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ParkZone T-28 Trojan RTF Review

Scale looks and great flight manners characterize this new RTF warbird from ParkZone!

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Introduction


Wingspan:44"
Wing Area:313 sq. in.
Weight as measured:31 oz.
Length:36"
Wing Loading:14.25 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:4 Factory installed Industry Standard 3-Wire Servos
Transmitter:Included ZX-10 5ch 72mhz
Receiver:Factory Installed 6ch Full Range 72mhz
Battery:ParkZone 1800mAh 3S LiPo battery
Motor:Factory Installed ParkZone 480 Size 960KV Brushless Outrunner
ESC:Eflite 25A Programmable Brushless
Prop:2 Included 9.5 X 7.5 E-Props
Charger:ParkZone 2-3 Cell Adjustable Capacity Balancing LiPo Charger
Manufacturer:ParkZone
Available From:HobbyZone
Retail Price:$219.99

In 1949 the United States Air Force set out to replace its aging T-6 Texan trainers and North American was hired to complete the task. What they presented was the Model NA-159 piston-engine trainer. The Air Force was so impressed that it ordered production to begin immediately on the newly designated T-28A. The Trojan, as it became known, had a frameless canopy and a Wright R-1300 engine that, when combined, gave it a top speed that often exceeded 280 mph. Two years later a modified version designated the T-28B was ordered by the Navy. It differed mainly from the T-28A in its use of the more-powerful Wright R-1820-86 engine and arrester gear for carrier-deck landing training.

In 1962, North American began supplying T-28Ds for the counterinsurgency role. Six underwing hard-points were added in order for the aircraft to accept a variety of weapons. The T-28 saw action in both Southeast Asia and North Africa. The attack trainer version of the T-28D was called the AT-28D. France's Sud-Aviation converted over 240 T-28Ds into Fennecs and used them as replacements for their Algerian-based T-6s. Fennecs performed admirably in the close-support, reconnaissance and patrol roles. The T-28's service career, though long, was finally ended by the introduction of the T-34 turboprop trainer, but the T-28 lives on as one of the most popular piston-powered warbirds in the USA, as well as several other countries.

Several months ago I started hearing about a prototype foam RTF warbird that came equipped with a brushless outrunner, brushless ESC, and a LiPoly battery. It was supposedly a great flyer according to the reports. When the kit became available, I was a little surprised to see that it was an all-in-one, nothing else to buy offering. What was even more surprising was the price! A brushless power system, installed industry standard transmitter/flight pack, and a great flyer all for such a low price? This was something I had to see for myself.

Kit Contents

The Trojan arrived in perfect condition with all its parts, radio gear, and support equipment secured snugly in a fairly large, but attractive box. Absolutely nothing extra was needed to get in the air, even the transmitter batteries were included. Here are a few photos to show what you would receive if you decided to go on your own training missions with the ParkZone T-28 Trojan RTF.

Kit Contains:

  • 5ch Transmitter w/batteries
  • Factory installed flight pack including 6ch receiver and 4 servos
  • Factory installed brushless outrunner, brushless ESC, and 3S 1800mah lithium polymer battery
  • Preassembled fuselage
  • Preassembled wing
  • Horizontal stabilizer hinged and ready to attach
  • Landing gear
  • Adjustable balancing lithium polymer battery charger
  • Two propellers optimized for electric power
  • All miscellanious hardware needed to complete the model

Kit Requires:

  • Absolutely nothing

Features

The included ZX10 industry standard transmitter and flight pack really need their own presentation here. The transmitter is a full function, 5 channel 72mhz unit that includes high and low rates, channel reversing, a trainer switch, a channel 5 two position switch, ratchet trim tabs, and last but not least, an X-port in-flight activation button. In back the ZX-10 had a removable panel to install the included 8 AA batteries.

A charging jack is built into the side of the transmitter so that optional rechargeable batteries and charger could be used instead of continually buying disposable AA cells. The factory installed flight pack is equally impressive with (4) three wire industry standard servos and a full range 6 channel 72mhz receiver. This isn't any ordinary receiver though - built in the top is an X-port plug giving the Trojan access to the myriad X-port accessories!

I can't see anyone ever wanting to decommission their Trojan, or heaven forbid a fatal crash. But if for some reason it was desired to remove the electronics and motor system from the T-28, all of it is industry standard and thus compatible and reusable. A real value!

This section is usually called "Assembly" and devoted to building and/or assembly of the model. But the ParkZone T-28 Trojan RTF truly is a "Ready To Fly" model, and there is no building or assembly required even in the ARF sense. The manual quotes that the model is ready to fly in 20 minutes, but this statement is incorrect for two reasons: it takes longer than 20 minutes to charge the included LiPo battery with the included balancing LiPo charger, and it only took me 15 minutes to have the plane put together and ready to fly. My suggestion is to read the brief instructions on how to use the LiPo charger correctly, and get the battery started first. That way you can put the plane together while it's charging and start enjoying this great flying model that much sooner! And so, without further ado, here's a set of captioned photos showing the great features of ParkZone's latest sport scale offering, and believe me, there were plenty of great features!

Completion

There was very little to do to get the ParkZone Trojan ready for the tarmac. The horizontal stab slipped into a premade slot in the fuselage and four pieces of supplied adhesive tape held it firmly in position. Snap on the quick link at the end of the installed pushrod to the control horn and the stab was done. The landing gear snapped firmly into place on plastic plates glued into molded pockets on the wing. The steerable nose gear slipped into its bracket under the cowl and a twist of a phillips screwdriver finished the landing gear.

Sliding the trailing edge pins into their slots and tightening the single front bolt had the wing installed. A few seconds had the servo extensions pulled through and connected to the receiver and the plane was done... almost. This is where I ran into my one complaint for this review. The front plastic prong plate was glued off-center, and the back magnet was not attached securely. This had allowed the Z-foam to warp slightly in transit and somewhat spoil the T-28's otherwise great appearance. A bit of 5 minute epoxy and some judicious foam bending had the Trojan looking its best in no time though. This was my first experience with Z-foam, and I have to say I was very impressed. I have a lot of experience scratch building with various foams, but this material was something new. It was almost as light as EPS (think coffee cups), but was springy and tough somewhat like EPP (a material used a lot to pack computer gear). It seemed like a hybrid of the two with a twist. The twist being that it had a very shiny attractive surface, possibly from injection molding. Simply put it was a great material for model airplanes!

With the Trojan finished a trip to the scale revealed that the plane was an ounce heavier than advertised at 31 ounces. Close enough for this size plane and power system. By this time the charger was telling me the battery was ready. After slipping the battery into its pocket, the transmitter was turned on and the plane powered up. Everything tested OK and the factory throws on both high and low rates looked reasonable... it was time to go to the field!

Flying

Basics

After the required range check was completed successfully with motor first off and then on, I attempted taxiing. It was immediately noted that the T-28 didn't want to go straight even though the rudder was centered. A quick check showed that the nose wheel needed adjustment, and after a few turns on the quick link all was well.

I pointed the plane down the runway and gave it full throttle. The plane accelerated briskly and was soon moving along at a good clip. At between 60 and 80 feet the Trojan broke ground of its own accord and was airborne. A bit of up elevator, and the T-28 climbed skyward effortlessly at approximately a 55 degree angle. Several up and downwind passes were then performed to fine tune trim settings. A few clicks of right aileron and several clicks of down elevator had the Trojan flying straight and level, hands off.

Next the T-28 was climbed to several hundred feet and then pushed to a stall. The nose was gradually raised as the throttle was proportionately reduced. This seemed to go on and on until the Trojan was nearly doing a 3D harrier maneuver. Finally with the nose high and the throttle nearly off, the T-28 stalled and stopped flying. With not even a hint of wing rocking the airframe dropped its nose straight forward and immediately started flying once again. Obviously, this was one of the most stable airframes I'd ever flown!

At this point it was decided to land since all the basics had been completed successfully. Since the ZX-10 radio was equipped with mechanical trims, good practice suggested at this point adjusting the quick links on the plane and centering the tabs on the transmitter. It was observed that after the adjustments the control surfaces looked even and square with their respective airframe parts. Apparently my quick eyeballing of the surfaces before the first flight hadn't been all that accurate. The battery was recharged and then the Trojan pushed to full throttle while being held in place.

Another flight was initiated, and the T-28 was flown at mixed throttle settings. After some experimentation it was decided that the T-28 could maintain altitude at just over half throttle. The difference between just maintaining and full throttle was also explored. Apparently due to the large scale shaped cowl and fuselage, airspeed didn't seem to change much in relation to throttle setting. However at full throttle it was obvious that thrust was significantly improved which was good for aerobatics.

The flight was continued until between 6 and 7 minutes had passed. At that point, the T-28 became sluggish when full throttle was applied during aerobatics or pulling out from touch-and-gos, but was still able to easily maintain level flight. Another successful landing soon followed this observation and calculations were made. It was estimated that with this setup, 6 to 7 minutes of aggressive flying was possible, 8 to 9 minutes of casual flying, or probably 10+ minutes would be possible if the throttle was kept at a minimum for the entire flight. Very respectable!

Taking Off and Landing

Since the T-28 had a wide stance and tricycle landing gear typical of a trainer, good ground handling was anticipated. It didn't disappoint, and once the nose wheel was properly aligned the Trojan was extremely well mannered on the tarmac. Turns were adequate and stable on low rates, but with the flick of a switch to high rates, the T-28 could turn on a dime. Truly a pleasure to taxi around in parade fashion.

Once taxiing was complete, the Trojan was also well mannered on take off. Just a touch of rudder held in to offset the P-factor kept the plane tracking nice and straight down the runway. The powerful brushless outrunner had no trouble getting the 31 ounce airframe moving along quickly, and after a reasonable length (60-80 feet), the Trojan would consistently take off in a very scale manner. Little input from the pilot was required.

Landings were equally simple and pleasing in the same scalelike manner. First, the prop was kept spinning at minimum RPM to keep it from being an air brake during line up. Then the nose was allowed to drop slightly to keep up speed. A flair just before touchdown had the Trojan riding ground effects for a yard or two a few inches above the asphalt. Finally, as speed bled off, the mains touched down and the plane rotated gently for the nose wheel to contact. A long graceful roll out followed by an easily controlled taxi back to the pits completed the effect. A real joy!

It should be noted that although the T-28 had great manners during ground operations, it is a powerful and fairly large model for a parkflyer. Flying from a dedicated field, a barricaded road (as I did for the pictures and video in this review), or at the least a football sized grass field is highly recommended for safe and enjoyable flying.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

With all the ground handling, trimming and basic aspects explored, it was time to really wring out the Trojan and see what it would do. Undeniably, the Trojan has to be one of the best flying foamy RTFs I've ever owned. This plane makes me look good! A real pleasure to fly. It flies like a much larger pattern ship in many respects. I could go on and on, but here's the scoop on each maneuver in the following Aerobatic Report Card.




ManueverGrade Notes
Tight Loop A+ Continuous without trying to roll out.
Giant Loop A- The Trojan had just enough vertical power to push over the top of giant loops, and they were pretty!
Outside Loop A- Once again, the Trojan had just enough power to pull through the bottom of an outside loop, and was ultra stable while doing so!
Axial Roll B High rates were needed, and even then the T-28 had some barrelish components.
Slow Roll A++ Outstanding! The Trojan needed only slight elevator inputs to do endless slow rolls. This would be a great slow roll trainer.
Snap Roll A- The airframe was so stable that high rates and large throws were needed to finally initiate a snap. Once the correct amount of stick movements were discovered, they were nice though.
4 Point Roll A- The Trojan did nice 4 point rolls due to the tremendous rudder authority, though each position required a moderate amount of stick input.
Knife Edge B- Yes! This plane could do a knife edge which was impressive. Unfortunately, there was a lot of pitch coupling with no way to mix it out as well.
Inverted B+ Took a moderate amount of power and down stick input, but was rock solid upside down!
Spins C- More of a continuous snap roll on a downline. Very easy to recover from. This characteristic was probably what made the full scale plane a great trainer.
Flat/Coordinated turns A++ On high rates the rudder authority was outstanding. The T-28 can be flown with rudder only making it a great left hand trainer. Flat turns with cross aileron solid with no wing rocking.

Is This For a Beginner?

Technically the T-28 is not a good first plane. It goes where you point it and has few self righting characteristics. However, this is such a stable and well mannered airframe that with the close help of an experienced pilot, and the plane set on low rates, the Trojan could live up to its full scale brother and be a trainer.

But where the Trojan truly would shine would be in the hands of a trainer graduate all the way through experts. Graduates will find its stable habits a good confidence builder to learn more advanced maneuvers while the Z-foam construction would be durable and easily repairable after mistakes. Veterans and experts will appreciate its pattern like manners and scale appearance and performance. Regardless, this plane is sure to please!

Flight Video Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

I just can't say enough how wonderfully this plane flies. They really got this one right! In the past I've usually associated RTF "All in One" packages with lowering costs by cutting corners and thus creating marginal performance, but the T-28 Trojan has completely dispelled this perception. I just can't imagine having a foam RTF look or fly better than the T-28 Trojan from ParkZone. Do you like everything in one box? Do you like to save a lot of money while getting high performance gear? Does getting to the field and flying right away sound good to you? Would you like to fly a model that makes you feel like you're flying the full-scale plane? If you answered yes to one or more these questions, this model is for YOU!

Pluses:

  • Very reasonable price for an "All in One" RTF kit with high performance equipment
  • Attractive and durable Z-foam construction
  • Industry standard 5 channel 72mhz transmitter
  • Industry standard flight pack with 3-wire servos and 6 channel receiver
  • X-port accessory ready
  • Brushless outrunner and EFlite 25 amp brushless programmable ESC
  • Adjustable balancing LiPo charger that is safe for first time users
  • High output LiPo battery
  • All equipment reusable
  • Outstanding flight performance
  • Exceptional scale appearance for a foam RTF
  • Steerable nose wheel and tricycle landing gear make taxiing a joy

Minuses:

  • Although of sound design, the hatch/canopy was improperly assembled at the factory which required minor tweaking and gluing to fit correctly on my model
Last edited by Angela H; Dec 20, 2007 at 01:08 PM..

Discussion

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Old Dec 20, 2007, 01:53 PM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
USA, TX, Trophy Club
Joined May 2002
14,479 Posts
I fly at a schoolyard location with 6 other guys commonly. There are 4 of these now - my son and I are the only ones that have not gotten them (yet!).

They fly wonderfully and look great! Easy to fly - we just sit and do takeoffs and landings see who can do best. An EXCELLENT airplane.......

Great review Jim!

Mike
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Old Dec 20, 2007, 02:02 PM
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Joined Oct 2005
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Very Nice review. I love mine!
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Old Dec 20, 2007, 02:24 PM
Will fly for food
Maryland
Joined Sep 2004
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Old Dec 20, 2007, 02:37 PM
Registered User
San diego, Ca.
Joined Jun 2006
1,436 Posts
Great review...Can't wait to have one in my hands.
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Old Dec 20, 2007, 02:50 PM
Registered User
Sebastopol, CA, USA
Joined Dec 1996
541 Posts
I saw the maiden flight of one at our local field. It is an astoundingly good airplane. Seems to me, though, that most people with sufficient skill to fly it would already have a radio. Is it or will it be available without radio?

And I join with others to say congratulations on an excellent review.
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Old Dec 20, 2007, 02:55 PM
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pda4you's Avatar
USA, TX, Trophy Club
Joined May 2002
14,479 Posts
Quote:
Is it or will it be available without radio?
Yep....
http://www.horizonhobby.com/Products...ProdID=PKZ4475

Mike
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Old Dec 20, 2007, 03:04 PM
Boilerplate Flys Better
mwarner57's Avatar
San Rafael, CA
Joined May 2002
91 Posts
Yes, it is available as a PNP (Plug-n-Play) with motor, ESC, and servos installed, but no Rx or Battery. I think the going rate is about $180 or so for that package.
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Old Dec 20, 2007, 06:36 PM
Gravity is a harsh mistress.
Tim Wolff's Avatar
United States, MI, Temperance
Joined Sep 2002
6,553 Posts
Nice write up Jim!

Nice to see a RTF that is REALLY ready. I'd have one already if any of the three local hobby shops had one. I'll have to get 'em to order it for me after Xmas

ParkZone has really nailed it with the last few releases.
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Old Dec 20, 2007, 06:59 PM
KK6MQJ
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Joined Sep 2004
13,654 Posts
Jim,

I enjoyed your review!

Park Zone keeps evolving with their offerings. I find myself really tempted by this plane?! A buddy at my last job wanted to get into flying and he bought a Hobby Zone Super Cub...I had a TON of fun flying it! I think it is a testament to them that their planes even appeal to those of us who have been flying other types of more difficult aircraft? That, or I just have a serious problem that I WANT just about every plane I see!
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Old Dec 20, 2007, 08:00 PM
The sky is my playground.
Dora Nine's Avatar
United States, NH
Joined May 2005
7,654 Posts
Thanks, I need to go and buy these--seems like a fun plane. Though I think some snow needs to melt first.
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Old Dec 20, 2007, 10:16 PM
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you can get the plug and play now. i just got one today. cant wait for this weekend. hehee! it was 172 after tax.
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Old Dec 20, 2007, 10:59 PM
Fixed Wing Fanatic
Jim Walker's Avatar
United States, TX, McKinney
Joined Jul 2001
2,344 Posts
Thanks for the kind words everyone. I have to give a lot of the credit for the quality of the review to the manufacturer. I can say without reservation that this was the easiest review I've ever done. I wasn't exaggerating when I said I got the plane ready to fly in 15 minutes. That meant all that was required was test flying and getting the visual media. One flight had the T-28 squared away and after that it was just a load of fun not work. The Trojan just has something about it. I fly anything from trainers to heli's to 3D and everything in between. Usually when I fly an airframe this capable and maneuverable I have to be on my toes every second. Not so with this plane. It just oozes confidence and makes the pilot look gooood!

Blue Skies!

Jim
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Old Dec 20, 2007, 11:31 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
United States, TX, Kingsland
Joined Sep 2005
5,059 Posts
Great Review Jim. I'm adding one of these to my last minute Christmas wish list. It's nice to see a RTF that flys as good as it looks.
Mike McD
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Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
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Old Dec 21, 2007, 06:21 AM
Rehab is for quitters
LuckyArmpit's Avatar
West Middlesex, PA, US
Joined Jun 2001
4,853 Posts
I have one of these. Bought the rtf version. However, I have since sold the rx and tx. Rather prefer to use my 9C radio with this.
One of the things I really harp on with these park flyers and other high performance 35 ounce and under models is landing gear. Sure, its nice to fly off of a paved or asphault runway. But what about those of use who fly off of grass? The T-28's gear looks like it will handle grass okay. But there others that break the mains due to weak underlying balsa where the mains bolt on to the blind nuts. The GP Yak 54 is prime example. I've been fiberglassing all the wood on all my models with weak area where the mains bolt on.
I wish these people who are designing these models start thinking that there are those of us who don't fly off paved runways.

Dave...
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