|Contributed by: Dick Pettit | Published: August 2007 | Views: 46974 | Email this Article
Flap hinge holes mis-drilled on one wing
Some of the lock nuts on the pushrods are the wrong
metal pushrod shown when using a gas ignition engine
remove both bottom clevises on wing struts
No instrument panel or
other interior details
Trim color stripes on cowl do not line up
with the ones on the fuselage
Clevis holes in wooden flap horns
Kit Name: Christen Husky
Wing Area: 1696 sq.in
Wing Loading: 23.44 oz/sq.ft on wheels
27.58 oz/sq.ft on floats
Flying Weight as tested: 17-20
to 2.2 2-Stroke, 1.2 to 2.2 4-Stroke,
20cc to 43cc Gas
Radio equipment: 5
Channel system with 8 Servos 70 oz. min.
needed to complete kit
USED ON TEST MODEL
45cc gas engine
48" ARF Floats
Scale Cub wheels
Heavy Duty Servo Arms
3" spinner and prop adapter
#1: Hitec Eclipse PCM radio system (see text)
#2: Spektrum DX7 2.4 GHZ radio system
Hitec HS-645MG servos, 3 HS-425BB servos
1650 maH 5 cell NiMH batteries
Husky utility has the distinction of being the only all
new light aircraft designed and placed into series
production in the United States in the mid to late 1980s.
"Similar in configuration,
appearance and mission to Piper's venerable Super Cub, the
Husky is a much later design, being first conceived in the
mid 1980s. The
Husky was originally designed by Christen Industries, the
company also responsible for the kit built Christen Eagle
aerobatic biplane and previous owner of the Pitts Special
aerobatic biplane series (described separately, Aviat now
owns Pitts and Christen). "
"Initial design work on the
Husky began in late 1985, the aircraft being one of the
few in its class designed with the benefit of Computer
Aided Design. The
prototype Husky flew for the first time in 1986, and the
US FAA awarded certification the following year.
Production deliveries followed shortly afterwards. "
"Design features of the
Husky include a braced high wing, seating for two in
tandem and dual controls. This
high wing arrangement was selected for good all round
visibility, essential for the many observation and patrol
roles the Husky is suited for. Power
is supplied by a relatively powerful, for the Husky's
weight, 135kW (180hp) Textron Lycoming O360 flat four
turning a constant speed prop. The
good power reserves and wing also give good field
most current light aircraft the Husky's structure features
steel tube frames and Dacron covering over all but the
rear of the fuselage, plus metal leading edges on the
"Options include floats,
skis and banner and glider hooks."
"Husky has been one of the best selling light
aircraft designs of the last twenty years, with more than
450 sold since production began. Many of the aircraft are
used for observation duties, fisheries patrol, pipeline
inspection, border patrol, glider towing and a range of
other utility missions. Notable users include the US
Departments of the Interior and Agriculture and the Kenya
Wildlife Service which flies seven on aerial patrols of elephant
herds as part of the fight against illegal ivory
The instructions start out at the
same place all the other ARF manuals start, by adding the
control surfaces to the wing panels.
I used a heat gun and a soft cloth to locate and
remove a few wrinkles I found in the covering, and it
appears to be either UltraCote or Oracover. By the way it
responds to the application of heat.
The ailerons are attached using the supplied CA
type hinges using thin ZAP adhesive and the flaps are
installed using the point type hinges and Pacer Hinge
Glue. I found
that the pre-drilled holes on one wing panel were located
incorrectly by almost ?", but I could re-drill the
holes in the right place easily.
I did notice that reversed servos are not needed
for the flaps because the pre-installed horns are offset
to the same side of the wing panels.
Aileron and flap servos were
installed using the wooden blocks epoxied to the hatch
covers, and linkages were made up using the supplied 4-40
rods and clevises. I
used Hitec HS-645MG servos on flaps and ailerons because I
have had good luck with them in the past.
The flap linkage is hidden within the wing while
the aileron linkages are outside.
The flaps have wooden tabs with holes drilled for
the clevis pins, so I'll be looking for possible wear as
time goes by. I
made up some extension cables for each servo using locking
connectors, labeling them as to their purpose.
The aileron horns are bolts and plastic fittings
that are perfectly usable for this purpose. Even though the bolts are quite long, I did not shorten them
until I check and adjust the control surface throws. I used DuBro Heavy Duty control horns on the aileron and flap
servos for extra servo travel.
The main landing gear is installed
next, using plastic straps and wood screws.
The main wheels are probably fine for average use,
but I had a new set of DuBro quarter scale CUB wheels
hanging on the wall and I used them. They add to the "bush plane" look of the Husky. The
tail wheel bracket is attached using some rather small
wood screws that I replaced with ones that are a bit
main gear fairings are simply covered wooden plates that
tie wrap to the wire gear.
I would have tried to do this another way, but the
ones in the kit are usable.
With the Husky up on all three
wheels, the wing panels are attached using the aluminum
wing tube and nylon retaining bolts.
The locating pin hole locations needed to be
adjusted slightly to allow easy assembly. There is a
removable hatch with a window on the top of the cabin that
gives access to the radio equipment, servos and for
installing wing root bolts. The horizontal stab is then slipped through the slot in
the fuselage and aligned to the wings both horizontally
and vertically. The
covering is then cut away at the fuselage area and the
stab is attached permanently. The manual recommends epoxy, but I have had excellent results
using thin ZAP if the joint is tight enough, which it was
on the Husky. Don't
go overboard here with the ZAP because a little goes a
long way, and I'm talking about down the side of the
The tail braces are made up using the
thin cables, threaded fittings and plastic connectors in
the kit. They
are adjustable, but you'll need to take the attachment
bolts and nuts off and use a pair of pliers to make
The elevator halves and rudder are
now installed with the CA hinges and thin ZAP.
The control horns are the same as used on the
ailerons, and are easily installed.
The holes are pre-drilled, even though the manual
says to drill the holes at a particular location.
The 2-56 wire elevator pushrods slide
through plastic tubes and are probably heavy enough for
use on a plane of this type and size.
The elevator servo location, however, forces the
user to reverse one elevator servo or make other
arrangements, like relocate the plastic tube to the other
side of one servo. It
was a simple task to reverse one elevator servo, wire it
up to the other elevator servo and plug them into the
receiver. The rudder pull-pull wires are then threaded
from the tail to the servo area, not a very easy task, but
if you follow the manual and use an elevator pushrod to
guide the wires forward, it can be done.
Again, Hitec HS-645MG servos were used for elevator
and rudder control. Several
of the lock nuts to be used on the pushrods were the wrong
thread and needed to be replaced.
Since I did not have an engine for
the Husky at this point in time, I jumped ahead in the
manual and mounted the wing struts to the fuselage and
tabs are bolted to the fuselage floor, not an easy task
because the bolts go under the servo tray.
More metal tabs are bolted to recessed slots in
each wing panel and the wings are mounted to the fuselage.
I found it easier to turn the entire plane over and
work on the struts where I can actually see them.
The clevises at the fuselage end of the struts are
difficult to attach to the metal bracket because they are
solidly mounted to the struts.
They cannot be spread apart from one another to fit
into the holes.
I made a bit of an "engineering
improvement" to make it easier to take the struts off
the fuselage. I
drilled out the clevis pin holes in the fuselage brackets
to fit 4-40 bolts. I
made up a new clevis plate from scrap aluminum sheet that
has holes for both the clevis pins and ones that match the
4-40 bolt holes. The
new clevis plate is bolted to the fuselage bracket with a
pair of 4-40 bolts and safety nuts.
After adjusting the length of the struts to fit,
the clevises are clipped into the new holes on the clevis
plate for the last time.
The struts can be removed by removing the 4-40
bolts, keeping the clevises in place.
The photo shows the details a lot better than I can
write about them.
The interplane struts (actually
called Jury struts) are then assembled, but mine were
already put together and mounted to the wing struts.
Once the main struts are attached to the wing and
fuselage, the jury struts are adjusted, bent, wiggled and
magically installed in place.
They're weird looking but all they have to do is
keep the main struts from flexing.
The one downgrade is that they mount into the wing
structure with a single wood screw into a piece of wood.
I would have expected to see at least a bolt and
blind nut arrangement, but it's too late to change
The side windows, windshield and top
hatch window are now installed into position after cutting
them to size. I used Pacer Canopy Glue for the side and top windows and
used small screws for the windshield to allow removal if
window material is tinted, which may keep prying eyes from
seeing the lack of any sort of cabin interior inside the
the price of this kit, I would at least expect to find an
instrument panel decal, but none was included.
I found an instrument panel sticker that was cut to
The last thing to be done is adding
the receiver, battery and power switch, but since I still
don't have the engine, I'll hold off doing these
steps. I may
have to locate the battery elsewhere in case the balance
of the plane requires it.
Finally, after several false starts,
the engine I planned to use on the Husky arrived and was
set up on my test bench.
It's a THOR 45 gas engine that is distributed by
Hobby People and will turn a 20-8 prop at about 7500 RPM,
plenty to pull the Husky around, even on floats.
The THOR engine is rather short and required some
additional spacers to get the prop drive washer out where
it needed to be. Along with the metal spacers that came with the engine, I
made up a set of 1" wooden spacers made from 1"
diameter hardwood dowel, drilled them for 10-32 bolts and
attached the engine to the firewall using fender washers
and safety nuts.
The throttle linkage and fuel tank
were then added, but I chose not to use the solid metal
throttle pushrod supplied in the kit.
It was replaced with a plastic tube type pushrod to
minimize the transmission of ignition noise from the
engine back to the radio system.
The cowl was then trimmed to clear the cylinder
head and muffler outlet and attached to the fuselage with
small screws. The
ignition box was mounted to the front of the firewall and
the battery was placed directly behind the firewall as far
forward as possible to keep the ignition system as far
away from the radio system as possible. I added a tee in
the carburetor feed line to allow filling and draining the
tank using a DuBro Fill-It system.
The cowl was then mounted after cutting clearance
holes for the cylinder and muffler.
It was mounted using small servo screws.
I then found that the color trim stripes on the
cowl would not line up with the ones on the fuselage.
I could have one side match and the other side be
way off, or just center both of them.
I did the latter.
With the engine installed and the
cowl mounted, I checked the balance of the Husky only to
find that it was actually nose heavy.
It balanced just ahead of the forward point listed
in the manual and this prompted me to install the radio
system as far back in the fuselage as possible.
A plywood base was installed behind the cockpit on
the floor of the fuselage and the Hitec FM receiver and 5
cell battery was attached to it.
Wiring was made up to connect the flaps, ailerons
and other control surfaces to the receiver. The antenna was run outside the fuselage to the tail and the
receiver switch was installed on a ply plate I had to add
to the fuselage side because there was no other place to
With just about everything complete,
I took the Husky outside to run the engine on the
had installed the floats on the fuselage and found that
the plane again balanced a bit on the nose heavy side,
about the same as when the wheels were installed.
I estimated that 4 ounces of lead was needed at the
tail to bring the balance to the middle of the suggested
balance range, and this was the 29% point according to my
attached sufficient lead to get the desired balance point.
Engine running was attempted and the
THOR 45 spring to like after a few priming flips and 2 or
3 starting flips. There was plenty of power available and I was actually able
to taxi the plane on the damp grass in my backyard. I then made a radio range check and found that there was
definite glitching at less than my standard distance from
the airplane. I
replaced the receiver with another one, only to find that
the glitching was still there.
I went to the trouble of setting up a
separate radio system consisting of a receiver, battery
and several servos on a small table that I placed more
than 3 feet from the running engine. There was still interference with this arrangement so it was
time for some drastic measures.
I took out the 72 MHZ system and installed a
Spektrum DX7 receiver and programmed the transmitter for
all the control surfaces.
I then checked the radio range and found that I
could not get the system to glitch at twice the normal
range check distance.
The second part of the review is the
installation of the Lanier 48" ARF Floats.
The Husky manual has a section that deals with this
process, so they must be thinking that most Husky
purchasers will also be using the floats. The latest Lanier advertisement on their web site has a
special price on a combination of the Husky and the
floats. These floats seem to be wood construction with a layer of
fiberglass cloth on the bottoms of the hull sections. They're covered in a plastic heat shrink material that
handles like the covering on the Husky when heated.
The floats also come with a rear strut that mounts
to the fuselage on the Husky.
These floats can be used on other models, but the
geometry between the floats and the airplane's wing must
be set up accordingly.
The entire float assembly weighs 3
pounds 14 ounces, including the water rudder servos, which
is not bad for a set of floats this size.
They will add to the total weight of the Husky,
which is why I've decided to use an engine at the upper
end of the power range.
There's really not much to do as
far as assembly on the floats, but we can bolt on the
nylon bracket for the gear legs and the water rudders,
assemble the rudders themselves and add the pushrods to
the rudder servos. Yes,
I did say servos, because each float has its own servo to
steer its own rudder. The rudder post requires soldering to the rudder bracket,
which may be a bit of a problem for modelers with limited
The rudders feature a "kick-up"
design, meaning that they can pivot vertically if they hit
something in the water, like a rock or a tree.
This prevents the stern of the floats from being
ripped off. The
water rudder servos can be standard size units and are
sealed inside the floats using some sort of a sealant on
the hatch covers. The servo leads and extensions are then run up the rear struts
to the fuselage where they have to be tied into the rudder
channel of the radio system.
I found that the water rudder servos move in the
opposite direction as the main rudder servo moves, so I
had to reverse the rudder servo and then reverse the
rudder channel on the transmitter. Adjustment
is made possible by a V shaped bend directly behind each
or close the V and the rudder moves accordingly.
The pushrods that are supplied with
the float kit do not flex enough to allow sufficient water
rudder movement. I
replaced them with 1/32" wire to allow a bit of sideways
motion when the rudders were deflected.
There is a fuselage sub-fin that is
supposed to minimize adverse yaw due to the addition of
the floats. The
mounting plate has to be screwed to the underside of the
fuselage at the rear, but that requires the removal of the
tail wheel assembly.
I made another "engineering improvement? to
allow the installation of the sub-fin without removing the
The last thing to be done is to
measure between the centerline of the floats at the front
and rear to make sure they are aligned with one another.
Mine were within 1/16" and I left them there.
There is no mention of checking the alignment of
the top of the floats to the fuselage, and I can only
assume that Lanier has done their homework on this bolt-on
I'll add one more thing here that
is really important to any model that has had floats
airplane with the wheels attached must be balanced to fly
correctly, but the addition of floats may cause the
balance point to change.
Do not, under any circumstances, add weight to the
aircraft itself to correct a balance problem after
installing the floats.
If this is done, and the floats removed, the
balance of the airplane will be incorrect.
Instead, add weight to either the bow or stern of
the floats themselves.
This way, when you go back to flying off dry land,
the balance point will be correct.
I'll take the Husky on wheels to my favorite flying
site to make the first land-based flights, and then
replace the wheels with the floats and head over to
another club field that just happens to have a really
large lake just off the end of the runway.
See y'all then.
It was a magnificent day for flying,
so I got with my assistant test pilot, Rick Cawley and
made arrangements to take the Lanier Husky to the flying
field. I also
put the floats into the car just in case we had enough
time to go to another field that happens to have a huge
lake off one end of the runway.
I assembled the Husky, took some ground photos and
filled the tank with gas mix.
The THOR 45 engine started very easily and after I
made a radio range check and had Rick in place with the
still camera, I was ready for the first flight.
Power was added, a little bit of
right rudder was needed to keep the plane headed in a
straight line and the Husky was off the ground in a few
hundred feet. I
circled the field and checked the trims, finding only a
tiny bit of aileron trim was needed for hands-off level
also noticed I had only used half throttle to get the
plane into the air.
I then flew around a bit, making
loops, rolls, stall turns and other basic aerobatic
were completed easily and with plenty of control left
over. I then
tried a low and slow pass with half flaps and low power,
and the Husky could be made to fly at a fast walking pace.
But with full flaps and lower power, I could be
made to hover in the air, not moving forward at all.
This was really cool!
I realize that I have not done many
of the maneuvers that some other pilots would have tried
like knife edges, snap rolls and the like, but since the
full scale Husky is designed to be a short field bush
plane, those maneuvers would be entirely out of place. What it does, it does very well.
I set up for a full flap landing,
lowered the power to a high idle and pointed the nose to
the left end of the grass runway.
The Husky didn't speed up at all and it seemed
like there was a parachute attached to its tail. Once over the runway, I flared the Husky to a nice wheel
landing and taxied back to the pit area to check for loose
or missing parts. The
first flight was a 100% success, but the next one will be
done by Rick.
I took the video camera and with Rick
at the controls, he got the Husky into the air a bit
quicker that I had. He then made some slow rolls, a huge loop and then a really
small loop. But
the most fun he had was doing rudder turns in a vertical
quite a stall turn but more like the type of turn that an
agricultural spray plane would do when turning around.
Rick commented that the rudder was very powerful
and could be used with ailerons to make scale type turns.
Rick then made a few low and slow
passes and a pretty good touch and go with half flaps
was really enjoying himself flying really slow with the
flaps hanging out the back of the wing.
He commented that the engine ran very well also,
and provided plenty of power without being the least bit
Rick set up for his first landing
with only half flaps deployed and it was a beauty.
We checked things out once more and found that the
flap linkage on one side was a bit loose.
This turned out to be the holes in the flap horns
wearing to a larger diameter as we flew the Husky.
It was OK for now but I'll make a change to the
flap linkage after I get home.
We flew the Husky a few more times off the grass
but then decided to take off the wheels, add the floats
and head for the lake.
See y'all there.
The flying club with a huge lake was
only about half an hour away and once I got there, the
Husky was assembled, fueled and carried to the water's
bolt-on ventral fin, used to offset the side forces
generated by the floats, was also attached.
I asked if it would be OK to fly off the water
without interfering with the half dozen or so pilots that
were "land locked".
I guess it was OK since most of them stopped flying
their planes and followed us to the lake.
The THOR 45 was started, and the Husky was placed
into the water, and according to one spectator, "it
a good thing too.
I taxied to the left edge of the lake
and advanced power slowly but steadily.
The floats came up on the step quickly and the
Husky was airborne. I circled the area and began to find that the Husky was
yawing to the right when heading in one direction and to
the left going the other way.
I think the ventral fin on the bottom of the
fuselage was catching too much of the cross wind and
making the plane fly crooked.
A little rudder input along with opposite ailerons
fixed the problem easily, but I may take the ventral fin
off next time.
The Husky on floats flies with a
definite pendulum effect since they weigh about three full
pounds, and it's all hanging under the fuselage.
It may take some learning how to get the Husky to
fly in a normal fashion, but it's still fun.
No aerobatics were attempted with the
floats in place, but I feel the plane would look awkward
doing loops and rolls with those floats in place.
Tight turns, steep dives at low speeds and low slow
flybys are the maneuvers that are in order for a plane
such as the Husky.
I had attracted several more
spectators including a few that were out on the lake in
their boats. I
decided to make one more flyby and then set up for a
rather normal approach.
On the downwind leg, the flaps were set to the
halfway position, the throttle reduced to a very high idle
and the Husky responded by dropping its nose and reducing
its flying speed. Just
before turning to final, I added full flaps, cut the power
some more and set up a gliding approach.
When the Husky was about 5 feet off the water,
power was cut to idle and the floats kissed the water, the
plane bounced slightly and settled back to the lake with a
very gentle splash from the floats.
I found that the floats did kick up a
little water during low and mid-speed taxiing, but not
enough to harm the running of the engine.
The water rudders were very powerful, but there was
one time that the crosswind prevented turning the Husky to
the left. I
responded by making a 270 degree right turn and headed off
in the direction I had originally intended.
No water was found in either the floats or the
can see from the small video that the Husky does just fine
on the floats. And
it does really well on wheels too.
The Lanier Husky is a really nice
semi-scale model of a plane that was designed to go where
not many other planes would survive.
It assembles quickly and easily, there are no major
problems and everything fits where it was designed to fit.
I think several important details were left off
such as an instrument panel and something that would
indicate where the door is located.
At a price such as the Husky will cost the
purchaser, those things should be included.
I used the THOR 45cc engine because I wanted as
much power as I felt necessary to get the plane off the
ground and especially off the water.
Smaller displacement engines could be used, but be
prepared to take longer to get into the air.
There are several prices listed on
the Lanier web site and in various online resources that
could make the Husky a very good choice for the modeler
who wants the look of a scale high wing 2 place bush plane
with good flight characteristics and rather low weight,
all needing a moderate sized engine and barely larger than
standard radio equipment.
I like the Husky, both on wheels and
on the floats and I plan to take it back to the lake as
soon as they cut down some of the tall weeds on the entry
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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