Ok, I've got to chime in with my impression. I found the coupon and picked up this plane from the local HS (that's Hardware Store, not Hobby Shop
) and flew it this weekend. Initially, I thought it was a pretty cheap knockoff of the EasyStar (which it is) with only a medium level of quality. The EPP wings look ok, but the carboard wing rod looks cheesy. The fuselage assemby is mixed- cheap glue that is missing in a couple spots. The elevator and aileron pushrods are mounted well, and the horns look flimsy, but adequate. The EPP hinges are stiff at first, but loosen up reasonbly well. The horizontal stabilizer and elevator are a good size, with adequate throw, but the rudder looks too small. The servos are a bit slow, but seem strong enough to actuate the tail surfaces.
Assembly was a breeze- install the tail with the already attached double sided tape, install the charged battery, center the servos, adjust the clevises and attach to the control surfaces, insert the wing joiner and install the wings, and your ready to go. The wheels aren't really needed if you fly on grass like me.
First flight was a dud- using the center hole on the control horns gave inadequate control. I landed after an aborted circuit around the park and nosed the plane in. Rudder control was almost non-existent. The fuse separated a bit where the glue was light, and the canopy pin came off, but no other real damage.
I changed the clevis position in the control horns, rubber banded the fuse and canopy and launched for a second flight. This plane does not like wind, and it took me bit of time to work my way out of the ground turbulence. Rudder control was improved, but still just barely adequate. After about 20-30 seconds of fighting for altitude, I broke out of the ground turbulence and began to rise. Another 20-30 seconds of full throttle and I was a couple hundred feet up and 500-1000 feet upwind. I cut the throttle to turn around back to the launch area, but I was still rising. Wouldn't you know it, I caught a thermal! In 60 seconds, I had nearly doubled my altitude. Now I'm panicking a little. No flaps, a janky rudder, and I don't really know the handling characteristics or strength of this plane. I don't want to stress the wings too much, and I don't want to spiral out of the thermal. Enventually, I work my way out and back to overhead of my launch area. This was no easy task- the rudder is way too small for precise movements. And this plane floats FOREVER. I actually had to go around twice before I got into the right position to land. I came in hot and forced the plane into a slide. Not optimal, but acceptable.
Next day, with a reglued fuselage gave similar results. This plane thermals at the slightest hint of an updraft. Great, until you have to come down. It's downright SCARY trying to manuever it into the right position to land it.
The good: Inexpensive RTF plane that thermals like crazy.
Speed 400 motor and prop combo seems adequate.
The bad: Slow servos, questionable wing rod, stay out of the wind.
The ugly: Rudder way too small- will result in lots of crashes for beginners.
That being said- I bought two more- one to train friends, and one for an aileron conversion. I'll modify the rudder on the one I have now, and see if performance improves.