E-Flite F-16 Thunderbirds 70mm EDF BNF Basic w/AS3X and SAFE Select Review

Review by Adrian Apodaca, RealRCReviews Owner

Equipment Used:

- F-16 BNF

- HobbyStar 6s3500mah battery

- Spektrum iX12

Pros:

- Beautiful aircraft

- Good size

- Wallet friendly price

- Fast!

- Removable nosecone

- Preinstalled retracts

- AS3X makes it super smooth

- Flies well fast and slow

Cons:

- Stiff landing gear

- Not great in grass

- Canopy pops off on bumpy grass

Intro:

If you have followed my reviews and page/channel for any length of time, you know that I haven't done much in the realm of EDFs. This is largely due to the fact that I never wanted to spend the cash on higher cell batteries and the fact that my preferred flying field is grass...and not golf green grass either. As Motion RC, FMS and Eflite have built better and less expensive planes over the last few years, I figured it was time to get my feet when when I started a few months back with the Viper. The Viper did decent on grass, but the wire gear has bent a little. I wanted to try something else from the Eflite lineup, so I decided to go with the F-16.

 

Unboxing and Setup:

My plane arrived from Horizon Hobby as it always does, well packaged and protected. Pretty quickly too.  The plane itself doesn't require much time at all to build. I think I had it done in about half an hour. Programming and balancing was pretty quick too. The wings are held on by 2 screws each so storage and travel are easy as pie. One of the things I liked most about this F-16 are the size and the profile. She is definitely a looker. As I said in my cons, the landing gear is nice, but a little stiff. They are shock absorbing, but not in a soft way. I assume they are more durable than traditional wire gear though.

 

As far as radio setup goes, I went with high rate of 100% with 45 expo, mid rate of 80% with 35 expo, and low rates of 60% with 25 expo. I did this on all surfaces both when I flew it with stock link placement and with advanced link placement. The battery was easy to balance and I currently have it balanced in the middle of the range they give in the manual. I also have not yet moved the links, though I think I will, the stock setup is definitely geared to firs time EDF pilots.

 

Flight:

My big mission for this review was to answer the question I had been asked several times... will it fly off of grass? The Viper did decently, but I am on the hunt for a jet that dominates the grass. As you see in my video, it took forever to get airborne at my field. I got a lot of input from some folks  on the Eflite group on facebook ranging from advising to push the battery back to recalibrating the ESC. What I found helped in the long rollout was waiting until you are full speed before hitting the elevator.  That seemed to cut the take off distance in half. I still wasn't too happy about the grass performance. The plane bounces around like crazy and my canopy popped off a few times taxiing. Gladly, it stays on in flight though.

 

As far as how the F-16 is in the air, let me just tell ya, it's effing sweet! It looks great and feels incredibly smooth. It is a very predictable flyer with zero negative tendencies that I found. If you are on the stock setup, give yourself a lot of room for turns etc. If you are on a small field, adjust the linkages for more throw to make tighter turns. Everything about flying this F-16 feels great. The AS3X smooths everything out too, so your low passes are level and fast. Rolling is nice as are loops. I am still getting used to EDFs so I didnt try anything crazy. Inverted flight feels awesome and looks even better!

 

Since this is a 70mm EDF like the Viper, I figured I'd use my batteries I use on the Viper, they HobbyStar 6s3500mah. They are available from RCJuice.com. I will put the direct link below the video with the link to the plane. I don't know if it has to do with the size of the plane or what, but I got a bit under 4 mins, and came down with 30% left on the battery. You see the full flights in my video below, I'm not hotrodding it much, just a few mins of mixed flight. I don't know how much you'll get with a higher mah battery because then you are dealing with extra weight. I'm fine with these batteries and I'll just deal with the shorter flights.

 

Conclusion:

Whether or not Horizon Hobby designed this plane is not important to me. Who ever designed it did a terrific job on making a nice, smooth as butter, quiet EDF jet at an affordable price. It is a great flyer, and looks awesome in the sky. As I said in my video, I am hesitant to recommend it as a designated grass runway jet, I'm still on the hunt for the perfect grass jet. But if you have a paved runway, or packed dirt or short grass, I would recommend this plane any day of the week. It's lovely to fly and everything feels well made. I don't always use AS3X receivers, but I am glad I went with the BNF on this purchase. While this is a good first jet, I would not recommend it as a first plane, no one should start with EDFs lol. I'm as happy with this as I was with the Viper...if you are deciding between the two, go with the one you think looks best, because they both fly really well. So watch my video now, at least for a few minutes! Thanks for your continued support!

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at admin@realrcreviews.com.  Also, to catch the latest reviews, follow us on Twitter @RealRCReviews or our facebook page and remember to subscribe to channel when you watch the video below!