Home Parkzone Airplane Reviews Parkzone Icon A5 Review
Parkzone Icon A5 Review Print E-mail
User Rating: / 15
PoorBest 
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 01:38

History

The A5 is a high-wing flying boat-type amphibious monoplane with a carbon fiber airframe and retractable undercarriage. It seats two people in an enclosed cockpit and is powered by a single 100 hp (75 kW) Rotax 912 ULS engine driving a three-bladed pusher propeller. The Rotax engine can push the Icon to a max speed of 120 mph with a max takeoff weight of 1,430lbs. The A5 has a max range of 300 nautical miles. Sponsons provide hydrodynamic stability and act as a step for crew and passenger. The wings can be folded aft for ground transport and storage. Equipment includes an angle of attack indicator, an unusual feature in general aviation aircraft. An airframe ballistic parachute is optional.



Get your Parkzone fix at RC Hobbies in Portland

Intro

When Parkzone first announced the Icon A5 I was intrigued and since I had no idea what an Icon airplane was, I had to look it up to see if it was real or if Parkzone was making fantasy planes like the Ember, Night Vapor and Stinson Reliant (haha). Being the first water plane, added to the plane’s intrigue and now that winter is here and the water is all frozen, the Icon is out…YAY! The release date snuck up on me, but luckily I called the hobby shop only hours after they received the shipment and by that night the Parkzone Icon A5 was in my hands.

   

Kit Contents

The Icon comes in 2 flavors for a customer’s flying enjoyment. The first is a Plug-n-Play which includes the airplane with all the electronics (servos, motor, esc) but excludes the battery, receiver and transmitter. The 2nd version is a Bind-n-Fly which includes all of the electronics as well as a 3S 2200mah Lipo battery, 2-3S Lipo Charger and a genuine Spektrum AR600 6-Channel receiver that binds to your own DSM2 receiver.  For this review I chose the Plug-n-Play model since I have an extra receiver and plenty of 3S 2200mah batteries.

   

   

The Icon comes pre-installed with 9g servos and a 960kv 480 brushless motor that is powered by a 30amp ESC. The kit also includes a nifty foam stand for display and to steady the plane while working on it. Miscellaneous accessories are included to assist in assembly and a fully detailed manual written in multiple languages explains all the specifics of assembly.

   

The entire kit came fully wrapped and protected in plastic wrap. To my delight there was no damage to any parts of the plane, and after a full inspection I started the assembly.

Assembly

It has been several months since I have put together a Parkzone plane, but this did not stop me from feeling like a master builder. Parkzone’s motto has always been “Just Fly” and the new Icon is no different from Parkzone’s past offerings when it comes to this way of thinking. Within minutes of unpacking the bird I had the entire plane together. Usually any new plane I buy, I take pictures of it, then pack it up and bring it down to my secret airplane building lair. The Parkzone A5 never even made it down to the lair. Instead, after the brief photo session I sat down to look at the plane and before I knew it the entire plane was put together! My lovely assistant ran out to run an errand and when she came back she couldn’t believe the plane was sitting on its stand, fully assembled.

The first step in assembling the Parkzone Icon is to locate the fuselage. With the fuselage firmly in hand, slide the wing spar through the center of fuse and slide one of the wings onto the spar. Pay attention to the servo wire protruding from the wing and make sure to connect it to the wire that is hanging out from the fuse. With the wires connected, stuff them into the fuse (there is a small area carved out) and firmly press the wing onto the spar. I found that it helped to pull the Y-connector the wing servo connects to as I was sliding the wing onto the spar. This action ensures the wire does not get bound up or pinched in the wing connection. Once the wing is connected, repeat the process for the other side. When both wings are slide into the fuse, secure them with the 16mm screws that are provided in the accessories package. The wing screws are the shorter screws. There is only one metal screw per each wing but I felt the design formed a solid connection.

   

Moving towards the back of the plane the T-top elevator simply plops down on top of the vertical stabilizer and is connected using the 22mm metal screws. Leave the clevis disconnected until later.

The rudder is already attached and ready to roll so the next step is to put on the propeller.

 

The prop installation is self-explanatory but to be thorough the order of parts are as follows. Collet on the motor shaft, then the back plate for the collet, next comes the spinner back plate, then the prop, the spinner nut secures the prop (and everything behind it), the spinner cover the front of the prop and is held on by a 8mm screw. Make sure the prop nut is tight so the collet stays firmly on the motor shaft.

   

At this point you must decide if you are going to be flying a water plane that lands in water or a water plane that lands on ground. If you’re taking off from water, you will want to flip the plane over and install the 3 fuselage gear covers. These little bad boys cover the holes in the fuse and make sure no water soaks your battery and sinks the plane.

If you’re landing and taking off from the ground, install the landing gear with the 8mm screws provided in the kit. The rear gear are easy to install, but make sure you get them tight! Wobbly gear will fail. The nose gear simply slides into the front hole, but before you do this take the long steering clevis and pop on the steering arm. Slide this clevis into the fuse and let it flop around loose for a few moments while you pop in the nose gear. Once the nose gear is in, do your best to straighten out the front wheel and screw on the control horn to the top of the nose gear. Once this is straight you can adjust the clevis appropriately (in or out) on to the steering servo.

   

At this point the plane is basically done and looking awesome. Connect your receiver and battery and let all of the servos center before finally connecting the clevises to them. Check your CG which should be 30 to 35 mm from the leading edge of the wing. If the CG is off adjust your battery forward or backward until you are within this range.

Features

The Parkzone Icon A5 features a unique design that does a fine job of copying the scale lines of the real Icon A5. The Icon is powered by a 960kv 480 motor that pushes the 3-bladed prop to the tune of 266 watts and 24 amps. The 30 amp ESC handles all of the power for the motor and servos with ease. The Icon is a full 4-channel airplane with ailerons, rudder, throttle and a T-top elevator. Parkzone’s predictable Z-foam makes up the shape of the plane, but the foam is smooth, slick and looks great. This Z-foam is a huge improvement from Parkzone’s models a few years ago. The A5 also features removable landing gear for the times you want to take off and land from the water. The bottom of the plane is not protected with plastic or anything, but it should keep the water our and withstand some abuse, only time will tell. The magnets on the canopy are the strongest magnets I have ever seen on a Parkzone plane releasing any fear of the canopy tearing off during flight.

 

First Flight

After a month full of wind, snow, rain and flooding I wasn’t sure when or if I would be able to fly the Icon anytime soon, but amazingly the day after I purchased the A5, the sun came out, the winds died down and I ran to the field as fast as I could.

I took once last look over all of the surfaces of the RC Airplane and made sure everything was correct. After stuffing in a 3S 2200mah battery and checking the CG, I placed the new Parkzone plane on the runway and throttled up.

The 3-bladed prop whirred to life with a noticeable whine and the Icon rolled down the runway. The steerable nose wheel was very touchy at slower speeds, but as the plane picked up speed the steering stabilized. The throttle was pinged to the max and after a very long rollout (I’d say over 30 feet) the plane finally, slowly took off towards the blue sky. The lack of power on takeoff was very surprising given the fact that most Parkzone planes have decent power. Once in the air I found that the Icon needed some ‘up’ trim which certainly contributed to the labored feeling on takeoff. After trimming the plane out I was also able to back off of the throttle and cruise around at ¾ throttle. Make no mistake; this plane definitely needs a bit more juice to stay in the air compared to some other Parkzone models that are content putting around the sky at ½ throttle.

   

The Icon flew well and felt very scale in its characteristics. I kept the first flight tame in order to familiarize myself with the plane.  Basic circuits and mixed low level to high flying were the order of business. After 6 minutes of flight time I brought her in for a landing to check the battery. Each cell read 3.85 which means the plane can be flown for another 2 to possibly 3 minutes depending on the conditions.

Flight Characteristics

The Icon is a one of a kind type of airplane and it has some unique flying characteristics contained within its funky body. The plane actually flies well for normal, level flight. Getting the Icon up to altitude takes a little effort but once there, it performs in a predictable manner. Loops are possible with full throttle or a descending run up with speed, but I did notice on weaker batteries (I have a few old ones floating around in my tool box) the power is decreased along with the ability to loop the plane. Executing rolls on the A5 are a bit hairy. The plane begins a roll nicely but after about 45 degrees the Icon wants to ‘fall’ over. The plane will quickly flip past the 90 degree point onto its back and then with opposite elevator, it will flip back up. It was a little surprising and definitely a different feeling from other high winged planes.

   

During the course of flying I also discovered that the Icon does not like to be on its back. I rolled the beast inverted and gave it all of the down elevator I had but it continued on a descending line so I pulled it out of the inverted flight. I figured the A5 wasn’t made for aerobatics, but I had to try a few. Rudder control is healthy and stall turns are very easy.

With the high wing and high up in the sky I figured the Parkzone A5 would portray excellent slow flying characteristics. It does fly slowly in a respectable manner but in a full stall the Icon took a nasty turn that surprised everyone. With the throttle off and full elevator, the plane slowed to a crawl before beginning a nice slow descending circle. About 2 seconds into the circle the plane suddenly shifted violently to the side with a tip stall and I quickly blasted the throttle to bring her back to life. Until that point we were all thinking it would not be a bad beginner plane but the stall characteristics changed our minds.

Takeoffs and Landings

The included tricycle landing gear are an excellent assist in taking off and landing this plane. Beware at slower speeds the nose gear is mighty touchy and the plane will feel a bit dicey until it gains enough speed. Give yourself about 50 feet of runway and slowly roll on the throttle until you’re going FULL BLAST. If space is limited you can try throttling faster/sooner, but know that the more juice you push the prop at a slower speed, the harder the plane will be to handle.

   

Landings are easier and even though I mentioned the plane’s tendency to tip stall, it can still be flown mighty slow before that happens. Line up with the runway and back off the throttle letting the Icon glide down toward the ground. The super low landing gear are a little strange but I found it easy to stick landings with the Icon given the entire body mass was so low to the ground.

I was unable to attempt any water takeoffs or landings, but given the generous rudder throw I assume the plane is steerable in the water. Remember when landing in the water to go easy and glide her all the way down to the H2O. No steep descending lines!

Is This Plane For a Beginner?

Almost. Originally I would have said yes since it has a lot going for it. Rear prop, tricycle landing gear, high-wing, stable flight characteristics. But the tip stall is a little concerning. This may not be a bit deal for everyone, and I would say if you know the basics of flight this plane would be easy to fly, just don’t get her to low and too slow are you might be in for a nasty surprise. Otherwise, most everyone else could enjoy this plane!

Conclusion

The Parkzone Icon A5 is a new type of plane that is eye-catching wherever it flies. Being Parkzone’s first water plane I believe it accomplishes what they set out to do and overall I believe it does it well. It is important to remember and be clear what the plane is, and what it is not. Don’t expect the plane to be a tooth-shattering, aerobatic fiery fast demon plane and you won’t be disappointed. While the Icon is certainly capable of doing basic maneuvers it is best when it is flying scale on or off of the water. The A5 is well designed, sturdy and a great addition to Parkzone’s already deep lineup. If you’re looking for a capable water plane the Icon A5 may certainly fill that void.

GRADE: B

Pros

  • Well Designed
  • Easy to put together, feels sturdy, Foam is excellent
  • Extremely detailed manual
  • Scale looks, eye-catching

Neutrals

  • Power was a little lacking, not bad…just a scale flyer

Cons

  • Fly too slow and it exhibits a tip stall tendency

 

Media and FLIGHT TIME!

   

   

   

   

 




Feel the need for a Sea Plane? Pick one up from RC Hobbies on NE Halsey! Mike will treat you right!

 
Copyright © 2017 rcairplanereviews.com. All Rights Reserved.
 

Helpful Links

What is your favorite type of RC airplane to fly?

What is your favorite type of RC airplane to fly?