Horizon Hobby's Hangar 9 Brand Ultimate Trainer P-51 Mustang PTS ARF Review - RC Groups

Horizon Hobby's Hangar 9 Brand Ultimate Trainer P-51 Mustang PTS ARF Review

Ever met a newbie who wanted to start with a mustang? Who hasn't?! Now, they can...Ray Thomas takes a good look at this unique trainer/sport model, mustang-turned-trainer-and-back again PTS package.

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Hangar P-51 PTS Trainer
Hangar P-51 PTS Trainer
Wing Area:627 sq. in. with droops
Weight:108 oz.
Wing Loading:24.83 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:JR 537's factory installed
Transmitter:JR XF421EX 5-channel computer radio system
Receiver:R700 7 Channel FM, factory installed
Battery:Sanyo 600mAh 4-cell flight pack, factory installed
Motor:Evolution Trainer Power System 45 2-stroke, factory installed
Available From:www.horizonhobby.com

What a neat and interesting concept!...Let's see if Hangar 9's unique idea -- convert a mustang into a trainer that can be expanded back into a sport plane -- works as well as the idea sounds.

Who hasn't had a beginner come up to them and say, "I want to fly a ..." with the ... being ANYTHING but a trainer...they might say a sukhoi, or a jet, or a scale helicopter, or...often...a mustang. Plus, how many beginners are made uncomfortable at trying to figure out what all they're going to need to get that first plane flying, and know they have the RIGHT equipment? Well, here and now, if the PTS Mustang works as advertised, that beginner who doesn't want to start with a boxy, basic, boring looking trainer that he'll soon outgrow, has a really interesting new option -- one that is truly RTF, and includes everything he needs to get airborne except glow fuel.

What exactly is PTS?

Hangar 9 promotes this bird as PTS...a Progressive Trainer System. They define PTS like this:

PTS stands for Progressive Trainer System—groundbreaking new technology that allows pilots to progress from learning to fly to performing sport aerobatics without having to upgrade or buy a new airplane. Clear plastic NACA droops attach to the outer edges of the wing, providing beginners with extra stability during training and manipulating the stock airfoil to produce added lift. The fixed landing gear features a special speed brake system that keeps the flying speed down, making the Mustang easy to handle. The 2-position flaps add drag, and can be later upgraded to functioning flaps by adding a servo. Once the pilot has mastered the basics of RC flight, he can quickly and easily remove the droops and speed brakes, instantly transforming the ready-to-fly trainer into a smooth-flying sport plane able to fly a variety of aerobatics such as loops, spins and snap rolls.

Kit Contents

Also included was a Hangar 9 Version of the Cockpit Master Flight Simulator...with an adapter to use the included JR421 radio...allow the customer to pilot THIS P-51 on the computer before flying it for real!

Included was a very informative DVD which instructs the pilot on how to assemble the plane along with some tips for a first flight. Also included was a Hangar 9 version of Cockpit Master Flight Simulator for a home PC, with an adapter cord to use the included JR421 radio. It is designed to allow the customer to pilot the P-51 on a computer before trying it out for real.

I wasted no time in watching the DVD and loading the flight sim. The graphics were good, as was the sound. And the ability to use the same JR radio that I flew the real plane with was a big plus. After flying the flight sim several times I can say it was nice to have and be able to get a "feel" for the P-51, but it didn't take the place of the experience of flying the real Mustang. It was a great idea to include it with the RTF package, it will help first time pilots with their turns, takeoff's and landings.

Being an RTF, this P-51 came with everything I needed to pilot it. And it was prebuilt with the engine already installed and tested, fuel lines plumbed and high speed needle adjusted. The included engine was one of the new Evolution Brand ball bearing 2 stroke's. They even installed the radio, including hooking up each and every servo to each control surface and the engine. The only assembly needed was minor to say the least.


The aileron servo connectors were routed through small holes at the root end of the wing panels. I suggest using a small zip-tie to gently fasten them together so they don't accidentally slide back into the wing panels.

The only thing left to do with the wing section was adjust the linkage for the flaps. There was a white plastic bracket at the wing root with two different positioning holes in it. The hole closest to the trailing edge was for flaps full down, and the hole closest to the leading edge was flaps full up.

A few minor bobbles...

After assembling the plane and setting it up for some digital pictures it was then I noticed my first disappointment with this RTF. There was a nice painted and installed canopy but no scale pilot.

After taking the pictures I left the plane sitting in the floor of my garage overnight while the battery was charging. It was upon checking the plane the following afternoon that I noticed the second and last problem noted with this ARF. The factory provided tail-wheel was foam, not rubber, so after setting on the concrete floor overnight it made a flat spot on the tail-wheel that took several hours of setting propped up off the floor to regain its factory shape. Other than these two minor observations the plane was absolutely perfect.


The flying portion here will tend to lean allot toward the scale side instead of the aerobatic/3D hover crowd, as the scale and trainer world is where this bird belongs.

This plane was a complete joy to fly, either in full trainer mode or all out war bird.


The take off required a good bit of right rudder, and just a tad of up elevator to prevent nose-overs. The forward canted landing gear also helped in this area. The Evolution engine had great power and I did most all my flying at half throttle or less.

In Trainer Mode, landings were easy. The speed brakes and wing droops allowed her to slow wayyy down, and land with ease.

In Scale Mode, flaps were still required for a nice short takeoff and landing. The Mustang would stall and drop a wingtip if slowed too much on landing, but what fighter-plane doesn't? The speed was up because it was much sleeker with all the trainer hardware removed. Landings required I held a little power on until reaching the threshold and then slowly pulled back to an idle just before touching down with a little elevator. Roll-out was very short.

Scale Flight

When in flight it did sound very powerful and fast. After the training flights were over, I removed the speed-brakes and wing-droops, and also installed another JR servo in the wing to hook up the flaps so I could raise and lower them. After this modification the Mustang really turned into a fighter-plane. Rolls to the left were slightly faster than rolls to the right. Loops were just right without being too small, and no tendency to snap except at really slow speeds. I couldn't get it to knife edge very well, but then again this isn't an Extra 300! It climbed at a pretty steep angle for quite a bit before falling off to one side. Landings were very mustang-like...easy with a reasonable amount of airspeed.

PTS -- Trainer Mode

After flying and trimming out the P-51 in training mode I enlisted the help of Jay, a new rc pilot in training to help me get an idea of how easy the Mustang would be for a student pilot to handle. He has been flying only about 3 months. I have been training him on a Hangar 9 EasyFly 40 with very good results so far. Jay stated that the Mustang flew just as smooth as the EasyFly when it came to basic flight. He also said the Mustang would turn or roll faster than the EasyFly and it seemed to him that even though he did all his flying at half throttle that the Mustang "seemed" to be going faster than it really was. I told him it was the warbird trying to come out of it.

The PTS mustang stalled very cleanly in the training gear, mushing forward a long time. It gave a nice spin when I didn't release the controls when it stalled. By allowing the nose to drop and building a little speed, it pulled out nicely. I was able to force it to snap with full elevator when the speed was very slow, which of course shouldn't be done with a P-51, so this behavior was more than acceptable. The PTS would loop with the training gear on, but it was a biggg loop, and required throttling back on the down side. Again, very mustang-like, but a bit less forgiving than a standard trainer.

As far as landing, the PTS needs some speed on landing. Basically, it's actual landing is at a very slow, very safe speed; however, with all the speed killing features on it for training purposes it really drags the airframe down fast when you throttle back. I would say it lands very slow for a P-51 with the trainer gear on, but I wouldn't call it a kadet senior or a cub. She doesn't float for long times with the trainer gear on, which makes sense since large brakes like this are normally used for spot landings and such!

Flight Video/Photo Gallery




  • One plane truly capable of trainer to warbird
  • Truly complete package -- everything pre-installed
  • Great flying!
  • Looks great, real Ultracote covering, quality components
  • Real JR 421 radio, plus simulator!
  • DVD for assembly


  • No pilot
  • Foam Tailwheel too soft
  • Wing loading is a bit high compared to most trainers, but PTS system offsets this concern

This plane will definitely fill a lot of voids in the RC world...there are plenty of pilots looking for a trainer that later they can convert into a fighter-plane. This was unheard of until now.

I think Hangar 9 has been doing their homework and will continue to provide some of the most innovative and exciting RC planes available today. I wouldn't hesitate to say the Hangar 9 P-51 PTS Trainer was able to deliver on every promise and is a welcome addition to anyones RC hangar, be it for training or a first sport scale warbird flight.

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Nov 27, 2005, 09:04 AM
fly fly fly
CanDyRaVeR's Avatar
Is the radio and engine good enough quality that i could maybe buy another plane and then jsut move everything over, or would i need to buy all new gear to go into a plane?
Nov 27, 2005, 04:44 PM
raythomas's Avatar
It will work fine. The evolution engine is wonderful, powerful, and easy to tune. And the computer JR radio is and ex421 just like you would buy from horizon. Thanks Ray
May 06, 2006, 07:06 AM
Registered User
Just a lil note. The review is for P-51 Mustang PTS RTF and NOT the ARF version.
Mar 08, 2007, 11:18 PM
Registered User
Any Electric Pts Conversions Out There?.....Would Like To Do One...How Hard Could It Be?...Is Anyone Making A Conversion Kit, Yet?
Jun 25, 2007, 12:08 PM
Registered User

Horizon Hobby's Hangar 9 Brand Ultimate Trainer P-51 Mustang PTS ARF Review

I think if you purchase just the plane kit at 119.99 and purchase an extra cowling that is already cut You would be doing yourself a big saving in cost and aggrevation..
Jul 11, 2007, 01:41 PM
Hoping it flies this time
You can purchase the kit by itself?
Aug 05, 2007, 10:03 AM
Registered User
You can buy a ARF version without engine/radio/servos ect.....cost about $120 clams...I just ordered one....going to power it with a OS 61 four stroke......I just hope the JR stickers and Hangar 9 stickers come off.......idiots.......why stick that trash on this pretty plane?.......put them in the box and if you want them on your plane fine.....Anyhow i fly Futaba........
Aug 22, 2007, 10:42 AM
Originally Posted by metalheadrc
You can buy a ARF version without engine/radio/servos ect.....cost about $120 clams...I just ordered one....going to power it with a OS 61 four stroke......I just hope the JR stickers and Hangar 9 stickers come off.....
I bought an ARF a couple of months ago and the stickers were separate if I remember correctly.

Also you can now get this model and the other PTS (F22 Raptor) for the FS One simulator from fsone.com.
Aug 26, 2007, 08:47 PM
Registered User
Just flew mine with a OS FS-61 non surpass four stroke ....the plane flies great and feels so sweet in the air....I flew with the droops only and a regular prop....droops comming off now that im happy with it...I used funtional flaps for takeoff and landing...deadstick with full flaps......landed nice and smooth.......Great Job H-9!
Mar 03, 2009, 11:17 PM
Fly it like a rental!
ScaleNVYflyr's Avatar
Thanks for the report, I bought this as my first trainer, and my local club volunteered a EasyStar instead. Which I've learned on and moved to a Kadet LT 40. But now I'm ready to try the PTS Mustang out now!
Feb 28, 2010, 04:29 PM
Registered User

I came accross to your post while searching for an engine suggestion for my ARF p51.
I bought the same plane and used with an OS .46 AS for a while.
Now, I plan to power the plane with an ASP .61 AR four stroke. I was told that this engine might be a little weak for the plane. Did you fly yours with an .61 4 stroke engine? Would you suggest to power it with this engine or should I go for an .91 size 4 stroke?

Thank you for your time and interest in advance.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Best regards,

Aug 24, 2014, 06:14 PM
Registered User

Hangar 9 P51 65" Marie version

Just looking for where and which kind of retracts would go into the Hangar 9 version. Who online sells these ?
Aug 25, 2014, 09:21 AM
Registered User
I'm sorry I have flown the Mustang and the Raptor as the instructor. My students soloed with the airplane. So it did what it was supposed to.
But it is not the best choice out there. By the time I saw a student with the mustang the gear was broken in the wing.
Sorry I just can't agree with the raving reviews. The only airplane out there worse than the PTS Mustang is the PTS Raptor
Good luck
Aug 27, 2014, 12:28 PM
Master of the Figure "9"
hogflyer's Avatar
Originally Posted by chazzy1
Just looking for where and which kind of retracts would go into the Hangar 9 version. Who online sells these ?
If you're thinking about putting retracts into the P-51 PTS trainer, then look for another plane. You'll have to decide what type of retracts you want, then engineering the whole structure and installation. Basically the plane is not set up nor intended for them, and the weight gain would probably create unfavorable flying characteristics. The plane is a trainer and if you're at that stage, just learn to fly and not worry about retracts right now. There will be many opportunities in the future to build planes that will take them.


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