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Horizon Hobby Hangar 9 P-47 20cc Review

The new Hangar 9 P-47D Thunderbolt is the perfect size for 20cc gasoline or glow engines as well as electric motors. Mike McDougall takes us through the build and setup as well as taking us along for some Warbird aerobatics.

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Introduction

Hangar 9 P-47D Thunderbolt 20cc
Wingspan:67.0 in
Length:58.0 in
Wing Area:826.0 sq in
Weight:11 to13 lbs
Wing Loading:33.5 oz/sq ft
Servos:7 to 8 Standard Size
Radio:Minimum 7 Channel DSMX/DSM2
Battery:5000mAh or larger 6S 22.2V 30C LiPo
Motor:Power 60 BL Outrunner Motor, 470kV
Prop:16x8E 2- blade
Transmitter:Spektrum Dx18 G2
Manufacturer:Hangar 9
Available From:Horizon Hobby through your local hobby shop
Street Price:$399.99

The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was a World War II era fighter aircraft produced 1941 through 1945. Its primary armament was eight .50-caliber machine guns. As a fighter-bomber and ground-attack aircraft, it could carry five-inch rockets or a bomb loads of 2,500 pounds. When fully loaded, the P-47 weighed up to eight tons making it one of the heaviest fighters of the war. Luckily the powerful Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine had plenty of heft to easily haul that tonnage through the air. The armored cockpit was relatively roomy and comfortable and resulted in some interesting urban legends. One such story related the actions of P-47 pilots having their pictures taken next to the much sexier P-51 Mustang to send home to families and girl friends, but preferring to fly actual combat missions in their trusty Thunderbolts. The pilots claimed they could count on their P-47's to get them home safely.

The P-47D Thunderbolt 20cc is Hangar 9's first new Warbird for the 20cc class of gasoline engines. Though these new Warbirds may resemble some of the earlier Hangar 9 Warbirds, these new designs are fully optimized for 2-stroke and 4-stroke gasoline and glow engines as well as electric motors. It has metal sprung undercarriage legs, but you can add scale-like shock absorbing gear struts to the optional E-flite electric retracts for an enhanced scale appearance. It's been rumored that the struts can even help smooth out those less than perfect landings.

First Impressions

My first impression involved the covering. It wasn't too shiny and it had lots of nice panel lines. As I unpacked the parts, the next thing I noticed was that there were a lot of very nice scale parts included in the kit. I liked the included pilot figure and the cockpit interior details as well as the large bombs and bomb mounts. The flying surfaces were all pre-slotted and hinged. The fuselage hatch was plenty big so that the interior was easily accessible. The fiberglass cowl and gear doors closely matched the covering colors.

Kit Contents

Here's a list of the kit parts:

Balsa and plywood airframe with detailed covering

  • Fuselage with nice battery/tank hatch
  • 2-Piece wing with ailerons and flaps pre-hinged
  • Main gear mounts ready for retracts or fixed gear
  • Horizontal stab with elevator pre-hinged
  • Vertical stab with rudder pre-hinged
  • Aluminum wing tube
  • Complete hardware package
  • 28-Page illustrated Instruction Manual

Required Parts (Electric Power)

  • Minimum 7-channel transmitter and receiver with 7 servos
  • E-flite Power 60 electric motor
  • 6S 5000 - 7000 mAh Lipo battery
  • BEC or batteries for retracts and receiver/servos
  • Heavy-duty Servo extensions; 3-3", 2-6"(4 w/retracts), 2-9", and 2-12"
  • CA and epoxy glue
  • Threadlock
  • Common building tools

Parts Supplied by Horizon for this Review

For this review, Horizon Hobby supplied an E-flite Power 60 Brushless Motor, a Talon 90 Brushless ESC, a Kinexsis F-Tec 7000 mAh 6S Lipo Battery, a Spektrum AR9350 receiver, 7 Spektrum A6110 Digital Servos, E-flite 60-120 85 degree Electric Retracts with P-47 Main Struts, a 1" Hangar 9 Spinner Nut, and the required servo extensions.

Assembly

The manual was loosely packed in the kit box and the manual cover was badly rumpled in transit. Previous Hangar 9 manuals were shipped inside plastic sleeve covers and were taped down inside the kit box. Luckily the P-47 manual was perfectly usable.

The 28-page illustrated Instruction Manual detailed the assembly process for the 20cc P-47. In keeping with the high standards of Hangar 9 manuals, this one contained excellent step-by-step instructions accompanied by detailed pictures. This review includes a few helpful building tips that may clarify some of the building steps.

The Review kit also included an Addendum that listed corrections to the mounting dimensions for the Evolution 20cc gas engine.

The kit contained three sheets of colorful decals that would allow the builder to decorate the model in different scale schemes. The decals were much easier to apply before any actual building was started.

Wings

The formal assembly process began on Page 11 with the wings and the installation of the flaps and ailerons. The flap horn needed to be installed with the curved surface toward the bottom of the flap. The manual illustration was not very clear, but the description was accurate. Once the flap hinges were installed, it was important to be sure the center of each hinge point was lined up and centered between the wing and flap surface before the epoxy hardened.

The use of two dressmaker pins per hinge kept the hinges centered and kept them from twisting in their slots. A short length of 1/8" ply was just perfect to provide the proper spacing between flaps and ailerons.

Next up was the installation of the aileron and flap servos to the servo mounts. While the mounts were still taped to the wing, an old soldering iron was used to remove the covering over the servo arm slot and to open up the covering over each screw location. A 1/16" drill was used to open a screw hole in each corner and then a mounting screw was threaded into each hole and removed. As each servo mount was untapped and lifted off the wing, it was immediately marked for wing half, servo function, and orientation with respect to the leading edge of the wing.

The card stock from the liners in the servo boxes made perfect shims for getting the aileron servos correctly spaced away from the mounts for proper vibration isolation. While this isolation may not be as critical on electric powered models, it is well worth the effort. Unfortunately the aileron servos firmly contacted the outer edge of the furnished mounting structures. A few passes with a sanding disk and the card stock shims were easily inserted. Once the servos were screwed in place, the shims were removed leaving the servos properly vibration isolated from the mounts.

The flap servo mounts in each wing half included a pair of servo mounting locations. The flap control pushrod was designed to operate from the middle of the mounting locations. The manual noted that both flap servo arms MUST face the same direction. This is for people who do not have a computer radio and want to use flaps with just a Y lead. For the flaps to operate properly, both servo arms were installed facing the right wingtip. This required that the left flap servo was installed in the outboard mount location and the right flap servo was installed in the inboard mount location. The picture in the manual was somewhat confusing in that it should have shown the flap servos and openings as hidden lines. This will be corrected in the next run of manuals.

The wingtip lights were the next item on the building list. The right wing got the green light and the left wing got the red light. Since the Hangar 9 P-47 20cc wing was slightly asymmetrical, the light covers would only fit one side.

The retracts were next on the list. Horizon provided a beautiful set of E-flite 60-120 85 degree Electric Retracts and a set of scale-like P-47 Main Struts for the Review model. The retracts were carefully marked for orientation and the stock wire gear and bushings removed.

The new struts were installed in each retract being careful to mount the scissor arms facing toward the leading edge of the wing. The retracts were test fit to the wing mounting locations to verify that the wooden mounts were flat. One mount required a washer under one corner to level the mounting surfaces.

Once the retracts were installed in the wings, the axels and wheels were mounted to the retracts. The struts were then adjusted to provide the proper toe-in. The main gear doors were difficult to properly align with the wing recesses. An easy solution was to drill an additional 1/16" hole in the center of each mounting hole location to allow access to the small set screw on the gear door mounts. The gear could then be retracted and the doors slid into position and the small set screws tightened.

Fuselage

Next up was the fuselage. Once the horizontal stab was properly positioned and aligned, it was marked and the covering removed from the areas to be glued. Low tack tape was applied to the stab and fuselage to keep excess epoxy off the finished surfaces. The rudder was next, but the control horn recess was hard to locate. It was much lower on the rudder than expected.

With the elevator halves and the rudder CA'ed in place, it was time to install the tail wheel assembly. Thread locking compound helped secure the mounting bolts, but any contact with plastic or nylon could cause embrittlement and ultimate failure of the tail wheel mount. To limit exposure to thread locking compound, a toothpick was used to lightly coat the T-nut threads rather than the bolt threads.

Next up was the servo and radio installation. The Spektrum AR6110 servos were a perfect fit in the fuselage servo tray. The provided AR9350 receiver had two fixed antennas and two remote receivers. Coffee stir sticks were used to route and retain the flexible sections of the antennas. One remote receiver was mounted behind the main receiver on the left fuselage side at a 45 degree angle from horizontal. The other remote receiver was mounted to the back of the rear hatch former at a 45 degree angle from vertical and 90 degrees from the other remote.

Next up was the Power 60 motor installation. Using the motor mounting holes printed on the front of the electric motor mount proved to be a big mistake. The manual clearly showed how the motor should be mounted - with the mount up and down, not on a diagonal. A 1/16" plywood plate was added to the bottom of the motor box for the Talon 90 ESC.

The next item was the cowl and radial engine assembly. Texas summer temperatures usually run a bit on the high side. More cooling airflow is a necessity here in the Lone Star State. The outer areas between the dummy cylinder heads looked like a great place to add some additional cooling inlets. The radial engine insert sets far enough back from the front edge of the cowl to allow the additional cooling air to enter through these cutouts.

Scale details were next. The supercharger inlets were not quite flat and needed a little warming with a heat gun to get them to lay flat enough to attach to the bottom of the fuselage.

The exhaust was made functional by opening up the outlet area and then cutting two cooling exit holes in the fuselage exhaust attachment area.

The cockpit/hatch was next on the list. A test fit of the pilot figure showed that he was sitting too low in the cockpit. A "booster seat" was fashioned out of foam to raise the pilot so that his head would be even with the head rest.

AS3X Programming

When the assembly process was completed, it was time to decide on whether to utilize the AS3X stabilization feature on the Spectrum AR9350 receiver. I have to admit that I enjoy flying with AS3X. My Hangar9 RV-4 and my Hangar 9 Ultra Stick 30cc flew so well with AS3X, I wanted to utilize AS3X on this Hangar 9 P-47.

There is an excellent thread here on RCGroups that deals with these receivers and there are a series of 13 YouTube videos from Horizon that take you through the complete programming process.

The P-47 AS3X parameters were set fairly conservatively. The Flight Modes were set as FM1 High Gain (40-50%), FM2 Mild Gain (20-30%) and FM3 Zero Gain. These settings were chosen for gusty/windy conditions, normal sport flying conditions, and "I'm just gonna fly this myself" conditions.

The Hangar 9 P-47 surface throws were set up according to the information in the Instruction Manual.

  • Ailerons - High Rates +19/32" / -15/32"; Low Rates +11/32" / -9/32"
  • Elevators - High Rates +/1 25/32"; Low Rates +/- 15/32"
  • Rudder - High Rates +/- 1-3/16"; Low Rates +/- 11/32"
  • Flaps - Landing Flaps 2-5/32"; Takeoff Flaps 3/4"

Completion

The completed P-47 weighed 11 lbs 11 ounces, RTF. The plane balanced perfectly at 4-1/2" back from the leading edge of the wing with the 7000 mAh 6S flight battery pushed all the way forward in the battery compartment.

The transmitter countdown timer was set for 8 minutes and set to start and run at any throttle setting above 20%.

Flying

This new P-47D Thunderbolt is part of Hangar 9's latest line of 20cc sized Warbirds. Even though Warbirds have a bad reputation for being difficult to fly, Hangar 9 Warbirds have always been very forgiving and pleasant to fly. To remain true to its roots, this P-47D should exhibit stable low speed capabilities as well as spectacular Warbird maneuverability. It's time to shove the throttle stick forward and see how this new P-47D Thunderbolt 20cc measures up.

Taking Off and Landing

AS3X was set to FM1, flaps were left up, and the throttle gradually advanced. The rudder was responsive as the tail lifted and the plane needed a moderate amount of right rudder to keep it centered. The plane also needed just a touch of up elevator to keep from nosing over before it reached full flying speed. The wheels broke ground at just above half throttle and the P-47 climbed out nice and steady as the throttle was eased on up. Subsequent takeoffs were just as uneventful with or without the AS3X. This new Hangar 9 P-47 Thunderbolt had excellent ground handling manners.

Landings for most scale Warbirds work best with a little power carried into the final approach. A throttle setting of 30% and full flaps kept the review Thunderbolt approach angle steady all the way to touchdown. The P-47 flaps were very effective and a lot of fun. Full-Flap wheel landings were very easy and that thick wing maintained complete control well past touchdown speed. Mid position flaps allowed a faster approach speed, but it also lengthened the rollout distance. Nice approach angles and rock steady feel when adding power were the norm for this Hangar 9 Warbird.

Scale Flying

The Hangar 9 P-47D Thunderbolt 20cc easily performed every typical Warbird maneuver with ease. Loops, rolls, wingovers, and victory rolls all looked amazing. High-speed, low passes and imaginary strafing runs looked and sounded wonderful. Slow flybys with everything hung out in the breeze were surprisingly steady. The E-flite Power 60 had plenty of power and speed for excellent scale performance.

Sport Flying

There's just something special about flying a Warbird. They're like a high-strung thoroughbred just aching to be released. The Hangar 9 P-47D Thunderbolt 20cc was no exception. Once the scale flying was finished, it was time to up the rates and punch the throttle. The P-47D performed precision figure 8's and wild snaps and spins as well as outside loops and inverted Immelmann turns. The E-flite Power 60 performed very well even though it did not quite have unlimited vertical with the 16x8 Classic Master Airscrew prop.

Is This For a Beginner?

Scale Warbird models are not for beginner pilots. However, the Hangar 9 P-47D Thunderbolt 20cc would make a great first or second scale model for any intermediate pilot comfortable with flying high performance low wing models.

Flight Photo Gallery

The Texas weather was not helpful with a 90 degree cross wind and cold temperatures, but it was time for the P-47D Thunderbolt 20cc photoshoot, so we packed up the cameras and headed to the flying field. The flight batteries were fully charged and Jesse Webb had the Nikon at the ready. I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Maiden Flight Video

Jesse Webb switched over to the Camcorder and the Hangar 9 P-47D Thunderbolt 20cc was ready for the video. The Kinexsis battery was fully charged and the E-flite Power 60 was ready to go.

Hangar 9 P47D Thunderbolt 20cc (8 min 8 sec)

Final Thoughts

In spite of its Warbird heritage, the Hangar 9 P-47D Thunderbolt 20cc handled well at all speeds and never felt twitchy or on the verge of a stall. It performed scale Warbird maneuvers with ease and looked great doing them. The Thunderbolt was even able to fly many popular sport plane maneuvers and the E-flite Power 60 had plenty of power. This 20cc class Warbird was big enough to have giant scale Warbird presence in the air, but small enough to fit in a full-size SUV fully assembled. This P-47 would make a perfect scale platform to learn all about retractable landing gear and flaps.

Pluses

  • Powerful E-flite Power 60 Motor
  • Classic Warbird Looks and Performance
  • Gas/Glow/Electric Power Options Supported
  • Two-piece Wings
  • Flying Surfaces Pre-hinged
  • Effective Flaps
  • Optional Retracts
  • Beautiful Satin Finished Covering

Minuses

  • Supplied Pilot sat too low in the Cockpit

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Last edited by Jason Cole; 01-23-2019 at 10:38 AM..
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Old 01-23-2019, 06:49 PM
Rolling Thunder is offline
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Nice review. I really enjoyed my 20CC Jug. I'm looking at the 20cc Mustang next.

I used the exact same setup. I preferred the APC 15-10 prop. It was excellent performance.
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Last edited by Rolling Thunder; 01-24-2019 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 01-23-2019, 07:37 PM
kingsflyer is offline
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I think Hangar 9 has hit a sweet spot with this 20cc series of Warbirds.
McD
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Last edited by kingsflyer; 03-21-2019 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:33 PM
Nikolei Zinsli is offline
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If it's R/C, I LIKE IT!
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United States, NC, Raleigh
Joined Apr 2008
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Nice review king! Your mention of making sure the strut scissor arms were facing forward caught my attention. I never realized the p47 has them forward and the p51 has them rearward. I just installed the same struts on my Strega, so I just had to go double check I did it right!
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Old 01-24-2019, 11:59 AM
gmorales83 is offline
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This is really nice.... and at 67" a pretty respectable size too, for a warbird.


GM
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Old 05-04-2019, 08:03 AM
wi53072 is offline
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Wow!

Wonder if my DLE 30 fits this?
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Old 05-07-2019, 09:37 AM
kingsflyer is offline
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It would be a bit tight, but the plane can handle the weight an power.
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