Volantex 761-5 P-51D Review- mind blown!


Before we begin

I’ve always loved the idea of a micro warbird- one that’s got scale looks, isn’t too hard to fly and doesn’t break the bank. Over the years, I’ve purchased quite a few, but most were somewhat disappointing in that they were either fragile, hard to fly, expensive or a combination of the three (favorites: UMX Habu, Rage Staggerwing, Firelands WWI Biplanes).
When Volantex told me that they were planning on making a micro P-51D, I was skeptical. It’s a tall order to make a micro that flies well, let alone their goal of making it robust and affordable.
I’d like to thank Volantex for sending me the review unit and for supporting my unbiased reviews. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please do let me know!

From the hangar

The P-51D is pre-painted to represent “Bunnie”, a Mustang that was flown by flight leader Capt. Roscoe Brown of the 332nd fighter group- better known as the Tuskegee airmen. Captain Brown actually shot down a ME-262jet while piloting his P-51! Let me lead you down the YouTube rabbit hole I’m in right now with Capt. Brown’s interview:
Pre-built from the factory, the P-51D has everything you need to get flying (other than 4x”AA” batteries for the transmitter). Landing gears are included if you choose to take off and land on a smooth surface. The landing gear slots into a plastic mount and is secured using an included screw.
The fuselage halves are glued together with the electronics sandwiched in-between. Meaning once a component fails then the aircraft pretty much has to be thrown away or has to go through major surgery. The all-in-one board features two built in servos and an independent servo controlling the aileron surfaces (5-wire servos).
As a ready to fly aircraft, the P51 comes with a proprietary transmitter that shares its protocol with the Ranger 600 that I reviewed a couple months earlier. This new transmitter is slightly different though, as it no longer features a dummy antenna and it now has an automatic stunt button on the left shoulder.
A 1S 3.7V 350mAh lipo flight battery is included with the aircraft, giving more than 8 minutes of mixed flying time for my particular unit. A USB charger is included with the aircraft and will charge the battery in roughly half an hour.
A well-written manual completes the package, answering most of the questions I had with the functionality of the P-51.
The propeller is a quick-release unit that detaches if the aircraft comes into contact with the ground. This is a safety feature that has worked flawlessly for me. Just remember to buy extra props as they may be hard to find if lost in grass.

In the cockpit

The included transmitter is a 4-channel unit, there are two shoulder switches that provide extra functions unique to Volantex micros.
On the left shoulder, this button activates auto-aerobatics. Press it once and the transmitter will start to beep, signifying that the aerobatics mode is on standby; push the aileron stick to the left or right for an automatic roll, or pull back on the elevator for an automatic loop (I’ve found that only gentle inputs result in the automatic roll or loop- aggressive inputs disengages the function).
On the right shoulder, a three-position toggle controls the flight mode. Both the beginner and “midd” modes return the aircraft to level flight whenever the sticks are at their neutral positions. The bank angle is limited at different levels with these two modes (small bank angle for the beginner mode and relatively large bank angle for “midd”).
Curiously, you’re still able to loop the aircraft in midd mode.
The third position, expert mode, allows the pilot to fly the aircraft without any gyro/accelerometer intervention.

Flight characteristics


Conditions on the day of the first flight were quite windy. I installed the battery and turned on the transmitter, the aircraft paired to the transmitter automatically. I cycled the throttle once and the motor was armed. With the nose pointing into the wind, the transmitter under midd mode, I increased the throttle and the aircraft lifted into the air with ease.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the P51 has ample power, flying at near brushless speeds and close-to 1:1 thrust-to-weight ratio. There wasn’t a lot of noise from the gearing or the propeller, the P51 moved quietly and swiftly through the air.
The control surfaces do have a bit of authority and allow very smooth flight characteristics in either gyro modes, though both rudder and aileron inputs are required for tighter maneuvers.
Unlike many micros, this micro P-51 can slow way down without stalling. Make sure that some momentum is carried through in turns as with other low-winged aircraft and you’ll be just fine.

The landing gear is pretty scale in length when compared to the wing-chord, resulting in very little prop-clearance, I therefore recommend flying this aircraft without the landing gear as this also helps reduce drag.

Aerobatics
Basic aerobatics like loops, rolls, stall turns and inverted flight can be performed with the gyro off- but don’t expect precision aerobatics as the 5 wire servos do not react at the speed or precision that 3 wire servos provide.


Conclusion

This is one of my favorite R/C products, ever! The P-51D is sent out on daily sorties whether it’s an impromptu dogfight with one of my mates or just an evening patrol session. Volantex has truly found a sweet spot between scale looks, durability, price and performance with the P-51D.


I’d like to thank Volantex again for sending the P-51D for review. I’ve purchased another two since then! If you’d like to purchase the P-51D, please visit the links below:

Volantex 761-5


Video review (Flight footage starts 06:10):


Pros and Cons
Pros
+ Super durable
+ Scale looks
+ 4 channels with auto-stunt mode
+ Predictable flight characteristics
+ Long flight times
+ Cost

Cons
- 5 wire servos
- Electronic bugs (feedback given to the factory)
- Hard to service
- Low prop-clearance= poor ground handling characteristics