Piloto Ready to Fly RC Plane
The extraordinary Piloto makes a great trainer!
Piloto review page 1 page 2
- Piloto is ready to fly right out of the box
- Rugged foam plane with two channel digital RF control
- Exceptionally smooth flight with cambered airfoil section
- Skill level beginner to advanced; fun for all
- Flight characteristics: 9.5 out of 10
- Where to buy: Tower Hobbies mail order website, or at your local hobby shop
First Look at the Piloto
The Piloto ready to fly radio control plane, designed and produced by the folks at Revell, can be described with one word: Wow! The complete Piloto system comes with everything needed for getting airborne in just a few minutes. This includes a digital radio frequency transmitter with a built in flight battery charging system, a set of illustrated instructions and a completely built foam model airplane.
Final steps before flight include installing six AA batteries for the transmitter (not included) and charging the Piloto’s flight battery with the transmitter’s built in charger. You are now ready to take to the skies. Flying a new model just can’t get any easier than this. Take a look here at Revell's UFO flying saucer RTF aircraft.
The Piloto's box contains three items: the completely built Piloto foam model airplane; the controller (or radio control plane transmitter); and a very well written instruction manual.
Piloto Plane Design
The Piloto is an interesting design. It is clear a great deal of thought and testing went into the arrangement of this remarkable flyer. The airplane is made of light weight durable foam, with a carbon-fiber frame. The Piloto uses two channels for flight control from the radio frequency transmitter: throttle and rudder. A normal radio control model plane would use four channels (adding ailerons and elevator) to mimic the control arrangement of a full size airplane.
The Piloto is carefully designed to make full use of a two channel radio control scheme, and is just a ball to fly with this arrangement. In fact, the careful implementation of the Piloto’s two channel control method makes it that much easier for the beginning pilot to learn how to fly the airplane.
Don’t be misled by the diminutive size of the Piloto when you first hold it in your hand. A lot of careful engineering went into this radio control plane design. All wing, tail and thrust alignments are built in and correct.
The Piloto uses two wings in a biplane arrangement. The wings are made of thin foam with a precise camber, or shape to the airfoil. The same holds for the horizontal tail surfaces. I cannot recall the last time I saw an airfoil shape applied to the horizontal tail in a small indoor radio control plane such as the Piloto; most designs are just a flat foam plate.
The Piloto’s rudder is the only moving control surface. The rudder has a small amount of deflection, but moves with authority. The rudder’s small control throw is all that is needed for the balanced flight controls of the Piloto radio control plane.
The Piloto has all its RC electronics built into the fuselage (airplane body) and tail section. The fuselage contains the radio receiver, charging jack, on-off switch, a small green “power on” light and the electronic throttle control. A very thin lightweight wire extends from the fuselage to the tail mounted coiled magnetic actuator, which provides left and right rudder movement to turn the airplane. In addition to the receiver electronics, the Piloto has a built in rechargeable lithium-polymer (li-po) battery that powers the onboard electronics and electric motor.
The Piloto’s tiny electric motor is mounted behind the top wing in a pusher set up. The geared motor provides a surprising amount of thrust, plenty for any maneuvers desired by the aspiring Piloto pilot.
The location of the engine behind the wing and above the carbon-fiber tail boom virtually guarantees that there will be no damage to the propeller or motor gear train in the event of a crash or bump into a wall. This is a very good deal that ensures your Piloto remains undamaged and ready for flight at all times.
The Piloto’s plane controller, or transmitter, has two control sticks. The spring loaded left stick operates the throttle, with “up” being full throttle and “down” reducing thrust. The left throttle stick turns off the electric motor when lowered all the way. The spring centered right stick moves left and right and controls the rudder. The transmitter has a built in charging cord and jack to recharge the Piloto’s radio control plane li-po battery. In addition, the transmitter has an on-off switch, and colored, easy to see LED lights that clearly indication the transmitter and charging status.
There is no elevator control for the Piloto. The elevator would be used to make an airplane climb or descend. The use of two channels is a common arrangement with this class of indoor ready to fly radio control plane, and helps keep prices low on these unique flyers. Other examples of the two channel motor throttle and rudder control arrangement include the Palm Z and the Havoc Cyclone. As described with the Aero Ace ready to fly airplane, the throttle control is used to gain or lose altitude in place of the elevator, and is easily mastered for full control of the Piloto radio control plane.
The supplied instructions provide a complete, illustrated and easy to follow series of steps to get your model charged and ready for its first flight. It is always important with these small, lightweight planes to ensure you are using fresh batteries in the transmitter and that the Piloto’s built in li-po flight battery is fully charged. The series of steps in the instruction manual that merit repeating is the sequence that must be followed for turning on the transmitter followed by the Piloto to ensure the electronic speed control will allow the motor to start.
Turning On the Piloto
As described in the instructions, the following steps must be followed in order. Ensure the transmitter throttle control (left stick) is in the full down, or OFF position. Turn the transmitter power switch to ON - the green power-on LED on the transmitter will illuminate. Next, turn the ON/OFF switch on the Piloto radio control plane to the ON position. Note that nothing will happen with the motor, as the throttle control on the transmitter is in the OFF (down) position. However, by following this sequence of steps, the motor control is now armed, and the propeller will turn the moment the transmitter throttle control stick is moved up. The rudder will move left or right, as well, when the right transmitter control stick is moved.
Author: Gordon McKay
Piloto review page 1 page 2