HobbyKing.com New Products Flash Sale

Horizon Hobby E-flite Albatros D.Va 32e ARF Review

Beautiful and deadly were words used to describe the full scale Albatros. This new E-flite model is definitely beautiful with a lot of nice scale details.

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:53 in.
Wing Area:755 sq. in. combined wings
Wing Loading:18.3-19.5 oz/sq ft
Weight:6-6.4 lbs with battery pack
Length:44 in.
Recommended Environment:Outdoor
Servos:2 mini servos, 2 micro servos
Prop Size:13 x 4E (Power25), 14 x 7E (Power 32)
Spinner Size:93mm
Transmitter:JR 11X 11 channel 2.4GHz transmitter
Receiver:Spectrum 6115 6CH receiver
Battery:4s 3200mAh 25C LiPo battery
Motor:Power 25-32
Experience Level:Intermediate
ESC:60-Amp brushless
Manufacturer:E-flite
Available From:HorizonHobby
Price:$329.99

I have probably watched this opening promotional video on the Albatros from E-Flite and Horizon Hobby as much or more than any You Tube video I have ever seen. I love the looks of this plane. I have studied World War I aviation, and this was one of the truly great planes of the war.

There are a number of "optional" scale details that can be added to the Albatros. I added all except the pull pull system for the elevator as discussed below. The options are easy to install and well worth the time and minimal effort it takes to install most of them.

The Historic Albatros

Tha Albatros D.III built on the success of the earlier D.I and D.II versions. The fuselage was a semi-monocoque structure with plywood skinning. The top wing was lowered from the earlier version for improved visibility, and the bottom wing was borrowed from the French Nieuport with the sesquiplane wing arrangement with a shorter wing to improve maneuverability and downward visibility. The prototype D.III first flew in August 1916. At the time it had outstanding maneuverability and rate of climb. Additionally, it was heavily armed with twin synchronized, forward-firing 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine guns. The plane was powered by a 170 hp 6-cylinder inline, water-cooled engine with the radiator in the upper wing. This streamline radiator was originally in the center of the upper wing but was moved offset slightly (starting with plane # 290) to the pilot's right after battle damage caused scalding water to pour on a couple of pilots sitting beneath the radiator.

The radiator's position was not the plane's only problem. The lower wing had the spar too far back, and the wing would twist and crack and/or break the leading edge and ribs in the wing in doing so. This caused several planes to crash. The Red Baron suffered such a failure but was able to land his plane, and it was grounded for a month for repairs until late February 1917. There was a diving restriction on the plane even after the repairs. The plane's cone spinner was both a design flair and an aerodynamic asset.

More then 1,800 Albatros D.IIIs were built between 1916 and 1918, and the plane continued to be used throughout the war. In spring 1917 the plane was popular with the top German aces including Manfred von Richthofen, Kurt Wolff, Erich Lowenhardt and Ernst Udet. The allies quickly developed a high level of respect for the plane and the pilots flying it. This was especially true after the German successes in April 1917 where the Allies had horrific losses and called the month "Bloody April." The English learned to look for the unique spinner, the small bottom wing and the outer V strut and avoided it if for most of 1917.

Manfred von Richthofen and the Albatros

Although history most closely relates Manfred von Richthofen with the Fokker Dr.1 he only had 19 of his confirmed kills while flying it. Had he not died when he did he would have soon switched planes to the Fokker D VII that he helped develop. Of his other 61 confirmed kills, 10-12 were while flying the Halberstadt DII, and 49-51 were while flying an Albatros. Of those, 17-19 were while flying the Albatros DII, 23 while flying the Albatros DIII and 9 while flying the Albatros DV. The first plane Manfred von Richtofen had painted red was his first Albatros DIII. He scored two kills in it before the bottom spar broke and it was grounded for six weeks, during which he flew the Albatros DII. Per some reports, he scored two kills before switching to the Halberstadt DII and scoring 10 more kills before returning to the DIII. Some records say all 12 kills while the DIII was under repair were with the Halberstadt, but I believe the sources that claim he got 2 more with the DII during that time frame.

With his success in the Red painted Albatros, Von Richthofen developed a number of nicknames including: Der Rote Kampfflieger "The Red Fighter Pilot" and from the French, Le Diable Rouge "Red Devil" and Le Petite Rouge or "Little Red." The British called him the Red Knight. The name "The Red Baron" didn't become popular as a reference to him until after the war and was used by both British and American writers. Finally, his most famous victory over Major Lanoc Hawker VC came while flying an Albatros DII. While the Baron had 80 official kills it is believed he had 100 or more actual kills with 20 plus not credited as they went down behind the lines and were not confirmed by German ground forces. He actually had 60 or more kills most likely while flying Albatros versions DII through DV. Knowing the actual history gave me even more respect for this plane's design which was not only beautiful, but in the right hands, was also very deadly.

Kit Contents

Kit Contains

  • Fuselage
  • Upper wing set
  • Lower wing set
  • Wing center section
  • Wing tube set
  • Rudder and elevator set (attached to fuselage)
  • Strut set
  • Landing gear set
  • Main wheel set
  • Spinner
  • Battery hatch
  • Scale accessory package
  • Tail skid
  • Assorted hardware packages
  • Control linkage set
  • Flying wire set
  • Cockpit kit

Required Items to Complete That They Supplied

  • AR6210 Spektrum 6 channel receiver (SPMAR6210)
  • 2 A5030 mini digital aircraft servos SPMSA5030)
  • 2 A4010 micro digital aircraft servos (SPMSA4010)
  • 3 3-inch servo extensions (SPMA3050)
  • Power 32 brushless outrunner motor, 770Kv (EFLM4032A)
  • E-flite 60-Amp pro SB brushless ESC (EFLA1060
  • 3200mAh 4S 14.8V 30C Li-Po (EFLB32004S30)

Required Items to Complete Author Supplied

  • Two 12-inch servo extension (SPMA3053) *
  • One 9-inch servo extension (SPMA3052) *
  • Thin Electric Propeller 14 x 7E (APC14070E)
  • Wooden propeller 14 x 6 display and fly
  • An available pilot
  • JR 11X 2.4GHz 11 channel transmitter
  • Strips of weights with self adhesive
  • Lead shot
  • 30 minute epoxy

* With 4 channel Receiver: one 6" Y-harness, one 6" servo extension, one 12" servo extension

Tools

  • Adhesives: Canopy glue, Medium CA, thin CA
  • Clear Tape
  • Covering iron
  • Crimping tool
  • Dental floss (mint)
  • Felt-tipped pen
  • Flat file
  • Hemostat
  • Hex wrenches 1.5mm 3/32 and 5/64
  • Hobby knife #11 blade
  • Hobby scissors
  • Light machine oil
  • Low-tack tape
  • Medium grit sandpaper
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Nut driver 7mm
  • Open-end wrench: 10mm, 12mm
  • Paper towels
  • Phillips screwdrivers: #1. #2
  • Pin vise
  • Propeller reamer
  • Razor saw
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Side cutters

Key Features

  • Fully functional, shock-absorbing landing gear with scale wheels
  • Top and bottom plug-in wings with carbon fiber wing tube
  • Molded motor and machine gun detail
  • Authentic wire rigging and optional pull-pull controls included
  • Unique painted aluminum spinner included
  • Navigation wing lights and landing light installed
  • Realistic varnished wood tail skid included
  • Optional cockpit kit available (EFL460515) (One came in the kit)
  • Optional pilot available

Assembly

Tail Skid and Landing Gear

The assembly process starts with the tail skid, and it is well explained how to secure it. Part of that securing is done with a supplied rubber band; more rubber bands also serve as shock absorbers with the main landing gear. The rubber bands will need to be replaced at some point, so I noted the size of them and bought some to use as replacements in the future. I don't want a broken rubber band to ground me at the field.

The main gear installation is also well explained but I have a few notes to share. The two landing gear struts have a total of four metal mounting bars that are secured inside the fuselage, each with a strap and two screws (4 straps and 8 screws total). The instructions recommend installing a screw, removing it and the adding some CA to harden the mounting point. I found the holes were smaller than I felt they needed to be so I used a 3/32 drill bit and hand twisted it to slightly expand the holes before I installed screws 2-8. This made the screwing process the first time much easier on the final seven screws. That first screw with the original size hole was a lot of work for me!

One landing gear strut was installed, then the cross piece axle/mini wing was installed and then the second strut was installed into the fuselage. In installing this second landing strut I damaged the balsa just above the slots in the fuselage where the strut installs. I should have been more careful installing the strut! If I had to do it again I would have used some thin CA on the inside of the fuselage to harden the balsa just above the strut slots. I think that would have prevented the minor damage I did to the fuselage. Except for that, I recommend just following the instructions and make sure to lightly oil the axle where the wheels go as I did. The oil helps make the actual rolling of the wheels much smoother and quieter.

Motor and Electric Speed Controller

I used the recommended Power 32 Brushless motor and installation of it was very easy. I bolted on the motor mount that came with the motor and used some Loc-Tite to secure the bolts in place. The motor mounts to the fuselage using 4 bolts, four washers and four aluminum spacers that came in the Albatros kit. I moved the slide-able nuts already mounted in the fuselage to their outer positions and rotated the fuselage to keep the one I was working on at the full outside position. I highly recommend starting with the bottom bolts as they have the least amount of space to work with around them. The bolt with a washer goes through the motor mount, then the aluminum spacer and gets bolted to the firewall using the slide-able nuts that are in the firewall. The top bolts were very easy to install.

I opted to use cloth and hook material to secure the ESC to its mounting board and glued a piece of material to the board and a piece of material to the ESC. I ran the motor wires through a hole designed for them on the inside of the fuselage and connected the wires to the motor wires by matching up the colors from the motor and the ESC. I stopped there to bind the receiver to my transmitter, I connected the ESC to the receiver and plugged in the flight battery and bound the receiver to the transmitter. I unplugged the flight battery and turned off the transmitter. I then turned off the transmitter and reconnected the battery to the ESC. I confirmed that the motor was turning in the proper direction for operation. I took this opportunity to center all of the servos for the Albatross (2 aileron servos and one rudder and one elevator servo). I disconnected the battery and the receiver and fit the ESC mounting board into the side of the fuselage per the instructions. Using medium thick CA I glued the ESC mounting board in place and held it there for a minute while the CA setup. It was an easy installation following the instructions.

Installing the Rudder and Elevator Servos.

The servo mounts were already in the center of the fuselage and even had four servo mounting holes per servo drilled in the proper positions. I used the servo mounting screws that came with the servos and installed and removed those screws in all eight holes creating the threading for mounting. Using a very small amount of thin CA I hardened all eight of the servo mounting screw holes and easily fit the servos into the servo mounting holes in the direction indicated in the instructions and secured them in place with the screws

Connecting the Rudder to its Control Servo

I thought connecting the rudder servo to the rudder control horn would be simply a matter of following the instructions, and it started out that way. I cut off the unneeded servo arms and drilled out the proper hole on the remaining arm for the L-bend on the control rod. I installed the servo arm, properly centered, onto the servo with it sticking out to the side at 90 degrees. Back at the rudder I went to install the rudder control horn supplied in the kit to the flat area on the rudder control shaft, but I initially couldn't get the control horn onto the rudder control shaft as I didn't have enough room in the fuselage at the bottom of that opening. I ended up taking the bolts out of the rudder hinges so I could lift the rudder up and thereby lifted up the rudder shaft. With it raised up slightly I got the rudder control arm onto the shaft and secured it to the flat spot with the supplied Allen screw and some Loc-Tite. I then again secured the rudder hinges in place with their bolts, and after tightening the bolts applied some Loc-Tite at the nuts. I ran the shorter control rod into the designated tube in the fuselage. I screwed the supplied clevis onto the control rod and adjusted it until the rudder was in the proper position with the servo arm in the neutral position. The last step was securing the clevis in place connected to the rudder control horn.

Decision Time: Elevator Pull-Pull or Control Rod?

Decision time came for connecting the elevators. There were 2 options: installing a single control rod to control the elevator or installing a pull/pull system of 4 lines to control the elevator. The pull/pull system is much more scale and admittedly looks better but is more work to install. I opted for the control rod system because I have found the pull/pull system on some of my past planes has been damaged in transit when the elevators got bumped hard. Since I hope to take this plane to some remote flying sites, I went with the control rod system which has held up to my long distance travel in the past. If I were going to display my model publicly I would definitely have gone with the pull/pull system. The needed materials for both systems were supplied, and both installations were well explained in the instruction manual with pictures.

Installing the Battery Tray

The battery tray gets mounted over the rudder and elevator servos and the wire set up for the plane is different if using four channels using an Aileron Y-harness or having the ailerons on two separate channels. This is well covered in the instructions. I used hook and loop cloth I supplied on the battery tray and battery as well as the two straps supplied for use with the battery tray. With the exception of the extension wires discussed below, I followed the instructions.

Mike's Aileron Extension Wire Installation Deviation

I DID NOT FOLLOW STEP 2 on PAGE 34 CONCERNING THE AILERON EXTENSION WIRES.

As part of the battery tray assembly instructions they have the servo extension wires that go out and up to the top wing installed in the fuselage before the battery tray is mounted. I had looked ahead and tried to fit the female end of the aileron extension wires into the hole for them on the underside of the center wing section. It was a bit difficult for me to do it and snake it around and out towards the outer wing panel. E-flite has assembled a number of planes exactly per the instructions installing these wires after the center section had been secured to the plane on the Cabane struts. I am sure the described method works but I have arthritis in my hands and I would rather work with just the small wing section before it was attached to the struts. So I deviated from the instructions, and I recommend my deviation to all. I am using two channels for my ailerons, and the instructions call for a 12" extension for one side and an 18" extension for the other side. I used a 12" extension on the left but I used a 12" and 9" extension on the right side. I installed the 12" extension for the right side in the fuselage and ran it to the hole exiting the fuselage and covered that wire in part when I mounted the battery tray.

With the center wing section unattached and completely accessible I carefully inserted the female ends of the extension wires into the wing from the bottom wing holes and then snaked them out with a probe through the center rib section hole designed for the wing. The 12" wire on the left side and the 9" on the right. This was much easier for me then trying to install them with the center wing section already installed on the Cabane struts. Later when it came time to mount the center wing section I just made sure the wires for the fuselage were on the inside of the Cabane struts. I mounted the section to the struts and then ran the wires into the fuselage. The 9" extension plugged into the 12" extension installed as discussed above and the 12" extension on the left plugged directly into the receiver. I hope you find my recommendation helpful! The method in the instructions will work if you prefer to do it as described in the manual.

Installing the Cabane Struts to the Fuselage

The Cabane struts are secured to the outside of the fuselage using four 4-40 x 5/8 button head cap screws and four #4 flat washers. The struts are installed angled out with the cross brace in the back upper corner and going down to the lower front corner. The top piece is slightly higher in the front to provide positive incidence to the top wing.

Adding Scale Details

We interrupt our major assembly to install some scale details. I followed the instructions and did this here as it was easy to work with the components at this stage and will be harder to do later on in the process.

1) Glue on the lower radiator to the bottom of the center wing section after careful measurement using canopy glue. Use low tack tape to hold it in place while the glue dries.

2) Turn over the center wing section, measure carefully and glue on the upper wing radiator with canopy glue. Again use low tack tape to hold the radiator in place while the glue dries.

3) Use canopy glue to glue on the windshield to the top of the fuselage in front of the cockpit. Use low tack tape to hold the windshield in place while the glue dries.

4) Carefully thread the M3 x 12 self tapping screws into the bottom of the machine guns. Remove the screws and harden with a small drop of thin CA.

5) Use a 1/8 size drill and drill out the four holes for the machine guns using the guide installed in the top of the battery hatch cover.

6) Attach the two machine guns to the top of the battery hatch using the M3 x 12 screws from step 4 and putting them through the holes drilled in step 5. Tighten but do not over tighten.

7) I glued in the scale dashboard and the scale throttle and I fit the scale chair into position for a picture. The chair is secured with a magnet and four guides that fit into slots in the floor of the cockpit and the chair can be removed. I glued the dashboard to the right side interior and top interior of the fuselage. Be sure to leave space for the back pins on the battery cover (with the decorative engine and machine guns) to fit into place and not be blocked by the dashboard.

8) Mike's Propeller Mod 1): Use a brown Sharpie pen to color the propeller to look more appropriate for the era of this plane. My propeller started light gray and ended up brown.

9) Mike's propeller Mod 2): Use a 14 x 6 wooden prop. It is not as fast or efficient as the recommended APC 14 x 7 prop but it looks scale on the Albatros.

Wing

Install the Aileron Servos onto the Servo Bay Covers

The directions are spelled out step by step with pictures. Use the recommended size drill bit to start the mounting holes in the bay cover for the aileron servos and harden the screw holes with thin CA as recommended. I used the recommended 3" servo extension on each servo wire and secured the connection with dental floss per the instructions. I mounted the servo in the servo bay cover, pulled the aileron servo wire through the wing and secured the servo bay cover in place per the instructions. The aileron control rod is 78mm long from the clevis pin to the main bend in the Z-bend. Getting it to the approximate length at the start makes the final fitting of the control rod between the servo arm and the aileron very easy. A very standard aileron servo mounting procedure.

Installing the Optional Flying Wires or Not

As discussed in the introduction the flying wires are optional. I recommend installing them as they add greatly to the looks of the plane in my opinion. I cover adding the flying wire leads in the following steps as do the instructions. However, if you HAVE to take the wings off for transportation or storage I recommend leaving the flying wires off. Without the flying wires the two wings on each side can be taken off by removing three bolts. One at the bottom of the outer wing strut and one each securing the upper and lower wings from the bottom of the wing. The aileron servo wires can be easily disconnected from the center section.

I am installing the flying wires and will be storing and transporting my plane ready to fly. My discussion includes what needs to be done to install the flying wires which are not hard to do. Honest!

Mounting the Top Center Wing Section

Using the picture on page 45 of the manual. Install four eye bolts into the bottom of the center wing section with two leads per bolt for the flying wires (The leads used are the ones with the larger holes per page 47. The ones with smaller holes won't fit here!)

The center wing section is secured to Cabane struts with two 4-40 by 5/8" bolts per strut that thread into the eye bolts from the front and back of the struts. Make sure the flying wire leads are all on the outside of the center wing section.

Four more eye bolts were installed with two per outer upper wing panel on the bottom of the wing near where the aileron servo is mounted with one flying wire lead per eye bolt. One near the front the wing and one near the back of the wing.

Using two self threading #2 x 3/8" self-tapping washer-head wood screws I installed in the top of the bottom wing with one per each panel. There is a pin hole in the wing panel where the screws are inserted. Four flying wire leads are held in place with each of these screws. I installed these before mounting the wings onto the fuselage as it seemed easier to do. The instruction manual has you do them after the wings are installed.

I also secured the two flying wire leads into the fuselage at this time to finish installing the flying wire leads. I used the recommended 1/16" drill bit and drilled into the motor mount from the side of the fuselage about 1/4" from the top of the open compartment. The single lead flying wires were secured to the side of the fuselage with a #2 x 3/8" self tapping washer-head wood screw on each side. The flying wire leads were now all attached.

Installing the Wing Panels onto the Albatros

I slid the smaller wing rod through the lower wing nubs and the fuselage. I slid the lower wing panels onto the lower wing rod and got the rear guide pin into the fuselage. I secured the wing panels in place with one 4-40 x 3/8 inch long wing bolt per side. It screws in on the bottom as shown in the picture below. For the top wing I slid the larger wing rod through the center wing section and slide the outer wing panels onto the wing rod. When close to the center wing section I connected the aileron extension wires together and finished sliding the wing panels to the center using the guide pin in back to line up the wing panels with the center wing section. Then each outer panel was held in place with one 4-40 x 3/8" long bolt. Next I connected the upper and lower wings together with the outer wing struts with the longer section of the strut attaching to the front of the top wing. I used the bolts and washers that came packaged with the struts. Except for the optional flying wires the wings were assembled.

The Spinner and Propeller

Before discussing the attachment of the spinner and prop I want to mention what a nice spinner comes with this kit. It is made of aluminum and comes painted white. Very few kits I have assembled included a quality metal spinner in the kit. Here the spinner came with the kit and adds to the value of this kit and greatly adds to the appearance of the plane both on display and in the air. Its weight is also helpful in balancing the plane as even more lead would be needed without it.

Here I followed the instructions holding the back of the spinner plate away from the front of the fuselage as I tightened the nut securing the propeller and spinner in place. I double checked that the attached spinner plate didn't rub on the fuselage and installed the front of the spinner with the supplied bolt in the center of the spinner. I have used APC 14 x 7 thin electric props and wooden 14 x 6 props. The APC props give better performance but the wooden propeller looks more scale when the plane is at rest on the ground.

Installing the Flying Wires

As discussed above I had installed all of the flying wire leads into the wing panel and fuselage. The next step was to take the 14 eye bolts and install the 14 2-56 nuts onto the eye bolts, one per each bolt. Next I screwed the eye bolts with the nut on into the brass fitting leads already secured to the plane. There were seven per side. I was now ready to start installing the flying wires.

I started with the whole coil of supplied braided wire. I slipped a brass sleeve over the wire and passed the wire through the second from the front swivel on the bottom wing top side near the fuselage. I ran the wire back through the brass sleeve and slid the wire and the sleeve back down towards the swivel. I had just a little of the end of the wire sticking through the sleeve and I crimped it to seal the wires in the sleeve. This first wire was going to go up and connect with one of the two leads near the front of the bottom side of the top wing. Here the wire would go through the threaded eye bolt I had attached in the above paragraph. I measured out enough wire to make the trip up and turn around and come though another sleeve and I cut the wire. I slid a brass sleeve onto the wire, ran the wire through the eye bolt and back down through the sleeve. I pulled the wire to make it a straight line between the bottom swivel and the eye bolt. I pushed up the sleeve while holding down on the loose end of the wire. With the wire in a straight line I crimped the brass sleeve to secure the wire in place. I then snipped off the excess loose wire coming out of the sleeve. My first flying wire was complete. Remember these are an optional scale feature not a real support. I don't want them actually pulling on the plane I just want them tight enough so that they appear to be holding the plane together. If the wire is slightly loose the eye bolt can be further tightened in the brass fitting. When the satisfactory look for the wire was obtained (slight tension) I screwed the nut up against the brass fitting. (After all the wires were installed; I added a bit of Locktight at the nuts to keep them from vibrating loose.) One flying wire installed 13 more to go.

Radio Installation

I installed the receiver into the fuselage on the side opposite the electric speed controller after I had installed the rudder and elevator servos. As discussed above I had centered all servos before installing them into the plane. I plugged in the throttle connection and a 3" extension in the bind connector in case I ever need to rebind the receiver to my transmitter. I plugged in the 12" aileron extension for the right side of the fuselage before installing the battery tray. The 9 inch extension was plugged into it after I had mounted the center wing section and I plugged the 12" left side aileron extension into the receiver at that time as well.

Completion (Lead Is Your Friend)

To balance the plane it is necessary to add weight to the front of the plane. I got some weight strips with the self sticking backing and loaded up the motor compartment until the plane balanced where desired. I went for 55mm back from the leading edge on the top wing. It took almost ten ounces to balance the plane. To secure the weight properly I had to remove the propeller and the spinner. I then removed the weighted strips and got out 6 1/2 ounces of lead shot and poured that into the bottom of the motor compartment and mixed up 1 1/2 ounces of 30 minute epoxy and poured that in under the motor and stirred the epoxy into the shot and left the project for the epoxy to set up. The next day I added a 1 3/4 ounce strip of the weighted stick to the top front of the fuselage above the motor. With the plane inverted I added a little CA to the ends and sides of the self adhesive weighted strip to keep it in place. My Albatros was now properly balanced and that was with my pilot in the cockpit.

Critical Step

With assembly finished per the instruction manual I initially had excessive throw for all of my plane's control surfaces. I would not recommend trying to fly her with excessive throw. If I had a low end transmitter without programming I would be manual reconnecting all of the planes control surfaces to lower the movement of the control surfaces. Fortunately I am using my JR 11X and I just needed a ruler and I programmed my transmitter for the proper amount of control surface movement for both high and low rates along with the recommended exponential. Don't skip this step!

I programmed in high and low rates. Movements were measured at the back of the control surfaces in line with the control rod using a ruler and were programmed on my JR 11X transmitter as follows:

Dual Rates and Throws

  • Aileron High Rate: Up 3/4" Down 1/4" with 25% exponential
  • Aileron Low Rate: Up 9/16" Down 3/16" with 15% exponential
  • Elevator High Rate: Up 1 3/4" Down 1 3/4" with 30% exponential
  • Elevator Low Rate: Up 1 3/16" Down 1 3/16" with 20% exponential
  • Rudder High Rate: Right 1 3/4" Left 1 3/4" with 30% exponential
  • Rudder Low Rate: Right 1 3/16" Left 1 3/16" with 20% exponential

I also programmed in differential for my ailerons and that required a -50 setting on my JR 11X to get the proper differential given in the instruction manual.

I could remove the pilot seat that is held in place with a magnet and four slots in the floor. I have a pilot with a base for a modified chair and because of his broad shoulders I decided to secure him in a modified seat into the cockpit permanently with glue.

I fly most of the time off of a paved runway. I will order as a spare part a replacement skid to have one handy in case mine wears out, but to add to the life of my tail skid I glued a very tiny piece of carbon fiber on the bottom of the skid where it touches the runway at rest. For now I am wearing away the carbon fiber and not my wooden landing skid.

Flying

Basics

I have four function control with throttle, ailerons, rudder and elevator. By using two channels on my receiver and programming on my transmitter I have individual control of the trim for the ailerons.

Taking Off and Landing

World War I era planes as a class are generally not easy to takeoff or to land. This is because the nose is so close to the wheels that it makes tipping over generally easy to do. That said from a paved run way I have now seen a number of takeoffs and done some my self with my Albatros and I have had no difficulty taking off. I think my level of experience has helped me and the fact that I fly off of a paved runway. All me take offs have been into any existing wind as have those of my friends. The takeoffs have all gone well with a progressive run up of power and being smooth on the elevator. The takeoff by Chris was the shortest run I have seen but it was into a strong wind.

Landings have been surprisingly easy with speed up and initial touch down. With smooth pavement and giving up elevator as soon as the plane has lost flying speed the tail is pushed down and landings are generally fine. I did hit a rock with one wheel and my plane tipped forward as she was nearing a stop and I chipped my plastic 14 x 7 APC prop but my Albatros stayed upright. I have not tried landing on a rough runway yet but I plan to buy some spare props as I suspect a nose over is more a question of when then if.

This plane requires an intermediate level of pilot or better to get consistently good landings and takeoffs. For a short nose WWI plane I was very happy with her ground handling over all. You will see a nose over in the video from the Arizona Electric Festival below. The pilot made a good landing but when someone else shouted on the runway he steered to the side of the runway to get out of the way and had the nose over. I have been told by two other owners that they find landings on pavement a bit trickier than landing on hard dirt. I don't have experience to compare that with but I accept their word.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

If you are expecting a plane that blazes through the sky you might be disappointed with the top speed of the Albatros. If you like a plane that appears to be flying in a scale like fashion then you will be happy with the Albatros. You can almost feel the drag as you fly her in windy conditions and have the body get pushed sideways a bit by the wind. She is slower to respond to my counter directions to correct for the wind push then she is in responding to my turn commands in calm conditions. I have really enjoyed getting to know her and getting a feel for her in different conditions. As seen below she will do a pretty nice roll and does large and small loops. A roll out and a dive as shown in the E-flight video has become my favorite move thus far.

I have flown her with the recommended 14 x 7 APC electric prop and she was faster with that prop and because of the added speed was crisper in turns and rolls. She was also a bit quieter. In the video below my friend Chris flew her using a wooden 14 x 6 prop and I have since flown her a couple of times with the wooden prop designed for use with power engines. She pulled the plane acceptably but not as well as with the APC electric 14 x 7 prop. I don't think the slight different in pitch explains the complete reason that the plane handled somewhat better with the APC prop. I look forward to getting a new 14 x 7 APC prop (colored brown with a Sharpie) back on her for future flights.

She handles much more smoothly at higher throttle than when flying slower. I have programmed the throws as recommended and most of my flying has been done on high rates. I use low rates when landing into the wind for the ailerons. I use the recommended expo and believe that helps keep the movements smooth. I am sure she will do more aerobatics and hope to get in more flying in calm conditions as I have ordered a second battery. I have to admit that she handles the wind a bit better than I expected. In my video below the wind was between 10-15 miles per hour. Fear of landing in the wind delayed some of the flying for this review and shooting of the media. However, frustration with the wind lead to flying in the wind anyway and a happy surprise that she handled it pretty well even though it definitely pushes her around a bit and requires pilot compensation. When I got past the initial pucker factor I found that I actually liked it. That enjoyment in windy conditions was perhaps my biggest surprise during this review.

Is This For a Beginner?

No! This is not a plane for a beginner to fly. However, if a beginner wants to build one now for the day their skills are ready for this plane it is a very nice kit to assemble. Pilot's flying skill for this plane should be intermediate or better.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

This first video was my first sighting of the E-flite Albatros actually flying and it was at the Arizona Electric Festival January, 2013. The pilot intentionally steered off of the runway when another pilot shouted: "On the runway!"

Albatros being flown in the wind.

Downloads

Conclusion

This is a GREAT KIT! The parts fit well together and the instructions are very detailed and complete. I only made one major deviation from the instruction sequence and that was installing the aileron servo wire extensions into the center wing section before installing the center wing section onto the Cabane struts as described above. Many have assembled her following the directions, take your choice concerning my modification. The kit results in a beautiful plane that I hope to be flying for years to come. While a pilot should have intermediate skills or better an older teenager or adult beginner can assemble this plane and enjoy displaying her thanks to the excellent instructions.

I found the flying wires were easy for me to install and added tremendously to my enjoyment when she is on display on the ground. I hardly notice them when she is flying. If I had to take the plane apart for transportation or storage I would skip the flying wires and enjoy this plane without them. I have built a special platform to store her fully assembled in my garage. I hope and plan to be flying her for years to come.

She flies well and she flies with the feel of a WWI era plane. She looks fantastic but I am starting to feel the need to weather her. If you are an intermediate or better pilot and have the space for this plane I highly recommend this Albatros to you. I have met about five other owners of the E-flite Albatros and all of us are very happy to have this plane.

Pluses

  • Well designed kit with parts fitting together very nicely
  • Excellent instructions makes assembly easy (1 deviation discussed above)
  • Plane flies very nicely with characteristics of a WWI era plane
  • A high quality and expensive aluminum painted spinner is included in the kit
  • Stunning good looks grabs attention
  • Lots of details available
  • Spare parts available if needed

Minuses

  • Doesn't come apart if flying wires installed

For those interested in weathering their Albatros

I have embedded below an excellent demonstration video by John Redman of Horizon Hobby discussing weathering of his Albatros.

Thanks

I want to thank E-flite and Horizon Hobby for supplying this plane for this review. I want to thank my friend Chris for flying her for me on a windy day so I could get the media for this review. Finally, a thanks to our editor for her assistance.

Last edited by Michael Heer; May 30, 2013 at 08:54 PM..

Discussion

Reply
Thread Tools
Old May 31, 2013, 06:07 PM
Registered User
Joined Oct 2006
63 Posts
Incredible review, Michael. I feel a very fair representation of the airplane. Thanks for your hard work.
Ryan Smith is offline Find More Posts by Ryan Smith
Site Sponsor
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 01, 2013, 05:19 AM
Registered User
Joined Apr 2008
69 Posts
Nice job going to order one and a 60cc corsair
bladebender is offline Find More Posts by bladebender
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 01, 2013, 09:17 AM
Registered User
Warbirds Rule's Avatar
Leesburg, VA
Joined Jun 2006
971 Posts
That was one of the most comprehensive reviews I've ever read. Thanks!
Warbirds Rule is offline Find More Posts by Warbirds Rule
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 01, 2013, 11:03 AM
The Hun in the Sun
vonJaerschky's Avatar
Canada, BC, Comox
Joined Nov 2003
7,190 Posts
Seems a little heavy? My 1:6 scale (59" span) Aerodrome R/C Albatros D.III weighs 5lbs ready to fly with a 5500mah 3S battery and 4oz of lead in the nose for balance. That's with detail added and a painted finish, too.
vonJaerschky is online now Find More Posts by vonJaerschky
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 01, 2013, 04:09 PM
Registered User
Bishop, CA
Joined Aug 2006
94 Posts
Fantastic review: an amazing amount of work in addition to building the plane. Thank you!
gregory smith is offline Find More Posts by gregory smith
Last edited by gregory smith; Jun 01, 2013 at 04:10 PM. Reason: Spelling
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 02, 2013, 02:03 PM
The sky is my playground.
Dora Nine's Avatar
United States, NH
Joined May 2005
7,628 Posts
Very, very nice work. I have to wonder is it time to replace my aging E-Flite Beaver with this one? Have you guys seen the Xoar WWI props? Could be a good option.
Dora Nine is offline Find More Posts by Dora Nine
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 02, 2013, 03:03 PM
Tally Ho!
kusunokimasahige's Avatar
The Netherlands
Joined Apr 2006
4,110 Posts
Great review !

Say, would you estimate this plane being 1/6 scale ?
kusunokimasahige is offline Find More Posts by kusunokimasahige
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 02, 2013, 04:53 PM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,356 Posts
I think the plane is slightly smaller going by wingspan. I did use a 1/6 size pilot. Mike Heer
Michael Heer is offline Find More Posts by Michael Heer
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 02, 2013, 06:11 PM
Registered User
tailskid2's Avatar
USA, AZ, Phoenix
Joined May 2003
3,115 Posts
Another excellent review Mike!
tailskid2 is offline Find More Posts by tailskid2
RCG Plus Member
Latest blog entry: Midwest Stik Build
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 05, 2013, 06:53 AM
rvlevy7
rvlevy7's Avatar
United States, NJ, Clinton Township
Joined Sep 2012
185 Posts
Great impression full detail
rvlevy7 is offline Find More Posts by rvlevy7
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 05, 2013, 02:37 PM
Registered User
United States, KY, Lexington
Joined Feb 2013
2 Posts
What was your completion price?
Eray2012 is offline Find More Posts by Eray2012
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 2013, 09:43 AM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,356 Posts
Completion Price

Read the thanks at the end of the review where I acknowledged that the plane was supplied for the review. But whether an aircraft is supplied or I purchase it and review it makes no difference to my review as I tell you what I find and experience in the assembly and flight of the craft. To price it out just go to Horizon Hobby and add up the parts needed. Welcome to E-Zone. Mike Heer
Michael Heer is offline Find More Posts by Michael Heer
Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 2013, 01:33 PM
Registered User
United States, MD, Fort Meade
Joined Mar 2013
49 Posts
Thank you for posting this Michael, awesome review... I have this plane, waiting for me to put together and fly. I think my skills are just about ready for this.
Telly03 is offline Find More Posts by Telly03
Reply With Quote
Old May 21, 2014, 11:35 AM
SF Valley RC Flyers
Killionaire's Avatar
Joined Feb 2010
284 Posts
.....
Killionaire is offline Find More Posts by Killionaire
Last edited by Killionaire; May 21, 2014 at 12:05 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Build Log 2013 PSS Fest Secret Project MicroRotors Slope 171 Apr 08, 2013 01:14 AM
Discussion Horizon Hobby Secret Caught on Tape! 3D-Seth Electric Heli Talk 648 Feb 18, 2012 10:58 PM
Discussion Horizon Hobby Secret Caught on Tape! 3D-Seth Product Announcements 466 Dec 30, 2011 10:01 AM
New Product Parkzone's secret project pow-wow Micro Ready-to-Fly 1 Oct 12, 2011 07:20 PM