Force RC P-51 Mustang Assembly & Flight Review

Oh, Sonny Boy, the sky, the sky is calling…

The P-51 truly is unmistakable in it’s design and, needless to say, is quite popular in the RC warbird circles.  Well, this week, we’re featuring the Force RC P-51 Mustang available from Horizon Hobby.  This is a kit that’s been available for some time and at 1100 mm wingspan, is just a cute little model.  The airplane carries the moniker of “Sonny Boy” with green and yellow checkboards on the nose which is pretty unique and different compared to the typical red and yellow checkers you see represented.

Doing a little research, I found that the full sized “Sonny Boy” was actually flown by Lt. Ted E. Hoffman as a part of the 343rd Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group during World War II from 1944-1945.  Lt Hoffman scored four air victories in the airplane in fact, though they’re not actually represented on the model.  Even so, I found it a great tribute to a notable airplane and pilot from WWII!

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

Tearing into the kit, there’s primarily just 4 main pieces in assembling the airplane.  The first item is to get the receiver installed into the fuselage and start connecting all of the servos to it.  I wanted to try out one of the new antenna-less spektrum receivers, so picked up an AR620 which fit about perfectly into the cutout in the fuselage and worked fantastically!  Continue reading

E-Flite ViperJet 70mm EDF Assembly & Flight Review

E-Flite’s latest jet, the 70mm EDF ViperJet!

When the opportunity came up to review E-Flite’s new 70mm EDF ViperJet, I could not pass it up!  This airplane is a great looking little jet that flies just incredibly well.  Also, the Bind n Fly version has SAFE Select available, so if you’re newer to RC and looking to jump into jets, this is a nice option to have.  The truth is, this airplane makes for a wonderful first jet with or without SAFE.  Obviously, without SAFE, you’ll want to have some proficiency on the sticks first before jumping into a high speed jet.

Now when we talk about the ViperJet it is indeed a real airplane, so we are technically talking about a scale jet here.  The full sized airplane is actually a home built aircraft.  So, for a cool $500,000 and 3500+ hours for assembly, you too could have one!  I kid of course, but the thing is that the proportions of the full sized airplane make for a great flying model that handles much like a purpose designed RC sport jet.  So based on that, what you get is some fun aerobatic flying in a scale looking package.  It’s been a pretty popular design within the jet community for that reason.  Obviously, what’s on the model is not a scale paint scheme, but I have to say I quite like it!  This guy with two thumbs is a sucker for splinter camouflage.

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

The ViperJet comes nicely packaged and assembles extremely quickly.  The kit has a very small parts count, which primarily just requires bolting the on the tails, the dorsal and then the wing.  The most difficult part was routing and connecting all of the wires as Continue reading

UMX Adventures – E-Flite UMX Pitts Flight Review

The Ultimate in ‘Mike Rowe’ Aerobatics…

As I had teased in my E-flite UMX A-10 flight review video, I’ve been having a lot of fun with the E-Flite UMX Pitts biplane and so wanted to put together a flight review video for it.  E-flite has really built up an awesome line of UMX airplanes and this Pitts is one that I’d been eying for a while.  Scale aerobatics are a fun and welcome change to my otherwise scale warbird and jet flying and when they came up on sale a while back, I quickly picked one up.  I’m glad I did because the airplane is an absolute blast to fly.

The full scale Pitts is a pretty iconic aerobatic airplane and what’s interesting is that the aircraft that are campaigned by both Sean Tucker and Skip Stewart are based on the Pitts airframe.  Highly modified of course, but still based on the Pitts.  So that tells you a lot about the design as those guys do some pretty incredible flying in those airplanes.  They’re even approaching some of the 3D aerobatics that we’ve been doing in the RC world and it’s pretty crazy to watch.  So, trying to replicate that in small scale is always a fun challenge and this tiny Pitts does a good job of it.

 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

Just like the UMX A-10 and other E-flite UMX aircraft, the Pitts comes out of the box completely ready to go.  Bind and setup your Spektrum radio and you’re good to go in about 10 minutes.  E-flite has done a great job with the shape of the airplane and the color scheme is a great choice.  It’s a pretty awesome representation of the pitts.  The Continue reading

E-flite 1.5m AT-6 Texan Assembly & Flight Review

North American’s Pilot Maker, E-Flite Edition!

The AT-6 Texan is such a classic looking airplane and it’s one that I’ve always had a soft spot for.  You regularly see them at airshows and the airplane sound is unmistakable as it maneuvers since the propeller quite literally beats the air into submission as it flies.  So, I was excited to see the E-flite AT-6 Texan come online as it looked to be one of the nicest and scale looking Texans out  there in recent memory.  So, I was excited for the chance the review the airplane!  In short, this is a great flying airplane that I’ve really fallen in love with I have to say.

In the process of this review, I liked the airplane so much, I decided to do a quick repaint on the airframe into something a little more colorful.  We will touch on that here somewhat, but I will be posting a separate video and article on that process soon.

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY

E-Flite AT-6 comes in a large long box and I found was nicely pacakaged.  The wing is a single piece in there which is really nice and the reason for the long box.  It’s almost comedic comparing how short the fuselage is compared to the wingspan.  Based on the single piece wing, what you end up with then is an extremely simplified assembly that basically requires attaching the stabilizers with a couple screws and then attaching the wing.  That is about the extent of the Continue reading

From the Bench – Horizon Hobby/Spektrum SAFE Select Technology Tutorial

Fly Boldly and be SAFE!

As I mentioned in my E-Flite P-47 Razorback and Cessna 150 reviews, I’ve been wanting to provide a separate discussion on Horizon Hobbies’ SAFE Select technology that’s featured with their bind and fly aircraft.  The P-47 and Cessna are both great next step type airplanes for those that may still be learning and so the technology is there to help folks learning to fly and hopefully protect them from getting into trouble.  I found that there wasn’t a whole lot of documentation about SAFE Select out there, so I thought that it would be worthwhile to talk a little bit about it and give some tips for using it effectively.  As we get started, note that this is a technology that’s part of Horizon’s Spektrum bind and fly setups, so if you’re using your own receiver and radio in the Horizon airplanes, then obviously, this wouldn’t apply.

WHAT IS “SAFE” AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

First of all, what is SAFE?  What is it all about?  SAFE is a feature that can be turned on that, when flying your aircraft, is intended to keep pilots from getting the airplane into an attitude that could spell trouble.  There are multiple levels of the technology which includes SAFE Select which is what is in the Bind and Fly P-47 and Cessna that basically pitch and roll limits the airplane to keep the aircraft from going inverted but still maintains a good level of controllability.  It’s intended Continue reading

Avios Grand Tundra Assembly & Flight Review

It’s Tundra my spell!

Welcome back guys!  This month we’ve got an exciting sneak peek review for you guys this week.  A few weeks back, I had a large white and rather unassuming box arrive on my front door step.  Inside was the brand new Avios Grand Tundra from Hobbyking!  Excited at the opportunity to give the airplane a try, I was blown away by just how fun this airplane is, especially with those big ballooney Chuck Norris tires.  They’re so big and awesome, the earth doesn’t push up on those tires, those tires push the earth down as they impale the runway into submission!

This airplane is ideal for some backwoods bush flying from an unimproved surface and when the airplane arrive, I knew the perfect field to give it a try!  I had recently discovered a dirt RC field nearby my house which I knew would be perfect for the airplane.

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY

Opening the box, the airplane is nicely packaged and looks good as there are a number of parts and they are all packaged well.  One of the things I really noticed was as Continue reading

Freewing A-4 Skyhawk 80mm EDF Assembly & Flight Review

How hot is Heinemann’s Hot Rod?

I keep telling myself to scale back on the foam airplanes, but when the Freewing A-4 Skyhawk came up on pre-sale, I knew I had to have one!  The A-4 is a classic design that I’ve always appreciated.  In fact, I still remember seeing the Blue Angels fly A-4s back in the 80’s.  It was such an agile yet graceful airplane to watch fly, they will probably always be my favorite Blue Angel aircraft.  The F-18s have brute force, but it just doesn’t have the grace and maneuverability that the A-4 did.

If you follow this page on Facebook or Instagram, then you know how this one ends for me.  For those who and for full disclosure up front, this airplane flies really well when setup right, but I actually crashed the airplane twice in the process of making this review…mostly a result of my own error.  The first time was due to installing an already flown battery into the airplane.  It only took a couple laps before the fan quit and of course it was too low to get back to the runway.  Bummed, but not to be defeated the airplane was refinished with a few upgrades (which we’ll talk about).  It came out beautiful, I loved it!  Unfortunately, the CG moved further back than I anticipated and the airplane over rotated on the second takeoff and I didn’t have enough altitude to fully recover.  It’s fixable, though I’ve debated just buying a replacement instead…it’s currently hanging in my shop waiting in limbo.

With that being said, I still wanted to provide this review because as I mentioned, the airplane flies really well.  But, it’s an A-4 and there definitely some things to be aware of when setting it up for best success.

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

The A-4 is a quick assembly requiring the aft fuselage section be glued on and then the dorsal, horizontal tails and wings bolted onto the airframe.  From there, it’s just a matter Continue reading

Family Build 4 – Lego Saturn V Rocket Build

Bang zoom…right to the moon!

Happy New Year everyone!  I never thought I’d end up writing about a Lego build, but when I saw the Lego Saturn V rocket kit in my kids’ Lego catalog, I knew that I had to have one.  So, I thought it would be fun to do a little video and article in the process.  That’s not to mention an afternoon spent building Legos with my son; talk about like the perfect day!  This kit seems to sell out rather quickly, and I actually had a couple failed attempts to locate one.  However, I was lucky enough to find one just in time for Christmas (it was a Christmas miracle! 😉 )!  Lego really does some incredible models these days and my son (the Lego expert in the family) is all about it.  Lego didn’t have the licensing deals when I was a kid that they do now and the models that they create these days as a result are just awesome.  If you’ve not seen their special edition Millennium Falcon kit, it is their largest and most expensive set ever and it is amazing!

Being an aerospace engineer, I’ve always had a fascination with the Saturn V.  It still is the largest and heaviest rocket that has ever been launched into space and it was done in a time where the first computers were only just starting.  I remember building an Estes Saturn V kit with a family friend when I was a kid.  It used a single D sized motor and had so much mass behind it, it launched much like the real thing off the launch pad.

 

THE KIT

The Lego Saturn V kit itself comes in a big box (labeled for ages 14+…I barely made it!) that has some Continue reading