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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Typhoon 2 3D RTF Flight Review

The Parkzone Typhoon 2 is an excellent 3D trainer. 
...which is probably why they stopped making it. Seriously, I'm not sure why Parkzone stopped Typhoon production.  Ok, it is a little funny looking, but this plane is a lot of fun and flies a lot better than most foamies.  Fortunately, you can still buy one, its just a bit more work to assemble from parts:

Typhoon Build-Up
Landing Gear
Control Horns
Wing set
Horizontal Tail
Motor* 480/.10
30 Amp ESC
+ motor
*$20 more for stock power system
The plane used to ship as an FM bird for $230, so it's quite a bargain today.  Here is the official parts supply website, but other online sources are easy to find and may offer a substantial discount:
(select "Parts & Assessories" then "Parts Listing" then "See All")

On the Ground:

The circular flare over the firewall is perfect 
to accommodate the Trojan/Corsair  mount.
I decided to use an old Trojan 480 motor that I had pulled out in favor of a .10, long ago.  If you also screw the Trojan's nylon engine mount to the Typhoon's plastic firewall, it is a form-fit PNP motor replacement.  Even the cowling appears to have been designed for a 480 sitting on the Parkzone Trojan/Corsair mount, as it flares to accommodate the circular overlap of the mount on the firewall.  The overall length is also a perfect fit.

A Super Tiger .10 would yield more thrust and 1.3 oz less weight in the nose, but would require 4 x .75 inch spacers around 1" bolts, which gives back 0.3 oz and isn't quite as convenient.  If you use the extra thrust it would eat the battery faster, but only on the margin - at the same power setting the low mass design should be a little bit more power efficient.

The Typhoon used to ship with a small brushless motor matched to a reduction gear spinning a large 13.5 x 7 Slo Fly prop for 3D and a 12 x 9 for aerobatics, both at relative low RPM. The 480 is a higher RPM solution, so an 12 x 3.8 Slo Fly is a nice match, and allows a 60-70% throttle hover.

The Parkzone 480 motor is a perfect match for the original 2025 brushless geared Typhoon motor, from weight and power perspective.  The only real difference in the air is the direct drive 480 is a little more responsive and battery efficient.  Total weight in the nose is exactly the same.

In the air, the Typhoon is a ton of fun.  With the control throws knocked down, it is very docile and stays where you put it.  A disciplined intermediate flyer could handle it.  Although it can be flown very mildly, the tail tends to droop at less than half power, and it is not self-righting in any way so beginners should steer clear.

For those looking to improve their aerobatic skills, the Typhoon is very symmetric in the air.  Knife-edge flight is largely uncoupled, but the alignment of the large SFGs can be a source of error. Inverted level flight only demands very slight down-elevator.  The heavy motor is probably the reason for that, the Super Tigre .10 would provide better balance.  Even with the weighty Parkzone 480, the CG is pretty far back compared to mere mortal airplanes, 35% of the mean chord-line or so.

With throws pumped up, the plane's light Wing Loading makes it a rather extreme aerobat and an excellent floater.  The Typhoon has no problem changing direction in an instant.  Walls are well done.  Power on tumbles can maintain altitude in a variety of ways.  Knife edge loops can be pretty tight.

The only real downside to the Typhoon experience is foam imprecision.  The airframe is far from stiff, and as a result, not super precise.  The SFGs in particular seem to bend in the air inducing minor random twists and turns.  The slower the airspeed, the better the plane behaves.  The plane hovers well for its size, but could use the lighter motor to help disarm nose fall off.

Overall, I give the Typhoon high marks for delivering a reasonably high performance 3D experience at an ok price.  Component quality is pretty good too, with entry level digital metal gear servos and an 30 Amp ESC included in the basic package.  It is no wonder Parkzone stopped making it, why sell decent components when they can sell junk in a flashier package?

Appearance: C-
Hmmmm... I've grown to kind of like it.

Airframe: B+
High performance package marred by foam flex.  Floats great.

Power System: B-
The geared brushless works ok.  Add direct drive for responsiveness.

Build Quality/Durability: B+
Strong and survivable for learning.  Decent stock servos.

Value:  B+
Still a little pricey to build up.  Good performance:price ratio

Overall Grade:  B+
The Typhoon is always fun to fly.  What else matters?

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