Parkzone F4U Corsair
Pilot Skill: Intermediate
Power: E-flite Brushless 450
Wingspan: 44 in.
Kit Includes: Foam kit, installed electronics, speed control, LiPo battery
With the park flier market appearing to bust at the seams as of late, Control Chat wanted to get our hands on the latest addition to the Horizon Hobby family. In the past, we haven’t been impressed with any releases of a park flier F4U, so we were skeptical when another version came to the market. Well, consider us impressed with the Parkzone F4U Corsair. One, with the packaging of the kit. You could throw the entire box into the air, watch it come back down, and it wouldn’t damage much inside. And two, the quality of the aircraft is supreme for a foam flier. Parkzone did a great job; at first glance.
Setting our excitement aside we began inspecting the F4U Corsair. We purposely scrutinized the kit and looked for glaring flaws or errors. Fortunately, we only found two very minor items:
- Use caution when pulling all the tape from the packaging. We accidentally had some tape stick to a wing edge and it ripped off some paint.
- Don’t get hasty when pulling the body out of the foam packing. We noticed how tight the nose and spinner were set in the foam packing. It’s tight and you’ll have to work the body out slowly to avoid damaging anything.
We opted for the Plug-And-Play kit since we already had a radio. We found assembly will take any person of any skill level well under 30 minutes to realize a completed model. We also agreed that Parkzone did right by the hobbyist in including a functional 3-blade propeller. This bumped up the scale realism a solid notch in our book. Included in the kit(s) are optional wing skids if you decide not to use the landing gear and opt for a hand launch. Granted this makes for a truly scale appearance in flight, but Control Chat decided to keep with the landing gear and avoid damage to the belly.
We also wanted to fly this bird how it was meant to be flown; from a novice stand point of view. Quick side note regarding the skids: While they are light and flexible, the tape included in the kit to adhere them to the wing is not so good. We recommend removing the double-backed tape and using clear silicone to adhere the skids. With the amount of impact that these skids will see, the tape will loosen over time whereas the silicon will certainly keep things in place. Also if you want to remove the skids in the future you can do so with no damage to the under carriage of the Corsair as silicone peels off nice and clean from the foam body.
As stated, we bought the Plug-And-Play version which requires a radio, LiPo battery, and a receiver. Control Chat uses a Spektrum DX7 radio, so naturally we went with a Spektrum DSM2 AR6200 6-Channel UltraLite receiver (as we had one laying around). Overkill? Yes. Any normal park flier receiver* will do unless you plan on flying to the Pacific to relive the battles of WWII. As for the battery, we went with the trusty Parkzone LiPo 1800mAh that would normally come with a Ready-To-Fly kit.
(*Note to the newbie: There are different types of receivers available for digital radios like the DX7. With the popularity of park fliers like the F4U Corsair, manufacturers have developed smaller & lighter digital receivers which have a limited range (usually only up to 1500 feet). We installed a full range receiver, usually found on glow powered aircraft.)
The maiden flight took place on a sunny day with a light breeze out of the west around 11mph. Checking all of our electronics, we were good to roll. As we tried to “roll out” we failed and found that a slow taxi in taller grass becomes an issue due to how close the landing gear is located to the aircraft’s Center of Gravity (CG). We ended nose down & tail up on the runway. No damage was done as we were trying to show off the new bird with a slow taxi, but ‘cruising the strip’ in rough grass is not recommended unless you enjoy “butt up” embarrassment!
Because the CG is located so close to the landing gear, when you are ready for take off you’ll have to juice up the power right away to get out of a standing rut (Don’t gun it! Just add a little more power). By doing this we found the airplane avoided lurching forward and going over onto the propeller(see our pics). Essentially you need to plow through taller grass to keep it from sticking to the ground since it is so light. Of course if you are taking off from tarmac, this is a non-issue.
Giving it power, getting moving, and then adding slight up elevator, we were airborne in a matter of 15 feet and tracking straight.
After a good 75 foot climb we clicked a bit of trim to the elevator, turned the Corsair around, and did a fly-by on the front line. Insert a lot of turning heads. We expected some interest, but not what happened. Some of the more common phrases were, “…that’s a park flier?!’ or, “Wow, that thing really screams by!”. And scream we did -for a foam park airplane. The F4U Corsair is way more agile then its cousin, the Parkzone T-28 Trojan, and can bank almost too fast for its own good. We realized it was a good idea keeping the plastic gear doors on for the first few flights (for drag; see Additional Notes) because it took us a while to get use to how it behaves.
The Corsair performs very well in full-throttle straightaways and can pull tight banks in high or lower air speeds. We were even lucky enough on this day to have the chance to take on a T-28 in a head-to-head race! Unfortunately we lost by a nose, but this showed us that the Corsair is quite comparable in speed to its T-28 cousin.
For handling, we find that the F4U Corsair outperforms the T-28 by leaps and bounds. Its agility in the air is surprising for a foam warbird. And when it comes to inverted flight, we think the famous Gull Wing contours make it “float” versus cutting through the air like a straight wing airplane. It’s not a bad thing. It just gives it a very unique flavor for inverted flight. And as for aerobatics, the Corsair will give you a bit of trouble with a knife edge but come on, it’s a Corsair for crayon’ out loud! It’s not meant to do serious 3D aerobatics. It’s a war time dog fighter and as such it maneuvers just like one.
In our opinion Parkzone hit a home run with the F4U Corsair. It is a solid kit for an advancing beginner seeking a fun low wing warbird park flier. We handed off the controls to a fellow radio hobbyist and their comment was that this, “…is a great bird for someone in the market seeking a budget-friendly flier.” And we tend to agree. The F4U is easy to assemble, solidly build, has great scale looks, and in the end what you end up with is a true WWII fighter ready to dive bomb the local park gophers!
Recommended Parts & Accessories
- 3-Blade Propeller
Pulling it directly from the box, we found the 3-blade Corsair prop was not balanced at all. On our first start up with the 3-blade prop the entire plane began to vibrate horribly! So we took the prop back to our shop and found it was completely off balance. A word of caution to check the balance of the included 3-blade propeller. We recommend the Top Flight Power Point Balancer if you don’t have a prop balancer in your workshop. We think it’s the most accurate & cheapest balancer out there.
- 3-Blade vs. 2-Blade
We did see a slight performance increase (in speed) when using the 2-blade propeller versus the 3-blade propeller, but not so much that it was noteworthy to mention. We could do more testing but the bottom line is that this is a foam airplane, not a Reno Racer. So extensive prop testing and comparisons seemed overkill for us. Besides, we thought the 3-blade gave us more then enough airspeed to perform just fine.
- Plastic Landing Gear Doors
We recommend keeping these on if you’ve never flown this type of airplane before. The gear doors add necessary drag allowing you to get comfortable with how the Corsair behaves. But once you’re comfortable and looking to gain extra speed, take off the gear doors and you’ll notice an increase in airspeed right away.