RCU Review: E-Flite AT-6 Texan 25


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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: July 2008 | Views: 49726 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    E-flite AT-6 Texan

    Review by: Greg Covey
    Flying Photos: Papa Jeff Ring
    Video Pilot: Lynn Bowerman

    Navigation


    Dealer Info

    E-flite Models
    Distributed Exclusively in the U.S.A. by:


    Horizon Hobby, Inc
    4105 Fieldstone Road
    Champaign, IL 61822
    Ph: (800) 338-4639
    Toll Free: (800) 338-4639
    Fax: (217) 352-6799
    www.horizonhobby.com




    Hits

    Complete Kit with hardware
    Great ARF value and looks
    Superb Flying Performance
    No Painting or Decals Needed
    Hidden Magnetic Hatch
    Pre-hinged Control Surfaces
    Optional Upgrades Available



    Misses
    Some Soldering Required
    Short Stabilizer Tube Length
    Warped Ailerons

    E-flite AT-6 Texan 25 ARF

    E-flite raises the bar with their first Platinum Series ARF; the legendary AT-6 “Texan” trainer used by the U.S., and its allies, from WWII through the late 1960s. The E-flite Platinum Series delivers superior, enhanced features and meticulous attention to detail...right out of the box! It features a level of scale detail that is exceptional for an ARF of this size. You get all this realism without having to spend weeks of building, covering and painting. Just about everything has been done for you before you even open the box. All that’s left to do is a few hours of final assembly and radio installation. The electric power system will keep this beautifully appointed warbird trainer clean and vibration-free...one reliable flight after another.

    Specifications:

    • Wing Span:54" (1370mm)
    • Overall Length:39" (990mm)
    • Wing Area:455 sq in (29.4 dm)
    • Flying Weight:3.9 - 4.5 lbs (1.8 - 2.0 kg)
    • Motor Size:Power 25
    • Radio:6 channels w/7 micro servos
    • Servos (7) JR Sport MC35's, (1) JR Sport RT88 for optional retracts
    • Trim Scheme Colors:Ultracote Gray with red and yellow trim
    • Prop Size:APC 12x8E
    • Hardware Included: yes
    • Speed Control :40 - 60 Amp
    • Recommended Battery: 11.1 V 4200 mAh 3-cell LiPo
    • Scale: Stand off Scale
    • Approx. Assembly Time:6 - 8 hours

    Key Features:

    • 90% complete—just a few hours of assembly and you’re flying
    • Lightweight construction
    • Fully sheeted airframe to help maintain scale appearance
    • Covered in genuine Hangar 9 UltraCote
    • Retract- and flap-ready right from the box
    • Optional Robart retractable landing gear is available separately
    • Factory-painted fiberglass cowl and scale scoops
    • Scale finish and markings
    • Firewall designed to accept E-flite Power 25 BL Outrunner Motor
    • Plug-in outboard wing panels for convenient transport and storage
    • Easy-access magnetic battery hatch
    • Extremely accurate scale outline worthy of the most demanding scale modelers
    • Wing utilizes two Selig airfoils for optimum flight performance at all speeds

    Platinum Series


    The E-flite Platinum Series takes things a step further for the real scale enthusiast by offering Optional Accessories to increase the scale effect. The Cockpit Kit includes an aft instrument hood, main fuselage rollover structure, two seat backs, and a floor.

    The Robart 2-1/2" U-250 Scale Wheels (ROB112) can be added to the E-flite Retract Set (EFL4515) to include a realistic scale hubcap that really brings the Texan to life.

    ARF Contents :

    The AT-6 25e comes out of the box with all kinds of details that have been finished for you, including a factory-painted fiberglass cowl, air scoops, dummy radial engine, painted canopy and pilot, scale strut covers, scale trim scheme and much more. Even the Texan’s sheeted airframe compares favorably to the full-scale aircraft which helps maintain the model’s strict scale appearance and strong flight performance.

    Scale airfoils were used to maintain the exact scale outline of the AT-6 Texan's tail surfaces to include counterbalances. Both the elevators and rudder are pre-hinged out of the box and ready for installation. One pilot is included with the kit along with cockpit decals. An additional pilot is available separately (EFLA150). Genuine Hangar 9® UltraCote® provides a durable, refined finish.

    The scale split flaps are operational and pre-hinged right out of the box. Using a unique pin interlock system, they plug together and operate using only 2 servos. Optional E-flite retracts (EFL4515) are available that have been specially designed for the AT-6 25e. Making these mechanical retracts functional is as simple as installing a servo and connecting the pre-bent wire linkages.

    The 50 page manual is loaded with photos, instructions, and excellent advice from people that have actually assembled the model.

    A closer look at the fuselage reveals that many of the details have already been finished for the assembler. The .25-size Texan’s sheeted airframe and internal structure are similar to construction seen on larger glow-powered models. Both the elevators and rudder are pre-hinged out of the box and ready for installation. Easy access to the battery is provided by a hidden hatch on top of the fuselage. The hatch comes already finished and is secured with a wooden dowel up front and rare earth magnet in the back.

    Transportability is significantly increased by plug-in horizontal stabilizer halves and outboard wing panels. The center wing section also removes from the fuselage with only two bolts for more convenience. The blind nuts are pre-installed for the motor, cowl, and center wing. All the guide tubes and control horns are pre-installed at the factory making the control surface installation a breeze.

    Power System:

    The power system for my AT-6 will be made from the following components.

    • 7 JR DS368BB Digital Micro Servos
    • 1 JRPS791 HD Low Profile Retract Servo
    • ThunderPower 3s2p 4200mAh (THP42003S2PPL) LiPo Pack
    • Spektrum AR6200 6-channel Receiver
    • E-flite EFLA1060 60-Amp Pro SB Brushless ESC
    • E-flite Power 25 Brushless Outrunner Motor
    • APC 12x8 e-prop

    Assembly:

    The assembly starts by installing the metal support tube into one of the horizontal stabilizers. You need only to drill two 5/64" (2mm) holes and secure the stabs with 3mm x 10mm self-tapping screws to complete the assembly step.

    All the control surfaces and horns are pre-installed for you. Notice that alignment of the stabilizer halves is automatic and the seems where they meet the fuselage are perfect.

    Since the control horns are already installed, you only need to thread the clevis onto the control rods, and slip them in place, to complete the tail linkage assembly. I did manage to strip the set screw on the 1/16" collar for the tailwheel so care must be taken on some of this "soft" metal hardware. I replaced the stock collar with a Dubro (137) 1/16" Dura-Collar that needed to be slightly drilled out.

    Motor Installation:

    The E-flite Power 25 motor mounted easily onto the firewall. An innovative design allows for mounting a variety of motors without modification. My only change here was to omit the #4 washers as I thought the 4-40 socket heads screws were a bit short.

    Cowl:

    The assembly work really begins with the cowl. You first cut away the center section and then the areas between the mock cylinders for air cooling. I used a hobby knife with a fresh blade. The dummy radial engine is then glued inside the fiberglass cowl with epoxy.

    To mark the mounting holes on the cowl, I cut an index card into four pieces and taped them to the fuselage after first making a 1/8" hole in one end. The cowl is then fit into position and marked for drilling once you get it properly aligned. The result is a great looking front end with little effort.

    Scoop:

    The next step in the assembly is to glue the radiator scoop to the fuselage side. A nice tip in the manual shows that using a black felt-tip pen can give the scoop an open look.

    Servos:

    The two (outside) elevator servos and middle rudder servo mounted easily. The JR DS368BB Digital Micro servos fit perfectly. Since I am using a 6-channel receiver, I needed to reverse the direction on one elevator servo so I used an Expert (EXRA325) Reversing Y-Harness.

    The aileron servos mounted much like a larger size model. You glue blocks to the plate and then secure the servo. All the control linkage and hardware is supplied to connect the aileron. I used JSP98110 JR Sport 6" Servo Extensions to route the aileron servo to the wing center.

    The JR Sport line provides excellent quality radio systems, servos and other electronics at a great price! Here are some JR Sport products that can be used on the AT-6.

    • JR Sport MC35 (JSP20030) Micro Servo
    • JR Sport MC35 Reverse Servo (JSP20030R)
    • JR Sport (JSP20080) Retract Servo
    • JSP98110 JR Sport 6" Servo Extensions
    • JSP98020 JR Sport 6" Y-harness

     

    Flaps:

    The flap installation was fairly straightforward. Once I saw that both flap servos were set up the same direction, it was easy to determine where the 1/4" and 1" lines should cross for the hatch that had a partial decal on it.

    Since the flap linkage is hidden, the idea was to set it up per the manual and then test it with a live receiver without screwing it into place. In this manner, you could adjust either the linkage or the transmitter settings to allow the hatch to sit in place with the flap up without hearing any servo noise. Once this is done, the other flap can be adjusted by twisting the clevis a few turns in the appropriate direction.

    The Spectrum DX7 radio makes the flap setup easy as the AUX1 channel is already programmed for the Flap switch settings 0, 1, and 2. The user can change the degree of flap for the 1 (half) and 2 (full) positions. Typically, I set half flaps for a 30 degree drop and full flaps for 60 degrees. This value changes depending upon the model and a few flight tests. It is also a pilot preference as some people like more or less flaps.

    This is my first model with split flaps and hidden linkages. I was impressed with the amount of thought that went into this part of the design.

    Retracts:

    I'm using the Retractable Landing Gear option on my model with the stock Hangar 9 2-1/2" wheels. As with most retracts, patience and experience help a great deal.

    When cutting away the covering over the wheel wells, the manual gives a great tip to leave 1/16" from the inside edges so that covering and trim irons can be used for a cleaner look. The JR NES-791 Low-Profile Retract Servo mounted perfectly. I decided not to use wheel collars as keepers on the servo arm since there was no way for the rod to slip off. The servo arm is shown in the gear down position so you can see the proper length needed to lock the wheels in both up and down positions. You obtain this position by adjusting the clevis on the control rod.

    I did have a fit problem with the clevis pin in the retract arm. The hole in the retract arm was too small and the end too thick for a proper snap on the clevis pin. I was able to press it into position with pliers and then use the rubber ring keeper to make it secure but the ends were not properly designed for each other.

    I used Dubro 1/8" Plated Brass Collars (#139) to secure my wheels. Since the Robart retract mains are slightly thicker than the stock non-retractable mains, you need to drill the center holes of the stock wheels for a proper spin.

    In addition to the lock check, you may need to slightly bend the retract mains for the wheel to properly fit in the center of the well.

    Receiver and ESC:

    The E-flite 60-amp Pro Brushless ESC was mounted near the firewall using a hook-n-loop strap to hold it securely in place. Initially, my intention was to use the E-flite 60-amp Pro ESC to power only the retracts and use a separate BEC for the other servos and receiver. This technique works well on larger e-conversions to isolate a retract jam from taking out the entire plane and also allows for 6v on the receiver and control servos as most retract servos can only handle 5v. Since I discovered that the plastic clevis will break on a retract jam on this model, I now plan to simply use the E-flite ESC to power everything. It is a switching BEC and is rated to handle up to 7 analog or 6 digital servos without issue.

    The Spektrum AR6200 6-channel modules easily mounted inside the AT-6 fuselage using servo tape. The second receiver module is mounted at a right angle for best reception. The AR6200 dual receiver is key to the system’s incredibly robust RF link. Comprised of a compact main receiver that is linked to an even smaller satellite receiver by a 6” lead, the AR6200 acts as a pair of extremely sharp RF “eyes” that each take in a slightly different view of the signal environment. Information from both receivers is then processed by patent-pending Spektrum software that takes information from each receiver and combines it to form the most vivid “picture” of an RF signal than has ever been possible in R/C before.

    What’s more, there are no long pesky antennas to accommodate so your AT-6 looks even more scale. The AR6200’s short 3” antennas don’t require any external exposure, so installation is an absolute breeze. Note the right angle mounting between the two receivers for best possible reception. This can be done on any axis.

    Battery:

    The ThunderPower 4200mAh pack was mounted next to the firewall on the top side of the fuselage using a pad of Velcro on the bottom to keep it from sliding aft, and two hook-n-loop straps. Note the On/Off switch from the ESC is tie-wrapped to a side post for easy access inside, once the magnetic hatch is removed.

    Wing:

    The wing installation requires two Y-harness cables, one for the flaps and one for the ailerons. The cables are routed through the center section with the aid of pre-placed string. Note the wing tube, dual end guides, and flap pin must all align when sliding on the outer piece. A single 4-40 socket head screw holds the outer piece in place.

    By mounting the Spektrum receiver on the bottom cage, I did not need the three 3" extensions since I could plug the lines in directly. The installation was clean and simple. I did, however, test that my two ailerons were moving together before securing the wing with the two supplied nylon bolts.

    The wing fit very nicely against the fuselage. I marked the desired CG range ( 4-1/8" to 4-1/4" ) on the wing bottom at this time. From seeing previous reports, I suspect that I will be tail heavy even with the battery pack against the firewall.

    Cockpit and Canopy:

    The pilot was glued to the cockpit using Bond 527 Multi-purpose Cement. Before attaching the canopy, remember to apply the intrument panel decal. Instead of gluing the canopy, I used small canopy screws so I could remove it for cleaning or installing the cockpit upgrade at a later date.

    Scoop and Fairings:

    The radiator scoop was glued in position and the gear fairings attached with the supplied tie wraps.

    Balance:

    To help balance the model, the manual suggests adding 2oz of lead inside the cowl. I had a row of 9 pieces so I added 2-1/4 ounces to the inside front of the cowl. The standard self-adhesive lead weights can easily be molded to fit the curve of the cowl.

    I used my Great Planes CG Machine to check the balance after aligning the measuring sticks to the leading edge of the wheel fairing. It measured 4-1/4" which is at the tail-heavy end of the recommended limit. I will test the first flight using this CG setting.

    Ready-To-Fly:

    My finished AT-6 was Ready-To-Fly at 70.5oz (4.4lbs) with the 10oz ThunderPower battery. I measured 390 watts at about 36amps for a power level of 88.6w/lb. It should fly very scale at 1/2 to 3/4 throttle while providing aerobatics at full throttle.


    Test Flying

    On the maiden flight, the E-flite AT-6 battled some strong winds that gusted from 15-25mph. Although it took off with plenty of power and landed safely, it was survival flying that proved unworthy to video. On our next outing, a few weeks later, the calmer winds made the wait worth while.

    E-flite AT-6 Flying Video (21 meg)

    When we finally had an opportunity to test fly the AT-6, it flew fantastic and performed perfectly! Plenty of right rudder was needed on take-offs. The recommended E-flite Power 25 motor provides great power for all maneuvers. When landing with the flaps, the plane will slow up quickly and fly just above the stall speed so be sure to keep power applied and let it descend to a touchdown.

    The AT-6 did not show any bad tendencies and tracked very well, even in some wind. The power level was perfect for both scale and aerobatic flying!


    Summary

    The E-flite AT-6 Texan looks great right out of the box! No decals or paint is needed and the pre-hinged control surfaces help make it a quick build. The hidden servos and split flaps help create a true scale appearance.

    The AT-6 flies for about 7-10 minutes depending upon wind conditions and aerobatics performed.

    A few of the parts could have been a better fit but overall the model was designed very well.

    I would recommend that the hobbyist have intermediate building and flying skills for a successful experience. The AT-6 must be flown as a scale warbird trainer, not a 3D plane. When flown properly, the beauty of the E-flite AT-6 is a memorable experience.

    E-flite AT-6 Texan







    Manufacture Information


    E-flite Models
    Distributed Exclusively in the U.S.A. by:
    Horizon Hobby, Inc
    4105 Fieldstone Road
    Champaign, IL 61822
    Ph: (800) 338-4639
    Toll Free: (800) 338-4639
    Fax: (217) 352-6799
    Website: www.horizonhobby.com

     


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    Comments on RCU Review: E-Flite AT-6 Texan 25

    Posted by: Stalkmoe on 07/14/2008
    Greg- Once again- an excellent and thorough review- you just keep getting better. I'd love to see a 2008 AMP'd article on an 'upgrade/ rework scenario' of one of your early .60 size Hangar-9 conversions(ie. AT-6, Corsair) with all your latest insights, compenets, etc. Alot of those kits are still on the shelves in LHS's and are dying for an electric enthusiast to make the conversion. Thanks for your great work. Tim
    Posted by: tm57f10-deactivated on 01/21/2009
    my wing does not fit like that its like the wing saddle is tilted i elongated the dowel hole but that didnt work either.
    Posted by: tm57f10-deactivated on 01/21/2009
    my wing does not fit like that its like the wing saddle is tilted i elongated the dowel hole but that didnt work either.
    Page: 1
    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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