Blade/horizon Hobby UM F-27 FPV
Get ready to have some fixedwing FPV fun
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.
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.
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.