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Official Freewing 80mm A-4E/F Skyhawk Thread

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  • Official Freewing 80mm A-4E/F Skyhawk Thread

    PROJECT VIRTUE

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    INTRODUCTION

    "I am a student of History."

    On September 9, 1965, Commander James Bond Stockdale was shot down over Vietnam by flak. Over the next seven and a half years, while imprisoned at the infamous "Hanoi Hilton", Commander Stockdale distinguished himself by organizing others to resist their captors despite his enduring near daily beatings and torture. His back, legs, and shoulders were broken and rebroken. Faced with such pain, he never wavered; in fact, his purposeful disfigurement of his own body at one instance convinced his captors that he would rather die than give in. Publicly, Commander Stockdale was ultimately awarded the Medal of Honor after his release in 1973.

    After his release, Stockdale published 4 books detailing philosophical beliefs and their contribution to his being able to endure the horror of his years as a POW, including his education at the US Naval Academy and reading a book by the Stoic philosopher Epictetus that he had somehow managed to hide on his person while in captivity. Describing himself as a "student of history", Stockdale later said in a speech that after he ejected from his aircraft he thought "I am leaving the world of technology and entering the world of Epictetus". In essence, a central belief of Epictetus and his Stoic teachings is that we cannot control what happens to us, but we can control our happiness by how we react to what happens to us. This mindset equipped Stockdale to mentally endure the incredible ordeal of his years as POW.

    There are 4 cardinal virtues in Stoicism: Wisdom, Courage, Justice, and Temperance. Stockdale exhibited all of these during his captivity, and his Medal of Honor citation notes his "valiant leadership [Wisdom/Justice/Temperance] and extraordinary Courage."

    An embodiment of the Virtues he studied, before passing away on July 5, 2005 at age 81, United States Navy Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale, the student who had become the teacher, wrote 4 books about the philosophy espousing 4 virtues that equipped him to survive his captivity after being shot down in his A-4 Skyhawk.

    Project Virtue = A-4 Skyhawk.


    OVERVIEW

    The A-4 Skyhawk commands a beloved place in aviation history. Designed by the prolific Ed Heinemann for Douglas Aircraft in the early 1950s, the A-4 was optimized as a multi-role aircraft that used its low weight, high maneuverability, and straightforward reliability to lethal advantage. Despite absorbing the highest combat loss rate in Vietnam, A-4 crews fearlessly executed their missions with bravery and valor. The Skyhawk's nearly 70 year history of distinguished service and its continued operation by some countries to this day is testament to the timelessness of "Heinemann's Hotrod". To honor this famed aircraft, Freewing and Motion RC proudly offer the Freewing 80mm A-4E/F Skyhawk!

    This model has been a long time coming! In the summer of 2013 I maidened the first CNC prototype of a Freewing 70mm A-4J Skyhawk. Originally sized for a 70mm fan and then later for our new-at-the-time 80mm fan, we were unimpressed with the high wing loading and limited battery space of the 70mm sized aircraft. In addition, the wing was too thin to house a rotating main wheel of sufficient size for unpaved surfaces, so it used standard retracts and the main wheel hung down from the wing like an A-10... this was a non-starter for us. While it was a difficult decision, we opted to shelve the project in favor of the other Freewing EDFs we went on to release in 2014 and 2015. In the summer of 2015 we brought the A-4 project back, but now upsized, following the same concept of "80mm cost in a 90mm size" that we began with 2016's 80mm MiG-21. Affordable, powerful, grass capable, customizable. And now, it's finally here!

    The first large foam electric PNP mass production A-4 in the world, The Freewing 80mm A-4E/F Skyhawk is powered by a 1850kv brushless outrunner motor and 12 blade EDF ducted fan, achieving a top speed of 95mph/150kph using the recommended 6s 4000mAh-5000mAh battery. Positive control including all digital metal gear servos and brass ball link control hardware and Hobbywing's proven 100A ESC continues to shine in Freewing's EDFs. Pilots familiar with the Freewing MiG-21's handling will be instantly comfortable with the A-4's acceleration, thrust, speed, and docile landing characteristics of this scale class EDF jet. Light and agile, the A-4 loves big verticals and rolls like a drill!

    The Freewing 80mm A-4E/F Skyhawk features all new fold-and-twist retracts, with durable aluminum trailing link struts all around for confident operation on rough runways and short grass. A slight nose high AoA further aids short, controlled takeoffs from grass fields, with or without flaps. Removable wings and flexible wing wire harnesses provide for convenient transportation.

    Adding to the model's versatility, the later version avionics "hump" is also included! Attach this magnetic "hump" onto fuselage's upper spine to change between the -E and -F variations of the Skyhawk. Two waterslide decal sets are also included, depicting a US Navy A-4 from VA-22 and a US Marines A-4 from VMA-311. Fly these with pride, or personalize with another livery of your choosing! From "Top Gun" to the US Navy Blue Angels, to hard working Vietnam attackers, to dissimilar training aircraft or any from a host of foreign operators, the Freewing A-4 will look good in any livery you can think of and will reward modelers wanting to customize their model even further with scale details.

    Beyond the overall scale profile fidelity, other scale details include plastic split flaps, and detachable fuel tanks, AGM-12 missiles, and refueling probe. In keeping with the spirit of Heinemann's original intent for a straightforward and simple aircraft, we omitted the complexity of speed brakes and slats, saving weight and cost while not sacrificing slow speed stability. Optimized root, tip, and stab airfoils allow a correctly proportioned wingspan. One of our prototypes used slats and speed brakes, and they didn't contribute to the actual flying handling of the aircraft, except to add cost, weight, and complexity. For you industrious models, knock yourselves out.

    The Pre-Order is starting very soon and the product page will be live this week, as we have been secretly producing the aircraft for over a month. So, surprise, surprises, it turns out Jester's not dead, after all!







    For more reading on Vice Admiral Stockdale, please visit the links below, and conduct your own research from other resources above his life. He was much more than a POW or Medal of Honor recipient. Here at Motion RC, a central theme we try to promote with each new model aircraft is the men and women who served and often died alongside these aircraft. We hope we can all be inspired to be students of their history, to keep their memory alive.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_..._and_education

    http://reasonandmeaning.com/2015/03/...and-epictetus/

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/08...KNP2T256P6MLWY

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/08...KNP2T256P6MLWY



    Thanks, Evelyn!

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    Last edited by Alpha.MotionRC; Jul 24th, 2017, 05:35 AM.

  • #2
    While we await the Pro videos from Captain Mike and Pilot Ryan, here is a quick video showing some "Behind the Scenes" CG/throws flight tests back in March. ~100+ degree air temperature, light to zero wind, packed gravel/dirt road. Nothing special in this video since this flight was more to evaluate CG and stability and mostly lower cruising speeds, but it does show a short takeoff without any "pop" (thanks to the raised AoA nose), some nice sounds coming out of that 12B fan, and a stable controlled landing with minimal power and zero headwind.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL6p...ature=youtu.be
    Last edited by Alpha.MotionRC; Jul 24th, 2017, 02:14 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Reserved for additional photos.

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      • #4
        Awesome Alpha! Here's a few more photos. I've logged eight flights to date on the first sample Skyhawk and absolutely love this jet! Thanks to you and the entire Motion/Freewing Team for the opportunity. Congrats on another stellar jet!

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        • #5
          I love it!!! Been looking forward to an A-4 for awhile now. My very first jet was a Bob Violet ducted fan A-4 back around 1980. Good job keeping it under wraps but now I gotta save even harder if pre-order is "very soon" as you say.

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          • #6
            I've been strictly flying with the Admiral 6S 50C 5000 packs. Initially, the battery was placed where it's shown in the photo below but I found the jet was sensitive in pitch/tail heavy. With each flight, I moved the pack forward a 1/2 inch until finally finding the sweet spot, which is where the forward side of the battery pack is even with the forward battery plate mount screws. At that location, the A-4 feels great and very much locked in for me. My expo settings: Ailerons 40%, Elevator 50%, Rudder/Steering 30%...using my Futaba 7C radio. Your battery position and expo may vary depending on external stores, your radio and personal preferences. My info is just a recommendation to help get you starter toward a successful maiden and beyond. Happy flying!

            Best,
            Tony

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            • #7
              Most of our test pilots are flying their CG at the position shown with my fingertip. The manual being posted this week on the product page will recommend this position. I like a small amount of up trim, as shown, when flying with the ordnance. Thanks to Xplaneguy and some of our more intrepid pilots to test the tail-heavy range of this delta-winged aircraft... not for the faint of heart!



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              • #8
                Here's a video shot today by RC Pilot Evelyn. Ambient temp was 94 degrees, humidity 60% and winds 7-9 mph. Thermals were strong and the wind was at times 90 degrees cross in my face and the Skyhawk handled the conditions very well!

                Note: This flight was kept to 3 minutes, 30 seconds due to the high ambient temperature this afternoon. With throttle management and cooler temps, this A-4 can easily fly 4:30 plus with the Admiral 6S 5000 pack.
                 

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                • #9
                  https://youtu.be/o88qUgMSMVw
                  This jet will be awesome! Sign me up for one. I love the sound and performance of the 9-blade fans in my A-10. I'd like to experiment with the 9-blade fan in the A-4 but I don't see them for sale. Has there been flight testing of the A-4 with a 9-blade fan? I'll install an inrunner in this one as I did with my A-6. Check out the difference in performance. It reduces the flight time from three to two minutes though.
                  https://youtu.be/qYEwLUXjKwE

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                  • #10
                    Thanks Alpha for the background to Project Virtue. This one will be of special interest to us Kiwi's as the Royal New Zealand Air Force operated single and twin seat variants of the A-4 until 2001.

                    Are you able to share some of the spec's such as dimensions/weight at this stage?

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                    • #11
                      It's a "Must Have" for me!
                      TiredIron Aviation
                      Tired Iron Military Vehicles

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                      • #12
                        DAG! The product page will be live this week!?! I am going to have to crack open the old piggy bank!

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                        • #13
                          For those interested in how it compares size-wise to the Mig 21:


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                          • #14
                            And a few studio shots of it done up in the included Marines livery:







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                            • #15
                              And said scheme with the rudder properly colored:




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                              • #16
                                Sweet pictures. Looks beautiful!

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                                • #17
                                  And a few in-flight:













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                                  • #18
                                    You're killing us!
                                    TiredIron Aviation
                                    Tired Iron Military Vehicles

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                                    • #19
                                      Will there be alternative decals as with the A-10? Any chance one might be the 153rd Blue Tail Flies?

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                                      • #20
                                        Holy WOW! Boy did you disappoint me..I was really hoping for that TV Learjet lol ... guess I'll have to settle for this awesome nimble little minx ... that vertical! ..the sound! the roll! all those curves! I'm glad you guys ditched the 70mm size..this thing will be sweet! Good riddle for the guessin game too.
                                        www.TSHobbies.com
                                        Hobby Paint racks and acrylic display stands for collectibles.

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