Northrop/McDonnell Douglas YF-23 Black Widow II - RC Groups
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Jun 05, 2005, 11:13 AM
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Esprit440's Avatar

Northrop/McDonnell Douglas YF-23 Black Widow II

This model was built as a fanfold test project two years ago, crashed a lot on test flights, and retired without flying more than short hops in my back yard.

It sat in the back of my workshop since then, and every time I saw it I had a nagging feeling that I should resurrect it. Recently I was reviewing my reference files for the real YF-23s, and was struck by how badly the two prototypes has deteriorated - a sad end for such beautiful jets.

So yesterday I went into action, and rebuilt my tired old test model. Out came the weak IPS-A drive, and in went a 17T LensRC motor. The model had been crashed, repaired, and cut up to get the gear out; I had to slice it open again to get the new gear in.

Gave it a quick paint job and some "flyby" graphics; now it was looking well used but presentable. Much better! It felt good to rebuild this one.

First flights today were a little disappointing. The model had plenty of power but control response was squirrelly - ailerons are needed, not just quirky V-tails. Luckily it shook off a couple more hard landings without complaint.

More to come, some day...

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Jun 05, 2005, 11:16 AM
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Esprit440's Avatar
Flying once again; I really enjoy seeing this shape in the air.
Jun 05, 2005, 03:29 PM
My cat up close
bipeflyer's Avatar
Looks nice Matt- I think you should persevere with it, and get the flying anomalies wrinkled out.Certainly is different!

Jun 05, 2005, 08:19 PM
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Kevin Cox's Avatar

I'm planning a similar approach but with a different powerplant .

Great work Matt
Jun 05, 2005, 08:21 PM
Go Sabres!
savall21's Avatar
That's a beautiful model. To beautiful not to fly. Keep it up.
Jun 05, 2005, 10:44 PM
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Esprit440's Avatar
Kevin, I'm looking forward to seeing yours! If you're thinking of a pusher, I would recommend a shaft drive system for anything larger than a cd-rom motor. The YF-23 builds tailheavy and as you scale it up (mine is just under 21" ws) it will get worse.

I'm traveling on business for a week so the aileron modification will have to wait. This sucker is gonna fly well, one of these days!

Jun 06, 2005, 09:04 PM
EDF Jet Jam 2017, June 15-18
Kevin Cox's Avatar
Ahh...from the archives

It was a big one, long before brushless and Lipos. It was shaft driven by an Astro 05FAI
Jun 11, 2005, 07:41 PM
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RCParkflyer's Avatar
signing on
Jun 12, 2005, 02:00 AM
Watts your motivation
roccobro's Avatar
Signing on also... Beautiful.

Jun 19, 2005, 09:48 AM
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Esprit440's Avatar
I added ailerons this week and took it out for some test flying this morning.

First flight was slightly better than the previous attempts, but still not very controllable and noticeably tailheavy. Landed fast and broke a prop. There was a seagull circling around overhead making "HAW HAW HAW" sounds, I kid you not.

Put on a new prop, then put it back on the facing the right way, and added some weight to the nose. Also had to fix the bell on my cd-rom motor which had been knocked loose again.

Next flight was slightly nose heavy at launch and lasted about a minute. This model flies strangely - very twitchy in pitch and eventually settling into a 30 degree nose high attitude and spiraling around slowly. It's very stable like this, and will fly hands off for a long time. When I fed in some down elevator or aileron, it snapped out of the spiral viciously and I had my hands full recovering.

There are probably several things causing problems:

- the unusual delta wing & v-tail configuration
- uncertain v-tail alignment due to builder error
- oversized & flimsy elevator control surfaces
- undersized ailerons
- incorrect thrust line
- incorrect CG

This poor model has had a rough life so I think I will retire it and build a new version some day.

Jul 29, 2006, 10:37 AM
Registered User
Originally Posted by Esprit440

-This poor model has had a rough life so I think I will retire it and build a new version some day.

hi Matt!
did you start building a new one?
Jul 29, 2006, 08:33 PM
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Esprit440's Avatar
Hi Moritz,

No I haven't built another one yet. Some day! Right now I am finishing up the design of a little thrust-vectoring jet for EDF-40.

How about your YF-23?

Jul 31, 2006, 01:47 AM
Registered User
Hi Matt,
i did a reinforcement with 25grams GFK layer on both sides on my jet:
How were the flight characteristics of your YF-23?
Did it you fast? Was it very difficult to control?...

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