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Hobby Lobby Kyosho aiRium Spitfire Mk. V Ready Set & Receiver Ready Review

This Kyosho aiRium Spitfire is well worth your attention for its appearance and flight qualities alone. But Hobby Lobby's "Special Price" is less than half the price it is being sold for elsewhere. This is a fun plane that you should check out!

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Introduction


Wingspan:25 5/8"
Wing Area:113.8 sq in
Length:22 1/4"
Servos:3 KS-21 5g servos
Transmitter:Perfex KT-21 2.4GHz 4CH transmitter
Receiver:Kyosho Perfex 6 Channel on 2.4GHz
Battery:Not included
Motor:Sky Victory AF400 BLS B/07/15
ESC:Sky Victory BLS10 Amp ESC
Manufacturer:Kyosho
Available From:Hobby Lobby
Price:$129.99

When I first saw the Kyosho aiRium Spitfire I was immediately attracted by its appearance and size. I went to view the video of her on the Kyosho America website, and the video was not of the Spitfire but rather of a P-40 that was definitely related to the E-flite P-40 (which is also available from Hobby-Lobby) that I have previously reviewed and love to fly at my local park. To my eye this Spitfire looked gorgeous! I was very tempted to buy one both to fly and to display in my office. However, the price of $269.99 gave me pause. While I definitely wanted one, life had other demands on my money. I had to place the Spitfire on the back burner at that time.

Then I saw the Spitfire listed at Hobby Lobby and at a very "Special Price." They even had a nice video of it with Jason flying it, and I knew I had to get one for my Heer Force. I was admittedly very anxious to get my hands on this Spitfire, and I can tell you she has not disappointed me at all. This review focuses on the Spitfire Ready Set version that has everything needed to fly except batteries for the transmitter, the flight pack battery and a charger for the flight pack battery. They also have a Receiver Ready version for those who want to use their own transmitter and receiver. This Spitfire is a full four channel control airplane with a working rudder in addition to throttle, ailerons and elevator. The Mark V is the model Spitfire flown during the Battle of Briton.


Kit Contents: Kyosho Airium Spitfire RTF

Airium RTF Spitfire

  • Factory assembled airplane
  • Installed Sky Victory AF400 BLS B/07/15 brushless motor
  • Installed Sky Victory BLS10 ESC
  • Installed receiver
  • Installed 3 KS-21 5g servos
  • 7 x 6 three blade propeller
  • Spare propeller and spinner
  • Display stand
  • 2 O-rings and spring hook to secure wing to fuselage
  • KT-21 4 CH 2.4GHz transmitter
  • Screwdriver, wrench, two spare clevises
  • Instruction manual















Items Author Supplied:

  • 2-cell Lipo battery packs (800 mAh and 430 mAh)
  • 2 Quarters for ballast with 2-cell 430mAh packs
  • 3-cell Lipo 430 mAh pack
  • Balanced Lipo battery pack charger for 2 & 3-cell packs
  • 8 AA Alkaline batteries for the transmitter

Receiver Ready Version Author Also Supplied:

  • Spektrum receiver
  • Spektrum DX7 transmitter

Assembly

Wing

No assembly of the wing was required. The wing arrived fully assembled with a KS-21 servo mounted in the center and connected to both ailerons. The wing only needed to be connected to the fuselage as described below.

Fuselage

The foam fuselage came assembled with the Sky Victory AF 400 brushless motor already installed along with the 10 amp speed controller. Also installed were the receiver and two Kyosho KS-21 servos that were already connected to the rudder and elevator. All I had to do was make sure the battery pack fit in the space supplied and balanced with the proper C/G when the plane was fully assembled and ready to fly. The battery is inserted through the removable canopy. The canopy was secured in place by its tight fitting foam as well as a magnet.

Tail

The tail section came fully assembled and attached to the fuselage. The control surfaces were hinged, and the control arms connected to servos in the fuselage. There was nothing for me to do but give it a close look to make sure everything was set up properly, and it was.

Radio Installation and More

The radio gear, servos and ESC were all installed in their proper places. The only thing I had to do was to connect the aileron servo to the receiver using the included aileron extension wire that came already plugged into the receiver.

Mode 1 or 2 At the Flick of a Switch

My plane came with the transmitter set for Mode 2 which is the standard way we fly here in North America. However, the transmitter can be easily switched over to Mode 1. The switch for Mode 1 or 2 is in the battery cover and switch up is Mode 2 and down is Mode 1. The Instruction Manual also covers how to adjust the spring tension on the transmitter's control sticks.

Binding the Receiver and Transmitter

On my Spitfire they came already bound together. However, should there be a need to rebind them it was well covered in the Instruction Manual.

Binding Process:

  • Place the included binding plug into the binding/battery channel on the receiver.
  • Connect the battery pack to the ESC.
  • Hold down the binding button (bottom front left of transmitter) on the transmitter while turning the transmitter on within a yard of the receiver.
  • When bound a light will be on solid on the receiver.
  • Press the bind button again and in a few seconds the battery level indicator turns solid green to show it is operational.
  • When the indicator light on the receiver lights up the system is ready to operate.

Programmable Electronic Speed Control

Per the instruction manual there are 11 settings that can be adjusted on the ESC. These have to be programmed one at a time. The process is explained in the manual. My ESC was good to go as it came.

Dual rate

On the top right front of the transmitter is a dual rate switch. You have the option of flying the plane in low rate or high rate. I recommend using low rate for the first flight as excessive stick movement can make this responsive plane appear twitchy. Small controlled stick movements will allow the flight of the plane to be smooth and controlled. While I do fly with high rate on most of the time for more relaxed flying I use the low rate.

Range

In the Instruction Manual it states the following: "KT-21 transmitter is designed only for EP mini planes. It cannot be used with large size or GP planes." I assumed from that that it probably had limited range and should only be used with a parkflyer. that said I have kept my Spitfire in the range of a large ball park and I have had no range problems in flying my plane with this radio.

Other Features

The transmitter has servo reversing but it arrived with the servos all traveling in the proper direction. The servo reversing feature will allow for use of the radio in a different plane in the future should that be desired. The four trim tabs for minor adjustment to the "neutral" servo settings are all analog

Completion

I plugged the aileron servo wire into the servo extension wire coming out of the receiver. I attached an O-ring to the hook on the back of the wing. I inserted the two pins on the front of the wing into the two holes at the front of the wing saddle and partially pushed the wing into place. I tucked the aileron servo wire into the front of the wing saddle so it would be out of the way and completely inside the front of the fuselage. I pulled the O-ring up from the wing using the supplied spring hook that I inserted through the cockpit opening. I positioned the O-ring onto the hook built into the fuselage as shown below. I turned on my transmitter and connected my flight pack to the ESC and tucked the battery and the wire into the fuselage through the front of the canopy. The final step was sliding the canopy down over the cockpit. the canopy section is held in place through the tight fit of the foam and a magnet at the bottom. My Spitfire Mk. 5 was ready to fly.

Recommended Settings per the Instruction Manual:

  • Center of Gravity is 45mm behind the leading edge of the wing
  • Elevator throw 6mm up and down
  • Rudder throw 7mm side to side
  • Aileron Throw 5mm up and down

Control Surface Movement

Be sure to adjust the location of the various control rods so you get the amount of control surface movement to match your preferred style of flying. If you prefer very stable flight set up the plane for low throw on the controls and use the low rate setting on the transmitter. The manual adjustments can be done via the hole used for the control rods on the servo arms. The more towards the center of the servo the lower the amount of movement. I believe using the setting that best matches your preferred style of flying will determine how much you enjoy the Spitfire and this size of planes in general. While this is true to some extent with all planes, I have found it even more so for this Spitfire. Mine is currently set up a bit on the wild side using the high rate setting. This and the BF-109E are not a one-setting-fits-all pilotís type of planes in my opinion. Set them up for your style of flying to really enjoy them!

Flying

Basics

With the Spitfire RTF I had control of the ailerons, rudder, elevator and throttle. I had Dual rate for the control surfaces so I could electronically set the controls at low rate for launch and my initial flight and then transition to a more responsive Spitfire with the flick of a switch to high rates. I like to use low rates for my launches and switch to high rates after my initial climb to altitude. It isn't that the plane is twitchy but I sometimes can be when rushing to get my right throwing hand onto the transmitter properly. Starting the flight with low rates is just a little safety precaution for me. I recommend everyone use the low rates for their initial flight if they have the control surfaces properly centered in their neutral positions.

After flying with the supplied radio I switched to my Spektrum DX7 transmitter and a small Spektrum receiver to fly it as I would as a Receiver Ready model. With my Spektrum DX7 I preferred to use 40% exponential rather than dual rates in setting up and controlling my Spitfire. The Spitfire was well controlled and was easy to manage with either system but I preferred my Spektrum radio as I am used to flying many of my planes with a bit of exponential. The Spitfire flew well with both radios!

Taking Off and Landing

There is no working landing gear with the Spitfire (the tail wheel is just decorative.). This Spitfire was designed to be hand launched and landed with a skidding slide. Grass was and is my preferred landing surface.

To launch I simply faced into any wind and advanced the throttle to just beyond half throttle and gave a firm level toss straight forward. The plane flies well at both slow and fast speeds so launching her at about half throttle has worked very well for me. After just a second or two I advanced the throttle if I wanted to fly faster. There was no need to have full throttle when launching. For landing I simply reduced throttle and let the plane lower to just above the grass. I turned the motor off completely moments before touching down. If the breeze was more than a couple of miles an hour I made a habit of landing into the breeze. I found my best landings were with the power on low until the last moment or so before touchdown on the grass. I also flair the Spitfire to a slightly nose up attitude just before she touches down. This has served me well; all landings made that way have gone nicely. On one flight I had my C/G behind where it should be. Under powered flight I had complete control of the plane but with the very low power at the moment before touchdown I was unable to flair the Spitfire, and she came in slightly nose down and I broke a blade off of the propeller. There is not much give (flex) in the propeller if it strikes the ground. Fortunately, they shipped a spare with the plane. I went to order some replacement propellers and noted that Hobby-Lobby had them on backorder so I am probably not the only one to brake a propeller.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

My Spitfire can perform all of the warbird aerobatics I have attempted. My favorite move is a somewhat slow Victory roll over the field. She also does a nice tight axial roll on demand which is my second favorite move with this Spitfire followed by loops and split Ss. Using a two cell battery I had enough power for all the maneuvers I tried and speed was okay but not real fast. Just after thinking that I started to make some fast turns and quick climbs and loops while keeping the Spitfire in close and suddenly the speed seemed a lot faster as I was maneuvering so much keeping her in close. On two cells she can be quick even if she is not really fast in straight line flight. With three cells she was much faster. I only have one flight on three cells as I prefer flying her with the recommended two cell battery pack. Be careful when launching with a three cell pack as you can generate quite a bit of torque with too much throttle before you have air speed. At least I have been told that. Other than at the start she handles three cells very well as long as the proper Center of Gravity is maintained. To protect the ESC I limited my full throttle speed bursts to short periods of time when using the 3-cell battery pack. I ran full throttle for a complete flight while using a 2-cell pack and nothing was hot when I landed.

A Center of Gravity Pilot Mistake

Using the recommended E-flight 800mAh two cell battery pack she balanced right on the C/G. Using my two cell E-flight 430mAh size packs I needed to add two quarters into the front of the battery compartment with a piece of folded paper to firmly keep battery pack and quarters in place. Using a 3-cell 430mAh pack she also balanced on the C/G. On one flight with a 430mAh two cell pack I forgot to add the quarters. She handled fine with the power on and I didn't notice anything different. However, with the motor off and about to land I suddenly noticed she was slightly tail heavy as she waddled a bit just before landing. As the tail started to prop I countered with up and she landed a bit hard on the propeller as mentioned above. I broke a prop blade on that landing and that is the only damage my Spitfire has had after numerous flights.

Two Blade Propeller Can Be Used

The Spitfire as previously discussed comes with a three blade propeller and one spare propeller. However, I noticed tha Hobby-Lobby was sold out of their spare three blade propellers and so I tried flying my Spitfire with a two blade 7 x 6 propeller and this worked fine. The red spinner from the E-flite P-40 can be used with the two blade propeller. While I will use the three blade propellers when available the plane is not grounded when the three blade propellers are out of stock.

Battle of Briton

My friend Dick Andersen is currently reviewing the Kyosho Airium Bf-109. We hope to include a mock dogfight between my Spitfire and his Bf-109 as part of his review. We are hoping for a nice sunny day to really show of these pretty planes in our dogfight. We have been battling wekend rain and now fog. If you fly with a friend these two planes are a great combo to fly together.

Is This For a Beginner?

NO! Hobby-Lobby has ranked this Spitfire for intermediate skill level and above, and I agree with that rating completely. This plane is very responsive, especially to quick aileron movement. The controls are not self correcting and the plane goes where last directed. Those features make for a good plane for the intermediate pilot or better and rule out the plane for a beginner. If you are a beginner and just have to have one, keep it on the included display stand until your skills fly are ready for it!

Flight Video/Photo Gallery












Downloads

Conclusion

This plane is extremely easy to assemble and get in the air. It's an excellent flyer for the intermediate and better pilot. It only needs about the space of a baseball field for a great flying experience, and it's an excellent warbird park flyer. I really enjoy seeing the wing guns and the antenna on the fuselage on my Spitfire. I love how she performs especially in a victory roll over the field. On the recommended 2-cell battery pack she flies pretty scalelike as shown in the video. With a 3-cell pack the speed picked up dramatically and appeared faster than scale especially when doing aerobatics. I love how she looks and handles in the air. With the display stand she is a real eye grabber when on display in my office and an excellent conversation starter as well. At this special price from Hobby-Lobby this is a great deal for warbird lovers!

Pluses

  • Quick to assemble
  • Is easy to transport
  • Can be stored and transported in its original box
  • A very responsive (but not twitchy) plane
  • Great looks with good decals and authentic camo pattern
  • Nice details including the antenna and wing guns
  • Special price

Minuses

  • Still looking for a picture of a real Spitfire with the Blue used in the camo scheme.
  • Had foggy or rainy weather when I wanted to get pictures and video of this pretty plane.
Last edited by Angela H; Dec 15, 2010 at 03:27 AM..

Discussion

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Old Dec 15, 2010, 04:37 PM
Parkstormer!
Raleigh, NC
Joined Jan 2010
1,922 Posts
Great review! I've been enjoying a 109 for the last couple of weeks, and found the CG to be dead-on with the E-Flite 800s. What you've been told about torque is correct, as least with the 109--I tried my first hand launch with a WOT and was rewarded with a sharp roll left. Thank goodness for the spare prop!
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 04:54 PM
If in doubt, add accelerant
Lberry.88's Avatar
United Kingdom, England, Stansted Mountfitchet
Joined May 2007
1,825 Posts
Great review, have been eyeing this up for a while now, looks like i may have to buy myself another xmas present!

(BTW - Battle of Britain :P )
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 07:10 PM
Registered User
RJD1234's Avatar
Bakersfield, CA
Joined Apr 2008
591 Posts
I ran into the same torque problem with the Art-tech Mustang. Take-offs must be done quickly or the plane will tip into the ground. And hand launches should be done with a little left rudder............
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 08:25 PM
Registered User
Joined May 2007
26 Posts
Very nice review. Which 2 cell E-Flite 800mAh battery pack did you use? Mine is too long to fit in the battery compartment. Even slid as far forward as possible it sticks out preventing me from putting the canopy in place.
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 10:20 PM
Every flight is a maiden!
johnm15141's Avatar
USA, CA, Fairfield
Joined Jul 2007
880 Posts
Nice Review. I love the way this plane looks sitting on display. flys well, but flies even better when I switched it to spectrum and my JR9303.

The Supermarine Spitfire MkXVI sports the blue camo scheme (
http://www.airventure.de/ottawa06/ot...tfire_0645.jpg )

And here
http://www.wwiivehicles.com/unitedki...fighter-01.png
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 11:35 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,405 Posts
Thanks for sharing the Blue camo scheme John.

Frovello the battery pack is the one that comes with the Blade CX 2 and 3 helicopters. It can be bought itself from Hobby-Lobby as aprt: EFLB0990 2-cell battery connector. Fits fine and has the right connector to match the ESC's connector. Mike H
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Old Dec 16, 2010, 03:28 AM
No substitute for span
L over D's Avatar
Sweden, Dalarna County, Leksand
Joined Mar 2008
61 Posts
Nice review Michael, thank you! I hope to get hold of one as well.

Your are right to question the blue in the cammo, there where no Spitfires in that color. The Mk V was the first Spitfire to be painted in the "new" RAF daytime fighter scheme of dark green and dark sea grey (see the pictures above). The earlier BoB variant was green/dark earth (brown). This is a Kyosho scheme... :-)

(BTW, the Mk V was developed in the late stages of the BoB and did not join active service until spring 1941)

Keep up the good work!

Johan
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Old Dec 16, 2010, 05:09 AM
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Coenraad's Avatar
Norway, Akershus, Frogner
Joined Jun 2010
920 Posts
Loks okey and a nice review.
The only thing i disliked is the nose of the plane wich is not like it should. But other then that it looks great.
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Old Dec 16, 2010, 11:56 AM
Registered User
Chicago Northwest subs
Joined Jan 2007
2,240 Posts
Nice review, Mike. I've been flying this one since this summer, and it is a nice little flyer. It is pretty and nicely detailed, as well. For anyone interested in this plane there is a thread for it and the Me109 here:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1164347
This plane can fly amazingly slow for a warbird. It turns very tightly, too, but then again, it's a Spitfire!
MR2
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Old Dec 16, 2010, 03:17 PM
Not enough hours in the day
Slaanesh's Avatar
Melbourne
Joined Feb 2009
2,425 Posts
I really wanted one of these and actually the BF-109E even more so, but they are not available in Australia. So I ended up ordering one from France eBay but it never arrived - but thankfully I got a full refund through Paypal protection.
I'm still looking for a BF-109E in Australia or even this Spitfire. They're a perfect size for my local park that due to having a young family is about all I can managed for flying at the moment.
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Old Dec 16, 2010, 05:05 PM
Fly Low - Hit Hard
Red Flyer's Avatar
Canada, ON
Joined Oct 2010
1,050 Posts
Great review!

Lovely little 'plane... I'd have to paint the tail wheel though. It sticks out like a sore thumb.

RF
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Old Dec 17, 2010, 09:11 AM
got any foam to bash?
Tom Hunt's Avatar
Lake Grove,LI, NY
Joined Aug 2000
5,355 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnm15141 View Post
Nice Review. I love the way this plane looks sitting on display. flys well, but flies even better when I switched it to spectrum and my JR9303.

The Supermarine Spitfire MkXVI sports the blue camo scheme (
http://www.airventure.de/ottawa06/ot...tfire_0645.jpg )

And here
http://www.wwiivehicles.com/unitedki...fighter-01.png
That's not blue guys... it's called by the british "med sea grey". and it actually does look grey in person.

Tom
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Old Dec 17, 2010, 11:07 AM
Every flight is a maiden!
johnm15141's Avatar
USA, CA, Fairfield
Joined Jul 2007
880 Posts
Yeah, it's supposed to be a color called "ocean-grey" I'll bet kyosho decided to go with one shade blue and chose the bright "duck-blue" you see on only the bottom of spitfire variants. I'm thinking of hitting mine with a can of dull coat and see if that knocks down the brightness of it.
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Old Dec 17, 2010, 11:54 AM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,405 Posts
Dear Red Flyer:
The tail wheel stuck out to me when it first arrived and I intended to color it after the intial pictures where taken and then I forgot all about it. I will color the tire with a permenant black marker tonight ... if I don't forget again. Mike H
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