OK, got'er done and flown, here's the scoop.
First off, the disclaimer. I'm no Chip Schulman-zini LaRue, but I fly OK. Today(7/3/04), I had off and on rain, and wind in the 12 to 15 mph range. I actually spent time in my truck, between flights, waiting for the rain to stop and let me to fly. I got in eight flights on the Katana ARF. Mother nature wasn't going to stop me today!
I'll compare the ARF to planes I think are top notch. I simply love the Mini 3D, Jeff Williams Sledge, and EF (Chris Hinson) Edge.
General flying is as good as anything on the market. If you just want to fly circles with the occasional "stunt", the Katana ARF is perfect. :roll:
Now on to the real stuff.
Hovering. The Kat ARF is real solid. I can't say it's as easy to maintain as the EF Edge, but it's close. Really close... Even though it was brand new, and windy, I was torquing in the 15 to 20 foot high range. For most folks, that's pretty close, but by Pro Bro standards, that's chicken altitude. I'll work it down, I promise.
Harriers. The plane harriers well at my low rate setting. I set the initial low rates at one inch of throw. There was no indication of elevator stall, so I cranked it up and up and up. I puished it until I saw a bit of a wing quiver at full throw and 1/3 power loops. At that setting, the elevator gives a nice shallow harrier. Looking at it, I think it's about 30+ degrees of throw. At 60 degrees, of throw, the wing rocked really bad. Adding a few degrees of spoilerons made it stop. In the 30 to 45ish degree setting, rocking was a non-issue, even with no spoilerons. Yes, less is more. I now know that it does not need 60 degrees of throw for most things. It won't harrier like a Mini 3D, but I like it better than the EF Edge in this maneuver. I still think the Sledge has a slight advantage here too. In less wind, I'd harrier this plane right to landing, no problem. Today, I was a bit more chicken, :shock: uhhhh conservative.
Knife Edge. My plane has a slight pitch to the canopy (both directions) in knife edge. There is zero roll in knife edge. KE loops are easy and look very good. Still, there is nothing that does KE like the EF Edge. The Kat ARF is close, but no cigar.
Walls. A wall is best with minimal 3D throw. At 60 degrees, it was ugly, and at 45ish degrees, it was much cleaner. I struggled with the 60 degree ones, never getting a clean pop up. At the 45ish degree throw, I consistently got a clean 90 degree pop up. Again, less is more here. At 45 or less, I could harrier down to 5 or 6 feet, and still have enough throw left for a clean pull to vertical into a hover without adding much power at all.
Slow flight (not harriers). Well, in the wind I had, it flew backwards. What else can I add. No flapperrons were needed to slow it to zero ground speed, and below.
Landing. With two clicks of power and low rates, I could drag the tailwheel until I started that twisted giggle I have. It's hard to fly and giggle... :twisted:
Waterfalls. I like doing tight waterfalls, but to do them, I liked the 60 degrees of throw, which hindered other maneuvers. After dialing down the thorws, I tried more waterfalls, and missed the 1.5 to 2 per second flips, but that's OK. At the lower setting it still did OK, by most folks standards, and looking at it, it was still a pretty good waterfall, but I would not do it at 10 feet up. With my EF Edge, Sledge, and Mini 3D, 10 foot high waterfalls were OK. Maybe I just need to have the 60 degrees, and a hint more expo. I'll figure it out with time.
I fly the Katana P ARF with a Saito 72 and a 14x4W APC. I fly a standard receiver and Hitec servos. I use HS-545s on the tail, HS-525s on the wing, and an HS-81 on throttle. All hardware is bone stock. Get this... 4 POUNDS 6 OUNCES!
Overall impression. Well, If I had never seen an EF Edge, I'd be so 100% pumped about this plane. Considering how close in price they are ($161 versus $153 counting shipping) it's a tough choice. I am really into harriers now, and I think I like the harrier of the Kat ARF a bit better. I also like KE flight, and the EF Edge is better in that respect. On all other fronts, the planes are pretty well matched. As for appearance, the EF Edge still is better looking IMHO, but the OMP Katana ARF is no slouch either.
I hate these little wheels, and will replace them someday. Any little bumps while in taxi make it want to nose over. I also don't like the recommended CG. I think I'm nose heavy, as quite a push is necessary for inverted flight. My battery and receiver are in the forward hatch area, and can easily move back. I'll move them to create a CG about 1/2 aft of recommended. That should have some impact, but not too much.
So, here are some subjective numbers on a scale of 1 to 10.
Easy to assemble. 10 (instructions suck, but it's easy anyway)
Appearance. 8 I'm adding yellow PRO BRO to the solid blue bottom. If I had never seen an EF Edge this score would be higher
Flying. With the Mini 3D as the favorite and therefore a 10, the Kat ARF is about a 7.5 to 8 right now. When the pitch coupling is dialed out, CG moved, and I get to fly it in less wind, I see my impressions going up a bit. It's still a new bitch for me to break in, and she will only get better as I relax and let her do her thing.
Final number of Satisfaction. I'd say a 8 out of 10 here. Again, that's counting the Mini as a perfect 10.