RCU Review: Flyzone A6M2 Mitsubishi Zero


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    Contributed by: Laurent Caekebeke | Published: April 2015 | Views: 21182 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of the Flyzone Zero

    • The bomb drop, as a standard feature not an option
    • The maneuverability even at low speed
    • The retractable landing gear
    • The very pleasing paint job and scale outline

    • The speed, a bit on the low side even at full power
    • Retract mechanism robustness

    The famous A6M2 Zero needs no introduction to any warbird enthusiast. It played a prominent role in the Second World War but has not been as widely reproduced as an R/C scale model as the P-51 Mustang and P-47 Razorback.

    Hobbico, via Top Flite and now Flyzone, has remedied this situation. They introduced the large scale 50cc Zero last year, and the indoor AirCore Zero a bit prior. Today, Flyzone is expanding its parkflyer offering by introducing a 45-inch-wingspan A6M2 Mitsubishi Zero.

    The full scale Zero was known for its great maneuverability even at low speeds, due to a very low wingloading. I was eager to see if this parkflyer version would conserve the quality of the real Zero!
     





    As usual with Flyzone, the model comes in a attractively decorated box. 


    The model comes already decorated out of the box, and all critical components were installed by the manufacturer. There is really little left to do to get the model airborne.

    For this test, I used an ElectriFly 2200mAh 3-cell battery. The battery is rated for a 30C discharge, which should be more than enough for the Zero.

    Manufacturer Information
    Price: (at time of review)
    $229.98 Tx-R
    $319.98 RTF


    Description: 

    Long-ranged, fast, and more maneuverable than any Allied aircraft of the time, the Japanese Zero was the ultimate aggressor. With its combination of looks, performance, and unique features, the Flyzone Select Scale Zero is an elegant representation of the power and lethal beauty of the Zero. This bird is authentic all the way from the trim scheme and brushless motor system down to the replica bomb drop and retractable electric landing gear.

    The Zero comes in two versions?Tx-R and RTF. If you own a radio, AnyLink adapter, and 3S LiPo battery, the Tx-R can be in the air in minutes. The RTF comes ready to take your flights to greater heights. Just charge the battery, get out and fly!

    Specifications:
    • Wingspan: 45" (1145mm)
    • Length: 37" (940mm)
    • Wing Area:  307 sq in (19.8 sq dm)
    • Weight: 2.25-2.5 lb (1020-1130g)
    • Wing Loading: 17-19 oz/sq.ft (52-58 g/ sq.dm)
    • Weight w/Battery: 12.2-12.8 oz (345-365 g)
    • Battery: 11.1V 2200mAh LiPo with Dean's Ultra plug(included with RTF, required for Tx-R)
    • Charger: AC/DC balancing
    • Transmitter: actic TTX-600 2.4GHz 6-channel SLT, with trainer system, programmable fail-safe, digital aileron, elevator and rudder trims)
    • Motor: 1000kV brushless 77g outrunner
    • Propeller: 10x6 three blade




    The Zero comes with an SLT 6 channel receiver, to be used with an SLT compatible emitter. If you take the time to count, you will notice that the model actually has 7 channels: ailerons, elevator, rudder, throttle, flaps, landing gear and bomb drop. The solution to control 7 independent functions on a 6 channel receiver is to combine 2 of them on the controller.

    Flyzone explains in an addendum to the manual how to connect the flaps and the bomb drop to the same channel. Since we had two Zeros for this review, we decided to connect one of the planes as directed to in the manual, and the second plane in a more conventional way, by using a R6008HS Futaba receiver. We will see which option works best!




    The model's pilot is included in the cockpit, and helps give a more realistic look to this scale plane. Granted, the blue-eyed pilot may not be the best fit for the Japanese warbird, but now I'm just being picky. For the sake of being realistic, we will pretend this Zero has been captured and is undergoing a test flight by a U.S. pilot. The cockpit serves an access hatch to the fuselage and enables the replacing of the battery without disconnecting the wing.



    The 1000kv outrunner motor and the ESC are factory installed. The ESC is mounted with a Star Plug T-type, which is compatible with the widely used deans T-plug. The key feature of this plug is the cover on the back side, which protects the solder without the need of heat shrink tubing. 

    The rudder and elevator servos are mounted on the side of the fuselage, and the receiver is fixed with double-sided tape.


    Assembly




    The build starts with the installation of the rudder and the stabilizer, which are both secured with one screw. The tail wheel is driven by the rudder directly. Once all components are properly installed, the control linkages can then be connected. You will have to loosen the set screw on the servo side to adjust the length of the linkage.

     

    It is good practice to always check that the screws are properly tightened to avoid losing one in flight. The wing is packed with components, since it hosts the retracts, the flaps, the ailerons and the lights. Flyzone provides a sticker board for labelling all these wires which helps organize and clarify the harness.

     


     

    The wing is mounted onto the fuselage with a M3 screw. It is now time to connect the LED with the provided light harness. As explained in the addendum, the connector is different than the one shown in the manual.



    It is important to tie the wires coming from the wing to prevent any interference with the servos. A lose wire could easily get untangled in the servo arm or linkage during flight. Zip-ties come in handy for this type of task.



    The last operation consists of setting the flaps and the bomb mechanism. Once everything is operating correctly, you can mount the bomb (caution! handle with care).

    Photo shoot









    We were fortunate to work with two Flyzone A6M2 Zeros simultaneously for this review which allowed us to test multiple setups at the same time. One was mounted with the flaps and the bomb drop coupled, and the other had these two functions on different channels. Testing several features and flying formations with the same planes is a luxury we don't get every day!

    The first few flights were done with only one plane at a time to adjust the trim, and get accustomed to the warbird. Taxing the plane on the runway is easy due to the steerable tail wheel. The plane has the natural tendency to veer to the left when power is applied. The plane will take off in a few meters when full power is applied. To make it look a bit more realistic, the power has to be increased gradually, but that requires a bit more tail work. The plane is very light and the tail will lift at very low speed without up elevator input. Once the speed is sufficient, and the rudder starts being effective, the pressure on the elevator can be reduced, and the take off quickly follows.

    The plane is well-tempered and is easy to control even at very low speeds. The higher speeds underperforms a bit. This plane is built to fly realistically and not designed to enter parkflyer racer-improvised competitions. Even running on 4s doesn't bring a massive amount of speed to this R/C model. The plane is happy and flies great at lower speeds, so lets enjoy this parkflyer where it is comfortable!

    One of the best surprises was the behavior of the plane in all aerobatic maneuvers. The plane's stability and handling (even upside down) is notably impressive. You can see this on the video (piloted by Burc and Paul) as the Zeros flew a serie of very low and slow inverted passes above the runway wingtip to wingtip.

    The flaps add to the overall experience by slightly increasing the flight envelope and providing the pilot with an extra degree of control, but they are not absolutely necessary for takeoffs or landings. The plane is already able to fly very slowly without the need of using the flaps. The greatest advantage of the flaps, on top of looking really cool, is to be able to approach at a very steep angle for a landing.

    The bomb drop feature is as fun as it sounds! The bomb itself is well designed and follows a beautifully curved trajectory to the impact point. It takes a lot of experience to hit a target with precision: the position, speed and attitude of the plane at the time of the bomb drop are all critical parameters that the pilot will have to learn to master to become an expert at this. One the two Zeros we were testing had the bomb drop mechanism coupled with the flaps, so releasing the payload also extended full flaps. The plane tends to 'balloon' right after the bomb is released, but that is to be expected. The pilot has to remember to release the trigger right after the bomb is dropped. Of course, if the two functions are on a separate channels, this makes the whole operation a bit more comfortable for the pilot.

    The only inconvenience we experienced with both planes was with the landing gear, which at times refused to retract. When they work, the plane looks really awesome, with a very slick outline. Each time we ran into this problem, a power cycle was sufficient to get them unstuck which makes the cause of the problem a bit obscure.

    The LED lights on the plane are almost unnoticeable during the day, but they become a key feature when the sun starts to fall low on the horizon. This reduced ambient sunlight make the LEDs more visible and enables pilots to fly even when the sun is low which is definitely enjoyable.

    The flight time is roughly around 6 minutes which is in line with the average flying time for a parkflyer.





    The Flyzone A6M2 Zero



















    Ever wonder why the Zero was gray underneath? For camouflage on the inverted pass!


    The A6M2 Zero is a very good looking parkflyer, packed with well-designed features. Flyzone did a very good job at keeping the weight low and engineering good handling capabilities for a plane that has features we usually only see at a much bigger scale. Among them, the bomb drop is a very fun option, and it will amuse both the pilot and the spectators.

    Links



    Pictures and videos were shot at:
    http://www.bayoucityflyers.com/

    Comments on RCU Review: Flyzone A6M2 Mitsubishi Zero

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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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