Scratchbuilt – F22 (designed by Tomas Hellberg)

How to build and fly your own F22...

F22_Flyby_Image

The F22 would have to be one of the most formidable (known) jet fighters currently gracing our skies. While at the Avalon Airshow in 2013 I was fortunate to be involved with the Plane Crazy Down Under Podcast who were privileged to interview one of the Pilot and Crew Chief of of the demonstration team. We were given ‘behind the fence’ access to the F22 and I was able to take some close up photos of this magnificent bird.

I have been flying Radio Controlled (RC) aircraft for many years now & was introduced to Depron (closed cell polystyrene foam sheet) as a construction material for RC aircraft by a fellow flyer. I usually use foam safe CA (Cyanoacrylate) Glue as the main adhesive when constructing these type of models. There are other adhesives that will also bond this material sucessfully, such as UHU Creativ or UHU Por (I’ve found the former a better product), of course Epoxy will also do the job, however it is much heavier than the CA.

The first plan I found and built was Steve Shumate’s F22 full body, vectored trust, pusher prop.  This was quite a complex build for a first, but enjoyable none the less.

After building Shumate’s F22, I was directed to Tomas Hellberg’s (aka: Tomhe) plans by an RC friend and of course chose to build the F22 first!

F22_Static
F22-QB-Tohme

Image Credit: http://rc.tomhe.net

This plan is what is known as a ‘profile’ plan, being that it’s not full body, usually with a single ‘profile’ of the plane as the main centre-line structure. This makes the build simple and as a result, much quicker to assemble. The prop on this model is set within the fuselage, fore of the rear control surfaces, which naturally gives good control response. Speaking of control surfaces, there are only two elevons, which in such a lightweight model causes slower rolls to the left vs rolls to the right (due to prop torque).

I generally fly the model with an 1800maH 3 cell LiPo, although it will fly with a 2200maH, just not as well with that extra weight.

The maneuverability of the aircraft is very impressive, being almost able to loop on itself. As mentioned previously rolling to the left is very slow, however with planned maneuvers this can be avoided. In slow, high alpha flight the model will tend to rock from side to side if the airspeed gets too low, however when performing high alpha into even a slight headwind, it is almost able to be pulled into a hover.

I get great pleasure out of whipping the model around the skies at the field, on occasion being challenged to a dog fight by other flyer will similar scratchbuilt models. Infact, the most memorable flight I had with such a model (it was a Tomhe-SU37 I built after the F22), was an intense dogfight with a good friend of mine. My SU37 and his F22 danced around the skies for about 3 batteries (worth of time). Both of us were happy to rebuild if fatal contact was made. We kept the others at the field entertained that’s for sure and needless to say there were some VERY close calls!!

I have built and rebuilt this particular plan many times and will continue to do so. Tomhe has a fantastic range of plans, which you can find by following the ‘RC Plans‘ link in the ‘Downloads’ section of the menu. Tomhe provides build instructions and there is also a healthy following on RCGroups.