ParkZone P-47D Thunderbolt BNF Review - RC Groups

ParkZone P-47D Thunderbolt BNF Review

This latest release from ParkZone, the P-47D Thunderbolt, benefits in several notable ways from the continued evolution and development of their war bird product line.


Wing span: 42.2 in
Length: 36.9 in
Weight: 40 to 42.5 oz
Battery: 3S 2200mAh lipo
Motor: 15 Brushless Outrunner (950Kv)
ESC: 30 Amp Pro Switch-Mode
Distributed by: Horizon Hobby
Price: $249.99 BNF

2006: Horizon Hobby releases a 400 sized foam P-47 under their E-Flite label. This little war bird was very affordable and developed a bit of a cult following. However, in a relatively few short years, the model was discontinued. Many rued this decision by the manufacturer and campaigned for another production run of the fabulous little foamy P-47. It was not uncommon to find folks who skillfully added mechanical retracts to their P-47s and many of them remain a cherished part of folks' flying fleets to this day. 2011: P-47D aficionados will be happy to see that Horizon Hobby has now taken foam P-47D design to the next level with the release of their 15 size P-47D Thunderbolt under their ParkZone label. Read on to see how this model benefits from advances in modeling technology made in the few years since the release of the little E-Flite P-47!

Kit Contents

ParkZone has the packing and boxes for their Z Foam airplanes down to a science. The P-47 arrived safe and snug in it's foam tray, with plastic bags and several pieces of bubble wrap insuring that the snappy color scheme and finish was in no way marred while in transit. One very minor problem I noted on my initial inspection was that the factory did not apply adequate glue to secure my speed controller in place. A dab of hot glue was all that was required to take care of that. I like to stow the packing material away in a safe place, for possible future use. The P-47D is yet another model from ParkZone that can theoretically be completely disassembled and repacked into it's original packing container, thanks to it's glue-less assembly. Don't forget to flip the big rectangular tray over after the airframe components have been removed. All of the paper documentation is encased in a plastic sleeve and attached to the underside of the tray. Like almost all of the ParkZone products, the P-47D is available in both PNP and BNF configuration. I received the Bind-n-Fly version for this review. Absolutely everything that you need to get the P-47D airborne is included in the box, save a six channel transmitter (four if you skip the flaps and retracts). The charger included in the box is a capable little unit, complete with variable charge rate, a selectable cell count, and balancing capabilities. The included lipo is a quality 25C discharge rated pack. For those who prefer to use their existing radio system and battery packs, ParkZone offers the PNP version.

In The Box:

  • Painted Z-foam fuselage
  • Painted Z-foam wing
  • Painted Z-foam horizontal stabilizer and elevators
  • Top hatch with canopy and pilot
  • 30 amp Pro SB brushless speed controller with BEC
  • 15BL outrunner (950Kv)
  • DSV130 3-Wire digital servo metal gear (elevator and rudder)
  • SV80 long lead servo (ailerons, and optionally req'd for flaps)
  • 11.1V 2200mAh 25C Li-Po battery
  • 15 page black and white illustrated assembly manual (5 languages)
  • Fixed main landing gear set, with mounts and gear doors
  • 9.5 x 7.5 inch propeller
  • Spinner nut and collet
  • Push rods with clevis'
  • ParkZone 2-3 cell balancing charger
  • Spektrum AR600 DSMX 6 channel sport receiver
  • Clear tape for tail attachment
  • Two strips of self-adhesive gray tape for covering servo lead channels on wings
  • Control horns and all required hardware and fasteners

ParkZone has dressed this P-47D model out with quite a few nice scale details. It features the color scheme of the 404th Fighter Group, which went overseas to the European Theater of Operations in early to mid 1944. The ParkZone P-47D captures the essence of the extremely durable Thunderbolt with it's scale dummy engine (personally, I think it is rather sharp looking), 50 caliber gun barrels protruding from the leading edges of the wings, oil cooler vents, supercharger exhaust doors and accurately colored and painted cockpit area complete with pilot figure. Should you opt to go with either fixed or retractable landing gear, ParkZone includes main gear doors that snap directly to the struts.

Required for Completion:

  • Minimum of a four channel radio (Flaps and electric retracts options will require six channels)

Included for Review:

  • E-flite 10 to 15 size main Electric retracts
  • Servo Y harness (flaps)
  • ParkZone SV80 long lead 3-wire servo (2 required for flaps)


The assembly manual included in the box continues ParkZone's recent trend of using five different languages in one manual. The assembly manual is not written in the popular numbered, step by step style but instead narrows the entire assembly of the P-47 to but a few steps that are labeled according to what part of the airframe they address. Each assembly step includes a black and white line drawing with most of the details required to complete the step illustrated. The level of detail included in the manual is impressive and is designed to stack the odds of a successful maiden flight in the pilots favor. ParkZone even includes a chart showing the precise hole into which the the clevises should be inserted into on each and every control horn. No adhesives are required. All of the assembly involves conventional hardware and fasteners. A Phillips screwdriver is the main tool needed to complete the assembly of the ParkZone P-47.

ParkZone P-47D Thunderbolt Assembly Manual (English)


Most of the optional features available for this model involve the wing. If you decide to skip the flaps and retracts and go with a gear-less, hand launchable aircraft, or if you are satisfied using the included fixed gear, the wing assembly will take but a few moments to complete. This is because the twin aileron servos are factory installed, with their control linkages already assembled and attached. Attach the pre-bent, fixed gear using the included hardware and the wing is complete. Or, go with the flaps and electric retracts options (HIGHLY recommended if it is my opinion you are after) and you will have an extra hour or two of work to do before the wing is complete. When mating the wing to the fuselage, it is important to make sure the servo wires are all run cleanly into the fuselage and that they do not get sandwiched in the wing saddle as the wing is tightened down. If you decide to go full house on the P-47D, you will have a nice little collection of servo wires to keep arranged in place as you attach the wing to the fuselage. ParkZone provides a nice little servo wire retention pocket located in the top-side center section of the wing. There is plenty of room to coil the excess servo wires and then compress them down into this void. A trio of long screws securely attach the wing to the fuselage.

Option 1 : <b><i>Flaps</i></b>
Option 1 : Flaps

Option 2: <b><i>Retracts</i></b>
Option 2: Retracts

Installing the Optional Flaps

Installing the optional flaps requires a hobby knife with a new blade or two. Two cuts need to be made to free each flap from the trailing edge of the wings. The outboard cut involves removing a tiny foam wedge out of the flap hinge line. The inboard cut involves cutting a narrow groove along the end of the flaps, at the wing roots. I did a terrible job on this cut! Take your time and change the knife blade after each flap for best results. I used an emery board to clean up the edges of the cuts. ParkZone includes everything you will need in the box to implement the flaps. This includes the control horns and short push rod assemblies. One recommendation I would make is to connect the two flap servos to your radio gear and get them configured and functioning properly BEFORE you glue them into the provided recesses. It will be difficult if not almost impossible to attach or remove the servo horns from the flap servos after they have been installed. I used a couple of strategic dabs of hot glue to secure them in place. The servo leads are routed to the fuselage along the same channels that the aileron servo leads are already routed in. Accessing the channels requires pulling the silver gray adhesive covering tape up. ParkZone provides a few strips of this tape in the box, mainly because it loses much of its tackiness after it is pulled up a time or two. These strips can be used but it is best to continue tot he next step, if you are adding the optional retracts, before using these new strips of tape.

Installing the Retractable Landing Gear

The E-Flite electric retracts have been available for some time now and they have set a new standard for dependability and reliability when it comes to retracts. I have used then on several different models in the last year or so and they have never failed to operate each and every time I flip the retracts switch on my JR X9503 transmitter. They are as bullet proof as retracts can be. Mounting them to the wing of the P-47 is straightforward, although a little preparatory work with a cutoff wheel and grinder is in order.

E-Flite 10-15 Size Electric Retracts Instructions

The struts and axles must both be cut to the proper length (if you don't have a Dremel, a pre-bent set of struts is available from ParkZone under the part number PKZ5317). The P-47D assembly manual suggests a recommended length of 130mm for the struts. The axles should be cut so that they are just long enough for the wheel hubs and one retaining wheel collar to fit on them. Flats must be ground in the end of the struts for the axles to properly attach. Flat spots should also be ground on the axles for the wheel collars. And of course, thread lock is recommended. The retracts mount in the same space that the fixed gear blocks mount in. It is important to note that the four gear mounting screws are two different lengths. The shorter screws get installed in the holes nearest the leading edge of the wing when using the retracts.


Once the retracts are in place, their leads must be connected to the included y-harness/extension and channeled towards the fuselage with the flap and aileron servo leads. When all of the servo leads are neatly in place, new pieces of gray covering tape can be applied over them. It is necessary to cut small notches in this tape to allow the flaps servo horns to operate freely through their arc of travel. The final step of the retracts installation process involves mounting the gear doors to the struts. They are engineered to snap into place with no muss or fuss aligning or positioning them required. A plastic aligning pin centers in the strut coil to properly position the gear doors. Cycling the retracts after installation revealed that my gear was a little too far forward, with both wheels catching the front edges of the gear bays. I carefully twisted the struts a little, which successfully centered them in the gear wells. The E-Flite retracts have circuitry to detect a stall or excess amperage being drawn. If the gear do not make it all the way up into the gear bays, the retracts stop in place. Recycling them again is all that is required to reset them. I DO love these E-Flite electric retracts!


There is not much preparatory work required to get the fuselage flight ready. It comes out of the box with the power system completely installed. The speed controller is located in a slot in the forward section of the fuselage, immediately atop the battery compartment. The battery is located in the forward, lower part of the fuselage. It is canted a little downward at the front and is anchored at the rear by a standard issue hook and loop strap. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the compartment is large enough to accept 3S 2200mAh lipos other than the included E-Flite pack, specifically, packs that are a bit thicker. The Spektrum AR600 DSMX receiver is already installed, as are the rudder and elevator servos and push rods.

I particularly like the matte black finish that adorns the cowl and upper center of the fuselage. Another nice touch is the clear plastic canopy release tab. It makes it easier to remove the canopy than in previous models. The magnets that hold the canopy in place are strong and effective. The front of the canopy has twin plastic dowels that index into holes in the front edge of wing saddle.

ParkZone spent some extra engineering hours on the fuselage. It features many cool looking scale details. And some of them are not just for appearance, as it would appear they also serve as functional methods to get that all important electronics cooling air into and out of the fuselage. The steerable tail wheel is already mounted, connected and ready to, well, steer! It is accessed via a crisp looking access panel, held in place with four small fasteners. The front end of the fuselage is adorned with a dummy radial engine, which peers out from the depths of the dark colored cowl.


I really like the method of attaching the tail that is employed by ParkZone on this P-47! The horizontal stabilizer comes out of the box capable of being separated into two pieces. The two halves connect to one another by means of a square spar or mini joiner of sorts, which is passed through the opening at the base of the vertical stabilizer. It all but guarantees that the horizontal stabilizer and elevator assembly will be installed square and true on the fuselage.

And as is generally the case with a ParkZone horizontal stabilizer assembly, it is all held in place with four small pieces of tape. Though some may frown at this method of securing the tail, it works. And it comes with the added bonus that it all can be disassembled again. The control horn is already installed on one half of the elevator. All that is required after mating the horizontal stabilizer to the fuselage is to connect the elevator push rod clevis to the control horn.


Completion of an ARF often involves placing the decals but all of that has been done at the factory on this P-47. There are a couple of very useful extras included in the box though that do get stuck to the airframe. ParkZone has provided a couple of molded clear plastic protectors that fit the curves of the P-47s underbelly and cowl bottom. They come with double sided tape already applied. Simply peel and stick and you are protected!

Though the assembly manual alludes to them being specifically provided for those who plan to fly their P-47s without any landing gear and thus perform landings on the belly, I decided to go ahead and apply the pair to mine. Doing so is sure to provide an extra level of protection against marring the finish of the P-47, either from in-flight foolishness or hangar rash.

Recommended Control Throws
Low Rates High Rates
Elevator 8mm 12mm
Ailerons 7mm 11mm
Rudder 10mm 15mm
Flaps 15mm (half) 20mm (full)

A bind plug is included in the box. I programmed the recommended control throws for both high and low rates into my JR X9503 transmitter. The included Spektrum AR600 receiver is compatible with the recently released Spektrum DSMX technology. As expected, the electric retracts worked flawlessly the very first time I flicked the gear switch up and down! I added just a few points worth of down elevator trim to my flaps programming. The recommended center of gravity is listed at 58-62mm aft of the leading edge of the wing, at the fuselage. As expected, mine was dead on within this range. But then using the factory recommended and included components usually makes that happen just so! My All-Up-Weight came in at 43 ounces. The assembly manual includes a pre-maiden control surface deflection check sheet. No matter how many airplanes any of us have maidened, a patient moment or two spent triple checking the control surface throws BEFORE we leave the house to head to the flying field is a good thing to do. Oh, and don't forget to range check the P-47D also!


Taking Off and Landing

My maiden flights took place on a day with somewhat blustery conditions. Winds were a constant 7-10 MPH and gusts to 15 MPH and higher were intermittently occurring. In the first few minutes of the maiden flight, the P-47 immediately manifested a couple of positive flight characteristics. The first involved rudder authority. The winds of the day were not straight down the runway, which meant I would have to be proactive on the rudder during taxiing and takeoff. With the recommended rates, the rudder and tail wheel seemed to have plenty of authority to keep the nose pointed in the right direction. It turns out though that I would not be needing that tail wheel authority for long. As I slowly rolled into the throttle and started the takeoff roll, I could not refuse the grin that uncontrollably spread across my face as the P-47 quickly lifted it's tail and sped down the runway on it's main gear. How cool looking is THAT?! The benefit of a model that is quick to lift its tail on takeoff is that it is easier to control it directionally than when trying to use the steerable tail wheel on the take off roll. This is primarily because the plane is now "flying" instead of taxiing. This P-47 thus has excellent steerability on both the takeoff and landing rollouts. Most electric power systems provide ample power to just run and gun the takeoffs, forcing our aircraft aloft in incredibly short distances. I was thrilled to find though that this ParkZone P-47 absolutely excels at performing some very scale looking takeoffs. Exercise a little patience and self control with the throttle stick, add in a deft touch on the rudder stick, and you will be rewarded with a very realistic looking rollout, rotation and shallow angle climb out. Add in the main gear retracting up into the wings as the P-47 breaks ground and you just might get a small chill running up your spine as I did.

First landings of a new model can be a bit hairy, if for no other reason that our nerves are a bit overactive. My first landing approach was made without any flap deployment. The winds were at a 45 degree angle to the runway and this necessitated attention to the rudder as I slid down final. I mismanaged my airspeed a little as I came across the threshold, which then deteriorated into a landing marked by my brain quickly switching back and forth between the messages COMMIT and ABORT several times. In the end, the latter won out and I mashed the throttle to the stop and went around. The subsequent approach and landing was better beyond belief and showed what the P-47 is really capable of when it is time to bring her in. I held enough throttle to keep the airspeed up a little until I came "across the numbers" and then I started reducing it to idle. The P-47 rewarded me by slowly raising its nose and settling to the ground in a perfect 2.5 point landing. I say that because the mains touched the runway first but only by a fraction of a second. I have found that the flaps do not really cause the aircraft to balloon very much, if at all, when deployed. I typically do not deploy them until I have slowed the P-47 to approach speed and am in the landing pattern.

Subsequent landings were made on both the mains and in a three point style, though the former style is much easier to repetitively nail. I had a bunch of fun shooting touch and gos with the P-47. Adding in application of half flaps in the landing approach appreciably lowers the minimum air speed required during landings. The sight of the Jug coming down final with the flaps and gear deployed is inspiring!

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

As mentioned, this P-47 excels at getting it's tail up early in the take of roll. And conversely, it will keep it elevated on the landing roll out until the absolute last bit of forward velocity is scrubbed. Another important observation I made early in my maiden flights was that this P-47 likes to be flown with both rudder and ailerons (AKA coordinated flight). Should you endeavor to fly it on the wing alone, the tail will tend to drag itself through most turns. That is certainly not anything to complain about however and I for one really enjoy keeping the tail in check with the left stick. Learning to properly fly a more intermediate war bird model like this is a great way to improve one's piloting skills. Grabbing a fistful of throttle brings the reward of this P-47 growling across the sky at an impressive clip. (Check the hot passes on the deck in the video below!) I was immediately comfortable bringing the P-47 in low and fast, letting it chase it's shadow across the ground just a foot or so below it. The hard pull up into a vertical at the end of such a low pass is a sight to see! Inverted flight is predictably stable. I was willing to make inverted passes for the video camera on my second and third lipo packs, thanks to the P-47s all around well behaved flight characteristics.

Is This For a Beginner?

In real life, the P-47 Thunderbolt was some serious heavy metal! It was known to take a real licking and still bring it's pilot home safely. This P-47 is made of foam but is nonetheless still worthy of being considered as a heavy metal war bird. The ParkZone P-47D is a "full house" war bird. It features optional flaps and retracts and a rudder. It comes with a fairly potent power system, in the form of it's 15 sized brushless outrunner. Slam the throttle to the stop and it will really haul the mail! The Z foam is durable and for the most part repairable, should the pilot make any bad decisions. And if this model is like most ParkZone war birds, spare parts will be easily obtainable at the local hobby shop. Having said all of that, a beginner would probably be in over his head to should he try to fly this particular aircraft.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery


Though some would complain about certain war birds being repetitively modeled, continual advances in modeling technology and electric gear justify revisiting classic airframes. This P-47D Thunderbolt model benefits from the continued evolution taking place within ParkZone in several ways. It has a higher level of scale detail than some of the previous ParkZone war bird releases. It is the first ParkZone war bird to easily accept the superbly dependable E-Flite 10-15 sized electric retracts as a bolt-on, drop-in option, with absolutely no extra modifications necessary. ParkZone also includes thick, clear plastic fuselage and cowl protection, as a protection during belly landings, for those who want to keep their P-47D as light as possible by flying it without landing gear. Though I am aware that going to a four bladed prop would somewhat adversely affect the overall performance and output of the power system, I for one would be willing to trade a little of that in order to gain the ultra cool look of a more scale four bladed prop on this beautiful P-47! That is certainly not a criticism against this fine looking and superb performing war bird as much as a little suggestion that I hope can find it's way into future releases. I like that the cockpit area is painted in a more authentic looking dark green or green chromate color than other cockpits I have seen. And though I at first sight was not very jazzed about the chosen 404th Fighter Group color scheme, it has really grown on me since seeing it first hand. All in all, the ParkZone P-47D Thunderbolt really captures the big, bad, heavy metal essence of the original, full size aircraft!


  • Fixed gear, no gear or retractable gear ... builders choice
  • E-Flite electric retracts drop right in
  • Clear plastic belly and nose skids protect paint finish
  • Pilot figure and painted cockpit
  • Plenty of cool scale features and dull black color scheme of the 404th Fighter Group
  • Scale flight characteristics
  • Canopy release tab
  • Included battery is 25C


  • ESC glue not properly applied at factory; speed controller loose in its mounting position
  • A four bladed prop, inefficient as they may be, would be awesome!

Last edited by Angela H; Mar 30, 2011 at 06:37 PM..
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Mar 29, 2011, 11:30 AM
Registered User
Lilienthal's Avatar
Nicely done!
Mar 29, 2011, 11:31 AM
corsair nut's Avatar
very nice review jon!
Mar 29, 2011, 12:06 PM
Plane and Heli Abuser
Pilot in MO's Avatar
Nice review. I have about 30 sorties on my P-47, it is just one of those birds that has become my "new" favorite. Geez, I have way too many "new" favorites

Mar 29, 2011, 12:36 PM
PSALM 14:1
Sammy70's Avatar
Top Notch review Jon.

Makes me want to go out and buy one--wait, I've already done that!@!
Mar 29, 2011, 12:58 PM
Warbird Enthusiast
LICobra's Avatar
Jon...Excellent job.

This is one top notch parkflyer. I agree this P-47 could use a 4 blade prop similar to the HL 11" 4 blade prop to add to the overall scale effect.
Mar 29, 2011, 02:51 PM
Registered User
slcrcflyer's Avatar
The best flying plane I have ever had the pleasure of flying.
Mar 29, 2011, 03:41 PM
AMA 52726
Edge767's Avatar
Great review! You found very much the same things I found on the Jug including the ESC that wasn't properly glued in!
Mar 29, 2011, 03:43 PM
Registered User
MikeRx's Avatar
Nice review!
Totally agree on the addition of a 4blade.. if done right could produce MORE power and thrust. Ive run P10s and the non-arf 15 on 4s and 11x7 (50a) no problems... so if one has the proper battery and esc, its VERY possible. I have no idea what is available in 4blades out there but Im sure to start looking.
I enjoyed the Eflight untill I sold it.
The drop-in retracts and flaps are giving me Jug fever once again.
I think it would be wise for me to buy the inexpensive airframes hanging in clear bags at my LHS.. Add my own gear and BUY THOSE KILLER RETRACTS
Mar 29, 2011, 03:50 PM
Registered User
MikeRx's Avatar

4 blades

Gotta love this, 9.5" version also available mid april..
Mar 29, 2011, 04:17 PM
Retired and Lovin' it!
TPfingston's Avatar
A very nice review, Jon. But, I keep hoping that someday, a foamy manufacturer will produce a model with panel lines that are not so huge that you can fall into them. Those big deep panel lines are a real turnoff for me personally and I have purchased only one foamy warbird, mainly that reason. Apologies for the rant.

Mar 29, 2011, 04:21 PM
Bajora's Avatar
It's all good Tony. I am sure your thoughts are noted by the powers that be.

And thanks for the compliments folks ... I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the ParkZone products. When I saw this one announced, I was interested but not necessarily excited? This review opportunity came in my direction and I almost turned it down. I am glad I didn't ... now that I have flown this one, I am really jazzed about it!

IMO, it does really capture the essence of the full size P47, with it's heavy metal reputation for talking a beating and still getting its pilot home safely. I am excited to get out and fly mine!
Latest blog entry: 2017 Reno Air Races
Mar 29, 2011, 05:37 PM
Registered User
MRGTX's Avatar
nice review with the gorgeous pictures we have come to expect.

Yep...this P-47 lives up to the hype. It's a keeper!
Mar 29, 2011, 06:43 PM
Registered User
kissfan's Avatar
this plane rocks with an upgrade to a Axi 28/26/10 and a 10x10 prop on 4s !!!!
Mar 29, 2011, 08:53 PM
Registered User
hbsurfer's Avatar
great review!!

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