Each year, the Model Airplane News editors collaborate to select the products and models of the past year that deserve special recognition. We have the enviable job of trying out an amazing array of airplanes and drones and a plethora of related accessories and products from the RC hobby, and each year, dozens of products are reviewed on the pages of our magazine. We evaluate design, construction, and—most of all—performance. So after much thought, consideration, and debate, here are this year’s winners.
PLANE OF THE YEAR
Hangar 9 P-47 Thunderbolt 20cc ARF
The 20cc P-47 Thunderbolt almost-ready-to-fly (ARF) plane from Hangar 9 comes complete, well designed, and constructed out of a conventional “built-up” wood structure. Designed using CAD, the parts fit, pushrod routing, and correct equipment placement are all assured by design. Out of the box, the parts are expertly covered in decorated, self-adhesive covering in a scheme that enables you to duplicate three different full-scale P-47s. The kit features a removable wing (with functional flaps), with the two panels, joined with a metal tube for easy transport. They are retract-ready, just waiting for the E-flite electric units. Optional scale-type gear struts are also available. A large molded fiberglass cowl with exhaust wastegates, a vacuum-formed turbocharger exhaust, and wingtip light lenses are also supplied. Rounding out the scale goodies are a pilot bust, a complete cockpit kit with sides walls, a seat, and a formed instrument panel.
With its wide-track main gear, the P-47 is equally comfortable on close-cut grass or hard-surface runways, and ground handling is well behaved and pilot-friendly. Properly balanced, the model is nice and stable, and it tracks true throughout maneuvers. It has plenty of power for warbird aerobatics, and with its effective flaps, landings are relatively uneventful.
RADIO OF THE YEAR
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