E-flite Apprentice STS RTF with SAFE 1.5m

E-flite announced a new plane today that makes learning to fly a breeze. It's likely the best trainer you can buy right now.

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Capable Trainer Plane

E-flite announced a new plane today that makes learning to fly a breeze. It's likely the best trainer you can buy right now and it comes Ready to Fly for $349. Here's more from Horizon on the new Apprentice STS.

The E-flite® Apprentice® STS 1.5m is based on one of the very best platforms ever designed for learning to fly radio controlled (RC) airplanes—the legendary Apprentice S 15e. That model's large size made it an ideal choice for better visibility and the ability to handle more wind while learning to fly at an RC club flying field, and its inherently stable design plus exclusive SAFE® (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) technology made it easy to fly successfully—especially with the help of an instructor. The Apprentice STS 1.5m is a modern-day evolution of the world's favorite club trainer that includes all the same great features while adding Smart components including an ESC, battery and charger (battery and charger sold separately for the BNF® Basic version), along with the option to add SAFE Plus® GPS-enabled technology and the all-new Landing Assist Sensor (LAS), to make learning to fly easier—and more fun—than ever before!

Features:

  • Based on one of the best platforms ever designed for learning to fly radio controlled (RC) airplanes—the Apprentice S 15e
  • Perfect for first-time pilots, experienced pilots that teach others to fly and club training programs
  • Official Trainer of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) and many clubs worldwide
  • The ideal choice for new pilots when learning to fly with an instructor at an RC flying field
  • Exclusive SAFE® technology from Horizon Hobby makes it easy to learn to fly
  • Easily upgrade to SAFE Plus GPS-enabled technology to add AutoLand, Virtual Fence and Holding Pattern features
  • Optional and easy to install Landing Assist Sensor (LAS) available for smoother landings
  • Includes everything you need to fly in one box—nothing extra to buy or provide
  • Spektrum DXe transmitter with industry-leading DSMX 2.4GHz technology
  • Spektrum 3200mAh 3S 11.1V Smart LiPo battery delivers long flight times
  • Spektrum S120 Smart charger works with a variety of USB power sources
  • Factory-installed servos, Spektrum flight controller and serial receiver
  • Powerful and efficient brushless power system including a Smart ESC
  • Wide-stance tricycle landing gear with steerable nose wheel
  • Quick and easy assembly—no glue or special tools required
  • Durable EPO construction that's tough yet lightweight
  • Optional floats available for flying from water
  • Practice flying this aircraft in the RealFlight® simulator

E-flite® took the world's favorite club trainer and made it SMARTER with the Apprentice® STS 1.5m. Based on one of the very best platforms ever designed for learning to fly radio controlled (RC) airplanes, its large size and 1.5 meter (59.0 inch) wingspan offers better visibility and the ability to handle more wind while learning to fly at an RC club flying field. Its inherently stable design plus SAFE® (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) technology featuring Beginner, Intermediate and Experienced flight modes makes it easy to fly successfully, especially with the help of an instructor. The addition of exclusive Spektrum™ Smart components including a lithium polymer (LiPo) battery and charger make it more convenient to charge properly and safely (battery and charger sold separately for the BNF® Basic version). And best of all it now has the option to upgrade to SAFE Plus GPS-enabled technology that offers features such as AutoLand and Virtual Fence, plus the option to install the all-new Landing Assist Sensor (LAS) that automatically "flares" for smoother landings, to make learning to fly—and to land safely—easier than ever!

The Ready-To-Fly (RTF) version includes everything needed to fly in one box, and is the perfect choice if you're a new RC pilot. From the Spektrum DXe 2.4GHz transmitter you can use with other Bind-N-Fly® (BNF) and BNF Basic aircraft after you learn to fly the Apprentice STS, to the 3S 3200mAh Smart LiPo battery that delivers long flight times and the convenient S120 USB-C Smart charger that can be used with a variety of USB power sources, there's nothing extra you need to buy or provide! A BNF Basic version is also available for experienced pilots and clubs that want to use their favorite Spektrum transmitter along with batteries and chargers they may already own. And for both versions, the powerful and efficient brushless power system including a Smart ESC, plus the flight controller, receiver and servos, are all factory-installed in the durable EPO airframe that assembles quickly and easily without the need for glue or special tools.

And the fun doesn't stop after you learn how to fly! In the Experienced Mode, the Apprentice STS 1.5m is capable of performing aerobatic maneuvers including loops, rolls, inverted (upside down) flight and more. You can even install the optional floats to take off from and land on water.

The Apprentice STS 1.5m is the smartest and best club trainer ever, and that makes it perfect for first-time pilots, experienced pilots that teach others to fly, and for club training programs alike. That's why it's the Official Trainer of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) and the best choice for new pilots seeking a larger trainer that makes it easier to progress into more advanced RC airplanes!

Check out the new E-flite Apprentice STS RTF with SAFE 1.5m Here

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Jul 27, 2019, 11:17 AM
Damn that dog can fly.....
JPJI's Avatar
Woah, £339.99 in the UK - with no customer service to back it up.
Is that price a typo?
(that's $421 USD)


I'm not knocking the plane itself by the way. I purchased the Apprentice S for my disabled daughter 6 years ago when it first came out. SAFE was a new thing then, and it was a fantastic choice my daughter (and me too!), however, it only cost £180 at the time - retail prices have hardly gone up since then, yet this new version of the apprentice is nearly double the cost?

Also, back then Horizon Hobby had UK customer support. My how times have changed. No UK customer support & sky high UK prices. I used to be a real fan of HH,and used to exclusively purchase their products, but following some truly awful customer service (not even having the decency to reply to emails, never mind resolving the issues), I was forced to contact the CEO direct. He ignored my letter and my issues were never resolved. Horizon Hobby do not care about UK customers in my experience. I therefore could not recommend this plane to UK customers.
Last edited by JPJI; Jul 28, 2019 at 07:13 AM.
Jul 29, 2019, 07:17 AM
What, Me Worry?
edbu1's Avatar
I agree with you, JPJI. I was taken aback when I saw the listed USA price of $349. It is a great trainer airplane, but I hope HH can bring the price down so it can get into more beginner's hands.
Jul 29, 2019, 08:10 AM
Registered User
The $349 price includes a transmitter. The $269 is the BNF price.
Jul 29, 2019, 09:25 AM
Registered User
You also have to pay to get the two additional options. Its not a cheap plane.

Landing Assist Sensor Module is $29.99
GPS Module is $79.99
Jul 29, 2019, 07:30 PM
Registered User
Not a big fan of these “improvements”.


What the heck is a “smart ESC”?
Jul 31, 2019, 05:30 PM
The Ground is The Limit™

GPS Module for Apprentice STS?


The GPS module is shown on the "Action Card" for the Apprentice STS as the SPMA3173 -- however, if you do a Google search for that, it takes you to a broken web page on horizonhobby.com here: https://www.spektrumrc.com/Products/...rodID=SPMA3173

EDIT: I couldn't find any links on the Apprentice STS home page for the GPS unit -- just a passing mention: https://www.horizonhobby.com/apprent...15m--p-efl3750

But the SPMA3173 appears to be this unit: https://www.horizonhobby.com/gps-mod...air-s-spma3173 even though the Apprentice STS is not shown in the list of compatible products....

Anyone know for sure that the SPMA3173 is the correct unit for the Apprentice STS please?

Thanks in advance
Andy #3
Last edited by ajohnsonlaird; Jul 31, 2019 at 05:55 PM. Reason: Clarification.
Jul 31, 2019, 10:57 PM
Registered User
FoxProGT's Avatar
I first though it was a pity they ruined a great trainer by adding gps to it, but then it turns out gps is an option you buy separately?

Well at least they fixed the flimsy tail feathers on this version.......... right?
Aug 01, 2019, 12:08 AM
The Ground is The Limit™
Quote:
Originally Posted by FoxProGT
I first though it was a pity they ruined a great trainer by adding gps to it, but then it turns out gps is an option you buy separately?

Well at least they fixed the flimsy tail feathers on this version.......... right?
Yeah. The GPS option gives you some additional features: geofencing (so the aircraft won't leave a designated area around the take off point), loiter (it will fly in a circle if you need to get something sorted out or let your heart rate return to normal), return to launch point ( it will fly back to where it took off). It may also give you a GPS fix so that if you succeed in landing it in a cornfield, say, not that I've ever done that, then you can get a fix on where it is. (I don't have an STS yet, but let's just say I have prior experience with corn fields and leave it at that. )

Don't know about the tail feathers, but I reinforce the 15 se's corners where the tail fin and horizontal stab meet the fuselage with bidirectional filament packing tape. Holds it pretty solid as long as you don't want to dive at the ground beyond its red-line speed.

Andy #3
Aug 01, 2019, 04:11 AM
Registered User
FoxProGT's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajohnsonlaird
Yeah. The GPS option gives you some additional features: geofencing (so the aircraft won't leave a designated area around the take off point), loiter (it will fly in a circle if you need to get something sorted out or let your heart rate return to normal), return to launch point ( it will fly back to where it took off). It may also give you a GPS fix so that if you succeed in landing it in a cornfield, say, not that I've ever done that, then you can get a fix on where it is. (I don't have an STS yet, but let's just say I have prior experience with corn fields and leave it at that. )

Don't know about the tail feathers, but I reinforce the 15 se's corners where the tail fin and horizontal stab meet the fuselage with bidirectional filament packing tape. Holds it pretty solid as long as you don't want to dive at the ground beyond its red-line speed.

Andy #3
On paper the gps features are great but based on what i've read on the gps functions on other/previous models, its been more problematic then its worth.

Maybe the gps options on this model have been made more user friendly....... but id take epo foam tail feathers over gps on my Apprentice any day.
Aug 01, 2019, 09:48 AM
Rabid Rabbit
PookaHat's Avatar
The Landing Assist Sensor is interesting. Can it be used on other planes or is it for this model only?
Aug 03, 2019, 12:12 AM
Registered User
I still can't figure out what the differences are between the S & STS.
Spektrum battery & charger make $50 increase?
Affordable?
Aug 05, 2019, 12:25 PM
Headed down the far side.
David Wile's Avatar

STS - BNF or RTF


Quote:
Post#12 (3 Aug 2019) as posted by Pattern Flyer: I still can't figure out what the differences are between the S & STS. Spektrum battery & charger make $50 increase? Affordable?
Hey folks,

After reading the Apprentice STS manual and the Parts & Accessories section of the Horizon STS page, I have arrived at some conclusions and assumptions which may or may not be accurate and are noted as follows:

The original Apprentice S 15e and the new STS both use a SAFE system which is based on the original version featuring three flight modes (Beginner, Intermediate, and Experienced) plus a Panic feature on the Trainer/Bind switch. These original SAFE features should not be confused with the current SAFE Select features now found on many E-flite planes.

The new $350 STS version of the Apprentice is essentially the same airframe as the original $300 Apprentice S 15e, but the new STS model has the capability of adding a GPS module (SPMA3173 - $80) with GPS functions (Autoland, Virtual Fence, and Holding Pattern) as found on the Sportsman S+ and similar S+ planes. A new feature, Landing Assist Sensor (LAS) can also be added by a Landing Assist Sensor Module (SPMA3180 - $30) which is intended to improve the Autoland feature but really seems completely unnecessary to me.

Accordingly, the new GPS and LAS features ($80 & $30) represent an increase of about $110 above the new Horizon price of $350 for the RTF version of the plane. It would seem to me the $50 price increase of the RTF model over the original RTF model may be due mostly to some changes made inside the fuselage. Note well that the new STS BNF model is still listed as $270 and seems a bargain over the RTF price.

It would appear the original Apprentice SAFE receiver has been replaced with what is now called a Flight Controller (Apprentice STS SPMA3230 - $60). It also seems the original ESC has been replaced with a 30A “Smart” ESC (Apprentice STS EFLA1030FB - $35), but whatever the “Smart” business is, it is beyond me. The new STS also lists a DSMX SRXL2 Serial Micro Receiver (SPM4650 - $27) which I assume provides telemetry information, but again I am not sure.

I have been flying the original Apprentice and the Sportsman S+ for several years, so I am familiar with both planes, how SAFE works in both, and how GPS and its features work in the Sportsman S+. Right from my very first Apprentice flight, I found it to be easy to take off, fly, and land - thanks to SAFE. I found the Sportsman S+ to be just as easy to takeoff, fly, and land also.

The only reason I bought the Sportsman S+ was because of its GPS features which are fun and interesting, but if I knew then what GPS actually does for me, I would have never purchased the Sportman S+. GPS is neat, but really is not worth the hassle to me since I feel I need to re-calibrate the compass whenever I go from one location to another. I know it supposedly is not necessary unless you move ten miles or so, but I do not want to assume the risk of losing the plane if the calibration is off. I still fly both planes, but the Sportsman with GPS is more of a novelty to me.

The STS RTF is $350 while the STS BNF is still at the $270 price. Buying the BNF model will save you $80, but the RTF model will include a 3200 MaH battery, a Dxe transmitter, and a charger. My choice would be to save the $80. Unless you really want the transmitter, battery, and charger, I think the $80 is better spent elsewhere.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile
Last edited by David Wile; Yesterday at 01:46 AM.
Aug 05, 2019, 01:15 PM
AndyKunz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Wile
It also seems the original ESC has been replaced with a 30A “Smart” ESC (Apprentice STS EFLA1030FB - $35), but whatever the “Smart” business is, it is beyond me.
http://www.spektrumrc.com/smarttechnology/

Andy
Aug 05, 2019, 05:24 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyKunz


I didn’t notice a “smart ESC” on that page.


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