RCU Review: Hangar 9 P-51 Mustang 150

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    Contributed by: David Johnson | Published: May 2004 | Views: 35246 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Hangar 9 T-34 Mentor

    Review by: David "Mordib" Johnson - email me

    Horizon Hobby
    9830 Bell Ranch Drive
    Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670

    See the 1.50 size P-51 in action!

    Ease of Assembly
    Aerobatic ability

    Top quality construction & finish
    Lightweight & strong
    Quick, easy assembly
    Superb flight characteristics, Awesome slow flight capability

    Retracts seem weak
    Just shy of the IMAA 80" requirement
    When I was asked to review the Hangar 9 1.50 size P-51 I simply did not have to even think about it. The P-51 is a really attractive aircraft, with a whole lot of history... and the "Marie" scheme Hangar 9 chose for their giant offering is simply stunning in the air. I recently assembled another giant P-51 offering with a gas engine and was looking forward to seeing how this ARF compared. Well, enough lollygagging... let's find out...

    Kit Name: P-51 1.50 ARF
    Price: $499.99
    Wingspan: 77"
    Length: 68"
    Wing Area: 1039 sq. in.
    Actual Flying Weight : 14lbs 2oz
    Engine Used: Saito 1.80
    Prop: APC 16x8
    Transmitter: Futaba 9CAP
    Futaba FP-R148DF 8 Channel Receiver
    (8) JR 537 Standard Servos
    2-Ailerons, 2-Flaps, 2-Elevators, 1 each for rudder and throttle
    2 Hitec HS-75BB Retract Servos
    Battery: 1650 Mah NiCd 4 cell battery (4.8 volt)
    Manufacturer: Hangar 9
    Contents of the box
    Hinge ailerons & Flaps
    Hanger 9 never fails to amaze me with their offerings. In the box was a beautifully constructed & designed aircraft NOT ONE wrinkle. The parts are all organized in separate sealed bags for easy identification. Another impressive factor was the level of pre-assembly. The vertical fin is already attached as are the wing fairings. Some of the decals are already in place as well. It was evident that this would be one quick build. The first step is to hinge the ailerons & flaps. Pin the center of the hinges to make sure they are equally inserted in both sides. The flaps are attached with hingepoint style hinges. For a comprehensive installation tutorial check out the RCU University tutorial: Installing Hingepoints
    Install aileron/flap servos
    Harden the screw holes
    Install retract servos
    In order to install the servos, you need to epoxy mounting blocks to the hatchplates. I used a small C-clamp to hold the servo centered in the plate, then marked the position of the block. Remove the servo then glue and clamp the blocks in place. Now we can install the servo and drill through the plate into the four corner plate mount tabs. Make sure to harden the holes with CA. Two retract servos are installed along with a pushrod to activate the mechanical retracts.
    Install retracts
    Attach gear covers
    Slight fitting required
    We now place the retracts in position, mark the holes, drill and harden with CA, then attach with screws. Gear covers are attached now using screws and plastic mounts. I noticed on one side that the gear did not seem to sit flush, and I had to relieve a bit of material under one screw where it hit the wing. You need to make adjustments to the pushrod & clevises so that the gear retract fully and also lock in place when deployed.
    Removing covering
    Install hold down plate
    Install bolt guides
    Next we glue the two wing halves together. (I somehow lost the pic of this, but it is very straight forward. You apply epoxy to the wing joiner, into the joiner slots in the wing and to the roots of the wing ribs. It's a good idea to tape the covering to the very edge of the wing so that excess epoxy can be wiped away easier and not get on the wing covering. Once the epoxy is fulled cured we attach the wing hold down plates to the wing by first marking where they sit, removing the covering but "cutting" along the line with a with a soldering iron, then gluing the plates in place. Two additional rings are centered then glued over the bolt holes. These are to align the bolt guide tubes (awesome idea) and then excess tube is trimmed off. I made a guard from thick plastic by cutting a hole to just fit over the tube. Then I could easily saw the tube then sand flush without concern for marring the covering.
    Attach stabs
    Tailwheel setup
    Install tailwheel
    Moving right along we attach the stabs via a stab tube. You drill a small hole on the underneath of each stab into the tube and attache with a screw. I then covered the screw with a small piece of scrap yellow covering. This helps prevent the screw from coming out, and I don't really plan on removing the stabs for transport... but it is a nice feature for people with small cars. We can go ahead a attach the elevators & rudder with the supplied CA hinges, pinning them as we did with the ailerons. The tailwheel is assembled next. Note the control arm is mounted at about a 15 degree angle. This allows the arm to travel a full 30 degrees and steer the plane adequately. The tailwheel is then mounted in the fuse and a cover plate used.
    Servos & pushrods
    Attach clevises
    Install control horns
    We can run the pushrods and install the servos in the fuse now, again making sure to harden the screw holes with CA. Now we attach the clevises to the outside end of the pushrods. I use a DuBro clevis tool and I mean to tell you that it's a low cost little tool that really is worth it's weight in gold. Most other methods twist the sides of the clevis making it weaker. I attached the control horns to the pushrods then aligned the horn on the elevators till the holes were just over the hingeline. Doing it this way allows you to position the horn along the surface where is causes the least binding of the pushrods.
    Harden area under horns
    Rotate servo MOD
    Pushrod alignment
    Under each of the elevator & rudder horns we poke small pinholes then seep thin CA in. This hardens the area and makes for a more solid mount for the control horn screws. Now we connect the pushrods to the servos. Here is where I saw something crying out for a MOD. The design has you install both elevator servos with the shaft forward and the servo arms opposing each other. This would require a reversing Y harness or a separate channel to reverse on servo. No problem! I simply flipped one servo (see pics for which one), measured the distance between the two outermost servo arm holes then drilled a new hole for the pushrod to come through the rearward former. The two servos were hooked up to a regular "Y" and there was no discernable difference in elevator half throw. Unless you plan on using an 8 or 9 channel radio, this little trick will save you $20.
    We used the Saito 1.80 to power the Hangar 9 1.50 size P-51 and found it to be the perfect match. It weighs right at 2 lbs and gives the Mustang PLENTY of power.

    The big Saito requires a decent break-in period, and even though we ran 3 tanks through it before flying, it was still a little difficult to get the idle as low as we'd like. Some people have used a pump or regulator to help maintain a consistent flow of fuel while others will use an onboard glow driver to keep the glow plug hot in the lower rpm's. Either method would prove useful, and I'd recommend them or running a good gallon of fuel through it on the bench.

    All-in-all this Saito engine is a real 4 stroke powerhouse that was easy to start and never once quit one me (while it had fuel). It is a thirsty engine and the 20oz tank supplied with the P-51 will give you about 10 good minutes of lfying time with a minute or so to get her down.

    I have had several Saito engines, and can honestly say they are sweet engines.
    Total Weight:
    Crankshaft Threads:
    Prop Range:
    RPM Range:
    one-piece AAC
    8 x 1.25mm
    APC 14x1,15x8~12, 16x8~10, 17x8
    9,400 W/APC 16x8
    Mounting the engine
    Assemble tank
    Tank pre-install
    I don't think I've ever has an easier time installing an engine. The supplied mounts are attached with a single spacer (supplied) then the engine is bolted to the mounts. These are the Hangar 9 aluminum mounts and feature slots that allow you to easily slide the motor forward & back until you have just the right amount of spinner clearance from the cowl. Speaking of which was another really cool idea. It's a "half cowl" meaning the upper part of the nose or cowl area is built up as part of the fuse. This makes for a very attractive presentation on the flightline AND allows you to access the engine without removing the prop & spinner. Sweet! We assemble the tank line then... OOOOPS... the tank supplied wasn't the same as pictured in the manual... it also would not work well with the method of wrapping in foam and wedging it in the nose. I ended up creating a mounting plate as shown.
    Removable tank mount
    Cowl & engine accessories
    Fuel filler & Needle access
    The tank slides in place and the front edge slips under a stick of balsa glued to the inside of the firewall and the rear edge has a hardwood stick glued to the tank floor and it is then screwed to the main former with a couple servos screws. This makes it very easy to remove the tank, yet keeps it secure. We can now cutout and attach the "cowl half". The Saito 1.80 is a real nice choice for this plane as the valve covers barely protrude from the bottom. The muffler is adjusted to come out the bottom centered as well. I used a DuBro exhaust deflector on the muffler to help minimize the exhaust residue (to term it nicely), a Sullivan remote glow head and a DuBro fuel filler. A small hole was made for a
    Canopy attachment
    Decals & Exhaust detail
    We're almost done. The kit comes with a cockpit kit which I opted to not use at this time... I may later want to get in there and do some detailing and such, so I opted to only screw the canopy in place. I harden the holes with CA and also used a piece of thin double sided tape along the front of the cowl. I've found this to help air from getting in under the canopy and working it loose when not using a gluing technique. Lastly I applied the few decals left then glued the exhaust details and wing guns in place with Shoe Goo.

    Between a short delay in getting a Saito 1.80 and winter setting in hard, we had to wait until early Spring to get this sweetheart in the air. I call it sweetheart because that is exactly what it is in the air.

    With several club members present, I fueled up, range tested then put the starter to that big 'ole 5" spinner. The engine started right away and left a appreciable smoke trail indicating it was running on the rich side.

    Taxiing was smooth and the scale positioned tailwheel proved to have no problems directing the plane about. Everyone commented on how awesome this plane looked and sounded. I line it up on the runway, slowly fed in throttle and it wasn't too long before the tail came up followed by lift-off. The Saito 1.80 is an excellent choice for this plane providing not just "adequate" power... but power to spare. A few clicks of elevator & aileron had her flight true and ready to go through the gamut of scale maneuvers.

    If there was one thing that impressed me the most, it was how light it flew. I mean this plane floated and didn't feel heavy at all. With power to spare, slow turns didn't feel "tippy" and not once did I feel in jeopardy of stalling or snapping.

    The loops were as big as you wanted them, rolls as fast and axial as you please. It can be quite a speedy plane too and high speed passes really got the oohs and ahhhs coming from the spectators.

    Flaps were extremely effective and full flaps would stop you in mid air... so make sure you set them according to the manual's suggestion. (In fact all the suggested settings were just right on in my book, and I tend to want a "little more")

    Slow speed flight was just short of amazing. After about 8 minutes I realized that I'd better start making some landing passes. The Saito was still new and I had a real hard time getting it to idle low enough to let the plane settle in. Pass after pass I'd trim the throttle down a little more. On one pass I came in a little hot and though I touched nicely on the mains they really did a lot of springing around. I kept going around and around until I heard the engine sputtering. E gads! What was I in for now... To make matters worse I was coming in about 200 feet from final and it was a downwind turn... uh oh... most everyone in the club later stated they thought it was a "goner" for sure. Having already tested the slow speed characteristics, I had some level of confidence, but you never really know do you?

    Well, as the flight video will show... this sweetheart made the downwind turn deadstick, glided beautifully onto the runway and landed easily as could be. All without power and all without one sign of stalling or snapping. Everyone (including myself) was very impressed with it flying ability.

    In-Flight Photos

    See the P-51 Mustang 1.50 in action!


    What can I say? Truly a marvelous flying airplane. From the very first moment I opened the box to the first deadstick touchdown... this plane hasn't ceased to impress me. The only real soft point is the retracts, but they can be replaced by several "drop in" third party options. Aside from that, this would without doubt make a great first warbird, and an excellent choice for the seasoned pilot too. Lightweight, awesome flying characteristics and beautiful looks... a combination not often found in warbird ARFs. I can highly recommend this plane!

    Hangar 9 - Horizon Hobby.
    4105 Fieldstone Rd.
    Champaign, IL 61822
    TEL (800) 338-4639
    Website: www.horizonhobby.com

    Dubro, Inc.
    480 Bonner Road, Wauconda, IL 60084
    Phone: 800-848-9411
    Website: www.dubro.com
    Products used: exhaust deflector, foam rubber, fuel filler, fuel filter, ball link/clevis wrench

    Futaba Corporation of America
    Distributed Exclusively in the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021; Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Website: www.futaba-rc.com
    Products used: Futaba 9CAP transmitter & FP-R148DF receiver

    HiTec RCD USA, Inc.
    12115 Paine St.
    Poway CA, 92064
    TEL 858-748-6948
    Website: www.hitecrcd.com
    Products used: HS-75BB servos

    Comments on RCU Review: Hangar 9 P-51 Mustang 150

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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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