Home RC Airplane Reviews Hobby King Durafly Limited Edition D.H. 100 Vampire Review
Hobby King Durafly Limited Edition D.H. 100 Vampire Review Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 12 June 2013 19:54


History

The de Havilland DH.100 Vampire was a British jet fighter commissioned by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Following the Gloster Meteor, it was the second jet fighter to enter service with the RAF. Although it arrived too late to see combat during the war, the Vampire served with front line RAF squadrons until 1953 and continued in use as a trainer until 1966, although generally the RAF relegated the Vampire to advanced training roles in the mid-1950s and the type was generally out of RAF service by the end of the decade. The Vampire also served with many air forces worldwide, setting aviation firsts and records. The D.H. 100 supports a crew of one and is powered by a de Havilland Goblin 3 centrifugal turbojet that is capable of pushing the Vampire to 548mph with a service ceiling of 42,800 feet.



Intro

For months I have been eyeing Hobbyking’s Durafly D.H.100 Vampire. I was intrigued by the design and was curious how well it would fly with the wide wingspan and dual tail. When I awoke one morning and saw a “limited edition” vampire being offered on HK’s website, I jumped at the chance to pick one up. The plane was sitting in the U.S. warehouse and within a week #435 was delivered to my doorstep.

Kit Contents

The Limited Edition Vampire comes in an Almost-Ready-to-Fly version that includes nearly everything you need to get in the air. The kit comes with the wings, dual tails, elevator, fuselage, accessories and a detailed manual. The wings come with the ailerons servos and metal trunnion retracts pre-installed. The fuselage has the 70mm fan and motor installed as well as the 45 amp ESC, nose retract and a steering servo for the nose wheel. The warbird was well packaged and received no damage in transit which is a blessing coming from Hobby King. Please see the full video below of the HobbyKing D.H. 100 Vampire Unboxing.

   

   

Assembly

The assembly of the HK D.H. 100 Vampire is quite easy but the process should not be rushed since the majority of ‘assembly’ is done with epoxy and glue. Measure 3x and glue once! I started the assembling the Vampire by putting in all the control horns on all of the moveable surfaces.

   

After the horns were in it was time to install the tail stabs into the wings. I chose to use 5-minute epoxy for all of the large surfaces. Prior to mixing the epoxy I carefully removed any paint on the surfaces that were destined to be joined together. This meant I had to sand off the beautiful paint from a section of the wing. Make sure to not sand too wide of an area or the tail section will not cover it up and you will become the laughing stock of the club. No one wants that.

With the sections of each wing sanded, I mixed up some epoxy and used a small amount so it would not squish everywhere while trying to secure all the parts. Once both tail sections were secure in the wing I set them aside and let them cure for an additional 30 minutes before moving towards the wing and fuselage connection.

   

Once the tail sections were firmly in, I sanded the inside edge of the wings as well as the inside area of the fuselage. With both sections devoid of paint, I mixed some epoxy and carefully slathered it on the fuselage connection. It is important to not use too much as there are open areas that need to allow air flow and MOST importantly do not squish so much epoxy in there that it drips anywhere on your fan.

I opted to do only one side at a time and held the plane with the wing pointing down so if there was any extra epoxy seepin’ it wasn’t going to run anywhere I didn’t want it to.

With both sides of the fuselage done I moved towards the rear of the tails and slapped in the elevator.  The elevator was a tight fit and I felt it didn’t need epoxy so I merely CA’d it into the tails, the CA has held up well.

During this process be sure to take care and not glue any receiver wires in bad places. Bad places = places they don’t belong. There is a long extension running down the right tail section so be mindful of its location while you’re slopping around with glue.

   

The D.H. 100 Vampire has two very helpful zip ties located on the rear of the battery tray. I highly recommend routing all of your wires through these ties and once they are in your receiver and you have confirmed that everything works, zip those suckers down! You do not want a stray wire getting sucked back into the 70mm fan o’ death while you’re flying…..ask me how I know.

Binding the Hobby King Vampire can be a little tricky but not if you know the trick. With the bind plug in, stick the BEC wire in the ‘Aux’ channel of your receiver and the ESC wire into the ‘Throttle’ channel. Fire everything up and it should bind (with beeps and everything). If you fail to put the BEC wire into the aux channel the plane will bind without any beeps meaning the motor is not arming; but the servos will work causing you to scratch your head in confusion. This is very frustrating if you don’t know what is going on.

   

Features

The Hobbyking D.H. 100 features an 1100mm wingspan and a length of 888mm. The model is made out of strong EPO foam that is smooth and the paint scheme of the limited edition is flawless! The Vampire comes with a 70mm fan that is spun by a 2700kv motor capable of putting out 34amps and 518 watts on a 4S lipo battery. A 45amp ESC runs the show and given the design of the Vampire’s fuselage it supports a wide range of 4S batteries from 2200mah up to 4000mah. The manual calls for a CG of 310mm but I found this to be a bit too tail-heavy so I balanced the model at 300mm which is just about perfect. Depending on the size of the battery some adjustment may be required.

First Flight

The field was vacant the day I set out to maiden the Vampire and I decided to fly at high noon, so fortunately there were no other vampires lurking about. I went over the plane one last time, strapped in a 2650mah 4S battery and set the warbird on the tarmac. I throttled up and the plane moved immediately but in order to leave the ground the vampire needed almost full throttle. The Vampire was a bit squirrelly on the ground and after 30 feet it popped up off of the runway. I retracted the gear and gave the EDF Jet all that I could on the throttle stick. During the first climb out she felt very labored and my sphincter muscle was tight as I had pulled her into a steep climb. Fortunately the D.H. 100 kept climbing without any signs of a stall and I was able to level her out at a comfortable flying height.

Although the elevator looked even, the plane wanted to dive and it took a couple of passes and nearly 10 clicks of ‘up’ elevator to get her to fly even. Once the Hobbyking Vampire was dialed in, she flew on rails. I was thoroughly impressed at how well the plane flew and how an EDF could fly so slow. The Vampire had a little pep, but nothing to be excited about. I putted around the sky for only four and a half minutes before descending back to Earth for a landing. I had to call the first landing off and go around as the plane just wouldn’t stop floating…a surprising characteristic for an EDF. After a 4.5 minute flight, the battery was slightly warm and each cell read 3.85 volts.

   

Flight Characteristics

The Hobby King Limited Edition Vampire flies incredibly well. I don’t think I have ever flown a more easy-going EDF than this one. At wide open throttle the vampire is peppy, but not so blazingly fast you’ll lose control of it. At low throttle you’ll forget it is an EDF. I could not make the plane stall violently or do anything that was overly unpredictable. This really surprised me. With the wide wingspan and dual tails the plane wants to stay in the air and it does it well. The first flight and takeoff felt labored but that was before I realized the plane was able to fly slow with authority. The roll rate is snappy and inverted flight is completely stable. The Vampire looks great coming around low on the deck and the sounds it produces as it whooshes by will make you swear there is a mini turbine tucked under the hood.

Takeoffs and Landings

Takeoffs require a bit of runway and steady thumbs to keep the Vampire tracking true. Our runway is full of bumps and nubbins that cause light planes to get thrown off course. The steering is very touchy while the plane is trying to get up to speed so giving small inputs on the sticks is a must. The Vampire comes with inserts for those pilots that want to hand launch the plane. I’d definitely recommend using full throttle when hand launching.

Landings are actually very easy and slow once you realize how the plane reacts. On several flights I had to call the landing off because I couldn’t get the Vampire to come down! The jet just kept floating on by. The Vampire does not need to carry a lot of speed during landing. This is a great thing; use it to your advantage. The metal trunnion gear has held up splendidly so far, but they are too small for grass landings and takeoffs.

   

Is This Plane For a Beginner?

I would not recommend this to a beginning pilot as it is far too advanced, but I believe this would make a good “my first EDF” for the pilot that has some aileron experience. I wish this plane was around when I was shopping around for my first EDF, it would’ve saved a lot of frustration.

Weak Canopy Magnets and a Shave

Perhaps the only complaint I can muster about the Hobby King Vampire is in regards to the canopy. I didn’t discover until flight day that the canopy did not make a very good fit on top of the fuselage. In addition the canopy magnets felt awfully weak. I was not happy with the situation so I dug out the large rectangular magnet located in the fuselage and glued in a smaller (but stronger) rare earth magnet of my own. The foam was very thin behind the large magnet, so don’t dig out too much or you’ll have nothing to connect the new one to.

To complicate the canopy issues I discovered that my 2200mah batteries did not fit in the fuselage very well. There was plenty of space for them, but the canopy itself ran into them, causing it not to close. To remedy this I pulled out the hobby knife and started shaving off foam until there was clearance within the fuselage. This is not an issue with wider/flatter batteries, but if you use the ‘brick’ style you may have issues.

 

Conclusion

The Hobby King Limited Edition D.H. 100 Vampire is an EDF that surprised me. I was always drawn to the look of the plane but was unsure about its flight characteristics. In short; plane is a pup in the air. Docile, fun and predictable but with a little pizzazz for those times you want to light it up. The paint is incredibly well done and the metal landing gear is a nice touch that looks like it will take a beating. The Vampire’s speed may disappoint those that are looking to top 100 mph but for those that have limited space or have never flown an EDF, the Vampire might be just the ticket. I am certainly pleased with ol’ #435 and believe Hobby King has done an excellent job of re-creating the Vampire whether it is a limited edition or not.

Grade: A

Pros

  • Smooth, strong foam with a flawless Limited Edition paint job
  • Metal Trunnion landing gear
  • Easy to assemble
  • Takes a wide range of 4S batteries
  • Amazing ability to fly slowly
  • Sounds like a jet!

Neutrals

  • Canopy needed to be shaved down to fit 2200mah batteries

Cons

  • Weak canopy magnets
  • Canopy not a great fit


Media and FLIGHT Time!

   

   

   


 

Flight Video:


Unboxing Video:

 
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