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Written by Jon Barnes
Step up to 8S power with this exciting jet
Product review
As seen in the September 2017 issue of
Model Aviation.



Bonus video


Specifications

Model type: EDF jet
Skill level: Intermediate to advanced
Wingspan: 47.25 inches
Wing area: 650 square inches
Length: 59 inches
Weight: 8 pounds, 15 ounces
Power system: 90mm EDF
Radio: Minimum seven-channel required
Construction: EPO foam
Street price: $549


Test-Model Details

Motor used: Freewing 4075-1250 Kv brushless outrunner (installed)
Electric ducted fan: Freewing 12-blade 90mm (installed)
Speed controller: Brushless 150-amp with separate 8-amp BEC (installed)
Battery: Two four-cell, 14.8-volt 5,000 mAh LiPos in series; or one six-cell, 22.2-volt 5,000 mAh and one two-cell, 7.4-volt, 5,000 mAh LiPo in series
Radio system: Spektrum DX9 DSMX transmitter; Spektrum AR9020 DSMX receiver
Ready-to-fly weight: 9 pounds, 8 ounces
Flight duration: 3.5 to 5 minutes


Pluses

• Uses a higher-performance eight-cell power system that features an acoustically rich 12-blade 90mm EDF.
• Functional Fowler flaps and electric speed brake.
• Complex landing gear includes electric tricycle retracts, suspension-equipped aluminum struts, fully sequenced gear doors, and high-intensity landing lights.
• Available in military gray and sport red color schemes.
• Includes a full set of underwing- and wingtip-mounted ordnance.


Minus

• Relatively short flight durations.


Product review

The full-scale Yak 130, known in NATO parlance as the Mitten, was designed by Yakovlev during the 1990s as a subsonic, advanced, two-seat trainer. It was developed to replace the once-popular Czech-made Aero L-29 Delfin and L-39 Albatros jet trainers. With a potential combat load of 3,000 pounds, the full-scale Yak 130 is capable of performing in light-attack and reconnaissance roles.

The first flight of a Yak 130 prototype occurred in the spring of 1996, with the aircraft being accepted into duty in the Russian Air Force in December of 2009. Other countries that have since utilized the Yak in their military operations include Syria, Bangladesh, and Algeria. Freewing captures the essence of this relatively new jet trainer with its 90mm electric ducted fan (EDF)-powered Super Scale Yak-130.

Pilots willing to pony up the cash required to enter the exciting and semi-elite world of EPO-foam-composition 90mm EDF jets typically have strong opinions concerning what features they expect in their large jet models.

Freewing and Motion RC have had their collective ears to the tracks, resulting in a higher-performance, eight-cell version of the company’s 90mm Yak-130 that can be had in several versions. Pilots can opt for a Plug-and-Play (PNP) version that requires only the addition of a radio system and batteries for completion, or an ARF Plus version that omits the Freewing 90mm EDF and ESC and allows pilots to source their own preferred 90mm EDF power system.

Whatever version a pilot selects, this big 90mm jet model hits all of the high notes right out of the box. Premium features include nylon hinges on all control surfaces, scalelike Fowler flaps, and electric tricycle retracts that utilize robust aluminum suspension-equipped trailing link-style struts. A detailed and removable cockpit hatch comes equipped with twin pilot figures, detailed cockpit instrumentation, and ejection seat detonation-cord graphics on top of the polycarbonate canopy hatch.




The PNP kit includes a complete load-out of foam-composition ordnance and assembles using both adhesives and fasteners. Each wing half is held in place with two machine screws, greatly simplifying its breakdown for transport and storage.


The model is available in either a conventional military, multihued gray scheme, or an orientation-enhancing and brilliantly colored red and white livery used by the Russian Wings of Tavrida Yak 130 aerobatic demonstration team.

Most of the 90mm EDF jets currently available from Freewing and Motion RC have utilized a six-cell-based power system, with recommended battery pack ampacities of roughly 5,000 mAh typically suggested. Upgrading to an eight-cell power system will require pilots to make a battery inventory management decision.

Pilots who are new to the larger 90mm foam-composition jets might decide to power their Yak with a pair of identical four-cell battery packs connected in series. Pilots already well vested in six-cell-powered aircraft might consider the less-costly option of purchasing two-cell battery packs of the same brand and C rating as their six-cell packs and running them in series with their already-owned 6S 5,000 mAh packs.


Assembly

Assembly of this large foam jet requires both adhesives and fasteners. The aft section of the fuselage houses the twin elevator servos and the full flying stabilizer mechanics. This short tail cone assembly mates to the primary fuselage by means of a pair of indexing carbon-fiber reinforcing rods and tubes. Only the upper part of this two-piece assembly is designed to be permanently glued in place, with the bottom half held in place with four small fasteners.

Pilots should remove the lower half of the assembly before gluing this component in place, in case any stray adhesive accidentally locks it in place. The balance of the assembly of this Yak-130 uses removable fasteners. The two wing halves, the vertical stabilizer and rudder assembly, and the two horizontal stabilizers and elevators are all held in place with Phillips-head machine screws that thread into metal receivers.

This allows a pilot to easily disassemble the aircraft to replace airframe components or for transport and storage. The rudder servo on the review model was glitchy and appeared to be stripped at one end of its travel. Motion RC quickly supplied a replacement unit.




The full-flying horizontal stabilizers are controlled by twin servos and pivot on a stout connecting rod.


This full-featured model includes sequenced gear doors, a trio of landing lights, and both strobing and fixed navigation lights, resulting in a model with notably more than the usual amount of wiring “under the hood.”

A landing gear and gear door sequencer module handles the synchronization of the various gear doors and landing gear. This module connects directly to an LED light controller module. This lighting module drives the various embedded navigation lights and allows the three incredibly bright landing lights to be switched on and off with the deployment and retraction of the landing gear.

Both modules are mounted out of sight and aft of the opening created by removing the cockpit hatch. This helps to keep the majority of the wiring out of sight. After making the required connections to their receiver, pilots might opt to tuck it away in the space directly below the two modules.

When assembling this kit, I modified the nose cone to make it magnetically retained and removable. The eight weapon pylons are glued to the bottom of the wing and to the wingtips. Each pylon features a pair of embedded magnets, allowing the ordnance to be installed or removed at will. Sticking two short toothpick pieces into each pylon near the front and rear edges, creates a little more “bite” when gluing them to the wings.

The assembly manual provides recommended low and high rates for all control surfaces.


Flying

Transporting this jumbo-size jet to the field requires care to avoid damaging the variety of plastic scale details affixed to the nose. Those who fear that this model is simply too large for their car or truck can remove the wing halves and substantially shrink the required amount of space.

Remove two fasteners, unplug two servo connections, and each wing half slides free from the fuselage. This reduces the large jet’s form factor to one that will easily fit in the back seat of a variety of vehicles. When reassembling the Yak at the flying field, secure the aileron and flap servo connections to ensure that they are firmly seated and to prevent any chance of them working loose in flight.

For most pilots, setting the correct neutral position of conventional elevators is straightforward and easily done. Getting it correct on models equipped with full-flying stabilizers takes more effort.




The included Fowler flaps, gear-mounted landing lights, and sturdy suspension-equipped trailing link gear combine to make landing this Yak easy.


The assembly manual includes a photo that precisely indicates the correct neutral position in relation to the fuselage. The accompanying caption, however, is somewhat lost in translation. Pilots should align the centerline of the leading edges of the flying stabilizers with the seam that separates the removable lower rear fuselage assembly from the top section, which is permanently glued in place during assembly.

The original version of this model used a six-cell power system, with the recommended 5,000 mAh LiPo battery pack. The improved eight-cell version is also designed to use 5,000 mAh battery packs, but most pilots will need to decide if they will use a pair of four-cell packs in series or a six-cell and a two-cell battery pack in series.

Best practices when it comes to using LiPo batteries in series is to designate a pair of packs as a dedicated set and then avoid mixing and matching them with other packs. This will result in optimum power production and enhance the long-term longevity of the battery packs. Motion RC carries a compact and reasonably priced EC5 series adapter.

When placing the packs in the Yak, locating them all the way forward in the plywood battery box will result in the model balancing close to the recommended center of gravity (CG). Carefully coil the battery leads and series adapter and keep the assembly pushed toward the rear of the battery compartment to allow the magnetically retained canopy hatch to fully seat in place.

With the model trimmed out and balanced slightly forward of the recommended CG, the Yak can perform realistic-looking takeoffs. The eight-cell power system provides plenty of power and handily accelerates this 9-pound airplane down the runway.

With the Fowler flaps deployed to the takeoff position and high rates selected, the Freewing Yak-130 rotates smoothly and assumes an impressively scalelike shallow angle of attack departure. With the flap functions slowed to 5 seconds in the transmitter programming, pilots should not need to add any flap-to-elevator mixing. Little to no pitch changes were noted during deployment and retraction of the flaps.

Although a cursory glance at the somewhat stubby wings of the Freewing Yak-130 might have many pilots expecting a model with a high wing-loading number, the large, flat profile of the fuselage center section generates a surprising amount of lift. This allows the relatively large and heavy 90mm jet to be flown at surprisingly low throttle settings. With the throttle pushed to 100%, the Yak-130 moves out nicely.

As is usually the case with high-blade-count impellers, the acoustics are rich and convincingly turbinelike. The inlet ducting is designed so that no auxiliary air intakes are provided or required, resulting in a notably scalelike outline and appearance. With the recommended high-rate throws, aileron rolls are somewhat slow, but appear satisfyingly scalelike.




This EDF model uses scale inlet and exhaust ducting, with no auxiliary air intakes required or used on the EPO composition airframe.


With the flaps dropped to full on final approach and an active hand on the throttle quadrant, the Yak will settle into a nice, controlled descent. The trailing link landing gear is robust and can capably soak up less-than-perfect landings. The three super-bright landing lights are visible on even the brightest of days and contribute to this model’s outstanding scale aesthetics.

Deploying the speed brake nicely adds to its scale realism and can also be used to help shed excess speed on the landing rollout. Loading all of the included ordnance onto the underwing pylons creates a substantial amount of additional drag.

Be prepared for the noticeably heavier and slightly less-responsive in-flight “feel” of the model when fully loaded. Although each pilot’s use of the throttle will determine ultimate flight durations, pilots can typically experience 3.5- to 5-minute flights.

Toward the end of flight testing, one of the power leads on the included external BEC popped loose. Not wanting to scrub the balance of the day’s flying, a new Castle Creations BEC 2.0 was quickly pressed into service as a replacement. This impressive little BEC is rated for a peak current of 14 amps at up to 14 cells, and offers a compact footprint.


Conclusion

EDF pilots who prefer jumbo-size jets will love this 90mm rendition of the latest in Russian turbine-powered trainer technology. Freewing and Motion RC’s efforts to subtly enhance this model by making it available with an eight-cell-based power system result in a sublimely scalelike model that has what many pilots will agree is a more appropriate amount of thrust and in-flight performance.

Whether a pilot opts for the red or gray color scheme, the Freewing Yak-130 promises to deliver pilots one of the best scale electric jet experiences currently available in the foam EDF jet market!

—Jon Barnes
barnesjonr@yahoo.com


Manufacturer/Distributor:

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

Freewing
(224) 633-9090
www.motionrc.com


Sources:

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

Castle Creations
(913) 390-6939
www.castlecreations.com






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