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Written by Andrew Griffith
Elite Aerosports Havoc GTS
Review
As seen in the April 2020 issue of Model Aviation.

At A Glance

at a glance

Specifications

Model type: Sport turbine jet

Skill level: Advanced

Wingspan: 67 inches

Wing area: 953 square inches

Wing loading: 60 ounces

Airfoil: Symmetrical

Length: 79 inches

Weight: 24 to 27 pounds

Power system: 70- to 100-newton turbine

Radio: Full range, 10 channels with eight servos

Construction: Full composite Airex/fiberglass

Covering/finish: Painted-in-the-mold composite

Price: $4,195

Test-Model Details

Motor used: Jet Central Hornet 85-newton turbine

Receiver battery used: Two PowerBox Powerpak 2.5 2,500 mAh Lithium-ion

Turbine ECU battery: 2,500 mAh Jet Central LiFe (included with turbine)

Radio system: PowerBox CORE; PowerBox Mercury SRS; MKS servos

Ready-to-fly weight: 26 pounds dry, 31 pounds fully fueled

Wing loading: 62.8 ounces per square foot

Cube loading: 24.4

Flight duration: 10 minutes

pluses logo

Pluses

  • Impressive composite construction.
  • Extremely aerobatic sport jet.
  • Slick-looking finish that’s highly visible in bright green.
  • Purchase price includes carbon-fiber tank, double-wall tailpipe, and Electron Retracts landing gear.

minuses logo

Minuses

  • No manual provided.

manufacturer distributor

Manufacturer/Distributor Elite Aerosports

(954) 444-8809

www.eliteaerosports.com

AFTER GREAT SUCCESS with my turbine Harlock RC Viper (November 2018 Model Aviation), I decided it was time to add something larger to my fleet. I prefer the look and detail of a scale jet, but for this project, I wanted to pursue the relative simplicity of a sport jet. I had been on the lookout for something that caught my eye and there actually seems to be a growing number of choices in the size and price range I was considering.

Introduced in late 2015, the Elite Aerosports Havoc took the 2016 Florida Jets event by storm. There were several there, and they clearly were built for extreme flying and to hold up to a lot of hard, heavy G-style flying. They also are huge, sporting a 3.5-meter (134-inch) fuselage that requires a bus or moving van to transport it and a small pit crew to assemble it.

Not long afterward came the Havoc SS, a slightly more modest 2.5-meter (101-inch) aircraft, but still quite large. What I wanted was a scaled-down version of the Havoc that would still perform but would fit in my truck and not blow my budget.

I started exploring other options in the 85- to 100-newton turbine sizes that would be easy for one person to handle and fly at my home field, which features some challenging geography for larger airframes.

Late in 2018, I found out that the Havoc GTS was about to hit the market. The GTS is the smallest of the Havoc series of composite, turbine-powered jets. It operates with a 70- to 100-newton turbine, has large flaps, which helps with landings at my home field, and will fit in an SUV. Actually, the smallest Havoc is the Horizon Hobby E-flite Havoc Xe electric ducted-fan jet, but it’s neither composite nor intended as a turbine.

My assumption was that the GTS would be popular both with owners of the larger Havocs who wanted something smaller for regular flying as well as people such as myself who wanted a "big" jet without getting a monster. I was correct because despite getting my preorder in a few weeks after Elite Aerosports started taking build orders, it was nearly six months before I received my airframe.

The Havoc is popular and built and painted to order. I knew what to expect, and the wait was agonizing, but Elite Aerosports regularly updated me on the progress.

Although the purchase price isn’t inexpensive, it includes several items that must be sourced and purchased separately. Electron Retracts electric landing gear are renowned as some of the best in the business, and the landing gear and electric brakes are included. Also included is a double-wall, stainless steel exhaust pipe from JTS Hobby and a 3-liter carbon-fiber fuel tank.

Several options available from Elite Aerosports include a full JTS Hobby wiring harness, monster ball links, titanium linkage rods, and Revoc wing bags made to match the scheme you choose. The company even offers the option to provide custom build services to hand you a turnkey model that is ready to fly.

While I waited for the GTS to arrive, I started gathering the components that I needed. I contacted AeroPanda, discussed the aircraft with Manny Rodriguez, and purchased a Jet Central Turbines Hornet engine. The 85-newton Hornet comes with both a foreign object damage screen and a 3S LiFe battery. To ensure bubble-free fuel delivery to the turbine, I ordered a Flight Composite Technology (FCT) air trap.

Du-Bro monster ball links and a set of Hangar 9 titanium turnbuckle-style pushrods were ordered from Elite Aerosports to ensure the strong and slop-free control linkage installation that is so important on a 150-mph jet. New, machined servo arms from Northwest RC rounded out the hardware package.

The radio system consists of a PowerBox CORE radio and a pair of PBR-9D receivers. A PowerBox Mercury SRS will handle the power distribution and integrated gyro duties. A GPS module provides telemetry and adjusts the gyro gain on the fly so that more gain is being used at slower speeds.

Three MKS HV747 servos were used on the rudder and elevator halves. MKS HV9930 servos were used for the flaps and ailerons and an MKS HBL550 servo was used for the nose wheel steering. All of the servos are fed through the Mercury SRS by a pair of PowerBox receiver batteries.

I also purchased a premade wiring harness from JT Hobbies. This includes a single-point multiplug for both wing halves. All of the extensions for the wings and tail are already sized and crimped using heavyduty PowerBox wire.

Construction

The Havoc GTS shipped in a single large container. It took me nearly an hour to extricate all of the parts, which were well secured. The first thing that struck me was the outstanding finish. The GTS is painted in the mold and can be ordered in several stock color schemes or customized. A large bag of parts includes the control horns and other hardware that is required to finish assembly.

The GTS arrived without an assembly manual, which will put a few people off, but other than the center of gravity (CG) and suggested control throws, which are available in a variety of places online, building a sport jet just isn’t as complicated as it might seem. Part of that is because of the high level of prefabrication done at the factory. Several steps, including gluing the formers in place and hinging the control surfaces, are already completed.

After thinking through which components would be in the way of others, I used the following construction sequence. The wing was tackled first then I set it aside and assembled the fuselage from tail to nose.

The HBL9930 servos fit perfectly in the servo pockets in the wing so I installed them with RTL servo screws, prethreading the holes and hardening the threads with Zap thin CA glue. The Electron Retracts landing gear were likewise a drop-in fit and installed in the same manner.

The double-sided control horns are G-10 fiberglass. I scuff sanded them until the sheen was removed from the gluing area, cleaned them with alcohol, and installed them with DigiPoxy 100S. The JT Hobbies wiring harness is connected to the wing servos and the main gear is then routed to the appropriate exit hole.

The small HV747 servos pack a whopping 200 ounces of torque using a high-voltage power system. Like the 550s, they fit perfectly into the pockets that were provided in the elevators and rudder. The servos and control horns were installed in identical fashion as the wing.

I put power to the radio system and made sure everything was centered. All of the Du-Bro 4-40 monster links and the Hangar 9 turnbuckle pushrod were installed at this time. The turnbuckle pushrods are easy to adjust, and the surfaces centered perfectly with little subtrim.

Here is where some planning is required or you might end up removing and reinstalling components. First, the wiring harness for the tail servos is routed and secured. The pipe is then installed using RTL Fasteners servo screws. Some sanding is required at the pipe exit area to open it up a bit, but no major surgery is needed.

With the pipe installed, the turbine is mounted and the wiring harness installed. The carbon-fiber fuel tank provided in the kit is a thing of beauty, and its 3-liter size will provide plenty of flight time for turbines, even those on the largest end of the recommended range. I fabricated a small tray to mount the FCT air trap, and the plumbing for the turbine was completed.

with his new core radio new jet central hornet turbine
With his new Core radio, new Jet Central Hornet turbine, and a new jet Havoc GTS, the author was more than a little nervous while getting ready for the maiden flight. Adam Strong photo.

theres a lot going on in a turbine jet
There’s a lot going on in a turbine jet. The PowerBox Mercury with a pair of receivers and dual 2,500 mAh Lithium-ion batteries provide power and receiver redundancy. The GPS input to the Mercury adjusts the gyro gain based on speed to add more gain when the GTS slows down and the surfaces are less effective.

strictly scale has vinyl templates for all of the havoc
Strictly Scale has vinyl templates for all of the Havoc jets that allow precise cutting of the nose gear cutout.

One step that needs to be done carefully is cutting out the bottom of the fuselage where the nose wheel strut extends. This is where a manual with a template would come in handy. Fortunately, Sean McHale of Strictly Scale produces a vinyl template with low-tack adhesive that is similar to a vinyl paint mask. The template is a great solution for a perfect cutout.

The Electron Retracts nose gear was installed, and the steering servo was mounted. The servo attaches to the gear leg so that the pushrod is a direct connection to the steering arm, resulting in no slop in the steering linkage.

Bringing everything together is a PowerBox Mercury SRS and GPS module. When paired with a CORE radio, a plethora of telemetry data is available, such as signal quality, voltage from each battery, speed, altitude data, and more. A robust power distribution system is a great idea when dealing with the current load of eight high-voltage digital servos, and the Mercury is up to the task. The switch, Mercury configuration screen, and turbine ECU were located in the nose area, but no batteries were yet installed.

A Xicoy precision computer balancer that will locate the CG to within a fraction of an inch was used. The flight and turbine batteries were located so that no additional weight was needed to achieve a perfect balance. You can move stuff around and the balancer will immediately report changes until you’re satisfied.

Rates were assigned and exponential was added based on personal experience and from reading reports online from others who were already flying the GTS. The wait for the airframe to arrive was nothing compared with the three weeks between when the GTS was complete and when the weather cooperated for a weekend test flight!

the havoc is locked in during final approach
The Havoc is locked in during final approach with the proper power setting. The Electron Retracts landing gear are extremely robust.

Flying

It was a gorgeous, breezy day when I assembled the GTS for its test flight. Field assembly is easy with only two wing bolts and two multiconnectors at the wing root. After priming the fuel line and double-checking everything three times, I fired up the Jet Central Hornet.

When the startup was complete and the ECU handed over throttle control, I did a quick taxi test, adjusted the nose wheel steering, and made a few high-speed runs to verify that the Electron Retracts brakes had the correct stopping power without locking up and the GTS was stopping straight. With the checklist complete, I pointed the nose into the wind, took a deep breath, and smoothly advanced the throttle to full.

The GTS tracked straight and took off. When the gear and flaps retracted, it accelerated quickly. I backed off to half throttle and set up to make a few trim passes and burn off the jitters. I tested control response in all three rates that I had set up and I needed to do some tweaking to the rates and exponential, but I was in the ballpark.

Roll rates were exhilarating, and stops were crisp. For sport flying, I’ll probably back the mid-rate aileron off a bit. In high rate, the GTS rolls like a fiend. Tracking through loops, Immelmanns, and Split-S maneuvers was spot on. When I had a poor entry, I had a poor maneuver; when I had a good entry, the GTS held the line perfectly.

The GTS excels in knife-edge flight because the rudder is very effective. Slight pulling to the bottom occurs but it can be corrected on the fly or mixed out with a bit of up-elevator. Having seen the GTS prototype flying at Florida Jets, I knew it could take anything I could throw at it, so I tried a couple of positive and negative snaps at low-to-moderate airspeed. The GTS stopped the roll almost immediately when I released the controls and kept right on flying.

The large flaps and frontal surface area slow the Havoc GTS down quickly when bringing back the power. When setting up for landing, it’s imperative that you properly manage sink rate with the throttle. I noted some wobble as it slowed down, so I maintained a bit of extra power on final approach and the aircraft settled right in. The Electron brakes are very effective.

The big Havoc slows down to roughly walking speed when it lands, but don’t make the mistake of trying that with the GTS because it needs some speed and lands more like a typical sport jet than the larger Havocs.

Conclusion

The Elite Aerosports Havoc series is amazing and the GTS, although the smallest of the three, is still a substantial aircraft.

These are some of the strongest jets on the market, and I’ve seen the GTS do amazing stuff in the hands of a gifted pilot. I’m looking forward to getting a lot of flights on the GTS and expanding my own personal flight envelope while exploring the limits of its robust airframe.

The high-end components, such as the CORE, PowerBox system, and the Jet Central turbine meant that I had a high degree of confidence in success. None of the components I chose for my build disappointed me.

the author has flown the havoc often since the initial review flights
The author has flown the Havoc often since the initial review flights. Although the Jet Central Hornet is a fine engine, he will probably step up to the Rabbit (100-newton) to get extra power for little additional cost. AeroPanda has been a great resource for his first venture into Jet Central motors.

the gts is available in a number of schemes and elite
The GTS is available in a number of schemes and Elite Aerosports will even work with you on custom schemes. The author chose the eyecatching green and black scheme that pops against most backgrounds.

SOURCES:

Strictly Scale

sean@strictlyscale.com

www.strictlyscale.com

PowerBox Systems

(904) 330-0145

https://powerboxsystems.com

Zap

www.zapglue.com

Xicoy Electronica

www.facebook.com/XicoyElectronica

www.xicoy.com

Electron Retracts

www.electronretracts.com

Du-Bro

(800) 848-9411

www.dubro.com

Jet Central/AeroPanda

(321) 312-0723

www.aeropanda.com

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