I’ve noticed that some club members have been flying the Park-Zone Stryker at our winter Fun-Flys.  The Stryker is a delta-wing pusher “jet” style model.  It’s advertised as an 80+ MPH speedster and from what I’ve seen that’s a true statement. While my Zagi is fun to fly, it does not blister the sky. As I’m always looking for something new I began to check into a Stryker.  Visiting the Horizon Hobbies website I found that I could pick up the Plug-N-Play version for about $160 plus tax and shipping.  The price seemed reasonable for a model where you only need to add a battery, receiver and charger, since the brushless motor, speed controller and servos are included. So for about a $100 more, the ready to fly version is literally “ready to fly” out of the box.  Almost everything is included, just charge it and fly it.  

 Like I said, $160 is not a bad deal for a Stryker sans battery and receiver.  But like most of you out there I have “stuff” laying around my shop looking for a home.  So I began to look into “building” a Stryker.  At one time you could get the Stryker airframe as a complete unit but that time has passed.  So I did the next best thing, I ordered the parts to build my own Stryker.  The most expensive was the Stryker body at $19.  The other parts were $10 or less each.  My total, including some parts which it turned out I didn’t need, with tax and shipping was $77.  So far, I’ve spent about half the price of the RTF, not counting the motor, servos, battery and ESC.  But like I said I have most of these items laying around the shop looking for a home.       

To be honest I did buy a Plug-N-Play Stryker ($160+ tax) from a local hobby shop.  I went there to pick up a ESC and while looking around I found a P-N-P Stryker.  I purchased the P-N-P Stryker but I had some questions so we opened the box at the checkout counter.  That’s when I discovered a few things I really didn’t care for.  First, the ESC’s battery plug was not a Deans Connector so I would have to replace it.  The real problem was that there wasn’t any room to solder the new connector inside the Styrofoam fuselage.  Next the Stryker came with a 72 MHz receiver already installed.  I was planning on using my Spektrum 2.4 GHz so I would need to take off the rear cover, which is pinned and glued in place, to replace the receiver.  What if I discovered the servos were also non-standard or wired directly into the receiver? I wouldn’t find this out until I had the Stryker at home and everything apart which is a little late to try and return it.  After seeing this, the Stryker never left the checkout counter. I returned it on the spot, got my money back, bought the ESC, as planned, and went back to my original plan of building my own Stryker.   

The first problem I encountered was one I didn’t plan on.  I never really looked at a Stryker up close so I’ve never really studied its construction. I’ve seen several, but I never really paid close attention to how they were put together.  Everything looks simple until you try to duplicate it.  The instruction manual wasn’t any help since it just tells you where the plane should balance and where to glue the fins and it has a list of parts.  That was $3 bucks wasted there.  It took a little thinking to figure out how to hinge the ailerons and I did throw out the piece of tape that I later discovered was used to hold the front hatch in place, but all in all everything went well.  

As far as the construction goes, there really wasn’t much to do.  I made some balsa spacer blocks to fill in the gaps between the servos and mounting spaces in the wings for a snug fit.  I hot glued the balsa and the two Hitec HS-55 servos in place. I used hot glue on the fins and anything else that needed be permanently attached.  Double-sided foam mounting squares as well as clear tape were used to hold the nose on.  I used the stick on “decal sheet” on the wings even though I didn’t really like how they looked.  The decals have a flat finish while my painted finish was gloss.  But I thought the leading edges needed some strength, after all the entire Stryker fuselage is only Styrofoam, so I applied the decals which cover the leading edges of the Stryker. I used Testors spray paint (Orange) on the Styrofoam and Krylon Plastic (Black) on the fins. A Himax 2815 In-runner, turning the Stryker prop supplies the power.  I lucked out here in that I only had to elongate the holes in the Stryker motor mount to fit the new motor.  A 2100 MAh 3-cell Li-Po, 20 Amp E-Flite speed controller, and a AR6000 Spektrum receiver round out the electronics requirements.  Total investment in my Stryker was about $140. Out of pocket costs were; $77 for the Stryker and parts, an additional $30 for the ESC making a grand total of $107 of out of pocket expenses for the entire project.

How does it fly? Well I started this article before I completed my Stryker.  I find that it’s easier to write about something as I go along. Then I waited until I could bring it to the March meeting for Show-N-Tell before I flew it (just in case).  The first flight took place April 4th and went very well.  It only took two clicks of up and one click of right to trim the Stryker out.  It proved to be a very stable flyer especially in the moderate wind the morning I flew it.  I don’t think that it is as fast as some of the other Strykers in the club but that’s OK, it’s fast enough for me.  I think it’s faster and slightly more stable than my Zagi and the orange color is easy to see.  One complaint I have heard about the original Stryker is that its dull gray finish is hard to see.  It’s easy to hand launch for one person, just toss it and, after it leaves your hand, hit the throttle. The Stryker climbs with authority. Loops are easy with power applied.  Rolls are not axial but take a fair amount of altitude to complete, not very surprising for a delta wing without rudders.  Landings are straightforward; just point the Stryker into the wind and chop the throttle and it will float gently to the ground.   

If you were looking for electric that’s quick and easy to fly, I’d recommend trying a Stryker.

 Fly Smart, Fly Safe, Larry Dudkowski