Firelands Brands has a lot going on. Quads of all shapes and sizes, helicopters, surface vehicles, and several fixed wing aircraft as well! Ares RC, the group within Firelands that handles their aircraft, has enjoyed a lot of success over the last few years – they have come up with new and interesting ideas for products that modelers want! When they have an existing product that is doing well, but they see places to make that product better, they make it the BEST it can be. Case in point, the Ares RC Gamma Pro V2. The original Gamma 370 Pro was a pretty cool airplane. A small, easy flying 4-Channel airplane that could be flown and enjoyed by beginners and experts alike! The Pro V2 version arrives with a brushless motor and speed control AND Ares’ own Natural Flight Progression (NFP), making it an aircraft that can fill many roles! Interested? Read on!
Wingspan: 37 in (940 mm)
Length: 30.6 in (775 mm)
Flying Weight: 18 oz (510 g)
Transmitter: IKONNIK KA-6 6-Channel with NFP (Included)
Battery: 3S 11.1 V 1000 mAh 20C LiPo (Included)
Charger: 3S 11.1 V 800 mAh DC Charger with AC Adapter (Included)
On-Board Electronics: Hitec Red enabled receiver (with NFP), Brusless ESC and three 9 gram servos
Optional Upgrades: Float Set and FPV camera with 5.8 gHz Transmitter
Additional items required to fly: Nothing – It’s all in one box!
The Gamma Pro V2 arrived in a fully colored box – inside, the contents were protected by a foam insert that should stave off all but the greatest of parcel delivery attacks! With all of the pre-assembled parts laid out, it was clear to see that this would be a quick project!
Here’s a little Public Service Announcement – Don’t toss the foam insert out until you remove the AA batteries and AC adapter! They are stuck into slots in the back side of the foam, and you’ll need to remove the foam from the box to access these items.
Ares has included EVERYTHING you’ll need to get the Gamma Pro V2 ready to fly! There’s plenty of rubber bands to attach the wing, and the LiPo charger is easy to use!
Even the landing gear is mostly assembled, leaving the modeler little more than installing the pre-finished parts! The 8×4 high speed propeller comes with several spacers, but you’ll only need the correctly sized spacer to fit the brushless motor shaft.
For this review, I received the Ready To Fly version of the Gamma Pro V2. It includes an IKONNIK 6-Channel transmitter. The batteries I mentioned earlier power the transmitter. One of the nice things about this transmitter is that it’s full-sized! Compared to my Hitec Flash 7 (which can also be used to control the Gamma Pro V2 with its Hitc Red Receiver) it’s sized well!
On the right side of the transmitter is the NFP switch – with this, you can choose between the three available NFP modes, as Ares has described them below –
Beginner Mode: when switched into this mode the NFP software will restrict the bank angle of the wings while mixing in rudder to coordinate the turns. This mode is great for take off and landing as it helps maintain a smooth and straight flight path.
Intermediate Mode: when switched into this mode the NFP software will allow greater bank angles during flight but does not mix in any rudder. This allows the pilot to learn how to add rudder on his own to coordinate turns. As in beginner mode, releasing the sticks will immediately return the airplane to level flight.
Off simply means that the NFP system is turned off and the modeler has complete control of the Gamma Pro V2 with no assistance from the NFP.
On the left side of the transmitter is the Auto Roll function button – I’ll let Ares describe that one below as well –
Auto Roll Function: Your Gamma Pro V2 incorporates a unique auto roll function. When flying in either one of the NFP modes you can roll 180° to stabilized inverted flight by pressing and holding the NFP button and deflecting the aileron stick in either direction and returning it to neutral and then releasing the NFP button. The Gamma Pro V2 will roll in the direction desired and stop inverted. The NFP stabilization will still be in effect. You may need to add a little down elevator to hold the nose up. This will help you get familiar with inverted flying while greatly reducing some of the work load. To return to upright simply repeat the steps of pushing and holding the NFP button and moving the aileron stick in either direction and back to neutral and then releasing the NFP button. If you press and hold the NFP button and hold the aileron stick at either the left or right extreme and your Gamma Pro V2 will perform a series of rolls across the sky. Release the NFP button to again stabilize in either upright or inverted flight.
The IKONNIK transmitter has digital trims, which I really like. It also has analog servo reversing, Mode selection, and fixed and delta wing selections! This is a pretty cool transmitter!
The on-board electronics are pre-installed. check the orientation of them carefully against the instructions – the NFP board seen in the middle of the last photo had shifted on my plane – had I tried to fly it with the NFP board shifted, it could have been VERY difficult to control the plane! Make sure that the white connector points to the nose of the plane, and you’ll be fine.
One of the things that sets the Gamma Pro V2 apart from its older 370 version is the addition of a 1250kV brushless motor. There’s an interesting wire harness included with the plane – the harness allows the pre-installed LED lights to be powered by the flight battery. the harness is connected to the balance plug on the flight battery, and each of the three connectors is secured to the LED light wiring in the wings and fuselage. Ares has done most of the pre-assembly, including landing gear, all decals, the lighting wiring, and even the servos and control horns!
Assembly and the Manual
The Ares Gamma Pro V2 arrived with a quick start guide that was easy (for me) to use for assembly. A beginning modeler will most likely not feel comfortable assembling the Gamma Pro V2 with the quick start guide, so Ares has a downloadable full manual available.
Download the full manual HERE.
Assembly began with installing the transmitter AA batteries and charging the LiPo flight battery. I really liked that the LiPo battery charger was simple to use!
The horizontal and vertical stabilizers were assembled – there are two long plastic mounts that will stick out the bottom side of the horizontal stabilizer when the two parts are correctly assembled. The front point of the vertical stabilizer was slid into the slot in the fuselage, and the horizontal stab sat on the tail end of the fuselage.
With the tail held in place, I turned the plane over and installed the tail retention bracket with two 8mm screws. The key to doing this correctly is making sure that the tail wheel bracket slips into place UNDER the retention bracket. the tail wheel bracket was then secured with a third small screw.
Wing assembly came next, and was easy. The backing was removed from the two-sided tape on the leading and trailing edge protectors, and the wing halves were slid together. the tape was secured to the wings by firmly pressing the protectors to the foam part of the wings. I then centered the aileron servo and installed the servo arm. As you can see in the last photo, there are three sets of wiring in the wing. Two of these are for the wingtip lights, and have just a red and black wire. the third is the servo wire, and it has the normal three wires (Red, Black, and White).
With the servo still centered, I attached the pre-assembled aileron pushrods to the servo arm and control horns. Some adjustment had to be made to set the ailerons to a neutral position, but this was easy due to the threaded clevises on the pushrods. With everything centered and attached, I connected the aileron and LED lights to the receiver and LED light harness in the fuselage. I also connected the fuselage lights to the light harness at this time, and slipped the battery connector end through the small access point to the battery holder.
The main landing gear was installed next – there are two washer-headed screws that hold the wire gear in place. I also attached the pushrods to the elevator and rudder, using the outermost holes in the control horns for both.
With all of the wires tucked neatly away from the servos, I attached the wing using the included rubber bands. Though there are 6 included, I found that four were more than sufficient to keep the wing seated properly.
When installing the rubber bands, its best to do so in the above order. this way, the diagonal bands help to hold the first two in place.
We’re nearing completion! Before installing the propeller and spinner, I powered up the transmitter and connected the flight battery to make sure that all the controls worked and they went in the correct direction. It’s ALWAYS best to do this with the propeller NOT INSTALLED! After verifying that everything was correct, I installed the prop and spinner.
I slipped the battery into its compartment, turned the transmitter on again, and connected the battery to the ESC and light plug. The louvered battery hatch was then snapped into place, and I checked the Center of Gravity (CG). With the battery pushed to the front of the holder, the CG was perfect! The last photo shows the small dot I made on the bottom of the wing to mark the CG. A dot on each side of the fuselage makes it really easy to verify the CG!
With that, the Ares Gamma Pro V2 was ready to Fly!
As luck would have it, I had a decent evening just a couple of weeks after I assembled the Gamma Pro V2. Surprisingly, when I got to the field, I was the only one there! I decided to not let a perfectly calm evening go to waste, so up went the plane for its maiden flight!
I taxied the plane on the runway a bit, and noticed that the tail wheel was quite effective – just what I like to see!
With the Gamma Pro V2 centered on the runway, I pushed the throttle forward. It became evident very quickly that the 1250 kV brushless motor and 8×4 prop had plenty of pulling power to pull the plane around with ease!
For the maiden flight, I took off with the Natural Flight Progression (NFP) turned off – I wanted to see how the plane flew without any ‘extra’ input – I was a little worried about how it would fly because the wingspan appears a little short for a trainer-type aircraft. To my surprise, the Gamma Pro V2 flew VERY well without the NFP. Using the included IKONNIK transmitter, I did feel that the ailerons are a little sensitive, but they could be adjusted by moving the pushrods toward the center of the aileron servo arm. When I flew with my Hitec Flash 7, I simply added 15% Exponential, and it felt a lot better.
As a high wing airplane, meant to be a trainer among other things, the Gamma Pro V2 does like to gain a little altitude at full throttle. For me, it seemed as though the plane really liked to cruise at around half-throttle. It was stable throughout the flight, no matter what the speed, but it just felt right at about half-throttle.
Low speed flight is not an issue – as a trainer, it will fly quite slowly and be forgiving! Stalls are hard to come by, but when it does, it drops the nose and tries to gain speed to fly again.
Aerobatics, with the NFP off, are quite fun! The Gamma Pro V2 will roll easily and can perform a nice loop as well! Most mild aerobatics can be easily performed with the plane, and sustained inverted flight required just a touch of down elevator. Now, I didn’t have the float set, but there’s enough power with the brushless motor setup that it should do aerobatics even with the floats attached!
Landing was easy – it’s just that simple. I lined up with the runway, and it came down nicely, touched down with just a small hop, and came to a stop in short order!
Now, that was all with the NFP off…
I tried out the beginner and intermediate modes of the NFP – both performed exactly as advertised. Each offered a different level of security to help a new modeler with beginning flights – though I’m a seasoned pilot used to flying a plane, it was pretty cool to see how the two modes can really help new pilots have successful flights!
Check out the video to see the Ares Gamma Pro V2 in Action! The video was shot a few weeks later, and there was a breeze blowing around 5-7 MPH. That didn’t stop the Gamma Pro V2 at all!
I’ve assembled and flown a lot of trainer type planes over the years, and I used my share of flight assistance systems. I really believe that Ares has hit the nail on the head with their Gamma Pro V2. I like that is has ailerons – this makes transition to a pilot’s ‘second plane’ easier. I like that the pilot can turn the NFP on or off during a flight. I like that there’s an optional set of floats as well – this will most likely become my ‘go-to’ float plane! Ares has a winner on their hands with the new Gamma Pro V2!