I've now had a chance to see and test virtually all the EasyStar clones out there, so this post will compare them all and make recommendations. There are a few others out there by different names, but I think most are just rebadged versions of the ones below. Bottom line: I think the HobbyKing Bixler (see below) is the best option.

 

 

First, the baseline: The classic Multiplex EasyStar ($72 for basic airframe, no electronics)

 

Pro: Lots of cockpit room, tough, flies well.

Con: Only 3 channels, comes with terrible brushed motor that must be upgraded, rudder too small and must be enlarged. Quite expensive once you add all the stuff you need. See our post on upgrading it here.

 

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HobbyKing Bixler

 

It's available as a kit, a RTF with a 4 channel radio, and an ARF without radio. I recommend the ARF version, which is just $52. Add a 20a ESC, battery (plus battery and motor connectors), a charger, a 7ch RC radio and the APM 2 autopilot and you've got a UAV for under $500.

 

Some of the advantages of the Bixler, compared to the EasyStar and the other clones:

  • Ailerons
  • Big cockpit area, with tail servos on the outside
  • Decent brushless motor
  • Available in ARF form with servos installed but not a useless radio that you have to throw away
  • Inexpensive

This is a comparison the Bixler cockpit (left) with the EasyStar (right). The Bixler has a bit more room.

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Dynam HawkSky ($99 with everything you need: servos, brushless motor, LiPo and charger). See our review here.

 

Pro: As much interior room as the EasyStar, has ailerons, comes ready to fly.

Con: Plastic motor pylon is noisy. Included FM RC system should be thrown away and replaced with proper 7+ channel digital radio.

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Xen Phoenix ($48 for airframe with brushless motor. Servos etc not included). See our review here.

 

Pro: Brushless motor and ailerons

Con: Fuselage is too narrow. Not enough room for autopilot electronics. Fragile. Weird four-bladed prop.

 

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Sky Surfer ($130 with everything you need: servos , brushless motor, LiPo and charger, 2.4 RC system)

 

Pro: Comes with digital RC system (only 4ch, however, so must be replaced for UAV use). Solid design w/ailerons

Con: Sadly, the design has changed and what appears in the product listing to be servos on the outside of the body, like the EasyStar and HawkSky, are now on the inside, taking up valuable interior room. Here's a picture of what the current cockpit is actually like:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AXN Floater ($50 with servos and brushless motor). Formerly known as the Cloud Sky

 

Pro: Inexpensive, solid design w/ailerons

Con: servos on inside of cockpit like SkySurfer, robbing interior of valuable room for electronics. Narrow nose makes 2200 LiPo a tight fit.

 

Views: 176783

Comment by Rana on January 15, 2011 at 7:08pm

Very nice work ! will be very usefull to all !


T3
Comment by Brian Wolfe on January 17, 2011 at 1:10am

For those that might decide to give the AXN Floater a try here is my build log.

AXN Floater UAV Build

 

 

Comment by Hamish on January 17, 2011 at 12:48pm

" 4-blade propeller provides more powerful and stable performance"

 

are they having a laugh !?!? the less blades, the better folks.  Big aircraft have lots because there ain't room for a giant 2 blade

Comment by CrashingDutchman on January 17, 2011 at 2:26pm
Comment by 420choky on January 17, 2011 at 3:04pm

i have the hawksky  .. awesome ..

 

 


3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on January 17, 2011 at 3:10pm
@CrashingDutchman: that's quite a bit smaller than the others, and probably doesn't have the lifting capacity we need. Plus it was too ugly for me to order ;-)
Comment by jordan stocker on June 16, 2011 at 9:20am
Comment by robomotic on July 13, 2011 at 11:06am
Hello, I live in the UK and would like to buy the hobbyking Bixler EPO. Are there any local distributors?
Comment by Alex on July 28, 2011 at 11:53am

Robomotic, did you read comments concerning this plane? I am not sure you need it...

Comment by James on October 12, 2011 at 9:19am

Just killed my AXN Floater.

Alas, no amount of carbon fibre reinforcing, hot glue, epoxy and duct tape will get it back in the air after that last crash. 

It is a good training airframe though, but I am not sure it would be the easiest plane to mount the APM in. Fuselage space is very limited unless you are willing to do some serious cutting.

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