|High Wing Wingspan:||34 inches|
|High Wing Wing Area:||195 sq in|
|Lower Wing Wingspan:||31 inches|
|Lower Wing Wing Area:||169 sq in|
|Servos:||4 sub-micro servos|
|Receiver:||Tactic SLT AnyLink|
|Battery:||3-cell 11.1V 1300mAh LiPo|
|Propeller:||8 x 6 plastic prop|
|Available From:||Fine Hobby Stores Everywhere|
The Mini Switch is two-planes-in-one. It has one fuselage and one 2-piece wing that mounts in two different locations on the fuselage. The one wing comes in two halves that can be plugged into a special top wing center section that makes the plane a top wing flyer, or the wings can be directly plugged into the fuselage's lower section to make a low wing plane. Due to the center section the top wing version of the Mini Switch has a longer wingspan and more wing area. It certainly looks like two different planes depending on where the wing is mounted.
In this review I will discuss the plane's performance in the two different configurations, I will start by assembling her in a high wing configuration and review her as a high wing plane and then convert her to the low wing configuration and review how she handles as a low wing plane. The conversion is quick and easy, and I have done it at the flying field in under ten minutes working slowly.
This video is the Flyzone promotional video showing the Mini Switch in both high wing and low wing setups.
Tools For Assembly
Assembly is quick (under an hour with picture taking) and easy by design (NO GLUE) as is the conversion from a high wing to a low design.
The radio came already installed. The rudder and elevator servos came installed in the fuselage and already connected to the Tactic SLT receiver in the front of the cockpit area. There was a Y-harness installed in the aileron receiver slot, and later the aileron wires were simply plugged into the harness when the wing was installed. The flight battery goes into the fuselage in a compartment with a door on the underside of the fuselage. I just connected the ESC to my battery so that I could bind the receiver to my Tactic TTX-650 transmitter. I did this at the start of the assembly before the top wing was installed over the radio compartment in the cockpit, and I recommend everyone bind at this time if they have the opportunity.
I checked to make sure that all of the servos were centered with the transmitter controls in the neutral position and that the ailerons were centered in the neutral position.
The vertical stabilizer came as part of the fuselage. The rudder was attached with a foam hinge. The rudder control arm was already attached. The horizontal stabilizer came with the elevator already attached with a foam hinge and the elevator control arm installed. The rear landing wheel was attached to the vertical stabilizer. Attaching the stabilizer was quick and easy. I maneuvered the unit under the control rods and above the the fuselage. I lowered the back part of the stabilizer into the fuselage, and while doing so, I installed the tail wheel tiller into a plastic hole on the bottom of the rudder that would steer the wheel. With that installed I lowered the front of the stabilizer into the fuselage and secured the stabilizer with the two supplied screws.
The last step was securing the rudder and elevator clevises into the outer control arm holes. The rudder snapped right into place. I used a 1/16 drill bit to slightly expand the outer hole on the elevator control arm and then the clevis snapped into place. Assembly of the tail section was complete. It's nicely designed, quick to assemble, easy to take apart for transportation if needed and solidly constructed for use.
With the tail assembly complete I turned on my transmitter and checked to make sure the control surfaces were centered in the neutral position on the rudder and elevator. There was a screw on the clevis for adjustment if necessary. I didn't need to make an adjustment so I used some non permanent LockTite to secure the small screw on the clevis to prevent it from vibrating loose.
I went with the top wing assembly for the more trainer-like version of the Mini-Switch. Per the instructions I tightened the outer screw in the wing and loosened the lower, more inward screw on the wing to receive the carbon fiber rod. I slid the control rod through the center section, slid the wing on to the longer control rod and started to feed the servo wire into the wing at the channel for the aileron control wire. As the wing got to the shorter smaller control rod I had to push it forward slightly to line up with the hole for this rod in the wing. Once aligned the wing came on all the way. I repeated this process with the other wing. When both wings were on the center section, I tightened the lower inner screw on the wing to lock onto the carbon fiber rod. I test pulled on the wings per the instructions and they were firmly installed. I next installed the center top wing panel onto the fuselage.
The aileron servo wires were connected to the Y-harness that came installed in the Tactic receiver. The front of the top wing section had a tongue that fit into the fuselage. There were some molded side guides in the canopy that fit into the fuselage, and the rear of the center top wing section was secured in back to the fuselage with a single bolt.
I next installed the propeller and spinner onto the brushless motor by following the instructions. I used pliers to tighten the nut on the propeller shaft and the 00 size screwdriver to secure the spinner in place.
I started by binding the receiver. Now I turned on my transmitter and installed the battery in the battery box on the bottom of the fuselage and connected the battery to the ESC. Holding the plane under the wing on both sides, it balanced on the recommend C/G position of 2" back from the leading edge of the wing next to the fuselage. I again checked all of the throws to confirm the surfaces were moving in the proper direction, and they were. I checked the control surface movements, and they were as recommended in the instruction manual and were as follows:
Control Surface Movements
This was my first plane to use in my separate review of the new Tactic TTX650 transmitter with 20 model memory. The Mini Switch came with a Tactic SLT receiver installed in the plane. It was very easy to bind the receiver and the transmitter by following directions. For normal operation I found I needed to reverse the throttle, aileron and rudder servos. That was quick and easily done with the push button selections on the transmitter.
I did a transmitter range check and was ready to go to the field for the first flight. I charged up a couple of battery packs and headed out to the field. (In my radio test I had control of the plane beyond where I could see it! It was tested five feet above the ground at a half mile and was still under my control. I could see my friend, but not the Mini Switch he was holding.)
The Mini Switch has four channel control with ailerons, elevator, rudder and throttle. The plane has a wide speed range with a very quick top end to the speed range. A 3-cell 1300 mAh battery is recommended, and that is what I used. I would not try and fit in a larger battery pack as the battery compartment is from the middle to back of the wing, and using a larger, heavier battery would likely make the plane tail heavy. The performance with the recommended battery is excellent, and there is good flight time with throttle control as she will sustain level flight at half throttle with a fresh battery. The plane is nicely decorated and easy to follow in a blue sky. In gray cloudy sky I kept her a little bit closer to easily maintain orientation. When properly trimmed she tracked very well. She is responsive and fun to fly be it with high speed passes down the runway or slowed down to half throttle.
I only did a little flying at very slow speed. Straight flight stalls were straightforward and easy to recover from as she would just drop, pick up speed and level off. Stalls in turns were not so nice. This plane is not a "Slow Stick" and isn't designed for really slow flight. When turning at a very slow speed the lower side wing will drop, and some altitude, throttle and counter turn were needed for recovery. I had no problems when I kept her at a reasonable speed. She does handle slow speed better in the high wing configuration than in the low wing setup. I avoided the issue except for this testing. I kept her speed up for the most part, and when flying very slowly I would put in a little more throttle when turning.
On the day scheduled for my first flight of the Mini Switch the wind was coming over the runway from the side but it was only about 8 miles per hour. I lined the plane up at an angle so that the wind was coming from the left front at about 45 degrees from my takeoff line. I ran up the throttle, and in about 20 feet she was airborne and rapidly climbing. I could have taken off directly into the wind because she needed so little runway to get airborne. There was nothing to the takeoff (the only adventurous takeoff to-date). She can lift off and climb at slightly more then half throttle. She is also easily launched by hand with just a firm toss straight forward.
My first landing has also been the only interesting landing so far. After a very nice first flight I did a three leg approach, and once on final, greatly reduced throttle. I used some rudder to keep her lined up to land at a slight angle and brought her down for a nice first landing. Unfortunately, when she kissed the runway the main landing gear dropped out of the fuselage with the plate they were mounted to which had only been slightly glued into the fuselage. A picture of the gear and plane are shown below. I glued the landing gear back onto the fuselage properly and have had no trouble since.
Since reattaching the landing gear I have had no problems with landings. She prefers to land with a little speed and a roll out with throttle reduction after touchdown. She can be brought in on dead stick, and for that I recommend a slight dive with a slight flair just before touch down.
My first maneuver was an axial roll at about 3/4 throttle, and it was nice and crisp. I found I could make loops as large as I wanted with a fresh battery, even climbing until she was little more than a dot in the blue sky before entering into the dive to complete the loop. At 3/4 throttle and above she will perform a chain of rolls. She flies very nicely upside down, allowing me to circle our field inverted or while doing rolls. I haven't tried flying her 3D but she handles standard aerobatics very well. She flew so nicely while doing aerobatics that two of my flying friends have decided to buy one for themselves without even seeing her fly in the low wing configuration. She can climb vertically until she is literally out of sight with a battery only with half a charge remaining. She is very responsive and does fairly crisp rolls even in the top wing configuration. I had so much fun in the top wing configuration I was in no rush to convert to the low wing configuration.
By flying level at half throttle and using speed for climbs and aerobatics, I found I could do a lot of flying in a little league baseball field. It just required me to think more vertically. I had a blast in a relatively small space with the Mini Switch and throttle control. The plane flies well inverted in both configurations.
I don't recommend this plane for a beginner even in the top wing setup. There are several Flyzone planes that are better suited as trainer planes. The Mini Switch is too quick and too responsive for a beginner when flown fast, and she will stall when flown too slowly. That said, I would let a beginner fly mine on my buddy box with the controls on low rate and keeping throttle control to myself. Additionally, a pilot with a lot of simulator time would probably handle the plane OK. But for a first plane I would recommend the Flyzone Sensei. The Mini Switch makes a better second or third plane than first plane. Few beginners have the understanding or self control to keep the throttle in a sweet spot when first learning to fly.
The Mini Split flying in the high wing setup in a YouTube video.
To start the process I removed the top wing by unscrewing the bolt from the back of top wing that held the wing in place. I unplugged the aileron servos from the Y-connector in the fuselage and pulled the front block of the top center wing canopy out of the fuselage. Loosening the large inner bolts on the bottom side of the wing panels, I slid the wing panels out of the center wing section and off of the wing rod. In doing so I made sure the aileron servo wires came out smoothly. I removed the large wing rod, and I set the top center section aside for future use, leaving the little wing guide rod in the center section.
Next I opened up the battery compartment on the bottom of the fuselage and carefully reached in and poked out the cut out foam wing root sections from the fuselage, being careful not to damage them. In the instructions these pieces are called "wing pocket plugs." When they were both out I put them both away in a safe place with the center top wing panel in the top wing configuration for future use. Per the instructions I loosened the outer screws on the bottom side of the wing panels.
The wing rod was next installed through the hole for it in the lower portion of the fuselage. I slid on a wing panel from one side and installed the aileron wire in the fuselage. In this configuration the wing root slides into the fuselage through the area vacated by the "wing pocket plug." I repeated this process with the other wing panel. I next tightened the inner screws and outer screws on the wing and test pulled on the wings per the instructions, and they remained in place. I connected the aileron wires to the Y-connector attached to the receiver and installed the low wing top canopy onto the fuselage with the same bolt that held on the top wing canopy. The transition was done at the flying field in approximately two minutes using two screwdrivers.
With the lower wing configuration the Center of Gravity moves back to 2 11/16 inches back from the wing's leading edge. The control surface movement recommendations remain the same for the elevator and ailerons but the rudder recommended movement is reduced from 1/4" to 3/8."
The instruction manual states that the low wing requires readjustment of the control surfaces trims with this new configuration. This was correct but it was 3-6 clicks of trim and was easily done during the first flight with the trim tabs having started with them centered. Additionally slow speed stalls happen more easily in this wing configuration and turn stalls are more severe than with the wing on top. KEEP THE SPEED UP!
The instruction manual said the top wing version was slightly more responsive. That is NOT what I or my fellow test pilot, Dick Andersen, found to the case. I found the low wing set up was more responsive at speed but less responsive when being flown slowly. Snap rolls were slightly quicker and top speed seemed slightly faster. She could still climb vertically out of sight, and it was, if anything, even more aerobatic. Dick and I both decided we wanted some low rates for takeoffs in cross wind and all landings to help keep us smooth. I have programmed in high and low rates and 15% exponential for ailerons and elevator. I fly her a couple of throttle clicks faster when flying slowly in the low wing configuration than in the high wing configuration to stay fully in control of her. I avoid any possibility of stalling, especially in turns near the ground by keeping her speed up.
Takeoffs felt very much the same to me with either wing location but landings were definitely a bit wilder in the low wing configuration before I programmed in some low rates and exponential as discussed above. I recommend first flights in the high wing configuration as she was easier to land initially in high wing mode. I like a nice long straight final approach and maintain good control to the ground. I don't want to make a 90 degree turn at slow landing speed six feet off of the ground.
The difference in handling between the high wing and the low wing is not night and day but more of a shade of gray. She handled well as a high wing plane. I found her even quicker in response as a low wing plane. I could do repeated axial rolls in a straight climb up, and she stayed in a straight line. She would do tight or large loops at my choice and very fun split S's. I enjoyed keeping her relatively close most of the time but I flew her as high as I could take her and still see her (a speck in the sky), and I had control with the TXX-650.
The Mini Split flown in the low wing configuration.
The plane was quick and easy to assemble in either configuration and gave me two planes in appearance with slightly different, but not radically different, performance; the high wing giving the slightly more docile response in my opinion, and the low wing being more responsive at mid to high speed to roll commands especially. The plane looks and performs well in both configurations. As a more experienced pilot I like the look of the plane in the low wing setup better but it performs well in both arrangements. For a friend who is less experienced I would set it up in the top wing format. In the low wing setup I have the fuselage pop outs and the center wing section to store but there is no hardware to store or keep track of. In the high wing setup there is just the low wing canopy to store. With her short wings she handles better with some speed. I flew her a lot at just a couple clicks above half throttle, but if my climbs or maneuvers slowed her down too much I was quick to add some throttle. I did a lot of straight vertical climbs because she does them so well, and then I would enter into a series of maneuvers, finally turning and bring her back near me.
I strongly recommend staying with the recommend 1300 mAh battery due to location. A larger battery will make the plane tail heavy. There was good speed and good flight time with some throttle management. The Mini Switch is a good looker that travels well in the trunk of the car making lunch time flights possible. If (when) I crash the Mini Switch, the AeroCell foam is easy to glue back together and takes a real beating in the first place, so many minor accidents cause no damage to the foam other than a minor scuff mark (based on experience with a prior AeroCell foam plane.). It is nice to have the variety of appearance in this one plane that flies nicely in both configurations.
My thanks to Dick Andersen and our editor Angela for their assistance in this review. My thanks to Hobbico and Flyzone for supplying this fun little plane for us to review.Last edited by Angela H; May 07, 2013 at 02:56 PM..
|May 16, 2013, 01:32 PM|
Joined May 2013
I had the same problem with the main landing gear on my first landing. Touched down a little hard and the whole landing gear came off and broke a wheel pant in half. Also scuffed the prop a little when it bottomed out on the asphalt. A little glue and it was good as new though. Nice flying plane and excellent review.
|May 29, 2013, 10:54 AM|
I got a chance to fly her after work yesterday for some of the guys I work with at a local park. I took off and landed from a sidewalk that goes through the park. After takeoff I climbed vertically for a 200 feet and did a roll over into a dive right in front of us and then crossed the park about 6 feet up and then a series of rolls, split Ss and a couple of half pipes before getting the amazing landing. They now believe me to be a way better pilot than I actually am thanks to hitting the landing on the thin sidewalk. Better to be lucky then skillful was my silent motto yesterday. Had great fun before going home. Mike H
|Jun 14, 2013, 11:12 AM|
I took the Mini Switch for an early morning flight today shortly after sunrise. The weather was calm and I had time to run one battery through her on my way to work. I was flying in top wing set-up and flew her pretty slowly for the first part of the battery. Had a whole swarm of birds come to the park and they didn't like my plane. They attacked and I had a minor bird strike on the middle of the left wing. The plane did a 180 instantly but otherwise continued to fly fine. I sped up and lead the birds to the far end of the park in pursuit of the plane and then came back and did a quick landing on the baseball infield. with the birds following like a tail of a kite. I have never seen anything like it. Both bird and plane were fine as far as I could see. The birds lost interest in the plane after the motor shut off. I am wondering if it was the sound of the motor that upset them as I have flown other planes there that hasn't gotten them upset like this. Glad I flew when I did as the wind is picking up and it looks like no flying after work today the way it is building up. Mike
|Jun 26, 2013, 01:16 PM|
After several days of overcast and some rain the past few days; this morning was beautiful! I got in a nice flight in the high wing configuration. I probably flew the plane as slow as I dare to fly it this morning while maintaining level flight. No problems! Actually saw something very rare at the park this morning. Young kids about age 8 who were up early and at the park without an adult. I was up and out by myself early as a kid, but that was fifty years ago. I think it is considered child endangerment today in CA. Nice respectful kids who were interested in the plane and RC and asked better questions than most of the adults who I see in the park. I would have liked to fly longer but work gets in the way. Anyone else flying one of these Mini Switches please post about your experiences. Mike H
|Jul 12, 2013, 11:17 AM|
Met a co-worker at the park this morning at 6:00 before work and we had about twenty minutes of flying using the wireless Tactic buddy box system. I had this plane in the top wing configuration and we had a nice calm morning to fly in. He even made the landing onto the baseball infield dirt area. Still remains a great little flyer. Mike H
|Oct 29, 2013, 12:26 AM|
Joined Aug 2013
I just purchased the Mini Switch, finding the Switch would be too large for my local field. I am somewhat upset with the battery situation. I have turnigy 2200mah batteries, and at the hobbyshop I mentioned this actually. This will be my second plane, my first being a somewhat awkward flying Tuff Trainer from Hobbyking. The Tuff Trainer certainly helped though and I had no issues flying, although landing is an issue. The Tuff Trainer certainly easily pushed around by the wind, likely due to extreme dihedral causing wind to catch the wings. Also, the plane noses over very easily. With the slow flier prop (due to it being smaller than the stock one) I was hoping landings would be easier, but even at a gentle glide it would nose over and so I had to go to grass instead to let it nose over in a better surface. Even so the prop would snap likely because of the pressure of the elastics on the blades.
Anyways, I tried fitting the battery in the canopy instead, and got it to balance. When I tried flying it, I guess the battery wasn't in the right place, and so the plane's tail fell. As I was throwing it, I wasn't quick enough to throttle it up and get it away from the ground, hoping that tail heavy was better than no flight. With the power added, it wasn't quick enough, stalled completely and went into the ground. The result was a broken prop and the landing gear came out, like everyone else seems to have noted here. Also, the wings pulled off the mid section a bit. Should have this been the case though? It was a light bump and it was tightened down. I don't want to lose the wings in flight, or will they hold okay? So far the plane is great, and I am sure I can fly it once the right battery is in, although it is unfortunate I need a new battery, or batteries rather. The battery size is my one issue. Even the Switch takes a smaller battery, 1600mah or something.
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