RC Electric Plane ST Cessna Corvalis 350 – Reviewed

Written by Joe Baker on . Posted in Miscellaneous


ST Cessna 350 CorvalisWe have already reviewed one high wing Cessna the EGO 182, amongst the nine RC electric aeroplanes that will be included in the Comparative Grid which is likely to be completed in October 2010.

We are also scheduled to do a review later this month on the high wing and higher class, EGO Class 500 Cessna, so we may as well cover all wing styles and do the low wing ST Cessna 350 Corvalis.


How did we find it?  Read on!

 (See 21 Best RC electric planes compared - this site)


Ready to go

Whilst you could argue that the two Ego Cessna high wings are perhaps similar, our aim was to see where they fitted in the type of flying, size of the grounds needed and skill levels.  You may remember that within these reviews we are attempting to provide sufficient data about each of the aeroplanes so that readers will have a more informed choice. The ST Cessna 350 Corvalis electric ‘plane that was supplied by www.ultimatehobbies.com.au  has a low wing configuration and is therefore likely to have significantly different flying attributes to the other two Cessnas.  It has been sent to us for review as a surprise inclusion along with a Dynam Super Cub (no longer to be reviewed) which was a suggested replacement for the now discontinued Hobbyzone Super Cub.
ST Cessna 350 All the bits

Assembly comments
The first surprise has been the excellently designed undercarriage with it having the most strongest using correct engineering principles we have seen on any ‘plane to date.  But it only gets better as we also have discovered that the front wheel is telescopically sprung - something we have also not seen to date.  We anticipate that this will make a significant change to take off and landing on grass and is something we are especially interested in documenting.

The chrome finished propeller spinner is fixed by two countersunk screws and this has also been a bit of a first for us.  We feel that this is a very good move as the snap-on ones tend to fall off on occasions, or alternatively, are very difficult to remove when you wish to do so.

I guess a bit of a let down for us seeing they were doing so well, was that the propeller shaft was only 3mm in diameter, so we made up a 7mm long x 9mm diameter sheath on the lathe out of nylon which we then slipped over the shaft to provide far more strength and prevent possible bending.

The little LED Navigation and landing lights had both us and our visitors “Ooing” and “Ahrring” when we were later seen taxing around on the driveway late at night. 

It’s great to see remote control plane manufacturers finally doing some smart things like putting the battery where you can access it easily.  The ST Corvalis Cessna 350 is no exception - simply pull up the topside half of the nose cone and slip the battery in.  We noticed there is provision to put a larger battery in, so we did just that.  Our friends at HEI Hobby Express International seem to have Intellect batteries of any size, capacity and discharge rate that you could possibly want and are widely available at most hobby stores.  Due to the position of the low wing fixings, adjustment of ailerons and flaps are just a little more time consuming in order to get them right.  But once you have them synchronised, you should not have to revisit this area.

Supplied Charger
An adequate 12 volt DC input Li-Po charger is supplied, but whilst it appears to work well, it only charges via the balance connection plug.  We must state, however, that check readings on cells after being charged, verified that the charger still did what it was designed for.

ST Cessna 350 TXSupplied Transmitter and Receiver
The lights take up an extra channel and it took us a few moments to get that wired correctly as right from the onset, we wanted this ‘plane to be matched to our Spektrum DX6i.  As the receiver was not DSM2 compatible, we elected to change it.  We did not test the supplied 2.4 GHz receiver or transmitter and so we are unable to comment on their quality.  Nevertheless, we did test the DSM2 compatible receivers from www.ultimatehobbies.com.au and are pleased to say that although they are considerably cheaper than anything else on the market, they worked without faulting.

•    Navigation lights
•    Landing lights
•    3 position flaps

•    Wingspan: 1435mm (56.5in)
•    Length: 970mm (38.2in)
•    Weight: 980g (34.57oz)
•    Servos: 4 x 9g (Included)
•    Radio System: 5CH ST 2.4GHz TX & Rx (Included)
•    Electric Motor: Brushless Outrunner 1320kv (Included)
•    Wing Loading: 44g/dm2
•    Wing Area: 22.3dm2 (346sq.in)
•    S/C Rec: 30A (Included)
•    Battery LiPo: 3S Intellect 1800mAh 25C (Included)
•    Li Po Charger is supplied

You Will Need
•    Small Phillips screw driver
•    5mm open end spanner
Cessna 350 up there

First Flight
This ‘plane is truly like a “big eagle” and flies just as well.  The Cessna 350 Corvalis took off effortlessly for the first time without using any flaps, from grass 32mm tall and with the telescopic front wheel obviously making a significant contribution to both take offs and landing on grass.  The wind was negligible at a 2km wind speed, and the plane rose gracefully into the air after approximately 5 metres.  The aeroplane’s flaps were put on when high in flight, but the ‘plane continued under total control and only rose slightly at all three increased applications.  (We made a mental note to land with a little down elevator to compensate for this.)  George, the expert, tried a number of aerobatics and commented on how well the ‘plane responded.  It did however, have some problems when trying to maintain knife edge flying, but that was to be expected with this type of ‘plane.  Rolls, loops etc were just a matter of course and the plane performed faultlessly.  Landing was a picture to watch as the plane landed like a giant 747 airbus - flying true and graceful in every respect on the larger wing area flap extensions.

As an expert and as a beginner we deduced the following:

As a Beginner on your own:
•    Not really for beginners, too nice to crash!

As an Intermediate flyer with access to advice

•    Very nice looking plane with reasonably easy construction
•    Has ailerons and stick configuration is correct for all future 5 channel planes
•    Predictable flying
•    Takes off and lands well on grass
•    With flaps extended it will take off and land slower
•    Turns extremely sharp on taxying
•    Able to fly fast when demanded
•    Able to fly in half a football/soccer area and larger
•    Able to fly very slowly even with flaps off

•    If you wish to use the flaps you need to have access to advice on flaps from someone with RC plane experience or TX’s in tandem to obtain experience.
•    Need to get proficient using a small slow inexpensive raw recruit training-suited plane as shown in final comparison grid first
•    Not so easy to repair main wing
•    Another complication (flaps) to get used to.

As an accomplished RC flyer:

•    An extremely lovely predictable ‘plane
•    Short take off distance required only
•    Adequately powered with large variance of  low/high speed capabilities of flight
•    Robust construction
•    Lands and takes off on grass easily, definitely aided by telescopic sprung front wheel and robust under carriage.
•    A responsive aeroplane
•    Excellent fly time
•    Fast and capable

•    Is affected by winds due to large wing area

Summary conclusion – ST Cessna Corvalis 350
This plane looks and is more graceful than any aeroplane we have flown to date, particularly when landing.  It has the added bonus of being able to fly slowly and also to be as forgiving and as nice to fly as the Trojan T28D (in a different way), as well as being almost as well constructed.
We find it excellent value at an approximate retail cost of  $299 AUD for the RTF (PNP will be cheaper).

Thankyou www.ultimatehobbies.com.au for sending us this plane and well done ST - you have raised the bar for others to try to aspire to.  We give it the double thumbs up.

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