E-flite/hori­zon Hobby F-27 Evo­lu­tion

This fast, fun flier will be your new fa­vorite

Electric Flight - - CONTENTS - By Mike Gantt

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.

UNIQUE FEA­TURES

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!

PI­LOT DE­BRIEF­ING

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.

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