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Hobbico's Phoenix Strega ARF Review

"The Pheonix Strega is a wonderful airplane. It is easy to put together and it was easy to fly. But as easy as it was to assemble, it still presents me with a fun plane to hone skills with. Slow or fast, it's my choice. The plane does both. The Phoenix people have included a lot of "extras" with this plane in the way of top notch construction, ease of assembly, good hardware and a very high degree of pre-fabrication.

Splash

Introduction


Model:Strega 40 ARF
Wingspan:54.5"
Length:46.6"
Weight:5 lbs. 8 oz.
Servos:(5) Futaba S3004's
Transmitter:Futaba 4YF
Receiver:Futaba R127DF
Battery:Futaba NR4QB 600mAh 4.8V square pack
Engine:O.S. 46 FX
Cowl:Fiberglass
Landing gearFixed, Taildragger
Tank:As supplied
Pushrods:Wooden with metric rod ends
Hardware:Metric
Hinges:Nylon
Manufacturer:Phoenix Models
Available From:Tower Hobbies and your local hobby shop

The Strega, by Phoenix Models, is a sport scale 40 sized ARF, patterned after the racing plane of the same name. Some liberties were taken from the original wing and tail feather sizes along with canopy and cowl shape but, that being said, it still most definitely looks like a racing P-51 Mustang and it has that "go fast" attitude even when sitting still.

I'm very excited about it so let's get to work!

Needed items for completion:

  • 40-46 two stroke / 48-53 four stroke engine
  • 4 channel radio gear with 5 servos
  • "Y" harness servo extension
  • 30 minute epoxy
  • 5 minute epoxy
  • CA glue
  • Hobby knife
  • Straight and Phillips screwdrivers
  • Hobby square
  • Masking tape
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Measuring tape
  • Drill and bits

Equipment I used:

Kit Contents

The plane came very well packaged and had no shipping damage. All of the small parts were sub-divided into individually bagged, easy to use groups.

Assembly

Manual

At the time of this article, an online version of the manual was not available. The manual was written so that a first time ARF assembler could use it with ease.

Wing

The wing was built up wood and the wing halves were connected by a wooden joiner. The trial fit of these parts was absolutely perfect! The wing root and joiner needed no adjustment at all. I trimmed the covering at the root for maximum epoxy adhesion. The ailerons were already hinged AND pinned from the factory. A pleasant surprise and a time saver indeed.

The cutout for the servo arm seemed to be on the large side. I centered the servo arms with the radio system before I mounted them in the hatch assemblies. It turned out that the reason the the servo arm slots were so big in the hatch was because the only way to get the recommended aileron throws using a transmitter that didn't have end point adjustments, was to actually have the control rod below the surface of the wing. I was concerned that there might be a "ballooning" of the covering on the wing but, that simply has not happened.

At this point I was done with the wing assembly, for now.

Fuselage

The fuselage was a great piece of work! It was fully sheeted, laser cut and fuel proofed on the engine side. The canopy, dorsal fin, servo tray, and engine mount had even been factory installed.

Tail

The horizontal stabilizer had the elevators pre-hinged and pinned like the ailerons. The joiner wire that connected the elevator halves was also pre installed.

The vertical stabilizer left me to install the only hinge, rather half of a hinge. The hinge half in question, went into the fuselage when putting on the fin.

The only "hiccup" I had on the tail assembly of my Strega was an interference between the front of the vertical stabilizer and the back of the canopy dorsal. It seemed that the canopy assembly was a bit to the rear on mine. I just notched the front of the vertical stab and overlapped them. No problem.

Engine installation

There was one little piece of information that was left out of the manual, how far does the prop hub sit away from the firewall?? Fortunately, the metal, strap type mount made this an easy problem to tackle. I slid my cowl on the fuselage and measured from the firewall to the front of the cowl. In the case of the O.S. 46FX, I installed it with the engine's mounting lugs all the way forward and it worked perfectly.

Cowl

The Strega came with a very good quality cowl. The installation was a bit tedious and time consuming, BUT, I considered that time well spent. In my opinion, the cowl was what set the tone for the plane's "go fast" attitude.

Completion

The belly scoop and control linkages were installed at this point. The scoop was easy to mount. Since this was done "on the plane" I used some wax paper between the wing and the fuselage in case I got a little sloppy with the epoxy.

The manual gave some very good instructions on how to build the wood and metal pushrods for the elevator and rudder. Guess what... another one of those pleasant surprises... They were already made!!! The aileron and throttle linkages went together without any problems.

The landing gear went on with only one minor snag. The manual didn't say which way the gear should go. The gear fit in their slots either way. One way and the main legs were angled slightly rearward, this orientation was what the pictures in the manual showed. The other way the main legs were angled forward, which put the axles at the leading edge of the wing.

Radio Installation

The radio installation was super easy due to the height of the fuselage. I mounted the battery above the receiver in between the back of the tank and the front of the servo tray, as shown in the manual. The manual said that the CG should be 125mm. With the radio gear in this position, the center of gravity came out at 119mm. Close enough...

The antenna was routed to a spot behind the wing saddle and tied to the tail wheel.

Covering and decals

In case you haven't noticed, the plane was orange. Stark, raving, screaming orange! I thought that was a good thing. After thinking about it for a while and looking at the decal sheet, I came to the conclusion that the decals were going to be a requirement. Not only did they look cool, but they would help with orientation. They were very easy to apply and were of high quality. I did not use all of the smaller decals Phoenix provided, just the big ones. That was a personal choice.

Posing time!

Walk around

Closer looks

Flying

Basics

The control throws were set up as recommended by Phoenix. 6mm up and down on the ailerons and elevator. 30mm left and right on the rudder. I rechecked all the control directions and connections. It's time to fly.... Why am I nervous???

Taking Off

The Strega was well mannered taxiing, but was very light in the tail. On rough ground the tail bounced up a bit but didn't nose over. Holding full up elevator while taxiing helped, but it still bounced.

Flight

The Strega had a very precise feel to it. It flew very pattern like, meaning, it flew like it was on tracks. It went where I pointed it and didn't vary. It also flew at a pretty quick speed. I am not a good judge of model airplane speeds but, it was flying faster than most of the planes at my field. At the recommended throws, it gave me no surprises and still had a spirited feel about it. Stalls were a non event. The plane just dropped its nose and kept flying. When I stalled it and locked in full up elevator it still had plenty of aileron authority as well. The plane, during slow flight, was very controllable and didn't exhibit any great loss of crispness on the controls. The trims did not change between low and high speed flight.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

The Strega was capable of all of the basic (non 3D) aerobatic maneuvers. Inverted flight required a just a touch of down elevator to maintain level flight. Inside and outside loops were reasonably tight at 40 to 50 feet. Aileron rolls were crisp with just a little bit of altitude loss. Hammerheads were super easy with that big rudder. Spins were scale-like with a nose down attitude and did need to be flown out. The plane would eventually come out of the spin but only after a substantial loss in altitude. Snap rolls were easy to do and could really get wound up! The plane needed about a full revolution to stop snapping on it's own. Knife edge flight, with the recommended rudder rate, gave me a very slight downward slide. It lost about 50 feet down per thousand feet flown. Get this! With this setup, the plane had no coupling! Zero! None! Unbelievable....

Landing

The landings on this plane needed to be planned. The Strega took a long time to slow down. If the throttle was cut to near idle on the downwind leg, and after making a big graceful turn on final, the plane came right on in. It didn't land trainer slow, but it was comfortable.

Is This For a Beginner?

In my opinion, the Strega would be a great second plane for someone who has truly 'wrung out' their trainer. Its quick enough to be exciting, but easy enough not to scare anyone. Assembling the plane was very simple and not intimidating at all. It would accept the controls from a basic transmitter, like the Futaba 4YF, and needed no special mixing functions. It was an easy to fly, confidence builder. However, because it is not draggy like a trainer, I would DEFINITELY recommend the help of a qualified instructor to get used to landing this aerodynamic an airplane.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

The good...

  • Quality of construction
  • Covering is immaculate
  • Good hardware
  • Pre-hinged
  • Pushrods already made
  • Ease of assembly

The Not so good

  • Interference between the dorsal fin and the vertical stabilizer
  • No firewall to prop hub measurement given
  • Main landing gear hole too big

Conclusion

The Phoenix Strega was a wonderful airplane. It was easy to put together and it was easy to fly. But as easy as it was, it still presented me with a fun plane to hone skills with. Slow or fast, it was my choice. The plane did both. The Phoenix people have included a lot of "extras" with this plane in the way of top notch construction, ease of assembly, good hardware and a very high degree of pre-fabrication.

The good far outweighed the "not so good" on this plane. My total time assembling the Strega was at 13 hours and less than an hour of that was correcting the minor imperfections mentioned.

I was thrilled to find that this performance plane had great performance on the basic 4YF radio system. I didn't have to have flaperon programming, digital end point adjustment, exponential, or any other fancy features to fly this racing lookalike. If you are looking for a new challenge, all of the basic 40 size trainer stuff can be used on this plane.

I like it!! Wanna' race???

Thanks to Don Sims, Nick King and Jerry Tate for their help with video and photography. Thanks guys!

Discussion

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Old Oct 08, 2006, 09:54 AM
Nelson
Lineinput's Avatar
Joined Sep 2006
123 Posts
Hi there.
Great review of the strega. I just asked last week for one of those and I'm angry waiting for it, it's dificult to get your package on time here in Mexico.
I have seen around for the downloadable manual to read it meanwhile but I can't find it. Would you please scan it for me?
I'm starting in the hobby and it's nice to see I don't really need a lot of construction skills to make it fly.
The Strega will be my second airplane, the other one I have it's an Avistar 40 and finally I can take off and land with no big damages, but because of the dihedral of this plane it's hard to keep it flying upside down (or whatever is the Aviation-Term) and do another kind of aerobatics (well it's a trainer).
I have a futaba 6 channel computerized radio, the radio that I got with the avistar was a 4 channel radio but my brother asked for an heli and I stealt his radio.

Please if you can link me to the manual or scan it I will thank you.

Thanks.

nelsonsanruiz@prodigy.net.mx
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Old Jan 06, 2007, 10:40 AM
Registered User
Joined Jan 2007
7 Posts
pregunto tienes algun tip para el STREGA, o algun comentario que me puedas hacer ya que estoy terminando uno y no quiero tener ninguna perdida con el???

quedo a la espera de tus comentarios.

saludos.
Payo
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Old Jan 18, 2007, 11:07 PM
Nelson
Lineinput's Avatar
Joined Sep 2006
123 Posts
Hola.

Mira yo tengo poco en esta onda del aeromodelismo, el strega fue le segundo avion que arme y se me hizo dificil.
Utilicé un radio de 4 canales futaba e inicialmente le monte in motor 46 LA, con 11x6 master airscrew, desde el armado... a la hora de montar el cowling en el manual en ninguna parte te dice que distancia debe tener desde el firewall hasta el spinner y no es fácil calcularle (para un novato). Asi que el primer vuelo que tuve con el Strega estuvo del navo. Fue muy dificil de elevar y una vez en el aire hacia demasiados "columpios" por lo que pensando que estaba pesado de cola, me consegui el CG Machine y definitivamente estaba muy pesado de cola, tuve que agregar como 200 grs en la punta para dejar el centro de gravedad que recomiendad. AL volver a intentar el vuelo quedo PEOR, asi que pensando en que mas bien faltaba mas motor, decidi cambiar por un .46 MAX embalado que tiene mayor potencia y sorpresa que definitivamente no pude hacer volar el strega, los unicos 3 o 4 vuelos que tuve fueron muy estresantes debido a su inestabilidad y asi mismo volvio a caer. Esa vez decidi deshacerme del avión y le quite todo lo de valor y lo regale a un amigo. Dice que voy a arrepentirme de haberlo hecho pero creo que no.
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 04:34 PM
Registered User
Joined Jan 2007
1 Posts
El Strega vuela muy bien. Es un ala baja con muy buenas caracteristicas de vuelo para lo que cuesta.

La unica bronca que he tenido con el es al aterrizar. El 80% de mis aterrizajes con el se va de nariz despues de correr un poco al aterrizar. Siento que las ruedas no estan suficientemente adelante y por eso tiende a besar la pista. La verdad por decidia no le he querido doblar el tren hacia adelante porque como tenemos pista de pasto no le pasa nada.

Lineinput, a lo mejor el problema con tu strega era que estaba excedido de mando en el elevador y alerones y por eso te hacia caballitos y volaba inestable. Al principio me hizo lo mismo. En el manual del avion te indica cuanto es el recorrido recomendado para el elevador y alerones (en mm). Para cumplir con la recomendacion hice algunas pruebas y finalmente puse el dual rate del radio en elevador y alerones al 60% y solucioné el problema.

Saludos desde Veracruz, Mexico
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