Kavan Partenavia
 RCU Review: Kavan Partenavia - EP More On This Product
Discussions on this Product Show user ratings Check for Retailers Contributed by: Roger Phillips | Published: June 2002 | Views: 16888 |
Kavan Partenavia
Specifications: ARF Name:
Partenavia Wingspan: 59"
Wing Area: 480
sq. in.
Length: 42"
Flying Weight
as tested: 55.6
oz Motor(s) used:
(2) 480 Motors Prop: (2)
Graupner Super
Nylon Speed 6x4 Battery: 8 Cell
1900 mah Radio and gear:
Futaba 8UAP
Radio, Hitec 555
RX, 4 Hitec
HS-81 Servos Channels
Used:4 total.
Throttle, Rudder,
Ailerons, and
Controller: Jeti
35 Charger:
Dymond Super
Turbo Charger Manufacturer:
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By Roger Phillips
Although I have always enjoyed seeing other people fly
multi-engine airplanes, I have always avoided building one
myself, because of the complexity, and ever-present danger of
an engine-out crash.
When given the chance to review the Hobby Lobby
Partenavia, made by Kavan, I jumped at the opportunity. The
Partenavia is an electric twin, using two 480 size electric
motors. Being electric virtually eliminates the disadvantages of
flying a glow engine powered twin aircraft, in an engine-out
circumstance. Plus, there was an added advantage of not
having the mess to clean up, nor the costs involved with fuel,
glow plugs, and support equipment for glow.
Hobby Lobby has made it easy to choose the necessary items
needed to complete the Partenavia. The kit can be purchased
alone, or as a complete outfit, with everything you would need
to complete and fly the kit. The complete outfit comes with a
Hitec Focus 4 "Micro" radio with 2 HS81 servos, two extra
HS-81 servos, a Jeti 35 Microprocessor Motor "Controller, two
480 motors and props, a 1900 SCR Nicad Battery pack, and a
Peak Field Charger. The accessory pack includes heavy-duty
motor wiring and connectors, epoxy, wing saddle tape, even
solder. This is one complete combination!
As I opted to use my Futaba 8UAP-s for control, I received a
Hitec RCD 555 Micro receiver, Futaba compatible, with a
Kavan Distributor:
Hobby Lobby
Very complete
package, lacking nothing
Easy, fast
Builds true
Parts fit is
Flys like a
Epoxied motors
and nacelles
to get into to
should the need
Foam dents
easily, and gets
dirty quickly
Everything arrived well-packed via FedEx. All the radio gear,
and accessories were packed in their own bag. A quick look
inside the kit, showed everything packed well, with bubble
wrap protecting all the kit parts. As a long-time builder, it is
strange to find what looks like an airplane already inside,
when you open the box!
Package that plane
comes in.
The major components are molded polystyrene injection
molded foam. I was surprised by the lightness of everything,
but lightness is necessary in an electric plane. Although I knew
the specs before it arrived, I was surprised by how large this
model really is. The wingspan is 59 inches, and the model is
42 inches long. Thatís one inch shy of a 5 foot wingspan.
The plane is full-house control, that is, it is equipped with
ailerons, elevator, rudder, and throttle, via the Jeti Speed
The instruction manual is multi-lingual, and the first thing I did,
was take a highlighter, and mark all the English instructions, to
make it easier to read. I would recommend anyone putting the
Partenavia together, do the same as it sure makes it a lot
easier when both hands are full, and you need to glance over
at the instructions, to re-check your work.
Molded parts
as the come
out of the box.
After a quick check that all parts were there, and no damage, I
sat down and read over the instructions carefully. The
instructions were fairly brief, and seemed to assume a bit of
experience in building on the part of the builder. There are
though, many illustrations, and by taking the time to review the
instructions, some shortcomings in the instructions can be
avoided. The assembly order is not clearly numbered, as
most manuals, and this can make it a little rough on the
Wing Construction
Although not clear in the instructions, the first step appears to be to epoxy the wing
halves together. To do this, you must elevate the wing halves, to have clearance for the
nacelles. All the wiring to the motors, and aileron servos run in a trough, that is later
covered by a nearly full span spar, which is fit into the trough, on top of the wiring. I
decided that this might not be the best means of assembly, as I figured the wing joint
could come under quite a bit of stress, while installing the motors and aileron servos.
Therefore, I bypassed joining the center section together until all the wiring for the motors
and servos were installed, and I was ready to install the spar. This worked out very well,
and ensured a good glue joint where the wing halves joined. Bottom of wing
before motors
are installed.
The directions say to sand the entire outside of the model, to get rid on the injection
molding marks, as well as to ensure good adhesion of the decal sheet, which becomes
the hinges for the rudder, elevator, and ailerons (more about this later). I tried several
different papers, in inconspicuous places, and finally decided that a drywall screen gave
the best results.
I must say right off, that, although the foam seems strong enough for the task, it is VERY
easily dented and dinged. I consider myself a careful builder, but still found that I had
crushed to foam a little in a few spots. Also, when I cut back the insulation on the motor
wires, one of the º" pieces of insulation managed to get under the nacelle, when I laid it
upside down on the building table. This little piece of insulation did some serious damage
to the looks of the foam. A little lightweight spackle compound fixed it right up, but it would
be easier to just avoid it. Therefore, I would recommend building this one, with a blanket
or a towel underneath at all times. Also, the foam picks up any dirty fingerprints through
handling, and if the prints are under the decals, when you put them on, they are there for
The instructions call for the decals to be put on, before the motors and aileron servos are
in place, but I chose to install all the electrics, before joining the wing halves, so I also
decided to install the decals at a later time, after the wings are complete. It just made
more sense to me to do it that way, and I found it worked quite well. Of course, another
builder might see it differently. Since the instructions are so abbreviated on this model, I
think any experienced builder would choose his own course of action on building the
Partenavia, and the model really lends itself to building as you see comfortable.
Hitec electronics
used in aircraft.
First items to go into the wing, are the aileron servos. Provided were two 12" flat ribbon
wire servo extensions, even though the directions specifically call for twisted extensions, I
would assume to prevent any RF interference from the motor wires, which run in the
same trough. Since I had some twisted servo wires, I chose to cut off the servo
connectors, solder the wires at the servo, covering with heatshrink, and resoldering the
connector on at the wing center. Once the wiring is in place, and the spar epoxied in
place, there is no changing the wiring, short of cutting out the spar, and putting a wider
one in, if thatís even possible. So I would seriously consider doing everything in my
power to ensure a good installation from the beginning.
Servo mounted in wing.
There is a molded cavity for the aileron servos in the wing, and the HS81ís supplied, fit
perfectly. I used some two sided servo tape underneath the servos, and it seems
perfectly sufficient. I will put some stranded strapping tape over the servos, to prevent
any shifting.
The motors and wiring go in next and diodes are supplied for the motors, and need to be
soldered in place, along with a positive and negative hook up wire. The provided
polarized gold-plated connectors provided in the accessory pack were up to the chore of
connecting the motors to the controllers. Make sure you have all the negative and positive
wires in the correct places, per the excellent wiring diagram, to prevent motors turning in
the wrong direction, or possible damage to the speed controller. Double checking doesnít
hurt here!
Wing bottom with motors
in place.
The connectors provided, were not quite large enough for the motor pack connection, so I
chose to use a polarized one I had laying around the garage. Sermos-type connectors
would have been nice here, but very sufficient ones can be had for a few dollars at the
local Radio Shack (Part Number 274-222).
Wing bottom with motor
nacelles in place.
After the motors are connected up, and the battery charged, I connected the motors to
the speed controller, the speed controller to the receiver, and the battery to the controller.
Follow the instructions provided with the Jeti Controller as they are very clear and easy to
follow. DO NOT install the props on the motors, until a check is made as to correct stick
follow. DO NOT install the props on the motors, until a check is made as to correct stick
direction, etc, of the throttle! A lot of people figure electrics to be safer than glow,
because of apparently lower power, but it needs to be remembered that electric motors
draw the most current at startup, and as drag increases, current increases. This means
that if your fingers are in the way, the motor draws more current, and works even harder
to try to cut them off, unlike a glow engine.
Motors and battery used.
The moment arrives and it's time to test the motors. The Jeti Controller gives a short
beep, indicating the motor connection is correct. I slowly brought the throttle up, and the
motors sang sweetly together. It might be noted that the Jeti Controller has a brake, but a
jumper has to be installed to disable it, which I did.
Once the motors were checked, I dry-fit the wing spar, and adjusted the servo and motor
wiring. Since it all fit together great, I then epoxied the wing halves together, putting the
spar in at the same time. I supported the wing right side up, weighted down, on top of 4
pieces of º" balsa I had laying around the shop, to overcome the nacelles, and I slid the
screws into the pre-installed guides, and used rubber bands over the screws top and
bottom, to pull the wing halves together. This made for a nice, tight joint, and a straight
wing. After the epoxy dried, I epoxied the motors in place, per instructions, and epoxied
the bottom half of the nacelles in place. I then set the wing aside, and continued on the
Fuselage Construction
The wing hold-downs are installed into the fuselage in a unique way and holes are
molded into the fuse, in which a type of plastic blind-nuts are installed and the instructions
are very clear on how this is done, and if followed, make for a nice way to mount the
wing. The wing has molded in plastic guides for the hold-down screws. The directions next call for a 1/8" piece of brass tubing to be used to drill a hole from the
nose wheel back to the radio compartment by the servos. This is easily done. You then
install the "RC-board", a small piece of 1/8" ply, where the receiver goes.
Main landing gear.
Next, the landing gear is assembled per instructions and this model even has ABS
vacuum formed wheel pants, and they are a nice touch. The assembly of the landing
gear goes rather quickly, but make sure you follow the instructions, when you put
gear goes rather quickly, but make sure you follow the instructions, when you put
together the main gear, or you might have the pants on backwards. The inserts for
screwing the main gear are already in the fuselage, and it makes for a nice, tight
installation. Then a block of foam is glued in place over the main gear hold down.
Itís at this point the instructions tell you to sand everything down, but I felt it better and
easier to sand down the fuse, and tail sections, without the gear on, and at the same time
as I did the wing. I would recommend it be done that way, and just another "once-over"
when the gear is in place, but again, this is only my opinion, and other builders might
differ in their approach.
There are two pages in the instructions for applying the decals. The decals come on a
large sheet, with decals for the top of the wing and horizontal stab, the fin, and the sides
of the fuse. From being so tightly rolled, I had to struggle with it a bit, and weigh it down
well, so I could cut the decals. Just follow the dotted lines, but the decals are printed very
close to each other, so a steady hand is needed. A word of caution here as applying the decals is NOT FUN. The decals are very sticky,
which is needed to adhere well to the foam, but should you lose control of a piece that
has been pulled off the backing, it might be very difficult to pull back apart, without
destroying. And since the decal itself becomes the hinge, messing up a piece would
leave you without an acceptable way to hinge the ailerons, elevator, or rudder.
Application of decals.
I recommend that you employ at least four hands for applying the decals. At this point,
call your significant other, tell them you love them, no matter what you might be prone to
say in the next hour or so! My wife has helped my on numerable times before on planes,
but this was the closest to moving into my garage than I have ever been.
The decals fit perfectly, and the wing and tail decals are aligned to the rear of the foam,
which makes it somewhat easy, providing two are working at it. I applied the first decal to
one wing half alone, and I consider myself VERY lucky, that I managed to get it straight,
without sticking it to itself. Thatís when I called my wife. The fuse decals are a little
tougher to align, as there really isnít a good reference line to go by, but with a little
pre-planning, they arenít too bad., as are the nacelle decals.
Final Assembly
Next installed are the rudder/nosewheel and elevator servos. The directions show putting
a glob of epoxy on the servo mountings, but I didnít see anyway to easily remove the
servo without possibly breaking the mounting ears, if this was done. So instead, I cut two
beams out of basswood, and relieved them to just fit snugly over the mounting tabs, and
just epoxied the beams. I just have something against epoxying servos in place, but I am
sure it would be fine either way you choose to go.
Elevator and rudder servos.
The next step is to install the servo horns in the ailerons. All the servo horns are routed
out of a 1/16" piece of fiberglass board, and at first, seem unsubstantial, but after cutting
them out, and epoxying them in place in the pre-molded slots, seemed more than up to
the job.
The aileron linkages are then installed, and afterwards, the ailerons are cut free, and the
foam hinge line bent to allow travel. This makes for good alignment of the aileron controls
when you install them. After breaking the hinge line, I felt the travel was impeded by
excess foam in the slots. I therefore bent the ailerons back onto the wing, so I could
lightly sand away some of the foam at the hinge line, to give more movement. This was
NOT a good idea! As I said, the decal sheet forms the hinge, and when I bent the ailerons
back, the decal sheet split along the hinge line. Not all the way, but enough to worry me.
Therefore I had to cover the hinge line with a piece of strapping tape, over the decal, as
added safety. I really donít know at what time the decal sheet gave way from bending it
backwards, or while I was sanding, but this is something to check. I actually feel a little
safer with the strapping tape, anyway, and went ahead and put it on both the elevator and
rudder lines.
The 1/8í sharpened brass tube is then used to drill a hole for the antenna tube to exit the
fuse. Then the antenna tube is epoxied in place. Both the rudder and elevator push rod
sleeves are epoxied into channels molded into the foam. At this time, the horizontal stab
is epoxied to the fuse. The stab and fuse have molded in "keys" that virtually guarantee a
perfect, square installation. After the epoxy dries, install the fuse top/fin molded piece.
Again, this is keyed to the fuse and horizontal stab, making for a straight empennage, and
also trapping both the rudder and elevator push rod sleeves from any movement. A very
nice touch, and very secure controls.
The next step is to install the rudder and elevator horns, and again, they seem very
Rudder horns.
The Cockpit is held in place by a unique system, of two eyelets screwed into dowels, and
then glued into pre-molded holes in the canopy and fuse. A rubber band is then stretched
between the eyes, to hold the canopy to the fuse, making it easy to get to the battery and
between the eyes, to hold the canopy to the fuse, making it easy to get to the battery and
the switch, when needed. Later, when I installed the battery, the battery could easily slide
forward and backward in the fuse, seriously changing the center of gravity, so I built two
more of these little hold-downs, and drilled two holes inside the fuse, and used them to
hold the foam wrapped battery in place. Worked great!
Elevator Horn.
The control wires are now installed. The wire is very small diameter, and the threaded
couplers need to be attached onto one end. The instructions donít cover this, so I
soldered them in place. Then screw on the clevis. The other end has a z-bend to attach
to the servo. Make sure the rudder control sleeve is epoxied in place, and epoxy the
nosewheel in place, if you didnít epoxy it in earlier, when installing the main gear. I saved
it until now, so I could have it loose when I adjusted the nosewheel controls. Once the
controls are correctly adjusted, then cut the rudder and elevator loose, just as the
ailerons. I was surprised at how little play there was with such thin wire for the controls.
Install your receiver, making sure you remember to thread the antenna down the antenna
guide, charge up your battery, and install the battery and speed control. I chose to fasten
the switch on the inside of the fuse, with tape, although you can install it wherever
convenient. I figure I will have to charge the battery after every flight, so the canopy will
have to be opened anyway, and it was easier for me. Install the wing, and check your
balance as the CG is 77mm back from the leading edge of the wing. Mine balanced
perfectly with the battery slid all the way back into the battery compartment. Then I
hooked a rubber band between the eyelets I installed on my own, and the battery was
very secure, when tipping the plane nose-down.
Preparation For Flight
With everything installed, the balance came out right on the money, with the battery all
the way back in it's compartment. They give you lot's of room to adjust the battery, to get
your balance just right, which is 77mm from the leading edge, which is right on the spar.
The manual says the Partenavia must balance with the nose slightly down, which I did. The throws are adjusted as follows:
Ailerons: +10mm, - 6mm
Elevator: + 8mm, - 6mm
Rudder: L 20mm / R 20mm
Flight Test
Mid-spring here in Indiana can really toss you for a loop, weather-wise. I had to wait
several weeks after finishing the Partenavia, to get it in the air, due to our field being
under 3 feet of water, or 30 mph winds. But, it turned out to be well worth the wait.
Ready to Fly!
After making sure the batteries were fully charged, I set the plane at the end of the
runway. I had been taxiing the plane for the two weeks I was waiting, so I was already
comfortable with the ground handling.
Old habits die hard - I ran the motors up once to make sure they weren't loaded up - of
course, they weren't! I throttled up, and the Partenavia steered straight down the asphalt
runway - good control, no evil tendencies. About 40 feet later, we were airborne.
Climb out was not sprightly, but definitely more than adequate. I started my climbing turn
at about 50 feet altitude, and the Partenavia came around just fine. Made a trim pass, and
only added a click or two of down elevator. All other trims were dead-on, which I attributed
to the clever way of setting up the servos and controls, while the control surfaces were
still attached, before cutting them free. This really ensured a straight model, and one of
the easiest "first-flights" I have ever experienced.
Throttling back, the Partenavia holds altitude very well, throughout the entire speed
range. The model feels just a little "heavy" in the air, and I was expecting it to fall out of
the sky while throttling back, but it just wasn't the case. The one thing missing is the
noise, and as there was another "gasser" in the air, I couldn't hear the motors at all. This
makes it a little difficult to judge your motor speed, but as the flight progressed, I became
more comfortable with the lack of noise. Several times I attempted to stall the Partenavia
- just doesn't do it! It just drops it's nose slightly, and continues to fly.
After about 6 minutes, she started to get a little sluggish in the air, so I brought her
around to land. The motors dropped out completely, giving me a dead stick, but I was
over concerned - this baby floats like a cloud, making my landing look perfect.
After a quick-charge on the battery, and a quick prop change to Graupner 6X4E props,
we were ready to go again. This time I flew it a little more aggressively, making several
rolls and loops. This prop arrangement was much better than the stock props that come
in the motor kit, and I recommend them, even though it requires prop adapters, available
through the Hobby Lobby catalog. The up-side is, once you have the prop adapters, you
can experiment a lot more with props, and I have a set of APC Electric props, that I will
try on a later date. Rolls, although not scale, are fun, but even with a lot of elevator and
rudder, were very barrel-like, as would be expected. Loops could not be made at less
than full throttle, they turn into more of a stall turn, but they are pretty as well. At full
throttle, loops can be made from level flight, no dip necessary. I was a little concerned
about the strength of the wing, but it handles fairly aggressive flying without any problem.
Inverted flight was acceptable, but takes a bit of elevator to maintain height.
I made several full throttle high speed passes at knee level, and it's a little strange to see
the wing flex as much as it does, due to the foam construction, and even did several
abrupt pull-ups, without any bad tendencies. All in all, truly a joy to fly.
Although the building techniques are a little different than most people are used to, the
Partenavia goes together rather quickly, and the methods used, guarantee a nice,
straight model. This one is well thought out, and truly a joy to fly. I have always had an "everyday" gas model, currently a .20 size glow, but the Partenavia
has taken over those duties, as there is something to be said for no messy cleanup. My
second trip with it to the field, I only had 20 minutes before work, and I got two flights in
without any problem, something I wouldn't even think about with my glow planes. The
size is just right to fit in my pickup, without any disassembly, so it's truly a quick-fly
anytime the urge strikes. Although a little large for a Park Flyer, a good sized field makes
a perfect airport, as long as there is some bare dirt, or roadway for a runway. This plane
will NOT roll in the grass well enough for take-off.
This plane flies so comfortable, that the next time out, my 10 year old daughter will be
flying it on a buddy box. She has only been on the sticks a couple times, and we have a
.40 size glow trainer for her, but I think the outstanding flying capabilities of the
Partenavia, coupled with the low noise, and low mess factors, will make this an
exceptional trainer.
Hobby Lobby and Kavan have a winner here, and the Partenavia kit supplied with the
accessory kit, provided everything needed to get the plane in the air - the only additional
item I provided was stranded strapping tape, which I placed on the under side of the wing,
for a little added strength, and to ensure the aileron servos stayed in place.
Thanks, Kavan and Hobby Lobby!!
Call Hobby Lobby at 615-373-1444 or visit their website
to purchase or for additional information on the Kavan Partenavia!
Comments on RCU Review: Kavan Partenavia - EP
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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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