E-DO SAAB J-35F Draken PNP Version Review

Image Credit: Hobbico

Review by Gunnar Hovmark, Staff Contributor

Equipment Used/Specs:

- Spektrum DX6 transmitter

- Spektrum AR400 receiver

 

Battery in plane without landing gear:

- Turnigy 3s1800mAh, weight 150g

- Battery in plane with landing gear: Gravity 3s 1300 mAh, weight 120g

Total weight with battery:

- Plane without landing gear: 440 grams

- Plane with landing gear: 465 grams

Additional stuff for w/o landing gear:

- Adhesive Velcro and Velcro strap to keep the battery in place

- Clear tape under the nose and fuselage for scratch protection

- Stronger clevises

Pros:

- Flies great, especially w/o landing gear

- Unusually quiet, for an EDF

- Quick and easy assembly

- Convenient size, very easy to transport

- Looks cool

- Reasonably priced

Cons:

- Small wheels, not suited for grass runways

- Not very long flight times, like most EDFs

Summary:

If you like small EDF planes I strongly recommend this one.

 

Assembly:

The manual comes on a CD-ROM. It’s a bit inconvenient to read it off a computer screen, but I did that and didn’t print it. The grey plane in the pictures is the one I assembled myself. I bought the yellow one used, and the previous owner has modified it a bit. More about that further down.

 

This is a foamie that is made up of very few parts. Everything you need to put it together is in the box except battery and receiver. Motor, fan, servos and ESC are already installed. The ESC comes with a Deans plug. The vertical tail, the outer parts of the wings and the nose cone should be epoxied in place with the enclosed glue. There are also auxiliary tanks, missiles and something under the nose that I don’t know what it is, that you can add if you like. The manual says that you should use masking tape to keep the parts in place while the epoxy cures. The masking tape I had available has a tendency to peel the paint off foamies, so I chose to manage without it, which wasn’t a problem really.

 

The landing gear is held in place with fiberglass plates and screws. The wire for the steerable nose gear didn’t quite reach up to the servo arm on my plane, but there are a couple of easy ways to fix that. I chose to use a plastic washer under the wire to force it upwards a couple of millimeters. The pushrods for the elevons were already installed and I left them exactly as they were. With the recommended 1300 mAh battery I got the CG right without any balancing weights, and the battery compartment is exactly the right size for the battery. The decals are of a type I haven’t seen before. They look like ordinary water slide decals, but the paint is closest to the paper and the glue is on top. Getting them to look really good on the plane requires patience and precision. I had neither when I put them on, but they don’t look too bad.

 

Modifications:

The yellow plane in the pictures is modified a bit. The landing gear was never installed, and the nose gear servo has been removed. Removing the servo makes room for a bigger battery. It doesn’t quite fit in the battery compartment, but since it’s heavier it can be placed a little further back. It is held in place with Velcro on the floor of the fuselage and a Velcro strap. Wide clear adhesive tape is used under the nose and fuselage to protect it from scratches. The original clevises have been replaced with a stronger type, since they’re in a slightly vulnerable position when you do belly landings.

 

Flying:

The only control surfaces are the two elevons. I set them up with linear travel, 100% deflection for the elevator channel and 60% deflection for the aileron channel. If I use 100% deflection for the aileron channel I expect the roll rate to be ludicrous. I’ll try it some time. You can experiment with exponential travel if you like. For takeoff from the ground you can set the trim so that the trailing edges of the elevons are exactly in line with the trailing edge of the wing. If you plan to hand launch you will need a few millimeters of up trim for the launch. If you can set a switch on your transmitter to choose between launch mode and normal mode that’s very convenient to use.

 

If you take off from grass you can expect the ground roll to be very long because of the small wheels. The nosewheel steering works very well both for takeoff and taxi. The EDF (Electric Ducted Fan) gives really good thrust, largely because the people who designed this plane take cheat holes seriously. You need lots of intake area to give the fan enough air to work with, and the designers have made an excellent job with that. The landing gear adds a lot of drag, so if you want really high performance you will do better without it, but you can make long steep climbs and large loops even with the landing gear on. The roll rate is spectacular and the plane looks really fast in the air. Landings look cool. You need a bit of thrust to fly at very high angle of attack, just like with a real Draken, and if you do it right it looks very realistic. You will probably want to fly at full power most of the time, and that way I get just under four minutes flight time with the 1300 mAh battery. I have set my timer to three minutes to have a safety margin. Landings without thrust are a little tricky.  Oh BTW, new nose cones are available as spare parts.

 

Conclusion:

If you like EDFs, why not get a Draken instead of the F-16s that all the other people at the field fly? This little plane is great fun, and its shape will make it stand out from the crowd with respect to looks as well as flight characteristics.

 

If you want to know more about my set-up or if you have any other 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.