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HobbyZone Super Cub LP RTF on wheels and floats Review

HobbyZone introduces the beginner-friendly Super Cub LP with the added excitement of float-flying! Follow along as Andy Grose takes the new Super Cub LP from takeoff to splash-down.

Splash

Introduction

HobbyZone Super Cub LP RTF

Wingspan:47.7 in
Weight:23.3 oz (w/ battery)
Length:32.5 in
Servos:2 PKZ1070 mini-size
Radio:27MHz 3-channel proportional
Battery:3S 11.1V 1300mA Lipo
Motor:480 brushed, gear-drive
Propeller:9x6
Manufacturer:HobbyZone
Available From:Horizon Hobby
Super Cub LP RTF Price:
$179.99
Floats Price:$24.99

Based on the wild popularity of the original Super Cub RTF, HobbyZone has released a new, updated version of the Super Cub that includes a powerful Lipo battery pack. Countless RC pilots have cut their teeth with these gentle-flying, great-looking airplanes. Now you too can teach yourself to fly with the new Super Cub LP.

But the fun doesn't stop there. HobbyZone has also released a float set for the Super Cub airframes. Now experienced pilots can venture into the world of float-flying. The floats add a whole new dimension to your flying, and they really up the "cool factor" of the Super Cub LP. Even veteran pilots will enjoy shooting splash-n-go's at the local lake.

Background

What's a Super Cub?

I'm sure nearly everybody who's interested in airplanes has heard of a Cub. Most people will think about that classic yellow J-3 Cub. But in the late 1940s, Piper Aircraft introduced the PA-18 Super Cub which, as the name might suggest, was a greatly improved version of the Cub. The addition of flaps, an electrical system and a bigger engine offered pilots better performance than the original Cub. The Super Cub's ability to take off and land in very short distances combined with its ability to haul a lot of gear made it very popular for back-country flying. Bush pilots rejoice! Stop by any airport or seaplane base in Alaska and you are sure to see that Super Cubs are very well-represented. Here are a couple of nice pictures I obtained from SuperCub.org, a popular discussion forum for Cub pilots.

Kit Contents

The Super Cub LP RTF comes complete with everything you need in the box.

  • Fuselage with all electronics installed
  • Wing
  • Tail surfaces
  • Landing gear, screws, rubber bands, and even a screwdriver.
  • Transmitter
  • 11.1v 1300mA Lipo battery
  • DC balancing charger (with AC adapter)
  • Eight AA batteries (for transmitter)
  • Instruction manual and DVD

When you take a look at the Super Cub LP, you will notice that it is made of foam; Z-Foam to be exact. Z-Foam is an extremely durable type of foam that provides beginner pilots many advantages. It is easy to repair, you can use just about any type of glue (foam-safe CA not required) on it to repair minor cracks and such and the strength and stiffness of the Z-foam also means that it is lightweight and solid without having to be reinforced with carbon fiber or other materials.

In the unfortunate case that you do break a part beyond repair, a full line of replacement parts are available. From spare props to full airframes, you can replace just the part you need. A quick visit to your local hobby shop or HobbyZone will get you back in the air.

Optional accessories for the Super Cub LP include extra battery packs, X-port accessories like the Aerial Drop Module, and the Float Set.

Assembly

There are only a few steps of assembly required before the Super Cub LP is ready to fly.

The first thing you should do is plug in your charger and get the Lipo pack charging. By the time you have the plane finished and have read the instruction manual and watched the DVD, the battery will be done.

Fuselage

The main landing gear attaches to the fuselage easily. Just squeeze the wheels together, and insert the wire into the slot. Use the supplied screws to secure the scale wheel fairings to the bottom of the fuselage.

Wing

The one-piece wing attaches to the fuselage using four of the supplied rubber bands. The manual says to use two straight and two diagonally. Be sure the wing is centered, and then attach the strut ends onto the bottom of the fuselage using the supplied screws. It is OK if there is a little slack in the struts.

Tail

The tail surfaces are ready to be joined together. Just slide the pins on the vertical stabilizer down thru the holes in the horizontal stabilizer until the fin sits flush with the stab. Now insert the pins into the holes in the fuselage, and use two of the supplied screws to hold things tight.

You also need to connect the rudder and elevator pushrods to the control horns. The manual recommends using the outermost hole on the horn. This will give you the least amount of control throws, and that is exactly what a beginner needs. The last thing you need to do is to snap the tailwheel support wire into the bracket. Be sure the little plastic bushing rests inside the bracket.

Floats

The Super Cub Floats are already built and ready to assemble. All you have to do is attach the landing gear and spreader wires to the float brackets using the supplied screws. There are flat spots on the wires for the screws to tighten against.

The Float Set comes with a 10x8 propeller, which will provide a little more power to compensate for the extra weight of the floats. The manual cautions you to let the motor rest between flights.

If you already own one of the original Super Cubs, you're in luck! HobbyZone has included a rear mounting bracket for you. The manual gives a detailed description of how to install the bracket into your Super Cub.

One thing you may notice when you assemble the floats is that they might not be perfectly aligned. It took a little bit of twisting and adjusting of the screws on my set to get them aligned better.

The completed float set weighs 6.7 ounces. The empty weight of the Super Cub with the main landing gear is 19.6 ounces. Taking off the 0.7 ounce landing gear and adding the 6.7 ounce float set brings the Super Cub to an empty weight of 25.6 ounces. Adding 6 ounces to the Super Cub will cause it to handle a little differently in the air. All of that weight that low will cause a pendulum effect, so be prepared. Don't worry about the power, though. With the 10x8 prop, the Super Cub has plenty of get-up-and-go!

Completion

The Lipo battery pack is a tight fit in the battery compartment. I found the best orientation is to insert the battery with the wires towards the front of the plane and push the back end down into the compartment. Be sure to get the battery lead and velcro straps out of the way beforehand. The battery sits at an angle in the compartment. Close the hatch door and secure with the rotating latch.


NOTE:

HobbyZone has released a service bulletin on their website addressing the issue of customers plugging the battery pack's balance lead into the X-port jack. This should not happen. Just because the plug might fit, doesn't mean you should plug it in there.

Click here to read the service bulletin.


Now that the plane is assembled and your battery is charged, you're ready to go flying.

Flying

Basics

The Super Cub LP has considerably more power than the original Super Cub thanks to the 3-cell Lipo battery. All you will need is about half-throttle or so and you can cruise around the sky at a relaxing pace. Push the throttle up and you can climb nearly vertical for a good while. Depending on your flying style, and how much throttle you use, you can expect a good 10-15 minutes of flying time out of the included 1300mA Lipo battery pack. I've had a few lazy flights that went past 20 minutes. Either way, if you're flying when the motor cuts out, that's the Low-Voltage-Cutoff (LVC) kicking in. That means it is time to land right away. You do have the ability to re-arm the motor by zero-ing the throttle for a second or two and then easing the throttle back up. This little trick may come in handy in getting you back to a safe landing.

Handlaunches with the Super Cub LP are relatively simple. In fact, most of the handlaunches I did were completely hands-off the transmitter. As I released the plane (at about 75% throttle), it would gently climb straight ahead on its own without any input from me. After several seconds, I would then give a little rudder input to start a turn.

The most noticeable thing about the way the Super Cub LP flies is its stability. It wants to fly straight and level. If you roll into a turn and then let go of the stick, within a second or two the Cub will roll out of the turn on its own. It is so noticeable that it looks like deliberate pilot input. The generous dihedral and the high-lift airfoil of the Cub's wing make this airplane a joy to fly.

Land Operations

Takeoffs from short grass are easily done. Apply full throttle while holding some up-elevator, and the Cub will leap off the ground in about 10 feet or so. Takeoffs from pavement happen even quicker. Only slight rudder correction is necessary on takeoff. If you have plenty of room, you can do some nice, scale takeoffs at half-throttle.

Landings seem to be what most beginner pilots fear the most. Those fears will quickly vanish with the Super Cub LP. After setting up a good approach, adjust the throttle to just below halfway and line up with your runway. As the Cub descends, start feeding in a little up-elevator. You want to slow the plane down so that it is in a three-point attitude just a few inches off the ground. It will take some practice, but landings should become something you strive to do well.

Landings on the grass must be done with full up-elevator and a little power. If the grass is too long, the Cub will most likely end up on its nose or back. Sometimes you'll be able to keep it on the wheels, but you'll have to practice.

Landings on pavement seemed to pose more of problem for me at first. As you will see in the video, most of my landings were very bouncy. There was a bit of a gusty breeze, so that probably didn't help. It was difficult to get the Super Cub into a nice three-point attitude from a gliding approach. I found that adding a little throttle helped to get the nose up and made the landings look better. After you find that sweet spot on the throttle, you should be able to grease the landings like a pro. The steerable tailwheel really helps out on the pavement, too.

Float Operations

So you're ready to get your Super Cub wet? First of all, let me set the record straight: the Super Cub Float Set is rated by HobbyZone as Zone 3 (Z3). That means you should be an experienced pilot to attempt float-flying. You must be able to make nice, gentle landings and have full control of the airplane all the way through the touchdown. If you are still cartwheeling your landings, you're not ready to put the floats on yet. Keep practicing until you've got your landings down pat.

If you're confident in your landings, then it is time to slap on the floats and the 10x8 prop and head down to your nearest watering hole. Be sure to pick a site that is wide-open to give yourself room for some nice, controlled approaches. Also, I'd recommend a near-calm day for your first float flights. A little breeze is fine, but it can make handling a little difficult on the water.

Operating the Super Cub on floats was surprisingly easier than I imagined. The floats are plenty buoyant enough, and the airplane sits up high out of the water. The floats are set wide enough apart to give good stability.

Takeoffs are best at full-throttle. Align the plane so the nose is pointed into the wind. As you advance the throttle, feed in some up-elevator. You want the plane to get up "on step". Basically you want the front part of the floats out of the water to reduce the drag so the plane can accelerate. Depending on how much of a breeze you have, you can lift off within 15 feet or so.

Landings are just plain fun on floats! There's really not much more to say about them, but I will give some pointers. Set up a nice stable landing approach at just under half-throttle. You want to be headed directly into the wind. As the plane descends toward the water, gently ease in a little more up-elevator to bring the nose up. You may need to add a touch of throttle to slow the descent. You want to touch down with the tail of the floats making first contact with the water. This will give you the best chance of not digging the nose of the floats into the water. That would result in the plane quickly flipping over onto its back.

One thing to be watch out for on landings is that if you are little fast and your approach is a little too flat, you may end up skipping off the water. It is just like bouncing a landing on pavement, but you run the risk of getting sideways if there is any wind. Here's what a skipped landing looks like.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

The Super Cub LP is only a 3-channel airplane, so aerobatics are going to be quite limited. Keep in mind that this airplane was designed to teach beginners how to fly, not how to perform rolling circles and knife-edge spins. Loops and stall-turns are easy enough thanks to the extra power of the Lipo battery pack. Inverted flight takes some work, but it is possible. I tried and tried to make the Super Cub LP spin, but it would just stall and then do a lazy descending spiral.

The instruction manual recommends connecting the pushrods to the control horns in the outer-most holes to provide beginner pilots with the least amount of control throw. After several flights, I decided to experiment with the control throws by moving both pushrods down to the inner-most holes. I quickly realized that while I was able to make tighter loops and turns, the increased control throws made the airplane much more twitchy and hard to handle. I am now flying with both pushrods on the next hole in from the outside. This provides a little more control authority without making the plane too twitchy.

Anti-Crash Technology

The Super Cub LP is equipped with Anti-Crash Technology, or ACT. By using a couple of optical sensors mounted on the top and bottom of the airplane, ACT is able to tell if you have the plane in an "unusual" attitude. The ACT software kicks in and overrides the pilot's control inputs by reducing the throttle and giving up-elevator. You have the option of turning ACT on or off by way of the toggle switch on the transmitter.

So how does it work?

To test how well the ACT worked, I took the Super Cub LP up a couple hundred feet just to be safe. I wasn't quite sure what would be the best way to get the ACT to kick in, so I just decided to pull back and bang the stick around, hoping to get the plane inverted or in a dive. The first couple of attempts just ended in the plane sort of rolling out and leveling the wings on its own. I wasn't convinced that the ACT took over due to the plane's natural stability. I moved on to an intentional, full down-elevator dive. Again, from a couple hundred feet up, I nosed the plane over and headed for the ground. Before the plane even got to a vertical downline, the ACT kicked in and started pulling up-elevator. I held the stick full forward the whole time. The ACT kept overriding and saving the plane. As you will see in the video, the plane would pitch up and recover from the dive, but as the ACT handed control back over to the pilot, the plane would pitch down again. Since I was holding the stick forward the whole time, this resulted in a roller-coaster ride thanks to the ACT.

I don't know that I'd go so far as to say you will never crash the Super Cub LP because it is equipped with ACT. The ACT will most definitely help a new pilot get himself out of a sticky situation if he has enough altitude and reacts accordingly after the ACT has saved him.

The combination of the Super Cub's inherent stability and the innovative ACT is what will keep the plane flying in the hands of a beginner. After reading the manual, watching the DVD and having a basic understanding of what the flight controls do, I believe that a beginner should be able to teach himself how to fly with the Super Cub LP.

X-Port Fun!

The Super Cub LP is equipped with HobbyZone's X-Port, which means all kinds of fun is just a button-press away. If dropping parachutes and bombs, HobbyZone has you covered. The Aerial Drop Module (optional accessory, available separately) comes with a parachute man and a couple of streamer bombs. The drop module clips right onto the bottom of the Super Cub and is activated by the button on the transmitter.

The fun begins when you load up the parachute man, round up some kids and take to the skies! Keeping the wind in mind, climb to a safe altitude. Press the button and yell "jumper's away!" The laughter and squealing are sure begin.

Here's the tricky part, lest you forget...FLY THE AIRPLANE!

While it may be tempting to watch the parachute man and the ensuing mayhem on the ground, don't forget you've got an airplane up there. It is easy to get wrapped up in the excitement below, but concentrate on safely flying the airplane. You'll probably want to make a quick return to land and reload.

Precision bombing competitions with your friends are fun with the included streamer bombs. You could also manage a candy drop for kids. Just remember that safety comes first.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

A WORD OF THANKS

I owe a big thanks to my brother, Gary, for most of the spectacular in-flight pictures and video. My other brother, Brian, also gets photo credit for a few of the early in-flight shots. Thanks to both of you for helping to make this review look so good.

I'd also like to thank Horizon Hobby for providing the RTF kit for this review.

Thank you all so much!

Is This For a Beginner?

Is the Super Cub LP for a beginner? YES! HobbyZone has the Super Cub LP categorized as a Zone 1 (Z1) aircraft. This means it was specifically designed for someone with no previous flight experience. By reading the manual and watching the instructional DVD, a rookie pilot has a pretty good chance of teaching himself to fly. HobbyZone's Anti-Crash Technology will also ensure success by helping new pilots avoid the dreaded nose-dive.

Is the Super Cub LP with Floats for a beginner? NO! Although the Super Cub LP is a Zone 1 aircraft, the floats are rated as Zone 3, meaning previous RC flying experience is REQUIRED. As stated before, you must be able to take off and land without incident before trying out the floats.

Is the Super Cub LP for expert pilots? YES! Most pilots that I know, no matter what the skill level, enjoy flying a relaxing plane around every once in a while. The Super Cub LP is the perfect answer for that mission. It is a simple aircraft that can provide many worry-free flights. The Super Cub on floats would also make a great float-trainer for experienced pilots to "get their feet wet" before moving on to bigger float-planes.

Conclusion

The Super Cub LP RTF from HobbyZone is a fantastic airplane for someone who wants to learn how to fly RC airplanes. Whether they choose to teach themselves or enlist the help of an experienced pilot, the beginner pilot is sure to have many enjoyable flights with the Super Cub LP. With the excitement of the floats, more experienced pilots can explore the fun that is to be had splashing around the pond.

Pluses:

  • Everything is included in the box
  • Super stable and gentle flight characteristics
  • Extra power from Lipo battery pack
  • Durable Z-foam construction makes repairs a snap
  • Added excitement with the optional Float Set

Minuses:

  • Main landing gear wheels could be a bit larger to help out on the grass.
Last edited by Angela H; Jul 11, 2009 at 08:08 AM..

Discussion

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Old Jul 13, 2009, 11:13 PM
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Kmart's Avatar
United States, CO, Boulder
Joined Sep 2008
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GREAT REVIEW!! Super thorough, and your pictures are amazing!
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 11:33 PM
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Athens, Texas, United States
Joined Jul 2004
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Excellent review and I really enjoyed the pictures and videos!
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 11:42 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
United States, TX, Kingsland
Joined Sep 2005
5,136 Posts
Nice review Andy. I love the video of the Cub on Floats. I'd never put the landing gear back on one that flew that well off water.
Mike McD
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 11:42 PM
Honey, I got more planes!
ghee-grose's Avatar
USA, AL, Athens
Joined Jun 2003
4,274 Posts
Lookin good bro! Love the review!!!
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 12:28 AM
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Xpress..'s Avatar
United States, CA, Alpine
Joined Oct 2007
20,956 Posts
Nice review! Great flying!

You should mention though that ACT should be turned on when at height. Since it works off of light, it can get confused when flying out, and possibly crash the plane
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 01:08 AM
When's the next fly-in?
dee-grose's Avatar
Tanner, Alabama
Joined Oct 2003
6,445 Posts
Thanks for the comments guys! This was a fun review for sure.

Mike, you're right, the floats are sweet. I've swapped back and forth a few times now, and I still prefer the floats.

And about the ACT, that is a good point. However, the instructions tell you that the ACT is there to save you in extreme situations. In normal flight attitudes the ACT should never engage. I did 99% of my flying for the review with the ACT switch OFF. Actually, the ACT switch was inadvertantly ON for the flight that made the first part of the "wheels" video. I didn't realize the switch was flipped until I was trying to do some stall turns and it wasn't doing what I was telling it. So that being said, I would say you can safely fly the Cub with the ACT on at all times.

Andy
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 01:22 AM
↓↘→ + (punch)
theKM's Avatar
central PA.
Joined Sep 2004
20,201 Posts
very pretty, nice work dude.
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 01:29 AM
When's the next fly-in?
dee-grose's Avatar
Tanner, Alabama
Joined Oct 2003
6,445 Posts
Glad you liked it Arron.

Also, I do need to thank my neighbors, the Haney family. The float-flying was done at their pond. It was a perfect setting for some very scenic flying. I've been back a couple of times since then and have enjoyed every minute of it. Thanks again...and I'll be back!

Andy
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 09:35 AM
War Eagle!
Spackles94's Avatar
Birmingham, Alabama
Joined Feb 2007
7,876 Posts
That's some purdy photography over there! Thanks for that comprehensive review nicely done!

The Super Cub (back in its NiMH days) was my first plane, and it got its fair share of abuse yet kept on flying great. It's an awesome plane all right.

I ditched the ACT in short order, though. I was no big fan of it, that's for sure. How did it do when float-flying, though? I would think it would go bonkers if it sees a blue sky and a "blue" ground...

And yes, I agree with Mike keep those floats in there! You've got plenty of wheeled planes already.

Again, nice work!
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 10:16 AM
When's the next fly-in?
dee-grose's Avatar
Tanner, Alabama
Joined Oct 2003
6,445 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spackles94
That's some purdy photography over there! Thanks for that comprehensive review nicely done!

The Super Cub (back in its NiMH days) was my first plane, and it got its fair share of abuse yet kept on flying great. It's an awesome plane all right.

I ditched the ACT in short order, though. I was no big fan of it, that's for sure. How did it do when float-flying, though? I would think it would go bonkers if it sees a blue sky and a "blue" ground...

And yes, I agree with Mike keep those floats in there! You've got plenty of wheeled planes already.

Again, nice work!
Thanks, Napo. The Cub sure did like posing for the camera, didn't it?

I didn't try the ACT with the floats on. I'm not really sure I would want to try that either!

Andy
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 10:34 AM
War Eagle!
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Birmingham, Alabama
Joined Feb 2007
7,876 Posts
I don't blame ya. It would likely be interesting to say the least!
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 01:22 PM
12 year old flyer :p
Zett-Vampyre's Avatar
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Joined Aug 2008
370 Posts
Really cool review! I loved your pictures, especially the ones about the SC on floats. That sure looks like a fun place to fly.
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 01:26 PM
When's the next fly-in?
dee-grose's Avatar
Tanner, Alabama
Joined Oct 2003
6,445 Posts
Zett, thanks for the compliments. Of all the inflight pics, I can only take credit for a handful of them. My brothers took the rest of them with Gary taking the floats shots. He got some good ones for sure!

You guys are lucky I was able to narrow it down to just that many. We took 900+ pics that first time out with the floats!

Andy
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Old Jul 14, 2009, 01:47 PM
Planes, Guitars and Cigars
Steve_A_Reno's Avatar
Joined May 2002
3,171 Posts
Great review. Photography was outstanding. A real artist behind the lens.
Thanks
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