Home RC Airplane Reviews Hobby King Retro Series Pioneer Review
Hobby King Retro Series Pioneer Review Print E-mail
User Rating: / 4
Thursday, 02 August 2012 19:40


When I first saw the Pioneer on the Hobby King website I was intrigued. It was a good looking plane with pleasing colors and simple specs. I was pleased to see that it was a 4-channel and after thinking about it for a few days I decided to take the plunge and see how it flew.

Kit Contents

The kit arrived from China in an extremely thin box and fortunately none of the contents were damaged. The kit comes with the wing, fuselage, rudder and elevator, landing gear, two props and a large roll of rigging wire. The 9g servos are pre-installed in the wings and the fuselage. In addition the 20amp ESC and 1200kv motor come pre-installed. Everything looked great and was in good working order.



There are only a few simple steps to complete to assemble the plane. The assembly starts with the landing gear which is strongly secured with 8 metal screws. Moving to the tail of the plane the rudder and elevator stack nicely on one another and are secured with two metal screws through the fake wooden fuselage. Next it is time to attach the main wing. Thread the aileron wires through the fuselage towards your receiver and attach the wing to the body with the included nylon screw. After the wing is secure move toward the nose of the plane and fix the propeller to the front of the plane.



This entire process takes about 20 minutes if you’re moving slow. The longest part of assembly is attaching all the rigging wire to the top and bottom of the plane. This process is not difficult; it just takes a bit of time. There is plenty of excess rigging wire and crimps so don’t fret if you screw up. I gave myself an extra amount for each line and made sure it was good and tight after crimping. Once the bottom wires are attached, the wing will not be removable without removing the wires.




The Hobby King Pioneer features a 40 inch wingspan and an overall length of 32 inches. The plane is powered by a 1200kv motor that spins an 8x6 propeller to 18 amps and 180 watts of power, it’s not a lot of power but the plane only weighs about 650g. The color and style of the plane is very pleasing and I like the long, thin ailerons that almost seem hidden in the wing. I like the way the battery hatch is disguised in the fuselage although the hatch itself is awfully small and I had trouble fitting a 1000mah battery in the given area.


First Flight

The conditions were perfect for the first flight…warm, sunny and not a soul around. My lovely assistant was unable to come for the maiden so enlisted the help of my fellow pilot ‘Ron’ to help with photo duties.

After a round of pre-flight checks the Hobby King Pioneer looked great and ready to go. I throttled up and had no problem getting the Pioneer off of the ground. The plane needed a little up elevator to even out, but after 3 clicks the sweet retro airplane flew level. To climb up to maiden flight height the plane needed around ¾ throttle. The climbing ability wasn’t overwhelming but it was expected given the size of the motor. The plane felt great in the air and did not distribute any bad habits. The Pioneer rolled easily and flew inverted like a champ. For the first flight I went for a total of 5 minutes before bringing the plane back to the earth. The 1000mah battery was quite warm after the short flight and each cell read 3.80 volts.


Flight Characteristics

The Pioneer has gentle and ‘easy going’ flight characteristics. The plane is no thumb-splitting power house, but more of a scale flyer. The Pioneer loops, rolls and spins quite well. Inverted flight feels stable and light. The climbing ability of the plane is mediocre but has enough power to get you out of trouble. Overall the Pioneer is easy to fly and floats very well when going slow or stalling.

Takeoffs and Landings

The Pioneer is smooth and doesn’t need more than 20 feet to get up in the air. On the ground the plane is a little hard to control as it sits on a rear skid instead of a steerable tail wheel so line yourself up before taking off.


Landing should come easy to the intermediate pilot. The plane floats very well and settles in sweetly upon descent. I found landings to be very controllable and not stressful at all.

Battery Bay

One part of the plane I‘d like to make mention of is the battery bay. The area where the battery goes is quite small and is cramped due to the fact that the 20 amp ESC is also located within the bay. The manual calls for 1300mah 3S batteries for the plane but I didn’t have any that would fit so I stuck in a 1000mah battery. With the smaller battery up front the plane balanced perfectly around 50mm for the CoG. There is some room to hog out a bit of foam for a bigger battery. If you do this make sure the CoG is still within the parameters.

Is This Plane For a Beginner?

Yes a beginner could potentially fly this plane but I wouldn’t say it’s a plane built for beginners. The Pioneer is docile in the air and easy to fly and with a little training I think a beginner could be flying in no time at all. The durability of the plane in the hands of beginners makes me think it’s not a great selection for a first timer. Otherwise it could make an awesome second plane.


The Hobby King Pioneer is a simple and elegant RC airplane. No big thrills or frills are featured on this plane and that’s ok, it flies great and doesn’t need all the bells and whistles. The Pioneer is a scale flyer but has plenty of power for basic aerobatic maneuvers. The battery bay is a little small and could take some shimming or shaving in order to fit a larger battery in the fuselage. The rigging wire takes a while to attach, but looks fantastic on the plane whether it’s up high or on the grass. The Pioneer is a solid plane and the first of Hobby King’s Retro series, it is a good start and I look forward to seeing what else they have in store.



  • Fairly Inexpensive
  • Great looks
  • Simple Assembly
  • Light and easy to fly


  • Battery Bay is a tight fit!


  • Shipped in very thin box, was lucky there was no damage


 Media and FLIGHT Time!







Better Video coming soon of the Pioneer!

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