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E-flite T-34 Mentor RTF Review

Out of the box ready to fly and includes everything needed to get you in the air in less than two hours! Mike Llewellyn reviews.

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Introduction


Wingspan:55”
Wing Area:545 sq”
Wing type:Built up - Semi symmetrical
AUW weight:Advertised – 5lb - 5.2lb Actual - 5lb 1oz
Length:44”
Wing loading:21.4 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:4 Standard (included)
Transmitter:Spektrum DX6i (included)
Receiver:Spektrum AR6200 (included)
Battery:E-flite 3200 MAh 15c (included)
Motor:E-flite Power 25 890Kv Outrunner(included)
ESC:E-flite 40amp Pro Switch Mode BEC (included)
US distributor:Horizon Hobby
E-flite T-34 Mentor RTF:T-34 Mentor RTF
ARF Price:$449.99

Horizon Hobby has a great line of ready to fly models, but the all new T-34 Mentor is the largest electric in this impressive RTF E-flite line. Although powered with the Power 25 motor, this airplane is impressively large - very near .40 glow size airplane.

The review package shipped directly from Horizon Hobby. It arrived in great shape in part due to the double box. Of note, the included 3s battery had worked free and caused a few small bulges in the covering where the connector tried to poke through. Future shipments will have the battery removed from the fuselage and boxed for added protection.

Kit Contents

Kit includes:

  • Built fuselage, wing and tail surfaces all covered
  • Large pre-attached canopy with magnet retention
  • All surfaces factory hinged and glued
  • Motor/ESC propeller and spinner installed and ready to run
  • Battery installed and ready to charge with included charger
  • Decals and markings applied - ready for flight
  • Picture assembly guide and text instructions
  • Full DX6i transmitter and AA batteries
  • AR6200 Receiver installed
  • 4 Full size servos installed with linkages installed
  • Push rods installed

Kit requires:

  • Nothing - everything is packaged, and it even includes a charger!

Assembly

The E-flite T-34 Mentor is nearly ready to fly: You simply install the main landing gear, join the wing and bolt on the tail surfaces. That is it! Mine was ready to fly shortly after the battery was charged.

Done by the factory:

  • Just about everything!

The builder needs to:

  • Install main gear (nose is done!)
  • Connect the wing half's
  • Bolt on tail surfaces and connect installed push rods

Wing

The main landing gear legs are installed on each wing half. The tires are mounted - you simply screw the provided straps and screws. Even the holes are pre-drilled!

Slide the wing tube in, and secure with the included strap. No glue needed.

Flaps:

Flaps are in each wing half, and those are also actuated by a single optional servo.

Fuselage

There is really no work for you to do here, the hard stuff is already done!

Tail Assembly

Installation of the tail feathers requires no glue. You simply install the rudder linkage and bolt on the surfaces.

Power system

The E-flite Mentor is powered by the Power 25 brushless 870 KV motor. It is factory installed, ready to run and already connected to the installed 40 amp E-flite Pro ESC. The power setup is finished with the included E-flite 3200 mAh 3s Lipoly battery.

Amp draws

The included Power 25 motor is perfect for use with 3s packs 3000-4000mAh capacity. They produced the following results:

Motor statistics
Included Propeller Amps Watts Voltage
12x8 39 407 10.4v

I flew the with the included 12x8 propeller. Of note: in flight the prop made a pretty good deal of noise so I replaced that with an APC 12x8 propeller that uses less power and provides equal if not better flight performance. I highly recommend the switch to the APC propeller.

Battery

I used the included E-flite 3s 3200 MAh 15c LiPoly battery to provide power. This pack weighs in right at 10.9oz.

Finish

The Mentor is finished in a very attractive white base with red trim scheme. The covering had a few typical wrinkles, but a hot covering iron touch up had those resolved.

CG

With the included 3s 3200 MAh pack all the way forward in the battery tray, the Mentor balanced perfectly on the manual’s recommended CG. I really appreciate it when a model balances correctly with the recommended equipment, especially this ready to fly version. I found the CG to be fairly non-critical in flight, and there was room to move the pack back for more aggressive aerobatics.

DX6i

It is impressive that this plane is combined with a radio system that will grow with you. With it is a top notch system that will suit your needs for a long time.

This six channel full range system can be used on any aircraft. It also supports two programmable mixes and all of the expected standards and offerings of a six channel system. It is fully capable of being your primary radio system - Highly Recommended.

DX6i - a highly capable system:

  • Key Features
  • Full range 2.4GHz DSM2 6-channel radio
  • 10-model memory
  • ModelMatch
  • ServoSync
  • Roller/selector user interface
  • Attractive futuristic and ergonomic design
  • Compatible with any existing DSM and DSM2 receivers
  • Rudder dual-rate
  • Large LCD display
  • Integrated timer
  • Trainer Mode
  • Travel adjustment
  • Sub-trim
  • Servo monitor
  • Dual rate and exponential

Rates and transmitter setup

I used the included Spektrum DX6i transmitter for this plane. All of the programing was done by the factory.



Exponential Note

I noticed that the control rates seemed pretty fast and very responsive. Some investigation found that the expo was actually input with "negative" values programed by the factory. On Spektrum, to soften the controls around center you actually want "positive" values. Horizon is aware of this issue and they have addressed that with the factory and will be fixing this on future models - but PLEASE check yours.



Low rates are very appropriate for a beginner, and I found them to be VERY tame and ust what the beginner would want. I used high rates for aileron flight as a personal preference.

The flight timer was factor set to count down from 8 minutes of mixed flying. With mixed throttle flying, this gave an audible warning to land well before the 3s 3200mAh battery was depleted.

Flying

I must admit that I was expecting the Progressive Trainer System (PTS) to dull the fun of flying this beautiful bird, but I could not have been more mistaken. The Mentor was responsive and very light on the controls. To me it was very similar to the exceptionally well behaved Parkzone T-28 Trojan. This T-34 is MUCH larger and heavier however and does need proper airspeed.

Takeoff and Landing

With the NACA droops and flaps set at about 20 degrees I pointed the nose in the wind. With the stock power system the T-34 Mentor took to the air in less than 75 feet on our grass field and 50 feet on a hard surface. It showed ample power and an aggressive climb out on both.

Landings were easy, especially with the NACA droops and flaps permanently engaged. It is a 5+lb ship, so it needs to land with some speed. Do not attempt to slow this to park flyer speed! Even with the draggy flaps and droops the model maintained speed surprisingly well!

With the droops and flaps it had zero tendency to drop a tip, and it was hard to get the model slowed to the point of full stall. When pushed to stall, it simply drops the nose and gains speed with no snapping tendencies whatsoever. With the droops installed I could not really get the model to snap. It’s perfect for any first time pilot and quite remarkable!

Special Flight Characteristics

With the flap servo in place I used a single setting of about 30 degrees in the down position.

The model exhibits very little pitch change when you apply the flaps. With the flaps deployed the model slows pretty well. They help to drop speed yet keep lift levels high, just what is desired from flaps! Use power to control approach descent especially when using the flaps. It is easy to slow too much with the high drag flaps on this model.

It was time to take the PTS NACA droops off and see what this ship would do. I was very surprised that removal of the droops did not greatly increase the speed, and the drag they produced was actually quite minimal.

Without the droops, spins are a reality. In fact, it will spin quite readily especially with the rearward CG. With the droops removed, pilots should note that it will snap quite readily when pushed. The plane still stalled very predictably for a model with a low 20's oz/ft wing loading without the droops. When pushed to a stall, the model slowed down considerably and dropped the nose. I noted a slight wing tip drop - impressive.

Loops require full power and are easy to keep large and round. Rolls are picture perfect and are quite axial with the high rate aileron throws.

Dawnron1/Ronnie took these amazing in-flight shots. Highly impressive as usual!

Recommended power system

Power from the Power 25 brushless motor was great. The KV on this motor allowed it to perform well with 3s voltage. It pulls this 5+ pound airplane around very well. Remember this plane tips the scales at over 5lbs so do not expect a rocket ship. The Mentor has plenty of power for scale aerobatics and spirited flight performance.

I highly recommend the use of the APC-e 12x8 propeller. Performance was better than the stock propeller, and it drew less power. So better performance and less power = bonus!

Is this plane for a beginner?

With the Progressive Trainer System (PTS) the Mentor is well suited for the first time pilot -with an instructor. It is very forgiving and exhibits no bad habits. It will grow with you: Remove the NACA droops and flaps, and it is very capable of aerobatics and more advanced flight. The Mentor is very well mannered and is a perfect instructor-led trainer.

Flight Video

Downloads

Conclusion

am a big scale model fan, and the T-34 looks very much like the the full scale Mentor. It is an RTF that is ready to fly in about 2 hours without any difficulty. The T-34 Mentor was simply an excellent performer in the air.

Pluses:

  • Excellent looks
  • Scale details are well represented
  • Ready to Fly version has you in the air quick
  • Stellar flight performance
  • Exceptional value
  • Includes a top notch radio system - the DX6i
  • Includes everything you need to get in the air

Misnuses:

  • Battery slipped loose in shipping causing some damage (Horizon is changing battery packaging)
  • Control rod setups all needed to be checked for proper setup and operation

The E-flite T-34 Mentor will make a great addition to your hangar. I highly recommend it! Check it out the hobby shop or buy direct at Horizon Hobby.

Last edited by Angela H; Sep 11, 2008 at 08:16 PM..
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Sep 16, 2008, 08:46 PM
Registered User
Habanero's Avatar
I have this plane and soloed it the other day.

I almost lost it twice due to mechanical error- check and triple check everything before you fly it- and do it EVERYTIME things rattle loose easily.

The thing will not stall with the droops on and flaps down.

I like the radio too I use it in my boats as well.

Only thing I dont like is the flight time I fly it conservatively and still only manage little more than 10 minutes at a time.
Sep 16, 2008, 10:18 PM
Registered User
soar-iowa's Avatar

New Member


I flew one of these with a new club member last week.

Nice flyer. I didn't think a low wing could be a trainer plane.

Nice Nice Nice Flyer


And another great kit from Elfight.
Sep 16, 2008, 10:48 PM
Registered User
ekotil's Avatar

T-34


Good job Mike and Ronnie!
Sep 17, 2008, 07:33 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
Really nice review Mike! Kudos to Ronnie for the Pics. The Mentor looked pretty aerobatic for a trainer. I assume you flew the loops and rolls with the flaps "up". This planes looks as good in the air as it does on the ground. I guess my AT-6 will have a new stablemate in short order.

Habanero, I fly my electrics pretty hard so I set my timers for 6 minutes. Even when I'm just coasting around with one of my trainers, I rarely stretch my flights to 10 minutes. To me, it's not worth risking the loss of a plane to get an extra minute of flight time. I've also damaged some Lipoly packs by discharging them too deeply - a costly lesson indeed.

Mike McD
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
Sep 17, 2008, 07:42 AM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
Thanks guys! It is a great plane.

Habanero - trust me it will stall! It is well behaved however!

And as Mike points out 10mins is EXCELLENT flight time! I remember the days of much shorter ...

Yep Mike the aerobatics were done with flaps up...

Mike
Sep 17, 2008, 09:41 AM
Suspended Account
Sisyphus's Avatar
Ten minutes? Who, over 50, can concentrate that long? Great review.
Sep 17, 2008, 11:06 AM
Mk 9 Lunatic
Atra's Avatar
Really nice plane, witnessed one of these up close. Would it kill Eflite and another to do nice scale landing gear if the carriage is fixed?

Atra
Sep 17, 2008, 03:42 PM
The sky is my playground.
Dora Nine's Avatar
I really wish they had offered a rectract option for this plane..I really like the looks of it, but...really don't need a trainer.

Thanks for the review!
Sep 17, 2008, 04:07 PM
Registered User
We want a PNP......we want a PNP ..... we want a PNP !!!
Sep 18, 2008, 06:03 AM
Registered User
Ken Myers's Avatar
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the T-34 link

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=807165

as it was started on January 24, 2008

Lots of good info in there.
Sep 18, 2008, 07:35 PM
Registered User
Habanero's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pda4you

And as Mike points out 10mins is EXCELLENT flight time!

Mike
Perhaps it is for a larger balsa plane- I guess my Parkzone Trojan has spoiled me in that regard.
Sep 19, 2008, 07:38 AM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Habanero
Perhaps it is for a larger balsa plane- I guess my Parkzone Trojan has spoiled me in that regard.
You could but a larger back on if you desire the long flight times - a 5000 - 6000 mAh pack should take you up to over 15 mintues of mixed flying.

Too long for me! I like 6-8 minute flights and generally battery for about that.



Mike
Sep 19, 2008, 11:49 AM
I tell her RC is cheap !
carguy1994ca's Avatar
Really nice plane and great review. When I began RC flying back in 1990, I bought a used 60 " skyward trainer with an even more used futaba 5 channel radio that had play in the sticks ! All this with a G49 supertiger cost me
500 $ !

Now you get this wonderfull scale plane with a 2,4 ghz radio with computer programming for less than 500 $, and man does it looks better than my used trainer ! Those are wonderfull times to get in the hobby !

Sadly, some still find ways to complain about the prices and quality of those planes. Should have kept that trainer to show them !

Carguy
Sep 21, 2008, 02:01 AM
Be an organ donor
I got mine today (oops, yesterday). It went together fairly well. I was concerned with the fit of the wing into the saddle. Extreemly tight fit. I was worried about something breaking. One of the wood screw holes at the wing joiner was striped before I even got close to tightening. The under carriage hole on one side was blocked and needed to be cleaned out with a hand turned drill bit, and one of the screw holes wasn't correctly placed. I did change out the prop, per the review. This is my first E-ARF other than the T-Hawk (great fun, and the Begin Air (not too impressed). Usually, my thing is sailplanes, so this should be a tiger by the tail in comparison. I'm going out tomorrow with the owner of the LHS with a buddy box. Hopefully I will be "free" within a short time.

Keith


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