Hobbyzone Super Cub
Pilot Skill: Beginner
Power: E-flite Brushless 450
Wingspan: 47 in.
Kit Includes: Foam kit, installed electronics, speed control, NiMH battery
Can the Hobbyzone Super Cub kit really teach you how to fly? Has an indestructible rc trainer been produced? Unfortunately the answer to both these questions is no. While the Super Cub is indeed a very durable and forgiving airplane, by no means will it alone teach someone to fly. The bottom line is that the most efficient and cost effective way to learn how to fly rc airplanes is by learning from an experienced pilot. However, if you must learn on your own, the Super Cub will take the abuse in stride. And while the built-in ACT System (Anti-Crash Technology) won’t completely prevent a crash, it will lend you a helping hand in avoiding certain disaster.
When Hobbyzone says the Super Cub kit comes with everything you’ll need to get flying, they mean it. From the eight AA batteries for the transmitter to the included instructional CD-ROM, it has everything you’ll need. And from what we’ve seen, the Hobbyzone kit is the most reasonably price rc starter kit on the market today.
When it came to understanding their audience, Hobbyzone realized that the individual purchasing this kit is most likely someone with absolutely no prior knowledge of rc aircraft. How they over come this hurdle is made clear when you take a look at the instruction booklet (or the CD-ROM). Not only are the instructions tailored for a beginner, they also include fairly detailed flight instructions to help you get off the ground and stay in the air. Be sure you to read the entire manual, front to back, especially if you are planing on learning to fly solo. Take your time to understand what each part of the aircraft is and what is does. This knowledge is invaluable and will likely prevent you from making a big mistake and potentially loosing your airplane altogether.
As for assembly, the Super Cub will not be a ‘snap’ to put together for the beginner. Let’s be honest, if you’re completely new to rc airplanes, there is a lot of information to absorb. So be patient, don’t rush, and keep in mind it may take an hour or two to put it together. Once assembled, the Super Cub’s color scheme isn’t fancy. But make no argument, the bright red lines and solid black stripes on the body and wing make for a super visible aircraft. And for the beginner, this is very important since the hardest part in learning to fly rc airplanes is usually understanding your orientation in the air.
What is this Anti-Crash Technology?
The Super Cub comes equipped with a nice bit of software embedded into the electronics that when turned on, helps guide you on controlling the aircraft, ‘properly and smoothly’. This is done by the use of two sensors placed on top and below the aircraft’s fuselage.
“… with ACT on [you] should not be allowed to enter a steep dive. If you give [controller] input that causes the plane to enter into a steep dive that could lead to a crash, the ACT software will override your input to help prevent the aircraft from crashing to the ground. ACT will cut the power going to the motor and add some up elevator, as well. This causes the nose of the airplane to pull up, thereby helping to prevent your aircraft from crashing.” Hobbyzone Super Cub Instructions
Does it work? Yes. Does it work all the time? No. Keep in mind that the ACT is not a fail-safe way to fly. It’s there to assist you, not to fly for you.
The day was partly cloudy with a wind out of the northwest at 10mph. Control Chat decided not to go to our usual flying field because we understood this wouldn’t be the norm for most new pilots purchasing this kit. Instead we decided on a local businesses parking lot with a good football field sized lot next to it. We proceeded with all our system checks, as noted by the instruction booklet, and with the Super Cub on the parking lot tarmac pointing into the wind, we throttled up and took off.
Side Note: Hobbyzone recommends hand launching the Super Cub for your first few flights. We tend to agree. Although it may seem a bit intimidating to ‘toss’ the airplane into the air, it will fly – don’t worry! Just be sure to have FULL throttle and give it a solid toss forward. If it helps, have a friend toss the airplane for the first few times. This way you are ready at the control sticks and can concentrate on flying, not tossing.
We were concerned for a bit that the Super Cub didn’t seem to have enough power to get off the ground, but as it started to gain speed it pulled up with little to no elevator and was airborne within 25 feet. We climbed into the wind and slowly gained altitude, making one left turn to point the airplane back towards us and not let it get too far away. At that time we switched on the ACT and played the part of a beginning flier.
Honestly, it was fun trying crash the Super Cub with the ACT on. Surprisingly, almost every attempt was thwarted by the software. But keep in mind that our attempts to crash only occurred at a high altitude, giving the Super Cub time to react and make the proper adjustments. If you are too close to the ground the ACT will make corrections, but it won’t have enough altitude to prevent a disaster. So keep your Super Cub above treetop level. Thought it may seem high, when trouble strikes, you’ll be happy you had enough time to make a save.
Overall the Super Cub is a very docile aircraft with slow and gentle turning characteristics during flight. Even with the ACT turned off the Super Cub will ‘self-correct’ during flight if you begin to dip or roll around in the sky. And as mentioned keeping it high in the air may seem a bit intimidating for a beginner but this altitude will allow you to make mistakes and not end up in pieces. Think of altitude as your friend. The more you have of it, the happier you will be.
After what seemed a long lazy flight (which we really enjoyed) it was time to bring it in for a crash landing. Yes, we said ‘crash landing’. We know more then anybody that a beginner will inevitably tank their aircraft a few times during their first few attempts at landing. It’s the learning curve and it’s expected. That being said we began our decent flying with the wind* and at around 7 feet off the ground pushed the Super Cub into the dirt. It was not pretty to watch and the sound alone made us cringe. The result was minor damage to the front of the airplane and a scratched propeller. Pretty impressive by our standards. (*Note to the newbie: If you have any wind when you are flying, best practices are to take-off and land into the wind (known as a â€˜head wind’). By flying with the wind (‘tail wind’) when trying to land you will increase your chances of a landing accident.)
If you are new to rc & looking to learn how to fly on your own, the Hobbyzone Super Cub is a pretty solid choice. The Anti-Crash Technology gives you an extra hand in case of trouble, but even if that fails the solid foam build of the Cub will take punishment and keep going. We’ve even witnessed a Super Cub’s fuselage get cracked in half, glued together on the field, and up flying in a matter of an hour! If that doesn’t give testament to it’s durability then we don’t know what else to tell you. And while there are fun little extras you can purchase for the Super Cub, like the Arial Drop Module, we recommend saving that money and purchasing extra batteries for longer days at the flying filed.
Above all, take it slow. Even if your first few flights are short jumps through the air and you come back down right away, it’s better to be safe then sorry. With a few flights under your belt you’ll be well on your way into the great world of radio control aircraft.
Recommended Parts & Accessories
- Toss It
While the Super Cub is durable, it is also very light. In winds of 10mph guiding the airplane on the ground during take-off will be challenging. We recommend hand launching the Super Cub if you are going to fly on days with stronger winds. This will ensure a proper direction during take-off (going straight into the wind) and avoid any possible roll-overs on the ground.
- Get Longer Flying Times
Save your cash and buy some extra batteries. Once you get going, you’re not going to want to come back down. On average, we were able to get a solid 12 minutes of flight time per battery pack!
- Come As You Are
Save the hassle of experimentation and fly with what Hobbyzone recommends, including props. What you see is what you get and it works really well for what it was designed for.