Droppin’ off a load and watching it explode…in my Spad…
Well, we’ve talked through the assembly and painting and weathering, at last, it’s time to talk through flying the Legend Hobby A-1 Skyraider. You’ve probably figured out by now that I love how this beast flies! It has incredible presence and with the new paint and bomb drops, it presents much like the real thing in the air. It has been extremely fun and frankly I would fly the airplane every weekend if I could and I can’t wait to get it out to some events (if they happen this year).
A LITTLE HISTORY
The A-1 Skyraider was first conceived in June 1944 to meet a US Navy request for a new carrier-based, single-seat, long-range, high performance dive/torpedo bomber. Designed around the Wright R-3350 Duplex-Cyclone engine used in the B-29 Superfortress, the result was one of the world’s largest and most powerful single-engine/single-seat combat aircraft capable of carrying weapon loads greater than that of the Boeing B-17. Coming too late for WWII, the Skyraider served from the late 1940s into the early 1980’s worldwide proving instrumental in both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. Being among the first aircraft to perform strikes in North Vietnam in 1964, Skyraiders proved essential in close-support missions over South Vietnam due to their long loiter times, large bomb load capability and ability to perform accurate strikes when needed. Being a piston driven attack aircraft in the jet age, the A-1 Skyraider became a flying anachronism and was affectionately nicknamed the “Spad” after the WWI French biplane.
WHAT’S IN THE MODEL
One quick note about the model itself if you’ve not seen my Assembly Review or my Painting & Weathering tutorial. This particular model started as a Legend Hobby Southeast Asia camouflage A-1 Skyraider ARF. Coming in at 86″ wingspan, the airplane has great presence both on the ground and in the air. I opted for a large 12s electric setup to keep the scale integrity of the cowl which flies the airplane fantastically. The model was dressed in the kit supplied markings for the initial flights, but being the scale perfectionist that I am, I had to do a full paint work up on it and I love it! Here’s the full run down on equipment used in the model.
- A-1 Skyraider 86″ ► https://bit.ly/A1Skyraider
- Retracts ► https://bit.ly/SkrdrGear
- Motor ► https://bit.ly/Scr5535-160
- ESC ► https://bit.ly/CC160HV
- Flt Battery ► https://bit.ly/Smt6s7000
- Prop ► https://bit.ly/Biela20x14
- Receiver ► https://bit.ly/SpkAR20310
- Rx Batteries ► https://bit.ly/Life3000
- Transmitter ► https://bit.ly/SpktmiX20
- Servos ► https://bit.ly/HtcD645
- E-flite Payload Release ► http://bit.ly/Efl405
- Pilot Head Controller ► https://thercgeek.com/RSMG
AIRCRAFT SETUP & CG
In flying this airplane, I found that the recommended CG and control throws in the manual were about right for the model. The instructions provide a high and a low rate and sow I setup their recommended high rate as my high, their low rate as my mid and then gave myself an additional lower rate on the triple rates. Ultimately I settled on my mid rate aileron and low rate elevator settings which provided a great feel for the airplane in flight. Interestingly, no elevator mix with the flaps was required which certainly simplified things in the setup.
- Elevator – 12mm with 6% expo
- Aileron – 15mm with 5% Expo
- Rudder – 30mm with 25% expo (the airplane does a beautiful knife edge)
- Flaps – 30mm half and 60mm full with no elevator mix
The CG location recommended in the manual is 125-145mm as measured from the wing leading edge root aft. I found the 125mm setting to feel about perfect for the airplane from day 1 and never looked at changing it further. There may be some room to move the CG aft should you choose, but for my style of flying I was happy with the feel of the airplane with that CG location. Note that there is a carry through on one of the forward bulkheads that is very close to this location. So, to CG the airplane, I simply picked up the airplane from this carry through and looked for the airplane to be level.
The Legend Hobby Skyraider has really large hatch in the fuselage which provides great access to the internals. I’m using 2x Spektrum Smart 6s 7000mah batteries wired together in series to create 12s. Additionally, I have 2x 2s 3000 mah Life receiver packs used in conjunction with a Spektrum Power Safe Receiver to power the onboard systems. The flight batteries are pushed all the way forward in the fuselage with the receiver batteries velcroed on top of each. This gave the CG perfectly.
FLYING THE LEGEND HOBBY A-1 SKYRAIDER
From the very first flight of the Legend Hobby A-1 Skyraider, I fell in love with it. In fact, this Skyraider is one of the best flying warbirds that I have flown to date! The combination of the large size, the proportions of the airplane itself and the nice wide gear stance, makes it extremely user friendly to fly. The Scorpion 5535 motor with the Biela propeller provides perfect scale power enabling nice large verticals combined with 100+ mph flat and level speeds, yet allows great cruise efficiency at partial throttle with easily manageable 5+ minute flight times with the 7000mah packs. It really is the perfect blend of speed and vertical performance and that’s not to mention that it sounds great even without the sound system operating. In flight, the model maneuvers with ease and tracks almost effortlessly. Loops, rolls and any other military type maneuvers and variations of the sort that are scale to the airplane really present much like its full scale counterpart. The airplane will even lock into a sweet knife edge the full length of your field with minimal coupling!
It is worth noting that with the wide landing gear stance and long tail of the A-1, takeoffs are a surprisingly easy prospect. Slowly advancing the throttle while reacting to rudder as required, the model tracks extremely straight down the runway. In the approach configuration with flaps down, the airplane flies just as predictably as it does up and away. It settles into a nice descent requiring a little over 1/3 throttle and likes just a touch of speed in the flare to touchdown which helps grease the landings. During landing roll out, the model tracks very straight and remains responsive on the rudder with no indication of ground looping at all which is excellent!
Though the airplane looked and flew great clean, the addition of the full stores loadout completely changed how the airplane looked in the air; it became the warfighter that it is. Interestingly, the addition of the stores didn’t change the flight performance all that much. The top end speed didn’t even seem to change appreciably. So, there is no question that the model will be flown in a full loadout every flight! 🙂 Plus, the M117 bomb drop is an extremely fun option to have on hand and the TPU printed bombs have worked great and been extremely robust.
Well, it has been a fun journey getting here and I really can’t say enough good things about the Legend Hobby A-1 Skyraider. It really is an incredible RC warbird that flies exceptionally well! It has great presence both on the ground and in the air and has all of the kit has all of the scale details you could hope for in a subject like this. The model is well built and straight forward to assemble and lends itself well to further detailing and painting as we’ve covered previously. This really is a model that is sure to turn heads at the field. Until next time, I’ll see you at the field!