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ParkZone Ultra-Micro P-51D Bind-N-Fly Review

Join the pilots of the 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron in the skies over WWII China with the new ParkZone Ultra-Micro P-51!

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Introduction

<b>ParkZone Ultra-Micro P-51 BNF</b>
ParkZone Ultra-Micro P-51 BNF
Wingspan:15.8 in (401mm)
Wing Area:50.6 sq. in. (326 sq. cm) approximate
Weight: 1.22 oz (34.6 g)
Wing Loading:0.024 oz/sq. in. (0.1 g/sq. cm.) approximate
Length: 14.3 in (363mm)
Servos: Spektrum 1.5-gram SPMAS2000 (installed)
Receiver: Spektrum AR6400 receiver (installed)
Transmitter: Spektrum DX6i 2.4 GHz DSM2 (not included)
ESC:Integrated in Spektrum AR6400 receiver
Motor: 8.5mm geared brushed motor (installed)
Propeller:130mm x 70mm (~ 5 x 2.75 in)
Battery: 3.7V 120mAh Li-Po (included)
Charger:DC single-cell Li-Po (included)
Typical Flight Duration:7 min.
Manufacturer:ParkZone
Available From:ParkZone Retailers
Price:$99.99

Hot on the heels of the recently released ParkZone Ultra-Micro Sukhoi, the New ParkZone Ultra-Micro P-51 announcement on August 20, 2009 was quite a surprise. No one was expecting another Ultra-Micro so soon, let alone a warbird. Finally, those that had been hoping for an indoor micro warbird would get their wish.

The latest installment in the ParkZone line of Ultra-Micro aircraft, the Ultra-Micro P-51, is the most impressive looking to date and incorporates Spektrum 2.4 GHz DSM2 spread spectrum technology and airframe design elements proven successful on previous models in the series. The Bind-N-Fly (BNF) version (reviewed) contains everything needed to fly the plane except a Spektrum 2.4 GHz DSM2 compatible transmitter. A Ready To Fly (RTF) version is also available and includes a ParkZone 4-channel 2.4 GHz DSM2 transmitter.







History

Considered the finest single seat fighter of World War II by those who flew her, the North American Aviation P-51 entered service in April of 1942 for the British Royal Air Force. The design saw extensive action in the European and Pacific theaters as the premier bomber escort/fighter. P-51Ds were used for close support of ground forces in the Korean War before being withdrawn from combat duty in 1953. The P-51 remained in service for some air forces until the 1980s.

The P-51 also had a significant, but somewhat unknown, role in the Burma-China Theater of WWII. The 14th Air Force, 23rd Fighter Group replaced the well-know American Volunteer Group (AVG) or Flying Tigers following the United States’ official entry into the conflict. The markings used on the ParkZone Ultra-Micro P-51 are those of the 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron under the 23rd Fighter Group during 1944 and 1945. The lightning bolt graphic was originally conceived as a blue lightning bolt, but the scarcity of blue paint in the field forced the use of significantly easier to obtain black paint. The distinctive lightning bolt artwork earned the squadron the nickname “Black Lightning”. The ParkZone P-51D model’s overall natural metal color and markings indicate the scheme used on the model is based on the later P-51Ds allocated to the 118th in 1945. Research revealed numerous photos of these P-51Ds, but none using exactly the same markings as the model. The variations in the aircraft markings in the photos reflect the hastily painted squadron markings and nose art done in the field.

Box Contents

The box includes everything needed except a Spektrum 2.4 GHz DSM2 compatible transmitter. The airframe comes completely assembled. Well engineered packaging ensures the contents remain damage-free in shipping. The ParkZone transmitter included in the RTF version stores in the same container.

Included:

  • Completely assembled P-51D BNF airframe.
  • 120 mAh 1S 3.7V lithium polymer flight battery.
  • Li-Po Battery Charger.
  • 4 AA dry cell batteries for the Li-Po charger.
  • Additional battery hook and loop material.
  • Instruction manual.

Requires:

I used the Spektrum DX6i transmitter for flying the P-51.

 Spektrum DX6i Specs
Spektrum DX6i Specs
6 Channels
DSM2™ DuaLink® Technology
ModelMatch™
10-model memory
Servo reverse
Programmable dual rates
Exponential throw
Travel adjust
Sub trim
Digital trims with dual speed trim scroll
1500mAh Ni-MH AA battery

Assembly

Assembly consists of unpacking the contents from the box, installing the included AA batteries in the Li-Po charger, binding the P-51’s AR6400 receiver to a suitable 2.4 GHz DSM2 compatible transmitter and completing the preflight checklist in the product instruction manual.

Notable Features

Especially unique for a plane this size, the ParkZone Ultra-Micro P-51 features a 6 channel AR6400 receiver and fully proportional 4 channel control. Servos control the rudder, elevator, and ailerons. An integrated electronic speed control handles the throttle. The motor output can be reprogrammed to drive an external electronic speed control (not included). The ParkZone Ultra-Micro P-51 features a full undercarriage with steerable tail wheel for ROG take off, landing, and touch and go’s on hard smooth surfaces like asphalt, concrete and gym floors. The main landing gear is easily removable for that gear retracted look in flight and belly landings on softer surfaces like grass.

Completion

I set up my Spektrum DX6i transmitter to obtain the high and low rate control throws specified in the product manual. I marked and checked the specified center of gravity at 35 mm aft of the wing leading edge at the fuselage. The CG is dead-on with the battery fully rearward in the tray and the landing gear attached. The CG shifts slightly rearward with the landing gear removed. The battery can be moved forward to shift the CG back to the specified location.

I’ve only two issues with the plane’s overall appearance. The first issue being a tail wheel location that is well rearward of the scale location. This is a completely understandable and acceptable compromise. A steerable tail wheel in the scale location would have been relatively costly and heavy to implement on a model this small. The second is a spinner that is slightly too small to form a smooth transition to the fuselage. Adding as little as 1mm to the spinner diameter would make things more aesthetically pleasing. Both of these are rather personal and “nitpicky”.

Flying

I had the P-51 for a full 8 days before I had the chance to fly her. The waiting seemed endless. Finally, a suitable after work evening arrived, so I grabbed a handful of batteries and headed to one of the local parks. Initial flights took place over mowed grass with the main landing gear removed and the dual rate switches in the low position. After flying a couple of batteries I noticed that I had been flying the P-51 with the programming used for the Ultra-Micro Sukhoi Su-26m. Oops! I wondered why I had to rebind the P-51 to the transmitter at the park. ParkZone’s recommended settings for the Sukhoi also work great for the P-51. Switching between the two settings, I found I preferred the Sukhoi settings for flying the P-51.

Basics

The plane is relativity sedate at reduced throttle and capable of basic maneuvers on low control rate settings when throttle is applied. With the dual rate switches in the high position and additional throttle, the P-51 really gets moving and is quite maneuverable. Power is more than adequate for the plane’s intended flight envelope. Control remains positive through the entire speed range. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the plane does not climb like mad at higher speeds. It does climb with throttle, but not so much that the pilot has to fight it to fly at high speed. The P-51 shines in low or no wind conditions, even gentle breezes have a significant impact on the pilot’s workload and ability to keep the plane on the desired heading. Most noticeable is a tendency to pitch up dramatically when turning into even a gentle headwind.

Perhaps more impressive is what the P-51 does not do. I’ve flown it into some fairly awkward positions, and the plane has responded by doing what was asked of it during recovery. It has never entered a spin or snap roll without being asked. Stalls are uneventful, and the wings provide plenty of warning by rocking gently as the plane approaches a full stall. When stalled, there is no tendency to spin or snap roll even when stalled in a turn. Many light weight micro planes experience serious aerodynamic and/or structural issues when flown at high speeds. “Tucking” into an uncontrolled (and usually unrecoverable) dive and flutter of the wings and control surfaces are two that sometimes spoil the fun. The ParkZone P-51 has problems with neither one. It is capable of building quite a head of steam in the downward leg of vertical maneuvers without complaint. Sharp and abrupt pullouts don’t phase it in the least, and the airframe shows no sign of strain.

Taking Off and Landing

With the main landing gear removed, an overhand or underhand toss at anything over half throttle gets the job done. Ground handling with the main landing gear attached is smooth and positive. Transition from the tail wheel doing the steering to the rudder is seamless. Response to rudder input is such that heading corrections are straightforward with no tendency for over control, ground looping or S-shaped takeoffs. I can confidently describe the overall ground handling as outstanding. Takeoff runs can be as short as a few feet or long and scalelike.

The under cambered wing really shines when it is time to land as the plane just keeps slowing down as the power is reduced and the elevator applied. Landings are uncharacteristically slow and gentle for a warbird. The P-51 is easily “floated in” for belly landings. Belly landings on clean smooth surfaces like gym floors or soft surfaces like mowed grass are not a problem. The landing gear and mounting fixtures are sufficiently robust to tolerate the occasional rough touchdown or “smash-n-go” without issue.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

The ParkZone Ultra-Micro P-51 is fully capable of the same maneuvers as its full scale counterpart. Tracking through inside loops is solid and loops from level flight are big and round. Rolls are barrel like on low control rate unless elevator and rudder are used to fly through them. Rolls on high control rate are quick and axial enough that a slight nose high attitude on entry will get the plane through one with no additional effort from the pilot. Immelman turns, split-S, stall turns, etc. are all exactly what one would expect from a low wing warbird. The P-51’s ability to build and tolerate speed encourages the flyer to extend the downward leg of vertical maneuvers. Sustained inverted flight requires down elevator and attention to the ailerons. I attribute this to the under cambered airfoil (down elevator) and dihedral (ailerons). Outside loops are somewhat difficult for the same reasons. A low, high speed pass with a victory roll pull out is easily my favorite maneuver when flying the P-51.

The slow flight characteristics make flying the P-51 in a gym not only possible, but pleasurable. The under cambered airfoil generates sufficient lift at low speed to allow the pilot to putt around the gym at 1/4-1/3 throttle when desired.

Is This For a Beginner?

No, the ParkZone Ultra-Micro P-51 is not for a beginner. The plane handles well in the air and has outstanding slow flight performance, but also goes where pointed and is capable of flying quite fast. Anyone with aileron experience and the good sense to learn the aircraft before attempting to wring it out should have no trouble flying it.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery







Downloads

Conclusion

The ParkZone Ultra-Micro series has continually raised the performance bar and lowered the price point for ALL micro models. The Cessna 210, Citabria, Ember, Vapor, Ember II, Sukhoi Su-26m, and now the P-51 have all built on strengths of previous models in the series and brought something new to the table. Until now, realistic looking micro WWII warbirds remained beyond the reach of the great majority of indoor modelers. A few talented builders managed to pull it off, but none with the spectacular flying ability, structural integrity and scale appearance of ParkZone’s latest offering. Outstanding flight performance throughout its entire speed range makes the ParkZone Ultra-Micro P-51 the most versatile of the ParkZone Ultra-Micro series aircraft to date. Scalelike warbird appearance sets it apart aesthetically. The days of micro indoor models being thought of as “a single stick with wings” are now long gone.

Pluses

• Finally! A real micro WWII warbird!

• Stunning appearance with unique markings.

• Excellent flying manners over a wide speed range.

• Removable landing gear.

Minuses

• Outdoor flight needs calm wind conditions to be enjoyable.

• Spinner is slightly too small for a smooth transition to the fuselage.

Last edited by Tim Wolff; Sep 23, 2009 at 08:09 PM..

Discussion

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Old Sep 23, 2009, 08:56 PM
**I'm Battman**
RCBABBEL's Avatar
Twin Falls, Idaho
Joined Jan 2005
8,691 Posts
Tim,

Excellent 'work'!

Love the Sukhoi and very excited for the UM P51.

Looks great,

rc
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 09:25 PM
One of the usual suspects
Vicarious's Avatar
United States, AL, Huntsville
Joined Jun 2007
1,481 Posts
Good review!
A Micro P-51 is what I wanted before I bought the Sukhoi... now I really like the SU-26!
I'm glad Horizon took up where Cox (Estes) dropped off with warbirds.
There may be hope for future indoor dogfights yet!
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 09:36 PM
Registered User
Chicago Northwest subs
Joined Jan 2007
2,240 Posts
Nice review. Now we need Parkzone to make a micro combat module. The AR6400 already has X-Port capability. Brushless conversions of this will be amazing, and with what we've learned from converting Sukhois, this should be relatively easy.
MR2
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 09:47 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,600 Posts
Nice review. I think the Brain is working for Parkzone because they are taking over my wallet. Another plane I will need to add to my Heer Force for flying in the neighborhood.
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 09:48 PM
Registered User
Los Angeles, CA
Joined Aug 2008
342 Posts
Great review! now it needs some axis warbird to fight with, like FW190, Me109, Zero...or twin engine like Ju88 to intercept!
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 09:56 PM
Off we go.............
SabreHawk's Avatar
Seattle, WA. USA
Joined Jan 2006
3,325 Posts
Ya know we RC'ers have never had it so good. As my flying buddy said of my PZ Citabria, this is the plane we all wanted when we were 8yrs old and could only dream of this.

Thanks so much for a great review, and to Horizon and Park Zone for making the dream come true for all of us. My nose is fiemly planted against the LHS glass awaiting the Mustang's arrival.

Alright cadets, lets sing our illustrious and famous hymn :

Verse 1 (main melody)

Off we go into the wild blue yonder, climbing high into the sun;
Here they come, zooming to meet our thunder, at 'em, boys, give'er the gun! [give'er the gun, now!]
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under, off with (on) one helleva roar (course),
We live in fame or go down in flame, hey! Nothing'll stop the Army Air Corps (US Air Force)

Verse 2 (main melody)

Minds of men fashioned a crate of thunder, sent it high into the blue;
Hands of men blasted the world a sunder; How they lived, God only knew! [God only new, then!]
Souls of men dreaming of skies to conquer, gave us (our) wings, ever to soar (every resource)!
With scouts (jets) before and Bombers (Bombs) galore, Nothing'll stop the Army Air Corps (US Air Force)

Verse 3 (amended melody)

Here's a toast to the host of those who love the vastness of the sky,
To a friend we send a message of his brother men who fly,
We drink to those who gave their all of old:
Then down we roar to score the rainbow's pot of gold.
A toast to the host of the men we boast, the Army Air Corps (US Air Force). ZOOM.

Verse 4 (main melody)

Off we go into the wild sky yonder, Keep the wings level and true;
If you'd live to be a gray haired wonder, keep the nose out of the blue [out of the wild blue].
Flying men, guarding our nation's borders, we'll be there followed by more (ever on course)!
In each echelon, we carry on, Hey! Nothing'll stop the Army Air Corps (US Air Force)

A rather lively recording of the song .
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZLY2rorJtY
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Last edited by SabreHawk; Sep 23, 2009 at 10:22 PM.
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 10:04 PM
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Regina, SK
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 10:13 PM
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RJD1234's Avatar
Bakersfield, CA
Joined Apr 2008
617 Posts
Tim - I have to ask this questions. Is this a pre-production version or the retail version? And how did you recieve it so quickly since Horizon's website says it is not available until October?
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 10:21 PM
Gravity is a harsh mistress.
Tim Wolff's Avatar
United States, MI, Temperance
Joined Sep 2002
6,605 Posts
Thanks for the positive reinforcement guys! The P-51D was a real treat to review and even more fun to fly.

Horizon did a great job getting the plane to me with plenty of time to get the review done before the projected release. They did not specify if the review model was pre-production or retail. I was very pleased that I was able to get the review completed before the plane hit retail shelves; due in no small part to a total absence of any issues with the plane. There’s nothing to figure out and it doesn’t do anything silly in the air. Charge it, bind it, fly it.

BTW: You guys have no idea how hard it has been to read the P-51 threads over the past 21 days and have to keep my mouth shut about it.
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Last edited by Tim Wolff; Sep 23, 2009 at 10:37 PM.
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 10:43 PM
Off we go.............
SabreHawk's Avatar
Seattle, WA. USA
Joined Jan 2006
3,325 Posts
Yeah,..............ya bugger!
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 10:46 PM
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ducatirdr's Avatar
United States, MA, Sutton
Joined Aug 2006
1,489 Posts
I need to stop reading about these tiny guilt free flying planes. Just open the box and as fast as you can bind and toss in a charged battery you're flying something that only really talented guys in the AMA mag seem to produce.

These planes just tug on my wallet like crazy. My RC budget didn't have these in them and sure enough I'm buying them. I always marvel at the talented guys that make the tiny indoor scale planes. I wish I had that skill as seeing such small scale planes flying has some sort of fixation on us all.

I can only imagine the future with an FW190 or ME109. Then when the WW1 stuff comes out I'll be really doomed.

Damn you Horizon
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 11:05 PM
The sky is my playground.
Dora Nine's Avatar
United States, NH
Joined May 2005
7,752 Posts
Geez it's not even out yet..drool..
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 11:07 PM
**I'm Battman**
RCBABBEL's Avatar
Twin Falls, Idaho
Joined Jan 2005
8,691 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Wolff
Thanks for the positive reinforcement guys! The P-51D was a real treat to review and even more fun to fly.

Horizon did a great job getting the plane to me with plenty of time to get the review done before the projected release. They did not specify if the review model was pre-production or retail. I was very pleased that I was able to get the review completed before the plane hit retail shelves; due in no small part to a total absence of any issues with the plane. There’s nothing to figure out and it doesn’t do anything silly in the air. Charge it, bind it, fly it.

BTW: You guys have no idea how hard it has been to read the P-51 threads over the past 21 days and have to keep my mouth shut about it.


Tim,

Sweet justice!

rc
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Old Sep 23, 2009, 11:20 PM
Flutter-Bys are fun
Conehead's Avatar
United States, MI, Honor
Joined Dec 2005
5,117 Posts
It ain't fair. Tim got one, now we have to wait

Drats, hope they have some for the JR Indoor festival in Columbus Ohio this year.

Now I know why I am working each day for a few weeks. I really want one. Gosh, I wonder if I will be able to get one???
Conehead
Orrin Eldred
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