RCU Review: ParkZone Spitfire Mk IX BNF

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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: December 2011 | Views: 55480 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    ParkZone Spitfire Mk IX BNF

    Review by: Greg Covey
    Flying Photos: "Papa Jeff" Ring
    Video Pilot: Billy Stauber

    Distributed Exclusively in the U.S.A. by:

    Horizon Hobby, Inc
    4105 Fieldstone Road
    Champaign, IL 61822
    Ph: (800) 338-4639
    Toll Free: (800) 338-4639
    Fax: (217) 352-6799

    Complete BNF Kit
    Minor Assembly Required
    Power System Installed
    Battery and Charger Included
    Superb Flying Performance
    Binds to any DSM2/DSMX Transmitter
    Made from Durable and Lightweight Z-Foam™
    Optional Electric Retracts
    Spare Parts Available


    ParkZone Spitfire Mk IX BNF

    The Supermarine Spitfire is an icon of British grit and determination. ParkZone® has recreated the thrill of flying the Spitfire Mk IX on a smaller parkflyer scale with this fully-aerobatic, brushless-powered Bind-N-Fly™ (BNF) reproduction. The Spitfire Mk IX provides even more scale realism with features such as optional retractable landing gear and has dual aileron servos for precise control.

    The ParkZone® Spitfire Mk IX (PKZ5780) comes out of the box ready to bind to your DSM2 or DSMX radio. The model includes scale touches like 20mm cannons, exhaust and cockpit details, and an authentic Johnnie Johnson World War II trim scheme.

    This 4-channel BNF model already has the servos installed, a powerful 15-sized brushless outrunner motor, an E-flite® 30A Pro Switch-Mode BEC brushless ESC, a 3-cell, 2200mAh, 25C, Li-Po battery pack, and a Spektrum™ AR600 DSM2/DSMX receiver installed. It also includes 2 to 3-cell DC variable rate balancing charger. The assembly can literally be finished in the time it takes to charge the battery!


    • Wingspan: 43.2 in (1100mm)
    • Overall Length: 37.3 in (950mm)
    • Flying Weight: 41.1 oz (1170 g)
    • Motor Size: 15-size 960Kv Brushless Outrunner (installed)
    • Speed Control : 30A Pro SB Brushless ESC (installed)
    • Spektrum™ AR600 DSM2/DSMX receiver (installed)
    • Recommended Battery: 11.1V 2200mAh 3S 25C Li-Po (included)
    • Charger: Variable rate balancing DC LiPo charger (included)
    • Landing Gear: Fixed main LG with steerable tail wheel (included)
    • PZ Spitfire Mk IX Manual (4.6Meg PDF)

    Key Features:

    • Full 4-channel control – throttle, aileron, elevator and rudder
    • All 4 servos are pre-installed
    • 20mm cannon, exhaust and cockpit details
    • Scale landing gear (included)
    • Authentic Johnnie Johnson World War II trim scheme
    • Designed to accept E-flite electric retracts (EFLG100), sold separately
    • Steerable tail wheel installed
    • Durable and lightweight Z-Foam™ construction
    • Dual aileron servos for precise control
    BNF Contents :

    The ParkZone Spitfire Mk IX BNF comes well packaged and protected. The Bind-N-Fly version includes everything you need except for a full range Spektrum™ DSMX™ or DSM2™ compatible aircraft transmitter. The one-piece wing has the aileron servos and linkage pre-installed. An optional retract set is also available and will be detailed later in this review.

    The horizontal stabs have the control horn pre-installed. The stabs use a carbon tube to align and connect them together in the tail. A channel lock is used to join the elevator halves. A 2-blade 9.5 x 7.5 prop, spinner, adapter, and gear mains are all included. A 3-cell 2200mAh Li-Po battery pack and 2 to 3 cell lithium polymer battery charger are also included. The PKZ1040 charger automatically detects incorrect cell count selection and has a variable controlled charge rate from 300mAh to 2000mAh. The 12v power adapter input cord is meant to plug into your car's accessory power receptacle.


    A 57-page manual is included that is loaded with photos and step-by-step instructions to help you ready the Spitfire Mk IX for flight. The details in the manual are excellent and help to complete the assembly without issue. The E-flite 30A Pro Switch-Mode Brushless ESC manual is also included and the ESC Notice simply lets you know that no programming changes are needed.


    A closer look at the fuselage reveals some incredible detail and pre-assembly. The ParkZone® Spitfire Mk IX comes out of the box with a authentic Johnnie Johnson World War II trim scheme. Scale touches include realistic exhaust stacks, cockpit details, molded panel lines and 20mm cannons. Even the pilot comes painted and ready for battle! The detailing and tough finish of the ParkZone Spitfire Mk IX is characteristic of its Z-Foam™ design. Even from a short distance, you can't tell that it is a foam model.


    Before starting the assembly, I started charging the flight battery using the supplied balancing charger. Just plug the battery balance lead into the charger and select 3-cell on the slide switch. Next, turn the dial between a 1.5A charge rate and full, and then press the start button. If you don't have a 12V accessory jack for your power supply, you'll need to plug the charger into your car accessory jack. For more details, refer to the manual section called, "Charging the Flight Battery".

    The horizontal stabilizer is supported by a carbon joiner rod and then guided into the plastic forms on the fuselage. The stabs are held in place using the supplied tape pieces on both top and bottom sides. Since the stabs fit nice and snug, I used tape on only the bottom side so it didn't show from the top.

    The elevator halves are joined together by a channel lock, as shown. The pushrod is connected to the control horn and secured with the rubber keeper. I used the hole next to the outer most holes on the control horn.

    ParkZone recommends flying the model using the factory settings (shown above) before making changes. For pilots who want more control throw, adjust position of the linkages on servo arms and control horns for increased travel. I found that the factory settings provided good control range for scale flying.

    The wing is attached next using the supplied 3mm x 25mm screws to secure it. The aileron leads are fed through the fuselage first so be sure that they will not become pinched in between the wing and the fuselage. Note that the two locator pins on the front of the wing provide perfect alignment and the wing is correctly installed when no gap exists between the wing and the fuselage.

    Connect the servo connectors to the Y-harnesses. There is no difference between two connections on a Y-harness. Left and right servo connectors do not have to be connected to a particular side of a Y-harness. The aileron servo leads can be neatly tucked into the recess below the battery compartment. The battery is then secured in place with a hook and loop strap.

    Although I didn't use it, a small amount of clear tape is included to prevent damage to the paint on the fuselage when installing or removing the hatch. The folded tape is used as a handle to lift the hatch from the fuselage.

    The landing gear can be easily installed or removed depending upon your preference. After inserting the end into the locator hole, the gear swivels toward the retaining clips to get locked in place. When the gear mains are properly installed, since there is a left and right bend in the two mains, they will angle forward towards the nose of the plane.

    Final Assembly:

    Binding is the process of programming the receiver of the control unit to recognize the GUID (Globally Unique Identifier) code of a single specific transmitter. You need to ‘bind’ your chosen Spektrum DSM2/DSMX technology equipped aircraft transmitter to the receiver for proper operation.

    Use the directions in the manual to bind your transmitter to the Spektrum™ AR600 receiver. After binding the receiver to your transmitter, check the control surface directions, travel amount, and CG per the manual directions.

    The CG is located 65mm (2.55 inches) from the leading edge of the wing at fuselage. I put my pack as far forward as possible in the tray indentation and had no issues. It looks like you can move the pack about 1/2" to fine tune the CG.

    I set the throws on my JR 9503 transmitter using the high and low rates recommended in the manual and shown above. I also added 30% expo to the elevator and aileron settings. I usually don't add any expo on the rudder.

    Test Flying

    My ParkZone Spitfire Mk IX was Ready-To-Fly in no time at all. It weighed about 42oz with the battery installed. I did not measure the power level but felt very strong when simply holding it by the wing.

    For our flight testing, the weather was sunny and a pleasant 70 degrees F outside with winds blowing from 10mph to 15mph. Right from the first take-off on grass, the model flew well with plenty of power and control. We didn't need any trim adjustments as the Spitfire flew true with the control surfaces centered. My buddy, Billy Stauber, put the Spitfire through a series of maneuvers to test its agility and power. Flight times were about 10 minutes using the stock 3s 2200mAh pack. We first tested the stock fixed gear on grass before adding the optional retract package. As long as you kept forward momentum in the plane, the Spitfire handled grass take-offs and landings just fine. Although we didn't try it, the Spitfire seems like it could easily be hand-launched, if needed.

    ParkZone Spitfire Mk IX Test Flying Video (18meg)

    We had no problems performing basic aerobatics and scale looking victory rolls. The Spitfire floats in nicely for a landing with a small amount of power applied along with adding a slight amount of up elevator. It was nice to have aileron, elevator, and rudder control for making smooth maneuvers. Both intermediate and advanced pilots will have fun flying this warbird!

    E-flite Electric Retract Option:

    The ParkZone Spitfire Mk IX is designed to accept E-flite electric retracts (EFLG100). The 10 – 15 Size electric retracts are sold separately and you will also need the (PKZ5717) mating pre-bent landing gear struts for an easy upgrade assembly. Installing the retracts for the gear mains is straightforward and well documented in the manual. The installation uses the wheels and collars from the fixed gear mains. Servo extensions for the retract option are already pre-installed in the Spitfire. Note that if you plan to use the optional retracts a 5-channel radio system is needed.

    It was time for some very scale flying!

    ParkZone Spitfire Mk IX Retract Flying Video (9meg)

    Note that we never hit the Low Voltage Cut-off (LVC) point in our test flying. This is likely because we tend to limit the flight times for proper landings. When a Li-Po battery is discharged below 3V per cell, it will not hold a charge. The E-flite® 30A Pro Switch-Mode BEC brushless ESC protects the flight battery from over-discharge using LVC. Before the battery charge decreases too much, LVC removes power supplied to the motor. Power to the motor pulses, showing that some battery power is reserved for flight control and safe landing. The motor pulsing is quite obvious when flying so that you are reminded to land quickly.


    The ParkZone® Spitfire Mk IX (PKZ5780) is a fully-aerobatic scale reproduction model that utilizes Bind-N-Fly™ DSMX™ technology using your own transmitter. Since this 4-channel BNF model already has the servos and power system installed, it will have you ready to fly in just the time it takes to charge the battery!

    Note that a Plug-N-Play® version of the Spitfire Mk IX from ParkZone (PKZ5775) is also available. With the Plug-N-Play® version, just add your own receiver, battery, and charger and you’re ready to go!

    I have been impressed with previous ParkZone warbird designs and my Spitfire Mk IX was equally well designed. It simply looks and flies great right out of the box! Using the recommended throws and CG setting, I only added 30% expo to the elevator and aileron settings. I had no issues with either the assembly or flying performance.

    Since the ParkZone Spitfire Mk IX is designed to accept E-flite electric retracts (EFLG100), you can enjoy the added scale realism of flying with the wheels up. A 5-channel radio system is needed when adding the retract option. Intermediate or advanced level pilots will both enjoy easy 10 minute flights with mixed aerobatics. ParkZone has really captured the beauty of this fearsome fighter!

    ParkZone Models
    Distributed Exclusively in the U.S.A. by:
    Horizon Hobby, Inc
    4105 Fieldstone Road
    Champaign, IL 61822
    Ph: (800) 338-4639
    Toll Free: (800) 338-4639
    Fax: (217) 352-6799
    Website: www.horizonhobby.com

    Distributed Exclusively in the U.S.A. by:
    Horizon Hobby, Inc

    Comments on RCU Review: ParkZone Spitfire Mk IX BNF

    Posted by: chuckk2 on 12/31/2011
    I had only minor quibbles about the PZ Spitfire IX BNF that we flew for the first time today. The plane flies well at about 1/2 throttle, and takeoff was uneventful. Short grass ground handling, as others mentioned, might be better. There is a nose over tendency with the stock gear wheel position. The front of the hatch was a bit to one side, and I ended up moving the hatch front index plate to correct. A flat razor blade was used to cut the glue, and then I carefully separated the plate from the hatch. A small amount of foam was removed, and the two holes in the foam were slightly elongated. UHU canopy glue was used to re-glue the plate to the hatch. Dual Rate was setup at 72%, and 35% expo used. As setup by the factory, up/down throws on the elevator and ailerons were unequal, but within reason. (Some fine tweaking will be accomplished when the time is available.) Control centering was very good, with only one click of trim needed. Out of the box, with the battery installed, COG was exactly per manual. Two flights were made, using a different battery for each flight. Both batteries were the same capacity, with the stock battery very slightly smaller in size. The stock battery was noticeably warm after a fairly short flight. The other battery, used for a longer flight, was not. Mild scale like aerobatics with the stock motor and battery were no problem.
    Posted by: HANGTIME II on 01/09/2012
    I have only flown this bird with the stock setup and found it flies well out of the box. I have limited experience with low wing aircraft and found that tip stall is something that is to be avoided at all costs here. My only beef is that it is nose heavy on takeoff and unless your grass (if thats what u have to work with) is just a bit too long u will pull your hair out trying to get off the ground. I have had to set the elevator to full trim up and full throw up to get it to start to roll then quickly try to back it off. If your not fast enough then it takes off and the "tip stall" I mentioned earlier. Only cart wheeled it once but that was enough. Moved to a gravel field and that took care of the problem. 3.25" rubber tires helped as well. Now looking to get a bigger battery, any input on this? Came with the 3cell 2200 , I would like to get more like 4 to 5k in one that would fit. Thx all
    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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