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Clancy Lazy E-Bee RTF Review

Tom Blakeney obviously enjoys flying indoors and out with this new RTF parkflyer version of the classic Lazy Bee design by Andy Clancy.

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Introduction


Wingspan:28.5"
Wing Area:240 sq. in.
Weight:9.5 oz.
Length:23"
Wing Loading:5.7 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:2 Cirrus 6.5 gram, incl.
Transmitter:Cirrus 27 Mhz FM 4 channel 2 stick Mode 2, incl.
Receiver:Cirrus 27 Mhz FM 4 channel, incl.
Battery:7 cell 300 NiMH, incl.
Motor:12mm brushed motor with a 5.861:1 gearbox , incl.
ESC:Global 5 amp unit, incl.
Street Price:$179.99
Manufacturer: Clancy Aviation
Available From: Global Hobby

The Lazy Bee design by Andy Clancy has a shape and style well known to modelers everywhere. Lovers of the Lazy Bee have elevated this design to cult status in the radio control hobby, where it is probably THE single most recognized non-scale model design since the classic Ugly Stick. Some people love its dumpy but charming retro look, some people hate it, but no one is unaffected by this model that dares to be different.

Clancy Aviation and Global Hobby have taken the Lazy Bee formula of retro styling, low aspect ratio wings, high lift aerodynamics, great maneuverability, stability and ease of flight and applied it to the all new model under review here, the Lazy E-Bee. Now the parkflyer crowd can enjoy a fully Ready To Fly version of the Bee, nicely molded in foam, fully painted and assembled that delivers solid park level performance right out of the box.

Here is a brief comparison of the original Lazy Bee and the Lazy E-Bee:

Original Lazy Bee Lazy E-Bee
Span: 40" 28.5"
Powerplant: Glow .049-.15
up to .26 4-stroke
12mm brushed motor with gearbox
Construction: balsa molded EPS foam

Kit Contents:

The box containing the Lazy E-Bee was opened with some anticipation and curiosity, since I had enjoyed flying Lazy Bee models in the past. The major parts of the model were bagged in polypropylene plastic for protection and neatly nested in a foam packer. This model should ship well. The pictures of the open box show the major parts with the poly bags removed for clarity.

First impressions were good. The model came pre-painted in a red and black color scheme that brought to mind the classic Travel Air Mystery Ship racer. The under-cambered wing was neatly molded in EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam with a generous length of wooden dowel inset in the wing's leading and trailing edges to prevent rubber band damage. The injection molded EPS foam fuselage had all the radio and power components already installed except for the Nickel Metal Hydride flight battery. The Cirrus 6.5 gram servos were pre-installed externally, one on each side of the fuselage, giving exceptional access for adjustments and repairs, if needed.

Pushrods were already installed complete with external standoffs for stiffness. The model had an electronic speed control arming switch pre-installed on the upper right side of the fuse. After installing the flight battery, this momentary pushbutton switch needed to be pressed once to arm the electronic speed control. For safety, he throttle would not work until the model was armed.

The electric motor and gear drive were already mounted with rubber bands, giving a nice degree of crash protection. The Clancy geared motor appears quite similar to the well respected GWS 12 mm brushed motor, plus its own gearbox. The gear ratio is 5.86 to 1 and the shaft size is 3mm. It came with a heat sink installed, a smaller one that I had never seen before. The prop, a Clancy 10/5, is very similar to a black GWS 10/4.7, but the shape is different and the prop blades had a little more area. The electronic speed control was installed in the upper fuselage, under the wing mount and the receiver was installed inside a small hatch on the bottom of the fuselage. I did not remove the ESC and have not been able to positively identify it, so I assume it was a pretty typical 2-5 amp brushed ESC.

One of the more interesting features on this model was the flexible, crash resistant foam battery hatch on the lower nose area of the model. The hatch and area where the hatch mounted on the lower nose were equipped with Velcro. To install (or remove) the flight battery, I pulled back the foam hatch and secured (or removed) the battery. A Velcro mount for the flight battery was already installed in the battery compartment. Almost any hard landing or crash was likely to end up putting a lot of stress in the lower nose area and the foam would do a very good job of absorbing the impact of this 9.5 oz model.

The tail surfaces were molded in sheet EPS (Depron style) foam and came with the control horns pre-installed. The horizontal tail had a tape hinge and the vertical tail attached to live hinges pre-mounted in the aft fuse, giving the model a full flying vertical tail.

The landing gear was a classic Lazy Bee installation, a straight axle inside a plastic tube with two lightweight parkflyer wheels pre-installed. The true Lazy Bee purist might want to switch over to the vintage Trexler pneumatic tires. The unit was attached to the model with a rubber band on each side of the fuse.

The radio system included was the Cirrus 4 channel FM unit on 27 MHz. Kudos to Clancy Aviation and Global Hobby for supplying a decent entry level FM radio system on 27 MHz for this class of model. Supplying the model with a radio on 27 MHz helps keep the new parkflyer from coming into radio conflict with other radio controlled models on 72 MHz. The transmitter is a full size 4 channel 2 stick unit with reversing switches on the lower front of the transmitter. The transmitter has a very decent feel and even has adjustable length control sticks. Compared to most modern radios that bristle with switches and knobs, this transmitter is a very clean and simple unit. The TX requires 8 AA Alkaline dry batteries. The receiver that is pre-installed inside the Lazy E-Bee is the Cirrus 4 channel FM unit that appears similar to the Hitec Feather receiver.

The battery supplied for the model is a 7 cell 300mAh NiMH pack, arranged in a 6 pack plus one layout. As a more experienced modeler, I would've prefered if Clancy Aviation and Global Hobby had included a Li-poly battery and charger, instead of the older technology NiMH unit (as Global Hobby did with the Micro Flyer.) To be fair, the NiMH battery will work fine for the typical beginner, is less expensive keeping the total package price down, and also safer for the beginner. The connector is a black interlocking 2 pin unit that is showing up in several different brands of RTF electric models these days. The battery charger supplied is a simple wall transformer unit that will recharge the pack in two hours. The charger does not have any automatic features and the user must monitor and time his charging manually, to prevent overcharging.

The other contents of the box were a clearly written, nicely illustrated and well detailed assembly and operating manual and two poly bags containing rubber bands, screws for the rudder, a spare prop and spinner and a red ribbon to serve as a wind indicator for the transmitter antenna.

All in all, the Lazy E-Bee presented well in the box as a ready to fly model aimed at the newcomer to R/C park flying.

Assembly:

The Lazy E-Bee arrived on my doorstep a day before a local indoor flying event. I decided to put the box in my van and carry it along to the event and assemble it on site, during the flying. Even though the model was not advertised as an indoor flyer, I was confident sure that a Lazy Bee style model that weighs in at 9.5 oz. would do well indoors. I glanced at the instruction manual to make sure I had everything needed to complete the assembly. This very short list called for just three items: 8 AA alkaline batteries for the transmitter, a small Phillips screwdriver and a small adjustable wrench.

Our indoor group had been invited to fly a demo all weekend at the Automobile Building at Dallas Fair Park. After a morning of flying other models, I decided it was time to tackle the Lazy E-Bee. I enlisted my daughter Sarah and my good friend Richard Ng to help out with the photos needed. Many thanks for the photos they supplied! After taking pictures of the box and kit components, I plugged in the stock charger and flight battery for a charge. As I would expect for a RTF model, assembly proceeded very rapidly. It took less than 40 minutes to complete the model, even stopping at every step for photos.

This is a condensed version of the assembly instructions:

Note: Be sure to check the prop nut. The prop on the review kit came pre-installed, but was a little loose.

The model was ready to go as soon as the battery charged. As we were taking pictures, the build took about 40 minutes. An experienced R/C modeler would take no more that 10 minutes to assemble the Lazy E-Bee.

After the battery was charged and installed, it was time to double check the direction and amount of the control throws. No one else at the indoor event was on 27 MHz, so I had 27.095 to myself for the day. This Lazy E-Bee required no pushrod, servo or servo direction adjustments after the radio was turned on. Everything was centered and working properly. The model was set up with the rudder and elevator on the right stick and the throttle on the left stick. The fourth channel was not used on this model.

The review model's electronic speed control did not start to respond until the throttle was at about 45% travel. Not a huge issue, but a bit annoying for the experienced flyer. Once the ESC started the motor, all the throttle range occurred over a pretty small part of the TX stick throw.

Flying!

The model was armed and placed on the concrete floor. A quick check for other models nearby and the throttle was advanced. Just like hundreds of Lazy Bee type models before this, the Lazy E-Bee trundled down the runway and floated into the air easily.

I know that people that read R/C reviews get tired of hearing it, but the model was trimmed nicely right out of the box. It had a very faint left turn tendency, but this was not an issue as it needed to be turning left often to avoid the walls of the indoor venue. It spent the next 8 or 10 minutes cruising around the indoor site at about 50-60% power, making effortless circles and figure 8's. The model was as easy to fly as any rudder/elevator/throttle model that i have ever flown. Indoors, the stock battery was good for around 10 minutes. This will improve a bit as the battery gets broken in a little.

I passed the transmitter to a number of local pilots during the first flight, among whom the model was universally enjoyed. The model did turn a little better to the left than to the right. Inspection after landing showed a small warp in the wing that needed a small adjustment. Easy to fix with some gentle bending of the wing. The model landed better with a bit of power carried until it touched the ground. The 27 MHz radio system worked flawlessly and it was pleasant to not have to worry about any radio conflicts indoors.

Not wanting to wait for another two hours for the stock battery to charge, I made a field splice to convert the battery connector in the model to a BEC type, so I could use some of my collection of 2 cell Li-poly batteries. The only one available that would more or less fit in the unmodified battery compartment was a Thunder Power 700 2 cell pack. The foam battery compartment cover still showed a slight bulge but it worked fine. To use larger cells like a 2 cell 1200 Li-poly, the modeler would have to open up the foam at the back of the battery compartment to make room for a larger pack. The CG shifted back just a little with the 2 cell 700 Li-poly pack, but it was still acceptable. I would not recommend using a smaller Li-poly battery than this, because of balance concerns. For the outdoor flying, I carved out some foam as described above and used a 2 cell 1200 mAh Li-poly battery. The CG worked out just right and the weight change was negligible.

After installing the new battery, the Lazy E-Bee took to the indoor air again. Several more pilots tried their hand at the Lazy E-Bee and all ended up with grins on their face and were nothing but complimentary about the way the Bee flew. One of our regular indoor fliers accidentally steered the Lazy E-Bee straight into the wall at about half throttle. The Bee bounced off, the only damage being a crack in the rudder that was easily fixed with foam safe CA glue. This little crash showed that the Lazy E-Bee was tough as well as cute. The balance of this flight was spent doing endless circular touch-and-go landings, allowing one wheel to barely touch the floor and roll. Only a model with a good match of controllability and stability makes this look easy.

No aerobatics were attempted inside, as I wanted to preserve the model for upcoming outdoor photography.

With much local rain and wind recently, I have only managed one outdoor flying session so far with the Lazy E-Bee. I took this opportunity to do a range check. The first range check was a little less than the recommended 75 feet of ground range, model on the ground and antenna out. I elected to fly anyway and the radio system was rock solid in flight. (I repeated the range check the next day and got much more than the 75 foot minimum range, so there must have been a bit of 27Mhz interference at the field I flew in the first day.)

The grass was a bit long for an ROG. This was not a problem, as the little Bee hand launched effortlessly. The little E-Bee had the same good manners and pleasant handling outdoors that I had observed indoors. It looked great handling the 6-8 mile per hour wind during the two flights I was able to make.

I have not fully explored the aerobatic envelope of the Bee, but it looped nicely out of a dive. With the stock geared 12mm brushed powerplant, this model was much more of a trainer and cruiser than an aerobatic model. I spent most of the outdoor flights trying to position the Lazy E-Bee for photographs, taken by me while I was also doing the flying. Not many models other than a Lazy Bee would let the pilot multi-task like that!

Conclusion:

If you have a non modeling friend that wants to try an RTF parkflyer electric model, you would not go wrong suggesting this one. Andy Clancy and Global Hobby have created a new Bee that will make a fine addition to the Lazy Bee family. The Lazy E-Bee is very easy to assemble, flies well, is easy to train on, is damage resistant and all the parts supplied work well together. The quality equipment provided allows room for upgrading if desired. Yes, you could upgrade almost every electric and electronic part, but the model will certainly satisfy anyone who enjoys relaxed park flying as is. I have no doubt that that there will soon be any number of Wild E-Bees out there. In fact, you could put together an airframe from the spare parts catalog, but the cost is a little high, in my opinion: A wing, fuse, tail parts and landing gear order would be around $49.50. I would like to be able to buy a complete, unpainted foam parts kit less expensively, and be free to upgrade in interesting ways. Some kit-bashing and a 12 mm or even larger brushless motor, ailerons and lots of excess power might be fun.

I did contact Mike Greenshields of Global Hobby and asked him about the possibility of releasing a ARF airframe only kit version of the Lazy E-Bee. He replied that they had no plans to offer a kit just like the Lazy E-Bee, but planned to offer something similar. As above, he mentioned that if you had to have one, you could order the airframe parts from the spare parts service.

Pros:

  • Flies great, with a benign stall and very easy handling. Highly suitable for beginners, yet fun for the experienced flier.
  • Well executed crash protection features.
  • Everything works to a nice level right out of the box, no improvements or upgrades required.
  • The radio gear is a nice step above the norm for an entry level model.
  • Complete parts service available through dealers.
  • Looks great!
  • Good indoor performance, even though the Lazy E-Bee is not advertised as an indoor model.

Cons:

  • The electronic speed control has a lot of dead band as installed, with the prop not starting to turn until about 45% of throttle stick movement.
  • Older NiMH battery technology. I would like to see Clancy Aviation and Global Hobby embrace Li-poly battery technology and include it with the model, but the trade-off made is understandable in a beginner-focused RTF package such as this.
  • Stock battery charger is slow, requiring two hours.
  • The TX has a generic red ribbon rather than a 27 Mhz color flag. (It would be nice to train the new flyer, from day one, in proper frequency control.)
  • This fun little Bee is not available as an airframe only kit for all the fliers that already have their own electronics.

Discussion

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Old Oct 10, 2005, 01:27 PM
Registered User
Joined Sep 2004
5 Posts
Great review, thanks.

I was at my LHS this weekend with my Dad, who was in town, and he picked up this kit. I flew it around with the supplied battery as well as with a 2 cell 700 Li-poly pack and didn't notice any power difference. My Dad has never flown before and the wind was pretty stiff so needless to say he managed to dive it into the ground and break the plastic gears on the motor mount and snapped the vertical stabilizer.

I would like to put a small brushless setup on this for him. Does anyone have a suggestion on what to use, motor, esc gearbox and prop? I suppose I could always do a bigger brushed... I don't want anything crazy, just more zip etc. I would also like to keep using the 2 cell 700 Li-poly pack.

Thanks,

Jay
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Old Nov 04, 2005, 01:59 PM
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new hope,pa
Joined Apr 2002
17 Posts
Lazy E-bee Notes From A Novice

I couldn't resist picking one of these up. It flies as well as it looks. However, one or two "hard" landings really showed it's weaknesses! The plastic gear on the motor-gearbox snapped on the first flight. No problem, a quick phone order and one was in hand in a few days. On another, the horizontal stab broke. Fixed that with some epoxy and a few coffee stirrers. It now flies well again, but looks wounded.

I purchased enough spare parts to make a new plane, fuse, wing, extra gearbox (I have a feigao 12mm motor/brushless controller/LiPolys)...guess where I'm going. Re: the previous comment about an ARF...just buy the spares and make one yourself!

There isn't a meaningful voltage difference between a 2s LiPoly and the NiMH batteries as supplied with the plane, more zip would require a 3s pack...Hmmmm!
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Old Dec 31, 2005, 03:14 AM
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United States, WA, Spokane
Joined Feb 2004
58 Posts
I've been looking for a new plane that I could fly near my house without all the noise of a 1/2A plane. After reading some reviews and doing some comparing I went out and bought an Eazy-E-Bee from hobby people for $99 RTF.

When I went to put the model together I was kind of dissapointed to find that the elevator servo was stripped right out of the box. A quick trip back to the hobby store and I was given a new servo. Unfortuantely the servos are glued in with a white RTV sealant or something and I had to rip the bad one out and glue the new one in. Also, it's a serious pain to get to the servo connectors on the RX and I managed to tear my antenna off the receiver while trying to manuver the RX inside of the plane to reach the servo connectors. After gluing in the servo and soldering the antenna back onto the RX I was back in business. Then came the 2nd surprise... The NiMH pack was totally flat right out of the box. The manual says to test the controls and stuff to drain the battery before the first flight, but I wasn't granted such a privilage. I don't know a whole lot about batteries, but I'm pretty sure NiMH's aren't supposed to be stored with 0.2v on 7 cell battery.

I went ahead and charged it for the 2 hours and took the plane out to fly anyhow. I only got about 4 minutes of flight time with the throttle mostly at 100%, and it barely had any climb out power. Not a whole lot better. The next few flights were a little better, but still only about 2 minutes of good flying before 100% thottle would barely fly it. I was wondering what kind of capacity I was getting from my battery so I took the oppurtunity to liberate my wallet of $100 for a Triton charger. A couple cycles on the charger and I was only pulling about 200mAh out of the pack on average, so I figured I just had a bum pack. So it was another trip back to the hobby store and again, a fairly hassle-free exchange. When I got this pack, it too was totally flat, but so far it seems to be cycling ok (I did the exchange today), and it was the last 300mAh 7 cell they had, so I'll have to see what happens.

Anyhow, I hope that my experience as far as the batteries and the servo is the exception rather than the rule, because despite the problems, I do enjoy the plane. It's pretty stable and is rather entertaning to watch.

It's also proven to be quite durable so far. I let my sister-in-law try it out and she managed to put it in a spin and pile it into the ground pretty hard. I said "well, that's it." and was expecting a small pile of foam. When I got over to it, the plane was in one piece and there was hardly a ding on it. The wing got a little shifted, and the battery pack was hanging out of the compartment, but no damage at all. I was pretty suprised at that one. I guess it's light weight had a big part to do with that. While handling the plane though, I think it's weakest point will be the tail assembly, but time will tell how that holds up.

In general, I do enjoy the plane, but be careful you don't get a lemon. If you run into any problems right out of the box, you may be better off exchanging the whole kit. Also, it may be wise to check the battery before you buy it.
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Old Jan 03, 2006, 09:11 PM
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United States, TX, Fort Worth
Joined Jun 2000
14,515 Posts
I bet your model had been sitting on the shelf for a long time, since the kits came out in late 2004. Not surprising the battery went flat.

It is worth it to upgrade to a 2 cell lipo pack for the Lazy E-Bee. I have used anything from 700mAh to 1250mAh.
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Old Jan 04, 2006, 02:19 AM
Registered User
United States, WA, Spokane
Joined Feb 2004
58 Posts
3rd time was the charm. Now I have a good NiMH pack, and I also bought a 2 cell, 720 mAh lipo. I've been pleased with the way the plane flies with these batteries now. The lipo is great, although they take a little modding to fit. I taped on some spare change to my lipo pack so I can switch between it and the NiMH without any balance problems.

On another note, I haven't had any luck getting the plane to do loops. It's always wanting to roll out of it at the top, even if I try to correct with the rudder. If I look at the plane from the front the wing looks a little warped. I'm also thinking I might shift the CG around to see if that helps. It's not a big deal though, because it's still pretty fun to fly around, it's quite manuverable for a silly looking 3 channel airplane.
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Old Jan 04, 2006, 08:25 AM
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United States, TX, Fort Worth
Joined Jun 2000
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Mine loops nicely, but does have a faint tendancy to roll out at the top. Do try unwarping your wing, as that should help.
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Old Jan 12, 2006, 05:45 AM
Aschiuta
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Canada, ON, Cambridge
Joined Jan 2006
18 Posts
Lazy e bee

Hi,
I have too a Lazy e Bee, and i have created a small review+mods about it.
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Old Jan 14, 2006, 01:56 PM
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United States, WA, Spokane
Joined Feb 2004
58 Posts
Do you have a link to your review and mods?
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Old Jan 14, 2006, 04:02 PM
Aschiuta
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Canada, ON, Cambridge
Joined Jan 2006
18 Posts
Here is http://ca.geocities.com/yo7ggy/lazy_review/lzb.htm
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Last edited by aschiuta; Apr 09, 2007 at 07:55 PM. Reason: webpage change
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Old Jan 05, 2009, 08:27 PM
Registered User
Joined Feb 2008
1 Posts
cAN ANYONE TELL ME WHERE I CAN BUY A LAZY-E-BEE (OR ITS EQUIVILANT?
hAROLDSHEL@AOL.COM
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