What do you mean, you’ve never heard of the Stinson Reliant? Go and look it up for goodness sake - the Reliant is a classily styled drop of aeroplane from aviation’s golden era. A large, strong, easy-to-fly machine, it served as just about anything you’d care to name – airliner, military utility, ambulance, airmail pick-up, executive transport and so on. The type was produced between 1933 and 1941 with the final version, the SR-10, being the most luxurious not least thanks to leather seats and a walnut dash. The large elliptical gull-wing was the Reliant’s notable trademark feature and those graceful curves have been nicely reproduced here along with rib detail in this EPO foam park-fly model.

A welcome addition it is too. As time passes the ARTF and RTF product fields have become crowded with similar models – Spitfires, P-51s, J-3 Cubs and a few other staples. All well and good, these types sell well so I guess you can’t blame manufacturers for producing them, yet, thankfully, there’s a noticeable trend towards more unusual types too, models with character, models that fly just as well (often better), models like this Stinson Reliant.

If I was to say that this product has gone through Parkzone’s development process you might think me slightly cynical but that’s not the intention. I’m a traditional balsa basher and I like foamies too, yet, for me, what’s more important is that a product, any product, should be properly developed and tested, no matter what it’s made from and it’s something this brand seems do better than most. As has become the ‘ready to fly’ standard; the model is supplied in one of two versions, PNP or BNF. Plug’n’play is for those who want to add their own receiver and battery while Bind’n’Fly is for DSM2 radio users who want the pre-fitted AR500 receiver, Li-Po battery and charger included.

SECONDS OUT
Assembly, covered by the thorough instruction manual, can be measured in minutes and there’s virtually nothing to note other than I’d suggest using the ‘L’ pins or perhaps small screws to attach the wing struts as the quick-clips supplied look rather unsightly.

There’s one upgrade option which relates to flaps and for which a custom pushrod is included and a micro servo required. Sorting them out is a simple enough process and again, barely warrants a mention. The flaps aren’t essential especially not on windier days but they do provide a little more lift when deployed.

It’s all a belt and braces under the battery bay hatch where no less than three Velcro strips retain the pack. That’s too many straps by the way which makes for fiddly pack fitting and removal until two have been discarded.

Power system measurements are 225 watts and 20-amps peak, it’s plenty enough and while an 1800mAh 3S pack is supplied with the BNF version, the battery bay can accommodate 2200mAH and 2500mAH packs with ease so do it - the power system shrugs off the extra weight and flight times are extended.

FLYER
In many respects, this model can be described as the perfect park flyer – docile, stable, smooth, safe, easy to fly and happy in a modest amount of airspace if needs be.
In the run-up, the steerable tailwheel helps ground handling on only the very smoothest of surfaces but the main legs are strong while the spats provide good wheel clearance so the model will cope with most grassy surfaces. With just a smidgeon of rudder, take-off is a simple process and straightforward with or without flap. Don’t throw open the taps and blast off – more satisfying still is to gradually apply throttle and ease the Stinson into the air, make it realistic and just like the real thing.

Once up, you’ll quickly appreciate that the model flies beautifully - start with the lower rates where, even here, you’ll find the model’s response is nicely positive before increasing the rates as most intermediate and experienced pilots probably will. This isn’t an aerobatic model in any sense; sure, she’ll roll with a good amount of help on elevator and pull a loop too. Spins aren’t on the menu save for a slow spiral dive but to put the sticks in the corners isn’t what this Stinson is about.

I've read somewhere that the model is prone to tip stalling - I don't agree - as the wing loading hints, the slow speed handling is truly excellent and unlikely to punish. The occasional wing drop can be provoked but only where a reaction is being sought. The flaps can be used for both take-off and landing and just 5-10mm of travel is sufficient. The flaps will shorten the take-off run a fraction and, as mentioned, provide a little more comfort when landing but they're not compulsory. Be aware though that just a small amount of travel will make itself felt in pitch change if the model is moving too fast. It’s important then to kill the flap, especially in wind, within a few seconds after take-off in order to prevent a steep climb out.

Bringing her home is simplicity itself - the Stinson just settles down into the approach happily where balancing throttle and elevator will ensure a smooth arrival every time.

 

PLAIN SAILING
This Stinson isn’t for those who want to show off, it’s just there for relaxed, easy flying – for days when the wind speed can be measured in single figures and the model can be kept close and banked round in safe, lazy eights, and slow passes. If you’re going to do that then you need an aeroplane that rewards by looking the part and this Reliant certainly does that, I’d challenge anyone not to love it.

DATAFILE
Name:     Stinson Reliant SR-10
Model type:     RTF scale
Manufactured by:     Parkzone
Distributed by:     Horizon Hobby UK
01279 641097
www.horizonhobby.co.uk
Street price: £165 (BNF), £110 (PNP)
Wingspan:     49” (1260mm)
Fuselage length:     33.5” (850mm)
All-up weight:     2lb 6oz (1100g)
Wing area:     435 sq. in. (approx)
Wing loading:     13 oz / sq. ft.
Power system:     480-size, 960kV motor, 30 amp ESC, 1800mAh 3S Li-Po battery, 9.5 x 7.5 prop.
Functions (servos): Ailerons (2), elevator (1), rudder (1), throttle via ESC, optional flaps (1).