RCU Review: Flyzone S.E.5a

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    Contributed by: Laurent Caekebeke | Published: February 2013 | Views: 27068 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
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    The RAF S.E.5 British biplane fighter aircraft was introduced in November 1916 during the First World War. This aircraft was developed to be robust, strong and stable, and quite maneuverable, and was among the fastest aircrafts of its time. The plane played a key role during the war, providing the Royal Air Force with superior performance during air combat.

    The S.E.5a model was released a few months later, with a more powerful engine, a smaller windshield and new pilot seat position and it is this version of the aircraft that Flyzone has reproduced to add to their existing offering of model micro planes.

    As with most of the Flyzone planes, the S.E.5a is available in two versions: Ready to Fly and Transmitter Ready. The second allows you to use your own transmitter to control the plane, and this is the version we are testing today.

    • Use AnyLink with your own transmitter.

    • No assembly required.

    • Nice scale outline
    • Large number of scale details for its size

    • None found.

    Skill Level:

    Time Required to Build:

    Frustration Level:

    What do these ratings mean?

    The Flyzone S.E.5a comes in a nice cardboard packaging that shows the model as it comes out of the box. The picture on the cover is very close to scale 1:1, if not a bit larger.

    The plane is secured in EPS foam to avoid any shipping damage, and the packaging is useful to protect the plane when storing and transporting to your favorite flying field.

    Here is what you will find in the box:

    • One S.E.5a .
    • One battery (1s 140 mAh).
    • One battery charger.
    • 5 AA batteries
      SE5a- manufacturer information

    Price: $79.98 (Tx-R), $99.98 (RTF)


      • RTF: Tactic TTX402 4-channel 2.4GHz radio system with SLT and built-in charger; motor & ESC; 3.7V 140mAh LiPo flight battery & (5) “AA” batteries
      • TxR: 2.4GHz SLT receiver; motor & ESC; 3.7V 140mAh LiPo flight battery; cordless DC LiPo battery charger & (5) “AA” batteries


    The fully assembled Micro S.E.5a is small enough to fly indoors and you can show off its scale realism in light winds outside. From the detailed, molded-in wing ribs all the way down to a pair of machine guns, it’s like flying the full-size WWI fighter!

    The S.E.5a RTF includes a 2.4GHz radio, so you can be airborne in minutes. There’s also a Tx-R version. You can fly this and any other Transmitter-Ready plane with AnyLink and your radio. Fly your own WWI sorties today with the S.E.5a.


    Motor: brushed 12900kV, geared 6.25:1
    14.3" (363mm)
    11.3" (287mm)
    Weight with Battery =
    1.3oz (37g)
    Battery :
    1S 140mAh Lipo 

    The biplane runs from a tiny one-cell 140mAh lipo battery and is to be charged with the included battery charger, which is powered by 5 included standard AA batteries. The whole idea of charging a battery by using another battery might sound cumbersome at first, but it is actually quite handy to be able to charge the plane cell wherever you are, without worrying about having access to a power supply.

    Note: there is a warning sign on the battery stating that the maximum charging current is 140mA, which means charging at 1C. The battery charger provided with the plane will deliver up to 250mA and the battery/charger combination seem to work quite well together.

      Tactic AnyLink Adapter

    A transmitter alone can only do so much. But a transmitter with AnyLink™ can do wonders. It's so revolutionary that a patent is already pending, and so simple to use that it takes only seconds to add. Yet, once it’s installed, your transmitter will be able to fly:

    • All Tx-R™ (Transmitter-Ready™) airplanes;
    • Most electric aircraft equipped with a 2.4GHz SLT™ receiver.
    But that’s not the only amazing thing about AnyLink. Here are three more:
    • AnyLink works with virtually any transmitter, regardless of brand, band or modulation.
    • AnyLink enables your transmitter to send out a true, 2.4GHz signal — and operate with all of the interference-free dependability of a frequency-hopping, spread-spectrum system.
    • AnyLink offers all of the convenience, versatility and benefits listed above for far less than the cost of a new 2.4GHz radio system.

    Once out of the box, the only thing left to do is the prepartion of the pilot figure. The polystyrene formed figurine is of course not required for the model to fly correctly, so it is really up to the flyer whether to install it or not.
    Do not be afraid of the task, it doesn't take much effort to paint the pilot. Use only water-based paint if you do, as solvent will dissolve the foam.

    The plane, including the battery, weights only 36 grams ( 1-1/4 oz). The manufacturer annonced 37g, and the difference is well under the precision of the kitchen scale I used here.

    Besides the optional painting of the pilot, there is absolutely no assembly required with this plane, and virtually no setup. The only thing to take care of is the direction of the control, and ensuring that no axis are reversed, and you will be good to go. In many of its models, Flyzone has introduced a welcomed safety feature for starting the engine: the throttle has to be at idle while powering the plane, and then brought to max after a few seconds. When a distinctive single beep is heard, the throttle is reduced to idle. The engine beeps twice to notify it is enabled, and will start with a move of the throttle stick.

    The S.E.5a model is a very light weight micro-plane and therefore is really intended to be flown indoors. I had to wait for the perfect day with minimal wind to perform the maiden flight, and that day came in the form of a foggy Texas morning in the month of January. The very nice thing with the S.E.5a is that packing the equipment to go to the field really takes no time. I grabbed my good old Futaba, the small box that contains the plane, a camera, and was off.

    I had measured the static consumption of the plane at around .8A, and I knew I could expect flight time of around 10 minutes, which is really not bad considering the size of the plane. I aligned the plane on the runway, verified one last time the direction of the rudder and elevator, and pushed the throttle to the max for takeoff. I am not sure the wheels actually completed one full rotation before the plane was airborne. The combination of the sudden power with the slightly out of trim elevator made the plane jump in the air, rather than take off. Once the plane was trimmed, it became a breeze to fly. The next takeoffs were done with the power only gradually increased, resulting in a more realistic picture of this war bird leaving earth. Hand-launch is always an option with this model, and with the stability of the plane coupled with its power, this operation is easily achieved.

    The plane has two axis of control: rudder and elevator. If you have never flown a two-axis plane before, it takes some getting used to. The plane will react to a rudder input with a slight delay and will drop its nose if not sustained by the elevator. A good synchronization of these two axis allows for nice turns without gaining or losing altitude.

    The cambered profile of the wing helps make the plane a very slow flier. This type of profile generates lift even at very low speeds, and is commonly used for small park  and indoor flyers. The drawback of the profile is that it has a higher dependency between speed and lift, which causes the plane to “balloon” (ie, gaining altitude) when power is applied. That is to be compensated by an action on the elevator.

    The plane is capable of being flown in a very small area. Capable of performing tight turns and short takeoffs and landings, flying the SE5a indoors or outdoors with calm conditions is a pleasure. The S.E.5a is capable of performing basic acrobatics, such as a loops or stall turns. While the S.E.5a can not really sustain inverted flight, it is achievable, but only for a short time before the plane stalls. Cambered profiles are rarely good for inverted flight.

    In my opinion, the S.E.5a is at its best when flown slowly at head height, doing slow figures eight with nice and long turns. Once in a while, it is good to throw a speed dive and series of intricate tight turns, as a mark of respect to one the greatest war birds of World War I.

    Flyzone S.E.5a

    Photos and Videos by Burc Simsek and Laurent Caekebeke

    Not that long ago, flying a micro-plane meant needing to be a very talented plane builder, capable of shaving weight off of every part of the plane. With their micro-plane line, Flyzone gives any pilot the ability to fly these feather light aircrafts. Not only has Flyzone developed a plane that flies nicely, but also one which incorporates good scale finish and details.

    All in all, Flyzone scores once again with the S.E.5a, which deserves to be a success among the population of indoor micro-plane lovers.


    Pictures and videos were shot at:

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    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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