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ParkZone Radian Pro BNF Review

It is time for a look at the Pro version of the Radian. If you think the first version was a hit, wait until you see this one perform!

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Introduction

ParkZone Radian Pro BNF

Wingspan:78.5 in
Length:45 in
Weight:34.6 oz RTF
Receiver:Spektrum AR600
Battery:E-flite 3S 11.1V 1300mAh Lipo
Motor:480 brushless outrunner 960kV
ESC:E-flite 30-Amp Pro Brushless ESC
Propeller:9.75 x 7.5 in folding prop
Transmitter:Spektrum DX7
Manufacturer:ParkZone
Available From:
Horizon Hobby
Price:$249.99

Two years ago ParkZone introduced the Radian RTF electric-powered sailplane. The Radian was very easy to fly, and was perfect for pilots who wanted to transition from park flyers to sailplanes. Now the beginner sailplane pilot had the opportunity to explore thermal soaring with a very capable airplane. The Radian could also take the abuse of those "not so perfect" landings thanks to its durable foam construction.

The Radian became an immediate hit. Suddenly thermal soaring contests were scattered with Radian owners competing right along side sailplanes exceeding the thousand dollar mark. At SEFF 2010, I placed 5th with my brand new Radian in the Limited Motor Run Contest. There were several other Radians among the 45 contestants. As a side note, I placed 3rd out of 22 contestants in the 2009 SEFF LMR contest using my brother's E-Flite Ascent glider. That was our first LMR and got us hooked.

Now that there is a huge force of Radian owners who have done just about everything with this beloved plane, and many are looking for the "next step". Some have modified their Radian with flaps or spoilers. ParkZone has perfect timing with the release of the Radian Pro. Now the Radian lover who has longed for more maneuverability and features can finally relax. This version is expertly outfitted with ailerons and flaps to give more advanced flight characteristics and the ability to slow flight speeds to a crawl. Join me for the full story on what makes this Radian a Pro!

Kit Contents

The Radian Pro BNF comes with everything except for a DSM2 transmitter.

  • Complete airframe
  • Spektrum AR600 6-Channel DSM2 Receiver/ESC/Servos installed
  • 11.1v 3S 1300 mAh Li-Po battery
  • 2-3 cell balancing Li-Po charger
  • Instruction manual

The Radian Pro comes packaged in a very attractive and colorful box. Upon opening the box you will notice the time and attention given to the packing process of each part of the plane. The modular foam fits the wings perfectly and holds the fuselage firmly in place. Zip ties and masking tape are used to ensure parts stay put.

The illustrated manual does a very good job of guiding you through the few simple steps of assembly. The pictures and descriptions are very clear and easy to follow. Go check it out for yourself...a PDF copy of the manual is online.

Assembly

Wing

The wings come ready to attach to the fuselage. Inserting the wing spar and routing the servos wires into the fuselage only takes a few moments. As the manual recommends, a small pair of pliers or tweezers will help guide the wires to the receiver. Be sure to not pinch any excess wire as you slide the wing into place. Once wires are connected and wings fully inserted, be sure to install the two screws into the wing mounts. This is a great improvement from the original Radian that used a friction fit to secure the wings. Besides, with the extreme flying you will be doing with the Radian Pro, we can't have the wings coming off now can we?

Fuselage

The inside of the fuselage can be accessed two ways. The hatch under the fuselage is for accessing the receiver and servo connections. The hinged door is secured by a magnet. Lifting the removable canopy reveals the battery compartment, ESC, and the back of the motor. The canopy is also held on by magnets.

Tail

The horizontal stabilizer slides into the tail section and is held on by four pieces of tape included in the parts bag. Ensure you center the stabilizer in the slot. I found it easier to measure and mark the center line prior to installation. After taping the stabilizer in place connect the pushrod clevis to the elevator control horn.

Radio Setup

To take full advantage of the advanced mixing features of the Radian Pro, you must have at least a 7-channel transmitter. It can be flown with a 6-channel transmitter such as a DX6i but you will lose the capability of reflex and camber mixing. Basic flight can be controlled from a 5-channel transmitter such as a DX5e, but you will be limited to only having flaps.

Horizon Hobby offers setup guides for a few transmitters and are available on their website. I set my Radian Pro up with my trusty DX7. I found the setup guide to be very helpful since there are so many mixes to configure. Here are the links to guide you through setting up the Radian Pro with the DX6i and the DX8.

Battery

Charging the battery with the included DC balancing charger will ensure each of the three cells in the battery pack are kept at the same voltage level. The charger has a variable voltage knob capable of 0.3 to 2.0 amps so be sure not to charge at incorrect rate. After charging the battery, slide it into the battery slot at the rear of the canopy compartment. Secure with both front-to-rear and side hook and loop straps. With the stock battery in this location, the Radian Pro should have the recommended CG of 70mm from the leading edge of the wing. Be sure to check CG of your Radian Pro after battery installation.

Flight times are hard to predict with a powered sailplane due to differing amounts of throttle usage. There are times when a 30-second motor run can put you straight into a thermal that could be ridden for an hour. When I have flown mine in a sport mode doing aerobatics with mostly throttle, I have seen flight times of 12 minutes. At low voltage cutoff the ESC will pulse the motor notifying you to land and change the battery.

Flying

So now itís time to get the Radian Pro in the air. The battery is charged, transmitter bound, mixes are set up, preflight complete, weather is favorable, and now it's time for the maiden flight!

Taking Off and Landing

Launching the Radian Pro by hand is a must since there are no wheels or landing gear. A firm overhead toss level with the horizon is best. These can be done with or without power. Most times I just toss it with no throttle and let it glide for a bit before powering up and climbing for the clouds. The brushless motor gives a great climb rate and will make the plane get small pretty quickly.

Landings are done by skidding to a stop on the grass. Wings level, zero the throttle, slow flight speed to a minimum, and allow the plane to land gently. Once you master the spot landing you may want to try a hand catch. My brother considers this the ONLY way to end a good flight with his sailplanes. I have to agree with him.

Flaps and Crow mixing

The best advancement on the Radian Pro is the capability of flaps and crow mixing. These are used in their own way to slow the flight speed. Many aircraft use flaps. Mostly the flaps are used during landing or descent to minimize air speed and prepare for landing. The Radian Pro slows down considerably when the flaps are deployed.

Crow mixing will slow the Radian Pro even more. This is where the flaps drop and the ailerons raise, creating even more of a drag-inducing speed brake. When crow is enabled the Radian Pro slows to a crawl in a landing approach. In a steep dive, crow mixing will keep you from going too fast during the descent. I would guess that a 45 degree dive with no throttle is reduced to about half the speed with crow enabled as it would with no mixing. Crow mixing is also referred to as butterfly.

Camber and Reflex

Camber is where the flaps and ailerons are slightly lowered to create an under-camber to the normal wing airfoil. With camber the wing becomes more concave and creates more lift. This is usually used when you get into a thermal and you want to be able to fly a little slower to be able to stay in the lift area.

Reflex is the opposite of camber. The flap goes slightly up and the aileron raises. The gives the wing less airfoil and allows for more speed. This is usually used to move across the sky quickly to search for more thermal lift.

Thermal soaring

Since this is a powered sailplane I should discuss a little about how it performs at altitude. I will try to describe the thermalling ability of the Radian Pro as compared to the original Radian that we all know and love. The method of finding thermal lift is the same for both airplanes, but that is where the similarities end. I've spent hours over the last year flying my Radian with one hand on the right stick. When it's trimmed to fly level it makes for very lazy flying as you guide the plane around the sky with slight nudges of rudder. The Radian Pro doesn't quite want to fly by itself as well. Take a look at the curvy wings of the Radian and then the flat form of the Radian Pro. The dihedral in the Radian wing is what makes it stay level so easily. The Radian Pro doesn't have the extreme dihedral. This is why it tends to take more attention to keep the Radian Pro leveled out during flight.

Thermals. What are they? A proper definition is: a rising air current caused by heating from the underlying surface. One way to imagine a thermal is a cone shape, similar to a tornado. It is typically narrow close to the ground and gradually expands the higher it goes. Add some wind to the mix and you will have a tilted "tornado" shape to the thermal. Thermals will drift across the ground and pass through at any given time.

When you think you have found a thermal, you should try to circle in the area with greatest lift. The Radian Pro indicates lift well as you fly into and out of a thermal. Look for signs such as a wingtip lifting or the airspeed changing. Making these turns once you get there is done with aileron and rudder input in the direction of the turn. Once the turn is established, you will hold the rudder to maintain the turn and use the ailerons to keep the plane from rolling too steeply. Don't be surprised to find yourself adding opposite aileron at times. Slight up elevator input will make the turn tighter if needed. Watching at what point during your circle that the plane rises or falls will show the area of greatest lift. Once you've determined the size of the thermal, you can adjust the width of your circle to keep steady turns and hang with the lift. Remember to pay attention to wind direction because thermals will drift with the wind.

Aerobatics

Although the Radian Pro wasn't designed to be an aerobatic plane, it is capable of a few tricks. Inverted flight is quite easy with the less dihedral in the wing. Much of the time I've spent flying it inverted didn't require much down elevator at all. In fact, a few times I was having to pull a little up elevator to make it stay down on the deck while inverted. Besides, my brother always says that I fly most of my planes upside down!

Loops with throttle are simple and can be done one at a time or twenty in a row. Dead-stick loops are capable with a little forward speed. I can't do a loop without following it up with a nice hammer-head stall turn. The Radian Pro looks really nice performing these. Aileron rolls are slow and lazy. They can be kept nice with a little rudder input as you roll.

Photo/Video Gallery

With all these advanced sailplane features, the Radian Pro proves to be a very capable and fun airplane to fly. See for yourself with these action shots and the flight video. FYI: I even strapped my GoPro camera on my original Radian and did some chase video of my brother's Radian Pro. Priceless!

Downloads

Conclusion

Is This For a Beginner?

I would have to say that Radian Pro isn't a good model for a beginner. The advanced features that make this the "Pro" version set it apart from the original Radian. It is a forgiving airframe, as it is constructed of the same Z-Foam as the Radian. However, the advanced control of having ailerons makes this airplane a little more hands-on than the 3-channel Radian.

Summary

A WORD OF THANKS

Thanks to my brother and fellow author, Andy, for his help with flying and the awesome photo and video skills.

I'd also like to thank Horizon Hobby for providing the Radian Pro for this review.

Thank you all so much!

The Radian Pro is just that....Radian...and Pro. It is a versatile sailplane. It can be flown in a very gentle method for soaring or can shift into high gear and do speedy aerobatics. For those Radian addicts out there looking for the next fix, look no further. If you are impressed with the thermalling ability of the original Radian, then you should be equally impressed when you fly the Radian Pro. There's nothing quite like hooking a nice thermal and watching the plane go up like an elevator. The advanced sailplane features of the Radian Pro allow both the amateur and the expert sailplane pilot to have features like flaps, crow, reflex, and camber in an inexpensive bind-and-fly package. This plane literally levels the playing field for many sailplane contests. No longer are the advanced features limited to the high-dollar ships.

Pluses:

  • Advanced sailplane features in an affordable BNF package
  • Z-Foam is quite durable
  • Stronger wing attachments

Minuses:

  • Can be the cause of a sore neck as you stare into the sky grinning during each flight

Last edited by Angela H; Feb 22, 2011 at 10:37 AM..

Discussion

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Old Feb 24, 2011, 01:11 PM
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CSpaced's Avatar
Oak Ridge, NC
Joined Jun 2006
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Great review!
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 03:05 PM
RCHN #150
Rickn816's Avatar
Lawrenceville, GA
Joined Nov 2007
5,997 Posts
Awesome video.

I want to go fly, but I'm trapped at work

Rick
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 03:21 PM
Radian, Polaris, Mistaken ID.
Baseman's Avatar
Japan (Military)
Joined Nov 2010
404 Posts
Awsome review! Thanks!
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 03:36 PM
R.I.P, Aardvark.
F-111 John's Avatar
Holt, MI
Joined Jan 2009
1,554 Posts
Quote:
To take full advantage of the advanced mixing features of the Radian Pro, you must have at least a 7-channel transmitter. It can be flown with a 6-channel transmitter such as a DX6i but you will lose the capability of reflex and camber mixing.
If I understand correctly, you can have camber and reflex with the included AR600 6 channel receiver because both flap aileron servos are mounted with the same orientation, and can work off of a Y-cord. You need a Spektrum DX7 or DX8 transmitter not necessarily for the number of channels, but for the number of available mixes. The DX6i doesn't have enough mixes to do camber and reflex.

Excellent review, with very good photography.
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Last edited by F-111 John; Feb 24, 2011 at 03:44 PM.
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 04:41 PM
Registered User
Joined Sep 2010
569 Posts
I'm flying helis. I wanted a plane - nothing crazy fast, fancy or expensive. An alternative for windy days.

I hung around at a glider-port in my early teens. Lots of seat time in an L13.

This model looked interesting. I hope it's not too complex to learn with. I purchased one this morning. HH sent me a discount code for completing a survey.

I've flown the Radian in Phoenix without too much trouble. I have a DX8 and DX6i to fly it with.

Is there room for a TM1000 telemetry unit, or just the low-range TM1100?
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 05:23 PM
Clear to launch... Delta Out!
Outrider Delta's Avatar
Eleele Hawaii
Joined Jan 2011
65 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by F-111 John View Post
If I understand correctly, you can have camber and reflex with the included AR600 6 channel receiver because both flap aileron servos are mounted with the same orientation, and can work off of a Y-cord. You need a Spektrum DX7 or DX8 transmitter not necessarily for the number of channels, but for the number of available mixes. The DX6i doesn't have enough mixes to do camber and reflex.

Excellent review, with very good photography.
You understand correctly.

And I concur. That was execellent work by both Andy and Gary
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 05:40 PM
Honey, I got more planes!
ghee-grose's Avatar
USA, AL, Athens
Joined Jun 2003
4,274 Posts
Yes, straight from the DX6i setup guide. Limited by number of mixes.
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 07:58 PM
Registered User
USA, FL, Winter Haven
Joined May 2006
507 Posts
LOL Lizardman, I used my code last night to order a normal radian for my son to play with.
Sounds like the code promo may sell a few gliders for em
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 09:28 PM
Rick
hammer833's Avatar
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Joined Apr 2007
651 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by LizardMan View Post
I'm flying helis. I wanted a plane - nothing crazy fast, fancy or expensive. An alternative for windy days.

I hung around at a glider-port in my early teens. Lots of seat time in an L13.

This model looked interesting. I hope it's not too complex to learn with. I purchased one this morning. HH sent me a discount code for completing a survey.

I've flown the Radian in Phoenix without too much trouble. I have a DX8 and DX6i to fly it with.

Is there room for a TM1000 telemetry unit, or just the low-range TM1100?
I fly my R/P with a DX8 and use the TM1000 mounted under the canopy between the ESC and the battery, there's a cutout in the foam that the TM1000 fits in perfectly.
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 09:31 PM
Rick
hammer833's Avatar
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Joined Apr 2007
651 Posts
Great review Garry and some of the best aerial video of a plane in flight I have ever seen.

Rick
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 09:40 PM
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chip.greely's Avatar
Carlsbad, Ca
Joined Mar 2007
3,166 Posts
Gary,

A few of our local fliers have had problems with the original folding props that came on the early releases of the Pro. Apparently, the prop/hub lose power and become out of balance. The replacement prop fixes the problem, but I was wondering if you knew;
1.) what was the problem and 2.) how we're suppose to tell if we have a bad(?) folding prop.

Thx
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 10:44 PM
Registered User
Red Bluff CA
Joined Sep 2001
242 Posts
great review, great video. I was waiting for this review and it was impresive.
Randy
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 10:51 PM
Honey, I got more planes!
ghee-grose's Avatar
USA, AL, Athens
Joined Jun 2003
4,274 Posts
Thanks for the comments guys! This was definitely a fun one to review.

Chip, from what I remember on the prop issue on the early releases, I think it had something to do with the pitch not continuing out to the tip of the props. This resulted in less power. I think Horizon Hobby is shipping replacement props to those that have issues with the first batch.
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 11:49 PM
Flutter-Bys are fun
Conehead's Avatar
United States, MI, Honor
Joined Dec 2005
5,117 Posts
Halt, it is time for the two of you, Gary & Andy to stop. You are writing reviews of planes and now, I want one. This has to stop. I only got so much money and the both of you are just trying to make me get a job to buy all the planes you review. This has to end soon.
Now I have to make more choices.
Say it ain't so, you got more planes to review!!
Thanks guys, at least I can rely on your good reviews.
Conehead
Orrin Eldred
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