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|Having both the giant scale and the new E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer gives me a different perspective when evaluating the smaller Valiant. But fear not, it flies like a Valiant!
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Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 2-21-2017
My giant scale Hangar 9 Valiant quickly became a favorite because of its huge, rudder-friendly flight envelope. When I heard about the new E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer I had to take a look. If the giant Valiant flight characteristics carried over to the smaller version this could be an important airframe for those learning RC flying, improving their skills or just wanting an extremely versatile plane.
The E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer has an all up flying weight of 40oz (1135 grams) which is hung from a 53” (1350mm) wing with a surface area of 430 sq in (27.75 sq Dm) which explains the “floater” part of the flight envelope. The overall length of 38” (960mm) puts the rudder and elevator out where they can be effective without over sensitivity.
The E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer comes equipped with a 480 brushless outrunner 960 kV motor connected to a 30amp electronic speed control. Compatible batteries include 1300-3000mah, 3 cell, 11.1 volts and you need to supply those. A 11.75X8 propeller creates surprising thrust over the usable throttle range.
The E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer would be a farce without functional flaps but E-flite included appropriately-sized flaps that were set up nicely right out of the box. In fact, all of the control surfaces were set up nearly perfectly and required no tweaking before going to the field.
The formed aluminum landing gear look and perform nicely. A surprise was finding the formed wire gear pieces needed to mount the optional float set available for the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer. The more industrious of you are now contemplating building your own floats but keep in mind that E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer uses the same float set as the E-flite Super Cub LP HBZ7390 which sell for $24.99! (2-15-2017) That is well into my “cheaper to buy than to build” category.
|I always take the time to look over all of the parts (left) as I unpack a new plane. You'd be surprised at the email I get from guys who did not find the instruction manual (right) even though it was taped to the bottom of the box on their table.
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One of the things I always look at and correct when needed is the alignment of the tail feathers with the main wing. Even in an ARF this alignment can be less than perfect and will detract from the performance of the plane if not fixed.
I install the main wing using all of the fasteners that hold it in flight and then install the tail feathers. Looking from the rear of the plane you should be able to hold the fuselage at an angle that aligns the tail feathers with the top or bottom edge of the main wing. Both ends of the horizontal stabilizer should “touch” the main wing at the same time. It they do not then we have to modify the saddle where the tail feathers are mounted.
Usually this is a small adjustment that requires a layer of tape or two on the low side of the tail feather saddle. In some cases, you might be able to sand the mounting saddle but with foamy ARF’s the tape fix is easiest and does nothing permanent to the plane so it can be adjusted later as many will need “after an incident”.
The assembly of the rest of the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer went smoothly because the parts are well made and fit correctly. A lot of us “old timers” in the RC hobby copped a bad attitude when it came to ARF’s in general and foamy’s in particular. The truth of the matter is that planes like the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer make it possible for the new pilot to show up at the flying field with a good flying plane. You still need to have someone with experience to do the maiden flight and get it dialed in for you but that seldom takes more than one or two test flights and is well worth the patience needed to resist going it alone.
Note: The Safe technology certainly does help new pilots avoid the more common crashes but it does not eliminate them completely. New pilots still need the help of an experienced instructor pilot to avoid crashes and other dangerous flying that can happen by accident during the learning process.
|I always put the wing on (left) early in the process so I can check the alignment of the tail fathers (right) to the wing itself. this is a critical alignment but easy to fix if need be.
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The E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer I have is their BNF version that comes with a Spektrum™ AS3X receiver factory installed that features both gyro-type stabilization and their SAFE Select technology designed to make flying less terrifying for new pilots. What is unique is that you can turn the SAFE system off with a specific binding sequence that is clearly described in the instruction manual. This system is the same as was described in our review of the Apprentice and you can see more detail about this Safe system at the link in the Resources section at the end of this Review.
The important things to remember about this Safe system is that it dramatically limits the amount of bank and up and down angles you can establish which makes it harder to crash. Let go of the transmitter sticks and the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer returns to reasonably straight and level flight. The new pilot has to be aware that this system does nothing to prevent the plane from getting out of sight or flying nice and level into a tree or other obstruction.
All this is wonderful when first learning to fly but gets in the way just as profoundly after you get the basics of flight mastered. This is where simply re binding the radio to turn Safe system off comes in very handy. You still get the stabilization help of the core AS3X system but you have full control of the model so it can do loops and rolls. Both of these maneuvers are at the core of aerobatic flying of which the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer is fully capable. You can learn to fly and learn the basics of aerobatics with the same plane which is the best money-saving concept in RC flying.
The last part of getting any ARF ready to fly is making sure the control surfaces are moving correctly in terms of direction and the amount of throw. On both counts the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer was perfect out of the box. I did not have to adjust anything on the plane and would find out during the maiden flight that it really was set up nicely for flight. This is important for beginning pilots and the instructors performing the maiden flight.
The CG is adjusted using battery position. There is some room for moving the battery forward or rearward but I found that the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer was very close to the recommended CG point with the battery roughly centered in the space provided. During the initial flights, I experimented with moving the battery forward and backward a ½” but could feel no change in how the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer flew. This makes the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer even more beginner friendly.
|The most aggravating thing about the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer is the very short Y-cords (left) that connect the wing to the fuselage. They need to be 4 to 6 inches longer to make installing the wing easier by one person. I always check the linkages (right) but on the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer they were all secure and adjusted perfectly.
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When I first saw the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer I wondered if I would fly like its big brother, the Hangar 9 Valiant. It turns out that the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer really does match the flight envelope of its giant scale sister. Certainly, the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer struggles in less wind than the bigger version but that really is the only downside of its flight envelope.
The E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer loves the rudder in much the same way as does its big sister the Hangar 9 Valiant. What surprised me most about the rudder on the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer is that it has the same limited sensitivities as the bigger version. The only time I felt like the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer was nearing instability was with full rudder application. In all other rudder situations, a bit of counter control with ailerons keeps the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer surprisingly stable.
Adding full flaps means you are going up quickly at anything above a fast idle. I am still playing with how much down elevator to add to full flaps but can say it is more than I have used in the past. That said, the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer remains very stable and easy to fly with full flaps when the speed is kept down. On landing, throttle management is key to keeping it level as the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer slows and sinks to the runway.
Take-off’s do not require any flaps at all unless you want to show off the near vertical capability of the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer. In that case, be ready to push in a bunch of down elevator or the plane will come over onto its back if you continue at full throttle.
On maiden day, we had some moderate winds that included some heavier gusts over 100 feet or so. The E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer handles wind well with the expected amounts of bounce and drift that is common to such a light plane. It is very controllable though and with full flaps flies well at surprisingly low speeds.
I was using 3S, 2200mAh battery packs and never felt that the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer lacked power. I set the timer to 8 minutes with the countdown active over 15% throttle and was seeing around 40% of the battery capacity remaining after the flights. Your time will vary depending on how much throttle you use throughout the flight.
The E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park proved to be a pleasure to fly. The flying characteristics are remarkably similar to its giant scale counterpart, the Hangar 9 Valiant and that is a very good thing. Despite its size the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer flies with the feel of a much larger plane. It also loves the rudder but has no bad habits if you can stay just slightly on the sane side of full deflection.
The factory installed flap system is highly effective and predictable. Here again, the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer can serve as a very basic flap trainer to get a new pilot accustomed to how flaps impact a planes characteristics. For a pilot with more skills the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer is a great choice for learning how to apply rudder in a huge range of situations.
The E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer is surprisingly docile with the power reduced and would make a great trainer plane that has plenty of aerobatic chops for when the student gains skills and wants to do more than fly in circles. Because of the slow speed stability, the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer would be great on small fields.
With a street price of just $199.99 (2-21-2017) the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer may be one of the best deals out there. Add a decent battery and your transmitter and the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer is ready to go. It does not need any upgrades to gain performance or in-flight capabilities. It’s all right there in the box!
Visit the E-flite Valiant 1.3m Park Flyer web page – Click Here
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