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E-flite P-51B Mustang Review

E-flite has produced a truly exceptional scale electric RC plane with this Platinum Series P-51B Mustang. They have combined nice scale details with outstanding flight performance.

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:52"
Wing Area:460 sq in
Flying Weight:5.25-6.25 LB
Length:45.5"
Servos:6 JR Sport MC-35, 2 E-flite S-75
Transmitter:JR 11X
Receiver:Spektrum AR7600
Battery:4S 14.4V 3300mAh 30C
Motor:E-flite Power 32
ESC:E-flite 60 A ESC
Propeller:13 x 6.5E APC
Landing Gear:Optional E-flite electric retracts
Flaps:Operational
Spinner:3 inch red aluminum spinner came in kit
Drop tanks:sold separately
Optional bombs:sold separately
Optional 4-bladed display prop:sold separately
Manufacturer:E-flite
Available From:Horizon Hobby
Price:$219.99

I have long loved the looks of the P-51B Mustang. It was the first Mustang to be equipped with the Merlin engine, and that pairing of engine and airframe made history. I believe E-flite has done an exceptional job in the design and manufacture of this plane, and because of that I went all out in my equipment and added the optional electrical main retracts (and in the near future, the Robart servo actuated tail retract), the "Ill Wind?" decal set, the drop tank and bomb drop options and even the scale four blade prop with spinner for static display. I hope to have this plane for years to come. I am planning on a second article detailing how I weathered the plane and some other final touches that can be done to the appearance, although John Redman gave some fine information in the owner's manual on this subject. Since much is already known about the Mustang, I thought it would be different to briefly report on the four featured Mustangs for which E-flite is supplying/selling decals.

Brief History of the 4 P-51Bs for Which Decals Are Available from E-flite:

  • The P-51B Mustang was the first Mustang to be powered by the Rolls Royce Merlin engine. This combination made for an outstanding aerial combat plane with excellent range and speed. With the use of drop tanks, the Mustang was able to escort allied bombers deep into Germany and back to base.
  • The standard decal set for this plane is the famous, Shangri-La which was flown by ace Captain Dominic "Don" Gentile. Don became an Ace, but the flight for which Don is best remembered with this plane was the one in which he demonstrated the maneuverability of his Mustang to a group of newspaper reporters when he accidently flew the plane into the ground and survived... but his plane did not.
  • The Turnip Termite was flown by Lt Frank Speer. Frank was credited with two kills and destroying four planes on the ground with strafing. Frank was shot down on his 17th mission. He went down in Germany near the Polish border on 5/29/44. He became a POW and escaped and got into Allied hands on 4/29/45.
  • The Boise Bee was flown by Lt Duane "Bee" Beeson. Duane was shot down and became a POW on 4/5/44.
  • Of the four planes, my favorite nose art is the "Ill Wind?" It was painted by Don Allen, a Mustang ground crew member. The plane was flown by Double Ace Captain Nicholas "Cowboy" Megura. Cowboy was accidently shot down by a P-38 on 5/24/44 and crash landed in Sweden. By terms of his release, he could not return to combat. This optional decal is the second of two, "Ill Wind?" paintings according to my research.

Kit Contents

The P-51B Kit Includes:

  • Two wing halves assembled and covered
  • Assembled and covered fuselage
  • Canopy, Cowl and spinner
  • Pilot seal
  • Bottom air scoop
  • Horizontal stabilizers with elevators and a rudder
  • Fixed landing gear and wheels both main and tail wheel
  • Radiator
  • Assorted bags of hardware with some Velcro like material













E-flite supplied the following parts to complete the basic P-51B

  • E-flite Power 32 brushless outrunner motor, 770Kv
  • E-flite 60-Amp Pro SB brushless ESC
  • Spektrum 7600 receiver
  • Thunder Power 3300 mAh 4C/4S 14.8 V Pro Power 30C LiPo battery pack
  • 6 JR Sport Micro MC 35 servos

Optional parts that add to the fun:

  • Decorative four blade scale display prop and spinner
  • Drop tank set
  • 7.5 gram sub-micro servo for drop tanks and bombs
  • Bomb drop set
  • 1/9 scale military pilot
  • E-flite 25-46 85 degree main electric retracts

I supplied the following items to complete this review:

  • JR 11X transmitter
  • Lipo battery pack balanced charger
  • 13 x 6.5E APC prop for actual flight
  • Three Y-connectors
  • Two 9-inch servo extensions
  • 4 Metal clevises to replace plastic ones on the wing controls
  • Scotch Heavy Duty Fasteners
  • .032 cable pushrod (Sullivan part #507) for drop option
  • Ill Wind decal set Part# EFL4575012
  • Robart tail wheel for working retract Part #122
  • One 7.5 gram sub-micro servo for tail wheel retract
  • Control rod for retracting tail wheel
  • Extra Y-connector to power and control tail wheel retract servo with main retracts
  • Tru Turn 3" spinner "not red" as an optional nose color
  • 5-Cell 1100 NiMH battery pack to power the receiver and servos (optional)

Tools required:

  • Balancing Stand (I used my fingers)
  • Covering iron
  • Epoxy brushes
  • Felt-tipped pen
  • Flat file
  • Flat blade screwdriver
  • Masking tape
  • Mixing cups
  • Mixing sticks
  • Open end wrench: 12mm
  • Paper towels
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Pin Vise
  • Rotary tool with cut-off wheel
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Side cutter
  • String
  • Tapered propeller reamer
  • Toothpicks
  • Plastic squeegee
  • Spray bottle
  • Dish washing liquid
  • Trim seal tool
  • Drill bit: 5/64 inch (2mm)
  • Exacto knife with NEW #11 blade
  • Hex wrench or ball driver: 1.5mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, and 3/32
  • Phillips screwdriver sizes 1 and 2

Adhesives

  • 12-minute epoxy
  • 30-minute epoxy
  • Threadlock
  • Hinge glue
  • Medium CA
  • Thin CA
  • Silicon based glue for LG doors

I actually had everything on this list except hinge glue allowing that I use my fingers for my balance stand.

Features as Promoted by E-flite

Platinum Series planes deliver enhanced features and meticulous attention to detail

  • Fully-sheeted wings and horizontal stab
  • Flush-mount painted fiberglass cowl
  • Airfoil-shaped tail surfaces
  • Pocket-hinged ailerons, elevator, rudder and flaps
  • Bolt-on compatibility with E-flite Power 25 and Power 32 BL motors
  • Magnetic belly scoop designed to conceal wing bolts
  • 4 different nose art decal sets - sold separately
  • Optional bombs and drop tanks - sold separately
  • Optional 4-bladed display prop - sold separately
  • Optional electric retracts - sold separately

Assembly

Tail

Since the instruction manual started with the elevators, so did I. I used my covering iron to seal the shrink covering as necessary. While my iron was out, I went ahead and worked on all of the covered plane parts as needed to tack down and seal any loose covering (only a couple small spots on the entire plane). Next, I installed the plastic hinges into the elevators but not before first working petroleum jelly into the pivot point on the hinges. The jelly prevents any glue from getting into the hinges, keeping them nice and free for operation. I used epoxy to glue the hinges in place on the elevators after confirming that they were in the proper position and moving the correct direction. The elevators fit into spaces behind the horizontal stabilizer, which has extensions top and bottom that cover the hinge line from the passing air and make for a very scale looking connection. They make the hinge joint inaccessible, thus the need for the petroleum jelly so no glue gets into the pivot point connection. I followed the instructions in gluing the hinges from the elevators into the horizontal stabilizers. This hinge installation process was repeated on the rudder and ailerons per the manual when those parts came up for installing.

There were already holes started in the elevators and rudder for the control horn mounting screws. No unsightly plate is used on the opposite side to secure the control horns in place. Instead, a small drop or two of CA was placed by me in those holes, and then the control horn was secured with the two supplied screws per horn. The CA hardens the wood to help keep the screws in place to keep the control horns in place. As shown below, this makes for an attractive installation with no control horn securing plates on the top side of the elevators or the side of the rudder.

The stabilizers are glued onto the fuselage and onto a supplied rod that runs into the stabilizers and through the fuselage. This was a very simple process of following the step by step instructions. Be sure to have some rubbing alcohol and paper towels handy as recommended to remove any excess epoxy that oozes out in this process. With the wing rod and wooden dowels in the stabilizer it is almost impossible not to mount the stabilizers correctly.

The connecting of the elevators to the elevator servo comes later in the manual, but I will discuss it now to complete the process. There are two wires for two clevises connected to one rod that connects to the servo. The clevises had to be tightened on quite a way on my P-51B. I have weak fingers, and I found it easiest to twist on the clevises using a pair of needle nose pliers and a straight blade screw driver. I would turn the clevis a quarter turn with the pliers and then insert the screwdriver and make another quarter turn. I repeated this until the clevis was positioned so that the elevator was in neutral as was the elevator servo. I then repeated the process on the other elevator. In hindsight, I recommend installing the clevises and retaining pieces onto the Y-connector control rod before securing the stabilizers to the fuselage, even though this step was covered much later in the instruction manual. I think it would be much easier to do with no stabilizers or elevators in my way. The rudder clevis was easier to screw on as there was more open space to turn it. The clevises fit these control rods nice and tight for a sure fit.

Wing

 JR Sport MC-35 Specs
JR Sport MC-35 Specs
Type: Analog Micro Servo
Operating Speed (4.8V): 0.21 sec/60°
Torque (4.8V): 30 oz-in.
Weight: 0.6oz (17.0g)
Dimensions: x 0.50"x 1.17"
Bushing or Bearing: Bushing
Gear Type: All Nylon
Operating Voltage: 4.8-6.0 Volts
Price $18.99

Ailerons

The amount of wing assembly depends on the number of options a pilot is adding to his plane. The basics involve installing the ailerons and the flaps and four of the JR MC-35 servos to control them. The instructions cover this well as do the pictures below. Whether you are installing the fixed landing gear or the optional electronic retracts as I am for my plane; the assembly is covered in the instructional manual. I am also installing the optional drop tanks which are servo activated and I have the bombs that use the same pylon mounts. This installation is again well covered in the manual and will be discussed here as well.

To mount the aileron servos I found I had to use my Exacto knife to open the end spaces for the servo wire to fit through. I trimmed off a little bit of wood at each end to make the open length larger for the servo to slide in along with the control wire. The servos mounted easily after my minor expansion trims, and I followed the instructions on trimming the servo control horn and expanding the hole to be used by the control rod. A string in the wing made it easy to pull the servo wire with a 9" servo extension wire into and through the wing. I used a bit of blue tape to mark my aileron wires for easy assembly at the field. The last step was connecting the control rods to the aileron horns, which proved to be a problem. The clevis didn't start screwing in at the end of the control rod. Instead, the control rod simply slid onto the clevis for about a 1/4 of an inch and then started to screw on. This made the connection too short to reach the aileron control horn with the aileron in the neutral position. I replaced the four supplied plastic clevises with metal ones that started to screw on at the ends of the control rods. These clevises were used on the ailerons and flaps.

I recommend that the bottom wing decal be installed onto the wing before starting with the mount of the aileron servo on that side of the wing. Part of the decal is on the servo plate cover and the servo mounting cover plate has to be cut out as does the space for the servo control arm from the decal. The screws that secure the cover plate will also go through the decal. Installing the decal before the servo makes it much easier than doing it later.

Flaps

The hinges for the flaps were glued into the wing with the hinge point recessed 3/32" into the flap. Other than the change in location of the hinge installation's pivot point it was the same process as for the elevators, rudder and ailerons. The servo mount required a little expansion in the opening for the servo just as the aileron servo mount had required. The servo lead caught a ride on the string coming from the aileron servo and both leads came out of the same hole. The detailed assembly instructions took me through the rest of the assembly step by step. For the flaps I used some white plastic tape just behind the connectors. This color coding makes assembly at the field very easy. The control rods connect from the servo to the flap inside the wing and make for an invisible control. I used metal clevises that I supplied.

Main Retracts

The optional electric retracts are part # EFLG310 85-degree Electric Retracts.The important point to note is to install the optional electronic retracts, you will need to cut the main strut to a length of five inches. To do this I used my Dremel drill with a cutting wheel. I measured twice, and marked the spot with masking tape. I took critical care to start the cut where marked, and it was an easy procedure thanks to the Dremel cutting wheel. This is one option where the proper tool is really important. A second pair of cuts are made using the Dremel drill and the cutting wheel on the two axles. With the struts and axles cut to the proper lengths, it was simply a matter of following the excellent instructions in the main assembly manual. Be sure to use a file and make the flat spots where indicated so things don't shift during landing. Finally, on my color code scheme for wiring, I left my retract wires black.

Optional Bomb and Drop Tank Sets

Need Items:

  • Optional bomb or drop tank set
  • 1 Sullivan Gold-N-Cable Part #507
  • E-flight S-75 servo
  • 3" servo extension wire
  • 1 Set of Parkflyer size E-Z connectors
  • Wire cutters to cut cable
  • Phillips # 1 screwdriver
  • Red tape (to mark servo wire and extension wire in receiver)
  • LockTight

 E-flite S75
E-flite S75
Type: Sub-Micro
Operating Speed: 0.11 sec/60° @4.8 volts
Torque (4.8V): 17.2 oz-in.
Weight: .26 oz.
Dimensions: 0.45" x .90"x .94"
Motor Type: 3-pole ferrite
Gear Type: Nylon
Bushing or Bearing: Bushing
Motor Type: Coreless
Connector: Universal
Price: $13.99

Both the drop tanks and the optional bomb drop work off of the same set of pylons so both can be purchased and used interchangeably depending on your mission. The ordinance pylons came with tubes that I epoxied into place. When the epoxy was dry, I cut out a small portion of the tubing above the square hole in the pylon. I also used a drill bit to make sure tubing wasn't blocking the two guide pin holes. The square holes are where the cable goes through a loop on the top of the bombs and fuel tanks. In the plane, the cable (A Sullivan Gold-N-Cable) feeds through tubes built into each wing half. A single E-flight S-75 servo controls the cables in each wing half and both bombs or fuel tanks drop at the same time. The assembly is very well covered in the instruction manual and was surprisingly easy to do when following the instructions. These are well worth the minimal cost and effort to install for added action when flying.

Downloads

I keep my wing together as a one piece wing. However, to let it come apart I simply have to loosen the E-Z connector holding the wire for the bomb/tank drop from the wing half that doesn't have the servo mounted in it.

Fuselage

The fuselage came fulyl assembled and ready for the installation of the rudder, horizontal stabilizer/elevator and the servos that control them as well as the motor and the speed controller at the front of the plane. The fuselage proved very strong as it survived an unplanned crash test (pilot error) without damage, even though a wing half was badly damaged in the crash "test" and later replaced.

Installing the Tail Wheel

The first assembly involving the fuselage is installing the steerable tail wheel. I purchased the optional retractable tail wheel assembly from Robarts that was referenced by E-flite. Unfortunately for me the instruction manual did not explain how to install the optional retract. This was one of the very few shortcomings in this excellent instructional manual. They simply advised that there are many ways to do this. Space for the retract servo was included next to the servo for the elevator servo discussed below. I decided to wait and add the scale retracting tail wheel later as part of my detailing project. I installed the supplied steerable tail wheel that comes with the plane. Its installation was well covered in the instruction manual. The wheel wire is secured in place with the nylon steering arm and one machine screw, and the tail wheel is secured in place with a 2mm wheel collar. I just followed the pictured steps.

Mounting the Rudder and Elevator Servos

This is well covered in the instruction manual including the direction the servos are to face in the fuselage (follow the pictures). Unfortunately, the recommended servos didn't fit (in my opinion) in the space provided. To safely install the servos (and not damage the servo electrical wires) I used my Exacto knife and sliced off some wood from each end of the servo opening. With a little expansion at both ends I was able to fit the servos into place and the holes for the screws worked to secure the servos in place with out undue stress on the servo connector wire. I do not recommend trying to force the servos into the spaces as they came. Just a little trimming and the servos slid into position. I did harden the wood around the mounting holes for the screws with CA per the instructions.

Mounting the Motor and Speed Controller

Using the supplied four bolts, I mounted the motor onto the X motor mount that came with the motor. Then I mounted the motor to the firewall using four 4-40 x 3/4" mounting bolts with the four 1/8" aluminum spacers between the motor mount and the firewall. There were four mounting nuts on slides in the firewall, and I tried to line them up so that motor and mount were centered. I trial fitted the cowling over the motor and saw that my motor was not quite centered inside the cowl. I loosened the mounting bolts and moved the motor over and up and checked again. After a several adjustments the motor was centered, and I tightened up the mounting bolts for a final time. The wires from the motor were mounted facing down. The Speed Controller goes in the bottom front of the fuselage with three wires going forward to the motor wires. The wires for the receiver and the battery go up into the main fuselage section under the cockpit. The speed controller was secured in place using the supplied Velcro. I secured the loose wires to the fuselage using four zip ties in two pairs as shown below. The cowl was then secured to the fuselage with two bolts using a long hex wrench inside the fuselage as pictured below.

 Power 32
Power 32
Motor specsE-flite Power 32.
Type: Brushless Outrunner
Motor Weight 200g
Diameter: 42mm
Length: 50mm
Output Shaft Size: 5mm
BATTERY: 3-4S Lipo
Wire Gauge: 14
Prop: APC 11 x 7 to 14 x 10 electric
Idle Current: 2.40A @ 10V
Continuous Current: 42A
Maximum Burst Current: 60A (15 sec)
Speed Control: 60A Brushless
KV: 770KV
Price $74.99


 E-flite 60-Amp Pro
E-flite 60-Amp Pro
Type: Brushless Motor Controller
Continuous Maximum Current: 60A with reasonable cooling
Momentary Peak Current: 75A
Input Voltage:
BEC: 2.5 Amps
Weight: 2.3 ounce
Length: 3.00"
Width: 1.30"
Height: .50"
Brake: On/Off
Price: $84.99

Radio Installation

 Spektrum AR7600
Spektrum AR7600
Type: 7 channel High Speed DSM2 Receiver
# of channels: 7 + battery space
Band: 2.4GHz
Weight: 0.31 oz
Dimensions: 1.35" x 1.15" x 0.45"
Modulation: DSM2
Voltage Range: 3.5-9.6V
Antenna: 30mm x 1. remote 30mm x 2
Price: $109.99

I followed the instructions and located the receiver and the satellite receiver where indicated inside the fuselage. I later rotated its position as I was using Y-connectors with short wires. This worked out very well for me. Since I plan to ultimately use eight servos and the two powered landing gear I opted to use a five cell receiver battery and switch to power the receiver and servos. I disabled the ESC's Battery Elimination Circuitry (BEC) by removing the red wire from the ESC's connector. By pulling it out, I can reinstall it later if I want to use the BEC at a future date and project. Final location for the receiver battery was above the Lipo battery on the roof of the fuselage in front of the cockpit.

Note: I Used Scotch Heavy Duty Fasteners Instead of Velcro to Secure the Batteries

I used Scotch heavy duty fasteners to secure the lipo battery to the bottom of the fuselage along with the straps that came with the model. The adhesive on the backside of this Scotch fastener actually sticks to the wood. I used another pair of these fasteners to hold the five cell receiver battery I am using to the top of the fuselage in front of the canopy. I have been very impressed with this somewhat expensive fastener as it works very well. It is stronger than Velcro (they claim three times stronger) and its adhesive backing sticks to the wooden fuselage (I always have to epoxy the Velcro into the fuselage.). So far I am impressed with both sides of this heavy duty fastner.

The Cockpit/Canopy

The radio receiver is glued into the back inside of the cockpit and the supplied pilot chair is glued in place as well. I glued my optional pilot into his seat at this time. I also decided to add a couple extra magnets to the back of the cockpit to help make sure it stays in place. It is very expensive to lose or destroy the canopy/cockpit as it is only sold with a replacement fuselage. I believe the extra magnets to be an excellent investment. Lacking that I recommend using a small piece of clear tape at the back of the canopy to secure it in place.

Completion

The Shangri-La comes as the standard decal set with the P-51B. The above picture is from the Photo Gallery of the Horizon Website for this plane. I purchased the optional: "Ill Wind?" decal set for my plane but I want to mention here the need for a new #11 blade in your hobby knife. Note that there are several decals in the picture that are partially on the canopy section while primarily on the fuselage. For my install the critical element to making this look good is having a clean sharp blade so the decals cut and don't tear as the canopy needs to remain removable. I installed the decals with the canopy on the fuselage and cut the decals with my hobby knife right at the bottom of the canopy-top of the fuselage. In talking about the plane with a friend he said he would cut the decals with scissors and carefully install to each piece. I prefer my way but you have your choice.

Not all olive drab looks the same. Note the canopy and the cowl are the same shade of olive green and the wing fairing if not identical in color is close but the rest of the wings and flight surfaces are a different shade of olive drab. The lighting has a lot to do with how alike or different these shades are from one another. In outside sun light the plane looks to be more the same color. In inside lighting the parts look less alike to me, especially in CFL lighting. I have to admit that the difference has faded in time, and I don't notice it at all in the air.

In the manual, John Redman gives instructions for giving the plane a weathered look, and I will do weathering on mine by next winter. The manual is pretty self-explanatory, and it is worth looking at the manual online just for John's weathering tips.

Control Throws and Center of Gravity

There are recommended throws for both high and low rates as well as positions for flaps for both takeoff and landing. I have listed these rates below. Remember, the measurement is at the back of the control surface. Even more important is properly balancing the plane on its enter of gravity. There is a good amount of room for battery movement inside the fuselage, so I had no difficulty obtaining the recommended C/G. They gave a range of 3 -3 1/2 inches back from the leading edge of the wing. I marked 3 1/4 inches, and holding the plane upside down, I moved the battery pack until my Mustang balanced at that point. All flights have used that balance point.

Rates: Low Rate High Rate

  • Elevator: 3/8" up + down 1/2" up + down
  • Aileron: 1/4" up + down 3/8" up + down
  • Rudder: 1" right + left 1 1/4" right and left
  • Flaps (Take-Off) down 5/8"
  • Flaps (Landing) down 1 1/2"

Color Coding "Servo" Wires

My wing has seven sets of wires that have to be matched up and connected ever time I go to the field. I use a color code system to keep this process simple and as easy as possible for me. I just match up the colors and plug the wires together. Virtually no thinking and never a wrong connection. You can use any color code you want but I use the following code as needed for all of my planes. I have Y-connectors or three inch extension wires all color coded to the wing wires that plug into them.

Mike's Color Code:

  • Blue for ailerons
  • White for flaps
  • Black for landing gear
  • Red for bomb drop/fuel tank drop

Optional Static Display Propeller

This came with no assembly instructions. I trial fitted the blades into the spinner and then glued them where I thought they should be. This spinner just slides onto the propeller shaft on the motor and makes a great difference in how the plane looks on display. It is for display only! I think it adds a very nice touch for displaying my P-51B.




Note: Spinner Option From Tru Turn

If you have a friend or club member who has purchased the P-51B and there are now two identical looking planes at your field an easy solution for telling them apart is available. Tru Turn makes a very nice three inch spinner in a variety of colors. By just switching the spinner, or the spinner and painting the "red" trim on the nose of the cowl to a color matching your Tru Turn spinner you can set your plane apart from others. This is a quick and easy change to make and makes it easy to tell them apart unless you are flying in a tight formation away from yourself. The red spinner that comes with the Mustang works great but for a different nose trim try the Tru Turn Spinner in the color of your choice.

Flying

Basics

The standard P-51B has four control surfaces and throttle. The ailerons, rudder and elevator are the basic control surfaces, and the flaps allow for slower flight as well as small field takeoffs and landings. My retracts allow for a better looking and flying plane with the wheels retracted. When flying, one of the first things I learned was that if I slowed her down too much the controls became sluggish and invited stalls, especially in a turn. I expected this since she flies like a true fighter plane, and it is best to keep the speed up at all times. By this I mean I don't fly below half throttle. I adjust the speed between 50% and full throttle, and in that speed range, she performs very nicely. I am normally at about 3/4 throttle, which makes full throttle passes seem faster and more dramatic.

Taking Off and Landing

At my field, the flaps are not needed for takeoff or landing but their use does make for a more scalelike appearance, especially when landing. Takeoffs without flaps were pretty standard. Just increase the throttle and she virtually lifts off on her own. I apply just a slight bit of up elevator once speed is up and get a very nice looking takeoff. Don't rush the takeoff! Build up speed and make scale takeoffs if you have the runway space. Making the initial climb in a scale like fashion is easy to do with just a little practice.

Landings must be made with power on! I like to be at half throttle after I turn onto final approach. I reduce throttle very slowly, and she descends accordingly. I am down to near 1/3rd throttle at the time of touch down. I don't really throttle back until after she touches down. With flaps deployed for landing, it is even more important to keep the throttle up; it is easier to stall when flying with the flaps deployed if you let the Mustang slow down too much. If space at your field allows, I recommend making the first takeoffs and landings without flaps to get a feel for her and then add the flaps at altitude to feel how they change performance. The change can be pretty dramatic to some and is best experienced at first with some altitude to allow for correction by newer intermediate pilots; or any pilot new to flaps. For me, the pitch change was minor with no balloon up, but the speed reduction was significant.

Stalling Should Not Be a Problem

I raise this subject only because some have posted that they have crashed their B Mustang due to stalling. I acknowledge that they may have stalled, but after intentionally stalling my Mustang (at altitude), it is my opinion that if I accidently stall my Mustang it will be due to my own pilot error and not the plane design. My only stalls have been done intentionally by flying my P-51B too slowly until I induced or approached a stall. I did this at altitude with lots of room to recover. I was able to safely cause her to stall and easily recovered from the stall. Flying straight my P-51B telegraphs that she is starting to stall by dropping the left wing a little bit. Letting her dive slightly to increase speed or applying more throttle let me fly out a real stall when noticed early. If I missed the dropping left wing the stall would become more significant and require more time and altitude to make a recovery. (This is true of almost all RC planes and especially warbirds.) When I kept my P-51B's speed up I had no trouble with stalling. This is a great flying warbird, and flown properly by keeping the speed at a reasonable level or faster, I have had no trouble with stalls. Stalling is not a problem with this plane beyond what should be expected with any fighter plane. Actually, it is less of a problem then I have had with other similar size/weight fighter planes in the past.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

The drop tanks and to a lesser extent the bombs do slow down the Mustang in flight. I like to drop them pretty early in the flight as the performance of my Ill Wind? improves (especially in my mind) without them on the wing. Drop the bombs and tanks over grass. One of the drop tanks was damaged when dropping it over the runway. I found the recommended low rates were good for first flights and getting familiar with the plane but I found the high rates allowed for pretty nice aileron rolls and other maneuvers. The more experienced pilots may want even a bit more throw then recommended for the ailerons for even faster than scale like maneuvers. I have found the moves I have tried have looked very good and have included axial rolls, barrel rolls, loops of different sizes and S turns. My favorite so far is just a nice fast pass down the runway with a scale climb out and slow roll into a left turn.

I found the E-flite Power 32 motor supplies plenty of power and the recommended battery gives me 8 minute flights with lots of power and time to spare. Remember, my Mustang is flying a bit heavy with a separate 5-cell 1100 mAh NiMH receiver battery and switch and that extra weight (My planes flight weight is 6.25 pounds.) has caused me no handling concerns whatsoever.

A scalelike takeoff and climb followed by a couple passes and either a bomb or tank drop and then some aerobatics makes for a nice flight which is completed with a scale like landing and roll out. I will become more daring with time but for now I am experiencing a lot of excitement just performing the basics.

Blustery Winds and Author's Pilot Error

The P-51B, because of its weight and power, seems to penetrate wind pretty well. That said, I caution you about flying her on very windy days., especially with blustery cross winds over the runway. When taking off, my plane was flipped over sideways to the right by an extremely strong gust that came from the left just as the Mustang was lifting off. The crash that followed proved the strength of the fuselage, and the plane in general, as the only part damaged was the wing that first hit the ground. I admit the crash was either pilot error or an act of God. I should not have tried to fly in the winds we had that day and especially with gusts that suddenly but repeatedly came from the side. My attempt to timely complete this review actually caused a major delay in the review. However, it also proved to me that replacement wings do fit and work. That crash and the needed 1/2 wing replacement delayed this review and then some family matters delayed it further. My P-51 looks and flies as good as new, but I apologize for the delay in getting out this review.

Note: Sand a smaller rounded leading edge on the wing dowels.

The dowel on the front of the replacement wing broke while being inserted into the fuselage for the first time. Repair was a simple drill out of the dowel and replacement with a new dowel I fashioned from a long round wood piece. I then sanding the tips of the dowels and they slide into the fuselage with no resistance or problems. I recommending sanding the tips of the dowels so they are slightly smaller at the tip.

Is This For a Beginner?

NO! This plane is for an intermediate pilot or better. The plane does not self correct if the pilot goes hands off and like a true fighter plane, it does not like to be flown too slowly. It is not a trainer warbird! It requires more attention to keeping the speed up and the plane needs to be flown at all times. It has displayed no bad habits in flight but beginners too often want to fly or land too slowly and as discussed above that shouldn't be done with this plane. I recommend this plane for the intermediate pilot and above. A beginner can assemble one but should admire it on the ground until his skills are ready for it.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery










Downloads

Conclusion

Over-all I have been very impressed by the quality of the design and fabrication of this model. It was easy to assemble with only some very minor problems which were indeed minor. The quality of the wood used and the construction was all first rate. The olive drab coloring on different parts doesn't match perfectly, and this was most noticeable indoors under CFL lighting. Outdoors in sunlight the colors seemed to be a much closer match. Hopefully they will blend even better when I weather my plane this fall. I also found that the covering will stop bubbling when out in the sun by pricking the bubbles with a small pin and then ironing the covering back down. Just ironing the covering back down doesn't work as well by itself.

For static display the four blade display prop adds greatly to the realism. The bomb and tank drops add to the fun in flying each mission. I really like my Ill Wind? and am glad they are selling the optional decals. As an option it means I won't see too many like mine. Having the pilot in the cockpit is also a nice touch that I appreciate on takeoffs, low fly bys and landings. The electronic landing gear works so smoothly, they are a joy to install and operate. The LG doors fit OK but not perfectly.

The real test of any plane is how she flies, and I give the Mustang straight As across the board. Although my P-51B was flipped sideways by a very strong gust of wind that almost knocked me over as well. Otherwise my P-51B has flown and handled wonderfully! The E-flite Power 32 motor does a great job powering this plane. It flies nicely from half power to full power. I have had no nose overs, and all other takeoffs and landings have gone well. Once in the air, she shows she really belongs there. She tracks nice and straight in passes and responds well to my commands with the transmitter. I understand why a number of E-Zone members have bought a second model to keep in storage as a back up just in case anything happens to their P-51B. I couldn't resist purchasing a back up model myself since they lowered the price. My friend and long time expert pilot, Jeff Hunter, said it was the nicest Mustang he has ever flown, gas or electric. I think she is the best fighter plane of this size that I have ever flown. Mikey says if your an intermediate or better pilot: "Try it! You'll like it!"

I have given my Mustang a little more aileron throw for high rates but have kept the recommend throws for rudder and elevator.

Pluses

  • Quality of the fit and appearance of all the parts (except the clevises) is excellent.
  • Excellent instructions for the assembly and weathering of the plane.
  • Appearance and performance of the plane in flight is excellent.
  • The ease in installing and operating the optional electronic landing gear.
  • The ease in installing and the fun in operating the drop tanks/bombs.
  • The WOW factor in static display or in actual operation.
  • The optional decals that allowed me to make mine the "Ill Wind?"
  • Lots of space for the battery pack and lots of room to adjust it forward and back for proper C/G.

Minuses

  • Poor fit of the clevises to the control rods for the wing surfaces.
  • Damaged dowel in the replacement wing half.
  • The Olive drab parts look different under different lighting. Fortunately, they blend best in natural lighting.
  • You can't buy a replacement canopy by itself.

My thanks to my friend Jeff Hunter for his help with this review and our editor Angela and E-flite for supplying the plane for the review.

Last edited by Angela H; Aug 02, 2011 at 09:57 AM..

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Old Aug 16, 2011, 12:20 PM
ex-noob
Lardog's Avatar
Sammamish, WA, USA
Joined Jan 2010
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Very thorough review. Nicely done!
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 01:09 PM
Park Stormer
United States, NJ, Brooklawn
Joined Jul 2008
823 Posts
Just curious, what's the all-up price of the bird as equipped for this review?
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 01:17 PM
AMA#313760
JLogan's Avatar
United States, MI, Taylor
Joined May 2009
708 Posts
Very nice review,

E-Flite has a outstanding airframe of the P-51b on their hands.

E-Flite's for the most part Owners Thread here:http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...light=pictures
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 02:41 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,416 Posts
Hi there AggressorBlue:
I gave most of the prices for the parts in the article. Here are the rest: bomb set $8.99, drop tanks 9.45, pilot 5.79, retracts $129.97, flight prop $4.89. the Robart tail retract is $20.80 and requires a submicro servo and some wire. The display prop is $21.89. Battery is $89.99 to about $116. Mike H
PS: I have purchased and received my back up kit, just in case. I have purchased no other spare parts except for a spare prop.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 02:48 PM
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Manu Simon's Avatar
Belgium
Joined Aug 2008
1,570 Posts
Nice review !

I think you can now buy the canopy alone .
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 03:07 PM
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LICobra's Avatar
Long Island, NY
Joined Jan 2008
5,276 Posts
Michael...very good review, although I've lived it twice already...

Your flying characteristics were right on the money and anyone reading your review will know the P-51B needs to be flown like a true fighter with high wing loading.

I did install the robart tail wheel assembly and tail wheel servo as recommended, and it did work well with some tweaking here and there.
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 03:13 PM
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Manu Simon's Avatar
Belgium
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AggressorBLUE View Post
Just curious, what's the all-up price of the bird as equipped for this review?
You can save a lot of money if you are willing to buy Chinese for the whole electronics and powerplant......
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 06:29 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
United States, TX, Kingsland
Joined Sep 2005
5,050 Posts
Very nice review Mike. Gotta love those Mustangs. Looks like another fine addition to the Platinum Series for E-flite.
McD
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Old Aug 16, 2011, 10:35 PM
ARFs make me BARF
mrittinger's Avatar
United States, MI, Roseville
Joined Dec 2000
8,876 Posts
Amp draw as set up? Watts in/out?
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Old Aug 17, 2011, 02:05 PM
Registered User
Lawrence, Kansas
Joined Dec 2001
588 Posts
I see the tail wheel is actually in the stock location, unusual in a model this size. Since you did not mention it, am I correct that you did not have any problems taxiing, no ground looping tendency beyond that of any taildragger?

Nice to see a B or C model Mustang in E-flight's lineup. I have their Stearman and it is very well-designed, looks very scale, and can be flown in a scale manner. Looks like the same applies to the P-51B.

- - Dave
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Old Aug 18, 2011, 02:25 AM
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Dora Nine's Avatar
United States, NH
Joined May 2005
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Nice work, I really should add this one to my hangar.
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Old Aug 18, 2011, 02:37 AM
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TripleW's Avatar
Prescott, Arizona
Joined Feb 2010
6,759 Posts
Nice Review.
How long has the price been dropped?
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Old Aug 19, 2011, 02:39 PM
Closed Account
Joined Apr 2008
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Nice review
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Last edited by BrentP; Aug 24, 2011 at 12:56 PM.
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Old Aug 19, 2011, 04:42 PM
It's Not Too Windy...Man Up
ALL American's Avatar
USA, CT, Wallingford
Joined Oct 2009
1,458 Posts
I enjoyed your thorough review Michael!

If you want a truly scale tail retract that sits in the scale location and retracts forward as it should in a Mustang, then forego the Robart and follow the instructions in my blog.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1471800

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1464031

EFliteP51BServolessRetractableTailWheel (3 min 17 sec)


Regards,

Anthony
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