Park Flyers R/C YAK 54XL Pro Grade 3D Review

The Park Flyers R/C YAK 54XL: study, colorful, affordable, and it may be an excellent choice for a pilot ready to try 3D flying.



Wingspan:36.6 in.
Length:35 in.
Flying Weight:19 oz.
Servos:3 mini included in RTF and ARF
Transmitter:2.4 GHZ included in RTF
Motor:3600 KV brushless included in RTF and ARF
ESC:25 AMP brushless
Battery:3x1300 ma. included in RTF
Available From:ParkFlyers R/C
Price:$209.99 RTF, $179.99 ARF

Have you been thinking about giving 3D flying a try? I'm an intermediately skilled Sunday flyer at best, but the idea of trying 3D hasn't been far from my mind for a long time. Of course, as a beginner I would need something rugged enough to take the inevitable beginner's bumps, big enough to see easily and not bounce around in a breeze and affordable. When I saw the Park Flyers R/C Yak 54-XL Pro Grade 3D in a magazine ad, I began to get serious. This very competent looking version of the Yak is quite handsome in a Red-White-Black color scheme, made of easily repairable foam and is priced at $209.99 ready to fly complete with a 2.4 GHZ radio (actually only $199.99 at the moment at Park Flyers R/C's web site). I thought it just might be what I was looking for, so knowing there is only one way to find out (other than reading eZone reviews, that is) I ordered one up and here is my report.

The RTF (ready to fly) version of the Yak reviewed here comes with a 2.4 gHz radio, a motor and all electronics installed, and a 3 cell 1300 ma. battery with charger. It is also available in an ARF (almost ready to fly) version lacking the radio, battery and charger for $179.99. Park Flyers' web page also lists a Stripped Kit (bare airframe) version although no price is listed.

In its colorful box art, ParkFlyersRC makes a number of impressive claims. They promise that "with a greater than 1:1 power ratio the Yak 54XL will hover at half throttle", that it is "designed to easily take off and land on grass as well as various rough surfaces" and that it contains "Super High Quality Components such as "Zero Flex" carbon fiber pushrods, [and] aluminum pushrod clevises." Sounds better and better, doesn't it? Needless to say, one is bound to open the box with high expectations, so let's get on with things and open that box!

Kit Contents

Before long I came home to find an impressive 39"x15"x6.5" box waiting at my front door. I lost no time opening it to see just what $209.99 had bought me. The Yak was double boxed. Inside the contents were carefully packed in two layers with all components bagged in plastic. The lower layer was a complexly compartmented tray with separate niches for the various components. The painstaking packing paid off, for everything arrived in perfect condition. All in all an impressive package.

This Yak 54XL is about as prebuilt as you can possibly get. The airframe parts - one piece wing, fuselage with cowl and canopy, stabilizer-elevator and vertical fin-rudder - are all pre painted and pre decorated foam with all the hardware - motor, ESC, receiver, servos - pre installed and all the control surfaces already hinged. The pieces all look sturdy and well made. A geared brushless motor is already in place, so you can assemble and fly the airplane without ever having to remove the cowl. The wheels are already mated to the landing gear. An extra propellor is included (thank you!) as are a screw driver, wrench, and two part epoxy with a nice little mixer. One look and you know you will be in the air soon.

Just to prove a point, I used the included tools and put the whole thing together (with an exception or two, to be noted) on the dining room table. Nothing needed from the workshop.

Needed to complete:

  • 8 AA batteries for the transmitter

The Ready to Fly version includes a basic 2.4 GHz transmitter, sufficient to fly the Yak, but lacking a low/high rate switch and exponential adjustment. Both the Ready to Fly and the Almost Ready to Fly versions include a Lipo battery charger with A/C adapter and a 3 cell 1300ma battery.


When you come right down to it, assembly is a no brainer. What you need to do is covered in five steps illustrated in 1 1/2 pages of the two page Quick Setup Guide. The remaining half page is split between instructions for binding the 2.4 GHz radio and Quick Tips for safety and success.

Step 1 Install Tail Section

The elevator and rudder slip into the fuselage and secure with the included epoxy. Next, the tail wheel is installed and fastened with a self tapping screw.

Step 2 Attaching Pushrods

Frankly, there are some problems here.

First of all, although aluminum clevises are advertised in the "features" listed on the box, when I opened the box, I found an insert advising me not to use the aluminum clevises "because they may cause some binding" and instead to use the plastic clevises attached to the insert. Well and good. I went ahead and tried to use the plastic clevises, but found that on the first two I tried to install, the cross pin (see illustration) snapped off. If you are going to use the plastic clevises, treat them very gently, and inspect them often.

My preference was to replace the pushrods with some made from thicker wire with a Z-bend at the servo end and Dubro Mini Connectors at the control horn end.

The instructions say to "insert the z-bend into outer most hole on servo arm then attach the other end to the control horn on the rudder and then the elevator..." but they do not tell you which hole on the control horn to use. For maximum 3D control movement, I used the holes closest to the fuselage.Test the installation to be sure that the pushrod does not bind against the fuselage at maximum deflection.

Follow the same procedure when attaching pushrods to the wing.

Step 3 Installing Wing and Canopy

Pegs on the leading edge of the wing slide into indentations on the firewall of the fuselage. A plastic screw retains the aft part of the wing. The canopy is retained by an accurately fitted wooden tongue and retainer at the back and by a very long screw at the front.

Step 4 Instaling Landing Gear

The pre assembled landing gear simply slips into a slot in the bottom of the fuselage. The landing gear wire has been bent up to retain the wheels. This works, but changing or replacing wheels could be difficult.

Step 5 Installing Prop and Aluminum Spinner

This all goes together easily with the supplied wrench and screwdriver.


At this point, the instructions say "You are now done!" but as seems often to be the case with Ready to Fly models, they do not indicate the location of the center of gravity. My flight testing shows that the Yak balances correctly when using the supplied 3 cell pack, although I am a little bit more comfortable with the addition of a couple of quarters, or equivalent, to the nose, especially during maiden flights



The Yak flies like a 3D plane should. It is sensitive and quite neutral, has adequate power, goes where you point it, and is well behaved. Because it is a "foamie" and easily repairable, a 3D novice can toss it into new and unfamiliar maneuvers with confidence that with a little surgery and some epoxy it can survive a beginner's mistakes.

If using the transmitter furnished with the RTF version of the Yak, be cautious on your first flights, and be prepared for an airplane that may demand concentration and lots of attention until it is trimmed out and familiar. I think most 3D pilots will agree that a transmitter with dual rates and exponential adjustments is highly desirable. Even if neither is required for full-on 3D flying, these features do make maiden flights and sport flying a considerably less knee shaking experience. All test flying for this review has been done with the RTF's radio, but with tests complete, I am installing a more versatile computerized transmitter and receiver

Taking Off and Landing

3D aircraft are for experienced pilots who are at least comfortable with aerobatic low wing aileron equipped aircraft. For such pilots neither take offs nor landings offer any special problems.

Takeoffs are just what you would expect from a conventionally geared airplane. With its large 2.5" wheels the Yak will, as claimed, take off from grass and rough surfaces. It can accelerate quickly and the rudder/tailwheel is sensitive on the ground, so right rudder must be applied delicately when needed. Especially on initial flights, refrain from yanking on full power during the takeoff roll and climbout. Use only a moderate amount of throttle while feeling out the model.

For landing The Yak keep a small amount of power on during descent. Because the landing gear wire is soft and springy, this airplane tends to bounce unless a landing is either very hard or quite perfect. The landing gear does its job of deflecting to minimize damage in hard landings, and although these may bend it backwards and cause it to spread out, it can be easily bent back to its original shape.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance


My guess is that the Park Flyers Yak 45 is intended for entry level 3D flyers, and I have reviewed it accordingly. In fact, for this review, the plane was flown by three different reviewers, all of whom are in the process of mastering 3D.

The First Pilot

Me, the real 3D beginner. Flying with control deflections suitable for 3D per the kit instructions I immediately felt the lack of high/low rates and exponential in the transmitter. I got the plane up, around the field, through pretty basic maneuvers, and down under control and without damage, but I didn't feel comfortable. On subsequent flights I became more used to the plane and began to practice some first-timer 3D skills. I do think I can learn a lot of 3D with the airplane and look forward to doing more after replacing the supplied radio with one that has the requisite dual rates, programmable control throws and exponential.

The Second Pilot

Next, the Yak went to Glen, the most skilled of the three test pilots. Glen is in his 4th year of R/C experience and has rapidly progressed to the point where many at our flying field turn to him for advice. He has mastered some of the 3D basics, including effortless knife edge flight and sustained hovers. Glen put the Yak through these and added lots of inverted maneuvers and lots of knife edge. He found this Yak adequate for entry 3D level flying, but not up to the degree of power and handling precision that he now demands of his own aircraft.

The Third Pilot

The third pilot was Mark, a thirteen year old with only about a year of R/C experience. Being one of those magical kids brought up on computer games and simulators, Mark rapidly progressed from trainers to fairly advanced aerobatic airplanes in an amazingly short time. Although I take a new plane up gradually and feel it out in level flight and simple turns, Mark felt no need for this. He was off the ground with a minimum run, climbed nearly vertically, and thrust immediately into a series of quick rolls. He was at home with the Yak, comfortable with the stock radio, and was all over the sky with it, achieving a bit of hovering along with the usually assortment of positive and negative loops along with many rolls from various starting points. Back on the ground he told me that he was pleased with the plane and had nothing but good to say about it.

Is This For a Beginner?

Absolute beginners, a definite NO. The minimum requirement is experience with low wing aerobatic models. For those who have flown at that level and are ready to attempt 3D flying, the Park Flyers Yak is an appropriate step up.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery



For a pilot ready to step up to 3D Flying the Park Flyers YAX awaits. It offers an attractive appearance, a very complete kit, robust foam construction and affordability.


Robust and good looking airplane Quick and easy assembly Affordable and repairable


Problems with clevises Would prefer wheel collars to retain wheels

Last edited by Angela H; Feb 21, 2011 at 10:25 AM..
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 10:47 AM
pathfinder is online now
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Where does the pro grade 3-d part come into play?All I saw were some rolls and a landing.
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by pathfinder View Post
Where does the pro grade 3-d part come into play?All I saw were some rolls and a landing.
i'm pretty sure thats the name of the plane.
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 09:47 PM
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The focus of the review (if you read the text) is the suitability of this Yak for a 3D novice. That is why the three pilots discussed are all 3D learners and why the video is a flight by a youngster moving into 3D.

However, this video ought to satisfy your desires:
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 10:57 PM
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Yes that was a first flight trying to get a feel for the plane, after a couple it would have been better, and being nervous about the recording.
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Old Feb 26, 2011, 06:29 AM
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J. Titors gr8 grandson...
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I didn't see ~ what kind of foam is it??
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Old Feb 26, 2011, 11:27 AM
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Yak 54 Foam E.P.O

Hi this plane can take some High -G-maneuvers the E P O foam is strong and so easy to repair if you check out there is a picture of it after hitting pole it;s in the about me page the owner that sight made manny Vids with it repaired it flys great but he needs a better video camera this review is a accurate out of the box.there is room for mod's
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Last edited by machine427; Feb 26, 2011 at 11:37 AM. Reason: left somthing out
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Old Jun 02, 2011, 09:51 AM
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Does anyone know where I can get a replacement gear drive unit for this plane?
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Old Jun 22, 2011, 10:08 PM
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gear drive yak pro

yes at you can det a gear drive
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