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Written by Jay Smith
A nimble, yet forgiving, sport jet
Product review
As seen in the August 2017 issue of
Model Aviation.



Bonus video


Specifications

Model type: 80mm EDF jet
Skill level: Intermediate to advanced
Wingspan: 48.6 inches
Length: 51.2 inches
Weight: 91.7 ounces
Construction: EPO foam
Street price: $329


Test-Model Details

Motor: Freewing 3530-1800 Kv brushless outrunner (installed)
Battery: Admiral Pro 60C 22.2-volt 6S 4,000 mAh with EC5 connector
Power system: Freewing 80mm fan with 12-blade impeller (installed)
Radio: Minimum six-channel required
Speed controller: Freewing 100-amp with 5-amp BEC; EC5 connector (installed)
Radio system: Spektrum DX9 DSMX transmitter; Spektrum AR9020 DSMX receiver
Ready-to-fly weight: 90.4 ounces
Flight duration: 3 to 3.5 minutes


Pluses

• Attractive color scheme and officially licensed by SebArt International.
• Electric retracts and trailing-link suspension struts.
• Digital metal gear servos on all of the control surfaces.
• LED position lights on the wingtips, dorsal spine, and ventral keel.
• Wide flight envelope.

The Avanti, designed by Italian aerobatic pilot Sebastiano Silvestri, was influenced by the full-scale BAe Hawk with a focus on precision aerobatic performance. The Avanti S, in a variety of sizes with numerous powerplants, has won awards in Freestyle, aerobatics, sport, and other classes in competitions worldwide. The Freewing 80mm Avanti S is the first officially licensed foam electric Avanti produced in partnership with Sebastiano Silvestri and SebArt.

Freewing and Motion RC have collaborated on several jets and when you read through the list of features on the Avanti, it is clear that testing and customer feedback have influenced and improved the foam electric ducted-fan (EDF) jet experience.

One example is the Avanti S’s tinted canopy and the ability to detail the cockpit, starting with the included instrument panel decal, and then adding additional scale touches should you desire, such as painting the cockpit or adding a pilot or two. After you have it to your liking, simply glue on the canopy. Other examples are the use of metal gear servos on all of the control surfaces and nylon-reinforced hinges to ensure durability.




The canopy arrives with a smoke-tinted finish, which isn’t quite as dark as it appears in this photo. The instrument decal is also included. From there, a pilot can choose to add additional detailing before gluing on the canopy.


The company does a good job of fitting several foam parts into a reasonably sized box. Individual parts are wrapped in plastic. When the package arrived, there were few noticeable marks on the foam parts.


Assembly

After you have unpacked the Avanti’s components, it’s a good idea to read the manual before starting assembly. The Plug ’N Play portion of the manual spans eight pages. After you’ve read it, you might be scratching your head wondering what the small rectangular piece of light plywood is for, as well as a small rectangular piece of nonslip matting.




This is how the Avanti S comes out of the box. The only thing missing in the photo is the manual.


The plywood can be glued into the fuselage behind the battery tray to allow the flight battery to be placed further aft, if needed. The matting material can be used on the battery tray, between the tray and the battery, to help ensure that the battery doesn’t shift during flight.




The battery compartment provides plenty of space for 6S 4,000 mAh or 5,000 mAh batteries. A combination of the included hook-and-loop strap and the included antiskid matting keep it in place.


Before beginning assembly, I recommend visiting the Avanti S page on Motion RC’s website and watching the build video. It’s definitely 20 minutes well spent. While you are there, you can also check out some of the jet’s flight videos.

Assembling the Avanti S requires using the 12 included screws and glue (or your adhesive of choice) to secure the canopy to the cockpit and the wing fences on each wing half, if you decide to install them. The right and left wing halves each contain an embedded carbon-fiber tube, as well as another carbon-fiber tube to fully support the wing. The tubes are inserted into the fuselage and the wing halves slide on.

A few noteworthy features include being able to slide the wings on with the landing gear retracted and using ribbon cable to handle the ailerons, flaps, and lights. The keyed connector on the wing can’t be plugged in the wrong way. The fuselage also has a clear piece of plastic covering the connection so that pilots can easily confirm that there is a solid connection during preflight checks.




The ribbon cable handles the lights, ailerons, and flaps on the wing and makes attaching and removing the wing halves simple. The front carbon-fiber tube is removable and the rear ones are embedded in each wing half. The clear window allows for easy visual inspection of the ribbon connector.


Two machine screws in each wing half secure them. I used a small dab of Foam-Tac adhesive, as suggested in the build video, to ensure that they stayed put. A screw hole on one of my wing halves was covered by a silver decal that I needed to cut to provide access. I only cut it on three sides so that it could be put back in place after securing the screw.

I installed the horizontal stabilizer on the tail with four of the pointed screws.

The servo wires were run through a small channel and into the fuselage. I used string to help guide the two elevator extensions to the integrated circuit module at the front of the fuselage.




The integrated circuit module and the well-labeled leads make radio installation easy. Simply plug in the two elevator and one rudder servo extensions and connect the leads on the left side to your receiver, which can be mounted on either flat spot inside of the fuselage.


The vertical stabilizer with the rudder servo uses the same channel to route the rudder extension into the fuselage. The stabilizer was then attached with the remaining four pointed screws. The manual instructs you to attach the magnetic nose cone, but I opted to wait until I completed the model.

The servo leads for the two elevator servos and the rudder servo are run beneath the battery tray and are plugged into the integrated circuit module. At this point, you can add your receiver to one of the mounting points located on both sides of the fuselage next to the module.

Making connections to the module and the receiver is easy; all of the servo leads are clearly marked, as are the connection points on the module. After the receiver is installed, you can connect all of the pushrods with ball links to the elevators, rudder, ailerons, and flaps and have the Avanti S sitting on its wheels.




The 80mm, 12-blade metal EDF unit can be seen through the air inlets located on both sides of the fuselage. The optimized ducting eliminates the need for a “cheater hole.”


The manual provides a center of gravity range of roughly 105mm to 110mm back from the wing’s leading edge where it meets the fuselage. High and low rates are provided in the manual, along with exponential settings. They are a good starting point, however, many might find the high-rate setting on the ailerons slightly touchy.


Flying

The Avanti S is equipped with shock-absorbing, trailing-link suspension struts, allowing this jet to operate from grass fields or hard surfaces. Pilots should not only appreciate the flexibility this provides, but also the struts’ ability to hold up to imperfect landings.

The first time you pour the coals to the 3530-1800 Kv brushless outrunner motor, connected to the 80mm metal EDF 12-blade fan, you will be greeted with a pleasing, jetlike sound that a higher-blade-count fan provides.

After it’s on the runway and under power, the Avanti S will take to the air with little rudder correction required. In the air, the model is quite stable and the power system is a nice match for the jet, providing respectable vertical performance.

The Avanti is quite capable of aerobatic flight. With the right combination of speed and rudder input, its knife-edge performance is good with only a hint of coupling. The model tracks extremely well and the yellow and silver color scheme, combined with LED lights, makes it stand out relatively well in the air.

The Avanti happily flies inverted with only a small amount of elevator input to hold level flight. Part of the excitement of having a jet is making fast passes down the runway—and the Avanti S doesn’t disappoint with speeds of approximately 100 mph. Adding a half-Cuban 8 on both ends of a speed run provides a nice setup for continuing to push the speed envelope.




The Avanti S is equipped with shock-absorbing, trailing-link suspension struts that allow for flights from hard surfaces or grass. They are also
more forgiving of less-than-perfect landings.


When the transmitter’s timer reminds you that it’s time to land, deploying the flaps will slow the Avanti nicely for landing. Using the recommended flap-to-elevator mix will help alleviate any possible pitch change, preventing any tendency for it to balloon when flaps are deployed.

A controlled approach, with a combination of decreased throttle while feeding in small amounts of up-elevator and executing a flair at landing works well. This jet even has a decent glide slope that will allow landings when the power is cut moments before touchdown.

Using a latching canopy ensures that the pilot—if you put one in the cockpit—stays put, even during aggressive maneuvers. It also allows for quick, easy battery swaps because you are going to want to put additional flights on this jet.


Conclusion

The Freewing Avanti S 80mm EDF Ultimate Sport Jet from Motion RC is suited to sport and precision aerobatics. It should appeal to a wide audience, including intermediate pilots looking for their first jet or someone like me who was ready to fly an EDF jet without the annoying loud whine of the lesser-bladed fan units.

Pilots who need to remove the wing halves for transport and storage will appreciate the ribbon connectors and simple four-screw disassembly. As simple as it is, mine is keeping its wings on to remain in flight-ready status—plus, it still fits in my vehicle.

Beyond being a reasonably priced jet with a lot of features—the trailing link suspension struts are one of my favorites—Motion RC provides great support and excellent parts availability for all of its model aircraft. This jet has set the bar high for anyone interested in a capable sport jet, and has garnered the attention of EDF jets pilots and propeller-driven aircraft fans alike. Congratulations to Sebastiano Silvestri, Freewing, and Motion RC for a job well done.

—Jay Smith
jays@modelaircraft.org


Manufacturer/Distributor:

Motion RC
(224) 633-9090
www.motionrc.com


Sources:

Spektrum
(800) 338-4639
www.spektrumrc.com

Foam-Tac
(914) 699-3400
www.foam-tac.com






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