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ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

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Old 06-29-2006, 08:26 AM
  #251
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

Maybe this isn't a "Super Dec" question only, but we kids bought our father a Super Decathlon for his One Millionth birthday... I'll report on that below, but have a question regarding the PZ transmitter: ours has a small button on the upper left hand side of the radio, jsut above the throttle slider. What is this? I cannot find any reference to it in the PZ materials.

This thread has been very useful and exciting. Thanks to all posting in it!

Our first flight didn't go so well: my Dad was nervous about crashing the rig, so he had me at the controls for the first, hand launched, run. The Super Dec flew away smoothly, until I decided to bring her around to the right. I used right rudder with a little elevator, and she dipped her right wing pretty hard. After an over-correction, and then another, I tumbled the plane into the ground after ten seconds fo flight. There was minimal damage from the grass baseball field, but we were unable to find one of the tiny, red rubber band retainer caps from the wing bar whatsits for quite a while. Since we had a LOT more battery left, there was time for another flight...but I wasn't gonna do it!

Our second flight was my Dad's first with a multi-channel RC plane. We've both flown Air Hogs one-channel ducted fan planes (in fact we took a break and flew one after my crash with the ParkZone) and my Dad avidly built and flew U-control planes in the 1940's. So, by all rights, and having read here the day before, we were both wondering what we'd do to the Super Dec. The hand launch was easy and my Dad took her straight out much further and to higher altitude than I had, before flying the plane for a full-charge run in various flat-8 patterns, experimenting with throttle effect and speed for turns. The plane flies great! My Dad decided not to mess with elevator trim, so he used the throttle to climb and the rudder to turn, treating her like a 2-channel plane and "Gassing out" of any altitude loss. He flew for about 12 minutes, mostly at full throttle and then had to glide-in after the auto-cutoff at about 100' up. He reported it glides nicely and it came in for a decent landing on the grass, albeit on its nose.

After we got home, I installed the jumper in the receiver to activate the "flight trak" servo mixing that gives a little elevator when the rudder is used. That seems like a good idea, and gives rise to my second question: what do you more experienced PZ fliers think about the utility of the "flight trak" feature?
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Old 06-29-2006, 09:57 AM
  #252
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

The "little button" on top of the tx is for controlling the sonic combat module.
Which the "D" doesn't use. It's used on the Stryker and Mustang, same tx for all of them.
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Old 06-29-2006, 02:27 PM
  #253
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review


Thanks! One less mystery to deal with.

What do you think about the rudder/elevator mixing option in the ESC/Rx?
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Old 06-29-2006, 02:33 PM
  #254
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

The mixing is great for beginners, to help keep the nose up in turns.
Switch it off when you get comfortable, and you'll be able to do a lot more.
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Old 06-30-2006, 09:31 PM
  #255
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

hey guys im running the GWS 10/4.7 prop and it flys great with stock motor and battery pack.
the only thing is i cant get it to do loops anymore [] i dont know why?
any sugestions??
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Old 07-01-2006, 07:29 AM
  #256
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

You increased thrust and decreased speed with the prop.

Have you tried doing a dive into a loop? Might be the only way it will do it with that prop.

There is a new high performance prop from Horizon for the Cub, should work well on the "D"
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Old 07-02-2006, 10:10 PM
  #257
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

hey thanks glacier girl!!
would maybe one of the smaller GWS s/f props do the job of increased thrust and also give me more speed??

any help will be appreciated
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Old 07-03-2006, 05:56 AM
  #258
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

Go with a 9x6 GWS and you will see a lot of difference. Buy a couple of them as the break very easily.
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Old 07-04-2006, 08:42 PM
  #259
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

ok thanks again!! i'll put an order in now
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Old 07-04-2006, 08:43 PM
  #260
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

oh and do you think it will loop easier with the 9x7? i get a little bored just doing figure 8's all the time lol
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Old 07-05-2006, 07:45 AM
  #261
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

Forget the GWS props and get the PZ High Pitch prop. Its specifically designed for the Decathlon. Its stronger than the GWS props, doesn't flex like the GWS, and gives better performance to the plane.
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Old 07-05-2006, 01:33 PM
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review


We've got some more time on our Super Dec now, and I figure that some ongoing reportage may be useful for other rank beginners like use. I know this thread has been a great resource for us!

--After a hard nose-in, we swapped on an orange, GWS 9x7 prop that I read about in this thread. We're still on the stock motor and batteries, although there's a Venom in the mail to me. The GWS prop is great! The plane climbs much more powerfully and really flies great at the half-throttle detent on the throttle slider. This is a great little upgrade. However, the GWS prop has nut sockets on both sides of the prop, so the outboard side is only really truly secured by thin washers over the "pocket" for a nut that's not there.

--We've been getting a little tearing of the fuselage from the landing gear and from the plastic rubber-badn retainer bars for the main wing. I glued up the fuselage with some foam-friendly CA glue, and cut two pieces of styrofoam out of the PZ box to reinforce the cab of the fuselage. First, I cut a small piece to insert in the enlarged holes at the front of the plane, and glued that in place. Next, I cut a finger-thick block that I glued in, transversly, across the top of the windshield, to support and contain that crossbar from moving further on the next hard landing. It's helf up great!

--The motor died. Ah, but it didn't: the ParkZone assembler got a bad solder joint and it popped off the motor tab on a landing that impacted the prop. The prop was fine, but the motor didn't do anything...easy to diagnose and a quick fix.

--The coloring, and particularly the design of the underwing are great for this plane! She's easy to see and follow, even at a distance. We love those stripes under the wing!

--I replaced the short, fat, shrouded landing gear wheels with some larger, narrower, ultralite Dubros that roll great and give a little more ground clearance for the prop...which we appreciate when trying an ROG. I had to drill/ream out the Dubros to fit the stock axle and to shim them for width using some copper tubing left over from an A/C project. The thing we're finding is that the nice wider stance I created exacerbates the flexible nature of the landing gear and its' just a bummer. Combined with the boingy effect and the damage to the fuselage from the knife-edged spars, we've taken to flying without the gear and belly sliding the plane on grass after gliding in after the battery cuts out.

--The black plastic firewall isn't glued or secured to the fuselage, except by the same screws that mount the gearbox. I changed that with some glue after fighting to find the holes.

--The plastic cowling shatters on some impacts. [8D] It repairs quickly with some CA glue, though...

--After the battery cutoff, the Super Dec glides in just beautifully. This has been a very fun plane to fly and we can't wait to get a hotter motor into it.
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Old 07-11-2006, 01:04 PM
  #263
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

OK, you've all convinced me, even the negative comments that many overcame with this bird. I placed my order for the Super Decathlon and it's somewhere on that brown truck and I can't wait until it arrives!

Great info on this thread - thanks to all!

Aeromite
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Old 07-30-2006, 05:48 AM
  #264
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

hello, from the UK

Just had our 1st few flights, wind a bit too strong to be ideal but since had some past experince with RC ( glow and electric) decided to risk it.
I'm sure on a calmer day it'll be really nice,

1st couple of flight very good, bit jumpy cause of the wind. slightly heavy landing on one of the caused minor damage to the fuse allowing one side of the wing peg to move up a 1/4" or so, not sure is that was cause but on next couple flights was unable to turn left and had to quickly abandon them

Any ideas what the best/safest glues to use are, outside the fuse has that red covering to strengthen the foam, is that sensitive to type of glue ?, don't want to melt it or the foam which some glues tend to do

Also any idea how you pull the RX out, I can't see any clips and seems quite firm don't want to pull to hard
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Old 07-30-2006, 06:25 AM
  #265
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

Regarding only flying right as per my post above
Actually now I have a closer look I see the prop shaft is point slight to the right (looking from above) , but taking the cowl off it looks like that is part of the design of eth engine gearbox mounting.

Can someone clarify should the shaft be dead straight to the front or not - I seem to remember there should be some angle due to engine torque or similar ?
but it looks a bit too much to me but of course I can't remember seeing that when we 1st had it
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Old 07-30-2006, 12:42 PM
  #266
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

Bob,

The receiver does just pull straight out, and then pops back in the same way.

You're right: the prop shaft is intended to angle down and to the right...lift and compensation for prop torque. The angle is built-in to the way the gearbox mounts on the black, plastic firewall.
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Old 08-01-2006, 08:26 AM
  #267
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

Bob,

Very carefully inspect the area of the rudder where the control horn is attached. If there is even the slightest crease or other sign of damage, you must reinforce this area. What typically happens is that the control horn moves in both directions as a result of your steering input, but the rudder only moves in one direction, while in the other direction the rudder flexes at the crease, remaining straight while the control horn moves. The result is that when you are flying, the plane will only steer in one direction. I used a 1/4"x1/4"x 1" plastic angle and epoxied it to the rudder directly above the control horn. You can also use a piece of a popsticle stick, or anything else that will stiffen the area. Just make sure that the repair doesn't interfere with the operation of the elevator.
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Old 08-01-2006, 06:10 PM
  #268
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

Thanks, I will check that rudder strength too
There is a small crease in the area of the control horn, rudder seems to move ok now, but with the airflow that may well be different
looking forward to the wind dropping here so we can fly again, athough not as much as my son who it was bought for but still hasn't had any stick time on it yet - I keep telling him I'm still 'trimming' it
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Old 08-09-2006, 02:10 PM
  #269
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

My 1st posting & new to the hobby. The SD is my 1st plane. Found that hand launching was easy for this model but about 30 sec into the flight, it fell off on one wing to the right, and no matter what I did (full throttle, left rudder) it would not recover. Crashed into a ball field backstop crushing the cowl, dinged the prop, and other small stuff. Just ordered the repair parts. Been reading the thread and now wish I had "discovered" it before I attempted the first flight. Might have been able to avoid the crash. Based on postings here and on other threads, I probably caused a stall due to slow speed (I think I was only at about 1/2 to 3/4 throttle and started a turn) resulting in the crash.

While I'm waiting on the repair parts, I got an Air Hog Air Aces Jet to pass the time. I learned a few things with it already, such as it's a good tool to teach beginners like me aircraft orientation. Found that it personally helped me to realize that if I turned my body in relation to the facing of the a/c, I'm better oriented for proper control.

Looking forward to getting back into the air with the SD. Based on postings here, I plan on removing the landing gear prior to the next flight.
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Old 08-12-2006, 07:50 AM
  #270
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

The SD is my third plane, with an Aerobird Challenger and PZ P-51D proceeding her.

I'm just gonna say it; I don't like this plane. At all.

On her first flight I couldn't trim her out. Managed to flop her into the field with no damage and I reseated the wing, as I thought it might be out of alignment. I guess I was right, because the next four fights were slightly better. Not good; better. See, I had to constantly dial in full right trim to keep the plan relatively steady. After every recovery I'd inspect the rudder and elevator, looking for some indication of warping or cracking. Nothing. Even the wing seemed fine.

Weird.

And that's how it was. She'd climb out, seem to be working fine, and then "BAM!" she'd demonstrate this weird roll-moment that, if I was at high enough altitude to address, I'd spend most of my time recovering from. This isn't a high-wing, high angle-of-attack, low airspeed stall either; it's just this "tuck-and-roll" thing that I've never seen before.

After a week of this I finally said "Okay, this is a lemon," and tried to exchange it at the local corporate HS for another SD. Though they kept it overnight, the finally called and said "Naw, not our problem. You call parkzone yourself..." and handed it back.

Wonderful. Remind me again why I didn't just buy this online?

Landing, too, was a pain. After one flight where the winds picked up, I "hover approached" her to a touchdown on the basketball court where I was standing. (The court is next to three soccer fields, so it's really a great spot.) I plopped her down, nice as you please, she rolled a bit, and, with a whisper-gentle "bump" into the grass next to the court, she twisted her landing gear and put two cracks into the fuselage.

Huh? A cartwheel down a grass field is fine, but a love-tap to the front of the gear cracks the fuselage? What the heck. man?

Okay, so some tape, music wire, and snips later, I'd added rear struts to the wheels. (Even removed the wheel pants, as I thought it looked better.) I added a micro tail wheel while I was at it. I was determined not to give up on this plane.

Then, as I was packing for her next flight, my daughter fell on the wing. Okay, fine. Accidents happen. A long jaunt to the LHS later, and I'd got a new one. But now I was wondering if the bird was just cursed.

Last night, after a couple of successful flights of the ABC and one gorgeous trip with the P-51D, I decided to take the SD up for a ride. Weather was ideal. My son hand launched her and up she went. We both started laughing because, hey, she was actually flying...

...and then she tucked, rolled, pitched hard, and her battery cover flew off and the battery itsel ejected off like a Federation starship shedding its warp core. A few seconds of cartwheeling down the grass later was all that was left.

Outwardly she was fine, save a bent prop (easy replacement), a missing rubber-band holder (just as easy), a snapped rubber band, (crud, don't have one on hand) and a batter cover that just vanished. Oh, and the new wing? No creases, but some crumpling on the right tip. Ironically enough, my landing gear mods were just fine after the excitement.

I'm at my wits end. This plane just won't trim out. Maybe it's a bad servo (even though static tests don't show anything wrong). Maybe it's a bad receiver (though range tests indicate that she's fine). Maybe the fuselage is just bent enough to cause the wing to sit at just an odd enough angle as to cause this weird in-flight behavior. Whatever it is, I now have a hangar queen in my collection, and that annoys me. Add in that she's always been underpowered, and I have to say that I'm just not happy with this plane at all.

I'm calling PZ to see if there is anything that they can do for me with this bird. Like I said, I'm at wit's end.

Frustrated,

Avindair
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Old 08-22-2006, 09:32 PM
  #271
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

Hey guys,

What will happen if i put a electrifly c-7 with the stock motor in my decathlon. From what i read in the begining of this thread the stock motor only has a draw of 7a. But the manual of the c-7 speed control says it's for 280 size motor.....Will i burn my speed control if i put it in?

Thanks guys , I'm new to this....
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Old 08-30-2006, 07:50 AM
  #272
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

I recently bought the PZ Decathlon, as well. It is my first RC plane, although I have some experience with RC cars and superb hand/eye coordination. The first flight, after carefully trimming the plane and painstakingly ensuring everything was just right, was nearly flawless (knock on wood). i even landed on the wheels. it was almost too good to be true (beginner's luck?).

the second flight was not so good. about a minute into the flight, i was flying straight when the plane pitched up and then violently down into a spiral. it crashed directly on its nose and many things broke. the fuselage was crumpled in the front, the cowling was cracked, the struts broke, one of the servos quit working, the battery door broke, the prop shattered, and the yellow motor bracket was cracked. all in all it was in bad shape.

i made the necessary repairs with parts from hobbyzone. unfortunately, the plane did not fly correctly at all after the repairs - not even close. it immediately crashed and was totally uncontrollable.

at this point, it seems fruitless to spend more $$ on this plane. i could almost buy another one or an easier plane, for the cost of getting this one airworthy again. i suspect RC plane builders are sort of like hewlett packards printer/toner business - HP sells the printers for a loss, but they eat your wallet alive with toner catridges.

i have now bought the PZ Super Cub and vow that this will be the last RC plane i buy if it does not work out. it is marketed as a Zone 1 (beginner) plane with the ACT system. we'll see.....
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Old 08-30-2006, 12:06 PM
  #273
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

Matt,
The SuperCub is a great selection. Just turn off the ACT. In some instances it will actually fight you for control of the plane. You will do much better without it.

Sorry about your experience with the Decathlon. It needs some basic modifications to make it fly well, but its not a beginner's plane. ParkZone indicates that its an intermediate plane and is not suited for people who have had little or no flying experience. Enjoy the SuperCub. Let us know of your progress.
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Old 08-31-2006, 02:11 PM
  #274
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

I made similar comments about the J3-Cub and some found them harsh.

In my opinion, anybody who's buying those airplanes is loosing his money. I wish someone had teached me when I started this hobby two years ago.

-They are extremely weak products, the technology is proprietary so you are very limited in the choice of radios and servos.

-You need to replace the stock engine with Venon motor, upgrade to lipos, etc.

-You need to fly in almost no wind, a very rare condition

-Landing gears are so fragile, there's no way you can make repeated landings without breaking or craking them - you may actually make more harm to the plane by picking it up too roughly or putting it your car!


Why not spending a little more - you will spend anyway in this hobby -, buy a good radio and lipos, then get a solid 400 size kit made in balsa (World Model has started to offer superb 400 size warbird like the mustang voodoo - see my thread) or products like the wonderful P47 400 size from Eflight. There are so many great products out there.

Good luck and enjoy the hobby!


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Old 09-06-2006, 09:36 PM
  #275
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Default RE: ParkZone Super Decathlon Review

Ok just a quick question here. Just put in the fireball 370,3/16 Mpi Collet Prop adapter, APC 8x6 prop. It was late this evening before the soccer kids went home (bummer when school started lost all my fun fields) and I should of packed up the kids and plane and went home. Nope did the dumb thing in minimal light and went for a toss with my sd. It climbed wicked and then it all went south quick. Yea crash going to the rc store on the way home tomorrow. I wanted to know did anyone mod the position of the motor casing? Since it kinda sticks more downward with the above mods. But I'm talking about the propshaft, if you used stock setup the prop was pretty snug to the plane. With the mods mentioned above the prop sticks wayy out infront. Is that a huge deal or not. Wow Glacier Girl your everywhere. (still waiting for the parts for the slo v)

Bill in Denver
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