HobbyZone Sportsman S+ Gen 2 Bind-N-Fly Electric Airplane w/SAFE

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The HobbyZone Sportsman S+ Gen 2 Bind-N-Fly Electric Airplane was designed to be as intuitive as possible. The Sportsman S+ comes with Horizon Hobby's exclusive SAFE® Plus technology that provides the same kind of self-leveling stability and GPS guidance used in advanced camera drones that cost $1,000 or more. It also features the freedom of four-channel control and a powerful brushless motor. If you're a little skittish about landings, it has a helpful AutoLand function that uses GPS guidance to put the aircraft on a stabilized landing approach so you can enjoy landing success on your very first flight.


Flight Features:

  • AutoLand: When activated, the aircraft will initiate a stabilized landing pattern and approach, aiming at a touchdown point near where it took off. During this approach, you can make adjustments to the flight path to avoid obstacles and assist with as much of the landing as you want. As your skills progress and you gain more confidence, you can take over more of the control inputs, eventually learning to land without any assistance from the automated system at all.
  • Virtual Fence: Using GPS information, the model's SAFE Plus system will create an invisible boundary that keeps the aircraft from flying too far away. When the aircraft reaches this boundary, it will automatically reverse course and fly back in the general direction of the takeoff point. Immediately after it completes the course reversal, it will waggle the wings to indicate you once again have control.
  • Holding Pattern: This handy SAFE Plus feature lets you essentially "pause" a flight by putting the aircraft in a GPS-guided holding pattern. When activated, the model will automatically return to a point near its takeoff location and circle at an altitude of approximately 120 feet until you resume control. It's a great way to safely hand the controls to friend or regain visual contact if you ever lose sight of the model.
  • Flight Envelope Protection: As with other SAFE-equipped models, the Sportsman S+ trainer gives you progressive flight modes with varying levels of envelope protection and stability. These allow you to advance at your own pace with fewer mishaps and more successes.
    • Beginner Mode: Limited Pitch and bank angles. Panic Recovery Mode activates when sticks are released, returning the aircraft to level flight.
    • Intermediate Mode: More freedom in pitch and bank. Panic Recovery Mode automatically returns the aircraft to level flight when the aircraft descends below 30 feet above ground level and the sticks are released.
    • Experienced Mode: No pitch and roll limits or Panic Recovery Mode. You are in total control. Panic Recovery Mode can be activated by switching to Beginner Mode and releasing the sticks.
  • AS3X® Technology: In addition to the advantages of SAFE Plus technology, you also get the locked-in feeling of AS3X technology that works behind the scenes to smooth out the effects of wind gusts and turbulence so the airplane tracks beautifully in every flight mode, at any speed.
  • Powerful, Efficient Brushless Motor: The model is equipped with a brushless motor that is quieter, more powerful and will last longer than a conventional brushed motor with a gear box. It's also very efficient, so you can enjoy more flying time per charge. 
  • Optional Rough-Field Landing Gear Included: In addition to the standard landing gear with wheel pants, optional rough-field landing gear with larger wheels is included. The rough-field gear is perfect for operating off grass, dirt and other surfaces that might be too rugged for the standard landing gear.
  • Easy to Calibrate: Because SAFE Plus technology makes extensive use of GPS and compass data, periodic calibration of these sensors is required. Don't worry. The HobbyZone development team has made the calibration procedure super-simple too. The entire process takes no more than a minute or two and doesn't require any special tools or experience.


  • GPS-enabled, SAFE® Plus technology
  • Automated Landing Approach function that assists new pilots with landings
  • Beginner, Intermediate, and Experienced flight modes let you learn at your own pace
  • Panic Recovery that instantly returns the plane to level when needed
  • Holding Pattern function that lets you "pause" the flight as needed
  • Virtual Fence that prevents the model from flying too far away
  • HD Camera ready with an E-flite® EFC-721 camera mount included
  • 4-Channel control - throttle, rudder, elevator, and aileron
  • 1300mAh 3S 11.1V Li-Po battery for long flight times on a single charge
  • Impact-resistant, durable Z-Foam construction
  • Includes standard landing gear with wheel pants for smooth surfaces and rough-field landing gear for operating of grass and other surfaces

Wingspan: 54.6 in (1390mm)
Overall Length: 35.75 in (908mm)
Flying Weight: 33.5 oz (950 g)
Motor Size: 480 brushless
Radio: Requires a 5+ channel DSMX/DSM2 transmitter
Servos: Included
Trim Scheme Colors: White with red and silver
Prop Size: 9 x 6
Speed Control : 18A (installed)
Charger: DC powered 3S balancing with AC adapter
Landing Gear: Standard and Rough field landing gear included
Experience Level: Beginner
Recommended Environment: Outdoor
Assembly Time: Less than 1 Hour
Is Assembly Required: Yes

Needed To Complete:

  • Requires a 5+ channel DSMX®/DSM2® transmitter, sold separately

This product was added to our catalog on July 1, 2016.

Sunday, Jul 10 2016 (about a year ago)
HobbyZone Sportsman S+ Gen 2 Bind-N-Fly Electric Airplane
Putting aside the GPS and Auto Fence/AutoLand features for now, the Sportsman is a good basic trainer. Here’s some details on checkout and setup:
The landing gear set with the pants is ONLY good for SMOOTH runways. With the Generation 2 (S+) Sportsman, I suggest immediately installing the “grass” set of landing gear with its 2.25” wheels, even if you use a smooth runway. (Save the 1.25” pants-type landing gear for later when you never, ever, miss the runway.)
Horizon provided a couple extra screws, but the printed instructions don’t clearly show you which ones go where: The screws with the large washer go on the outboard ends of the wing struts. The four smaller screws are for the main landing gear assembly.
The “always on” Stabilizer system works well on the Sportsman S+ to reduce problems with the wind. Just a minor note: I use stabilizers in other planes. To me, the Sportsman Stabilizer seemed to react pretty aggressively when I was holding and handling the plane, but in flight it’s perfectly OK.
On my stock Sportsman S+ the stock battery needed to be placed as far forward as possible to try to get a correct Center of Gravity at 1.75”. This means Horizon’s pre-installed battery hold-down strap assembly is WAY too far to the rear to be useful. You may want to install more “Velcro” inside the battery compartment towards the front to deal with this, or, rip out the hold down assembly and reglue it as far forward as practical.
The battery strap is so long it gets in the way of cinching up the battery. For convenience sake only, consider trimming the strap a little shorter.
When you buy extra batteries, consider moving up to a 1500mAh to get more weight up front to help with the CG.
In the USA, there are generally three “weights” of Hook-and-Loop systems; the Commercial Heavy Duty grade that most of us never see, the normal grade you see in everyday use by everyone, and the very Light-Duty “fine-strand” Hook-and-Loop material. (I first started to see this light-weight Velcro when the indoor foamies became popular, such as the Horizon Hobby UMX aircraft.) The Sportsman has the Light Duty stuff; you may want to replace all of it with standard-weight Velcro.
Make sure you balance the prop, and order a spare prop, rubber bands and prop adapter.
The provided “Y” connector for the aileron servos seems way too short for convenient installation of the wing, especially when it’s windy outside. Buy a longer one, at least 6” to 12” max.
The rubber band wing hold-downs work well and don’t dent the wing or wing saddle.
The plane normally takes off quickly, except for Beginner’s mode with its restricted elevator action. Be aware of this.
I’ve run about 10 batteries through the S+ WITHOUT using the GPS system and features, in order to get familiar with the plane before we use it for our club training. So far no dents, damage or dings. The landing gear is holding up well.
When I first got my Sportsman S+ Generation 2, the ESC was just hanging by its wires. It was not glued down or mounted on Velcro; it was just hanging inside the cabin area. I’m guessing the ESC is supposed to be a friction fit inside the air shaft (tunnel) between the cowl area and the cabin area. Make sure to check this.
A few of you more adventurous folk may want to try a more elaborate fix to the CG situation and remount the ESC under the cowl.)
Randall Smith
Tuesday, Jan 3 2017 (about a year ago)
HobbyZone Sportsman S+ Gen 2 Bind-N-Fly Electric Airplane
Overall the plane is well made, but the instructions for installing the rough field landing gear were written by someone who didn't follow them. Step 3 will not work as written. The motor mount prevents you from getting at the front wheel control arm screw.

Instead, remove the rubber keeper and clevis from the rudder control arm at the rear of the plane. Note the position of the servo rudder control arm. A cell phone photo allows you to put the arm back in the same position later. Now remove the servo arm screw from the rudder servo and pull the arm loose from the servo. Remove the four screws from the bracket that holds the front wheel in place. Now you can pull the front wheel forward and remove the control arm. Install the new front wheel and reverse the process.

Note: You will need a fine jewelers phillips head screw driver for the rudder servo arm.

Addendum: After flying the plane for a while with the rough field landing gear, the following items may improve customer satisfaction. The wheels need to be larger and/or the front landing gear needs to be longer. Mowing the grass field with your propeller isn't a good thing. The main gear needs to have a wider stance as the plane tends to be "tippy" when taxiing.)