Art-Tech Yak 54 Review

This great RTF package includes a brushless 5.2:1 geared motor, prop, LiPo, charger and transmitter all for $179.00!



Wingspan:36.6" / 930mm
Wing Area:280.36 sq. in.
Weight:10 oz. / 580g
Length:35" / 890 mm
Wing Loading:5.13 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:Nine gram
Receiver:Art-Tech - Six Channel - PPM
Battery:11.1 volt 1300 mAh LiPo
Motor:Brushless in-runner
ESC:Art-Tech 18 amp
Available From:Nitro Planes
Retail Price:$179.00

When I found what a cult-like following the little Art-Tech Yak 54 from Nitro Planes, had to try one for myself. This is an RTF kit with everything included except the transmitter batteries, all for $179.00, and thereís no glue required!

The Yak-54 is an all foam plane with geared motor, 11 x 4.7 prop and more servo throw movement than youíll ever need - even for a 3D machine. My plane was red, blue and yellow, completely decaled, painted and ready to go. At less than 600 grams, I had a really good 3D machine for some extreme flying.

Kit Contents

Other than a few screws to install for the tail, most everything is completed. My kit arrived almost unscathed, but the control horns were connected to the linkage clevises, and as the box was pressed, the linkages had nowhere to go but against the ailerons. Both of my ailerons on the interior portions had their hinge tape torn.

Kit includes:

  • Fully painted and decaled wing, tail and fuselage
  • Landing gear
  • Brushless in-runner with 5.2:1 gear box
  • Three 11 x4.7 props
  • Rubber spinner
  • FMS Simulator on CD
  • 11.1 volt 1300 mAh LiPo with Deans connectors installed
  • LiPo 12V balancing charger with .3 to 1.0 amp adjustable input rate
  • Screw driver and wrench
  • Clear canopy with interior instrumentation and pilot seat backs
  • All linkages, clevises and screws
  • 4-channel transmitter with USB simulator cord
  • 6-channel PPM receiver

Kit Required

  • Eight AA batteries


Because you are able to fly the same day you receive the plane, the first thing to do is charge the battery. The LiPo charger is a balancing charger with an adjustable rate. While you may charge a 1300 mAh battery at 1.3 amps the charger provided only goes to one amp, so figure about 45 minutes to an hour to charge.


The wing is complete. I had to take some tape and reinforce the hinge line near the fuselage. The single servo is installed and uses a longer servo arm for maximum movement. I have seen many transmitter and servo setups that did not have the movement this system employs. It has the ability to move to 45 degrees of 3D aileron, elevator and rudder movement.

The wing uses a forward locking, two pin attachment and a single wing bolt from the top side.


The fuselage is molded foam, and the molding vents show. The body is nicely painted with a gloss finish. The rudder and elevator servos are installed in the rear portion of the fuselage providing short and quick linkage to the control surfaces.

There is a ton of detail inside the fuselage. The molding accommodates the wing aileron linkages and provides both cooling and wire routing throughout the airframe. The ESC is housed forward of the wing saddle and catches air at that point. The underside contains a vented battery compartment and a separate receiver compartment.

All you need to do to finish the fuselage is install the landing gear. It fits nicely into a slot on the underside of the airframe. The wheels also have wheel pants.

The motor is also installed and uses a post mount to secure the brushless motor and gear box. The motor also has a heat sink wrapped around it to dissipate heat. The cowling is light plastic. The prop attaches with a nut. A back nut fits the molding of the prop, and the outer nut tightens to secure the prop.


There are two tail components with hinges completed in the molding process. They are very flexible, and I found no hinge stiffness in either part. The vertical stabilizer fits into the horizontal stabilizer and locks into the lower portion of the fuselage. One screw holds the vertical stabilizer to the horizontal stabilizer. The completed tail fits onto a plastic keeper on the upper and lower sides secured to the fuselage. The tail section slips into place, and two screws secure both pieces.

The tail wheel is a part of the fuselage but has a long wire that goes along the rudder that is secured with a clip that is screwed in place. Nip off the extra wire outside the clip.

Radio Installation

There is no radio installation other than installing the transmitter batteries and the LiPo, but there is some setup required. The transmitter does not have a dual rate, so you really have to be careful and not just max out the control movements. If you place the linkage in the outermost hole of the servo and innermost hole of the control surface, you will have more control movement than you will be able to handle, especially on landings. The radio has no exponential so your inputs are 1:1.


I recommend you start with the innermost servo-hole and outermost control horn hole to get the minimum of movement. You likely will have enough aileron movement to do normal aerobatics and just about enough elevator movement to hold a hover. But with the maximum setup, no matter how good you are there may be too much control movement. Be especially careful on the rudder: Too much rudder low to the ground in slow flight is not good, so adjust your rudder slowly.

The Yak setup from the factory with the 11.1 volt 1300 mAh battery draws 141 watts and 12.5 amps, and at 580 grams (or 1.28 pounds), thatís 110 watts per pound. Itís not a vertical rocket, but a hovering capable machine. Flight times were very good at 10 minutes or more depending on how hard I flew the Yak 54. s


The Art-Tech Yak-54 from Nitro Planes is a blast to fly. It is lightweight, has a pretty good glide slope and is very controllable. It can hover very well and lock in, axial rolls are crisp, loops are big or small and harriers work well but do have some wing rocking. I really liked that it had a factory setup, and all I had to do was fly. The 11 x 4.7 prop moves plenty of air and vertical performance was fine.

I typically fly three or more packs everyday with 3D planes. I think you have to get the feel of the plane and know how it behaves in each attitude and configuration, and with each flight I do more and learn more. I noticed immediately that simply changing one LiPo for a similar size and weight pack made the Yak feel and fly differently, especially while inverted where you can quickly find out if your CG is correct.

Oddly, with this one I never checked the CG; I just assumed (and rightly so) that the factory setting was correct. The CG is 82mm back of the leading edge without the spinner. The Mean Aerodynamic Chord is 226 mm: Twenty five percent of the MAC is 56 mm and 35% is 79 MM. The flight characteristics of the Yak are near the rear edge of the MAC, so the tail gets more attention than the nose. The Yak 54 flies very well at the 82mm CG, but you can experiment with more tail weight or some nose weight.


Fast or slow I thought the Yak flew well. The stalls were gentle in a power off setting, but a little more aggressive with power on with no problem recovering from either, a benefit of having a plane at 110 watts per pound. I thought the only issue was a tendency to slide out of loops and some maneuvers no matter how well trimmed I was. Be easy on the rudder: If you get into trouble and get heavy on the rudder, you will flip over.

Taking Off and Landing

It takes off easily from grass or dirt or with a hand toss. No problem with any method. Takeoff is short and straight, and the landings are very gentle, but you sort of have to bump the throttle as you get to the ground. It falls out flat due to the tapered wing and wants to plant the landing gear if you don't keep the speed up. I experienced no tip stalls on landings even with a rearward CG.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

This plane will perform very aggressively and put on a good show. I could do several maneuvers at full stick deflection and had enough power to keep it in the air. The tail has some serious authority and can put you into some great routines. The ailerons are quick and run the length of the wing, so they can get the rolls going very quickly when you move the linkages out to their extremes.

I thought that the rudder overall had too much authority in some maneuvers. The knife edge would roll over if I put in too much rudder. It struggled to stay aloft, and more power to keep it up gave the rudder more authority, so there was a fine line between the two. Hovers were better if I did not use as much elevator. The wings rocked if I got too much elevator dialed in.

The big ailerons get the plane pivoting around a point. Moving the linkages and not having a dual rate is slow, but you do learn from that process.

Is This For a Beginner?

Not as a simple flight trainer but absolutely as a 3D trainer. The airframe is durable, and some foam safe glue or 5 minute epoxy will fix anything and get you right back into the air.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery



The Yak is a foamie. It has all the 3D characteristics, but it is not Huckzilla - rather it is a more docile plane that responds well to your commands. There is limited power for pulling out of a hover but enough to perform and get the feel of 3D. I was very impressed that out of the box it was pretty much setup to go with the CG right on and that it is very durable.

The Yak-54 distributed by Nitro Planes and manufactured by Art-Tech is a great little park flyer capable of putting on a great show. It is small enough to fit in your back sea. The flight times are 10 minutes on the provided 1300 mAh pack, so have some fun and see what all this 3D stuff is about - go flying with the Yak-54 from Nitro Planes.


  • Great price for a complete RTF package
  • Good watts to pound ratio
  • Light weight for good 3D flying
  • Looks great
  • Offered as an ARF without the RX and TX


  • Shipping damage
  • No dual rate on transmitter
  • ARF is only about $20 less than RTF
Last edited by Angela H; Sep 21, 2008 at 08:25 PM..
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Sep 28, 2008, 11:20 AM
Fully Sending It
Xpress..'s Avatar
Hmm, looks like a Himax HC2812-0840 outrunner would be a hot upgrade motor, or a Himax HC2015-2000.

But nice review here. Looks like a nice parkflyer for boring holes in the sky, or practicing those low maneuvers without having to worry about ruining an expensive built up plane.

And a big plus is that it's a Yak 54. My favorite plane
Sep 28, 2008, 11:37 AM
Park Stormer
anyone know where I can get the ARF, or even the RTF at that price. It would be just swell if decided to stock a plane or two once in a while.
Sep 28, 2008, 12:56 PM
War Eagle!
Spackles94's Avatar

Nice review and thanks for the thorough analysis ó it does look like a nice plane, especially at that price.

Nice flying, too! I got a kick of the sirens in the background ó was that the 3D police coming after you?
Sep 28, 2008, 07:53 PM
Dr. Dave
Thread OP
You bet, penalty for not being close enough to the ground. Surprised the dogs weren't howling too!
Sep 28, 2008, 11:39 PM
Registered User

My Yak lives on, sorta, but I kinda want another...

I had one of these in yellow. Beautiful, and indeed rugged. I didn't like the dorky way the back end was mounted. My screws didn't line up with the holes in the angle pieces they were supposed to go into, and looking at the pieces after removal, I don't think it was possible they ever could have. We're talking 1/4 inch off. I think someone simply put the wrong pieces in my particular box. Plus, I recall there was a screw end hanging down in the gap that you have to shove the elevator/tail assembly into, and it gouges the elevator as you slide it in. I ended up having to tape the back end on. I remember wondering if the company ever had someone actually build the plane as part of a QA experiment to see if it worked as described in the instructions. If I had to do it over again, I would just forgo the screw/anglepiece idea and just 5min epoxy the back end like the guys in the forums recommend.

This plane is regular styrofoam, or something pretty close to it, so cutting it for repairs is trickier than EPP and Elapor, etc. However, it's pretty dense styrofoam, and the walls are thick with nice smooth outer surfaces. It breaks cleaner than you'd expect for normal styrofoam, which leads to repairs when you might think it's totaled.

I got it before I had a radio that was sophisticated enough to let me "tame" a bird like this (ie, by dialing the endpoints down, having a low rates switch, etc). It was entirely too touchy for my experience at the time, and in my concentration to keep the thing afloat and get it trimmed, I boinked it into a nearby sign. (In my defense, I was "on axis" with the sign and it appeared infinitely thin from my angle, so it was easy to forget it was there, lol.)

I glued the one broken wing back together, and worked around the missing front 5" of the plane by upgrading to a brushless motor mounted directly to the inner firewall. I tried it again with my newer transmitter and got a lot more time out of it this time around. With confidence up, I tried more interesting moves and eventually faceplanted it, creating a dazzling cloud of styrofoam upon impact. As a complete plane, it was done for, but surprisingly, the wings and tail surfaces survived completely in tact again, so I salvaged them. I cut a couple of inches off the inside edges to make a flying wing out of them, but didn't end up going through with it. Instead I glued them to a strip of LDPE I found in the hallway at work, added the tail pieces, and it still flies today! Not 3D capable, and nowhere near as stable, but still flying!

My last two attempts to get a working 3D plane that also does nicely in non-3D have failed somewhat, so I'm still leisurely shopping for my long-term 3D plane. (The Trojan has my parkflyer position tied up, and the Fun Force Fokkewolfe fills my front yard / small space slot.) This Yak keeps coming to mind as a possibility. I actually stopped in the hobby store today and gazed at the RTF they've had in there since the day I bought mine. The $135 seems a little steep since I don't need RTF. Funny that I should see a review of it when I get home and get on the forums! Is somebody trying to tell me something?
Last edited by kelstertx; Sep 29, 2008 at 12:07 AM.
Sep 29, 2008, 01:02 AM
Nice review, thanks!
Sep 29, 2008, 05:29 AM
Dr. Dave
Thread OP
Kelstertx, planes like the Yak are clean and can go faster if you let the reins out. I think the key is to set the control horns to the outer holes and the servos to the inner holes if you don't have programs on your radio to limit the throws. Also throttle management with 3D flight is much more. Get comfortable and increase the throws. Also try a smaller battery and check the CG. Saving weight will reduce the wing loading. Fly off of grass and remove the landing gear too.

I did not have any problem with the tail until I hooked it in the tall grass. That twisted it off some and eventually I glued the whole works.
Oct 01, 2008, 11:14 AM
Registered User
groundhug's Avatar
Originally Posted by kelstertx
I had one of these in yellow. Beautiful, and indeed rugged. I didn't like the dorky way the back end was mounted. My screws didn't line up with the holes in the angle pieces they were supposed to go into, and looking at the pieces after removal, I don't think it was possible they ever could have. We're talking 1/4 inch off. I think someone simply put the wrong pieces in my particular box.
Believe me, not an isolated incident, and not restricted to the Art-Tech Yak!
Oct 01, 2008, 02:12 PM
smoke is my wattmeter
I like the plane because of it's scale looks, size and it's made from foam. Not too many other planes out there like that. Good to hear it's faily repairable because that's a big requirement for me.
Oct 06, 2008, 09:19 AM
Will work for batteries..
sd2602's Avatar
Does anyone know where some are available? Will nitro models have them back in stock soon? It seems like everyone is out of stock, are they still in production? Even powerlin hobbies is out of stock? Thanks.
Oct 16, 2008, 06:53 AM
Registered User
I bought this same plane at Hobbycity for $99.00. This was with everything except the transmitter and receiver.
Oct 17, 2008, 06:19 AM
Registered User
Have a look at these foam models. Slightly larger than Arttech Yak. Just an alternative.
Feb 05, 2009, 10:20 AM
I had this plane and LOVED IT! I got about 50 flights out of it, It was my 3D trainer so that included about 20 crashes and re-glues! LOL..... Here is the final flight:

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

It was Very heavy after 3 or 4 tubes of 5 minute epoxy! LOL...
Feb 05, 2009, 10:20 AM
Sorry, here is the link:
R/C Airplane Crash ~ The final flight of my Art-Tech Yak-54 caught on FlyCamOne 2 (0 min 46 sec)

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