PC-21 parts come well protected in the box and sealed in bags. The single
piece wing has the ailerons, retracts, servos, and linkages all pre-installed.
of my pilots was DOA inside the canopy. They appear to be held in place
with double-sided tape. The 5 prop blades have all the scale markings
on them. Also included is a custom spinner and two exhaust outlets with
16-page manual is full of clear color photos and excellent instruction
steps. Hobby Lobby may have helped in the manual creation as their logo
is on the back cover along with Escale. The manual is also on-line at
Hobby Lobby here.
closer look at the fuselage reveals the high amount of pre-assembly
on the Pilatus PC-21. The steerable retractable nose wheel has already
been installed with doors.
brushless outrunner motor and 50-amp ESC have been installed with a
build-in cooling system. The elevator and rudder servos and control
cables are also pre-installed.
first step of the assembly for me was to fix my pilot. By cutting a
square piece away from the black plastic flooring, I was able to reposition
the pilot. Once in place, I glued the pilot bottom to the square opening
with some epoxy.
normal first step of the assembly is to install the stabilizers. Although
double-sided tape strips are supplied, I supplemented the installation
with 5-minute epoxy.
you need to do once the glue dries is to attach the clevis to the control
horn. I used my own rubber keepers for added security.
wing assembly is installed next using the supplied 3 long metal screws.
I installed a Spektrum AR6110 receiver and taped some of the control
lines out of the way.
battery bay was minimal so I reinforced the existing hook and loop material
with some epoxy and decided to make some upgrades.
be test flying the Pilatus PC-21 using a 4-cell Blue Lipo 30C 2200mAh
pack. To improve the battery bay, I added and additional piece of Velcro
to the aft bottom of the bay to help hold the pack. I also added a strap
to hold the back of the pack and used some foam wedges to keep the pack
from rocking in place. These improvements should hold the pack secure
while performing aerobatics.
last few pieces of assembly are a scale antenna and ventral fin for
the bottom side of the fuselage. I used a little 5-minute epoxy on both
pieces in addition to the double-side tape already on the ventral fin.
the 5-bladed prop and exhaust pipes are installed. I had no issues with
the exhaust pipes but be aware that the offset in them, as well as the
cowl, is truly scale. The propeller assembly was without issue and the
manual does a good job explaining the assembly with photos and a drawing.
I needed to trim one of the back sections of the spinner to keep it
from rubbing on the fuselage.
hand spinning the prop, it seemed ok with little to no wobble on the
spinner tip. Although I was a bit skeptical that the prop would work
well when I fired up the motor, mostly because I didn't even try to
balance it, I was very happy with the performance! It had very little
vibration and the thrust could hold the weight of the plane in the air
at 1/2 throttle when using a 4-cell 2200mAh pack.
Flying / Summary
Pilatus PC-21 was ready to fly at under 3lbs using the 4-cell
2200mAh pack. The balance was about perfect (maybe a little
nose heavy) with the 4s pack so you may need to add some tail
weight if you decide to use a 3-cell pack since the pack resides
behind the CG.
Pilatus weighed 44.8oz (2.8lbs) and had 104w/lb on the 3-cell
pack. On the 4-cell pack, it weighed 46.9oz (2.9lbs) and had
a whooping 193w/lb! Jet power for a jet trainer!
Pilatus PC-21 flew beautifully on its maiden voyage off pavement
using the 4s 2200mAh pack. It not only has plenty of power, it
has plenty of speed! We flew for about 5 minutes which only took
50% of the pack capacity.
Video (10 meg)
did, however, have a few issues with the weak plastic wheels.
One of them locked up when doing a taxi test and the other fell
of just as we returned to the pit area. I feel that this is a
weak area in the design and will replace the stock wheels with
issue is that the finish remains a bit sticky but I have not had
any problems with paint loss. Perhaps a clear gloss spray paint
might help here or some 30-minute finishing epoxy. Overall, the
Pilatus PC-21 is a uniquely scale model that flies as good as
it looks. It is highly integrated but requires some minor modifications
in the battery bay and wheels. I would only recommend this model
for intermediate to advanced pilots as the speed is too high for
white lines in the flap grooves are fresh white glue (that dries
clear). I decided that since I am not installing flaps, I would
strengthen that area of the wing.
stock wheels on the left used plastic hubs that fit tight on the
axle and allowed the outer wheel to spin around it for a scale
wheel hub. Unfortunately, the plastic was soft and the wheels
would lock up from little use.
I would prefer a rubber wheel replacement so I will look for a
suitable candidate. There isn't much axle to put wider wheels
on so they must be relatively thin but sturdy enough to handle
the 3lb flying weight on pavement.
had some thin electric foam wheels on hand that allowed me to
get the Pilatus operational again for the short term. I used the
stock metal retainers to hold them onto the axle. At the time
of this review, Hobby Lobby was working with Escale to correct
this issue and several others. They expect the upgraded version
to be available soon.
Lobby International, Inc
5614 Franklin Pike Circle
Brentwood, TN 37027
Phone: (866) 512-1444