Flyzone Sensei Trainer EP Rx-R  Review

Review by Shawn Kammerzell

Equipment Used:

Factory-installed 30-22-1350kV motor 30A ESC & servos

Flyzone 3s 2100mAh battery

Tactic TR 624 SLT Receiver

Tactic TTX-650 Transmitter

Pros:

- Easy to Assemble

- Drop Door/Bomb bay

- Stable

- Tricycle landing gear

- Forgiving stall characteristics

- Large enough to handle some wind

Cons:

- SuperTigre connector on ESC

- A little tail heavy out of the box.

- Short lead on ESC, makes it hard to change battery connector

- No access to ESC or Motor without damaging model.

- Flyzone branded batteries are ludicrously expensive

- Needs an adapter to be able to use affordable batteries, or do some soldering close to foam

Summary:

I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for the high-winged trainer cessna/cub variety of models. I’ve flown the wings off several foam-core builds and crashed the wings off even more. I wish there was a way to practically carry my Funcub in the truck at all times. When my wife and daughter started expressing interest in learning to fly, I immediately thought of the Sensei.

 

I bought the Transmitter ready version to fly with a Tactic TTX-650. It came with a Flyzone 3s 2100mah battery, charger, and receiver, the servos are all pre-installed. I picked it up at a local Hobby Shop for about $220. The foam is immaculate, smooth, strong and fairly resilient to hangar rash. Assembly is quick. Install the tail feathers with a screw, and slide the wings on the support tubes, connect the aileron y-harness, and connect it to the receiver. Put the wings on the fuselage and secure them with two nylon bolts. Bind your radio, and off you go. It took a lot longer to charge the battery than it did to assemble.

 

The charger included is a nice touch, especially if you don’t have anything else. I cut off the SuperTigre connector and switched the battery connector to an xt60. The left over discharge lead on the battery was then converted to an adapter for xt60. I’Il usually switch out the lead on the esc, not liking to use an adapter, but the lead from the ESC is too short for me to feel comfortable soldering, especially that close to foam. and plastic Unfortunately the ESC is not easily removed, without cutting or prying into the plane, the cowl is glued on and would require cutting/prying. Who wants to dent a new plane before it’s even maidened?  The battery hatch is a plastic piece that clicks into place, and could be easily misplaced. The battery compartment will fit a 3s 2100 or 2200mah comfortably, and doesn’t give any wiggle room for cg adjustments.  The stock setup has cg indicator stickers in the correct location in my example. While it balances level with the stock battery, I think the placement is chosen to make it favor slightly tail-heavy.

I didn’t bother setting up dual rates, or adjusting the throws. Instead I just dialed up a little more expo to soften the sticks in the middle, but I have the full throws if I need them in an instant, it’s worked very well.

 

In flight it is super smooth, and docile. Put it on the ground, feed it some throttle, and up it goes. It’s not going to win any pylon races, and don’t expect anything along the line of snappy rolls. My comfort level with inverted flight is non-existent so I didn’t attempt that. Just a few lazy loops, and some docile, scale cruising. When you give it the beans, the nose pitches up, and the plane climbs, which makes me want to add some weight to the nose, this was not surprising, and is mentioned in the manual. You may need to add a few grams of weight, and recommendations are given as to where this weight should be placed.  When you want to land, point it into the wind, cut the throttle, and it pretty much establishes a very shallow glide-slope, and greases the landings. The Sensei is as docile with the wheels on the ground as it is in the air. I enjoy taxiing almost as much as flight, not really, but it is fun to pretend you have an RC car for a few minutes.

 

The drop door is a bit of fun. I’ve dropped paper whirly birds, and ping pong balls. The mechanism to work the drop door does have a tendency to catch on things with strings or loose parts.  All that said, this plane can be fairly dull for anybody with experience. It is a trainer, and eventually a pilot is going to outgrow this bird. But the forgiving aspects of its flight can teach a multitude of skills from scale turns with rudder, to a bit of bank-and-yank action. Not worrying as much about getting the plane down in one piece has made me learn to love landing, and practice putting the bird down where I want it to go, just be prepared for a long roll-out, and a longish approach. While the wheels are larger, you do need a decent surface to take off from, grass isn’t that surface. It will land on grass with a very abrupt stop, though I haven’t had it nose-over.  While this version doesn’t include any electronic stabilization, I don’t look at that as a minus, It is a stable bird, and really doesn’t need it. Once my wife and daughter have logged a few hours on a sim, this is the perfect buddy-box candidate. As a trainer, it does check all the boxes, with only a few annoyances that a hobbyist can easily overcome. If you’ve already got 4-channel control down, maybe look into something else that provides more consistent enjoyment.