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Flyzone Island Wings DHC-2 Beaver on Floats Review

The Flyzone DHC-2 Lady Ester slips into her new floats and continues to dazzle us on the water.

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Introduction

Flyzone DHC-2 Beaver Island Wings Select Scale
Wingspan:59.5 in (1510 mm)
Length:38.5 in (980 mm)
Wing Area:430 sq in
Weight:3-3.25 lb
Wing Loading:16 - 17 oz/sq ft
Receiver:Futaba R617FS
Battery:1800 - 2100 mAh 3S LiPo
Motor:41-19-850 Brushless
ESC:40 Amp
Prop:12x6 2-Blade
Power WOT:375 Watts
Transmitter:Futaba 8FG Super
Manufacturer:Flyzone
Available From:Hobbico Dealers
Street Price:$199.98 Rx-R

This newest version of the Beaver from Flyzone is a scale representation of the beautiful "Lady Ester" DHC-2 flown by Michelle Masden of Island Wings Air Service, Ketchikan, Alaska. This version is supplied in a receiver-ready configuration for those of us that prefer to use our own radio systems. I recently finished an RCGroups Review of the Flyzone Island Wings Beaver on Tundra tires. In that review I covered the construction and assembly of the kit in detail. Please refer to that earlier review if you need information on the basic assembly process.

This review will cover the assembly and installation of the floats on the Lady Ester and will then cover the water and flight handling of the completed model.

Let's get started!

Kit Contents

This kit contains a complete set of floats in addition to the Tudra tire landing gear covered in the previous review.

Required Parts

All I needed was a Phillips screwdriver to assemble the floats and switch them out for the landing gear. The whole process took less than 10 minutes!

Assembly

The 16-page photo-illustrated Instruction Manual and 1-page Supplement are very complete. The Manual is a copy of the Select Scale Beaver Tx-R/RTF manual and the Supplement details the receiver installation and lists the Island Wings specific parts numbers for replacement parts. The float assembly process begins of Page 5.

Floats

Each float is carefully marked to show the precise location of each float brace. Each float brace is marked with a code that corresponds to the float markings. The rear braces have a sticker attached near the end fitting with the code printed on the sticker. The front braces have the codes molded into their plastic end fittings.

Once all the braces were in place, I swung the outer brace pairs away from the centerline of the floats to prevent damage to the fuselage paint during the mounting process.

Next order of business was to remove those sporty Tundra tires and landing gear as well as the tail wheel. I was careful to retain the #4x5/8" pan head screws I had used to mount the landing gear and would reuse them to mount the float braces to the fuselage later.

Bolting the center braces was easier with the outer braces swung out of the way. As I attached the braces to the fuselage, I left them a little loose until all the braces were in place.

Here is the right side view of the completed float brace installation.

The last part of the float installation process was the most time consuming as it involved installing and centering the water rudder control cables. The Flyzone DHC-2 Beaver uses monofilament line and rubber bands to control the movement of the water rudders. I found it somewhat frustrating as I tried to balance the stretching of the rubber bands, the stretching of the monofilament line, and the slight flex of the float assemblies. Eventually I was able to to find a point where the rudders moved freely and pretty consistently returned to a reasonable neutral position. Once the wire hooks on the end of control lines were securely fastened to the steering arm, I bent one of them up slightly so that they would clear each other as the arm moved back and forth. I then bent the excess wire length back to keep them from snagging on things.

That finished up the float installation process. Total time was 10 minutes. What a difference the floats made. The Lady Ester was beautiful on the Tundra tires, but once the Lady slipped on her floats, she looked absolutely stunning!

Completion

The completed Lady Ester DHC-2 Beaver on floats weighed exactly the same 3 lbs 2 ounces RTF as the Tudra tired version. A quick check showed that the float plane still balanced perfectly with the battery inserted in the battery compartment. I was amazed! No change in weight and no change in CG. It seemed like a miracle.

Since the weight was unchanged, the same power loading of 120 watts per pound remained in effect for the float version. This Lady on floats would have plenty of zip!

Flying

Basics

The float equipped Beaver is a scale model that flies like a mild mannered sport plane. It's a high wing plane with flaps that can take off and land in some pretty tight spaces.

Taking Off and Landing

I was concerned about the effectiveness of the water rudders due to the unusual control linkages. On the water I found that the rudders were pretty effective. There were times when I would have liked a little tighter turning radius, but I never felt out of control. The faster the plane moved on the water, the more control the water rudders exerted on the airframe. I found that once the plane was up "on step", I needed very little rudder input to keep the Beaver tracking straight on the water. I did need to give a little up elevator to get the Beaver to break free from the water but once it was airborne, it climbed like a homesick eagle. I found that flaps would shorten the takeoff run but it would also increase the departure angle after the plane left the water surface. The Beaver was never in danger of stalling, but it was definitely approaching STOL performance!

Landings were an absolute thing of beauty. The Beaver would settle in on a nice slow descent while holding just a little bit of power. I was able to bring the Lady in and have her gently "kiss" the surface of the water landing after landing. I was impressed, and so were our Club members. Flaps were able to shorten up the runout after touchdown, but they couldn't improve the landing experience.

Scale Flight

The Flyzone DHC-2 Beaver on floats looked right at home lumbering along above the lakeside cabins. You'd have thought it was flying the chilly skies of Alaska rather than the skies above the Highland Lakes in Texas. Even with the added drag of the floats, it was easy to maintain altitude even at lower throttle settings. I didn't need as much rudder to help with the turns as I did with the land version. As good as it looked flying at scale speed, I once again wanted to see what would happen when the throttle was opened up.

Aerobatics

Throttled up, I found that the Beaver was still capable of performing most aerobatic maneuvers, and performing them almost as well as a sport plane. Rolls, loops, inverted flight, stall turns, and figure eights were all easily accomplished. Snap rolls and spins happened a little slower, but that wasn't all bad. All these aerobatics may not have demonstrated prototypical scale flight, but they sure kept me from getting bored!

Is This For a Beginner?

The Flyzone Beaver on floats is very easy to fly, but it's not for a beginner. If the beginner had access to an instructor and a buddy box, then it might be possible for that beginner to fly the Beaver off water. This plane would make an excellent first float plane for anyone who has mastered aileron flight. Intermediate pilots will love the spirited performance and the excellent water manners of the Lady Ester. Expert pilots might want to consider trying their hand at detailing out a Lady Ester and practicing their scale water flying skills.

Flight Photo Gallery

The Flyzone DHC-2 Beaver looked great floating on the glassy smooth water in the early morning sunshine. This Lady Ester Beaver was even prettier with her floats!

Flight Video

My wife was on video duty and I was a little worried about flying on the narrow lake with the tall trees lining both sides of the waterway. The Flyzone Lady Ester Beaver made it easy for both of us. This Lady was mild mannered and really looked great for the camera. The early morning lighting was a little tough on the camera and my wife took a while to get up to speed, but I think you'll enjoy the results. The only thing missing from the video was the huge smile on my face as once again the Lady Ester made me look very good.

Beaver on Floats (6 min 54 sec)

Conclusion

The Flyzone Select Scale DHC-2 Lady Ester Beaver is even better on floats! Replacing the Tundra tires with the scale floats totally transformed this Lady. The Flyzone Select Scale Beaver has to be one of the finest flying scale float planes on the market today. As good as those Tundra tires looked, they may never get used again. This Beaver is now officially my favorite scale float plane.

Pluses

  • Quick 10 minute change from tires to floats
  • This Beaver looks even better on floats
  • Same great flight performance as wheeled version
  • Spectacular water landings

Minuses

  • Water rudder linkage was a challenge to adjust

Thanks

I'd like to thank Hobbico for providing the Flyzone Beaver for this review. Thanks to my wife for helping with the photos and video and thanks to our editor Angela for her assistance in editing this review.

Last edited by kingsflyer; Sep 26, 2014 at 11:40 PM..
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Old Oct 14, 2014, 12:14 PM
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This post reserved by the author for future updates.

Here is a link to the original Flyzone DHC-2 Beaver Thread here on RCGroups:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1724609

I know that it's a very long thread at this point, but it's worth the read.

McD
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Last edited by kingsflyer; Oct 20, 2014 at 07:22 AM.
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Old Oct 14, 2014, 12:55 PM
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That's so classic you.
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Bought and flew one at E-week off the pond at the 3-D line. What a blast! Too bad the fit and finish of this plane is a huge let down. The packaging is non-existent with loose parts just floating around the box damaging the foam surface. The wheel cuffs were damaged in every box I looked at. The "pin striping" on the bottom of the wings fell off after the 3rd flight. The battery hatch latch wasn't glued in.
Sadly, with just some packing foam and a minor attempt to keeps parts from damaging each other, this would have been a grand slam.
It IS however a really fun and well flying plane. I just wish it didn't look 2 years old when I took it out of the box...
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Last edited by Generic Member; Oct 14, 2014 at 01:02 PM.
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Old Oct 14, 2014, 02:46 PM
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Sorry you were let down by the damaged foam. I mentioned some of my concerns in the first half of the review for the items I found on my review kit. Just like you, I was very impressed with the excellent flying characteristics of this new version. My bottom line was that the new trim scheme and the great flying far outweighed the foam dings on my model.

McD
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Old Oct 14, 2014, 11:55 PM
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Nicely done, Mike! Loved the video. Those were some nice landings.

Andy
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Old Oct 30, 2014, 10:55 PM
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I liked your video, Im thinking about one later, I have 4 to finish,2 pietenol1 has a spin of 65" and a 10'10", and a 59" redbaron pizza, and a
biplum double wing 7'
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Old Nov 05, 2014, 05:08 PM
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Float flying off grass: Mods and technique

I am using the wheeled Beaver for instructing my student not because it is better than other models but because my student has two of them! I have about 10 flights on the wheeled Beaver and will be test flying the float version off grass very soon. I know we can find water someplace but we both want to try this and find out what works and what does not. If need be I'm prepared to convert the floats to an amphib version where the wheels are permanently extended. I think this may mitigate nose overs and possibly provide some ability to taxi with catering nose gear similar to full size gear.

Rudders have been removed and I am expecting no steering on take off or landing rollout. I will be using 3M 2X clear packing tape to protect the bottom of the floats and to reduce friction between the bare foam and grass.

I expect that the upper thrust vector and opposing float drag vector will cause nose overs on takeoff. I will be using full up elevator to hopefully counter these forces.

On landing touchdown and rollout I expect a nose over so I will be landing as slow as possible but with a the floats parallel to the grass.

If any one has tried this I would appreciate feedback.
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Old Nov 05, 2014, 06:45 PM
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You could try some spray lube on the bottom of the floats to help with the grass takeoffs. Folks have suggested Pledge Furniture Polish or Silicone Lube sprayed on just before takeoff. Give it a try and post your results and VIDEO.

Full flaps and up elevator should do the trick for a STOL takeoff. Just be ready to get off the elevator as soon as the floats break ground and be prepared for the steep takeoff angle with that much flaps.

McD
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Old Nov 06, 2014, 04:20 PM
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Maiden flight a success! You don't need water to fly with floats!

Flyzone Beaver with floats: slide off from grass (0 min 9 sec)


I am very pleased at the performance of the Beaver with floats using grass for taxi, take off and landing. Remove rudders and save for water ops. Cover the whole bottom of floats with 3M 2X clear heavy duty packing tape. No need to lubricate bottom of floats with anything. Apply full up elevator and gradually apply power. At about half throttle she will rotate and lift off. Continue towards full power and release full up to climb out over obstacles. Cruise at reduce power for slow scale like fly by passes. For approach I used full flaps (only about 20 degrees) and settled on to the grass with maybe 20% throttle power making sure that top of floats were parallel with the grass surface. Use maximum rudder throw and power as required for yaw/turn control while taxing on grass. Take the time to set up flight control throws for high/low rates IAW manual.
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Last edited by VicT; Nov 06, 2014 at 04:27 PM. Reason: Typos, more detail
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Old Nov 06, 2014, 05:37 PM
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This Beaver weighs 1355 grams or 47.8 ounces or 2.98 lbs without the 2200 3S 1P 30C drive battery. Added weight comes from spray painting the floats with silver and adding an Eagle Tree Guardian. Guardian was tested in cruise but not used for takeoff or landing. It will come in handy for training purposes as well as for heading /attitude hold during takeoff and landing.

I tested Beaver at home in taller 2-2.5 inch tall grass. She barely started to move and required a slight push to start the momentum. Using flaps and rocking with elevator failed to get the Beaver moving. I switched to a 2250 3S 70C drive battery and thrust increased where a push was not required to overcome the drag of the floats. Modifying the floats by adding more surface area and reducing the chine/v hull cross section forward from the step might help in grass that is taller than 1-2 inches. Moving the floats forward 1 inch might help in taller grass and maybe taller waves. Large wheels imbedded into the foam would reduce rolling resistances and help. Dubro skis are another option.
However I'm satisfied that the stock float setup works on our club field when the grass is cut to 1-1.5 inches or if it is wet and has occasional standing water that prohibits conventional trike and tail dragger models from operating.
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Old Nov 06, 2014, 07:02 PM
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Very Nice! Congrats on the grass takeoffs. Thanks for posting the information and the video.

McD
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Old Nov 17, 2014, 05:05 PM
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I just couldn't resist! I had to post this lovely ballard to the DHC-2. Enjoy!
McD


The Beaver Ballad (4 min 18 sec)
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Old Jan 11, 2015, 11:37 PM
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How does this plane fly on MAS 11x6x3 prop on floats? Any unexpected characteristics I should be aware of? It flew great on the stock 12x6, but I want to give it a try with the 3-blade prop.
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Old Jan 12, 2015, 09:02 AM
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It flies great with the 11x6x3 MAS prop! Flight times and performance are almost identical to the 12x6 2-blade. The extra ground clearance of the 11" prop helps reduce water splash when flying off water.

McD
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Old Jan 12, 2015, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsflyer View Post
It flies great with the 11x6x3 MAS prop! Flight times and performance are almost identical to the 12x6 2-blade. The extra ground clearance of the 11" prop helps reduce water splash when flying off water.

McD
Yay! This is happy news because I bought the parts for the mod. ^.^ Excited!
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