[Headline: Horizon Hobby Hangar 9 Beaver 30cc ARF]
[Subhead: A gentle giant for scale aficionados]
[Author: Tom Sullivan]
[Photos by the author]
[Sidebars in text file]
[No additional callouts]
Model type: Scale ARF
Skill level: Beginner to intermediate pilots
Wingspan: 110 inches
Wing area: 1,485 square inches
Length: 66 inches
Weight: 16.5-17.25 pounds (recommended)
Power system: 30cc gas; 160-size electric (recommended)
Radio: Six-channel minimum (recommended)
All-up weight: 20.5 pounds
Power system: E-flite Power 160 electric; E-flite 6S 5,000 mAh LiPo (two in series); Castle Creations Phoenix Edge 120HV ESC
Radio: AR7610 Spektrum receiver; six Spektrum A6150 digital servos; Spektrum 2S 2,000 mAh LiPo receiver battery; several servo extensions of varying lengths
• Laser-cut balsa and plywood used for construction.
• Includes tank, wheels, and all control hardware.
• Prepainted fiberglass cowl and main gear fairings are included.
• Removable stabilizer and wing halves make for easy transportation.
• All parts and templates included for gas or electric powerplant.
• Fuselage doors (two on each side) open wide for great cabin access.
• Many scale details are included, such as corrugated control surfaces, a dummy engine, and parts to make a well-detailed cockpit.
• Wonderfully stable in the air, yet capable of mild aerobatics.
• Effective flaps are included.
• The included manual missed several steps, but included unneeded ones. A revised manual is online that addresses of some of these problems.
• There were many wrinkles and bubbles in the iron-on covering.
• There was more hangar rash than I would have expected for a new kit. The covering seam joints were noticeable, especially on the fuselage.
Many words can be used to describe an airplane’s looks. When I see the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver, the first word that pops into my mind is “utilitarian.” It has a squarish design, with long, thin wings and a wide main gear stance that makes it a great Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) aircraft.
The Beaver is used for cargo and passenger hauling, crop dusting, and has been widely adopted by armed forces as a utility aircraft and bush airplane. More than 1,600 were produced until the original line shut down in 1967.
The subject of this review is Hangar 9’s 110-inch ARF version of the Beaver. It uses primarily balsa and plywood laser-cut construction with a few fiberglass and vacuum-formed plastic parts. All are covered in white UltraCote with red and black trim. The preprinted fiberglass parts nicely match the color scheme.
The Beaver is a large airplane with a number of scale details, so there are quite a few parts in the box. The wings are a two-piece, plug-in design, as are the stabilizer halves. The fuselage features prehinged, preinstalled cabin doors, two per side. Also included are parts to give the aircraft scalelike detail, including a dummy radial cowl, cabin seats, a cockpit, and a dual-wheel yoke.
A selection of good-quality hardware comes with the kit. Firewall drilling templates are included for various engine installations and a fuel tank is included if you decide to use gasoline power.
Initially, the only questionable piece of hardware seemed to be the elevator pushrod. It is made of three steel rods, spot welded together to form a “Y” controlling each elevator half. But, I’ve flown the Beaver quite a lot using this pushrod and have had no problems.
One thing that did catch my eye was several places showing scuffs and scratches right out of the box. There were wrinkles and bubbles in the covering, and the seams were noticeable.
As can happen with review airplanes, we often receive one of the first available production samples. I hope that is the case so these problems would be unique to the review Beaver. Regardless, after a good half hour of work with my heat iron and gun, I was able to smooth most of the wrinkles and bubbles.
Before I dive into the construction details, I need to discuss the 64-page manual included with the kit. It features many photos, details, etc.; however, not all of the steps are included—such as hinging the ailerons, flaps, and a few other things.
A revised manual is available on Horizon’s website at the link listed in “Sources.” It addresses a few of these problems, yet it still misses other steps. Both the print and online manuals include steps that are irrelevant to this review, such as mounting the optional float kit.
Now, let’s get to it. As is the case with most ARF kits, the wings are tackled by attaching the ailerons and flaps. Point-type hinges are used on the flaps and CA-type hinges are for the ailerons. Servo wire extensions need to be added and they can be pulled through the wing using the preinstalled strings. After that, the servos are attached to their respective hatches, and the control hardware is attached. To finish the wings, I installed the wing strut brackets and the wing struts.
There are scale details already built into the wings to simulate landing lights, but there is no mention of any available light kit. Searching the Internet, I happened upon Dimension Engineering’s EasyLight kit.
For less than $20 I purchased a tiny circuit board with one JR-compatible servo connector. I plugged it into a spare channel and can quickly control the light via a two-position switch on the transmitter. It is powered by the onboard receiver battery and doesn’t require separate power.
The only modification I made was to unsolder the LEDs from the board. By soldering long leads to the LEDs and a couple of connectors for quick hookup, I could mount these LEDs in place on each wing. I drilled a hole in the “reflector,” large enough to pass the wire through, and ran the wire lead out of the end of the wing. It was a simple modification. I’m surprised that Horizon doesn’t have an optional kit available.
The fuselage construction begins by installing the main gear (assuming you’re not using the optional float kit). Each half of the main gear is covered by a two-piece fiberglass fairing. These fairings are held in place by a liberal amount of clear silicone. I found that the fit wasn’t the best and it took some work to line it up. I used masking tape to hold things in position while it dried overnight.
Installing the tail wheel was next. This is a beefed-up design that mimics the system used on the full-scale Beaver. Four screws hold it in place, but I had to trim a significant portion off of the plastic rear mounting bracket so it would properly seat. Once in place, separate pull-pull systems for the tail wheel and rudder were installed.
Before covering it up, I installed the stabilizer halves. They are removable and are supported by a tube, but you have to locate, drill, and tap the holes necessary for the stabilizer mounting screws. After the rudder and elevator were in place using the CA-type hinges, the elevators were attached to the pushrods and the two covers screwed into place.
Shifting work to the front, the engine mounting box is installed next. Two templates are included to aid in drilling the firewall for either electric or gas power. Because the electric power system was included with the review model, it was a simple matter of mounting the motor, then sliding the box into the fuselage, and adjusting it to the correct position so it could be epoxied into place.
A Castle Creations Phoenix Edge 120HV ESC was included with the review Beaver. According to the manual, a multitude of settings can be tinkered with, but I found that the Edge 120HV is perfectly set up for airplane operation right out of the box. After plugging in the bullet connectors, and plugging it in to the receiver, the Phoenix Edge was held into place via a strip of hook-and-loop tape on the underside of the motor box.
I glued the dummy motor into the cowl and attached the cowl to the fuselage with four hidden bolts. I trimmed away a significant portion of the dummy motor to allow it to clear the Power 160.
Work moved to inside the cabin. After the radio gear was in place, the front and rear seats were added. The seats cover most of the radio, giving a nice scalelike look to the cabin. Both seats are held in by magnets so they can be quickly removed.
Because I used electric power in this Beaver, the batteries needed to be placed for balance. I put the batteries far forward into the battery box and the Beaver was perfectly balanced. The only catch with the electric power is that you cannot use the premade instrument panel and control yoke because the batteries are in the way.
The completed Beaver weighed 15.75 pounds. The batteries add another 3.5 pounds for an all-up weight of 20.5 pounds. With electric power it can go from the box to ready to fly in 10-12 hours.
Assembling the aircraft at the field is surprisingly simple for a model of its size. No tools are needed. The wing struts are held in with a clip and the wing halves are held to the fuselage with a thumb-tightened nylon bolt.
Not knowing how effective the flaps would be, I chose to not to use them during the first takeoff. Even without flaps and with only half power, the Beaver quickly accelerated down the runway and was off the ground in a couple of hundred feet.
After the Beaver was up to a safe altitude, I backed off the throttle and found it would easily cruise around between one-third and half throttle without flaps.
With the trim passes completed, I decided to try out the flaps. As you might expect with a STOL-type design, the flaps are extremely effective. With half flaps, the Beaver will slow down to a ridiculously slow speed, yet it is still fully controllable. I could do incredibly tight horizontal Figure Eights with the Beaver close to knife-edge, and yet it didn’t fall out of the sky at these slow speeds.
Raising the flaps cleans up the airframe and allows it to become aerobatic. Although the full-scale Beaver doesn’t do loops and rolls, the Hangar 9 Beaver performs them with ease. Rolls are slightly slow because of its large 110-inch wingspan. It makes a good barnstormer-type airplane with snaps, Hammerheads, and even some inverted flight. It looks odd doing some of those maneuvers, but it is fun.
When it comes time to land, simply drop the flaps and glide it home. It might require a touch of power to maintain forward speed, but it’s a pussycat and could make a good trainer.
Since completing the Beaver, I’ve put nearly two dozen flights on it with no problems. I find it relaxing to fly late in evening with the landing lights shining brightly. Because of its size, the wind barely affects it.
The electric power system is more than the Beaver needs. You can cruise at no more than half throttle for more than 25 minutes on a single battery, but it is nice to have extra power when you need it!
Horizon Hobby Distributors
Dimension Engineering LLC
Hangar 9 Beaver 30cc ARF revised manual