The Yak-54 is an all foam plane with geared motor, 11 x 4.7 prop and more
servo throw movement than youíll ever need - even for a 3D machine. My plane was
red, blue and yellow, completely decaled, painted and ready to go. At less than
600 grams, I had a really good 3D machine for some extreme flying.
Other than a few screws to install for the tail, most
everything is completed. My kit arrived almost unscathed, but the control
horns were connected to the linkage clevises, and as the box was pressed, the
linkages had nowhere to go but against the ailerons. Both of my ailerons on
the interior portions had their hinge tape torn.
Here's how it comes out of the box!
Because you are able to fly the same day you receive the plane, the first
thing to do is charge the battery. The LiPo charger is a balancing charger with
an adjustable rate. While you may charge a 1300 mAh battery at 1.3 amps the
charger provided only goes to one amp, so figure about 45 minutes to an hour to
The wing is complete. I had to take some tape and reinforce the hinge line
near the fuselage. The single servo is installed and uses a longer servo arm for
maximum movement. I have seen many transmitter and servo setups that did not
have the movement this system employs. It has the ability to move to 45 degrees
of 3D aileron, elevator and rudder movement. The wing uses a forward locking,
two pin attachment and a single wing bolt from the top side.
The fuselage is molded foam, and the molding vents show. The body is nicely
painted with a gloss finish. The rudder and elevator servos are installed in the
rear portion of the fuselage providing short and quick linkage to the control
surfaces. There is a ton of detail inside the fuselage. The molding accommodates
the wing aileron linkages and provides both cooling and wire routing throughout
the airframe. The ESC is housed forward of the wing saddle and catches air at
that point. The underside contains a vented battery compartment and a separate
All you need to do to finish the fuselage is install the landing gear. It
fits nicely into a slot on the underside of the airframe. The wheels also have
The motor is also installed and uses a post mount to secure the brushless
motor and gear box. The motor also has a heat sink wrapped around it to
dissipate heat. The cowling is light plastic. The prop attaches with a nut. A
back nut fits the molding of the prop, and the outer nut tightens to secure the
There are two tail components with hinges completed in the molding process.
They are very flexible, and I found no hinge stiffness in either part. The
vertical stabilizer fits into the horizontal stabilizer and locks into the lower
portion of the fuselage. One screw holds the vertical stabilizer to the
horizontal stabilizer. The completed tail fits onto a plastic keeper on the
upper and lower sides secured to the fuselage. The tail section slips into
place, and two screws secure both pieces. The tail wheel is a part of the
fuselage but has a long wire that goes along the rudder that is secured with a
clip that is screwed in place. Nip off the extra wire outside the clip.
There is no radio installation other than installing the transmitter
batteries and the LiPo, but there is some setup required. The transmitter does
not have a dual rate, so you really have to be careful and not just max out the
control movements. If you place the linkage in the outermost hole of the servo
and innermost hole of the control surface, you will have more control movement
than you will be able to handle, especially on landings. The radio has no
exponential so your inputs are 1:1.
I recommend you start with the innermost servo-hole and outermost control
horn hole to get the minimum of movement. You likely will have enough aileron
movement to do normal aerobatics and just about enough elevator movement to hold
a hover. But with the maximum setup, no matter how good you are there may be too
much control movement. Be especially careful on the rudder: Too much rudder low
to the ground in slow flight is not good, so adjust your rudder slowly.
The Yak setup from the factory with the 11.1 volt 1300 mAh battery draws 141
watts and 12.5 amps, and at 580 grams (or 1.28 pounds), thatís 110 watts per
pound. Itís not a vertical rocket, but a hovering capable machine. Flight times
were very good at 10 minutes or more depending on how hard I flew the Yak 54. s
The Art-Tech Yak-54 from Nitro Planes is a blast to fly. It is lightweight,
has a pretty good glide slope and is very controllable. It can hover very well
and lock in, axial rolls are crisp, loops are big or small and harriers work
well but do have some wing rocking. I really liked that it had a factory setup,
and all I had to do was fly. The 11 x 4.7 prop moves plenty of air and vertical
performance was fine.
I typically fly three or more packs everyday with 3D planes. I think you have
to get the feel of the plane and know how it behaves in each attitude and
configuration, and with each flight I do more and learn more. I noticed
immediately that simply changing one LiPo for a similar size and weight pack
made the Yak feel and fly differently, especially while inverted where you can
quickly find out if your CG is correct.
Oddly, with this one I never checked the CG; I just assumed (and rightly so)
that the factory setting was correct. The CG is 82mm back of the leading edge
without the spinner. The Mean Aerodynamic Chord is 226 mm: Twenty five percent
of the MAC is 56 mm and 35% is 79 MM. The flight characteristics of the Yak are
near the rear edge of the MAC, so the tail gets more attention than the nose.
The Yak 54 flies very well at the 82mm CG, but you can experiment with more tail
weight or some nose weight.
Fast or slow I thought the Yak flew well. The stalls were gentle in a power
off setting, but a little more aggressive with power on with no problem
recovering from either, a benefit of having a plane at 110 watts per pound. I
thought the only issue was a tendency to slide out of loops and some maneuvers
no matter how well trimmed I was. Be easy on the rudder: If you get into trouble
and get heavy on the rudder, you will flip over.
Taking Off and Landing
It takes off easily from grass or dirt or with a hand toss. No problem with
any method. Takeoff is short and straight, and the landings are very gentle, but
you sort of have to bump the throttle as you get to the ground. It falls out
flat due to the tapered wing and wants to plant the landing gear if you don't
keep the speed up. I experienced no tip stalls on landings even with a rearward
Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance
This plane will perform very aggressively and put on a good show. I could do
several maneuvers at full stick deflection and had enough power to keep it in
the air. The tail has some serious authority and can put you into some great
routines. The ailerons are quick and run the length of the wing, so they can get
the rolls going very quickly when you move the linkages out to their extremes.
I thought that the rudder overall had too much authority in some maneuvers.
The knife edge would roll over if I put in too much rudder. It struggled to stay
aloft, and more power to keep it up gave the rudder more authority, so there was
a fine line between the two. Hovers were better if I did not use as much
elevator. The wings rocked if I got too much elevator dialed in.
The big ailerons get the plane pivoting around a point. Moving the linkages
and not having a dual rate is slow, but you do learn from that process.
Is This For a Beginner?
Not as a simple flight trainer but absolutely as a 3D trainer. The airframe
is durable, and some foam safe glue or 5 minute epoxy will fix anything and get
you right back into the air.
The Yak is a foamie. It has all the 3D characteristics, but it is not
Huckzilla - rather it is a more docile plane that responds well to your
commands. There is limited power for pulling out of a hover but enough to
perform and get the feel of 3D. I was very impressed that out of the box it was
pretty much setup to go with the CG right on and that it is very durable.
The Yak-54 distributed by
Nitro Planes and manufactured by Art-Tech is a great little park flyer
capable of putting on a great show. It is small enough to fit in your back sea.
The flight times are 10 minutes on the provided 1300 mAh pack, so have some fun
and see what all this 3D stuff is about - go flying with the Yak-54 from Nitro
- Great price for a complete RTF package
- Good watts to pound ratio
- Light weight for good 3D flying
- Looks great
- Offered as an ARF without the RX and TX