I was recently sent an e-mail with an article request. The gentleman who contacted me requested a comparison between the 48″ Precision Aerobatics Extra 260, 47″ 3D Hobby Shop Extra 300 SHP, and 48″ 3D Hobby Shop Velox VR-1.
All three of these airplanes are extremely capable. They all can perform anything from pattern, to harrier flight, to extreme 3D. However, they all fly completely different and call for a different level of skill behind the sticks.
The Precision Aerobatics Extra 260 has a wingspan of 48 inches, and is the lightest in this 48″ balsa wood class. PA uses their “Fiber Fusion” design to add strength, and keep the weight down. This is accomplished by using light wood along with strong composite and carbon fibre material to add strength.
The PA Extra is the mildest and easiest to fly of the three in my opinion. The roll rate is less than the 3DHS planes, and the plane is also much lighter making for a wing loading of about 10 as stated in the manual. But, because of this lightness, the 260 does not perform as well in wind as the 3DHS planes; so if you live in an area where high winds are a constant, the 260 is probably not the best choice for you.
As a result of the lighter wing loading and reduced roll rate, the PA 260 is the most docile of the trio. I find the slower roll rate of the 260 a bonus because it makes rolling harriers much easier. Also, the lightness of the plane means that wherever you are in the air, if you have a little throttle going when you give control input, the input is immediate and precise.
The PA 260 is a very durable airplane, but not bulletproof. Since the 260 is the lightest of the three, it has less mass and therefore less momentum when it hits the dirt. The 260 can withstand minor incedents quite well, and can absorb tough landings. However, the wheelpants are rather flimsy and may be the first things to go. The separately sold carbon fibre wheel pants are both stylish, and stronger than the fiberglass ones. Replacement parts are available on the PA website.
The 3D Hobby Shop Extra 300 SHP requires a step up in skill from the PA 260 as it is heavier and more capable. The SHP has a faster roll rate, and can tumble harder than the PA 260. I have found that in harrier flight the SHP excels, as well as in KE flight and other extreme 3D maneuvers. But since the SHP weighs more and has a higher wing loading than the PA, thought must be put into how you are going to exit a maneuver. It still pulls out quickly, but if you aren’t giving it your full attention, things could get messy.
The SHP is a durable plane, but yet again, not bullet proof. I have found the landing gear mount to be extremely strong; also the landing gear itself is very strong, however if you really screw up a landing, the CF gear will require repair or replacement. The SHP is also very easy to repair as pretty much every part is sold separately on the 3DHS website. I completely destroyed the nose of the plane in a terrible wreck, but was able to repair it thanks to the complete motor box assembly sold separately.
The 3D Hobby Shop Velox VR-1 is definately my favorite of the three. This plane is completely stable and easy in harrier, yet extremely nimble and aerobatic when you mash the sticks in the corners. I have only flown a select few planes that have this combination of flight characteristics blended together so well. Of course, because of this extreme maneuverability, the Velox requires an upper intermidiate to advanced pilot to have complete control and confidence with this plane at all times.
The Velox will do anything you ask it. Slow rolls, big loops, harriers, inverted harriers, rolling harriers, rolling loops, high speed KE, high alpha KE, KE loops, enemas (pop-tops), KE spins, flat spins, and many other extreme, high G load maneuvers. It also handles the wind extremely well. I’ve flown my Velox and had fun in thirty mph winds; no exaggeration.
In Conclusion, the Velox is my favorite of these three planes. It is both extremely solid in the air, handles the wind well, and is capable of anything thrown its way. The PA 260 is the easiest to fly, yet still capable of most 3D maneuvers. The PA is also probably the most durable because it is so light, and therefore doesn’t have as much momentum when it hits the ground as the others do. The 3DHS SHP is kind of the middle child of the group; good at most everything, easy to fly, yet more nimble than the PA.