Trojan fans have been in luck these past few months. Judging by the new kits appearing of late, the ol T-28 seems to be a popular with manufacturers right now. Designed in the early 1950s to replace the T-6 Texan / Harvard, I can see the attraction. Theres nothing pretty about it, but it certainly has character, blended with a functional, rugged appearance.
Manufactured by North American Aviation the Trojan was no slouch; early variants were capable of around 280mph, with later versions exceeding 340mph. Its fitting, therefore, that this model doesnt hang around either, thanks to Parkzone fitting a powerful 480 960kV brushless motor system that gives the model a very decent turn of speed, sufficient to satisfy even the most experienced flyer.
Distributed in the UK by Horizon Hobby, the Parkzone model range has been designed, to quote the brochure, for experienced R/C pilots. In truth, intermediate flyers or indeed anyone whos comfortable with a low-wing model will be at home with this one. The T-28 is an RTF (Ready To Fly) package and, as such, the model is supplied pre-built and comes complete with transmitter, Li-Po flight battery, 12V balancer charger, dry cell transmitter batteries and a spare propeller. Have a closer look and youll see the required micro servos and receiver sitting pretty in the model, ready for action – never before has the phrase plug and play been more apt. Digital servos operate rudder and elevator, and all the servos are standard three-wire units that should see service beyond the lifespan of the model. The Tx is an attractive 5-channel unit with dual rates for elevator and aileron, standard mechanical trim sliders and servo reversing.
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In a departure from previous Parkzone offerings the T-28 is moulded from a material that Horizon call Z-foam; its not unlike Elapor but has a softer, almost soapy feel by comparison and is more resilient. As a result the T-28 is capable of taking more than a few knocks along the way without reflecting the hangar rash that we now accept as an occupational hazard with foamies.
The pre-fitted brushless outrunner is fed via an E-flite 25A speed controller (ESC) from a 3s 18C 1800mAh Li-Po battery. Its worth noting that the standard off-the-shelf ESC can be re-programmed to taste and that the motor pulls 18A at full throttle, which equates to a system providing a healthy 100W/lb. Flight preparation really doesnt take very long. Slot the tail feathers in place, clip on the landing gear, connect the pushrod clevises, charge the Li-Po and check everything prior to flight; job done. Incidentally, the charger will handle 2-cell JST-XH plugged Li-Pos as well as the supplied 3-cell Li-Po.
As weve come to expect from Horizon the instructions are excellent and leave nothing to chance. Ive just two things to report as far as assembly was concerned: an ill-fitting wing retention bolt and a broken clevis. Fortunately, my spares box came to the rescue in both cases.
The ample static thrust from the motor and 91/2 x 71/2 prop leaves you in little doubt that the model will get away. In fact itll ROG from short grass, although if doing so Id recommend you bend the steerable nose leg forward to improve the ground handling and reduce the risk of the wheel digging in on take-off… The voice of experience! Solo hand-launching by the pilot poses no problems; the stable nature of the model means there should be no surprises near the ground, and the healthy power-to-weight ratio sees it simply lift clean out of the hand without losing height.
I found that the T-28, like many foamie park flyers, benefits from additional nose weight – 1.4oz (40g) in my case, courtesy of some stick-on lead attached to the inside of the cowl. The model will fly without such weight, but shell sit on her tail and require the application of coordinated rudder during a turn.
With or without nose weight youll find that a serious stall just cant be provoked; the model nods and mushes resolutely, refusing to do anything drastic. At the low rate transmitter setting the T-28 isnt capable of very much other than a little pottering around. Thats not a criticism, indeed my feelings are that the model is ideal for those seeking a low-wing trainer. Intermediate and experienced flyers will find themselves flicking the high rate switch not long into the first flight, though. High rates improve matters no end, and reveal the T-28 to be capable of delivering a satisfying aerobatic performance. The roll rate isnt too bad, perhaps one revolution per second, whilst inverted flight feels safe and requires just the slightest touch of down elevator.
The recommended initial control throws are insufficient to provoke a spin, in fact your efforts at this are likely to result in something more like a spiral dive. Similarly, flick rolls and stall turns need more rudder movement to improve the response. An adjustment at the rudder control horn is clearly the order of the day in this respect, improving these manoeuvres considerably.
Landing the little machine is simplicity itself. Here the T-28 settles in nicely on approach, with just a little throttle to bring her in. A fixed undercarriage usually ruins the appearance of anything that ought really to have retracts, which is why so many warbirds are seen landing on their bellies. However, from an aesthetic perspective the T-28 seems to get away with dangly bits, and its nice to be able to perform the odd touch n go and taxi her around to exercise that steerable nose leg.
Its possible to achieve flight times in excess of 12 – 15 minutes with the supplied Li-Po, so if you can squeeze in a higher capacity pack 20-minute flights should be a practical reality. Whilst the T-28 will handle a breeze surprisingly well, like many models of this ilk she prefers calm or near-windless days. Shell fly in a small park although do remember, this ones quite nippy and can devour large chunks of sky pretty quickly, so the bigger the space the better. Parks and playing fields aside the T-28 certainly wouldnt look out of place on a normal club flightline and shell certainly hold her own in the performance stakes.
So there you go. Theres something going on here, some cleverness that I cant put my finger on or articulate without sounding as if Im on the Horizon payroll. This is a terrific little model that flies extraordinarily well and should suit anyone other than a complete novice. Parkzone have yet to deliver a bad design and, given the overall quality of this latest offering, theyre clearly not about to start doing so anytime soon.
THREE MONTHS ON……
Just after the above review was published someone left a forum post saying they’d never fly a ‘squirt of foam’ like this. Well I’ve now been flying this ‘squirt of foam’ for over three months, clocking up some 30+ flights in the process and I can honestly say that it really is a super little aeroplane – smooth, fast, aerobatic and very stable, why she even looks sweet too! I really can’t think of a better model for i.c. flyers to cut their teeth in the electric genre.
I’ve removed the undercarriage and the improvement in the flying qualities is noteable – smoother and faster without a doubt. Belly landings don’t really tax the airframe especially as she resolutely refuses to drop a wing at any stage. Three month on then and I still can’t speak too highly of the Parkzone Trojan, it’s a fine aeroplane.
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