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Flash 7 radio offers ease of use, versatility

By Paul Daniel
Published: March 13, 2015
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Product: I have always had great respect for Hitec products. Most of my planes have Hitec servos in them. I use them because they work great and are reasonably priced. I just fitted my Top Flite Focke-Wulf Fw 190 with about a dozen of their HS-5645MG digital servos.
Although I fly for an R/C air show team, and many of the aircraft I’ve flown in these shows have complete Hitec radio systems, I was never really motivated to pick one up until now. The new Flash 7 is awesome.
The Flash 7 will compete mainly with Spectrum’s DX7 and Futaba’s 7C in the mid-range radio segment. All three radios are competitively priced. All three manufacturers offer a variety of setups with and without servos. The Flash 7 came with an Optima 7 2.4GHz receiver, one of three receiver options.
OK, let’s get the tech stuff out of the way:

• Built-in AFHSS / SLT Flexibility
• 4096 Resolution
• Ultra-low Latency (7ms Frame Rate with Maxima RXs)
• 20 Model Memory
• 8 Character Model Naming
• Acro/Glider/Helicopter Programming
• Push-Button and Jog-Dial Programming Interface
• Telemetry Capabilities

Unless your customers are real radio geeks, you can mention the first three ­bullet points and watch their eyes glaze over. The telemetry and 8-character naming capability are also nice. But what’s going to make the Flash 7 sell is the 20-model memory, programming capabilities for three different types of aircraft, and ease of programming.

Performance: The comparison that comes to mind is my Spektrum 8, which I like for its ease of programming. The Flash 7 is just as easy and actually does a few things better with fewer buttons.
I’m not going to go through the entire well-written manual, just hit some of the highlights. Like any other radio, setup begins with charging up your battery and inserting it in the back of the transmitter. I’m not really a fan of the battery tray pack Hitec uses, with standard alkaline cells or NiCd rechargeable batteries, because they’re susceptible to corrosion. However, the Flash 7 will also accept NiCd and LiPo battery packs.
With a freshly charged pack installed, flip the switch. Select “Yes” and “Ready To Transmit” and you’re off and running. The next choice will be selecting the Hitec receiver you’ll be using, keeping in mind that Hitec’s Maxima receivers require digital servos. They’re a bit higher in price, but so much better than analog servos and well worth the extra investment.
I really like the way the display screen is laid out, and the backlight makes it really easy to read. One feature usually found on more expensive radios allows the user to assign switches and sliders to their liking.
Another thing I like about Hitec is their customer service. The company is also active in the R/C online communities and sponsor forums. On the most popular websites, you can usually find a Hitec staff member or representative who can answer product-related questions.

Marketing: So is this radio for the first-­timer or the advanced flyer? Yes and yes. This is a system that grows with the user, giving you a larger customer base to work from and a better opportunity for sales.
Hitec put some thought into merchandising the Flash 7, too. Lift off the box lid, and the transmitter can be seen under a clear plastic cover. Other manufacturers’ radios are often packed in foam, leaving you with just a picture on the box to work with. Customers like being able to look at the actual product, not just pictures.
Upselling opportunities include suggesting a LiPo battery for the radio, a charger, and digital servos for the aircraft. The LiPo will cost the customer more but deliver much longer flying time.
Finally, with a suggested retail price of $299.95, the Flash 7 gives you a nice margin to work with.

VITAL STATS
Product: Flash 7 transmitter
Maker: Hitec
Stock number: 170244
MSRP: $299.95
Availability: Various distributors

BOTTOM LINE
• Easy programming
• Long flight time with LiPo battery
• 20-model memory
• Can control three types of aircraft