's modified Parkzone P-51:

I’ve been very lucky this last year, not crashing any r/c airplanes.  If you’re a pilot, you know this is a very good thing!  But, I dumb-thumbed my Parkzone P-51 the other day and it needed some minor repairs.  After looking over the airframe, thinking about how I usually fly this P-51, I decided to make some modifications.

Now, I already fly this warbird on 4 cells, enjoying the extra speed and vertical performance.  The stock motor is used, but the speed control has been upgraded to a Castle Creations Phoenix 45.  I use a ThunderPower 14.8v 1800 30c pack.  With this combo, the plane flies great.  But, I decided it was time to take it up a notch! 

I lined up the need parts:  On the work bench sat the airframe, an E-Flite Power 10 motor, an E-Flite (Tru-Turn) spinner, APC 11x10 prop, some carbon fiber rod, a soldering iron, a new elevator servo, glue and everything that was needed for this “Tim Allen style” improvement project!  I  also decided to shoot some new colors on the plane, wanting to practice before painting another project I’m working on (62” wingspan FW-190).

I always wondered how strong the foamie warbirds are?  For these upgrades, I decided not to take any chances with the wing and laid in a carbon fiber rod to reinforce it.  This was easier than I thought it would be.  After some coaching from Jacques, who has done this before on other planes, I drew a line the length of the wing and then used a soldering iron to melt a groove into the foam.  Medium, foam safe, CA was used to secure the rod in place.  A strip of hinge tape was then placed over the whole area .

NOTE:  Please, do this in a well ventilated area!  Both the CA and the melting foam smoke are products you do not want to breath.  Also, go very slow with the melting or cutting of the foam.

The E-Flite Power 10 fit the motor mount perfectly, with 1 minor modification.  The center hole in the mount needs to be enlarged. This was done with a reamer.  Only 8 screws needed to be removed, then reinstalled and the Power 10 was in place.  The motor length fits the cowl perfectly.  It does weigh more than the original motor, so rebalancing the plane is a must.

Wanting more top speed from the plane, an APC 11x10 will be tried first.  Fearing the stock spinner would not hold together under the load, I changed it out for a slick looking aluminum version from E-Flite.  These spinners run very true and the built it collet system makes mounting them and setting the gap between spinner and cowl a breeze.

Next up was balancing the plane.  With the heavier motor, prop  and spinner, it was obvious the battery would have to be relocated.  And, since I needed to replace the elevator servo, I decided to mount the new one in the tail to help with the balance and give a more positive feel to that control surface.  This was easily done with the soldering iron.  The foam melts like butter!

I had already modified the canopy and fuse to allow for the 4cell Lipo, so I simply continued were I left off and moved the battery back another 2 inches or so until the balance point was met.  I use a razor blade and carefully remove the foam a little at a time.  The soldering iron came in handy to put in a groove for the aileron wires.

The battery hold down system had to be relocated as well, some canopy glue holds it down just fine (used this on the elevator servo as well).  Even though it’s very light weight, I decided to move the receiver back further in the fuse as well.

The painting was easy, taking a couple days for drying time.  The bummer about foamies is, nothing really sticks to it well and the alligator skin keeps any finish from looking great up close.  But, the new paint scheme should be more visible, look different than everyone else’s and should look great flying by fast and low!

The first day of flying ended up having very gusty winds, ranging past 15mph …  I flew anyway, but really had a hard time getting a feel for the upgraded plane.  It is faster, no doubt about it.  Feels like half throttle is about as fast as full throttle was before.  And, it will pull itself vertical, almost out of sight, in a matter of a few seconds.

I’ll post up more after I fly the plane a few more times. 

Please e-mail me with any questions.   [email protected]

Parts list for the Parkzone P-51 speed mods:

EFLH4010A  E-Flite Power 10 motor

APC11010E  APC 11 x 10 electric prop

EFLSP250  E-Flite Spinner

THP18004SP30  ThunderPower 4s battery

CSEPHX45  Castle Speed Control

Midwest #5803  .125 Carbon Rod

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