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Hangar 9 Valiant Flight Update
My secret is out, this plane is FUN to fly!
Text and photos by Tom Hintz
Flight video by Clark Ponthier
Guest pilot Mike Basmajian
Posted – 12-6-2016
As with most planes logging more stick time is the key to extracting the far-reaching performance from an airframe like the Hangar 9 Valiant. Despite its huge flight envelope it has its limits and when you exceed them the docile Hangar 9 Valiant gets rambunctious. It acts something like a Cub in that when you near stall speed in a turn the Hangar 9 Valiant wants to fall out of it and will aim itself towards the ground until it builds a bit of airspeed. Again, like the Cub the key is maintaining a bit of speed and blending in rudder to keep the wing more level. Master that and the Hangar 9 Valiant appears to float through the air.
A Fast Slow Mover
One of the things that attracted me to the Hangar 9 Valiant was seeing a friend at our field fly one on a DLE 35. The Hangar 9 Valiant was fast! It appeared to be going much faster than you would expect of such a large plane and “moderate” engine. To be sure when I let it be known that I was using my DLE40 Twin in my Valiant I received a slew of email promising that it would be hopelessly underpowered. Once again, the naysayers were way wrong. The Hangar 9 Valiant loves the DLE40 Twin and the 20B Vess prop that has been on it from day one.
Leave the throttle wide open and the Hangar 9 Valiant is capable of making a low, fast pass like a warbird. Back off of the throttle and drop the flaps and the Hangar 9 Valiant slows to a walk with remarkable stability right up to where it finally gets slow enough to quit making lift altogether. The Hangar 9 Valiant tends to simply drop the nose when it stalls but if you are too low it may not have enough room to build the speed it needs to fly away. I have found that adding a squirt of power from the DLE40 Twin can help it miss the ground within a plane length or two. With some stick time, you learn to recognize when the Hangar 9 Valiant begins feeling “mushy” which signals the approach of a full-on stall.
Despite the high-lift, high wing configuration the Hangar 9 Valiant handles inverted flight surprisingly well. It does use more elevator to fly level while inverted than is needed to fly just as level when upright. Keep the speed up a bit and flying laps around the field while inverted is simple.
Most high wing planes will fly inverted but few maintain the control authority that the Hangar 9 Valiant does. The elevator is a little mushy which is understandable but it remains effective and I never felt like I was going to run out of enough down elevator to keep the Hangar 9 Valiant out of the weeds. Elevator authority rises and falls with throttle so practice flying inverted a few mistakes high at first! Ailerons and rudder remain as effective when inverted as they are right side up.
The rudder on the Hangar 9 Valiant is very effective without being overly dangerous. Many planes are capable of snapping onto their back if you add to much rudder even when the wings are making lift. The Hangar 9 Valiant is very forgiving when it comes to rudder application. It surprised me that the Hangar 9 Valiant responds well to tiny rudder inputs yet remains controllable when you lean on the rudder a bunch.
The Hangar 9 Valiant responds very predictably to cross control where you add rudder and counter that with opposite aileron to help keep the wing level or close to it. This kind of mixed input lets you fly the Hangar 9 Valiant sideways to scrub off speed with full control. You can also make passes down the runway with the Hangar 9 Valiant surprisingly sideways the whole way. Keep in mind that this is one of those situations where you are close to the Hangar 9 Valiant stall speed so a bit of throttle is usually needed to make it a smooth, sideway pass under full control. I have had a gust of downwind (to the plane) cause the Hangar 9 Valiant to drop a few feet all at once before it started flying again and missed the ground.
One of the things I want to do with the Hangar 9 Valiant is put new and training pilots on the sticks using a wireless buddy box. This plane is big and can be slow-moving, both of which give a learning pilot an advantage through just being able to see it better and see the results of their stick movements more clearly. I had recently bought another Spektrum DX9 so set them up as master/slave and had a friend, Mike, get on the trainer box to see if everything was working correctly. The radios were working fine so Mike started experimenting with the Hangar 9 Valiant.
Now having flown the Hangar 9 Valiant for a few weeks I can say that it is every bit the plane I thought it was when I did the original review. If anything, the Hangar 9 Valiant has impressed me more with its smooth flying, forgiving characteristics. It handles a good amount of wind well and with the flaps engaged lands at a walk which makes it great for short fields even though it is a giant scale plane. I am confident that the Hangar 9 Valiant could take the place of the old standard 40-sized trainers with a good instructor. I think the Hangar 9 Valiant is easier to fly overall and the size makes it that much better in terms of visibility and how smooth it is in the air.
The DLE40 Twin engine gives the Hangar 9 Valiant plenty of power. With the flaps down I can go full throttle on the ground and must hold some down elevator as the Hangar 9 Valiant tries to climb straight up or it will come over the top like a loop. I honestly don’t know how far it will climb like that as I have chickened out when it was getting small and not losing any vertical speed. Certainly, the Hangar 9 Valiant would be a great glider tow machine.
If you are looking for a fun, all-around plane the Hangar 9 Valiant deserves a hard look. It doesn’t need a big engine, can live with reasonable servos and sips fuel because you spend so much time at reduced throttle playing with the rudder, doing touch and go’s and generally floating the Hangar 9 Valiant all over the flying field.
See the original Hangar 9 Valiant Review – Click Here
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