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HobbyZone Champ RTF

By Matt Gunn
Published: August 12, 2010
HobbyZone Champ RTF
Product: HobbyZone's latest micro flyer is a pint-sized version of the Aeronca Model 7 Champion, better known simply as the Champ.

The Champ RTF (ready-to-fly) is an all-foam taildragger that features a 4-channel 2.4GHz transmitter with Spektrum DSM2 technology, 150mAh 1S 3.7V LiPo battery, LiPo battery charger, and eight AA batteries; this little foam flier is truly ready for action right out of the box.

Even more appealing is the Champ's docile flight characteristics and overall beginner-friendly attitude. It's fully capable of performing mild aerobatics yet will slow down to a walking pace for teaching new pilots fundamental flying skills. With a price tag around $100, the HobbyZone Champ delivers true value for today's consumer.

Performance: There aren't many micro airplanes on the market that fly as well as the Champ. In terms of stability and ease of operation, it's at the top of the list. If the wind is low, the Champ will literally fly hands-off with little or no deviation in heading or altitude, thanks to its 22.4" wing designed with generous dihedral. Ease back on the throttle and you'll get a feel for how slow it flies without stalling, and if you do get the Champ too slow, the stall is nothing more than a drop of the nose with no tendencies to tip a wing.

With the throttle stick at full, the Champ can satisfy veteran pilots with loops, inverted flight and even rudder rolls. High speed performance is marginal in comparison to low-wing micro aircraft, but what the Champ lacks in speed, it makes up for with power. Short takeoff rolls and steep climbs are possible thanks to the Champ's large geared motor and oversized 130mm x 70mm propeller. The included 150mAh LiPo battery is the perfect size for the Champ and provides flight times around 10 minutes long, depending on how aggressive you are with the throttle. Charge times vary between 30 and 45 minutes with the standard-issue LiPo charger.

Marketing: The micro flying niche continues to gain in popularity, thanks to competitive pricing and advancing technology. Many hobby shops are becoming aware of this trend towards small-scale piloting and have begun strategically rearranging their stock to suit customers’ needs. Prominently placing the Champ RTF in high traffic areas and within easy reach is a good bet. The Champ is packaged very well, so let the customer handle the box, and get a feel for how light the entire package is.

A demo plane is also a great way to attract sales; the box art is great but nothing beats seeing the Champ flying slow circuits around the parking lot. Even if it’s not feasible to demo an airplane, a promotional video is a viable alternative. Inexpensive flat screen TVs are available for under $100 and are a worthwhile investment if you are serious about advertising your product.

Since the Champ comes completely ready to fly, the only real accessories are additional LiPo packs and a multi-pack charger. The E-flite 150mAh 1-cell is the direct replacement battery for the Champ, and extended flight times can be had with the 160mAh 1S G4 ProLite pack by Thunder Power RC. A great 4-port charger is the E-flite Celectra with AC adapter combo and should be offered if the customer purchases extra flight packs.

The HobbyZone Champ RTF is the big brother to the current micro fleet offered by parent company Horizon Hobby. Its docile performance is great for first-timers and provides entertainment for more experienced pilots as well. Keep a few of these little guys in stock as they are quite popular and should move quickly. Typical spares such as propellers, main wings and tail feathers, and additional LiPo batteries are good to have on hand as well.

Product: Champ RTF
Maker: HobbyZone
Stock No.: HBZ4900
MSRP/MAP  $119.99/$89.99
Accessories: E-flite 150mAh LiPo (No. EFLB1501S, $12.99); Thunder Power RC 160mAh LiPo (No. THP1601SL25UM, $8.99); E-flite Celectra 4-Port Charger w/ AC Adapter (No. EFLC1004AC, $49.99) 
Availability: Horizon Hobby

Excellent plane for beginners
Superb handling at any speed
Entry-level price
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