Blade/hori­zon Hobby UM F-27 FPV

Get ready to have some fixed­wing FPV fun

Electric Flight - - CONTENTS - By Mike Gantt

Fly­ing first-per­son view (FPV) has more than just caught on in this amaz­ing hobby we share. Com­pa­nies like Hori­zon Hobby have helped stub­born pi­lots like me try out (and get hooked on) FPV. Its Blade divi­sion de­sign­ers have just cre­ated a ded­i­cated Ul­tra Mi­cro FPV fly­ing wing, adding another level of ex­cite­ment and fun to fly­ing first per­son. If you’re an FPV pi­lot and haven’t tried an FPV wing, you need to. Made out of Z-foam, which has a smooth sur­face and is durable and easy to re­pair if nec­es­sary, the air­craft doesn’t weigh much, so most hard landings will be mit­i­gated with the mini F-27’s min­i­mal in­er­tia. The air­frame comes with a cam­era and video trans­mit­ter, so you’ll only need a Dsm2/dsmx-com­pat­i­ble trans­mit­ter, FPV gog­gles or mon­i­tor, and some small 2S 280mah packs. (I use the word “some” be­cause af­ter you fly it once, you’ll want to fly it again.) This BNF Ba­sic model is in­tended for in­ter­me­di­ate pi­lots.

UNIQUE FEA­TURES

If you al­ready have some charged 2S 280mah packs, you could lit­er­ally take this model to the fly­ing field, open the box, bind it to your trans­mit­ter, and fly it. The 20 x 16 x 4-inch car­ton in which the lit­tle F-27 ar­rives can be used to trans­port the plane in a bag or back­pack, or you could just as eas­ily let it ride on your ve­hi­cle’s dash­board to your fa­vorite fly­ing spot. Up close, the foam air­frame is smooth, and the test sub­ject had no “al­li­ga­tor” or rough ar­eas. The wing air­foil is thicker at the root and thins to­ward the wingtips. The elevon hinges were cre­ated dur­ing the mold­ing process; how­ever, rather than be­ing full-span hinges, there are slot­ted ar­eas along the hinge line. These slots cre­ate what looks like four hinges per elevon, with each con­nected por­tion re­in­forced with clear tape. This de­sign helps re­lieve the hinge lines; in­crease flex­i­bil­ity; and, in turn, al­low the mi­cro long-throw lin­ear ser­vos to ef­fec­tively do their work at their best. Said ser­vos are sur­face-mounted to the bot­tom of the wing and have vented red plas­tic cov­ers over them, which helps both pro­tect and ven­ti­late them. Also un­der­neath and help­ing dur­ing landings are plas­tic pro­tec­tors that cover the bot­toms of the fins. Up front, a strate­gi­cally placed de­cal will help keep run­way rash from ru­in­ing the foam. If you fly off rough sur­faces, some tape can be used to re­pair/re­place the de­cal if needed. Chang­ing out bat­ter­ies couldn’t be eas­ier with the mag­ne­tized hatch. This hatch has a ven­ti­la­tion open­ing as well and is where a finger­tip can ac­cess the in­te­rior of the air­plane. In­side, you’ll find some se­ri­ous tech­nol­ogy. Stuffed in the thin fuse­lage are a tiny Blade flight con­troller and a tiny video trans­mit­ter. The flight con­troller pow­ers the video trans­mit­ter and guid­ance sys­tem, which also fea­tures AS3X and SAFE pro­to­cols. Far­ther for­ward in the nose is where the FPV cam­era can be found. Its 170-de­gree wide-an­gle lens pro­vides a great field of view, which is ter­rific for fast FPV flights. Fast has to come from some­where, and this 2-cell plane is ready to turn and burn. Pre­mounted on the rear of the F-27 is a prewired 3000Kv brush­less out­run­ner with prop adapter and pro­pel­ler. A fac­tory-in­stalled molded plas­tic piece re­in­forces the plane’s rear mo­tor-mount area and pro­vides pur­chase for the four mo­tor-mount fas­ten­ers.

IN THE AIR

Hand launches are the way to go, and some fly­ing wings can be quite a hand­ful when thrown. That’s not the case with the UM F-27 as there are molded-in hand grips un­der­neath the air­craft and a Launch mode pro­grammed into the flight con­troller’s soft­ware. Sim­ply ac­ti­vate the Launch mode, toss the F-27 like a pa­per air­plane, ap­ply power, and watch as the model does the rest. There are videos on­line of peo­ple launch­ing the plane up­side down, back­ward, and in just about ev­ery at­ti­tude with suc­cess­ful re­sults. Where was this tech­nol­ogy when I was learn­ing to fly? The power sys­tem gen­er­ates good thrust, and the prop grabs air well, push­ing the plane into flight with ease. Belly landings are eas­ily an­tic­i­pated and timed, and the low weight of the UM F-27 lets the plane land in small ar­eas with soft touch­downs. I have also caught the model from the air dur­ing an easy-to-man­age pow­er­less glide.

GEN­ERAL FLIGHT PER­FOR­MANCE

Sta­bil­ity: Not too long ago, model air­craft in this size/genre were al­most un­heard of, let alone de­scribed as “sta­ble.” How times have changed! As with all As3x-equipped air­craft, the sta­bil­ity of the UM F-27 is amaz­ing, es­pe­cially given its size and weight. Track­ing: For a 17-inch-span mi­cro FPV wing that weighs a hair over 2 1/2 ounces, the F-27 tracks very well. We may not gar­ner any IMAC (In­ter­na­tional Minia­ture Aer­o­batic Club) points be­cause the spirit of this plane is fast-fly­ing FPV fun, rather than per­fect point rolls. Aer­o­bat­ics: With what feels like at least a 1:1 thrust-to-weight ra­tio, you get fast rolls, tall loops, in­verted flight, and tight-turn­ing fig­ures to keep things ex­cit­ing when you’re not busy chas­ing down fel­low rac­ers through the gates or ex­plor­ing the sur­round­ing ter­rain. Glide and stall per­for­mance: Glides are short with min­i­mal en­ergy car­ried, and keep­ing some power on will help ex­tend the glide path should you find the need to do so. As for stalls, when speed bleeds and el­e­va­tor is added in, the plane holds on for a while and will fi­nally break. Reap­ply­ing power will quickly get you back on step.

PI­LOT DEBRIEFING

If your F-27 or first-per­son dis­play gets into any trou­ble while in flight, you can en­gage the plane’s SAFE mode and in­crease your chances of keep­ing con­trol. The test sub­ject has now been fully “tested,” and af­ter plenty of gate hits and lessthan-per­fect landings, it still flies per­fectly. It also goes with me ev­ery time to the field for FPV fun.

Tightly tucked away in the air­frame you’ll find the FC/RX and VTX.

It’s tight, but ev­ery­thing fits well. You’d better get a few of these bat­ter­ies.

The in­cluded mo­tor is pre­in­stalled, wired, and ready to go.

A tight pres­sure fit made dur­ing the mold­ing process keeps the flight pack in place.

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