Horizon Hobby E-flite Ultimate 3D - RCGroups Review

There's just something about biplanes. They have a grace and elegance about them both on the ground and in the air.

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The E-flite Ultimate is back - and better than ever!

Product:Ultimate 3D 950mm Smart BNF Basic with AS3X & SAFE
Wingspan:37.6"
Length:42.6"
Wing Area:519 sq in
Wing Loading:12.5 oz sq/ft
Weight:45-58 oz
Motor:BL10
ESC:60A
Battery req:3s-4s 1800-2700mAh
Price:$279.99
Available from:horizonhobby.com
PDF Manual:Click Here

There's just something about biplanes. They have a grace and elegance about them both on the ground and in the air. In the air, biplanes are a pleasure to fly. Personally, I've always had a thing for biplanes...yet I only have 2 in my hangar (4 if you count UMX micros). I've had a nitro-powered Great Planes Ultimate 40 for many years and absolutely love tumbling it through the sky. When this electric Ultimate from E-flite came up for review, I couldn't wait to try it out! Ultimates are renowned for their sporty design and excellent flying characteristics. This is a re-issue of their previous Ultimate, with a complete electronics overhaul of new higher torque servos, a motor that can put out great power with a 4s lipo, an Avian ESC with an AR637TA receiver that offers telemetry straight to your transmitter! Not only that, but the color scheme is much more vibrant and easy to see in the air. Let's see if the newly updated E-flite Ultimate 3D flies as good or better than its predecessor!

See others' opinions, equipment and mods on the E-flite Ultimate 3D in THIS THREAD.

Features

  • Updated and upgraded to offer improved scale and sport flying, precision aerobatic and all-out 3D capabilities
  • Oversized control surfaces capable of extreme throws plus vortex generators to enhance 3D performance
  • Specially tuned motor compatible with 3S and 4S batteries without the need for modifications or upgrades
  • 60-amp Spektrum™ Avian™ Smart ESC provides real-time battery voltage, temperature and other data, plus reversing capabilities, via compatible receivers and transmitters (7+ channel transmitter required for reversing)
  • Spektrum AR637TA receiver with full-range telemetry and industry-leading DSMX® technology
  • Easy to fly with innovative and optional-use SAFE® Select flight envelope protection
  • The unmatched stability and locked-in feel of exclusive AS3X® technology
  • Four (4) factory-installed higher-torque, higher-speed, metal-geared servos with ball-link equipped linkages
  • Tool-free wing assembly with quick-release hardware for convenient storage and transport
  • Lightweight yet durable composite-reinforced, hollow-core EPO construction
  • Factory-finished with an updated trim scheme including vivid graphics

In the Box

In the box, you'll get the airframe complete with electronics (servos, motor, esc, receiver), spinner, control rods and instruction manual. The E-flite Ultimate 3D is packed very well in its styrofoam crate. The wings are in their own styrofoam sleeve that's locked into the main container. Every piece is individually wrapped in plastic bags and tapped in place for secure shipping.

Overall, the plane looks great and I love the new color scheme! The majority of the fuselage is painted, but it appears all of the color on the top of the wings are done with decals. The entire wing surface top & bottom have a clear tape/sticker/covering applied, perhaps providing additional strength to the foam. Then the top of the wings have the colored 'swishes' applied on top of the clear. The bottom of the wings have a vibrant red checkerboard painted on them, and then the clear covering over that. The downside here is the foam release dots cause the clear tape to bubble and become much more apparent. However, once in the air you'll never notice it or care! I did have a few edges of these decals that had lifted, but I was able to press them back down. It does concern me a little that some edges may lift over time as dirt gets under the decal preventing it from sticking.

Something little that I noticed, was they have CA-style hinges in addition to the traditional foam hinge. While I haven't had many problems with E-flite foam hinges to date, seeing this one extra bit of reinforcement on the critical flying surfaces gives confidence that full-speed aerobatics won't result in ripping off control surfaces!

Assembly

E-flite went to extra lengths with the Ultimate 3D to make the assembly quick without the need for any tools other than a screwdriver. I had mine assembled in under an hour, and that was with taking a phone call in the middle of things.

The only real difficulty I ran into was getting the elevator tube into its hole. The carbon tube was tight but manageable, the steel rod was impossible to slide in (your mileage may vary). I ended up drilling out the plastic hole with a 11/64" bit. The tube now floats in the hole just a touch, but it doesn't concern me as it's trapped inside the elevators and won't be going anywhere. I will say I don't really care for the fact that they have you choose a light or heavy tube based on what battery you plan to fly. What if you want to fly both a 3s and 4s on the same day? You would have to leave the tape off on one side and remove the servo screw arm to take off the elevator half, switch tubes and reassemble. Not hard, but it could've been a simple clip-in tail weight! Take my idea for next time, Horizon... :)

I opted for the steel tube as I'd rather fly this plane with some speed and power as well as enabling better hovering and 3D capabilities. After trimming it out first with the 4s pack, a flight with the 3s was still completely manageable with only a couple clicks of elevator trim difference.

The wing strut securing pins were just a little tricky to get fully seated into the correct position. If when you put the pin in, the back half of the strut can be lifted, then the end of the pin is not correctly seated into the back half of the strut. Pull it out a bit, adjust the angle and try again.

I downloaded the pre-made SPF file (with reversing) for the model on my DX18 g2 for simplicity sake and then added a few custom voice settings and switch assignments. After first removing the prop, binding, verifying surface direction and motor direction with my reversing switch, I finished up the E-flite Ultimate 3D with the prop & spinner assembly. For a quick, easy CG check...install the battery and lift the plane by the top wing bolt. If that doesn't work for you, you can put your finger tips on both sides of the bolt on the underside of the top wing.

Completed E-flite Ultimate 3D

Flying

It was good to get on the sticks of an Ultimate again! I had my buddy Alex man the sticks while I recorded video. He owns the previous version, so he was the perfect pilot to give a comparison between the versions. We did our initial test flights with the 4s battery (since I put the steel tail tube in), and then switched to the 3s for comparison. Our timer was set at 4:00 minutes, and both packs came down with approx. 30% capacity.

Takeoff & Landing

Nothing unexpected here. It's got plenty of power, so a little rudder to keep you centered on the runway and you'll be in the air in no time flat. Taking off in grass isn't really an issue, though in taller grass you may want to take the wheel pants off.

Landing the E-flite Ultimate 3D is almost as easy as taking it off. It does glide ok, but its not a trainer...so keep just a little speed in the approach until you're over the runway. A gentle flair will give you a perfect 2 or 3 point landing. It does set down on the tarmac seemingly a little heavy, which can help reduce any bouncing.

Aerobatics

The E-flite Ultimate 3D loves to be tossed around! There's plenty of authority on all of the surfaces to perform pretty much any maneuver you want. From knife edge to snaps, point rolls to spins, the Ultimate 3D loves to have fun. Your choice of 3s or 4s batteries largely depends on how much 3D you want to do. If mild is good for you, a 3s pack should do you fine for any sport aerobatics and mild 3D. The Ultimate 3D flew most things perfectly well on 3S, but was barely able to hold a hover at full throttle.

If you fly more on the wild side with hovering and high-speed high-energy stuff, 4s is what you want. With a 4s pack inside, more power and faster speed really brought this Ultimate 3D to life. Hovers were much easier to do (but beware it does want to torque around), and had enough throttle range to easily pull out vertically. Tumbles and spins had much more energy and speed in them, and we were even able to get a little pop-top in. My pilot Alex commented that the 4s power in this version makes it a great upgrade from the previous version.

Knife edges had a little bit of coupling, which isn't unheard of on a biplane and could be negated with a mix and/or CG shift. Inverted spins tend to fall more rapidly than upright, and you'll want to leave yourself plenty of room to stop the spin and pull out. Upright harriers had a bit of wing rock, but inverted ones were very solid.

Flight Review Video

Flight Photo Gallery

Summary

The E-flite Ultimate 3D looks great and is a lot of fun on the sticks. The assembly is super quick, which also makes disassembly for transport very easy if for some reason you're unable to fit this reasonably small aircraft in your vehicle. My pilot agreed that the electronics upgrades in this version of the E-flite Ultimate gave it new life and makes it more fun to fly, especially if you love fast & tumbling aerobatics. The new color scheme is nice and easy to see in the sky and I just love the profile of an Ultimate in the air! This will be a great plane for me to keep in the hangar to be able to toss in the car and go fly without the need for a bunch of equipment or a bigger vehicle.

Hits

  • Quick, easy construction (and disassembly for transport)
  • Small enough to keep in your vehicle
  • Attractive color scheme
  • Updated electronics, including a telemetry ESC & receiver
  • Good flight characteristics
  • FUN to fly!

Misses

  • Poor tolerance on horizontal stab tube hole size (YMMV)
  • 2 horizontal stab tubes require switching out if you want to fly a different pack size, or at least re-trimming in flight

*Thanks to Horizon Hobby for sending the Ultimate 3D for review, and to Alex Fredrickson for flying it for me!

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Last edited by Jason Cole; Feb 04, 2021 at 09:19 AM..
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Feb 04, 2021, 10:35 AM
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dalecheek1's Avatar
E FLITE ULTiMATE-2 Close Hovering and Harrying in yard (2 min 24 sec)
Feb 04, 2021, 11:57 PM
Registered User
https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...TE-Ultimate%21

I wouldnt call it great on 3D ( buy something else for that ) .
I would call it a fantastic sport plane .

It is alot of fun, handles wind ,
looks fantastic , its a head turner .
Doesnt need its built it stabilizer rx (I took it out)
Not much room in the batt bay for 4S 2200 . The bat fits but cant move the batt back or forward to adjust cg.

The 2 horizontal stab tubes is a non issue. Just use the Metal one :-)
Last edited by 1101; Feb 05, 2021 at 12:04 AM.


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