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Durafly Tundra PNF Review

A versatile sport plane with a ton of features and good looks to boot!

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Introduction


Wingspan:1300mm (51.7")
Weight:1150 grams (40.6 oz.)
Length:1190mm (47.2")
Servos:6 (included)
Transmitter:5 channel or greater
Receiver:5 channel or greater
Battery:3s 1300-2200
Motor:3636 950kv (included)
ESC:40 amp Aerostar (included)
Manufacturer:Durafly
Available From:Hobby King
Price:$144.27

The Durafly Tundra is a capable sport plane, one that is reminiscent of the multipurpose bush planes of Alaska. The Tundra certainly captures the spirit of a go anywhere, do anything aircraft! The molded foam fuselage and wings look great, and give the illusion of ribs under fabric covering, further adding to the appeal. Couple that with impressive paint and graphics, and you have a plane anyone will be proud to own.

Durafly Tundra on Floats - RCGroups.com Review (3 min 0 sec)

Durafly Tundra Land Demo - RCGroups.com Review (1 min 49 sec)

Durafly Tundra STOL - RCGroups.com Review (1 min 6 sec)

Kit Contents

The Tundra PNF is very complete. The servos, motor and ESC are included, as are floats and regular landing gear. All the hardware needed to assemble the plane is in there, along with a 12x6 carbon fiber propeller. Also included is an optional horizontal tail brace upgrade, and a FPV mount that replaces the windscreen/battery hatch. Durafly even included a screwdriver!

Additional parts needed to complete:

The Tundra arrived very well packed, and the colorful box art alludes to the fun that awaits within

Assembly

Assembly goes quickly, with all the hard work being done at the factory. I only had to complete a few steps before the Tundra was ready to fly. The manual is well illustrated, and is very easy to follow. The plane is so well thought out, and goes together so easily, you can have it flying the same day it arrives.

When I was building the Tundra, I found it useful to raid the kitchen and borrow a muffin pan to sort the hardware in. The bags all have labels indicating the sizes of screws they contain, so I poured the contents into the muffin "cups" and put the label in there as well, making it easier to get out just one screw at a time, and not spill the rest on the shop floor, where they would surely be lost forever.

One feature I appreciated is how the connections to the wing's control surfaces were made. I didn't have to fuss with "Y" harnesses and fiddly servo extensions. The Tundra has a plate mount in the fuselage with the female servo plugs on it, and a mating plate in the wing with the male plugs. When you slide the wing onto the spar, and into the fuse, these plates line up, and the connections are made for you. No fuss, no muss!

Manual

Click here to download the manual for the Tundra.

Flying

One word sums up the flight experience: WOW! The Tundra truly is versatile, and that's what makes it fun. My maiden flight was off water, and once I got used to how it handled on the surface, it was pretty easy to get it in the air. The water wasn't glass smooth, thanks to wind conditions, but the Tundra handled it fine. Slowly and smoothly advancing the throttle is key here, and allows you to effectively manage the rudder, and will reward you with an easy takeoff run. Once in the air, you are rewarded with a smooth flyer that looks great skimming along just above the surface. Controls felt great on the recommended high rates, and I didn't notice any ill effects with the added drag and weight of the floats. There is plenty of power on tap, and during my flight off water I never felt the need to use more than 3/4 throttle, even during takeoff. I did have an issue during my float flights, though..at one point, I was low and turning aggressively, and managed to tip stall. I didn't have room to recover, and ended up getting the front of the right float under the surface of the water. Of course, this promptly removed the float from the strut, and an interesting water rescue ensued. I am happy to report, the Tundra took it like a champ, and is no worse for wear, A few minutes spent re-attaching the float to it's mounts, and all is well.

After that, I decided not to press my luck any further on the water, and mounted the "normal" landing gear for some ground based test flights. The site I was flying from is a neighborhood recreation area, which has open fields and the pond I used for the water flights. The fields are nicely kept, but the grass isn't as low as you would find at, say, Triple Tree. This proved to be no issue, since the Tundra is equipped with a great set of "back woods" wheels and tires, as well as an effective spring damped landing gear set up. As I taxied out I noticed how well the gear was working, and I was very impressed. The first takeoff was without flaps, and again, i was between 50% and 75% throttle when she broke ground. The climb out is impressive, and it will scoot along nicely at full throttle. Rolls and loops are easy, and the plane responds nicely to rudder as well. Landings without flaps are what one would expect, just bring the throttle down, and fly it in. It sets up nicely for a three point landing.

The real fun begins when you decide to try out the flaps. I would recommend mixing in some down elevator with full flap, since with almost 90 degrees of travel, the Tundra will balloon up and stall quickly if you aren't ready with some down elevator! The first time you try them out, be sure you are at least a couple of mistakes high, so you can fine tune your elevator flap mix. I got lucky, and the "TLAR" (That Looks About Right) method I used resulted in minimal pitch change when I deployed full flaps. One thing is certain, she comes to a stop QUICK when you hit the flaps! Keeping the power on is essential and you have to stay on the throttle to control your altitude. Landings with full flap are a lot of fun, and resulted in about a 4 foot rollout. I am sure with some more flight time, I can get them even shorter.

For the middle flap setting, I didn't use any mix, since this is the "takeoff" setting. With the flaps at 45 degrees, the takeoff roll is very short, just a few feet. Be ready to pull the flaps up once you are in the air, or you will find the nose pointing straight up, and that's not the best attitude to be in right after you clear the ground! The Tundra leaps into the air quickly, and as soon as you retract the flaps, you are ready to set off on another adventure.

My flight times were 7 minutes with the Glacier 2200mah 3 cell.

Conclusion

In my opinion, the Tundra is a very versatile plane, well suited for many adventures. With the included floats, you can easily fly off of water as well as land, and although I didn't get to try out the optional skis, I am certain operation from snow will be a joy as well. The addition of the FPV canopy, included with the kit, further adds to the role this plane can fill. If that isn't enough, the drop module can be installed, allowing you to loft parachute men or candy into the air, much to the enjoyment of any kids that happen to be at the field with you. In short, the Tundra is a plane that I will be spending a lot of time with!

Is this for beginners?

Although it is easy to assemble, and the manual is well laid out and informative, I would not recommend this as a first plane. While it is stable, it requires a pilot who is comfortable with a wide speed range, and is able to respond to the plane's needs. The flaps could also easily get a new pilot into trouble. If you have mastered your trainer, and feel like you are ready to move up to new challenges, the Tundra would make a great choice, and afford you new opportunities to learn how flaps affect flight.

Pluses and Minuses

Pluses

  • Floats included
  • FPV canopy included
  • Great looks
  • Easy assembly
  • STOL capability
  • Nice carbon fiber prop included

Minuses

  • Difficult to hold the motor securely while installing the prop
  • Removing the wings and struts for transport (if needed) can be time consuming
  • The axle nuts can be tricky to install
  • Tiny screws could disappear easily when swapping from floats to wheels at the field

I would like to thank Jim T. and Angela for their help and advice, HobbyKing/Durafly for the opportunity to review the Tundra, and Patrick (Helifryer here on RCG) for his help with video and still shots.

Last edited by IFLYOS; Jan 27, 2016 at 06:53 AM..
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Old Jan 27, 2016, 08:30 AM
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14s 180mah should be enough...
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Old Jan 27, 2016, 08:33 AM
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think i'll be getting this for sure anyone have the part number for the HK skies that fit it ?
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Old Jan 27, 2016, 08:41 AM
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14s 180mah should be enough...
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http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...m_Ski_Set.html

Sky Mule skis are the ones you want..
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Old Jan 27, 2016, 08:47 AM
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Tim
are the tires foam or rubber
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Old Jan 27, 2016, 08:53 AM
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14s 180mah should be enough...
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EPP foam, and very resilient. I don't see them giving trouble for a LONG time to come
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Old Jan 27, 2016, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IFLYOS View Post
EPP foam, and very resilient. I don't see them giving trouble for a LONG time to come
I didn't realize they were EPP, they sure looked like EPO to me. Do they hold up on pavement at all? (perhaps that isn't the point of the Tundra)

Any input on why this would be a better plane than the Hobbyking Bushmaster? At first glance, it would seem the bushmaster is a much better value. it's larger, and a whopping $60 cheaper. Sure it doesn't come with floats, but surely floats can be found for less than the $60 price difference, right? Is there something the Tundra offers that the Bushmaster does not?
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Old Jan 27, 2016, 11:29 AM
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14s 180mah should be enough...
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Chubbs, I don't have a Bushmaster so I cannot comment on the differences. I can say that the Tundra is a great plane, and ticks all the boxes for me. I love the looks, and the way it flies. The Bushmaster doesn't appeal to me aesthetically..

I haven't flown off of pavement yet, so I don't know how the wheels will hold up, but as you mentioned, I don't see that as the target surface for this plane. The wheels are incredibly dense, though, so I don't suspect that they would wear out to quickly
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Old Jan 27, 2016, 01:06 PM
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Need some snow footage for this one.

And how well will it accommodate LED lighting, whether standard scale landing lights or drenching it for midnight flights off snow?
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Old Jan 27, 2016, 01:47 PM
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No water rudder.............
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Old Jan 27, 2016, 02:06 PM
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14s 180mah should be enough...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrownEyedFool View Post
Need some snow footage for this one.

And how well will it accommodate LED lighting, whether standard scale landing lights or drenching it for midnight flights off snow?
Lights wouldn't be hard to do, the fuse is open enough to get a few strands in, or to run wiring for scale lights. The wing would be fairly easy as well, though one would have to get creative to keep the hookups as clean as the factory servo connections


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gyronut View Post
No water rudder.............
The water rudder mounts in place of the tailwheel, when you choose to use it. I simply forgot to bring it with me when I went to get the float video. At least I remembered batteries and my transmitter!
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Old Jan 27, 2016, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Chubbs View Post
Is there something the Tundra offers that the Bushmaster does not?
Yes: spare parts!
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Old Jan 27, 2016, 06:19 PM
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how was it on water? feel the need for water rudders?
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Old Jan 27, 2016, 07:15 PM
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14s 180mah should be enough...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnVH View Post
how was it on water? feel the need for water rudders?
It wasn't bad without the water rudder installed, but it would have been helpful. On a small pond where you can easily get to all sides, I wouldn't worry about it, but at Triple Tree, you can bet I will install it!
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Old Jan 27, 2016, 07:45 PM
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Great review Tim, thank you.

S.
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