RCU Review: Parkzone Radian Pro BNF electric

RCU Review: Parkzone Radian Pro BNF electric
 RCU Review: Parkzone Radian Pro BNF electric sailplane More On This Product
Research Airplanes Research Boats Research Cars Research Helicopters Research Engines & Motors Research Radio Equipment Contributed by: Andrew Griffith | Published: April 2011 | Views: 56731 |
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Review by: Andrew Griffith
Andrew Griffith
Parkzone releases the follow up to their very popular Radian
electric glider. The Radian Pro BNF (Bind aNd Fly) is ready to go
with a motor, ESC, battery, charger, and DSM2 receiver. The
Radian Pro sports features usually found in more expensive
The Radian is what's known as an RE or Rudder/Elevator design
and uses a simple 3 channel radio. The Radian Pro however is
a "full house" design and includes both ailerons and flaps. Parkzone
Distributed exclusively by:
Horizon Hobby
4105 Fieldstone Road
Champaign, IL 61822
Phone: (877) 504-0233
www.horizonhobby.com Since the release of the modestly priced Parkzone Radian, I
have helped a number of people get started flying with them. The light weight, well manners, and slow flying characteristics
have helped the Radian introduce several people in our club to
R/C soaring and R/C flying in general.
The Radian Pro steps up the game a notch with a ready to fly
full house sailplane. The "Pro" is priced well below what it would
normally cost to get a similarly equipped built up model in the
air. The ailerons allow tight turns in thermals, and the flaps
allow the model to land where the pilot wants it to without
floating into the next zip code. Bind it to a radio with advanced mixing functions like my JR 11X
and you can expand the flight envelope ever farther with
features like full wing camber, reflex, and crow (air brake)
mixing for even greater precision.
Radio Setup
Flight Report Summary
Manufacturer & Distributor
Full 5 channel control.
Attractive new decals.
Gets you in the air quickly.
Flew well even in light lift.
Control surfaces needed a
little work before they moved
smoothly and returned to
center each time.
Click HERE for explanation
Skill Level: Beginner
Time to complete: 30 min
Frustration Level: None
Kit Name: Radian Pro BNF electric sailplane.
Price: $249.99
Wing Span: 78.5" (2 meters)
Flying Weight as tested: 33 oz (935.5 grams)
ESC Used: 30Amp (Included)
Motor Used: 480 size 960kv (included) Battery used: 3S 1300Mah LiPo (included)
Radio used: JR 11X 2.4 Ghz
DSM2 5 channel radio Programmable 5 channel DSM2 radio (optional) if you
want to enable advanced mixing options (crow, camber etc)
Phillips screw driver
12 volt power source
Tweezers or hemostats (optional but VERY useful)
Kit Contents
Nicely protected
I got my start in R/C by learning to fly gliders in 1980 like the Craft Air Drifter II. 30 years later I still
love flying sail planes. In the not too distant past I would have considered it sacrilege to mount a large
battery and motor on the front of a sail plane. After flying several motor gliders though, I decided that
rigging a winch or chasing a high start was a whole lot of trouble when I could take a plane out of my
car, plug the wings and battery in, and be in the air in minutes. Besides, I reasoned, the long slender
fuselages of most sail planes require lead in the nose to balance properly so at least the extra weight
upfront is doing something useful now! Don't get me wrong, I still have several planes setup for winch,
high start, and even aero-towing, but for maximum flying time with minimum fuss, motor gliders are
the way to go.
The Radian Pro is Parkzone's answer to the multitude of Radian owners that wanted higher performance
and more features. Parkzone answered with a sail plane with a better airfoil, as well as the addition of
ailerons and flaps. The Pro can be flown on a 5 channel radio and Y harnesses on the ailerons and
flaps, or can be set up with a computer radio to enable such advanced features as reflex, camber, and
crow mixing. Instruction booklet
Battery and balance charger
Underside radio compartment
When the Radian Pro arrived I inspected the packaging and sat down to read the rather thick manual
from cover to cover. It turns out that only the first twelve pages are in English so I never made it to the
back cover. The products I have owned or reviewed over the years from Horizon Hobby always come
with above average or better instruction manuals and the Radian Pro is no exception. Detailed
instructions, clear diagrams and pictures, safety warnings, parts listings, support contact information,
and even flying tips are all included. In addition to the printed manual, Horizon also makes setup
sheets available on their web site for their popular radios. If you're a registered owner of a Spektrum
DX8 radio you can just download the pre-configured setup file straight to your radio. Now THAT is bind
and fly!
The Radian Pro arrived extremely well packaged and damage free. Parts were separated, bagged, and
taped down in to form fitting areas in the packing container. Where tape was used it was only used on
the foam packing material or over a layer of bubble wrap, it never touched the actual model pieces. A
number of zip ties were also used to hold the pieces firmly in place during shipping. Anywhere that zip
ties crossed the pieces of the model there was a layer of bubble wrap or cardboard protecting the model
Receiver and tail servos
30Amp E-Flite ESC
1300Mah 15C LiPo battery
I unpacked the model and set about the task of charging the battery. The supplied battery is a
Parkzone 3 cell, 1300mah, 15C LiPo with a balance adapter and comes equipped with EC3 connectors. The included charger can charge up to two amps and either two or 3 cell batteries. It's also equipped
with a lighter plug so you can charge from your automobile. Ensure that your cell count and charge
rate are set correctly (1.3 amps for the included battery), plug in the battery via the balance tap to the
correct output on the charger and press the button. When the battery is done the charge will shut off
and the green light will come on steady.
While the battery was charging I inspected and assembled the model. The Radian Pro is constructed of
durable Z-Foam. While there are no adhesives required to assemble the model, if you have a mishap
Z-Foam may be glued with just about anything including regular CA. In speaking with my Dawn Patrol
friends that have a lot of foam planes, they claim the best adhesive to use to repair the Radian Pro is
white Gorilla Glue. The fuselage has two compartments, one for the motor and battery on the top front of the model, and
one on the bottom with the Spektrum AR600 receiver and the rudder and elevator servos installed. Both hatches are held in place with sturdy magnets. I really like the magnetic hatch, it makes battery
access very easy and that's important to me on an electric model. The bottom hatch is vented to allow
heat generated by the motor and speed controller. One minor drawback that I found was with the
louvered hatch on the bottom of the plane. If you fly in the early morning and the grass is covered with
dew, when you land on the grass you can get water in the receiver compartment.
Elevator connection
Rudder and tail skid
Completed tail assembly
Also included and already installed are two Y harnesses, one for the flaps and another for the ailerons. Since I was planning on using crow mixing I eliminated the aileron Y harness and connected the second
aileron to the auxiliary channel by adding a short extension. Radios like the DX7 will require a P-mix
setup for dual ailerons; ensure that you use P-Mix 5 or 6 for the dual ailerons so that the trim function
effects both servos. Higher end radios like the 9503 or my 11X allow you to select dual ailerons and
specify a mate channel and you're done.
There really isn't a whole lot to do to put the airplane together. The horizontal stabilizer/elevator is slid
into place and affixed with 4 pieces of supplied adhesive tape. Before securing the tape I installed the
wing tube and measured the stabilizer for center, then I measured the distance from the tip of the stab
to the wing tube to make sure everything was square. Connect the control surfaces to the recommended
holes and you're done with the tail.
The wings already have the servos installed and rigged, the only thing to do here is to install the wing
rod and connect the servos. The wing rod is fairly light and appears to be plenty sturdy and slipped into
place with an excellent fit. I listed hemostats as optional but if you have a set they will come in handy
for hooking up the flap and aileron servos. The aileron servo wires are conveniently marked with yellow
tags to keep the connections straight. Unlike the Radian which uses a friction fit to hold the wings in
place, the Pro includes a countersunk phillips screw on each side so that the wings remain in place
during flight. They even included a spare screw incase you loose one, nice touch Parkzone! Maybe if
they had known they were sending it to me they should have included 5 or 6 spares.
Aileron sevo installation
Wing attachment
Battery installed ready to fly
Ready to program
LOTS of programming options
Notice THERML flight mode
There are a number of options available for you.
1. Basic radio setup. You can set up a basic acro model, leave the Y harnesses is place and put the
flaps on a switch. This requires at least a 5 channel radio such at the DX6i. Even with a more advanced
radio, you can go this route and put the flaps on a 3 position switch or slider and get quite a bit of
performance out of the Radian Pro. But if you're an R/C'r you probably like to tinker so read on...
2. You can remove the aileron Y harness and use the setup provided HERE by Horizon for the DX6i to
enable flaps and crow mixing on a switch. Crow mixing raises the ailerons at the same time you drop
the flaps for a very effective airbrake mode. This lets you dive without picking up too much speed, it
also helps break lift when you're enjoying a great thermal so much that you realize you are loosing sight
of the plane. It also allows very fine control of your landing approach for precision landings.
3. With a 7 channel or better radio such as the DX7 or a 9503, you can use the setup sheet provided HERE and in addition to crow and flaps you can also use camber and reflex control. Camber lets you
drop the flaps and ailerons to increase the lift of your wing. This works well when flying slow in thermals
to give you maximum lift. Reflex control raises the trailing edge and lets the Pro fly faster. This comes
in handy when you are in sink and want to scoot to another part of the sky to resume your search for
lift. In addition to camber and reflex the DX7 allows you to mix elevator compensation for when the
flaps are deployed.
4. As I said earlier in article, if you're the registered owner of a DX8 radio you can simply download the
file provided HERE and copy it to your radio via the SDCard slot. I don't have a DX8 to see all what is
included but I would have to think it would have all the goodies listed above.
5. For owners with an advanced radio like the 9503, 11X, or 12X, you can really have fun if you want
play with serious sail plane programming. The 11X features 5 flight modes that you can individually
configure dual rates, expo, aileron differential, rudder to aileron mixing, elevator compensation, pre-set
camber control, slider or switch controlled camber, and a whole range of features of which I haven't
even figured out what the acronyms mean yet. One thing that really helped was plugging in the Radian Pro and sitting it on my work bench while I
referred to the manual and played with the mixing options. Using the flight modes and MOT or motor
option, I was able to enable the throttle stick to activate the motor in launch mode, but once I switched
to normal, thermal, or reflex mode the motor becomes inactive and the throttle stick becomes the
flap/crow stick that most high performance sail planes use.
Flight Shots
I balanced the Radian Pro at 70mm from the leading edge as the
manual suggested, charged the battery, and headed to the field.
I gave the Pro a power off, level toss just to check the balance and
trim. I always use a helper to hand launch a motor glider on it's maiden
powered flight just in case. There was no need to worry solo launching
the Radian Pro however. You can launch it with power out of your hand
or just give it a level toss into the wind and apply power and climb out. The Radian won't win any races with the Space Shuttle like I have seen
with a few other motor gliders, but it climbs with authority and reaches
altitude quickly. FLYING
This isn't the floater that the original Radian is, you actually have to
work a little bit to fly the Pro. One reason is the lack of significant
polyhedral which eliminates the self correcting tendency of the Radian. It also likes to fly a little faster and you will probably find yourself using
the motor than you would with the original Radian. If you try to mush it
around, the plane will stall and loose altitude on you. Recovery is
nothing more than letting go of the up elevator and letting it regain a
little bit of speed or adding a touch of throttle.
We put several 15 to 18 minute flights using the motor intermittently
but without picking up any real lift charging the battery between each
flight. Though the included charger doesn't give any indication of
power consumption, hooking the battery up to one of my good chargers
showed that these 18 to 20 minute flights were putting between 55 and
65 percent of the capacity back in. This shows we had plenty of time to
spare to work some lift or make additional motor runs.
If you drop the camber a few degrees or have the flaps on a
proportional channel and crack them a bit, The Radian Pro will slow
down nicely. The rudder and ailerons are quite effective and
coordinated turns are easy to accomplish for minimal loss of altitude. THERMALING
A thermal is a bubble of air that is warmer than the surrounding air. If
you picture a bubble rising from bottom of a tank of water, as it gets
closer to the surface it gets larger due to the decrease in surrounding
pressure, you can begin to visualize what a thermal would look like if
you could see it. To stay in a thermal you need to circle within the
rising bubble and follow its progress as the thermal itself is blown
I can remember catching my first big thermal like I can remember
reeling in my first big fish, it's quite a rush and can be very addicting. The key is trimming your glider for hands off flight and keeping your
hands off and letting the plane find the lift. A sharp eyed sail plane pilot
will keep an eye out for what the birds are doing.
Most of us like to use the motor to head up to high start altitude, shut it
down, and start hunting thermals so I gave that a try. The Pro reacts
well to lift and having ailerons its easy to turn into the lift. If you use
the rudder to circle in the lift a little bit of opposite aileron to the turn
will keep the wings nearly level and present the most wing to the rising
air. Increasing the camber a few degrees and the Radian Pro will work
the light lift that occurs down low quite well.
The flaps are very effective at slowing the Radian Pro down for landing. If you have a radio that lets you use crow mixing the Pro will appear to
come to a stop in mid air. We also dialed in some elevator compensation
so that the Pro maintained attitude through flap deployment.
Landing with or without flaps is very easy with the Radian Pro. With
little wind the flaps allow the airplane to slow to a controlled stop nearly
effortlessly. The Pro handles winds beyond what I would have expected
from a foam sail plane so if you're flying in the wind, leave the flaps
retracted and use the wind to slow down your ground speed for landing. Crow can be used for consistent spot landings. Download and Watch in Windows Media Player here! While I wouldn't recommend this as a beginner plane like the Radian, the Pro is a great step up for
the pilot that wants more features and more performance. If you have a high end radio but are
intimidated by the sailplane programming, the Radian Pro is a cost effective platform that you can
use to start experimenting with advanced features as camber, crow, and other mixing.
The Radian Pro assembles easily and can get in the air quickly. The BNF version includes everything
you need to get in the air with your favorite DSM2 airplane radio. The Radian Pro launches well, is a respectable thermal ship, and handles wind surprisingly well. If
you're looking for a step up from a 2 or 3 channel glider, that doesn't take a large chunk out of your
modeling budget, give the Radian Pro serious consideration.
Parkzone and JR
Distributed exclusively by:
Horizon Hobby
4105 Fieldstone Rd. CHAMPAIGN, IL 61822 Support Phone: (877)504-0233 Sales Phone: (800)338-4639
Website: www.horizonhobby.com
Email: support@horizonhobby.com
Comments on RCU Review: Parkzone Radian Pro BNF electric sailplane
Posted by: Master Blaster on 04/27/2011
Profile The stock lipo when fitted into the battery compartment as illustrated causes the Radian to be very tail heavy and
difficult to fly. I mounted it on top of the ESC and almost got perfect CG. I opted for a 1800 and 2200mah mounted
over the ESC and solved the problem,as well,I got about 27min of flite time with the trade off of a little extra weight.
Posted by: BarracudaHockey on 06/13/2011
Profile Thank you for your comment. I have heard about a few people having cg issues, however we can only report on any
issues we have with the kit we receive and the plane balanced correctly and flew well without any cg tinkering. Posted by: giddyuperic on 03/09/2012
Profile Hello guys and maybe some gals. I am having a heck of a time geting every thing pluged into the AR600. I have a DX7
and did the programing just like they said no problem. I just need help pluging the servos in the right ports on the
AR600 Can someone please show me a photo or help me please???? Thank you very much. Eric at
Page: 1 The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply
generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in
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