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HobbyZone F4U Corsair S with SAFE Technology Review

HobbyZone's Corsair S has SAFE technology for newbies and AS3X for experts. The best of all worlds in a Bent-Wing Warbird.

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HobbyZone F4U Corsair S with SAFE Technology

Introduction

HobbyZone F4U Corsair S with SAFE Technology
Wingspan:44 in (1120 mm)
Length:35 in (890 mm)
Weight:2.25 lb RTF
Receiver:Spektrum AR636A
Battery:1800 - 2200 mAh 3S LiPo
Motor:480 Brushless 960 kV
ESC:30 Amp
Prop:9.5x7.5 2-Blade
Power WOT:260 Watts Static
Transmitter:Spektrum DX18
Manufacturer:HobbyZone
Available From:Horizon Dealers and fine hobby shops
Street Price:$299.99 RTF - $269.99 BNF

The Iconic Corsair - that Big, Beautiful, Blue, Bent-Wing War Bird! The very name conjures up images of "Pappy" Boyington and the famous Black Sheep Squadron heading out for another mission over Rabaul. The Corsair was such a successful fighter that wartime demand far exceeded Chance Vought's ability to deliver aircraft, and overflow production was quickly farmed out to Goodyear and Brewster. The last Corsair rolled off the assembly line in 1952, but examples continued to soldier on into the late 1960's in the service of various national air forces.

This new HobbyZone Corsair sports the latest version of Spektrum's SAFE stabilization receiver. SAFE stands for "Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope" and provides three distinct user-selectable levels of stabilization and training assistance. HobbyZone claims that in Beginner Mode their SAFE Corsair can actually serve as a trainer for first-time pilots. Similar SAFE systems in the Apprentice S 15E and the Sport Cub S have had tremendous success training newbie pilots, but the Corsair is a high performance low-wing warbird, not a high-wing trainer. Let's see if HobbyZone can deliver on its promise.

Kit Contents

  • Spektrum DX4e Transmitter (RTF)
  • Z-Foam Fuselage, Wings, and Tail Group
  • Motor, ESC, and Servos Pre-Installed in the Fuselage
  • 1-Piece Wing with Aileron Servos Pre-Installed
  • Pre-Hinged Ailerons, Elevator, and Rudder
  • 9.5x7.5 2-Blade Propeller with Spinner Nut
  • Landing Gear and Landing Skids
  • 1800 mah 30C 3-cell Lipo Battery
  • 2 or 3-cell Lipo Battery Charger
  • 120 Volt AC Charge Adapter
  • 20-Page Illustrated Instruction Manual

Required Parts

  • Minimum 4-Channel Spektrum Transmitter (BNF)
  • #1 and #2 Phillips Screwdriver

Assembly

The 20-page illustrated Assembly Manual details the brief assembly process for the RTF and BNF versions and it gives important programming instructions for the various Spektrum transmitters that will bind to the system. The manual also contains important information on arming and operating the SAFE receiver system in the Corsair. There were also two warning sheets included with the kit.

Wing

The assembly process began with the wing installation. I found it helpful to remove the fuselage hatch prior to mounting the wing. A simple push of the button behind the cockpit released the hatch assembly.

Once the hatch was removed, it was much easier to route the aileron servo leads through the access hole and into the fuselage.

The two wing mounting screws were installed and tightened in place. Once the aileron servos were plugged into the receiver aileron extensions, the wing installation was complete. Now it was time to decide whether to install the landing gear or the wing skids. Since I would be flying off a runway, I choose to install the landing gear assemblies. This was not a permanent installation though. The gear could be easily removed and the wing skids quickly installed if I needed to fly off an unimproved surface.

The landing gear doors snapped into place on the gear legs but they easily rotated around and tended to bind up the wheels. They also easily popped off as the gear legs flexed during landings. I used a drop of ZAP Goo on each snap point to better secure the gear doors to the legs. To date, the doors haven't come off or rotated around again.

Tail

The last part of the assembly process was to install the horizontal stab and elevator on the fuselage. In my experience, the four small strips of tape provided with the kit were marginal for holding the stab in place. For my own peace of mind, I installed all four strips on the top half of the stab and used some additional strips of Scotch Multitask tape on the bottom of the stab.

Completion

The completed Corsair weighed 2 lbs 3 ounces with the 1800 mah battery RTF. The plane balanced perfectly with the battery inserted fully into the battery compartment.

I set the control surface throws to the recommended amounts and, since I like exponential, I set an exponential amount for each rate. I then set the transmitter countdown timer for 6 minutes and had it start and run at any throttle setting above 20%.

The motor pulled 22 Amps and indicated 260 Watts static power at WOT. This power level calculated out to 115 Watts per pound. This Corsair should have plenty of power!

Flying

System Initialization

The SAFE receiver uses a specific protocol to initialize the stabilization electronics. Here is a short video of the process.

SAFE Setup (1 min 46 sec)

Basics

The Corsair S with SAFE technology has three distinct flight modes. This Corsair is very easy to fly in each mode and doesn't display any of the nasty habits normally attributed to Warbirds. The HobbyZone promotional video shows each flight mode better than anything I could produce, so I've included their video here.

F4U Corsair S with SAFE™ Technology by HobbyZone (3 min 40 sec)

Taking Off and Landing

The Beginner Mode allowed the easiest takeoffs I've ever experienced. Just like the video showed, I advanced the throttle to full and watched as the plane took off without any control inputs from my transmitter. Some of my best landings were made in Beginner Mode. I lined the plane up with the runway and pulled the throttle to idle. The SAFE system kept the plane level and let it settle to a beautiful wheels landing. I even used the Panic button to help me land on several occasions just for fun and it worked very well.

In Advanced Mode, the Corsair was well mannered and the AS3X stabilization helped smooth out the entire flight envelope. Takeoffs and landings were rock steady and easy to execute.

Aerobatics

In Advanced Mode, I found that the Corsair was perfectly capable of performing all typical sport model aerobatic maneuvers, and performing them very well due to the AS3X stabilization. Rolls, loops, inverted flight, stall turns, snap rolls, and figure eights were all easily accomplished. Spins happened a little slower, but that wasn't all bad. All these aerobatics may not have demonstrated typical Warbird scale flight, but they sure were fun!

Is This For a Beginner?

Absolutely! The SAFE technology was developed specifically to help beginners learn to fly. This Corsair can literally take off and land by itself. Those are the two most dangerous maneuvers a beginner must accomplish and they both occur in close proximity to the very hard ground. The panic button allows recovery from most flight attitudes that would normally result in a crash. This Warbird is Beginner friendly!

Flight Photo Gallery

The HobbyZone Corsair looked great in the early morning sunshine. You could almost hear a siren calling pilots to their aircraft for another mission over "The Slot" of the Solomon Islands. As the pilots scramble to their aircraft, our Corsair roars to life and heads for the sky!

Flight Video

Jesse Webb once again manned the video camera to document the first half of the video. After I landed, I handed him the transmitter and I took over the video camera. Jesse is a very good pilot, but he had never flown the Corsair so it was going to be fun to see how he handled review piloting duties. He did very well! Hope you like the results.

HobbyZone F4U Corsair with SAFE Technology (5 min 54 sec)

Conclusion

This new HobbyZone Corsair S is a real winner. SAFE technology makes it perfect for Beginner pilots and the three tiered stabilization system will allow the pilot to advance his skills using a single airplane. In Advanced Mode, AS3X helps smooth out the bumps and makes this Corsair fly like a much bigger plane. This Corsair is so much fun to fly that Intermediate and Expert pilots are gonna love it! From windy days to drop-of-the-hat flying sessions, the HobbyZone Corsair S is perfect for any occasion!

Pluses

  • SAFE and AS3X technology worked perfect
  • Great looking scale paint and trim scheme
  • Excellent flight performance in each mode
  • Plenty of power for any maneuver
  • Landing gear and wing skids are included
  • RTF and BNF versions are available

Minuses

  • Horizontal stab needed extra taping

A Moment of Personal Privilege

My personal experience with Spektrum's SAFE receiver system began a while back when I started recommending the Apprentice S 15E as a first plane for new club members. As a club instructor, I relied on SAFE technology to help new fliers gain confidence and learn airborne orientation quickly without the need for numerous extended training sessions. We now have several club members who are cleared to fly solo in Beginner Mode. They will go back on the buddy box when they are ready to advance to the Intermediate Flight Mode, but in the meantime, they are enjoying flying their planes at our club field.

Recently a club member suffered some medical issues that affected the use of his left hand and reduced his dexterity of his right hand. He was ready to give up on his RC modeling hobby and sell all his stuff because he could no longer fly his planes safely. He agreed to try the Apprentice S 15E and to his amazement, he was able to fly very well on the buddy box and in Beginner Mode. Without SAFE technology, he would not be in this hobby today. He purchased the first HobbyZone SAFE Corsair in our club and I was priviliged to help him get it tuned up and flying. His success with the Corsair S has been inspirational.

Thanks

I'd like to thank Horizon and HobbyZone for providing the BNF Corsair S for this review. Thanks to Jesse Webb for helping with the photos and video and thanks to our editor Angela for her assistance in editing this review.

Last edited by kingsflyer; Dec 12, 2014 at 11:31 PM..

Discussion

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Old Jan 02, 2015, 02:48 PM
Registered User
United States, GA, Hampton
Joined Feb 2014
17 Posts
Wow! looks great and sounds awesome!
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Old Jan 02, 2015, 04:55 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
United States, TX, Kingsland
Joined Sep 2005
5,208 Posts
Thanks Matt. It's even better when you're wiggeling the sticks.

Take a look at this RCGroups Thread dedicated to the Corsair S covered in this review:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2197924

McD
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Last edited by kingsflyer; Jan 03, 2015 at 09:58 PM.
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Old Jan 02, 2015, 09:28 PM
Registered User
United States, CA, San Marcos
Joined Dec 2011
53 Posts
This is definitely an intriguing option! Now if they would only put SAFE into the UMX warbirds!
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Old Jan 03, 2015, 03:26 PM
Jim Lafferty
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United States, CA, Redlands
Joined Feb 2014
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Very well done!!!!

Jim
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Old Jan 03, 2015, 03:59 PM
Registered User
United States, TX, Austin
Joined Jan 2014
6 Posts
I had occasion to fly the Corsair during Mikes review and testing. I returned to the hobby a year ago after a 20 year hiatus. Let me tell you flying the SAFE Corsair is a real pleasure.
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Old Jan 03, 2015, 04:57 PM
Tommy Toy the Crazy Boy
United States, AR, Jonesboro
Joined Mar 2013
572 Posts
How does this compare to the Parkzone Corsair, the FlyZone Corsair, and the Hobby King Corsair? I've flown the PZ model a lot, the FZ Corsair 3 times, and have not yet flown the HK model.

I liked the ability to add flaps and retracts to the PZ model. I liked the lights and retracts on the FZ model (but the lights need to be brighter). I don't have any insights into the HK model yet (still NIB).

Should I spring for this new Corsair?

Thanks,
Tom
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Old Jan 03, 2015, 05:01 PM
Lou
Ground Penetration Tester
United States, VA, Waynesboro
Joined Dec 2005
5,880 Posts
Sure do wish they would make this as a racer. Would love to see it displayed as a Reno racer.
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Old Jan 03, 2015, 05:18 PM
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Joined Oct 2014
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How similar is this to the discontinued F4U?
Doesn't look like it will mount retracts or flaps.
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Old Jan 03, 2015, 09:16 PM
Jim Lafferty
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United States, CA, Redlands
Joined Feb 2014
2,096 Posts
This is a plane aimed at beginners who want a warbird option that wont end up in pieces after the maiden. Its not going to have flaps and retracts. It is built around an ar636 that is SAFE programmed (not re-programmable), allowing a pilot to progress through 3 modes (beginner-Intermediate-Experienced) -that, along with AS3X makes it a great platform for learning to fly RC.

Jim
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Old Jan 03, 2015, 10:02 PM
We shall serve the Lord
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United States, TX, Kingsland
Joined Sep 2005
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I've found myself flying the Corsair S as my go-to plane in place of my well-worn T-28. It flies great and its always ready to "Show Off" in Beginner Mode for anyone wanting to try their hand on the sticks.

McD
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Last edited by kingsflyer; Jan 04, 2015 at 02:37 AM.
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Old Jan 06, 2015, 09:35 AM
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Texas
Joined Jun 2009
20 Posts
Another great review Mike! This little Corsair may get me to buy a (UGH!) foamy. even though I have resisted Arf foamy planes as toys since I like to build my own designs. This plane will let me test the SAFE system and I intend to use it in my giant scale P-51 102" Mustang.
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Old Jan 06, 2015, 10:00 AM
Jim Lafferty
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United States, CA, Redlands
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keither View Post
Another great review Mike! This little Corsair may get me to buy a (UGH!) foamy. even though I have resisted Arf foamy planes as toys since I like to build my own designs. This plane will let me test the SAFE system and I intend to use it in my giant scale P-51 102" Mustang.
If you're considering using the safe system in your P 51 I would consider the safe receiver that's in the apprentice S not the safe receiver that's in the Corsair S, otherwise you're not gonna be able to hook up retracts or flaps without it. Not enough open channels.

Jim
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Old Jan 06, 2015, 11:07 AM
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United States, NY, Queens
Joined Oct 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnFM View Post
How similar is this to the discontinued F4U?
Doesn't look like it will mount retracts or flaps.
This is essentially the original PZ Corsair F4U (version 1) that was introduced in June 2008 and discontinued in October 2012. They made some refinements, like improved connection between the fuselage and wing, replaced the PZ rx with the SAFE rx, changed the markings, and re-branded it as a HobbyZone plane for beginners who don't want to start with a "boring" high wing trainer.

This Corsair has very light wing loading, plenty of power, and is capable of decent aerobatics. It is basically a near perfect plane to take you from rank beginner all the way to expert.

Definitely another home run by HH.
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Old Jan 06, 2015, 02:58 PM
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Joined Oct 2014
335 Posts
Too bad they're dropping some of the nicer models in favor of ones with all the fail safe electronics. They've got that covered 6 ways to Sunday.
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