ParkZone P-51D BL BNF Mustang
This is my personal 'user review' of the ParkZone P-51D BL BNF Mustang, an updated version of ParkZone's hugely popular electric RTF warbird.
The abbreviation 'BNF' stands for Bind-N-Fly, a registered trademark name for a range of ParkZone electric rc airplanes that are sold in Ready To Fly form but are equipped with a DSM2 technology receiver and have no transmitter. This means that you use your own DSM2 / DSMX compatible Tx (such as the Spektrum DX5e, DX6i, DX7 etc.) but everything else is supplied, including the motor battery pack.
The binding of your Tx to the plane's Rx takes just a few seconds, and then you're good to go!
The ParkZone P-51D BL BNF is almost identical in size to its brushed motor predecessor save for a few less millimeters in wingspan and overall length, and a few ounces lighter in weight. The most obvious change, as far as external appearance goes, is that the P-51D BL is finished in the colour scheme of the 'Gunfighter' Mustang, one of a handful of original P-51D's still flying today.
The 'BL' in the name identifies the airplane as having a brushless motor, the 480-size 960Kv brushless outrunner to be exact. This motor, combined with the 3S (11.1V) 1300mAh li-po battery pack and 18A ESC gives the plane sufficient park flying power and certainly no need for an upgrade.
Quick assembly of the P-51D BL BNF
My Mustang arrived from overseas and I was pleasantly relieved to see that it had survived its trip unscathed. As with all ParkZone airplanes the packaging is excellent and despite some tearing of the outer cardboard packaging en route, the plane itself was perfect, and cosily wrapped in its polystyrene protection.
Exactly what's included in the box is shown below...
As always, the first thing to do was familiarise myself with the plane by going through the instruction booklet. This didn't take long, as being an RTF-based airplane there's not a great deal to do!
The biggest head-scratcher of the whole job of putting the P-51D BL BNF together was whether or not to opt for the extra rudder function. ParkZone have done a great job here, the fin has been made in such a way that the rudder can be made operational with some careful slicing of the foam, and there's even a pre-cut servo hole ready to accept a mini/micro size servo to give the 4th channel function.
After a couple of minutes weighing up the pros and cons, I decided to make my P-51D BL the four channel option with rudder as opposed to the three channel one without. The fact that I had a few Tower Pro 9 gram servos kicking about, and so I didn't have to buy one, helped with the decision.
With a careful re-read of Step 14 of the booklet, I set about attacking the Mustang with my sharpest blade. Making the rudder operational was a very simple process, and the pre-cut servo hole and supplied linkages meant that the whole job took under 5 minutes. A quick and easy task for having a 4 channel plane instead of a 3 channel one. And such is the ParkZone thought process, that amazingly I didn't even have to adjust the linkages to get neutral rudder with neutral trim. Impressive, or maybe just lucky?
Above left: the blue servo is the optional rudder one. Right, the rudder cut and linked up.
With the rudder conversion complete, there was nothing much to do other than attach the wing (two rear locating pegs and a front bolt), slide the tail plane in place and fix it with the supplied tape and install the 1300mAh 3S Li-Po motor battery pack, then test the CG.
This final procedure was quickly done as per the instruction manual; ParkZone have marked the P-51D's Centre of Gravity with two oval wing panels on the top surface of the wing. To check the Mustang's balance, turn it upside down and place a fingertip on each oval. With the battery pack in position, the plane hung exactly as it should and needing no adjustment whatsoever. I wonder, then, how would the CG be if the rudder was left alone??
Incidentally, access to the radio gear and battery pack area is excellent; the removable cockpit section of the Mustang is held in place with two locating pins at the front end and a powerful magnet at the rear. No fiddling with screws or straps, and instant access guaranteed - well done ParkZone!
Flying the ParkZone P-51D BL BNF
Having set the control surface throws to the recommended amounts, and thoroughly tested and checked everything, it was off to the field.
The lack of landing gear means that a hand launch is the only option for this warbird, and I always find hand launching a low wing plane a little awkward. But I needn't have worried because with the brushless outrunner at full power, the plane was practically pulling itself out of my hand.
Actually what surprised me most was the silence of the motor, even at full power. By the time the plane was just 50 feet away I could barely hear it, and all that I could hear was a very pleasant hum.
One word of warning about the hand launch. The torque from the motor does result in some adverse roll, or torque roll as it's commonly known, to the left. If you're not expecting it, it can catch you out so be prepared to correct it quickly with some right aileron immediately after launch. Alternatively, launch at about 75% power and this will reduce the roll significantly. Increase to 100% after launch, and climb out.
The flight characteristics of the P-51D BL are superb, and it's definitely worth going for the 4th channel option to make this plane a complete beauty to have some fun with. Rolls are smooth and precise with aileron, and the stall I found to be practically non-existent.
As yet I haven't made my own video of flying the ParkZone P-51D BL BNF, so here's the official Horizon Hobby one until I do...
ParkZone P-51D BL BNF specs & features
- Wingspan: 39.0 in (990mm)
- Overall Length: 33.5 in (850mm)
- Flying Weight: 25.0 Oz (710 g)
- Motor: 480 size 960kV brushless outrunner
- Battery: 1300mAh 11.1V (3S) Li-Po
- ESC: 18A brushless
- Rx: AR500 5ch. sport receiver
- Servos: 3x PKZ1081 SV80 (one per aileron plus elevator)
- Durable lightweight Z-foam™ construction
In summary: the ParkZone P-51D BL BNF is, in my opinion, an excellent little electric park flyer with superb flight performance both in terms of power, duration and smoothness. The included 1300mAh motor battery pack gives flight times of around 10 minutes with careful flying, and the low noise level of this warbird makes it a perfect plane for flying in public areas.
For intermediate pilots looking for some out-the-box fun, I can highly recommend this electric rc plane!