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Old Mar 31, 2011, 12:39 AM
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Art Tech Spitfire

I know it's not the flashiest plane, and it's not new, but I just got mine today and I figured I'd write about my experience so far with the plane.



Some background. I have been flying RC planes for a little over 30 years, although I was somewhat away from the hobby for about half of that time (never all the way away, but not as active as I have been for the past few years). Until 2006, the majority of my experience was with sailplanes and soarers. Although I learned on gas-powered planes, I didn't return to powered flight until my wife bought me a PZ Mustang (good ol' Frankie) in 2006. I was able to fly the plane successfully, but I felt I needed something slower to get me back into flying and into powered flight, so I bought the old yellow PZ Cub (not to be confused with the HZ Super Cub). I flew the heck out of that little Cub and with only a few rough landings, the plane is still in my hangar and will soon be flying again soon with a new ESC and 2.4 GHz Spektrum receiver. I then moved on to the Super Cub (the red and white brushed version) and then I got a Raidentech Predator. The Predator was the last plane I flew for a while due to a job change, breaking some ribs (while launching my Mustang!) and a move. Since returning to active flying, I bought and fly the PZ P-47D and the UMS Mustang.

Most of my planes have been PZ or HZ with the exception of the Raidentech. My experience with that plane was less than optimal; I lost the spinner and a wheel on it's maiden flight (even after tightening everything down). The nose gear on that plane was mess! I'm in the process of converting it to a brushless setup with a new receiver and should have it repainted and flying within a month or so. I was leery about stepping outside the PZ box, but I figured for the price at hobbyking.com, I might as well give the Art Tech Spitfire a chance.

Pilot Skill. I'm no expert, but at my skill level, the plane is easy to fly and actually a lot of fun. It's not as powerful as the PZ Jug, but it comes in second only to my PZ Jug of planes I like to fly now.

I would rate myself an advanced intermediate skilled pilot. I do basic acrobatics but not any of the advanced 3D stuff. Maybe some day, but I guess I'm just weird and I like to fly my simple acrobatics and do touch and go's.

The Spitfire. I ordered from the USA warehouse and received my Spitfire within a week. The box arrived with no damage, and the plane was intact except for a crack in the rudder that was quickly and effortlessly repaired with foam-safe CA. I took all the parts out and found they were very nicely detailed. The only issue was the lack of instructions, but if you've built a few planes, it's very simple to figure out how this one goes together.

The first order of business was to replace the Turnigy power connector with one that would mate with my PZ batteries, so I used clipped the Turnigy connector off and soldered the blue eFlite connector to the ESC. I then connected an OrangeRX 2.4 GHz Spektrum-compatible receiver and binded my DX6i with it. Wings are attached with nylon screws and go on pretty easily. Everything lined up fine (wing-fuselage mating) and the tail assembly was pretty firm, too. Assembling the rest of the plane was a snap, and it took about 45 minutes (including the soldering).

The clevises didn't come with any sort of rubber fuel tubing to keep them attached and secure, so I had to add my own (no big deal).

Test Flights. I had some 3-cell 1300 mah batteries charged, so I put one in the plane and took it out front for some taxi tests. I found the plane to taxi well and decided to go ahead and maiden it. I gently added power and the plane took off with authority; on full throttle, the plane climbed dramatically albeit not vertically. I found that the elevator needed a lot of down trim and some left aileron trim, so I set that on the radio and then flew around for about 6 minutes.

The three-blade prop makes a neat sound as it bores through the air, although it felt a bit less responsive than my PZ P-47D. The three bladed prop seems to be less effective than a two-bladed prop. I will try to put a two-bladed prop on and then test to see how it handles it. I heard that the PZ P-51D props work well on the Spitfire.

Rolls are quick and the plane looks great flying in the air. It needs more rudder in the turns than the PZ Jug, but it's a great plane for practicing coordinated turns. Climbing is a bit slower than the PZ Jug, but again, I attribute that to the three-bladed prop.

I decided to see how quickly the plane would sink at idle and the plane sunk as expected; this is not a plane you want to dead-stick. I then made a few slow powered passes at altitude to practice for my first landing in this plane. Coordinated turns were more important at slow speeds, and I found myself using more rudder than aileron.

I set up for my first approach but I felt the plane was still too fast so I went around. On the second approach, I went ahead and put her down and made a pretty decent landing although the roll-out was long and she ended up on her nose. No damage, just scuffed the prop a bit (it was already stopped thankfully).

I pulled out another 3-cell 1300 mah battery, this time a PZ branded battery. This one is lighter than my other 3-cell battery, and the weight difference wasn't apparent until it was time to land the Spitfire. The CG had obviously moved back with the lighter battery as I found the plane to be very floaty and more difficult to control as I came in to land. I had to make three approaches before I felt comfortable with the approach and I put her down.

All in all, after the two flights (for a combined 14 minutes of flying) I have made the following conclusions:

Things I like

1. The plane is fun and looks great in the sky!
2. At WOT, the plane can climb and do some great aerobatics.
3. At half throttle, the plane flies rather slowly and looks quite real in the sky.
4. Battery hatch is easy to open/close.
5. Plane is easy to get setup.

Some things I found that could use improvement are:

1. The prop. I know some people prefer the scale look, but performance suffers a bit much for it, I think.
2. Instructions. Not that I needed them, but they would be nice to have on-hand for things like finding the CG, proper mounting of radio gear, etc (I figured it out on my own).

Conclusion. I have watched more than a few videos on Youtube of people crashing these planes. Every time, the fuselage snapped. This plane is not for beginners or anyone who is not used to flying warplanes. It needs airspeed and power on approach, and can tip stall quickly and easily. There is no washout on the wings to compensate for the tip stalling tendencies so it's incumbent on the pilot to be aware of airspeed, especially when close to the ground. With that said, the plane is a blast, and flying it is a rewarding experience. If you love the Spitfire and want one to fly around that is very reasonable on the wallet, check out the Spitfire at hobbyking.com. (I understand Banana also sells these planes).

Photos.



A good looking plane with some amazing detail molded into the foam. This is not the large-cell EPO like the newer PZ planes. It looks great but seems to be a lot firmer and possibly less damage-resistant.



This is the nose area of the Spitfire with the nose cover removed. The brushless motor and motor mount are visible here as is the battery cage. Also visible is some missing paint from the top of the wing on the landing gear mounting hardware.



A view from the front with the battery cage open. The Orange RX receiver is visible from this angle as is the eFlite blue battery connector.



This is the engine cover. It's a light piece of plastic that has magnets taped to it. It holds onto the fuselage very well.



The bottom of the plane. The details are pretty nice although I am not sure if the manufacturer forgot to put reinforcement into the wing (there is a nice slot provided) or if the slot is there for the user to put reinforcement into.



The tape that attaches the ailerons seems to be coming off. I will be replacing this tape with better tape soon.



One more overall shot of the Spitfire. It really is a nice looking, good flying little plane!

Note: I have no affiliation with hobbyking.com, Banana Hobbies, Art Tech, or any other manufacturer or vendor. This review was written solely based upon my own personal experience with this plane and as a community service to RCG. I have found many of the official and unofficial reviews at RCG to be of great value and I thought I'd try to repay that with a review of my own on a plane I haven't seen much info on.
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 03:02 AM
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How deep is the wing and do you thing it would take electric retracts?
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 03:21 AM
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great review, well done
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 05:40 AM
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Spitfire

I have one of these and it is GREAT !! I enjoy it very much...and fly it a lot..I use the HobbyKing 4 channel 2.4 Ghz radio with it and find that after connecting up the plane....if I put the throttle trim up I get quite a bit more power !!

I don't use the wheels though.....

Nice product indeed.

Ray
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SHK V1 View Post
How deep is the wing and do you thing it would take electric retracts?
I have seen videos on Youtube of people who have put retracts in this plane. It's hard for me to measure exactly, but my estimate would be that the wing is a little thinner than the wing on the PZ Jug (so probably less than an inch). If I were to put retracts on this plane, I'd use as short of an axle as possible to keep the wheel well shallow. Looks doable, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warbird@home View Post
I have one of these and it is GREAT !! I enjoy it very much...and fly it a lot..I use the HobbyKing 4 channel 2.4 Ghz radio with it and find that after connecting up the plane....if I put the throttle trim up I get quite a bit more power !!
Thanks for the idea, Ray! I never thought of that!
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Old Mar 31, 2011, 11:22 AM
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OK; I flew a bunch of touch and go's this morning in 8 mph wind, and I call them tough and go's. Landing the Spitfire in 8 mph quartering crosswind after landing the PZ Jug with flaps is... well, tough. You need to keep speed up and especially in cross-wind, you need to be careful. I tried some correction with rudder on approach and nearly spun (too slow, perhaps). I was lucky to catch it, but it made for a sloppy landing.

I am finding that the bottom of the wing tips are getting scuffed from the crosswind landings causing the wingtips to drop when the plane touches down in a crab. Rudder authority is good and the tailwheel is good once it comes down, but with the landing gear closer to the fuselage than on the Jug, it tends to be a bit more tippy.

As for the reason behind the tough landings (aside from the plane not liking crosswind), I think the CG is still too far back. I will work with this some more; first by removing the pilot figure (he's actually quite heavy and behind the CG) and possibly add some weight to the nose. I don't want it to be too nose heavy, but something's got to give on the landings. The tail moves way too much and flares can tend to get scary.

I will report more as I experience it.
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Old Apr 01, 2011, 11:14 AM
Parkstormer!
Raleigh, NC
Joined Jan 2010
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Good review! I had one of these, briefly--on my first flight or second flight things were going well and I was bringing it in to land on a grass field, into the wind and leaving some power on, and hit an uneven patch of ground. The fuselage snapped just forward of the leading edge with the motor still running; the running motor hit the ground then chewed up much of the plane, finally killing both the motor and the ESC (I'd cut the throttle by then but the motor kept going). A repair didn't make sense, given the extent of the damage and the cost of the parts involved. That area of the fuselage is the weak point, based on my experience and the videos that you mention, and I'll reinforce it if I buy another. The plane did fly well--don't get me wrong--but I do think I'd recommend reinforcing that portion of the fuselage, given the long nose, relatively thin foam and heavy motor.
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Old Apr 02, 2011, 01:40 PM
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Well, I took the plane out for some more flying today after flying the PZ Jug. What a difference. Where the Jug is a fast, smooth, and even at stock a well-powered plane, the Spitfire feels heavier. It looks more scale flying in the air to a certain degree because you can't just apply full-throttle to do crazy things with it. With the Spitfire, you have to think ahead of the plane a lot more than you do with the Jug.

With that said, it was still fun flying the Spitfire around, but on landing, the left strut bent and snapped. I'm trying to figure out how to fix it. With just over a half hour of total flying time, I'm disappointed to see the gear snap. I know it can be flown without gear, but I prefer taking off and landing to belly landing in grass. I'm thinking of figuring out how to use the discarded fixed gear from my PZ Jug, but I may just spend the $20 for HK retracts and see how that goes.

I am thinking of upgrading to a two-bladed prop to see if performance can improve. The motor and ESC seem pretty good; I think the prop is hindering performance. It looks great on the ground, but I care more about performance in the air than how it looks on the ground. A plane is worthless if it doesn't perform in the air.
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Old Apr 07, 2011, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edge767 View Post
Well, I took the plane out for some more flying today after flying the PZ Jug. What a difference. Where the Jug is a fast, smooth, and even at stock a well-powered plane, the Spitfire feels heavier. It looks more scale flying in the air to a certain degree because you can't just apply full-throttle to do crazy things with it. With the Spitfire, you have to think ahead of the plane a lot more than you do with the Jug.

With that said, it was still fun flying the Spitfire around, but on landing, the left strut bent and snapped. I'm trying to figure out how to fix it. With just over a half hour of total flying time, I'm disappointed to see the gear snap. I know it can be flown without gear, but I prefer taking off and landing to belly landing in grass. I'm thinking of figuring out how to use the discarded fixed gear from my PZ Jug, but I may just spend the $20 for HK retracts and see how that goes.

I am thinking of upgrading to a two-bladed prop to see if performance can improve. The motor and ESC seem pretty good; I think the prop is hindering performance. It looks great on the ground, but I care more about performance in the air than how it looks on the ground. A plane is worthless if it doesn't perform in the air.
PMd you..re: landing gear

Ray
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Old Apr 07, 2011, 02:36 PM
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PMd you..re: landing gear

Ray
Thanks, Ray!!!

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Old Apr 10, 2011, 01:11 PM
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Fun, Fun Fun....

The weather just got better, so........................................
what can I tell you!!!! .................a great day....so I thought I d share it with you guys !

Great plane !!

Ray
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Old Apr 10, 2011, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Warbird@home View Post
The weather just got better, so........................................
what can I tell you!!!! .................a great day....so I thought I d share it with you guys !

Great plane !!

Ray
Great pictures, Ray! The Spitfire is a beautiful plane!

How are you finding the CG on this plane? Mine feels a bit floaty so I took the pilot out (he's surprisingly heavy!). I try to mount the battery as far forward as possible to help with the CG.
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Old Apr 10, 2011, 11:27 PM
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Great pictures, Ray! The Spitfire is a beautiful plane!

How are you finding the CG on this plane? Mine feels a bit floaty so I took the pilot out (he's surprisingly heavy!). I try to mount the battery as far forward as possible to help with the CG.
Hi Edge767 , Thankyou, it was a very windy day too.....but she handles the wind like a champ.......I also took the pilot out, nice touch , but HEAVY so replaced him with a lighter guy.!! and I *opened * the canopy, ....I use a 1350mAH 3-cell Rhino Lipo and haven't had any C of G issues...mind you, I do fly without wheels...so maybe that makes a bit of diifference....

Cheers for now

Ray
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Old Apr 29, 2011, 10:53 PM
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Sob....my Spitfire is toast...

Having my maiden flight abt 6 weeks ago, I guess I just
got lucky - -hand-launched, 'cause of too much snow on the
lake for a take-off. It seemed rather 'twitchy', and on the
second battery I again hand-launched, only this time the
torque-roll got me and it crashed. OK, glue it up, and wait for
a more solid surface......
3 weeks later......Ideal conditions, including zero wind. Took
off and had about 9 great flights....began to love this plane
because of its crisp response....and the WOT low-passes
were pretty impressive, at least to me. Then on flight 10
of that day....something happened....dunno what. Poor
thing did a corkscrew and crashed headlong into the ice....
too many pieces to put back together. Sure wish I had
another one, 'cause I was getting more impressed with
its performance every time I flew it....but it's my fault for
wanting to do 10-ft passes so I can HEAR that prop chopping
air. Oh, well....next model !
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Old Apr 30, 2011, 10:17 AM
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ArtTech HobbyKing Spitfire

Hi Guys

I'm flying this plain also.
She really flies very well and I modified so that I can use also 2200maH 3 cell lipo.
I put markers on wing for CG and this works great for me.
I removed Lipo holder and placed it bit forward and cut out a bit of frame and foam, glued it back in and now I can fly with standard 1300 or bigger 2200 lipo's.
Rest is stock and I removed pilot and landing gear and she is a beauty in the Sky.
Spitfire landing practice and sunset flying (2 min 10 sec)

Spitfire Maiden flight 19-02-2011 (3 min 21 sec)
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