HobbyKing.com New Products Flash Sale

Horizon Hobby ParkZone Ultra-Micro F4U Corsair BNF Review

Napo Monasterio takes this stalwart of the Pacific Theater to the backyard. It may be small in size, but it packs a punch in the air.

Splash

Introduction

The Vought F4U Corsair, that staple of the Pacific Theatre, has always held a special place in my aviation mind. Back in 19-none-of-your-business, I built my first plastic model of this World War II stalwart, a 1:48 Airfix kit that still lives somewhere in my childhood home (covered in dust, of course).


Wingspan:15.9 in
Weight:1.47 oz.
Length:12.8 in
Aileron servos:Two Parkzone 1.7g linear long-throw servos
Transmitter:The RTF version includes a DSM2 transmitter; for the BNF version version, I used my trusty Spektrum DX7SE (now discontinued).
Receiver/ESC combo:Six-channel AR6400 ultra-micro brick, which features two linear servos as well
Battery:E-Flite 1S 150mAh 15C LiPo, included in RTF and BNF versions
Charger:E-Flite 1S .3A charger, included in RTF and BNF versions, along with four AA batteries.
Motor: Parkzone Ultra-Micro brushed motor
Manufacturer:Horizon Hobby
Available From:Horizon Hobby or your neighborhood hobby shop
Price:$139.99 for the RTF version; $109.99 for the BNF version.

What was it that attracted me to it back in the day on the shelves of the hobby shop? Without a doubt, it was the unique wings. What is it that attracts me to it now? Without a doubt, it is the unique wings — and its war record, too.

The Corsair was a power player in the latter part of War World II, as one of the U.S. Navy's top carrier-based fighters. Powered by Pratt & Whitney under the cowl, it became the terror of the Pacific, with an impressive 11:1 kill ratio. And its service didn't end there — it also fought during the Korean War and beyond.

There have been myriad replicas of the Corsair in the R/C market, and Horizon Hobby has joined the club with a .46-sized version from Hangar 9 and a popular foam version from Parkzone. Now, in the midst of the ultra-micro craze, there's a mini-me version aimed at the backyard crowd.

Kit contents

Parkzone offers two flavors of this quintessential blue-and-gray fighter: a bind-and-fly (BNF) and a ready-to-fly (RTF), the only difference between them being the lack or inclusion of the famous little transmitter that has been made popular by Vapors and mCX releases alike.

Horizon Hobby sent me a bind-and-fly version of this plane (which I promptly bound to my trusty Spektrum DX7SE). The box is a gizmo in and of itself, as it doubles as a handy carrying case for the Corsair, charger and batteries, keeping everything nice and safe. Inside of it, here's what I found:

  • A plane! I know, that's surprising. It comes fully assembled, from the micro electronics to the landing gear (removable, by the way).
  • Battery and charger: The provided charger is the one-battery kind (vs. the four-battery one available separately), and it comes with four AA batteries for it. The provided LiPo is of the one-cell, 150mAh variety — enough for at least a good eight minutes of war-birding performance.
  • Decal set: For a bit of customization, Parkzone provides two different sets of decals, one for the Pappy Boyington and another for the Ira Kepford aircraft.
  • Instructions: They are available in English, French, German and Italian (hey, it has half of the World War II nations covered!).
  • Transmitter (for RTF version): If you bought the ready-to-fly flavor, it will come with the traditional small transmitter found in most micro offerings (and batteries also are included). I, having received the bind-and-fly flavor, used my Spektrum DX7SE.

Now, this is essentially a ready-to-fly model, but just for kicks...

Assembly

There's always something that needs to be done before you take off for the first time, even if it just involves putting the batteries in the charger.

In this case, that's just about the full extent of this process.

The Corsair comes, for all intents and purposes, ready to go, but there are but a couple of things that need to be done:

A NOTE ABOUT THE CONTROL LINKAGES Horizon has released a small bulletin regarding the factory-preset positioning of the control linkages. According to the company, the pushrods were positioned in the wrong linkage holes and should be on the outermost holes for the elevator and ailerons, while on the next-to-innermost for the rudder.

While you may not experience any difference (especially if you set the travel rates yourself on the BNF version), that's worth noting, especially for beginner pilots who purchased the pre-trimmed RTF version.

First of all, charge the battery with the supplied charger, which should take all of 15 minutes or thereabouts. A blinking light signifies that the LiPo is almost fully charged, and when the LED turns off, that's your cue to remove it from the charger.

In the meantime, you can decorate your Corsair to your heart's desire. I went for the Pappy Boyington one, with the 86 number — but here's hoping I don't 86 this model on my first launch.

You will need to bind your model to the transmitter (you might even need to do it even for the RTF version, though they are usually bound from the factory), but it's the standard operating procedure (sans the bind-plug part). Trimming is a breeze, with the low rates set at 70 percent of the recommended rates for elevator (4mm), aileron (6mm) and rudder (7mm).

And, without further ado, you and your plane should be en route to the backyard. Or the driveway. Or the cul-de-sac. Or the 10-acre open field. Your call.

Flying

The beauty of the Ultra-Micro series from Parkzone and E-Flite is that you can fly them anywhere, anytime. I practice harriers with the Ultra-Micro 4-Site in an empty side lot next to my house. I relax with my Vapor while grilling on the back porch. And, while the Corsair might be a bit too big for either, I can still enjoy it in the more confined spaces — in my case, usually at a wonderful urban park during (shhhh!) my lunch break.

Take off and landing

I'll admit it: I'm no fan of non-retractable landing gear in warbirds. There's just something... weird about it. I like the clean lines to be showcased in-air. So, part of the allure of this Corsair is that the main gear is removable, simply by sliding it out. For the most part, I have been flying without it.

Traditional, roll-off-the-ground takeoffs are doable, though, and it doesn't take much throttle or runway for it. In just three or four feet, you'll be airborne. As expected, however, you will need a paved surface — or a golf green — to take off, given the small wheels.

On the other hand, I much prefer the hand-toss method — it expands your flying locales, it's simpler and you don't have to have the landing gear installed. Hold the plane by the canopy, move the throttle stick a bit past halfway, then give it a gentle undertoss. Voilΰ! The plane is there. (Fact: It's so easy to do, that a friend's 5-year-old daughter successfully hand-launched it for me).

Returning with the landing gear is a gentle affair, and the only thing that you should keep in mind is to keep a bit of throttle along the entire final approach, or else the nose will begin to drop a bit too suddenly — and we all know what happens next.

On the other hand, hitting the grass without the landing gear doesn't get much easier than killing the throttle and plopping down back to level ground. Weighing less than 1.5 ounces, you shouldn't worry about inertia wreaking havoc on your new plane — just be careful that you don't land on the wingtips too much, as they can be a bit brittle, and I have had to repair cracks already. Just let it land gently — then pick it back up, and keep on flying.

Flight characteristics

For the most part, the Corsair is a surprisingly docile airplane. It has no shortage of power — the three-blade prop certainly adds to that factor — and it has just enough control surfaces to perform any kind of maneuver of the non-3D variety. It can feel a bit twitchy at first, but with the proper expo settings, it can be tamed just enough.

All in all, this aircraft felt like a true warbird, only minified — plenty of speed and the right amount of aerobatic performance. You simply can't push the envelope with this plane too much because of its nature, but if circuits across the backyard and the sporadic roll/loop/hammerhead is your definition of R/C fun, this fits the bill. Beyond that, there's not much it can perform (properly, anyway).

I was able to get a respectable eight to 10 minutes out of one charge of the 150mAh battery. Most of my flying was performed at half-throttle, which is the epitome of late-afternoon flying, anyway. It is not much of a floater, however, and once you go below one third throttle, it will fall out of the sky in short order.

One thing I did notice is that it has a bit of a natural tendency to torque left. You can notice that both while taxiing as well as in the air. After a mixture of proper trim and in-air correction, you will notice it less and less. But it's there, though.

How much room do you need for it? Not much, in fact. I'd say you can have all the fun on a 40-yard-by-20-yard open space. Hence, a mid-size backyard should be all you need. Sure, it's a bit more than the fly-around-your-cubicle Vapor, but not all that much.

Special aerobatic performance

If you were planning on doing inverted harriers with this Corsair... it can't be done in the real version, it can't be done in the parkflyer version, and thus I wouldn't bet my $110 in being able to accomplish it with this one, either. That said, here's how I found it performed in the scale-warbird-maneuvers department.

  • Loops: Inside loops are beyond doable, but they won't be too tight. I would be careful, as recovering back to level flight might require a tad more room than you may be accustomed to. Because of power limitations, however, outside loops are pretty much out of the question.
  • Rolls: Oh yes, very much so. They are extremely scale-looking, long and slow. You need to keep a close eye on the elevator input, however, as you might lose a good bit of altitude on the latter half of the roll. Overall, these are my favorite things to do with the plane, as it makes for micro-sized warbird action.
  • Hammerheads: There is plenty of rudder travel available to make for stall turns. Granted, there is no unlimited-vertical action to speak of, but that doesn't mean they're not doable at the end of a climb.
  • Four-point rolls: They're barely doable, as there's not enough rudder or fuselage to maintain proper knife-edge flight.
  • Inverted flight: I wasn't a big fan of the performance here, but then again, I didn't take off expecting amazing canopy-down action. The wing design, unsurprisingly, does not help the cause. But it's doable — with copious amounts of elevator, of course.
  • Spins Yes, yes indeed. Set yourself to three mistakes high, then apply plenty of elevator and give it a fair share of aileron. The spin rate is not huge — but, once again, give yourself plenty of time to recover.
  • Harrier flight/hovering: What? You thought I was going to mention something 3D-oriented here? C'mon now, let's move along.

Video

Downloads

Is this for a beginner?

This Ultra-Micro Corsair is docile, speedy and more than a handful in slight breezes, and thus doesn't meet my criteria for a first plane. Not to mention the fact that it's a four-channel aircraft.

That said, it does have durability going for it. I've plopped it down in style more than once, I've let little kids at the park unsuccessfully launch it, I've made mistakes at half a mistake high. That's how we roll at the Monasterio Electric Aerospace Institute and Crash Test Facility© (motto: "Electrons Rule, Yet Gravity Always Laughs Last"©).

The worst of the damage? A (nasty, but repairable) crack in the wing, easily fixed on the spot. I could settle for that. And the fact that the landing gear is removable lowers your chances of ripping anything out. I have yet to fully 86 this plane, despite the markings it boasts on its sides.

I believe this would make a fine second plane after getting your feet wet with some slower and gentle aircraft. If you're in the market for something that can be flown in front of you, maybe the Vapor (reviewed by Jon Barnes) or the Champ (reviewed by Andy Grose) might be better alternatives.

Conclusion

The Corsair didn't disappoint the first time I laid eyes on it a decade (or is it decades?) ago, and it sure didn't disappoint again. It is one of the best-looking and most-recognizable aircraft ever made — as the Greatest Generation would say, "They don't make them like that anymore" — and in the air, it is quite the mesmerizer.

If you enjoy warbirds, you're in for a treat. It has the looks of a bigger scale plane, but it's small enough that you can keep it in the car and fly it out of your parking lot. It's durable, it has good flight characteristics and it's a unique micro release.

The price is comparable to most other micro offerings from ParkZone and E-Flite. It's not as versatile in the air as the Ultra-Micro 4-Site or easy to fly as the Vapor, but what it lacks in aerobatics and lightness, it makes up in character.

A WORD OF THANKS
I would like to thank the following for making this review possible: Horizon Hobby for providing the bind-and-fly Corsair, and my friends Andy Grose and Bo Lovell for the outstanding photos and video.

Pros:

  • A beautiful rendition of a WWII classic — the three-bladed prop is a brilliant touch.
  • Flight characteristics are accurate — a scale plane with a no-frills attitude.
  • Lightweight, portable, durable, relatively easy to fly — the quintessential lunchtime bird.
  • Not a bad deal.

Cons:

  • Wing can be a bit brittle (but that's the only minor damage I incurred).
  • It tends to torque a tad to the left (but you'll get used to it).

Last edited by Angela H; Oct 08, 2011 at 08:22 AM..

Discussion

Reply
Thread Tools
Old Oct 06, 2011, 05:46 PM
Suspended Account
Joined Sep 2011
124 Posts
I have had one of these for about two months and I love it. This is one cool little airplane. It has plenty of power and agility to fly outdoors, even in a light wind. I did cut a bit of foam out of the cowl to move the battery forward as the F4U tends to be a tad tail heavy. I highly recommend that everyone who buys one of these carefully check the CG before you fly for the first time.

I also have the T-28 and it is just as much fun as the F4U and more stable so it's better in a breeze. These micro planes are the wave of the future.
slots - Topspin is offline Find More Posts by slots - Topspin
Reply With Quote  (Disabled)
Old Oct 06, 2011, 09:20 PM
Callsign: Zulu
Stuka_99's Avatar
Somewhere in the skies!
Joined Feb 2011
656 Posts
Nice review, might wanna edit the prices though, $109 RTF/$139 BNF seems kinda odd.
Stuka_99 is offline Find More Posts by Stuka_99
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 06, 2011, 11:09 PM
Suspended Account
Joined Sep 2011
124 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuka_99 View Post
Nice review, might wanna edit the prices though, $109 RTF/$139 BNF seems kinda odd.
I think he got them backwards. My BNF was $109.00
slots - Topspin is offline Find More Posts by slots - Topspin
Reply With Quote  (Disabled)
Old Oct 08, 2011, 07:54 AM
War Eagle!
Spackles94's Avatar
Birmingham, Alabama
Joined Feb 2007
7,876 Posts
Yes, I had MSRP dyslexia. Will ask to fix soonest. Gratzi!
Spackles94 is offline Find More Posts by Spackles94
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 08, 2011, 10:28 AM
Suspended Account
Joined Sep 2011
124 Posts
Hey no problem spackles94, an easy mistake.

That was a well done review. I took my little Park Zone F4U to the field yesterday and flew it in a pretty stiff wind. It gave a good account of itself even though control was a bit difficult at times. Landings were easy, just point it into the wind, flair, and plop it on the grass. No damage at all ( it's too light to hurt itself) and I plan to fly it again today. I am thinking about getting the Mosquito for my next one.
slots - Topspin is offline Find More Posts by slots - Topspin
Reply With Quote  (Disabled)
Old Oct 11, 2011, 09:35 AM
Just Happy To Be Here!!!
harrymc's Avatar
United States, AL, Tuscaloosa
Joined Nov 2004
1,695 Posts
Check your CG. Mine was a little over 2 grams tail-heavy out of the box. I flew it that way twice and didn't like it. I added 2.2 grams to the nose and it flew much better!

Harry
harrymc is offline Find More Posts by harrymc
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 12, 2011, 11:32 AM
One of the usual suspects
Vicarious's Avatar
United States, AL, Huntsville
Joined Jun 2007
1,481 Posts
Nice review! Video link broken, is it the same as the Vimeo?
Vicarious is offline Find More Posts by Vicarious
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 12, 2011, 12:23 PM
Shocking!
Kevlar's Avatar
United States, MI, Commerce Charter Township
Joined May 2002
300 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by harrymc View Post
Check your CG. Mine was a little over 2 grams tail-heavy out of the box. I flew it that way twice and didn't like it. I added 2.2 grams to the nose and it flew much better!

Harry
Agreed Harry,

A little tail heavy. My brother bought two of these, one as a surprise gift (Thanks Omster!)....and after some research on his part, we tape a dime to the bottom of the cowl, pretty much center/center....perfect balance for our planes.

Wiqar
Kevlar is offline Find More Posts by Kevlar
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 12, 2011, 11:12 PM
Registered User
cwolfe's Avatar
United States, TX, Spring
Joined Aug 2011
2,323 Posts
I "86'd" this bird first time out. Got some foam safe glue and was in the air again. After about five flights it was done. Now, I blame this on my lack of experience. Your right. Not beginner plane. I've salvaged the equipment and am using it in my Dumas and Guillows scratch built kits. I'm suprised anybody was able to fly this Corsair in any, I mean any, wind or breeze. There again it's most likely my lack of experience.
cwolfe is offline Find More Posts by cwolfe
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 13, 2011, 12:20 AM
Power Wheels Guru
UNGN's Avatar
Southlake, TX
Joined Jan 2008
7,327 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwolfe View Post
I "86'd" this bird first time out. Got some foam safe glue and was in the air again. After about five flights it was done. Now, I blame this on my lack of experience. Your right. Not beginner plane. I've salvaged the equipment and am using it in my Dumas and Guillows scratch built kits. I'm suprised anybody was able to fly this Corsair in any, I mean any, wind or breeze. There again it's most likely my lack of experience.
Beginners that buy a Corsair will do better if they don't try to fly it with the RTF radio AND they add some nose weight as people have said, or extend the battery slot into the nose and/or use heavier batteries.

With a good radio with expo on ailerons and elevator, the Corsair is easy to fly, and with some nose weight, it flies fine in a 5+ mph wind.

With the RTF TX and factory CG settings of my corsair, it would be pretty easy to crash it in a 5 mph breeze. I wouldn't want to fly it like that.
UNGN is offline Find More Posts by UNGN
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 13, 2011, 10:41 AM
Suspended Account
Joined Sep 2011
124 Posts
After modding mine to take care of the CG problem I was able to fly in a pretty stiff breeze, not very well but it did fly. I agree the PnP transmitter is crap becuse there are no dual rates or exponential and you need these.

I flew it in a large park where I had lots of room and tall soft grass so landing (crashing) in a heavy wind didn't hurt anything. It is almost impossible to turn into the wind if it is over 5 mph and the little plane is just all over the place but it is flyable.
This is good practice and the plane is too light to hurt itself when it crashes in the grass.
slots - Topspin is offline Find More Posts by slots - Topspin
Reply With Quote  (Disabled)
Old Nov 03, 2011, 02:43 AM
Registered User
Joined Oct 2011
31 Posts
nice review!
Aara chen is offline Find More Posts by Aara chen
Reply With Quote
Old Jan 03, 2012, 01:55 PM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,600 Posts
Napo was reviewing the BNF version but their transmitter does have dual rates. Just push in the right stick to go between the two rates. Mike H
Michael Heer is offline Find More Posts by Michael Heer
RCG Plus Member
Old Jan 03, 2012, 06:49 PM
Registered User
restlessswind's Avatar
United States, CA, Sacramento
Joined Jan 2010
3,037 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by UNGN View Post
Beginners that buy a Corsair will do better if they don't try to fly it with the RTF radio AND they add some nose weight as people have said, or extend the battery slot into the nose and/or use heavier batteries.

With a good radio with expo on ailerons and elevator, the Corsair is easy to fly, and with some nose weight, it flies fine in a 5+ mph wind.

With the RTF TX and factory CG settings of my corsair, it would be pretty easy to crash it in a 5 mph breeze. I wouldn't want to fly it like that.

Actually, a way to improve the "handling" with the RTF TX unit is to insert some wood dowel stock into the sticks' crowns to lengthen them. Make them as long as a dx6i and the fine motor control of your fingers will be quite enhanced. Use low rates too.
restlessswind is offline Find More Posts by restlessswind
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Discussion Parkzone Ultra Micro F4U Corsair Owner's Thread MaladroitFL Micro Ready-to-Fly 1443 Nov 10, 2014 06:36 PM
Discussion Parkzone Ultra Micro F4U Corsair Mod Thread Ultra_Spitfire Micro Ready-to-Fly 112 Oct 08, 2014 01:48 PM
Sold Parkzone Ultra Micro F4U Corsair RTF NIB... micromantis Aircraft - Electric - Micro & Indoor Airplanes (FS/W) 5 May 18, 2011 01:52 PM
Discussion Parkzone ultra micro F4U Corsair rcfllyer Electric Plane Talk 3 May 11, 2011 10:39 PM
New Product New Ultra Micro F4U Corsair BNF by ParkZone P-51C Micro Ready-to-Fly 3 Feb 23, 2011 11:27 AM