E-flite/horizon Hobby F-27 Evolution
This fast, fun flier will be your new favorite
This fast, fun flier will be your new favorite
Full-scale flying wings look cool and have been part of the airspace landscape since the early 1900s. Model flying wings are also cool and seem to be everywhere I fly. Whether the weather is windy or calm, flying wings can hold their own. Considering this, properly designing an airfoil for a “flying wing” that has no tailplane has to be a challenge. Thank goodness for the guys and gals at E-flite, who have a successful and proven design with their F-27 platform. The new Evolution is available in a Plug-n-play (PNP) version as well as the Bind-n-fly (BNF) Basic version I reviewed. The BNF Basic aircraft comes with a SAFE Select receiver that has selectable flight modes. Like its predecessors, the Evolution is made out of tough and resilient EPO foam and has a sleek appearance, but it also has a new airfoil and the airframe has been slightly streamlined. The goal here is speed and sport aerobatics, and it’s easy to see at first glance that it will be well capable of both. Opening the shipping box revealed what can be used as a convenient carrying case for the model as the product box and foam insert have a carrying handle and parts cradle integrated. After shaking out the few parts and instruction manual, I looked inside the box for more items. After finding only more packing materials, I decided immediately to get a battery charging. This model is best suited for intermediate/advanced pilots who can keep a good eye on this fast-flying bird.
Huge elevons are molded into the wing during the manufacturing process. This technique creates what is called a “live” hinge and is a gapless design. The elevon tips are protected from hangar rash, transport rash, or similar with lightweight plastic covers, which are molded to the wingtips’ shape. Connecting the control surfaces to your inputs starts with smart preinstalled plastic control horns that have a rear-facing “tenon.” This extension provides more contact area along the elevon width. Said horns are captured with a backplate and screws. Moving down the line, there are plastic clevises and wire rods assembled and connected to digital metal-gear servos. The servos are plugged into a pretuned and premounted AR636A 6-channel AS3X receiver. Also sprouting out from the guidance hub is a wire leading to more preinstalled goodness, as the power system has definitely evolved. An E-flite 40-amp Lite speed control has a switch-mode BEC and is paired with a 10-size outrunner. The aft-mounted brushless motor already has a propeller mounted, which spins to the tune of 1920rpm per volt (also known as Kv). Either 3- or 4-cell Lipo batteries are acceptable sources of voltage and 1800 to 2200mah sizes are recommended. You will need to change the low-voltage cutoff setting in the speed control should you decide to change from 3S to 4S or vice versa. Cooling the electronics is essential, especially in a model made for speed. Intelligently placed inlets allow airflow into the motor and into the fuselage, where the battery and speed control are housed. Accessing the fuselage interior is done with the push of a button; a slight press pops up the front of the canopy for removal. An included soft-tipped nose cone is detachable and can be swapped for an optional FPV cone. The FPV unit is a direct fit and has a 150mw transmitter and a 600 TVL camera inside. The airframe itself breaks down into three main parts. Carbon-fiber wing tubes fit snuggly and are combined with snap-lock wing connectors and hands-free servo connections at the wing roots. All you need to do is push or pull the three pieces together (or apart) to assemble (or disassemble) the airframe. While apart, the pieces fit perfectly back into the product box for transport, but the F-27 fully assembled will fit in almost any vehicle. Sharp-looking decals are applied at the factory and make the F-27 look as if it’s hauling fast while sitting still.
IN THE AIR
Grass fields are most kind to the underside of the airframe, but the skids are tough enough to land on harder surfaces. Hand launching is easy, and the finger grips underneath are great. A paper airplane–type toss gets the wing working without having to add full power. A pilot could easily fly the plane in an area the size of a soccer field, but I suggest testing the F-27 in a larger flying arena, especially if you run it with a 4-cell pack. The claim is 105mph, and while we didn’t capture any passes using
radar, the plane was obviously very fast on 4S. Even the 3S passes appeared to be north of 80mph, and I’ll note that the test flights were made with 30C-, 35C-, and 50C-rated batteries. Five-minute flights are normal unless you, like me and everyone else, put the pedal to the metal. Landings are easy to set up for, as the F-27 really slows down well. “Elevator” landings (full up-elevator, maintain wings level to touchdown) are doable as are standard belly landings, which end with a fairly short slide.
GENERAL FLIGHT PERFORMANCE
Stability: I set the center of gravity at the recommended location, and all was well immediately after launch. The AS3X system helps the aircraft feel stable at all speeds. Tracking: Flying wings aren’t known for their IMAC (International Miniature Aerobatic Club)like tracking abilities, but this one does a good job of going where it’s pointed. After trimming in flight with your radio, I recommend making mechanical adjustments afterward on the ground and zeroing your transmitter trims. Aerobatics: Rolls can be very quick and almost look blurry. Loops can be monstrous or miniature; there is enough power and control throw for both. Inverted flight is easily sustainable. Glide and stall performance: You wouldn’t think a plane that can fly this fast can fly slowly, but it does. Mine weighs 30.5 ounces (4S battery), and with 373 square inches of wing area the wing load is 11.74 with an estimated stall speed of 12 miles per hour. Thumbs up!
Flying the F-27 Evolution is exciting, fun, and perfect for an adrenaline rush. It flies remarkably well at all speeds and behaves well manneredly with no bad habits. The optional FPV nose cone and a set of goggles (or monitor) take it to another level.
Caption 1 There is easy access to the flight pack and electronics.
A preinstalled power package pushes this F-27 at a fast pace.
Skids protect the bottom of the airframe, and contrasting colors help with orientation.