E-flite Habu STS 70mm EDF Smart Jet RTF with SAFE Review

Horizon Hobby has a new trainer, the E-flite Habu STS 70mm EDF Smart Jet RTF with SAFE. It's hard to believe, but an EDF jet can make a great first RC plane. Join Mike McDougall as he assembles the Habu and instructs two new pilots on the Buddy Box. The Review also includes videos of two optional Smart Chargers.

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E-flite Habu STS 70mm EDF Smart Jet RTF with SAFE - RCGroups Review

Habu STS 70mm EDF Smart Jet RTF with SAFE
Wingspan:40.5 in
Length:45 in
Weight:2.5 lbs
Servos:(2) 9g, (3) 13g Servos Installed
Radio:Minimum 6 Channel DSMX
Battery:3S or 4S 4000 mAh Smart LiPo w/IC3 Connector
Motor:Brushless : 2847-3200kV 6-Pole
EDF:70mm Ducted Fan Unit
Manufacturer:E-flite
Available From:Horizon Hobby through your local hobby shop
Street Price:$399.99 RTF, $219.99 PNP

When Horizon Hobby announced its newest trainer aircraft was an EDF Jet, I was a bit skeptical. Everyone knows that a trainer has to be a high-wing, slow flying, inherently stable airplane. Our Club historically recommends an E-flite Apprentice as a first plane for all the new pilots. If the pilot has some prior RC experience, we might recommend the E-flite Valiant 1.3. Prior to the release of the Habu STS, we would not even consider an EDF Jet for a first-time pilot. With that being said, Spektrum SAFE technology has been the cornerstone of our Club's Flight Instruction Program for over three years. All of our newest members have started out with SAFE technology and have all progressed to become very good RC pilots.

So it's time to open the box and see if this E-flite Habu STS could actually be a trainer in EDF clothing.

First Impressions

WOW this thing looks sleek! It doesn't look like any trainer I've ever seen.

Kit Highlights

  • Everything was included in the RTF, even the charger
  • RealFlight Trainer Edition simulator and USB dongle included (Limited Time - No Longer Included)
  • SAFE Flight stabilization pre-programmed
  • Spektrum Smart technology

Kit Contents

Here's a list of the kit parts:

  • EPO foam construction
  • Fuselage with motor, ESC, and RX pre-installed
  • 1-Piece wing with ailerons and aileron servos pre-installed
  • Horizontal stab with pre-hinged elevators and servos
  • Vertical stab with pre-hinged rudder and servo
  • Oversize wheels and sturdy landing gear
  • Spektrum DXS DSMX® 2.4GHz Transmitter
  • Spektrum 4000mAh 3S 11.1V Smart LiPo Battery
  • Spektrum S120 USB-C Smart Charger
  • Complete hardware package
  • 104-Page illustrated Instruction Manual (27-Pages English)
  • USB Dongle and RealFlight Flight Simulator (Limited Time - No Longer Included)

Required Parts

  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • USB Power Source

Supplied by Horizon for this Review

For this review, Horizon Hobby supplied a Spektrum 3200mAh 4S 30C Smart LiPo Battery, a Spektrum S150 AC/DC Smart Charger, a Spektrum S1100 Smart AC Charger, a Spektrum USB Updater Cable/Link and a Spektrum SRXL2 DSMX Remote Receiver.

Assembly Manual

The 27-page illustrated Instruction Manual detailed the assembly process and transmitter setup for the E-flite Habu STS.

Like most other E-flite manuals, this one packed a lot of information into each page. The basic assembly process consisted of fastening a few parts together with the included screws. The whole assembly process would take less than 30 minutes, so the manual suggested charging the flight battery and putting batteries in the transmitter before starting the build.

Flight Battery Charging

For this Review, three different Spektrum Smart Chargers were tested. Prior to use, each charger was updated to the latest Spektrum Smart Charger firmware using the Spektrum USB Updater Cable. The 4000mAh 3-cell Smart battery included with the RTF kit was brought back to Storage Charge before each charging session. This first video shows the battery charging process using the Spektrum S120 Charger included in the Habu STS RTF package.

Habu STS RTF Charger (9 min 23 sec)

This 20 Watt Spektrum S120 USB Smart Charger was capable of charging 2-Cell and 3-Cell Smart Batteries. Using a standard 2 Amp USB source for power, the S120 Charger took 5 hours and 45 minutes to charge the 4000 mAh LiPo Smart Battery. Using a higher Amperage USB power source might possibly have reduced the charge time, but there wasn't one available for this test.

Optional Chargers to Consider

This second video shows the same charging process using a Spektrum S150 AC/DC Smart Charger and a Spektrum S1100 AC Smart Charger.

Habu Charger Upgrade Options (12 min 24 sec)

The Spektrum S150 AC/DC Smart Charger, a 50 Watt Smart charger, was capable of charging 2, 3, and 4-Cell LiPo batteries as well as Lilon, LiHV, LiFe, and NiMH batteries. The firmware update added G2 Smart Batteries to the mix as well. Using the included AC adapter, the S150 Smart Charger was able to fully charge the 4000 mAh LiPo Smart Battery in 45 minutes. What an improvement! This inexpensive charger should probably be the first purchase a new flyer should make along with additional flight batteries.

The Spektrum S1100 AC Smart Charger, a 100 Watt Smart charger, was capable of charging 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6-Cell LiPo batteries as well as Lilon, LiHV, LiFe, and NiMH batteries. The firmware update also added G2 Smart Batteries to the mix just like the S150 Charger. Using AC power, the S1100 Smart Charger was able to fully charge the 4000 mAh LiPo Smart Battery in 25 minutes. In addition, the S1100 was also capable of viewing and adjusting the Smart Battery Technology parameters for G1 and G2 Smart Batteries as well as giving an estimated time-to-charge for each Smart Battery. This charger was more expensive, but the inclusion of the full suite of Smart Battery Technology makes it well worth the investment.

Transmitter

Once the flight battery was charging, it was time to install the included AA batteries in the Spektrum DXS transmitter. While the transmitter battery cover was removed, the optional SRXL2 DSMX Remote Receiver (SPM9747) was installed. Since the E-flite Habu STS was going to be used as a teaching platform, I wanted the capability of using the wireless trainer option with my DX6e student transmitter. The installation of the SPM9747 module and the trainer binding process was fully covered on Page 17 of the Instruction Manual.

Wing Assembly

The airframe assembly process began on Page 7 with the installation of the wing onto the bottom of the fuselage. Before starting the assembly, I placed a towel and a cover over my work surface to cushion and protect the foam fuselage. The wing and fuselage had self-aligning servo connections that plugged together as the wing was placed in position. A small Phillips screwdriver was used to secure the four 3mm mounting screws. The shorter 3 x 15mm screws fit into the fore and aft mounting holes while the longer 3 x 25mm screws fit into the side mounting holes. All four screws should be started and then very gently snugged down prior to their final tightening to prevent wing misalignment issues. The wing had some very nice aileron servo fairings that would protect the servo output arms and the linkage if the pilot wanted to hand launch and belly land the Habu STS.

Tail Assembly

Next up were the elevator and rudder tail assemblies. Without the landing gear, the fuselage rested solidly on the work table making the tail assembly process much easier. With the tail assembly set slightly back on the fuselage, the wiring connections were much easier to plug in correctly. Once the servo leads were tucked neatly into the fuselage, the tail assembly slid forward and was then bolted into place using two 2.5 x 8mm screws. Next the vertical rudder fin was lowered into place, taking care to allow the rudder servo control arm to fit through the hole in the fin skirt. The vertical fin was secured with three 2.5 x 8mm screws and the rudder pushrod was installed and adjusted. The final step for the tail assembly was to install the tail cone to the rear of the fuselage. The manual showed taping the tail cone in place on the outside of the fuselage. However, taping the cone on the inside of the fuselage could save the painted finish if the cone had to be removed in the future.

Landing Gear

Finally it was time to install the landing gear on the Habu fuselage. First the steerable nose wheel servo was plugged into the forward servo extension and then the whole assembly was supposed to be bolted into place using all eight 2 x 8mm screws. However, due to mechanical wheel alignment issues, the Review Habu would not taxi straight. This problem did not show up until the Habu was taxi tested in the hangar. After repeatedly removing and installing the eight mounting screws to gain access to the steering adjustment pushrod, the screw heads began to strip and all eight mounting screws had to be replaced. A better course of action would have been to use ONLY TWO mounting screws to temporarily mount the assembly to the fuselage until the nose wheel tracking could be verified and adjusted if needed. Once the Habu taxied straight, the remaining screws could then be installed.

Completion

The completed E-flite Habu STS weighed 2 lbs 15 ounces with the 4000 mAh 3S Smart Battery on board. The plane balanced nicely at 4" back from the leading edge of the wing with the battery in the center of the battery area. The DXS transmitter included with the RTF Habu came preprogrammed with Dual Rates, Throttle Cut, and SAFE/AS3X Flight Modes. The four green LEDs on the transmitter served as both TX battery level indicators and real time Flight Battery level indicators. When the last LED was blinking, the Flight Battery was approaching Low Voltage Cutoff, so it was time to land. You gotta love this Spektrum Telemetry technology.

SAFE Mode Flying

The E-flite Habu STS looked like it was going 100 MPH just sitting on the tarmac. I wasn't sure how this "trainer" was going to fly, but I had faith that SAFE would somehow make it work.

Habu STS SAFE Flight Mode (7 min 13 sec)

That was truly amazing! The E-flite Habu STS flew very gently and was extremely stable at every speed. The SAFE technology self-leveling kept the Habu on course and the SAFE envelope limiting kept the plane from flipping over or looping. The aileron to rudder mix helped keep the turns nice and flat and kept the nose from dropping. Takeoffs could be accomplished totally "hands off" if desired. Landings only required a touch of up elevator to hold the nose up. I can't wait to see what my trainees think about this Habu STS.

Buddy Box Training

First Trainee

My first Trainee, David, is a "Retread" - he flew RC many years ago and was visiting his Dad. He came out to our Club Field for the day and was going to fly one of his Dad's trainers later. David had previously been a very proficient pilot flying large gassers, so I was interested to see what he thought about SAFE technology and this electric Habu STS trainer.

David 1st Habu Flight (7 min 59 sec)

It didn't take long for David to feel comfortable with the Habu STS. He was able to quickly get back in the rhythm of flying a pattern around the field in SAFE and easily transitioned to Intermediate Mode for the remainder of the flight. He later commented that he liked the stable feel of the Habu better than his Dad's Carbon-Z Cub.

Next Trainee

My next Trainee, Bill, is a "Newbie" - He just started flying this last year and has had a bumpy start on his Valiant 1.3. He flies on SAFE with an instructor and uses a Buddy Box. The flying field was getting busy when it was time for Bill's training flight. We had a number of pilots in the pit area and in the air during Bill's training flight and I apologize for the background and glow engine noise.

Bill's First Habu Flight (8 min 8 sec)

Unfortunately Bill's Student transmitter was left on Intermediate Mode from David's training flight, so Bill had a jumpy first few seconds on the Habu. Once we got his transmitter switched over to SAFE, Bill started enjoying the Habu. Low Rates and SAFE Mode were just perfect. Bill easily flew the Habu around the busy flight pattern. I was pleased to hear him say that he thought the Habu STS was easier to fly than his Valiant 1.3.

High Speed/Full Power 4S Flight

The final flight of the day was made with a 3200 mAh 4S Smart Battery. With all the SAFE testing and training flights out of the way, it was time to install the 4-cell LiPo and have some fun.

Habu STS Flying on 4S (6 min 40 sec)

Very Impressive! The Habu STS jumped off the runway and climbed right on out. On 4S this little EDF was just too much fun. I was running and gyrating all over the sky and just hoping Jesse was keeping up on the video.

Is This For a Beginner?

ABSOLUTELY! The E-flite Habu STS is a perfect trainer for a Beginner Pilot. While I would still recommend the help of an instructor pilot and use of a club field, the SAFE Technology in the E-flite Habu STS makes it possible for a beginner pilot to learn to fly RC by themselves. That's hard to believe I know, but it's true. The SAFE technology in this EDF trainer is that good.

But Wait -- There's More

The Habu STS EDF is a fun jet for the intermediate and experienced pilot as well. On 4S the Habu comes alive and has plenty of power for some spirited aerobatics. It would be the perfect first EDF for pilots that wanted to dip their toes in the world of EDFs without all the steep learning curves associated with high-speed EDF landing issues.

Flight Photo Gallery

The Texas weather was a mess so it took several sessions to get these flight pictures. Jesse Webb, Daryl Bley, and Corky Hart all took turns on the Nikon to capture these great pictures. I hope you enjoy them!

Final Thoughts

This new E-flite Habu STS really is a great trainer airplane for first time pilots. SAFE technology smoothes out most of the rough spots in the learning curve and pretty much guarantees successful first flights. The Habu STS has the lines and the looks of a sleek jet fighter, but it has the soul of a gentle trainer. E-flite and Spektrum, you've hit it out of the park with this one.

Bonus

The RTF package also included a Spektrum WS2000 Wireless Simulator Dongle plus a Steam® code to download and activate the RealFlight Trainer Edition RC flight simulator. This Bonus will allow buyers of the RTF package the opportunity to fly their Habu STS on a flight simulator anytime they want.

Note: RealFlight Trainer Edition was a Limited Time Offer. It is no longer included in the RTF package.

Pluses

  • Everything needed to get you flying is "In the Box" (RTF)
  • Three Distinct Flying Modes (RTF)
  • Gentle Flying Trainer on 3S
  • Sporty Aerobat on 4S
  • AS3X Stabilization and SAFE (RTF)
  • DSX Telemetry Transmitter (RTF)
  • Spektrum Smart Telemetry (RTF)
  • Powerful Motor and Wonderful Stability

Minuses

  • Nose wheel wasn't straight
  • RTF S120 USB Charger took a long time to charge

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Last edited by Jason Cole; Apr 22, 2021 at 11:03 AM..
Thread Tools
Apr 22, 2021, 12:03 PM
Registered User
rpstar's Avatar
I've thought about getting the PNP. Dunno. Maybe. Bit slow but pretty versatile so maybe.
Apr 22, 2021, 12:35 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
Thread OP
I've set up a PNP for a Club member using an AR637T receiver with SAFE and AS3X and it flies just as well as the RTF. If you already have all the "Stuff", then the PNP may be a good choice. If you could use a trainer TX and want it set up to help train some friends or kids, then the RTF is a bargain.

McD
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
Apr 23, 2021, 06:21 AM
WZ9V, AMA 409852

Aileron to Rudder Mixing


You mentioned Aileron to Rudder Mixing in the review.

How much did you use?
Apr 23, 2021, 06:27 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
Thread OP
The RTF has that Pre-Programmed from the factory in Smart Mode and Intermediate Mode.

If you choose to buy the PNP, you will need to create that mix yourself. Use Aileron as master and Rudder as slave and then start with 20%. Choose a switch to activate the mix and then verify on the monitor screen and on the Habu that Right Aileron command results in Right Rudder movement. After flying the Habu with the mix, then adjust the amount of mix to suit your flying style.

McD
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
Apr 23, 2021, 07:18 AM
Horizon Brand Ambassador
BRGT350's Avatar
Brilliant review of the Habu STS! Love the assembly pictures, which I didn't get while shooting the video of mine going together. I also had a very out of alignment nose gear, but it was a simple fix with adjusting the clevis. I expected that to be an issue, so only lightly snugged the screws knowing they would probably be coming back out to align the nose gear. I am still working on editing the video footage from the unboxing, assembly, and maiden, but will get those posted when done. My thoughts on the first flight align well with what you have reported. I found the plane far more stable and relaxing to fly than my Timber. The Habu STS is not only great for beginners, it is a lot of fun for experienced pilots as well. I haven't tried 4S yet, but was having a lot of fun on 3S in experienced mode. I was shocked to find an EDF so stable and well mannered to fly. It was relaxing when I wanted it to be relaxing and exciting when I wanted to spice it up a bit. Not many trainers can do that! Targeting early June to get the student pilot on the sticks of the Habu. He completed the first phase of Ground School last weekend and will be moving to simulator training in a few weeks and then on to the Habu. He could probably be ready sooner, but I have to be out of town for work and he is wrapping up the school year, so we decided to wait a bit before getting him in the air.
Apr 23, 2021, 08:17 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
Thread OP
Thanks for the kind words and your insights.

I’d be very interested to hear what your student thinks about their Habu training. I’m taking mine to SEFF next week and plan to have it in the air a lot.

Please feel free to post or link your videos in this thread at anytime.

McD
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
Apr 23, 2021, 08:30 AM
Horizon Brand Ambassador
BRGT350's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsflyer
Thanks for the kind words and your insights.

I’d be very interested to hear what your student thinks about their Habu training. I’m taking mine to SEFF next week and plan to have it in the air a lot.

Please feel free to post or link your videos in this thread at anytime.

McD
Thanks and will do. I had the student help me put it together last weekend and he was really kind of shocked to find out he would be learning on the Habu. I have a super old and mostly glue and tape Hobbyzone Super Cub that he thought was going to be his trainer. He was excited when I got the Habu box out! He will be using the Habu in Real Flight for the simulator part of ground school. We will be sure to do a full recap to cover his thoughts on flying the Habu compared to the sim and using it to learn on.
Apr 24, 2021, 07:10 PM
Running jokes into the ground
b-29er's Avatar
Maybe its just me, but this feels like a downrated version of the 2009 habu with better foam and a blander paint scheme. Has anyone flown this and the 2009 habu? How do they compare?


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