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Banana Hobby's Dornier DO 27 Review

The Dornier DO 27 carries the author's name. He is happy to have it on such an easy plane to assemble and a fun plane to fly!

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan: 63" - 1600mm
Wing Area: 558 sq.in. - 36dm.sq.
Weight: 5.73lb - 2600g
Length: 48.6" - 1234mm
Servos: 9g x 7
Transmitter: Spektrum DX-9
Receiver: Spektrum 6-channel
Battery: 4S LiPo 3200mAh
Motor: Brushless 4250, 700kv
ESC: 50 Amp, 3-4S LiPo
Manufacturer: Taft Hobbies
Available From: Banana Hobby
Price: $289.90 ARF

The Dornier DO 27 was originally designed at Dornier's facilities in Spain and first flew , June 27, 1955. It seats 4-6 people and is a single engine STOL light utility craft. It has a classic high wing, fixed landing gear and is a tail-dragger. It was the first massed produced aircraft in Germany after World War II. The first plane manufactured in Germany flew on October 17, 1956. The German Luftwaffe and Army ordered a total of 428 of these planes. These military observation/transportation planes were primarily painted in camouflage with orange wing tips and rudder. In case of war these orange tips could have been quickly repainted. It was primarily an observation/small transportation plane. The Portuguese air force used the planes extensively in the colonial war in Portuguese Africa in the 60s and 70s. In Portuguese Guinea two were shot down in April 1973 by SAM-7 Grail shoulder launched AAMs.

The plane had a wide, comfortable cabin and excellent short field performance. There were multiple variants including models with larger track wheels and twin floats. Probably the most interesting color scheme for planes in this class was the DO 27B-2 used bu Bernhard Grzimek in Africa with a Zebra paint scheme. Banana Hobby is also selling the Zebra paint scheme version and I have posted a picture near the end of this review. A total of 628 planes were built and then it developed into the Dornier DO 28 and later the DO 29.

The model kit is nice and large and comes with an interior and can be assembled in under an hour with just a hobby knife, a 3/32nd drill bit and a Phillips #0 screwdriver. The battery connector on the ESC are bullet connectors. The plane has a powerful brushless motor and uses a 4-cell 3200mAh LiPo battery pack for lots of power and a solid 8-minute flight time with spare time if needed. The flaps are very effective and they with the motor make this a true STOL (Short Take Off & Landing) model. I found the parts to be nicely molded and constructed including a wooden propeller. The instruction manual was poor in my opinion but wasn't necessary and I will tell you which screws to use and where they go in the assembly. Enjoy the pictures of the parts and then on with the assembly.

Kit Contents

Kit Contents

  • Fuselage with motor, ESC and three servos installed
  • Two wing sections with flap and aileron servos installed and connected
  • Horizontal stabilizer with elevators connected
  • Vertical stabilizer with rudder connected
  • Seven screws and two straps for assembly hardware
  • Two plastic decorative antennas for the top of the fuselage
  • A wooden propeller
  • Plastic spinner with back plate and two screws
  • Picture book instructions
  • Two wing rods
  • Bag of hinges in case repair reattachment of control surfaces is necessary

Assembly

Below is my video on assembling the Dornier DO 27. In the video I state the instructions are for the wrong size plane. I was wrong. They just had the wrong sizes in inches and were poor instructions. Fortunately, the instruction manual is not needed to assemble the plane which goes together very easily and quickly as described in the video.

Banana Hobby's Dornier DO 27 Assembly (9 min 17 sec)

Fuselage

Mounting the Spinner and Propeller

The back plate for the spinner has a metal ring in the center and a plastic circle that keeps it is place on the back side. I found the plastic circle too small to fit onto the smooth portion of the propeller shaft so I trimmed it down with my hobby knife so that it would slide onto the propeller shaft.

There was a metal mounting plate and a nut on the propeller shaft and a wooden propeller supplied with the kit. I removed the washer and mounting plate and installed the propeller onto the shaft. I test fitted the spinner into place and found the propeller needed to be secured in the position shown below between the screw mounts on the back plates. I tightened the nut using a pair of pliers.

The last step was fitting the spinner onto the back plate and securing it in place with the two small screws that came with the spinner.

Installing the Landing Gear

As mentioned in the Assembly video the instruction manual that came in my kit was for a different size Dornier DO 27 and there was no mention of how to mount the landing gear. There was a foam cover over where the landing gear gets mounted and I had to cut the paint with my hobby knife to remove this section from the rest of the fuselage. The landing gear came already assembled and fits into mounts in the fuselage. There each gear is secured in place with two screws and a strap. I found the screws to be of soft metal and the plastic mount a tight fit. I used a 3/32nd drill bit and turning it by hand I drilled out a bit more than half the depth of the screw mount hole. With this larger start to the hole I was still cutting into the plastic with the screw but the mounting process was easier until the last couple of full turns into the plastic mount.

Tail

The tail pieces came fully assembled with foam hinges securing the elevator to the horizontal stabilizer and the rudder to the vertical stabilizer. There were also molded spots where hinge pins would have clearance from the foam if installed. A bag of plastic hinge pins was included in the kit. I had the option of cutting the control surfaces free and installing the hinge pins or flying her as is on the fourth and writing to Banana Hobby. I chose to fly her as is with the foam hinges. Banana Hobby advised that the hinges are optional and are included for repair if needed. My plane flies fine with the foam hinges and the foam hinges on mine are still in perfect shape after a number of flights.

The horizontal stabilizer nicely rested on the back of the fuselage with a molded curved surface to allow the elevator to rotate freely. It was secured in place with a molded foam block going through a square molded hole in the horizontal stabilizer and into another hole in the fuselage. There was a second molded square block in the front of the vertical stabilizer that fit into a second square mounting space in the fuselage. The vertical stabilizer was secured in place with the longest of the three screws shown below fitting into the front block and the shortest of the three screws into the rear block. I used no glue. I plugged in the light on the top of the vertical stabilizer into a socket waiting for it in the back of the fuselage as I assembled these pieces. The screws made for a nice firm mount. The back of the fuselage had a servo installed and connected to the rear wheel and the rudder wire mount for the receiver was wired to this servo and a second servo up in the middle of the fuselage that controls the rudder.

Wing

The wing came fully assembled in two halves. There are two wing rods that run through the fuselage that each wing half slides onto. As the wing half gets near the fuselage I plugged the aileron control wire into the connector marked for the aileron and the flap wire into the connector marked for the flap servo. I guided the wires into the fuselage. There are plastic mounts with holes in them on the ends of the wings and they slide into the fuselage as levers on the top of the fuselage are pushed toward the center of the wing. When the wing is in place I let go of these two levers and pins in the fuselage went through the holes in the plastic mounts securing the wing in place. I repeated this process with the other wing half.

Radio Installation

I am using a six channel Spektrum receiver and my Spektrum DX-9 to control this plane. I bound the two together. The receiver compartment is reached through a large opening in the bottom of the fuselage behind the landing gear mounting section. The compartment cover is a large piece of foam with a tognue that fits into the fuselage in front and in back a lever in the fuselage retracts a pin from the cover to allow for easy removal and access. I plugged in the throttle, aileron Y-harness, elevator, rudder and flap Y-harness connectors into the receiver. The rudder connection controlled both the tail wheel steering, the rudder and powered the tail light.

Using Velcro I attached the receiver to the side of the interior of the fuselage and the satellite receiver to the interior roof of the compartment. In checking the components I found I had to remove the servo arm and center it for the elevator control. One of the flap servo arms required adjustment a position behind center to match the other flap servo arm and allow the supplied control rod to move the flaps properly. I had to carefully cut the decal around the flap servo cover/mount to access and move the control arm. I used my hobby knife to do the decal cutting. The plane's radio was now installed and the control surfaces were centered and properly moving. I rebound the receiver to my transmitter.

Completion

I removed the bullet connectors from the end of the ESC and installed a Dean's Ultra connector. I also have a jump connector that allows me to use other batteries as well. I installed a 4-cell 3200mAh battery pack in the battery compartment. I checked the C/G balance solely on experience as I didn't trust the instruction manual at that time. It seemed good to me and later proved to be where directed by the manual. I removed the wings and the battery and was ready to go to the field for the range test and the maiden flight.

I installed the two decorative antennas into the top of the fuselage. This added a nice visual touch and completed my assembly. They were a tight fit so I did not glue them in for this maiden flight and still haven't glued them in place.

Flying

Basics

The plane has five controls and I am using a six channel receiver. The controls are throttle, rudder, elevator, ailerons and flaps. When fully deployed the flaps create a great deal of lift and can dramatically slow down the plane. My transmitter has flap/elevator mix to keep the plane flying level when the flaps are deployed half way and all the way. If I don't have this mix on when I deploy the flaps I have to be ready to use some immediate down elevator to keep the plane from pitching up.

The plane can be flown like a great big trainer with its top wing and stable handling (when the flaps are not being used). I am using a computerized transmitter and although one isn't required it allows me to not only use the above recommended flap/elevator mix it lets me use a aileron/rudder mix as well. Again this can also be done manually but the mix allows for a nice smooth turn. I was doing my mixing manually but my friend, Jeff, wanted to use the mix and it was more accurate then me controlling left and right sticks rudder/elevator.

The plane has a vary wide speed range from slow to surprisingly fast as can be seen in my video below. By flying in the middle of the speed range most of the time when I hit the throttle for a run down the runway the top speed seems even faster and then deploying the flaps the slow seems even slower. I have found her to be an easy plane to fly. Using a four cell 3200 mAh battery pack I got over nine minutes of flying time and I now limit my flights with a fully charged battery pack to eight minutes on the timer and that is with mixed speed flying.

As with almost all planes don't make sharp turns while flying too slowly or too close to the ground as an inexperienced pilot can stall her in such a turn and altitude is needed to recover in that situation. But few pilots I hope would be so inexperienced as to try that.

Taking Off and Landing

The plane takes off in a very scale fashion with the flaps up and into any existing breeze. The flaps have three settings and with the middle setting the plane was quickly in the air and with full flaps and full throttle the plane virtually leaped into the air. With flaps fully down it was up so quickly I scared myself. I like to advance the throttle a little more slowly and have a more scale like ordinary takeoff.

Landings have all been into the wind and most have been without flaps or flaps only half down. With full flaps I have to give more throttle to keep the plane up until I get to the part of the runway where I want to settle down. My landings without flaps can look full scale with some roll out or I can be down very quickly with only a short space with flaps fully deployed. I recommend that a pilot practice with the flaps at a regular field if possible to see and feel the results before making a short field or carrier style landing out of necessity.

Takeoffs and landing can be very normal or performed in small spaces and more challenging and exciting depending on the pilot's skill, the size of the field and what the pilot wants to do. This Dornier DO 27 gives one a lot of options for starting and ending flights.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

This is a good size plane and she can make a medium to huge loop and look very good doing it. With the aileron/rudder mix off she does a nice aileron roll or other basic aerobatics. She does a surprisingly nice split S and can fly circles around the field while inverted. These are demonstrated in the video below. I was admittedly a little surprised by her top speed which was better than I was expecting considering her size and weight. Her speed range is also demonstrated in the video below. Being a scale plane and my flying nature, I like to fly her in a scale like fashion most of all.

Is This For a Beginner?

Yes! But I recommend not using the flaps initially, especially full flaps until the pilot has mastered basic flying. She is a very nice high wing trainer. That said I think she is even a better second plane for a newer pilot.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Banana Hobby's Dornier DO 27 Demonstration Flight (4 min 2 sec)

Conclusion

Very easy plane to assemble! If you aren't shooting a video and taking pictures and making notes for a review it would be hard to take a full hour in the assembly process. Even better the assembly at the field takes only a couple of minutes and the wings are secured to the fuselage with pins that remain mounted in the fuselage so there are no little parts in the wing assembly to loose. While waiting for the plane to arrive I have had some fun joking about how the plane has my name on it, HEER. However, if the plane didn't fly well that would only have made my disappointment greater. Fortunately, she is an excellent flyer, looks great in the air (IMO) handles well and can be flown from a short field if needed.

The brushless motor supplies plenty of power. The servos have provided good control even in dives and high speed passes. The landing gear has some flexibility but the plane hasn't been at all bouncy when landing. The interior of the plane has some scale details and I think I will be adding a pilot and possibly engine sounds to this plane as well. My only complaint is about the instruction manual and I didn't even need the manual nor should anyone who can read this review. I have flown her with my Genesis 4-cell 2800 mAh battery and limit my flight time to six minutes and with my 3200 mAh battery packs to eight and nine minutes. I can properly balance the plane with both size packs.

One of my "friends" has objected to a plane where he would be flying around with my name on the plane. Well if that is a concern they also have it in the African color scheme, AKA Zebra. I have posted a picture of the Zebra color scheme for those of you who might prefer a nice looking plane with everything in black and white. I will stick with my German observation plane because: Mikey likes it!

Pluses & Minuses

Pluses

  • Nice large size
  • Nicely molded and constructed parts
  • Large and easy to access radio/battery compartment
  • Has scale interior and pilot/passengers can be added
  • Quick assembly and no glue required
  • Quick wing attachment at the flying field
  • Flies nicely
  • Full flaps and powerful motor make it a true STOL

Minuses

  • The instruction manual is not very good. Fortunately it is not needed.

Thanks

My thanks to Banana Hobby for supplying the plane for this review. My thanks to Jeff Hunter with his help in flying so I could shoot stills and video. Finally, my thanks to my editor for her assistance.

Last edited by Michael Heer; Jul 17, 2014 at 10:14 AM..

Discussion

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Old Aug 25, 2014, 08:41 AM
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yorkiepap's Avatar
SW PA
Joined Aug 2010
460 Posts
Wrong Forum....

Hey Mike,
The review looks to be outstanding, ALTHOUGH!!!......this thread needs to be transferred to the SCALE ARF/RTF Forum. THIS IS NOT A WARBIRD........ Please have it moved so I can post my review & modifications with photos..... THANKS....

Denny
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 09:12 AM
Ta-dah!
blakevan's Avatar
Texas
Joined May 2007
4,463 Posts
>>>>>
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 12:17 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,412 Posts
Denny I will forward your request but it is a warbird as it was an observation plane for the German army and for other nations as well. Several were shot down in a civil war while doing observation work. Mike Heer
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 12:42 PM
Field of Dreams Flyer
Mikemynameis's Avatar
San Pedro,Ca
Joined Sep 2004
8,808 Posts
If its been in the War its a warbird
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 05:38 PM
What tree?
Rampage's Avatar
Yucca Valley, California
Joined Aug 2005
2,479 Posts
I'm seriously considering one of these because I've wanted a good-sized highwing that wasn't a Cub. This just might fit my needs! The fact that the wing is 2-piece means it'll fit in my Jeep nicely.
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 09:22 PM
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yorkiepap's Avatar
SW PA
Joined Aug 2010
460 Posts
Hey Mike,
I have to challenge that some internal conflict in some country that was stipulated as a civil war would place an observation aircraft in a "warbird" category. Just because some "civilian" or "soldier" involved in a "civil war" decided to shoot at an observation plane with a slingshot or a military weapon still doesn't give this great plane "warbird" status. I could not find any data or reference to that fact if it was indeed a fact. This plane belongs in the Scale category.......JMHO.

Denny
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 09:34 PM
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Mikemynameis's Avatar
San Pedro,Ca
Joined Sep 2004
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If its been in the War its a warbird
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Old Aug 25, 2014, 11:02 PM
Old newb
United States, CA, San Diego
Joined Feb 2003
147 Posts
It is a military aircraft.

What other military aircraft does not qualify as a war bird?
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Old Aug 26, 2014, 12:48 AM
Been There, Crashed That!
Austang's Avatar
Australia, WA, Geraldton
Joined Jul 2011
571 Posts
Yep its a Warbird imho, She looks great mate, where can you get her besides Banana Hobby, as the postage to here is outrageous.

Great review by the way.
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Old Aug 26, 2014, 09:11 AM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,412 Posts
Hi Denny:
We can agree to disagree. I consider the Cubs used by the US as observation planes as warbirds. C-47s AKA the DC-3 dropping paratroopers were as well. The war I mentioned was the Portuguese Colonial War. You can look it up in Wikipedia as one source since you have questioned my fact gathering. I would consider the plane a warbird even if she never saw action. 400 were purchased by the German military for military use.
Now whether a warbird or not this is a very nice scale RC model airplane that is short field capable. She is easy to assembly and flies great. I will be flying mine this weekend at the West Coast Mini Festival of Flight in Lodi CA at Kingdon Airpark. Mike H
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Old Aug 26, 2014, 09:36 PM
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460 Posts
Hey Michael,
Yes, we can agree to disagree. All the ex-pilots("warbird" pilots) I have talked to who were in WWII, Korea, Nam, & the Gulf, indicated that originally, the title "warbird" was given to any aircraft that were ARMED for combat, be it air-to-air, air-to-ground, or air-to-sea. They also projected that many originally designed "civilian" aircraft were used by the military for supporting roles & were not armed & could not be classified as "warbird" simply because it was used in a war. Some civilian planes converted by the military that were armed such as the DC-3/C47/Gooneybird AKA "PUFF", & the Cessna O2 Skymaster which was fitted with rockets or gun pods & were deemed a "warbird". Anyway, I'll stick to my opinion for the definition/classification of the term "warbird".

I did do a Google search regarding any conflicts that the DO-27 was in & got zero results, so I apologize for my mistake.

Denny
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