Home RC Airplane Reviews Dynam AT-6 Texan Review
Dynam AT-6 Texan Review Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 03 January 2012 03:51

History

The North American Aviation T-6 Texan was a single-engine advanced trainer aircraft used to train pilots of the United States Army Air Forces, United States Navy, Royal Air Force and other air forces of the British Commonwealth during World War II and into the 1950s. Designed by North American Aviation, the T-6 is known by a variety of designations depending on the model and operating air force. The USAAC designated it as the AT-6, the United States Navy the SNJ, and British Commonwealth air forces, the Harvard, the name it is best known by outside of the United States. The AT-6 can hold a crew of two, both student and instructor. The airplane is powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN-1 Wasp radial engine that produces 600hp. The Texan is capable of a maximum speed of 208 mph with a range of 730 miles and a service ceiling of 24,000 ft.



Intro

I'm not sure what it is, but I have always loved the look of the AT-6 Texan. To me it has nice lines that balance a sleek and boxy appearance. I have only had the privileged of owning one (mini) Texan so I was excited when Dynam's AT6 went on sale for Black Friday. It was only a few bucks cheaper than the already low price of $119 but it was enough for me to buy one.

   


Kit Contents

The plane arrived in about five days which was impressive given the amount of orders and deals that were flying around during the day after Thanksgiving sales. I inspected the box and found that there was no damage on it. The plane came double boxed and in what can only described as a Thanksgiving miracle the Texan was securely packed inside of the box with each individual part wrapped in plastic. This is an enormous change from Dynam's traditional way of packing planes. I have long complained on this site that Dynam makes some decent planes for a low price but often they are packaged so poorly they arrive bruised and damaged. Even a little damage is never ok, but understandable. Nearly every Dynam plane I have owned/reviewed has had enough damage that I took note of it. Finally someone at Dynam's factory is listening. The fuselage, wings and extra parts were all wrapped in plastic and kept separate so they didn't gouge the tender foam of the plane.

   

The plane came with a 3-part wing setup, the fuselage with electric retracts, four 9-gram servos, a 30amp ESC, a 950KV brushless motor all installed. It also included the decals, a 12x6 prop with spinner and a few miscellaneous parts to put it all together. Even the included manual was written in clear, easy to understand English....things are a changin' over at Dynam!

Assembly

Dynam has made the assembly of the AT6 Texan extremely easy by doing 96% of the work for you. The fuselage is one large piece that comes with the motor, esc, elevator, rudder, servos and even clevises installed! The wings are a funky 3-piece design that already have the servos, clevises and electric retracts installed! Everything went together quickly except for one of the wing screws that secures into the fuselage. The wing was just barely off of where it should have been. An extra set of hands were needed to assist me in pushing the wing in far enough to get the holes to line up. Once all of the screws were in and fastened the wings felt secure and did not produce any excessive play or flex.

   

   

Dynam likes to use metal rods that screw into the post of the control horn to control all of the movable surfaces. This system is ok, but make sure and double check all of the screws before you fly as they are prone to coming loose. While assembling the plane the screw for the rudder post fell out and was forever lost on the floor of my basement. After a long time of scrounging through my extra parts I was able to locate a small screw that would fit the post. Be careful not to lose the post screws! They are tiny and hard to replace.

   

   

The plane went together without incident. I found the ESC and motor are easily accessible behind the magnetic cowl which made soldering Deans Plugs on the ESC much easier. The final step of assembling the plane was to apply all of the decals. Once again this is an area that has seen huge improvement from Dynam over earlier airplanes they have produced. The Decals were not flimsy, tissue paper decals, but thicker plastic ones that easily peeled off of the decal sheet and applied smoothly to the body of the plane.

My lovely assistant is the one that generally applies the decals, but I am happy to say that I was able to put all of them on the plane by myself without any help. I finally put my big boy pants on! Another noted improvement from Dynam, way to go!

   

   


Features

The Dynam AT6 features a 54" wingspan and a 35 inch fuselage. The plane has realistic looks and lines with a silver and red color scheme that is pleasing to the eye while up in the sky. The Dynam Texan is propelled by a 950KV motor that is powered by a 30amp ESC. The stock setup with the included APC prop produces a surprising 330 watts of power that runs right at 30-31amps. Very impressive and it was much more than I thought it would produce considering Dynam's recent warbird (trojan, spitfire) offerings. The electric retracts installed in the plane are crisp and quick when deploying or retracting and they appear beefy enough to withstand the weight of the plane. The plane runs off of a standard 3S 2200mah battery pack but it is definitely possible to stuff in a larger battery given the openness of the fuselage. The RC Airplane's design is very simple and straight forward so working or fixing anything on the plane would be cinch in case something goes wrong.


First Flight

Looking out my window on a Saturday morning I was pleased to see a crystal clear blue sky with zero wind in the air. This was a rarity for a mid-December weekend day and I wasn’t going to miss my chance to put some planes in the air. I gathered up my cameras, airplanes, lovely assistant and warm clothes and headed out to the field. The drive was absolutely gorgeous but about a mile from the field I noticed it was a little foggy. I joked with my assistant that it suddenly looked like a horror movie with the winding, country road saddled with fog. By the time we pulled into the field’s parking lot we were stunned at the thickness of the fog. We could barely see the surrounding trees and I began to wonder if flying was even a possibility.

I debated for only a minute before deciding it could be fun to lose a new plane in the fog!

I brought the Texan out and went through all of the pre-flight checks. Everything was working brilliantly except for the retracts. They worked, but only when they wanted to. It seemed as if there was a short somewhere in the system but after much troubleshooting we couldn't trace the problem. The retracts always retracted beautifully but when I flipped the switch to have them come down there was a significant delay and at times they didn't come down at all. Frustrated, cold and wanting to fly I decided I would fly with the gear down and see how I felt about retracting them once in the air.

   


After stuffing a 3S 2200mah battery far forward in the nose of the plane, I carried it out to the runway and prepared for the foggy takeoff. Since the plane pulled a respectable 336 watts on the stock setup, I was anticipating ample power and thankfully I was not disappointed. The AT-6 rolled out slowly and had no barriers to takeoff once I moved the throttle a little past the halfway point.


In the dark, gray sky it took all of my concentration and focus to keep the plane flying in a safe manner without losing it to the fog. The Texan needed about 6 clicks of left aileron and 4 or 5 clicks of down elevator to fly straight and true in the air.

Even with the gear down I was impressed as to how well the airplane flew. Great power, solid handling and (in my opinion) killer looks. The roll rate was substantial and the elevator was a bit too touchy on the lowest setting so be aware of this when flying...it doesn't take much to get her to loop! After a few minutes of getting to know the Texan I was feeling comfortable and confident and stupid, so I decided to go ahead and pull up the retracts so I could get an accurate feel as to the characteristics and performance of the plane. With the gear sucked into the belly, the AT-6 flew even sweeter and smoother through the air.


The real test of the first flight was hitting the switch and waiting for the finicky gear to extend so I could execute a safe landing. If they didn't extend my options were to belly land in the grass or fly the Texan into a tree hoping it would catch it. Fortunately the gear worked flawlessly and deployed without a hitch.


The first landing was a tad bouncy but the plane arrived in one piece!

Flight Characteristics

The Dynam AT-6 Texan flies sweetly and doesn't display the typical low-wing bad flight characteristics like other warbirds do. The plane has a good range of power and maneuverability without ever feeling like it is out of control. Even with the gear down the Texan maintains its superb flight characteristics. Loops, rolls, inverted flight and other basic maneuvers are easy to do with the 4-channel plane. The roll rate feels predictable and there were no nasty surprises when executing a stall. The low wings certainly don't allow the plane to float like a high wing trainer, but even when flying low and slow I never felt like the plane was going to suddenly fall out of the sky. It showed excellent stability and form while in the air.
I was also pleased with the power and felt like Dynam really stepped it up a notch for their customers but did it without charging them $50 more for an improved power system.

Takeoffs and Landings

With a tail-dragging airplane one usually has to worry about motor torque and ground looping when accelerating, but surprisingly the Texan did not do either of these nasty things. The RC airplane accelerates quickly and tracks truly on an imaginary line down the runway. With very little elevator the warbird lifted off the runway effortlessly and in seconds was 50 feet in the air. Great power, great climb out.

   

Although my video landing was a bit 'bumpy', bringing this warbird down to the ground is very easy and forgiving. The retracts feel plenty strong given the weight of the plane and although the wheels are probably not big enough to land on grass, a hard surface or dirt would be fine.

When landing the AT-6 Texan it is important to remember that the elevator is a bit touchy and gets even touchier as the plane slows down, so give yourself some room and line up the approach properly so you can set the warbird down. When landing this plane I mainly used the throttle to bring it down, slowly decreasing the prop speed until she touched down....nice and easy.


Is This Plane For a Beginner?

Low wing, four channels, retracts....these are all cool things that everyone wants, but I wouldn't recommend them for a beginner. For a confident beginner with some high wing flying in their background, this could definitely be a 2nd plane, but more likely a #3 plane.

ESC Arming Issues and Retracts

After I assembled the plane I was having issues with getting the motor to arm. I thought that perhaps the trim or sub trims needed to be turned down but with everything turned to zero the motor would not arm and only made a jumpy motion when throttle was applied to it. Curious, I took the cowl off and pulled the ESC out. With the ESC out I replugged the wires into the motor and tried it again. This time the motor armed and spun beautifully with the stock ESC. Satisfied I had fixed the problem, I stuffed everything back into the fuselage, put the cowl back on, spun on the prop and plugged the battery in to conduct a watt test.

Nothing.

The motor would not arm (again) and jiggled like Santa in a Monster Truck when I tried to apply the throttle. I instantly figured that one of the motor wires was touching another one creating a short and possible dangerous situation. I took everything apart (again) and poured over all of the surfaces. Even though everything looked great I was unable to get the ESC to arm the motor again. I worked on it for the better part of an hour before I finally threw in a substitute ESC. With the new ESC everything worked perfectly.

After dealing with the motor arming issues the plane was working perfectly until I actually wanted to fly it. At the field the Texan's gear started acting up and decided to only come down whenever they felt like it. It was totally frustrating and something I could never find the solution to. I plugged in a different receiver, battery, jiggled some wires and even though it acted like a 'short' in the system, I couldn't recreate it. In the air, the retracts worked fine and back at the bench they worked perfectly. All I can figure is that the plane did not want to fly in such thick fog and therefore was doing its best to stay on the ground. 
That must be the only solution.


Conclusion

Dynam continues to pump out RC Airplanes and this warbird is a step up from their other recent offerings. Perhaps the biggest improvement is that someone over at the factory has decided to actually protect the planes and wrap them in plastic so customers don't have to deal with gouged and scratched planes! Amazing! In addition the motor/power upgrade is noticeable and appreciated when compared to the Dynam Spitfire and Dynam Trojan. I don't need all of my planes to be hot rods, but I like them to fly with authority or have that extra 'ommph' to get me out of danger when I push the envelope too hard. The previous Dynam warbirds fared horribly in the sun and after only a couple of hours of flying the paint started to blister and bubble. I'm not sure the sun existed the days I flew the Texan, but the paint seems to be of better quality, only time will tell. The Dynam Texan is a plane filled with features that comes with an attractive price tag. Surprisingly there were noticeable improvements over previous Dynam airplanes making the Texan an excellent value at only $120 for the ARF version.

GRADE: B+

Pros

  • Good Power
  • Low Cost
  • Full of Features
  • Quality Plastic Decals = easy to stick on
  • Packaged well
  • Pre-cut for installing flaps

Neutrals

  • Funky happenings with the motor and retracts
  • Canopy magnets are weak, comes off too easily

Cons

  • Cheap Cessna pilots in the cockpit are silly


Media and FLIGHT TIME!

   

   

   

   

   

   



 
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