Ultra Micro Mustang


I’m amazed that nobody did this long before now. We’ve been watching little Cessnas and Cherokees shooting around the indoor halls for the last two years and every time I see one I say “why doesn’t somebody do a warbird” to anyone who’ll listen. Well someone has and here it is, Parkzone’s new P-51, a 15.8” span, 1.22oz, four-channel micro warbird.
Once again, Parkzone have followed the formula they used with their Vapor, Ember and Sukhoi SU-26; the model is pre-fitted with a tiny slither of four-channel Spektrum DSM2 radio and available ready to fly (RTF) with a controller or Bind’n’Fly to use with any compatible transmitter such as Spektrum’s DX5, DX6i, DX7 or a JR 2.4GHz system. Both versions come with a 120mAh single-cell Li-Po battery and a battery powered charger and, once again, everything is beautifully packaged in carry/storage box and supported by excellent instructions.

Like the Sukhoi, this P-51 is made using what you’d call standard EPS foam with moulded under-cambered Depron wings and flat tail feathers. A clear canopy would have been nice but despite this, the model is appealing, the standard of the paint finish very high right down to the canopy lines and spinner. Incidentally, the clip-on undercarriage legs can be removed should a lean and mean flying appearance be preferred.

Indoor flyers are now very familiar with the little single-cell Li-Po batteries used with models like this, at about £5 a go, they’re cheap and re-charged in 15-20 minutes. The battery powered charger is a sensible idea acknowledging the fact that a mains power supply can be hard to find in the average chuch hall or auditorium. 
The four-channel controller supplied with the RTF version is, again, a familiar Parkzone item. It’s well specified for what it is – digital trims, dual rates and 'mode 1 or 2 select' filling the feature list. The dual rates are quickly changed simply by pressing down on the right hand stick gimbal so in-flight experimentation is easily accomplished although the rates themselves can’t be adjusted.

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The more we flew the Sukhoi last year, so the more we kept moving back the C of G to improve the handling, this Mustang prefers the C of G where suggested though, perhaps a little forward of the mark, meaning the battery should go where intended; which is good news as there’s little room in which to shift it without trimming the airframe.

The model will rise off ground (ROG) from a smooth surface easily enough and moves along at a fair old clip. The Sukhoi too is a nippy thing, requiring a large indoor hall in which to fly comfortably and this P-51 follows suit although it'll fly far slower and in a safe, predictable manner.

I’ve a harsh word to say about the controller – while the unit is perfect flying the Vapor and Ember; models designed to potter round in a sedate manner, it really isn’t an effective way of steering this P-51. The model has large control surfaces which require adjustable dual rates or, better still, exponential just to make it comfortably vehicle for the experienced pilot. A tiny fraction of a movement on elevator or ailerons is enough to coax a reaction from this very responsive machine – throw in a sticky right stick (Mode 2) and you’ve got the recipe for the jerky flight pattern that’ll ensue and for which there’s little remedy apart from going out and buying a Spektrum DX6i (don’t buy the DX5 – there’s no expo') transmitter or similar; for any good pilot, the controller is just too crude an instrument – the model deserves better.
Prompted by this P-51, buying a DX6i is just what I’ve done in fact, an exponential equipped Tx is the tool the model requires and transforms the performance. Incidentally, the instruction manual describes how to open the fuselage to reach the servos and increase the control throws but it’s a fiddly exercise, one for slim fingers and not particularly easy to accomplish at that; much better to make adjustments at the Tx if you can.
This P-51 can be flown outside on a calm day where, with no ceiling restricting the repertoire, modest aerobatics can be enjoyed. It may be better to ‘maiden’ the model outside where the handling can be assessed prior to flying inside where walls and other objects can be confidently negotiated. Wherever you fly the model, its feather weight means there’s virtually no inertia when it meets the ground so serious repairs should be rare. To date, my only maintenance task has been to secure a slightly loose spinner. Flight times should be at around the 6-7 minute mark.

Another fine little aeroplane from Parkzone that faithfully follows a successful formula, and why not. I remember reading a hobby industry report, years ago now, where the holy grail of RTF R/C was considered to be a little warbird pair that could be realistically flown ‘combat style’ with infra red guns and shoot-down sensors. Perhaps we’ve a way to go yet but, in the meantime, indoors or out, this pretty little P-51 will do very nicely.

Name: Ultra-Micro P51D Mustang
Model type: RTF micro warbird
Manufactured by: Parkzone
UK distributor: Horizon Hobby UK 01279 641097
Typical street price: £70 (BNF version)
Wingspan: 15.8” (401mm)
Fuselage length: 14.3” (363mm)
All-up weight: 1.058oz (30g)
Functions: Ailerons, rudder, elevator, throttle.
RTF Version supplied with: Charger, 1S 120mAh 14C Li-Po battery, 4-channel controller, instructions.


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