Designed to resemble the original Mustangs that saw combat during World War II and the Korean War, ParkZone’s P-51D Mustang is one of the most acrobatic remote control airplanes we reviewed. It’s also one of the most beautiful: Details like a scale model pilot and printed control board give you the sense that this isn’t just another hobby plane.
For better or worse, that distinction carries forward to the Mustang’s flight model. Unlike some of our favorite RC planes for beginners, ParkZone’s Mustang doesn’t come with SAFE flight assistance. There isn’t a starter mode that restricts your flight patterns while you get the hang of the aircraft’s aerodynamics. The result is that it’s rather easy to crash. Confident pilots can wrest extraordinary stunts from the Mustang, but if you’re still getting the hang of RC airplanes, you probably don’t want to start your journey with this one.
Using the RC airplane kit’s included 150mAh battery, you can expect just over four minutes of stable flight time before the plane’s motor begins to stutter, slowing it down and letting you know that it’s time to land. It takes about 45 minutes to charge up the battery from empty. Fortunately, since 150mAh LiPo batteries are cheap and easy to buy online, you can affordably remedy the Mustang’s low flight times.
Our test Mustang used an E-flite transmitter with a range of 318 feet. Given the plane’s low profile, you probably don’t want to fly it much further anyway, since you can’t tell which direction the plane is facing at such distance. As with all RC planes, be sure to fly the Mustang in an open field; losing it behind a tree or building is a surefire path to destruction.
We flew all our test planes for a long time, and sure enough, we eventually crashed the P-51D Mustang. While other planes held up to both their initial and subsequent crashes without a noticeable change in flight characteristics, the Mustang was virtually unusable after one impact: Its nose split apart, and its four-pronged rotor twisted at an odd angle. Given that other planes handled multiple nose-on crashes without any trouble, the Mustang’s durability left a lot to be desired.
Quick, nimble and stunning to look at, ParkZone’s P-51D Mustang is a true pleasure to fly. It does, however, require prior experience; as an intermediate plane, it’s not designed for new pilots. Were ease of flight our only criticism, we’d probably rank it higher on our lineup. As it is, it breaks apart too easily on impact.
If you’re willing to invest a good amount of patience into the Mustang, it’ll reward you for your diligence. There’s nothing quite like flying a World War II-era plane through the sky.