ParkZone is a brand of intermediate-level, radio controlled electric model aircraft produced and distributed by American hobby manufacturer Horizon Hobby of Champaign, Illinois, USA. The name is taken from the term park flyer, denoting a relatively small, docile model plane ostensibly capable of being flown in a park.
ParkZone was introduced in March, 2004 as a logical next step to the company's simpler HobbyZone brand of electric model aircraft. Most HobbyZone planes are three-channel, controlling throttle, rudder, and elevator. All HobbyZone aircraft, with the exception of the Aerobird Swift do not have ailerons. Most of these models were designed for first-time fliers and/or those transitioning from two-channel surface vehicles, specifically radio controlled cars and boats.
ParkZone scale aircraft are constructed of lightweight foam with a polymer outer skin and styrene plastic bracing surrounding the radio equipment inside the fuselage. The Typhoon is manufactured from a special high-density foam with no outer skin, the Stryker flying wing is of one-piece molded foam construction and the Slo-V "slow flyer" has a carbon fiber "stick" fuselage with foam wings and V-tail. The Slo-V is capable of being flown in a large indoor area.
Like their HobbyZone brethren, ParkZone aircraft are sold as a total, pre-assembled package (RTF). Everything, including batteries for the transmitter, are included. All that is necessary is the attachment of the wing and landing gear, installation of the transmitter batteries and charging of the model's battery pack. Unlike the HobbyZone models which employ Horizon Hobby's proprietary radio equipment, ParkZone aircraft can be retrofitted with standard radio control equipment from virtually any manufacturer. In addition, the radio equipment can be replaced or repaired independent of the fuselage and vice versa. A damaged fuselage or radio receiver on a HobbyZone aircraft once meant replacement of the plastic main fuselage, pre-assembled radio receiver, servos, tail boom, and electric motor. Consumer requests have led to the availability of bare fuselages in the HobbyZone line. Replacement parts for both lines of aircraft are readily available at most hobby shops, mail-order hobby suppliers and Horizon Hobby itself.
The "Super Decathlon," "P-51D Mustang" , "Spitfire", FW-190, F-27C, the aerobatic "Typhoon, Typhoon 2", Micro Cessna 210, Micro Citibria, J-3 Cub brushless, and T-28 Trojan and Micro Etomic Ember represent ParkZone's models, that feature radio equipment that can be transferred to other park flyers including delta wing and v-tail aircraft. The P-51, Spitfire, FW-190, J-3 Cub, Super Decathlon, Typhoon, and post-September 2005 F-27B Stryker also have the ability to operate on lithium polymer batteries.
US-based hobby retail chain HobbyTown USA of Lincoln, Nebraska named ParkZone as its "2005 Hobby Company of the Year."
An updated version called the "F-27B" was released in August, 2005. Though the new plane retails for a slightly higher price, the advantages are numerous:
ParkZone's newest model is that of Germany's most successful fighter of World War Two and may be used as a "dogfighting" companion to the P-51D when equipped with the "X-Port" sonic combat module. Size and specifications are similar to the P-51D, but boasts an improved battery door with a magnetic latch and improved battery compartment adjustable for both the enclosed nickel metal hydride pack and optional lithium polymer pack. This setup allows minor adjustments to the center of gravity. Like the P-51D, the Focke Wulf 190 is hand-launched and steers via ailerons only.
An interesting detail may be found on the model's fuselage. Its fully airbrushed paint scheme includes simulated engine oil stains above the wings. The prototypes had problems with oil leakage and most were stained in this same manner.
ParkZone's latest warbird is modeled after the tried and true T-28 Trojan. It was used as a pilot trainer from the 1950s-80s, some are still in use today. It was used for a variety of purposes, like pilot training, close air support, and maritime operations. The fully painted Z-Foam fuselage comes with a painted pilot figure, instrument panel, and clear canopy. It uses a 1800 MaH LiPo battery for power. It is a four channel airplane, meaning that it has throttle, rudder, elevator, and ailerons. It is an aerobatic, sport scale warbird. The radio gear includes 4 digital sub-micro servos, a 6 channel receiver, and 5 channel ZX-10 radio. The ZX10 radio is used with most HobbyZone and ParkZone airplanes. The T-28 has tricycle landing gear, which allows ROG (Rise Off Grass) take-offs and has a steerable nose wheel. It comes RTF and PNP (without radio system and battery). It comes in the Navy colors which include white and reddish orange. This makes it very visible. Amazingly, the top speed will top over 60 miles an hour cruising flat after a dive. It comes with every thing that is needed to fly, even 8 AA batteries for the transmitter. Wingspan 44 inches (1117.6 MM)
Although similar in size to the J-3 Cub, the J-3 Cub BL has a higher performance 370 size brushless motor. It costs the same as the J-3, but comes with a brushless airplane, LiPo battery pack, and an E-Flite 10 amp Pro ESC. Flight time is greatly extended on a Lithium Polymer (Li-Po) pack. The wings, fuse and tail feathers are made of "Z-Foam", a rather durable foam item. It uses the same radio system as the J-3 Cub. It takes about 20 minutes to install the radio gear. It also comes in a Plug-N-Play (PNP) version which does not come with a radio or battery. The airplane is very stable in flight, as it is meant to be a trainer for novice pilots introduced to the sport of R/C flying.
Due to release late January, the much anticipated Micro Citibria is another semi-scale airplane in ParkZones line, which has been very popular in the last couple of months. One of the cons is that the micro servos will strip very easily, which will make flying nearly impossible. The Parkzone Ember is to follow this line of micro flyers and is already released to the market. The much more anticipated Parkzone Vapor can use a Spektrum technology fitted radio system. The release is due in late June.