RCU Review: ParkZone P-51D Mustang

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    Contributed by: Thomas Pierce | Published: August 2005 | Views: 84014 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    ParkZone P51 Mustang RTF

    Review by: Tom "Neo" Pierce -

    Horizon Hobby

    Phone: 1-800-338-4639
    Support: 1-877-504-0233


    See the stock P51-D Mustang
    on patrol!

    Ease of Assembly
    Scale Aerobatics

    Easy, idiot-proof assembly
    Great scale looks
    Stable flight characteristics
    Good value for the money
    Flies "out of the box"

    Somewhat uderpowered
    Balloons at higher speeds
    The new P51-D Mustang made by ParkZone and distributed by Horizon Hobby immediately caught my attention the first time I saw it on the Horizon web site. I've always loved the sexy lines of the Mustang and the thought of having a cool little electric version that had great scale looks is very appealing to me.

    Even better yet, the ParkZone "Ferocious Frankie" P51-D Mustang was an RTF ship that required virtually no building skills or time, and comes with literally everything you need to get in the air.

    The P51-D Mustang was considered to be the premier lethal weapon in the air during WWII and every pilot that flew one fell in love with it. It was called a true "pilots airplane" and it did what you asked before you even asked for it. Now let's see if ParkZone has done the Mustangs historical reputation justice...

    Kit Name: P-51D Mustang RTF Electric
    Manufacturer: ParkZone
    Price: $179.99
    Wingspan: 39.5" / 1000mm
    Length: 34" / 860mm
    Flying Weight: 29oz / 820g
    Motor Size: 480 power with 3:1 gearbox
    Prop: Supplied 2-blade
    Transmitter: 3 channel 27Mhz (proprietary)

    Receiver: 27Mhz FM (proprietary)
    (2) Removable proprietary
    1-Aileron, 1-elevator
    Battery: 10.8V 1000Mah NiMh (9 cell)
    Speed Control: Power FET proportional (proprietary)
    Controls: Proportional
    Charger: Variable rate DC Peak charges 5-10 cell Ni-MH batteries
    Landing Gear: None (hand-launch)

    The ParkZone P51-D comes well packaged in a single box with everything you need to get in the air, including transmitter and a DC Peak battery charger for the flight pack battery.

    Motor, speed control, servos, and receiver are included and pre-installed. All batteries required for both the plane and transmitter are also included.

    Modelled after the fullscale "Ferocious Frankie" P51-D Mustang of WWII, it has great scale looks that follow the original full-scale warbird very closely.

    Install transmitter batteries
    Charge flight batteries
    Connect aileron servo
    The P51-D came in a very nice package... nice box, good packing, everything was there that was supposed to be there. The box did appear to have a damaged spot in shipping, so I checked the styrofoam parts for damage, and found only a small crushed area on the tip of one wing. It was easily fixed with a dab of Foam-Safe CA glue and is barely noticeable now. I immediately noticed that they did a very good job on giving it some great scale details like panel lines, guns, pilot, instrument panel, decals, etc.

    Checking out the instruction manual, I found that while it is targeted towards the intermediate pilot, it was so well written that even the beginner or novice could easily follow along. There are so few steps involved in getting this plane together that you probably could have done so in a one-page manual, but ParkZone went the extra mile to make sure nothing was taken for granted and additional setup and flying instructions were provided.

    The ParkZone P51-D can be completely assembled and batteries charged, ready to fly, in less than 40 minutes... mostly because it takes about that long to charge the battery! The first step is to install the supplied batteries into the back of the ParkZone 3-channel transmitter, and put the hook up the supplied 9-cell flight battery and charger. The supplied charger is an adjustable 5-10 cell DC Peak charger which charges the 10.8V NiMH pack in under an hour. With the batteries taken care of, the next step is to move on to the wing installation. Plug in the aileron servo lead from the fuse to the wing and begin lining the wing up to the fuse.

    Wing alignment tabs
    Screw wing to fuse
    Insert stab into tail
    To line up the wing, there are two plastic alignment tabs at the trailing edge of the wing, just under the radiator scoop. Insert them in place then shove the leading edge down into place. The wing should seat securely in place with no gaps between it and the fuselage.

    Next, just use two screws to screw the wing down onto the fuse and move on to the tail. The P51-D has a fixed rudder, so the only thing to install in the tail is the stab and elevators, which couldn't be easier. Just slide the stab through the tail into position, with elevators pre-installed and hinged.

    Use 4 pieces of supplied tape to secure the stab in position. Turn on your transmitter and connect the flight battery to the plane to let the servos center. You should now be able to clip the pre-installed elevator control horn onto the control linkage exiting the tail of the plane. Slide the retainer up the clevis to the horn and you're done!

    Tape stab in position
    Connect flight battery
    Connect elevator linkage
    Adjust trims as needed
    Adjust aileron linkage
    Test motor with throttle
    At this point, you are basically done with all assembly, with only a few minor adjustments remaining. With the transmitter turned on and the flight battery connected, you can now adjust your trims with the trim levers on the transmitter. At level trim, my ailerons were just slightly drooping down, so I easily fixed that by adjusting them at the control horns. Just loosen the set screw, slide the horn down the linkage to adjust, and re-tighten the screw.I suggest checking these to ensure these are tight before flying.

    Now all you have to do is slide the flight battery down into it's housing and close up the cover over the battery... you're ready to fly. The supplied transmitter uses a slider for a throttle rather than a stick. Use this slider now to test your motor. The slider most be in the "zero throttle" position when you connect the battery, or the motor does not arm. This is a great safety feature that you will find in most speed controls today.

    The transmitter provides two flight modes, which most of us would consider "high" and "low" rates. One switch changes both the ailerons and elevator rates at the same time. On a final note, the specs claim flying weight with stock battery to be 29 ounces, and mine came in just under that at 28.6 ounces.

    As you can see, the new ParkZone P51-D is extremely easy to "assemble" and takes virtually no experience to get ready for flight. But, what about how it flies? Well, read on...

    The maiden flight of my P51-D took place late in the evening when the wind finally died down to about 5mph or less. I wasn't sure what to expect with the hand launch, so I decided it would be best to let someone else launch it the first time for me, allowing me to keep my hands on the radio.

    With a launch at about 10 degrees up, the plane tries to slightly roll from the torque of the motor, but quickly levels out as speed builds up. I was originally concerned about the small amount of control throw that the surfaces provided on low rates, but quickly found this was not an issue. It had plenty of control on low rates to perform a climb out and standard patrol maneuvers. Once at about 100 feet, I kicked it into full throttle and found that it had pretty average speed once it built up a "head of steam." Pretty much what you'd expect from a brushed 480 motor.

    Next I tried out the "high rate" flight mode, and found them to be about right for more scale aerobatic maneuvers. Rolls were not bad but speed quickly bled off causing the plane to lose altitude rather quickly. Loops were pretty much the same, but make sure you keep both of these maneuvers at high altitude to avoid premature impact with the ground. As the battery begins using up juice, power begins to wain and these maneuvers need to be kept even higher.

    Overall, standard performance was pretty close to scale, as were aerobatic maneuvers. After about 6-8 minutes power was starting to wain a little so I begin thinking about landing. I found the landing to be very easy as it flies quite well at slow speeds provided you don't feed in any drastic control changes. It flew quite well at 2/3 throttle or less, but seemed to balloon and climb a lot when you applied any more throttle than that..

    I was a little disappointed in not being able to fly more than about 6-8 minutes with plane I was sent, but ParkZone claims you should get 10 minute flights. Your mileage may vary. Horizon also offers an optional Lithium Polymer battery pack that would give you additional power and longer flight times... I think this would be well worth the investment.

    See the P51-D Mustang in action!

    (all stock equipment and battery)

    This P51-D Mustang is a very nice little warbird with great looks and relatively good performance. Note that this plane was designed for the intermediate/advanced pilot, not the beginner. The plane flies well if you are looking for relatively scale performance. ParkZone designed this plane to be flown "out of the box" with no need to go out and buy additional components to get in the air. In that, they succeeded quite well.

    Hand launches take a bit of practice and as with most warbirds, radical stick maneuvers at lower speeds could bring the plane down. Rolls and loops are adequate, but not great. My flight times with the stock battery were quite short, but you may have better experiences. While I never got a flight over about 6-8 minutes, I've been told of others getting longer flight times. I felt it was a little underpowered for my taste, but it did perform just as you should expect for a brushed speed 480 motor... just nothing to write home about.

    My biggest complaint is that the plane balloons/climbs quite a bit with power applied at 2/3 throttle or more. I found myself constantly pushing the nose back down when flying at higher speeds. I couldn't eliminate this with any amount of down trim.

    Bottom line, if you are and intermediate/advanced pilot and are looking for something that looks great, flies good and can get you in the air with virtually no build time and zero extra cost/components needed... the ParkZone P51-D will do the trick.

    I normally buy small park flyers like the with the intention of putting high performance gear in them, as many pilots do. Be aware that ParkZone did not design this plane for such intentions, so I would not suggest attempting to do so. This P-51D was designed to fly "as is" out of the box, without any need to "hop up" so I wouldn't recommend it if you are looking for an airframe to hop up with a different motor, radio, servos, etc.. Buy it and fly it like it is!

    Horizon Hobby
    Phone: 1-800-338-4639
    Support: 1-877-504-0233

    Products used:
    ParkZone P-51D Mustang RTF Electric

    Comments on RCU Review: ParkZone P-51D Mustang

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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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