From any angle it shows off its unique de- sign and “stealth” appeal. For those lucky enough to be present at the recent Avalon 2015 air show, the example on display was more than enough to get the blood racing!
For the subject of this review, Freewing Model presents a smaller foam EDF version of the full size aircraft in a plug and play format. The F-22 comes in two power package versions – a 4300kv model suitable for a 3S LiPo and an upgraded power kit with a 3500kv motor unit matched to a 4S LiPo pack. Happily, I had been sent the upgraded EDF package for testing and the unassembled model was very well packed and arrived in first class condition.
Akin to many offerings today, the Freewing kit comes pretty much complete. All five 9g servos have been installed along with the 40A ESC and a complete 64mm ducted fan unit. This package only requires the buyer to install a suitable LiPo battery and their receiver. As mentioned, if you have the 3500kv unit, you will need to supply your own 3S LiPo or 4S for the 4300kv motor.
The battery capacity is defined by the avail- able space in the cockpit area, which is about 130mm x 40mm x 50mm high. For my aircraft I opted for a 4S 1300mAh 50c pack which was a little at the low end of the capacity envelope but proved to be more than sufficient endurance for flying. It also kept the balance at a very reason-
able point by not being too nose heavy. Freewing include a very comprehensive Eng- lish instruction manual which covers many parts of assembly that is not needed – for example in- stalling servos and the EDF unit, as all of this is already done for you.
Assembly for this model was limited to sliding the left and right wing panels on the alignment lugs in the fuselage and connecting the supplied servo extension leads. At the rear of the plane, it is a simply matter of installing the tailplane and elevators (with the supplied grub screws), then screwing in the nose and the main landing gear. Finally, the control links for the ailerons and el- evators are attached.
The only modification that I needed to carry out was to change the Deans plug connection on the ESC to an XT60 type to suit my range of batteries. To achieve this, I needed to carefully remove the EDF cover plate from the fuselage to expose the wire and the existing plug. The cover was easily glued back into place once this was complete.
The manual shows the centre of gravity has a range of 83mm to 88mm from the leading edge of the wing measured on the top of the fuselage. This was eas- ily achieved with the 4S pack but remember that there is not a lot of movement available with your battery pack.
Control duties were taken care of by my Spektrum DX9 Black Edition and a Spektrum AR500 DSMX receiver. From the manual, rates were set for the ailer- ons at 15-25mm and elevators at 11-20mm. A simple mix of the rudder to the nose gear steering servo is needed as there is no rudder control, so if a ground take off is planned you will need the mixing.
That was it, we were done. Around 25 minutes from unpacking the goodies in the box should see you ready to fly! As luck would have it, only a very gentle breeze was present at Greensborough on the morning of the test flight and it was straight down the main strip. A fully charge LiPo was installed, control and range check done and I carried out a quick taxi run to ensure the nose wheel was tracking straight and we were ready for take-off. For such a small foam model, it taxied very well along the grass strip and was easy to manoeuvre on the ground.
After gradual application of the power to full throttle, the F-22 was airborne after a rea- sonably short take off run and required a bare minimum of elevator input to rotate. Flight trims were a little out and I needed a substantial amount of right aileron to correct the flight path. A few more trimming circuits and it was down to a slow speed run to check the control respons- es. No surprises again and the F-22 would sim- ply drop the nose a little as the stall approached with no nasty snaps or drastic manoeuvres to spoil the day. I kept the controls on the sug- gested high rate setting which felt about right.
Given the slightly overcast conditions, the overall grey finish on the F-22 was a little tricky against the grey sky, or should that be ‘stealthy’? This isn’t a large plane nor super-fast so best to keep it well within circuit range anyway.
Large loops, rolls and Cuban eights were well within the flight envelope of the F-22 but even with the upgraded power package, this was no speed demon. I would suggest poten- tial pilots bypass the lower engine package and go straight for the 3500kv unit. Given the per- formance of this unit, I would think that any less would not be in keeping with our expectations of a modern EDF. All in all, a very complete pack- age which goes together with a minimum of fuss and flies very well. Just don’t be expecting unlimited vertical rolls with this one.