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Horizon Hobby ParkZone F-27Q Stryker BNF Review

I have been impressed by both the quality and the "upgraded" design of this model. The added benefits over the F-27C are obvious, and the result is a great flying, well behaved aircraft.

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:37.1 in (943mm)
Weight:30 oz (855g)
Length:24.1 in (612mm)
Motor Size:480 size Brushless Outrunner 2200 Kv (installed)
Receiver:AR600 6-channel receiver (installed)
Servos:Four (4) DSV130M digital metal geared servos
Transmitter:JR 11X
Battery:11.1V 3S 2200mAh 25C LiPo Battery (included)
ESC:40A (installed)
Experience Level:Intermediate
Recommended Environment:Outdoors
Assembly Time:1 hour
Is Assembly Required:Minor Assembly
Manufacturer:Horizon Hobby
Street Price:$249.99

If one were to take a pilot survey of the most influential R/C aircraft, it would be a sure bet to expect to see the ParkZone Stryker on the list.

The original F-27B Stryker came in with a top speed of 50 mph. It proved to be popular with those wishing to create high-performance delta wings. Many modelers simply purchased the off-the-shelf replacement airframe parts with the intention of adding their own electronics. It is not uncommon for a modified Stryker to reach speeds of 100 mph+, and some have been sufficiently modded to hit over 200mph, recently!

After the response to the F-27B, Horizon Hobby came out with an improved version of the B model in 2006, the F-27C. The F-27C came factory equipped with an E-flite brushless motor system and lithium polymer battery. The included E-flite brushless setup improved both climb performance and all around speed. Other improvements included a one-piece "Z-Foam" wing which can be repaired with any cyanoacrylate adhesive, a propeller suitable for use with lithium polymer batteries, vented battery and electronics compartments and strengthened elevon hinges.

Since the initial release of the Stryker, the airframe has undergone several revisions, and with Horizon Hobby keeping their finger on the pulse of Styker lovers everywhere, they have recently introduced the F-27Q, a complete redesign of the Stryker, courtesy of Quique Somenzini.

I had the opportunity to both speak with and watch Quique put the the F-27Q through it's paces at SEFF 2011. I was impressed.


Kit Contents

The kit I received from Horizon just happened to show up while I was outside working on another project. I pulled out the pocket knife and began opening boxes right there, less than 2 minutes after having received the kit. As I was pulling the Stryker box out of the shipping package my wife looked at me and said "Oooh, a bind and fly, are you gonna fly it right now?" I told her this was for a review here at RCGroups, and she said "Well, why not build it like anyone would? You should build it right now." Horizon has advertised that the Stryker BNF can be ready to fly in less than an hour, so I thought we'd give it a a shot.

The first item out of the package was the 3S 2200 battery so I could get it charging. The initial voltage of the battery from the package was 11.2V, so I knew it should charge fairly quickly. I threw the battery on the charger. (The battery was charged at my outdoor charging station and was monitored throughout the build. Never leave your lipos charging unattended.)

With the battery on the charger, I pulled out a folding table on the back porch and got to the build.


Assembly

The kit parts can be summed up as the fuselage, a small bags of parts and two vertical stabilizers. As a Bind-N-Fly, it comes 96.45% built. Having the gauntlet throw down by my wife, I knew I was going to get the Stryker flying before it ever graced my workshop.


I took a quick inventory of all the parts to make sure they were all there, and they were. Everything to allow for easy, reliable, non-aircraft crunching shipping has already been installed. Pushrods, linkages, stickers, motor, prop, ESC - everything. I also did a quick check to make sure all the components were installed properly and held securely into the airframe, and they were.



The most in-depth portion of the build is the installation of the vertical stabilizers. This, along with the final control rod adjustments and radio setup, are all that is left to the builder (assembler?).

The vertical stabilizers are held onto the airframe with some very sticky double sided tape. I applied the tape to the bottom of the vertical stab and then trimmed it to fit the airfoil of the stab. Be sure not to get too deep into the foam so that you don't change the shape of the stab. I did this for each stab.



With the vertical stabs in place, all that is needed to complete the assembly is to set the control linkage per the manual's recommendations and set up the radio for the Stryker. That's it!

I took the plane from the UPS man's hands and was ready to be airborne in less than 45 minutes.


Flying

With the popularity of the Stryker, one can only guess it is bound to fly great. Prior to flying the Q I had only one opportunity to fly a Stryker. It was one of those crashed-16-times-more-glue-than-foam type birds, and I loved it. It was a blast. The owner and his brothers all told me how much fun they are to fly "in better shape."

A flying wing is a fairly flying different experience than a traditional "fuse and wing" aircraft. Flying wings are a lot of fun, and the Stryker is no exception. The first several flights on the Q were great, but I didn't think I was getting the most out of the airplane. As I flew it more and lost the "I sure hope I don't crash this!" fear, I really started throwing the sticks to it. What a GREAT flying airplane! I have to say, I am very pleased with the Q. It is a very solid flying airplane. It grooves very well. If flown within the throws recommended by the manual, it is nothing but a pleasure to fly.

Taking Off and Landing

While the Q has "landing gear" it is not meant for rolling takeoffs, at least until someone modifies one to carry an EDF as the power plant. It is a hand launched model. I've read some reports that this aircraft can be hard to launch, but I would say that it is not hard to launch at all. I am 3 months post elbow surgery on my right arm; a plate and 7 screws now reside in my arm. I arm wrestled my WIFE of all people the other night, and while she did not pin me, I was unable to pin her. My arm is less than weak. It's embarrassing. The Stryker Q is the first and only thing I have "thrown" in 3+ months and I have had no issues getting it airborne.

I prefer to take it mid-wing and give it a bit of a discus toss. I just sling it out there and away she goes. I have been sure to use 75% throttle or so. It may work better at a lower power setting, but I am compensating for the lack of strength in the arm.





Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

One of the biggest redesigned areas to the Stryker is the addition of rudders. The flight envelope of the Stryker with rudders has gotten much, much larger. Any sort of aerobatics that were previously impossible with the F-27C are now possible. Snap rolls are an absolute blast, flat spins are possible both inverted and upright, knife-edge passes are a certainty. The list can and does go on and on. Stick banging on the Q is lots of fun.



The Stryker is also pushing close to 100mph on the new motor in the Q model. The top end speed of the Q is also much better than previous models. It holds a line very well at speed, and I can't wait to see what happens when those pushing the F-27C to 200mph get their hands on Q models.

Is This For a Beginner?

No. I would not suggest this airplane for a beginner. While it could easily fit into the 3rd or 4th aircraft category it is much too nimble and quick for a beginner.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery





Conclusion

I have been impressed by both the quality and the "upgraded" design of this model. The added benefits over the F-27C are obvious, and the result is a great flying, well behaved aircraft. The plane literally assembled in minutes. It takes me longer to make jalapenos with cream cheese and bacon than it did to put the Stryker together. It could easily be bought at your local hobby shop and carried to the flying field, and over the course of a quick conversation with one of the fellas, you could be in the air... unless of course you have someone willing to assemble while you drive, then you could be flying by the time you got to the field! I took the plane straight from the UPS man's hands and almost immediately started the build, before the plane ever made it into the house. By the time the plane made it into my workshop for the first time, I had 4 flights on the airframe.

The true measure of any airplane is how well it flies. Obviously a blind bear will catch a fish every now and then, but Horizon continues to constantly put out hits. Time and time again Horizon puts out a quality product which is exemplified here with the continued lineage of the F-27 from the B to the Q mode. The included E-Flite brushless motor is plenty powerful and pushes the plane to almost triple digit speeds.

Keep the rates where Horizon recommends and you will be treated to a great flying aircraft that I'd have no trouble recommending to anyone with at least a few aircraft under their belt. Horizon Hobby has been offering the Stryker for quite some time and with the new release of the Q, I can only imagine they will continue to sell this great flying airplane.

Pluses

  • Extremely quick build
  • Flies great at both high and low speeds.
  • Removeable nose cone - this was one of the most common "fix it please" items on the original Strykers. Horizon listened!
  • Addition of a rudder - allows the Q to do things flying wings have never been able to do prior!

Minuses

  • I've found the tips of the vertical stabs and elevons to be fairly fragile.
Last edited by Angela H; Sep 30, 2011 at 12:44 PM..

Discussion

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Old Oct 25, 2011, 06:00 AM
I broke it
David Hogue's Avatar
USA, NC, Clayton
Joined Feb 2001
5,614 Posts
Nice Jeff,

I won mine in a drawing from Atlanta Hobby, and have flown it a LOT. Its now my main night flyer, and am thinking of getting another to push even faster!
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Old Oct 25, 2011, 11:14 AM
Fly it like you stole it..
Tram's Avatar
Florence, Al
Joined Oct 2000
29,212 Posts
I've thought about strapping something bigger on this one..
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Old Nov 07, 2011, 03:13 AM
Registered User
Joined Feb 2009
31 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tram View Post
I've thought about strapping something bigger on this one..
Hi Jeff, I assume you mean a bigger motor? If so, which one, what prop, and what size pack are you thinking about? (4S)? I just picked one up yesterday and will fly it stock for a while to get used to it... and then probably do a few things to kick it up a notch or two. (I fly mainly the larger 12S, 700-class helis and a couple of other planes, including my Superfly/Megafly!)

Thanks!
Gerry
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Old Nov 07, 2011, 06:07 AM
Fly it like you stole it..
Tram's Avatar
Florence, Al
Joined Oct 2000
29,212 Posts
Gerry-

I haven't thought too deeply about it. If I went anywhere with it, it might be a simple 4S setup, but I haven't even looked at the battery compartment while thinking about going bigger so I'm not sure what I could fit.

I've been flying it 100% stock an am having a blast with it, so I may leave it alone.
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Old Nov 12, 2011, 06:39 AM
Build, crash, repeat...
lee292a's Avatar
USA, VA, Cedar bluff
Joined Dec 2002
320 Posts
Jeff is right about launching the Stryker. It takes somebody with a pretty strong throwing arm to get it off the ground with the standard overhand toss. I'm going to try that discus launch this afternoon!
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Old Nov 13, 2011, 10:44 AM
Registered User
Joined Feb 2009
31 Posts
@Jeff, yeah, I'll definitely fly it stock for a long while b/c it's just plain old fun as-is! No use in messing with it to "make it go" 60 mph faster... If I want to fly that fast then I think it makes more sense to build something designed to go that fast from the get-go.

Agree about the sideways throw launch - much easier to launch that way and no worries about the prop vs. finger issue. (I know some people launch with the motor on, but I'll pass on that technique).
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Old Nov 13, 2011, 10:50 AM
Fly it like you stole it..
Tram's Avatar
Florence, Al
Joined Oct 2000
29,212 Posts
Yeh, I'm sure someone will be hitting 200mph with one soon.. I'd like to watch the videos, but I think I'll build something else for that purpose.
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