The LED lighting system used on the Night version of the Flex Cessna and optional internally lit
floats allow pilots to hit the water after dark, when the wind and waves are usually calm.
fast for a plus-size model. For pilots who
want even more snap in their aerobatics,
an optional set of advanced 3-D flight
modes is available online from Flex
Innovations, and can be downloaded into
the Aura AFCS. Installing longer flap
pushrods (included in the box) allows
the flaps to deflect equally in both the
up and down direction in these optional
flight modes, treating pilots to several
more-advanced mixes. These include
mixing the flaps in with the ailerons for
increased slow-speed roll authority.
The variety of battery cell counts and
capacities of packs that can be used in
this model, combined with the three
flight modes preprogrammed into the
Aura AFCS, truly allows pilots to set up
the model for their own preferences.
Running the Aura AFCS on the
general rates mode disables its gyro
stabilization system, while the other two
modes allow it to compensate for the
effects of wind and turbulence. Most
pilots will enjoy the way in which the
Aura automatically stabilizes the Cessna.
Flex Innovations has already done
the homework to find the optimal
gains. No signs of oscillation were noted
throughout flight testing, even when
flying a six-cell battery pack at wide-open throttle.
No matter which pack a pilot goes
with, the wing loading of this big Cessna
is incredibly light. Although the wing
loading works out to roughly 20 to 21
ounces per square foot, a much more
accurate portrayal of this model’s loading
and performance is its wing cube loading
number of 7. 4. This puts it in a category
with many trainers.
The Cessna’s large barn-door-style
flaps and Tundra tires endow it with
insane short takeoff and landing
capabilities. With the flaps fully
deployed, the model can leap into the
air in as little as 10 feet and from almost
any surface, no matter how uneven.
Pilots unaccustomed to the effects of
large, aggressively deployed flaps on an
airframe should be prepared to push the
nose down. Slowing the flap movement
can help mitigate this ballooning action.
The plastic main gear strut fairings
demonstrated a tendency to pop loose
whenever the landing gear was subjected
to the excess flex inherent to a less-than-soft landing. Pilots can more securely
anchor them in place using small tie-wraps or a little silicon adhesive.
Swapping the Tundra gear for the
optional floats can be done in 10 to
15 minutes and includes feeding the
water rudder lead and night-light power
leads into the fuselage. The large access
hatches make it easy to route the cables
to their destinations within the fuselage.
Long, white, plastic strips line the
bottom of the floats and help protect
them from damage. The Cessna’s maiden
flights off of water took place on a day
with wind at 10 to 12 mph. The big
170 shook off the moderate chop, racing
across the water’s surface like a big dog
shaking water off of its back!
Thanks to the Aura AFCS’s stabilizing
influences, departures and touch-and-gos with half flaps in less-than-calm
conditions were incredibly precise and
The real party starts when the sun
sets. With a 3S 2,200 mAh LiPo pack
strapped to the most-forward hook-and-loop strap and connected to the night
lights, this model beams as brightly as a
midway attraction on a moonless night.
The floats generate so much light
that they even permit a pilot to see
the surface of the water as the model
approaches. The lights do such an
effective job of illuminating the entire
airframe that pilots should have
absolutely no fear of losing orientation
when flying in the dark.
This Quique Somenzini-designed
Giant Scale general aviation Cessna 170
stands out as perhaps the most versatile
model released in 2016. Feed it with
a four-cell battery pack and you get a
gentle giant that will gracefully cruise
around the sky in an amazingly scalelike
manner. Switch to a six-cell battery and
you instantly transform it into a fire-breathing Godzilla-like monster capable
of high-performance aerobatic and 3-D
From tame to wild, the net wing
loading always remains on the light side,
resulting in a stable, easy-to-fly airplane.
Pilots who are content to fly from their
club field on a warm summer day will
probably opt for the basic Super Plug
and Play model.
Pilots who wish to completely
eliminate the flight-limiting constraints
of seasons, surfaces, and darkness will
no doubt go for the LED-equipped
night version and a set of floats or skis.
Doing so equips a pilot with a gorgeous,
durable, Giant Scale foam model that
can be flown 24/7 from practically any
62 Model Aviation DECEMBER 2016 www.ModelAviation.com