Vista BF EP - Hobbico

A great glider for the beginner!



Gliders are a lot of fun, especially if want to chase thermals and enjoy the thrill of maxing out and having to come down because you are a speck in the sky. Powered gliders are popular because they are hand launched and do not need a Hi-start or winch to start the flight. The Vista BF is such a plane. A quick climb out from launch and then shut down the motor and see if you can find some 'lift' The good part of the Vista is that it can be assembled in a short time, requires inexpensive equipment and flies great! If you haven't tried powered gliders be careful, this could be the start of a long relationship.

Wing Area:678 Sq. In.
Weight: 33-38 oz.
Wing Loading: 7.5-8 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:</b> Futaba S3115
Transmitter: Futaba T6EX
Receiver: Futaba R617FS
Battery: Electrifly 3s 1100 mAh
Motor:Pre-installed; unknown mfg.
ESC: Pre-installed; unknown mfg.
Typical Flight Duration: > 5 minutes if using motor @ near full power
Manufacturer: Hobbico:
Available From: Tower Hobbies:
Price: $129.99

Kit Contents

ASSEMBLY SEQUENCE: Join wing halves together; mount horizontal and vertical stabilizers; Install servos and receiver; connect control surfaces; mount the flight battery and go fly!



The metal/wood wing joiner is 6” long and when inserted in either wing panel, it was somewhat difficult to remove – which is a good thing.

Some 30 minute epoxy was mixed up and poured into the joiner slot in each wing. After sitting a while, one side of the joiner itself was inserted into each panel and removed, noticing where there was a need for more epoxy. The excess epoxy squeezing out of one panel was then spread onto the root rib and the same procedure was followed for the other panel. The instructions don't seem to emphasis that and if I had to do all over again, I would glue the joiner into only one panel making this a two piece wing.

Just to make sure there would be a good solid joint, additional epoxy was spread evenly over both root ribs and the two panels with wing joiner were united for their blissful eternity. Some “painter’s tape” was used to hold the wing snugly together after wiping off the excess epoxy with some paper towels and rubbing alcohol. That one piece wing is really big for transporting.


The horizontal stabilizer fits snugly between two dowels that have already been glued in place. The covering had to be removed from the bottom of the stabilizer where it touches the fuselage so epoxy could make a wood-to-wood joint. The stabilizer already had the elevator hinged and secured, so all there was to do is to wait until the epoxy dried before I could proceed to mounting the vertical stabilizer.

There is an addendum indicating you should dry fit the vertical stabilizer into the horizontal stabilizer. The reason for this is because the two pins from the vertical may not line up perfectly with the pre-drilled holes in the horizontal. When it came time to try this dry fit there wasn't the hole that was there before I glued to stabilizer in place because the hole filled up with epoxy! So a quick drill opened up the hole nicely.

Some additional support to the vertical stabilizer has to be added to the fuselage.

I might add NOT to use globs of epoxy when gluing the tail feathers as that additional weight may add to a tail heavy glider.


One thing I like to do with the wing dowels is to round off their ends - sort of makes them 'finished'. To accomplish this the dowel is placed into a common drill and gently tightened. By placing the dowel on a piece of sandpaper, the drill is activated and the sanding begins!

Now the attention shifts back to the tail feathers.

Radio Installation

The fuselage gets the most of the attention now that the tail feathers are glued on. The push rods are connected to the respective flight surface and the servos are installed.


Ideal for electric planes and small electric helis Nylon gears One year warranty


Futaba S3115 Micro High Torque Servo One 1" (25.4mm) 4 arm servo horn (installed on servo) One 1.5" (39mm) 4 arm servo horn One 1.75" (45mm) straight servo horn One 1.4" (35mm) diameter round servo horn Two eyelets Two rubber grommets Two 2x12mm washer head self threading screws (phillips head)


Installing in aircraft and connecting to receiver


4.8V Torque: 39 oz-in (2.8 kg-cm) Speed: 0.15 sec/60° Dimensions: 1.1 x 0.5 x 1.2" (1-1/8" x 1/2 x 1-3/16")(28 x 13 x 30mm) Weight: 0.60oz (5/8oz) (17g) Lead Length: 6.5" (165mm)

Do not use S3115 servos with gas or high power engine models, large gliders, or other models that require high torque Using supply voltage higher than 4.8V or applying high load to the servo will shorten the life. Alway use the servo horn specially designed for this servo. Do not use conventional servo horns. Excessive force or shock to the servo horn may damage the ultra mini precision gears inside the servo. For replacement gears use part number FUTM3404


4.8V Torque: 39 oz-in (2.8 kg-cm) Speed: 0.15 sec/60° Dimensions: 1.1 x 0.5 x 1.2" (1-1/8" x 1/2 x 1-3/16")(28 x 13 x 30mm) Weight: 0.60oz (5/8oz) (17g) Lead Length: 6.5" (165mm)

With the push rods connected to the control horns, a simple 90 degree bend will permit the "keeper" to securely hold everything in place. But where do you make that bend?

With the control surface 'locked' in neutral, make your mark on the steel push rod where it crosses the outer hole on the servo arm.

Both the elevator and rudder was placed on the right stick of the transmitter (Mode 2).


This step came up fast! I think the longest part of assembling the Vista BL was waiting for the epoxy to dry! Anyway, decals were added by spraying the surface (wing) with some soapy water. Then removing the ALREADY CUT (thank you Tower!) decal and place it on the surface. The soapy water permitted the decal to be moved around and after it was located where it was supposed to go, a credit card was used to squeegee the water from underneath the decal. The decals were left to dry overnight before touching.

Control surfaces were measured for both low and high rates and configured on the Futaba T6EX transmitter. I like to set the low rate with the switch toward me, and the high rate when the switch is pushed forward. Just a personal thing, but it is best to be consistent regardless of the plane you are flying.

The folding prop was finally installed. The reason this should be the last or nearly last step is because if the battery is connected the prop could spin VERY fast causing all sorts of trouble. At this time the battery is NOT in or even near the plane. Be careful when mounting it because there are some possible contact with the back plate of the spinner and the fuselage.

The instructions indicate 1/16" gap between the back plate and the front of the fuselage - I'd go a bit larger like 1/8" to give enough clearance. The propeller is supposed to spin easily and rubbing against the front of the fuselage isn't good.

Battery placement

There is a nice platform that lies above the speed control so you can place your battery there. One time the battery was placed too far forward and touched the motor - NOT A GOOD thing to do. My flying buddy George suggested placing a piece of balsa across the former preventing the battery from moving any further forward - good idea as sometimes we do get a bit rushed and just slap the battery in the plane and off we go.

Some Velcro was placed on this platform and its partner was attached on the battery itself.

Last comes the CG check! This is VERY IMPORTANT. A 3 celled 2200mAh Li Po battery was placed in the fuselage and with the wing attached to the fuselage, the plane was placed on a Great Planes CG Machine (a good investment if I do say so myself!). The recommended distance from the leading edge of the wing was 80mm.

I'm happy to report the Vista BL was just a hair tail heavy at that distance. For an experienced pilot, this is OK but if you are a first timer, it would be best if your was slightly nose heavy at that spot. You can achieve this by sliding the battery forward (but don't hit the motor). If the plane is still tail heavy, you can add some weight inside the front of the fuselage.

While we are looking at the front end of the plane, I do have a minor complaint about the front it functional? Yes. Does it give adequate access to the battery location? Yes. is it easy to use? Sort-of. What's the problem? It is difficult to reposition when the wing is on - when the wing is off, simply pull the aft end and presto! But with the wing on, grrrrrr, especially with my fat fingers. Is there a simpler solution? Doubt it! Guess we just have to live with it.

Once you determine where the battery will go, the supplied Velcro can be placed on the battery floor with the corresponding mate to the battery itself. You do not want the battery flopping around while flying because as it moves, so does the CG....and remember a nose heavy plane may fly poorly, but a tail heavy plane flies only once!


Perhaps a few gentle tosses (throwing level) might calm your nerves, and if so, do it. Personally, I just go for it as the Vista BL was born to fly. DO NOT give the plane full throttle and then launch it horizontally or you may see your first figure "9"! This plane only needs 1/3 throttle at the most for your first launches. That is more than enough thrust to sustain flight.


After climbing to what is considered a safe altitude (at 1/2 throttle), chop the throttle and give the plane some down elevator so you can fly LEVEL. Now the plane is gliding, doing its own thing, so don't fight it. Make slow gentle turns until you get more familiar with it. Remember if a glider is flying "fast", it is diving. If the glider is climbing, stalling (and falling), you are flying too slow. One method of stopping the galloping (up down, up down, etc) is to give the plane some rudder near the top of the "up" cycle!

The use of the motor is only when you are getting too close to the ground. Give it 1/2-2/3 throttle and the motor will take the Vista BL up at a 45 degree angle. When high enough, reduce the throttle to stop, the prop will fold and you are now gliding.

How do you keep the plane from returning to earth too soon? Find a thermal - that is hotter air rising. Get into it....but you can't see it so how do you know where it is? The plane will tell you!!!! If you are flying level and notice the tail of the Vista BL rise, you are in it! Gently turn into a circle and stay in that general area. Another way the plane will 'tell' you it is passing by a thermal is when you are flying straight and level and all of a sudden the plane lifts a wing and turns. That wing was on the edge, so turn the opposite way right away.

The more you fly the Vista BL you will be using your motor less and less as you fly from one thermal to the next. It is not uncommon to fly 15-20 minutes between motor assists.

Taking Off and Landing

As previously mentioned to launch, use about 1/3 throttle and just push to Visa BL straight ahead - NOT upward. Gliders like to fly at 3-4 MPH (it's called GLIDING) so no need to throw it like a javelin or a 50 yard pass! Then as altitude increases, additional power can be gently added.

Landings are an act of judgment because the Vista BL will glide, glide, glide, especially when it gets close to the just doesn't want to land! Many a landing attempt has resulted in a long walk to retrieve the model. The good part about a motorized glider like this is if you are too high or too low, a simple bump of the throttle and go around and try again!

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

What maneuvers can a glider do? Well this model will loop just by giving it full power! Make certain you have enough rubber bands on the wing! 6 or 8 should do it unless you really get wild.

You can also do a roll with this plane....turn hard in one direction and when the plane is almost on its wingtip, throw in the opposite rudder! And you can fly inverted....not well, but it can do it. Don't forget when Pattern flying began they ONLY had a rudder and could do all sorts of maneuvers!!!

Is This For a Beginner?

YES! Many an experienced pilot today started flying the Vista BL when it had a brushed motor. The Vista BL was upgraded now to a brushless motor hence the "BL" in the name Vista BL!

Flight Video/Photo Gallery



Product Reviews (2 min 27 sec)

) :The Vista BL just loves to float along and when you get too low, you can always throttle up and try to find another thermal!


I have to admit I love all types of model airplanes....from "micro-scale" through Giant Scale...makes no difference - if it flies, I love it. The Vista BL is just one more segment of the hobby that is enjoyable to me. This ARF makes it easy to get started in the hobby AND it can give hours of pleasure to a veteran pilot. Would I recommend this plane? The answer is simple: YES!

Happy thermal hopping .......

Last edited by tailskid2; Dec 11, 2014 at 10:58 PM..
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Jan 09, 2015, 01:43 AM
aka KF7DS
Really nice looking plane. I just took delivery of all of the parts so that I can install my own motor, pushrod and servos. Will be lighter than stock. Also plan to make the wing two piece.

Jan 09, 2015, 09:37 AM
Registered User
Looks like a really nice glider. Is it easy to remove/reinstall the wing for transportation and storage purposes?
Jan 09, 2015, 05:55 PM
Registered User
tailskid2's Avatar
Thread OP
Yes, a couple of rubber bands and you are good to go......but I would make it a 2-piece wing for transportation.
Jan 09, 2015, 11:06 PM
Registered User

Rubber Bands

Rubber bands give plenty of force to hold on the wing. 4 or 6 are sufficient even for aggressive flight. If you put the rubber bands on back to front (parallel) and the glider hit something, there is a decent chance it will pop the rubber bands off with minimum damage. if you cross them they hold better so that if you hit, there is a greater chance of damage, because the wing will resist popping off.
Jan 11, 2015, 04:20 PM
Registered User
Nice review. I live in an area of endless booming thermals and might have to buy one based on this review.

BUT--- "Gliders like to fly at 3-4 MPH (it's called GLIDING)"

REALLY? Careful; newbies might actually believe that and wonder why their airplane falls out of the air when they try to slow them to walking speed. Gliders of this style are slow compared to powered planes but the Vista has a stall speed of 14 mph at sea level. An Olympic II with 928 square inches at 38 ounces stalls at 12 mph at sea level.

Jan 11, 2015, 05:55 PM
Registered User
It is probably a good thing that it is on backorder if not I would be extremely tempted to order one.
Jan 12, 2015, 02:50 PM
Registered User
Hello all......I did put one on 'layaway'- not gonna do any flying until march or april anyway...
I had something similar like, 20 plus years ago when I was into RC, and I'm an old geezer, so this ought to get me back flying again. Ordered a couple Glacier 2200 30C Lipos from, and I have an old 6DA Futaba setup, so I'm good to go........
Jan 13, 2015, 04:00 AM
Drone offender FA377YHFNC
This looks like a possible Radian killer. How about a comparison in performance with a Radian?
Jan 13, 2015, 08:14 AM
Wakka Wakka
streborz's Avatar

Vista EP

Looks like a Gentle Lady to me.
Jan 13, 2015, 01:31 PM
E-flyer since 1981
Michael in Toronto's Avatar
Many of us started successful flying with powered gliders back in the 1980s. I had a electric brushed converted Goldberg Gentle Lady, and then a geared cobalt (remember those ) Goldberg Electra.

After more than 30 years of flying all kinds of models, I, and several in our club, have added 2-meter electric gliders to our fun. It's very relaxing and enjoyable.

These are strictly rudder, elevator and throttle models.

Usually, towards the end of the day, we all get out our motored-gliders and fly them together. This has become so admired by other members, that our club now has a winter building class for a 2-meter glider project (no ARFs).
Jan 14, 2015, 08:16 AM
Registered User
Back when I was a kid (here in Delaware) in the '60s, me and my brothers liked to fly box-kites. Later in life, electric RC came out, and wasn't taken seriously at first by old timers, as they were slower with not much run time. But you didn't have to fool around with messy fuel, and it didn't take long for it to catch on. I forget the brand of glider kit I put together, but it may have been an Electra with rudder-elevator-throttle, and flew that thing at the flying field many times. There was another guy in the club building and flying electrics, and it didn't take long for others in the club to go electric. I ended up shortening the wing for a little speed and aerobatics, then sold it to a club member.
Anyway, looking forward to sunny afternoons, flying with the buzzards, and thinking of the old box-kites.
Jan 14, 2015, 09:16 AM
Gravity cheater
K factor's Avatar
Originally Posted by Rockin Robbins
This looks like a possible Radian killer. How about a comparison in performance with a Radian?
I own and fly both. There is no real comparison when you put balsa up against foam. Both fly great but for riding thermals the Radian far out shines the Vista. Both are good handling gliders with the Vista being more durable, probably better suited for beginners.

I've converted the Vista to a night flyer and it handles the extra weight of the lights and bigger battery well. It is my primary night flyer.
Jan 14, 2015, 10:07 PM
Registered User


ive had both the radian and radian pro also had the vista ep.and the vista.the vista ep with a eflite 15 out glides and out climbs any of them.ive had 2 hr flightswith the vista ep.the only thing ive flown that would compare with it is a sig riser but you build there itis.i thought they discontinued them and built my grandson a id wish i had bought him can buy wings,fuse can do the same with a riser but you have to build them after you buy them.dont mind for myself as im allways moding a build.but for a newby this is the right choise in my ever so humble opin. great fun and afordable.NOTHING FLYS LIKE B-----ratlm
Jan 15, 2015, 11:17 AM
aka KF7DS
Originally Posted by PepeM
It is probably a good thing that it is on backorder if not I would be extremely tempted to order one.
It is in stock if you order it via replacement parts. I am completing one with my motor and servos of choice, light but strong pushrod and use a 1350mah battery.... its going to be quite a bit lighter than stock, and everything will be quality components that I know. Target is sub 7 oz/sf wing loading.... will probably be around 6.5. Will be done in a few weeks, life permitting.

I would like to make the wing two piece......I had planned on expoying the joiner into one wing but not the other. When flying, I had planned to just join the wings, use tape on top and bottom (will put a bed of tape down so that covering will not get too messed up) and applying rubber bands...anyone that has flown these see any issue with this, or should I just glue the wings together?


Last edited by donsinger1; Jan 15, 2015 at 12:38 PM.

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