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Hacker Model's Pitts Specialized Profile Park Flyer ARF Review

Brian Collins explores this incredibly 3D aerobatic flat foamie biplane, from assembly to torque rolls and beyond.

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Introduction

 Ready for take off!
Ready for take off!
Wingspan:1000mm
Wing Area:55 dm2
Weight:1050g
Length:1100mm
Wing Loading:19 g/dm2
Channels:2-ail, ele, rud
Battery:8 cell 1950 FAUP pack
Motor System:Mega power-force1 brushless set (part no 3510)
Suggested Price:$119.99US, £69.99
Manufacturer:Hacker Models
US Distributor:Empire Hobby

Anyone who read my review of the Hacker Extra Chaos will have noted I was very impressed with both the quality of the kit (ARTF) and especially impressed with the way it flew, very impressed in fact! So when I was asked by Hacker to review their latest aerobatic profile model I jumped at the chance for sure!

The latest model to hit our shores from the Hacker stable is the ‘PITTS SPECIALIZED.’ It is along the same lines as the Extra Chaos in that it utilised a high density profile foam fuselage, depron control surfaces and two fully symmetrical built up wings covered in ‘Oracover’ film. It was both lightweight and superb looking!

WHAT’S IN THE BOX

The model came well packed in a bright red box with a colour photo on the front. All components were packed in sealed bags and secured within the main box. There was a little indent to one of the depron ailerons but nothing major.

Kit contents:

  • Two Pre built and fully covered built up wings
  • Depron ailerons (pre-painted)
  • Depron rudder and tail assembly (pre-painted)
  • Hardware pack including control rods and horn fittings
  • High density foam fuselage
  • Pre bent wire undercarriage with foam wheels
  • White ‘spats’
  • Black and White Instruction manual with photos (90 of them!)

As with the Extra Chaos, the Pitts is designed for the ‘Megaforce’ 1 brushless power system which comprises of a Mega 16/15/3 motor with 2:1 gearbox, (Hacker part no 3510) attached to this was the Hacker 25A brushless speed controller. I used an APC 11x5.5 prop.

Kit requires:

  • Power system of your choice
  • 4 micro servos
  • Mini Receiver
  • Flight pack (I used an 8 cell 1950 FAUP pack)
  • Y-Lead for aileron servos

CONSTRUCTION

Because Hacker provided a very complete and good quality kit which had most of the work already done, I won’t go into every single detail of the build, it’s just not needed! But I will observe a couple of points I noted along the way, to help with the build.

The black and white instruction manual was in English and was easy to follow. There were 90 photographs which went through every step of construction. The manual almost fooled me into thinking that because there were 90 pictures this was going to be a tough build, but it only took me 3 hours from start to finish, and I am not the fastest builder in the world!

First job was to remove the film covering in the middle of the lower wing for the joint to the 18mm thick profile foam fuselage. I was careful not to cut into the balsa as this would weaken the wood. I used a new blade and was gentle. Once the film was removed, the lower wing was glued into position. I used 5 minute epoxy. I ensured the wing was true before the epoxy sets as it would be impossible to put it right later!

The upper wing support struts were plain balsa wood. There was one on each of the wings and a central strut. I decided to paint the plain wood with red Humbrol just because I thought it looked better as it matched the model's bright red, white and blue paint scheme! It also helped weatherproof the plain balsa.

The ailerons were fixed to the wing with supplied ‘hinge’ tape. I found this quite tricky but I took my time, and was presented with no problems. What I found must be done was ensure that I positioned the control horns in exactly the same position on each aileron, otherwise I might have found the upper ailerons would have moved far more than the lower or visa versa. Here, a little time to make sure everything was accurately measured made a lot of difference in the flying!

Once the ailerons were fixed in place, I placed the upper wing into position. I had no problems at all with this and everything matched up perfectly. The control horns were pre-cut to length and were a perfect fit! I used 4 Waypoint 084 9g servos. I found I had to slightly open out the servo holes in the lower wings to get the servos to fit.

The elevator assembly and rudder were pre-built from 6mm pre-painted depron foam. I was sure to check the tail assembly was straight and true before the epoxy set. The whole tail assembly simply butt glued to the rear of the fuselage. I had to cut about 1/8” off the tail assembly before joining it to the fuselage to ensure the red and white stripes matched up perfectly.

As with the ailerons I needed to cut into the depron to insert the control horns in the elevator and rudder, which were then epoxied into place. I used a new blade to cut into the depron.

The wheels were fitted to the supplied pre-bent undercarriage wire and fixed in place with end caps on each side of each wheel. The spats were made from foam and were simply glued onto the undercarriage then a small split was made to make them removable. Simple, but effective. It meant I could simply pull off the spats if I was flying from longer grass strips. There was no tail wheel just a piece of bent wire glued to the rear of the fuselage underside. Again, simple but effective.

The rear servos were fitted with 2 small blocks of ply on either side of them. This meant I could use many different makes of servo without any trouble. The Waypoint units I used were the perfect size. The servo wires were run through the underside of the fuselage (servo extensions were needed) and a strip of depron was placed into the slot to secure (and hide) the wires.

The motor/gearbox was simply held in place with the 2 included tie wraps. I attached the speed controller and switch to the fuselage with double sided tape, and the motor installation was finished!

The receiver I used was a 4 channel Schulze Alpha. It was simply held in place with ‘hook & loop’ tape at the rear of the battery bay.

FINISHING OFF

There were no decals supplied as everything was either applied at the factory or pre painted on the depron!

I have to build all my models ‘sitting down’ from my wheelchair and this becomes a problem on occasions (especially when lining things up) not with this model! It was well thought out and all the parts fit perfectly.

FLYING THE HACKER PITTS SPECAILSED

I set the control throws to the recommended MAX rates which are:

  • Ailerons +- 30mm
  • Elevator +- 35mm
  • Rudder +- 50mm

These movements did not seem large enough for a model capable of 3D flying but they worked perfectly well enough for me. I was able to perform some outlandish manoeuvres at these settings. I used 50% of these for ‘low’ rates.

The balance point was set to the recommended 100mm behind the leading edge of the UPPER wing. The flight pack was used to adjust the balance.

The recommended flight pack was an 8cell CP1300 9.6v pack (Hacker part no 3250.) For longer duration there was nothing to stop me from opening out the battery bay (which I did) a little to allow the fitting of the excellent Sanyo 1950 FAUP 8 cell pack I use in many of my models.

All that was left now was to wait for decent weather and it was off to the flying field. I had to wait ages (this is the North East of England after all) but, last Sunday dawned with bright blue skies and no wind, so it was off to the strip! Mind you it was -5 (Celsius) VERY cold!

A range check was done and all proved well so it was time for flight!

The Pitts was lined up away from the low winter sun and off she went. The Pitts left the ground in about 10 feet. The climb rate was stunning! In fact she would instantly go vertical if I asked her to, Wow! The power the Megaforce set up produced was amazing for such small motor/gearbox combo. All this power (140W) in such a light model meant it could go vertical for as long as I held it! I backed off the throttle at a good height to trim her out. She needed a couple of clicks of ‘down’ and that was it!

The stall was non existent, she just tilted her nose a little and that’s it! So with the trimming and the stall out of the way and the Sanyo FAUP pack still warm, it was time to see what the Pitts could do!

Every single manoeuvre I could think of could be done with the Pitts. She would prop-hang, do amazing torque rolls, bunts, loops, inverted loops, stall turns, knife edge, knife edge loops, to name but a few! Inverted flight required the slightest of down elevator. She also flew at amazingly SLOW speeds due the massive amount of lift the twin wings provided, in fact my mate Gary said he felt her lifting out of his hand as he ran away to do the range check!

The recommended maximum throws are spot on. I did not feel I needed to adjust anything at all. Although this model was very aerobatic I found myself just doing long, slow fly by’s as she looked SO good just floating past! She flew at a slow walking pace if needed and was ideal for me, flying from a wheelchair, as sometimes it could be difficult to adjust my flying position.

OK now for the downside. I had a pack of the very good 3S (11.1v) 2600mAh Polyquest Lithium packs and I was dying to fly the Pitts on these. However no matter how hard I tried I could not get her to balance anywhere near the recommended point with the lighter lithium pack. The only way to do this was to move the motor out further and even then I would need to add lead to balance. The model was designed to fly with the afore mentioned NiCad/NiMH packs so I decided to use the FAUP 1950 NiMH packs I already owned instead. With the SANYO 1950 FAUP NiMH 8 Cell pack, duration was around the 9 minute mark but this will improve with warmer weather, don’t forget it was -5 when I did the first flights!

Landing the Pitts was so simple, I slowed her up and just let her glide in, very smooth and very simple.

Good Points:

  • Very high build quality
  • Complete hardware pack
  • Easy and quick assembly
  • Good instruction manual
  • Flight characteristics
  • Slow speed handling
  • Looks

Not so good Points:

  • Spats are good only for the smoothest of surfaces
  • Hard to balance with lighter Lithium Packs

CONCLUSION

The Hacker Pitts Specialized was a fantastically simple model to build and fly. She will make anyone with a little aileron experience look a very good pilot as she was so easy to fly and land. If you do get into trouble, she has power in abundance, making it easy to ‘power out’ of anything. Slow flying was amazing and I don’t care what anyone says about profile fuselage models, this one looked stunning in the air!

My thanks Gary Majnusz for help with the flying shots!

Discussion

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Old Jan 18, 2005, 07:50 PM
Registered User
Joined Nov 2004
9 Posts
I loved this model. It is a stunning looker in the air.
Gary
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Old Feb 02, 2005, 11:24 AM
PittsLover
houfek's Avatar
Ohio
Joined Jul 2003
914 Posts
In reading the article, reference is made to 140W of power.........or about 60W per pound, somewhat under the commonly accepted 100W (or 150W for 3D) per pound usually quoted......
Am I missing something here ?

Jim
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Old Feb 03, 2005, 06:36 AM
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Shoutbanger's Avatar
England
Joined Dec 2003
89 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by houfek
In reading the article, reference is made to 140W of power.........or about 60W per pound, somewhat under the commonly accepted 100W (or 150W for 3D) per pound usually quoted......
Am I missing something here ?

Jim
Hello Jim,

As time was against me and I needed to get the article submitted. You may have noted I used a 8 cell pack of SANYO 1950 FAUP cells. I had ordered a suitable 11.1v Lithium pack but it had not arrived in time when we did the flying shots for my article.

Since the article was submitted I can confirm the extra power the 11.1 pack gives does indeed give the power you mention.

The model still flies very well on 9.6v 8 cell power and as everyone is not using Lithium power here in the UK, it was nice to see the model perform well on 'standard' batteries.

An update along with video of the model flying will be submitted soon.

Regards

Brian Collins
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Old Feb 03, 2005, 08:38 AM
PittsLover
houfek's Avatar
Ohio
Joined Jul 2003
914 Posts
Thanks for the update, Brian......much appreciated !
I'll watch for the additional information....

Good winds...

Jim
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