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Saturday, 27 September 2008 12:52

RC Lander Panther - Build and Flying Review by James Hindle


I bumped into Scott from www.brchobbies.com at the Rufforth show and was chatting about new EDF models, Scott mentioned the new Lander Panther and the very mention of the word Panther knew I had to have one, I always admired the Panther but the only kits available were too much hassle to build, needed a bungee or were just too expensive.



The Panther arrived in a couple of days, simple box with well packaged contents

The contents were in good order and I linked the modular build idea, hardware was good (see notes on mechanical retracts later). I test fitted the components, like a big kid really and was impressed how everything fitted together well, the foam is EPS but the colour was well applied which will hopefully keep the dreaded hangar rash at bay at least for a while.......

The instructions are pretty basic, the pictures tend to describe several steps in one but if you've some experience in building you should not have any problems, I started with the elevator, the fit was too tight and I had to sand the foam on the elevator slightly to get it too fit, no bother as it glues better. I had a HET 6904 fan and HET 2w20 motor spare, Lander do make a super smooth metal fan for the kit but I went the green recycle route (also I'm a from yorkshire!) To get the HET fan to fit I ad to remove some of the foam and I wanted to fit the intake ring as this improves the ducting into the fan. The fan relies on a large cheater hole for sir intake so you always need to bear in mind that anything loose in the fus has the potential to get sucked into the fan !!!!!!



Onto the wings, the mounts for the retracts were thin so I removed them and replaced with spruce rails to add support, I fly from a grass strip so you need some reinforcement !. The retracts were simple to mount and the supplied plastic inserts for the wheel wells provided support for the metal control wire. Having had experience with mechanical retracts on the SF Lear JET I installed a HS81 servo for plenty of torque. The aileron servos (I used 9g BRC hobbies servos) were simple to install and wires spot glued into the recess, no covering for the wires was supplied with the kit so I painted them (see later pics) with flat blue tamyia paint



THe nose wheel was a little more tricky to install, the initial kit (the manufacturer has addressed this in future production lines) utilised 2 carbon tubes for one side and I felt that these would not stand up to the grass strip so I used another spruce block on drilled through, I also added a 1/4" ply plate to mount the nose wheel to and screwed through it. The retract mechanism was not the best and again I opted for brute force with the HS81, I needed to put a ply bearer to allow the mechanism to function and the retract to lock, with hindsight I should have spotted the potential for problems with this but hey ho !


The rest of the installation was straightforward, the servos were easy to install and the hardware fitted fine. Note that the rudder servo has to be mounted as shown so the nose wheel steering would work in the correct direction using a Y lead, I do not trust those reversing Y leads ! Note the wires are coiled and everything is kept away form the fan.


A few static shots were taken before her maiden which turned out to be 'interesting'

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After a range check and following the wind round all our strips it finally settled and I pointed here into wind and opened the throttle, as you can see from the video she moved well until the gear stripped and the nose leg collapsed, I should have known this would happen as the locking mechanism on the nose leg was very tight but you live and learn....

The conditions were too good to miss so we decided to try a hand launch, the launch was no problem with Steve's Mach2 chuck and she flew away well, trimming her out found she needed full down trim and even with 50% rates on the elevator she was very twitchy, landing in the long grass was uneventful and she was taken home for a bit of 'modding'


After reading through the thread I started on RC groups http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=901932 I realised that the HET retracts were a likely substitute for the mechanical so on Sunday afternoon I ordered them from http://www.highendrc.com/ and added the mig29 retract fit kit as the mains looked similar in size to the Panther and I hate wire bending. The gear arrived from hong kong on Wednesday, better than uk mail ! and test fitting showed that there wasn't going to be a need to dig out the wing mounting blocks.


The nose leg retract was a straightforward fit again ont he same spruce blocks, after planning where all the retract 'gubbins' were going to go I could mount the servo (9g) for the closed loop steering which wasn't a problem all in all it took a nights work to swap from mechanical to air retracts.


A few more static shots and she was put on the strip for the re maiden, during the refit I moved the zippy 2500 4S lipos forward so the C of G was now 70mm from the leading edge 10mm forward of the instructions


The new gear setup performed superbly and the flight was pure joy, the plane had lived up to everything I had hoped for it, ok so I have had to change the retracts but I'm sure the original ones would have been ok for Tarmac. I am all very impressed by the manufacturer www.rclander.com Tim Wan who seems to run the show over there has been posting regularly on RC Groups and listened to all our comments, the kit has been updated as a result of the comments and I think there is talk of an EPO (like elapor) version soon, they have a rafale and are developing a F16, Hunter and a Blackbird, look out for them from Scott at BRC hobbies