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Flyzone's S.E.5a Tx-R World War I Fighter Review

The S.E.5a is the newest Micro WWI fighter from Flyzone and joins the Nieuport 17 to fight the Albatros and the Fokker Dr.1.

Splash

Introduction

Flyzone's promotional video of the S.E.5a

The S.E.5a is the fourth in a series of Micro World War I fighter planes from Flyzone. The first three were the Albatros, the Fokker Dr.1 and the Nieuport 17 released this past fall. The S.E.5a like the first three planes is powered with a geared brushed motor and a one cell 3.7 Volt LiPo battery. All four planes have the motors mounted at a downward angle by design. The planes can be flown in a large indoor room such as a gym or even a half gym but I generally fly mine outside in the morning on relatively calm days. They handle up to a five mile per hour breeze but I don't recommend in flying in stronger wind or wind with gusts much above 5 mph. For a micro size plane there really is quite a bit of nice detail in the S.E.5a. The upper wing's mounted machine gun gets a lot of attention from other pilots. Then there is the second machine gun on the fuselage and very nice rib detail in the wings with formers on the fuselage and exhaust pipes along the fuselage. The S.E. 5a also has a nice speed range with loops easy to do at full throttle so long as they are done into any prevailing breeze. I like to fly mine as slow as possible yet maintaining level flight. Then when I do give it the gas it seems all the faster compared to how slow it was flying. Take a close look and there is a lot to see on this little plane.

I received the Tx-R model for this review but they also sell a RTF version with its own transmitter. In the course of this review I have flown my S.E.5a with a Tactic 600 transmitter as the Tactic transmitters match up nicely with the Secure Link Technology (SLT) receiver brick in the plane. I have also used my Futaba 7C with the AnyLink module and the Futaba cord that comes with the AnyLink. Finally, I have flown it with a Spektrum DX7s with a special cord sold separately that is required to be used with the DX7s (and some other new Spektrum transmitters) and the AnyLink module. All easily bound with the S.E.5a and with proper set up of the transmitter and the AnyLink all were good controllers of the S.E.5a as will be discussed below.


Wingspan:14.3"
Weight:1.3 oz.
Length:11.3"
Transmitter:AnyLink and compatible 3+ channel transmitter
Receiver:AnyLink compatible (SLT) receiver
Battery:1-cell 140mAh
Motor:Brushed
Manufacturer:Flyzone
Available From:Fine Hobby Stores Everywhere
Price:$79.99 Tx-R
Price:$99.99 RTF

The Tx-R Kit Includes

The Tx-R kit

  • Assembled S.E.5a plane
  • 3.7V 140mAh Flight battery
  • Flight battery charger
  • 5 AA batteries for charger
  • Unpainted pilot figure
  • Instruction manual

The RTF Kit Includes

The RTF kit

  • Same as above except Tactic 402 transmitter/charger instead of charger












The S.E.5a (Scout Experimental) in World War I

The S.E.5A was a redesigned S.E.5 designed to handle the more powerful 200 HP version of the Hispano Suiza motor. This higher compression motor with more power was a hit! H.P. Folland designed both the S.E.5 and the S.E.5a using the in-line motor instead of the rotary motor used in the Sopwith Camel. The in-line motor help give the plane it's stability and made it easier to fly. The S.E.5a had a top speed of 138 miles per hour and that tied it with the Spad XIII as the fastest fighter of the First World War. About 5225 of these fighters were made during the war, a number equal to the Sopwith Camel. The S.E.5a was a fast, stable gun platform. But, with its dihedral wings and straight-line motor the full scale plane simply couldn't turn with the likes of the Camel or Dr-1. Fortunately, this micro model can turn with the Flyzone German micro planes.

Most of the S.E.5a's had two machine guns with a Vicker's machine gun on the fuselage on the left and a Lewis machine gun on the top wing just like this Flyzone model. Flyzone correctly used a color scheme used with a top wing mounted Lewis machine gun S.E.5a.

The Micro S.E.5a Tx-R Promoted Features Include:

  • Assembled S.E.5a with pilot*, replica machine guns, engine exhausts and authentic WWI trim
  • Factory-installed motor, ESC and electronics
  • 2.4GHz SLT receiver compatible with Tactic AnyLink
  • Rechargeable 3.7V 140mAh LiPo flight battery
  • Cordless DC LiPo battery charger
  • (5) “AA” batteries

Assembly

The only assembly is the painting of the pilot figure and gluing the pilot into the cockpit. This is obviously optional but it does help complete the project and gave me a little more ownership of the plane.

Charging the Flight Battery

I installed the five supplied AA batteries into the flight battery charger and charged the flight battery. The LED on the charger is lit when the flight battery is charging and goes out when the battery is fully charged. I stay in the same room as the charger and monitor the progress during the charge for safety.

Radio Installation

The receiver brick with two servos came already installed in the fuselage. It is a Secure Link Technology (SLT) Tactic receiver designed to be used with the Tactic AnyLink transmitter module which came out about a year ago. I have bound this receiver to my Tactic transmitter and to my Futaba 7C using the AnyLink transmitter module. I have used both of these with other AnyLink planes this past year and they again worked well in controlling the S.E.5a. Both the Futaba and the Tactic transmitters have the controls of the channels in the same sequence. For example both have throttle on channel 3. I was trying something new when I used a Spektrum DX7s and the special AnyLink cord for the Spektrum DX7s. The Spektrum for example has the throttle on channel 1. The solution was very simple. I simply followed the directions and held the transmitter stick down in a corner on the DX7s as I plugged the power cord into the module I had attached on the back of the Spektrum transmitter. When the module powered up the transmitter the throttle went from channel 1 to channel 3. I had complete control of all four channels of the S.E.5a. The special cord for the DX7s and some of the other newer Spektrum transmitters has its own LiFe battery to power the AnyLink module and I had a LiFe charger to charge this separate battery that powers the AnyLink module.

Completion

The binding of the AnyLink module and the transmitter of choice with the S.E.5a completed the flight preparation process. The Secure Link Technology (SLT) gives a solid bond between the transmitter and the plane on 2.4Ghz. The plane balanced on the proper C/G when the flight battery was installed in its recessed battery slot on the bottom front of the fuselage.

Flying

Basics

This is a three channel plane with throttle, rudder and elevator control. This allows for basic flight control and the plane will fly loops. I like to fly the plane in all speed ranges including as slow as possible in level flight to full throttle. By mixing up the speed I get more duration then those who fly full speed all the time. All controls are proportional so I have complete control of the plane and do engage in mock dogfights with friends. Flight time with a fully charged battery is approximately ten minutes.

Taking Off and Landing

The flights can be started with a soft forward toss or with a traditional takeoff roll. If flown outside the toss or takeoff should be into any existing wind. She tracks down the runway nice and straight. Landings have been very easy indoor and in clam conditions outdoor but with winds at 5 mph or gusting slightly above that landings can be tricky and crashes have occurred for some friends flying my plane. I was concerned that the machine gun on the top wing might be damaged if the plane flipped on landing but so far with three such flips the machine gun and the plane remains undamaged. There have been no problems landing in calm conditions or with the breeze under 5 mph.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

The S.E.5a is limited as to the aerobatics it can perform with only three channels. I have done loops and some inverted flying from the top of a loop. Most of my fun flying is from making very sharp turns, climbs and dives and keeping the plane in a small area of air space while doing so at full throttle. If you can get a buddy to fly in that space with a micro Albatros or Fokker Dr.1 even more fun. I am hoping to do some tandem flying with another S.E.5a and a friend. That should be a lot of fun and tandem flying takes practice as it is not as easy as it looks to stay side by side through turns and moves in different directions as throttle management is different for the two planes.

Is This For a Beginner?

The plane can be flown by a beginner and is easy to control but I recommend learning on a single wing plane such as the Flyzone Playmate as there is less chance of damage with a one wing plane in the learning process as there are no struts to break and the landing gear on the Playmate is a bit more forgiving. However, with the very nice actual control of the plane, especially with low rates, if someone really wanted this plane for their first plane I believe thy have a good chance at successfully learning to fly with the S.E.5a indoors or in calm conditions outside.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery













The S.E.5a on a Blustery Day

Downloads

The S.E.5a on a Beautiful December day

Downloads

Conclusion

The S.E.5a is a nice addition to Flyzone's line of Micro World War I fighter planes. She has nice detail. She handles well and she has enough power to make for some fun flying in a tight space or relaxed flying in a gym or other large room. This is my third AnyLink Micro plane and all have flown well with a Tactic transmitter, a Futaba transmitter and now a Spektrum transmitter. I still like RTF where I can grab the box and go flying knowing there is a transmitter with the plane. However, the Tx-R version it is much easier on the pocket book especially as my Heer force grows.

Pluses

  • Plane comes fully assembled
  • I can use a variety of transmitters with the AnyLink module for 2.4GHz control
  • Plane is nicely detailed (look at the under wing molding)
  • Plane flies nice and smooth or a bit wild at my command
  • Can can be flown indoors or as a parkflyer in calm conditions to 5 MPH

Minuses

  • The glue came loose on one of the four landing gear connections but was a quick repair

Thanks

My thanks to Dick Andersen and to our editor for their assistance with this review.

Last edited by Michael Heer; Jan 09, 2013 at 05:27 PM..

Discussion

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Old Jan 09, 2013, 07:25 PM
semper mitis
gentle ben's Avatar
Paducah, Kentucky
Joined Nov 2004
944 Posts
I received one of these airplanes for Christmas however the elevator servo was nonfunctional. Tower hobby sent me and a replacement and UPS perforated it. I have just now today received a third transmitter ready version. It is fully functional and bound to the radio. It is such a beautiful airplane and the landing gear seems much more solid than the DR-1's that I own. I'm looking forward finally to flying when the winds died down here.

The landing struts and interplane struts are much beefier than the DR 1. Hopefully they will be more durable and require less re-gluing. One of the things that is interesting to note is the fact that they went from linear servos to Rotary servos. They are mounted on the board themselves and if one dies I'm not sure if you can replace it or if you just buy a new board.
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Old Jan 09, 2013, 08:17 PM
Registered User
Aerospacer's Avatar
United States, MN, Big Lake
Joined Sep 2003
274 Posts
SE 5a experience

I added the SE 5a to my Flyzone micro fleet that consisted of the Albatros DV and the Playmate. All three fly off my JR XP-783 through the AnyLink. My entire flight experience has been indoor with all three. I think the Playmate is the best overall aerobatic performer, but the SE 5a is the hands down eye-catcher of the group.

The SE 5a has great ground handling even off the artificial turf in the dome facility. Takeoffs, landings and touch-&-goes are all easy.

I compiled some data based on given and measured (WOT RPM and current) parameters to help understand the difference in performance among my three micros. The new motor/gear reduction setup on the SE 5a is much quieter and smoother than the others and seems to contribute to a little longer flight times on similar 150mah batteries.
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Last edited by Aerospacer; Jan 09, 2013 at 08:23 PM.
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Old Jan 09, 2013, 09:30 PM
Registered User
wattman's Avatar
Evansville Dress Reg., Indiana, United States
Joined Jun 2004
1,076 Posts
Nice Aerospacer , and the data base is great , wish you had the Triplane DR-1 and the Nieuport 17 to add to this information , good work .
Then this data base needs to be a sticky so the data base doesn't get lost .
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 04:19 PM
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Wingman26's Avatar
Oklahoma
Joined Aug 2008
670 Posts
I received one of these about 10 days ago, its been too windy to try to fly it outside, so I hadn't been able to fly it. The classes at the Aviation Center Vo Tech that I volunteer at started back up today, so I took it with me hoping to fly it inside their hanger. The hanger isn't real big and there is a Cessna in the middle of it, and I was trying to fly around that, probably not using enough throttle due to the size of the hanger, it would ground loop at the drop of a hat, and between the ground loops and the 6-7 times I got it a few inches off the floor before it ran into something...now I need some foam safe glue to fix some stuff, one of the gear struts is knocked off the fuselage and the motor is loose, I have to figure out how to get to the motor to reglue it. Its kind of disappointing they didn't give you more information, so I have no idea how to get to the motor assembly to fix that part, I don't really want to break something trying to figure out how to fix it!

Another comment might be directed towards their Any Link adapter, I installed this on a DX 6i that I had, I think they need to make it more obvious you need to go to http://tx-ready.com/ to get help setting your radio up, you have to go there anyway to find out how to move the rudder control over to the aileron stick, and the videos they have online would have made things much clearer if I had found them BEFORE rather than after.

Cute little plane, I think I'm going to enjoy flying it when all the details are worked out.

If anyone can clue me in on how to get to the motor to reglue it, I would appreciate the help!
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 07:15 PM
RTF only for now!!!
Greg_Vincent's Avatar
Jacksonville, FL
Joined Mar 2007
332 Posts
Wingman, see post 113 here:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...1225790&page=8
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Last edited by Greg_Vincent; Jan 10, 2013 at 07:31 PM.
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 11:22 PM
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Wingman26's Avatar
Oklahoma
Joined Aug 2008
670 Posts
Thanks Greg!
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 12:17 PM
semper mitis
gentle ben's Avatar
Paducah, Kentucky
Joined Nov 2004
944 Posts
Wingman,

the general instructions in that post are OK however there is a major structural difference between the Albatros and SE-5 that being the radiator glued to the front of the fuselage halves. This and the propeller will have to be removed before you can separate the fuselage halves. Remember the electronics and motor are on the top half.
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 12:38 PM
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Wingman26's Avatar
Oklahoma
Joined Aug 2008
670 Posts
The radiator is a potential problem, I'm hoping that lighter fluid will work on the adhesive, I found some in my closet, dated 1996!
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 01:01 PM
semper mitis
gentle ben's Avatar
Paducah, Kentucky
Joined Nov 2004
944 Posts
Wingman,

If your willing to do some touchup no foam/glue I know fails to deconstruct with the judicious application of extremely sharp steel. As the surgeons always say: "Heal with steel". They also say that "a chance to cut is a chance to cure".
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 11:49 PM
Registered User
United States, NJ, Chatham
Joined Mar 2003
133 Posts
Wingman,

The motor came loose in my SE5 on the third flight.I was able to remove the radiator by running a razor blade between the radiator and fuselage.There was no glue on the motor mounting lugs and only a dab of hot glue between the top of the motor and the fuselage.I glued the motor in with 5 minute epoxy and it has worked fine for ten flights.I glued the radiator back with UHU POR foam glue.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 04:20 PM
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Wingman26's Avatar
Oklahoma
Joined Aug 2008
670 Posts
I'm going to work on it sometime this weekend, I'll try this first to see if I can avoid splitting the whole thing.
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 05:26 PM
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Wingman26's Avatar
Oklahoma
Joined Aug 2008
670 Posts
I was able to get the radiator off without damage, everything is repaired now and ready to go.
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 06:11 PM
semper mitis
gentle ben's Avatar
Paducah, Kentucky
Joined Nov 2004
944 Posts
Wingman,

Well, what did you use? Sharp thin steel or chemicals or both?
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 11:40 PM
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Wingman26's Avatar
Oklahoma
Joined Aug 2008
670 Posts
Used the old lighter fluid (naptha) that I had, worked at it with an Xacto knive and it finally popped off, only a tiny amount of foam broke, about the size of a pin head. The motor had broken out of the foam at a couple of places, fairly minor, I was unable to get the prop off, I tried but it wouldn't budge, I worked the motor back into place and secured it with a very small amount of 5 min epoxy, also used a small amount to fix the landing gear which had popped off on one side. Put the radiator back on with a small dab of Liquid Nails adhesive I had on hand.
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