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Flyzone Playmate 2.4Ghz RTF Review

From calm outdoor flying to circuits around the gym, the Flyzone Playmate RTF is a blast to both new pilots and experienced modelers! Author Kevin Martin at the sticks.

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:18.5"
Wing Area:51 square inches
Weight:1 oz. (30g) as advertized, .9 oz. (26g) measured.
Length:13.5"
Wing Loading:2.8 oz/sq. ft.
Speed Range:Slow indoor and evening flyer
Servos:2 built into Rx board
Transmitter:4ch 2.4Ghz
Receiver:All in one board
Battery:Single cell 130mAh LiPo
Motor:Brushed with Gearbox
Typical Flight Duration:6-12 minutes
Manufacturer:Flyzone Planes
Available From:Hobbico
Price:$79

You know that feeling. It's evening as you get home, but you are just dying to fly something. Luckily, the Playmate from Flyzone is here to help! It's a great size to fly anywhere, anytime - at night, in the snow, or even both! At just under one ounce, the Playmate is a great small plane to have around for flying indoors or in your front yard. With a unique spring loaded gearbox, damage is minimal in the event of a crash, which makes the Playmate perfect for beginners learning to fly as well as experienced flyers just looking for something to throw around out front.

Kit Contents

<font face='arial,helvetica' size=-2>The box contents.</font>
The box contents.

Inside the box, the parts count is low:

Included:

  • Ready to Fly Playmate
  • Well documented instruction manual.
  • Vibrant paint scheme
  • All in one transmitter
  • 130mAh Single Cell LiPo
  • 4 AA batteries

Needed to Complete:

  • About 5 minutes to fully charge the battery
  • Basketball court sized gym or a calm day

Assembly

Assembly is minimal, almost nonexistent. I removed the Playmate from the packaging, plugged in the 130 mAh single cell LiPo, and flew! If you have two battery packs, let the other one charge while you fly for shorter down times. The transmitter will both control the plane and charge a battery at the same time, so waiting in-between isn't required.

<font face='arial,helvetica' size=-2>Eye catching box!</font>
Eye catching box!

<font face='arial,helvetica' size=-2>Under the lid</font>
Under the lid

<font face='arial,helvetica' size=-2>Back of the box</font>
Back of the box

Both the box (that also doubles as a protective carrying case) and the Playmate itself are very sturdy. The wing never felt like it was too thin, and its strength showed. After countless bounces off walls, floors, and tables, the wing kept its shape and stayed strong. The tailfeathers also seemed thicker than other micro planes and resisted bending well.

 

<font face='arial,helvetica' size=-2>Charge port</font>
Charge port

<font face='arial,helvetica' size=-2>Simple and effective transmitter</font>
Simple and effective transmitter

<font face='arial,helvetica' size=-2>Easy as that!</font>
Easy as that!

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Flying

Basics

The Playmate flies just like its bigger high-wing counterparts. It's stable, rights itself easily and is relaxing to fly. Right out of the box, it needed no trim at all! I found it handled small amounts of wind well, but really was tossed around in winds over 6 miles per hour (but who flies a micro in that kind of wind anyway?). Indoor flying is where the Playmate really shows its true colors. The spring-loaded gearbox makes a cool sound, so buzzing the other micros becomes a common occurrence. I found my Playmate was one of the faster indoor planes at full throttle, but still flew gently and slowly with the throttle stick down lower.

Taking Off and Landing

Taking off and landing are just about as easy as it gets with the Playmate. With a gentle hand toss at 3/4 throttle or rolling along the ground, the Playmate has no trouble getting in the air. It is not underpowered at all, so getting airborne is easy. The Playmate climbs well and has enough power to climb out at a fairly steep angle.

With minimal throttle, the Playmate descends slowly, and gentle powered landings are no sweat. For "spot" style landings, coming in low and applying up elevator as you cut the throttle results in a nice ballooning flare, with a very small roll out. Catching the Playmate is also an option, since it flies so slowly and gently. Just remember to cut the throttle before it gets to you so you don't burn out the motor!

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

The Playmate is still a 3 channel micro flyer, but it isn't afraid to show what it can do:

Loops- Very easy to perform, and only require a slight dive to gain speed.

  • Hammerhead style stalls- These are also fun, but the rudder doesn't always have enough authority for 3D looking maneuvers.
  • Inverted flight- Inverted flying was hard to achieve, mostly because of the large amount of dihedral and the airfoil shape of the wing. The Playmate likes to be more of a cruiser than an acrobat.
  • Spot landings- The Playmate is really good in this category. The springy landing gear offer lots of bounce, so coming in low, then cutting the throttle as you pull up results in a neat stall like landing.
  • Drag racing- Yes, not only can the Playmate perform in the air, it also can entertain a crowd on the ground! If you get too ambitious and manage to knock the wing off doing loops around a table (the Playmate really makes you comfortable quickly, so advanced flying really comes naturally), the Playmate can also convert to a neat drag racer. Power sliding around the gym in a wingless plane isn't something you would think of for a micro like the Playmate, but it sure is a sight to see! See the video of the Playmate drag racing in the video section.

Repairs

With the Playmate's fully molded body, all the electronics are hidden away inside. After many flights, my gearbox came loose from a few nose-first landings. Fixing it was easy, and only took a few minutes:

<font face='arial,helvetica' size=-2>Using AMA card to remove glue.</font>
Using AMA card to remove glue.

<font face='arial,helvetica' size=-2>Wing and top removed</font>
Wing and top removed

<font face='arial,helvetica' size=-2>The servo and RX board</font>
The servo and RX board

 

<font size=-2>The loose gearbox</font>
The loose gearbox

<font size=-2>The gearbox spring</font>
The gearbox spring

<font face='arial,helvetica' size=-2>Pressure on prop disengages the motor</font>
Pressure on prop disengages the motor

<font face='arial,helvetica' size=-2>Springs back to normal</font>
Springs back to normal

<font face='arial,helvetica' size=-2>Ready to fly again!</font>
Ready to fly again!

Flyzone also offers a full array of spare parts for the Playmate, which can be found here.

Is This For a Beginner?

YES!! The Playmate is great for beginners and experts alike. Its 3 channel control isn't difficult to master, and the slow flight characteristics are extremely inviting for a beginner. I have put many RC beginners in control of my Playmate and all were flying circuits in a matter of minutes. The spring loaded gearbox helps to minimize damage in the event of a crash, so most nose in dives don't require any fixing at all. The simple transmitter/charger design consolidates everything, and makes the Playmate a very user friendly plane to have.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

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Downloads

Conclusion

In the end, the Flyzone Playmate is a great micro flyer and easily can handle indoors and out. It's always a great plane to fly, especially for front door flying to get a quick flying fix. All the electronics are well hidden inside, so even snowy days (or nights for that matter) can still be flying days. It's an awesome smaller plane to have in any hangar.

What I liked:

  • Colorful paint scheme is easy to see
  • Plenty of power for indoors and out
  • Many replacement parts available
  • Spring loaded gearbox
  • Cross compatible batteries with other micro planes
  • Electronics are tucked away, but easily accessible
  • Charge while you fly ability

Special thanks to Hobbico for supplying the Playmate for this review, and to Christian Elsner and Austin Prestel for photos and video. Thanks everyone!

What could have been better:

  • To an experienced modeler, the transmitter may seem a little toy-like
  • Tip of nose foam is easily crushed when the propeller and shaft are pushed back
Last edited by Angela H; Mar 22, 2010 at 03:59 PM..
Thread Tools
Mar 23, 2010, 06:44 PM
Ain't Nothing but a Peanut
drewwrx's Avatar
Thanks for the awesome review on the Playmate. I am a new pilot and have one coming in the mail tomorrow!! To say i cant wait would be an understatement
Mar 23, 2010, 11:16 PM
Team Compass/KBDD Team Pilot
Ah Clem's Avatar
Lovely flying little airplane. I am getting about 10 minute flights, but could probably go longer as it is not taking long to charge the battery.

My has been converted to Spektrum (the AR6400 fit right where the stock electronics were located-I only had to trim one pushrod and extend the motor wires).

Excellent little airplane.
Mar 24, 2010, 08:33 AM
Registered User
ontwowheels's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ah Clem
Lovely flying little airplane. I am getting about 10 minute flights, but could probably go longer as it is not taking long to charge the battery.

My has been converted to Spektrum (the AR6400 fit right where the stock electronics were located-I only had to trim one pushrod and extend the motor wires).

Excellent little airplane.
Interesting mod, can you provide a pic?
Mar 24, 2010, 10:57 AM
Elfi Flyer
Doug Sipprell's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ah Clem
My has been converted to Spektrum (the AR6400 fit right where the stock electronics were located-I only had to trim one pushrod and extend the motor wires).
I would be most interested is seeing how you did this. I am considering doing the same, as all of my other micro fleet members are DMS2.

Tnx

RD
Mar 24, 2010, 12:02 PM
Team Compass/KBDD Team Pilot
Ah Clem's Avatar
I apologize-I sealed it back up already and did not take any photographs.

I had to trim the fuselage interior a bit, to widen it so that the driven servo gears did not contact the foam. Also lengthened the wires from the motor to the board.

The last piece was to trim the length of the rudder pushrod (cut out a piece of the CF rod and re-attached the wire end with heat shrink and CA).

Also mixed Aileron to Elevator in the 12X so that my primary turning control would be on the right stick.

No CG issues, no throw issues, no problems. It just made a very good little airplane fly better.

Flew it five times on Sunday and twice yesterday.

Sorry I did not take pictures.
Mar 24, 2010, 01:46 PM
Registered User
ontwowheels's Avatar
No worries, THANKS for the feedback.
Mar 24, 2010, 08:19 PM
Registered User
Duduca's Avatar
I keep having problems with the control unit on this model. The tiny gears breaks easily.
My last model, i bought on March 20 and it lasted about 3 days. I flew the plane for about 7 hours straight, counting all flight times.
The question i have is, if i buy another control unit for this model, do i need another transmitter as well ? since i dont have a programmable TX. I also noticed that the transmitter for my first playmate did not work with the second one.
On another hand, i have a novus CP helicopter and i extracted 2 servos from it ,along with the ESC and i put it on one of my playmate and it flyes just fine with a 400mah 1s lipo. And the good thing is i am using the helicopter 6 channel TX to fly it.
since i was having problems flying the heli, i decided to change from heli to planes.
Last edited by Duduca; Mar 24, 2010 at 11:17 PM.
Mar 24, 2010, 08:28 PM
Registered User
Duduca's Avatar
Just to mention, I flew the playmate with a 400mah battery and it flew really good. Heavy but good. Flight time was over 20 minutes.
I also tried to put the engine from the novus cp helicopter on it, but it was to heavy and it failed.
Is there another lightweight upgrade motor for this plane ? I love to mess around trying to improve the little playmate.
Mar 25, 2010, 02:06 PM
Suspended Account
Nice! So I am guessing that this is going to compete with the parkzone micro models?
Mar 25, 2010, 05:02 PM
Registered User
Duduca's Avatar
lol pilotpie4.
Mar 25, 2010, 09:22 PM
Elfi Flyer
Doug Sipprell's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duduca
Is there another lightweight upgrade motor for this plane ? I love to mess around trying to improve the little playmate.
Mess around and experience the various results. I have modified most of my fleet, to include some of the "micro fleet". I have found the stock power system of the Playmate to be more than sufficient for 12-15 minutes flights. I modified the spring arrangment, also the wing, but have kept the stock motor. A strong 130 mAh Lipo, such as the Hyperion G3 130 mAh cell, will provide good flight times and performance. The only upgrade I am considering now is to swap out the stock electronics for a DMS2 compatible brick, such as used in the Ember and/or the UM P-51. The purpose is based solely on having all of the micro fleet planes flyable via the Spektrum 6DXi transmitter.

RD
Mar 26, 2010, 12:14 PM
Suspended Account
What???




Quote:
Originally Posted by Duduca
lol pilotpie4.
Mar 27, 2010, 05:02 AM
Wattflyer Community *********

Playmate Parts


Hi Kevin,
Great review, thanks for the info.
I noticed the link for the parts doesn't include prices. Tower Hobbies carries the line and here's a link to parts and prices;
http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...I=HCAA2550&P=Z
Ron
Mar 28, 2010, 10:30 AM
Doing it in the Lateral Axis
modfly's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ah Clem
I apologize-I sealed it back up already and did not take any photographs.

I had to trim the fuselage interior a bit, to widen it so that the driven servo gears did not contact the foam. Also lengthened the wires from the motor to the board.

The last piece was to trim the length of the rudder pushrod (cut out a piece of the CF rod and re-attached the wire end with heat shrink and CA).

Also mixed Aileron to Elevator in the 12X so that my primary turning control would be on the right stick.

No CG issues, no throw issues, no problems. It just made a very good little airplane fly better.

Flew it five times on Sunday and twice yesterday.

Sorry I did not take pictures.
So your using a HG TX with mixing on this plane? I'm not familar with a 12x, what is that?


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