New Directions RC VecJet Vectored Thrust RTF Plane Review - RC Groups

New Directions RC VecJet Vectored Thrust RTF Plane Review

Michael Heer bought a VecJet at the Arizona Electric Festival because it literally blew him away when he saw it!

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:30"
Weight:16 oz.
Length:18.5"
Wing Loading:9 oz/sq. ft.
Speed:10mph-80+ mph
Transmitter:JR 7202
Receiver:Berg 4L
Antenna:Azarr antenna
Battery:3-Cell Lipoly pack
Motor:Scorpion 1800KV (Custom made for plane)
ESC:Scorpion
Manufacturer:New Directions RC
Available From:New Directions RC
Price:$199.95 Assembled & RTF

I had a chance to go the Arizona Electric Festival in January 2008, and I saw lots of fantastic planes. But the plane that really captured my attention was also on sale at the show by its inventors, Dale and Paul.

This plane was not made by just cutting a foam core! It was made using layers of different densities Depron foam and plywood and sandwiching them all together. There is much more to this plane then originally met my eye. Double click on the pictures below for a closer look.

The motor mount is a specialized hinged mount that secures to the plane on a mostly hidden wood support. This was much stronger than one might originally suspect without looking closely at the plane. The motor is truly a custom motor from Scorpion that says VecJet right on it.

As a reviewer I seldom get a chance to directly talk with the inventors/makers of a plane. Here is a short video of Dale and Paul at the Arizona Electric Festival talking a little bit about their creation and how it works.

Downloads

Kit Contents

The VecJet kit contains:

  • Assembled main fuselage/wing
  • 3 Installed servos for elevons and rudder/vectored thrust
  • Scorpion brushless motor with prop and adaptor mounted via a solid hinged system
  • Scorpion speed controller installed in fuselage, attached to motor with Deans Ultra connector attached for battery pack
  • Vertical stabilizer with rudder to attach to fuselage with installed bolt and supplied nut

Additional Items I used:

  • 3-cell Lipoly weighing about 5 ounces
  • 4-channel receiver
  • Azarr Antenna for receiver, optional
  • Computerized transmitter for elevon control
  • Pair of needle nose pliers
  • Clay for balance for proper CG

Assembly

With the version I bought, there is no assembly. The plane is built and covered and the elevons are installed, hinged and already connected to their respective servos. I did have to install the vertical stabilizer by inserting it into the fuselage from above. There is a front guide wire and rear bolt. The bolt goes through the fuselage and secures with a nut on the bottom of the fuselage. Once installed, I merely had to attach the clevis on the control rod coming from the thrust controlling servo to the proper hole (shown with a hand drawn arrow) on the control arm attached to the rudder. That was it! The plane was assembled.

The vertical stabilizer/rudder unit can be easily and quickly removed by unsnapping the clevis from the rudder control arm and unscrewing the nut from the bolt at the bottom of the plane. and then pulling the vertical stabilizer up and out of place. The plane packs flat in your suitcase and can be quickly reassembled to fly.

Radio Installation

In the front compartment I installed a 3-cell Lipoly battery that weighed about 5 ounces to get proper balance. I also installed a Berg 4L receiver with an Azarr antenna. The plane has a hidden antenna tube where a full length antenna can be inserted and where I inserted my short Azarr antenna (Later I replaced that receiver antenna combination with a Berg 4L with a full length antenna without any trouble). I plugged the elevon servos into the channels for ailerons and elevator. I plugged the ESC into the throttle. The BEC in the ESC powered the radio system. The rudder/vectored thrust servo plugged into the rudder channel on the receiver. I programmed my JR 7202 transmitter to control my plane with elevons, and I was almost ready to go and fly.

Battery Pack

A three cell Lipoly is required, and the weight of five ounces for balance is appropriate. I have been using 15 and 20 C packs. In the demo they used a Thunderpower light with 2100 mAh and got 15 minute flights, but of course results will vary based on throttle management.

Completion

My VecJet was just slightly tail heavy so I added a about 1/4 ounce of clay to the inside of the plane at the front of the battery box. Tip from Paul: By using clay there is less chance of hurting the battery pack in case of a nose crash.

Center of Gravity: 8 1/4 inch back of the nose of the plane Elevon Throw: Use all that the setup gives you!

Flying

Taking Off and Landing

Flight starts with a hand toss as if throwing a pizza box into the air in a flat forward manner. Not spinning it is important; it might come back at you otherwise, and even having a friend toss it the first couple of times is a good idea. If tossed with the motor running at half speed the plane accelerates quickly, and there is no chance of giving it vectored thrust by moving the throttle and rudder control on launch. Once flying, further acceleration was very easy to control.

To land, I just brought it around at about 15 mph and shut off the motor before touching down and sliding on the grass to a stop. Dale and Paul added foam strips to the bottom of the VecJet with tape to protect the plane as it slid in to land at the Arizona Electric Festival with its wide and long paved runway.

Basics

This plane is primarily an elevon controlled plane. I used computer mixing with my JR transmitter. With small movements, the plane was very gentle and easy to control. I flew around the field making simple circles and crazy eights just using the elevons and small right stick movements, and the plane handled very smoothly. I made a simple loop and several simple rolls as I climbed up to about 600 feet. It does great loops and rolls. The rolls looked best if started with the plane flying just slightly upwards. I could make the plane's maneuvers fast or slow, small or large. I did not use the rudder control at all for these basic maneuvers.

Aerobatics

At about 600 feet up I nosed the VecJet over into a steep dive, leveled her off at about fifteen feet above the ground and hit the throttle. The plane shot across the baseball field. I pulled up into a vertical climb and shot back up to 600 feet. I throttled back and flew inverted back to where I started this loop, rolled over and did it again. WHAT A RUSH! I did a series of inside and outside loops and rolls and a series of small loops while climbing rather rapidly. Before I knew it, my stopwatch alarm told me I had been flying ten minutes.

The Spin Cycle

The Spin Cycle is this plane’s unique acrobatic maneuver. By moving the transmitter sticks to the upper inner corners or the upper outer corners at the same time the rudder and vectored thrust of the turning motor go opposite to the turn of the elevons, and the VecJet enters into a flat spin. I learned up and in or up and out induced a spin while flying right side up or inverted.

The spin maneuver catches observers completely by surprise. To get out of the spin I just gave a little thrust in the opposite direction, and it stopped spinning. Too much reverse thrust, and it would stop spinning one direction and start spinning in the other direction. Add a short dive and then pull up and out for normal flight.

I have gotten some wild spins by doing a 45 degree full throttle climb at about 300 feet and then kicking in the spin. Unfortunately, none have been caught on camera yet.

The spin cycle was a very different and fun experience but this plane is not a one trick pony. It has a fantastic speed range with a very exciting top speed and can climb like a monkey. It does regular rolls and all the maneuvers of a "normal" flying wing.

Additional Flight Information

Thus far I have only had a half dozen flights with my VecJet, and I am very glad I bought it. I love its speed range and have a blast flying it before I even get to the "Spin Cycle." I have started playing more with the vectored thrust by just adding a little rudder/motor turn to turns working the same direction as the elevons. It creates some interesting sharp turns as the rudder movement increases.

Is This For a Beginner?

NO! The plane is far too aerobatic and just plain too fast for a beginner. A pilot who can fly a plane with ailerons or elevons will be able to handle the VecJet with ease using small movements. Rudder and vectored thrust should be done at altitude to allow for time to recover. The plane can handle quite a bit of abuse. Initial flights should be done at a large field. It is too fast for me to call it a park flyer, but for the person who can control their lust for speed it can easily be flown in a park.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

Dale and Paul are two very nice guys who are selling a plane made in America (laser cut in Mesa, Arizona and assembled in Texas), and it can be bought Ready To Fly for just under $200.00. They have two other less assembled versions and accessories (including battery packs) available on their website. The plane can be flown in a rather conventional manner just using the elevons, and it dazzles with quick maneuvers and terrific bursts of speed and high rates of climb. The plane gives me an adrenaline rush whenever I fly it.

Pluses

  • RTF in fifteen minutes
  • Different patterns top and bottom for orientation
  • Wide speed range
  • Good flying plane not even touching the rudder
  • Wild spinning plane with use of the rudder/vectored thrust

Minuses

  • None
Last edited by Angela H; Mar 08, 2008 at 08:16 PM..
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Mar 12, 2008, 08:56 PM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
In response to an e-mail question. Use of elevons alone does not move rudder or motor. The motor ALWAYS moves with the rudder and the rudder always moves with the motor. So long as they are connected together to the controlling servo as was done in this review and per normal operation of the plane. Michael Heer
Mar 12, 2008, 10:24 PM
Fly me to the moon...
Atom1025's Avatar
I saw the VecJet in person and its a cool bird, the construction is very complex and thought out for sure... some ingenious ideas were used on this one for sure.

I thought where the esc leads exit the plane is a great touch, very neat and clean. Great idea.

The flat spins and added manuevers are just amazing! What a trip to see this fly. PaulVi was cruising around and then kicked in the flat spin, it seemed to just hover as it spun insanely fast, loses very little altitude as it spins, The fellow standing next to me jaw dropped and said Oh no what happened! thinking something had gone awry. Then a simple recovery and the guy was puzzled until I explained the thrust vectoring.

Great Plane and very durable for being Depron.
Mar 12, 2008, 11:17 PM
resU deretsigeR
PaulVi's Avatar
Michael:

Very nice review. I wish i could get the hang of the artical publishing..

I have yet to post my build log (all 20 minutes of the build) but have a few bits of positive insite.

Paul and Dale are noting shourt of RC McGievers with the layout and design of the delta..

Im very impressed and mine has survived some very nasty glitch and dumb thumbs wrecks
Mar 12, 2008, 11:38 PM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Thanks for the contributions guys. As I stated at the outset I was blown away when I first saw this plane fly. I agree that a lot of thought went into the design and layered construction of this plane by those good old Texas boys! Mike
Mar 13, 2008, 07:46 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
As a native Texan, I get to brag that "Everyting is Bigger and Better in TEXAS". It's good to see some local boys make it big.

That flat spin is amazing! I gotta have one of those. Thanks for a great review, Mike.

Mike McD
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
Mar 13, 2008, 08:43 AM
Test your skills....fly IMAC!!
sun.flyer's Avatar
Nice review Mike!!

After seeing your video I too remembered seeing these fly at the AEF event. Wicked, wicked spins while at the same time they flew very stable in normal level flight.

These definately look like they would be fun to own.

Tim
Mar 13, 2008, 10:15 AM
Registered User
dswitkin's Avatar
Do you think there's room for a fourth servo, so that the rudder and vectored thrust could be controlled separately? I'd prefer to have a toggle switch to turn off the vectored thrust via a mix, and still have full rudder control.

Daniel
Mar 13, 2008, 10:20 AM
Timelord
Doctor Who's Avatar
Mike

Nice review. I am amazed at the way it spins. Looks like it would be a lot of fun to fly in front of people that have never seen it and watch their expressions when you do those wicked spins.
Mar 13, 2008, 11:01 AM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Dear Daniel:
It would be possible but the issues to overcome that jump into my mind: 1) Need for a receiver and Transmitter with more then 4 channels. 2)Need to keep the proper C/G so plan carefully. 3) Servo most likely will be off center so remember to add weight to the other side to keep the plane in balance side to side.
More work then I would be willing to tackle. Besides I love it as it is!

Dear Dr. Who:
I have to satisfy with listening to their reactions as I don't dare look at them while flying. It is a hoot! Mike
Mar 13, 2008, 12:37 PM
War Eagle!
Spackles94's Avatar
Mike,

That spin-cycle thing must be one of the weirdest things I've ever seen in R/C. Granted, I've probably done some similar things with my planes -- but they were not on purpose, and sometimes they happened on terra firma.

Still, what a fun plane! It seems to be extremely stable, too -- aside from the spin-cycle maneuver. It definitely looks like a fun aircraft to have and take to the field.

Very nice review, too. Still, I want to know how you controlled your Berg 4L receiver with a Futaba FASST, like it showed on the spin-cycle photos. I'm just teasing with ya...

Nice job!
Mar 13, 2008, 12:58 PM
resU deretsigeR
PaulVi's Avatar
I run mine with a 3s 1600mha 15c (cheap lipo) and it is a very nice flying delta the spine cycle is the icing on the cake..

I have noticed you do not want to go cheap on the servo to control the vectoring get a good quality mini metal geared servo I have a waypoint MG in it and i have sliping gears in it after a few hard tumbles.

Not the fault of the design just physics (mass)

as to putting a 4th servo yes you could do it with a tab bit of thought.. you would have to stager the 2 servos in the center but it could be done..


I agree with the why bother though you have great rudder responce with this and you do not need to do a spincycle every time you use the rudder..

just smaller inputs are required as the vectoring makes the rudder action very positive..

you could use a few shimes and lock the motor in place and run rudder only by removing one control rod too..

I would say if you buy one you will not be sorry. some of you may have seen my lawn dart photo i dorked it in from about 40 feet stuck it in the soil 4 inches pulled it out wiped the dirt off and tossed t bake in the air..

Look for my thread on this in the net few days. I owe that to Paul and Dale and have been slacking off and have not finnished what i prommised..

Besides you wont find two guys that have this much passion over thier delta anywhere.. they are always looking to improve surviability and have managed to make a durable depron delta.. almost as strong as a all epp
Mar 13, 2008, 01:57 PM
Registered User
kevingill's Avatar
Heck that looks alot like a Mugi.
Mar 13, 2008, 02:29 PM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
The Mugi and VecJet both being Delta winged planes with no separate fuselage have a similar appearance from a distance. But in construction and with working rudder and vectered thrust the VecJet performs very differently. The actual construction of the built up layered VecJet is quite different from the Mugi. Mike
Mar 13, 2008, 03:27 PM
resU deretsigeR
PaulVi's Avatar
and you can remove the vert for packing on trips..


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