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Old Sep 03, 2015, 07:34 PM
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Phase3 Phoenix II HobbyPeople Kit Build

This is a quicky build document on a Phase3 Phoenix II from HobbyPeople. It is NOT the Phoenix II from HobbyKing. Two names, two entirely different planes.

Big picture: I have never flown ailerons. This is intended to be a “how much trouble can I get into learning to fly ailerons” plane. I have flown RES/REF for quite some time, off an on, thermaling. I wanted something to “play with” other than simply thermal. I am a rookie builder. I used to fly Oly’s and Sagitta’s 30 years ago but am just getting back into it. I semi-rationally decided not to have my first aileron plane be a $1373 ArtHobby as the chances of instant re-kitting are significant. Have not flown this plane yet as there is a 25mph breeze outside, gusting to 40. I’ll wait a day or two and report.

Overall the build was not difficult.
- I have an 1800mah battery set in place just for fit. I have a 2200mah to trial fit as well. There is enough room for either but I need to tidy up the canopy area first.
- The wings fit tight into the fuse.
- The spar fits tight into the wings. Very tight.
- The graphics are, eh… ok, I guess. Bubbles were worked out on the graphics that I didn’t remove
- I am using a HobbyPeople 40A ESC, probably gross overkill. I gave the prop a trial run and everything was fine, almost pure ambient.
- I am using an old AR600 receiver. Works. Nothing special.
- Shipping was ground, took about 4 days.

This is not an esoteric airplane. The ailerons are y-wired, no differential. It’s foam. But it went together well with no significant issues other than my lack of talent. A fun flyer (hopefully). On the test of the motor/esc the pull was more than I expected. Were the “tape mods” necessary, probably not. How much does it weigh? Don’t know as I only have a scale for reloading that measures in grains and at 15.43 grains per gram, it’s just not suitable for this type of weight measurement. However, it doesn’t “feel” heavy and the tape adds are almost zip to the weight. The plane appears to be fully functional. Ah… a funny item… check out the rudder, left side, front. There is a slot there, or was there, before I filled it in for ??? reason. I pondered “what the heck…”. I finally figured out it was for a quarter or nickel, weight balancing. I have a 1929 Mills Poinsettia slot machine so no point in sticking quarters in the plane as….it balances fine with no quarters at 80mm from the LE (so far). Will see….
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Old Sep 04, 2015, 09:11 PM
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Thanks for the pictures. Looks like a well make kit. Let us know how it flies. A video would be better. I'm sure you will do well. It's like riding a bicycle...
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Old Sep 04, 2015, 09:48 PM
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MK, my objective will be to not re-kit and if I can get it to circle a field once and land with parts scattered for 23 yards it will be victorious. I went outside this evening hoping to at least try to hand toss but the wind was at 25, so, maybe this weekend. It's just sitting in the car, waiting. I was impressed, overall, with the kit. It reasonably well done and well thought out. We will see how it actually flies (someday). thanks for the reply !!
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Old Sep 04, 2015, 10:26 PM
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And, after I bought my kit (naturally) the RTF version went on sale at HobbyPeople for $149. And I think there is also an additional $10 off coupon somewhere (?). I don't know anything about the Merit transmitter/receiver used in the RTF, nor what kind of servos are installed. But at $149 it seems worthwhile for those looking for this type/style of plane, particularly if you don't already have a radio. The xmitter, receiver, esc and servos end up costing $30 over the kit. But you don't have as much fun building....
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Old Sep 05, 2015, 03:27 PM
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Maiden flight today on the Phase3 Phoenix II. I suppose the key words to describe are "surprised" and "enjoyable".

I have been recently flying several Radians (REF) so a comparison would best be against that, noting that this is my first aileron plane (and flight(s)). Thoughts:

- wind was 15mph with some gusts moving towards 20. I would typically not fly my Radian in this wind.
- I loaded up a 2200mah battery, balancing about 80-82mm back of the LE. No tail weight required.
- This plane will penetrate. Two clicks down and your moving well into the wind. Neutral and you penetrate, just not as much. One or two up and you will not penetrate much but you do go up. Easy "dial what you want" scenario.
- Initial launch was at about 20 degrees, then 45, then moved to 60 degrees. No issues, nothing weird. Later launches confirmed it won't go vertical but I didn't want nor expect it to, so that's ok.
- First launch, up to about 250 feet, shut off motor, thermal'ed for about 13-14 minutes. That was not my initial plan but it's the way it worked out. When the plane hits a thermal it lets you know suddenly. On multiple times I just saw the dang thing going up at 20 degrees and checked (repeatedly) to see if the throttle was on. It wasn't. it just went up.
- The plane likes being flown faster than a Radian. No issue there, expected and desired.
- I launched 4 more times, each about a 15 minute flight.
- Landings were smooth and uneventful. As it gets in about 1 foot off the ground it likes to float. As it slowly touches the ground it tents to bounce up about 4 inches and float another 10 feet and so on. Love hard dirt fields. No damage to the underside from the dirt field.
- Aileron response was fine. Didn't use the rudder much but the rudder seemed to have sufficient throw.

Other items:
- canopy hold-down magnets not sufficiently glued (as received). Resolved.
- flight #4, wasp intruder. Buzzing around was irritating but then it landed on my hand and bit me. THAT pissed me off. Regardless, I think I smacked it and it went...somewhere.
- checked the battery after flying for 1 1/2 hours, 14% remaining (so it was time).

The plane is fun. It's not a hotliner. Or even a warmliner. It's sort of a lukewarmliner. That may be a bit unfair as I wasn't pressing it. Fine by me. I did do an unintended Immelman while doing loops. Did NOT pee in my pants (I think). Regardless, I did NOT re-kit the plane and was happy with my first aileron flights. The plane did everything I wanted and any flight limitations were based on my talent. All the parts held together. No tape on the wings, just the normal friction fit. If the wind is light the Radian will thermal better. Again, expected. But when the wind picks up this may well be my go-to. It's fun, easy, not overly esoteric, reasonably well mannered, doesn't mind wind and won't break the bank. Fun entertainment.

I am thoroughly happy with this plane.
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Old Sep 07, 2015, 08:02 AM
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Congratulations! Sounds like you did well and the plane gets a thumbs up.
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Old Sep 07, 2015, 10:42 AM
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MK, I'm not out there doing barrel rolls 3 feet off the ground or going vertical in an aileron roll for 300 feet straight up... but I'm having fun and that's the point. Yesterday afternoon I went out the to field and no one was there due to the wind. Ok, time to practice landings. All went fine. I just need to practice that this isn't an absolute slow speed floater like the Radian and likes a bit of speed, although... I did have it pointed into the wind, no power, trimmed, with zero forward movement as it just hung there...then powered up and went onward. It's not a super acrobat aircraft but for a moderately paced, civil acting plane I'm happy with it. I think the HobbyPeople might have sold a few at $149, RTF. I hope others enjoy it as well. Thanks for the reply, MK !
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Old Jan 10, 2016, 01:48 PM
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Having flown this plane many times over the past couple of months... and (key item) as a NEW aileron flying person.... I found this plane fun, likes a bit of speed but turned "uniquely". Unless there was a bit of speed it tended to tuck, spiral down on turns. Regardless, the plane has been fun. Very recently I read that such situations can occur if there is not "proper" coincident rudder application with the ailerons. For an experiment I programmed aileron/rudder mix into my DX6 (first time doing that), set it at 20% rudder because... well...just because. Went out to the local school yard and gave it a try. It's like a new plane. Turns a flatter and more predictable with far, far less tuck tendency... it's truly like a new and better plane.

Some times, if you don't have talent, you just need to diddle. And, yes, the "no mix, use your rudder manually" crowd is crinching their nose but the plane really flies now. Interesting.
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Old Jan 11, 2016, 08:34 PM
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High dollar moldie sailplanes mix ailerons with rudder all the time so I wouldn't worry about not using a manually controlled rudder. I mix aileron/rudder (50%) on my Pike Superior and often time I add rudder manually on top of that if I feel I need more rudder.
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Old Jan 11, 2016, 09:20 PM
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Thanks MK. I thought I was fast becoming a social and hobby pariah by going to the dark side...
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Old Jan 16, 2016, 11:15 PM
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Good review. i like idea of alierons. No need for a hot e-powered glider but enought to do the job.
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Old Jan 20, 2016, 01:44 PM
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I see Hobby prople raised prices on Quest RTF. Fine have no use foe cheap 4ch rig anyway. The Phoenix they did not change price. Pretty sure once sold out its gone. Still pretty good deal. I was tempted but have two e-powered 2 meter birds/ plus three go to 2 meter pure gliders.
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Old Jan 20, 2016, 11:27 PM
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I saw that too, about the Quest RTF going up in price. Oh well, I am like you with the controller, didn't really want that one, just the $149 was appealing.

This Phase 3 kit seems to me to be a killer deal and a great flying airplane. It has been out for a long time, and no bad reports on it. 2 meter is a nice size for sloping and thermal flying.
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Old Feb 03, 2016, 11:18 PM
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To bad the Quest was not maked down with all the servos minus RX/TX etc. Phoenix with motor is still a good deal. no building two meter plus bl motor. I dislike hokey decal sheet.
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