My neverending quest to find the perfect n00b UAV platform has taken me to yet another EasyStar clone, this one the Xen Phoenix (also known as the Esport, or E-Sport Phoenix). At $48 it's very cheap, and it comes with a brushless motor, ESC and a funky four-bladed prop.

It arrived today, and I'm afraid it's another case of "close, but no cigar". It does get some things right: ailerons, a brushless motor and a decent-sized rudder, which are all missing features with the EasyStar.

It also avoids the errors of some of the other EasyStar clones, such as the AXN Floater, and at least has the servo bays on the outside of the body, not taking up room in the cockpit. (Sadly it doesn't come with servos).

But it fails badly in the design of the fuselage, which is considerably more narrow than the EasyStar. The useful width of the cockpit is 43mm, as opposed to the EasyStar's 55mm. According to flight reports, this thin nose is also vulnerable to crashes and breaks off a lot.

Here's a picture of the EasyStar (a very battered one), the Dynam HawkSky and the Phoenix nose-to-nose:

Of all the EasyStar clones, I still prefer the HawkSky, despite it having a kind funky plastic power pylon that vibrates and makes noise when flying. It's got lots of room and comes with servos already installed. Shame you can't buy it without that 72Mhz 4Ch RC gear, which you simply have to throw out when it arrives and replace with proper 7ch 2.4Ghz stuff.

Someday either Multiplex will finally update the EasyStar and ship it with a proper brushless motor and prop, or the cloners will get it right. In the meantime, I'll keep looking.

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Comment by Michael on December 2, 2010 at 7:30am
What about the Sky Surfer?
This came out about a month after I bought my Easy Star. If I could only go back...

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on December 2, 2010 at 8:28am
Michael, can you find any shots of its cockpit? I worry that the servos are internal.
Comment by DaveyWaveyBunsenBurner on December 2, 2010 at 8:40am

Easy star or Skysurfer? I'm thinking my second UAV will be a Skysurfer, but the wings snapping etc etc scares me. I've had so much success with the easy star that I'm tempted to replace with the same...
Comment by Ron Jacobs on December 2, 2010 at 9:10am
Sky Surfer servos appear to be stuck into the side, like the easy star, but appear they would go in deeper as they are Perpendicular to the fuselage, not parallel like the easy star. I can just make it out in the pictures.
Comment by Ron Jacobs on December 2, 2010 at 9:13am
Looks like the Sky Surfer might be very similat to the Easy Star, but may not have as much room up front. funny, that is what they would make so different from the Easy Star. The one thing that makes the EZ better. Payload room.
Comment by Ahmad Usman on December 2, 2010 at 9:55am
I have purchased this one from my local market in Pakistan that cost me just 2200 rupees or 27$ in RTF configuration. This has great performance.
Comment by Michael on December 2, 2010 at 10:58am
Did you purchase a Phoenix or a Sky Surfer? If it's a Sky Surfer, can I send you money and have you ship me one?
When the Sky Surfer first came out there was some talk an another board about Multiplex suing Banana Hobby because the Sky Surfer has the exact same specs. All of the parts are interchangeable. I'm planning on buying a pair of their wings when I decide to go with ailerons.
Comment by Jonathan Lussier on December 2, 2010 at 11:12am
Chris, another difference is that the Pheonix comes with built-in ailerons. The narrower fuselage and 4-blade smaller diameter prop probably means this model is geared towards higher speed flight. If that's the case, and it can still be hand-launched, and if it has the same size wing, probably means lower wing loading (higher lift at higher speed) and thus you can load it up with more gear (maybe in an underwing pod). For the price, definately interesting!! How did you find the shipping times from this company? Should I be worried buying from them?

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on December 2, 2010 at 11:17am
Jonthan, yes I mentioned the ailerons in the post. I found the shipping from the company pretty fast (13 days) but not cheap: $40 to ship it from Hong Kong to San Francisco, which almost doubled the cost of the plane.
Comment by Jonathan Lussier on December 2, 2010 at 11:29am
ouch. Sorry I missed the part about the ailerons. Let me know if you want to sell yours!


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