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Horizon Hobby's ParkZone Typhoon 3D RTF Review

Mike Baker explores this sharp looking, great flying, amazingly high quality RTF package that includes a REAL 72mhz transmitter with dual rates and more, a brushless motor, variable rate charger, and, most importantly, performance performance performance all in a superb small package with an even smaller price tag.

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:39.5" (1000mm)
Weight:26oz. (740g)
Length:34" (862mm)
Motor:ParkZone BL400-15T Brushless with 8:1 Gear Reduction
Radio:4 Channel FM on 72MHz with Dual Rates and V-Tail Mixing
Servos:4 ParkZone 3 wire Micro Servo's
Prop Size:2 Props 1-13.5x7 and one 12x8.75
Speed Control:ParkZone Brushless 20 Amp ESC With BEC
Battery:Stock 9-Cell 10.8V 1000mAh Ni-MH Upgrade Battery is 2100 mAh Lipo
Charger:5- to 10-cell Variable Rate 1.8 Amp DC Peak Charger for Ni-MH and Ni-Cd Batteries
Manufacturer:ParkZone
Available From:Horizon Hobby

There it was, mid-November and I hadn't started a Christmas wish list yet. I thought that I'd better get started. I looked and looked, and couldn't find a product that fit what I wanted, so I just wrote a description of what I wanted....

"Dear Santa, I have been very good this year, have worked hard, and only want one thing for Christmas. I want a 3-D capable aircraft that comes with everything: radio, batteries, brushless motor, the whole nine yards, oh, and 2 props: one for speed and one for vertical performance and power; radio with dual rates on 72Mhz/FM. Oh yeah, and the plane must be capable of performing the standard 3-D maneuvers on a 1000Mah Ni-Mh flight pack. I know this is a lot to ask for, Santa, but you can perform magic and nothing is impossible for you."

A few days later, one of Santa's helpers must've shipped me a box, along with a note from the editor of E Zone...

Guess what, Christmas came early this year and I got a Typhoon 3-D from ParkZone!

Kit Contents

The complete kit contents:

  • Fuselage w/ brushless motor,
  • receiver,
  • servos and ESC already installed,
  • wings w/carbon fiber joining rods,
  • landing gear,
  • 72Mhz 4 channel radio FM,
  • charger,
  • flight pack,
  • 2 props,
  • transmitter batteries,
  • hardware pack.

Requires:

  • ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

The Package arrives!

My Typhoon arrived in a large 40x20x7 inch cardboard box. Lucky for me there was not a scratch to be seen on the box. I then opened up this outer wrapping and removed the box for the Typhoon. The box holding the plane is, to say the least, striking. The outside is graphical eye candy with photos, lists of box contents and a large graphic on the side that says, "JUST FLY." Got to love folks with that kind of attitude. The good people at ParkZone took great care in the design of this tray and all parts were well supported and held tight.

...a large graphic on the side that says, "JUST FLY."
Got to love folks with that kind of attitude.

First Impressions

After removing all the parts from the tray, it was time to take stock of the parts and the quality and quantity of them. Your first thoughts may be the same as mine: WOW! This is a sharp looking plane. The Typhoon is far from the usual ugly flat plate foam 3-D craft we have all been subjected to over the last couple of years. The fuselage is a fully molded and great looking unit.

Made of Z-Foam, a foam with the toughness of EPP but more rigid and a much better stiffness, the plane is a welcome change to the old standards. The wings and tail feathers are of the same high quality as the fuse.

Although there was a bit of sag in the covering, I have found this to be very common on ARF/RTF aircraft and was quickly fixed with a couple of passes of the monokote iron. All components were well mounted and tight, and they even give you real wheels (the kind you can fly off grass with), not those puny little foamy jobs we are used to getting. Thanks, ParkZone.

Another small thing was the holes in the canopy to help cool the pack. All in all, this one arrived very well built, and there were no disappointments in the kit I received. Below are some photos of the Typhoon fuse. Great looking work, I must say.

Look at this Transmitter!

The Typhoon comes complete with a Mode2 4 channel FM radio. The radio boasts Dual rates (top right hand switch), and even comes capable of mixing if you decide to hook it up to a V-tail or a Flying Wing. Servo reversing on channels 1 through 4 is also built in, and as I said, it's 72Mhz and FM (too sweet for an RTF!) and yes, when you see the photos you will notice that the transmitter is green. Do not set it down in the grass and walk away.

All that aside, the transmitter is "The Real Deal" not a toy.

On To The Assembly

Now that I had taken a good look at some of the (great) pieces in the package, it was time to get to the building part, if you could call it that due to it being so well put together at the ParkZone fun shop. I decided for this build that I would go by the sequence of the instructions and expound on points of interest along the way. So, with a fresh cup of coffee and my excitement peaked it was time to start.

Step 1...Preparing The Transmitter

So Step One consisted of opening the compartment at the rear of the transmitter and inserting the 8 included AA batteries. Tough first step, eh?

Step 2 Charging The Battery

Note: Whenever you charge batteries do not listen to me, Your pro buddy, or anyone except the Charger and battery manufacturer. (READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!) THEN, you can take a bit of good advice from those who know batteries as long as it does NOT contradict your manufacturer.

Now it was time to break out the charger and battery and get some juice in the tank for the Typhoon. The Supplied charger is an upgrade from any ARF or RTF package I have seen.The typhoon charger is a DC variable rate peak charger, capable of charging 5-10 cell Ni-Mh or Ni-cd batteries at rates of .5-1.8 amps. On my 100Mah Pack it charged to a perfect slightly warm temp, shut down and went to trickle without a hitch. Just remember it comes with an auto lighter plug so you gotta go to your car to charge it. No problem for me since a car is how I get to all my flying sites.



DANGER! DO NOT CHARGE Li-Poly BATTERIES WITH THIS CHARGER.


Step 3 Landing Gear

Step 4 attaching the wings

Note: Before hooking up the linkage, I had to take the ailerons and bend them back and forth until they loosened up, they were quite stiff from the factory and needed to be broken in.

Plugging in the wings on the Typhoon is a fairly simple task. The wings are strong light and have the servo's pre-installed in the bottom of each wing section, The linkage is taped to the wing root at the factory. WOW! again!

Step 5 The Tail Feathers

Note: Again, I had to break in the surfaces on the tail and horizontal stab as they were very tight from the factory. This helped minimize the risk of stripping gears and used less juice from the battery to move the surfaces.

High performance is getting real easy with this plane. Done in 3 mins. I love this and am now very exited to get this plane in the air.

Choosing From the 2 Provided Props

The Typhoon is shipped with 2 props.

The first is the 13.5x7 Prop, which is the recommended prop for 3D with the Stock Battery.

The second is a 12x8.75 Prop this is the speed prop and is recommended by the manufacturer for use with the Thunder Power 35 2100Mah Li-Po battery.

Completion

With the prop on and the battery charged it was time to pat myself and ParkZone on the back for one effortless build. Honestly I have to say that there was not one step in the process of building that even gave me a hiccup. The instructions just walked me through about the easiest build anyone could imagine. And I must say that this plane looks hot! I have four channels of dual rated control, a 15 turn brushless power plant, 1000Mah of Ni-Mh fuel and a 20amp ESC to channel it through to the motor. With the 13.5x7 Prop and weighing 26 oz this plane should flat rock!!!!! And to think I didn't spend 5 nights on-line trying to find the parts and pay shipping from 3 different places to get this far. But! Looks and parts aren't everything, so until I take it out and rip a hole in the sky with it, we will just calm down and look at the sleek profile of this thing. See you at the field!

Flying

Well the day had come to fly. So I packed up the trusty Typhoon and my wife (To take pics and video) and off we went to the field. Once at the field I noticed the wind had picked up to what must have been 10-15mph. This would put a damper on the low level flying but I was to exited to see what the Typhoon could do in these conditions as well. I brought it out to the field with a freshly charged battery and set her down.

The range check went fine and all surfaces seemed to be working perfectly. I knew it was time to go up. That first time with a new plane feeling can not be beat!...heart pumping, wondering about your trims..."Ahhhh, just fly the thing!" I thought to myself.

Taking Off and Landing

I pushed the stick forward and the plane responded quickly and ran across the grass with no effort. The take off was in less than 30 feet, and the plane pulled hard left. I held in right stick, heading for some safe altitude and once I felt good about the height I trimmed her out. It took about 5 clicks of right rudder and 2 clicks up elevator to make things right. The second take off I chose to be more aggressive to say the least. I pushed it to full power fast and the plane shot out quickly this time and I pulled it off after about 20 feet and then headed for the sky. Future take offs, gentle or aggressive, with everything trimmed, required minimal right stick and were flawless.

Time to land. This was the funny thing (or should I say the FUN thing?) with the Typhoon! Coming in with the nose to the wind, I just chopped the throttle to about 1/4 power and literally let the plane hover to the ground without rolling forward but about 5 inches on touchdown. And that was the FIRST landing! MAN! This plane is very nice to control at low speeds.

All in all the Basics and take off and landing with the Typhoon are just sheer pleasure.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

After I had her trimmed, still enjoying this first flight, it was time to get used to the Typhoon. In the low rate mode on the radio I found the Typhoon to handle very well, with the flight characteristics of your average intermediate low wing aircraft. Basic maneuvers were simple, and the plane responded to my inputs with no lag or snappy tendencies. After covering a few basics such as loops, aileron rolls, and inverted flight, I went for the sky. Wow, great Vertical performance on the Ni-Mh battery!) Knowing that the winds were too high to bring her down low for some hovering, I just launched her skyward to about 200 ft and pulled the power back about 2 notches from full. We hung like a kid on a chin-up bar.

Now lets talk about the juicy stuff here.

After freshly charging the battery it was time to rip up the sky with this Baby. Vertical on a fresh charge was much better and I just let her climb out and then pulled the throttle a couple clicks, hit the switch and changed over to full rates before feeding in full rudder. The plane just snapped around and was nose down in no time. Hammer heads are too easy!

Then I headed for the ground and was able to get a not-so-good flat spin out of the Typhoon. (Hey, even us long time flyers get rusty.)

Inverted flight was uneventful, with only slight down elevator needed to obtain level flight. The winds were unfortunate, we could not come in low to get better pics and video but I was able to put the Typhoon through about every maneuver I know and even started just yanking around and may have invented a few!

As docile as she is on low rates, the Typhoon at full rates is a handful of dynamite! Be prepared when you click the switch to full rates, as everything is amplified and goes into super speed on the handling end. It took me a couple minutes to settle down and start thinking before the maneuvers. Do not let the fact that this is an RTF fool you, this is the real deal guys and much fun is in store for the Typhoon pilot. O, yea...if you really want to tie the sky in knots, there is alway's the Li-Po upgrade!

3D Report Card
Harrier A I found that the plane handled very well in this respect. The Typhoon could hold a very high angle of attack and in low rates for this trick it gave no bad tendencies.
Hangar A Here is the one that surprised me the most -- seeing how it was done on the stock battery. The Typhoon would hold its own very well and even (on a fresh charge) allow you to pogo albiet a little slow, it would hold altitude and required very little aileron to keep stationary on the axis.
Torque Roll B With that 13.5 prop, she torques quite well -- just pull her up and adjust throttle to hover and let off the aileron and you're torque'n with the best of them.
Rolling Harrier B Performed well here, on low rates very docile roll, on high rate she would twist quite well. This performance would have been better in lower winds.
The WallB Start it out level, hit the high rate, slow it down and slap it to the wall! This was one of the first 3-d moves I learned to do and, with the Typhoon, I did it more often than any other move. The Typhoon slaps the wall very well, but, unlike the larger gas models, it seemed to want to slide out of the flat.
Knife-edge B- The average flat sider with an ample fuse profile does rock in the knife edge department over the typhoon. I found that with good airspeed it did hold well.
Knife-edge Loop N/A What Can I say, I didnt try it (yet).
Knife-Edge, High Alpha NA Waiting for good weather to get out and do this one.
Spin entry A Excellent performance on conventional spins.
Knife Edge Spin NA Waiting for weather.
Descending Flat Spin B Performed nicely.
Stationary/Climbing Flat NA Have not tried this one on the Typhoon.
NOTE: There are many moves I have yet to try at this point as the weather is very windy again here in FL. Come visit me at the the Typhoon 3-D thread on the R/C Groups and see how the rest of the tricks wind up.

Is This For a Beginner?

The Typhoon is not a beginners plane in any way shape or form. I would suggest it for the intermediate pilot on up, heck I've been flying since 1974 and on full rates this plane made me wish I was twenty years younger.

Final Thoughts

In a day and age where we are more and more strapped for time, it has often seemed impossible in R/C flying to get a ready built product that lives up to the wants and needs of those of us who feel that building is the only way to get performance. My Hat goes off to both ParkZone for building and Horizon Hobby for distributing the Typhoon. I have been around and involved in this hobby for a good many years and those who know me also know that I will always tell it like it is. Horizon and ParkZone have my full endorsement on the Typhoon 3-D! Yes, I like it that much! and with the great level of support available from Horizon Hobby and ParkZone, you can not lose. So go visit horizon today or your local dealer and get on board. Oh, and don't forget to visit the Typhoon 3-D thread on the R/C Groups!

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Here are some Video's of my first flights with the Typhoon. (in 15mph winds) Sorry for the quality, a new camera is on the way and I will add more footage when the weather allows. Check back regularly or subscribe to the discussion thread to be notified when more video is available!

Downloads

Conclusion

The conclusion to this review was quite simple....The Typhoon Does just what ParkZone and Horizon hobby claim it to do.

It is a full fledged brushless 3-D aircraft capable of the full spectrum of 3-D maneuvers. The Kit is truly complete in every way and is one killer deal at $219.00. Buy one now and you're ready for 3-D just 40 minutes after opening the box. Thank you ParkZone And Horizon Hobby. This review was my pleasure.

Discussion

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Old Dec 04, 2005, 03:29 AM
Registered User
Jackson, Michigan
Joined May 2003
95 Posts
Excellent

Everything I have read about the Typhoon is true so far. I havent flown mine yet but am looking forward to the day. An excellent value at $219.00. I bought mine from a hobby shop going out of business for $169.00 BOY DO I FEEL BAD!! Every piece can be bought seperately for those who need to replace broken pieces in the future. Go to Parkzone websight. I mean everything. Regards Duane
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Old Oct 21, 2006, 06:20 PM
Christian Flyer
West Chazy New York
Joined Feb 2006
1 Posts
Excellent review, I just purchaced a typhoon for my son and I. He typically shows the old man how to fly. I find this plane to be a handfull especially in the wind. I there any way to make it more tame besides using low rates?
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Old Apr 12, 2007, 07:08 AM
Registered User
Joined Apr 2007
1 Posts
I also found this review of the Typhoon to be spot on!

I'm quite new to R/C aircraft, having only ever flown dual engine and rudder/Elevator controlled aircraft in the fairly low price rang... All with fatal results...

My main problem is that i am a glider pilot and are used to using all 3 axis of control surfaces. The turns i attempted to do with the less-capable aircraft were too aggressive and usually ended up returning home with some tape and glue.

So naturally you'll understand why for the first two days of having received the typhoon its only been taxied up and down the driveway a couple of times.

So being slightly scared of the typhoon today it took its maiden flight and i was utterly amazed i managed to return it in one peice. Some minor trimming changes had it flying literally asif it was on rails. I'm very impressed with its vertical performance, managing to pull me out of some stalls and wing-drops that wouldnt be capable with my previous models.

Being aerobatic capable in a glider i saw no harm in trying a few with the typhoon. The rolls are excellent even on low rates and i managed not to pinch my loops at the top! Stall turns are complete magic and the typhoon managed to turn me from zero to hero, even with 5-7kt steady winds.

An excellent buy, and im sure it'll advance my skills in the RC world. As the author of the review says i woudn't reccomend it as a beginenrs aircraft as it is extremely twitchy. I feel that my RL experience and conscience of keeping it high-up saved me from writing it off!


Stefan
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Old Nov 04, 2007, 08:41 AM
Registered User
USA, TX, Fort Worth
Joined Oct 2007
16 Posts
Are the wing made of foam? From looking closely at the pics, they look like there
part balsa part foam.
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Old Feb 05, 2008, 05:48 AM
littlephoenix's Avatar
Joined Aug 2007
611 Posts
I flew my T3D and i must say for someone that is only less then 3 months into RC plane hobby, i did great, the T3D is easy to fly ( im a quick learner, not for everyone ) but over all right out of the box it was great, easy to assemble just an over all dream bird.
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Old Jun 06, 2008, 06:18 PM
Registered User
St.Petersburg, FL
Joined Feb 2004
1,345 Posts
Mike, your flying advice got me through my first flight. I maidened it in questionable winds which got downright nasty as soon as the model broke ground. I kept it up high and was real pleased with the control on low rates. Then I needed to land and was worried about the wind, so I did what you described and just nosed it into the wind, throttled down and just settled it onto the runway like a real slow elevator. Great review and advice right on the money.

sp
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Old Jun 06, 2008, 07:57 PM
(AKA) Boomerwankanobi
Stocker's Avatar
dark matter
Joined Jun 2003
2,403 Posts
Any time Sperry,
Always good to here when somthing you have done has helped others.

Mike
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Old Mar 16, 2009, 03:59 AM
littlephoenix's Avatar
Joined Aug 2007
611 Posts
i am back after a year of having the T3D, i LOVE the typhoon 3D by Parkzone, it was my very first plane i purchased from the hobby shop, and we all know how it feels brining that box home, opening the package and just staring at the parts, well in any case, i am not sure if this is true or not, but im assuming the first plane you purchase becomes part of you and you learn every aspect of its flight characteristics, sure, a few crashes her there helps, but the make the story short, having the typhoon 3D for about 1 year and 4 months, its safe to say i have perfected its flight characteristics, well some what, here is the latest video of me flying the typhoon 3D, and o ya, i have redesigned the look with Ultracote.

Parkzone Typhoon 3D Low Fly 3D RC Plane remote control 3D foam plane (1 min 35 sec)


Do reply and let me know what you think.
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Old Mar 16, 2009, 04:00 AM
littlephoenix's Avatar
Joined Aug 2007
611 Posts
PS: i use the Spektrum DX6i, so i have more control over the travel adjust and expo, that helps with 3D flight.
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