A report on the Hanger 9 P-51D Miss America available from Horizon Hobby UK through many retailers. This model will be displayed all over Northern Ireland throughout 2009 and beyond.
A Brief History of the full scale P-51 Miss America
The P-51 is a full scale aviation legend, designed by the America’s, it came into service in 1944 being used by the Allies as a bomber escort during World War 2. With the development of jet fighters the P-51 was largely converted for civilian use and mainly Air Racing. It was ideal for this as it was fast and durable and the Packard V-1650 supercharged engine (a version of the Rolls Royce Merlin Engine) it had more than enough grunt.
In 1969 an ex-USAF Mustang was repainted in honour of the USAF Thunderbirds and then named later that year as Miss America. It was then given its race number of 11 and from then on it set various records including World Speed Record from Los Angles to Washington in 6hours 21 minutes an average speed on 412mph and won races at the famous Reno Race. I believe it now resides in Oklahoma City.
The Hanger 9 Model
The P-51D Miss America is classed as a Super scale model and is highly detailed in its scale lines & aesthetes. As with all Hanger 9 kits the build & finish quality is superb, combining this with its great flying characteristics makes for a very attractive model for the scale enthustic or general modeller looking for something different.
Some specs before we start.
Wingspan – 65.50” (166.4cm)
Length – 55.75” (141.6cm)
Wing Area – 754 sq in (48.6 sq dm)
Weight – 7.0 – 8.5lb (3.2 – 3.9kg)
Radio – 5 channel
Servos – 6 servos
The kit is primarily designed for IC engines but we decided to try an electric setup. It would need something with the equlivent power of a 60 2 stroke engine, the Eflite Power 60 Brushless was the natural choice. This would require a 6 cell lipo and an 80amp speed controller, I choose the Castle Creations 85amp High Voltage Controller. For the primary controls the Spektrum DS821 servos would be used 4 in total and for the retracts we would use a single Scanner RC 9610MG as it is a higher torque servo. The 7 channel AR7000 receiver with a 6v power pack for the receiver would complete the setup.
The kit arrived in a single box and as with an all hanger 9 kits, it has a colourful top showing the model, equipment recommended and various specs. Once you open the box, all parts are individually wrapped in clear plastic to prevent damage. There are also a series of cardboard formers which separate the parts but allow a cushion, so if anything moves during transit, the parts shouldn’t be damaged.
The build was very straight forward and everything was as you have come to expect from hanger 9, with a very detailed instruction leaflet which explains every step very clearly.
The wings were completed first with the main tasks being hinging the ailerons, adding the servos which are cleverly concealed within the spars, to keep the scale appearance as good as it can practically be. The retract servo, tray and axles were also added. A single servo operates both retracts, you can see the servo arm connection in the picture below.
Even though the wing contains 3 servos and the retract units it is surprisingly light for its size. The wing cord is very thick and the Hanger 9 designers have optimized the wing area for flight characteristics but they haven’t compromised on the scale appearance, it certainly still holds its proportions very well.
The Fuselage was next and as with the wing this was very straight forward. Horizontal Stabilizer, fin, elevator, rudder, 2 servos to fix and the rear of the fuselage was complete. The large air duct on the underside of the fuselage was fitted next, due to this large area below the wing, this would further enhance the lift, things were shaping up well for a very lightly loaded airplane that promised to fly very well.
At this point the build went off track from the instructions. This was due to the installation of the electric motor instead of the IC motor. In comparison to an IC engine (such as the evolution 60) the Eflite power 60 is a lot smaller. To maintain the cowl proportions and keep everything as far forward as we could to help get the CofG correct, we had to construct a standoff motor box to push the motor forward so that the prop shaft matched that of it’s IC counterpart. You can see from the picture that this was achieved by a light-ply box glued onto the original firewall.
The final thing to do on this build was to add canopy, pilot, cowl and the various scale details such as exhausts ducts etc., We were very happy when the overall weight of the model coming out at 7.7lbs (3.5kg) which is right in the middle of the weight range, again another positive point as electric setups normally come out heavier than their glow counterparts. Some pictures of the completed model are below; we hadn’t got the spinner at that point so that’s why it’s missing.
The test flight of the P-51 took place at an old disused RAF base on a cold and windy day. We performed all the necessary checks and everything tested out fine. On performing a power check the Eflite 60 on the 15×10 was pulling very well and sounded quite well for an electric, the big pitch propeller gave it a unique yet quiet “gowl” which on this model works well as it’s full-size brother would have had the roar of a Merlin Engine, music to anyone’s ears, so the noise from the electric setup was a pleasant surprise.
We lined it up on the runway, throttled up and in the stiff breeze it was into the air within a few feet. It felt smooth and the CofG was about right. I flicked the switch and up popped the retracts, the plane quickly built speed and I could see why the full size mustang was used for racing. A few clicks of trim and it was flying nice and straight. After a few more circuits I tried some gentle aerobatics, large scale loops, rolls and wingover’s looked very realistic, the Eflite 60 offers really scale like power on the 6cell setup, there is plenty for 2 or 3 rolls on an up line, not overpowered but there is no need for it to be on this model, it’s a really pleasant amount of power. I did a few passes for the camera and as you can see from the pictures it flies well both ways up. I was really impressed with its slow speed flying especially inverted, almost 3D like. I brought it in for an approach and with the headwind it was at walking pace it sat down as gently as ever.
I had a few more flights and on a 6cell 3500mah pack I was getting around 5-6 mins before I could feel the pack drop off a little so flight times are good. The mustang is a joy to fly, very realistic and fast in the air, but yet it fly’s slow and smooth when required, a great choice for any modeller looking for a scale model with good aerobatic flight performance, it’s a plane I will have a lot of fun with. Thanks once again to Horizon Hobby for the opportunity to review and fly this model and equipment, faultless, quality equipment as always.