The runner up for the ‘Editor’s choice’ is the The Hobby Zone Aero Scout S1. The RTF (Ready-to-fly) version we got to fly included the Spektrum DSMX 4 channel transmitter (AA’s are also included for the transmitter) and a powerful lithium polymer rechargeable battery. The kit is complete with nothing more to buy. Aside from some minor assembly it’s supplied with everything you need to go flying.
The HobbyZone Scout S1 is a ton of fun to fly. It is extremely capable in the experienced mode. It climbs well thanks to the responsiveness of the stabilator and powerful motor. We enjoyed flying it so much we actually ended up buying a few for our personal fleet. As RC airplanes go, the HobbyZone Aero Scout S1 is easy to transport, simple and quick to assemble and so much fun to fly.
Ideal training platform
The ‘high-wing’ layout which means the HobbyZone Aero Scout S1 is inherently stable in flight. An ideal training platform for the student pilot while giving encouragement to push past boundaries. Safe in knowledge that If things start to go south, there is a Panic button that will recover the airplane to straight and level flight.
The Aero Scout’s most distinctive feature is that it has the engine mount and propeller in the ‘pusher configuration’, behind the wing. The advantage is that the engine and propeller are protected from damage if you have a crash. The nose is mostly EPO which can absorb a lot of impact. Wrinkles and dents are easily smoothed out. Anything else is fixed with a dab of glue. Damage to the propeller is easy enough to fix if you have a spare. A busted engine or mounting and you’re done flying for the day, until you can effect repairs. The Aero Scout’s pusher configuration saves you all that hassle and disappointment. Lesson learned, you are flying again in a matter of minutes.
Handles wind conditions better
The 1.1 meter (43 inch) wingspan means the Aero Scout is a step up in size from the usual (sub $100) micro planes and ‘park flyers’. It’s larger, so It’s much easier to see and can tolerate windy conditions far better. Micro RC planes can’t fly in anything much than flat calm, still wind conditions. Even with flight stabilization, their small size and light weight leaves them vulnerable to sudden gusts and downdraughts. Where they could be damaged or lost. That said, if you need to have a lot of open space with no obstructions to get the best flying experience from the Aero Scout.
Belly land in long grass
The large tyres can easily handle tarmac and short grass. It has a steerable nose wheel for easier taxiing and ground handling. If you remove the landing gear, you can hand launch and belly land in long grass until you gain confidence to attempt landings on hard surfaces, another advantage of the pusher configuration where the propeller is kept safe.
The HobbyZone Aero Scout S1 has SAFE (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) technology built in. Which gives you three modes of operation. Beginner, intermediate and Expert. You can quickly progress as a student RC pilot, using the built in stabilization that SAFE give you to through intermediate and onto Expert RC pilot.
In this mode the ruder and ailerons work together and help to coordinated the turn. There are pitch angle and bank angle limits. Even with the stick maxed over to one side, the SAFE technology will not allow the plan to roll over which often leads to loss of control. New and inexperienced RC pilots will tend to over control their RC plane, which nearly always leads to crashes. While it is in the beginner mode, simply, let go of the stick and the RC plane takes control and returns to straight and level flight.
Now, your flying training has moved up a notch. In the intermediate mode, you don’t have the rudder automatically assisting the turn as you did in the beginner mode. You need to add a small amount of rudder to assist the turn. Also, you don’t have the wing-levelling function that was present in the beginner mode. As you recover from a turn, you need reverse the bank angle in order to get back to level flight. This is what makes the intermediate mode a great stepping stone in the learning process from beginner to expert. The limits on pitch and bank are less, than they were in the beginner mode, but not so much that you could over control the airplane and crash.
Now that the training wheels are off. There are no limits on bank and pitch. The Aero Scout can perform amazing aerobatics. Loops, rolls, and inverted flying. Experienced RC pilots are often amazed that a trainer RC plane of this size can do ‘knife edge’ flybys without difficulty. Remember, if you start to feel overwhelmed, flip back to ‘beginner mode’ and let the airplane take over while you recover your composure and reorientate and you always have the panic button if you get into trouble.
As RC airplane kits go, assembly of the HobbyZone Aero Scout S1 is quick, simple and easy. Essentially, it is ready to fly (RTF) with everything you need in the box. Including a screwdriver for the single screw that attaches the nose wheel. The landing gear clicks into place. Each wing is secured by a captured locking screws that are tightened by hand. The tail slides on, clips into place and you are done. All you need to do now, is connect a fully charged battery and you can go flying.
HobbyZone Aero Scout S1 – Features recap
- Shipped or sold ready to fly
- High wing stability – Ideal trainer for new RC pilots
- 1 meter (49 inch) wingspan
- Handles windy conditions
- Powerful and very responsive
- Steerable nose wheel for better ground handling
- Can be belly landed in long grass
- Pusher layout protects the propeller
- SAFE (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) technology
- Three modes of operation – Beginner, intermediate and experienced
- Aerobatic – can perform ‘knife edge’ flybys
- Panic button – if things get out of hand
- Simple and easy to assemble
- Battery can be recharged in the car
Of the two RC airplanes we tested, the HobbyZone Aero Scout S1 was the most fun (for not a lot of money). Despite its slightly unconventional looks the little pusher has its place as a trainer.
Its ability to be hand launched and belly landed in long grass is a damage free bonus for newbies as they gain experience and confidence in the landing phase. For sheer fun, ease of use and practicality the Aero Scout S1 makes for an ideal combination of trainer. Its ability to do ‘knife edge’ passes makes it stand out if you want to do a little showboating. There are very few RC airplanes in this price range that can perform this manoeuvre.
Hopefully you found this post on the HobbyZone Aero Scout S1 interesting and informative. You should definitely check out out post on the E-Flight Apprentice STS trainer.