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Old Mar 24, 2012, 03:27 PM
Capt, USAF
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Mini-Review
NEW Art-Tech 1300mm P-51 w/ Sound System from Banana Hobby!

Since there is minimal info out there on this plane I decided to shine a light on it. I took a chance and was initially very impressed. Basically it is a little smaller than the FMS P-51 - Features electric servoless main retracts with metal legs, soft tires with cobweb pattern and working suspension (No retracting tail gear though) Nice large flaps, wingtip nav lights, and perhaps most importantly - A WORKING SOUND SYSTEM! It projects a loud warbird engine noise that is in perfect sync with the ESC - It gives a startup effect and smoothly transitions into whatever throttle range you are using to fly the plane. It is awesome and my first taste of a feature like this.

No instructions were provided for the plane - Just instructions for the sound system- I have to say that some of it was a little confusing and there was cutting involved in a few places. I'd have preferred to see that in print before doing it, but there isn't a whole lot of assembly involved, so most people probably won't need instructions anyway.

I tested all electronics this morning - Everything was 100%. VERY impressed with both the sound unit and the main retracts. The sound unit has a really cool old-school warbird engine loaded. I'm not an expert on old engines and I can't say with certainty if it is a Merlin V12 or anything, but it passed my "realistic-enough" test and it is well tied to the ESC for incremental changes and an awesome start up at low throttle. It does cut off completely when throttle is at 0. It was plenty loud while indoors (And has fully adjustable volume control) but I wasn't able to test it in flight because....

IT CAUGHT FIRE! That's right, during my first routine test of everything on the plane in a ready-to-fly status, the sound stopped working. Shortly after that I got the all-too familiar acrid smell - Opened it up and smoke came bellowing out. I took a few photos which I will send to Banana Hobby (I know I'm probably wasting my time by asking them to replace it). The whole unit is fried and although I considered a resurrection attempt, I figured it's better to leave it alone, pull the system, and see how the plane flies without it. The stuff does have appreciable weight. I also pulled the goofy Cessna pilot that is included - The functional sliding canopy made that too easy!

I'll be flying it for the first time tonight - I managed to save the plane and the only thing missing will be the sound system (I honestly wasn't expecting much from that when I bought the plane anyhow). We'll see how it flies before rendering a verdict! If that sound system had held up it would have been truly awesome. I was definitely impressed with that for the short time that it lasted.
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Old Mar 24, 2012, 06:53 PM
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Flight report - Outstanding!

I tried to lead off with a 3000mah Nano-Tech (Hoping to be nose heavy since I had pulled the sound system and the speaker rests behind CG, which I had to guesstimate BTW, since there are no instructions anywhere) and it was a little scary. I was significantly nose-heavy, but after landing and switching to a lighter and friendlier 2200mah pack, all was right in the world. Quite stable and reasonably fast.

It has plenty of power for any kind of aerobatics you want to try, and the flaps are great. I had to dial in some down elevator to counter the balloon effect (18% is my figure) but once it was setup, the landings were really easy. Plus, the suspension landing gear is more than just cool to look at - It really softens those landings a lot! I got 5 great landings and around 5 minutes of flight with plenty of power left.

I missed the cool engine sounds that I had during the early testing phase.... However I need to keep it in perspective that I really wasn't expecting much from that feature in the first place. There is a LOT of potential with this plane if they get the sound system sorted out in later production runs. @ $189 it can be an incredible value.

Tell you what, Art-Tech/Banana Hobby - Fix the speaker system so that it doesn't spontaneously combust (Someone might get hurt, BTW) PLEASE add a retracting tail wheel, and ask $200. It will sell!
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Old Mar 27, 2012, 12:13 PM
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That is pretty cool. Sucks about the sound system though. That could have been real bad,real quick. That seems to be my only hang up is BH is the only place that has it. I havent bought any thing from them but havent heard one good thing from anyone yet sadly
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Old Mar 27, 2012, 02:21 PM
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And you might not hear anything good about them for some time... Their plane inventory is rapidly expanding, but it comes at a time when their customer support is heading *gasp* even further south.

You can read all about it in the vendor section under "Banana Hobby" but I totally agree that their exclusive US distribution rights are nothing but bad news for the majority of RC hobbyists.
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Old Mar 28, 2012, 10:53 AM
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Yeah really annoyed abotu the whole BH vs NP thing. I love airfield but only BH having them is lame. Down to how the website is made ...to the "Hey pilots" bs before each review BH just bugs me. Do you have any video of this Artech bird? Also did the specs decal not come on the left side of the plane as it was on the photos on BH or did you just not apply that decal yet?
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Old Mar 28, 2012, 01:37 PM
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Power transistor blew...Easy fix if no other components fried with it...I'm using my phone at the moment...I'm in the ER with shortness of breath..wish me luck!!!!
Kevin
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Old Mar 29, 2012, 12:51 PM
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The decals are pre-applied, so what you see in my photos is what the production model looks like. I do have some video of it in flight, but I have not uploaded anything yet.

WRT Customer Service, Banana Hobby is in truly terrible shape right now but they've never been accused of great after-purchase support so its really just more of the same. Unfortunately, bad incidents have been happening a lot more in recent months and a very apathetic tone is being set by leadership. Their products are really cool, but I'm looking forward to the days when their American-market stranglehold on LX, FMS, and Art-Tech products are over.

Kevin - Man I really hope everything is ok!

It looks pretty bad on the board - You're saying I can save this thing with readily available parts? I'm decent with a soldering iron, but not an expert by any means. Also, in the event that BH ever decides that they want to try to make things right (I'm not holding my breath) I'd like to leave everything in an unaltered state. That way they'll know it wasn't the result of anything I did.
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Old Mar 29, 2012, 01:38 PM
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Roswalt...She's a nice looking P-51....it's too bad for us that banana is our only US distributor of Art-Tech and FMS aircraft...and I agree that buying is only one part of the equation, if you can't support a product with good customer service then it should be an easy decision.....I never bought from them and I don't plan to...so with me they have good rating...

That stinks that you had an electrical problem...as I hope it's fixable and you don't have to require customer service. I use to buy the Mini Art-tech P-51's and there ESC's would usually burn up in flight....as it made quite a smoke trail.

KG...hope your feeling better.
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Old Mar 29, 2012, 05:55 PM
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Well after getting this bird.... my impression is less favorable.... glad yours is doing well. I will make comment back on main thread.
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Old Mar 29, 2012, 10:04 PM
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Jeez I dont know. I really love the way it looks ...yet that is only half of the battle...well not even half..but does it seem to have any hope with a few mods of being a good bird or is it just straight up crap with no hope?
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Old Mar 29, 2012, 10:20 PM
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I definitely wouldn't say it is crap - Mine flies very well minus the sound system, and I happen to think it looks pretty nice. That said, with all the options on the market for P-51's in this size bracket, its a tough sell.

If the sound system worked, it would be a different story because of the uniqueness. However, at the same price as the much larger/powerful Starmax 1600mm P-51, and only $10 less than the incredible FMS P-51 V6, I don't see very many people going with this one instead.
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Old Mar 29, 2012, 10:30 PM
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I am not sure. I will not lie. I am a mustang whore. I will spend a lot of time working on something to make it the way i want it. Not that im in a postion to order a new bird. But my next two planes will be ordered at the same time and it will be blue nose airfield and maybe this stang. Any chance of the video you shot of it up?
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Old Apr 10, 2012, 07:54 PM
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So how about some flight video roswalt???!!!!
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Old Apr 10, 2012, 08:46 PM
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Sorry - It went up yesterday and scored my best flight yet. I played around with the flap/elevator mix settings and got it dialed in so well that I'd venture to say it is in the top 3 best landing tail draggers I've ever flown.

Unfortunately - No video! Just haven't remembered to bring the camcorder out lately.

In related news, Banana Hobby claims to have finally shipped out my replacement sound system today. We'll see what happens with the extra weight added back in!
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Old Apr 13, 2012, 01:47 PM
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Replacement sound unit arrived yesterday night - It came with one of the main power wires stripped out from the micro connector, so I got to do some micro-soldering. That wasn't too much fun, but after some precision work I'm pleased to report that it works as advertised!

Something important to note - Although the sound board looked very similar to my original, and at first glance it will pass for the exact same one - this is in fact a different board altogether, and I believe it was pulled from the AT-6 (Sister "500-class" plane to this one, also from Art-Tech) due to the yellow paint I found all over the speaker. This sound board does not have a volume adjustment control present, which may have been a contributing factor in "the incident". By default it is pretty loud and it passed my brief test.

I didn't have the guts to run it for very long while in the house, but it made all the right noises and its first extended airborne test will come when the winds calm down a little bit. I'm pretty excited about it!
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