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Horizon Hobby Archer BNF by ParkZone

The Parkzone Archer is a compact model making it perfect for smaller fields. The Archer includes a striking trim scheme and sleek appearance that show off great sport scale detail. The trike gear makes ground handling a snap and in flight the Archer really performs!

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Introduction


Wingspan:37" 935mm
Wing type:Z-foam foam flat bottom airfoil
Wing Area:~190 sq in
Wing loading:~12.9oz/sq ft
Cube loading:~11.2
AUW weight:Advertised 16.4oz 465g Actual 17oz 481g
Length:25.6" 560mm
Transmitter:Spektrum DX18 2.4GHz
Servos:SV80 Micro included
Receiver:Spektrum AR400 4 channel DSMX/DSM2 2.4GHz
Battery:E-flight 1300 mAh 1300 2s LiPo 20c
Motor:ParkZone 1300kV Brushless Motor
ESC:E-flight 10 amp Pro ESC
US distributor:Horizon Hobby
Available: Archer BNF by ParkZone
ARF Price:BNF - $159.99 RTF - $199.99

Horizon Hobby has released the sport scale Archer to the lineup. The Parkzone Archer is a compact model making it perfect for smaller field setups. The Archer includes a striking trim scheme and sleek appearance that show off great sport scale detail. The trike gear makes ground handling a snap and in flight the Archer performs very well.

This sharp general aviation model comes in two completion levels one Bind and Fly (BNF) and the other Ready-to-Fly (RTF) the latter including a DX4 Spektrum transmitter. This review covers the BNF version and that completion level comes with everything you need to fly but the transmitter.

With the popularity of the BNF versions it is no doubt Horizon Hobby has seen success considering the impressive lineup of models they have in the market. Covering a vast array of sizes and types they have something for everyone!

The Archer is molded from Z-Foam™ and is very durable. The Z-Foam has a very dense foam that has a impressive, tight bead. The final finish looks great for a model of this size and price. Better yet repairs can be made with normal CA glues having your less than perfect endings repaired quickly.

What is even more impressive is the finish level of the BNF Archer. It includes everything needed to have the model in the air in a few minutes. Included is the AR400 DSMX/DSM2 receiver, mounted and ready to bind. The servos, ESC, motor, control surfaces, horns and pushrods are all installed. All you have to do is attach the main landing gear with a quick snap, install the wing with two bolts and the horizontal stabilizer elevator with one screw. A quick bind and radio setup has you in the air just as the battery is finished charging. That is it!

Kit Contents

The review package shipped from Horizon Hobby and it arrived in perfect condition. It was exceptionally well packaged, double-boxed and the contents were isolated and protected from shifting during shipment in a large foam shell.

As expected with Horizon Hobby products, the there is an excellent, plain English, pictorial manual with complete step by step instructions Manual.

Kit includes:

  • Pre-built and assembled model
  • Z-Foam™ with expertly painted finish
  • Horizontal stabilizer ready for attachment
  • Trike landing gear with steerable nose gear
  • Canopy and cabin with painted pilot figure
  • Factory hinged surfaces
  • All hardware installed and ready for flight (Pushrods and horns)
  • Clear well-written picture assembly guide
  • 1300 kV ParkZone Brushless Motor
  • 1300 mAh E-flight 2s 20c Battery
  • 10 AMP E-flight Pro ESC with BEC
  • 12v 2s Balance Charger

Kit requires:

  • 4+ Channel Transmitter

Assembly

The Horizon Hobby ParkZone Archer is listed as Bind and Fly and true to expectation it was assembled, essentially ready to fly out of the box. You simply add the horizontal stabilizer with elevator and snap on the landing gear, then the wing bolts on and you are ready to go! Most will find the BNF Archer will be ready for flight in less than an hour.

Done by the factory:

  • Entire model painted plus attractive stick-on type markings
  • Surfaces hinged by the factory
  • Servos and linkages are all installed
  • Power system completely installed
  • Radio system completely installed

The builder needs to:

  • Snap in the main landing gear
  • Install the horizontal stabilizer
  • Bolt on the wing
  • Setup the radio

Wing

The wing comes as one piece with dual servos for the ailerons. They are installed with no work for the builder other than verifying they are centered and ready to go. Horizon Hobby included the Y harness that was already connected to the receiver. All that is needed for completion is feeding the installed wires into the fuselage and using two small bolts to attache the wing.

I found the Archer was setup from the factory with the correct amount of throw on the ailerons. Both were centered and ready for radio system setup.

The landing gear plates are factory installed and you simply snap mains into the accepting plates. This was simple and quick!

The wing assembly attached with ease to the fuselage with dual bolts. Inside the fuselage were two blind nuts ready for the screws. Everything aligned perfectly. The front section is retained by the screws and the rear had with a plastic flange and mate in both the wing and the fuselage.

Fuselage

The Archer fuselage is also Z-foam with an smooth tight bead. It is really difficult to see any bead separation at all. It was very smooth and made for a nice painted factory applied finish.

The servos for the elevator and the rudder as well as the pushrods were installed and ready for use.

Tail feathers

The vertical stabilizer is also of the same quality as the fuselage and wings. The rudder and vertical stabilizer were factory installed but the horizontal stabilizer and elevator must be attached to the fuse rear with a plastic connector in the front and a single screw in the rear. I found the wood screw to be very tight in the accepting plastic mount so I enlarged the hole slightly.

Make sure you attach the elevator control horn to the assembly before you start attachment. It helps to extent the elevator servo to full up and the rudder to full right to provide some working room.

Canopy

The large canopy is factory painted to match fuselage of the Archer. The attachment was very impressive using the "fake" antenna to "push" release the rear canopy latch. This was secure and positive and has worked well. No risk of losing the large canopy in flight.

The battery for the Archer barely fits under the canopy. I found it needed to be toward the rear of the battery tray. Included was a seat belt of hook and loop to secure the battery. The area under the hatch is small but everything fits just fine. Larger packs will be difficult to manage.

Cowl

The Archer has a one-piece molded cowl that is paint matched to the model. This comes factory installed with no work to do! It is removable, having screws to attach the cowl to the fuselage so if you need to perform any maintenance it will be a snap.

Motor

The 1300 kV ParkZone brushless motor was factory mounted and installed. No work for you to do here. The model also comes with an attractive chromed spinner that is the scale shape very nice!

Power system

The ParkZone Archer 1300 kV brushless motor and E-flight 10 amp Pro ESC. They are a perfect match for the Archer.

Amp draws

The included brushless motor is a good match for 2s packs. The 1300 mAh E-flight 20c pack is compact and was used in testing of the power system. The 1300 kV motor produced the following results:

Motor statistics on 2s
Included Propeller Amps Watts Voltage
8.25x5.5 9.5 72 7.6v

These power levels gave the Archer fantastic performance in the air. You can lift off in less than ten feet. I found that the Archer flew with authority with the standard power system. No need for upgrades or a 3s pack on this plane!

I should note that the propeller balance was way off, giving pretty good vibration. Some tape and a good balancer had that fixed and all vibration gone. Balancing is always a good idea and something easily neglected on the BNF type models.

Battery

The BNF version included the 2s E-flight 20c 2s pack was used to provide power for the Archer. This pack tips the scale at exactly 66g. Performance of this light pack was stellar as can be seen it provided good voltage with the 9.5 amp load. The pack also has the capacity for 10-15 minute flights with relaxed throttle.

Finish

The ParkZone Archer Z-foam has a very dense bead allowing for a smooth finish. The paint and stick-on type markings were very attractive and followed a scheme from a full scale Archer. The foam is rugged and easily field repaired with plain CA if you have a mishap.

Pre-Flight

Some ground shots of the Archer. This stunning model is represented well in scale detail appropriate for a model this size. It is also great to see a general aviation model in the mix.

CG

The CG was easy to obtain with the battery provided with the Archer. I did not add any additional weight for balance and found the manual CG to be spot on. This is always welcome when designs are managed well in development and balance properly with no additional weight especially on smaller models where that matters.

Rates and transmitter setup

The Spektrum DX18 transmitter was used to control the Archer. It bound to the included AR400 DSMX/DSM2 receiver with no fuss. Rates were set as recommended in the manual per the chart below:

Control Throws
Low RatesHigh Rates
Elevator
7mm 9mm
Aileron
9mm 12mm
Rudder
8mm 12mm

Exponential rates were not recommended so I set those at 15% for the primary flight controls. I found those recommended rates and my added exponential worked very well for me. Rates are very much a pilot preference - set yours accordingly.

The flight timer was set to count down from 10 minutes giving an audible warning to land before the battery was depleted. The E-flight pack and stock motor were easily able to supply the Archer with good sport power. I was happy the stock propeller provided decent speed as well.

Flying

In the air the ParkZone Archer provided no surprises in flight. I was well behaved and felt very light and agile especially when using a slightly rearward CG. This was no surprise as it is a compact, light model. It will perform basic sport aerobatics you feel like doing and it warned before it approached stall. The airfoil is flat bottomed so that affects the aerobatics but makes for a tame model in flight.

In flight pics and video come from me while Doug my flying buddy did an excellent job of posing the Archer in flight.

Takeoff and Landing

The Archer comes with small scale like tires that make grass take-offs a bit challenging unless you have a very short cut. The large propeller will tend to "cut" the grass as it even with the nose gear it leaves very little ground clearance.

It is better suited for a hard surface, as most planes are. I found that I liked full power take-off's helping gain altitude quickly. With the large propeller and flat airfoil lift is abundant and it will start to lift off quickly. There was a small reserve of extra power but I didn't find myself wanting any more. The large pack provides power for well over 10 minutes if you are heavy on the throttle and up to 15 minutes if you are light on the left stick!

Top end speed was good with the 5.5" pitch of the propeller. All around this was a perfect combination of power, performance, and looks all at a great price.

Landings are a simple matter with the Archer. It likes a bit of power and it will sit nose up with the mains touching for what seems to be forever! You can just hold it there elevator and then lower to the nose gear. It is a blast! It, like the larger T-28 Trojan excel at touch-and-go sessions. It is small enough to be happy in a smallish flight venue as well as it slows very well on landings. It is totally predictable and does not exhibit any bad behavior right until stall. It is advisable to keep just a small amount of power on in landings as that will help control the bounce if it slowed too much.

Special Flight Characteristics

The Archer is not an aerobatic ship but can be coaxed into sport maneuvers managing 4 channel aerobatics with few complaints. Understandably, it is a scale model not a 3D ship in any way and was flown very much using the wing. It really likes some rudder in the turns so don't be afraid to use the left stick!

Loops required full power with the 2s power system but they were easy to keep very round. The Archer rolls fine but not axial. That was expected with the airfoil and the scale lines of this ship. You will need to apply some down elevator in rolls at the half point to keep the nose up.

I am having a great time flying the cute, little Archer. You will be hard pressed to find a small general aviation craft that is better behaved. You will also have a hard time finding one that looks better in flight.

Recommended power system

Power on 2s voltages was perfect for the Archer. The stock propeller performed well and used the full power of the motor well. I was impressed with the flight times and the relaxing nature of the model.

Is this plane for a beginner?

The ParkZone Archer is intended for pilots with basic flight skills. You do need some comfort with flying but it is easy to manage due to the light wing loading.

Flight Video

Archer (2 min 43 sec)

Conclusion

I am a big fan of General Aviation aircraft and feel most of us have many fond memories and perhaps even a little full scale stick time in Piper aircraft. Piper has a heritage of making planes that are simply beautiful. The scale lines of the ParkZone model represent the full scale Archer very well. While this a molded foam model you will appreciate the attention to detail and molded panels and elements in the wing, tail and fuselage. The Z-foam beads are very dense and the paint and markings looked very good.

The Archer was simple to assemble with a handful of steps for you to perform. Mine was together in a few minutes in fact, great for even the busiest modeler.

Ground handling of this compact model with the trike gear was positive and easy to control. It is a blast to set the Archer on the main gear and hang the nose in the air! The Archer likes a hard surface with the small tires but it will handle short grass as well. Hand launches are also very easy, so that is an option.

In flight the Archer is completely predictable. Considering its heritage Piper certainly knows how to build airplanes that fly well. Horizon has duplicated that stellar flight capability wonderfully. It will do any sport aerobatics and yet it is easy to fly. Touch-and-Go's are especially fun with the Archer.

It was great that the designers kept this model light and the small size means it will fit assembled in any car. It will handle about any size field making it a true park flyer.

Nice when models balance perfectly and the Archer was no exception with the included 2s pack. For those who must have more power 3s is supported by the ESC so long as you prop down to keep the amps under the 10amp limit. You will need a smaller capacity too in order to fit the small battery tray. Try it with 2s as that is more than enough power for the scale type of flying that looks right with the Archer.

The Archer is lightly loaded yet it likes a bit of power on landings. Wind handling was good in fact the first flights were with more than I should have wind and it coped with a minimum fuss. It is much better in light conditions however.

The ParkZone Archer BNF is essentially assembled in the box and can be in the air in just a few minutes. It was a pleasure to fly - get yours today!

Hits:

  • Looks fantastic!
  • Complete BNF package
  • Essentially ready to fly out of the box
  • Detailed instruction manual
  • Short assembly time
  • Long flight times

Misses:

  • Stabilizer attachment screw pilot hole needed enlargement
Last edited by Angela H; Dec 10, 2013 at 03:31 PM..

Discussion

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Old Dec 11, 2013, 08:57 AM
We got some flyin' to do!
Justwingit's Avatar
United States, CA, Fort Irwin
Joined Apr 2012
4,873 Posts
Great job on the review Mike !

I've flown mine in various configurations....with gear, without gear, and although I prefer to fly it as a belly-lander (Paul-RC and I call it the "Arrow" configuration ), it flies just as wonderfully with it's legs on...

You're quite right in that the stock system has plenty of power for scale flight, and even though I experimented with 3S on this model, I actually like the stock 2S set-up better. And yes, 15 minute flight times aren't out of the question. I've flown for that long myself.

Visually, it's a stunning model in the air...looks right at home just cruising around the flying field...

All in all Parkzone did a great job on this little plane

John
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Old Dec 11, 2013, 09:18 AM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
USA, TX, Trophy Club
Joined May 2002
14,497 Posts
Thanks John - and being on sale does not hurt either! Snag these up guys! I suspect (pure speculation on my part) they may be gone before too much longer....

Mike
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Old Dec 11, 2013, 09:46 AM
We got some flyin' to do!
Justwingit's Avatar
United States, CA, Fort Irwin
Joined Apr 2012
4,873 Posts
Agreed...

Experience tells us that HH doesn't normally offer discounts unless it's looking at closing out the model....
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Last edited by Justwingit; Dec 11, 2013 at 09:55 AM.
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Old Dec 11, 2013, 04:40 PM
Registered User
Joined Dec 2012
55 Posts
Just got back from the local ball field with mine, and had an absolute blast now that I have learned to properly fly it. I went from a champ to this, and that was a bit aggressive. Learned on a Sensei a few times, (2 flights!), and now I am able to control it nicely. I too,had the small stabilizer screw hole, but other than that, very very pleased with it!
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Old Dec 12, 2013, 05:35 AM
Registered User
Joined Sep 2007
408 Posts
Review

I reviewed one of these not to long ago down under & apart from a poor fitting tail assembly it was a nice all round model. Looks a lot better with the gear removed as in a Piper Arrow.

All up an easy model to fly stock out of the box.


CW
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Old Dec 12, 2013, 03:25 PM
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n00b-E's Avatar
United States, CO, Aurora
Joined Sep 2007
687 Posts
Hmmm...this thing could use a good bashing. Maybe -

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Old Dec 12, 2013, 11:49 PM
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Joined Sep 2012
283 Posts
I just picked up the BNF version. For $99, I could not say no. It still may have trouble getting out of the grass on certain fields around here.
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Old Dec 13, 2013, 04:45 AM
Gecko Guy
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Joined Dec 2013
245 Posts
very nice looking plane guys
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Old Aug 18, 2014, 04:53 PM
▲▼▲▼≣≣≣≣≣≣≣≣≣≣≣≣≣≣≣≣ ≣≣≣≣≣ ▼▲▼▲
IndiaHobby's Avatar
United States, MD, Laurel
Joined Mar 2010
710 Posts
Nice review.
Looks like a nice park-flyer. I ordered one too a few days ago.
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Old Aug 18, 2014, 06:02 PM
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Joined Jun 2014
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I flew my 99.00 special Sunday........its GREAT little plane, cant wait to fly 'er again!
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Old Aug 19, 2014, 04:15 PM
Micro and Beyond!
Joined Jul 2014
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I clicked the mouse on this airplane today. I feel it will be a nice step up from the Micros I've started with. I've been looking at it for quite a while and at $100, it was just too hard to pass on.

Now. Where is that FedEx guy?
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Old Aug 19, 2014, 04:25 PM
What tree?
Rampage's Avatar
Yucca Valley, California
Joined Aug 2005
2,671 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlukeSky View Post
I clicked the mouse on this airplane today. I feel it will be a nice step up from the Micros I've started with. I've been looking at it for quite a while and at $100, it was just too hard to pass on.

Now. Where is that FedEx guy?
Give it lots of space to fly in. Set up landing approaches from a long way out. And don't slow it down too much.

The plane flies great but it lands HOT, does not slow down very well and has pretty nasty tip-stall tendencies.

But you can chop the throttle back to half and fly it around for 20 minutes. That makes it worth it.

Also, replace the ESC with something better than a 1-amp BEC at the earliest opportunity.
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Old Aug 19, 2014, 09:18 PM
Micro and Beyond!
Joined Jul 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rampage View Post
Give it lots of space to fly in. Set up landing approaches from a long way out. And don't slow it down too much.

The plane flies great but it lands HOT, does not slow down very well and has pretty nasty tip-stall tendencies.

But you can chop the throttle back to half and fly it around for 20 minutes. That makes it worth it.

Also, replace the ESC with something better than a 1-amp BEC at the earliest opportunity.
Thanks for the input. I have read quite a bit about not floating it in for landings or it'll stall. That kind of reminds me of landing my UMX P-51D---fly it in all the way---so I believe I'll be ok with doing that. I haven't read about replacing the ESC though and would appreciate recommendations on what is a good substitute. I certainly don't mind doing it but I'm only 4 months into this hobby and have tons to learn!

Again--Thank You for the info!!!
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Old Aug 20, 2014, 09:47 PM
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Joined Jun 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlukeSky View Post
Thanks for the input. I have read quite a bit about not floating it in for landings or it'll stall. That kind of reminds me of landing my UMX P-51D---fly it in all the way---so I believe I'll be ok with doing that. I haven't read about replacing the ESC though and would appreciate recommendations on what is a good substitute. I certainly don't mind doing it but I'm only 4 months into this hobby and have tons to learn!

Again--Thank You for the info!!!
It lands a good bit easier than your Mustang....even easier with a light headwind,,its a very predictable airplane! If you handle your little mustang OK, you should have NO problem with this lil beauty!
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