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Unbelievable RC

Silverlit Palm-Z Indoor Flyer

September 2007

Street Price: $29.99 US
Manufacturer: Silverlit
Mfgr's recommended min. age: 8+
Our recommended age range: 10+
Primary use: Indoor
Radio: n/a (infrared)
Includes:

  • Assembled airplane
  • Controller
  • Spare rudder
  • Controller wall mount
  • Repair
Requires:
  • 4 AA batteries for the controller/charger

Initial Impressions

Well, what have we here? Isn't that a cute little thing! It looks like something that would fly really slow and calmly, and feels as light as a few feathers. The construction is pretty minimal and the styrofoam wing feels fragile, though not nearly as bad as the ill-fated Aerosoar.

 

Preparing to Fly

The Palm-Z is another RC airplane that's really easy to get ready. The controller takes four AA batteries, and the plane itself has its rechargeable battery built in. The controller doubles as a charger, and the two plug into eachother quite neatly and sturdily like this:

 

There is a separate mode on the on/off switch for charging, and there are separate lights for power in general and charging specifically, which is a lot more intuitive & clear to understand than some setups that multi-purpose their switches or indicator lights.

There's really nothing more to do than charge up, so here we go!

 

Testing, Round 1

On my first flight, I gave the plane full throttle on the left stick and gently flicked it forward. It immediately began to circle to the right, and climbed steadily towards the ceiling! I was flying! I found I had to back down to about 1/2 throttle to stay at a constant altitude, which was actually great to see because it's always good to have extra power on tap. It's also convenient that you can get flying immediately without having to worry about too many controls at once -- steering is handled for you. The diameter of the circle it flew in couldn't have been larger than 10 feet, so it's definitely able to fly in a big living room or other reasonably-sized indoor space.

When I started trying the steering controls, I found that the Palm-Z could steer very sharply to the right on command, and it would lose altitude quickly as well, requiring full throttle to attempt to maintain altitude. Turning left, though, was relatively very sluggish, though smoother & more gentle. I used the trim on the controller to make it turn less tightly on its own, but it still wasn't turning evenly. I knew this had something to do with the plane's design (made to turn right on its own), but I wondered if there was any way to balance things out a bit more. Fortunately the Professor was around for once.

In the Professor's Lab

Ah! What a quaint little thing. Oh, but its construction is fairly precise. All the tiny little wires are carefully covered, and they even use tape that is the color of the wings so you don't see it easily. Someone, I know not whom, but someone put care into this design, yes. Hmm, I like this controller...

Oh, what's that you say? Turns more to the right than to the left, does it? Hrmph, let me see the back. Oh, this is strange. When the plane is on, the rudder is turned to the left already. This leaves it not much more room to move to the left, but a lot of room to move to the right. You say it turns better to the right? Of course! Look at this, it is obvious! Such an amateur. I will fix it.

I will use a sharp hobby knife to carefully cut away a small bit of the horizontal stabilizer so the rudder can move further to the left. Kids, do not do this without your parents' supervision! Any knife sharp enough to do this job correctly can be very dangerous!

Now, go try it again!

Videos

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

In the Professor's Lab

That was much better, but not yet perfect. It still turns too suddenly and sharply to the right. Not a problem. Now, I simply will add a bit of clear tape to block the rudder from moving so far to the right. This should create balance.

In this photo, you see the area I cut from the left, yes? And the tape on the right, right? Yes. This is what you need, I am certain. Now go fly. Fly! Fly with your newfound balance. Heh-hee.

Testing, Round 2

I went ahead & charged up the Palm-Z again all the way yet again, then went back to a larger room to try it out again. Half throttle this time, a small flick of the wrist, and off it went. Again it was circling to the right, so I had to adjust the trim to the left somewhat (I guess you have to adjust it every time you fly -- fortunately it's really easy and only takes a couple seconds). Alright, now for some turning tests. It's good to the left, but what about to the right? Perfect! Now it's actually turning about the same amount to the left as to the right; in fact, I can't even tell the difference between the two. I ended up flying for eight minutes on a single battery charge!

Conclusion

After a horrifically disappointing experience with the Air Hogs Aerosoar, I've gotta say, I didn't have high expectations for this similar-sized little plane. Boy, did it outperform, though! Right out of the box, it flies, which is great in & of itself. If you're just a tiny bit mechanically inclined and follow the Prof's directions to modify the tail, you can get the Palm-Z flying even better. This is the real deal, an inexpensive wireless remote-controlled plane that can be flown indoors! I highly recommend it!

A

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