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Buy PNF vs. Speed build kits with power packs

jack10525

Active member
#1
What are your thoughts on speed build kits with power packs or pnf planes? I've bought several speed build kits, power packs and also scratch build FT planes. I've probably bought close to the same amount pnf (also a few arf) planes from various online sources. It seems like flite test kits are getting more expensive so I might as well find a pnf and not have to spend all that time building. Also my scratch builds either kit or plans seem to have a 50% chance of flying well. I am also slowly progressing to bigger planes with more power which flite test does not stock. This brings me to my conundrum: I really want the Edge 540 but with all the accessories it will be in the price range of a store bought pnf. Decisions, decisions.....
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#2
Others here have the same problem and the answer is truly yours to provide. Just consider this, (based upon experience), when you purchase a retail offering you are subject to the usual supply drama when it comes to getting parts and even completing repairs. If you never crash then you need not worry but if like the rest of us, the crashes still occur for a myriad of different reasons, then considering the cost of a repair or rebuild can make a plane a parts donor. With FT planes the parts can normally fit variety of different designs and the new FB only kit is almost continuously available, if the store doesn't have stock then you can always download the plans and make your own FB parts!

I have a hangar full of repaired retail planes that I did NOT purchase but rather repaired after the manufacturer removed parts support and then the owner crashed it. He moved onto a new model and I got a good plane, (after repair that is).

I recommend you fly both! Every time I decide to challenge myself with a new flying experience, I find an FT design which is comparable and crash the HECK out of it first and then when I am happy with my own performance I consider the retail offerings! I have bought a couple!

The choice is yours of course but I try to have both types in my hanger!

have fun!
 
#3
Hey, just a newbs perspective, I bought my first one as pnf because I wanted to get in the air. I've cashed it twice in 6 flights, waiting until next session to see if my repairs are good enough to get some more flights out of it or if I need to tear it down for parts.
I see myself making a lot of aircraft out of Adams foam board in the future! Yes, it does seem that the precut kits are getting expensive but buy one once in a while as an honorarium and scratch build the rest! In the end though, what @Hai-Lee said, it is your decision to make.
 

jack10525

Active member
#4
Thanks guys. I guess I am just getting lazy and want to get to flying faster. Plus with pnf there is less I can screw up. I do have to say that the FT planes can take a beating and keep flying for a long time. I see the Edge 540 speed build kit in my future. At least with the speed build kit I can take some of the risk out of building a brick.
 

jack10525

Active member
#5
Here is a really late update! I finally bought the Edge 540 speed build kit. My kit was missing a a foamboard section. I received 2 fuselage boards in my kit but was missing something I can't recall now. Reached out to FT and they sent me a whole new kit. While I waited for the new kit to come I bought some foamboard from walmart and made the missing pieces. The plane came out pretty well. I used the recommended motor size from the build video. The plane was set up with electronics and gc on point. 1st test flight was horrible. Very squirrelly and unstable in the air. Tried trimming her out and moving the cg forward. Helped a little but not much. Just not a good flying plane. I figured maybe it was a bad build. I ended up building 3 complete planes. The last one I added a larger 800kv motor to. With the added weight and power I figured this this would fly great. Still horrible flight experience. So in my opinion the Edge 540 is not a good plane to fly. Build is good and it looks great but flies horribly. Oh and the landing gear sucks!!!

 

Bricks

Master member
#6
Not sure what is going on with your`s but mine flew great , needed just a tad of aileron trim, going inverted it would fly hands off.
 

BATTLEAXE

Legendary member
#7
Here is a really late update! I finally bought the Edge 540 speed build kit. My kit was missing a a foamboard section. I received 2 fuselage boards in my kit but was missing something I can't recall now. Reached out to FT and they sent me a whole new kit. While I waited for the new kit to come I bought some foamboard from walmart and made the missing pieces. The plane came out pretty well. I used the recommended motor size from the build video. The plane was set up with electronics and gc on point. 1st test flight was horrible. Very squirrelly and unstable in the air. Tried trimming her out and moving the cg forward. Helped a little but not much. Just not a good flying plane. I figured maybe it was a bad build. I ended up building 3 complete planes. The last one I added a larger 800kv motor to. With the added weight and power I figured this this would fly great. Still horrible flight experience. So in my opinion the Edge 540 is not a good plane to fly. Build is good and it looks great but flies horribly. Oh and the landing gear sucks!!!

For a 3D plane it looked like it flew like it should. They can be tricky. I find that to the eye they look like they are tail heavy, and they are. But they are meant to fly off the prop and not the wing. I saw the little lucky un planned landing at 2 mins in and if you noticed how it almost drifted around the half loop/turn right before it came down. That's a 3D machine man.

You could try to pull the CG more forward and fly it faster and it may have the characteristics you are used to. If you have flown warbirds or sport planes this one will be more of a point and shoot kinda deal. You will need to be on the sticks the whole time constantly correcting. The reason why they are so maneuverable is because they are inherently unstable. Scale fighter jets are the same way. Designers try to make them as unstable as possible for the best chance to make the roll or pitch faster. Plus the huge control surfaces are going to have more authority then you need unless you have closer to stellar 3D skills. Don't know if you built one yet but you should try the FT Racer, here is a maiden vid of one I built...