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Ultima F5J 4m

Product Code: ULTIMA
 (4 reviews)

Price: $2,008.64

6 in stock

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The new Ultima F5J is an epoch defining model. It takes my breath away - I couldn't sleep the first night after seeing it. The Ultima is bigger, lighter, and better designed than any other F5J electric glider ever mass produced. The finish is superb. It is practical. It looks great. It is amazing value when considering the quality of design and construction. I want to keep them all for my personal collection!

The Ultima is produced by a leading manufacturer of hand launched gliders, and DLG technology and thought processes inform the design. Modern discus launched gliders are the ultimate tool for working low level thermals, and the Ultima has taken the technology and scaled it up to work for a 4 meter F5J model, that has to be brought back from a mile downwind as well as get away from a 30 m launch.

The whole model is engineered to be as light as possible while being just strong enough for flight loads and careful handling forces. The 175 cm long one piece carbon fuselage weighs just 126 g - and this is the standard version, a light one is available to order. It has a large canopy hatch to provide good access to the flight battery and allow for easy powertrain and RC installation. The rudder and elevator servos are mounted in the pod for low inertia and the control surfaces are operated by lightweight pull-pull cords. The wires are already installed and connected to well engineered bell cranks which actuate pushrods which operate the tail surfaces without slop. The rudder and elevator actuation is excellently thought out and completely finished, with no work to be done other than connecting the servos.

The all spread carbon 35 g tailplane is mounted on a short pylon at the rear of the fuselage, as is fashionable currently. Two pins locate it in the pylon and it is retained by a single screw. The elevator is a generous 40% of the chord, and like every other control surface is living hinged on one side, and has a gap seal installed on the other side. The dismountable fin and rudder assembly weighs just 21 g and slots into fittings molded into the rear fuselage. It is retained by a single bolt. Both the elevator and rudder horns are installed by the manufacturer, and no work is required by the modeller.

Like the other flying surfaces the wing is solid molded using a very light biaxial spread carbon over a Rohacell core. The surface finish is excellent and a strong carbon spar provides adequate strength. The centre panel incorporates 1.7º of dihedral and is 160 cm long, providing for larger than usual flaps, which can be deflected 80º or even 90º down, to enable very slow and easily controlled maximum point landings. Pockets sized 34 mm x 34 mm x 16 mm are ready cut for the flap servos. Servo wires are installed, but plugs and sockets will have to be soldered by the customer while in place. DB9 plugs and sockets are provided for the wing-fuselage connection.

The Ultima's tip panels are very light, to minimise inertia, so it indicates lift very well, and little energy is required for manoeuvres. The large ailerons provide good roll control and they extend to the tip, allowing the camber to be set to a constant value for the whole wing, to minimise drag in all flight modes. The aileron servo pockets are 34 mm x 34 mm x 11 mm deep.

Two sets of wing joiners are provided for the tip panels - 5º and 7º. I recommend the 7º joiners are used most of the time for easy low level thermalling and the 5º joiners are reserved for windier days to reduce the effect of turbulence.

The wing and tail fits in one of our 182 cm glider bags. We highly recommend one is purchased with the model to reduce the possibility of shipping damage or hanger rash. A set of custom Ultima wing and tail bags is also available. Although these don't give so much protection in transport they can be fitted while the model is on the ground in the field, to shade the bare carbon structure and eliminate possible heat damage.

See this Slovenian thread and this RCGroups Ultima thread for more info. Also this Dutch build log is good - use Google Translate.

Text (c) 2016 Neil Stainton
Photos (c) 2016 Jure Korber

Ultima F5J Specifications
Wing span 4.0 m 157 in
Wing area 79.8 dm2 1236 sq in
Length inc spinner 186 cm 73.2 in
Flying weight from 1120 g 39.5 oz
Wing loading 14.0 g/dm 4.6 oz/sq ft
Aspect ratio 19.9
Wing airfoil Proprietary
EDA (dihedral) 7.5º with 7.5º joiner
Spinner Diameter 30 or 32 mm
Centre of Gravity 105 - 115 mm from wing leading edge
Controls Rudder, elevator, ailerons, flap, throttle

Ultima F5J Typical Weights
Fuselage 126 g 4.4 oz
Wing centre panel 362 g 12.8 oz
Wing tips 280 g 9.9 oz
Tailplane 35 g 1.2 oz
Fin 25 g 0.9 oz
Accessories 39 g 1.4 oz
Total structure 867 g 30.6 oz
Wiring 10 g 0.4 oz
Receiver 8 g 0.3 oz
Rudder servo 10 g 0.4 oz
Elevator servo 10 g 0.4 oz
Wing servos (4) 40 g 1.4 oz
Speed control 35 g 1.2 oz
Motor 70 g 2.5 oz
Prop & spinner 20 g 0.7 oz
Battery 50 g 1.8 oz
Flying weight 1120 g 39.5 oz

Ultima F5J Recommended Servos
Elevator & rudder MKS DS6100, MKS HV6100, Blue Bird BMS-105HV
Aileron MKS DS6100, MKS HV6100, MKS HV6110, Blue Bird BMS-105HV, KST X08
Flap MKS DS6100, MKS HV6100, MKS HV6110, Blue Bird BMS-105HV

Ultima F5J Control Movements
Rudder 35 mm each way
Elevator 15 mm up, as much down as you can get
Ailerons 20-25 mm up, 15 mm down
Flap 85 degrees down or as much as possible
Recommended camber settings
Speed mode 0° (flap in line with wing centre molding)
Cruise mode 3° down
Thermal mode 8° down
Recommended landing settings
Flap max down
Ailerons 8° up
Elevator compensation 2.5 mm down

Ultima F5J Powertrain Recommendations
Powerline Micro 1010 3S 500mAh LiPo, 12x8 prop
Powerline Micro 1015 3S 500mAh LiPo, 15x8 prop
Powerline Micro 1025/F5J 3S 900mAh LiPo, 16x8 RF or GM prop (2000 fpm, 43A)
Leomotion L3007-5000 3S 900mAh LiPo, 14x8 prop (1750 fpm, 39A)

A firewall is not installed in the fuselage or supplied, so we recommend one of the third party firewalls we stock is purchased. Also the fuselage nose is longer than required for balance (even for a 78 g motor), so it can be shorted by approx 30mm which also makes it suitable for 32mm spinners.

Note this is preliminary information and may be subject to change. In particular due to the large box size extra shipping charges may need to be added for some destinations.

More details

Reviews 4  

 Review by:

Ultima is pretty good

The Ultima is not a particularly easy build and I could wish that like most models it came with the motor mount installed. The main difficulty in the build is installing the servos for the pull pull rudder and elevator and figuring out where to put ballast. Compared to say a Maza these elements are less developed.

On the other hand if you want to own the first of the new super light carbon foam models this is the way to go. I have found mine to fly extremely well, to be competitive in competitions to be flyable even in strong winds -6-8 m/s but better in light and moderate winds. It has the ability it to turn virtually in its own wing span, obviously signals lift better than a vario and lands slower than a wet week.

Its a great thermal machine. I expect it to be come more refined as the manufacturer works his way down the learning curve. I'm very happy with mine.

 Review by:

Having spent many happy days flying my Ultima last Summer I was surprised to read Roger Sanders very critical review of the model. Several of Roger's comments are matters of opinion and, as such, I will steer clear except to state that, in my opinion, the Ultima is not ugly!

However he does make several other statements which give a rather false impression of the model:-

1. Hangar rash is not a problem. I have just looked closely at mine, there is not a mark on it despite many flights and many knocks in storage and transit. Carbon Fibre is extremely hard and rigid, the Ultima is the most robust high performance model of it's type that I have come across.

2. The hatch is perfectly adequate. Mine is 30mm wide for most of it's length. My 3S, 1000 mAh Turnigy batteries are 18mm wide and slot in with complete ease alongside the ESC.

3. I used Neil's recommended servos, MKS 6100, mounted as far back as possible. This left plenty of space for the Rx, ESC and battery.

4. Roger's concern over the closed loop system is totally unfounded. I have checked mine just now and there is absolutely no sign of any wear in the system. I used a clevis on one of the wires and connected the other directly to the servo output arm using a loop in the wire secured by a crimped ferrule.

5. The control horns on the servos do not need to be different lengths. Mine are identical and I get the correct elevator and rudder movements.

6. I agree with Roger that making the wing servo linkages to exact lengths is difficult but the answer is simple - use pushrods with clevises.

7. Roger's comments about the flap control horns are fine in theory but, in practice, there is no problem with using the supplied horns.

8. My wing hold down screws are both 5mm csk. with 3mm hexagon sockets. These are high tensile steel screws and it would be folly to use the same screws to hold the tailplane in place where weight is so critical due to the long moment arm and the bolting load is much less. The supplied nylon screw is ideal for the job.

Finally, the flying. This model has a very low wing loading and my previous experience with lightly loaded models was not good. They seemed to fly like paper bags. The Ultima doesn't, the handling is remarkably precise yet docile especially with the CG well forward. The soaring performance is outstanding, I bought two 1000 mAh batteries - one remains unused. The Ultima is not at it's best in high winds but surely this is to be expected?

Barrie Purslow
24th March 2017

 Review by:

Ultima F5J

This sailplane sets new standards for light weight. Its low weight makes it float better and read lift in calm air and light lift than heavier gliders.

But there are penalties for this performance. These include relatively slow speed so it does not penetrate or handle as well in windy conditions as heavier craft. Its light weight construction is much more fragile than conventional, heavier, hollow-molded designs. "Hanger rash" can be a problem unless you are very careful.

The Ultima is ugly. This is because its flying surfaces are not smooth like hollow-molded gliders. It uses very thin carbon fiber over foam. So the surface has the texture of the foam underneath rather than being as smooth as glass. While this does not degrade performance, it does not look good.

Most Ultimas are not painted because paint is heavy. They are mostly bare carbon. Since the carbon is very thin, spread tow, you can see streaks of the underlaying white foam showing through. All this is tolerable and required if you demand the very lightest weight, just don't expect to win any beauty awards.

Most troubling, and the reason for the low product rating, were serious faults in the mechanical design and construction execution. These included poor hatch shape and size, serious control linkage design problems, linkage unreliability, and lack of attention to detail. Let me elaborate.

The hatch is simply too short to easily fit the equipment that must be placed in it. The forward part of the hatch is considerably narrower than the battery that must be placed there. Suitable batteries (600 to 1,300 mAh) are a a minimum of 30 mm wide, and the forward hatch is several mm narrower than that. So to insert the battery, there must be significant room towards the middle of the hatch where it is wider to get the battery into the fuse where it can then be slid forward. But there is no extra space available to do this.

The problem is made worse by the fact that the servos must be at the rear of the hatch because they drive pull-pull cables. It is necessary to have sufficient room at the rear of the servos to attach and adjust the cables. So the servos cannot be installed under the rear edge of the hatch to make more room available in the hatch like you could do with push rods.

The engineering solution to these problems would be to make the hatch deeper at the front (so it is wider) and longer in the rear. Since it is not practical to modify the hatch, you will find it a real struggle to get your equipment fitted and accessable for servicing.

It will help if you use the very smallest servos possible and install them so that they are angled and overlap each other. This will shorten the length they require in the extremely limited, hatch space available.

The pull-pull cable design is clever and lightweight. But it is not well designed. There was no thought given to reliability as the cables are allowed to rotate under tension in the control cranks. A stranded cable makes a very poor bearing and the cable strands will rather quickly wear through, fray, and fail. When this happens, the control surface will be deflected to one side and no amount of transmitter stick movement can correct it.

What is needed is a steel pin that goes through the control crank to act as a pivot. This could be a simple Z-bend piece of music wire or a clevis, but nothing like this was present in the control cranks as the manufacturer just used a loop of the tiny, steel cable as the pivot.

Worse yet, the rudder cables were not even made in a loop that could pivot in the crank crank. Instead, the cable was tied in a knot and glued to the crank! This forced the cable to bend and flex instead of staying straight as the rudder moved. This flexing quickly caused metal fatigue that caused one of the cables to fail. Fortunately, this failure occurred on the rudder rather than the elevator, so I was able to land safely.

Fixing these control cable/crank problems was truly a nightmare because access to the control cranks in the tiny space at the rear of the fuse is virtually impossible. The crank assembly is glued into place, so cannot be disassembled to gain access.

At the servos, the cables still have no bearing hardware. Clevises with adjusters should be used so that there is a reliable bearing and you can easily adjust the center point of the control surfaces and get the tension on both cables at a suitable level. Doing this with just loops in the cable is fiddly to say the least. Unfortunately, because the hatch is too short, there is not enough room to work with an adjustable clevis easily.

One thing to absolutely avoid is running the cable through the control horn and then locking it under the control horn screw. This will force the cable to twist and flex as the control horn rotates, which will cause metal fatigue and cable failure. You should at least form a loop with the cable so that it can pivot freely in the control horn hole. The cable is coated with plastic, so you can glue the cable to itself using CA glue to form a loop.

The control horns on the servos must be of different lengths to get full control of the surfaces. This is silly and again shows that the manufacturer pays no attention to detail. The servos have to be mounted at different heights so that the cables from the forward servo run above the rear servo.

The wing servo linkages are difficult to set up because there are no adjusters on them like you would find on other, well-designed, modern gliders. You are expected to bend the push rod ends at exactly the right place on just one try. Their lengths must be very precise, and this just is not possible to do by bending the rod. You cannot un-bend the rod and re-bend it as this is hardened music wire and it will fracture if you bend it more than once. So expect to buy some extra music wire and take several tries to get it close to the right length.

The aileron control horns are correctly designed and well made. They are perpendicular (90 degrees) to the control surface so that the aileron has equal and appropriate up/down motion of around +/- 30 degrees for a total motion of 60 degrees.

However, the same control horns are used for the flaps. This is wrong because the flaps only move downward and have 90 degrees of motion. Therefore, the flap control horn should be 45 degrees forward of the hinge line. I had to make new control horns to get the correct geometry and full range of flap motion with adequate leverage for the servo to drive.

There are several minor sloppy construction issues. The seams running down the side of the fuse have mold flashing that protrudes from the side of the fuse. This can be sanded off, but there will remain a small groove down the fuse. None of this should be present on a model this expensive.

Also, sanding is visible due to the fact that the fuse is not painted. Another eyesore is the pivot pin for the control cranks at the rear of the fuse. These should be cut off flush with the fuse, but they stick out several millimeters and have a ragged edge that looks very sloppy. It also adds unnecessary drag.

The wing hold-down screws have different size hex sockets, so you will need two different sized Allen wrenches to tighten them. You will also need a small screw driver to tighten the tail surface screws. Why require customers to use three tools when a single one could be used for all the screws? Again, lack of attention to detail.

In summary, the manufacturer of this model failed to pay attention to both the engineering and practical details. Its light weight design is a worthy goal -- if you are willing to use it only in light wind conditions where its performance is outstanding. But conventional, hollow-molded, heavier gliders are more rugged, have a wider operating range, look better, have much better attention to detail, and are far easier to build. The Ultima flies exceptionally well in light conditions, but you should really have a conventional, heavier, hollow-molded glider for the more common windy conditions.

 Review by:

Ultimate eSoarer / F5J Model

After several years of "building" and flying a series of large eGliders I thought that the pace of development was tapering off and that my Euphoria would keep me satisfied for some time. Imagine my surprise when, whilst perusing Neil's Hyperflight website, I stumbled across a new 4 metre eGlider claiming to fly at almost half the weight of said Euphoria!..... I had to have one.

Being of a deeply suspicious nature I was concerned that this new machine would be rather too delicate or would fly like a paper bag or both. First impressions were that it was incredibly light, so light that I was frequently caught out by a failure to realise how large the component parts were as I moved them around the workshop. This led to a number of contacts with solid workshop parts. However the all carbon skins are very hard and well supported by the underlying foam such that almost no damage was caused. The elevator and rudder are operated by long closed loop systems with the final few inches at the rear being piano wire pushrods. This system is rather fiddly to set up but, once sorted, works well.

The small diameter of the Ultima's nose makes it almost impossible to squeeze a direct drive motor in there. Since my competition days are in the dim and distant past I avoid gearbox motor drives as an unnecessary and expensive complication but I ended up fitting a Powerline Micro 1015. With a fairly modest 11"x6" prop. this produced 235 watts . If I achieved my target weight of 2lbs 12 oz (1240g) this would give 85 watts per pound (190 W/Kg), perfectly adequate for my purposes.

A brief alert from Neil indicated that this glider was likely to turn out nose heavy. A quick assembly of the bits still to be fitted showed that this was indeed the case. A quick calculation indicated that the removal of 30 mm from the nose should put matters right. Well, it didn't quite but, thanks to the long tail moment, half an ounce of lead in the tail brought the C.G. bang into the middle of the specified range.

Although there were no instructions whatsoever with the as bought bits Neil had produced some figures for control surface movements by now and I set the surface movements accordingly.

With a 1000 mAhr 3S Lipo the target weight of 2 lbs 12 oz was achieved and all that remained was to wait for a calm evening and fly it.

The calm evening eventually arrived and away it went, climbing straight ahead with almost no control inputs. Cutting the power showed the glider to be very docile, pleasantly responsive despite the low flying speed and no sign of any paper bag tendencies. It's one of those gliders that likes to turn and these first few flights were very impressive. Hopefully some experimenting with C.G. and surface movements will improve matters even further. Stalls were docile and the huge flaps made very effective airbrakes although it is clearly essential to retract them before the glider contacts terra firma.

Finally, the Ultima comes with two sets of wing joiners for the tip panels, one pair at 5 degrees and the other 7 degrees. Now, if your flying buddy comments that your latest pride and joy looks "a bit skew whiff" on it's first flight, take a tip from me and check that you are using a matching pair of joiners!

Barrie Purslow
2nd June 2016

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