ParkZone’s Bf-109G Review
I was one of the many waiting to see what the new ParkZone Z-foam fighter would be. I diligently searched the threads to find a glimmer of just what would be the new addition to my hangar of ParkZone warbirds. I remember the many hopeful guesses of what the plane would be. Some were mundane others were pretty esoteric. Then the day before the awaited announcement saw rampant speculation on the thread “ParkZone’s Next Z-foam Warbird….” Horizon Hobby’s John Redman had dropped some hints before, but in the evening session he came out and said he’d give the 3000th poster on the thread the new plane and disclose what it is. The thread took off like a grease fire in a wind tunnel! I got caught up, too. Everybody was posting something, whether it was jokes, the number of the post or just drivel to push the count up. I admit I was one, although there were several good jokes put out, no doubt by those living near Vegas. At first many thought the winning post would be around midnight. Then as the posts picked up, it seemed more like the winner would be around 10PM eastern. I don’t remember the time, but I do believe it was way before 10PM. Anyway, by the luck of the computer I was the 3000th poster on the thread. This review was part of the deal in exchange for the Bf-109G.
Caveat: I don’t claim to be a fantastic flyer or a whiz kid on the sticks. Neither do I claim to be any great shakes at modding aircraft. In fact, I fly my PZ planes stock! The only mod I deign to make is change the battery connector to Deans or “T” connectors to match my batteries. So take what I say with a grain of salt and look at other flyers that have commented on this fine bird and see what they are saying. If I come of sounding biased toward ParkZone’s it’s because I am. I don’t deny I really enjoy flying the ParkZone planes I have. I learned to fly on the HZ Super Cub, my aileron trainer was the PZ T-28 Trojan and later I picked up the Corsair. As a result of these fine birds I was waiting for Horizon Hobby’s new offering like a lot of others were.
During the 1930s the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) held a competition for its next fighter. Willy Messerschmitt designed an aircraft that, for its time, was fairly radical in design for the Bavarian Aircraft Works (Bayerische Flugzeugwerke). This aircraft became known as the Bf-109 and incorporated retractable landing gear, an enclosed cockpit and automatic leading edge slats. In 1936 the first production models of the Bf-109B started coming off the assembly line. When the Bavarian Aircraft Works became Messerschmitt AG many took to calling the aircraft the Me-109. Although both are used in historical documents, according to the National Museum of the US Air Force the official designation remained Bf-109.
The G model of the Bf-109 began production in 1942. It will stay in production until the end of the war in 1945 making it the most produced model of this airplane. The G model had a higher speed than its predecessors, but suffered from a loss of maneuverability.
Its armament consisted of a 30mm cannon and two 13mm machineguns in the nose. It is the machineguns that give the nose of the Bf-10 its distinctive bulges.
Eric “Bubi” Hartmann, the Blond Knight
Hartmann flew Bf-109s in JG 52 against Soviet aircraft accumulating 352 kills from 1942 until the war’s end in 1945. Hartmann will earn his Knight’s Cross in 1943 for downing 148 enemy aircraft. He will be awarded the “Oak Leaves” in 1943 when his count reaches 202 downed enemy aircraft. By war’s end, Hartmann will have been awarded the Knight’s Cross to the Iron Cross with Oak leaves, Swords and Diamonds.
Hartmann will surrender to American forces at the end of WWII, but will be turned over to the Soviets. The Soviets will sentence Hartmann to 50 years of hard labor. In 1955 however, the Soviets will release Eric Hartmann to the West Germans.
After his repatriation, Hartmann will serve in the West German Luftwaffe, making many contributions in the years of his service. Eric Hartmann will die in 1993.
It is Eric Hartmann’s Bf-109G that Horizon Hobby/ParkZone has modeled for us in their latest offering. It is one of the more spectacular designs used on this airplane during the war.
The PZ Bf-109G
ParkZone’s new Bf-109 is a great “out of the box” flyer. In many instances it is very like their previous offerings, but it has one difference that sets it apart from the T-28 and Corsair. The horizontal stabilizer is split and has an airfoil. The T-28 and Corsair both share a somewhat flat shaped horizontal stabilizer that is a one-piece unit slipped into the opening in the vertical stabilizer. This makes it a little more complex than either the T-28 or Corsair.
Like its brethren, the Bf-109G can be modded; the easiest mod is the flap modification, which Horizon Hobby has designed into the airplane. The hardware is included with the plane, all you need to do is supply the servos for the flaps and cut them out. Some flyers are looking into modding the flaps even more with split flaps. Others are looking into putting retracts on this bird. Yet others are making cosmetic changes to make their Bf-109 different looking from the others.
As for myself, I just like to fly. I am an “out of the box and into the air” kind of guy. I really buy into the ParkZone jingle “Just Fly.” So I fly the airplane stock, as I do the T-28 and Corsair, and I enjoy doing so. The PZ Bf-109G in the Eric Hartmann scheme is one of the best that Horizon Hobby could have picked without making it a generic look. It looks good not matter if it’s in the air or on the ground, and the Z-foam is tough and easy to repair when it needs it, making the Bf-109G a joy to fly.
Build: Tail Feathers
The build for this airplane is pretty simple and straightforward. ParkZone gives you instructions for a quick build as well as the instructions for a regular build. Pick the one you want to follow.
If you have ever built a ParkZone airplane like the T-28 or Corsair you will know what to expect. Again, the horizontal stabilizer is two pieces connected by a third piece consisting of a carbon rod. Fit the horizontal stabilizer pieces to the carbon rod, then take one off and fit the unit into the fuselage at the vertical stabilizer. After making sure the pieces are seated then fit the other horizontal stabilizer to the unit and tape to plane. Other than this one sequence, the plane goes together like the others.
Connect the aileron servo wires to the extension and push the excess up the hole in the fuse so it is out of the way as you mount the wing. The wing mounts by placing the locator pins in their corresponding holes and then screwing the mounting screw in place. Once this is done you can mount the landing gear and gear doors.
Prop and Spinner
Put the spinner plate on the prop shaft followed by the prop. Then take the prop nut and tighten it on the propeller. Once that is done you can mount the spinner, making sure it doesn’t contact the propeller, and tighten the spinner screw.
It is starting to come together now and the excitement of completing the airplane and flying it is starting to take hold.
If you haven’t been using a stand up to now, you may want to use one for the next bit. Roll the plane over and put it in the stand so the bottom is up. Attach the clevises to the horizontal stabilizer at this point. Now we are ready to power up, bind the receiver to the radio and do any adjusting to the control surfaces.
Choices: PNP or BNF?
There are two versions of the PZ Bf-109G. The PNP or Plug and Play version lacks the receiver, battery and charger that you will find included in the BNF or Bind and Fly version. The PNP version allows you to add your own receiver and use whatever radio you wish, along with your own batteries and charger. This is not a problem with a lot of the flyers out there.
The version I received from Horizon Hobby’s John Redman was a QA model in the BNF or Bind and Fly mode. My radio is a Spectrum DX6i. Binding the receiver to my radio was simple. I set up the basic functions (like dual rates) in my radio first, and then I turned it off, I then plugged the bind plug in the AR500 receiver and connected a battery to it to power it up. To bind the DX6i radio to the receiver you hold the trainer switch up then turn the radio on. This will start the binding process. When you see the receiver switch blinking modes let loose of the trainer switch and the receiver should go solid. You are now bound to the airplane’s receiver. (You should remove the bind plug now.) This should center all the servos so you can see if there is any adjustment needed to “zero” the control surfaces.
One of the things you should pay close attention to is the rudder and tail wheel. I noticed the plane I had that when the rudder was centered, the tail wheel was off a little. I took out my Philips screwdriver and loosened the grub screw enough to make the tail wheel run straight. The airplane has a tendency to track to the left due to torque if you hit throttle too fast, so you want the tail wheel tracking straight so you don’t over do it one way or the other.
Center of Gravity
The manual tells you where the center of gravity should be. The quick and dirty reference is the wheel bumps in the wing. Turn the plane upside down and balance it on those points. It should balance slightly nose heavy right out of the box. After getting comfortable with this COG, you may want to experiment more.
Maiden: There was no wind on the maiden flight of my ParkZone Bf-109G. I taxied the plane out and onto the runway and prepared for take-off. The guys at Horizon Hobby had suggested on take-off to gradually add on the power to counter any tendency of the motor and prop to torque to the left. I did this and the airplane took-off without incident. Once in the air it was very relaxing to fly.
The motor has ample power and the Bf-109G flew very well. This airplane flies comparably to the PZ Corsair. The rolls are great and the small loops are tight while the large loops are graceful. The Cuban Eights were a joy and looked really nice as well. And while my inverted flight is not the best, the PZ Bf-109G did what I wanted it to do and looked good doing it. In other words, it flies the patterns very gracefully and has that “hungry” look doing it. One note though, I did take it up and ran a “stall test” on it. It fell off on the left wing two out of three times, other than that; it doesn’t seem to have any bad habits in the air.
My second flight was a little later and the wind had started to pick up. Our runway is north-south. Most of our winds are east-west. So, a lot of the time we have to deal with crosswinds. On this flight I tried to take-off toward the north with a breeze coming out of the west. I noticed the Bf-109G didn’t handle too well before I could get it up to speed. So in the end I just brought it over to the apron and took off across the runway into the wind and then joined the current pattern.
I had been told that you can’t float this bird in. No, it needs to come down with some speed or power to keep from stalling or scuffing the wing tips. It takes some practice to do. I hadn’t had that practice when the video was made, so it is raw. . You should get a laugh out of it. Roger Mullins is the videographer and I want to thank him for doing this. He couldn’t resist with the music and repeated some of the landings to round out the video and music together. Enjoy, if nothing more, you will see how not to land this baby.
Is the Bf-109G an airplane for the beginner? No! You have to have some skill in flying this airplane, especially on take-off and landing. If you can’t fly the PZ Corsair you shouldn’t try to fly this airplane. It takes some skill just to get this airplane off the ground and back on it in one piece. The flight is, like I said before, comparable to the PZ Corsair, but better!
This is a fun plane to fly and I highly recommend it. Horizon Hobby has added another fantastic flyer to its stable of warbirds. Just remember these two things:
1.It takes practice to land and take-off without scuffing the wing tips
or using the nose as a brake.
2.Be careful in crosswinds.
National Museum of the US Air Force
My maiden (Roger M. videographer):
Some threads you might find interesting:
If you have been covering the Bf-109 thread listed above you will know that there is one major drawback to this airplane, the motor. I had less than twenty flights on the motor when it quit. It also took out the ESC, I emailed Horizon Hobby, but got no response. A buddy at my club said to call, so I did. The guy told me to follow the protocols on the Horizon website. I did and sent the motor and ESC back. About three weeks later I got a replacement motor and a 12 Amp micro ESC(?).
I took an E-flite ESC I had laying around and mounted it and the motor in the plane. It flies, but the motor has a knocking sound (and you can feel it if you hand-turn the prop.) Folks on the 109 thread are saying it's normal but will presage a new motor if you don't watch out.
All in all it's a nice plane. On the ground it leaves a little to be desired, but is smooth in the air. I would wish the folks at Horizon would fix the motor problem before this plane gains a bad reputation.
ImagesView all Images in thread
Last edited by Russell_C; Dec 28, 2009 at 08:19 PM. Reason: Update
Thanks! Did you post your flaps on the other thread?
you did a good job !!!!! I found if you take some throw out of the elv. an ale. it tames it down a lot an looks more scale,and seems to land better with power an on like a ball dimond an not the road type surface, It did sound a little windy on your flight but if you tame it down some it helps out a lot an i see you have a 9303 so its no problem on that just flip a switch LOL !!
Happe landings it just takes a few to get the feel an your good to go
The underhanded toss we use works fine too but you gotta be ready for the torque effect (you saw the thing roll left on takeoff).
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