Hobbyträ Blue Phoenix Review
Review by Gunnar Hovmark, Staff Contributor
Transmitter: Spektrum DX5e
Receiver: Spektrum AR400 DSMX
Servos: E-Max ES9207
ESC: Hobbywing Flyfun 30A
Battery: Art-Tech 1300mAh 3S, weight 110 grams
Motor: E-Max GT 2210/13 1270kv
Propeller: APC 9x5 foldable
Pushrods: Sullivan Gold-N-Rods
- Very low sink rate, tight turn radius, excellent for catching thermals even at quite low altitude.
- A real balsa build, and a fairly quick and easy one.
- Easy to fly
- Easy to install an electric motor
The CG position on the drawing was at 80 mm from the wing leading edge. That’s way too far back if you ask me. I recommend 60-65 mm.
An enjoyable balsa build that results in a very ”thermal capable” plane.
Wing span: 1990 mm.
Weight with motor and battery: 825 grams.
The first time I saw a Blue Phoenix was around 1980, and it’s looked the same ever since. The kit contains excellent quality balsa, plywood and spruce, and all other things you need except glue, radio equipment and covering material. Personally I don’t like wooden pushrods, so I added Sullivan Gold-N-Rods. Wing ribs and fuselage panels and most other wooden parts are die-cut and fit very well. The build is straightforward. Some care is needed when you join the four wing parts together, and to get the washout at the wingtips right, but I think even a complete beginner to balsa building can handle it. All in all a traditional balsa model. Every RC pilot should try that at least once.
The Blue Phoenix is very light which means you can have a very low sink rate and get a very tight turning radius at low speed. Excellent for catching thermals. The low flying speed means that you can be quite relaxed when you fly. However, on the first few flights I had the CG at 80 mm from the leading edge as the drawing said. That made the plane very nervous in pitch, which resulted in a stall from around 1 meter altitude and a broken wing tip. With the CG forward, at around 60-65 mm, pitch control is a lot easier.
Adding a motor:
After throwing the plane off a hill a few times I wanted to go higher. Then I realized that I had nobody to run with a line for me. All the other glider guys in the club have motors on their planes, so I wanted one too. I cut off the balsa block in the nose, bolted the motor to the plywood ”firewall” that was already there, then hollowed out the balsa block and put it back over the motor. Making room for the ESC and the battery in the fuselage was easy. The plane hardly gained any weight at all, since I could remove all the balancing weights from the nose. With the motor I chose I get an almost vertical climb.
As far as I know, the Blue Phoenix is marketed only in Sweden and Denmark. If you can’t find one, then take a look at this:
I haven’t tried the Gentle Lady myself, but they seem very similar.