If you think you're too good at flying anything seeking most challenging plane to put your flying skills to the test then 'here comes the pain!'. Most badass and 'technically' difficult plane to take-off and land on the ground, you should try out the DURAFLY - F4U CORSAIR. This plane will take pro level piloting to a whole new level, you'll need to be 'the chosen one!'. The F4U CORSAIR is the second most iconic world war 2 plane after the P-51D Mustang on the American side of the fleet most notable presence during the pacific war theater. For R/C model enthusiast the F4U is a must have to complete every collector path of R/C flying ritual. Unfortunately not all R/C pilot can 'tame' this plane due to its grunt 'torque roll' attributes during take-off and landing. My second warbirds after the DURAFLY P-51D was the brand DURAFLY model F4U CORSAIR having the same 1100mm wingspan including same electronic hardware as my P-51D model. Come in dark blue sea colored camo NAVY plane fully detailed with various payload under its wing and rotate-able wheel retracts. This F4U model was released at the same time with the P-51D 'Ferocious Frankie' sold under HobbyKing.com website in 2012 which i purchase about 3 months later after my first P-51D.
My love for F4U CORSAIR came way back in the early 1980's from a tv show military drama series called 'BAA BAA BLACKSHEEP' which is about 'misfit' of Marine squadron VMF-214 fighter pilots on the Solomon Islands campaign and Bougainville campaign from 1943 to 1945 during World War II. The series premise was very loosely based on few of the real-life military career of Gregory Boyington and their squadron who flews notable VOUGHT F4U CORSAIR. Before the days of CGI the show display real flights and raw brute formation of F4U flybys and beautiful raw muscular sounds of Pratt & Whitney R-2800-18W radial engine, 2,380 hp (1,770 kW). Its was the first time i ever mesmerized by a beautiful 'hose nose' looking plane other than aerodynamically shape nose cone plane such as the P-51D MUSTANG, SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE ,HAWKER HURRICANE or MESSERSCHMITT BF-109. You can say that the show along with the legendary pilot; Gregory 'Pappy' Boyington has huge influence for the admiration of F4U Corsair aircraft notably the one that has NAVY sea camouflage livery. Unfortunately back in those day i've never seen any plastic model kits nor R/C plane model of these type available in the market locally not until it reached late 90's when internet is around and by then this aircraft gain more follower thanks to the spread of its cult following via digital media. Finally by 2012 the iconic plane made its appearance at Hobbyking.com site along side with the P-51D Mustang both comes in size of 1100mm wingspan powered on electrics and standard 11.1v 3s 2200mah li-po battery which makes it more affordable and easy to own for any R/C modeler. It costs the same as its later brother at around USD$130. Its become a popular secondary staple warbird plane in the field after the P-51D at the same time its a 'wild stallion' to fly it too. Not everyone could fly this plane; some will crash during their first flight while others give up hope and sell to someone who could really handle this plane. Which is why i manage to acquires 2x DURAFLY F4U CORSAIR at bargain deal from the owner who crashed it due to stall...fortunately its just few cosmetic bumps and gashed which can be easily fixed at my work station. Btw i took it home for USD$50..what an 'on the field' bargain! lol!. If you can fly a Mustang, Trojan or a Spitty than doesn't mean you could do the same on a Corsair since this plane is a completely different animal. Of course i hard hard time flying this plane since it handled more extreme and unpredictable than my P-51D Mustang but after 3rd round of flight this F4U CORSAIR has my name all over it. Enjoying this plane is of course its an eye to behold seeing this beautiful plane fly marvelously in the air is all because of because the pilot behind the stick did very well to understand the plane character itself thus shows how competent the pilot is. Of course the best moments is flying with style and having to land it all in one piece is the best compliments of the day for any R/C pilot.
Specification (as describe by vendor/manufacturer)
Brand name: DURAFLY
Model name: F4U CORSAIR
Release date: Early 2012
Flying Weight: 1260g
Motor: 750kv Brushless Outrunner Motor (GC3536-800)
ESC: 35A w/BEC (B-ZTW35ABEC)
Servo: 9g x 6 (PZ15178)
Retract: Electric Servoless Retract (PZ-15095)
Wing Area: 21.5dm2
Wing Loading: 58.6g/dm2
+ Full photo manual
+ All hardware
- Your Own 6 Channel TX/RX radio unit
- 2200mAh 3s Lipoly Battery
Flight level/piloting experience requirement:
+ Piloting level: Advance
+ Minimum past model experience: Flying at least a low wing mono-plane such as the Trojan T-28, P-51D Mustang or similar tractor propeller type propulsion.
Quality and builds
This F4U CORSAIR have more 'beefy' side on its build compare to the P-51D especially in the mid section where the wing root located makes it more muscular than any other R/C warbirds on the market. This buffy looking fuselage uses the same build material using a molded compressed EPO foam just like the P-51D. Both plane also share the same composition of electronic hardware with equal specification on; 1x brushless motor, 1x ESC, 6x servos, 2x retract and slightly more extra LEDs. Most distinct mechanical feature on this plane is it has rotatable wheel retracts which makes it most unique among all lineage of 1100mm series of DURAFLY plane. Plus has extra frontal wing LED lights other than having it on the wing tips. Since this Corsair share the same ESC specification as the Mustang which is the 35A ESC with internal 5V/3A BEC (B-ZTW35ABEC) the same modification adding a external module TURNIGY 5V/3A SBEC to power the servo and receiver hardware separately as standalone BEC is required to avoid complication issues having any future 'Brown Out' as mentioned from previous DURAFLY P-51D MUSTANG review.
Since the F4U Corsair plane is a PNF package (Plug-N-Fly) ready to fly out of the box, i just have to supply my own radio unit and battery to get it running. For the radio unit i'm using the classic TURNIGY 9X radio with FRSKY DJT 2.4Ghz transmitter module with FRSKY D8R-XP 8 channel receiver with RSSI telemetry support and failsafe for extra reliability and TURNIGY classic blue pack 11.1v 3s 2200mah 35~40C battery pack (12.6v when fully charged) to power the plane. Total flight control only uses minimum 6 channel from radio receiver; aileron, elevator, rudder/steering, throttle, retracts and flaps. For LED activation it can be on extra 7th channel with relay or direct powered from separate battery. As for radio control stick setup i usually all EPA (End Point Adjustment) set as default 100%. While EXPO (Exponential) i prefer minimal sensitivity at first stick push/throw which sets at 45% low curve for all control surface eg: Aileron, Elevator and Rudder except throttle stick which remain 0% expo remains at 'linear'. Overall the DURAFLY F4U CORSAIR doesn't have any shoddy build other than questionable quality of ESC's BEC.
Like its brother the DURAFLY P-51D MUSTANG 'Ferocious Frankie' this muscular looking F4U CORSAIR not only looks realistic yet have many detailed aesthetic parts all over the fuselage especially under its wing an extra feature than what P-51D had as listed below:
- It has realistic looking PRATT & WITHNEY radial engine behind detailed nose cone and 'HAMILTON STANDARD' replica big 4x bladed propeller.
- Rear cowling include detailed exhaust port all around with smaller flaps like collar.
- Scale replica tail wheel with arrestor hook for carrier landing.
- Fully detailed foam molded surface texture of detailed rivet, panel lines and bulk surfaces.
- Scale cockpit pilot.
- Realistic front wheel rotatable landing gear.
- Include rows of rocket launcher and fuel pods under it wings which are easily removable/detached if not in use.
- A total of 4x big frontal and side wing LED lights
- Details such as pitot tubes and air intakes radiator along the front leading wing.
In term of the F4U's wing design; historically the 'standout sea lion' stance wing was designed in such a way to elevate the fuselage higher to accommodate bigger propeller to keep it from scrapping from the ground. However that introduced another a major flaw which causes 'torque roll' issue during take-off and landing due to increase Center Gravity height and also big propeller spin internal force. And that what make the plane harder for any average R/C pilot to handle especially during take-off. Although DURAFLY marketed these 1100mm wingspan as 'park flyer' which mean you can fly moderate size park my experience on this plane says not because it take hefty amount of 'flat' space just to take off unlike other plane of similar size. Usually it would take optimal 30~40 meter length of runway just to take-off and landing unlike P-51D, however if it goes into head wind especially when flying at windy beaches it would consume only half of such length. So when i'm out with the Corsair its more likely i'll be flying on club airfield, big flat park or huge open beaches during windy days.
When it comes to flying the F4U CORSAIR flies like a tank; very hunky and have the feeling of 'weight' waddle around in the air...pretty much the same feeling i had when i'm flying my DURAFLY - P-47 THUNDERBOLT, a BIXLER glider or anything that have very thick leading edge of wing structure. However unlike other planes the F4U CORSAIR wings located far below the fuselage center gravity (CG) which has more tendency to torque roll into stall if inadequate airspeed around the wing's aerofoil not achieve. So i need to keep the prop spin at very stable pace where throttle controlled more 'linearly' (stable EXPO) unlike other plane's throttle management to avoid 'torque'. So let's talk about my early quote on the article 'Here comes the pain!'; the painful part of flying the Corsair is during take-off and landing. Its that crucial moment when you have to be careful not to put too much torque to spin the propeller while keeping adequate airspeed to generate lift.
For any seasonal pilot an F4U CORSAIR regardless of sizes or wingspan length its always has been challenging to take-off from the ground due to 'torque roll' issues. Its fuselage have tendency to yaw into the direction where the propeller spins. This yaw is due to the inertial effect from the weight of the propeller blade its try to spin on the axial axis of fuselage center point. Just imagine a helicopter; if we remove the tail rotor we knew that whole helicopter fuselage would yaw into the same direction where the main blade spin....that why the tail rotor is required to counter the spin into stable position. However planes doesn't have tail rotor to counter the torque spin of the big propeller blade but instead it rely on airflow generated around its wing to counter the yaw and fuselage twist once the plane started to move forwards since airflow'ed wings will helps to hold the in horizontal position. This motion holds true for any warbirds especially low winged monoplane such as the P-51D Mustang, Supermarine Spitfire and other bigger propped (tractor) planes. To make thing worse its low bow wedged wing design on the F4U CORSAIR which located far away from fuselage center gravity had amplified the torque roll effect adding extra leverage to its roll effect. Before my maiden flight on my Corsair i've take time to watch and observe how other of our club member flew ranging from 1100mm to 1600mm size F4U CORSAIR plane along the runway. 40% pilot would use rudder to counter the opposite yaw + slow forward throttle before moderately pushing the elevator, 30% pilot would deploy flaps first + moderate throttle forward with rudder standby before elevator while remaining intermediate pilot just full throttle as if they were flying a glider or cessna gets install torque roll crash. The ideal way is what i've learned from an elder experience pilot who taught me generic tricks how to get it right on how correctly take-off an F4U CORSAIR without much of a hassle:
First push the throttle slowly and in linear fashion let it wheel carted along the runway.
Observe until the rear tail of the fuselage lift by itself of the ground, that indicates it has adequate airspeed and airflow around its wings.
Then i can safely pull the elevator slowly at small upwards angle to let it take-off naturally without force.
Once in the air the F4U CORSAIR flies just like any warbirds. For me it was a fun, challenging and very nimble plane to fly once i understands its characteristic and its limitation. As demonstrated in the attached video below this page via my Youtube channel of me flying this plane at i can easily pull many type of acrobatic maneuver such as barrel roll, loop, low passes and even a controlled gliding almost hovering pace especially when i flying into head winds along the open beach. Due to its thicker wing profile its suit best to fly in windy condition especially along windy beaches where it can fly more stable, naturally, slow and steady yet easier to land when against the head wind. On normal club airfield usually for my flying style i like to put my cruise throttle at 75% and slightly increase to 80% once in banking or yaw/turning position. 90~100% if i need to do some loop, barrel roll and fast low passes fly by. However the transition between low and high throttle stick movement i have to push slowly and linearly rather than quick push on the stick unlike any other plane for fear the huge mass weight of the propeller might create 'inertial' twist on the airframe especially when trying to make the plane do a huge vertical loop maneuver. Only when i'm flying in the open beach area where ample amount of huge gust of steady wind around 12~14 knots then i could relax my cruise throttle around 65% due to more airflow around the wings from natural windy weather. There its also much easier to execute lots of aerobatic maneuver without risking of stalling as long i don't do 'Knife Edge' stunts. For a skilled pilot you can getaway cruising just 55%~50% throttle with flaps on just make sure to keep the wings flat with the horizon and don't banks much to avoid stall. One of the advantage of F4U CORSAIR in comparison with the P-51D Mustang, a Supermarine Spifire or other warbirds that have thin aerodynamic wing is that it could fly slower and glider better if the skilled pilot can get the wings leveled right and with adequate airflow around the wing surface as long the no 'abrupt' changes on the throttle causes propeller mass inertial 'torque roll' force to occur. This made possible due to its thicker airfoil and broad wing design which also shared similar traits like the DURAFLY P-47 THUNDERBOLT and the SKY RAIDER which both also great for low altitude slow paced flying...yeah my A-10 jet also have the same flying traits too. These is the reason why you see me fly my F4U Corsair a lot at the beach instead of our club runway since wind from the ocean give more stable and secure flying condition for any stall prone airframe. With the recomended battery pack of 11.1v 3s 2200mah Li-po average flight time you can get is around 8 to 9 minutes but if you can control the throttle very well and glide around in the wind at the beach usually i could achieved 11 ~ 12 minutes of flight time with just 60% controlled throttle.
When you need to land this plane you have to remember one thing; "land it and don't get the second thought of take-off for a second round". Once you touch down and that's it...no touch and go or another turn around for landing. As mentioned before taking-off off requires lots of straight runs to get proper airspeed back up to eliminate torque roll. However if you plan to touch down and take-off immediately make sure you have enough airspeed and careful not to abruptly put huge changes on the throttle else the plane fuselage will spin into propeller direction. If you're an experience R/C pilot landing the Corsair is easy as long you don't hesitate doing anything stupid. On EDF, F3A/F3P or Bi-plane i can do crazy stunts and stupid things but on F4U a big nope. So if you need to take-off again just to avoid an unexpected obstacles along the runway you'll need to let it run few distance on 2x wheels to pick up and airspeed before pulling up the elevator.
One of the most second distinct disadvantages of this particular plane is that it comes with just one tone of dark sea blue color painted throughout whole fuselage which make it confusing to know which orientation the plane when its currently in the air. When flying against the back drop of the sun the shadowy dark look of the plane make it harder to know which side the plane is banking or yaw since we can't see any distinction between to bottom, left or right side of the plane. That's why most people who few dark 'mono' colored plane crashed a lot due to confusing orientation. In contrast against the the P-51D MUSTANG color scheme the plane is brightly multicolored colored in different parts of the body plus it has different strips on the top and bottom of the wings to allow better visibility orientating the plane position either during dusky or shadowy condition when its up in the air. Because of the dark shadowy looks on this plane i never flew during sunrise or sunset to avoid misinterpret the plane orientation in the air.
When it comes to transport and portability the 1100mm wingspan size is extremely handy to move around with just one arm holding about. It will fit any family size 5 seater car including Kei-car just like my P-51D. Also its a good size to fit on dining and living room table and even in the office workplace. Also lighter enough to hang on the wall by hooking wire on the landing gear and tied around a single wall nail. In comparison my FMS models winspan size 1400mm size is way too big to hand on and heavy. So i had it sit stand on bottom of the floor leaning against the wall. During our local public R/C exhibition the DURAFLY F4U CORSAIR doesn't take up much showroom space and with its default stock details sure to attract many visitor attention to this plane especially warplane modeler enthusiast.
When compare against its brother the P-51D MUSTANG including my other warbirds R/C models in my hangar this F4U CORSAIR have higher amount of aesthetic details a replica close to actual real world 1:1 scale plane in every corner. Some community pointed out the DURAFLY F4U CORSAIR slightly short and stubby in comparison to original F4U but on rough glance no one might notice much of the differences since many will be into visual 'placebo effect'. As having previous background being an avid plastic modeler hobbyist myself you can say rather than buying plastic model kit or die-cast models of this plane replica this DURAFLY F4U CORSAIR already looks superbly realistic as decorative 'shelf queen' for static display. The manufacturer did put extra attention to details when building this plane, from front to rear fuselage it has lots of scale molded parts such as plastic molded replica of Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engine within the cowlings, cowling flaps with exhaust port, air intakes near the wing root leading edge, wings pitot tube, gear cover, scale prop nose cone, detailed steerable tail gear complete with imitation arrestor hook for carrier landing, cockpit figurine, under carriage fuel tanks and detachable weapons payloads. Just a minor touch up with acrylic paint on the surface panel and airbrushing paint for weathering looks will make this plane looks super realistic that will turn any heads both on the ground and in the air.
This plane also known as my social or 'public relation' plane because the attraction it gets from viewer. During crowded R/C club gathering and exhibition this would me my second best plane to bring out for the show with the Mustang on the first spot since these planes are recognizable icon across all age of warbirds enthusiast.
Here are sample of video of i posted on my Youtube channel contain fun flying my DURAFLY F4U CORSAIR
- Product gallery (mixed with my other planes): Flying models in action
Here are list of reputable vendor/seller which i bought from and also verified by community forum discussion groups. Also i've experienced buying from these places that have good support and services:
1. Seller HobbyKing.com: Durafly™ F4U Corsair w/flaps/retracts/lights 1100mm (PNF) *(discontinued production model)
Places where you can find help and resources related to this product:
RCgroups discussion group - HK Durafly 1100mm F4U Corsair: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?1555507-HK-Durafly-1100mm-F4U-Corsair-6CH
Actual real aircraft information 1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vought_F4U_Corsair
Actual real aircraft information 2: https://aircraft.fandom.com/wiki/Vought_F4U_Corsair
Popular media culture: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baa_Baa_Black_Sheep_(TV_series)
Popular media culture: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VMA-214
To be honest not all R/C pilot able to handle the tame the grunt and raw power of F4U CORSAIR regardless of any size, brands especially from DURAFLY, FMS, ROCHOBBY, FREEWING, LX or alternatives due to its wings design, higher CG and torque roll factor. Only the 'chosen' talented R/C pilot that understand the technical aerodynamic factor of an F4U Corsair flight attribute can really fly this plane and landed safely in one piece. This holds true for not only as an R/C model but also on real size F4U CORSAIR where you can see even on history video published online where footage during world war 2 era not all pilot able to tame and land this plane safely due to torque roll issues. However if you seek to challenge your flying skill an F4U CORSAIR is a must have plane admired for its elegant classic airframe design and also its historic value.
For those who can 'tame' and fly this plane the flight experience is mesmerizing and worthy to be told and to behold. A proof that you've pass the greatest obstacles to become a worthy professional level R/C pilot. 8 years has passed two of my F4U CORSAIR has accumulated huge amount of airtime about hundred of hours on various air open field complete with lots of photogenic snapshots, videos and poses and also most importantly the experience it bring to me show the level of competency to handle this advance level flying with grace and smoothness without bring home back in pieces. It bring great memories and a smile that lasts me for decades knowing "i've flew it!"...experiencing the flying plane matters more than anything. That definitely the best USD$130 R/C model i've spent rather than static plastic model kit that doesn't fly, lol. That ticks my 'bucket list' full filling my childhoods days watching Pappy's 'BAA BAA BLACKSHEEP' tv drama.
At the time of writing this article in this great year of 2020 both plane has succumb to old age; worn down parts due extreme exposure of tropical weather, salty beach, parts corrosion, fading fuselage colors, jittery servo and transparent plastic bubble canopy started to fade from clear to gloomy yellowish tint due to UV light exposure over many years of flight under the sun. Sometimes i felt it was about time to put this plane permanently on the wall or maybe splurge extra budget to replace the worn out parts especially all the flight control servo. But time will tell since my budget is very tight right now and felt too old to get under the sun....being an old man now in my 40's i shy away from hot noon sun a lot these days, lol. Fortunately before the plane aged i've already spend the best moment with both my F4U CORSAIR to the fullest like squeezing all the remaining juice out from the those tasty apple before it started to prune out....it was worth it and my days with this plane was 'complete' before it collected some dust. Throughout its lifespan it has never been through serious technical problem which handicapped overall fun flying performance and ironically i've never used its flap control nor used LED for dusk flying. I did recalled i've broke 2x propeller blade due lightly 'nose over' during landing but thankfully didn't chin scratched the cowling yet...damn that is extremely fragile! When it comes to economy keeping this plane active through the years its definitely the best budget R/C flying machine to have since i only spend USD$32 for two pack of 11.1v 2200mah 35~40C li-po battery and 2x pieces of $4 propellers then nothing else to repair since i don't crash into anything serious. Unfortunately by 2017 the line of DURAFLY 1100mm wingspan warbirds started to decline from online shelf at sole vendor Hobbyking.com especially their F4U CORSAIR models. I'm so lucky to own 2x unit of the beautiful beast and also other remnants of DURAFLY warbird series.
So if you're serious into R/C flying looking into more challenging piloting experience and enjoy the heritage of classic world war II planes as a must have collection then the F4U CORSAIR is your thing. If you do spot an F4U Corsair R/c plane models then never to let go since the model production comes and go...i'm not talking on just the DURAFLY brand but also any other brands such as FMS, LX and other that produces this replica. If you're half baked skilled pilot then turn a round and find something easier first like a T-28 or a P-47. The F4U CORSAIR is symbol of prestige R/C piloting.