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The easier flying TopFlite kit of the two? 65" Mustang vs 63" Spitfire

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The easier flying TopFlite kit of the two? 65" Mustang vs 63" Spitfire

Old 09-07-2016, 12:10 PM
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rustyrivet
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Default The easier flying TopFlite kit of the two? 65" Mustang vs 63" Spitfire

I'm planning on doing it in electric and I was wondering which one of these two planes might have an edge (if at all) in being the easier plane to fly. (??) The builder in me needs to stay busy building one of these 2 kits while the novice trainer pilot in me is still learning to fly his trainers. I don't have a problem waiting as long as it takes to to become an experienced pilot before flying this warbird, or at least my letting an experienced pilot maiden it for me until I've got the skill and confidence to fly it later. I fully understand the "walk before you run" analogy, and again this is more something to keep my builder hands busy. The TopFlite Spitfire Kit is my preferred choice, but I haven't ruled out the Mustang. Any input and comparison of these two 63"-65" kits and flight charachteristics would be appreciated.
Old 09-07-2016, 02:19 PM
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NoFlaps
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Plenty of horror stories can be told of spitfires tipstalling, but that's on the real plane, prior to having wash-out worked into the wing design. The 3 things to consider as a novice to intermediate pilot are: the wing loading, the ground handling characteristics, which has more appeal to you.
The less wing area = higher loading & therefore more prone to being less forgiving.
1).Apples to apples- With the same equipment/ weight in the plane; chances are if it has a longer wingspan - it may be more forgiving -as you've effectively decreased the wing loading for the same overall weight (its not only length though- I'm really talking overall area)... I assume the Spitfire wins here with more area- but I don't have the specs to compare. The 51 May have a slightly shorter wing, but it may have similar area due to the lack or the parabolic Spitty wing. Either way keeping your build light will come in handy, as the higher the wing loading- the faster you'll have to travel to get the same value of lift (if airfoils are relatively similar)...This is one of the factors that really begins to separate the beginners from the sage fliers. It's also why Warbirds (maybe not foamies) need to be power-on, flown all the way to the ground as a result of needing the airspeed on planes known for being "heavy metal".
2).As a relative newbie, you may not be used to taildraggers, so landing gear stance will matter; Wider = more stable/ VS/ narrower= less forgiving.
The Spitfire (same w/ the Me109) are notoriously (for both TO & landings) more tricky on the ground- not only as a taildragger but wheelbase it close together. Consequently, I'd say the P-51 definitely wins here.
lastly, Looks. No doubt, both are iconic, and sexy though the Spit has a lil' more feminine sleekness to her. I actually prefer the looks of the Spit over a D model Mustang, but give me a p-51C over a Spit any day. The choice is yours.
As a result of these factors, I'd probably say the P-51 is a safer bet as it's more stable on the ground. and taking off and landing safely are critical to actually flying.
Good luck and post a build log as not many people seem to do that anymore.
Old 09-07-2016, 03:30 PM
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Thanks for the input. After I posted this, I found a hyperlink or two on the a Tower Hobbies page which they show specs of the Spit model. I clicked on the two old test-flights/reviews of the 63" model. One writer reports of tip stalling inspite of wing washout. Both reviewers reported that the model has to be brought in fast.....like the real thing. Yes.....not easy with the narrow landing gear too. Both guys report heavy wing loadings. I fear that wing loadings will be even worse when I'm doing electric, being an ESC and brick size battery always weigh more then gas. I found no reviews on Tower for the TF P-51 model. While both models look impressive in the air on yourtube, what a very experienced/skilled pilot can do is not necessarily what I can do. LOL
Old 09-07-2016, 05:05 PM
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TXAG96
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I can't comment on the P-51 but I have the Spitfire and I love it. I have no issues at all with tip stalling and mine is heavy. I think it is somewhere around 12lbs dry. I have a dle20 in mine and it still needed lots of nose weight. Mine is fiberglass with latex paint. Keep the tail light is the best advice. The only issue I have with it is that it wants to nose over while taxiing. Nice freshly mowed grass or paved or mat runways are best. I pretty much try to hold the tail down and fly it off. The dle is insane power in this plane. Flies fantastic. It is not a beginner plane but is not hard at all to fly. Landings are not hard but the plane is no floater. It does have to be flown in. FWIW I have the giant tf P-51 and the smaller Spitfire they are both great fliers but I think the spit
is easier to land.

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Old 09-07-2016, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by TXAG96 View Post
I can't comment on the P-51 but I have the Spitfire and I love it. I have no issues at all with tip stalling and mine is heavy. I think it is somewhere around 12lbs dry. I have a dle20 in mine and it still needed lots of nose weight. Mine is fiberglass with latex paint. Keep the tail light is the best advice. The only issue I have with it is that it wants to nose over while taxiing. Nice freshly mowed grass or paved or mat runways are best. I pretty much try to hold the tail down and fly it off. The dle is insane power in this plane. Flies fantastic. It is not a beginner plane but is not hard at all to fly. Landings are not hard but the plane is no floater. It does have to be flown in. FWIW I have the giant tf P-51 and the smaller Spitfire they are both great fliers but I think the spit
is easier to land.

That's a very nice looking Spitfire. If that is Robart retacts you're using, I was wondering how well they are holding up to a 12lb plane. (??) Robarts specs rate them for 5-10lbs.

I have done both silked and glassed planes, which makes the plane very heavy. That enlarged 90" Hog you see in my user name box has about 8 layers of dope and another 8 layers of primer and paint. (I literally applied and sanded a full gallon of dope on it) The plane weighs a ton, and I'd think twice before ever using silk or glass again. If I go with this 63" Spitfire, I suppose I can do air-brushing over steel-wooled monokote. That should produce a nice finish while keeping the weight down compared to painted silk or glass. Perhaps not tip stalling this plane has something to do with knowing how to fly it and NOT fly it. I suppose you don't try to slow it down to a semi crawl while inside a turn on the approach? LOL I would have preferred a slightly larger plane then 63" (like about 70") to distribute the wing loading better, but it seems most model Spits jump up to about 80"+ which is starting to get to be too heavy for electric power in my opinion. Your reply was encouraging.

Last edited by rustyrivet; 09-07-2016 at 07:53 PM.
Old 09-08-2016, 06:09 AM
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I built the TF Spitfire kit back in 2011, installed the Saito FG-20 4 cycle gas engine, robart air retracts and Monokote covering. The weight of the Spitfire came out at 10.5lbs before addition of fuel. Taxi and takeoff is typical of a tail dragger where up elevator and right rudder is required. As long as your ensure you are not below 1/2 throttle during a banking turn there will be little chance of having a tip stall. Landings with full flaps is ideal and I would say the landing speed with flaps is not what I would consider fast. Keep on the rudder during landing and allow the tail to settle before applying up elevator to keep the tail planted which will prevent nose overs. It's a sweet flyer for a 63" WS aircraft and it looks so graceful in flight. I have several Spitfires and several Mustangs with various WS's. In my opinion both aircraft are very closely matched in ground handling, flying characteristics and landing. I like both aircraft but the Spitfire wins in my opinion for it's sexy in flight looks.

Roger
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Old 09-08-2016, 06:49 AM
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rustyrivet,

I am actually using cheap hobbyking electric retracts with homemade struts. The weak part of those retracts are the plastic mounting plate. I have made aluminum plates instead and they seem to be holding up fine. I think I am on the upper range of weight for those retracts but have not had any other issues. The Spitfire is fully sheeted and really lends itself to the fiberglass and paint finish. I think if you really concentrated on keeping the weight out of the tail you could get the weight down. I might need to weigh it again because 12 lbs seems heavy but that is what I remember it weighing. I did not do anything special, just built per the kit. In any case, even at this weight it flies great with no bad habits.
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Old 09-08-2016, 08:06 AM
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If you have not bought either one then I recommend the P-47 instead. It is very stable and has no nose over issues because of the wide gear stance. There is no reason a glassed airplane has to come out way overweight. Most use way to much epoxy to put the glass down with. 1 thin coat is all that is needed followed by 2 coats of automotive primer filler sanded completely off will fill the weave and leave a nice surface for details and paint.
Old 09-08-2016, 12:57 PM
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I appreciate the helpful input by all you guys. Raptureboy, a P-47 would be too easy a solution for me...... but thanks anyway. LOL . I'm good at building, but as a pilot I'm barely a graduate of the Kadet Trainer class of 2016, so I'm soooo out of my league anyway that I might as well pick what my heart is into spending 300 hours building.....and the Spitfire it is! I just wanted to be sure that the P-51 wasn't so much easier to fly that it was worth for me trying to like it more and consider it. Nope.... I'm being told that neither will fly or land like an Astrohog, so I might as well choose either.

I've already been itching to build me a Spitfire since last year and even bought an 89" Pica Kit. I've been telling myself that it would be easier to stick with a TopFlite 63" electric being I know nothing about the DLE55 or gas. But I've got to stop watching this video if I want to consider the 63" model.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WY9jr1zTow Listen to that 89" Pica on low passes. That young gal is some pilot....and that is some impressive performance of that model. Look how fast, yet smooth she lands it. Myself? .....I'd have no concerns with landing it, as I'd have put it in the trees early on. LOL

Last edited by rustyrivet; 09-08-2016 at 01:20 PM.
Old 09-08-2016, 06:02 PM
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Chris Nicastro
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Rustyrivet if your building the plane and training then I'd recommend the P-51 over the Spit.
I have the P-51 ARF and DLE 20 and it's a little rocket at 106mph but it lands pretty easy. The flaps are effective and the plane is pretty straight forward in all respects. The stock mechanical gear and wire struts are a little soft but the system is light and less complicated than using air. You might consider this and upgrade the wire struts to Robostruts. I've modified all my Robostruts with two stage springs and this has made landing even easier than with stuff stock springs. Something to consider.

The Spit kit I had but didn't build was pretty compact and compared to the Mustang I'd say you have a little more room to work with in the Mustang.

The other benefit the Mustang has is the wide track gear which will be very helpful as you learn. Another tip, make sure the gear angle allows the axle to be forward of the LE of the wing. This geometry ensures you won't have problems nosing over taxiing and landing. The closer the axle center is to the CG the worse a plane is in this area. See for example the Revolver 50, Sundowner 60.

Afterwards, get back to the Spit with some good Mustang experience under your belt.

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