With the release of the F-86 Sabre Micro EDF from Great Planes, a new era has begun for micro pilots. With a tiny ducted fan spinning at over 75,000 rpm, the F-86 promises true ducted fan performance in a tiny package. See the results in our 5X5 examination…
When we popped open the box, it was clear Great Planes put some time and effort into creating a visually attractive representation of the famed F-86 “Sabre Jet”. We were excited to see if our little F-86 could deliver the same punishment to Rob’s camera skills as the real ones did to Russian MiG-15’s in MiG Alley. If you’ve seen the flight footage, the answer is…
Landing gear is optional so we went ahead and popped them on and charged the battery so we could see how the F-86 handled runway takeoff and landing. Our Tx-R version called for the use of Tactic’s new AnyLink module. This meant that we could use our Futaba T8FG Super computer radio system and really dial in the specifics. Setup of the AnyLink module only took a couple seconds and we went ahead and set the recommended expos on our T8FG. With everything cleared on the bench, we couldn’t help but blip the throttle to see what kind of static thrust the EDF delivered.
On flight day the wind was a steady 2-3 mph and was gusting to 5. Normally this would mean that the micros would take the back seat and we’d only be testing the bigger stuff. Not the case with our F-86. The big ones were built for near-supersonic engagements, so what’s a little wind? Steering on the ground is not practical without prop wash over the rudder and with a fixed nose wheel, but the F-86 tracked pretty straight on rollout and in about 15 feet was climbing out at an aggressive rate. Power is not a problem. Although thrust was below 1:1, the F-86 is no slouch in the air. We even had enough “oomph” to make upwind turns in our prevailing wind conditions a non-event.
As we mentioned in the video, the F-86 must be flown. What this means is that although it’s a micro, and it has great gliding capabilities on approach, you have to keep things moving. Just like the prototype, it’s no Sunday afternoon relaxing flyer. Keep the air moving across the wings and you’ll be snapping, looping, and rolling the F-86 whenever and wherever you’d like. When it comes time to land, line up for the runway, back off the throttle and enter a typical glide slope. As with any EDF, I like to keep a little power on and maintain a level horizon. Once you cross the barrier and enter ground effect, chop the throttle, lift the nose slightly above the horizon and the F-86 glides like a paper airplane all the way through a gentle touchdown and rolling stop. Be warned! The entry speed is deceivingly hot relative to most micros, so any premature contact with the ground will catapult the F-86 nose-high back into the air into a stall at about two or three feet off the hard stuff.
With the first major micro EDF release offering this level of flight experience, I can confidently say that pilots should expect their micro fleet to expand into the jet realm with a wave of new screaming electric turbines.
2 Brothers Hobby
2 Brothers Setup
Ailerons -55 (+55 on Spektrum/JR)
Elevator -55 (+55 on Spektrum/JR)
Rudder -45 (+45 on Spektrum/JR)