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Unbelievable RC

Air Hogs A-10 Warthog

November 2010
RC

Street Price: $39.99 US
Manufacturer: Spinmaster
Mfgr's recommended min. age: 12
Our recommended age range: none
Primary use: Outdoors
Top speed: n/a
Radio: 27mhz
Includes:

  • Assembled aircraft
  • Controller / charger
  • Instructions
  • Landing gear
Requires:
  • 6x AA batteries

Initial Impressions

The Air Hogs A-10A Warthog is a great looking plane that does a good job of capturing the proportions and stance of the real aircraft. It has the trademark rear-mounded engine pods, and uses an EDF (electric ducted fan) motor/propeller unit in each like many of the previous jet-style craft from the Air Hogs brand. Landing gear are included in the package and need to be installed if you want to try taking off from the ground, though the A-10 can safely land without them.

Testing

I took the Air Hogs A-10 out to a field with a friend on a day when there was just a small amount of wind. Unfortunately it wasn't a constant breeze, but we were able to take advantage of periods of relatively calm air to test out the plane. This was the same day, all the way back in early September 2010, when we had very sucessful flight tests with the Air Hogs Osprey. Unfortunately the A-10 did not fare so well. In fact, it did not do well at all. The entire day, we only managed two flights that lasted more than 10 seconds. The plane simply did not have enough lift or power to keep it airborne unless it was pointed directly into the direction of the breeze. Turning was also a problem with the A-10. When it would go into a turn, it would often keep turning for several seconds after we let go of the turning stick on the controller. The throttle channel seemed very sluggish to respond as well, making corrections to direction and speed difficult and imprecise. I could have adjusted to this problem if the delay was consistent, but it seemed to have a mind of its own. Sometimes it would respond within a second, and sometimes it would be 5 or 6 seconds before the plane would do what I was telling it to.

Though these initial tests were a disaster, I did not want to give up quickly on this great-looking RC aircraft. I made some adjustments to its aerodynamics by bending more curvature into the main wing to increase its wing. I also bent the rear horizontal stabilizer (the small rear "winglet") to alter the plane's attitude in flight. This helped the plane to fly better than before, but still not at all well enough for me to be happy with it. The average flight time was increased, but I was still not able to get enough altitude to make turns consistently without hitting the ground. Changes to aerodynamics could not fix the delay in the radio system.

I bent the wings & stabilizer slightly more for another flight. Unfortunately because I live in a costal region, and with the seasons changing, every time I had a chance to test the modifications, it was too windy out. I did finally find a relatively quiet, low-wind evening two months later, but the plane still would not fly well enough, and thanks to the radio problem, the plane flew itself out of my flying field and came to a rest on top of a building where I would never see it again.

Video

(Click a video a second time to view it larger in a new window.)

Conclusion

I do not recommend the Air Hogs A-10A Warthog. There is enough variance in the manufacturing process that some units have shipped out with a shape that will makes them fly just fine out of the box. There are also things that an experienced modeller can do to make the craft fly better, including removing the landing gear, removing some of the strengthening tape and decals to lighten the craft, making more dramatic changes to the aerodynamics by reshaping the foam, or adding weights to change the center of gravity. Normal consumers should not be expected to have to modify a product to make it work, nor should they be subject to a luck of the draw where one may work, but the next one won't. Air Hogs A-10 Warthog, take your rightful spot in RC Malarkey.

F

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