A micro-size aerobatic Sukhoi superstar!
By Mike Gantt
At this year’s Model Airplane News Expo, I saw the new ParkZone Sukhoi Su-26m BNF flying around indoors and was intrigued. It was so small, and yet performed a fully aerobatic routine and did it very well. With a wingspan of a mere 15 3/4 inches (or 400mm) and a flying weight of only 1.1 ounces (34 grams), this plane looked like a blast, and well, I had to have one. This mini Sukhoi is made from EPS foam and molded into a gorgeous shape with a painted canopy and all decals applied. All electronics are preinstalled, so no guesswork there. A receiver/ESC/actuator package is all linked up and ready for flight. If you decide to use it, the landing gear simply presses in, and there is an extra prop in the event of a strike. A mini 1-cell 110mAh LiPo pack, a charger for the LiPo pack and 4 AA batteries for the charger are also included in the well-made “suitcase” (as I like to call it!). This case is perfect for transporting your Su-26m to the flying fields or indoor arenas. All you’ll need is your DSM2 radio system and you can Bind N Fly! By simply binding the models receiver to your DSM2 transmitter and having the charged flight pack installed, you’re good to go. A lot more great information is outlined in the well-written and illustrated 28-page instruction manual. This model is very small, light and agile, so I’d recommend it to intermediate and advanced pilots.
This micro, feature-filled foamie is outlined in the shape of the Su-26m and looks so cool sitting on my desk. The canopy is well painted, and the decals are perfectly applied and have no wrinkles. Very sticky tape is used to hinge the control surfaces; I verified this by giving the ailerons, elevator, and rudder a tug or two. There are three cooling holes located along the bottom of the fuselage and a long recess for the battery pack complete with factory-installed hook-and-loop tape. With the battery hatch being larger than the battery itself, you’ll be able to adjust the airplane’s center of gravity by positioning the flight pack in various locations. I have to add that this little bad boy Sukhoi really demonstrates how models in this size range have come quite a ways in very little time. The power system is a geared, brushed motor and is well-matched to the model. After doing a few “tests” in the living room, I could feel the little Sukhoi wanting to climb out of my hand vertically. The fact that this is a full-house, 4-channel aerobat also puts it into a league of its own. Pilots looking to throw a plane around at any time and anywhere now have a cool-looking aerobatic model to show off in the parking lot or a basketball court. It’s already very responsive to inputs and has plenty of throw available, yet there is a provision in the manual for increasing the aileron throw involving a very simple process. You can also move the control rods inward on the control surface clevises for more throw and also make the micro Su-26m as wild as possible. The “heart” of the electronic system is the new Spektrum AR6400. On one small, lightweight board you’ll find the empennage servos, the DSM2 receiver and an ESC. A separate servo is linked to the ailerons and moves the pair well. The binding process is simplified: install the flight pack, and then power up your radio while holding the bind button in. A few flashes from the receiver’s LED will confirm that you are bound and ready for flight. Subsequent flights will employ the usual protocol: power up the transmitter, wait a couple of seconds and then power up the airplane. Simple, effective and user friendly would best describe the procedure.
“Construction” of the ParkZone Sukhoi Su-26m BNF is only a matter of installing batteries into the charger and then charging the flight pack. Push in the landing gear and it’s time to talk to the tower from the tarmac. Flying this cool-looking, sweet-flying micro model airplane is big fun in a small package. From its round fuselage, to its airfoiled wings and tail feathers, the Sukhoi is an excellent addition to any aerobatic pilot’s hangar.
IN THE AIR
The Sukhoi Su-26m BNF is a small model airplane that is at home indoors or out. The test flight occurred from a paved runway and the steerable tailwheel did an excellent job during rollout. If you fly from grass or a rougher field, hand launching this aerobat is effortless. Apply 3/4 throttle or so and while keeping clear of the prop, give it an under or overhand toss and it will be flying instantly.
Landings were commented on as the best I’ve done on film as they were not the bouncy, roll-into-the-gravel types I normally demonstrate. Omitting the landing gear will not only drop the model’s AUW (all up weight), but it will also greatly facilitate belly landings.
General Flight Performance
With the balance at the aft end of the recommended range, the plane was very stable in all attitudes. There was a slight breeze and even so, the model behaved very well. As I mentioned, landing the model is very predictable and easy to manage from thought to touchdown to taxi.
Adding a few clicks of up-elevator initially had the Sukhoi flying hands off for the most part. Since this is a micro model, it does need to be guided while flying in the slight summer breeze I encountered.
The SU-26m will roll quite fast, even with the servo travel set to its “low rate” setting. Loops were easy to manage and did better than expected; they remain on course with no tendency to snap out unless you yank the elevator. I managed to get a couple of rolling harriers done, and timing them will take a little practice. There’s a bit of vertical performance, and I was able to get a torque roll in at the top. Stall turns, snap rolls and inverted flight are a piece of cake. With a little speed built up, you can throw a knife-edge in too.
Glide and stall performance
Cutting power results in a shallow glide, which is easily manageable. When forced into a stall, the Sukhoi will tend to wander a little before it drops off to one side. When I re-applied power, the plane came back to life and just picked up where it left off.
From the time you open the box, you know you have a well-designed and manufactured model airplane. Since the charger and batteries are included, you only need to charge the included LiPo flight pack and go outside, fly and have a great time.
Elevator: +1/2 / -5/8 in.; expo: 0% (high)
Aileron: +3/8 / -3/8 in.; expo: 0% (high)
Rudder: +5/8 / -5/8 in.; expo: 0% (high)
Note: Low rates and expo were not used during the test flights. I added 25% expo since.
Model: Sukhoi Su-26m BNF
Manufacturer: ParkZone (parkzone.com)
Distributor: Horizon Hobby (horizonhobby.com)
Type: micro electric aerobat
Smallest flying area: basketball court
Ideal for: intermediate to advanced pilots
Wingspan: 15 3/4 in.
Length: 14 1/4 in.
Ready-to-fly weight: 1.1 oz.
Flight duration: 4-6 minutes
Drive system installed: micro brushed, geared inrunner
Radio system included: Spektrum AR6400 receiver/ESC/servos
Battery included: 1S 110 high-performance LiPo
+ Take anywhere flying at its best!
+ Ready to fly as soon as you can charg
e the battery
+ Included case makes transport easy