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Parkzone Radian Review by Steve Stohr PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Stohr   
Sunday, 06 September 2009 13:21

Parkzone Radian PNP review

 

Parkzone Radian basking in the sun

 

 In the summer of 09, I was the lucky recipient of a couple of Parkzone Radians.  The airplanes I received courtesy of Horizon Hobbies, were the PNP version.  The Radian is available in three versions:  PNP is the least expensive, and requires a Lipo battery and receiver to complete, the BNF is the next step up, and includes a spectrum 2.4ghz AR500 receiver, and requires a seperate Lipo battery to complete, and at the top of the heap is the RTF version, which come with a Spectrum DX5e transmitter, AR500 receiver, 1350ma Lipo, and charger.  It is complete, right out of the box!  Power for all versions is provided by a 480 sized brushless moter, turning a 9.75 x 7.5 inch folding prop.  All versions also include an E-Flight 30amp ESC unit, all prewired.  The wingspan is 78 inches (two meters) and the entire airframe is built out of a very robust flexable foam, that Parkzone calls Z foam.  It is a three channel glider, with rudder, elevator, and throttle controls.  All three versions come with micro servos, and pushrods installed.

 

Steve with his Parkzone Radian

 

 Assembly of the Radian is really straight forward, you simply open the box.  Install a receiver (if you have the PNP version).   The removable two piece wing slides onto a fiberglass tube, and inserts into a slot in the fuselage.  The horizontal stab is removable, you simply slide it into place, attach the pushrod (more on this step later!) and secure with tape.  You are now ready to insert a charged flight battery, and get the bird in the air.

The shipping box doubles as a carrying box for your Radian.  The Radian breaks down easly to fit safely in its box for trips to and from the flying field!

Flying the Radian has been a real treat for me.  My first flight started with a hand glide to check the trims, and I powered it up before it hit the ground and climbed briskly to thermal hunting altitude.  I landed an hour and 15 minutes later, and the best part? It wasn't even a fully charged battery pack when I launched!

 

Radian Taking Flight!
 

 

The rudder has enough authority when under power, to enable you to do rudder rolls with the airplane, and when flying with the power off, it still has plenty of response to keep the Radian agile enough to work even small, low altitude bubbles of lift.  The elevator has plenty of authority also, and the Radian is capable of most simple aerobatics, it will roll and loop with ease, and it flies quite nicely inverted.  It signals lift very nicely, with a lift of a wingtip, or tail when flying through lift, and a noticable increase of speed when in positive air.  It will slow down and turn tightly when working a thermal, without dropping a wing if you stall the airplane.  Power off stalls are docile and straight ahead.  

The 480 with the stock prop installed, will pull the Radian almost vertically.  Sustained climbs of 75 degrees or so are common.  30 seconds of motor run will put the Radian at just about the limit of most pilots vision.  If this is not enough performance, guys have been upgrading the props to a 10x7 or 10x8 folding prop by Aeronaut, and you then end up with true unlimited vertical performance.  You can still run the stock battery and ESC combo with this prop setup.

I keep my Radian in my truck at almost all times, and often fly it on my lunch hour at work.  I also keep it handy when I'm at the flying field, and I have given quite a few different people turns on the sticks when they have shown interest in the airplanes.  Flights of an hour or more, with a fully charge battery pack are very easy!

One thing I have done this Radian to help enhance its visability, is I painted the bottoms of the wings with a dark color, and some bright orange, to help it show up against cloudy skies.  With the wing painted a dark color, it shows up much better under almost any conditions.  You can paint the Z-foam with regular cheap old Krylon paint from Wal-mart, just dust on a couple of light coats, and your done, with very little weight gain.

 


 

 Speaking of the Z-foam, it is very durable.  I have flown my Radian very hard, and the wings will flex and groan a bit, but they take it very well.  My Radian also suffered a fairly high energy crash while in the hands of a student flyer once, and all I had to do is replace the plastic canopy.  It is a very durable airframe, and if you do break it, a little gorrilla glue will have it back together in no time!

 

 

 

 

Downfalls to the Radian, there are three that I have noted, and they are all fairly easy to correct...One, is the connector for the elevator that I mentioned above.  Its an aluminum thumb screw, and it can fail.  I would recommend replacing it with a Dubro connector.  It will take just a minute, and will get rid of what I consider to be the weakest link in the Radian.

The second problem, is also with the removable stab.  You will find that you need to check the stab trim at the beggining of every flying session.  What I do, is start the first flight of every flying session with a power off test glide, and if the trim is good, I power up and continue the flight.

The final problem, has been mostly resolved by Parkzone.  Early production Radians had a reputation for shedding a blade when you powered them up.  Parkzone has since redesigned the prop blades, and the problem has seemed to go away.  You can identify the revised prop blades, by the part number molded into the blades...  if it ends in "_1", you are good to go.  If you have a Radian with the original prop blades, Horizon will send you an upgraded set for free if you contact their customer service department.  

 Resources:

Parkzone Radian page at Horizon Hobbies

Radian discussion thread on RC Groups

 

 

 

 

Last Updated ( Saturday, 13 February 2010 21:04 )