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Toytronix T-Hawk

Dave Lilley asked me if I was interested in reviewing the T-Hawk and before I answered I went to Toytronix's website and reviewed what they had to say about it. I was struck by the repeated references to the plane as a powered glider.

Splash



Wingspan: 40 inches
Wing area: 217 sq. in.
Weight: 18 ounces
Wing Loading: 5.64 oz/sq. ft.
Motor: 380 size electric
ESC: brand not known
Radio: Toytronix 3 channel 27 Mhz.
Available From: Toytronix
Length: 27 inches 
Propeller: 5 3/4 "Toytronix" propeller 3 included
Charger: AC 110V 3.5 hour charger 
Battery: 8.4 volt 600 mamp Nicad 2 included 
Note: kit includes two wings and two tail assemblies as well as additional hardware for repairs in case of crashes.

Introduction

Dave Lilley asked me if I was interested in reviewing the T-Hawk and before I answered I went to Toytronix's website and reviewed what they had to say about it. I was struck by the repeated references to the plane as a powered glider. Now I understand that the word "glider" only conveys that the plane can glide through the air and not necessarily soar in the air with the motor off, but I felt that a review of the plane should include whether it could soar at all at a thermal site. I decided that I was just the person to make sure that aspect of the plane was covered in the review as I am a long time R/C glider pilot and I have soared my Zagi 400 (48 inch wingspan) and my Hummel (56 inch wingspan) on numerous occasions. I also decided that a novice should fly the plane as part of the review as that is the major market for a plane such as this.

 

Kit Contents

The included transmitter is 3 channels with motor on/off by toggle switch top right. The wall charger comes with not one but two battery packs.

The T-Hawk parts include a spare wing and two complete tail assemblies and two spare propellers.

The T-Hawk arrived in the mail on a Friday in a nice strong brown box and all of the components were safely and firmly packed in a nice block of styrofoam. After confirming that the parts arrived safely, the second thing I did was unwrap one of the two battery packs and the wall charger and plugged them in as it takes 3 1/2 hours to charge a battery pack with the wall charger. I next read the instructions and found them to be brief but completely sufficent. An example is that they show you a picture of the enclosed ribbon attached to the antenna of the transmitter and tell you not to fly if it is blowing out more then shown in the picture. No mention of miles per hour breeze which may mean nothing to a beginner, but rather they show you what to look for with the ribbon they include in the kit. This kit really comes prepared for the beginner as they include a number of extra parts. It comes with a spare wing, a spare set of tail feathers and two extra propellers. I think the fuselage is made out of polypropylene and should withstand some minor crashes without major damage. Thus many of the beginners who crash should be able to repair their plane. Additionally, since the plane is a pusher design that should give further protection to the motor and prop in case of a crash. With a 380 motor and an 8.4 volt battery I was sure it would have plenty of power.

Assembly (ARF)

Bolts on vertical stabilizer go through holes in horizontal stabilizer. The bolts then go through the tail boom, a wheel assembly and are held on with two nuts.

The two wings come fully completed with a spar installed on top and strapping tape on bottom.

Assembly starts by pushing one of the propellers onto the motor shaft. There was access thru the top of the fuselage so that the motor could be held firmly in place while the propeller was pushed into place. The second item was simply inserting the wire the wheels are on into the fuselage where the wire was held in place by pressure. The foam vertical stabilizer with the attached rudder has a plastic base with two small bolts extending down from the bottom. They went through two preformed holes in the horizontal stabilizer (Which comes with the elevator already attached to it with tape.) and then through two holes drilled in the back of the arrow shaft tail boom. A tail wheel on a wire with two small loops at the ends of the wire fits over the bolts and the whole thing was made snug to the fuselage with two small nuts. I used needlenose pliers to do the final tightening of the nuts. (There were extra nuts in the parts bag as well.)Next I inserted the control wires into the control horns that came installed on the rudder and elevator, using the middle hole on the control arms. This was done by slightly twisting the control arms as explained in the directions. Finally, I attached the wing to the fuselage with the supplied rubber bands, two crisscrossed and one front to back on each side. The plane was assembled in fifteen minutes and there was another 3 hours and 15 minutes until the first battery would be charged and ready to fly.

The planes wing is primarily made of foam and is molded in such a way that while the center section is flat the wing tips curve up, this should be good for stability. Not only is the wooden stiffner already glued into a space in the center of the wing, it is covered with decals. The wing also has some clear tape to help protect the trailing edge and hard black clips to protect the wing's leading and trailing edges where the rubber bands hold it to the fuselage. There are even markings in these black clips to help you center the wing. Finally, they added some strapping tape on the bottom of the wing to further strengthen it.

Radio gear, batteries and charger

The complete kit comes with two servos installed in the fuselage with control wires connected to those servos and coming out the fuselage with Z bends already made in the end of the wire. The servos come plugged into a receiver and there is a remote on/off control for the motor which is actually a variable speed controller but with the included transmitter it only turns the motor on and off with a toggle switch. This is all powered with one of the two, seven cell battery packs that come with the kit. The parts bag even has two replacement servo arms and screws in case you break a servo arm in a crash. The little 27 Mhz receiver comes covered in bubble wrap to protect it and everything is installed and ready to go. Just insert the battery when it is charged.

The transmitter is a little two stick transmitter like those used by other companies for their two channel planes with rudder on the right stick and elevator on the left stick. It has a toggle switch on the top of the transmitter to turn the electric motor on and off. It requires 8 AA cell batteries for power. It has a red and green light and both go on when the transmitter is turned on. If the green light goes out it is time to land and replace the batteries. They advise that the range is 1500 feet (more then a quarter mile) and the instructions explain how to do a range check. I was momentarily disappointed by the quality and control positions of the transmitter (I wished rudder was left stick and elevator was right stick.). After further reflection I realized that at the price of the entire package I really couldn't expect any more then what they supplied, which was quite a bit for the package price of $129.95. Their website even gives options where you can eliminate the transmitter and save about $10.00 and eliminate the receiver and save another $5.00. I am so used to flying park flyers with just my right thumb controlling rudder and elevator that these different controls (for me) make me curious as to how smooth I will be with my initial handling of the plane.

I really like the fact that you get two battery packs and not just one so you can go out to the field ready for two flights. The wall charger works fine but is slow as is to be expected taking 3.5 hours to charge one pack. I checked Toytronics's website to see if I could just get a seperate charger plug to use with my smart charger but they didn't have that as a listed part. They do have a seperate field charger for sale that will charge a pack in an hour but I didn't want to buy another charger. I e-mailed them and asked if they would sell just a charging plug and I got a timely response (next business day) advising that they would for $1.95.

 

Flying

Author with T-Hawk ready for first test flight. T-Hawks second flight ended in a tree but it sustained no damage.

The third toss was a charm and the plane flew well but the wind was getting gusty.

On visual inspection the horizontal stabilizer was not level with the wing and that was not a good thing. Per the instructions they advise that if this occurs you are to twist the tail boom until the horizontal stabilizer is level with the wing. I did this and it required a little pressure to do it. I was also concerned about the strength of the landing gear as the wire seemed too soft to me but it was ok to use. The elevator was nice and level with the horizontal stabilizer but the rudder was slightly left with the receiver and transmitter on. A couple clicks with the trim tab on the transmitter and the rudder was again straight. The control rods going from the rudder and elevator have V bends in them and these can be adjusted to get the control surfaces where you want them if necessary by squeezing or spreading the V.

I did a range check with the radio gear per the instructions, with the antenna full extended. I performed the test and it passed. Finally, I performed the wind test by tying the ribbon to the antenna and holding it up in the wind. The wind  blew the ribbon out a little further then shown in the picture in the instructions but I decided to fly anyway based on my years of experience.

With everything apparently ready and checked out I decided to hand launch for the first flight and I turned on the motor and tossed the plane into the wind. Despite a strong sounding motor the plane was slowly going down as soon as I tossed it. I immediately grabbed the right stick with my right hand and tried to give the plane up elevator. This failed as I was holding the rudder control stick and the plane landed in the grass. (Old habits are hard to overcome in the first second of flight.) I toggled the motor off and went and examined the plane and there was no apparent damage. I checked out the elevator control and it appeared neutral and working in the correct direction. I decided to add some up elevator and did so by squeezing the V in the control wire just a smidge (technical term) so there was now a slight amount of up elevator. I thought I was ready for try number 2 but I went over the controls for this transmitter in my mind with a pretrend flight first.

I launched the plane and it flew level and then started to climb with no control input by me. Next it started to make a right turn and I pushed the rudder control full left but with very little change in direction by the plane, which was still going right, just not quite as quickly. After making about a 150 degree turn away from the nice open space in the park the plane flew directly into a soft pine tree. It hit and then fell to the lower branches (see picture) where it appeared that the tree started to eat it. Fortunately, no real damage, it was time to look the plane over in detail. In this examination I saw that the horizontal stabilizer and the rudder were no longer square with the wing. They had rotated back to the the side they were on in the first place, only more so. I removed the wing and looked into the fuselage through the hole in the wing saddle and examined how the tail boom was secured. It was somewhat clamped into place with a bolt through the fuselage there and then glued into place. I loosened the bolt and rotated the boom to get the tail asembly square with the wing. I retightened the bolt and added a bit of tape to the tail boom where it emerged from the fuselage to lessen the chance of further rotation. I realized in reflection that if I was using my normal transmitter I would have been able to land with control on both of these flights despite the problems. My being used to a different set up of control sticks was hindering me a bit.

This time before tossing the plane I did more pretrend flying with this transmitter.  I again tossed the plane into the breeze and this time the plane went where I directed it and I was able to make a number of nice turns. Turns were started with rudder control and finished with up elevator control to keep the plane level. I climbed to 400 feet and noticed some stronger gusts had come up and I decided it was best to glide down and land, this was done without a problem. Since the gusts became even stronger I decided to call it a day. At home I mixed up some epoxy with micro balloons and when I was sure the tail assembly was square with the wing, I took the wing off and added the epoxy to the tail boom inside the fuselage and secured it in place. When it dried I removed the tape I had installed on the outside that afternoon.

 

Sunday was a beautiful day for flying with a light breeze and blue skies. Flying well in the hands of a novice pilot.

Day three was a Sunday and I was flying at Beyer high school in Modesto, one of the fields for my club. While there was still a light breeze there were no gusts. This field was about three times larger then the park I flew at on Saturday in Stockton and it was blue skies and sunshine. I again practiced flying in my mind using the transmitter to retrain myself to these controls before the first flight. After a preflight check I turned the motor on and tossed the plane. It flew away smoothly. I gave it a little up elevator and it began to climb. Turns were nice and smooth. I started the turns with rudder movement and then added up elevator as the inner wing on the turn began to drop. I slowly returned the rudder control to neutral as the turn was ending and then I returned the elevator control to the neutral position. I climbed to about 400 feet and toggled off the motor and glided down. I repeated this process several times. With the motor off I moved the elevator trim tab down to the bottom position to maintain almost level flight. When I powered back up I returned the trim tab to the neutral position. On the third flight, with the motor off I caught a small bubble of lift and made three large circling turns during which the T-Hawk climbed just slightly inside a thermal. I left the thermal as it drifted back toward the light poles on the field and turned the motor back on and climbed for a fourth time. No lift on this flight and I glided the T-Hawk down. This time I got a little too close to some "temporary" classrooms and ended up flying between them, that woke me up in a hurry! The T-Hawk can thermal with the motor off but it takes a faily strong thermal for it to be able to climb. Don't buy it thinking you will soar with the motor off but it is fun to fly with the motor on or off after you climb to altitude. As mentioned above, I flew with the elevator trim tab on the transmitter in the middle or neutral position for powered flight. For gliding I would slide the trim tab down to the bottom, which gave more up to the planes elevator. The T-Hawk flies and glides fairly fast for a beginner plane but properly set up it was easy to control.

After relaxing with friends and flying a few other planes I found a new pilot to fly the T-Hawk. His name was Brandon Thomas and he's the nephew of a friend, Jeff Hunter. This was Brandon's first day of flying and he had completed two flights with an R/C glider with a transmitter with one control stick. I showed him how the controls worked on this plane's transmitter and how it was different from what he just did with the glider. I inserted the second battery pack and started the T-Hawk with a toss and got it fifty feet up and handed Brandon the transmitter. He continued to climb and fly it all over the sky in a controlled manner. He tried to do a loop on his own and succeeded on his second attempt. He stalled a few times but he recovered nicely. He turned the motor off and glided down and toggled it back on and climbed again. He flew it for about five minutes and then his uncle flew it for a couple minutes to the end of the battery pack. Jeff Hunter also caught a weak thermal and climbed for one circle and remained level for several additional circles before leaving the thermal and landing. 

Brandon Thomas on his first day of flying. The T-Hawk after two days of flying, still good as new.

Conclusion

We had about twenty people at the field on Sunday and all thought the T-Hawk was a bargain for a beginner considering all that you got for the price and the way it performed. The only part of the plane that I found to be unaccceptable was the wire used for the landing gear. I have bent it back into shape several times in just two days. I recharged a battery on Sunday afternoon and did a roll off ground take-off at my local park just to confirm it could be done...no problem. Of slight concern is that the motor occassionally stuttered on all of the flights but it immediately resumed normal operation after each stutter. The radio worked fine in my tests but as stated above it takes a little thinking if you are used to a different set-up on the transmitter sticks. Be sure that the tail boom is on straight and that the horizontal stabilizer is level with the wing. After I made my final correction on Saturday the T-Hawk performed very well. I am really happy that I got to test this plane out. With control of rudder, elevator and motor on/off I can recommend this plane to a beginner. In fact I gave it to a very good friend in hopes he would become more interested in this hobby I love. Find a nice large field, an instructor if you can and enjoy.

Addendum

Several different people have reported experiencing interference or other problems using the radio gear (transmitter and receiver) that came with this plane. While I have had no trouble with mine I want to report that some Ezone members have reported interference or glitches and that some of these were severe. I had no trouble with interference or range and I have flown at three different sites with up to eight other pilots flying at the same time at one location, but their transmitters were all in the 72 Mhz range not in the 27 Mhz range of this system. Even if you replace the transmitter and receiver that comes with the plane or save the $15.00 by not buying them the plane and all that you get is still a good deal in my opinion, especially for a new pilot.

Discussion

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Old May 24, 2004, 07:12 AM
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Smelly plane-Good Artcle

The T-hawk is a good plane, but the people at Ready-to-fly-fun are saying it is better then Hobbyzone's Aerobird Challenger.

Well, Ready-to-fly-fun is wrong! The Challenger is the all around better plane and they know it!

I own a T-Hawk and I was so discussted with it I sold it on ebay for a final bid of $145. Only 4 bids took place to show what kink of a plane it is.

This plane should go to the dogs before you can say "SOLD"!
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Old May 26, 2004, 02:32 PM
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The artcle Michael Heer wrote is great, but the plane is horable.
I have one and I had to give it a bost to take off because of its paperclip landing gear, had to tape the canopy shut because it always would pop open, and worst of all, the exposed servos poped out of there tray!

This is not a good plane and I only want to recommened it to those who want to be ripped, fustrated and angry. Bad, bad, bad, bad plane. BUT-a great artcle.
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Old Jun 17, 2004, 03:11 PM
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Northern Neck of Virginia
Joined Dec 2003
59 Posts
I love my T-Hawk and much prefer it to my Aerobird. The aerobird has servos and a receiver that can not be replaced. It has that lousy tread system attached to the elevators-the adjusting screws slip. I can do rolls and loops much easier with the T-Hawk.
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Old Jun 21, 2004, 03:28 AM
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Joined May 2004
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Very happy with my T-hawk

Sorry to hear of your bad experience, Steve Mur. However my experience is like Porter Kier's - I too am quite happy with my T-hawk. I bought it in May 2004 with the $10 upgrade to NiMH cells for longer flight duration. The T-hawk now comes with an FM radio, albeit still at 27 MHz, and now has a conventional three-channel Tx with fully proportional throttle on a slider on the left, and the usual Mode II elevator/rudder on the (single) right stick. What you learn on this Tx, you can take with you to any other Mode II Tx.

I fly my T-hawk off a grass field, so I don't use the landing gear and cannot comment on its strength or lack thereof. I'm not familiar with the Aerobird, but the wing on the T-hawk is *much* stronger than the wing on the Firebird Outlaw/ Firebird Challenger, plus you get full elevator/rudder control. Mine has been flown into a tree three times - and shows almost no visible damage, just very slight dents in the leading edge of the wing. And I still have a spare wing and tail-feathers sitting unused in the box...

I have had glitching issues with the stock Tx/Rx, but I fly in Los Angeles, with lots of RF interference, and this may not be an issue elsewhere. If in doubt, the T-hawk can be purchased without Tx/Rx for $119 - and it still comes with two battery packs, three props, a spare wing, a spare set of tail-feathers, and an AC battery charger.

My neighbour liked my T-hawk so much he bought one of his own - and now we both go out flying together.

In short, I give the T-hawk two big thumbs up. It flies well, comes with a more extras than the competition, is very durable, and costs less than any similar full thee-channel plane I've run across. What's not to like?

-Flieslikeabeagle
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Old Jul 04, 2004, 10:40 AM
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Well, when you said that the T-hawk has a much stronger wing then the Firebird Cammander/Firebird Outlaw, you are right. And you are also right about the theird channel.

There is no such thing as the Firebird Challenger. The Aerobird Challenger is what I'm talking about. And, me as a onwer as bolth planes, the Challenger has a stronger wing beleave it or not. The reason for the Balsa inside the T-hawk is so it's stringht can come close to the challengers. The T-Hawk needs that spar. If it didn't, it's wing would be more flexable then rubber!

Plus- The Aerobird Challenger DOES have 3 Channels-PLUS a X-Port-PLUS Multi-Mode Flight control that will easly out run a T-Hawk.

The Aerobird Challenger is much Faster, Durable, and people say it look's nicer.
An exsample of the T-Hawk being week. WhenI opened the box, it's landing gear was a paperclip!!!!!!!!!
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Old Jul 09, 2004, 10:35 AM
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Rock Hill, SC
Joined Oct 2002
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T-Hawk

Wow, there must be two type of T-Hawks out there. I got mine from the website people, the only place I could buy the plane. Flew one previously a little bit and was basically looking for a crash & burn special. My existing electric fleet consists of Speedy 400's (with Mega 16/15/3's), X250, Elfies, Champion, Lil Rascal (with 010 B/L), so I am not new to electrics nor am I pushing conventional slow fliers.

So, when I ordered the T-Hawk, complete with 900 mAh NiMH's, I was surprised to find the ESC was reasonably good, the 27 MHz FM Rx only slightly prone to glitching. Darn thing flew fine, just a little sedate, but no problem with high altitude soaring. Tip stalled it once, from a height of about 8 feet, and cracked the wing. No big deal, some FG reinforced strapping tape fixed it in about one minute.

The landing gear? A "paper clip" would be a compliment, the stock gear is worthless, so I tossed it aside. Left the tail wheel on, however. Hand launches are boringly easy, and belly landings help me practice for what I have to do with my modified hotrod, the Speedy 400.

THEN: I thought I would go one up with the local teen hotshot who has (or probably "had" at this point in time) a T-Hawk and who got me interested in the plane in the first place. I decided to change out the stock motor for a Zagi reverse wound Speed 400 ($9.95); changed out the ESC for a Jeti 18 knowing amps would be higher. Also increased the throw of the elevator and rudder. The only thing that changed was the Wow factor. Like fast snap rolls to the right, you got'em. Like inside loops from level flight, go for it. Additional speed, you'll have it. My neighbor put the T-Hawk up for me to demonstrate "thermalling", had it up there for damn near 20 minutes!

81 flights on the beast so far and loving it. Same cheapo TX, and I bought additional 900 mAh batteries from the supplier and from LHS. Had one of the original batteries go bad after 4 cycles. Called up the folks who sold me the plane, they replaced it at no charge, including return postage for the faulty battery.

So, I guess I got one of the better T-Hawks, and the conventional tail plane is much better, I believe, than the V-tail arrangements on the Firebird series.

RD
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Old Jul 09, 2004, 12:25 PM
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Northern Neck of Virginia
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Great pictures of a T hawk. I have learned that if I have too much trim on the rudder that when I go up to loop the plane rolls. For great rolls go up into a loop and when vertical give it full rudder.
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Old Jul 09, 2004, 08:05 PM
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Vernonia, OR
Joined Mar 2004
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Check this T-Hawk video out. I put a mega BL and LiPo batts in it.
http://home.comcast.net/~john.j.halv...os/thunder.wmv
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 06:25 AM
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WOW!!!! tHAT IS GREAT--TELL ME MORE DETAILS ABOUT YOUR MOTOR ETC. pORTER KIER
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 10:18 PM
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Washougal, Washington, United States
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Awesome video!

Tremendous video of brushless T-Hawk! I was the first in our club to purchase a T-Hawk. I think there are 7 clubmembers flying them now! These are guys that have flown 30-40 years! They love them! Only problem I remember was when we had 3 of them flying at the same time. 3 pilots flying 2 planes! Been flying mine 2 years. Still on the original wing, tail feathers. I prefer ROG take-offs. Even in a good landing, you have to bend the landing gear back in place. No big deal.

Balsa
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Old Jul 26, 2004, 09:21 AM
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Rock Hill, SC
Joined Oct 2002
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Landing Gear? What Landing Gear?

Forget the landing gear, it's not worth the hassle.

Learn to land the T-Hawk fast and smooth.

It is a great way to learn how to land sailplanes and even other powered aircraft. Also, hand launching is not a short-cut, IMHO. A really good hand launch is a skill, and it also saves a few mAh's for actual flying.

Only one T-Hawk flying in our club now, I have it. Some visiting flyer this weekend brought one of the Aero something-or-others. Almost identical orange body, but with V-tail. He spent over an hour explaining all the neat tricks he had done, to get the plane to fly well. My T-Hawk was quite capable right out of the box, and now with the minor mods I have made, the plane is a real blast to fly.

RD
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Old Jul 28, 2004, 04:27 AM
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Doug Sipprell wrote:
Quote:
Wow, there must be two type of T-Hawks out there.
LOL, I think this is a classic case of "one mans meat is another mans poison".

With apologies for the sexist wording, this saying originated in an older era when ignoring womankind was routine.

I'm still flying my T-hawk, and loving it. In fact I just maidened my only other plane at present - a Wattage Sopwith Camel. It's still in the test-flying stage, so I can't comment yet on how well or badly it flies. But I had to make a *lot* of changes to the stock design of that Camel...there were so many problems with the stock setup!

By contrast, the T-hawk flew perfectly minutes after being put together. And it's still flying perfectly! Recently I've been flying low and slow, just four or five feet above the deck and making "photo passes" a few feet in front of me at face height. This thing is FUN!

-Flieslikeabeagle
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Old Jul 28, 2004, 10:37 AM
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Rock Hill, SC
Joined Oct 2002
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Quack-Quack

I have fun doing something similar. I fly the T-Hawk low to the ground, but at full speed, coming directly at me. No photograph taking here, just the sight of the thing coming right at you and then, hopefully, you make it turn away a short distance from you, as you listen to that Zagi Speed 400 wound out tight. I just have to remember to:

DUCK


RD
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Old Jul 29, 2004, 01:23 AM
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Joined May 2004
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Quote:
I just have to remember to: DUCK
Doug, please promise us you won't take up flying those 200+ mph model jets any time soon

I wonder what the AMA would have to say if they knew there was somebody out there who intentionally flew his plane towards himself

-Flieslikeabeagle
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