Hardware: HP Zbook Studio G3
Software: McNeel Rhinoceros v5 for Windows
1990, the year the first time I saw it on the news and fell in love at first sight. The Northrop McDonnell Douglas YF-23, had been my all time jetfighter favorit. I had a dream of flying the RC one for many decades. And in the end, I'm now able to design my own YF-23 and fly it. A bonus: I'm able to share it to the world!
It was all started 2 years ago. That would be the first time I was jumping like a lunatic, finding that a person (Jay Rothwell from England) design a scratchbuild (do-it-yourself) design of YF-23 so everyone could make it by themselves. I purchased the plan and built it in no time. The joy was there but it didn't stay for long. I began to wonder, if I could do my own design of the YF-23 I would build it as scale as possible. I was seeing some improvements needed to make it look more scale than it was.
So, I started immediately using insufficient knowledge in designing and scratchbuilding, and of course it led nowhere other than got stucked with no progress. So, the project was suspended without any further development for the next 2 years.
The Raise of YF-23 Black Widow II
So, 2 years had passed and I finally had come up with some great designs, at least my friends from all over the world said that. Finishing the Su-37 Flanker-F parkjet design had given and brought me huge confident in continuing the YF-23. Also, what pushed me to finish this project was the momentum of the YF-23 Black Widow II first flight, on August 27th, 1990. It was piloted by Paul Metz. Below is the last parkjet design I came up with, the SU-37 Flanker-F. I got tons of support from my RC colleagues Ian Bott (from UK) and Jeff Reimer (Canada). I couldn't thank them enough for being a part of a joyful RC scratchbuilding party team: the Parkflyers International.
So the development of the YF-23 Black Widow II parkjet design got rebooted. Instead of continuing the design I started 2 years earlier, I decided to get new fresh lines and methods, gained from the 2 continuing years of learning and designing. Also, it's truly amazing when everything aligned to each other. I got my fantastic new HP Zbook Studio G3 and probably the first unit in the whole region and I started to use it to design YF-23 Black Widow II. The excitements were boosted to a level I had never imagined before. Finally, I came up with something close to the real one. The below picture tells the whole story. On the left one, is the real picture of YF-23. And on the right, it's my own finished design of my dream jetfighter.
Watching those pictures side-by-side, brought me tons of joy, realizing the possibility of flying my own design of YF-23, decades after Northrop lost the government contract.
The Building Process
Once the design was finished, it's converted into production drawing/plan. The design was competely done in Rhinoceros v5. Jeff built the first YF-23 prototype based on the design and found some required adjustments to have the YF-23 flying well.
Below are some pictures of Jeff's YF-23.
And here are mine.
After all electronics and engine were installed, it deserved and received descent paint as well as decals to reflect and mimic the real YF-23. Seeing it covered with it, gave burst of joy instantly.
And here's a picture of the built YF-23 and the HP Zbook Studio G3 side by side, that just placed historical moment to my personal life, making my dream comes true: having my own YF-23 design parkjet.
The Maiden Flight
Frankly speaking, there were delays from one to another. However, everything seemed to be coming together. On August 27 2016, finally I made a successful maiden flight. Personally, it was a historical and monumental flight because 26 years ago on August 27 1990, the first YF-23 Black Widow II known as PAV-1, was making it's successful maiden flight as well. The joy, hysteria, happiness and proud were mixed inside my head when having the successful maiden flight of my own YF-23, in the anniversary of the real YF-23's first flight.
So, in order to share the joy to the world, I'm making a tribute video to all team Northrop/McDonnell Douglas and the test pilots, and thank them all for making one of the best jetfighters in the world. Even we couldn't see it flies now, at least the real YF-23 airframe is safe and secured in the Western Museum of Flight, Hawthorne, California. And, .... I have my own design YF-23 parkjet with me now.
On several flights I had with it, it showed rigid stability, solid maneuverability-agility and of course, uncompromised speed even with standard setups.
Another thing that makes me proud of this YF-23 parkjet is, it's the first kind of YF-23 scartchbuilt, designed in Indonesia, and may be the most scale looking score-and-fold of YF-23 parkjet with curvy lines, in the world by the time this article is written.
Bimo Adi Prakoso, founder of Sentra Grafika Kompumedia, is an engineering-animation-broadcast industry professional and workstation evangelist. He's been in the Workstation industry since 1996, the era of SGI.