Horizon Hobby and E-Flite Carbon-Z Cub BNF Basic

If you don't have a Carbon-Z Cub yet, this review will show you what you have been missing.

Splash

Introduction

E flite's Carbon Z Cub Review Demo Video - RCGroups (5 min 36 sec)


Wingspan: 84.6"
Wing Area: 1100 sq in
Wing Loading: 17 oz/sq ft +
Weight: 8.15 pounds
Length: 55.8"
Servos: (4) 26-gram MG mini servos (2) 13-gram micro servos installed
Transmitter: Spektrum 6CH+ 2.4 GHz
Receiver: Spektrum AR635 receiver with AS3X
Battery: 22.2V 6S 4400mAh LiPo
Motor: 50 size brushless installed
ESC: 60 Amp brushless installed
Prop Size: 15 x 5.5 Electric Included
Spinner Size: 2.64 in (67mm)
Flaps: Yes
Retracts: No
Experience Recommendation: Intermediate
Assembly Time: Less than 1 Hour
Recommend Environment: Outdoors
Manufacturer: E-flite
Available From: Horizon Hobby
Price: $399.99 BNF
Price: $379.99 PNP

I can almost see the posts about how this review is coming out too late and should have been written a year ago. But honestly that is not the case. This plane has been so popular that month after month each new batch arrived at Horizon Hobby already sold out to hobby stores and individuals. Recently, supplies of the plane have become available so it is time to let you RC Group readers who haven't experienced the Carbon-Z Cub learn all about it with a full review. With the Holidays coming this can make a perfect present to yourself or something to ask for from someone who loves you. If you do get one under the tree you can have it assembled and ready to fly the same day. It is that quick and easy to assemble.

I plan to fly mine as a triple threat. I will fly it as a standard Carbon-Z Cub on wheels with and without my Hero camera attached. I will fly it with the standard wheeled landing gear covered in this review. I will also use it as a tow plane for sailplanes. We are not allowed to fly gas powered planes at our sailplane flying field for the Modesto RC Club and we fly sailplanes and electrics at the field. The Carbon-Z Cub has plenty of power to tow two and three meter sailplane aloft. The Carbon-Z Cub was also planned to be used as a float plane and that is my third use for the plane. In the future I may use Spektrum FPV equipment with it as well to give it a fourth use for me. I have friends who have the Carbon-Z Cub and so I am planning to get at least one video with two planes in the air together.

I took the challenge of seeing if I could get the plane assembled in one hour as advertised by E-flite. I laid the parts out in our family room and I read the instructions before I started. With my wife out for a meeting I had a good chance for no distractions. I started my stop watch and jumped into the building process. My first step was sorting the hardware using the very helpful hardware guide. Still that took time and got me off to a slow start. The parts of the assembly that involved those screws and nuts I was able to assembly very quickly but I slowed down slightly for parts that required glue such as the rudder as I hate to mess-up with glue by going too quickly. I will discuss my time in the Conclusion section of this review. The assembly of the optional floats was a separate and non-timed event as was installing the optional tow release servo. I paused the stop watch to take pictures as the assembly progressed but quickly started the watch after the pictures for a given build section were taken. I found the assembly section to be fun even with my self imposed time pressure.

BNF Kit Contents

Kit Contents

  • BL50 Brushless Outrunner motor
  • 60-Amp Pro Switch-Mode BEC ESC, installed
  • (4) 26 g Digital MG mini servos, installed
  • (2) 13 g Digital MG micro servos. installed
  • Spektrum AR635 6-Channel AS3X Sport Receiver, installed
  • Fuselage
  • Two wing panels
  • Two horizontal tail pieces with attached elevators
  • Rudder with tail wheel
  • Two wing strut sets
  • Landing gear struts, two fairings and hardware
  • Two main gear Tundra tires
  • Cowl
  • Propeller and spinner
  • Propeller shaft and assorted hardware
  • 12 Wing Vortex Generators
  • Wing rod

Battery Pack Supplied by Horizon for this review

  • 22.2V 6S 4400mAh 30C LiPo battery pack

Other Items Needed I Supplied

  • 6-cell LiPo balanced battery charger
  • 6-Channel or more Spektrum 2.4 GHz transmitter with mixing

Tools For Assembly

  • Thread Lock
  • Assorted small Hex Wrenches (Long Recommended)
  • Thin CA

Optional Items Supplied

  • The Carbon Z Cub float set
  • Recommended E-flite servo for Tow plane option

Assembly

Because I was racing the clock for this assembly I assembled the plane in the sequence given in the instruction manual. I will cover the assembly in the same sequence. I laid out the parts but I did not sort the screws out for their assigned uses. There is a screw guide with correctly sized screws printed on it. It was very help in knowing which screw goes where.

Landing Gear Assembly

Tools

  • Long Hex wrench
  • Allen wrench
  • Thread locker

The two Tundra tires were installed onto the single landing gear strut that is bent and plugs into the bottom of the fuselage. The wheels were secured in place with two wheel collars per tire which were tightened with an approximately 2mm Hex wrench to the landing gear strut. There were flat spots on the bottom of the strut for the screws on the outside wheel collars. The strut was squeezed together and inserted in the front slot of two slots. A second strut, a fairing strut, was installed in the second (back) slot in the fuselage. The front strut with the wheels was secured in place with strut brackets marked left and right and each side was secured with supplied screws. The left and right fairings were installed to the fairing strut (slides onto the strut) and then to the main gear strut (snaps into place). Assembly Done

Rudder Assembly

I placed the fuselage on its nose and had the slots for the rudder hinges facing up. I installed the rudder with its hinges by sliding the hinges into the fuselage. I installed the supplied screw into the bottom of the rudder mount. (This is on the underside of the fuselage/rudder junction.) Next using thin CA I carefully tilted the rudder to the left and ran glue into the hinges in the fuselage on the right side of the hinges. When dry I repeated the process on the other side of the rudder. When dry I connected the rudder control horn to a ball link at the end of the rudder control rod. I secured it at the innermost hole on the control arm using a screw through the ball link and the control horn and a nut to secure it. (Note: Two of the pictures show it being installed on the inner hole on the control arm. The written instructions say to use the outer hole. The outer hole is used on most of my airplane setups. I used my call a friend option and asked which hole he used on his plane. He said he used the outer hole and it worked perfectly for him. I started to use the outer hole but switched to the inner hole on the control arm. I figured I could change later if needed and I remembered a third picture later in the instructions again showing the inner hole.) I later tested (not timed) the throw of the rudder and only then did I use some thread lock on the screw and nut to make sure the nut would stay in place, in the inner hole.

Horizontal Tail Installation

I had the fuselage upside down in my plane cradle and I slid in the tail rod and the slid in the two horizontal tail sections making sure the bottom side was facing up since I had the fuselage inverted. The elevators locked together as the stabs slid together. The stabilizers were secured to the fuselage with two screws each from the bottom. The elevator control rod was secured to the control arm with a screw and nut through the outer hole with the screw going through the ball link on the control rod.

Motor and Propeller Installation

The motor was secured to the firewall from the front with four screws and four locking washers. The propeller shaft slide onto the motor shaft and then the back of the propeller mount and back of the spinner mount were slid on. The propeller came next and then the large nut was tightened in place to secure all in place. Lastly, the spinner was installed and secured with a supplied screw into the front of the propeller mount.

Wing

I started with one of the two wing panels and installed six wing vortex generators with double sided tape to the slot for them on the top of the wing. On the bottom of the wing I secured the vertical bracket for the struts with two screws and two locking nuts. Next I installed the wide front wing strut to the front strut mounting bracket with a screw and a locking nut. I repeated the process with the narrow rear strut and the rear strut wing mount. I connected the struts to the vertical bracket using two pins (one per strut) and two R-clips. The wing panel was now ready to mount onto the fuselage. I repeated the process with the other wing panel.

Mounting the Wing Panels to the Fuselage

I started by installing the wing rod into the Cub and sliding on the first wing panel. The flap and aileron servo wires plug into secured female wires in the fuselage. There are two servo wires with one for the aileron and one for the flap. They are marked and they are plugged into the marked wire plugs in the fuselage. The excess wire is tucked into spaces for the wire in the wing. The wing panel is secured to the fuselage with two screws. A long screw is used in the front hole and a short screw in the back hole. The wing struts are secured to the bottom of the fuselage using a pin and an R-clip.

I then repeated the process with the second wing panel and the wings were secured to the fuselage and that part of the assembly was done. For transportation and storage I remove the wings by reversing the process. I install the wings for every flying session and remove the wings to transport the plane home.

Radio Installation

Completion

I balanced the Carbon-Z Cub by where I secured the 6-cell battery for the plane. I used hook and loop material that I installed way back under the front of the wing and the matching material to the battery. I started with the C/G balance at the recommended 120mm back from the leading edge of the wing and I moved back from there. Because I was using a 4400mAh battery pack and not the 3200mAh pack originally recommended for the plane, my battery was heavier then the recommended battery. Ultimately it was installed further back in the fuselage than where I originally expected to install it. Fortunately, there was lots of room in the battery compartment and the plane balanced beautifully with the larger battery pack..

I followed the manual on the recommended set-up on the transmitter. I programmed in high rate at 100% for ailerons, elevator and rudder and all three at 70% for low rate. Per the instructions I didn't program in any exponential. I had the servo throws as recommended with throttle and gear settings at 100% and the others all at 125%. I set the flaps speed at two seconds as recommended. I programmed in mixes that could be on and off with ailerons 100% and rudder 25% and flaps 100% and down elevator at 42%.

Making The Carbon-Z Cub A Tow Plane

When people think of a plane towing up the sailplane to altitude and at altitude the sailplane releases from the tow line and soars on its own while the tow plane flies down and lands with the tow line attached to take up its next tow. Most of the times that is exactly what happens, but not always. Sometimes the tow line doesn't release from the tow plane or the sailplane gets in trouble and the tow plane needs to get free of the plane it is towing. Because of those possibilities the tow plane needs to be able to release the tow line in an emergency and get free of the tow plane. The Carbon-Z Cub has been designed to be able to tow RC Sailplanes of two to three meter wingspan and the option to do that properly only requires the purchase of a servo. The recommended servo is the EFLR7155, a 13 gram servo and it is sold separately.

The instruction manual shows how to install the recommended optional tow release servo into the plane and even supplies the metal control rod to use with the servo to be able to secure and release a tow line from the cub. One (Not two as mentioned in the manual.) screw is included in the plane kit for securing the tow release servo. A housing for the servo release control rod was built into the plane with a raised mount open in back for the line as part of the roof of the plane. Horizon Hobby supplied me with the recommended servo and I simple installed it in place using one screw at the back of the servo to secure it. To install the tow line I simply retract the tow release pin, install the loop on the end of the tow line and extend the tow release pin back up into the housing in the plane to secure the line in place.

They instruct to always put the tension on a tow line and cycle the release before aero-towing a sailplane. If all goes well in towing up a sailplane we fly the Carbon-Z Cub back to the field with the tow line attached. If there is an emergency we can jettison the tow line by lowering the servo arm and the loop comes free of the tow release pin and the line goes free.

Optional Floats

The floats are an optional item for the Carbon-Z Cub but for anyone who lives near water and has seen a video of the Carbon-Z Cub flying from water the option becomes more of a must have. The floats come almost ready to use.

Recommended Tools

  • Hex Wrench
  • Thin CA
  • Silicone Sealant
  • Water proof tape

The struts have to be installed to join them together and to the plane and a rudder has to be installed to the back of one of the floats. Scoops have to be glued to the bottom of the fuselage to keep water out of air venting holes. Finally, the rudder servo has to be connected to the receiver inside the fuselage. This a a very simple and straight forward assembly and is covered step by step in the float assembly sheet. There they have the assembly start by putting the float struts into the fuselage to start assembly. I didn't do that but rather started with the struts being installed into and connecting the floats.

I started by installing part way the eight securing screws with two each into each float strut mount with two mounts per float, a front and a back mount. Each mount secured a strut that went up into the plane and a strut that went across to connect to the other float. I used a 2mm Allen wrench to tighten the screws. I had four screws started in the mounts on each float. On the right float I installed the struts in the proper sequence and direction and made sure the flat spot on each strut was facing up for the screw to be tightened onto the flat spot. In a few minutes I had all four struts mounted to one float. I then carefully ran all four struts into the mounts on the left float and tightened the screws.

When I was positive I had the struts mounted properly I applied some silicone sealant over the eight mounting screws on the floats to prevent loosening or corrosion.

Next I installed the water rudder to the back of the left float as per the instructions. I started the securing screw into the rudder steering bracket. I ran the rudder steering arm up through the bottom bracket then the rudder steering bracket and lastly through the top bracket. I tightened the screw on the rudder steering bracket with a 2mm Allen wrench. The last step was connecting the clevis to the outer hole on the arm of the rudder steering bracket. Since some adjustment may be needed I did not slide the retainer band up over the arms of the clevis but will do that after I am sure the water rudder is straight with the rudder control in the plane.

The floats are designed to be removable from the plane. When I first installed them I trial fitted the protective scoops that keep water out of the plane. When happy with the position I pushed them part way into the foam in place. I removed them and added CA on the scoop edge that would be in contact with the fuselage and pushed them all the way into place. I worked with them one at a time.

With the fuselage in my place cradle and the landing gear wheels removed I installed the float connecting struts into the slots in the bottom of the fuselage designed for them. The front strut is secured in place with two strut covers marked left and right and they are secured with two screws each which I tightened with the 2mm Allen wrench. The back strut just stays in the support slot on its own. The floats are now connected to the plane.

Connecting the Water Rudder Servo to the Receiver

I inserted the supplied servo extension wire into the square hole in the bottom of the fuselage in front of the back mounting strut in the fuselage. The female end stays out and the servo wire on the float is plugged into it. I sealed this connection with water proof tape (The instruction says to seal with the silicon sealant but I plan to keep my floats removable and tape fits my needs better.) to keep water out of it. Next I secured this wire to the top of the float, the float strut wire and the bottom of the fuselage with water proof tape.

With all excess wire in the fuselage I sealed the wire access hole with the silicon sealant. Inside the fuselage I removed the rudder servo wire from the receiver's rudder channel and installed the supplied Y-connector into that receiver slot. I plugged the original servo wire into one of the two Y-connections. I plugged the wire from the water rudder into the other side. With the transmitter and receiver on I made sure the water rudder was aligned straight in the neutral position. Then I moved the retaining band on the clevis at the rudder steering bracket was moved up over the clevis arms.

My Carbon-Z Cub is now ready to fly and land on the water. To back to wheels I remove the water proof tape from servo extension wire under the fuselage and unplug the water rudder servo. I tape the extension from the plane to the bottom of the fuselage and remove the landing gear and install the wheels.

HERO Optional Camera Mount

I don't yet have one of these but I have ordered one. The instruction manual shows where and how to install it. Once installed the plate stays on the top of the plane. The pictures below are from the Horizon Hobby Web site.

Flying

Basics

The Carbon-Z Cub has throttle control, ailerons, rudder, elevator and flaps. She can be flown just using the throttle, ailerons and elevator but she makes smoother turns when adding rudder. My flaps had three settings: Up, half flaps and full down. At my field I do not need to use flaps but they are very effective and can make small field landings and takeoffs possible. Programming in elevator mix with the flaps is very helpful or I needed to be ready to apply down elevator to match the amount of flaps I deployed to avoid her ballooning up. Flying into a wind and deploying flaps would induce climb without down elevator. Her basic flight handling was excellent. With low rates and small stick movements she was as easy to handle as a trainer plane and why not with her high wing the Cub is known to be a good trainer.

Taking Off and Landing

All takeoffs have been into the wind and have been uneventful. Just be sure to give enough throttle to have sufficient air speed and she takes off with nice authority. Rudder is effective in steering straight down the runway even with a strong cross breeze. Half flaps can be used for a quicker takeoff in less space if space is limited. Full flap landings into a breeze can almost be spot landings as there is very little roll out. Even in calm conditions little runway was needed when considering the size of the plane.

She handles very nice on the water and the water rudder on the left float gives good control even when dealing with a breeze on the water. She is one of the nicest flying float planes it has been my privilege to own. If i lived on a lake I would never take her optional floats off as she takes like a duck to the water. With the motor off she can be blown around on top of the water. However I was easily able to control her using the motor and the water rudder combined with the air rudder. She is very nicely balanced on the water and in the air with her floats. I found no tendency for her to tip on the water. She gets up on step quickly and has no trouble smoothly breaking free of the water. I did not have any noticeable adverse effect in normal flying due to the floats hanging below the plane. The water rudder even folds back and up if it hits something in the water. From land and water I found she was easy to takeoff and land.

While my takeoffs have been from water, hard dirt and runway I have seen some very nice takoffs and landings from grass that might be considered the second cut of rough (tall) on the golf course.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

When a strong thermal is encountered she can climb in it with motor off and i always find that special. As for aerobatics she makes very nice loops both large and small. She does aileron rolls but they are a little loose as is to be expected with a high wing plane. She flies inverted nicely, does acceptable half pipes and split Ss. She can also hover on her propeller and easily pull up two and three meter sailplanes. My video of the towing didn't come out but it is nicely displayed in E-flite's video. I will be using mine for towing sailplanes. Cubs aren't considered as true aerobatic planes but to the extent that the design allows for aerobatics she can do any I have seen and more with her ability to do some 3-D maneuvers. Those include the above mentioned hanging on the prop and tail touches. Flying down the runway in a High Alpha position and then climbing. I like flying her in basically a scale manner and found the speed range to be excellent with very slow to quite fast.

As mentioned above I found her to perform very well on the water and was easy to land and takeoff from the water. While she can be blown across the water with the motor off she never tried to tip or nose over and was very responsive and controllable with the motor turned on.

Is This For a Beginner?

A beginner can fly her but because of size and cost i recommend her as a second or latter plane for a true beginner.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

With Landing Gear

On Floats

Carbon-Z Cub by E-flite (4 min 4 sec)

Conclusion

Although the plane is quick and easy to assemble I wasn't able to do it in under an hour. It took me an hour and 20 minutes by the stop watch for the basic assembly. I am easily able to transport my Carbon-Z Cub in my Prius with the back seats down and the wings go on quickly at the flying field with four bolts and four pins for the struts. Assembly is simple enough for a beginner and makes my taking her to the field and assembly there easy. She would be difficult if not impossible to transport in a small car. She will never travel in my old Jaguar sedan. Just make sure you can transport her before you buy her. Honestly, that is my only concern with this plane. I found she flies very nicely from land and water. If I lived on a lake the floats would never come off and I would happily fly her several times a week.

While she is really easy enough for a beginner to fly I recommend they start with a real trainer that is less expensive and a bit lighter. It is better for a second plane. While my landing gear are still in like new condition I have seen newer pilots land pretty hard and the gear wire takes the punishment but needs a little bending to get the gear back into straight position after some of those harder landings. I don't know of anyone with stick time on the Carbon-Z Cub that hasn't found her to be an excellent flyer. This plane was designed and built right! So those of you who have been hanging back and considering getting one: I recommend if your car or truck can transport her you get one because you won't regret it. I give this Z two very positive throttles up!

Pluses & Minuses

Pluses

  • The Carbon-Z Cub is a large plane
  • Assembles easily and quickly
  • Assembly at the field is also quick and easy
  • Flies great as sold
  • Flies equally well with the optional floats
  • Easy to maintain orientation
  • Enough power to hover on the propeller
  • The flaps are very effective
  • Easily transports in my Prius with the back seat down
  • Struts can be lowered quickly if needed to transport or store

Minuses

  • To large to transport in many cars

Thanks

My thanks to Jeff, Guy and Stanton for their assistance with the media for this review.

Last edited by Michael Heer; Oct 21, 2014 at 06:20 AM..
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Nov 05, 2014, 06:08 PM
DFS#000178
Rampage's Avatar
I want one, but it's too big for my 2-door Jeep.

Otherwise I've always thought this was a killer deal for a plane this big. I was kind of hoping that in it's wake (It's obviously been a success) that other manufacturers would jump on board with big foamies. I'd love a Piper Cherokee in this size!
Nov 05, 2014, 08:09 PM
you ain't gang you can't hang
Somethin' Extra's Avatar
Picking up a CzC for free from a club member (when he found out he couldnt put a SAFE reciver in it he didnt want anything to do with it) saturday......sure its been crashed twice but all it did was remove paint but for that price I aint complaining
Nov 05, 2014, 10:30 PM
Tree hopper
gabe221's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rampage
I want one, but it's too big for my 2-door Jeep.

Otherwise I've always thought this was a killer deal for a plane this big. I was kind of hoping that in it's wake (It's obviously been a success) that other manufacturers would jump on board with big foamies. I'd love a Piper Cherokee in this size!
It will fit in the back of my TJ. It has to be took apart anyway, the passenger seat slides forward and there is room.
Nov 08, 2014, 02:28 AM
Watts up ?
OzparkPilot's Avatar
I just keep looking at it and wanting one but as a 3D / IMACpilot I keep asking myself will i get bored quickly.. I do live on the beach... Hmmmm
Nov 08, 2014, 05:50 PM
Aaaah...........Napalm!
chopperscott's Avatar
I was trying to hold off on this one, but thanks to this review, just ordered one! I have no willpower...
Nov 08, 2014, 07:43 PM
you ain't gang you can't hang
Somethin' Extra's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chopperscott
I was trying to hold off on this one, but thanks to this review, just ordered one! I have no willpower...
me n you both
Nov 09, 2014, 02:31 AM
Watts up ?
OzparkPilot's Avatar
I have no willpower...[/QUOTE]

Is that a new type of brushless ??
Nov 26, 2014, 11:47 PM
Hittin Gaps With D Gains
SteelRainSpo's Avatar
I just bought one of these, and so far I'm pretty amased at the size. I haven't flown it yet since I plan on upgrading it during the winter. Upgrades will include: Eflite power 60, Castle talon 90 esc with ec5 connection, Eflite 2.5 inch aluminum spinner, apc or xoar 16X8 electric prop, Dubro 600Rv tires, 6s 5000mah lipo, morgan mills battery tray, and paint protection. Luckily I purchased this thing cheap off of eBay with a few cosmetic blemishes that are easy to fix. It left plenty of wiggle room to purchase the upgrades.
Dec 31, 2014, 10:42 AM
Jim T. Graham's Avatar
The post about an off-site link has been moved to other websites.
May 21, 2015, 11:47 AM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Thread OP
I think this is one of the very best planes to fly with floats. Handles well in the air and on water and looks great all the while. Mike H


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