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Written by Andrew Griffith
Three water-ready models put to the test.
Flyzone DHC-2 Beaver Island Wings Edition Rx-R, ParkZone Sport Cub BNF with AS3X, Multiplex Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter Rx-R
Read an abridged review and watch videos of each aircraft.



Three models put to the test include the Flyzone DHC-2 Beaver Island Wings Edition, the ParkZone Sport Cub, and the Multiplex Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter. The contestants all are similarly priced foam models of scale airplanes. They are nearly the same size and weight, equipped with similar 3S LiPo power systems, and all are equipped with pontoon-style floats.

In an article such as this, the question which is “best” will be asked. The answer will likely depend on what is important to the individual. I flew these airplanes back to back over the course of a day on the St. Johns River in Florida, and quickly found that each has features and quirks, so your choice will likely weigh heavily on those features that you deem most important.

Read the entire review including comparisons on battery access, water taxiing, takeoff, scale looks, and flying in the May 2015 issue of Model Aviation. You can subscribe to the digital edition by visiting http://modelaviation.com/digital.

Below is an abridged summary of each aircraft.


Flyzone DHC-2 Beaver Island Wings Edition Rx-R

With World War II wrapping up, de Havilland Canada Aircraft turned its attention from dwindling military contracts to the burgeoning civilian aircraft market. Based in Toronto, de Havilland set out to design an airplane that was purpose built for the harsh operating environment of the Canadian wilderness.

If the Piper Cub is the backwoods Jeep with wings, the Beaver is a big Dodge Power Wagon. Designed for hauling half-ton loads, the Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) Beaver could be equipped with bush tires, floats, or skis. The large cabin doors are identical on both sides so that loading and unloading can be accomplished with either side of the airplane tied to a dock.

The Flyzone Beaver is the new Island Wings edition of the extremely popular Flyzone Beaver. Otherwise identical to its sibling, the Island Wings Edition features larger bush tires and a new color scheme that is based on the full-scale Beaver operated by the Island Wings Air Service.

Based in Ketchikan, Alaska, Michelle Masden gives aerial tours of the Misty Fjords National Monument and surrounding area where the DHC-2 allows passengers to reach out of the way places and get close to some of the best that nature has to offer.

The Beaver is constructed of Aerocell foam, and unlike the other two models where floats are sold separately, the Beaver includes both fixed landing gear and a set of floats. The Island Wings Beaver is available only as an Rx-R version. Assembly is fairly quick and requires nothing more than a Phillips screwdriver.

The Rx-R version has all of the servos installed as well as the speed controller and motor. As the name implies, you simply connect the servos that are all properly labeled to your receiver, set your servo direction and throws, and connect a battery. Powering our Beaver is an ElectriFly 3S 2,200 mAh LiPo battery obtained separately and guidance is provided with my Futaba 14SG-H FAAST radio.

If you’re a scale aficionado, then the Beaver might be your favorite of the three. With simulated corrugated control surfaces, a full-scale paint scheme and logos, rear cabin bubble observation windows, and a dummy radial engine—for a small foam airplane the Beaver is very detailed. The Flyzone Beaver includes a full navigation lighting system with a landing light, flashing beacon, and wingtip and tail navigation and strobe lights.

Two small issues with my Flyzone Beaver were easily corrected. The first was the included flap servo had an arm that was so short that the flaps had little travel. I had a longer servo arm in my parts bin and soon had the flaps working perfectly. The scale hinges on the flaps allow them to come back as well as down like the full-scale airplane and it would have been a shame not have full flap throw.

The second issue was something that a regular review might not even catch because it took several weekends of flying to show up. The monofilament line that activates the water rudders stretched out with use and I was constantly tinkering with the length to keep the rudders centered.

I fly at a pond behind a sporting goods store and a chat with a salesman in the fishing section solved my problem. I replaced the monofilament with fine steel fishing leader line. It only cost a few dollars, and dozens of flights later the water rudders are perfectly centered.


Video


Specifications

Model type: Semiscale electric
Skill level: Intermediate
Wingspan: 59.5 inches
Wing area: 430 square inches
Wing loading: 15.4 ounces per square foot
Airfoil: Semisymmetrical
Length: 38.5 inches
Weight: 2 pounds, 14 ounces (with floats)
Needed to complete: Five-channel radio and receiver; LiPo battery; charger
Construction: AeroCell foam
Covering/finish: White foam with painted trim and water slide decals
Street price: $199.98


Test-Model Details

Motor used: Flyzone 850 Kv BL outrunner (included)
Speed control: Flyzone 40-amp brushless ESC (included)
Battery: Flyzone 3S 2,100 mAh 20C LiPo
Propeller: 12 x 6 (included)
Radio system: Futaba 14SG-H transmitter; Futaba R617FS receiver; five Flyzone 10-gram micro servos (servos included)
Flight duration: 7 to 10 minutes


Pluses

• Assembles quickly.
• Includes both fixed gear and floats.
• Corrugated surfaces and bubble windows are nice scalelike touches.
• Includes working flaps and navigation lights.


Minus

• Flap servo arm cut too short to get good flap travel.


ParkZone Sport Cub BNF with AS3X

The ParkZone Sport Cub comes in a BNF version and Plug-N-Play (PNP). The PNP version is equivalent to the receiver-ready (Rx-R) versions of the Porter and the Beaver. This Sport Cub was the subject of a full review in the November 2014 issue of Model Aviation.

The Sport Cub we reviewed was equipped with the AS3X triple-axis stabilization system and integrated six-channel receiver. It requires a Spektrum DSM2 or DSMX five-channel radio system and ours was equipped with both the optional flap servo and the HobbyZone float kit.

Based on the Cub Crafters Sport Cub the ParkZone Cub maintains a nice scale outline but lacks some of the molded-in details of the Beaver and Porter. Although it lacks windows, an interior window decal has a neat-looking silhouette pilot.

All of the servos, ESC, and a 480-size motor are factory installed and in the BNF version, everything is connected to and ready to go. A 3S 1,300 mAh battery and a basic balance charger are included.

The optional floats install quickly and easily. After the floats are assembled, the Sport Cub can swap between wheels and floats in the time it takes to remove four screws from the wheels and install eight screws for the floats.

One area where the Sport Cub has a clear advantage is the durability of the floats. Where the Beaver and Porter floats are all foam, the Sport Cub floats have a hard plastic bottom that will protect them from damage sustained from running up on a beach. I have cut small runners from scrap carpet that I use at the pond for the Beaver and Porter so the floats aren’t sitting on the ground.


Video


Specifications

Model type: Semiscale electric
Skill level: Intermediate
Wingspan: 51 inches
Wing area: 417 square inches
Wing loading: 13.1 ounces per square foot
Airfoil: Semisymmetrical
Length: 34 inches
Weight: 2 pounds, 6 ounces (with floats)
Needed to complete: Four-channel DSM2/DSMX radio; five channels for optional flaps
Construction: Z-Foam
Covering/finish: White foam with red painted trim accents
Street price: $219.99


Test-Model Details

Motor used: ParkZone 480-size 960 Kv (included)
Speed control: ParkZone 18-amp brushless ESC (included)
Battery: E-flite 3S (11.1-volt) 1,300 mAh 20C LiPo (included)
Propeller: 9 x 6 slow flier (included)
Radio system: Spektrum DX-18QQ transmitter; Spektrum AR636 AS3X receiver (included); four ParkZone SZ80 servos (included); DSV130M optional flap servo
Float kit: HobbyZone Super Cub Float Set
Flight duration: 4 to 7 minutes, depending on throttle management


Pluses

• Quick, easy assembly.
• AS3X allows flying in wind that would ground most foam models.
• The simulated window decals show an eye-catching pilot silhouette.
• BNF version can quickly be in the air.
• Parkzone gave Cub owners options for flaps and floats.
• Accepts a variety of 3S battery sizes.


Multiplex Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter Rx-R

New from Hitec Multiplex is the Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter. The full-scale Porter is built by Pilatus Aircraft and has been in service since May of 1959. The powerful engine and large flaps make the Porter a true STOL aircraft.
The Porter is a heavy hauler that can carry 2,500 pounds of payload or up to 10 passengers. Flexibility has allowed it to assume roles in civilian aviation, military flight operations, and law enforcement. It can take off and land almost anywhere and its STOL capabilities have made it a natural for getting in and out of unimproved fields in Indonesia and Papua, New Guinea, that would scare many sane pilots. One such landing was made on the Dhaulagiri glacier in Nepal at 18,865 feet above sea level, the current record for a landing by a fixed-wing aircraft.

The full-scale Porter had flown in a variety of roles, but I didn’t know if it had flown off water. The Cub and Beaver have a well-known history of water operations, but was surprised that a Web search turned up a number of hits of full-scale PC-6 Porters equipped with floats.

The Turbo Porter is constructed of Elapor foam and is available in two attractive color schemes with scalelike trim. Scale enthusiasts will be pleased with the details molded into the parts such as corrugated control surfaces and some amazing panel line and rivet details. Even the landing gear is a close approximation of the full-scale Porter with articulating spring action to smooth out landings.

Like the Rx-R Beaver, all of the servos, speed controller, and motor are preinstalled. Assembly consists of bolting the tail and landing gear in place, sliding the wings on, and connecting the servos. Bolt the propeller and spinner in place and the Porter is nearly ready to fly. I’ll be using AGA Power 2,200 mAh batteries and my Spektrum DX-18G2.

Converting to floats only requires removing a few screws and the landing gear will pop off. There were no instructions with the floats, but a look at the pictures showed where the struts went and there are only four screws holding them on. A water rudder is provided that attaches in place of the tail wheel. I decided to skip it based on experience and the fact that I didn’t like the way it looked on the airplane, but took it with me in case water handling turned out to be a problem.


Video


Specifications

Model type: Semiscale electric
Skill level: Intermediate
Wingspan: 49.2 inches
Wing area: 340 square inches
Wing loading: 19.9 ounces per square foot
Airfoil: Semisymmetrical
Length: 36.6 inches
Flying weight: 2 pounds, 15 ounces (with floats)
Needed to complete: Six-channel transmitter and receiver; LiPo battery
Construction: Elapor foam
Covering/finish: White foam with colored trim accents
Street price: $209.99


Test-Model Details

Motor used: Permax BL-0 3530 1,100 Kv (included)
Speed control: BL-40 40-amp brushless ESC (included)
Battery: AGA Power 3S 2,200 mAh 30C LiPo
Propeller: 11 x 5.5 electric park flyer (included)
Radio system: Spektrum DX-18G2 transmitter; Spektrum AR7010 receiver; six Multiplex MS-12014 servos (servos included)
Float kit: Multiplex Pilatus Float Kit
Flight duration: 5 to 8 minutes, depending on throttle management


Pluses

• Quick and easy assembly.
• Large flaps have plenty of throw to emulate the STOL characteristics of the full-scale Turbo Porter.
• Many scale details molded into foam.
• Servos are installed and waiting for your receiver and flight battery.
• Magnetic hatch for easy battery access.
• Accepts a variety of 3S battery sizes.


Minus

• No instructions provided with float kit.



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