Horizon Hobby E-flite Pitts S-1S 850mm BNF Basic Review

Here is a great looking foam Pitts biplane that is small enough to fit in anyone's car but flies as good as many larger planes I love. It's a winner!


Pitts S-1S 850mm - A Small Plane that Flies Big!

My uncle was a full-scale pilot with an air hangar on his property. I distinctly remember when I was around 5 years old my Grandpa took me to airshows all over Texas. The first plane I remember falling in love with was the Pitts. Maybe because it was red, or that it was a biplane, or because it was small...or all those things combined. I love a Pitts! 75 years ago the Aviat Aircraft Company released the full scale Pitts and people still fly them regularly today. The E-flite Pitts S-1S is a tribute to the Curtis Pitts design. I was excited to have one in my plane collection!

The E-flite Pitts S-1S is an officially licensed replica of the full-scale version. This EPO RC Pitts is scale enough to put in your office but flies so good it will probably live in your shop. I am now a huge fan RC planes this size (more about that later).

E-Flite Pitts S-1S 850mm BNF Basic Unboxing, Build, Fly - RCGroups Review (23 min 43 sec)


  • An Aviat Aircraft Company officially licensed version of the iconic aerobat
  • High-power, 3S- and 4S-compatible brushless outrunner motor and 40A ESC
  • Spektrum™ 6-channel receiver with industry-leading DSMX® technology
  • Unmatched stability and precision of AS3X® technology for smoother flight performance
  • Easy to fly with optional-use SAFE® Select flight envelope protection
  • Scale outline and surface detail, plus a matching spinner and appointed cockpit
  • Durable aluminum landing gear with scale covers and wheel pants
  • Tool-free wing assembly with quick-release hardware
  • Optional-use flying wires included for added scale looks
  • Large cockpit hatch and removable tray simplifies battery installation
  • Lightweight and durable EPO foam construction
  • Factory-finished with a scale trim scheme


  • Cost: $199.99
  • Completion Level: Bind-N-Fly Basic
  • Flying Weight: 46 oz (1304 g)
  • Length: 31 in (787mm)
  • Material: Foam
  • Minimum Required Radio: Full-Range 5+ Channel DSMX/DSM2
  • Minimum Speed Control: 40A
  • Motor Size: 10BL 1200Kv
  • Recommended Motor Battery: 1800-2200mAh 3-4S LiPo with EC3 Connector
  • Wing Area: 437 sq in (28.2 sq dm)
  • Wingspan: 33.5 in (850 mm)

What's In the Box

In my video, I show you exactly what is in the box and go through the build. Essentially the plane is built for you other than the wings and the prop. The wings can be tricky so I'll touch on that in the build photos (and in the video).

The Build

The build is pretty straightforward but there are some things to be aware of. I will do this in a photo format.

Landing Gear


Wing Servos

Lower Wing


NOTE - The cabanes are very difficult to fit. You may feel like it is impossible. Wiggling them is the key. Do not press on your foam. This will only result in a dented wing. If you get frustrated take a break and come back. You will get them on eventually.

Top Wing

Battery Tray




At the Field

Flying Thoughts

Man do I love this plane! It is small enough to throw in your back seat but flies like a much larger plane. This plane flies very well on a 3 cell lipo but with the upgraded motor (thanks Horizon) it rocks on a four cell! I mean you can wad this plane up in the air. On a 3 cell it can hover at 3/4 throttle. On a 4 cell it hovers at half throttle! Now maybe hovering a Pitts isn't your thing but it does give you an idea of power increase with the larger battery. The roll rate is great. Slow roll rates drive me crazy and this one is just right. It is a small plane but thanks to the AS3X it flies like a .40 or .60 sized bird, and it can handle some wind. We tested the stall tendencies and I fully expected this short coupled Pitts to drop a wing but we were surprised that is just mushed forward. Very cool. Other than the thumb-numbing cabanes there really isn't anything not to like about this plane. You can fly it stock or change out to your prop preference. I think the rudder needs more throw. You could do that by switching the control horn. I think this is a must-have bird. One more thing to add, while this isn't a beginners "first plane" I do think anyone with a little RC plane experience could fly it. On low rates it's very docile. On high rates it's a monster. This Pitts is a winner in my book. I'm looking forward to getting it back in the air!

Learn More

Head over to the Horizon Hobby for more info on the E-flite Pitts!

Thread Tools
Feb 06, 2019, 12:16 PM
Maggie is in charge
ncsky's Avatar
That is a good looking plane. This is now on my wishlist.
Feb 06, 2019, 01:13 PM
Registered User
Better late than never I guess?

Just remember kiddies - replace all those hinges!
Feb 06, 2019, 01:53 PM
Registered User
Bill Glover's Avatar
Nice review One small correction though! Cabane struts are the ones between the fuselage and wing. The ones between wings are called interplane struts.
Latest blog entry: Eachine QX65 FPV quad review
Feb 06, 2019, 01:55 PM
Jim T. Graham's Avatar
Thread OP
Feb 06, 2019, 07:27 PM
Registered User
Whether I get a plane or not I always enjoy an RCgroups review, even better to find a new one during a lunch break. Great that you test on both 3 and 4S, I'm sold on the 3S performance alone.
Feb 06, 2019, 11:07 PM
Registered User
rrg's Avatar
Not to bad of a price....
Feb 14, 2019, 01:06 PM
Registered User
E-Challenged's Avatar
Make sure those hard-to-get-in pins for bottom of struts can't slide back out. Maybe a dab of removable hot glue? Pitts models may be a little too sporty for" low stick timers" without stabilization.
Feb 14, 2019, 03:12 PM
Fire Marshall Bill
Believe me, they ain't slippin' out!
Feb 14, 2019, 03:25 PM
Registered User
capman66's Avatar
The interplane strut installation is pretty ridiculous considering one is working with a foam airplane. Tightening the prop but is another chore that HH could improve.
While it sounds exciting to a low time pilot the Pitts is not a beginners plane even with the AX3 assistance. Your photos are good , but your review makes me miss RC Report.
Feb 14, 2019, 03:41 PM
Jim T. Graham's Avatar
Thread OP
Feb 26, 2019, 12:48 AM
Registered User
Also, be sure to tighten up the lower wing by screwing in the nub a little bit after you install that body clip. It will pull the wing flush with the fuselage. I don’t think it has that much affect on the incidence but it sure looks better flush.
Feb 28, 2019, 09:27 PM
Registered User
Fortunately I did not have that much trouble with the wings. I pushed the pins in with a needle nosed pliers while wiggling around. One thing not mentioned anywhere is a thick washer that goes between the inside of the spinner and prop nut. It prevents the thin spinner from distorting as it is tightened. Can’t wait to fly. Looks great. The UMX version flies great so couldn’t help buying this

Mar 02, 2019, 04:33 PM
Registered User
MartinT's Avatar
That looks seriously good! (well except for the ridiculously too small sized pilot, but this seems a trademark for FMS/E-Flite)
Mar 05, 2019, 09:34 AM
Registered User
parajared's Avatar
The one at our flying field had something funky going on with the landing gear. No one could get it working.

I guess we got the Pitts S-1S "ground-loop edition".

Quick Reply

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
News Pitts S-1S 850mm BNF Basic with AS3X and SAFE Select (EFL3550) Jim T. Graham Electric Plane Talk 1667 Yesterday 03:24 PM
New Product UMX Pitts S-1S BNF Basic with AS3X® Technology by E-flite Diesel6401 Micro Ready-to-Fly 11669 Oct 19, 2019 10:42 AM
Review E-Flite & Horizon Hobby's Adagio 280 BNF Basic Motor Glider Review Michael Heer Electric Sailplanes 16 Oct 19, 2015 02:48 PM