Hangar 9 Toledo Special ARF Review - RC Groups

Hangar 9 Toledo Special ARF Review

Mike Llewellyn looks at the new vintage-style Toledo Special a new ARF offering from Hangar 9 for either glow or electric power It's a fantastic, well mannered flier and looks good to boot.



Wing Area:702.8 sq in
Wing type:Built up balsa - Symmetrical
AUW weight:Advertised – 6.25lbs Actual - 6.1lbs
Wing loading:~20 oz/sq. ft.
Cube loading:8.62
Transmitter:Spektrum DX7
Servos:JR Sport 821 Digital Servo
Receiver:AR7000 7 channel
Battery:TP 3850 4s LiPoly
Motor:Power 46 Brushless Motor
ESC:E-flite 60 AMP Switch mode ESC
US distributor:Horizon Hobby
Hangar 9 Toledo Special ARF:Toledo Special ARF
ARF Price:$224.99

The Toledo Special 40 has a vintage look and proves to be an excellent sport flying design that will be at home in any hangar. It has a large footprint and a commanding presence in the air. It always draws a great deal of attention at the field.

This is a high quality, exceptional ARF that is a real eye-turner.

Kit Contents

The review package shipped from Horizon, and it arrived in perfect condition. It was exceptionally well packaged, double-boxed and the contents in the box were isolated and protected from shifting during shipment.

Kit includes:

  • Stunning built-up fuselage, wings and tail surfaces
  • UltraCote covered and ready to go
  • Clear windows and windshield
  • Factory slotted and glued hinges on all control surfaces
  • Hardware (Push rods, torque rods, keepers and horns)
  • Factory installed graphics
  • Clear well-written picture assembly guide

Kit requires:

  • .40-.52 2-stroke .56-.82 4-stroke OR
  • Power 46 brushless motor
  • Electric - 60amp Switch Mode BEC ESC
  • Electric - 4s LiPoly battery 3000-4000mAh
  • 3-4 servos (ailerons, elevator, rudder and optional throttle)
  • Receiver
  • 4 channel minimum transmitter
  • 2 - 9-12" servo extensions for aileron servos

Included for this review:

<font size=-2>Power 46 brushless motor</font>
Power 46 brushless motor
Weight:10 ounces (290g)
Output shaft size:6mm
Cells:4S–5S Li-Po
RPM/Volt (kv):670
Continuous Current:40A
Burst Current:55A (15 sec)

<font size=-2>E-flite 60A Pro Switch-Mode BEC ESC</font>
E-flite 60A Pro Switch-Mode BEC ESC
Continuous maximum current:60 amps
Continuous maximum current:75 amps
Input Voltage:10.8V - 22.2V
Input connector type:13 AWG with E-flite EC3 connector
Output Input connector type:13 AWG with 3.5mm female gold bullet connectors
Weight:2.3 ounces (66g)
# of servos (BEC enabled):7 analog or 6 digital

<font size=-2>Thunder Power 4s 3850mAh LiPo battery</font>
Thunder Power 4s 3850mAh LiPo battery
Number of cells:4
C Rating:30C
Max. Continuous Current:115A

<font size=-2>JR DS 821 Digital High Torque Servo</font>
JR DS 821 Digital High Torque Servo
Torque:72 oz/in at 4.8V
Speed:19 sec/60 degrees at 4.8V
Gear type:Nylon

<font size=-2>Spektrum AR7000 DSM2 seven-channel receiver</font>
Spektrum AR7000 DSM2 seven-channel receiver
Frequency:2.4Ghz DSM2
Number of receivers:Two (main and remote)
Voltage range:3.5-9.6V


The Hangar 9 Toledo Special is a sport model, and it is a true ARF. It is safe to say that all of the difficult work was completed at the factory. The Toledo Special is highly prefabricated, covered, hinged and nearly ready to fly. The fuselage, wing and surfaces are factory covered with genuine UltraCote iron-on covering in a stunning cream and light blue scheme.

Most will find the Toledo Special can be assembled in just a couple of hours. Especially impressive was the covering scheme and colors: My wife even commented on how pretty this plane was! This never happens!

Done by the factory:

  • Surfaces hinged
  • All surfaces and wing covered
  • Firewall installed with various mounting options for Electric or Glow powered options
  • Beautiful fiberglass cowl and wheel paints are factory painted and match the covering perfectly
  • All control surface horns were factory installed!

The builder needs to:

  • Install the servos
  • Install the motor and ESC
  • Bolt on the tail feathers
  • Install the landing gear and wheel pants

Landing Gear

Work begins on the undercarriage. The factory painted wheel pants are a work of art. The paint matches perfectly, and they are large and attractive.


The fuselage on the Toledo Special has a tall cabin for the high wing and a vintage era flavor. The fuselage is well rounded and uses stringers in the rear for a pleasing shape.

Tail Assembly

The fuselage had a plate at the rear for mounting the bolt-on tail surfaces. I told you this airplane went together quickly!

All of the control horns for each surface are factory installed - a huge time saver!

Installation of the servos in the large fuselage was simple and quick. Even the servo screw holes are factory drilled and aligned to the JR digital full size servos perfectly.

Power System

On to the nose of the beast. Electric setup was a snap.

The motor simply bolts on the the fuselage using the long bolts and long aluminum stand-offs.

Windows and windscreen

The windows and windscreen on the Toledo Special really give this sport plane a scale look!


The wing halves for the Toledo Special were not glued together, aiding field transport and portability. They have included a large steel wing joiner tube and another rear alignment tube, so no gluing was necessary.

Mounting the aileron servos was completely standard, however, I deviated from the recommended method: I used blocks and screws and glued my servos to the trays. I have been using this method for many years, and I like the large glue surface area it allows.

You will need two 9-12" servo extensions for each of the wing halves. A factory installed pull string is provided for the servo wires, a nice touch.


The cowl follows the Hangar 9 ARF tradition of easy assembly. The cowl has holes drilled, the fuselage has corresponding blind nuts and the cowl bolts right on. The cowl to spinner gap and fit was perfect, again showing the quality very evident in Hangar 9 ARFs.

Power system

The recommended Power 46 brushless motor and 60AMP ESC were used in the Toledo Special.

Amp draws

The included brushless motor is perfect for use with 4s packs. With the Thunder Power 3850 mAh 4s pack it produced the following results:

Motor statistics on 4s
APC-e propeller Amps Watts Voltage
13x6.5 40 596 14.9v
13x8 43.4 641 14.85v

These power levels gave the Toledo Special ~105 watts per lb enough for very spirited performance in a sport model. I find the 13x6.5 APC-e prop gives just the performance I am looking for yet it is not overworking any of the components. It’s perfect for a hassle-free, reliable sport plane setup. I liked the slower flight speeds it achieved, giving it a vintage looking slower fly-by.

The E-flite ESCs have provided consistent, impressive performance. The switch mode BEC will power 6-7 servos on 6s voltages. Not having to add supplemental BECs is always welcome!

I also use the E-flite ESC's programmer and software which makes ESC configuration a snap. This is a RS-232 computer link that enables you to install software and update settings like cutoff voltage, brake, timing, throttle range, acceleration range and frequency. I recommend setting the controller for 4s cutoff voltage with no brake.


A single 4s 3850 MAh Thunder Power battery was used to provide power. This pack weighs in at 14.4oz/403g. Performance of this Thunder Power pack was stellar, and as you can see it provided great voltage under a ~39amp load. I have also used Thunder Power 3300 4s packs in the Toledo as well, and it worked very well and still provided plenty of flight time and power output.


The Hangar 9 Toledo Special was covered in UltraCote two color scheme, and it was very attractive. Combined with the rounded lines and curves the Toledo Special is distinctive and very sharp. It has an old style vintage aviation look and feel. It also has some Toledo Special markings that add to the air appeal.


Some pre-flight shots of the Hangar 9 Toledo Special.

With the 4s 3850MAh pack placed in the rear section of the tray the Toledo Special balanced at recommended starting CG of 70mm. It is nice when a model balances correctly with the recommended equipment. I found the lighter 4s packs also worked well even with the aft CG these lighter packs created.

Rates and transmitter setup

The trusted Spektrum DX7 transmitter was used for this plane. Rates were set as recommended in the manual with ailerons at 16/25mm, elevator at 22/35mm and rudder at 25/38mm in each direction. Exponential rates were set at my preferred 35% for the primary flight controls.

The recommended throws at low rates were fine for sport flights. Control surface throws are a very personal preference, so please adjust your accordingly.

The flight timer was set to count down from 10 minutes giving an audible warning to land long before the battery was depleted. The 3850 mAh pack was able to supply the Toledo Special with full throttle runs with no ill effects. Full throttle was rarely needed, however.


The Toledo Special is a large, attractive airplane but I was expecting very docile trainer like characteristics. I was correct but soon found that lurking inside this gentle plane was an aerobatic monster!

In-flight pics come from Ronnie. Thanks for these fantastic in-flight shots!

The Toledo really retains energy quite well. It’s so clean and slick that it will take a bit of space to slow down! I rarely use more than half throttle in normal flight except when doing aerobatics. It just looks at home on slow, low fly-bys!

Takeoff and Landing

The wide spread of the main gear on the Toledo gives it very solid ground handling. With the light wing loading and large wing it was airborne in a hurry. A slight nudge of elevator has this in the air with authority. It needs very little room for takeoff even on grass fields.

Landings were straightforward but be warned: The Toledo really carries energy well! It will slow down but you need some space to land this bird.

Special Flight Characteristics

The Toledo Special is an wonderfully performing sport airplane. Do not be deceived by the "high" wing; this airplane has the character of a point it and go acrobat!

The Toledo is just simply a honest flier. It goes where it is pointed, and it travels with a great deal of style. The plane penetrates and handles wind very well.

The plane stalls very predictably for a model with a low 20s in/oz wing loading. It drops a nose but not a wing, and recovery is very quick.

Loops require full power with the 13x6.5 propeller but that is just fine with me. Rolls are slow on low rates and just look magnificent. While they are not perfectly axial, they look just right for this high winged beauty. Inverted flight requires some "down" input but not too much. It flies well inverted.

Stall turns are also a thing of beauty but still not the most fun maneuver. My favorite is pulling the nose vertically, and with the great energy-retaining ability of the Toledo, it goes up nicely! When you still have some airspeed, hit full up, right elevator and rudder, then cut power. You will be rewarded with a wicked snap that starts in the up-line and then continues with furious continuation in the down line! I can't believe it stays in one piece, but this bird snaps like a beast! Recovery is very quick even with all those violent contortions.

Recommended power system

Power on 4s voltages was excellent. It in no way needs any more power. Performance more than covers any aerobatic maneuvers just short of 3D you want to do.

Is this plane for a beginner?

The Hangar 9 Toledo Special is not an all out trainer but certainly is not difficult to fly. It would make an excellent 2nd plane after that trainer or a decent trainer on the buddy box.

Flight Video



When first opening the box it was quickly apparent how remarkable this large ARF looked. The covering, fiberglass work were all perfect. The Toledo Special is a very impressive airplane not only in size but design and really shows off the vintage 30's/40's look of that era of aircraft.

It has a very impressive color scheme and markings. The cream and light blue blend well and are extremely attractive. Paint on the fiberglass wheel pants and cowl was amazing and matched the covering perfectly. The covering was also tight and expertly applied.

The Toledo Special is a well engineered ARF with extremely quick assembly. Assembly was completely straightforward. There was not one single problem encountered during assembly - something all too rare these days. The prefabricated parts fit was perfect , and nothing was misaligned.

The Toledo Special recommended electric power system provided more than enough motivation for the plane. It provided stunning power on 4s but those seeking more can certainly add a larger propeller.

Takeoffs and landings are just as simple as they can be, and the long fuselage requires very little rudder correction. Slow fly-bys really look great.

Acrobatics are a really treat with the Toledo Special. It is able to provide a great grin factor, and trust me, I am extremely pleased with the responsiveness of this ship. It is simply a blast to fly, and it’s large and easy to see. The Toledo Special will give any sport pilot a plane that not only looks great but flies even better.


  • Vintage looks are stunning
  • Fit and finish were impeccable
  • Hardware is top notch
  • Instruction manual is detailed and in plain English full of helpful pictures
  • Extremely short assembly time
  • Great performance and aerobatics prowess


  • A few wrinkles developed

Check it out the hobby shop or buy direct at Horizon.

Last edited by Angela H; Nov 10, 2009 at 04:53 PM..
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Nov 18, 2009, 12:12 PM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar

Good Review of a Great Plane!

Very nice review Mike! I bought this plane after flying a friends a couple of times and I love it! I like your method of mounting the wing servos. I will be taking mine to the Arizona Electric Festival in late January. I am moving to the thinking of a couple really nice planes is the way to go to out of town events and this one really fits the bill for me. Good speed and acrobatics make it a winner. The covering and color on the plane looks great. I am glad to see such a great plane in a quality review. Hope we both enjoy our planes for many years to come. Mike Heer
Nov 18, 2009, 01:02 PM
jrb's Avatar
Great read Mike!

Why a 7 channel RX?

Looking for a prop test bed; any idea what the largest diameter prop that could be spun on the stock gear and thrust line is?

I’m guessing with the elliptical and symmetric wing this bird could handle lots of watts and turn them into speed; your thought?


Nov 18, 2009, 05:30 PM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
Thanks guys.

7ch was what I had. Certainly not needed a 4ch would suffice.

I need to check on clearance - likely 14" would be it. Thrust line is zero zero or near that.

Yep this bird cooks right along - even with the lowish pitch 6.5" prop I am using. It really grooves!

Nov 18, 2009, 05:53 PM
jrb's Avatar
Hoping for 15".
Nov 18, 2009, 07:33 PM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
16" would leave about 1/2"...
Nov 18, 2009, 08:46 PM
jrb's Avatar
Thanks Mike!

Might work as its a tail dragger.
Nov 18, 2009, 11:19 PM
Hooper, full throttle!
Tommy D's Avatar

Great review and very thorough! I mean sheesh you about replaced the instruction manual with all those clear photos and instructions!

From the looks of the video it appears the model and you are getting along quite nicely!

Tommy D
Nov 19, 2009, 08:39 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
I've been waiting for this review ever since the Toledo Special came out and WOW! Great job Mike. What a stunning airplane in the air. Kudos to Ronnie. He did it again with great stills and video.

I have to agree that your method of attaching the wing servos is perfect for the electric power version. However, a glow or gas power version will generate a lot more structure vibration and should probably use the "normal" servo mounting method to help isolate the electronics.

Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
Nov 19, 2009, 10:09 AM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
Thanks guys! The pics do a great job of showing off this beautiful airplane. It is just stunning. My wife even commented - and that NEVER happens. It is a stunner - and the blue cream is super sharp.

I may add struts just for the "effect".

The video camera is brand new - and we are still getting it figured out. The bummer is - it does not have a viewfinder. For RC work that stinks! But again Ronnie did a great job and that was the second time he had ever used the camera. It is a Canon FS200 - I really like everything else about the cam.

Originally Posted by kingsflyer
I have to agree that your method of attaching the wing servos is perfect for the electric power version. However, a glow or gas power version will generate a lot more structure vibration and should probably use the "normal" servo mounting method to help isolate the electronics.

Mike - actually I have been doing that method of servo mounting for years - including my glow days. Nary an issue! In fact the glue surface area is MUCH larger than the two blocks give.

But again - I use quality 30 min epoxy for really a good bond.

Nov 19, 2009, 10:15 AM
jrb's Avatar
How's the tail feathers holding up in flight at WOT/max speed?

A freind just did a big Pulse and had to add struts to the stabs to kill the flutter.

The pulse has a huge hstab -- gotta hold the tail down when running up to WOT.

I use dound sided outdoor carpet tape to hold the A servos in place and seervla globs of hot glue for added security -- even on my 1/4 Cub.
Nov 19, 2009, 10:22 AM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
Originally Posted by jrb
How's the tail feathers holding up in flight at WOT/max speed?

A freind just did a big Pulse and had to add struts to the stabs to kill the flutter.

The pulse has a huge hstab -- gotta hold the tail down when running up to WOT.

I use dound sided outdoor carpet tape to hold the A servos in place and seervla globs of hot glue for added security -- even on my 1/4 Cub.
Yep the stab on this is fairly large too.

No issues and I have done some freaky strange wicked snaps. This thing snaps like no other airplane I have flown - and that includes Caps (the kings of snaps).

It is quite stunning - but make sure your battery has a nice seat belt on. It is violent enought to handily eject the battery if not well strapped. It is remarkably wicked (and fun)!
Nov 19, 2009, 10:28 AM
jrb's Avatar
Again thanks Mike.

So, do you think watts for speed will be Ok?
Nov 19, 2009, 10:37 AM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
I do - but it looks out of character for this bird. Think vintage...

Of note the elevators do have some nice counterbalances as well. Sealing the surfaces would help with flutter as well. But it was clipping along in the flights with the 13x8 prop - no issues.

Nov 19, 2009, 10:54 AM
Registered User

Toledo Special

Hi Mike,

Fantastic review on the Toledo Special!! I looked at this airplane when it first came out and thought it very nice. Very similar to the SIG Rascal 100 I have which also has a wide speed range and very aerobatic for a plane of it's size. It is sometimes nice to have a smaller plane to toss in the truck for a quick trip to the field. I may have to get one of these to keep up with jrb.

As jrb mentioned I had add wire bracing to my Pulse XT 125 (Saito FG-20 for power) stab and fin to keep it from fluttering in flight. I think it might have more to do with the vibrations of a gas engie and a weak fuselage at the tail section. The bracing stopped the flutter but the tail section can still be twisted by hand. If I ever have to get inside the fuselage I am going to add some cross bracing to stiffen the fuse near the tail.

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