Back in 2011, I had the pleasure of reviewing the original Flyzone Sensei. At the time, I was looking for an airplane to let my son fly. He loved that plane, and flew it for two seasons – every chance he could! As most pilots do, he outgrew the Sensei, and has since gone on to fly other airplanes. He still remembers the day I handed him the transmitter and plane and told him to have a good time, and it’s one of MY favorite memories of sharing this hobby with him. At the time, I also remember thinking that the Sensei was a really great trainer, and I wondered if there was any way it could have been better.
Four years later, I finally got an answer to my question, when the new Flyzone Sensei FS was released. What makes it different? One word – WISE. That’s the new flight stabilization module installed in every Sensei FS, and what will help all beginner pilots earn their wings.
- Three Axis Gyro and Three Accelerometers to Help Beginner Pilots
- Top Mounted Battery Hatch
- Assembles in Minutes
- Lightweight and Sturdy EPO Construction
- Bailout Button Recovery
- Preinstalled Drop Door
- Preinstalled STAR Plug
- None as Tested
Time Required to Build
Name: Flyzone Sensei FS
Price:Ready to Fly – $299.99 (Accurate at time of review)
Price:Receiver Ready – $199.99 (Accurate at time of review)
Stock Number: RTF – FLZA3030
Stock Number: RxR – FLZA3034
Wingspan: 58″ (1475 mm)
Length:48″ (1220 mm)
Weight: 3.24-3.5 lbs (1470-1590 g)
Radio Used:Tactic TTX650 2.4gHz
Receiver Used:Tactic TR825 2.4gHz
Battery Used:ElectriFly 3S 11.1V 2200mAh 30C LiPo
Channels Used: 6 total – Aileron, Elevator, Throttle, Rudder, Bomb Bay Door, and Flight Mode
Items Needed To Complete – Receiver Ready
- 3S 11.1 Volt 2000-2500mAh LiPo Battery
- LiPo Charger
- 6 Channel (minimum) Computer Radio System
- Phillips Screwdriver for Assembly
Items Needed To Complete – Ready to Fly
- Phillips Screwdriver for assembly
The Sensei FS arrived in a full color box, and was packaged neatly to avoid shipping damage. Most of the assembly work has been done at the factory, leaving very little left for the modeler to assemble. Even the greenest of beginner pilots will have the Sensei FS put together in a single night!
The fuselage came out of the box with the nose gear, motor and ESC (not shown), and the WISE flight stabilization module preinstalled. A STAR plug is already attached to the ESC’s power wires, making connection to T-Plug battery connectors a breeze!
The aileron servos are secured under protective covers, and the Center of Gravity (CG) location is marked as well. A lightweight, strong wing tube/mount adds rigidity to the wing, and keeps overall weight to a minimum. Even the elevator and rudder control horns are preinstalled!
Since the wheels are already attached to the main gear, installation should take no more than a minute, and the spinner is precut and ready to be installed with the propeller. The last image shows the COMPLETE hardware package that comes with the Sensei FS – three bolts and two screws is all that’s needed. And since no glue is needed for assembly, the Sensei FS should assemble quickly!
And I almost forgot to mention the drop door – AKA bomb bay. Because what trainer would be complete without a servo-actuated bomb bay? I loved this feature in the original Sensei, and I’m glad they kept it in this new version as well.
The manual is comprehensive and well thought out. It was such an easy read that even beginners with no previous experience will enjoy reading the manual and assembling the Sensei FS!
Some Minor Assembly
Assembly began by attaching the main landing gear to the fuselage. Two screws was all it took to keep the gear in place. With the Sensei FS now standing on its own, it was time to start installing the tail. The first item is to push the rudder control horn through the ‘loop’ in the elevator joiner wire, and fit the horizontal and vertical stabilizers together.
With the horizontal and vertical stabilizers together, I slid the tip of the vertical stabilizer into the hole in the tail end of the fuselage. The fin and stab were then pressed into place on top of the fuselage.
A single machine screw was inserted into the square hole on the bottom of the fuselage, and tightened. This one screw locked the tail in place. I attached the rudder pushrod to its respective control horn, and the pushrod connector was snapped in place to secure the pushrod.
Another pushrod connector was used to secure the elevator pushrod to the elevator control horn.
Moving on to the wing, I started by sliding the wing joiner into the right wing panel until it was fully seated to the wing.
The other wing panel was then slid onto the joiner, and I made sure that the aileron servo wires were in the correct position as the wing panels came together. I flipped the wing assembly over and got the plastic wing connector ready to be installed. Please note the angle of the wing connector in relation to the wing – it will only fit into the wing in one direction.
The wing connector was pressed into the top side of the wing until it sat flush with the wing, then it was set aside to work on installing the receiver. I installed the receiver using a small piece of double-sided tape, and attached both antennas to the inside of the fuselage. The antennas should be placed perpendicular to each other, and at least four inches apart. I then connected the two aileron servo wires to the extension from the WISE flight stabilization module.
For this review, I am using the new Tactic TR 825 8-Channel dual antenna receiver. I am also using an Electrifly 11.1V 3S 2200mAh 30C LiPo battery to power the Sensei FS. Both of these items are available from your local hobby shop, as well as online retailers such as towerhobbies.com
With the receiver secured, it was time to link my TTX650 to the receiver, and setup the programming in the transmitter to operate the WISE flight stabilization module. I did this before installing the wing, because there are LED lights on the WISE that identify the different flight modes – It’s nearly impossible to see these lights with the wing installed.
The manual had instructions for programming the TTX650, so set up was straight forward – I followed the instructions, and everything looked like it was going to work easily. That was, until I tried to operate the three flight modes. It was at that point I determined something was not working correctly. After reprogramming my transmitter three times, and the beginner and advanced flight modes not operating correctly three times, I sent an email to Hobbico’s tech support. While I was waiting for a response, I linked a different transmitter (my older Tactic TTX600) to the Sensei, and I was able to get all three flight modes operating on the older transmitter. On the TTX600, channel 6 is on a rotating knob, so the flight modes changed depending on the rotation of the knob. As I was turning the knob, I noticed that the beginner and advanced flight modes operated before reaching the rotating limit of the knob. Armed with this information, I re-linked the TTX650 to the Sensei’s receiver and started adjusting the travel limits for channel 6.
As it turned out, I had to adjust the travel limits on my TTX650 to +95% instead of the recommended +100% in the manual. With this change, all three flight modes operated correctly – problem solved!
So now that the transmitter, WISE module and receiver were all working in unison, I secured the wing using a pair of nylon bolts. Next came the propeller adapter, which just slid onto the motor shaft.
The spinner back plate, propeller, prop washer, and nut were installed next, followed by the spinner.
With that, assembly was complete, and the Sensei was ready to head to the field!
Just a few days after completing assembly, I met my buddy, Jim Buzzeo, at our flying field. We agreed that it was a great day to test out the WISE flight stabilization system, because the winds were blowing between 10 and 15 MPH all afternoon. We thought that if the system worked in the wind, it would work for any one at nearly any time!
I slid the 3S 2200mAh LiPo battery into the nose of the plane and secured the hatch. With that, the Sensei FS was ready to Fly. We decided to fly the maiden flight in the advanced mode – that way we had a standard to which we could compare the other two flight modes.
I advanced the throttle and the Sensei FS took off in just a few feet, due in part to the wind speeds. The plane didn’t seem to notice the wind much at all, owing to the WISE system making minor corrections even in advanced mode. Flying around in the wind had never seemed so easy before! After a short flight of about three minutes, I decided to land the Sensei. Just as the plane was about to touch down, a wind gust caught the plane and lifted the Sensei FS about three feet back into the air. At that point, the wind died suddenly, and the Sensei FS dropped to the ground. This was NOT my best landing ever! A quick once-over cleared the plane for flight number two.
This time, I set the flight mode switch to the intermediate setting. As the plane was rolling down the runway, another gust caught the tail and lifted into the air – the WISE system immediately went to action, added up elevator, and saved the takeoff – I was really impressed by the responsiveness of the module! One other thing to note with the intermediate setting is that up elevator is automatically added as the throttle is pushed toward full. The end result is nearly hands-off takeoffs! As the throttle is pulled back, the elevator is relaxed as well. The wind didn’t bother the Sensei much in this setting either, and it was easy to focus on directing the plane rather than reacting to the wind. I noticed that there was definitely less control authority in this mode, as the plane would not bank past about 90 degrees of roll rotation. Another three minutes in the air, and I brought the Sensei in to land again, and it couldn’t have been easier – the WISE system takes all the worry out of landing, as the plane nearly landed itself!
With the switch set to beginner’s mode, I took off one more time. Again, the WISE system took control of the elevator as throttle was applied, and the plane simply took off. I felt rather constrained in this mode, as the Sensei FS would only roll about 30 to 40 degrees either way. Now, for a beginner, that’s definitely a good thing! The flight stabilization kept the plane under control in the wind, again, allowing me to direct the plane, rather than make corrections. Three more minutes in the air and it was time to let the Sensei FS land itself once again – I hesitate to say that, but it really does land itself. The WISE system kept the plane coming down smoothly, and it set down easily on the fabric runway.
With that, the first battery was getting low, so I swapped it for a fresh one, and put the plane back in the air. This time, I tried the ‘bailout’ button, which was the trainer switch of my TTX650. You know what? It’s exactly that! No matter what direction or angle I put the Sensei FS into, it came back to straight and level flight with the press of a button! Knowing that you have the bailout button is one thing, but knowing that it WORKS is even better!
I really like the new Flyzone Sensei FS. It went together in about an hour, it flew very well in all three of the WISE flight stabilization modes, and it looks great! Even though my son’s skill level has surpassed that of the Sensei FS, I caught him looking fondly at it – I’m pretty sure he’s going to want to fly it – y’know, for old time’s sake. Thanks to Flyzone and Hobbico, you’ll be able to have these memories with your own kids! That’s all for now – thanks for reading.
P.O Box 9021
Champaign, IL 61826-9021
P.O Box 9021
Champaign, IL 61826-9021