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Discontinued Futaba Radios

Here's my description of the older Futaba radios that are still available from your local dealer or mail order. I keep seeing these radios in smaller shops throughout the country.  
Futaba Attack 4 Channel  

Futaba "Attack" 4NBL 4-channel AM system

Complete with transmitter and receiver Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cad) batteries and charger, this entry level AM radio control system was the most inexpensive of the Futaba line that is suitable for sailplanes. It came complete with everything you needed for an entry level or beginner sailplane and was available with 2 or 3 standard sized servos. These servos were too large for a handlaunch or other small-sized sailplanes.
Sometimes, local hobby stores used to let you substitute some smaller (mini or micro) servos in place of the standard ones, if they thought you'd be a good customer and come back to the store again.

Futaba Conquest 4 Channel
Futaba "Conquest" 4NBF 4-channel FM system As in the Attack system, the Conquest came with full NiCad batteries and charger. The Conquest was available with micro servos and a smaller receiver battery (4NBFS, "S" for Sailplanes) that made it very suitable for both beginner and other small sailplanes like handlaunch. The Conquest hasn't been manufactured for a while, but is still available in some stores and mail order outfits. The Conquest is an FM system and has better signal quality than the Attack AM system. It is also equipped with servo reversing switches, so for the day, it was very nice at the time.

Futaba Skysport 4VF
Futaba "SkySport" 4VF 4-channel 2.5Ghz spread-spectrum system

This was a replament for the Conquest and since the 4VF's introduction, has been replaced by the 4YF radio. This radio came with:
  • Dual conversion, narrow band FM receiver
  • Servo reversing on all channels at the transmitter
  • Built-in trainer system links the 4VF to any other Futaba FM transmitter types (requires FM trainer cord)
  • Trims on all 4 channels
  • Built-in transmitter battery power meter
  • Full NiCd batteries (Transmitter and Receiver charger is also included)
  • Frequency flag, neck-strap, and extra servo hardware

Futaba SkySport 6 Channel
Futaba "SkySport" 6VA 6-channel FM system

The SkySport, like the 4VF above, was a full NiCad radio system that included all channel servo reversing and some mixing capability without being a full-blown computer radio. You can mix elevator to flap and include aileron differential as switch options on the transmitter. The SkySport used to come with 4 standard servos, but there is a version just for electric fliers that includes 3 micro servos and an electronic speed controller. I don't recommend Futaba's electronic speed control unless you are using very small electric motors with 7 cells or less as it doesn't support much more than that. This radio has:
  • Elevator/flap mixing
  • Aileron differential
  • Includes choice of AST for 4 channels or AST for 2 channels plus throttle ATV
  • Dual rates
  • Rotary flap knob
  • Transmitter battery meter
  • Built-in trainer system links the 6VA to any other Futaba FM transmitter types (requires FM trainer cord)
  • Frequency flag, neck-strap, and extra servo hardware


Futaba 6X Series 6 Channel
Futaba "6X" 6-channel FM/PCM computer radio system

The 6X was Futaba's entry level computer radio several years ago. It supports both FM (PPM) and PCM radio modulation and used to be packaged with 4 standard servos and full NiCads for the transmitter and receiver. It stores up to 3 different models in its internal transmitter memory which means you could buy additional servos for additional planes and have one transmitter to control each of your planes. There is a large list of built-in mixing functions like support for V-tails, flap/elevator mixing, airbrakes, etc. plus dual rates (a switch that lets you switch between full servo travel (100%) and some lesser amount variable from 100% to down to 25% of full travel). The 6X also supports major helicopter functions. I have two of these radios and it's my favorite all-around radio due to its lightweight, long battery life, and most every function you'd ever want is built-in. So, this was a very popular radio.

If you have one of these, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find that it can do BOTH flapperon and V-tail mixing simultaneously. A friend of mine was setting up his Vindicator racing sailplane and was going to use the programmable mixing to do the v-tail portion but had accidentally turned on flapperons and v-tail at the same time and it worked. All the other special mixes like 1->4, 2->6, and 6->2 all work when both flapperons and V-tail are turned on. The other advantage is that this is all done in 6 channels, instead of what some radios (like Airtronics, even the Stylus) put in 7 or 8 channels.


Futaba 8U Series 8 Channel
Futaba "8U" 8 channel FM or PCM computer radio system

The 8U was Futaba's advanced computer radio, which came out after the "Super 7" series. It supports either FM (PPM) and PCM radio modulation and comes with 4 or 5 standard servos and full NiCads. It can store a nearly unlimited number of models in its memory as the 8U has an optional, removable Campac data storage memory module system. This radio comes with a large LCD display to ease programming, digital trim tabs, and exponential rate switches (lets you switch between linear travel - where servo movement is linearly proportional to stick movement, and exponential travel - where the servo travel is less sensitive near the center point and moves exponentially near the ends of the servo movement). This radio has:
  • Five Programmable mixes for airplanes/sailplanes
  • Two Helicopter mixes
  • Full customization of transmitter switches and flight stick options
  • Built-in standard mixing such as ailevator, throttle reverse, & flap-elevator mix
  • Built-in sailplane functions such as butterfly, elevon, flapperon mixing
And, if you have one of these (I have three), and you want to get the most out of programming this radio, you can purchase the Programming The Futaba 8U book from Don Edberg.


Futaba 9Z Series 9 Channel
Futaba "9Z" 9-channel PCM computer radio system

The 9Z was Futaba's top of the line computer radio for competitive pilots. However, the 9Z is a complicated radio system that brings the ultimate to servo mixing and other features such as countdown timers, alarms, and an option for synthesized frequency modulation which allows any of the 50 (72 MHz) radio channel numbers to be used by just setting couple of switches.

I don't recommend this radio for the beginner and the receiver too heavy and too large to be used in handlaunch or other small, lightweight sailplanes. For a "full-house" ultimate sailplane, the 9Z was the ultimate from Futaba, and is still a very good radio. This radio came with: (and a whole lot more)
  • Full customization of transmitter switches and flight stick options
  • Built-in memory for up to 10 models
  • 5 flight planner presets