Parkzone Stinson Reliant SR-10 PNP Review
I thought I would start a thread for the new Parkzone Stinson Reliant SR-10. I put a similar review over on RCG, but follow both sites, and look forward to a conversation here about the Stinson. While I have not yet maidened the Reliant, I can say that is a VERY nice looking bird, and expect it will fly quite well.
I pre-ordered my Stinson shortly after it was announced. It joins a Super Cub LP (with floats that I occasionally use), a T-28D, and a Night Vapor as part of a rapidly growing collection. I really liked the Stinson for its incredible scale looks, and because I like the experience of a tail dragger, but wanted a higher performance/capability option to the Super Cub. I also really liked the idea of being able to add the flaps as an “option” to the kit, requiring only the purchase of an additional servo (PKZ1090), and a servo lead extension (JSP98110).
For perspective, Ive been flying since May of this year, and have logged just under 200 flights between the three planes I have. I consider myself an intermediate flyer, and have started experimenting with slightly aggressive aerobatics with the T-28.
After seeing several videos of the Reliant in flight, I couldn’t resist. My expectations were that it would fly much like the T-28 (which I absolutely love flying), and would serve as a good high performance platform for in flight video. While I wanted it to be a capable aerobatic airframe, I didn’t expect it to be at the same level of the T-28.
Because I had an AR6200 and four 3S packs on hand (two Parkzone 1800maH, and two e-Flight 2100mah), I ordered the PNP version, as well as the accessory servo for the flaps.
Out of Box Experience
The Stinson is neatly and safely packed. The moment you slide the foam out of the box, the first thing you notice is that this is a BIG bird. The wingspan at 49.6” is wingspan is quite a bit larger than my T-28.
Mine had a few sample “defects”: The red paint on the wing is a little sloppy in a couple of places, with some overspray into the white areas, including the front edge of the left aileron. The wing color does not precisely match the red on the top of the fuselage, with the wing being a little deeper red. The right fairing was a bit discolored (yellowed) on the inboard side. None of these really have any effect, and I ignored them.
There should have been an addendum to the manual included with revised control throws. It was not included in my box. See below.
Assembly of the basics on this airplane was incredibly simple, and well thought out. However, with a PNP version, you have to think a little about the order of assembly, and jump around the manual a bit (for example installation of the receiver, and flaps). The manual pretty much assumes a BNF version, and that flaps would be installed sometime after the airplane assembly had been completed.
First in the assembly is the gear. It seems to be VERY tough, with three screws holding the gear assembly on each side. You need to pay attention to how the struts mate to the bottom of the airplane. After I had completed this step, I had to loosen one side and adjust it a bit to get it right.
The manual then goes to the installation of the wing – of course the receiver has to go in first.
I used an AR6200 as my receiver, and the installation was a breeze. There is a nice clip on the top of the battery box to hold the receiver. I mounted the satellite antenna on the side opposite from the ESC.
I also departed from the order of assembly here, and completed the flap installation. Flaps were much more of a trial and error affair. While the instructions were clear as far as they went, I wound up fiddling quite a bit with which hole to mount the pushrod, and getting the control horn correctly adjusted and on the correct spline.
In the end, I mounted the servo in the pocket, and then with the flaps in the “0” position, I attached the control horn on the spline. This worked fine. Note that I had everything plugged in/bound to do the final adjustments and testing on the flaps. I tested the flaps WITHOUT the wing mounted – if you do this, you MUST hold the flap servo down with a finger, or the servo just torques itself out of the pocket. When the wing is mounted, the servo is supported from underneath by the fuselage foam as well as whatever you use to mount it.
The manual also calls for an optional servo extension wire for the flaps. In my view, this is not optional. Completing the flap installation/adjustment would have been incredibly difficult and time consuming without it.
With the flaps installed/tested, the wing can then be mounted. This is a very straightforward, and secure mounting process. Parkzone has included two types of clips to hold the wing struts – a quick release cotter pin style, and a prettier “L” pins. For now, Im using the cotter pins to hold the wing struts, but once Im sure everything is adjusted correctly, I will convert to the more attractive “L” pins.
Trimming and Flight Preparation
I’m using a Spektrum DX6i transmitter with my Stinson. I had to reverse all three control surfaces to get them to move correctly (Aileron, Elevator and Rudder.
The manual provides specifications for control surface moment – this was the most significant oversight in my PNP kit. The specifications in the manual are wrong. I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to get the surfaces to move to the specification in the manual. Many thanks to V2rider on RCGROUPs who responded quickly with the correct throws which were included on a separate sheet of paper in his kit as an addendum to the manual.
They are :Low rates
[*]Aileron : 10mm up, 7mm down[*]Elevator : 10mm[*]Rudder : 17mm[/list]
[*]Aileron : 15mm up, 10mm down[*]Elevator : 15mm[*]Rudder : 22mm[/list]
[*]Half : 15mm[*]Full : 25mm[/list]
I have not yet figured out whether I can implement two flap positions with my DX6i. For now I have the throws set at half.
While I have not yet tested CG, it is to be 55-65mm back from the leading edge at the wing root +/- 6.4mm. Parkzone set this based upon an 1800maH battery in the center position in the battery compartment. This is what I will use for the maiden.
Taxi testing was uneventful. The Stinson tracked perfectly straight the first time. Giving it a little bump of power showed that it accelerates very quickly, and when letting off the power resulted in a tendency to turn right. Once kinda cool unexpected thing was that the servo lights provide a dim orange light in the cockpit. It looks VERY cool at night!
UPDATEAfter setting control throws to those listed above, I took the SR-10 back out to taxi test again. Got a little head of speed up, and suddenly it veered hard left. Turns out the bushing that holds the tail wheel in place had broken. HH has agreed to send me a new tail wheel assembly, but Ive attempted repair (epoxy) myself. Not sure it will hold, but worth a try to save the Maiden day.
The maiden flight was Tuesday evening September 28th. It was clear and calm. The "runway" (a road in an incomplete subdivision) is currently flanked by 18-24" high weeds. The battery (PZ 1800maH that came with my Trojan) was set in the center of the battery compartment, and the CG was 60mm back from the leading edge. I had flaps down (half, 15mm), and was on the low rates.
On the first take off attempt I veered left once I got to full throttle. The Stinson started to lift off, and unfortunately, caught a wingtip in the high weeds. The result was a bit of a bend in the gear, but no other damage.
After checking everything out (had to reseat the battery) the second take off attempt I over corrected, and veered right, and into the weeds (soft stop).
The third time is always the charm isnt it... Attempt #3 was straight down the runway with a beautiful scale liftoff to the east. With the late day light, the red on the wing was just spectacular looking as it climbed out. Once airborne, put the flaps up, and you can actually see it "jump forward" a bit. It was quite a bit nose heavy, so I had to put in 6-8 clicks of up trim to maintain altitude. Once trimmed, I switched it into high rates. This is one very handsome bird in flight. It handles wonderfully - while it is not as responsive as the T-28, it was almost exactly as I expected it would be. It loops well, majestic is the word that came to mind. The roll rate was fairly slow, and I lost quite a bit of altitude on an aileron roll to the right. That should improve once I can speed it up a little with the CG back a little more, and less (no) up trim.
I set up a couple of approaches just to see how it behaved in the pattern, and it is very mild mannered. Kicking in the flaps on final does result in a bit of float. I have not yet mixed in any down elevator with the flaps, but that should compensate for it. Landing was smooth as silk - with the flaps in it's slow and easy all the way to touchdown. With a little up elevator, the tail settled quickly, giving steering from the tail wheel.
PRE-Maiden rating – based upon the assembly, and quality out of the box, I would rated the Stinson 4 out of 5. While merely cosmetic, the paint inconsistencies are mildly annoying. The manual could have been organized a little more logically to consider the PNP model.
Now that I've maidened the SR-10, I would rate it at least a 4.5. Its a spectacular plane in flight, and well mannered in every way. I expect roll rate to improve with some CG adjustment. I love the flaps, a very nice touch from Parkzone. While my first two take off attempts (ahem... if I can call them that) were rough, I think its just a matter of getting used to how it behaves (it is quite different from the Super Cub). Thanks to the flaps, the Stinson was by far the easiest maiden flight landing Ive experienced.