Flyzone Micro Calypso – a micro electric RC sailplane review

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Introduction

Flyzone released the Calypso powered sailplane back in 2012. It was and remains to be a great foam sailplane featuring flaps and ailerons – nice features in a lower-priced foam ‘glider’. It has been popular since released, and remains a great introduction to the world of sailplanes, especially if you’re on a budget!

Fast forward to the summer of 2016 – the present. Micro aircraft have been gaining popularity hand over fist for the past several years, so Flyzone has decided to release a pint-sized sailplane – the micro Calypso. Though it retains some of the good looks of its larger kin, it is a new design – a design that boasts several features of its own! While the micro Calypso utilizes only three channels (Elevator, Rudder, and Throttle), it appears as though it should be a great little plane to fly nearly anywhere!

Specifications

Wingspan:   24.8 in  (630 mm)

Wing Area:  66.2 sq in (4.27 sq dm)

Wing Loading:   4.15 oz/sq ft  (12.65 g/sq dm)

Length:   19.1 in   (485 mm)

Weight with Battery:   1.9 oz   (54 g)

Requirements to Fly

Ready to Fly (RTF) Version: Nothing – everything needed is included in the box!

Transmitter Ready (Tx-R) Version: 4 Channel (minimum) SLT Transmitter

Equipment I Used

In addition to the Flyzone FZ-400 transmitter included with the RTF version,

I used my Hitec Flash 7 2.4 gHz transmitter. It is capable of transmitting on the

SLT protocol, making it an excellent addition to the Tactic lineup of transmitters

that can be used with the Flyzone Tx-R aircraft!

First Look

Like all of the Flyzone micro aircraft, the calypso arrived in a  durable box that can double as a carrying case. With the micro Calypso, I found it easier to leave the tiny sailplane unboxed and assembled – making it really easy to grab for a spur-of-the-moment flying. The packaging was more than adequate, and protected the plane during transit. With all of the parts removed from the box, it was easy to see that there isn’t much to this little project! I like that Flyzone includes the four AA batteries for the transmitter!

The included manual does a great job for anyone from entry-level up to experienced modelers – it’s very typical of what I have come to expect from Flyzone!

There are several features on the micro Calypso that caught my attention! The folding propeller blades are spring loaded to keep them retracted when not in use. This really helps clean up the airframe and keep the plane aerodynamic while gliding. I liked the unique tail attachment brackets used to install the horizontal and vertical stabilizers – a pair of small tape strips is all that is needed to keep the tail in place!

Though the pushrods are long and slightly flexible, Flyzone has thought ahead and added a support to the tail to keep the pushrods from flexing too much. Make sure you leave the clear sleeve in place when assembling your micro Calypso. Another feature I liked was the magnetic wing attachment. a small clip holds the leading edge in place, but the wing snaps into proper place with a strong magnet. Lastly, I really liked that the FZ-400 transmitter has a flight battery charger built into it. This makes it easy for ‘grab-n-go’ flying on a perfect evening!

Assembly

The first item of business was to install the four included AA batteries in the transmitter, and charge the flight battery. The flight battery charger is built into the transmitter, and an LED on the face of the FZ-400 transmitter lets you know that it’s charging.

The horizontal stabilizer was set in place, followed by the vertical stabilizer. Due to the unique mounting bracket, there is almost no way to install these part incorrectly! Two small pieces of clear tape (The red arrows indicate placement) secure the tail pieces to the fuselage.  Don’t worry – the tape is included with the micro Calypso!

I snapped the pushrod ends into the outer ‘holes’ to make the micro Calypso fly more gently – the manual stated to start with the pushrods in this position. The wing was then attached – the plastic hook fit nicely into its slot, and the magnet clicked securely into place. with that, I connected the battery…
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And the battery was slid into the battery tray and secured by its Velcro strip. The micro Calypso was now ready to fly!

Photo Shoot

Flight Report

 

The maiden flight of the micro Calypso was a little different than my normal reviews. I had no cameras present – just me, the small plane, and a Fender guitar case. A friend of mine had ordered the case for my son. He has sent me a text message stating that it was in the back of his truck, and I should come get it. I live about a mile from him, so I went to get it. I walked out of my house, and the weather was perfect – a sunny, calm evening would be the backdrop for this new micro sailplane. After running back into the house to grab the Calypso and transmitter, I set both on the front seat of my KIA Soul and drove over to get the guitar case. At this point, I still didn’t know exactly where I was going to fly the micro sailplane, but I knew it HAD to be flown! A few blocks up the street from my friend’s house was a trio of soccer fields…

I parked my car and walked out onto the first soccer field. With the FZ-400 transmitter turned on, I connected the flight battery to the sailplane and secured it with the Velcro tab. With no wind present, I advanced the throttle and gave the micro Calypso a slight toss.  Away she flew, quickly and effortlessly gaining altitude! Granted, the 1S, brushed, geared motor setup will not allow for an unlimited climb out, but there’s more than enough power to get the Calypso in the air.

The only trim required was a few clicks of down elevator. The plane wanted to porpoise slightly out of the box, but this was fixed with the addition of trim.

At altitude (in this case about 50-80 feet), I shut down the motor and tested the glide capabilities – to my surprise, the micro Calypso flew very well without power. I was surprised how well the little sailplane penetrated the air because of its scant 1.9 ounce weight. I was really expecting to be on the sticks keeping it moving forward without changing direction. It did, in fact, fly like a much larger sailplane!

Aerobatics are a little bit limited due to the three channel design, but the micro Calypso can do a nice loop – both powered and not. A stall turn can also be done, as well as a funky looking barrel roll. But, the tiny sailplane is most at home simply gliding around looking for thermals. I liked that when the micro Calypso was flown through a thermal, the wings rocked – because of its small stature, the Calypso can be turned quickly and flown back into the thermal it had just found!

Like its larger siblings, the micro Calypso’s flight times are widely varied. In perfect weather, it will fly for what seems like forever. On a different night, I kept the tiny sailplane aloft for 30 minutes, powering up only a few times to regain altitude. On the maiden flight day, over a grassy field, it was hard to find a whole lot of upward lift. Even still, my flight time was close to 15 minutes on a single battery charge!

Since the maiden flight, I have brought the micro Calypso out several more times. Each time I fly it, I like it more – it’s a lot of fun that doesn’t take up a lot of space.  I love that it can fit in the front seat of my car, fully assembled, and is always ready for an impromptu flight!

Check out the flight video below!

Summary

It’s time to wrap up this review – if you’re looking for a sailplane that’s easy to assemble (NO glue required), looks nice, and flies well, the micro Calypso is the plane you need to get. It comes with or without a transmitter, and flies on the SLT protocol. Any Tactic transmitter will do nicely if you already have one. Or, like me, you can use a Hitec transmitter if it has the SLT protocol feature. With a Tx-R price under $70, and a RTF price sub-$90, you’re going to be able to fit this micro-sized sailplane into your budget, and you’ll be glad you did!

Contact Information

Flyzone

www.flyzoneplanes.com

Hitec

www.hitecrcd.com

Willmar Area Radio Control Club (WARC)

Facebook: WARC Home Page

 

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