Model type: Semiscale warbird trainer
Skill level: Beginner builder; beginner pilot
Wingspan: 44 inches
Wing area: 360 square inches
Airfoil: Flat bottomed
Length: 35 inches
Weight: 2.4 pounds
Power system: 480 brushless outrunner; 30-amp ESC; 3S 1,800 mAh 30C LiPo (included)
Radio: Five-channel DSM2/DSMX transmitter
Construction: Molded Z-Foam
Covering/finish: Paint and decals (applied)
Price: $269.99 (BNF)
Power system: 480 brushless outrunner 960 Kv motor; 9.5 x 7.5 propeller; E-flite 30-amp Pro ESC; E-flite 3S 1,800 mAh 30C LiPo (all installed)
Radio: Spektrum DX9 Black Edition transmitter; AR636A receiver (installed); four ParkZone DSV130 servos (installed)
Ready-to-fly weight: 2.4 pounds
Flight duration: 7-plus minutes, depending on throttle management
• SAFE technology.
• Fast box-to-flight time with easy assembly.
• Flight characteristics adaptable to a wide range of pilot skill levels.
• Accurate scale color scheme and markings.
• Nice scale details and pilot figure.
Back in the mid-1980s, my Dad and I wanted to get into RC flying. We got a trainer and all the associated gear, and set out to do so—on our own, with no instruction.
I know that’s not the best way to go about it, and we spent plenty of time in a crash-repair-repeat cycle. It was frustrating, and we didn’t get out of that cycle without help from an AMA club and instructor.
HobbyZone’s BNF F4U Corsair S is a molded Z-Foam trainer/warbird with Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope (SAFE) technology to help a beginner learn to fly. Three flight modes, Beginner, Intermediate, and Experienced, provide three levels of stabilization and control limits.
Beginner mode significantly restricts pitch and roll axes, and makes the airplane self-leveling. Intermediate mode is much less restricted, not self-leveling, but it prevents the model from entering extreme attitudes. The Experienced mode provides a full, unrestricted flight envelope. All three modes have Panic Recovery available, which forces the aircraft into a climbing, upright, level attitude.
The Corsair S comes nicely packed for shipment in a double box. The parts are well protected in a fitted Styrofoam container that keeps the individual parts free from damage. Small parts such as the battery, charger, and landing gear come in bags tucked into pockets molded into the foam, held in place by packing tape. My Corsair S arrived in perfect condition.
The first thing I did was read through the manual. I was surprised to see that there were only two pages addressing the assembly process, mostly by way of well-executed diagrams. There isn’t much assembly necessary. The servos and the receiver are factory installed, as is the complete power system. Except for the elevator, all control linkages are installed and properly adjusted.
After threading the aileron leads into the fuselage, I bolted on the wing. I snapped the landing gear into the fittings in each side of the wing, and put the plastic gear leg covers on the wire landing gear.
I slid the stabilizer assembly into the slot molded into the fuselage, aligned it, and taped it in place with the four small strips of clear tape that were provided. I connected the elevator control rod clevis as indicated in the manual diagram, and then connected the ailerons to the installed Y-harness inside the top fuselage hatch.
That’s it! The assembly was complete in approximately 10 minutes.
The next step in the process is setting up the radio. I looked up my DX9 in the manual’s computerized transmitter setup chart and followed the steps outlined. The simple programming resulted in the three SAFE flight modes being controlled by a three-position switch and the bind button controlling the Panic Recovery.
After that, I connected the included battery and bound the receiver to my transmitter. A quick control direction test, as outlined in the manual, confirmed that the flight control surfaces were all moving correctly.
Next, I checked the motor for proper rotation, and then connected an Astro Flight Whattmeter to measure current at full throttle. The power system pulls roughly 21 amps, and provides 250 watts of power. That’s a power loading of slightly more than 100 watts per pound, which is perfect for this airplane.
Checking the center of gravity with the battery all the way forward in the fuselage revealed that it was slightly tail-heavy. I found that 11/2 ounces of weight corrected that problem, so I removed the propeller and cowling and attached lead weights to the firewall. Replacing the cowling and propeller completed preparations, and the Corsair was ready for flight.
I met my friend and chief test pilot, Bill Miller, out at our club field east of Topeka, Kansas. It was sunny with 12 to 15 mph winds from the southwest, and temperatures were in the low 50s. I briefed Bill on the SAFE flight modes and Panic Recovery before we carried the Corsair out to the runway.
With the SAFE mode set to Beginner, Bill advanced the throttle for takeoff. The firm foam wheels are perfectly sized for a grass runway, and after a short, straight acceleration down the runway, the Corsair lifted off and climbed out briskly.
In Beginner mode, the airplane is stable and not extremely responsive. This can be disconcerting for an experienced pilot, so after a few circuits of the field to get a feel for the model, Bill switched into Intermediate mode.
This was much more responsive. The Corsair felt more like a fighter aircraft should, but there was enough restriction in the flight envelope to keep the model from rolling or looping.
In Experienced mode, there were no limits on the flight envelope, and the model was capable of all conventional aerobatic maneuvers. The roll rate was fairly quick, depending on airspeed, and large, round loops were easy and straight.
Slow flight is super stable. In Beginner and Intermediate modes, the Corsair won’t stall; it simply begins to descend. In Experienced mode, the stall is a gentle drop of the nose, straight ahead, and applying power will resume flight.
Landings are simple, even in crosswinds. In Beginner mode, line up the airplane with the runway and reduce power to descend. When the model is above the runway, press the Panic Recovery mode and hold it while cutting power. The Corsair will take a nose-up attitude and land smoothly. Remarkable!
As my friends and I flew the Corsair, we repeatedly tested the Panic Recovery button. Regardless of the model’s attitude, when the button was pressed, the airplane snapped back to upright, level, and in a slight climb. It’s remarkable to see that happen the first couple of times. We tried to find a situation where the Corsair it wouldn’t immediately recover, but failed.
The HobbyZone F4U Corsair S is suitable for a wide range of RC pilots. It’s intended to be a model that a beginner can use to teach himself or herself to fly, but it’s also suitable for an intermediate flier who wants to expand the limits of his abilities with a reliable safety net in case of trouble. And finally, it’s a fun warbird for an experienced pilot to fly in any conditions.
This is the airplane I wish my Dad and I had used to learn RC flight with. I think I’m going to really enjoy flying the F4U Corsair S this season.