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Flyzone SkyFly Max RTF Review

Whether you are looking for a gentle aileron introduction or a fully capable sport style companion, the SkyFly Max is a great choice! Author Kevin Martin reviews.

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Introduction


Wingspan:47" (1194 mm)
Wing Area:390 sq in (25.19 sq²)
Weight:27 oz (770g)
Length:39 in (991 mm)
Servos:Four 9g servos (dual aileron)
Transmitter:Tactic TTX404 4-channel 2.4GHz
Receiver:Tactic 6 channel 2.4GHz receiver
Battery:Flyzone 1800mAh 11.1V LiPo
Motor:brushless
ESC:25amp electronic brushless speed control
Typical Flight Duration:about 10 minutes
Manufacturer:Flyzone Planes
Available From:Hobbico
Price:$199

The SkyFly Max is the first member of Flyzone's Sport Series of Ready to Fly aircraft. It is fully ready to fly, features durable Aerocell foam construction, and boasts a power setup that's likely to put many other "RTF" airplanes to shame. From simple relaxing cruising to full sport level aerobatics, the SkyFly Max has no trouble handling whatever the pilot asks it to do.

Kit Contents

The SkyFly Max arrives in a very small box. So small, I was worried the wrong plane had shown up at my door! Don't be fooled though- the small box is the result of some extremely compact packaging. I couldn't even find any "wasted" space in the box!

Assembly

Out of its box, the SkyFly comes mostly ready to go, with only some minor assembly required. The build took me 30 minutes from ripping open the box to being ready to hit the field. Before starting on the build, plug the included 3s 11.1v 1800mAh battery into the included balance charger (so it will be ready by the time the build is finished).

Wing

The wings of the SkyFly Max come pre-installed with servos. All that's left for you to do is connect them together. The included ply spar slides nicely into the plastic pockets in each wing, and does a great job of keeping the wings from flexing. A little tape (included in the box, of course) to connect the two, and it's ready!

Fuselage and Tail

The SkyFly line all have a fairly unique pod and boom style fuselage. Assembly of this portion can be quick and easy, but it is very important. The boom comes pre-attached to the horizontal part of the tail- leaving the vertical tail attachment and fuselage attachment up to the pilot. The tail piece fits into the pre-formed slots perfectly, and requires a couple drops of CA to hold.

Boom and Fuselage joining can be tricky. Because the boom slides into a circular opening, it is very easy to inadvertently glue the tail on crooked. I found the easiest way to ensure a level installation was to hold the plane upside down, and level the horizontal element of the tail with the bottom of the fuselage. Be sure to apply PLENTY of CA all along the joint- as not applying enough can lead to disaster later. My first attempt was not sufficient to keep the tail in place, and it came loose on the first flight. Flying with a tail rotated 45º is not something I would want to happen again!!

Radio Installation

The SkyFly Max comes Ready to Fly with the Tactic 4channel 2.4ghz radio and receiver pre-bound. All that needs to be done to complete the radio installation is to plug the aileron servos into the included Y-harness (already plugged into the receiver), and attach the push rods to the servos.

Once the wing servos are plugged into the Y-harness, be sure to check the orientation of the plugs. If one is plugged in backwards, the servo will not function. After the servo leads have been connected, the wing nicely fits into its grooved slot. The included rubber bands hold the wing onto the fuselage.

At this point, the manual calls for the push rods in the boom to be installed into the EZ-grip servo connectors. The instructions say to remove the servo arms from the servos, slide the push rods through the EZ-grips, then re-attach the arms to the servo. I found it a lot easier (and time saving) to do this step before I glued the boom in- allowing me to slide the boom AND push rods in at the same time. This saves having to remove the servo arms, then installing them again (while checking to be sure they are installed at the neutral point).

Completion

With the wing and tail attached to the fuselage, a simple click is all that is needed to slide the landing gear into place. The included 4 "AA" batteries need to be installed into the Tactic 2.4ghz transmitter, and then you are ready to check the servos.

***To avoid unnecessary injury, do not attach the propeller or collet adapter at this point***

When I first turned my radio on, the digital trims were not centered, but pre-trimmed to neutralize the SkyFly's control surfaces. This is helpful for a quick box-to-air transition, but I chose to spend the time manually trimming all the control surfaces.

Included in the kit is a nifty angle-checker for the elevator. The manual suggests 3º of "up" trim before flying, and the laser cut checker helps to quickly and properly trim the elevator. While checking all of my EZ grip connections, I found one of my aileron set screws to be fairly loose. A quick tightening with a screwdriver, and I was ready to put the propeller on for the final step. Even with this extra step, assembly still was very quick.




Flying

Basics

As soon as I had the SkyFly Max in the air, I could tell immediately this was a well mannered plane. It balanced perfectly with the battery in the back of the canopy, and was only slightly nose heavy with the battery shifted forward.



The SkyFly is a very floaty and graceful plane, gliding extremely well for a “sport” style aircraft. Once you open the throttle though, the big 8x6 prop on the back scoots it along very fast, especially out of a dive. The noise from that big prop on the back end is nothing but awesome!!

Taking Off and Landing

Taking off is easy with the SkyFly- whether it be a hand launch or taking off from the ground. Hand launches are very easy- just throttle up, and toss! The bottom of the fuselage is perfect for gripping and giving it an overhand toss into the air. There is no need to try an underhand toss- because between the lack of a good spot to hold it and the 8” of spinning fury on the top, you’re probably best off keeping your hand clear of that end. Ground takeoffs are easy as well, as long as you have a dirt or paved runway. Grass takeoffs are possible as well, but the grass must be very short. The SkyFly Max has no tail wheel, so the bottom of the tail is chewed up very quickly. Placing a piece of protective tape on the bottom will help to keep the tail from getting too dirty or scuffed up.

The SkyFly is even so floaty, it is fairly easy to grab it out of the air. Line up into the wind, cut the throttle, and fly the plane towards yourself with your Aileron/Elevator stick, and get the other hand ready to grab it. This may end in many stalls close to the ground, but the SkyFly shrugs it off easily.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

Although the SkyFly Max caters towards beginner 4 channel flyers, it also is a great introductory acrobatic plane. Inside and outside loops, rolls, stall turns, inverted flight- it’s all possible with the SkyFly Max.

The Ailerons have the perfect amount of authority for a learning 4 channel pilot, and can easily be adjusted for more control for advanced pilots. Rudder and elevator control is plenty sufficient for a beginner. Knife edge flying is almost possible with the stock setup, and even outside loops are manageable from the available elevator throw.


Is This For a Beginner?

I always suggest slow 3 channel planes to new RC flyers, as adding aileron control can be tricky to grasp at first. The SkyFly makes a great 2nd plane though- it can fly very tame as the pilot masters 4 channel control, and can also be a perfect plane for beginning aerobatics.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads











These 3 pictures taken with a head mounted GoPro camera

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the SkyFly Max is a great plane to have in your hangar, regardless if you are learning 4 channel flight, or a seasoned expert. It’s super tough, unique looking, and relaxing to fly. Also, thanks to the rear mounted propeller and plenty of power on tap, the SkyFly has the capability to be a great Aerial Photography or FPV aircraft.

Pluses:

  • Lots of power for an RTF
  • Very durable
  • Predictable and stable flight characteristics
  • Sounds so cool!

Minuses:

  • Tail is easily chewed up without protection on the bottom
  • Velco canopy attachment could be replaced with a simple magnet.

Credits

Special thanks to Trevor McKinney for his photos, Flyzone for supplying the SkyFly Max, and our Editor Angela for all her hard work!

Last edited by Angela H; Jan 04, 2011 at 10:17 AM..

Discussion

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Old Jan 12, 2011, 09:40 PM
accel8or
accel8or's Avatar
United States, CA, Los Angeles
Joined Dec 2010
485 Posts
Why won't Flyzone tell us the motor specs?
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Old Jan 13, 2011, 02:02 PM
Registered User
Sebastopol, CA, USA
Joined Dec 1996
543 Posts
i really admire this review, Kevin. A great layout and nice balance of text to illustrations with a pleasing to-the-point writing style. Congratulations.

I have never seen a video like yours - absolutely steady and with a kind of "fish eye" (is that the correct term?) view. Could you tell me how and with what the video was made? I am fascinated.
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Old Jan 13, 2011, 05:11 PM
Registered User
Kmart's Avatar
United States, CO, Boulder
Joined Sep 2008
7,433 Posts
Hi there!

Thank you! The review video was part of a review in itself- the GoPro HD HERO camera. I am currently reviewing this camera for Aerial Video purposes, but also wanted to test the "self filming" option by using a head-strap. GoPro also produces a chest harness which is great for filming the transmitter.

The only negative side to this camera is the plane is quickly out of sight with the wide angle lens. Viewing in HD and full screen is much better.


Accel8or- I believe a user on RCGroups found and linked to an identical motor- E-Max I believe? Do some searching here on RCGroups- I bet you will come up with the answer.

-Kevin
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Old Jan 14, 2011, 04:39 PM
See the Fur Fly
FNFAL's Avatar
Dayton, OH
Joined Oct 2006
926 Posts
Is it just me, or should "noisy prop" be added to the 'minus' list. Also, I don't have one, but I see a lot of people at the hobby store looking to buy one of these over a cub as a first outing. I'm not sure some are clear on the target market for this bird...even the employees. It looks like the ubiquitous trainer but it seems to be not.

Also, I'm all for greater offerings and competition against people like Parkzone (Horizon), but there's just something about all the Flyzone (Hobbico) RTF stuff that requires me some time to warm-up to...and I don't know why.
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Last edited by FNFAL; Jan 14, 2011 at 04:54 PM.
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Old Jan 14, 2011, 05:40 PM
Planes, Guitars and Cigars
Steve_A_Reno's Avatar
Joined May 2002
3,171 Posts
Nice review.
Most pushers use smaller, fast spinning props that tend to be loud. At least that has been my experience. The plane seems to have plenty of power and handles well. But this planes profile is very similar to the well tested Winged Dragon line which can be found RTF with 2.4 ghz radio and brushless motor for under 75.00 Flyzone really needs to get that price down to be a serious contender with this plane.
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Last edited by Steve_A_Reno; Jan 16, 2011 at 12:11 AM. Reason: typo
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Old Jan 15, 2011, 03:45 PM
Registered User
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United States, CO, Boulder
Joined Sep 2008
7,433 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by FNFAL View Post
Is it just me, or should "noisy prop" be added to the 'minus' list.
That's a personal opinion, I guess. For me, I love to hear the plane zip around. Quiet planes are no fun.
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