[Headline: Horizon Hobby ParkZone ArtiZan]
[Author: Greg Gimlick]
[Photos by the author]
[Sidebars in text]
[Callouts: Print: Watch video in the digital edition and at www.ModelAviation.com/XXX.]
Model type: Sport Aerobatic ARF
Skill level: Intermediate builder/intermediate pilot
Wingspan: 42.5 inches
Wing area: 383 square inches
Length: 40 inches
Flying weight: 34.5 ounces
Recommended power system: Park 480 960 Kv brushless outrunner; 30-amp brushless ESC; 11.1-volt 3S 1,800-2,200 mAh LiPo; 10.75 x 8 propeller
Radio: Four-channel; four micro servos
Construction: Z-Foam™ construction
Street price: $249.99 (BNF); $184.99 (PNP)
Radio system: Spektrum DX9 transmitter; three ParkZone PKZ1081 servos; one ParkZone PKZ1090 servo; Spektrum AR635 six-channel Sport receiver (includes AS3X); E-flite 30-amp Pro Switch-Mode BEC ESC (SPMAR635); E-flite 11.1-volt 3S 1,800 mAh 30C LiPo (EFLB18003S30)
Flying weight: 32.2 ounces
Motor: ParkZone 480 960 Kv brushless outrunner motor (PKZ4416)
ESC: 30-amp Pro Switch-Mode BEC Brushless ESC (V2) (EFLA1030B)
Battery: E-flite 11.1-volt 3S 1,800 mAh 30C LiPo (EFLB18003S30)
Propeller: ParkZone 10.75 x 8 (PKZ6901)
Flight duration: 5-8 minutes
• Ease of assembly.
• Spare screws included.
• Ready to fly in less than an hour.
• Packaged to withstand the roughest shipping.
• Canopy access and latch.
• Airfoil turbulators.
• Very good power setup.
• Instruction error for installing tail surface.
• ESC battery plug wire could be a tad longer.
The very first thing that hit me when I opened the shipping box was how perfectly the airplane was packed for shipping. The Styrofoam box inside a display carton, inside a double-walled shipping box, ensured that the gouges and bruises on the outside box didn’t affect the contents. Whoever designed the airplane was a very smart person, but whoever designed the foam shipping box had his or her own touch of brilliance.
Once I got it all out of the box, it was easy to see this would be a very short build. I found the included battery and charger and got them going so it would be done when I was. This just looked like it would be fun. The Pattern-style design of the airplane appealed to me and the decals are already installed for a good-looking airframe.
I almost feel guilty using the word “construction;” my version was a Bind and Fly (BNF), so everything was installed. There would be a little bit of “assembly” time, but 45 minutes was about it and only a Phillips screwdriver would be required.
The landing gear is installed first and that takes about five minutes. I was happy to see each package of small screws had an extra. It never fails that I drop one of these tiny screws and can’t find it, so I spend the next hour searching the shop for one that’s similar. This time, no doubt because I had spares, I didn’t drop or lose any. The gear slides into a channel, a retaining cover is slid into place, the fairings are snapped on, and all is retained with four screws. Simple!
The wings are installed over a joiner and retained with a screw. It’s that easy, but be sure to feed the servo wires into the fuselage and connect them to the Y harness.
The horizontal tail is next and installed in similar fashion. There is a joiner tube that slides into place and the horizontal stab sides slide onto that and into a small recess in the fuselage side. They are held in place with four pieces of clear tape provided. A word of caution; the instructions say to be sure to install them with the control horn facing down. This is incorrect. The illustration is correct and you will quickly see that it has to be installed with the horn up because that’s where the control rod is. The instructions will probably be corrected by the time you read this.
The final step is to bind it to your radio. There are specific instructions for various radios depending on whether they are computerized or not DX6i and above versions of the Spektrum system. Everything is thoroughly covered.
Control Throws and CG
I used the recommended throws and CG, which worked well. There are no specific throws designated in terms of degree or measurement; they are set at maximum and tuned down by the settings of your dual-rate switch. They suggest 100% and 70% and that worked fine, along with my usual exponential setting of 25%. I eventually set up a third rate in between the initial ones for 85%, mostly because my rate switches are three position switches. This gives me a little more “tenability” when I let others fly.
The CG is set at the recommended location of 76mm back from the LE at the root. I’ve adjusted it back a little when I’ve used larger packs and it remained controllable, but the 76mm location seems to be the “sweet spot.”
I’ve used this system in some other airplanes and it’s always impressed me. The ArtiZan comes with it pre-installed and programmed for the optimum settings with this setup. There is a full instruction manual for the AR635 receiver in case you ever want to change something, but don’t make the mistake of doing that before flying the airplane first. It was perfectly set on my version of the kit.
If you’ve never used the AS3X system before, you’re in for a treat. One of the mistakes folks make is thinking it’s not working when they first go to test it. The stabilization doesn’t begin working until the throttle is advanced for the first time. Once you run the throttle up for a second and bring it back to zero, the system will activate and you can then check its functioning as instructed in the manual. The changes are subtle, but effective.
Remember that this is not a 3-D airplane. It is highly aerobatic and can be made even more so by adjusting the CG and control throws, but mostly it’s intended to be an excellent second airplane for someone progressing to aerobatics from their trainer. The AS3X system works beautifully and helps tune out slight over-controlling, but primarily it eases the job of being smooth in slightly gusty wind conditions. Don’t be afraid that it won’t let you “wring it out;” it will not interfere with your aerobatics.
I fly from a grass field and it’s usually short enough that airplanes with small wheels can rise-off-ground (ROG) and land without issue. There is plenty of power for the take-off and it handled the grass well. Rudder effectiveness was excellent and the tail came up very quickly. Plenty of power for a nice climb and turn to downwind before checking out the speed range and stall characteristics. Stalls were uneventful with a nose drop and easy recovery; it didn’t seem to want to break either direction. The full range of aerobatics is certainly available with the factory settings and it does a very respectable knife-edge.
It loves to fly inverted and requires very little elevator to do so. It will also easily fly from inverted to upright by doing an outside loop half way and stopping. Of course, if you want, you can just continue that outside loop all the way around for fun. When doing multiple rolls—which are very axial—I found the AS3X really helped stop the roll when desired. The airplane just seemed to lock right into a solid flight path again. Cuban 8s, snaps, spins … the whole catalog is available to you with this airplane.
This is a great little aerobatic airplane. It goes together quickly and the provided power package did a great job. I like having a “grab and go” airplane that is cheap to outfit with multiple 3S packs and easy to transport. It looks good in the sky and the AS3X system just makes you look better than you are.
I suggest you begin with the low rates and progress to high rates once you’re familiar with it. On the suggested high rates, it’s very controllable, but very aerobatic too. I was glad I set up the middle rate to expand the range.
Did I mention I love this airplane? I can’t think of a better airplane to help fine-tune your aerobatics if you’re already doing them. If you’re just learning, this one will serve you well and grow with you.[dingbat]