Futaba 16SZ Radio System



Futaba transmitters have been a standard for more than thirty years – their ability to adapt and produce new products has been top notch, and their system’s reliability has always made them a top producer in the RC industry. There are many other transmitters on the market, but only a few have the outstanding reliability of Futaba. I’m sure that the pilots flying with other transmitters will argue with me, but I have personally had at least one Futaba transmitter in use at all times since my first radio system back in 1992. I started with a two-channel air system and a small airplane, then ‘graduated’ to a Futaba Conquest four-channel radio in 1995. Since then, I’ve had several more, upgrading in number of channels and technology along the way. One thing about which I’ve never had to worry is whether or not my transmitter would work. Futaba has added to their extensive line of transmitters with the new T16SZ 16-channel 2.4 gHz radio system. It incorporates several of their RC protocols, and lots of features into an attractive looking transmitter. Have I got your attention? If so, read on!


Product:   Futaba T16SZ 2.4 gHz FASSTest 16-Channel Computer Radio System

Where to Purchase:   Tower Hobbies

Price:   $699.99 (Price at Review Publishing Date)

First Look

The 16SZ arrived in a nicely adorned, full color box which displayed some of the fatures and a few images of the transmitter. Inside, I found a protective foam shell and the manual. Speaking of the manual, it’s fairly thick, and reads easily. There’s a lot of info in there!

As you remove the foam shell from the box, be careful – the 1800 mAh NiMh transmitter battery and neck strap are pressed into openings on the outside of the foam. At first glance, the battery seems a little undersized for the 16SZ’s operating system, but we’ll see how it goes… The neck strap, though not to my liking, is sturdy and should do well. I prefer a shoulder harness myself, but it’s not for everyone either. It’s a personal choice, I guess!

Removing the top half of the foam gave me my first look at the new transmitter, receiver, and charger. All looked to be in great shape! The 16SZ was removed from it’s plastic bag, then I removed the protective plastic from the 4.3″ touch screen and ‘T16SZ’ logo. Speaking of the 4.3″ touch screen – I just want to say that I really like it! It’s sensitive to the touch, so you don’t have to press on it hard, and feel like it’s going to break! The color and brightness are good for indoor and outdoor areas, and the matte screen keeps reflections out of your eyes at the field!

The included R7008SB operates on Futaba’s FASSTest protocol, and can be used as a standard eight channel receiver, or stepped up to S.Bus2 operation for more channels. Like most of their receivers, the R7008SB features bi-directional antennas to cover the most area possible.

The included power supply/ charger should be used with this transmitter only, but also features a receiver battery charging connection for NiMh and NiCd batteries. A standard charging switch harness is also included.

Product Spotlight

Futaba has a large line of telemetry sensors available, and included two for this review – the Current Sensor, and the GPS Module. Read on to find out more about them!

First up is the Current Sensor. Per the Futaba website, it’s ‘Compatible with select FASSTest and T-FHSS S.Bus2 systems. It collects real time motor current, battery voltage and capacity used. Set vibration and/or audible alarms for any three of the functions monitored. In addition, use your transmitter’s data logging capabilities for more detailed analysis of your power system.


Available at:  Tower Hobbies

Price:   $69.99 (Price at Review Publishing Date)

Stock Number: FUTM0860

Current Detection: 0A-150A
Voltage Detection: 0V-70V
Consumption Capacity: 0mAh-32750mAh
Weight: 0.81 oz (23 g)
Length: 11.85 in (301 mm)

Next, we have the GPS sensor. It ‘Displays altitude, distance (surface and slant), speed and rate of climb/descent. Features built-in atmospheric pressure sensor.’ This is quite a handy little sensor, if you ask me…


Available at:   Tower Hobbies (Order pending at time of review publishing)

Price:   $179.99

Weight: 0.375 oz (10.7 g).
Speed: 0-311 mph (0-500 kph)
Altitude: -766 to +6015 yd (-700 to +5500 m)
Variometer: -336 to +336 mph (-150 to +150 m/s)

Photo Shoot

There’s more than enough switches, sliders, and knobs for everyone on this transmitter – and they can all be individually assigned to any purpose! The rubberized back grips are nice, and the radio has a good ‘solid’ feel in hand. The T16SZ is everything we’ve come to expect from a high quality Futaba product!

 Getting Started

There’s a couple of things to do before using the 16SZ transmitter…

After charging the transmitter’s battery and installing it in the battery holder, I went to Futaba’s website and downloaded the latest firmware revisions on an SD card. While the SD card is not included, they’re inexpensive and easy to find. With the firmware loaded on the SD card, it was inserted into the SD card slot just below the battery.

The transmitter was then powered on, and the firmware update began! Yes, it was that simple! With the latest firmware uploaded to the transmitter, it was time to turn it on and have a look at the features and programming.

Check out my video below to see the T16SZ for yourself:

Here’s Futaba’s Spotlight video for the 16SZ:

Futaba has also made a complete set of videos to help you with setup and operation of your new transmitter – They are only the second company I’ve seen to offer such videos! See them all below:

Now that’s a LOT of videos!


I really like the new Futaba T16SZ. The fit and finish of the transmitter are top notch, it fits well in my hands, and it just plain looks great! The large touch screen can be seen in nearly any lighting conditions, and the telemetry features available will help pilots get the needed data from their flights. The 16SZ is a great transmitter, and is offered at a reasonable price of $699.99. If you get the chance to try out one of these transmitters, I’ll bet you’ll end up buying one too – they’re just that great! I tip my hat to Futaba for yet another outstanding radio system -Ya done good! That’s all for now, from my shop to yours – I’ll see ya next time! -GB

Contact Information

Futaba:   www.futabarc.com

Tower Hobbies:   www.towerhobbies.com

Futaba USA (Coming Soon):   futabausa.com


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