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Flyzone Micro RTF Albatros Biplane Review

Go on Dawn Patrol with this sharp looking, good flying World War I micro Albratros from Flyzone that comes complete and RTF.

Splash

Introduction:


Wingspan:14.5"
Weight:1-1.1 oz.
Length:11.1"
Transmitter:Flyzone 3-CH FTZ-324 2.4GHz
Receiver:2.4 GHz
Battery:3.7V 130mAh LiPo
Manufacturer:Flyzone
Available From: Fine hobby stores everywhere
Price:$79.99

Flyzone unveiled this beautifully finished micro World War I Albatros at the Toledo "Weak Signals" show this spring. The reports on the Internet from those that got to fly the Albatros at the show were all very favorable concerning appearance and flight handling.

The kit comes complete, including the ready to fly plane with a pilot, machine guns and dummy engine. The plane uses a single cell 3.7 volt 130 mAh LiPo battery that is included. The plane is controlled with a 3 channel Flyzone FTZ transmitter that supplies proportional control to the throttle, elevator and rudder. The transmitter also serves as the charger for the plane's LiPo battery. They even included the 4 AA Alkaline batteries needed to power the transmitter/charger. She looked great on the Flyzone website, and with the favorable reports, I couldn't resist the chance to review such a sweet looking little biplane. And her looks in person were as nice as I was hoping they would be. She is a good basic flyer and easily capable of doing loops. Best of all, she flies slow enough and turns quickly enough that she is fun to fly indoors in the space of a basketball court or even a half court.

Kit Contents

Kit Includes

  • Micro Albatros RTF with dummy engine
  • Twin machine guns ready to install
  • White foam pilot ready to paint and install
  • Flyzone 3-channel FTZ-324 2.4GHz transmitter/charger
  • 1-cell 130mAh LiPo flight battery
  • 4 AA Alkaline batteries for the transmitter
  • Instructions








Items Supplied by Author:

  • Paints for the pilot and cockpit
  • Exacto knife tor a little trimming on the pilot
  • Foam Safe CA glue
  • Some material for a scarf

They did an excellent job of designing the carrying/storage case for the Albatros. It securely holds both the transmitter and the plane in place with quick and easy access to both. Not all micro planes travel as well with their transmitters in the box.

Assembly

No assembly is required to fly the Albatros. However, some minor effort was necessary to give her a completely finished look.

To fly, I simply installed the four supplied Alkaline batteries into the transmitter/charger and put a full charge onto the included one cell LiPo battery. With the LiPo battery charged I installed it into the Albatros and checked to make sure the controls were working, properly oriented and that the C/G was reasonably balanced. Everything checked out as ready to go. However, I decided to glue on the machine gun and paint and add the pilot before my first flight.

Completion

Although I painted the pilot I initially chose not to paint the cockpit area. I was thinking of black paint with brown edging for the top edge of the cockpit but decided to leave her as is as I was anxious to get in the air and I didn't think about painting the cockpit when I painted the pilot. Later I came back to paint the cockpit. It would have been easier to do before I glued in the pilot. This plane is controlled with a three channel 2.4GHz radio. There is proportional control of the throttle, rudder and elevator. There is a great deal of dihedral in the bottom wing. This dihedral will help with turning the plane. More on the dihedral in the flying section. She was ready to fly.

Flying

Basics

The plane has good three channel control with rudder, elevator and throttle. The dihedral in the bottom wing allows for very good control on turns. Mine came with the rudder control rod set in the middle of the five holes on the control arm and she flys very nicely with this standard set up. Some have moved to a more inner hole for more rudder throw to make sharper turns and seem happy with their results. I didn't feel a need to do that as I was happy with the control right out of the box. I needed to make a very slight adjustment to straighten the rudder and the V bends on the control wire made that easy by squeezing them a little more together. (Corrections in the other direction would have required simply spreading the V.) The wings are made of foam and somewhat thin. especially the bottom wing. They both flex when entering or exiting a dive or a climb. I have had well controlled flights indoors and outdoors. Most of my outdoor flights have been early on the way to work in completely calm conditions. I have also flown in a steady breeze of three miles per hour and five miles per hour without any problems. I have not tried to fly in any stronger wind conditions than that.

With a fully charged battery I could maintain level flight at less than half throttle. I preferred to fly the Albatros slowly and have done that about 3/4s of my time in the air. When I wanted to fly fast I added more throttle and simply held in some down elevator to avoid climbing when I wanted fast level flight. Throttle had to be increased slightly to maintain level flight as the battery ran down and that was a good sign it was time to land. I have over two hours of flight time during this review and three friends have flown her as well. The motor seems as strong as when I first flew her. She still has plenty of power.

The bottom wing appeared it might be fragile as it is rather thin. While I have not collided with anything I have flipped her a few times on landing and my plane only has a small scuff on the spinner by way of any damage. As can be seen in the first video below, "Dawn Patrol" when I do fly her fast I do put stress on my wings in loop and spins. Thus far she has held up very well.

One Problem to Date, Easily Fixed

My only problem to date occurred during the landing shown on the "Dawn Patrol" video. It was a very good landing but somehow the elevator control rod wire came off during that landing. I was able to get the wire back in the hole for it on the servo wheel by twisting the wire from the elevator near where it entered/exited the fuselage. I could easily see it through the hole for the battery connector on the bottom of the fuselage in front of the bottom wing. It was a quick fix at home but it stopped my flying for that morning.

Taking Off and Landing

Flights can be started with a straight forward light hand toss with the motor running or with a rolling takeoff from the ground. The surface should be smooth and can be hard packed dirt, concrete or asphalt outside. Not suitable for grass field takeoffs unless you have access to a backyard putting green. Both takeoffs and landings should be in calm conditions or if there is a very slight breeze then into the breeze. Landings can be made on the same surfaces as takeoffs. Indoors I have flown off of wood floors, linoleum and concrete. I have made a number of takeoffs and landings from a regular width sidewalk without any problems. But remember, most of my flights have been in early morning calm or in a breeze of only three miles per hour or less.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

With a freshly charged battery the Albatros can do a nice loop from level flight. It is important, make that critical, that the pilot enter the loop with the wings level and keep them as straight as possible during the loop. Because of the high amount of dihedral in the bottom wing it is easy for the Albatros to fall towards either side during the loop if not kept very straight and level. Practice really helps one get better at this maneuver. Outside if there is even a hint of breeze the loop should be done going straight into the breeze. Additionally, the wings will flex during the loop and that will exaggerate any side angle in the wings and make completing the loop as a pure straight loop more difficult. However, some of my worse loop attempts have looked like great evasive maneuvers for a WWI fighter. I just go with the flow and have fun. She can fly pretty fast circles with the wings almost vertical to the ground at full throttle. She can also fly inverted but that takes almost full reverse elevator to keep her level, at least mine does.

Is This For a Beginner?

NO! In my opinion this Albatros is not a good plane for a beginner. Most beginners have crashes! I believe with her thin wings the Albatros is too fragile to recommend for a beginner as a first plane. For the pilot who has learned the basics of controlled flight and can land a plane where and when desired this is a nice plane for flying indoors or outdoors in calm conditions.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery
















Downloads

Conclusion

The Albatros has held up almost perfectly to over two hours of my flying and a few less than perfect landings but a small dent to the spinner is the only damage she has received. The wings are thin, especially the bottom wing, but my plane's wings and everything but the spinner are still in perfect shape.

Because she slows down so nicely and will easily turn in the space of half a gym I have found the Albatros to be one of my favorite micro planes for indoor flight. Outdoors she can do some pretty wicked moves, and even my failed attempts to do a set maneuver looked like interesting combat moves in the air. I am really happy to have the Albatros in my Heer Force and feel no need to make modifications to her. Four pilots have thus far flown my review plane, and all of us found her to be a great little performer with plenty of power. I may eventually wear out the motor but she has more than enough power for everything I have tried with her; including flying her at almost 5,000 feet of altitude just above Reno, Nevada.

Pluses

  • Looks great, especially with a painted pilot.
  • Flys nice on less than half throttle.
  • Has plenty of power at full throttle.
  • Can do some three channel aerobatics at full throttle.
  • Handles well on the ground on a hard surface.
  • Flew well at a park with a base of 5,000 feet of altitude.

Minuses

  • Gear drive is a bit noisy at very low-throttle settings.
  • They need to produce an Allied opponent.

My thanks to Dick Andersen and our editor Angela for their assistance with this review.

Last edited by Michael Heer; Oct 13, 2010 at 10:21 AM..

Discussion

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Old Oct 13, 2010, 02:48 PM
Still AWD, Subaru
St.Louis
Joined Nov 2006
883 Posts
great review, I've been in love with mine since first flight
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Old Oct 14, 2010, 11:06 AM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,253 Posts
I had another sweet flight with mine this morning at the park I pass on the way to work. One of the regular park walkers fell in love with it. Other planes have interested him but I think he will buy one of these. He has a flight simulator to learn on and I have encouraged him to call me and fly my trainer on a buddy box when he feels ready. A great way to start the day! Mike H
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Old Oct 15, 2010, 12:29 AM
Fokker Ace's Avatar
Joined Aug 2006
1,551 Posts
I think this one is at the top of the heap of micros right now. It looks great and flies like a much larger plane. The speed range is excellent, too.
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Old Oct 15, 2010, 09:27 PM
Registered User
Sandy, Oregon
Joined Sep 2006
114 Posts
Nice review. Looks great. My question is: Can this radio be changed to Mode 1? I learned to fly in the reed days and while I can fly Mode 2 fairly well, I really don't enjoy it as much as Mode 1. I ask this question before about the The Flyzone Champ radio which has a Mode 1 selector that changes the electronics but the sticks need to be changed so the non-centering stick is on the right side and some folks sent me information and photos on how to do it and it works really well. The Albatros radio doesn't have that switch if I remember correctly though.

I have the directions for changing my Plantraco radios to Mode 1 and they don't have that switch either so maybe there is a way. If anyone knows how I would love to know too.

Thanks,

Michael
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Old Oct 15, 2010, 11:22 PM
The sky is my playground.
Dora Nine's Avatar
United States, NH
Joined May 2005
7,592 Posts
Thanks for a great review!
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Old Oct 18, 2010, 09:39 AM
Registered User
Joined Nov 2008
130 Posts
Man... What a great RTF micro! She is so beautiful! I like micros to fly at weekdays, when I canīt go to the field but still get the itch. Would they send it to Brzil? And man, what a HUGE scarf! hauhauhauhuahu
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Old Oct 18, 2010, 07:47 PM
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de
Joined Oct 2010
9 Posts
that is a pretty trolin plane
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Old Oct 19, 2010, 04:56 AM
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MartinT's Avatar
Joined Mar 2006
456 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by PapaMichael6464 View Post
Nice review. Looks great. My question is: Can this radio be changed to Mode 1? I learned to fly in the reed days and while I can fly Mode 2 fairly well, I really don't enjoy it as much as Mode 1. I ask this question before about the The Flyzone Champ radio which has a Mode 1 selector that changes the electronics but the sticks need to be changed so the non-centering stick is on the right side and some folks sent me information and photos on how to do it and it works really well. The Albatros radio doesn't have that switch if I remember correctly though.

I have the directions for changing my Plantraco radios to Mode 1 and they don't have that switch either so maybe there is a way. If anyone knows how I would love to know too.

Thanks,

Michael

Put in a Spektrum AR6400L brick and you're done (if you have the acc. Spektrum/JR transmitter of course)

Not only is that the answer to your problem, but the best part is that you can put in a throttle to elevator mix, since the plane requires a massive (like in H U G E) retrim between hi and low power settings. (The trim "buttons" (they're not that, just some place on the side where you have to press) on the standard Flyzone TX that comes with the Albatros are garbage, they should have looked at Eflite's, those have real push buttons with great tactile feedback) (The Flyzone TX is okay, with a nice small formfactor, but the way they incorporated the trims is sh*t)
And you can even put in a 100%rudder to aileron mix, so you can fly it like "normal" with 3 channel planes (i.e. turn with the rudderstick)

Later,
M.
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Old Oct 19, 2010, 09:09 AM
Power Wheels Guru
UNGN's Avatar
Southlake, TX
Joined Jan 2008
7,327 Posts
On my AR6400 Albatros, I have the required Throttle to Elevator mix and have an Rudder to Aileron Mix, so I can use either stick to turn the plane.

This works good because you can fly aggresive with the right stick doing wing overs and loops, or fly slow and level with the left stick (The Throttle>Elevator mix keeps it level when playing with the throttle).
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Old Oct 19, 2010, 12:15 PM
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hauntfreaks's Avatar
Cherry Hill, NJ
Joined May 2005
631 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by MartinT View Post
Put in a Spektrum AR6400L brick and you're done (if you have the acc. Spektrum/JR transmitter of course)

Not only is that the answer to your problem, but the best part is that you can put in a throttle to elevator mix, since the plane requires a massive (like in H U G E) retrim between hi and low power settings. (The trim "buttons" (they're not that, just some place on the side where you have to press) on the standard Flyzone TX that comes with the Albatros are garbage, they should have looked at Eflite's, those have real push buttons with great tactile feedback) (The Flyzone TX is okay, with a nice small formfactor, but the way they incorporated the trims is sh*t)
And you can even put in a 100%rudder to aileron mix, so you can fly it like "normal" with 3 channel planes (i.e. turn with the rudderstick)

Later,
M.
2X on all that... did all the same to mine... converts it from "toy" grade to "hobby" grade
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Old Oct 19, 2010, 02:21 PM
Fokker Ace's Avatar
Joined Aug 2006
1,551 Posts
I think the Albatros is far from "toy grade" as it arrives out of the box. Certainly no more so than any other RTF micro. I actually prefer the Flyzone Tx to the one that came with my Champ. Yes it is limited, but doesn't detract from the fun factor on this one.
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Old Oct 19, 2010, 03:35 PM
Power Wheels Guru
UNGN's Avatar
Southlake, TX
Joined Jan 2008
7,327 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fokker Ace View Post
I think the Albatros is far from "toy grade" as it arrives out of the box. Certainly no more so than any other RTF micro. I actually prefer the Flyzone Tx to the one that came with my Champ. Yes it is limited, but doesn't detract from the fun factor on this one.
Saying the TX is better than the one that comes with the Champ is like arguing Vegas are better than Pintos.

I'm glad there are people that still love Pintos and Vegas because that means I can sell them to finance the upgrade of my Albatros to Mustang/Camaro level.

When Potential new RC fliers see me flying my Albatros ask me where I got it so they can go get one (this happens daily), I tell them to buy a Champ, first. The Albatros is my favorite plane to fly, but it is NOT a first plane, especially as delivered.

With a Computer TX and an AR6400/Vapor Brick, it can fly like a first plane and I wouldn't have a problem with a total noob flying mine... but that same guy would destroy the out of the box version in a couple flights.
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Old Oct 19, 2010, 05:17 PM
Fokker Ace's Avatar
Joined Aug 2006
1,551 Posts
Do people read anymore? Or simply react to words they think they read?

When did I say the Albatros Tx was better than the Champ's? I said I preferred it over the Champ Tx. That word doesn't mean "better". No need for odd analogies to prove what wasn't even implied, either.

Also, I never said I loved either micro's Tx. In fact I said it's limited.

I stand by what I'd written originally; the Albatros is not "toy grade" anymore than other micros. If people want to "upgrade" or not is up to them, but the plane still flies great, with a wide speed range, right out of the box. If it didn't, I'd be the first one to say so.
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Old Oct 19, 2010, 07:00 PM
Just Plane Crazy
datazman's Avatar
United States, NY, McGraw
Joined Apr 2004
670 Posts
Hello all:

I thought I would share 3 photos I took of the Albatros at the NEAT Fair.

Ta Ta for now.

Paul
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