Let's talk about my jet plane that legit'ly carry the nick name "Hold my beer!"...the only jet that can flipping 'Ninja' all day!. First of all nothing completes my R/C flying hobby enthusiasm other than having to own an EDF jet in your collection.....jet planes are cool but fuel turbine powered are cooler however not all of us born on silver spoon so we opt for something low budget yet frugal; the electric jet ..an EDF (Electric Ducted Fan). Today i'm going to talk about this unique, rare yet an amazing electric jet that has become joy and happiness being part of my R/C flying experience simply because this plane was far more special than any other planes i've every encountered before. Its the only plane that any professional flying enthusiast would say; "Holy moly! it can do that?". In introducing the HOBBY KING - A-10 WARTHOG aka THUNDERBOLT. Its a twin 75mm EDF unit powered on a single 11.1v 3s 2200mah 35~40c li-po battery pack with the wingspan of 1017mm...quite big for something that fly on small battery pack. This jet is designated as 'Park flyer' class plane which you can fly at any moderate size recreational park or larger. Unfortunately this was an underrated EDF jet that no one wants to know or even touch it because no one wants to fly a an ugly looking 'salamander' or wild boar jet fighter..poor thing. Because there's not much community forum discussion about this plane nor everyone put some appreciation for this flying 'wild boar despite it has the best flying characteristic and huge fun factor in EDF class plane based on my very own years hands on experience flying it for almost a decade. Even ten years after weeks of countless flight the plane still remains strong and is in good health, no maintenance and no issues at all! Remains the best jet for any R/C flying enthusiast on the budget.
Honestly speaking i don't really love the looks of an A-10 because i'm more aerodynamic plane such as the F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet or anything that looks delta shaped and fast. I got the A-10 because it was a cheap second hand offer from close buddy of mine in 2010 just to get more EDF plane collection into my hangar. Ironically as i had few days flying this A-10 on the field it has become my favorite everyday EDF jet among fleets of my jet collection in my hangar. You can throw anything at it in the air especially if you're a stick basher or aerobatic guy. Every time i completed a full outdoor session with this HK A-10 i was like "Damn! that was awesome!"surprises......that smile lasts me for days even in my sleep. Unfortunately by 2014 this plane started to decline in sales and by 2014 it seems to cease production. The model solely released officially to be sold under HobbyKing.com and there's no indication or traces it might have been re-branded from other manufacturer. But i suspected it might be under the brand GWS or ART-TECH seems the build attributes almost look alike based on my experience owned several planes of the same characteristics. If HobbyKing.com or the same manufacturer re-release these A-10 twin 75mm EDF again i'll definitely grab another two extra unit because this is the best 'all can do' jet ever!...then i'm going hit the park and stick wham it since i have extras! lol!.
Specification (as describe by vendor/manufacturer)
Brand name: HOBBY KING
Model name: A-10 WARTHOG
Release date: Approximately 2010
Wing loading: 59g/dm2
Ideal battery pack: 11.1v 3s 2200mah 35~40C
Average flight time (normal cruise flight): 7~8 minutes with 11.1v 3s 2200mah 35~40C
Fuselage + wing material build: EPS foam (Expanded Polystyrene)
+ Full photo manual
+ Assembly tools
- Your Own 4~6 Channel TX/RX radio unit
- 11.1v 3s 2200mah 35~40C Li-po battery
Flight level/piloting experience requirement:
+ Piloting level: Intermediate
+ Minimum past model experience: Flying at least a trainer or a glider.
Quality and builds
Out of the box the plane comes with everything as Plug-N-Fly (PNF) as advertise which you only need to assembled the wings and screw them tight together. Fortunately since i bought half price as second hand used plane from our R/C club buddy i don't have to assembled and it came as pre-custom painted with shark mouth same livery schemes painted on CURTISS P-40 WARHAWK 'The Flying Tiger' by the previous owner himself....that the best perk buying second hand stuff. The plane full fuselage and wings are made from molded EPS foam (Expanded Polystyrene) which is the most lightest foam material used to create scale R/C plane especially for EDF jets, aerobatic planes or any plane that requires less thrust ratio to move the plane up in the air. Most notable R/C brands that heavily uses EPS foam are ART-TECH, LAN XIANG and few of GWS models. Being Pros on lightweight it also comes as Cons for being extremely most fragile foam around which if crashed will break like an ice cube which is why some beginner pilot should opt for sturdy and elastic foam molding material such as EPO foam but its attributes are reverse of EPS's advantages and disadvantages. You can say EPS foamed plane should be flown by experience pilot with zero crash tolerance. Another note; EPS foam are easily scratched and nicked with finger nails so better keep your nail short while handling it by hand. Main wings and vertical tails have reinforced carbon wing spar rods to keep the wing straight rigid from flexing however it was lightly glue from factory during embedding so i have added extra epoxy glue for added security since i tend to put huge wing under lots of stress when performing loops and barrel roll.
For the electronics it came with 4x standard 9g plastic analogue servos, 2x 30A ESC with internal BEC, 2x 3900kv brushless outrunner motor to spin 4 blade plastic prop around 75mm sized EDF duct. Now here an amazing fact about this A-10 which makes many EDF enthusiast mind boggled; usually for any jet plane that runs on 75mm EDF unit people would imagine the models that comes with it is a bigger jet than runs on at least bigger capacity battery on 14.8v 4s or 22.2v 6s li-po battery pack and bigger ESC amps to provide adequate thrust. That realistically would run on average 7 minutes usually cost more than USD$120 for a kit..just a kit. But this USD$70 complete PNF package HK A-10 comes with well-balanced 4 bladed fan twin 2x 75mm EDF unit via 2x 30A ESC only run with small 11.1v 3s 2200mah 35~40C. It can produce huge thrust able to keep on flying for 7~9 minutes with smaller budget resources! ...what sorcery is this!!! Oh wait 75mm EDF???... that's huge duct size for a park flyer jet and it comes in 2x EDF unit!! Holy moly!! An existing high class rival R/C jet the 1500mm wingspan FMS A-10 only have twin 70mm EDF unit which requires 2x 80A esc and 22.2v 6s 5000mah 45C li-po pack costs USD$400 (PNF package) to get it moving in the air...that's so much money and power compare to the economical yet efficient HK A-10.
All onboard servos are use to control basic function such as (2x)1x servo per-aileron on each side of the wings, 1x servo for elevator and 1x servo for front wheel landing gear steering. Basically there's no servo for rear rudder flight surface because most fast maneuvering EDF jet relies on 'Banks and Yank' to turn and yaw the plane around especially park flier size EDF jets. Only my bigger EDF jet 2000mm size by fuselage length has a real rudder because its huge enough to accommodate more servo. Since its a PNF package all i have to supply is the radio unit; i'm using the classic TURNIGY 9X radio with FRSKY DJT 2.4Ghz transmitter module with FRSKY 8 (only 4 channel used) channel receiver with RSSI telemetry support unit for extra reliability and TURNIGY classic blue pack 11.1v 3s 2200mah 35~40C battery pack (12.6v when fully charged). Only 4 channels are used for this plane namely; CH1 for aileron, CH2 for elevator, CH3 for throttle and CH4 for the steering wheel. All the flight control surfaces on this plane are huge almost like something you would find on any aerobatic planes especially on the ailerons, it gives quick rolling and looping maneuverability responses in all direction. On my radio controller: with 120% click EPA (END POINT ADJUSTMENT) setting the aileron would look like it deployed like a flap or an airbrake, so i have to setup as default 100% EPA on Ailerons and Elevator and 'curved down to up' 45% EXPO (EXPONENTIAL) for all to reduce 'first servo throw' sensitivity on both flight surfaces. Only 100% EPA and 0% EXPO applied to the steering wheel since the carting through the runway was slightly lack of narrow turning.
With all the good hardware goodies onboard however this A-10 lack of retractable landing gear which can be a bit an annoyance to see it flies with landing gear dangling out under the fuselage; visually it doesn't looks so 'realistic' or appealing to watch during fly by... well for a cheap budget jet plane i can't complain. On the good side non-retractable landing gear are simple, solid sturdy and less prone to failure so i know 100% i'm going to land safely than belly landing due to stuck up retracts. Plus one of the best feature of this landing gear which standout among all my R/C plane collection in the hangar is that the front steering landing wheel have very nice solid yet simple 'coiling' suspension which is very active in absorbing serious landing bumps yet have a very realistic 'scale' appeal too. There two rear landing wheel is just on a simple solid non-suspension struts yet very strong to handle rough landing....great off-roading landing too.
This plane is way too easy to fly from my point of view, as requirement to fly it assume at minimum you've gone through at least as an intermediate level R/C pilot who've flown at least few glider and any low winged trainer model such as a T-28 TROJAN or something similar to a PILATUS PC-7. This plane not cater only for intermediate level but also advance professional seasonal R/C pilot who can throw anything to make this plane flying at unbelievable flight maneuver. As for me once it flies its fun to flip it all around 360 degree instead than just doing a scale fly by. Taking off is a no brainer; you can just full throttle or cart slowly down the runway. So there no complicated procedure how to take off like how you would properly do on a tractor big propped warbirds on tricycle wheel where torque roll is an issue. So on EDF jets just slam! and whamm! the throttles and once you think you get the required airspeed just pull the elevator to lift up.
Speaking about taking off from the ground; i've flown many EDF plane before and generally for any park size EDF plane it would consume average 10 to 15 meters length of runway just to take-off once it gain proper thrust and airspeed to generate lift under its wing. However for this A-10 it would just take half the length between 7 to 6 meters to take off or even shorter if it goes against head wind. The reason why it could take-off immediately far shorter distance than most EDF jet because of the position of the EDF turbine fan which is located just in front of the tail elevator surfaces. Once the EDF duct produce thrust straight away the tail horizontal stabilizer wing pick up the air pressure. Its elevator surface will received immediate 'blow' of airflow that provide instant lift of air pressure to the tail to provide lift. Other factor includes unlike other EDF jet where it sucks the air through long narrow tunnel ventilation to reach the EDF fan unit within the fuselage; the A-10 however have more open direct air to suck into the EDF cowling without obstruction which mean zero losses of air pressure. The results produce more powerful rear thrust output towards elevator surface. This advantages not only applies just to HK A-10 models but also to any A-10 models from any brand that have EDF unit directly infront of the elevator surface control without going through long tunnel of vents. As usual you'll need to push 100% throttle stick get proper thrust to take off which is typical for any EDF plane to gain momentum and airspeed.
In the air once the plane is properly trimmed on the stick the plane flies extremely solid and tracked in, it means it hold better in straight line rather than being swayed and yaw'ed a lot by side winds and turbulent. It requires minimal 70% on the throttle stick to get a straight line flight but i can fly at lower 65% thrust or even 60% if i fly at the beach against windy headwind. Ideally 70%~85% is a sweet spot for cruise while 100% thrust is vital to perform loop, barrel roll and other insane stick bashing stunts. The duct sound of the year 2010 EDF turbine fan unit between 15% up to 70% throttle sound like a lazy vacuum cleaner. By the time it exceed 80~100% it screams like over voltage hair dryer at low decibel. Despite of lack jet sound realism i'm very impress with its loud fan whirling echoes through its large 75mm ducts but nothing close to modern 2018 EDF jet fan unit on 8 blades that sound 50% like its real jet engine counter part. One of the reason why the plane could tracked in straight line well because it has a big straight vertical stabilizer to hold the line in position and the position of the EDF thrust in front of it added a huge help to leverage the effect. Although the A-10 is an twin EDF unit jet its not as fast as typical EDF jets like i used to fly such as the F-18 HORNET, F-22, F-14 TOMCAT, F-15 EAGLE, F-16 FALCON, VIPER jet, ZYPHER V4 or others it fly just 'moderately' fast enough than tractor propeller based plane such as warbirds and civilian scale planes. This plane excel well when flying at lower altitude close to ground for a 'fly-by' where ground wind turbulent are very frequent, yet this A-10 can handle far better than my other jets without roll and tumble. One of the best characteristic i knew is this plane hardly ever stall assume if i keep the airspeed at normal speed during 'bank and yank'...thus this allow it to have the most sharpest and narrowest yaw/turning capability than any other EDF i've ever flown without dipping its wing too low into stall during banking at low speed..remember this plane doesn't have rudder! so thats's a wow!. It also have an immediate 'emergency' thrust on demand incase it needs a quick bail out or when my stunts gone wrong which is why i like this A-10 better than my other jet if i need to do close to ground double dare aerobatics. Although this plane have all those good nimble quality and thrust power as a 'park flier' class it does somehow felt 'inertially' a heavy plane which i can felt the it carry quite a weight mass and G-force as it encounter with gravity as i recover from roll and loops as it approaches towards the ground..... i can hear the twin EDF duct fan screaming for gasp of air just to pull a huge recovery thrust. Same goes when it comes to 'inverted' flight with its belly up, i had a full down elevator stick and max 90% throttle just to counter its inertial mass but yeah! up side down flight is no problem.
This plane comes with a bit of 'anhedral' shape on its wing tips which makes the flying felt more 'locked' and steady when flying in the air especially during slow and steady landing as it trapped lots of gust of wind under its wing like a kite. Landing this plane is easy cheesy!.....going in hot to get some air speed, cut the throttle and glide down with slightly nose up at 15 degree AOA (Angle of Attack) and you're good. However you'll need longer runway/space to land thing plane since it glide slightly hot and fast even with its throttle off at 0%. Butter stick pilot that have bad landing habit might like this plane since front springy landing gear can take a huge hit and the rear wheel landing gear rigid enough to absorb the grunt of rough landing condition. I can also land on rough surfaces too since i also fly at construction side where bunch of dry mud patches and loose pebbles strewn around. On the flip side; shorter landing condition can be achieve for A-10 if it were to land against heavy head wind like at open beaches; it could actually land half of the required runway almost V-TOL manner provided in the head wind the angle of attack approach is slightly 20~25 degree upwards which allow its big wing to act like a flaps and capture all the winds under the wings to slow down the landing. I was lucky sometime i would able to land just using 7 meters instead of the casual 15 meters on the runway on normal calm day. It is way impossible to get wing scrapes either side of the wing tips or roll over during landing since the wheel base of the landing gear both lateral and horizontally are very wider than normal plane tricycle landing gear configuration, this give more stable stance in all direction. With all those characteristic described above the HK A-10 always have been my best 'All season and All terrain' park flier jet plane that can take-off and land at any places which previously deem unfavorable on normal jets . I confidentially can say that this is the only plane related to as "Hold my Beer!..." plane if someone would dare to step up the challenges. Interms of portability despite having longer wingspan at 1017mm for an EDF jet category it also has shorter fuselage compare to sleeker fast jet which easily fit any 5 seater family car both sedan or coupe/hatchback. Sometime with this A-10 around i could fit another extra 2x park flyer plane sized between 960mm up to 1100mm wingspan inside my sedan car rear under the rear boot. Transporting and moving around by hand is no problem to but caution not to knock about the twin tail (verrtical stabilizer) fin section since its the most thinnest and vulnerable structure of the plane fuselage that can ding easily.
The Hobbyking A-10 looks good in the air, the sounds of the EDF roaring even though sounds like mad vacuum cleaner does turn heads and its maneuverability will put many viewer a jaw dropper. As an aesthetic static display model to be put on the shelf, in the hangar or showroom it still lack few details of a real A-10 models like you would see on details plastic model kit. The things that doesn't appeal much for scaler enthusiast on this A-10 is it doesn't have replica details of actual landing gear neither it could retract, no landing gear door, missing some payloads/armament under it wings, the size of cockpit pilot not so realistically proportional in size and turbine engine casing/cowling too big to represent as actual replicas. In the eyes of an R/C modeler it should be ok but those aircraft military enthusiast might not so since it lacked some intrinsic touches. The best R/C plane which looks good as static show model in the market for an electric EDF class would be the LAN XIANG/FREEWING branded A-10 or an FMS which all of them available as a single seater model...unfortunately it costs triple fold yet no so economical due to its battery requirements and you can't flip around 360 like a stunts plane like what a HK's A-10 can do.
For now when you compare this HK A-10's solid aesthetic details with the same price point against other brand competitor such GWS, FMS, ROCHOBBY and few china made foam molds the HK A-10 still win and took the crown with pride. However if you wish to put extra effort to add aesthetic modification to make this A-10 more realistic appearance this model still have some room to allow such without compromising its existing flight performance....jus add few undercarriage drop tanks, missiles and other payload won't dent its flight performance. I've also added few touches of silver marker pen to created panel scratches, battle scars and aging looks around the panels surfaces to make it look more alive and scaler appealing. As it aged over decades almost all surfaces on EPS foam seems to crawl with white fungus like layer probably exposure to random temperature in my hangar giving it a natural 'back from battle' looks.
Here are sample of video of i posted on my Youtube channel contain fun flying my Hobby King - A-10 WARTHOG
- 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: A-10 Warthog Fighter Jet w/ Twin 75mm EDF (Plug-n-Fly) *(discontinued production model)
Places where you can find help and resources related to this product:
RCgroups discussion group - A-10 Warthog Fighter Jet w/ Twin 75mm EDF (Plug-n-Fly): https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?1261610-A-10-Warthog-Fighter-Jet-w-Twin-75mm-EDF-(Plug-n-Fly)
Actual real aircraft information 1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairchild_Republic_A-10_Thunderbolt_II
Actual real aircraft information 2: https://www.northropgrumman.com/air/a10-thunderbolt/
Actual real aircraft information 3 (Two seater N/AW A-10): http://aviationintel.com/it-could-have-been-the-a-10b-naw/
Actual real aircraft information 4 (Two seater N/AW A-10): http://www.aircraftresourcecenter.com/AWA1/301-400/walk369_NAW_A-10/walk369.htm
Its already almost been decades like 10 years since i've owned the Hobby King's A-10 EDF jet, it never fail to impress me every time i'm out there in the open blue sky. It's the only jet plane in my hangar that would keep me pushing over the edge; the plane can handle anything mother nature can throw at. Its up to the pilot to show how good your stick skill goes...every time i landed it there's this feeling the A-10 gave me that look; "Is that all you got?!"...i wish i'm rich enough to buy 10 battery packs to flip this plane all day in the air. I would go home smiling after the flight but right back in my mind; "I wish i've could've pull more insane moves" but like wise man say "the mind is willing but the flesh is soft and spongy" since i can't stay under the hot sun all day. If you look into any gallery that contain my tractor propeller class aerobatic plane, 3D or an F3A the A-10 EDJ jet never far away from the flocks. Every time we have an R/C flying club session where everyone showing their skills on EDF jets that's was the best moment to pull out my "Hold my beer!" plane. The Hobby King A-10 always put an good stunning show and steal the crowds.
The jet has been in and out of the hangar into the open field flipping around in the air for weeks, months and years from the day i got it till the day i wrote this article. Amazingly years later the plane still in very good condition, parts still working, zero maintenance and performed as good as it was like it was on day one. The only thing that was worn out was the battery which i haved replace every 3 years and the fuselage surface hit by hangar rash which looks like some white alike fungus growing which pretty much a cosmetic issue but that ugliness won't effect its actual flight performance. Only recently i started to upgrade more modern, lighter, budget yet reliable 2.4Ghz radio unit which is the FLYSKY FS-i6X which offer various essential telemetry function such as battery voltage sensor to let me know how much power i had left so i can land safely which cost only $50 to replace my old generation TURNIGY 9X. What can i say this plane still kick some asses even in year 2020, lol. I wish Hobbyking.com re-release this A-10 model again with the same specs because there's no other R/C EDF jet in the world could performed extremely fun maneuver, great air time, easy to fly, great power ratio, best value for money and go anywhere plane as this plane does. I would rate my HK A-10 number one, followed by my FMS F-18 in second and third goes to ART-TECH F-18...the last was LAN XIANG SUKHOI SU-47 BERKUT for being bad value for the budget. I guess it was my bad for not taking much attention in the early days for not buying a extra unit or two Hobby King A-10 75mm EDF PNF package earlier before it goes extinct in the market. Usually i have the habit that if i like that plane i would buy one or two for spare just like all my R/C planes especially ART-TECH lineage models but damn it!...i missed those opportunity. By 2014 Hobbyking.com no longer sell those stuff and based on my premonition since i knew how the market and manufacturing works i bet it will never resurface again...gaaahhh!!! So right now among all of my EDF jet collection the HK A-10 is my golden goose...an extinct species of "Hold my beer!" bird which i will preserved carefully to keep my hobby going.