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Sunday, February 5, 2012

E-Flite UMX MiG-15 DF BNF

Horizon Hobby seems to want to make it easy for people writing anything resembling honest, upfront RC recommendations.   I guess that means only me.

Their newest series of UMX aircraft are so egregiously out of sync with market value of the latest large scale, high quality EPO RTF, PnP and ARF models, that they've sealed their grades beyond a shadow of a doubt. 

I can't imagine anyone with a clue about RC flying disagreeing that the price point of this tiny toy plane has to be a joke, but that doesn't mean people won't.
The tiny Styrofoam E-Flight UMX MiG-15 BNF 
wants to sell for $220 retail, $170 street.  
Sweet Jeezus, they can't be serious!
Wingspan: 16.2 in (412mm)
Overall Length: 15.9 in (402mm)
Wing Area: 53.5 sq. in. (3.45 sq. dm.)
Flying Weight: 2.75 oz (77.5 g)
Radio: Not Included
Servos: (2) linear micro, (2) linear long throw micro
Trim Scheme Colors: Red, White
Approx. Flying Duration: 3-5 minutes

Although it should be obvious to anyone mildly objective, I'll humor E-Flite with a quick look at the monster competition they've awoken:

$139 buys EPO foam, 37" Span, 37 oz, 70mm EDF, 
2200 mAh 4-Cell Lipo, 2.4 GHz radio, all included.  
By Sky Angel who got rave reviews on the MiG below.
$75 buys EPO foam, 26" Span, 50mm EDF 12 oz, 950 mAh 
3-Cell LiPo, PnP.  An excellent Sky Angel model reviewed on Z8RC
$179 buys this 8ch, EPO foam, 44" Span, 56 oz, 70mm EDF, 
with scale servoless retracts, 10 servos and working airbrakes
$87 buys a 31" Span, 20 oz, 64mm Fan, 3-Cell EDF
$65 buys this PnP 15.5" Pocket Nano EPO foam
MiG-15 with a fast 35mm fan and 10 minute flight times.
I think I left out the excellent Art-Tech line of MiG-15s.  Or maybe that HK jet is the one of the Art-Tech MiGs?  Yeah, looks like it.

E-Flite's ridiculous claim that "onboard AS3X technology will have you believing that you're at the controls of a giant-scale model, even in moderate winds" is such blatant false advertising that it is hard to decide if one should laugh at them or sue them.

Aside from the fact that adding three Futaba GY401-class gyros costs a whopping $36 these days, creating a near competition quality 3-axis fully tunable and aircraft-transferable stabilization system, E-Flite's egg carton foam UMX MiG-15 can barely get over the top even with the safety pin landing gear left at home.  It is certainly not the best choice for any "moderately windy" day, and it is outright laughable to liken this wind-battered toy to an expertly tuned "giant scale model."

E-Flite seems to be rolling the dice that the vast majority of their RTF/BNF customer base is RC-illiterate.  They have won that bet before.

Oh well, time for grades:

Appearance: C-
Toyish.  Tiny.   Joke landing gear.  Canopy looks decent.

Airframe:  D-
Cheap Styrofoam; needs to be EPO.   MiG-15s don't need gyros--waste of $.

Power System: D
Weak.  3 min flight time w/gear.  Proprietary battery unacceptable.

Build Quality/Durability: D-

Wal-mart sells Styrofoam coolers for 99 cents, with lid.  Flaky toy linear servos. 

Value: G
'F' isn't low enough.  How about $59.99 MSRP, and around $45.99 Street?

Overall Grade: 
OMG.  Stop the madness.

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