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Written by Jon Barnes
FMS Avanti V3 70mm EDF
As seen in the July 2020 issue of Model Aviation.
Review

Bonus Video

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At a Glance

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Specifications

Model type: EDF jet

Skill level: Intermediate

Wingspan: 35.4 inches

Wing area: 266.6 square inches

Length: 41.3 inches

Weight: 65 ounces

Power system: 70 mm EDF

Radio: Minimum six-channel required

Construction: EPO foam

Price: $264.99

Test-Model Details

Motor: FMS 3060 1,900 Kv brushless inrunner (installed)

ESC: Hobbywing 80-amp with a 5-amp BEC and XT60 connector (installed)

EDF: 70 mm with 12-blade fan (installed)

Battery: Requires 6S 2,600 to 3,300 mAh LiPo

Radio system used: Spektrum DX9 transmitter; HobbyKing Orange R618XL receiver

Ready-to-fly weight: 67 ounces (6S 3,300 mAh battery)

Flight duration: 4 to 6 minutes Pluses

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  • Powered by a notably smooth and amazingly quiet 70-mm EDF unit.
  • Aluminum suspension-equipped gear helps to minimize landing bounce and allows the Avanti to be flown from less-improved runways.
  • The battery bay is large enough to accommodate batteries larger than the factory-recommended 6S 3,300 mAh battery pack.
  • Lets pilots flirt with triple-digit speeds for less than $300.
  • The entire airframe goes together using seven identical metric fasteners and some adhesive.

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Minuses

  • ESC comes equipped with an XT60 connector instead of the popular EC5 connector often used on 6S-powered EDF jets.

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Manufacturer/Distributor FMS

support@fmsmodel.com

www.fmsmodel.com

Horizon Hobby

(800) 338-4639

www.horizonhobby.com

THREE YEARS AGO, in the spring of 2017, one of the industry’s most prolific producers of foam-composition models announced the imminent release of a new 70 mm electric ducted-fan (EDF)- powered sport jet. Manufactured using EPO foam, the original FMS Models Avanti featured a Ferrari red and white color scheme and included flaps, multipin connectors on the wing roots to expedite and simplify assembly/disassembly, and retractable tricycle landing gear equipped with basic aluminum suspension struts.

The 6S LiPo-based power system used in the Avanti featured a 12-blade, 70 mm EDF that was mounted to and spun by a 2860-1,850 Kv brushless inrunner motor via a 70-amp ESC. Although FMS also initially released a 4S-based variation of the Avanti in 2017, the perceived proclivity of an average EDF jet enthusiast’s all-out need for speed no doubt contributed to its discontinuation.

The Avanti sport jet became available in a second, slightly snappier-looking red, white, and blue color scheme on subsequent production runs.

At this juncture, some readers might be wondering why I’m discussing previous iterations of the Avanti. It is because a quick FMS Avanti 101 session offers pilots a baseline understanding and serves as a proper foundation to talk about the variety of refinements and improvements bundled into one of the first 2020 product releases from FMS, the Avanti V3. And there are more than a few!

One of the first differences in this third version of the Avanti is that FMS has added a splash of gold to the current red, white, and blue color scheme. Additional eye candy includes a trio of LED navigation lights, wingtip-positioned red and green lights, and a bright white light mounted on the centerline of the fuselage’s underside.

with a low parts count one size of fastener used for the entire
With a low parts count, one size of fastener used for the entire assembly and multipin wing connectors, and the airframe goes together lickety-split. Only a trace of adhesive is required to glue the two wing fences in place.

lurking inside the core of the avanti is a slightly
Lurking inside the core of the Avanti is a slightly hotter Predator 3060 1,900 Kv brushless inrunner motor. Mated to a 12-blade, 70 mm impeller, the combination makes for a potent, smooth, and powerful 70 mm EDF system.

Although the previous Avantis featured twin pilot figures and panel instrumentation graphics in the cockpit, the V3 version eliminates all of that and instead goes with a blacked-out canopy.

Aesthetics aside, the Avanti also boasts several notable improvements to the electronics side of things. Under the hood, FMS has upsized the motor to a slightly hotter 1,900 Kv one and boosted the ESC to an 80-amp Hobbywing controller.

FMS has completely reengineered the wing root and fuselage-mounted multipin connectors that are used to transfer the wiring of all of the electronics in the wing halves to the inside of the fuselage. The new style of connector appears to "float." Consequently, it self-aligns more accurately than the previous design and is touted as being more reliable in the long term.

Although some pilots might suspiciously eschew the use of such connectors when compared with the old-school, tried-andproven method of simple servo extensions, using these connectors allows the model to be disassembled for transport and storage in less than 60 seconds. FMS has also given the Avanti a notably new set of legs in the form of aluminum, semi-trailing, link-style struts.

Assembly

Long gone are the days of modelers needing an hour or three and a variety of adhesives to assemble their new RC models. FMS’s approach to the entire Avanti airframe assembly uses seven identically sized metric fasteners, eliminating any chance of accidentally using the wrong fastener in any given step.

Pilots only need a quality 2 mm hex bit screwdriver and the Avanti goes together lickety-split! The pair of leading edge (LE) fences will require a smear of adhesive to lock them into the slots that are molded into the wing halves. Should pilots wish to conduct a semi-comprehensive preflight on the Avanti, access to the EDF bay is gained with the quick removal of two short metric fasteners.

The 70 mm EDF is anchored with two Phillips-head fasteners. Best practices encourage securing the three motor-to-ESC connections with short pieces of electrical tape. All of the pushrods used on the Avanti feature a Z-bend at the servo horn end, with ball links used on all of the control surface ends.

Although FMS provides suggested control throws (high and low rates) for the ailerons, elevator, and rudder, no values are provided for the flaps. I configured a takeoff flap value of approximately 25° to 30°, with landing flaps dialed down to a setting of approximately 45°. I used a flap-to-down-elevator mix of 5% for the first notch of flaps and 10% for the second.

Flying

Although FMS suggests that pilots procure a 6S LiPo battery in the range of 2,600 to 3,300 mAh, the Avanti’s battery bay is surprisingly ample and can accommodate larger battery packs than those recommended. I was even able to squeeze some of the smallest 6S 5,000 mAh LiPo battery packs in under the canopy.

One caveat to going with potentially flight duration-extending larger packs is that pilots will probably not be able to shift them rearward enough to achieve the factory-recommended center of gravity (CG), which is 100 to 105 mm aft of the wing’s LE at the wing root.

Published CG numbers are not necessarily absolute, rigidly defined values. They do usually serve as a safe and sane starting point that is provided to modelers by the model aircraft’s designer/manufacturer.

A pilot’s personal preferences and individual level of proficiency will ultimately determine where he or she prefers the airframe to balance. Some might find that flying the Avanti on an oversize battery pack is a viable option.

I was somewhat surprised to find that the Hobbywing ESC used in the Avanti comes equipped with an XT60-style connector instead of the quasi-industry-standard (North America) EC5 connector that is typically used on 6S power system-equipped EDF jets. The misalignment between the generally specified maximum sustained current of an XT60 connector—typically listed at 60 amps—and the 80-amp rating of the included Hobbywing ESC is worth noting.

Pilots who prefer to err on the side of caution will probably decide to change out the XT60 for a connector with a higher sustained-current rating. Interestingly, the product listing for the Avanti on the FMS website does feature a selection box allowing pilots to choose an Avanti equipped with an EC5 connector.

Because I do not typically pin the throttle to the firewall for the entire flight, I decided to use a quality XT60-to-EC5 adaptor in the Avanti. After several dozen flights, I have not experienced any problems, nor have I seen any signs of the connector overheating.

Although not a scale model, I like to execute departures with full flaps and a throttle setting of 60% to 70%. After the Avanti is trimmed out, a slight bump of up-elevator will smoothly rotate it into an impressively clean, relatively shallow angle-of-attack climbout. Keep the flaps out of the equation, slam the throttle to a stop, and it can be quickly and aggressively pressed into the air with an impressively steep, nearly vertical climbout.

FMS continues to refine and improve its EDF power systems. The latest 70 mm package features a slightly hotter Kv motor and improved fan. Installed in this V3 Avanti, it sounds great and performs superbly! At throttle settings of 50% and less, the system is especially—and almost eerily—quiet. At speed, the smooth whoosh of efflux emitted by the FMS 70 mm EDF sounds fantastic!

The Avanti possesses an impressively wide speed envelope. With full flaps and a slight headwind, it can be decelerated to a surprisingly slow speed. Impending stalls are signaled with an ever-so-subtle, generally benign waggle of the wing.

for many pilots the standout improvement to this third generation
For many pilots, the standout improvement to this third-generation FMS Avanti will be the trailing-link-style, suspension-equipped aluminum struts. They do a great job of soaking up the bumps and bruises of less-improved runway surfaces.

the avantis oversize battery bay will capably accommodate
The Avanti’s oversize battery bay will capably accommodate 6S LiPo battery packs of up to 5,000 mAh. Although using larger packs will extend flight durations, it might not be possible to shift them far enough aft to prevent the CG from being slightly nose-heavy.

The Avanti’s real forte—and the place where most EDF pilots like to spend their time exploring—is speed! This breaks through the triple-digit speed barrier with nary a sweat. With control throws cranked, aerobatic maneuvers are crisp and precise.

The Avanti flies best with a LiPo battery pack in the range recommended by FMS. It is noticeably lighter on the wing and feels slightly faster than when it is flown with a larger (heavier) pack. On windier days, using a larger battery helps to mitigate the Avanti from getting tossed around by gusts.

Although I did not fly the Avanti from a grass runway, I did fly it off of several different club runways. The improved V3 trailing-link-style suspension gear does a great job of soaking up less-than-ideal runway conditions. Pilots often pay a stiff price for failing to hold the runway centerline on departure or arrival, or when overrunning the runway because they are carrying too much speed on touchdown.

I found that the Avanti’s new legs stoutly absorbed the occasional accidental off-road excursions without complaint or damage. Pilots limited to flying their EDF jets from grass runways might be able to operate this Avanti from nonpaved runways, provided that they are not too rough or the vegetation too tall.

The Avanti’s flight durations are ultimately dependent on a pilot’s use of the throttle stick. On smaller packs, with varied throttle usage, pilots can expect flight durations of roughly 4 minutes. Going with larger packs can potentially stretch this beyond 6 minutes.

Conclusion

Pilots looking for a relatively affordable EDF jet model that is capable of triple-digit speeds right out of the box will find the FMS Avanti V3 70mm EDF worth a closer look. FMS has refined and improved it. Notable features include the hotter/smoother 12-blade, 70 mm EDF power system, an upsized Hobbywing ESC, and the fairly robust, rearward-articulating, tricycle suspension gear.

Although most EDF jets demand at least an intermediate level of piloting proficiency, newer EDF pilots might find the Avanti to be a suitable model with which to advance their jet piloting skillsets, provided that they respect this model’s ability to get small real fast when left at full throttle. Veteran EDF pilots will find this modestly priced, high-performance 70 mm jet an addictive and satisfying dose of high-speed adrenaline!

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