Last night I picked up a Parkzone Stryker F-27C PNP (Plug-N-Play) from my local hobby shop. This will be my second plane, the first being a Hobbyzone Super Cub. The Cub has been such a great plane, that I decided I wanted to stick with the same type type of foam park flyers and the Hobbyzone/Parkzone team does a pretty good job throwing some decent planes together at reasonable prices with lots of spare parts that are readily available at my LHS. I had originally planned on getting an ARF Great Planes sport flyer or 3D plane, one of the balsa ones, but I knew I would crash it into a million pieces 5 minutes into flight. Also a lot the planes I was looking at were recommended as a 3rd plane and I needed something for a beginner with some experience (Hey, I at least added ailerons to my Cub and got some aileron experience) and wanted something that was better suited as a 2nd plane. Well after flying the Stryker for the first time today, I can say that it definitely makes a great second plane. Most people don’t recommend it as a first plane, and I agree, but as a second plane, it flies easily yet with control and authority.
Quick specs on my setup:
I was bummed that the 3S lipo I have didn’t fit, so I resorted to using just an 8-cell NiMH pack. For others looking into getting a lipo pack, the dimensions of the battery area is 4.5″ x 1.34″ x 1.5″ (LxWxH). Even with a whimpy 9.6V, I was still petrified to fly this thing after giving full throttle just a few times in my living room. It sounded so loud, so fast, and the thrust felt crazy. Still, 9.6V isn’t much less than 11.1V, and it flew awesome anyway. The flight time was probably around 5 minutes. It was also a great way to ease into the speed of the Stryker after being used to the relatively slow-flying Super Cub. It screamed overhead with the wind doing rolls and was just a blast to fly. Besides, now I will have something to upgrade to. I was so nervous though, my hands were shaking when I first got her in flight. I thought for sure I was going to put this thing into the ground on that first launch. I took advantage of the open area behind my house where a huge wash runs through. The water over the years has carved away a nice 15 foot cliff along the entire bank, so I stood up high just looking over the cliff and tossed the Stryker over the edge. It was a good thing too, because I launched with no throttle, and when I threw the stick, it hesitated just for a second and the plane dropped below the level ground I was standing on and into the open area of the wash, then the prop kicked in full blast and she climbed and climbed and I was flying. I only needed a few clicks of the trims and she was flying straight and level with ease. It was awesome, to say the very least.
The night before I set up my Futaba 6EXP radio, which along with programming the ESC, took just a little bit of work to figure things out. I set all my D/R settings and throws exactly as defined in the Stryker manual. I realize now why one of those throw gauges would be so handy. I just used a pair of calipers and got everything as close as I could. I maidened with the dual rates set in the low setting, which most people recommend doing when learning to fly a new plane. I didn’t have any issues with controlling the Stryker at all, even with what appeared to be very little throw, nearly half what the servos are probably capable of giving me. I could still maneuver, spin, loop and bank with authority. But there is plenty of room to go up, so I can’t wait as my skills improve, to start dialing in more throw. The clevises on the control horns of the elevons can also be adjusted for even more throw.
Here’s a quick setup of my radio and ESC (CH1 Ailerons, CH2 Elevator and CH3 throttle):
D/R: CH1 & CH2, 50% Low and 70% High (there’s plenty more room for crazy acrobatics with this setup)
EPA: CH1 100%, CH2 105% and CH3 100%
TRIM: CH1 -4 and CH2 +20 (there’s that little bit of up-elevon needed to make it fly level as my CG was fore a bit due to the heavy NiMH battery)
ELVN: CH1 100% and CH2 80% (this setting allows the elevons to have more throw in aileron mode than they do when acting as elevators. It is specific in the manual that the aileron throw be a little higher than the elevator throw. It works great for me.)
ESC – Cell Count: 2S or NiMH, brake inactive, 4-pole and greater motors, Input Range Auto set.
And that’s about it. My battery pack is all charged up so I’m going out for another flight! I need to start learning some cool maneuvers and get good at just flying this bad boy. I can say that I am super happy with this plane, as the first flight went perfectly, no crashes, and even the landing was perfect. Which is more than I can say for how well I’ve flown my Super Cub on occasion. It is definitely a super fun plane to fly, and I can’t wait to get more air time flying it.