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Tower Hobbies Hellcat

#1
A quick review on my new Tower Hobbies Hellcat Rx-R. Out of the box, this is a good looking plane. The finish is good for a foam plane. Assembly was intuitive and easy. The plane comes will all the electronics but the battery and the receiver. The ESC connector was a Super Tigre type and I swapped this out for a Deans style, since this is almost all I have on any batteries larger than a 500 mAh 2 cell. The cowl is held on with magnets, as is the canopy/battery cover. The canopy fits really well and just a slight slide to the side allows it to pop right off. I have installed an Orange 6 channel receiver and will use a variety of 2200 mAh batteries for power. With a 2200 I found that it has to be all the way forward to balance. If you plan on flying this plane with an 1800, you will likely need to add weight to the nose to get it to balance. The tail surfaces mount with a single screw and tab into the fuselage. The horizontal stabilizer is captured between the fuselage and the vertical stabilizer. I did however break the tail wheel assembly during assembly. I held the plastic bit and tried to twist the wire in the plastic collar and only succeeded in breaking the tail wheel collar. I was able to fix it by drilling out the plastic collar and epoxying a bit of 1/16" piano wire in the place of the plastic. I suspect the wire is better and I also suspect that the plastic would have broken even if I didn't tweak on it like an oaf. It's an interesting tail wheel design that pivots in two places, in the fuselage and in the rudder. The pivot mechanism makes it turn like a bus when taxiing, but I suspect might make it less prone to ground looping since it makes the tail wheel less sensitive to rudder movement. So far, I have only taxied this plane around and have not flown it (too windy for a maiden). The only real fit/finish issue I see is that the wing is slightly misaligned at the rear mounting location. In truth, it's better than my PZ T-28 as far as fit and finish go. You can also fly this plane as a belly lander, the mains pop right out of the wing with no issues at all.

A few views of plane on the driveway.











The battery/electronics compartment. There's a lot of space in here. The 2200 mAh is as far forward as it can go and it balances just a tad nose heavy.





My tail wheel fix:



The very slight misalignment:



All in all, this is a great looking plane. I have always had a soft spot for Hellcats. I have been jonesing for one ever since getting back into the hobby and this one Rx-R for $120 is a great deal! Maybe if the weather will cooperate I will get a maiden in this weekend, but the forecast doesn't look favorable.
 
#2
That is a neat plane with a great history. Your model seems to be much better than the Freewing I have. You can actually access the electronics! Have fun with it.
 
#3
I went to the local RC field and did the maiden flight on the Hellcat. It is a grass field and was a little bumpy. I was not able to do an ROG take-off. It was bumpy enough that it would nose over every time I got a little speed up. I was a little nervous about a hand launch, but it worked out great. About 2/3 throttle and a firm toss at a 30 degree up angle and it took off! It needed two clicks of left aileron trim and about two clicks of up elevator. It was a little breezy, about 5 mph steady with gusts around 10-15. It made landings a little interesting, especially when the gusts would suddenly stop on approach. It definitely forced me to carry throttle all the way to the ground. But honestly, this plane needs throttle all the way to the ground so it wasn't all bad. Stall characteristics were pretty good, but it does dip a wing when it stalls. You do need to carry throttle all the way down. Second flight I got a little more bold. It flys inverted really well!! It took very little elevator to maintain altitude. Roll rate is pretty quick! It think it would roll REALLY quick if the linkage was in a lower hole on the horn, I left them in the furthest hole from the control surface. As it is, it does great immelmanns and cuban 8s. It can definitely fly better than I can, but then that doesn't take a lot:black_eyed:
 
#4
Roversgonemad, thanks for the review. Very good. Question: how are the slow fly characteristics? Does she fly well in slow fly or is she only a full-throttle warbird? I would appreciate you thoughts & thanks.