Take this “Cadillac” for a spin around the Patch
Cessna’s model 182, commonly called the Skylane, has been a consistently popular utility airplane for six decades. In full scale, it’s not quite as popular as its little sister, the 172 Skyhawk. When choosing a subject to model, of course, there’s no frugality in choosing the more generic 172. Flyzone has opted for the Cadillac in their new Cessna 182 Skylane RTF!
The 3-cell 1800-mAh battery charges through its white balancing plug. Its red plug, with thicker wires, is used when flying. The charger is thoughtfully provided with both a 120-volt and a cigarette-lighter power supply, so you can charge the Skylane at home or on the road.
Assembling this RTF (ready-to-fly) airplane is a comfortably straightforward hour. Parts snap together firmly. There’s just enough use of hand tools, threading two control rods and thread locking the set screws, to give you a sense of accomplishment. Kind of like cracking an egg into the cake mix: look, I did something!
In the Air
When it’s time to fly, first taxi around a bit. You’ll enjoy the Skylane’s accurate ground handling and wide stance. Of course, if you turn it sharply while at speed, you’ll drag a wingtip and turn sharper than you intended. Just pretend you’re driving a tractor-trailer, and all will be well. Also, taxiing to the far end of the runway is a convenient way to do a range check, as long as you’re not blocking others from landing.
As you smoothly add throttle during the takeoff roll, the transition from driving to flying is imperceptible. There’s no leap into the air, no rudder correction. Even on deliberately downwind takeoffs, hardly any rudder is needed. It feels like a flight simulator with oversimplified physics. Landing, too, is so slow with flaps deployed that it feels like cheating. In a 12 mph headwind you can lower the Skylane almost vertically, as if reeling in a kite. The extra washout induced by the flaps, combined with the high wing, makes it as stable as Gibraltar. No wing rock, no yawing around, no spilled drinks or smudged crossword puzzles for the passengers.
In flight, that much stability is a little dull, so a flick of the switch gently retracts the flaps. Then the Skylane moves smartly along for about 12 minutes. Half throttle is plenty for cruising, though it’s fun to floor it back home if you’ve wandered far downwind. Gusts don’t knock the airplane around as much as you’d expect. If you happen to slow way down, stick response becomes sluggish several seconds before the stall. If you ignore the warning and stubbornly enter a stall or spin, allow 40 feet of altitude to recover.
All the control throws are preset, and I found no reason to change them. Sure, more aileron throw would fling it through a roll faster, but that kind of hotdogging belongs in a Camaro, not in a Cadillac.
The built-in running lights emphasize this RTF’s deluxe nature. Still, because the lights don’t really point down and don’t stay on without blinking, they’re not suitable for night flying. For that, buy aftermarket lights or build your own.
In a word, this model of the Skylane is “no nonsense.” Flying it is just as comfortably straightforward and predictable as assembling it. It tracks straight, on the runway and in the air. The mild control throws won’t get you into trouble. The foam shrugs off rough handling and rough landing. It’s amazingly close to the magical maintenance-free world of the flight simulator, but you still get the wind in your face and the sun warming your back.
While building and repairing other aircraft, it’s good for the soul to always keep one in flying condition. This model certainly meets that need in my hangar!
|Wing Area||339 sq in.|
Great Planes Model Distributors
P.O. Box 9021
Champaign, IL 61826
Phone: (800) 637-7660
Web site: greatplanes.com
Price: $249.99 @ towerhobbies.com