belly flopper


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 Aircraft Construction

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.

Replacement Parts

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."

Current model lineup

"Slo-V" slow-flyer

This model is the least expensive in the lineup and one of its most popular. The Slo-V has proven itself to be a popular choice not only among fans of slow-flying aircraft but among indoor flying fans as well. A purely functional flying machine that does not represent any full-scale aircraft, performance can be increased with the use of a seven-cell battery pack like those used in the J-3 Cub and Super Decathlon.

  • Wingspan: 46 in (1170 mm)

J-3 Cub

This is a faithful scale rendition of the full scale 1930 Taylor Brothers light aircraft, so much so that the Cub's flight characteristics are nearly identical to the prototype despite its lack of ailerons. Enterprising modelers have found this to be a popular subject for modification. Such modifications usually entail a more powerful motor, more aggressive propeller and even conversion to four-channel control. Cruising speed is factory rated at 20 mph (32 km/h).

  • Wingspan: 37.3 in (950 mm)

Super Decathlon

Introduced soon after the J-3 and similar in overall execution, the Super Decathlon features a radio system that allows extended control surface throws (and therefore, more maneuverability) with the flip of a switch on the transmitter. Onboard electrics are nearly identical to those in the Cub and Slo-V and will accept the same hop-ups. The Super Decathlon is based on the full scale Aeronca Super Decathlon aerobatic single-engine aircraft introduced in 1977. Like the J-3, cruising speed on the Super Decathlon is rated at 20 mph (32 km/h).

  • Wingspan: 35.4 in (900 mm)

F-27 Stryker aerobatic flying wing

Fast and highly manuerverable right out of the box, the F-27 Stryker is extremely responsive to aftermarket hop-ups. Many modelers purchase only the replacement parts for the airframe and install their own electronics. The result is a park flyer capable of speeds of up to 100 mph (160 km/h). By comparison, a stock Stryker is capable of upwards of 50 mph (80 km/h).

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:

  • One-piece "Z-foam" wing which is stiffer and truer than the original wing
  • Three-cell, 2100mAh lithium-polymer compatibility
  • Optional propeller of the proper size and pitch for lithium-polymer operation
  • Vented electronics compartment
  • Improved, heavy-duty elevon hinges
  • Wingspan: 37.5 in (950 mm)

P-51D Mustang

Modeled after the most successful fighter of World War Two, the P-51D, like the J-3 before it, exhibits the flying characteristics of its full sized counterpart and the most scale detail of any model in the lineup. The airbrushed paint scheme complete with "invasion" stripes are factory applied as are the decals. The scheme itself is patterned after a full-sized P-51D nicknamed "Ferocious Frankie." The prototype, serial number 44-13704 which was once flown by Lt. Col. Wallace E. Hopkins, 374th Fighter Squadron, is on display at the Old Flying Machine Company air museum in Duxford, Cambridgeshire and is maintained in flying condition. A "Ferocious Frankie" replica is on static display at Warner Robins AFB, but the model more closely resembles the original. It's also proven to be the single most popular model, with ready-to-fly versions often on back order. An almost ready-to-fly version less electronics is being test-marketed in Australia at a cost of AU$99. In order for the P-51 to perform full aerobatics with only three channels, the model steers and rolls via ailerons and elevator. The rudder is fixed in place. To keep the aerodynamics true to scale - and possibly to help keep the final cost down - the P-51D is a "belly flopper," that is, lacking the retractable landing gear under the wing of the full-scale prototype. Speed is factory rated at more than 40 mph (64 km/h) with the stock nickel metal hydride onboard battery pack.

  • Wingspan: 39.5 in (1000 mm)

Typhoon 2 3D four-channel aerobatic sport plane

This model is ParkZone's second foray into the world of fully aerobatic models, following the original Typhoon. It features a geared brushless motor system and the aforementioned lithium polymer power capability, as well as fully digital servos. The Typhoon has the advantages of industry-standard three-wire servo connections and 72 MHz radio operation. A "plug and play" (PnP) version is now available less radio equipment, battery and charger.

  • Wingspan: 39.5 in (1000 mm)

Focke-Wulf Fw 190

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.

  • Wingspan: 39.5 in (1000 mm)

ParkZone T-28 Trojan

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)

ParkZone J-3 Cub Brushless

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.

ParkZone Micro Citibria.

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.

ParkZone F4U Corsair

Availible now, The Corsair is the next plane in Parkzone's line of "warbirds". The Corsair has much in common with the T-28, including the same brushless outrunner motor, Lipo battery, and balancing charger, however it has an upraded 30 amp esc and a Spektrum DX5 2.4 GHz transmitter. It will be available in both RTF and PNP form. The F4U was first shown at SEFF, but was not officially announced until later.

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