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E-flite Deuces Wild 25e2 ARF Review

Third in the Platinum Series of ARFs from E-flite, could the Deuces Wild be the perfect aircraft to introduce a pilot into the wonderful world of twins?

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:62"
Wing Area:740 sq. in.
Weight:9 lbs. 14 oz. (as reviewed)
Length:62.5"
Wing Loading:30.75 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:JR Sport ST47 (7 req'd)
Transmitter:Spektrum DX7
Receiver:Spektrum AR7000
Batteries:Thunder Power V2 3300 mAh 14.4V (2 req'd)
Motors:E-flite Power 32 Brushless Outrunner
ESCs:E-flite 60 Amp Pro Switch-Mode BEC Brushless
Manufacturer:E-flite
Available From:Your Local Hobby Retailer or Horizon Hobby
Flight Duration7-10 Minutes
Price:$219.99

Several years ago, E-flite unveiled a new Platinum series of ARFs that, in the words of one of their product developers, was their effort to "hit the attention to detail button pretty hard for you" ...and "E-flite taking extra care to make the experience as good as we can make it."

E-flite Platinum Series Time Line:

  • August 2007 - E-flite announces the first in a new Platinum series of ARFS, the AT-6 Texan
  • January 2008 - The second Platinum Series ARF is announced; the DeHavilland DHC-2 Beaver
  • March 2008 - Number Three in the series is announced and it is a twin! The Deuces Wild 25e2

<i><b><font size= AT-6 Texan " src="http://static.rcgroups.net/forums/attachments/3/9/2/0/6/t2779507-83-thumb-IMGP3213_e.jpg?d=1253876779" />
AT-6 Texan
 <i><b><font size= DeHavilland DHC-2 Beaver " src="http://static.rcgroups.net/forums/attachments/3/9/2/0/6/t2779508-66-thumb-IMGP1121_e.jpg?d=1253876779" />
DeHavilland DHC-2 Beaver

Having hit a couple out of the park with releases number one and two, E-flite did not make us wait long to see what release number three would be! And oh my GOODNESS, what a huge surprise it was when they made the announcement ... number three in the Platinum Series would be a twin electric powered sport plane with optional Robart pneumatic retracts! The Deuces Wild 25e2!

Kit Contents







In The Box

  • Balsa and light ply fuselage, center wing panel, left and right wing panels, and tail set pre-covered with Hangar 9 Ultracote
  • Pre-painted fiberglass nacelles (2)
  • Fixed tricycle landing gear
  • Tinted canopy
  • Push rod set
  • Spinners (2)
  • Wing tubes (2)
  • Nose cone
  • Main gear strut covers (2)
  • Miscellaneous hardware

Required for Completion

  • Six or seven channel radio system
  • Six standard servos (seven if using optional retracts)
  • Dual power systems (Motors, speed controllers and batteries)
  • Six inch Y-harness (3)
  • Three inch servo extension (4)
  • Nine inch servo extension (4)
  • Twelve inch servo extension (2)
  • Propellers (2)
  • Pilot figure, if desired
  • 3/16 wheel collars (4, if using retractable gear)
  • Air pump (if using retractable gear)

Included for Review

  • E-flite Power 32 brushless outrunner motor, 770 Kv (2)
  • E-flite 60 amp Pro Switch-Mode BEC brushless ESC (2)
  • Thunder Power V2 3300 mAh 14.4V 25C lithium polymer battery (2)
  • JR Sport ST47 Standard servos (7)
  • Pneumatic retracts (Robart)






Assembly

The manual is quite thick, it's spine actually being square like a book instead of the folded over appearance of a brochure style manual. The black and white, photo-illustrated manual is comprehensive yet not complicated. It had me convinced I would have this mighty twin finished and flying in a few short evenings.




Deuces Wild Assembly Manual

There is one bulletin listed on Horizon's web site for the Deuce that has to do with the nylon spacers used when mounting the Power 32 motors:

It has been found that the initial batch of kits had the wrong length spacers included for the Power 32 application. The length included was 9mm. The correct length is 5mm. These spacers are made of nylon and can easily be cut with a band saw, coping saw, or even and X-Acto saw. Future kits produced will have the correct length spacers included.

The kit ships with 9mm spacers but they actually need to be 5mm. I am confident that the kits shipping now have been corrected and that they now have the 5mm spacers but should you pick up one that is older stock, you may have to deal with this minor issue. I used a Dremel cut-off disc to trim mine to the right dimension but I think I may have made them a little TOO short. More on that below.

NOTE: Ezone reviews are not intended to be build guides or to take the place of the assembly manual typically included in a kit. Here are a few highlights of my build of the Horizon Hobby E-flite Deuces Wild ARF.

Wing

The wing of the mighty Deuce comes in three sections: center section, right wingtip and left wingtip which makes for an easy breakdown for transport. The two outer wing panels are retained by a single hex head cap screw each. Remove this screw, unplug the servo extension and slide the outer panels off. Most of the focus on assembling the wings is directed at the center section of the wing. In fact, this center section of the wing, when fully assembled and equipped with the retracts, weighs as much or more than many of the planes in my hangar.

The two outer wing panels house the aileron servos, and they are mounted in a very traditional manner. I liked the way that E-flite etched location markings for the hardwood aileron servo mounts that get epoxied onto the ply aileron mounting plates. These are correctly spaced if using the recommended servos, and having them as a guide made a minor modification quite easy to make. Though it has yet to happen to me, I have both read of and heard about folks losing a plane due to the aileron servo mount epoxy giving way. As a small form of insurance, I decided to employ a trick I picked up from somewhere here on RCGroups.


Before gluing the hardwood sticks to the ply plates, I drilled very small locating holes in the center of all four square etchings. After gluing the hardwood servo mounts to the aileron ply plates, I ran the same drill bit through these four holes and up into the hardwood pieces. Inserting very small screws through the ply plates and up into the hardwood mounts provides a little extra peace of mind. I painted the heads of these four screws red to better blend in with the Fire Engine Red Ultracote covering.



I really like the fact that the all of the control surfaces come pre-hinged and pre-attached on the Deuce. All of the control horns come pre-installed in the control surfaces as well. This saves a considerable amount of time on the complete build. The split flaps are driven by a single servo, and the included push rod connects one servo horn to both flaps. Due to the fact that the flap torque rods are not symmetrically installed and bent, each clevis on the Y-shaped flap push rod has to be adjusted to ensure that both flaps are aligned in relation to one another and that they deflect the same amount.

To facilitate easy transportation of the Deuce, the wing is a three piece design. The center section mates up to two outboard sections that are retained by one simple hex head cap screw each. A pair of tubular spars provide strength and rigidity to the 62" span wing when fully assembled. To break the wing down, remove the two screws, slide the outboard wing sections outward until the aileron servo extension connections are reachable, unplug the servos and slide the wingtips off of the spars.


The balance of the assembly that takes place in connection with the wing involves radio gear and the Robart pneumatic retracts. You can read the highlights of these parts of the build in the sections below.

Fuselage

Most of the assembly involving the fuselage is covered in other sections of this review. E-flite does include a small precut hole for the pneumatic air tank fill valve, located on the belly of the fuselage just forward of the leading edge of the wing. I like that they leave the covering in place over this hole for those who use the fixed gear, and I wish they had done the same with the cutout for the on/off switch on the side of the fuselage. I seldom use these switches on my electric aircraft, and the location of the speed controllers out in the nacelles means the switch lead would need to be extended to reach the cutout. I sealed my opening over with some scrap black covering I had in my parts box.



The small aluminum air tank for the pneumatic retracts slips snugly into the circular hole in several fuselage formers. I used a couple of streaks of hot glue to anchor it in place. The E-flite factory installs the tubes for the pull-pull nose gear steering wires. All that is left is to fish the wires through and make up the connections.

Tail

What's not to love about a tail set that bolts on making it removable if necessary and also expedites the build? I liked the way the vertical and horizontal stabilizers fit together, and in only a few minutes, I had the entire empennage attached to the fuselage. All of the control surfaces come pre-hinged and pre- attached so there is no need to glue the rudder or elevators into place. The control horns are also already attached.


Though I personally like the way the rudder torque rod is contained inside the rear of the fuselage, I was a little surprised at the manner in which E-flite leaves the rudder push rod to torque rod connection exposed. I expected to find a plastic cover that would cover this little protrusion but I will admit that your eye is not really drawn to this point of the plane once it is completed or in flight.



Power Systems Installation

E-flite lists two different motor options for the Deuce. If you opt to go with the Power 25 motors, they will bolt right into the nacelles and create nary a gray hair. If you decide to go with the hotter Power 32 motor option, you may end up with a little less hair on top of your head, but we all love a little hotter motor under the hood, and any effort to make it happen is so worth it!



Installing the Power 32 motors is undoubtedly the hardest part of the entire build, mainly due to the dimensional differences between the two motors. The Power 32s, though a more powerful motor, are actually quite a bit shorter from front to back than the Power 25s. While the x-mounts for the Power 25s mount directly to the Deuces firewalls, the Power 32s require a spacer or standoff to be attached between the motor's x-mount and the firewall. The good news is that E-flite includes them in the kit. The bad news is that the first run of kits contained the wrong size spacer. The assembly instructions say the spacers need to be 5mm but the ones in my kit were 9mm. It can be a bit tricky cutting such a small nylon spacer, at least with the tools I possess. I was able to use a cut off wheel in my Dremel to get the job done, though my cuts were less than perfect.







The installation of the Power 32s is not a task for those who are all thumbs. You will need to be on top of your game in manual dexterity and patience. I psyched myself up before attempting this part of the assembly, meditating on the process to come and chanting the mantra "I will not get upset, I will not get upset" (and a pair of hemostats will certainly go a long way towards making a tough job easier). This is because the motor x-mount gets inserted into the engine nacelle first. The motor goes in next, and it gets attached to the x-mount while they are both located in side the nacelle. This means you have to insert the short, counter sunk screws through the rear of the firewall, through the x-mount and then into the motor case, working from within the battery compartment. After you have the four screws that attach the motor to the x-mount installed and tightened (you DID remember the thread lock, right?!), you can mount the x-mount to the firewall of the Deuce. But the 5mm spacers must go between the x-mount and the firewall. I found two different ways to easily insert these spacers. The first way involves using double sided tape to attach the spacers to the x-mount BEFORE you insert it into the nacelle. The alternate method involves using the hemostats to carefully place the spacers in position while holding the nacelle with the firewall facing upwards. The hemostats are also an excellent tool for placing the hex head cap screws that attach the x-mount to the firewall into position. A small flashlight held between my teeth completed the tool set used to get the Power 32s mounted in the engine nacelles. Don't forget to dribble a little thread lock on these screws after the motors are securely attached to the firewalls. This can be done from the back of the firewall after the screws are secure. And truth be told, the entire process did not end up being as difficult as I had anticipated.



Once the motors are installed, the rest of the power system installation is a walk in the park. I used hook and loop to attach the two E-flite 60 amp Pro speed controllers to the inside wall of the nacelles. Only one of the BEC circuits is used, and it is necessary to pull one of the red wires out of the radio connection lead before plugging it into the servo extension. (However, I did read in a thread on RCGroups that one E-flite representative advises that they leave BOTH red wires installed, effectively paralleling the BEC circuits, with no problems whatsoever.) I decided pull this red wire out of the left hand speed controller and to make the right engine my "master" engine. When plugging in the batteries, it is important to remember that your "Master" engine is the one that will provide voltage to your receiver. I did not feel the need to use the speed controller on/off switches, and I was a little uncomfortable leaving them in place: I had this nagging and probably entirely unfounded fear that they could somehow get switched to the "Off" position in flight. With these E-flite speed controllers, removing the switch effectively locks it into the "On" position. An alternative approach, should you not want to remove the switch, would be to use a piece of heat shrink to secure it into the "On" position.



The Deuce was engineered to run counter rotating props which eliminates 75% of the bad things that can happen to a twin when one engine flames out. APC sells the recommended 13x6.5 props in both tractor and pusher versions. E-flite includes a pair of black plastic spinners in the kit, and they are not interchangeable from left to right engine due to the different cut of each type of prop. When mounting the props, it is necessary to use the collets that come with the Power 32 motors in conjunction with the plastic spinners. But in order for the collets to fit properly, the spinner back plates have to be slightly modified. If this is not done properly, the prop and spinner assembly is especially susceptible to being mounted in an out of balance condition. Because to the importance of getting this modification exactly right and the fact that the average builder probably does not have the necessary tools to do it precisely, I was a wee bit dismayed that E-flite did not perform this important step at their factory. If you do not remove enough material from the spinner back plate hole for the collet to seat properly, the prop and spinner assembly will have a slight wobble. Remove too much material, and the end result will be the same.




The fiberglass composition of the two engine nacelles is very good. The firewalls and battery trays come pre-installed but I recommend mixing a batch of epoxy up and brushing a heavy coat on over the critical firewall to nacelle joints. The firewalls come with slotted and adjustable blind nuts captured in the firewall. Simply slide them into position for your mount, and thread the motor mounting screws into them. The nacelles come equipped with removable battery hatches that are retained with a small wooden dowel in the front and a spring loaded release latch to the rear. They are large enough that accessing the interior of the nacelles for battery changes or routine maintenance is painless. I used the included hook and loop strap to secure the Thunder Power V2 4S 3300s to the battery trays, as well as small strips of hook and loop on the battery trays and batteries.



After the twin power systems are completely installed, it is time to glue the engine nacelles to the leading edge of the center wing section. Before undertaking this important step of the Deuce build, I practiced sliding the nacelle into the position on the wing multiple times. It is important to be able to do this quickly and accurately because the assembly instructions recommend using a quick setting epoxy for this step. With a deep breath, I mixed up a large puddle of epoxy and used an epoxy brush to apply a thick coating of epoxy on both the engine nacelle and wing mating surfaces. Slipping the nacelle into place makes a bit of a mess, so have paper towels and alcohol handy for quickly wiping up any epoxy that ends up where it should not. Once the epoxy is dry, mix another large batch and paint it all over the mating surfaces again. Canopy glue can be used to seal the balance of the nacelle to wing gap.



Radio Installation

The radio gear requirements for the Deuce include six or seven standard servos, depending on whether you go for the pneumatic retracts. The JR Sport ST47s are a good economical choice for this project, and their specifications are definitely respectable at the price point at which JR has them set. Though you could go for more expensive or better performing servos, the Deuce is a well behaved sport plane, and the control throws are not as aggressive or demanding, as many aerobatic and 3d airframes. All of the servo cut outs and mounts on the Deuce are sized for standard servos and the ST47s dropped into all of the precut openings with no modifications required. I call the use of these ST47 servos intelligent value engineering!



All of the servos make use of the servo grommets and eyelets. I figured I might as well have a little servo preparation party and get them all ready at the same time. Keep the pin vise and small drill bit handy when you are mounting the servos, and always drizzle a little CA into the mounting holes you drill before actually mounting the servos. This step provides a little extra insurance: It makes the screws fit into the holes a little tighter, and they will be less prone to loosen from vibration or the passage of time.



When considering what receiver to use in the Deuces Wild, I immediately reached for a Spektrum AR7000 seven channel DSM2 receiver. The 7 channels provide the flexibility and extra channels required for a full featured ARF like the Deuce. Since the purchase of my Spektrum DX7, I have grown to have almost implicit trust in its 2.4 gHz spread spectrum technology. If there is one thing I do NOT like about my trusty DX7, it is that it only has 20 model memories. What this has often meant for me is that I have to decommission and delete another model in order to free up a slot for a new model. I can honestly report that I have NEVER had to delete a model from memory due to it going in and crashing due to a radio problem or RFI. I do love my DX7!


Spektrum AR7000 Channel Mapping
Channel Function
1 Throttles
2 Ailerons
3 Elevator
4 Rudder
5 Retracts
6 Flaps
7 Nose Steering¹

¹ I created a custom mix for the nose steering, using the rudder as master and the AUX 2 channel as slave.

A successful radio gear installation involves at least a few minutes of careful thought, to plan the layout and position of each component. The rudder, elevator and nose steering servos all mount in the fuselage servo tray. I worked to keep the bulk of their servo leads concealed under the servo tray. I secured the AR7000 receiver with a piece of hook and loop fastener, while the satellite receiver was attached to the forward fuselage inner side using a couple dabs of hot glue.



When using all of the channels on a seven channel receiver, it is easy for the servo wiring to get out of control and look quite the mess under the hood. I think it is important and worth the extra time and effort required to neaten the wiring. To remove the wing on the Deuces Wild requires unplugging the ailerons, throttles, flaps and retract servos and also disconnecting two air lines. I like to label my servo leads with wire labels to avoid any confusion when reconnecting them. This also facilitates using wire ties to keep the servo leads managed. Yet another benefit to keeping it all neat is that it minimizes the chances of the servo leads and air lines inhibiting or affecting the operation of the flaps, retract valve and servo and pull-pull nose wheel steering. All of this has to share a finite space in the fuselage. If you just ball it all up and smash it all in, you will almost assuredly encounter numerous operational problems with the nose steering or flaps operation. My wiring harness was created in such as way that it naturally lies to the side of the three servos on the servo tray, out of the way of the rest of the fuselage radio and servo mechanisms.



Robart Pneumatic Retracts Installation

The review kit originally shipped to me from the vendor without the optional pneumatic retracts. The Deuce is a very sleek and racy looking airframe, and the thought of the included fixed tricycle gear hanging down for the entire duration of each and every flight was enough to dampen my enthusiasm for the project a bit. I discussed my feelings with one of the E-flite representatives who I am happy to say makes himself available here on the RCGroups Forums, and he was able to release a set for inclusion in the review. Though the Deuce can certainly be flown on the included fixed gear, I encourage anyone considering this gorgeous plane for their next project to try and allocate the needed funds for the Robarts. They are designed specifically for the Deuce, the quality is top notch and they install with minimal additional effort. Robart includes a single sheet of instructions which, when coupled with the E-flite assembly manual, makes the installation quick and easy.




The wing and fuselage come with the cut outs for the retracts already in place. Carefully cutting the covering away from these three holes is the first step in installing the Robarts. It is advisable to leave enough covering so that it can be folded over and ironed down on the edges of the openings. I used white paint to even up my not so even covering cutting job. The air tank slips into circular cutouts in the fuselage formers. I used a little hot glue to secure it in place.



When making up the linkages for the pull-pull nose steering, it is critical to ensure that the crimps are made very close to the nose steering control horn. Leave too big of a gap and the wire linkages can swing around and create nose retract problems. The tension of the two pull-pull wires is also important: If it is too tight, it may restrict the nose gear from fully retracting.




When inserting and securing the struts, the use of a thread lock compound is imperative. I was impressed with the thickness of the ply mounting plates, to which the retracts are attached with short screws. The air lines are all press fit connections, and plenty of air line is included in the retract kit to have a little left over. If you do not have a pump, you will need a Robart hand pump or some other way to pressurize the air tank.




The included rubber tires and wheels need their centers drilled out for the struts/axles to pass through. E-flite includes wheel collars in the kit but they are the wrong size for the struts that come with the retracts. I chose to drill them out instead of buying larger replacements. After the wheels are mounted, it is a good idea to grind a flat on the strut for the wheel collar to get a good bite. It is also necessary to cut the excess axle that protrudes past the wheel collar off or it could punch through the sheeting on the top pf the wing when the gear are retracted.



I used a combination of Blenderm tape and hot glue to anchor the air lines and servo extensions that pass through the main gear wells. It is important to keep anything and everything out of the way from the retracting gear, so that no lateral loads are created which could affect smooth operation of the gear.



One of the final steps of the retract gear installation involves attaching the included main gear doors. The manual recommends an initial attachment by means of silicone adhesive, with a couple of nylon ty-wraps added for good measure. Though the photo below shows the "head" of the ty-wrap on the inside of the gear door, I later repositioned them on the outside to keep the interior of the gear wells "clean" and as free as possible from any surfaces onto which the mains could catch while retracted.


The E-flite instruction manual does an excellent job of coaching the builder through the process of setting up the servo actuated retract valve. Care needs to be taken that you are not over-driving the rod in the valve in either direction, or premature failure of the valve could result.

Completion

Before attaching the plastic nose cone, it is advisable to check the center of gravity, and E-flite recommends balancing the model with the gear retracted. Should you need to add any nose weight, the best place for it is inside the nose. Mine, using all of the E-flite recommended components, was spot on. I used canopy glue to attach the nose cone. Though E-flite does make a moderately priced cockpit kit for the Deuces Wild, one was not included for this review. And since the canopy is tinted a semi-dark, grayish tint, I decided to omit a pilot figure for the time being. Though the manual suggests canopy glue for attaching the canopy, I prefer to use very small screws. Doing so permits adding a pilot figure later.

Recommended Center of Gravity
3 3/4 to 4 1/16 inch (95-103mm) from leading edge of wing

The recommended control throws and exponential settings are very mild compared to typical aerobatic and 3D planes. E-flite does mention that they sanction the user experimenting with higher rates which may match some users flying styles. I always like to at least try the factory recommended throws before I make any adjustments to suit my personal preference.

Recommended Control Throws
RateLow Rate Expo High Rate High Rate Expo
Ailerons 3/8 inch 10% 5/8 inch 25%
Elevator 1/2 inch 10% 7/8 inch 20%
Rudder 1/2 inch 0% 1 1/4 inch 15%

Takeoff Landing
Flaps 1 1/8 inch 5/8 inch
Elevator Mix 3/32 inch down 5/32 inch down

The final thing I like to do when completing a build is to get the AUW (all up weight) of the finished plane. My Deuce tipped the scales at 9 pounds 14 ounces. With nearly 800 watts available per power system, that gives the Deuce performance figures of around 160 watts per pound. I always enjoy shooting some static photos of a finished project as well. Here are a few of my Deuce in the evening twilight and a couple photos of two Deuces together.








Flying

Taking Off and Landing

If you had not noticed it at any point during the assembly of the Deuces Wild, you will notice it almost immediately the first time you taxi the airplane. With the recommended APC E 13x6.5 props, the prop tip to ground clearance is quite minimal. If your runway has any weeds or bumps, the props will assuredly find them. My first flights took place at such a runway, and I think the intermittent impacts of the debris during roll out, landing and taxing actually caused one of my motors to loosen up on the x-mount.


At the next place I flew it had no such problem; it was a real runway at a private airstrip near my house. With this limited prop clearance, it is important to select a relatively smooth runway. Or, you could drop down to 12x8 props, as I have read of several people doing. Taxiing the Deuce around is easy but make sure you have properly set up the dual rates on your rudder channel. I find it best to not use any exponential on the rudder low rates. Doing so can make ground steering during taxing, and even more importantly during take offs and landings, twitchy and difficult to control. Once in the air, I like to switch to high rates on rudder.



Flaps are entirely optional for takeoffs and landings. With 1600 watts of power, the Deuce is on the right side of the power curve and at an all-up-weight of ten pounds, it will still leap off the ground fairly quickly. Personally, I prefer to hold it on the ground a little longer, runway permitting, to ensure it is really ready to fly. It is also fun and very cool looking to accelerate down the runway in an extended roll, build a bunch of airspeed and then rotate hard and fast, banging the retract switch on the transmitter as soon as the wheels leave the ground. The Deuce will climb out hard, and the sound of the twin Power 32s in sync and a roar will bring a smile to your face for sure.


Landing the Deuces Wild is not a difficult assignment at all. Though bigger and heavier than many of the other planes I have been flying in the last year or so, it is very well behaved on final. My initial landing approaches were a little too hot, and I had to force myself to scrub a little more airspeed as I worked my way through the landing pattern. I usually cycle the gear down before entering the landing pattern, making a fairly low fly-by to ensure I have three down, locked and green. When transitioning into landing configuration, the Deuce will warn you if you are getting a little too slow by dropping its tail and waggling it a little. Once I have a nice glide slope established, I modulate the throttles on final to control descent. When over the threshold, I pull them back almost all the way and feather in just a touch of elevator.



The Deuce will reward a good approach, with correct airspeed, by raising it's nose a little on flare. I find it really easy to come in and settle on the mains first, with the nose gear falling after a little more airspeed bleeds away. The aforementioned minimal prop clearance offers further incentive to land in this fashion, as doing so prevents prop strikes. Plus, it looks really cool! Though the Deuces Wild is a sport plane and not really styled after any real life General Aviation airframe, I think it looks pretty cool coming down the glide slope on final with those twins humming along together!


Though they are not really even necessary for most takeoffs or landings, the Deuces Wild comes with flaps installed. They are a very nice addition to the plane and when used, will shorten the amount of runway required, whether you are coming or going. I set up my Spektrum DX7 with the recommended amount of down elevator mixed in for both settings of flap deployment. I also installed a servo rate reducer in-line on the flaps. If you have a higher end radio, you can probably instead program a delay so that the flaps don't just immediately drop when switched but instead slowly droop into position. The advantage of moving the flaps slowly is that they are less likely to "upset" the airframe when properly deployed. If you have ever sat over the wing of a commercial airliner during the landing approach, you have heard and seen the flaps come down a little at a time. And you have also probably noticed the RPMs of the engines increase as the flaps drop. When using the flaps on the Deuce, it is important to pay attention to your throttle stick and keep the RPMS higher that if you are not using the flaps.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

The Deuces Wild has plenty of power to perform any aerobatics possible with a four channel plane. Giant loops that top out hundreds of feet up, nice axial aileron rolls, stall turns and the like are fun to perform. Inverted flight takes an expected and normal amount of down elevator with the CG set in the factory recommended position. Flipping the rudder to high rates after take off enables knife edge flight, with a slight pull towards the gear evident in mine. Fill throttle diving passes which put the Deuce a few feet above the runway centerline are a rush. The Deuce will carry a lot of speed and a hard pull into a streaking vertical line will have it sky high before you know it. It is worth remembering that this plane is a true sport plane and 3D type maneuvers are not necessary or recommended.



As the Eagle Tree graphs show above, the Deuce has plenty of power on tap but it will also cruise around at a good clip at mid throttle settings. The right hand chart above shows a flight of approximately five minutes in duration, at a cost of around 1800 mAh worth of battery usage. The recommended Thunder Power 4S 3300 lipoly batteries will easily provide fights of 7-10 minutes if the throttle is not left wide open for the entire flight.

NOTES

Here are a couple of worthwhile and possibly valuable observations in regards to the Deuces Wild:

It is important to exercise care when picking the Deuce up. It is a somewhat heavy plane at nearly ten pounds. I found myself tending to pick it up by the main gear retract openings or gear wells but doing so is not a good idea. The wing sheeting in the center section of the wing cannot handle the weight of the entire plane when picking the plane in this manner. I find it best to always use two hands and grip it by the leading edge of the wing and also the rear of the fuselage.

The initial flights on my Deuces Wild found me fighting a small vibration problem in one of the power systems. The first thing I would normally expect would be an out of balance prop but both props were balanced before installation. I did notice that the left hand firewall was a little loose in the engine nacelle after the first couple of flights and there were small pieces of glue rattling around on the floor of this nacelle. I theorize that I may have trimmed the 9mm spacers used to mount the Power 32s a little too aggressively and the spinner to nacelle clearance was tight, perhaps too tight. Another contributing factor may have been the runway from which I flew the Deuce had a fair amount of weeds and rocks littering its surface. With the very small amount of clearance between prop tips and terra firma, I could hear the 13x6.5 props hitting these items as I taxied. I believe these factors combined to cause the firewall to be jarred loose. The spinner also showed signs of rubbing on the nacelle. A quick trip to the hardware store for longer spacers, as well as a liberal application of 15 minute epoxy on the firewall to nacelle joints, seemed to cure most of the vibration problems.

As mentioned, any runway debris or less than perfect landings will result in damage to prop tips. I have read of folks running 12x8s for better clearance, so rather than tossing a set of my props due to the tips getting nicked up after several landings, I decided to even the tips back up, rebalance them and run them as cut down 12x6.5s instead. The Deuce still has power aplenty with these slightly smaller props and now that the ground clearance is improved, I do not seem to be nicking the tips up as much.

Is This For a Beginner?

The Deuces Wild is not for the rank beginner. Though it is not a difficult plane to fly, it does require a pilot who has some stick time under his belt. It is a fairly complex plane due to the twin power systems, pneumatic retracts and flaps. Though the E-flite manual does a superb job of explaining the workings of these components and also how they are installed and configured, a beginner could be easily be overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done to get this one out of the box, built, pre-flighted and into the air. My mantra when getting ready to take the Deuces Wild up is "Take your time and overlook no detail". You just do not want to rush when getting a plane of this size and complexity ready for flight. The 1600 watts make this one get small fast, even though it is not in any way a small plane.

Ask the question above "Is This for a Beginner" again, but with the slightly different twist "Is This for a Beginner Twin Engine Pilot" and the answer changes 180 degrees to a resounding YES!! The counterrotating props combine with the dependability of electric power systems to make the Deuces Wild the perfect entry into twin powered radio controlled aircraft. On the rare chance that you would lose power in one engine, the counter rotating props mean that the pilot will not have to fight the potentially catastrophic effects of a twin flying on one motor. Though the 800 watts that one power system produces will swing the Deuce from the good side of the power curve to the weak side, E-flite assures the customer that the plane will indeed still fly acceptably. And since most scale war birds make do with 60 to 100 watts a pound on their power systems, I am confident that a pilot facing the "flame out" of one motor would still be able to bring the Deuce home in one piece with no problems.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery











Downloads

Conclusion

I have the unique privilege to fly a great variety of planes in my capacity as reviewer here but I have to admit, the Deuces Wild is one of the most exciting planes I have ever flown! You just cannot beat the sound of those twin Power 32s as the Deuce roars by a few feet off the deck. The Robart pneumatic retracts are another facet of this plane that make it uber cool and fun to fly. And thanks to E-flite having the factory do all of the control surface hinging and installation of the control horns before it leaves the factory, the build time is amazingly short. It will take a little extra time to install and set up the twin power systems but using the E-flite recommended components results in a minimum of modifications. Every time I pulled the Deuces Wild out of my vehicle and began readying it for flight, it would draw a small crowd of pilots anxious to see it fly. And just about everybody would agree it is one gorgeous plane!

Though the Deuces Wild has been available from Horizon Hobby for over a year, I would encourage folks who are looking for a one-of-a-kind thrill ride to take a serious look at it. The recent price roll backs on many of the E-flite kits make this beauty even more attractive and affordable. I guarantee that the 1600 watts of raw power available when using the hotter Power 32 set up will bring a smile to your face every time you push the throttle stick to the stop. Though this one knows how to roar; pull the throttle back to the mid range, and it will cruise around quite happily. And it really slows nicely for landings. Using the flaps will slow the approaches even more, making operation at shorter club fields entirely possible. The removable outer wing sections make transport easy and they can be reattached in about 30 seconds each. The mess-free, dependable electric power systems used in the Deuces Wild mean that this beauty will be the queen of your hangar for a long time.

Buy it, build it and be prepared for the plentiful oohs and ahs from fellow flyers when you send it roaring skyward!

Pluses:

  • Exciting, high performance twin electric ARF
  • Choice of two different power systems
  • Pre-hinged control surfaces, all control horns pre-mounted
  • Empennage attaches with a pair of screws instead of glue
  • Fixed gear included but use of optional Robart pneumatic retracts makes it even more sexy!
  • Forgiving and stable flight performance
  • Outer wing panels remove in seconds to make the Deuce easily transportable

Minuses:

  • Spacers for using Power 32 motors are the wrong size and need modification (corrected in subsequent runs of the kit)
  • Glue used on the firewall to nacelle joints needs to be of better quality
  • Included spinners require minor modification to work properly
  • Pre-cut hole for on/off switch in the fuselage


A special thank you to Terry Riley and Don Shields for their invaluable assistance with the media in this review
Last edited by Angela H; Sep 28, 2009 at 07:16 PM..

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Old Oct 06, 2009, 04:50 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
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Nice review Jon of a very sweet plane, especially with the retracts. Mike H
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Old Oct 06, 2009, 05:20 PM
I tell her RC is cheap !
carguy1994ca's Avatar
Quebec, Canada
Joined Sep 2006
12,855 Posts
Very nice review and great video. The design of this plane is very appealing, but I never really liked the playing cards theme, as I find it makes it a bit toylike. The colours and trim lines are very nice though.

After looking at the video and seeing the performance of the plane and the look with the gear retracted, it looks quite inviting to try one. It seems to have a very nice flying enveloppe. E-flite and Horizon really have it when it comes to producing nice looking, easy building electric planes, big or small.

Thanks for the thorough review.

Carguy
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Old Oct 06, 2009, 05:42 PM
E-flyer since 1981
Michael in Toronto's Avatar
Joined Oct 2000
1,494 Posts
I'm flying one with fixed landing gear and slightly bigger wheels.

It's fantastic model, and handles very well even in wind.

Great review!
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Old Oct 06, 2009, 06:22 PM
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Xpress..'s Avatar
United States, CA, Alpine
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SWEET review!

Looks like a potential future model for me, like, say, when I get a job?
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Old Oct 06, 2009, 07:16 PM
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Bajora's Avatar
Joined Sep 2004
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To make it a little easier to watch the video and for those without the bandwidth for the HD download, here is a Vimeo link:

E-Flite Deuces Wild 25e2 ARF (2 min 38 sec)


But if you DO have the bandwidth, the HD is worth the download IMO

And thanks for the positive comments folks
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Old Oct 06, 2009, 10:07 PM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
United States, CA, Los Angeles
Joined Sep 2003
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Good looking airplane. Sure is expensive though.

Assuming you have a Tx and Rx already,

Airplane kit: $220

7 servos, std: $84

2x Power 32 motors: $180

2x E-Flite 60A ESC: $170

Thunder Power batt x2: $240

Robart Retracts: $180

6 inch y-harness x3: $21

3 inch servo extension x4: $12

9 inch servo extension x4: $12

12 inch servo extension x2: $6

Robart air pump: $34

Plus props and other essentials.

That's $1159+ for this model airplane. Just round it up to $1200 bones. Yikes.
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Old Oct 06, 2009, 10:31 PM
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^Well, considering that's top of the line electronics, not bad for price. I bet you could knock off about $200 alone for the power system. And Hitec HS311's are only $10, so you can knock off a few bucs. Then if you buy the cheap extentions from china, then that's another $30 off or so

So you could have one flying for about $800
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Old Oct 06, 2009, 11:35 PM
Grumpa Tom
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Yeah, well I guess I am just suffering from sticker shock lately.

I like the playing card scheme. It is very different, unique. I think it looks quite appealing.
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Old Oct 06, 2009, 11:49 PM
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The one thing, though, that I like to keep in mind about electrics is that the "clean" power means that the airframe could theoretically last forever? There is no oily residue to attack the wood and covering over time. SO, barring any unexpected high G contact with fixed objects , she could last a very long time and look pretty darn good for many years too? To me that thought is worth something, when the dollars to get into a model start to add up.
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Old Oct 07, 2009, 12:12 AM
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Sacramento, CA
Joined Feb 2006
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I wish more people would follow your example of how a review should be. I appreciate the candid, real-world narrative about the build and flight charactaristics. A lot of reviews are simply photos, regurgitated instructions, and a dot-in-the-sky video. You set the bar high Jon. Well done.
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Old Oct 07, 2009, 06:31 AM
The sky is my playground.
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Nice job as always Jon. We must be getting close to seeing another Platinum release huh?
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Old Oct 07, 2009, 08:01 AM
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I found myself wondering about that John ... it has been a while now. I wonder if they will be continuing the use of the Platinum Series moniker?

And thanks Davin!
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Old Oct 07, 2009, 08:57 AM
I tell her RC is cheap !
carguy1994ca's Avatar
Quebec, Canada
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Quote:
The one thing, though, that I like to keep in mind about electrics is that the "clean" power means that the airframe could theoretically last forever? There is no oily residue to attack the wood and covering over time. SO, barring any unexpected high G contact with fixed objects , she could last a very long time and look pretty darn good for many years too? To me that thought is worth something, when the dollars to get into a model start to add up.
Plus you get the assurance of one of the motors not quiting in flight, and that is major confidence builder when flying a twin. And no muffler hanging out the nacelles !

Horizon is supposed to come with another twin, a twin otter. Really want to see this baby ! It should sell under the hangar 9 label.

Carguy
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Old Oct 07, 2009, 09:14 AM
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I think I remember Dave E. Saying the Twin Otter would be coming out December-ish? That's not too far away now!
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