The best recruiting tool the Navy ever deployed was the movie Top Gun. It worked on me! I went to the recruiter and told him I wanted to fly F-14s. I ended up flying P-3s, but the Tomcat left such an indelible impression that I have always wanted an RC F-14. So when I ran into Keith Davis of FenderBean RC at Super Jets South and saw his amazing F-14 Tomcat, I had to break out my drool towel.
The F-14 has always been a bit of Holy Grail in the RC jet world. Twin engine models, especially turbines, are inherently more complicated than single engine jets so when you compound that with the complication of the distinctive swing-wing design of the F-14 it was no easy task to model. Modern radios that can deal with the complicated mixing involved, reliable turbines and excellent gyros combine to make flying a model such at the F-14 attainable and Motion RC even developed the foam F-14 that looks great and flies awesome but there’s something about the smell of burning jet fuel that a foamie just can’t compete with.
Keith was flying the Sky Master F-14, which is 100 inches long and has a wingspan of 105 inches when the wings are swept forward for takeoff and landing. Keith powers his “Cat” with a pair of Xicoy 180 turbines that are de-rated to 166 newtons each. Control is provided via a Futaba 18mz radio system. Keith set up the model with Futaba S.Bus servos and a full S.Bus system, which he said is the only way to setup all the functionality with the number of channels he has available.
Like the full-scale Tomcat, the Sky Master uses spoilers on the top of each wing to provide roll control while the wings are swept back for fast flight. A Demon Cortex gyro is used in conjunction with the S.Bus system to provide flight stabilization.
(To tell the truth, you hear “Danger Zone” playing while you enjoy the pictures!)
Photos by Jennifer Lively