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E-Flite F-4 Phantom build

Old 09-12-2013, 07:11 PM
  #1  
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Default E-Flite F-4 Phantom build

OK, so Chellie asked for it, here it goes:

I couldn't resist any more now that the EF F-4 price was reduced to $199. Although I knew with all the rest of the stuff to go in it will still reach or exceed $1,000! But my mind has been wandering towards turbines (I know, sacrilege! Will I get kicked off of WF?) and I thought this would be a way to get my feet wet without really jumping in. I may still think better of it and be satisfied with the bigger EDF's. But enough about me and my decision.

I purchased the plane at my LHS. (Support your LHS!) I got it home and found it to be very well packed, and no shipping damage at all. Sorry I didn't get pictures but I had already undone a lot of things before this thread idea came about. I'm really impressed with the quality of the plane. I almost feel guilty at getting it almost half price. There were some bubbles in the wing covering, and I got them mostly out with a sealing iron. Some left small wrinkles. Could be my lack of experience with an iron.

You have to glue the outer wing panels on. Then I couldn't help but see how she will look assembled.

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Maybe it's because I'm so used to the foamies, but I am so impressed with the quality of the whole plane. There are cooling air inlets at the nose and cleverly hidden outlets hidden behind the jet exhaust nozzles. There is also an opening where the intake ducts meet in front of the fan for some reason.

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After hearing from my club president and seeing some YouTube vids, I decided the stock power system was more than adequate for me. It's the EF DeltaV32 fan unit with their brushless 32 2150kv ducted fan motor, and their 80A Pro Brushless ESC. It says the BEC is good for 7 analog or 6 digital servos, but I have 4 digital and 6 analog (3 are retracts) so I got a Castle Creations 10A UBEC for the radio system. I already installed the fan unit (only a dry fit in the picture) and I'm amazed what a perfect fit it is in the ducting! The plane is supposed to go 110+mph with the stock setup in level flight, so I couldn't imagine going through the trouble of fitting something different.

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Instead of the suggested JR servos, I'm going with Hitec. HS5085MG's for the ailerons and rudder, HS85MG's for the flaps and nose wheel steering, and an HS5245MG for the stabilizer(elevator). I also got the stock EF 15-25 size retracts, which pleasantly surprised me. The nose retract is very nicely done, and easy to replace the strut, unlike the more 'affordable' ones I'm used to.

Progress is slow, as I've also been doing some maintenance on my other jets for this weekend's Jet Rally at our club. It would be nice to get this one done in time, but I don't want to rush it, and who wants to maiden something like this with an extra big audience? And then working overtime to help pay for all this! I still don't even have batteries yet. Those are what will push this project over the $1k mark. 6S 5000mAh. At 80w max, my charger will only be able to handle charging them at ~3A, so that'll be on the upgrade list eventually. Much to learn. I'll post updates when I can.
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Old 09-12-2013, 07:36 PM
  #2  
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Great project. Very nice airplane...
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Old 09-17-2013, 08:36 AM
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Some progress. Hinged the ailerons and flaps the same afternoon as the previous post, just didn't get around to xferring the pics to the PC yet. Everything was pre-slotted and fit well. They use big CA hinges.

Today, I installed the aileron and flap control horns and servos, and got them mostly set to the specified throws. Pretty straightforward, the only problem being the hinges actually were in the way of the control horns in the ailerons! Some careful trimming remedied that. The slots for the hinges were way wider than the hinges, and I just centered them. I wonder if I could have moved that hinge over to avoid that problem? Lesson learned.

Where'd my captions go? They aren't shown in my Preview post. Well, if they don't show in the real post, I made the hawk photoshop for another forum, but thought it would be fun to share it with WF.

Edit; Good, the captions showed! Anyway, someone said a hawk stole his UM T-28 right after he landed. He never saw it again.

Double edit; Curses! My edit made my attached photos disappear, now I have to manually put them in and no captions...

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Old 09-20-2013, 05:28 PM
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Yesterday I installed the wing spars that attach the wings to the fuselage. I'm glad it turns out the wings are removable in case it's a little big for my car. I've learned to carefully fit all the pieces separately and dry fit them all together before gluing.

There are alignment pins at the front and back of the wing (See photo) and they were hard to initially push through the holes in the fuselage, so I pushed them through one at a time so I could twist and push.

The carbon spars go around 5" into the wing and 2" into the fuselage(Guess I could've got a pic of one uninstalled.), where retaining bolts just pinch them to hold onto the wing. Those bolts were kind of tough to get started.

Other than the pins being hard to initially push through, everything else fit fine. You put some vaseline around the spar pocket on the outside of the fuselage to prevent any unwanted gluing, the pour some 15 minute epoxy into the spar pocket of the wing, and coat the part of the spar that goes into the wing with epoxy. Push the spar into the wing and clean all the epoxy that oozes out, install into the fuse, Tape the wing up to the fuse, and gently set the retaining bolts so it'll set in the 'installed' location. Once it sets pull off the wing and clean off the vaseline. Repeat for the other wing.

Then clean everything off the kitchen table to keep the boss happy! Today I'm starting the main retract installation.
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Old 09-20-2013, 05:56 PM
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Oh, I also finally found some good pilot figures that appear to be the right scale, unlike the ones E-Flite wants you to but from them, with the help of someone selling a nice F-4 over at RCGroups. Looks like a great deal for someone! I saw it after I bought mine. A little pricey, especially considering they'll get chopped off at the shoulders, but I think it adds the icing on the cake. From nitroplanes of all places, ~$8 each.

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Old 09-20-2013, 07:28 PM
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Wow, Thats Looking Nice I will pass on doing the Maiden flight on this plane LOL Take care and have fun, Chellie
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by CHELLIE View Post
...I will pass on doing the Maiden flight on this plane LOL...
Chicken! You didn't even give me a chance to invite you!

Anyway, I did some work on the Gear, but ran into a tx programming hiccup.

I cut the covering away, leaving a little that has to be sealed down into the opening. There is already a nicely formed plastic wheel well under the covering, and a well placed hole for the retract wire. Looks like I may have accidentally pulled out the string provided for pulling through the wire, but it's not a long pull, should be easy.

So here's the hiccup. I'm using my Dx8 with an AR8000 rx. I set the wing type for 2 Ail/1 Flap, and it appears the extra aileron takes over the Gear spot on the rx (Or technically, the LAL takes the Flp place, and the Flp takes the Gear place. Something like that.) , as well as the wing type selection inhibits the gear switch, so I can't even set the gear switch to output to another open port on the rx. I'm dealing with it now with the great AndyKunz's help over at RCG. Hopefully I can get something worked out. Maybe this will be my excuse for a Dx9 or 18....
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Old 09-20-2013, 08:52 PM
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Maybe this might Help.

http://www.rcparkflying.com/radio-co...a-spektrum-dx8
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Old 09-20-2013, 09:13 PM
  #9  
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Thanks, Chellie! But the speed doesn't scare me so much. We have a pretty good runway, except for the plane-eating utility poles and wires 400' from the approach end! But the big turbine pilots can do it, I think my little F-4 shouldn't have an issue. I'll practice some approaches with my foamie F-35 at high throttle first, I guess!

CVMRCC Jet video

Skip to 3 minutes for the landing. That one's a turn inside the wires. (Sadly, that beautiful plane was lost on it's next flight. I heard from the tx lipo battery losing a cell!)

Here's the alternative landing pattern for the fast planes, following down the left side ('Pilots' view) of the power lines, as they run at almost a 45 degree angle to the runway, closer in front of us, farther away behind us. Our club prez, who is a 'jet guy', says there are many jet guys who refuse to fly at our field because of the wires. Can't entirely blame them! Skip to 10:30 for the alternate landing.

http://youtu.be/mz8FosbCzaA

OK, gotta finish cleaning up and go to work. Thanks again for the suggestion Chellie. I'll keep it in mind if things get too scary for me!
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Old 09-20-2013, 09:54 PM
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Ouch - normally that approach BEHIND the flight line is a big NO NO.
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Old 09-20-2013, 10:28 PM
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Maybe shouldn't have advertised, but it's an exception only made for the turbine and large EDF's. And it's already out there on YouTube...

In other news, AndyKunz over at RCG taught me something. I had to inhibit the Aux2 and Aux 3 switches to make those outputs available to my Gear switch. Problem solved.

Oh, and I forgot, Chellie, I wanted separate ail channels for differential aileron per the specs. I'm anal about at least initially setting things up per specs, unless I hear from others it needs modifying. Did you think I was looking for a way to use crow?
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Old 09-20-2013, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by xmech2k View Post
Maybe shouldn't have advertised, but it's an exception only made for the turbine and large EDF's. And it's already out there on YouTube...
I would not worry too much. I just had to laugh when all those guys got really attentive all of a sudden.


Originally Posted by xmech2k View Post
In other news, AndyKunz over at RCG taught me something. I had to inhibit the Aux2 and Aux 3 switches to make those outputs available to my Gear switch. Problem solved.

Oh, and I forgot, Chellie, I wanted separate ail channels for differential aileron per the specs. I'm anal about at least initially setting things up per specs, unless I hear from others it needs modifying. Did you think I was looking for a way to use crow?
Glad you got it worked out!
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Old 09-20-2013, 11:43 PM
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Glad you got it Figured out too
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:49 PM
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So when I got home from work last night, I couldn't wait to finish the MLG retracts. Another bonus of using the E-Flite retracts: everything just fits the first time. No fiddling or fuss. Put it together and the gear go right into the wells just fine. The servo leads were easy to feed through the short space in the wing. Nothing a needle nose couldn't reach. The retracts themselves have very short leads and needed a 3" extension to make it out of the wing. Then the 'W' lead that comes with the retracts have plenty of length to reach them from there. I'll need a few more extensions for the ailerons, though. But I installed the wings for the photos and to finish setting the control throws on the wing surfaces.
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Old 09-21-2013, 07:07 PM
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Looks Very Nice Maybe I will Do the Maiden Flight After All LOL , After I get my scratch Built F-20 Done, Do You Want to Race LOL Take care and have fun, Chellie
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Old 09-22-2013, 02:01 AM
  #16  
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OK, Chellie, you're on for that race! I can use an extra kill marking on my Phantom!

In other news, I got the tail servos and feathers installed. Almost had an issue, as even though I read the addendum to the instructions, it failed to sink in, and as you can see in the pics below I almost had the servos installed in a way that would make it a real pain to replace the elevator servo. Problem solved by using the Hitec provided screw in servo brackets, rather than the E-flite provided wood blocks.

It's nice that the tail control pushrods are all internal, for more speed to leave Chellie in the dust!

Still to come: Nose gear, finish the fan installation, install the ESC and rx, find batteries.
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Old 09-22-2013, 08:49 AM
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Installed the NLG. Went well mostly, and once again, I like this so much better than all the foamies I've been doing. I found retracted, when I ran the rudder, it still bound up things even with the mechanism to deal with it. Fortunately, I'm running the NWS on AUX3, slaved to the rudder, so I was able to make it turn off with the gear retracted. Nice stuff! I'm tired already, so I'll post some pics of it tomorrow. Getting close now.

Oh, and Chellie, I hope I didn't creep you out with your avatar on the side of the plane. It was just a quick Photoshop job for fun. If any gal's pic will be on there, it'll be my wife's, but she'd never notice it anyway...
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:15 PM
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Ordered 2 ea. 6s 45C 5000mAh batts from ROC Batteries. ~$170 each. Wow. Aside from this F-4, I think my only plane that cost more than that was my 1st, the Apprentice, and it was RTF, tx and everything. But unless I've forgotten something, it's my last big purchase for this plane. They come with Dean's compatible connectors, I think I will actually use the EF EC5 already on the ESC, and make a tool for disconnecting them, which is what I hate about those connectors in the first place. I've seen someone melt Dean's-style connectors in a 70mm EDF. Probably they were knock-offs, but I think for the higher amps, I best go with something with bullets.
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Old 09-22-2013, 11:27 PM
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Signed up from a far. Looks great XM looking forward to the maiden
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Old 09-23-2013, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by xmech2k View Post
Installed the NLG. Went well mostly, and once again, I like this so much better than all the foamies I've been doing. I found retracted, when I ran the rudder, it still bound up things even with the mechanism to deal with it. Fortunately, I'm running the NWS on AUX3, slaved to the rudder, so I was able to make it turn off with the gear retracted. Nice stuff! I'm tired already, so I'll post some pics of it tomorrow. Getting close now.

Oh, and Chellie, I hope I didn't creep you out with your avatar on the side of the plane. It was just a quick Photoshop job for fun. If any gal's pic will be on there, it'll be my wife's, but she'd never notice it anyway...
Thats Funny Leave it there and see if the Wife says anything about it LOL
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:17 AM
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LOL! Chellie, it's not really on the plane, I just copied and pasted you avatar an the plane's pic!

Got some work done today. Stopped by my LHS and picked up the final extensions and the recommended DuBro flexible hinge tape for the exhaust duct cover. Got all that installed, mounted the ESC and rx, then installed the wings and tried everything together. Well, except the motor. It'll be a few more days until I get the batts. Funny thing, I'm using a spare ESC and a 3s 1300 Lipo for powering the rx for testing. While testing it all closed up, the ESC got pretty warm! It only has a 3A BEC in it. Along those lines, I plugged in my wattmeter after I got the tail feathers done, and was able to get a max of 1.5 amps just working those around! I'll check again with the electrical system finalized with the 6s batt and the 10A UBEC. If I'm gonna lose this plane, it's going to be due to pilot error!

The only issue, which I didn't notice before, is the right wing doesn't mate flush to the fuselage. I don't think the spar is too long, I think one of the mating surfaces isn't flat, allowing the wing to wiggle ever so slightly fwd and back. I also wish the elevator was a bit more free-moving. If I designed it, I'd like to see the hinges on bearings, rather than the plastic bushings used.
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:53 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by xmech2k View Post
OK, Chellie, you're on for that race! I can use an extra kill marking on my Phantom!

In other news, I got the tail servos and feathers installed. Almost had an issue, as even though I read the addendum to the instructions, it failed to sink in, and as you can see in the pics below I almost had the servos installed in a way that would make it a real pain to replace the elevator servo. Problem solved by using the Hitec provided screw in servo brackets, rather than the E-flite provided wood blocks.

It's nice that the tail control pushrods are all internal, for more speed to leave Chellie in the dust!

Still to come: Nose gear, finish the fan installation, install the ESC and rx, find batteries.
lets see, I have a 1600 KV 500Watt 480 motor coming in from Heads Up Rc with a 8x6 prop, for the F-20 tundertiger that will produce up to 60 oz of thrust I think my F-20 will come in at about 30oz for a 2 to 1 power ratio, lets see, prop pitch speed is about, 95 MPH, 6 pitch +16000 rpm @ 10Volts, Yea, That Should tear up that F-4 Phantom LOL

and if not, I will put a 4 cell in it LOL 6 pitch x 22400 rpm @ 14 volts 127 mph
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:00 AM
  #23  
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Hey Chellie,

Sounds like fightin words... The NG F-20 didn't quite make the grade where the MD F4 Phantom II , well, we all know the story. LOL Just saying...
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:44 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by dahawk View Post
Hey Chellie,

Sounds like fightin words... The NG F-20 didn't quite make the grade where the MD F4 Phantom II , well, we all know the story. LOL Just saying...
Hi Dave You got to have fun LOL
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Old 09-23-2013, 05:37 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by CHELLIE View Post
lets see, I have a 1600 KV 500Watt 480 motor coming in from Heads Up Rc with a 8x6 prop, for the F-20 tundertiger that will produce up to 60 oz of thrust I think my F-20 will come in at about 30oz for a 2 to 1 power ratio, lets see, prop pitch speed is about, 95 MPH, 6 pitch +16000 rpm @ 10Volts, Yea, That Should tear up that F-4 Phantom LOL

and if not, I will put a 4 cell in it LOL 6 pitch x 22400 rpm @ 14 volts 127 mph
Math, schmath!... I've seen the proof:



LOL! Actually, I know props are way more efficient than EDF, and I know you've got mad skilz when it comes to building, so I know better than to get into a debate over it with you! ( Of, course you neglected to consider drag... ) Actually, when I look at my Phantom, it almost feels like cheating to have such a beautiful plane and having done relatively so little work. But then, in my current housing situation, I sure can't build something from sticks! And you saw how my little Mini-Drake went... See post 59. I wonder if the Phantom would qualify me for the 1kw (Specs say 1,400 watts) or 100 mph club, seeing I just put all the big pieces together?

Anyway, here's an idea in case I should make it up there for a race:


OK, it's really an F-5, but close enough. And Dahawk I guess doesn't know Chuck Yeager, the man, said the F-20 was one of the best fighters he ever flew. When do you think the government started making good choices, Dahawk? The Phantom was born in a time when they thought dogfighting was done, to be replaced by missiles, and our gov't micromanaged our flyers into flying the same attack routes to the same places on the same schedule day after day, so their enemies knew where to setup their AA and where to aim it, and when to expect us. The only thing that saved the Phantom crews from disaster in air-to-air engagements was thrust, superior training, and food! (It was said the Vietnamese pilots were sometimes so malnourished, they would pass out at low-G's!) Though I still love the Phantom.

Ugh! There I go on another rant! Too much fun chatting about planes!
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