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Don’t throw that outer box (above left) away. It will prove itself a fairly sturdy travel case along with the molded foam cradle inside it (above right) that

ers both motors on the P-38. All the equip- ment—motors, receiver (TR1424), and ser- vos—is already installed, including the spindly tricycle landing gear. This gear is only for the smoothest surface like a gym floor or paved runway. Don’t even consider using it for grass. The Li-Po is included as are the alkaline batteries for the charger. The charger deserves a little more com- ment. Many of the small foam planes that use these single cell chargers come with their respective chargers, and if you have more than a few of these planes, those chargers start to accumulate. So the ques- tion is: can this charger work with smaller capacity single cell batteries or only with the 250 mAh battery for the P-38? And is it com- patible with any brand single cell battery with the small JST connector? Hobbico told us that the charger does work with different capacity Flyzone 3.7 V batter- ies. There is a caution, though. First a smaller battery may change the balance point and re- sult in a tail heavy condition. Also, a lower ca- pacity battery may obviously give you lesser flight times. And the “C” rating is also a con- sideration. Anything lower than 20C will not deliver the necessary power for both motors. One important part that seems to be over- looked is the box in which the Lightning is

nestles the P-38 and accessories securely. In the upper left are the batteries, five alkaline AAs for the charger—in the opposite corner—and the 1-cell Li-Po.

packaged. These small foam planes can quickly sprout a lot of hangar rash if left un- protected. That box is a great, safe hangar for easy transport. Don’t throw it away. Don’t forget: just like airplane eating trees, there are always objects in the vicinity of the P-38 that are just waiting to drop on the plane and do it major harm!

So that’s what you get. How well does it work? Even after looking the model over carefully there was no discernible hatch for access to the battery. A quick look at the brief manual showed that the hatch is the nose cone of the fuselage. That’s how good the seams and molding are on the model. All that has to be done is pull the nose cone off, insert the battery, hook it up and make sure it’s bound to the transmitter.

There is some hook and loop fastener al- ready installed on the 250 mAh battery and on the inside of the fuselage nose. If you want the security of the hook and loop mak- ing sure the battery doesn’t shift, here’s a simple tool that can make the battery instal- lation easy. It performs two jobs. It provides spacing between the two strips of fastener so the battery can slide all the way in place. Then when the battery has to be removed it can separate the two strips without trying to pull them apart.

All it requires is an old credit card that will be cut into strips. One long strip is the tongue that is the separation piece and the other shorter strips are glued to the tongue to make a “handle” for extra rigidity and grip. One of the pictures will show the pieces and a finished tool.

That said, you can bypass that suggestion and simply stash the battery in place with the hook and loop strips on opposite sides. The battery will pretty much stay in place. That’s because in the review plane shown here the battery cable wasn’t as long as il- lustrated in the manual and the only way to hook the battery connector and the motor controller cable together was to insert the battery first and then carefully hook the controller cable to it. The cable length kept the battery in place. In that position the sub- sequent flights proved that was a good spot to achieve the proper c.g.

There isn’t anything said about c.g. in the very brief manual so it’s an act of faith that the plane has been so well-designed that it’s pre- defined. As a slight hedge, the c.g. was checked prior to the first flight and it looked okay, slightly nose down about 25% on the mean aerodynamic chord. Control throws are also a matter of faith in the design since there isn’t much said about them in the manual either.

Note the pushrod in the outermost hole of the elevator horn (above left). Don’t move it because there’s plenty of throw. The bowed section of the pushrod


allows mechanical trim adjustment. The Lightning didn’t need any. An embedded wire square (above right) actuates the ailerons. Pretty effective.


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