There is wisdom in the statement that it is advisable to join a club and seek instruction if you want to learn to fly radio control models. However there are a growing number of people who have successfully taught themselves to fly with inexpensive three-channel electric foam models, the Hobbyzone Super Cub being one good example and having done just that myself I was delighted when asked to review this, Hobbyzone’s latest offering for the beginner.
IT’S ALL IN THE BOX
The box is well presented and states “Teach Yourself to Fly! Anti-Crash Technology makes it possible” and the model is identified as Skill Zone 1, no experience needed and ready to fly (RTF). On sliding out the inner packaging one is presented with a nicely finished model in white foam with red and black trim. The mini Cub has approximately 2/3rds the span of its larger brother, which it closely resembles. The fuselage is, easily repaired, Z-Foam, the one-piece wing and pre-fitted tailplane laminated foam. The included 27MHz transmitter has an ergonomic casing and extending aerial. Both left and right sticks centre by spring pressure there being no ratchet or friction provided for throttle control.
A deeply recessed switch allows selection of Mode 1 or Mode 2. Motor arming is achieved by pulling the throttle stick fully down, ACT is activated and deactivated by pushing the rudder stick inwards towards the transmitter. A tie-on ribbon is included and doubles as a useful wind indicator. A quick start guide is provided for experienced flyers and a detailed manual and instructional DVD for the novice. The manual is well presented providing assembly, flight and safety information. I love the upbeat instructional videos from Hobbyzone as they generate the right mood for success. A spare prop, 300mAh Li-Po battery, AA batteries for the Tx and a 12V car charger with additional mains adaptor complete the package.
The one-piece wing is fitted to the fuselage using four elastic bands, check for central positioning as you do so. Squeezing the main undercarriage legs together makes it easier to fit. The non-steerable tail wheel simply slots in place. The flight battery took a little over an hour to charge using the mains adaptor. When ready, switch the transmitter on and then connect the flight battery. A Velcro strap secures it for flight and a neat plastic hatch with catch gives further security. Before flying, check the control surfaces are in the neutral position with the transmitter sticks centred and that the controls move in the correct sense. That’s it RTF!
TIME TO FLY
Marketed as an outdoor model but with a flying weight of just 7oz, the Mini Super Cub is only suited to the calmest of wind conditions. I followed Hobbyzone’s advice and opted for a hand launch. Giving full throttle, it was obvious the geared and brushed ‘180’ motor wanted to get going, so I gently launched the model into wind. Climb rate was steady, the model stable, and the controls easily mastered. Turning is accomplished by rudder inputs; care has to be taken not to over bank as a spiral dive may result, gain plenty of height before attempting your first turn. I kept inputs small and gently steered the model around adding elevator inputs to keep the nose level. The stall is benign and generally the model is responsive and a delight to fly. Landing can be accomplished very easily. On closing the throttle the Cub is pre-trimmed to glide itself in. All that’s required is to provide rudder control to guide it into wind towards the landing spot. Alternatively the model can be brought down with reduced throttle and flared for a precise landing. Flight times are in the region of 6-8 minutes.
I wasn’t a fan of the ACT system on the larger Super Cub or on the Firebird Freedom and I have to report identical feelings towards the use of ACT with the mini Cub. Make your own mind up on the matter, for me the ACT is off at all times and this included my first flights as a novice. I would have liked to see a throttle ratchet included for the novice pilot. For the experienced pilot the omission is tiresome rather than troublesome. If opting for the Mini Cub as a first model, an understanding of its limitations is required from the new pilot. Picking truly flat calm conditions for early flights is necessary, daybreak and evening offering the best opportunities. Hobbyzone have pitched the Mini Cub at the beginner, building on the phenomenal success of its larger brother and many first time buyers will be wondering which Cub, mini or the original? If flying space is unlimited, there can only be one answer, the original Super Cub still reigns supreme and is suited to a wider range of weather conditions. However it is not out of place at a club field and does require a considerable flying area for safe operation. This is where the Mini Cub comes into its own. It shares its larger brothers fine flying qualities and the novice who understands its limitations will have a very good chance of early success. Its smaller size translates to a considerably lighter, slower flying and less intimidating model, which can easily be flown at much smaller sites than the original Cub.
In all, I really like the Mini Cub and feel that once again, Hobbyzone have got it right for the beginner. Having moved on to more complex subjects, I’ve enjoyed revisiting simple three-channel flight. The mini Cub is easily transportable and suited to spontaneous use in small open spaces so is ideal for keeping handy in the car. I’ve often wondered which model would be ideal for introducing friends and family members to the delights of model flying on a balmy summers evening and believe I may have found the ideal candidate.I could not complete this review without finding out exactly how a novice flyer would cope with the mini Cub. Harvey, 11 years old volunteered to give it a go. He has some time on indoor co-axial heli’s and a couple hours of sim time. I provided a hand launch Harvey coped very well, and commented that it was easy but needs concentration. For a first time outdoor fixed wing flyer he did extremely well and after three flights the mini Cub was undamaged. He is looking forward to flying again.
Name: Mini Super Cub
Model type: RTF park-fly trainer
UK distributor: Horizon Hobby UK www.horizonhobby.co.uk 01279 641097RRP:
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