FLIGHT PERFORMANCE - by Mark Ronge
For our initial flight test, I flew it from our grass RC field after I had removed the water rudder. The plane balanced at the recommended CG using the 3200mAh ElectriFly LiPo battery. You can use a smaller pack, but then youíd have to add weight to the nose, negating the advantage of the lighter battery. The twin brushless motors provide plenty of thrust for easy hand-launches and a healthy climb rate. We then went to a large lake where the PBY is more at home. Changing between land and water configurations takes only seconds: just remove or install the water rudder with one setscrew. Slow-speed taxiing is a little challenging as the water rudder barely touches until speed is built up. I found the best technique for water takeoffs is to hold full-up elevator until between 1/3 and 1/2 throttle, and then relax the elevator until flying speed is achieved and a touch of up-elevator gets the model airborne. Once in the air, the Catalina can fly quite fast but very solidly.
General Flight Performance
>Stability The PBY is very stable, and intermediate pilots with low wing aileron experience will find it a joy to fly. The rudder and elevator are very effective.
>Tracking Tracking on the water once the model builds up some speed is very good. In the air, rudder should be used to counteract the adverse aileron yaw.
>Aerobatics The Catalina looks the most realistic doing a slow flyby, but it has ample ability to perform basic aerobatics such as loops, rolls and inverted flight.
>Glide & stall performance The model was very predictable in a stall with no nasty tendencies. The glide is very good, although some power during the landing approach helps flatten it out.
The PBY Catalina is a well-mannered twin that is very easy to fly. I flew it on high rates the entire flight and did not find the plane overly responsive. Landings are also easy; just line it up with the runway or lake, and it flies itself to touchdown. For water landings, itís best to fly it onto the water in a level attitude rather than attempt a flare, as you risk burying the nose in the water. Soon after touchdown, the model will slow to taxi speed.
If youíre looking for a unique, realistic semi-scale subject, the PBY Catalina is a great choice. The electric motors take much of the hassle out of flying multi- engine aircraft, and the modelís quick construction will have you patrolling the lake in a short time.