RCU Review: ParkZone F-27 Stryker

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    Contributed by: Michael Kranitz | Published: August 2004 | Views: 86646 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon

    ParkZone™ is a Horizon Hobby brand
    (877) 504-0233

    Watch video of the
    Parkzone F-27 Stryker

    Dog Fighting

    • Easy to assemble
    • Powerful and maneuverable
    • Battle ready
    • Dual rates
    • Firing button
    • Cool cammo paint scheme

    • Plastic silver wiring cover may loosen after several flights
    • You have to get your neighbor to buy one so you can kick his butt!!

    After reviewing the F-27 Stryker, the only way I can imagine receiving more instantaneous gratification is by printing a copy out from my computer and flying it in my backyard. Since that won't happen (at least not for another decade), Parkzone's F-27 has to top the list of EFFTRCF (extremely fast fun things in R/C flight)!"

    We assembled the Stryker at the field and video taped the entire process so you can see how quickly and easily you can be flying. Horizon Hobby (manufacturer and distributor of Parkzone products) has rung the bell with this product, which will entertain "advanced beginners" as well as experienced pilots.

    Don't be fooled by the the fact that this is an RTF. The Parkzone moniker MEANS that the plane is geared toward pilots with moderate flying skills. (we know this because an experienced pilot planted his Stryker into the turf our first video shoot!). Horizon Hobby created the Parkzone line of aircraft to satisfy skilled pilots who want a fun and convenient addition to their hobby hangar. For those interested in beginner RTF's, check out the "Hobbyzone" line of airplanes.

    The Stryker flies alone or in combat with up to 5 other Strykers (provided they are all on different channels). With Horizon's exclusive X-Port, you can instantly clip on a sonic combat module (we like to call it the "Battle Pod") and dog fight over your neighborhood park.

    From packaging to pulse-pounding combat, the Stryker kicks butt. We'll show you why.

    Tom Toledo closes in on Brian Gafford's Stryker in the heat of battle. View the video tape to see the action!

    Kit Name: Stryker

    Fuselage and wings:
    EPP Foam
    37 in (950mm)
    27in (700mm)
    21oz. (580g)
    Direct Drive 480 brushed
    Included 3-ch FM proportional control w/mode change switch (batteries included)
    8.4V 900mAh Ni-MH (included)
    DC peak detect with car adapter (included)
    Sonic Combat Module:
    (not included)
    Hop-Up 8-Cell Battery:
    (900mAh Ni-MH available from Horizon Hobby)

    Assembly is so easy, we videotaped the entire process!
    In addition, we took step-by-step photos.

    The packaging is simple and stout. We had 3 Strykers shipped and none of them sustained any damage until we got them out of the box and punched on into the grass. Score one for Parkzone.

    RCU Review Pilot, Tom Toledo shows off the Stryker's bold packaging.

    Not many pieces here. Anybody who can follow directions (and even those who can't) will get this right.

    Double-sided tape and large notches hold the nose in place.

    Decals help keep the nose where it belongs.

    Assembly consists of attaching the nose cone, twin tail fins and landing skid. That's it. Parkzone could not have made this any easier and still packaged the Stryker in a realistically sized box.

    Fins are held in place with a clever "hook" shape, a fin channel and double-sided tape at the forward tip.

    Pop the top, plug in the battery and you are ready to go!

    One of the coolest features of the Stryker is its "Mode Change Flight Control" capability. With the flick of a switch, you can go from tame to torrid. The Stryker uses a sophisticated on-board mixer to control the elevons in two modes. When you change modes from low to high, the Stryker responds with an instant agility boost, which is great for battle. The Strykers use an included, high-quality FM Parkzone transmitter, which operates on one of 6 different channels, allowing you to dogfight with other Stryker owners. Although the range is greater (up to 2,500 ft), Parkzone recommends flying within a 600-foot radius circle for best results. This makes good sense with the Stryker, given its low profile and because it's easier to battle within that range. We went beyond these limits with no transmission issues.

    The Stryker transmitter has a real firing button. WAY COOL!

    Besides the firing button on the left side, this is the coolest switch on the
    Stryker transmitter.

    Cleared for Combat - Stryke One

    Even though the Stryker makes a great aerobatic flyer in its own right, we just had to test it in a dogfight with the sonic combat modules.

    The Sonic Combat Module ready to clip on.

    Swooping in to take the shot, Top Gun Style!

    In our first shoot, we had two experienced pilots at the helm. Tom Toledo, a long time RCU Review pilot launched the first Stryker and trimmed it. After noticing that it dipped a bit even with significant up-trim, he landed and adjusted the clevises on the elevons for more stable flight. Once trimmed, the delta wing flew just fine, even in the 15 mph breezes we get in the Denver area. It is worth noting that this pusher had plenty of power, even at high altitude.

    Molded hand wells make launching easy.

    Elevon clevises are easy to adjust for perfect trim

    Our second pilot, Roger Camp, is known for his awesome building and crash re-construction skills. Now we know why. Not one minute into the maiden flight, I heard a "eeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhh-WHOMP" to the right of my camera as I was filming. Roger sheepishly admitted that he became disoriented with the Stryker overhead and simply punched it in. Secretly, we think he just wanted to re-build it. We headed home for the day and within a week, Horizon had sent us another Stryker and we headed out to the field with veteran jet and warbird pilot, Brian Gafford and of course our trusty ace, Tom. In all fairness, we could have put Humpty together again at the field, but I forgot the CA and really wanted to give the Styker a fair look. We did beat the Stykers up after a number of flights and they do repair easily (see last section of the review for details).

    Two Strykes and Out of the Park

    It's hard to quantify the "fun factor" of battling two F-27's, but I'd say it's about a 9. The only thing more fun would be actually firing a missile and obliterating your opponent with one.

    With the sonic combat modules snapped in place, both pilots took to the sky. It wasn't long before Brian got his first confirmed "hit" on Tom. When firing, the modules send out a shrill chirping sound. If the target is within range, it's sensors will pick up the hit and emit a steady shrill tone. The disabled target loses throttle for up to 10 seconds (our experience was about 6 seconds) after which full control is restored.

    Combat with the Stryker demands more from the pilot than does combat with the Styker's HobbyZone cousins, the Firebird or Aero Commander. With their delta wing design and commanding power, these fighters are extremely maneuverable, making them excellent dog fighters.

    Our Strykers had no problem doing loops, axial rolls and inverted flight (although not sustained for too long). With this level of agility, dogfighting Strykers will give any pilot a real R/C thrill.

    Once airborne, the Stryker will fly nicely at 1/3 throttle, provided the battery is fully charged. As with any delta wing aircraft, downwind turns can be tricky so make sure you are ready to apply elevator before it's too late.

    If you get the Stryker up high enough, you can ride thermals and glide fairly well. We recommend using the low rate setting when sport flying and high rates for combat.

    We tried a little experiment with the Stryker. After flying to about 110 feet, we dove down at full power. The bad news: at the bottom of the dive, the propeller flew off under the stress of the dive. The good news: the Stryker -with no power- pulled through with a full loop followed by an upwind turn and steady landing. Oh yeah, and we found the prop!

    To land the Stryker, fly it to the ground and about a foot or so off the ground start feeding up elevon for a nice flair or "delta stall". At low speeds near the ground, be wary of stalls and sudden wing tip drops (as you would with any delta wing plane).

    Watch videos of the
    Parkzone F-27 Stryker

    Dog Fighting

    I really like this plane. It shines among park flyers and "standard" aircraft at the flying field. What makes it more impressive is its simplicity in construction. For those who scoff at ready-to-fly aircraft, consider the place in R/C for products like this. They are extremely fun and because they are so easy to get going, they will invite more fliers into the hobby. What makes R/C cars so popular among young people is, in part, their simplicity. Sure, you can take cars to more complex levels, but at their core, they are not intimidating as a "build from sticks" airplane might be. The Stryker addresses this market but also rewards experienced pilots and builders with just plain fun. I like the direction that Horizon is taking with Parkzone products, and especially the Stryker.

    Follow-Up Fight:

    We had so much fun on our initial review of the Strykers that I decided to take the set out for a second round later in the week. The wind was gusting over 25 mph and by all rights we should not have been test flying these lightweight fighters. But who could resist?

    The dog fighting was good. In fact, it was so spirited that on one round I piled my Stryker into the side of a hill (thanks to a radically evasive maneuver that eluded my attacker, but not the upslope). The nose broke off behind the place where you initially attach the tip with double-stick tape. The hatch popped also. With 5-minute epoxy (CA would have worked also) I was back up in…well….5 minutes! The great thing about these sturdy birds is their ease of repair. The foam goes right back together and the plane flies like nothing ever happened. The F-27 uses CA-safe EPP so you can "fix it and forget it" on the spot!

    So back into the sky we rose for another round. This time (again, over the upslope) a huge gust of wind grabbed my opponent's right wing and spun him out of control. By the time he regained his sticks, it was too late. The nasty hill ate his Stryker's nose for lunch. This time, the break was almost to the leading edge of the wing. To make matters worse, the left vertical fin was damaged. That's when things got interesting. I wondered how well the Stryker would fly with only one vertical fin and virtually no nose. Yee haa! We launched the wounded predator into the sky and it flew great!! We rolled, looped and inverted our flying Frankenstein and even played a bit of limbo with the soccer goals at our park. Check out the photos. This is one tough airplane.

    I thought the Stryker was an excellent park flyer before we piled it into a heaping mass of twisted foam. Now, after flying it all beaten up, I am absolutely positive that this product is a home run.

    Congratulations to Horizon Hobby for taking this one downtown.

    ParkZone™ is a Horizon Hobby brand
    (877) 504-0233

    Comments on RCU Review: ParkZone F-27 Stryker

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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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