FMS have reproduced this impressive aircraft in a 1-metre span scale model that has both impressive features and performance.
The P-47 was a huge fighter. It weighed over 4000kg empty and had a maximum take-off weight of nearly 8000kg. It was fast in level flight, doing about 440 MPH (710 KPH) at 29000 feet and was devastatingly fast in a dive where its weight supplemented the thrust of its 2300 HP (1716 Kw) Double Wasp engine. Add the ability to keep flying after absorbing a lot of punishment and a big, comfortable, air-conditioned cockpit and it’s hardly surprising that the P-47 was well liked by its pilots.
The FMS P-47G razorback model comes in several versions. The stand- ard version comes with retracts and its electric motor is powered by a 3S battery. Reportedly, it flies nicely and in a scale-like manner. My version for this review is the high speed (HS) version. This has a larger, more powerful motor and is powered by a 4S- 2200 battery. Actually, it flies very well on a 3S battery but if you’re looking for outrageous power go with 4S. If I am flying a scale model of a very powerful aircraft I want power and lots of it. Too much is about right, in my opinion.
With a bigger motor and heavier battery, the HS version weighs more. The good people at FMS have wisely fitted functioning flaps as well as retracting gear to the high speed version I doing here. The flaps enable the model to be slowed down for landing. You need a six-channel (minimum) radio to fly the HS P-47. I got the plug and play version of the FMS P-47. As well as a transmitter and receiver you will need to provide a battery and battery charger. The motor, ESC, electric retracts and six quality digital servos all pre-installed.
As I would expect from FMS, the model comes extremely well packed. Handlers would have to try hard to damage the boxed model and mine, not surprisingly, arrived in perfect condition. Assembly is was very quick and I encountered no real difficulties. All that I needed to do was to install the control horns on the wings and then fit the aileron and flap linkages before bolting the wing to the fuselage. The horizontal stabiliser comes in two halves. These are slipped into place and secured with 2 screws. A fibreglass joining tube takes the tailplane flight loads. This tube wouldn’t slide into the tailplane halves until after I sanded it down a bit which was no real inconven- ience. I connected the elevator and rudder control linkages and installed the receiver and was al- most finished. The channel numbers on the servo leads don’t correspond to JR channel allocations but it took only a few moments to work out where to plug each lead into the receiver.
The instruction manual wisely recommends balancing the large 4-bladed prop before install- ing it. My prop was way out of balance before I used a knife to scrape plastic from the back sur- face of 2 blades. The first time that you power up the ESC you need to go through a throttle calibra- tion procedure. An ESC manual that described this simple procedure was included. Altogether, assembly and setup took me about 3 hours.
The instructions gave clear and easy to follow Centre of Gravity checking advice. Don’t neglect this step. Recommended control throws were all well documented. I was disappointed, however, that no reference was made to flap to elevator mixing. You will need a small amount down eleva- tor to come in when the flaps are lowered. An- other disappointment with the instructions came when I read the maiden flight tips that included “If this is your first RC Model Airplane, you may want to seek the help of an experienced pilot to assist you on the first flight”. You MIGHT want to seek help! You’ve got to be kidding guys. The simple truth is that, if you are not an experienced RC pilot and you try to fly this aircraft by yourself, you will definitely crash it within seconds. This is a fine-flying model but it’s a powerful warbird with retractable landing-gear and flaps. Before you fly it you need at least intermediate RC flying skill. This means prior instruction on a training aircraft. WW2 pilots had a lot of training on more docile aircraft before they got to fly a P-47. Don’t imag- ine that you can fly the FMS P-47 without prior flying experience.
FLYING THE P-47
So how does it fly? It’s fantastic. It’s very fast. I would estimate that the P47 is good for about 160 KPH. It handles precisely and is lots of fun. The good quality digital servos give the P47 a very “solid” feel in the air. The large four bladed prop gives lots of “P” factor on take-off. This means that motor torque, gyroscopic and thrust effects all try to turn the aircraft to the left on take-off. It needs the throttle advancing progressively, plenty of up-elevator and full right- rudder held at the start of its take-off run. All this is pretty much what one would expect from a powerful warbird. I increased the rudder travel setting on my transmitter to 150-percent to get enough authority. Almost all my take-offs were done without flaps. One stage of flap enables the P-47 to break ground a little sooner but the aircraft has so much power that this is really unnecessary.
I loved the flaps for landing. Full flaps enable a fairly steep and quite slow approach with just a little throttle. Throttle off, full flap approaches and landings are possible but you need to be fast and accurate with the final flare because the aircraft’s speed bleeds off quickly. Touch-downs were delightfully smooth. The P-47 didn’t nose over when landing on short grass but did need full up elevator holding during the roll out. Landing with a bit of power on helps in this regard as it gives the elevator a bit more authority as the aircraft slows.
I flew the P-47 on three cells and on four. It has lots of power and performs very well on three cells. On four cells it’s a beast. Full-power low passes are breathtaking. They sound great too. You had better be ready to turn quickly as the model starts looking small all too soon at his speed. Don’t do your first flight at a small field. This aircraft eats up lots of sky. It can go out of sight very quickly, including when it is climbing vertically. Yes, it’s very powerful and lots of fun. You do need good flying skills for this one. I used 50-percent exponential and low rates on ailerons for smooth but responsive control. I set my transmitter timer to remind me to land after 8-minutes of mixed flying. If you fly at full throttle most of the time, expect a much shorter duration.
In summary: I just love the FMS P47G. It’s quick to assemble, looks great and it gives a spectacular performance.
The review model was supplied by Ace Hobby Distributors, Smeaton Grange, NSW and is available at most good hobby stores.