Horizon Hobby E-flite Twist 3D 480 Review - RC Groups

Horizon Hobby E-flite Twist 3D 480 Review

Finally, a 35" Wingspan TWIST! Big-time Twist performance in a new smaller package. E-flite ARF simplicity and trademark flight performance in a size that will fit in even the smallest compact car.



Total Wing Area:404 sq. in.
RTF Weight:26 -30 oz.
Wing Loading:10.3 oz/sq. ft.
Wing Cubed Loading:6.2
Transmitter:JR 9503 DSMX
Servos:(4) E-flite DS76 Digital Sub-Micro
Receiver:Spektrum AR6115 DSMX
Motor:E-flite Park 480 1020kV
Battery:3-cell 2200
Power:279 Watts
Power Loading:155 Watts/lb
Available From:Horizon Dealers and Fine RC Hobby Shops
Retail Price:$164.99
Street Price:$119.99

The Twist series of sport planes has been an Iconic staple of the Horizon Hobby Radio Control Catalog for many years. The original 40-sized Twist was such a success that they increased the size and produced the Twist 60. This larger model sold so well that they produced an even larger Twist 150. I have had the very good fortune to have owned and flown all three sizes. Every one of them was an exceptional flyer, extremely maneuverable, and just plain fun to fly. As much as I enjoyed all of my Twists, I always wanted a smaller electric-powered version for those spur-of-the-moment flying opportunities when the sun was just right and the wind calmed down. I even started scratch building a smaller Twist a couple of times, but finally gave up in frustration due to my lousy scratch building abilities. I resigned myself to the reality that I would have to be satisfied with flying the larger Twists at our club field.

You can imagine my surprise and delight when I saw the new E-flite Twist 480 3D ARF in the 2012 Horizon Catalog! It was exactly the size I had imagined and it was an ARF! This new 35 inch wingspan Twist would be the perfect size to tuck inside most any vehicle and it looked ready for some serious lunchtime hucking or after work relaxation.

Disclaimer: If you haven't figured it out yet, I am a certifiable Twistaholic. Hello, my name is Mike and I am a Twistaholic. The opinions presented in this review may be somewhat biased due to the nature of my illness. However, I will strive to be mostly impartial.

OK. I've waited as long as I possibly could, I have to open the box and get started building this beauty.

Kit Contents

Kit came double boxed.
Kit came double boxed.
Parts were individually bagged.
Parts were individually bagged.

Kit Includes:

  • All Parts pre-covered in an attractive UltraCote color scheme
  • Hinge Slots precut for CA style Hinges
  • Built-up Balsa and Ply Fuselage
  • Two-Piece Wing with Carbon Spar
  • Horizontal Stabilizer & Two-Piece Elevator
  • Vertical Stabilizer & Rudder
  • Canopy, Large Battery Hatch, & Receiver/Wiring Hatch
  • Aluminum Landing Gear
  • Complete Hardware Package
  • 32-page Photo-illustrated Assembly Manual

Wrappers removed
Wrappers removed
Colorful trim and decals
Colorful trim and decals
Hardware & Stuff
Hardware & Stuff

Kit Requires:

  • Park 480 Brushless Outrunner Electric Motor
  • Minimum 4 channel radio with 4 Sub-Micro servos
  • 2-9" servo extensions
  • Thin & medium CA glue
  • 30-minute Epoxy glue
  • Canopy glue
  • Thread locking compound
  • Assorted drills, knife blades, pliers, and hex wrenches

Recommended by E-flite and supplied by Horizon for this review:

  • E-flite Park 480 -1020 kV Brushless Outrunner Motor
  • E-Flite 30 Amp Brushless Speed Controller
  • E-flite 3-cell 2200 mah 30C Lipoly battery
  • Spektrum AR6115 DSMX Receiver
  • 4-Eflite DS76 Digital Sub-Micro Servos
  • Painted Pilot Figure

E-flite Park 480 Outrunner Motor
E-flite Park 480 Outrunner Motor
Type Brushless Outrunner
Continuous Current 21A
Max Surge Current 30A
Power(watts) 275W
RPM/V 1020 kV
Weight 87g
Number of cells Li-Po 2s-3s
Shaft diameter 4mm
Motor Connector 3.5mm
Price $49.99

E-flite 30-Amp Pro Brushless Controller
E-flite 30-Amp Pro Brushless Controller
Type Brushless Speed Controller
Max Cont. Current 30A
Max Surge Current 35A
Number of cells Li-Po 3-4, NiCD/NiMH 9-12
Battery Cut Off Preset or 74%
BEC 0.7 Amp Switch Mode
Weight 31 gm
Dimensions (L x W x D) 76 x 33 x 13mm
Power Connector EC3 Type
Bullet Connector 3.5mm
Price: $44.99

E-Flite High-Power Battery
E-Flite High-Power Battery
Battery Type Lithium Polymer
Number of cells 3
Capacity 2200 mah
Voltage 11.1 Volt
Weight173 gm/6.10 oz
Dimensions (L x W x D) 4.1" x 1.33" x 0.95"
Maximum Continuous Discharge 30C
Maximum Continuous Current 66 amps
Main Power Leads 13 AWG
Power Connector EC3 Type
Price: $44.99

Spektrum AR6115 Receiver
Spektrum AR6115 Receiver
Frequency Band 2.4 GHz
Type DSM2/DSMX Frequency-Agile
Number of Channels Six
Antenna Two Antennas
Range Class Park Flyer
Receiver Size 0.98" x 0.74" x 0.46"
Weight 0.12 oz (3.35g)
Voltage Range 3.5V - 9.6V
Price $49.99

E-flite DS76 Servos
E-flite DS76 Servos
Type Digital
Size Factor Sub-Micro
Bearing Plastic
Operating Speed 60 0.11 sec @ 4.8V
Torque 24.2 oz-in @ 4.8V
Weight 7.6g/0.27 oz
Dimensions 0.90" x 0.45"x 0.96"
Gear Type Plastic
Price $17.99


28-Page Assembly Manual
28-Page Assembly Manual
Photo-illustrated building instructions
Photo-illustrated building instructions

The 28-page Assembly Manual includes numerous pictures and helpful building tips. Seasoned ARF builders should have no problems with this plane. Carefully inspect all the various parts and tighten the UltraCote covering on the wings and fuselage as needed before construction begins. The stated 1 to 3 hour assembly time listed in the manual may be a little optimistic though. I'd recommend you take your time and enjoy the build process.


Wing assembly is the first step listed in the manual so that's where I started my build project. Servo installation was required before aileron hinging could proceed. The recommended E-flite DS-76 servos were a perfect fit in the wing servo cut outs. I noted that the servos had to be installed with the output shafts facing the trailing edge of the wing and the servo leads had to be routed through the oval shaped holes behind the wing tube.

The CA hinge slots were precut in the ailerons and in the wing trailing edge stock, but needed a 1/16" wicking hole drilled in the center of each hinge location. I found it easier to dry fit the hinges and align the ailerons before drilling the wicking holes. By pre-fitting each hinge, I was able to mark the exact center of each hinge location so that when I drilled the wicking hole, it would be in the center of each hinge location.

Landing Gear

The landing gear assembly was next. It took a couple of tries, but I finally got the nuts tight without binding the wheels. I later discovered that maybe I should have CA'ed the rubber tire treads to the wheel hubs at this point in the build. During flight testing, a slightly sideways landing caused the rubber to slip off the wheel hub and bind up the wheel assembly. On the next landing, the tread came off entirely and slipped up the landing gear leg. Just a couple of drops of CA fixed the problem, and the treads have stayed firmly attached to the wheels ever since.

Partial tread separation - BRAKES!
Partial tread separation - BRAKES!
Luckily this stayed on the gear and out of the grass.
Luckily this stayed on the gear and out of the grass.


The fuselage assembly began with the installation of the motor. For the Power 480 motor, the "diagonal" mounting holes were used. I soon discovered that connecting the motor/ESC leads was going to be a challenge. The leads needed to be plugged together below an inaccessible floor plate area of the fuselage. I was able to route the leads below the plate and up through a side hole to make the plug connection, and then stuff the connected leads back through the hole into the area below the plate. I found that I could use a 2.5 mm hex wrench to hold and help route the female connectors below the plate.

Final ESC and wiring positions
Final ESC and wiring positions

Once the wing halves were slipped into place, the fuselage was ready for tail feather installation.

The horizontal and vertical stabilizers slipped into place and lined up exactly with the wing and fuselage. A touch of CA and the tail was done. I then added the optional pilot figure under the canopy and I'm glad I did. He added a lot to the looks of the plane.

Radio Installation

Once again the recommended E-flite DS-76 servos fit the fuselage servo cut outs perfectly. The Spektrum AR6115 receiver was installed per the manual, but the left aileron servo lead would not quite reach the Aux1 receiver port. I installed a short servo extension to make the connection. I guess a Y-harness servo extension would also solve the problem, but I wanted to try spoileron and flaperon mixes at some point, so I needed the servos on separate channels. I normally install short servo extensions for both aileron leads on most of my models to make wing removal easier but the Twist 480 is small enough that I didn't plan on removing the wings anytime soon.


The completed Twist weighed 1 pound 13 ounces RTF. At 29 ounces, the wing loading was only 10.34 oz/sq. ft. and the wing cubed loading was a light 6.2. With these numbers, the Twist looked like it was going to be a real floater. With the E-flite battery pushed all the way forward against the firewall, the model balanced exactly at the recommended point, 3-1/2" back from the leading edge of the wing.

The manual lists the recommended control throws for low rates (sport flying) and for high rates (3D flying). I set the control throws per the manual including the exponential settings. I found the 25% expo to be just right on low rates, but I needed to increase the high rate expo to 40% to tame down the movements around neutral.



The Twist 480 3D is touted as an ideal aerobatic trainer and an introductory 3D model. I think E-flite was being very modest with these claims. I think the Twist 480 is a great sport plane with excellent aerobatic characteristics and a wonderful introductory 3D plane.

However, I was not impressed with the way the Twist flew with the recommended 12x6E prop. It didn't fly bad, the big prop just seemed to really load the motor/battery and it seemed to need a lot of throttle stick to hover. I switched to an 11x5.5E prop and the Twist really came to life! The smaller diameter prop had fewer torque issues and the reduced pitch resulted in more stable hovers at lower throttle settings. The motor and battery were barely warm after a full, hard flight. I checked the power input with the 11x5.5E prop and measured 25 amps and 279 Watts for a power loading of 155 Watts/lb.

Taking Off and Landing

Take Offs

Even though the Twist is a conventional gear plane, it is very mild mannered on takeoffs. The rudder and tail wheel were very effective and gave excellent directional control on the ground and in the air. Takeoffs were smooth and straight with just a touch of right rudder to keep things lined up with the runway. When I eased the throttle up from idle, the Twist would takeoff in about 30 feet. Full-power takeoffs occurred before the throttle could ever reach wide open, and the liftoff occurred in inches rather than feet.


The Twist 480 is a joy to land. It is so steady and stable, it gives you the confidence to try different styles of landings. That big thick wing lets you slow the Twist down to a slow crawl for landings without ever a hint of falling out of the sky. I could keep a little power on and land on the mains and keep the tail up for the whole length of the runway. Three-point landings were routine with great elevator feel all the way to touchdown. I had great fun landing nose high and letting the tail wheel touch the runway before the mains.

Three-point landing stance
Three-point landing stance
Tail wheel touches first
Tail wheel touches first


The Twist 480 is a great aerobatic airplane. It performed all the routine aerobatic maneuvers with ease. However, I found that I needed to reduce the low rates slightly to get really smooth, precision aerobatics. With normal low rates, the Twist 480 flew just like a full-size sport plane. This little Twist can loop and roll with the best of them!


Since I have only recently started to fly 3D, I think I am among the target pilot audience for the Twist 480. The plane flew so easily and solid that it wasn't very long before I took it up high and started trying some of the 3D moves I had seen the big boys throw down. The Twist was so forgiving, that when I would get mixed up or disoriented, it would just keep on flying and give me the time I needed to get out of trouble.

For 3D flying, I found it helpful to shift the CG back 1/4" behind the recommended 3-1/2" location to 3-3/4" from the wing leading edge. This more rearward CG allowed the Twist to hang in a hover better and helped with snap and spin maneuvers. Upright and inverted flat spins were now routine and the Twist 480 would stop rotating as soon as the sticks were released. High alpha flight was easy with the thick wing, but I'm still working on my Harriers to balance the throttle and elevator.

Is This For a Beginner?

Not really. The Twist's oversized control surfaces and flat wing platform are not suitable for a true beginner. However, with reduced surface throws, the Twist would be an excellent aerobatic trainer. For most intermediate pilots, the Twist 480 would make an excellent 3D trainer.

Flight Photo Gallery

Flight Video Gallery

Youtube Link



The Twist 480 is a worthy addition to the Twist legacy. The compact 480 version retains all the wonderful sport flying characteristic of the original Twist series with the added bonus of 3D capability. The perfect mix of light weight, a thick airfoil, and plenty of power makes this new Twist 480 3D a Winner!

Reduce the low rates to 70% of the posted values and you will have a smooth flying aerobatic pattern plane. With the recommended low rates, you will have one of the best sport flying planes available today. On high rates, hang on to your hat because the Twist will exceed your expectations (and maybe your abilities) in a heartbeat. Better plan on a little extra altitude before you switch on the high rates for the first time.

I'm predicting that I will be joined by a lot more Twistaholics before this summer is over. Enjoy your new Twist 480 3D, but fly responsibly.


Thanks to my Wife for her help with the photos and video, to Jesse Webb for his flying skills with his personal Twist and steady hand on the videos, and to Angela H for her editing magic. Thanks also to Horizon Hobby for providing the Twist 480 3D for this review!


  • Great Flying Sport/Aerobatic/3D Plane
  • Great Color Combination - Very Easy to See
  • High Quality ARF - Easy Building
  • Legendary Twist performance in a new smaller package
  • Large control surfaces for 3D


  • Tread not glued to wheels
  • ESC wiring was a challenge
Last edited by kingsflyer; Aug 28, 2012 at 04:42 PM..
Thread Tools
Aug 29, 2012, 03:44 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
This first post is reserved for future updates on this review.
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
Aug 29, 2012, 04:35 PM
Registered User
Wingman26's Avatar
Thanks for the YouTube video!
Aug 30, 2012, 07:19 AM
Suspended Account
Awww jeez. I gotta get another on and do it right. The first one was slapped together with a park 450, 4 parkzone DSV130's (which I had to cut the slot bigger to fit. I didn't have mounting screws so I glued them in! during the first few flights I noticed the servo not centering right. I would stay slightly up after using up elevator, nd the opposite after using down. It was qite unpleasant and the plane was flying me instead of the other was around. Eventually that cruddy servo went bad and locked up, and the plane died. Ill have to get another one and use the Dx6I I'm getting with it.
Aug 30, 2012, 09:44 AM
Team Futaba
CSpaced's Avatar
Nice job on the review, looks like a fun airplane!
Aug 30, 2012, 08:09 PM
Mach 1
pathfinder's Avatar
.Now this looks like a fun airplane.The colors are beutifull.I bet the build quality under that covering is amazing too.And it's built up .The foamies eventually fall apart on me.This is on the list.I think I have an E-flight 480 .It looks to be a perfect match for it .
Aug 30, 2012, 08:20 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
Sorry to hear about the lost bird RCA. I think you deserve another one, very soon!

CSpaced, Thanks for the kudos, you ought to try one out ASAP.

pathfinder, the 480 is perfect. 160+ watt/lb is very impressive.

Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
Aug 30, 2012, 08:45 PM
Just Fly!
Troutbum's Avatar
My son has one and loves it. It's on my short list of future purchases.

Aug 30, 2012, 09:04 PM
Registered User
not bad price is a bit high for the same price you can pick up a 3DHobby shop Edge
Sep 02, 2012, 10:55 AM
Registered User
oagh's Avatar
Nice Review,
I give you a A+ on the Review and vid .
Sep 04, 2012, 04:35 AM
Registered User
midnightsabotage's Avatar
Wonderful review. I built mine quite a while ago with the recommended 480 and a set of hs65mg's but haven't put her in the air yet, focused on other projects once I finished & hung it on the wall. I just might have to go fly her this week now.
Sep 11, 2012, 12:54 AM
check for reversed controls
alpea 41's Avatar
A good 3D pilot told me mine has too much right thrust built into the firewall. I've reduced it by 2 washers and it tracks better. Anybody else have a similar experience? I also gotta change my elevator servo. I get pitch trim changes thru out the flight. And I found landing it tail heavy to be an adventure
Sep 11, 2012, 07:23 AM
Registered User
Did the expert fly it first, or just think that it had too much offset? Interesting observation though, I don't think that's a problem with mine, but I will pay more attention next time out. I have had no problems with landings, and am still playing with battery placement for cg preference. I'm not a 3d type flyer though, so different setups for sure.
Sep 11, 2012, 09:41 AM
check for reversed controls
alpea 41's Avatar
Yes he was flying it at the time. I have a lower powered 450 E Flight motor in it. Part of my landing adventures are the cheapie elevator servo not centering I think. I do like the plane and now have about 20 flights on it and I'm well on my way to full blown Twistiest. I haven't seen the Twist 150 thAT THING MUST BE HUGE
Sep 11, 2012, 10:51 AM
Registered User
onewire's Avatar
I have a Parkzone 480 (Trojan) and a Power 10 (don't remember the kv). Which would you recommend?

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