An excellent EasyStar alternative for half the price

I had a great day today testing MatrixNav 2.0 on the UAV DevBoard, and part of the pleasure (along with the excellent performance of the autopilot) was my new cheap EasyStar substitute, the Dynam Hawk Sky. Basically it's an EasyStar clone, but with ailerons (yay!). Even better it comes in a $110 ready-to-fly kit that includes everything.

You get the plane with brushless motor, prop, servos and ESC already installed. You also get an 1800mah 11.1v LiPo battery and AC charger. It even comes with a 4-channel RC radio (FM sadly, and since it's just 4 channels, you'll have to replace it with 5 channel or better RC gear to use an autopilot). It would cost you at least $200 to assemble the same around an EasyStar.

Even better, the motor is plenty powerful enough, so you won't have to replace it the way you do with other Chinese RTF kits, which are often underpowered.

Like the EasyStar, the Hawk Sky has loads of interior room in the nose, thanks to the elevator and rudder servos being outside under the wing. Below you can see my setup. The RC receiver is in the back of the cockpit, under where my EM406 GPS module is mounted, and the battery is in front. That leaves loads of room for the UAVDevBoard, and you could easily fit a camera in there too.

How does it fly? Pretty well! It's not quite as inherently stable as the EasyStar, which you would expect with an aileron plane, but otherwise it's quite similar in performance.

My only complaint is that the motor, on a plastic pylon, is noisy, since the plastic doesn't dampen vibrations the way the foam-mounted EasyStar's motor does. I may end up trying other props to minimize that.

The plane is made of EPO foam, not Elapor like the EasyStar, so perhaps it won't handle crashes quite as well. But at this price, that's not much of a concern.

Given that I've got two EasyStars, why am I flying the Hawk Sky? Because having ailerons is MUCH better for autopilots, especially IMU-based ones like the UAVDevBoard.

If you've been wanting to get an EasyStar but were put off by the price once you added a brushless motor upgrade, or just wanted to upgrade to a plane with ailerons, the Hawk Sky is very worth considering. It's got all the anytime-anywhere appeal of the EZ, handling any kind of terrain with its hand launches and short belly landings. And because it comes already assembled with everything you need, it's faster to get into the air.

Highly recommended!

BTW, we've discussed the plane before on DIY Drones here.

Views: 10637

Comment by automatik on January 4, 2010 at 3:45am
Nice review !
I used weatherstriping tape between fuselage and plastic motor mount in attempt to dampen vibrations. I think it's working ;)
Comment by Rana on January 4, 2010 at 4:50am
Hi Chris !
Its really nice from price point of view but here is another option to have better viberation damping;

Comment by Rana on January 4, 2010 at 4:57am
Comment by Melih Karakelle on January 4, 2010 at 5:46am
I have a SkyHawk and this plane worst design on the EPP Pusher market. :(
Bad airframe design, low quality surface and wrong pusher design. You need fast reflexes and good piloting for keeping it on horizon. I bought an AXN after this, best surfave quality, very low friction on the air, best pusher prop+motor+esc and servo set. You can fly like a hawk or seagul.

Now my little girl playing with skyhawk at the home.

Comment by Morli on January 4, 2010 at 6:23am
Hi Rana,
the second model "easy fly" looks good and pretty good price too ( and you don't have to take the cheap RC that comes with it :) ), I would go for it , it has good wing span( I like large wing span as they usually are gentler ) , 2 pc wing , comes with every thing except RC and batt :))

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on January 4, 2010 at 8:43am

Unfortunately both those HobbyCity planes have the servos on this inside of the cockpit, which disqualifies them for me. It basically cuts the interior space in half. Much of the appeal of the EasyStar is its roomy cockpit, and I wouldn't consider replacing it with something so cramped.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on January 4, 2010 at 8:44am
Melih, I'm surprised by your comment. I spent a day flying it in pretty windy conditions and found easy to fly--even EasyStar like. Are you sure your CG was in the right place? It won't fly well if it's too far back.
Comment by Patrick Mccabe on January 4, 2010 at 9:25am
@melih, you said SKYHAWK. i had one of those and they do suck. But this post says HAWKSKY. This plane looks a lot better than the SKYHAWK and of course we have chris's word for it.
Comment by James Harwood on January 4, 2010 at 9:36am
Thanks for posting those alternatives to the Easy Star.
Comment by Rana on January 4, 2010 at 10:08am
There is one more really very nice electric pusher plane suitable for autopilot testing and UAV is busybee, mentioned my Mr. Chris Anderson in his blog few months back;

@Morli, its an excellent plane mine is on the way.....


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