E-Flite Horizon Hobby Spitfire Mk XIV 1.2M BNF Basic - RCGroups Review - RC Groups

E-Flite Horizon Hobby Spitfire Mk XIV 1.2M BNF Basic - RCGroups Review

The E-flite Spitfire is a joy to fly and will make a great addition to your RC Air Force. Check out the RCGroups official review by Michael Heer!

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Introduction


Wingspan: 47.25 in (1200 mm)
Wing Area: 416.9 sq in (26.9 Sq Dm)
Flying Weight: 53.5 oz (1515 g)
Length: 42.32 in (1075 mm)
Servos: 6 micro Spektrum Servos
Propeller Size: 5-Blade, 10.5 x 8
3"
Flaps: Yes, Split Flaps
Retracts:Electric
Transmitter: Spektrum DX-9
Receiver: 6+ Channel Spektrum
Battery: 2200mAh 3 Cell Li-Po
Motor: 15BL Outrunner 850Kv
ESC: 40 Amp Brushless
Experience Level: Intermediate
Recommended Enviroment: Outside
Assembly Time: Less than 1 Hour
Manufacturer: E-Flite
Available From: Horizon Hobby
Price: $269.99 ARF

In June I reviewed the new 1.2 M Corsair from E-flite and found here to be a beautiful plane. I immediately agreed to review their new Spitfire for a number of reasons. First I love the Spitfire and this is a later version where the scale plane was powered with a Griffon engine. This model comes with the scale five blade propeller that looks terrific. But even more interesting is the way this plane comes electronically equipped with both AS3X as well as optional SAFE technology which can be turned on and off at the transmitter and should allow newer pilots to safely be able to fly this RC plane. I will be discussing that aspect in detail, and in a video dedicated to the subject with new or beginner pilots in mind. I will be doing a short video on unboxing and assembling this Spitfire at the start of the assembly process. The next paragraph was taken by me word for word from E-flight and their discussion of the plane. Note it uses an affordable 3S 2200mAh battery and that is what will be used for all videos in this review.

"Finally, Great Britain had a fighter that outclassed every weapon its foe could throw at it: the Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV. Even when menacing rockets and jets attempted to scorch the land, heroic pilots strapped into their Griffon-powered Spits to topple them. The new E-flite Spitfire Mk XIV 1.2m has been developed to deliver great warbird performance and agility in addition to the distinctive elegance only possible with a Spitfire."

Promoted Features

  • Optional SAFE® Select technology with flight envelope protection
  • Advanced AS3X® technology delivers rock-solid handling
  • Easy to complete, bolt-together final assembly
  • Retractable, electric main landing gear installed
  • Operational four-panel split flaps with servos installed
  • 6-channel control with a steerable tail wheel
  • Spektrum™ 6-channel AR636A DSMX® receiver (installed)
  • High-torque 15-size brushless outrunner motor
  • Reliable 40A electronic speed control
  • (6) Lightweight Spektrum micro servos installed
  • Accepts 2200mAh 3S 11.1V Li-Po battery packs (sold separately)
  • Constructed with durable Z-Foam™ material
  • Realistic markings, 5-blade propeller, munition and surface detail
  • Painted canopy with a clear view of the pilot and cockpit
  • Quick-release top hatch makes battery changes easy

Assembly

This plane is a quick-building aircraft. Rather than assembly there are only a few minor steps to quickly get this Spitfire in the air. It took longer to type this section than to assemble the plane.

Tail

The rudder came already installed so the only final assembly for the tail was installing the horizontal stabilizer halves and connecting the clevis to the elevator control horn. I slid one half of the tail into the molded slot designed for it in the fuselage and then installed the tail rod into the hole molded for it. With one half in place I next slid in the other half and made sure they were properly positioned and the elevators were connected by a center connection system where one side slid into the controller from the other side. I secured the stabilizers in place with one supplied screw for each side. To finish this installation I connected the clevis to the elevator control horn and this portion of the assembly was complete unless I had to make a minor adjustment to center the elevator when the receiver was powered up.

Wing

The wing came with the control surfaces hinged with foam hinges, servos installed for flaps and the ailerons and the scale flaps. Even the electric retracts were installed and ready to be connected to the receiver once the wing was connected to the fuselage. To connect the wing to the fuselage I carefully guided all of the control wires from the servos and retracts from the wing into the bottom of the fuselage through hole B in the wing saddle. With the wires in the proper place inside the fuselage I secured the wing to the fuselage with the four supplied screws. Next I connected the servo wires to the proper Y connectors in the receiver and finally the retract wires were plugged into complete the process.

Next I installed clevises and connected the control rods between the servos and the ailerons and flap control surfaces.

Fuselage

The main assembly on the fuselage was installing the wing as described above. It was also necessary to install the five blade propeller and the supplied spinner. Here I slipped the back plate onto the propeller shaft followed by the five blade propeller and the spinner nut. I tightened the spinner nut which secure the propeller and the back spinner plate in position. Next the spinner fit onto the propeller shaft and finally I screwed in the supplied screw through the spinner and into the propeller mounting nut. This secured the spinner in place.

Radio Installation

On my BNF version the receiver came already installed and was connected to the rudder and aileron servos. As described above I connected the aileron servos and flap servos to the Y connectors in the receiver as part of the wing installation and finished that assembly by plugging in the electric retracts. The throttle connector from the speed control came already plugged into the receiver. I had been charging up the flight battery which is a three cell 2200mAh battery while I was doing the above described final assembly.

I programmed my DX9 Spektrum transmitter per the recommendations in the instruction manual and bound the receiver to my transmitter. I powered up my transmitter and the receiver and manually adjusted the clevises on the control surfaces as necessary to make sure all controls were properly aligned in the neutral positions for flight.

Completion

At this point with the plane actually ready to fly I installed the cannons in the wings. This required me to carefully remove the covers that go over the cannons as they were lightly glued in place at the factory. With the covers off I installed the cannons, glued them in place and glued the covers back in place over them. I allowed the glue to dry and while that was happening I balanced the plane on the recommended C/G (78mm back from the wing's leading edge) by adjusting the position of the recommended battery. She was now ready to fly and her first flight would be the next morning.

8 mm back from the wing's leading edge was a good place to balance the plane. I have flown it balanced there and at 80 mm back. A less experienced pilot might want to start at 75mm from the wing's leading edge where it was just slightly nose heavy and very easy to control.

I programmed in the recommend dual rate of 100% with 100% servo movement for high rate and 70% for low rate. While most of my flying has been at full rate the 70% rate handles the basic controls nicely and I recommend them for the first few flights with the less experienced pilots.

Flying

The instruction manual gives a very nice preflight list and I have copied it below. I recommend everyone make use of it. I especially like item 17! I find too many pilots give no thought to what they are going to do on a given flight after they make their first turn following takeoff. I don't chart most of my flight but I do review how to turn SAFE on and off and plan to use it or not before the flight. I also have the first few moves planned just like some football coaches chart their opening offensive plays. It is not a conflict to include some planning for a mostly spontaneous aerobatic flight.

Preflight

  • 1 Remove and inspect contents.
  • 2 Read this instruction manual thoroughly.
  • 3 Charge the flight battery.
  • 4 Setup Transmitter using transmitter setup chart.
  • 5 Fully assemble the airplane.
  • 6 Install the flight battery in the aircraft (once it has been fully charged).
  • 7 Check the Center of Gravity (CG).
  • 8 Bind the aircraft to your transmitter.
  • 9 Make sure linkages move freely.
  • 10 Test the retract operation.
  • 11 Test the flap operation.
  • 12 Perform the Control Direction Test with the transmitter.
  • 13 Perform the AS3X Control Direction Test with the aircraft.
  • 14 Adjust flight controls and transmitter.
  • 15 Perform a radio system Range Test.
  • 16 Find a safe open area to fly.
  • 17 Plan flight for flying field conditions

Basics

The plane has proportional control of throttle, rudder, elevator and ailerons and three settings for flaps. I find it most fun to use all of these functions but I have had flights without using the flaps in higher wind conditions. I have also flown just using throttle, ailerons and elevator. The plane handles beautifully in the air and can be flown with or without using the rudder but she will slide in her turns a bit if the rudder is not used.

Taking Off and Landing

On the Spitfire the landing gear were close together and that requires the pilot to be attentive for takeoffs and landings. I have made all of my takeoffs and landings as much into the wind as possible. I have had no trouble with my takeoffs. On landings I land the plane into the wind with the motor running and give the slightest of flairs as I touch down. As I lower the throttle I apply up elevator when I know it will stay on the ground. This has prevented any nose overs when I have been flying. I have seen another pilot's plane nose over when he didn't apply up elevator after slowing down. I have also seen wing tip strikes when the other pilot didn't let his plane slow down to a near crawl before starting to turn while on the ground. By being prepared to use up elevator and slow down before starting to turn I have had no problems. I recommend those tips to all pilots!

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

I found this plane to be a complete joy for me to fly. She can perform very nice slow or fast rolls. With a fresh battery loops can be relatively tight or fill the sky. My favorite moves are split S turns to get on the tail of my friend's plane or imaginary Me-109s. It has looked good in every maneuver I have tried and despite being a warbird has been very easy to fly. The scale landing gear and cross wind will always be a challenge but no troubles flying as described above when going into the wind. I love her 1.2 meter size but for those who crave speed she is not the fastest Spitfire available and I have only flown her using the recommended three cell battery. I have been completely happy with her performance and her aerobatics. Look at the pictures and the videos I shot of my friends flying and decide for yourself.

The split flaps look and work great. No flaps are visible on the top of the wing as they only involve the bottom half of the wing. They deploy properly and came with three settings: full up, half down for takeoff and down for landings. I admittedly do not use flaps very often but they look nice when deployed for landing and do help slow the plane down. My friend who bought this plane uses his on every takeoff in the middle position and full down for landings except on very gusty days when he doesn't use them. In windy conditions they can cause a bit of ballooning but I found they worked as desired. I don't use them at higher speeds.

I initially finished this review several months ago and I thought I had submitted my review for editing. I started a new job that has taken almost all of my time and took a break from RC Groups due to my lack of free time. I was able to get in some more flying with this Spitfire at a field where I teach and she has held up well and still looks and flies as she did when first assembled. This unintentional endurance testing was by accident but I wanted to report that by following my own rules for taking off and especially for landing I have avoided any nose overs or wing touches with ground turns. I enjoy flying her for pleasure flying as much as I did for the initial review

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Review Video

E-Flite Spitfire Mk XIV 1.2M BNF Basic - RCGroups Review (10 min 37 sec)

Conclusion

I love this plane! I especially love making slow victory rolls over the runway after defeating the invisible Me-109s I envision in my mind. Quick to assemble and a joy to fly I give this plane two thumbs up. The size is perfect as it easily transports in my Prius and is very easy to follow in the sky. The scale landing gear is close together so flying into the wind for taking off and landing is critical and be sure to slow way down on landing before trying to turn and you too can be completely successful with this plane if you are in intermediate pilot or better. I love Spitfires and I have had a number of them over the years and this one with its five blade propeller has earned a special place in my Heer (air) force. This is a great addition to E-flite's 1.2 meter warbird collection. It is just as much fun to fly as the Corsair I reviewed earlier this year. Both are great additions to your RC air force.

Pluses & Minuses

Pluses

  • A quick-to-assemble aircraft
  • Flies well with recommended 3-cell 2200mAh battery
  • Nice size, easy to transport but also easy to see in the air
  • Very nice scale details
  • Looks fantastic on the ground and in the air
  • I love the five bladed propeller
  • Flies great

Minuses

  • Scale landing gear can be tricky, especially in a crosswind
Last edited by Matt Gunn; Dec 12, 2016 at 03:06 PM..
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Dec 12, 2016, 05:00 PM
Damn that dog can fly.....
JPJI's Avatar
Nice review & better late than never!

Having owned one of these for 6 months now, I can say that it is indeed a great plane.

There is an active thread on this spitfire here:

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...1-2m-BNF-Basic

Tally ho...

Last edited by JPJI; Dec 12, 2016 at 05:05 PM.
Dec 18, 2016, 08:13 AM
Registered User

Eflite Spirfire Mk XIV


I to have this beautiful aircraft and am thrilled with the way it flies.

I have a question it has a AR 636A receiver with EFLA1140W ESC and EFLM4115 motor.

I wanted to add an off switch between the ESC and Receiver power, the same as I have done on my timber and other aircraft.

I bought an RC switch with an LED (everything has LED these days,) I disconnected the Throttle cable from the ESC to the receiver,
and inserted my three wire switch. Seemed to work just just fine except that with the switch in the off position, the receiver is off but the motor gives a x chirp and steps one position every few seconds. its almost like the ESC expects to see some kind of signal from the receiver (throttle) at all times.

I have not seen this behavior before and was looking for any insight.

Thanks
Dec 18, 2016, 08:30 PM
Registered User
Mikey 68's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyTAff
I to have this beautiful aircraft and am thrilled with the way it flies.

I have a question it has a AR 636A receiver with EFLA1140W ESC and EFLM4115 motor.

I wanted to add an off switch between the ESC and Receiver power, the same as I have done on my timber and other aircraft.

I bought an RC switch with an LED (everything has LED these days,) I disconnected the Throttle cable from the ESC to the receiver,
and inserted my three wire switch. Seemed to work just just fine except that with the switch in the off position, the receiver is off but the motor gives a x chirp and steps one position every few seconds. its almost like the ESC expects to see some kind of signal from the receiver (throttle) at all times.

I have not seen this behavior before and was looking for any insight.

Thanks
The esc is still getting power from the battery , What you need is a switch between the lipo and the esc . The lipo powers everything on the plane, you turn the rx off the esc still has power from the lipo still plugged in. You need one of these
http://truerc.com/index.php?main_pag...83ugf17hggd4t2

Some esc's have a switch wired on the esc that turns everything off as well
Dec 20, 2016, 07:55 AM
Registered User

RC Switch


I realize that the ESC is still getting power from the Battery.
However I was more interested in whats different in my set up that is causing this behavior, I haven't seen this before and its a bit annoying since every one at my club disarms this way.

For those that are interested all I do is to use a three wire switch inserted between the Esc RECEIVER THROTTLE +/- CABLE


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