The Avistar – A Great Planes standard, for years, as THE “second” plane. It has less dihedral than a primary trainer, ups the ante to a semi-symmetrical wing, but retains the tricycle landing gear to let pilots bring their flying skills to the ‘next level’. As a kid, I had an Avistar, and it was an awesome plane! I loved bringing it to the field – it was so much fun to fly, yet it still landed like a trainer.
Meet the Avistar Elite RTF: all the great attributes of its predecessor, with a few additions! For starters, the new version comes with an O.S. .46AXII engine installed and a Tactic TTX600 6-channel radio system. Along with that, you can have the this plane in the air in around 30 minutes – this ought to be fun!
Just recently, I had started thinking about a glow-powered plane for my 11 year old son. He has been flying RC for 3 years now, but only electric planes. He decided that he wanted to start flying “wet” fueled planes, so when the Avistar Elite RTF came up for review, I grabbed it!
Price: $339.99 (Accurate at time of review)
Stock Number: GPMA1605
Wingspan: 62.5″ (1590mm)
Wing Area: 672 in² (43.3 dm²)
Weight: 6.5 lb (2950 g)
Wing Loading: 22 oz/ft² (67 g/dm²)
Length: 55″ (1395mm)
Center of Gravity (CG): 3-5/16″ (84mm) from the leading edge of the wing
Radio Used:Tactic TTX600 (Included)
Channels Used: 5 total – Elevator, Aileron, Throttle, Rudder, Flaps (Optional)
Control Throws: LOW
- Elevator, up/down: 5/16″ (8mm) 11°
- Rudder, right/left: 1/2″ (13mm) 13°
- Ailerons, up/down: 3/8″ (10mm) 11°
Control Throws: HIGH
- Elevator, up/down: 7/16″ (11mm) 16°
- Rudder, right/left: 7/8″ (22mm) 22°
- Ailerons, up/down: 9/16″ (14mm) 17°
Items Needed To Complete
- Field Equipment
For Optional Flap Servo Installation
- CA Glue
- Hobby Knife
- Drill and Drill Bits
- Two Standard Servos
- 6″ Y-Harness
- Balsa and Light Ply Construction
- MonoKote Covering
- Transmitter and Receiver Batteries Included
- Ready To Fly in About 30 Minutes
- Large Access Hatch/Canopy
- O.S. .46 AXII and Tactic TTX600 INCLUDED!
- Great Color Contrast Between Top and Bottom of Plane
- None as Tested
Time Required to Build
The Avistar Elite arrived in a nicely adorned box with all the specifications and requirements printed on the outside. My son and I removed the cover and we were very impressed by the careful packing done to protect the plane during shipping. We checked the parts to the inventory list and found everything accounted for, so it was time to take a closer look at the individual pieces.
The Fuselage came out of its bag with an O.S. .46 AXII attached to the mount. I really like the IsoSmooth engine mount – it looks like it will do a great job of reducing vibration to the airframe! I also like the included Tactic TTX600 6-channel radio system, neck strap, and all required batteries! Fuel tank access, if ever needed, is easy via the huge front hatch.
All of the required radio gear is pre-installed – only the receiver batteries needed to be put in the holder! The sturdy aluminum landing gear literally snaps into place, but we’ll get to that in just a minute.
I also really liked the bolt-together tail! No glue is required to assemble the standard 4-channel version of the Avistar Elite RTF. There are ONLY two wing bolts and two thumb screws required for basic assembly, but I’ll touch on them more in a little bit.
The Elite also comes out of the box “flap ready “. Simply add two more standard servos and you can have even more fun!
The assembly and operators manuals are typical of all Hobbico products – Top Notch! Both manuals are easy to read and left no questions unanswered.
Main Gear Installation
As I mentioned in the First Look section, the main landing gear literally snap into place. Installation took all of 30 seconds to accomplish!
Moving on to the tail section – I slid the horizontal stab into place, added the fin/rudder assembly, and secured both with the two thumb screws. Yes, it was that EASY!
All that remained was connecting the two pushrods to their respective control surfaces.
Spinner and Propeller Installation
O.S. .46AX Spotlight
As the replacement for the high-performance 46AX, it’s no wonder that the .46 AXII shares many of its features. The raw power. Mounting bolt patterns. A balanced “D”-cut crankshaft supported by dual bearings. CNC-machining for the piston and other parts. And the same exclusive ABL cylinder liner that has made AX reliability a byword. But all the same, the 46AX is a different, and better, engine. Why? Because times change and technology advances. And because O.S. uses the best of both to make a good engine a better engine.
Download the manual in PDF format – Click here
The spinner back plate was slid onto the crankshaft.
The included propeller was secured with the engine’s washer and nut.
And two screws held the spinner cone in place!
I slid the wing tube into the right wing panel, added the left panel, connected the Y-harness to the aileron servo wires, and secured the wing using the two nylon bolts. If this was any easier, the wing would have been installed as it came out of the box!
Optional Flap Servo Installation
Since the optional flap hardware was included, I decided to add them. Who doesn’t have a couple of standard servos laying around their shop, right? Setup and installation was easy following the instruction manual.
Two items left on the checklist: I applied the decals (which took the most time of any step), and balanced the completed aircraft using my Great Planes CG Machine – it’s a great tool that makes balancing most aircraft easy!
That’s it! Let’s go to the field!
As it was the end of September, I was very happy to have such a beautiful day for flying. The sun was shining, the temperature was in the mid-eighties, and the wind was blowing from the south at 8-10 MPH. The one down side was that the wind was a direct cross wind. Oh well, two out of three wasn’t bad, so I loaded the plane into my GMC Jimmy and headed for the field!
Since the O.S. .46 AXII was brand new, I decided to run a tank of fuel through it before flying. Though the engine came to life perfectly and ran without concern, I fought off the urge to put the plane in the air immediately. After ‘breaking in’ the engine with a single tank of fuel, I felt confident that the engine was good to go. I re-fueled the Avistar Elite and readied for take-off.
I taxied out and turned onto the runway centerline. Ground handling felt good without being too sensitive to stick input – I really like it when an RTF model is set up the way I would build it!
I pushed the throttle stick to full and the .46 AXII responded without hesitation. The Avistar Elite rolled smoothly and quickly down the runway before gently lifting off into a graceful climb-out.
A couple of laps around the pattern and I was really liking this plane! I did add three clicks of ‘up’ elevator trim at half-throttle – nothing out of the ordinary here though.
One of my favorite things about the Avistar Elite is the semi-symmetrical wing. Unlike a standard trainer, this plane doesn’t launch into space at higher throttle settings! I was able to fly the Avistar Elite at full (or nearly) throttle without having to change the trim at all. And as long as we’re talking about full throttle, I want to say that she will move along at a quick pace. She won’t get ahead of you, but she’s quicker than a standard trainer – I loved that too!
With the optional flaps installed, the Avistar Elite will literally slow down to a crawl! Even with the flaps up, she will fly very slowly.
I put the Avistar Elite through the wringer next – aerobatics are a high point. With the included Tactic TTX600 transmitter, I had a blast with the dual rates! On the low side of the switch, elevator and aileron response is perky without the need for exponential. When I flipped to the high rates – HOLY COW! Aileron rolls are very quick and response from the tail is just short of snappy! (In this sense, snappy is a GOOD thing.)
Around the 10 minute mark, I brought her in for a landing. I dropped the flaps again and brought the Avistar Elite down – no worries, no problems! Just a nice, short glide path and slow enough for any pilot experience level. Landing with no flaps is equally as easy, she just floated along a little farther before settling in on the langin gear.
I guess it’s time to wrap this one up. From opening the box to getting the ‘Elite’ ready for flight took approximately 40 minutes – including taking pictures! I’ll call that Win #1. Win #2 comes from a great (included) entry-level Tactic TTX600 6-channel transmitter. Add to these two the fact that you get a great looking plane that is easy and fun to fly? I’ll call that Win #3. From what I’ve seen, you just can’t go wrong with the new Avistar Elite .46 RTF from Great Planes!
Unfortunately, two days after shooting the flight video, the wind started howling and it got cold up here in Minnesota. While my son didn’t get the opportunity to fly the Avistar Elite this summer, he’s been eyeing the plane every day since we opened the box! Somehow, I have a feeling that this one will be the first one airborne in the spring – with my son at the sticks!
P.O. Box 9021
Champaign, IL 61826-9021
P.O. Box 9021
Champaign, IL 61826-9021