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Death of a FlyZone Sensei

"This is my email to FlyZone Customer Support about their product. I will post images as soon as I can. Also, please excuse my bad terminology, as I haven't yet become fluent in the terms of the RC community."

On September 9th, 2013 I constructed my new FlyZone Sensei, following the instructions to the letter. It took me around 45 minutes to complete the construction of my FlyZone Sensei, and along with the construction and measurements I also installed my own receiver and did formal check of the servos, servo rods, ESC, and engine. Everything appeared to be in good working order at that time.

After my battery was finished charging I went to the local field to conduct my maiden flight. After plugging in the battery, and making sure to battery box was closed I began my pre-flight check. I tested the rudder, elevator, ailerons, and engine. All were working properly and giving me the correct amount of growth.

I put 70% power into the throttle, heading into the wind and gained lift. Once I gained lift I put power to 100% and went to around 150-200 feet. After gaining good height I pulled out power and ended with 50% throttle. I turned my plane 45 degrees right and let the wind put me into a circle. After putting the wind at the planes back I put the elevator down and went to around 100-150 feet. Once I was at a comfortable height at around I attempted to turn right and gain altitude, however I was unable to gain altitude but was infact about to turn right.

I did a quick systems check of the engine, elevator, rudder, and ailerons. All was working except for the elevator. As soon as this became clear I immediately began pulsing the engine to make up for the lack of elevator and attempted to land the plane. I did a fairly good job of not letting the plane nose dive but the plane however still landed hard.

Upon inspection of the plane I recorded this as the damage:

1. Crushed Fuselage (Front)
2. Crushed/Maimed Cowl
3. Bent Front/Back Wheels
4. Bent Motor Mount
5. Bent Propellor Rod
6. Torn Main Wing

After taking pictures and collecting the pieces I brought the plane and its remnants home for inspection. The ailerons and rudder were working properly, but the elevator was not. After removing the main wing from the fuselage I immediately noticed the issue. The rod connecting the elevator to the elevator servo was loose, as in the elevator servo had no traction on the servo rod because the screw that holds the rod in place was not tightened properly, or enough.

In order to test this malfunction to be sure that it was the cause of the issue, I attempted to replicate the scenario. I secured the rod in the servo joint and made sure it was tightened properly, and then gave my transmitter elevator up, and elevator down. After repeated the up and down processor around 6 times the elevator rod slipped. I repeated this scenario 2 more times, and the result was the same. The rod was continuously slipping from the servo joint, resulting in no elevator control of the plane.

It saddens me when I switch to a new RC plane manufacturer and receive this low quality of a product. If the servos and rods were checked ahead of time at the factory with a simple quality check the issue would've not have arisen. Or the issue would have been caught ahead of time and fixed before releasing the plane for distribution.

In total it will cost me a little over $100.00 USD to replace the broken parts of the plane if they are available. Which is not the case for the fuselage, as it doesn’t seem to be available for purchase. This price also does not include the shipping and handling. For that price I would be better off purchasing a well known RC plane brand that puts quality parts and does a quality build.


Boston B. Grambo
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Dedicated foam bender
It's a hard lesson but I ALWAYS check the entire plane if someone else built it. That means servo to control surface connections as well as direction of throw. Also motor mounts, center of gravity, loose hinges, etc. Since the Sensei is marketed to the beginner, they should include those checks as part of the pre-flight checklist. Experienced pilots already know, or at least, should already know...


Hostage Taker of Quads

That's a bummer, and I *hate* loosing a plane on maiden, but other than the instructions not mentioning to check the linkage stopper, I'm not seeing any lack in quality in Flyzone airframe. (ok, the thrust angle is off, because your throttle won't change pitch if it's set right, but that's minor.)

If they hadn't used threadlock, which would be normal for a manufacturer, that linkage could have loosened during shipping.

Yes this is a beginner plane, and instructions *should* be thorough -- Flyzone really dropped the ball here -- but your complaint about the quality of the product lies entirely in one missing sentence/paragraph in the manual. Frankly, they make very nice airframes and from what I've seen/heard their quality has increased in the past few years.

I understand you're mad -- It's broke and it's not your fault! -- but I'd suggest not tossing out a good manufacturer with some nice planes just because they missed an important paragraph in their beginner's airframe manual. I would suggest counting this as a *very* expensive lesson, check your C.R.A.P., buy a new motor, and repair. You'll be happier with your plane when it's in the air!