Kit Highlights

  • Retractable landing gear with 10mm CNC machined trailing-link suspension
  • 100 Amp ESC
  • 13 gram all-metal gear servos
  • Improved wing-mounted servo connectors
  • Oversized equipment bay for larger batteries
  • 80mm 12 bladed fan with 3280-2100Kv motor
  • Glue-less assembly, only 10 screws

Kit Contents

Here's a list of the kit parts:

  • EPO foam construction with plywood and plastic mounting points
  • Fuselage with motor, ESC, RX and nose wheel retract pre-installed
  • 2-Piece wing with ailerons, flaps, retracts, servos, and gear doors pre-installed
  • Horizontal stab with elevator pre-hinged and dual servos installed
  • Vertical stab with rudder pre-hinged and servo installed
  • 10 assembly screws and a spare
  • 40-Page illustrated Instruction Manual (10-Pages English)

Required Parts

  • Minimum 6-channel transmitter and receiver
  • 4000 mAh to 5000 mAh 22.2v 6S 30C LiPo Battery
  • 2mm hex wrench or driver

Supplied by Horizon for this Review

The FMS Futura V2 comes from Horizon Hobby as a Plug-n-Play airframe. The buyer will have to provide the flight battery and receiver. For this review, Horizon Hobby supplied a 22.2V 5000mAh 6S 30C Smart LiPo Battery and a Spektrum AR637T Receiver.

Assembly

The 10-page Illustrated Instruction Manual detailed the assembly process for the FMS Futura V2.

Like most other FMS manuals, this one was brief and to the point. Why not, it only takes 10 screws to fully assemble the Futura V2. However, there were some finer points of the assembly process that needed to be addressed. This Review will show some of those missing details.

Wings

The assembly process began with attaching the wings to the fuselage. The wings slid easily onto the fiberglass wing tube and into the fuselage recess. Unfortunately the wing tube recess did not have a detent to prevent over insertion of the tube. To insure equal insertion, the wing tube was marked at 3-3/4" from the ends. Once the first wing half was installed, the tube was adjusted so that the mark was visible before installing the second wing half.

The beefy servo connectors plugged together nicely as the wings slid into place. Each wing half required only two screws to fasten in place. A 2mm hex driver tool made the installation of the four mounting screws so much easier than fumbling with a hex key. There was some difficulty getting the bolt holes to line up with the wing holes. Only tightening the screws enough to get the threads started proved to be a great solution. Once the first bolt was started, the other bolt could be dropped into place and easily started. Tightening the screws evenly was then possible.

Horizontal Stab

The next step was to mount the horizontal stab to the rear of the fuselage. Unfortunately the wire recess molded into the fuselage was not large enough to accommodate the two elevator servo connectors and the excess servo wire leads. Using a long pair of forceps, the servo extensions could be pulled forward into the equipment bay area while carefully guiding the connectors into the tail recess. Once the servo connectors were moved forward into the fuselage recess, the horizontal stab then slid easily into place and was attached with 3 screws. The front screws could be firmly tightened till the molded plastic studs bottomed out, but the rear screw only needed to be tightened till the molded plastic insert began to pull down into the foam of the stabilizer.

Vertical Stab

Likewise the vertical stab servo connector and servo extension lead needed to be pulled forward so that they did not interfere with the vertical stab installation. Taping the servo lead to the servo extension secured the electrical connection and allowed the assembly to be guided into the fuselage recess. The vertical stab then easily slid into the fuselage and only needed three screws to hold it in place.

All it took were 10 screws and the assembly was done! It took much longer to describe the process than it would ever take to fully assemble the Futura V2.

Once the assembly was completed, it was time to install the Receiver and get this baby ready to fly.

AR637T Receiver Installation

The Futura V2 featured an open equipment bay area, but there was not a dedicated location for the receiver. Since the raised area to the front of the fuselage might be needed for lighter battery packs, only the sides or top of the fuselage behind the battery area looked feasible. The right side of the fuselage was selected as it was close to the centerline of the airframe and the servo wires easily reached the receiver servo slots.

Plastic coffee stir sticks were glued to the inside of the fuselage to help route the receiver antennas and keep the end sections perfectly straight and properly oriented. One remote antenna was routed straight back under the top of the fuselage, and the other antenna was mounted vertically on the left side of the fuselage.

Once the servo leads were plugged into their proper receiver slots and the antenna leads were routed into their stir sticks, the receiver was safely secured to the fuselage side using double-sided servo mounting tape.

AS3X Programming

I have to admit that I've really enjoyed flying with AS3X stabilization on many of my planes. I've used Spektrum AS3X receivers in 40cc gassers, 20cc gas and electric scale models, and lots of foamy sport planes. I don't always fly in AS3X Mode, but it is sure nice to have it available for those extra gusty days or difficult landing situations. Since AS3X worked so well in my Warbirds, it was only natural to use the Spektrum AR637T receiver for my first 80mm EDF jet.

Once the AR637T receiver was bound to the iX12 transmitter, the flight surfaces were checked for travel, movement direction, and centering. It was then time to pull up this excellent set of videos produced by Horizon Hobby and Spektrum RC detailing the step-by-step process for fully programming the AR637T receiver.

AR637T AS3X Setup Series #1 - Introduction (4 min 3 sec)

For the initial Gain programming, the left slider on the iX12 transmitter was used to adjust the value of the Gain. The slider was selected because the right stick could be used to maintain primary flight control of the aircraft while the gain value was varied with the slider. The slider was initially set for -100 (No AS3X Gain) all the way to the left, 0 (Mid AS3X Gain) in the center, and +100 (Max AS3X Gain) all the way to the right.

As stated in the videos, individual model differences and pilot preferences will all come into play as the Gain values are adjusted. I was a bit concerned that a fast jet like the Futura 80mm EDF could overload the AS3X and cause oscillation issues. Luckily, Spektrum had done a great job in the basic design of the AR637T - surface oscillation was not an issue on the Futura V2. The final gain values for the Review Futura V2 were as follows:

  • -100 for AS3X OFF
  • 0 for High Speed Stabilization
  • +80 for Low Speed/Landing Stabilization

NOTICE!!!

While these values worked for the Review model, please follow the steps in the video to set up your individual Futura V2.

The combination of the AR637T receiver and a Telemetry ready Spektrum transmitter also allowed for real time data telemetry from the Futura V2. Various data values were available including altitude and g-loads on the airframe as well and Min/Max data values.

Completion

The completed FMS Futura V2 weighed 5 lbs 12 ounces with the 5000 mAh Smart Battery on board. The plane balanced perfectly at 4-1/8" back from the leading edge of the wing with the battery to the front of the battery tray.

I set my Dual Rates for each flight surface on 3-position switches and set them at 100%, 85%, and 70%. Since I like a little exponential, I set 20%, 15%, and 10% Exponential respectively. The transmitter countdown timer was set for 4 minutes and set to start and run at any throttle setting above 25%.

Flying

The FMS Futura 80mm EDF looked like it was going 200 MPH just sitting on the tarmac. Like I mentioned earlier, this was my first 80mm EDF jet, so I kept reviewing EDF flight recommendations in my mind like there's no prop blast over the flight surfaces so keep the speed up. The wings are tiny, so keep the speed up. The wing loading is higher than a Warbird, so keep the speed up.

Luckily the Futura V2 was surprisingly mild mannered and it flew pretty much like a fast sport model.

Taking Off and Landing

Our club field has a GeoTex runway surface that is 450' x 45'. Unfortunately it slopes downhill to the South, so a fast model landing that direction can sometimes run out of runway. Luckily the wind was out of the North for the first flights of the Futura V2 and landing UP hill would help it slow down. All takeoffs were made without any flaps and with full AS3X. All landings were made with full flaps and full AS3X.

Maybe it was the Tri-cycle landing gear, or maybe it was the lack of a big old prop up front, but the Futura V2 tracked straight as an arrow on every takeoff. Throttle was evenly applied all the way to full throttle, a bit of elevator was added, and the Futura V2 was airborne in less than half the runway. The rate of acceleration from standstill to flight speed was much faster than anticipated. The Futura V2 almost leapt off the runway. Gear up, throttle back a bit, AS3x to mid rate, and we were flying! Nothing to it!

Landings however took a bit more work than takeoffs. With the gear down and the flaps at full, the Futura V2 slowed down nicely, but it was still moving fast like a Warbird. Best landings were made with the nose slightly high and flying the plane down to the runway. The trailing-link suspension gear and the sprung trunnions helped smooth out the less-than-gentle landings experienced during the EDF learning process. They also came in handy when running off the runway surface because the approach was too high and too steep and too fast. A bit of practice was all that was needed to get the proper technique down.

High Speed/Full Power Flight

In a word - Amazing! High speed flight is one of the best parts of flying EDF jets. Well, speed and that wonderful Whoosh sound as the Futura V2 streaks on past. Estimated speed was around 100 MPH flat out. At that speed, the Futura V2 covers a lot of ground in a hurry. Flying at full speed requires a bit of planning to get the Futura V2 turned around before it gets into the next county. Immelmann turns seemed to work best to get the plane headed back in the right direction. Huge loops were easy with plenty of power on tap. Slow rolls and point rolls looked great. Knife edge passes only needed partial rudder for straight flight. Aileron rolls were fast and crisp. Vertical flight was almost unlimited.

Cruising Speed

Most aerobatics didn't need full throttle. In fact, partial throttle was a comfortable place to fly because it conserved battery and extended the flight times. In addition, the Futura V2 made this wonderful whistling sound as it coasted on by and then climbing out with full throttle sounded just like a real jet hitting the afterburner. Stall turns were possible if the rudder was applied long before the plane stalled. Outside snaps were impressive.

Gear Down, Full Flaps

This Futura V2 slowed down nicely with everything hanging out in the breeze. It was very controllable and didn't exhibit any bad habits. Figure 8 circuits of the field were very nice and lining up for landings was very easy.

Is This For a Beginner?

The Futura V2 would not be my first choice as a trainer for an absolute beginner. Even though the optional-use SAFE technology available in the AR637T receiver might make that an option, I would still not recommend this plane for a first-time beginner pilot.

That being said, the Futura V2 would be the perfect first EDF for any intermediate or expert pilot.

Flight Video

My buddy Jesse Webb was ready with the Camcorder and the Futura V2 was charged and ready for its video. This was only the second and third flight on the Futura V2, but I was sure that Spektrum AS3X would keep things on track. Huge Props to Jesse for keeping up with this plane and working around that large mass that got in the way of the video.

Flight Photo Gallery

The Texas weather finely cleared up and Jesse Webb had the Nikon at the ready. It was time for some beauty shots. I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Final Thoughts

This 80mm EDF jet was a very pleasant surprise. The Futura V2 blue coloration showed up well in clear Texas skies and the Futura V2 was much easier to fly than anticipated. Yes, you still had to remember that it was forward velocity and airflow over the control surfaces that allowed flight control and not "prop blast." Luckily the improved power system in this version made accelerating to flight speed from any attitude happen much faster. Landings will still take a bit of practice and concentration, but the big payoff will come when you grease one in. I promise you that your fellow pilots will surely notice.

Once the Spektrum AS3X stabilization was properly tuned, it gave just the right amount of help when needed and stayed out of way when not needed. In addition, the Spektrum Smart Telemetry gave some useful data to allow the modeler to check the performance of several flight components.

Overall I like the Futura V2. It will be getting a lot of air time this flying season.

Pluses

  • Spectacular EDF Speed and Performance
  • Trailing-Link Retract Suspension
  • Effective Flaps
  • Powerful EDF Motor
  • Bright Blue Color Scheme
  • AS3X Stabilization (Spektrum AR637T RX)
  • Spektrum Smart Telemetry (AR637T RX)

Minuses

  • Wing Tube Could Be Inserted Unevenly In the Wing Halves
  • Cramped Wiring Recesses for the Elevator and Rudder Servo Wiring

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Last edited by Jason Cole; Nov 05, 2020 at 01:13 PM..
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Oct 30, 2020, 10:20 AM
Registered User
I have the v1, it's a great flying plane. Def underrated compared to the other sport edfs.
Oct 30, 2020, 11:58 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
Thread OP
I was very pleased with the V2. Great flying EDF.

I was asked if the Spektrum Smart Batteries with the new IC5 connectors were compatible with the XT90 connector supplied with the Futura V2. I found that they were indeed compatible. Both use the standard 5mm pin and tube, and the identical spacing. The connector housings were also compatible and would easily plug together. I checked the connector interface after 4 minutes of high speed flight and found the interface barely at body temperature. I was also able to use standard E-flite batteries with their EC5 connectors as well.

I've attached a picture of the XT90 and the IC5.

I also attached a couple of pictures showing how I attached small squares of "Hook" fastener material to the side of the fuselage to hold the loose ends of the battery straps while installing or removing battery packs.

McD
Last edited by kingsflyer; Nov 07, 2020 at 04:07 PM.
Oct 31, 2020, 07:28 AM
AA6JB
Bajora's Avatar
Nicely written review Mike! The combination of the FMS 80mm EDF and this airframe make for some of the best sounding EDF acoustics IMO! A beastly roar/whoooshh! She is definitely breaking the triple digit speed barrier at WOT ... by more than a few MPH too!

Enjoy your new Futura. She is one of my all time favorite sport jets.
Oct 31, 2020, 07:55 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
Thread OP
Thanks Jon. I agree, the sound on this V2 is simply amazing. I've had several Club Members comment that when I coast the Futura V2 by at low throttle and then shove the throttle to full bore to climb out, it sounds like a real jet hitting the burner.

McD
Last edited by kingsflyer; Oct 31, 2020 at 08:20 AM.
Oct 31, 2020, 11:21 AM
AA6JB
Bajora's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsflyer
Thanks Jon. I agree, the sound on this V2 is simply amazing. I've had several Club Members comment that when I coast the Futura V2 by at low throttle and then shove the throttle to full bore to climb out, it sounds like a real jet hitting the burner.

McD

Ah yes ... power off, the airframe does indeed emit a nice "whistling" sound. Power on, it makes a cool secondary growl.
Nov 02, 2020, 12:33 AM
Registered User
I put over 100 flights on my purple V1 and then sold it off to buy a red V1 when they became available. Iíll do the same with my red V1 if they ever release a red V2.

Iíve flown both the Futura and the Avanti 80 MM. The Futura is every bit as good as the Avanti. The Futura is a little faster and the Avanti is a little more aerobatic, (think fast yank and bank vs a little slower snap roll/spin/tumble capable.) just chose your flying style and go from there.

Nice review
Nov 20, 2020, 10:34 AM
Registered User
I wouldn't use that spektrum "dumb" batteries in an EDF! Too low c rating. Need like 50c minimum to make the futura wake up. I had a 65c in my v1.


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