Blast down the Bayou!
This article was originally published in RC Driver’s September 2015 issue.
By Jim Onorato Photos Walter Sidas
I keep a boat on Candlewood Lake in Connecticut and, while most of my lake-related RCing normally revolves around float flying and RC boating, I am always eager to try something new and the AquaCraft Cajun Commander airboat really fits the bill. This is an electric powered, 2.4GHz controlled, almost-ready-to-run, 27-1/2-inch airboat with an ABS plastic hull with a cool camo trim scheme. It features a brushless outrunner motor driving a 9×7 3-bladed prop and two huge air rudders. Twelve bright LEDs on the bow and prop cage are powered by two “AA” alkaline batteries operated from a separate switch concealed below deck. It is almost ready to run right out of the box as all you need to get it going are six alkaline batteries for the transmitter and spotlights, a LiPo drive battery and a charger.
WHO MAKES IT: AquaCraft
WHO IT’S FOR: Beginner to advanced
HOW MUCH: $279.99
BOAT TYPE: Brushless electric airboat
BUILD TYPE: Ready-to-run (RTR)
• Overall appearance and speed
• Waterproof, air-cooled ESC
• 12 bright LEDs extend fun time well into dusk
• Easy battery access
• Driver not included
• Six “AA” batteries for transmitter and LED spotlights
• 11.1V – 2200mAh LiPo battery LiPo battery charger
• Six Onyx “AA” Alkaline batteries
• One ElectriFly 11.1V-2200mAh LiPo battery Cellpro 4S LiPo Charger
LENGTH 27.5 in. (699mm)
BEAM 14.5 in. (368mm)
HEIGHT 12.5 in. (318mm)
HULL MATERIAL ABS plastic
SPEED CONTROL Waterproof, air-cooled 50A MOTOR AquaCraft 1800 Kv brushless outrunner
PROP 9×7 3-blade FRP (fiber reinforced plastic)
RUDDER Two molded dual air rudders
DRIVE SYSTEM Air drive w/ airplane prop
I really liked the size, speed and stability of the Cajun Commander and the cool look of its painted camo trim scheme. It is a great change of pace from most RC boats on the market and is a blast to watch go like the wind down the straightaway on grass or water. I am having a ball with this one.
OUT OF THE BOX
The Cajun Commander is advertised as a Ready-to-Run (RTR) but since batteries are not provided, I would call it an Almost-Ready-to -Run (ARTR). It comes with a 1200Kv brushless outrunner motor, 50A waterproof, air-cooled ESC, Tactic TTX300 3-channel 2.4GHz SLT transmitter, TTR325 receiver and a TSX102 standard size and torque steering servo all already installed. It has a flat-bottomed ABS plastic hull with printed-on camo trim scheme and a factory painted metal propeller cage that houses a replica V8 engine that hides the brushless motor. A quick-remove hatch cover is located under the seats and is held in place with pins in the rear and a small latch in the front. Beneath the hatch cover are the receiver, steering servo and a place for the LiPo and “AA” batteries (not included). A drain plug is located on the port side of the transom to facilitate draining any water that may get into the hull. There are 12 LED spotlights on the Commander: six facing forward and two on each side at the bow and two mounted on the prop cage. Printable 3D files are available on the website to let you add details such as a duck call, foot rest and a gun rack.
The Cajun Commander’s first runs were made on a sunny, spring day with just enough of a breeze to cause small ripples on the lake. After turning on the transmitter and plugging in the LiPo I closed the hatch cover and set the boat in the water. It sat perfectly level in the water just waiting for my first command. When I squeezed the throttle trigger, the boat accelerated so quickly I thought it was going to fly and, occasionally, it did. WOW, this boat was REALY FAST. At full throttle, it practically flew across the lake with more than a third of the hull out of the water. It responds instantly to aggressive throttle control and can “turn on a dime” when those two big air rudders are deflected. As a matter of fact, it can turn so tightly it can act like a top without forward motion. One note of caution: an airboat like the Cajun Commander cannot turn unless the prop is spinning to drive air over the rudders. I was so pleased with the Commander’s performance on the water, I couldn’t wait to try it on grass. Fortunately, we had a downpour a few days later and my grassy side yard became a miniature Bayou with a small pond in the center. The Commander performed just as well as a “Swamp Buggy” running from the wet grass to the open water and back without any problem. Now, all I have to do is wait for some snow. (After the winter we just had in the Northeast, I can’t believe I just said that!)
AquaCraft’s Cajun Commander is a high quality, almost-ready-to-run airboat with a high “fun factor”.
Its durable ABS hull, quick- remove hatch cover, and high powered motor and ESC make it easy to use and fun to run. The 12 LED spotlights really add to the overall appearance. It is almost too fast for its own good.
AquaCraft Models, distributed exclusively by Great Planes Model Distributors, aquacraftmodels.com, (800) 682-8948