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: 186429

Comment by 420choky on October 12, 2011 at 9:26am

lost my hawksky .. 1k lost lol .. im thinking  of getting one of these for a  search and rescue  . or use a 450 heli but .. i need something that flies well

 

Comment by Garrett Shirley on November 6, 2011 at 7:34am

Here are some other planes that will probably work. http://www.nitroplanes.com/projet-drone-2500mm-kit.html 

and thishttp://www.nitroplanes.com/projet-003-rq11.html  both have nice interior room.


Moderator
Comment by Sgt Ric on November 6, 2011 at 7:40am
@Garrett Shirley,
Have you read this blog at all?
The Predator is NOT in the same catagory as the EZ clones!
The whole point of the EasyStar and its clones is survivability and stability.
The Predator model has neither.

It always grabs attention because it is a wellknown image with an almost romantic appeal.

Nice looking, but a bear to fly...and not at all forgiving.
Comment by BRAD BARNSON on November 27, 2011 at 12:55am

Hello Blogers ..... I would like to build a trainer, with something like the "2GB Fly Mini Video Camera" in it. It will be used to capture images for rendering 3D computer models. I think I found the right place to make this happen.

 

Comment by Terry Patton on December 7, 2011 at 7:11pm

Well I ordered one just after it launched from HK, to be the platform (after some mods) for my UAV/FPV. The price of $65 was attractive to gamble on and reviews seemed to support that idea.

http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=14465

There are a few youtube reviews around on it with various levels of rating but none bad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJ63T-yoyO8&feature=relmfu

My impression although I haven't finished this project yet (as I'm like many others waiting for my APM2) is that this plane is a decent enough basic platform and decent rating as is. But a few minor mods would improve it to bring it up to an 'inexpensive category' 5 star platform. Mods like stiffening and moving the servo mount, minor improvement to magnet latches, up from recommended motor/esc slightly and then ensure airflow for esc., slot the ale hinges as they are a bit stiff and add weight to the nose, depending on how much gear you have, as it tends to be a bit tail heavy.

One suggestion had a vertical tail mod to make it bigger. I'm not so sure that is required but perhaps once I have more load it may make that a reason too.

I'm also on the lookout for another large fixed wing platform but haven't figured out all my requirements for that one yet. One reason I"m here.

Last if I may ask. I'm thinking about something really new and strange for a UAV platform to catch public attention. If anyone has or does later, stumble on a design or something really outstanding and cool, especially if it has a noticeable presents in the air and on the ground. Big enough to hold uav/fpv gear plus accessories. Would you pm or email me please?  The purpose is to raise awareness of UAV/FPV so people notice that it isn't just another RC whatchamacallit. UAV/FPV has only just really begun. The future could be exciting.

Comment by felix.swart on January 8, 2012 at 11:17am

Hi all,

I am new to UAV’s and new to RC in fact.

Have read the posts in this thread and am wondering if the new Easy Star II can be used as a UAV/FPV plane now that the original issues seem to have been addressed; small rudder, no brushless motor, no ailerons etc.

 

I am looking for a plane I can start learning on; needs to have forgiving flight characteristics, robust construction and easy to fix.

At the same time I would look at employing it as a UAV in future, with some mods of course.

 

Any comments welcome.

 

Felix


3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on January 8, 2012 at 12:31pm

Felix: It's not available in the US yet, so we haven't been able to test it. 

Comment by Ben Schmidtke Jr on February 3, 2012 at 4:24am

OK, I'm just getting started with UAVs. Why 7 channels for the radio? I can think of 5, if ailerons are used.

Comment by abdullah al mamun on March 6, 2012 at 5:15am

Has anyone got a AutoCAD or solidwork model of the Hobbyking Bixler?? would be real help if someone got it. thanks.

Comment by Charlton Chutckhan on June 28, 2012 at 6:20am

Hey, I'e new here.


Is there a tutorial on how to set up the blixer with the parts listed to make the UAV? or availbe tuts that i can access?

Please assist.

Thanks.

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