Horizon Hobby E-flite Air Tractor 1.5m BNF Basic with AS3X and SAFE Select

Horizon has a great looking scale model that is fun and easy to fly. The Air Tractor can be flown off of a runway or off of the grass with equal ease and takes either 3 or 4 cell batteries.

Splash

Introduction

Wingspan: 59 in (1499 mm)
Length: 38.5" (977.9mm)
Wing Area: 472 sq in (30.5 sq dm)
Flying Weight: 62-67 oz (1757-1900g)
Receiver: Spektrumô AR637TA 6-Channel (installed)
Motor: 10 size brushless outrunner 800Kv (installed)
ESC: 50A (installed)
Prop Size: 3-Blade 11 x 7.5
Battery: 2200 - 3200mAh 3S - 4S (sold separately)
Available From: Horizon Hobby
Price: $269.99

Horizon has done it again! They have another good looking and great flying model for us to enjoy. This time it's an Agricultural icon and suitable for everyday fun flying by a wide variety of pilots of varying skills.

Horizon has come through with a great looking scale model that is fun and easy to fly. It can be flown off of runways or grass with equal ease and takes either 3 or 4 cell batteries.

Follow along with Mike as he builds and flies this great looking electric airplane.

What's in the Box

  • Fuselage with motor, esc, lights and servos installed
  • Wing with servos and lights installed
  • Horizontal stabilizers
  • Aluminum landing gear with wheels installed
  • Carbon support rods for wing and horizontal stabilizer
  • 11x7.5 3-blade prop and spinner
  • Accessory bag
  • Manual

Assembly

The Air Tractor comes in a well protected package. Each part is nested in a secure foam insert and mine came in without any sign of damage from shipping. The assembly is done without the need for any glue and only requires a couple of Phillips screwdrivers. It is advisable to have a very small screwdriver for some of the work. This is one place where the total beginner might not have the proper tools available. The instructions cover most of the assembly quite well, but the tail wheel assembly installation is overlooked. It's not at all difficult but I will go over it for anyone that might have questions.

The wings have the plugs for the Ailerons, Flaps and Lights pre-mounted in the root of the wing panel which greatly reduces the work load when assembling the airplane at the flying field. Simply slide the wing panel in place and add the 2 screws for each panel to secure it.

The slotted flaps are large and have hinges that move the flaps back as well as down.

Let's take a look at the tail wheel installation. The tail wheel is steerable and incorporates springs to absorb shocks from driving over rough ground and it protects the rudder servo from damage. The below photos show the steps in installing the tail wheel.

The horizontal stabilizer installation is very straight forward

The landing gear is stout with large hard foam wheels. They mount to the bottom of the fuselage with 2 screws. The Air Tractor can be flown with a variety of landing gear options. Horizon offers a set of floats for water flying and the Air Tractor fuselage is already set up with the appropriate mounting points pre-installed. Horizon also offers a ski set for the Air Tractor for flying off of snow, making this an all season flyer.

Battery Options and CG

Flying

I flew the Air Tractor in a variety of weather conditions from calm to moderately windy (15-20mph). The airplane handled it all without complaint. Not surprisingly the airplane was a little more stable in high wind with the heavier battery pack. Regardless of pack size, AS3X worked behind the scenes to smooth out the bumps and turbulence and made the flight generally more enjoyable without ever feeling like it is imposing. Horizon generously supplied 3 different battery packs for this review, a 4S 2200mAh, a 3S 3200mAh and a 4S 3200mAh. I balanced the airplane with each of the packs and marked the location for easy battery placement without guessing. The interior of the aircraft is huge and I'm sure that even larger packs could be used without modification and the airframe is capable of lifting the weight without a problem. When flying with the 3S 3200mAh pack the performance was very good. If all you have is 3S batteries, this will still be a good flying model for you. The addition of one more cell does up the game a bit however.

The best vertical performance (pretty much unlimited) was with the lighter 4S 2200mAh pack. Long knife edge passes are easily possible as well. The 4S 3200mAh worked nearly equally well with perhaps a slower vertical but still capable of long knife edge flight. Inverted was no problem either. While none of these things are scale, they are still fun to do. One more thing that should not go unmentioned are the lights. The Air Tractor has wing tip position lights, strobes and two very bright landing lights in the nose cowl. I had the chance to fly it near dusk and it was easy to keep oriented and looked great in the darkening skies. It's difficult to capture the airplane in ever darkening skies but there are several photos in these conditions below. Getting tack sharp images under these conditions is difficult so please judge the results accordingly.

Take Offs

Ground handling is great, the gear is wide enough for easy maneuvering. With the flaps set to the take off position the Air Tractor will be in the air in 20-30 feet with partial throttle. With nearly full throttle you can be airborne in just a few feet. Not very scale but handy at times.

Basics

The Air Tractor BNF comes with the AR637TA 6-channel sport receiver with AS3X and SAFE Select. The AS3X is active all the time and provides added stability without ever interfering with the pilots control of the aircraft. When SAFE Select is initiated an added level of control can be turned on for those that are learning or want the back up that SAFE provides. As I mentioned before, the Air Tractor can be flown with a variety of battery pack options. The included 50A ESC is robust enough that no changes are required when moving from 3S to 4S packs. Another great value is the metal gear servos that are used throughout.

Aerobatics

If you get the urge to do some aerobatics, the Air Tractor is ready when you are. With the lighter 4S 2200mAh pack the Air Tractor can do pretty much anything that your imagination can come up with. Loops, rolls, snap rolls and inverted flight are no problem. Knife edge is within its performance envelope too, but there is a little coupling that requires some elevator input to straighten things out. This is not an all out 3D machine, it's a sport aerobatic model that you can have some real fun with.

Landings

The flaps on the Air Tractor are quite effective and slow the model down for easy landings. I did not find that I needed to mix any elevator compensation with the flaps. The wheels are a bit hard so making a smooth landing requires a bit more concentration. I have seen several posts where other pilots have swapped out the wheels for some air wheels and they seemed pleased with the results. The wheels are large enough that landing on grass (where the hard wheels are less noticeable) is an easy process. The airplane rolled through some relatively tall grass with no tendency to nose over.

Beginners?

I think that a beginner could, with a little help, be successful flying the Air Tractor. Take offs and flying are very easy, but the landings might need a little more help. Horizon has gone a long way toward helping new pilots with AS3X and SAFE, making the process of learning easier on the pocket book.

Video

Photos

Flying at Dusk Photos

Conclusion

For its great looks alone the Air Tractor is an easy recommendation. But add to that its great flying ability and versatility and it is a great choice to add to your hanger.

RCGroups.com Review Policies

Our intent is to provide fair and unbiased reviews so that consumers can make informed decisions regarding new products. Some things you should know about our review process:

  • RCGroups.com review items are provided by hobby manufacturers and suppliers, some of whom may be RCGroups advertisers.
  • Review products are sent directly to independent reviewers, chosen by RCGroups.com.
  • RCGroups.com reviewers are not compensated by either RCGroups.com or the reviewed item's supplier. However, they are allowed to keep the review items at no charge.
  • Published reviews reflect the opinion of the author.
  • When a conflict arises between a review sponsor and a reviewer (which is rare), RCGroups attempts to work out a satisfactory solution for all parties. In some cases, this may mean that a finished review will go unpublished, or be subjected to editing for technical accuracy. RCGroups reserves the final say as to whether an article is fit for publication.

It is always our intent to provide a place for honest and open commentary, and to put the needs of our visitors first. If you feel that something we've published is inaccurate, please let us know using the contact form.

Last edited by Jim T. Graham; Jan 12, 2021 at 11:41 AM..
Thread Tools
Dec 14, 2020, 02:21 PM
Registered User
Glad to see the Air Tractor get a review, nice work! My high time flyer this year, hit the sweet spot for subjects I enjoy, size, and scale to sport flying.
Dec 15, 2020, 01:52 PM
Retired and Lovin' it!
TPfingston's Avatar
I like the airplane but I suppose it is a non-starter for me. I already own motors, servos, receivers, stabilizers so I don't need any of those things. What I don't own is a Spectrum transmitter and I can't justify buying a new transmitter just so I can buy an airplane with a lot of features that I don't need. If the plane was available as a basic airframe only, I might be much more interested.

Tony
Dec 16, 2020, 07:35 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by TPfingston
If the plane was available as a basic airframe only, I might be much more interested.Tony
You could probably "build" one from buying spareparts, but that usually ends up beeing almost as expensive as the pnp model anyway. But in case you didnt know, you can get it in plug'n play version and add your own reciever, you dont have to get a Spektrum tx to fly it.
Last edited by Kyrre; Dec 16, 2020 at 07:44 AM.
Dec 23, 2020, 10:21 PM
Registered User
im not saying this is bad but for once can I see a bad review ? I know its hard to piss of someone like horizon but they do have many planes in the past that flew like dogs. first icon plane for example .

this plane looks great however
Dec 23, 2020, 10:46 PM
Registered User
r/cdawg's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by brownegg24am
im not saying this is bad but for once can I see a bad review ? I know its hard to piss of someone like horizon but they do have many planes in the past that flew like dogs. first icon plane for example .

this plane looks great however
Sorry as Iím not going to be able to help you with a bad review. The Air Tractor is just a great all around flyer be it on wheels or floats.

Eflite Air Tractor 1.5m BNF Basic - On The Deck! (4 min 35 sec)


EFLITE 1.5m Air Tractor on Floats (4 min 28 sec)
Dec 26, 2020, 10:32 AM
Registered User
I have mine put together and waiting to go for a nice day. How the parts fit in the box is an engineering marvel. My only complaint is the hardware on these. The screw heads are too soft and there is no way anyone could put the plane together and take it apart more than once. The plane is beautiful and can't wait to see against a bright blue sky and at dusk with the lights. Wonder what plane is coming next?
Jan 16, 2021, 10:35 PM
Paper Plane Scratch Builder
Lufo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by brownegg24am
im not saying this is bad but for once can I see a bad review ? I know its hard to piss of someone like horizon but they do have many planes in the past that flew like dogs. first icon plane for example .

this plane looks great however
Not true, not true at all. The vast majority of the foam planes designed and sold by Horizon Hobby under the Parkzone or EFlite name have flown quite well...this also includes the UMX line of planes.

The HH line of planes will challenge pilots of various skill levels and often the complaints come from pilots that are flying a plane that is beyond their skill level.
Jan 17, 2021, 06:53 PM
Registered User
Irving J.'s Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by brownegg24am
im not saying this is bad but for once can I see a bad review ? I know its hard to piss of someone like horizon but they do have many planes in the past that flew like dogs. first icon plane for example .

this plane looks great however
I have to agree with Lufo on this. It depends on what you expect from the model, and also understand that scale or semi-scale models tend to (but not always) exhibit flying characteristics similar to their full-scale counterparts. For example, I have and have flown scale models of both the J-3 Cub and the Gee Bee racer. Predictably, the model J-3 flies much like it's full-scale counterpart (which I have also flown, and soloed in) and the Gee Bee racer model is short-coupled and twitchy to handle, and when power is cut, has a glide ratio only slightly better than that of a brick.

So it would be fair to say that the Gee Bee is a dog of an airplane if you wanted or expected an easy-to-fly airplane. The only thing it's good at is going fast, which is exactly all it was designed to do. So if you wanted a fast airplane, it is excellent for that era.
Jan 21, 2021, 06:41 PM
Registered User
Two dogs were the original Vapor and there was a UMX Japanese Zero that flew bad for some reason. But all the others fly great. I have over a dozen E-Flite planes. Any many more I sold to make room for new ones. In fact, it is amazing how great some of the scale looking warbirds fly. People complain about foamies but we would never have been flying planes this cool a few decades ago. Still waiting for a nice day to fly the Air Tractor
Jan 21, 2021, 08:06 PM
Registered User
Clive66's Avatar
I have a UMX Gee Bee.
Easy to fly, but hard to grease landings.
Great little plane.

A friend had the UMX Zero & loved it.
Would buy if it was still available.

Flew my Air Tractor today (lots of fun)
Jan 22, 2021, 11:55 AM
Registered User
Clive 66, did you have to change the position of the clevises on the servo arms on the Air Tractor? I sort of remember seeing that some place

Its either too windy or too cold or too wet to fly here

Thank you
Jan 22, 2021, 05:36 PM
Paper Plane Scratch Builder
Lufo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelAirBob
Two dogs were the original Vapor and there was a UMX Japanese Zero that flew bad for some reason. But all the others fly great. I have over a dozen E-Flite planes. Any many more I sold to make room for new ones. In fact, it is amazing how great some of the scale looking warbirds fly. People complain about foamies but we would never have been flying planes this cool a few decades ago. Still waiting for a nice day to fly the Air Tractor

I did not have the Zero but I did have the original Vapor and loved it. Now, it was not designed for anything but indoor so that is about the only place it flew. I gave it to a friend and a few years ago bought another one. I don't know what the design differences were (sans lights) but it seemed to fly just as well as the original.

For sure about people complaining about the foamies. In the past I would watch the old guys (I am old also) complain about Chinese foam planes (HH brand / Parkzone / EFlite), carry on how they would not buy one. It only took a few months to a year for most of them to end up owning two or three HH foam planes.

People can say what the want but Horizon Hobby, HH foam planes and HH 2.4 transmitters and receiver / bricks opened the hobby up to a ton of people that never had access to the hobby before.
Feb 09, 2021, 06:51 AM
Registered User
OK, someone at Horizon loooooooves the color yellow. First the new T28, now this. Awful!
Mar 06, 2021, 10:38 PM
Flying @ G/L is fun!
turboparker's Avatar
Was thinking about one of these for the upcoming season, but noticed they're on back-order. Sure hope this one isn't getting the axe!

Joel
Latest blog entry: Eflite 2.1m Carbon-Z Cub SS


Quick Reply
Message:

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Article The NEW E-flite Air Tractor 1.5m BNF Basic/PNP...Capable and Easy to Fly Crop Duster Jason M Electric Plane Talk 1074 Yesterday 04:35 AM
Review Horizon Hobby E-flite Turbo Timber 1.5m BNF - Review Jim T. Graham Electric Plane Talk 33 Nov 27, 2020 12:58 PM
Review Horizon Hobby E-flite Timber 1.5m BNF - RCGroups Review kingsflyer Electric Plane Talk 68 Feb 08, 2020 04:06 PM
Review Horizon Hobby E-flite AT-6 Texan 1.5M BNF Hiflyer Electric Warbirds 15 Oct 03, 2019 11:12 AM
Review Horizon Hobby Cirrus SR22T 1.5m BNF Basic Review Hiflyer Scale ARF/RTF 13 Mar 14, 2018 01:15 PM