Grand Distribution Fox Hawk Ready-to-fly Brushless Ducted Fan Jet Review - RC Groups

Grand Distribution Fox Hawk Ready-to-fly Brushless Ducted Fan Jet Review

Big wow factor. Looks sharp. Assembles in a jiffy. Albert Wahrhaftig reviews this incredibly complete RTF ducted fan jet from Grand Distribution.

All done and looking good.
Tell me this isn't one eye catching airplane!
Tell me this isn't one eye catching airplane!
Wingspan:37.4"
Wing Area:182 sq. dm.
Weight:21.9 oz.
Wing Loading:12.1 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:2 installed
Transmitter:Gyrus 4 channel (optional)
Receiver:Mini 6 channel installed
Battery:LiPo 3x1800 mAh
Motor:B2040 KV4300 installed
Fan:mm. 6 blades installed
ESC:25 amp. installed
Manufacturer:Icon R/C
Available From:Grand Distribution
Retail Price:around $240 w/transmitter, or around $210 without transmitter

Introduction

Several months ago I saw the Fox Hawk in a small picture in an RC magazine. Talk about love at first sight! It was a gotta have. I instantly sent out a request to review the Fox Hawk and learned that it was not yet available... not yet available for many months, as it turned out. Returning late from work a week or two ago, I was confronted with two giant boxes: The Fox Hawk and Gordo, another plane from Grand Distribution, had arrived!

The Fox Hawk? In my imagination, as judged from that one picture, the Fox Hawk was small, slender, and mucho fast. Why such a big box? It turns out that the actual Fox Hawk model is almost twice the size of the Hawk I imagined. And it is full of more pleasant surprises.

Kit Contents

The Fox Hawk is an everything-in-one-box-ready-to-fly model that really is as close to ready to fly as any model I have seen. It is available with or without a transmitter. Mine included a conventional four channel transmitter with servo reversing switches and a high/low rate switch. I want to share the adventure of unpacking this critter instead of just printing a what's in the box list. (OK, I know some of you just look at the lists and look at the photos, so the list is coming below.) Here we go.

Hey, I know people who read instructions are a rarity, but I am obsessive when it comes to anything in print. Must be in the genes! So I cheated and dug out the instructions - the source, as it happens, of some of my few complaints. They consist of a 5 1/2 page leaflet with 1 1/2 scant pages of text to tell you how to assemble the thing. There was a separate sheet with an exploded drawing of the motor and fan which left me wondering how to install that unit. Well, maybe you don't need to read anything after all, so let's get back to digging into that box.

The first thing you will find, of course, is an informative label. In addition to a picture of the assembled plane, there is a photo of all the parts. Opening the box reveals an outstanding packing job, components protected with cardboard, bubble wrap, boxes, bags, and, no doubt, mystic spells.

You can also see that you are in the presence of major cool. The wing is there on top, fully assembled with decals in place. It is made of EPS foam, as are the other major components. Servo, hinges, pushrods, control horns, are all there and connected, and does it look big and wide!

Next comes a plastic canopy, held in place by eight magnets around its perimeter. Although I generally prefer transparent canopies with a pilot visible inside, somehow the opaque black of this one is perfect.

The vertical fin shows up next, with a thin, hard, bright plastic covering, but no movable rudder. That set me back a bit. Forget about knife edge unless you want to install an extra servo, and that might not be the easiest of modifications. Oh well, there's lots you can do with ailerons and elevator, so let's get on with it.

Nose cone up next. Molded plastic, well painted and decorated.

Next are the two stabilizer halves. The elevators are prehinged, but stiff. Might as well flex them a few times now. Loosen them up a bit before you forget to do it later. The horns are already installed.

Now comes the spectacle: the fuselage is surprisingly big, bright and very light. I had wondered about that sheet with an exploded view of the fan, but the motor and fan were installed, already connected to the ESC, and the elevator and nose wheel servos were installed. Both servos and the ESC were already connected to the receiver.

The Gyrus 4 channel transmitter is in a small box of its own. It has servo reversing on all four channels, a switch that allows mixing for elevon equipped airplanes, and a dual rate switch which, unfortunately, will be inaccessible when you are flying. The transmitter needs 8 AA cells.

There is another small box containing a very few small parts, the landing gear with good looking and very light wheels (but do we really want to fly this jet-like speedster with gear hanging down?), and guess what? A bottle of glue.

A 3 cell 1800 mAh LiPoly battery is included, but horrors, it has a Tamiya connector as does the included wall mount charger. First order of business for me was to swap these out for more efficient connectors.

So what do we have here? Major wow factor. Well designed high quality components. Things are looking very, very good.

And, for those who don't like to read text, THE LIST!

Kit Includes:

  • EPS foam painted and decorated airframe parts
  • All required hardware including lightweight wheels
  • Preinstalled receiver, ESC and servos
  • Preinstalled motor and ducted fan
  • (optionally) Transmitter
  • 3 cell 1800 ma. LiPoly battery
  • Wall mounted charger
  • Glue
  • Instructions

Kit Requires:

  • 8 AA batteries for transmitter

Assembly

All the servos are already installed, and the aileron servo is already linked to the ailerons. The receiver, ESC and ducted fan are also installed. All the airframe components are brightly and carefully painted, and all the decals are already applied. Nice, nice, nice! Let me tell you, I was excited.

Following the sequence in the instructions, the first step is to glue the stabilizers to the fuselage. By removing one screw you can remove the hatch at the tail end of the fuselage. The hatch itself holds the stabs in place and aligns the pushrods. Flex the elevators a few times to free up the hinges, then attach the pushrods to the elevators, apply the included glue, set the stabs in place, and screw the hatch back on. Be sure to verify before the glue sets that the stabs are aligned. Your tail is now complete.

The next step, according to the instructions, is to install the nose gear servo, but actually this is already installed. Slip the nose gear strut through the servo arm, and press the strut into the slot below the servo arm. A small square plastic piece clips into the molded lugs there and is secured with two screws. A tip to make this easier: if you widen the holes in this little piece so that the screw goes through without threading (that is, a "clearance" sized hole), the screws can pass through the small piece and then thread into the plate on the nose of the airplane. This creates a very free and secure nose gear mount.

Now you can slip the nose cone on. To do so, cut a slot so that the cone can clear the nose wheel strut. My little trick here is to nibble the required slot using a paper hole punch. This is neat and the "knife" never slips. The instructions say to screw the nose in place with screws which, if included, I never did find. But since there is no strain whatsoever on the nose, I was satisfied with using a few bits of tape to secure it.

Before installing the wing, take time to verify that the aileron throws are in the right direction and satisfy you. Remember that the transmitter (if you had one included) has dual rates. Check them out.

Might as well slip the main gears in place now. No need to glue them - they will stay there just fine.

Assuming your aileron servo wire is still connected to the receiver after adjusting the ailerons, just slide the wing in place. Notice the clever way the plastic parts lock together at the leading edge of the wing. Then secure the one screw that holds the wing at its trailing edge. These are two of the pieces of clever engineering I encountered throughout this kit.

Magnets hold the canopy on, and though they look puny, they do the job.

Completion

This is where I am going to vent about a couple of things.

The CG is not indicated on either the instructions or the airframe. In a way, this is of no consequence because the battery box is made to the measure of the included battery. Since everything is already fit in a definite place, the CG comes out where the manufacturer intended. However people do fool around, adding, subtracting, and swapping equipment. Repairs add weight here and there also. So it would be helpful if there were a way to check for a correct CG.

I wrote to Grand Distribution about this and they replied promptly with a drawing showing the CG located 15 cm.aft of the front edge of the big air inlet on the fuselage side.

Of more consequence, the distance the ailerons and elevators should move is not indicated. Since at least on my airplane these had to be significantly adjusted before taking to the air, this is necessary information. Fortunately, my guesswork did no harm. Others may not be so lucky.

Finally, the dual rate switch is down there with the tiny servo reversing switches where you will need to look closely and use some kind of tool to poke it from one position to another. There is no way to change rates in the air, but that, in my opinion, is precisely what dual rates are all about. After intense aerobatics on high rates, many of us switch to low rates to gentle the plane for landing. How you gonna do that, fella?

Flying

Yah! Now we come to the part you have been waiting for. As I am a Sunday flier of no more than average skill, I was feeling more than a bit doubtful as I stood behind the Fox Hawk on the air strip, transmitter in hand. The plane does look like it could potentially be a handful, but it turns out to be a sweetie.

Basics

Anyone with low wing and aileron experience can fly this plane. Although bystanders thought the plane was very fast, it didn't seem like it to me. It handled well, and I never felt I was anywhere near to getting in trouble with it.

Taking Off and Landing

This is a tricycle geared plane, so it sits square on the runway and steers easily. It accelerates well and is up and away with no fuss, climbing at an impressive rate. Landings tend to be a bit hot. Remember that you don't have any big ol' prop in front to act as a brake, but the plane glides well and has no tip stall tendency. As long as you give yourself lots of room to bleed off speed, both on approach and on the ground, landings are great.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

Loops, and the maneuvers derived from them are easy. Rolls are almost magical and seem to end just where I want them to all by themselves. Inverted? Sure. As there is no movable rudder, knife edge and associated tricks are out of the question. You can maintain very tight turns and circles, so this plane can take to the air in a fairly small park or field, but you are still going to need quite a bit of room for landing. But this isn't a plane meant for aerobatic competition. It is meant for having fun tooting around, and I am definitely having fun with it.

The wings and stabs have the same trim design top and bottom. I did discover that at altitude this does make it difficult to determine whether the plane is right side up or not. After the test flights reported here, I modified the trim scheme on the underside of the wing tips. I haven't had a chance to flight test this yet. If it is sufficient, I'll add more black striping inboard of the star and bars.

Is This For a Beginner?

Beginners can look at it. That's as far as it goes. Pilots who are comfortable with low wings and ailerons will be at home with it.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

Big wow factor. Looks sharp. Assembles in a jiffy. Flies great. You can't go wrong with this one.

Pluses:

  • Cool looks
  • Flies great
  • Amazingly light
  • Complete - nothing but batteries to buy
  • Well designed and high quality

Minuses:

  • Marginal instructions (though sometimes what they tell you to do is already done)
  • No CG or control throw information provided
  • Tamiya connectors
  • Inaccessible dual rate switch.
Last edited by Angela H; Jul 13, 2007 at 07:59 PM..
Thread Tools
Jul 13, 2007, 05:02 PM
Fokker Ace's Avatar
Nice! This looks like a quick way to get into EDF. What's the going price for these guys?
Jul 13, 2007, 08:00 PM
Administrator
Angela H's Avatar
Added the retail price up there in the specs for you Mr. Ace!
Jul 13, 2007, 08:07 PM
Fokker Ace's Avatar
Great!

I'd love to see that on more reviews as it's a great thing to get a ballpark price range.
Jul 13, 2007, 08:15 PM
Formations
Hey, a relabelled Series 1 Sapac Hawk. I like the colour scheme they put on it.
Jul 14, 2007, 12:43 AM
Registered User

Retail Cost


Quote:
Originally Posted by Angela H
Added the retail price up there in the specs for you Mr. Ace!
The MSRP is $224.99 for RTF and $189.99 for Receiver Ready.
The prices listed up top is with shipping cost included.
Jul 14, 2007, 02:03 AM
The sky is my playground.
Dora Nine's Avatar
Sweet looks like cheap fun--thanks for the review!
Jul 14, 2007, 10:10 PM
Registered User
Jumpgate2's Avatar
I have bought one, from Ebay, its a red arrow, I founf similar issues with mine, Stiff elevators, used my own transmitter, but found the one supplied was OK.

I hand lauched mine due to long grass, with a bit of up trim it was fine, not as fast as i thought it would have been.

I have watched your video, and yours came in to land far faster than mine, slow speed handling is excellent.

this is my first df, and I would recommend it.

Ed
Jul 14, 2007, 10:57 PM
Checking CG is for NERDS!
Smokescreen38's Avatar
Nice review... a couple of questions linger..

What are average flight times like?

What kind of climb angle is it capable of?

I have heard that this model is pretty slow for a "jet." What is it comparable to?

Would it handle wind well?

Is the shape based on a real plane? It looks familiar.

Thanks!
Jul 15, 2007, 03:35 AM
Registered User
Jumpgate2's Avatar

BAE Hawk


Hi Smokescreen,

I estimate flight time to be 10-15 mins as you seem to flat out all the time to do any aero's

Climb angle , 65 degrees at a push, I'll find out better today on flight no 2

It seems slow for me, but i cannot compare to other DF models as this is my first, but I would have to say I think PZ-FW-190 is quicker it certainly had me on my toes more than this Hawk did.

I think the shape is very good, slightly wider at the rear than the real thing, but not bad.
Jul 15, 2007, 08:28 PM
Nup, I got nothing!.....
evo62's Avatar
Wonder when Mark (extremerc) will chime in on this one? AFAIK he has done extensive testing on these airframe. Mine flies OK, not as fast as I expected though.
Jul 15, 2007, 09:39 PM
I don't land, I arrive
kevo's Avatar
Identical to my Sapac Hawk except the colour scheme is much better on this one.
Mine has the (Extreme RC) 4s setup and flies great. Still not a fast model though but great to fly.
Jul 15, 2007, 09:43 PM
Fly it like you stole it..
Tram's Avatar
How well do you think it'd hand launch?

Jeff
www.CommonSenseRC.com
Jul 15, 2007, 10:31 PM
Registered User

Hand Launch


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tram
How well do you think it'd hand launch?

Jeff
www.CommonSenseRC.com
Check out the hand launch video here:
http://www.readytoflyplanes.com/gallery2/v/GD
Jul 15, 2007, 11:55 PM
I don't land, I arrive
kevo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tram
How well do you think it'd hand launch?

Jeff
www.CommonSenseRC.com
It handlaunches easy. Even my first flights with the stock motor etc would launch ok.
Get rid of the wheels and its even better.


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