For those of you that have read my previous reviews, you'll know that I'm particularly fond of 'bush' planes. The Super Cub ranks right up at the top of the list, but following in a close second is the De Havilland Beaver. For me, a Beaver is a like a Super Cub on steroids! Let's break it down: Both are taildraggers, can be put on floats, haul a (figurative) ton, and both have a stump-pulling powerplant in the nose. But the DHC-2 can haul more bodies in and out of small places!
Manufactured by De Havilland Canada, she took her first flight in August of 1947 - less than a year after designing commenced! Power was provided by a Pratt & Whitney 450 HP Wasp Jr. 9-cylinder radial engine, and the airframe was of all-metal construction.
Over the years, there have been several models of the Beaver - some have been stand-off scale, while others are near-perfect replicas of the real thing. The new Select-Scale DHC-2 Beaver from Flyzone definitely leans toward the latter, but it's molded in AeroCell foam - a lightweight, CA-safe foam that is very resilient! Out of the box, it comes with floats AND standard landing gear, so you can choose your own 'bush' adventures!
So, without wasting another second, let's open the box!
AeroCell Foam Construction
Floats AND Standard Landing Gear Provided
TX-R and RTF Versions Available
Operational Navigation and Landing Lights
Fast, Easy Assembly
Great Color Contrast Between Top and Bottom of Plane
Wingspan: 59.5" (1510mm) Wing Area: 430 in² (27.7 dm²) Weight: 3 lb (1360 g) Wing Loading: 16-17 oz/ft² (49-52 g/dm²) Length: 38.5" (980mm) Center of Gravity (CG): 2 - 2 1/2" (51-64mm) from the leading edge of the wing at the fuselage Radio Used:Futaba 7C
with Tactic Anylink 2.4 gHz Adapter
Channels Used: 5 total - Elevator, Aileron, Throttle, Rudder, and Flaps
The Beaver arrived well-packed in a very nicely colored box. The box had lots of great full-color pictures of the plane along with specifications and recommended equipment information. There is a relatively low parts count, so I'm hoping it won't take me long to get it assembled! This review is based on the transmitter-ready (Tx-R) version of the Beaver. The ready-to-fly (RTF) version adds a Tactic TTX600 6-channel transmitter, an 1800 mAh LiPo battery and AC/DC balancing charger!
There is a ton of really cool features on this plane! I really liked the operational navigation and landing lights, the installed brushless outrunner motor, dummy radial engine and cowl, and the unique wing attachment system. I'll get into more detail on the wings when I install them.
Adding to the Beaver's realism are the installed tinted windows and seats in the cabin and belly scoop. I was also happy to see that most of the servo wires were already connected to the receiver, though I did switch a pair of wires during my radio set-up. I'll get into that a bit later as well.
One of the really cool features of this plane is that Flyzone includes BOTH the floats AND conventional landing gear! This was definitely a bonus, as far as I was concerned. Since I'm mentioning the floats, I like to point out that the plastic mounts embedded in the floats and the struts are labeled for easy assembly! This really saved me time when it came to assembly.
Some additional scale features were the internal control linkages in the tail and the drop hinges for the ailerons and flaps -these added lots of scale bonus points in my book! And touching on the flaps, the servo for the flaps has easy access under the top hatch - if you have to remove the wings. The flap pushrods need to be disconnected. Normally, this would be a deterrent to remove the wings, but Flyzone made it very easy to do!
The included instruction manual lives up to Flyzone's high standards. The illustrations follow the written instructions, and though the Beaver is not a beginner's plane, any novice could assemble it without any trouble. There is also an added instruction sheet that goes through AnyLink/transmitter selection.
One Minor Detail...
I removed the cowl to take a picture of the motor/firewall for the 'first look' section. I was all set to put the nose back together, then paused for a second look. I was pleased to see that Flyzone installed a dummy radial engine, but I thought it could use a little 'something extra'. So, with a black permanent marker, a couple of feet of 22 gauge red wire, and a small drill bit, I added some detail to the engine. The end result was well worth the 30 minutes of time involved!
After shading the heads and crank case black, I drilled two small holes per cylinder. I cut several short sections of the red 'spark plug' wire, slipped them into the holes I drilled and secured them with a drop of medium CA at each end. It was a very easy scale add-on, and really made the engine stand out!
Conventional Landing Gear Installation
Assembly began by installing the conventional landing gear. If you're planning to fly your Beaver primarily off the water, this step can be omitted and start by installing the floats. Since I didn't know which type of flying I'd get to do first, I started per the instructions with the wheeled gear.
Three screws attached each of the two main gear legs to mounts embedded in the foam sides of the fuselage, and the tail wheel bracket was attached with two more screws. Two short pushrods were then added to make the tail wheel steerable.
I started the tail by securing the plastic fins to the outside edges of the horizontal stabilizer. With that done, the pushrod was connected to the elevator control horn, and the completed stab was slid into place.
The fin/rudder assembly was installed next, and practically fell into place. Once seated properly, a single screw was inserted through a hole in the tail wheel bracket and up into the fuse. That was it! The tail was that easy!
I really liked the wing tube design used for the Beaver. The right wing had a single large tube, while the left wing had two smaller tubes. When installed, the three nestle together in the upper cabin area, and stay out of sight! Installation required slipping the servo extension and lighting wire through a pre-cut hole in the fuselage, lining up the wing tubes and flap pushrods, and snapping the clips into the pockets in the wing. When I heard the 'snap', I knew that a solid connection had been made.
The struts came next, and installed easily following the instructions. The lower end of the strut is secured using an existing landing gear mounting screw, so that screw must be removed and then reinstalled with the strut.
The last item to install was the Y-harness for the ailerons, and I found that having a 12-15" section of solid pushrod made fishing the servo wire through the cabin easy.
With the aileron Y-harness now run through the cabin, I plugged it into the receiver. The receiver does have a piece of double-sided tape on it to secure it inside the fuselage, but I opted to leave it loose until after I had verified that all the controls were operational and correct. This is where I made a change - as it comes out of the box, the flap servo is plugged into channel 6. This works just fine if you plan to use the Tactic TTX600 or another transmitter with a flap control knob. I wanted to set my flaps up on channel 5 of my Futaba 7CAP transmitter, because I can assign that channel to the 3-position switch on my transmitter. For whatever reason, I have always set up flaps that way - I think it's just my personal preference, but I find that it's easier to set the 'full up' and full down' positions this way. Once satisfied with the setup, I secured the receiver inside the fuselage with the double-sided tape.
Basic assembly is almost complete! The top hatch was installed by clipping it to the outer two wing tubes. The prop and spinner followed, and presented no trouble at all. I liked the chromed plastic spinner - it really dressed up the nose!
Floats Assembly and Installation
Float assembly began by installing and securing the two airfoil shaped cross beams between the floats. The eight individual legs were then installed by matching the letters and numbers - this made installation very easy!
I turned the beaver over in my trusty ol' foam work stand, removed the conventional landing gear from the plane, and set them aside. Following the instructions, I used the supplied screws to mount the assembled float set to the Beaver. A quick setup of the water rudder pull-cables, and I was almost ready for the lake!
Even with the floats installed, I was able to use my
Great Planes CG Machine to check the balance - it was dead perfect! No adjustments needed on this one. As a side note, I did find that the Beaver balanced exactly the same with the conventional landing gear installed. Nice Job, Flyzone!
It was a Sunday afternoon in mid-October - and I was getting a float plane ready to fly in Minnesota! Hey, it was a very decent day - for mid-October in Minnesota. . . The afternoon started cloudy, but the winds were light so my flying buddy Jim Buzzeo and I headed for the lake!
I plugged in the battery and closed the hatch, and set the Beaver in the water. A quick taxi test showed the water rudders had more than enough authority at low speed and up 'on step'.
As the throttle was advanced, the DHC-2 got up on step and then off the water much quicker that I had planned for! I was looking for a more scale take off, but the included motor and ESC setup has more than enough power! The Beaver broke the surface of the water and was airborne in roughly 25-30 feet, and she was right at home in the air. I flew the plane around a bit, found that no significant trim changes were needed, and just enjoyed watching the Beaver fly around with the floats hanging underneath.
I did not try any aerobatics with the floats attached, not because the Beaver couldn't handle it, I just thought it would look ridiculous performing loops and rolls with those big floats mounted on the plane. Besides, how much further, from scale, could a person get than doing aerobatics with a Beaver on floats?
Around the six minute mark, I decided to bring the DHC-2 in for a landing - I wanted to make sure I had plenty of battery in case I had to get the floats back off the water. I made the first landing attempt with the flaps up, and found that she settled in just beautifully! This plane is quite possibly the best landing float plane on the market! After changing batteries, I put the Beaver back in the air and tried a landing with flaps. With the flaps dropped, the plane came in just a bit easier, and looked really COOL!
We still had plenty of daylight remaining, so Jim and I headed to our regular flying field. Once at the field, I removed the floats and installed the conventional landing gear - on a picnic table in about 15 minutes!
Since I had brought a handful of the Flyzone 1800 mAh 3S batteries, I put a new one in the Beaver and tried my piloting skills on the wheeled version of my bush plane. The DHC-2 scoffed at the grass runway as I pushed the throttle stick forward. Again, the powerful motor inside the cowl pulled the plane off the ground in approximately 20 feet! I had a lot of fun with this plane on the water, and now I was loving it with the wheels on too!
One of the coolest things I found was that I didn't have to change the trim settings with the wheels on either. This was an extraordinary plane! I floated around in the sky for a few minutes, playing with the stall speed - with the flaps down and a 6-8 MPH breeze, the Beaver will almost halt forward movement and continue to fly! Flaps up, she wouldn't slow down quite as much, but she hung in the air much longer than I expected.
Now, the full-scale Beaver is not a fast plane, with a max speed of just 158 MPH. The Flyzone version will approach scale speeds closer to twice that - she won't be a blur as she flies by, but she'll go plenty fast!
I knew I had to try some aerobatics with the bush plane, even though it just felt weird to do so. With that said, the Beaver will produce some of the largest loops I've ever seen! The roll rate is a little sluggish due to the longer wing, so some 'down' elevator was added while the plane was inverted. Stall turns looked good, and were easy to do with the dual rates set on my Futaba 7CAP and AnyLink adapter! The Beaver will perform most basic aerobatics, and perform them well.
Since I had already landed the Beaver on water, I was really at ease bringing her in on the wheels. Landing the DHC-2 was so easy that she almost landed herself! The Beaver really was at home landing in the grass at field! Landing with the flaps up or down was equally easy, from a pilot's vantage point, though the 'flap down' landings were shorter on the field.
Select Scale DHC-2 Beaver
All that's left is to wrap this one up. The DHC-2 Beaver gets a perfect score for looks, ease of assembly, and flight characteristics - both on floats and wheels! Well done, Flyzone. Well done! It doesn't matter if you get this plane as a Tx-R or an RTF - you just gotta GET one!
Futaba Corporation of America
P.O. Box 9021; Champaign, IL 61826-9021
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.