|Horizon Hobby ParkZone Habu 2 EDF BNF Basic|
|Servos:||DSV130M Digital Metal Gear Servos and SV80 Long Lead Servos for flaps (optional)|
|Receiver:||Spektrum AR600 6-channel DSM2/DSMX receiver|
|Battery:||4s 4000mah LiPo battery used. E-flite 3200mAh 4S 14.8V 30C Li-Po recommended.|
|Motor:||Brushless BL15 Ducted Fan Motor, 3200Kv|
|ESC:||E-flite 60-Amp Brushless|
|Fan Unit:||E-flite Delta-V 15 69mm Electric Ducted Fan|
|Available From:||Horizon Hobby|
I had the privilidge of reviewing the "original" ParkZone Habu back in February of 2010. I was really impressed with most everything about that model, especially its flight characteristics. Even though I have many "higher end" EDF jets in my hangar, I have always kept a RTF Habu with them. It just flies that well. Given that it does fly so well, and so many seem to have been sold, I was surprised to see that ParkZone was discontinuing the model. Even though I had no way to actually know, I assumed they were working on something to replace it. Little did I know they would bring it back but with some great improvements!
So what are some of the improvements that really stick out? Actually, the biggest improvement is one that sticks out, and then tucks away ... the retract ready airframe! The retracts themselves are "optional" even though they are a must-have. The optional flaps and the new 4 point wing attachment system are also new. The flaps are not exactly a must-have for this airframe, but they do make it more enjoyable. And anyone who had the previous Habu will appreciate the fact the the wing on the Habu 2 is now held down at four points: a tab and notch system at the rear of the wing, a screw at the front, and now two additional screws half way back on the wing saddle on each side of the fuse. No more wing saddle sag!
So, let's rewind back to my "original" Habu review. In that review I have a wish section at the end . It reads ....
I guess manufacturers actually do read the reviews.** We now have a retract-ready airframe, and a white version is also available. The flaps are just icing on the cake! (** I am sure ParkZone was working on these updates long before my Habu review was published, but its nice to dream.)
The new Habu 2 is billed as "a full-throttle thriller that's a blast to fly at any speed". Let's see if the new improvements blast it to a new level of thrilling excitement.
The Habu 2 airframe is packed with precision into a foam cradle that securely holds the sub-assemblies in place. I knew what to expect this time around with the Habu 2 having reviewed the ParkZone Habu, but it's still interesting to see how complete this kit is sitting new in the box. Almost everything is factory installed. It really is just a matter of assembling sub-components. The manual on the Habu 2 is easy to follow but it is a little different layout than the previous Habu manual. The Habu 2 manual uses illustrations instead of actual pictures.
The main parts of the Habu 2 airframe are made from Z-Foam, the same foam the original Habu was made from, although on this airframe the foam is white. The Z-foam provides a smooth and tough finish (there are some very small molding bumps on the surfaces). All of the primary control surfaces on the Habu 2 are "live hinged" (the optional flaps must be partially cut away from the wing to make them operational - the foam itself serves as the hinge material) but also include a small piece of tape in the beveled edge of the hinge for added security. As provided, the airframe allows for the quick installation of the optional retracts without having to do any modifications.The Habu 2 continues to use electronic components that already have a great track record of being reliable.
The instruction manual is easy to follow and includes fairly large illustrations of the assembly steps. The manual also includes other reference material and safety information.
There really is no radio installation required. The receiver and the ESC are factory installed. The only thing really left to do associated with a radio install is to plug the servo extensions from the wing into the receiver during the wing installation. The first thing I needed to do before starting assembly was to bind my receiver to my transmitter. The receiver needs to be functional so the servos can be programmed correctly during the assembly process.
While preparing the wing for the optional flap and retract installation and taking pictures for this review, I noticed that the blue paint on some spots of the wing had a tacky feel to it and would actually stick to my finger somewhat if I left it in place for an extended period of time. I rubbed a little bit of micro-balloons on the spots to eliminate the stickiness.
The optional flap installation is very straightforward. I glued the servos into the factory molded wing servo pockets using a small amount of gap filling CA. The flap control horn is held in place with two servo screws.The flap control push rod consists of a z-bend attached to the servo control horn and a plastic clevis connected to the flap control horn.
Before the flap control can become fully operational, a small foam wedge piece (and part of the root of the flap) must be cut away in order to allow the flap to move freely.
The are some slight modifications that must be done to the electric nose retract before it can be installed. Fortunately, those modifications are relatively easy to accomplish. First, the nose gear strut must be cut and then slightly bent. The bend in the strut will now allow the nose wheel to fully retract into the airframe. The supplied wheel is attached to the strut with the axle included in the retract kit box.
The nose gear retract is installed into a factory installed mount in the fuselage with 4 screws.
After the steering control linkage is attached to the included steering servo, an out retract cover plate is installed with 6 screws. Note: The plate must be modified by the modeler to allow the wheel to pass through it freely.
After I was satisfied that my retract would move through the retract cover plate freely, I installed the included nose gear door...A nice touch that adds to the nose gear's retracted appearance!
The main gear retracts are an even easier install than the nose gear, and the factory installed gear mounts speed the process along. First, the fixed gear covers needed to be removed from the wing. A nice surprise awaited me after the covers were removed: The electric retract extensions were sitting right there in the main gear wells.
The main gear retract struts must also be cut for proper installation. Once again, the stock wheels and the axles from the retract kit box are used for the main landing gear. And to top it all off, gear doors for the main retracts as well! They simply snap into place on the wire strut.
At this point I installed the wing onto the fuselage. The wing on the Habu 2 is held in place at four contact points. A tab and notch system at the rear of the wing, a screw at the front, and now (compared to the original Habu) two additional screws half way back on the wing saddle on each side of the fuse.
The system by which the horizontal stab is attached to fuselage is incredibly well thought out. The horizontal stab, rudder servo, elevator servo, and elevator control linkage comes ready to install as one sub-assembly. All that I needed to do was plug the rudder and elevator servos into the servo connectors in the fuselage (the connectors are stacked and mounted at the front of the horizontal stab saddle - very nice!), plug the horizontal stab locator pins into the front of the stab saddle, lower the stab onto the fuselage stab saddle, and screw the horizontal stab onto the fuselage with two screws.
After the stab was attached, I slid the fin and rudder post into a hole between the rudder and elevator servo. Next, I installed the plastic fin mounting plates to each side of the fin in the alignment holes. (The alignment holes in the fin make it impossible to get it wrong.) The plastic fin mounting plates are held in place with screws. After the plates were secured, I installed the rudder push rod and the tail cone. The tail cone is held in place with tape that is included.
I programmed the rates for the Habu 2 into my Spektrum DX-18 transmitter (as a side note, I have added an even lower rate for my ailerons (3 position) ... 10mm) and got everything ready to check the center of gravity. The manual recommends using a 4 cell 3200 pack. I already have a couple of 4 cell 4000 packs that are used in my Hangar 9 Christen Eagle, so I decided to use those instead of purchasing a new pack. The 4000's are a little heavier so I knew I would need to add a little weight. When all was said and done I needed to add roughly 2 ounces of lead to rear of the airframe.
Maiden flight note: After my initial retracting of the landing gear they then dropped soon after and kept cycling up and down by themselves (but not all at the same time). It turned out to be a bad 3-way connector that came with the retracts. I contacted Horizon Hobby and they had a replacement to my door in a matter of days. After the 3-way connector was replaced everything worked well. The first flight was kept short, and I never had a chance to fully trim it out. References to the "maiden" flight below are of the first full flight.
When I maiden an aircraft I usually am not very nervous (although, the amount of nervousness almost always seems to depend on the cost of said airframe). It's either going to fly or not. Since I have roughly 140 flights on my original Habu, I can honestly say this was as relaxed as I have ever been for a maiden.
For the maiden takeoff (no flap), I slowly advanced the throttle while adding slight back pressure on the elevator. The Habu 2 taxis well with positive control through all of the takeoff roll. Even when approaching lift off, the Habu 2 still tracks very well. The Habu 2 lifts off of the ground very smoothly. It does not leap off of the ground unless I get aggressive on the elevator on purpose. Once the Habu 2 lifts off, the climb-out can be somewhat aggressive, although not approaching anything near unlimited vertical. Once the landing gear are retracted and the flaps are pulled up (if used) the airframe picks up speed quickly. Subsequent takeoffs without flap have proven to be a non-issue, although now I no longer slowly advance the throttle ... now I just punch it and go! .
As you might have guessed, the takeoff roll with the flaps deployed shortens the takeoff roll (full flaps even more so). With flaps deployed for takeoff, the airframe tends to lift off more horizontally to the ground ... without flaps the nose rotates first and leads the plane during ascent. I find that I need more power when using flaps for two reasons. First, there is more drag, and secondly, I want to make sure to have plenty of airspeed and power to climb when the flaps are deployed since it leaves the ground earlier (be careful using the flaps in gusty situations. The airframe could prematurely get airborne during a gust). I personally don't use the flaps much for takeoff on this airframe although I can see their advantages if flying from grass or very short fields.
I knew landing the Habu 2 would be uneventful without flaps. I mostly like to make a slightly descending turn when transitioning from my down wind pass to final. I also like to bring it in for shallow low power landings. Once the retracts are dropped the airframe immediately starts to slow down, so care must be taken when managing your power (the nose gear door provides a lot of drag). During landing, the Habu 2 settles in very well once power is reduced. I feel working the throttle all the way to touchdown is the key for smooth landings with the Habu 2. Because the airframe is so forgiving, you could cut the throttle and glide it in for landings but the overall success rate for getting smooth landings under this approach is minimized. When I keep the power on until touchdown, only a moderate amount of elevator is need for the final flair. I have flown numerous jets in various sizes, and I can honestly say the Habu 2 is one of the easiest jets to land for me.
Although landing with flaps on the Habu 2 is not necessary, it does slow the airframe down and make the landings a bit easier (If you manage the power during decent and final touchdown). If you are a modeler who likes the chop the throttle and glide your jet in then I would not recommend the high rate flaps for landing. A little more elevator input is used during the final flair with the flaps deployed since the touchdown speed is slower and the elevator is a little less effective.
After the landing gear are retracted, the Habu 2 quickly picks up speed after takeoff under full power. On my initial trim flight, the Habu 2 required very little correction to fly level. The Habu 2 responds quickly to control inputs and is very nimble at medium to higher flying speeds. Just like the Habu before it, the Habu 2 tracks incredible well and gives you a little of the feel of higher end jets but still maintains its forgiveness due to its weight and wing loading. That wing loading will allow for rather aggressive turns and pulls to vertical. It will also allow for quick pulls out of dives, but its not something I recommend too often. The Habu 2 will fly very slowly before stalling. When the Habu 2 does stall, it is usually fairly docile and falls off to one side slightly. Recovery from stall is very straightforward. All I needed to do was add some power and pull out slowly. Speaking of slow flight, slow passes with the flaps down are another thing I like to do. I can't say it's something I have done a lot with my other jets but the Habu 2 is so stable that it looks impressive to see a jet going so slowly. Its hard to image being any more comfortable while flying a jet than I am while flying the Habu 2 in basic flight.
The Habu 2 flies crisply and somewhat powerfully so I knew I could push the airframe as soon as it was trimmed. The Habu 2 flies well inverted so I spend a lot of the flight flying inverted or entering and exiting maneuvers inverted. The Habu 2 has a better wing retention system than the original Habu so I feel even more comfortable pushing the airframe when it is inverted. Only a small amount of up elevator is required to maintain level inverted flight. Aileron rolls are very axial at full throttle with very little-to-no tendency to lose altitude while rolling. At slower speeds, the rolls are still fairly axial but control input must be added to keep the rolls on plane.
Knife edge flight with the Habu 2 is easily accomplished when I am at at least 80 percent throttle (with some elevator compensation). At full throttle and and edging toward full rudder it will even climb somewhat. But as you dial in more rudder at speed you also need to compensate more with the elevator to keep it on edge. Without elevator correction, the Habu 2 will flatten out rather quickly. Point rolls and slow rolls are also a favorite of mine with the Habu 2 . It performs them exceptionally well as long as I add correction at the proper times in the roll.
Loops with the Habu 2 can be fairly large; I just need to keep full power through the top of the loop to keep them close to round. If I back out of the power too soon the Habu 2 will fall out a little at the top. Standard loops are not something I find myself doing in a normal flight routine. But when you mix them in with some snaps or point rolls at the top it makes them more interesting. Those snaps are easily accomplished but are not as violent as most prop driven aerobatic aircraft. The Habu 2 performs most four channel basic maneuvers with ease including cuban eights, reverse half Cuban eight, split-S's, Immelman, and stall turns .... etc. It is not only the fact that the Habu 2 can perform these maneuvers smoothly, it is the fact that it can perform these maneuvers with the option of flaps and quality retracts at this price point. It seems to be the perfect EDF to keep you happy in the moment while preparing you for the future.
The Habu 2 is not for a true beginner, but would serve as a great introduction to jets for someone who has mastered an intermediate model. With the addition of the optional flaps and retracts, I can also see the Habu 2 serving in a role as the perfect step before edf jets on the higher end of the spectrum. If you have mastered your trainer and have successfully and competently flown a moderately fast airplane then the Habu 2 should be fairly easy for you to fly.
|Horizon Hobby Habu 2 EDF BNF Basic by ParkZone (2 min 30 sec)|
I was happy to see the familiar airframe reborn with improvements. The Habu 2 is very easy to assemble. The level of prefabrication is amazing and appreciated. It is obvious that a lot of attention went into the original Habu design and the new Habu 2 design. It is hard to imagine an airframe near this price point that offers you everything the Habu 2 can, while keeping you satisfied with it and also preparing you for the next level.
The original Habu was billed as "a true sport jet in every sense" with an "optimized airframe for both high speed precision and amazing low-speed stability,the Habu does it all". While the original Habu came up a bit short on doing "it all" it performed very admirably. The Habu 2 might still be a bit short on "doing it all" but it sure does get very close! The new Habu 2 is billed as "a full-throttle thriller that's a blast to fly at any speed". A little more speed would be nice (although not necessary to still have a blast) but then it would probably have to sacrifice in other areas, most notably weight and cost.
I now have an original Habu (with retract mod), this flyable Habu 2, an unpainted Habu 2 airframe, and a Habu 32. As you might be able to tell, I am sold on this design!
|Mar 25, 2013, 03:03 PM|
Nice review Kevin
It really is a great EDF, especially with an E-flite 32, Change Sun 10-12 blade fan and 6 cell lipo.
1800 watts of woosh heaven.
|Mar 25, 2013, 11:00 PM|
|Mar 26, 2013, 07:53 PM|
Thanks for that specific comment!
I commented to a friend that this was the hardest article for me to write, and I have been doing review articles since 2001. I was having a hard time finding a balance on how much to mention the previous Habu in the article. I definitely wanted to reference the older version and how it compared to the new version, but I didn't want to alienate those modelers who wouldn't be able to experience the previous version ... or didn't care to.
|Mar 30, 2013, 01:25 PM|
Thanks! Awesome review and the close up macro shots shows all the sleek lines from various angles. The build photos were professional.
To the average RC pilot, is the $300 price tag worth it?
|Mar 30, 2013, 01:51 PM|
|Mar 30, 2013, 01:57 PM|
E-Flite makes quailty products.
There are two other, more extensive threads on this jet. The second one, being for guys that have done aftermarket modifications to thiers. (as many do with other EDFs)
|Mar 30, 2013, 11:53 PM|
Hey, I got a keychain camera for a "hat cam" but the video sucks. I think I'm gonna get a very small Nikon Cool pics and bolt it with tripod thread to my hat, for better quality. PM me if ya know if you have a better suggestion.
No go for a Gopro. That fisheye lens is not good for hat cam.
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