I have been having a lot of fun flying my new RC Powers F-22 V5 in the last couple weeks. My initial maiden didn't go too well as I launched in a bit of a cross wind, it flipped upside down and I couldn't recover fast enough, but a quick replacement of the fuselage and away we went. Here is some flight video and a short walkaround of my F-22.
This was actually a very simple and straight forward build. Installing the "under rudders" was a bit fussy, but mostly as this was a new build process for me, other than that, it came together quite easily.
I did make some mods after close examination of the plans. First I downsized it by 5% so that my wingspan would be 27" so that I could compare it to all the other planes in my "hangar" that I have purposely sized to have a 27" wingspan as of late.
RC Powers has designed this plane to have the battery fairly low, but I lowered mine even more to be able to compare it to our Mig-35B. I didn't have to lower it much, maybe about 3/8". This now makes the plane "bottom heavy", but I think adds crucial stability and self righting properties to an airfame style that is naturally unstable without aid of the flight computers that the real F-22 possesses.
I trimmed 1/2" off the top of the vertical stabilizers, to cut down somewhat on drag and help speed up the rolls.
I also resized the KF airfoils a bit as they were less than 40% at the wing root, I find this is the real sweet spot depth in chord for any swept wing park jet.
You can read more of the details on my build here on the RC Powers thread, post #57.
You can read more details of my throws, flight setup and post flight report here as well on the RC Powers thread, post #136.
Overall impressions after 70+ flights
This version of the F-22 is by far the best F-22 that RC Powers has designed, period. The attention to detail in getting everything just right is very noticeable in the ease and simplicity of the build and it's exceptional flight envelope in the air. The size is almost exactly scale, it is a tiny bit short when comparing it to the real F-22, but that probably helps with it's tight, compact feel.
I have built and flown all the previous RC Powers F-22s V1-V3 and they were a bit of a handful to build and fly. The F-22 V1 was the first attempt at score and fold, the build wasn't bad and it was balanced pretty well, but you had to put the battery in from the bottom which was a bit of a hassle.
The F-22 V2 just based on the length of the forum thread, 300+ pages is probably one of the most popular RC Powers planes. It was big and floaty, relatively forgiving if you kept the speed up, but was tough to get any real aerobatics going with it if I used the standard 2826/6 2200 Kv motor setup. Just a bit too big and "draggy". It was fairly relaxing to fly, but lacked some precision for really good, scale aerobatics in my experience.
The F-22 V3 was nicknamed by RC Powers as "The Expert's Parkjet". I am certainly no expert and my skills were not then what they are now, but it was definitely a plane I had to focus fully on flying at all times. If I got careless, it often bit me hard with some sort of very nasty behaviour. I went through three F-22 V3s over time. It was also referred to as a "muscle car" of park jets which was very true, it loved to go fast and really powered it's way around the sky, but if the back end broke loose in a hard turn, hang on, the ride could get ugly!
With the F-22 V5, gone are all those bad habits. Like any flat bottomed plane, it feels a little lighter on the sticks than you might expect as that body creates a little extra lift. With it's smaller size, lowered battery location, more centralized motor location, better sized control surfaces and the "under rudders", it is a real joy to fly.
It is very precise and agile, it goes where you point it until you point it somewhere else. It doesn't float or wander, I feel like I have it fully under control when I fly it, but at the same time I can relax and enjoy it without worrying about it scaring the life out of me. It carves through hard turns and aggressive aerobatics, but it holds the line and holds it energy, it has no tendencies to break loose no matter how hard I thrash it around.
The "under rudders" help provide great control at slow speed or in windy conditions. I have flown the F-22 V5 comfortably in winds of 15-20 mph and although it does get bobbled around like you would expect, I have full control of it and it doesn't do anything really nasty thus far that I can't recover from. I would never have attempted to fly my other F-22s in such strong winds, unless I wanted to bring them home in a garbage bag. As I mentioned in the video, I found out the hard way it is very important to launch it into wind if the wind is up over about 5 mph, but once it is flying, it handles the wind very well for a plane with angled vertical stabilizers.
As I really dial in the plane and "dial down" the numbers with respect to how things are designed and laid out, one of the reasons I am so excited about flying this plane is that of all the planes I have flown recently (RC Powers Su27 V5, Park flyers International F15C Strike Eagle and Su-35 Flanker F), this F-22 V5 feels the closest to the NAMC Mig-35B in balance and performance. Obviously each plane has it's own flight characteristics, but they both have very similar characteristics of agility, stability, balance, precision, forgiveness and broad flight envelope. The Mig-35B is definitely the faster of the two, and overall more stable, especially in the wind, but they are still quite close.
Two very striking similarities are how the weight is distributed with relation to the wing plate (low) and how the motor is located with respect to the length of the plane. Of course I did lower the battery a bit more than the plan calls for on my F-22, but it is about 1 and 1/8" below the wing plate, the same as the Mig-35B. This makes the F-22 quite bottom heavy, but very stable considering it is an inherently unstable design in real life. If I break each plane down as a percentage with the nose being zero and the very trailing part of the plane being 100, the motor mount on the Mig-35B is located at 60% and the F-22 at 58%. These two items in other planes I have tested and modified are showing more and more importance as I learn about them.
If you read the test summary I did on my modified RC Powers F18 V3, you can see that I ended up with my motor at 60% on that plane as well and it truly came to life compared to previous versions of that very popular and great flying plane I had built. The F18 V3 already had a very low battery position by design, part of why RC Powers possibly called it "The Smart Plane" as it has a great self stabilizing behaviour.
Stephan and I have been discussing this off and on of finding that great framework on which to design all park jets to begin with a foundation that will provide excellent balance, stability, agility, forgiveness and effortless and precise control and then build the rest of the plane around it fine tuning the control surface and KF size.
To see such similar numbers between three completely different airframes like the F-22 V5, Mig-35B and the F18 V3 leads me to believe as a park jet community maybe we are really dialing down on some of the basics of getting our designs to fly well each and every time regardless of what they are. Exciting stuff for me, anyway :)
Having a blast with this F-22 V5, a really fun plane to fly in just about any condition, the best RC Powers F-22 Raptor I have ever flown, job well done RC Powers!