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Jul 10, 2008, 03:17 PM
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My_design's Avatar
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Phoenix Models Yak-54 .46 size

This is just a quick review on the Phoenix Models Yak-54.
Now I work for Hobbico, so I want to get that out of the way first. I did not work on the development of this plane, I bought it myself and have flown it myself. The reason I'm even writing anything is because there is so little written on this bird.
First thing to point out is the price - Looking on Tower you can easily find one for just under $150. I dropped in an OS .46ax engine and the recommended Tower servos.
The all in price for the plane is less than the price for some planes alone!

The plane itself showed up with out any damage. Being relatively new to building I did miss one thing, but more on that later... The build went quick. In fact I had the plane together and ready to fly in under 7 hours. I was really impressed. Everything was already hinged, covered nicely and ready to go right out of the box. I didn't know you could build a plane that fast. The only area that the instructions let me down was on the wheel pants. It was confusing and the parts included didn't match the pictures. I was still able to make something work with the parts supplied however, and it has held up very well.
Balance was spot on with the .46AX. Once the plane was done I only needed to wait for a good day to maiden.

I took the plane with me on vacation down to Arkansas. Unfortunately I brought the mid-west winds with me. We were fortunate enough to go to a fly-in at a beautiful field in Thayer, Mo. The day was too windy to fly, but the next day was about perfect and we had the field to ourselves. This is where I found out what I missed in inspecting the kit. Upon take off the plane started rolling hard to the left. Later inspection showed that the right aileron had a BAD warp in it. Of course at the time this caused several seconds of near catastrophy, rapid heart racing and my spotter to start walking out to where he thought it had buried itself. I've never been so happy to see a plane come out from behind a tree line. This is why you should always try to maiden a plane with out a lot of people around and plenty of space. Also another mental notch in the ole knowledge bank of what to look for when building. Once back home a couple of hits with an iron had the aileron mostly back in shape. I could continue to work on it, but I have it trimmed now and flying straight and level.
Since the maiden I've put about 10 flights on the plane. It slows down nicely and being a novice/intermediate pilot myself I find it a great plane for me to cut my teeth on for Nitro.
I'm beginning to learn the sportsman pattern for pattern flying, and this plane has been great. I haven't even had to set-up high rates yet. It does nice large loops, easy cuban 8's and holds inverted with just enough elevator.
I will say that the picture on Tower does not do the plane justice. The trim scheme really pops in the sun and was a real eye catcher just sitting on the field at the fly in. It has garnered some wrinkles from the heat of the car and day but the nice Oracover should iron out easily.
I would recommend this plane for novice builders, but not for novice pilots. Aside from nitro engines requiring a certain level of skill to begin with in my opinion - any beginner should start with a HIGH wing plane. I would say that someone looking to move from a high wing to low could consider this plane a good choice. I'm looking forward to flying it for some time to come.
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Jul 20, 2008, 01:16 PM
CO of The Flying Circus
The Blue Max's Avatar
Nice looking plane, I really like the colors and the scheme. I wish I could find some video of theis plane flying.
Jul 21, 2008, 05:01 PM
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My_design's Avatar
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I'll see if I can't get some posted. I've got over 2 dozen flights on her by now (Over 2 gallons through the engine) and just love flying her. She has a little trouble in knife edge, but I think I can program it out.
Jan 04, 2010, 02:19 PM
La Réole Field
mustangaddict's Avatar
I agree with My Design when he said that "the picture on Tower doesn't do the plane justice". In fact, I bought this model to replace a crashed Venus 40 , I've not yet repaired. I had a new Tower Hobbies 46 engine and the Phoenix YAK 40 seemed to be a perfect cheap model to experiment aerobatic training.
When the box came to my home, I was n't expecting such a beautifull model.
Everything was carefully made and I decided to buy a O.S. 52 a engine to power this model more realistically.

Like My Design have noticed, I met the same troubles to install the wheel pants, but this led me to perform the final look by drilling a clean hole for the gear axle exit instead of cutting the external edge of the wheel pant.

Althought the fuselage building is right with a very well applied covering, I noted the slote to slip the elevator in was too deeply cut at the rear of the fuselage; so I would have to glue small pieces of balsa before ironing white covering.
I'm rather long to build an ARF model, because I do everything necessary to keep it flying the longest time as possible. As usual, I generally spend time to paint two fuelproof coats of varnish inside the front of the fuselage to prevent fuel leaks desaster. This work is n't a simple task with the Yak
due to the complex frame structure uneasy to access, but, at the end the result is fine.
After Christmas holidays my Yak is still under construction but I really feel happy to assemble this model the best way I can

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Jan 04, 2010, 02:38 PM
Registered User
My_design's Avatar
Thread OP
I've only ever run into 3 other issues with this plane:
1 - I've knocked out the landing gear, however it is easy to reinforce it with some plywood
2 - The canopy screws can be a bit of a pain and the canopy isn't available seperately.
3 - In flight with a strong up elevator at WOT the plane will snap out. So take it easy on the elevator, or at least be ready for the snap.
Other than that, this is the plane I fly regularly.
Jan 04, 2010, 04:37 PM
La Réole Field
mustangaddict's Avatar
I am used to fly Greatplanes Cherokee and Escapade, and have'nt flown a beast like the Yak. If I stay on low rate controls, is she more difficult to fly compared with the Escapade ? what kind of particular flying behaviour could I expect from her ?
Jan 05, 2010, 12:37 PM
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My_design's Avatar
Thread OP
She's pretty tame and landings are easy. If you've flown an escapade before, you should have no problems. Especially on low rates, the only issues with the snap have occurred at really high rates. Otherwise she's gentle. Check and double check your control surfaces for warping. Outside of that, you'll have a great time. You can't get a better plane for the price.
Jan 05, 2010, 05:44 PM
La Réole Field
mustangaddict's Avatar
Thank you for the precious information. I have still building time to spend before the maiden flight and some pictures of the work in progress to post until this day come...

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