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Author Topic: Sensei FS trainer (Tower Hobbies, Flyzone)  (Read 2290 times)
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Measure twice cut once

« on: December 28, 2017, 10:05:08 AM »

I always found it odd that my racing partner always liked to have a symmetrical wing trainer in his stable of aircraft. I found this odd because he and I flew models that normally flew at speeds of over 300KPH. Or we  had models trimmed right at the verge of being unstable while coring out thermals. I never really understood the attraction of symmetrical aileron trainers. But he always tried to have one. I think his favorite was the Lou Andrew Trainermaster. We both agreed that the flat bottom airfoil ships like the Sig Kadet were/are horrible to sport fly! They have a mind of their own, always wanting to climb at the slighted increase in air speed.

I was looking at Tower Hobbies Scratch and Dent sales section and saw a ready to fly Sensei FS for only $170 dollars (US), with box and water damage . Well, I thought this would make a perfect tool to corrupt the “yewt of America” that I often see at the park I’m allowed to fly RC models. I’ve wanted a trainer to help with PR, showing the parents how fun and educational “Toy Aircraft” (not drones) really are.

The Sensei FS arrived and seeing how damaged the box was, my heart sank. I tore open the box to see what I had gotten myself into. I was shocked everything looked perfect. I knew it couldn’t be! So to check things out, I assembled the model right there in the kitchen in about five minutes. Dropped the supplied batteries into the supplied 6 channel TX and went through the bind procedure. Much to my surprise everything work! The plane wasn’t damaged the TX was working and had smooth gimbals. The 2100mAh 3 cell worked, the 800mAh charger worked. The gyro even appeared to work. I was a happy customer.

I did notice some real minor issues with the kit. The OEM (ST Models (?)) tends to use too much glue around the  wing and stab mounting pads (really this is a good thing). So I needed to clean up the glue blobs to get a model that was nice, straight and true. I also noticed that the bottom wing cover was far to deep into the wing. I thought this might be a problem trying to trim during flight. It has proven not to be the case.

I do have to say that I think that 800mAh charger is a bad joke! Really Fly Zone, 3 hours to charge a battery. This will turn more folks off of R/C flying, more so than even a nose in crash on the first flight. I used one of my Thunder Power chargers to condition the battery while I was removing the glue blobs. After about 2 hours I was ready to drag the Sensei FS to the field for her maiden. (Most of that 2 hours was spent doing household chores). During power tests I was amused to see that I was only drawing 25 amp with it settling down to 22amps. This was an honest 250 watt power set up.

I have to say I wasn’t impressed with the support documentation supplied with the WISE Gyro. Under the label I saw three trim pots and a push button but no documentation on how to use these adjustments. Not knowing how the gyro would respond, I maidened with the TX in advance mode. In advance mode, I not the gyro have the control to trim the model. During the maiden I was pleasantly surprised, I really didn’t need to trim the Sensei FS. She flew hands off at mid power setting. With the gyros on she drifted to the right in roll and dove a bit for speed.
I noticed that in advanced mode she was nose heavy. I removed the 45 grams of nose weight I found in the cowl. Readjusted the push rod and flew her again, much better!  Even with the gyros she didn’t change attitude at 1/2 throttle or less. She now climbed above 1/2 throttle but did not stall. (The gyro manual says this is programed in to help beginners take off. Really the only time a beginner should be above 1/2 throttle anyway is at take off).

Flight tests did show that the rudder is too small. The Sensei FS  can’t knife edge. She has more than enough power, just that the rudder can’t hold the nose up. As supplied the rudder has too little movement to control any cross wind. I did move the rudder push rod to the furthest hole from the center on the servo arm. The gyro rudder setting did not need to be adjusted with this more responsive rudder mechanics.

By the time I was on the third battery I found myself doing fast, tight figure “8” 2 meters off the deck! I had to tell myself that the plane wasn’t for me but rather the youth of America. On that point I found an 11 year old kid in the park and asked if she wanted to try to fly a model? With little more than  the instruction she would have gotten from the manual I let her take off. She (both the plane and the girl) performed exactly as predicted. She did nothing until the model climbed to about 25 meters then she made a left hand turn. She let the model climb to 50 meters pulled back the power to 50% and started to work on her turns, doing figure 8’s.  After about 3 minutes of this I moved the gyro to intermediate setting. She again had no issues keeping the Sensei FS under control.  At the 5 minute point I set the gyro to advance this time she had a few issues but the panic button for the gyro worked great, allowing the Sensei FS to recover. As this was her first time flying RC I choose to land the Sensei FS myself. I’m sure that in beginner mode she could have landed the plane. But I did want to risk it on her first flight and on the first day I had the model.

Some observations I’d have liked to have seen a Tactic 625 RX rather than the single antenna 624 RX installed. The “Wise gyro” has a lot more power hidden in it,  just that the Tactic and Flyzone don’t support it with proper documentation.
Tower Hobbies has abandoned the Tactic radio line. This means that the radio is effectively an orphan.

As HIP has no commercial interest in the hobby I will compare the Flyzone Sensei FS to the other great gyro equipped trainer the discontinued E-Flite Apprentice S 15e. Both the Sensei FS and Apprentice S 15e are great non-GPS gyro equipped trainer. Both are sold in ready to fly and TX ready packages. As a ready to fly package I’d have to say that the Apprentice S 15e is the better value as it comes with a bigger charger. Both packages come with inadequate chargers but the 800mAh charger found in the Sensei really is a bad joke!

Looking at the airframe, I like the control that the symmetrical wing and the longer fuselage of the Sensei FS offers.  The flat bottom wing with drooped leading edge on the Apprentice 15 really restricts the kind of wind that the model can fly in. It also makes more advanced beginner training almost impossible as inverted flight has a huge work load.

Sensei FS looks to be perfect for what I wanted, in that it is a great basic trainer and great aileron trainer. And much to my surprise I as an advanced “expert” flier really like it. It allows me to think through most advance aerobatic maneuvers rather than just respond to them. I know understand why my racing partner always wanted a symmetrical wing trainer in his stable.

All the best,
Attached files Thumbnail(s):
Sensei FS trainer (Tower Hobbies, Flyzone)
Sensei FS trainer (Tower Hobbies, Flyzone)
Sensei FS trainer (Tower Hobbies, Flyzone)
Sensei FS trainer (Tower Hobbies, Flyzone)

Cut it twice and it's still too short!
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