RCU Review: FlyZone Diablo EDF Jet Trainer RTF

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    Contributed by: Mike Buzzeo | Published: June 2008 | Views: 71144 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of the Hobbico Flyzone Diablo EDF Jet Trainer RTF
    Mike Buzzeo

    Email Me


    Distributed by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021

    Window Media Player
    Flyzone Diablo EDF Jet Trainer

    • Fast, Easy Assembly
    • Sturdy, lightweight Construction
    • Excellent Flight Characteristics

    • None

    We see it in the forums all the time: "What should I get first? I want something that is easy for a beginner, but not something I will grow out of right away". Sound familiar?

    Several manufacturers are really listening out there and a few of the newer items on the market are really making a serious attempt to target this need. And FlyZone's latest offering is doing exactly that.

    The new "Diablo" is a ducted fan trainer that starts out as a Ready-To-Fly 3-channel, single-engine trainer that can easily be updated to a faster, more aerobatic 4-channel plane with the addition of the optional dual-fan power pod and shorter wings (Complete with ailerons and servos).

    Aside from being one of the simplest planes to assemble, the Diablo also features the new Aerocell foam construction. I first encountered this new material while I was reviewing the Great Planes Synapse. I was very impressed with the Aerocell foam, but it wasn't until I had bashed the Synapse around a bit that I really came to appreciate just how durable it is. And you can fix it with CA!

    Aerocell Foam

    On top of all this, the Diablo comes with a pre-installed 4-channel Tactic Radio. My first impression was, "Ugh - a toy radio", but I was very pleased to see that the Tactic features a trainer switch and uses the new square Futaba trainer cord. On the darker side, while the Diablo comes with a LiPo battery, balanced charger (AC or DC), ESC, receiver, servos and switch, the transmitter requires 8 "AA" Cell batteries. But another good note is that there is a special rechargeable transmitter battery pack available separately.

    Name: Flyzone Diablo EDF Jet Trainer RTF

    Price: $179.97

    Wingspan: 40.25" (1020mm)

    Wing Area: 320 sq in (20.6 sq dm)

    Length: 39" (995mm)

    Items Needed To Complete

    • Eight "AA" Batteries

    The Diablo is packaged in an attractive box that provides ample protection for all of its contents. Inside, all of the components are individually wrapped, or stored in closed compartments.

    It sports an authentic-looking Navy color scheme with yellow wingtips for good visibility, and I really like the easily-adjustable control horns.

    With the exception of batteries for the transmitter, literally everything is included - there is even a balanced charger for the LiPo pack.

    There are also two optional upgrades available for the Diablo: An Advanced Wing which comes complete with aileron servos and a Dual Power Pod. Each are sold separately.

    As for the transmitter, it requires 8 "AA" cell batteries, but I highly recommend the use of rechargeable batteries, or better yet, you can purchase a Futaba NT8LP battery pack which will fit the Tactic transmitter perfectly.

    The servos, ESC and receiver are preinstalled. An interesting note here is that the rudder servo is plugged into the aileron channel. This is standard procedure for a 3-channel setup, so that you learn to turn with your right hand, which is the standard "Mode-2" setup. If you decide to move up to the optional Advanced Wing, you unplug the rudder servo, and plug it into the rudder output (Channel 4), then plug the two aileron servos into channels 1 and 6 on the receiver and you're ready to go.

    The Diablo also comes with a single ducted fan motor and a decal sheet so you can customize your design.


    The manual is well written and contains many clear pictures. In fact, the Diablo goes together so easily that the manual is almost overkill..

    The first step in assembling the Diablo is to install the power pod. This is done by inserting the tabs on the pod into the slots on both sides of the fuse and then sliding it back into position. Once it is in place, a plastic locking pin is inserted in the topside to keep the pod from moving forward.

    Now the two wires from the brushed motor can be plugged into the ESC.

    Next, the wing tube is installed through the fuselage and the wings slide onto the tube where two rare-earth magnets hold them in place.

    Finally, the removable nose cone is slipped onto the front where it too is held in place with a magnet. That's it! Charge the battery and you're ready to fly!

    My first time out with the Diablo, I used the original factory setup on the control surfaces and found them to be adequate. The engine pod gives you a good handle for launching. You can hold it between your thumb and 3 fingers, and place your index finger on the back of the pod for good forward thrust. Although truthfully, a lot of thrust is not needed, just a gentle push and she's airborne.

    Once in the air, the Diablo is very stable and responds well to control inputs without being over-sensitive. All in all, it's a very good flier. The fact that it uses a rudder to turn, as opposed to ailerons, has a beneficial effect for the beginner: Many beginners can be confused by the way ailerons control the roll axis as opposed to "turning" the plane. I have seen several beginners get into trouble by trying to turn their plane and rolling it inverted instead. In fact, I believe this is the single most common reason for "first crashes".

    By learning with rudder first, the beginner has a better chance of success his first time out. This is not to say that flying the Diablo (or any model airplane) should be attempted without proper instruction, but we all know that some people either can't find an instructor, or refuse to believe that they need one and will attempt to fly on their own. So all I'm saying is, if you DON'T have an instructor, you'll have better success with a stable, 3-channel plane like the Diablo.

    Also, the durable Aerocell foam will take some punishment if you DO have a mishap, and, unlike most foam planes, Aerocell foam can be repaired with CA glue as well as epoxy.

    Something else worth noting is the fact that the Diablo comes setup with the rudder servo plugged into the aileron channel. This is something else I highly recommend when learning to fly with rudder because it trains the beginner to use his right hand for turning. While it's true that when he moves up to a 4-channel plane he'll have to start taxiing with his left hand, that's much safer to learn since the plane is still on the ground at the time.

    After landing, I moved the pushrods one hole out on the servo arms for a little more control and found that better for my liking.

    Check out the video to see her in action!

    Flyzone Diablo
    EDF Jet Trainer
    Video (7.3meg)

    Flyzone Diablo
    EDF Jet Trainer
    Deluxe Video (15.9meg)

    To date, I have had about 8 flights on the Diablo and I am very pleased with its performance. It is as stable as a typical 2-meter powered glider but it has that sweet jet-like look to it.

    The Diablo is a great way to get started. It comes with everything you need, except the eight "AA" batteries and it's buddy-box capable. It's graceful enough that a beginner could even fly it on his own in the event that an instructor was not available - although this is still not advised.

    All in all, the Diablo is a very enjoyable, easy-to-fly- airplane!

    Distributed by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Website: www.flyzoneplanes.com

    Distributed by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021; Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Website: www.electrifly.com

    Futaba Corporation of America
    Distributed by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021; Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Website: www.futaba-rc.com

    Comments on RCU Review: FlyZone Diablo EDF Jet Trainer RTF

    Posted by: poot77 on 06/23/2008
    Great review Mike!
    Posted by: FirebirdCdr2 on 08/03/2008
    I have been looking for a plane to buy my best friend for his birthday. I think i will get this one for him.
    Posted by: dancolestock on 12/30/2008
    As an RC newbie, I like the basic concept of a rugged foam trainer that can be upgraded as flying skills develop. I was also impressed by the quality of the battery and ac/dc charger. However, the first three flight attempts all ended in disappointing low-speed stalls. The standard single-engine Diablo seems very underpowered. FlyZone should upgrade their power pods from inexpensive brushed motor(s) to their more efficient and powerful brushless AMMO motor(s), and include a matching brushless ESC with enough capacity to handle either a single or dual motor power pod without having to upgrade. I also wish the kit had included the dual power pod (HCAA3440) and the advanced aileron-equipped wing set (HCAA3441). I would gladly give up the RX/TX set for these improvements (I bought a Spektrum DX7). One final note: Hanging the power pods below the jet body helps stable flight but makes landings a challenge, particularly without landing gear. Optional front skid(s) could help reduce the amount of grass/dirt that gets scooped and ingested by the ducted fan(s) during landings. In hindsight, I think I would recommend their Synapse EDF ARF - with its more powerful brushless motor and lighter, single-piece design - over the current version of the Diablo.
    Posted by: firefish on 03/20/2009

    Page: 1
    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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