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Hobbico's Zoom Pilot

A review of the Hobbico Zoom Pilot by Rebekah Horney

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Specifications:
  • Wingspan: 31.5 in.
  • Length: 20.5 in.
  • Flying Weight: 7.5 oz.
  • Power system:  Unknown, included electric motor
  • Cells:  6 cells, apparently 110 mAh range
  • Radio: 2-channel, 2-stick 27 mHz radio included
  • Kit Price : $139.99 (Tower web site price)
  • Manufacturer: Hobbico  www.hobbico.com

 

Background

This kit looked easy and I have wanted to learn how to fly for along time, so I asked my dad if I could do the review on it.  He said it looked like a good kit for me to review, so I was excited and began to work on it right away.

 

Kit Contents

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In the box contained two battery packs, a battery charger (wall-type slow charger), a screw driver, extra screws, two props, the wing, the tail, the fuselage (with motor, speed control, and radio components installed), the instructions,  the radio, and an instruction video.  This plane is intended to be flown as a rudder/throttle plane, but there is a mounting location available for an elevator servo if the builder would like to upgrade the plane later.

The instrutional video shows you how easily the plane assembles, how it flies, and some tips on getting the plane to fly well.

 

Power System

The power system is included and already installed in the plane.  We don't know what kind of motor it is, but it's smaller than a Speed 280.  It seemed to have sufficient power for this kind of plane, though.

 

Construction

Wing

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All I did for the wing was screw it on.  The wing is one piece and all foam.  It has a plastic post that goes in to a hole in the forward bulkhead, then a screw fastens the back of the wing down to the aft bulkhead.

 

Tail Surfaces

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For the tail, I put the stabilizer in place then screwed the stabilizer post down to hold the assembly.  I put the elevator adjustment wire in place and tightened it up (actually the wire gets fitted before the stabilizer is mounted).   The vertical fin/rudder is already installed and hooked up on the fuselage.   We bent the wire a little to help trim out the rudder before flying it.

 

Landing Gear

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I put the landing gear into the slot in the fuselage,  then I put the landing gear cover on top of that and screwed it down.  The landing gear is a single wire/wheel unit that simply protects the prop in landings. 

 

Prop

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For the prop I just pushed it in.

 

Radio

The included radio is a two channel, two-stick unit.  The left stick moves fore and aft, and is used for the throttle in this plane. The right stick moves left and right, and is used for the rudder.  The transmitter requires 8 AA batteries.   The speed control and servo are proportional items, just as with more expensive units. 

 

Flying

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We made our first test glides in our back yard, and it flew perfectly right from the start.  It appears to be tail heavy, but the glide was nice so we decided to proceed (plus, you have to add a lot of weight to get the balance right).

We used an adapter to charge the batteries on my Dad's peak charger.  They appear to be 110 mAh batteries, but I'm not certain of that.  It would take quite a while using the wall charger, but my dad's charger got them ready in about a half an hour each.   Now we just had to wait for some nice weather to go flying!

It flies nicely, but you have to be careful not to hold the rudder to long - we had a few accidents when the Zoom pilot spun in.  The foam was damaged, but we repaired it pretty easily with foam-friendly CA and plastic packing tape.  When we launched the plane it would climb, then drop a little, and climb again until it settled into a smooth flight.  When the motor quits it just glides in.  Flights were short (probably a minute or so), but that may not be a bad thing when you are just learning.

 

Recommendations

The Zoom Pilot is very easy to build.  It can easily be built in 15 - 30 minutes.   It comes with every thing you need, even the radio, batteries, and charger. You need to be careful when you fly it, however, not to hold the rudder to long or it will spiral in..

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