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Hobby Lobby's Telink Brand Convair XFY1 Pogo VTO Aircraft Review

Mike and AnnMarie Cross explore this really unique foam offering -- a rare, scale VTOL aircraft, in an inexpensive, easy to build, indoor/outdoor foamie package that is such fun, it is truly a great HOVERING TRAINER! Think like "torque rolling with training wheels" sure to see the video!

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Looks serious, doesn't she? Let's FLY!
Looks serious, doesn't she? Let's FLY!
Wing Area:370 sq. in.
Weight:10.5 oz.
Servos:HS-55 x 4
Transmitter:Hitec laser 4
Receiver:Hitec Micro 055
Battery:600 MAH 3s lipoly
Motor:MP JET AC 22/7-450 outrunner
Prop:APC 8 x 3.8 slow fly
ESC:Jeti advance 08 plus
Available From:Hobby Lobby

According to the history, The U.S.Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics in 1951, after having ordered two prototypes of the revolutionary supersonic XF2Y-l seaplane, issued a Request for Proposals for a single-seat vertical take-off and landing fighter which could be used to escort convoys, based on cargo vessels which did not have flight decks. The U.S.Navy accepted Convair's submission and in March 1951 ordered the XFY-I as well as placing an order for Lockheed's project, which was designated XFV-1 (q.v.).

In the first complete experimental flight: the aircraft achieved vertical take-off, subsequently carried out the transition from vertical to horizontal flight and flew normally for about 20 minutes, before lowering itself gently to the ground. Skeets Coleman was very enthusiastic about the XFY-I and his verdict was that he found it easier to handle and more maneuverable than any other plane he had ever flown. Before the test program was halted, however, the XFY-I flew for a total of 40 hours and earned itself the distinction of being the first vertical take-off and landing aircraft to fly successfully in the history of aviation.

Now, Hobby Lobby has brought this most unique full scale experimental aircraft to life as an indoor/outdoor foamie, and what a fun, exciting, attention-getting bird she AWESOME hovering trainer to boot!!!

Kit Contents

The Kit Includes:
All needed foam parts
all hardware
motor mount
decals & instruction board
The kit requires:
4-channel radio system with elevon mixing
10-15g receiver
6-10g servos (4)
25-45g motor, prop
ESC, 7-12A
Flight pack, 2-3C LiPo 340-700mAh
Glue, double-sided tape, Velcro


While the instructions are pretty basic, they are more than adequate for an intermediate modeler to build this aircraft. As this is not a beginner's airplane, I won't belabor every step. Instead, here are some highlights and stumbling blocks...

Time Table:
Tasks Time Length
Cutting surfaces/applying decals 40 minutes
Gluing the foam structure 20 minutes
Servo Mounting nearly 30 minutes
Control Horn Mounting 5 minutes
Radio setup/CG 5 minutes
READY TO FLY 100 minutes!

Using Pogo to Learn to Hover

This aircraft is really ideal for a pilot learning to hover.

The hardest challenge to learning to hover is managing to pull off a good transition from forward flight, at an altitude and position the pilot can clearly see and determine what the model is doing. Along comes the Pogo – a VTOL aircraft – so that the model simply transitions from sitting on its tail to hovering inches or feet above the ground, without any forward flight transitions to worry about.

The pogo has a mild pull to the belly as it breaks the ground and tries to clear ground effect. The pilot will need to be ready to apply a bit of positive elevator to keep her upright during this transition.

Learning to hover is best done outdoors with ABSOLUTELY no wind. Even 5 mph is going to make this much harder than it need be. The pogo will hover nicely indoors or out, but attempting it in even the mildest winds is not for the newcomer.

Even though the pogo hovers with ease, for someone whose never tried before, hovering inches off the ground, and/or within feet in front of himself will be intimidating. Let's look at, step by step, how to go from never having hovered before to using the Pogo's VTOL skills to the max!

Vertical Take-Offs

  1. Don't try to transition from forward flight to hovering. Instead, start by lifting off at about ¾ throttle. Let the model climb vertically, and concentrate on correcting the line so that the model remains perfectly vertical.
  2. When the pilot can consistently climb out on a clean vertical line, its time to slow the climb, and work toward stopping the aircraft, just for a second or two. This is probably easiest outdoors at around 20-30 feet, where the pilot can still clearly and easily see the model’s orientation and behavior, but it is not so intimidating due to its closeness to pilot and ground.


    Feeling nervous? Surprised and rattled by managing to hold that 30’ hover? Push the nose forward, and fly out like a conventional airplane. Unlike the 3D specialist aircrafts, which require dual rates or are extremely ‘twitchy’ in forward flight, the pogo flies with authority but without over correction in forward flight on the same rates as hovering.

    Remember, we’re not ready to try to land VTOL yet – that requires a lot more than just holding the model still for a second or two at such an altitude. Instead, use the wire skids and land her conventionally. Don’t worry! The nose is strong and tough and handles this fine.

  3. Now that our pilot can hold the model at 20-30 feet for a split second, its time to try to stay there longer. Don’t let the model torque roll – there are all sorts of orientation challenges to torque rolling that we’re not ready for yet. Instead, use the very authoritative ailerons to hold the model so that you’re looking at her canopy at all times. If she feels out of control, fly out, land conventionally, and try again.
  4. Once you can hold her stationary for at least 5-10 seconds, its time to try to do it earlier. Use less throttle on the lift off, and concentrate on slowing the model earlier, and hovering at a lower height.

    For some pilots, this may come more naturally than others. For those interested in learning to fly a helicopter, a lot of this is very similar! Don’t be discouraged if you cannot hold her in place your first flight, or first day, or even first month. While the Pogo is VERY good at hovering, it is still a very challenging maneuver – one that, until this century, belonged only in the repertoire of the top 100 or so pilots in the world!

Once you can hover her consistently and comfortably at any height you’ve chosen, are transitioning to forward flight with ease, and really feel you know the model well, its time to think about VTOL landings. VTOL landings are A LOT more challenging than VTOL take-offs, so be patient!

Vertical Landings

The first step to learning to vertical land is to, well, “pogo” with the Pogo. Do brief hops, just a foot or so off the ground. Up – hang – back to the tail on the ground. Do this until you can do so comfortably. Now try a little higher. Concentrate on getting it to hover, and then ease back down to the ground.

  • Got it? Great. Now lets hover higher again – around 5 or 6 feet. Ease the bird backward, tail-sliding toward the ground. If it starts to fall out, just push the nose over, fly out, and work your way back again.
  • Once you can easily manage “The Pogo” maneuvers, its time to work from forward flight into transitions to hovering, a skill you’re going to need if you plan to hover any other airplane! The big trick here is to come in at a reasonable speed, and relatively low to the ground, so that the momentum doesn’t carry you so far vertically that you cannot really see what the model is doing. If you’ve taken the time to learn to fly around in a high angle of attack, a harrier, then you can enter your hovers by coming in high alpha – lots of elevator, the model is moving forward slowly – and just apply more elevator and power together to tuck the tail underneath, and catch the model in a hover.
  • Now that you're back to hovering, ease her backward to the ground!

Now that you can transition from forward flight to a hover, its time to put all the pieces together – take off VTOL, hang, push to forward flight; fly around and do your favorite stunts. When you’re ready, use a harrier or traditional approach to come back to a hover as low to the ground as you can. Get a good, firm hover in place, and then ease out of the power and back down until she’s standing on her tail again!

Other Notes:

I chose to wait to secure the servos until after I made the pushrods and attached the pushrods to the control horns. The lower rudder control horn location wasn't pre-printed on the foam either.

The Pogo is recommended with a Hitec Laser 4 as a quality radio that offers an inexpensive choice that includes elevon mixing. Later, I would wish I'd used my 9C so I could mix all 4 surfaces as ailerons for stronger 3D performance.

The rudder servos had to be y-ed together with this radio system.

I replaced the stock “heavy” antenna on the Micro 055 RX with a Lightenna from E Flight Products.

The CG range was listed as 275-283mm. I was happy to find that the plane balanced at around 279 without the battery. This places the battery right on the CG making it possible to use different weight batteries without having to have multiple locations. 2 minutes



The Pogo cannot take-off conventionally; however, it hand launches easily. That said, the pogo VTOLs so well that I actually found it easier to do a vertical take-off than to hand launch the model!


The Pogo will land conventionally, counting on the wire skids to protect the motor and the extra rigidity to keep the front end together. The prop could really use a prop saver here. It really does need to come in slowly – a harrier landing is ideal if you’re not going to land vertically. The side-bar covers in depth learning how to do VTOLs. The Pogo really shines as far as landing vertically, as long as there is absolutely no wind. Inside, where I had truly ZERO wind, vertical landings were easy. Outdoors, in roughly a 5MPH wind, I expected to be able to handle it as well, but with every attempt the wind blew it over before, during or after it touched down.

Windy Conditions:

Wind and hovering the Pogo DO NOT mix. Even a 5MPH blew the pogo around in a hover, and it could not take off or land vertically. Forward flight in wind was fine.

Forward flight:

The Pogo is no trainer, but it flies comfortably in normal forward flight. It isn’t twitchy like a typical 3D aircraft. Loops, inside and outside, are easy. Rolls were more sluggish than I’d hoped. I would’ve liked the rudders to be mixed in to work as ailerons as well, but I didn’t have the Pogo set up on my computer radio. It didn’t give any hint of wanting to snap out at any time.


The Pogo LOVES to be knife edge. It has a slight pull to the belly, which mixing or a CG adjustment could’ve easily resolved. It has plenty of power and authority for high alpha knife edge – you can even transition from high alpha knife edge slowed to a hangar without any gain in altitude! What fun!

3D aerobatics:

The Pogo is capable of the most common 3D aerobatics. The elevator was too sluggish for non-hovering maneuvers. I would’ve liked more aileron response. The CG was fantastic for hovering, but was too far forward for really performing most other 3D aerobatics.


I didn’t attempt any spins. Stall entries, however, were very conventional, with it just dropping the nose, without any sign of dropping either wing or any other unpleasant behaviors.

Flight Video!



For every pilot who has ever wanted a VTOL aircraft, Hobby Lobby has truly filled the bill here. For every pilot wanting to learn to hover, but frustrated with twitchy 3D aircraft, or worried about breaking their planes, again Hobby Lobby has filled this niche. Even as a very experienced 3D pilot, both I and a friend who flew it indoors found the Pogo to be a lot of fun, and it certainly drew a lot of attention! Hobby Lobby has quite a winner here.


  • Excellent as a hovering trainer
  • Balanced perfectly at the CG without the battery
  • Vertical Take-Offs Rock!
  • Semi-Scale Appearance turns lots of heads


  • A few minor mistakes in assembly
  • One rudder servo location & 1 control horn location aren’t marked on the foam
  • Slot for servo wires didn’t fit to reach leads to the receiver

Thread Tools
Dec 05, 2005, 07:26 PM
Registered User
My POGO flys just like yours,but i fly out side.People always stop,and watch me fly the bird. DAVE
Dec 05, 2005, 07:32 PM
"Have Glue - Will Travel"
dawnron1's Avatar
AnnMarie & Mike,

A very nice review, and the video was excellent also!
Dec 06, 2005, 05:06 PM
killickb's Avatar
My version has the one servo driving both rudders by using adjacent holes on the servo arm and different lengths on the rudder horns to compensate, do the later kits suggest two rudder servos? Is a neat flyer though with any wind it is hard to stop from just tipping over on throttle up and before lift off --- seems as though the prop wash blows it over.
Dec 09, 2005, 12:20 PM
Fun Manager
AMCross's Avatar
Thread OP
We built ours as recommended in our packaging.

Sweet, yes ours was the same outside. It blew over in even mild winds, especially if trying to land vertically. what a blast indoors though, and outside on calm days!!! sure drew a lot of attention.
Mar 15, 2006, 09:16 AM
Registered User

i just recieved mine

Man i ordered it on the 22nd of febuary it arrived this morning
(thats what living in South Africa does for you lol, i even paid the same in shipping as i did for the plane lol)

Im going to build it this weekend.
tell me any advise please

Will this fly in slight breezes even if its not for hovering?
any tips would be appreciated aswell
i cant wait to fly,.
Mar 15, 2006, 10:55 AM
Fun Manager
AMCross's Avatar
Thread OP
Enjoy! It flies fine in slight breezes, but is very hard to land b/c it blows over.

lots of fun, enjoy!!!
Mar 16, 2006, 12:20 PM
Registered User
ALMOST FINISHED BUILDING? tell me do you guys not think this is not very taught, in strenght? should i put carbon rods on the sides?
Mar 16, 2006, 12:32 PM
Fun Manager
AMCross's Avatar
Thread OP
WLS, mine was pretty much bulletproof. wait until it is all tied together, mine did great. no worries at all. used the servos HL recommended.
Mar 25, 2006, 06:31 AM
Registered User
Ok got my POGO in the air this morning.
Its a bit to nose heavy? how far back are you guys putting your battery? i had to add almost 30 grams of weight to the tail? which has a huge effect on performance.
very cool int he sky though.
Jul 15, 2008, 07:28 PM
Registered User

Convair XFY1 Pogo

I noticed that this Thread is several years old, but I am very interested in this aircraft because my father worked at Convair from 1940 to 1975. He was a design engineer. I remember seeing the Pogo on the news in San Diego when I was a boy. I also remember seeing it parked by a hangar just off Harbor Drive. I was about 10 or 11 years old. I would like to build this model if it is still available. Recently I found that contra-rotating propeller systems are available using 2 electric motors. These are available in different sizes. Would it be feasible to mount one of these systems on this model? It would obviously be heavier, but would have more power and would have the advantage of not having to use ailerons to counter the motor's torque. In short, it would be more like the real one. Has anyone tried this yet? What do some of you experts think of this idea? Thanks, Steve

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