RCU Review: E-Flite Apprentice 15e

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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: September 2008 | Views: 63127 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    E-flite Apprentice

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


    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


    Complete RTF Kit
    Transmitter, Charger, and Batteries Included
    Quick and Easy Assembly
    Mating Power System
    Superb Flying Performance
    No Painting or Decals Needed
    Spare Parts Available



    E-flite Apprentice 15e RTF

    Looking to learn to fly?

    With the assistance of a club instructor, the E-flite® Apprentice 15e RTF is the perfect trainer for learning the basics and beyond. The Apprentice is a 15-size high-wing trainer that comes with everything you need to go from buy to fly. This one-box purchase includes the full range DX5e Spektrum radio with the 2.4GHz interference-free technology, AR500 receiver, and a 3S 3200mAh 15C Li-Po battery and charger. There is no building required, just charge and install the included battery, mount the wing and tail, and fly.

    The Apprentice is powered with a 15-size brushless outrunner providing excellent power and performance. This trainer has a flat-bottom wing and produces gentle flight characteristics. The Apprentice is made from durable, lightweight Z-Foam, making it great for training and sport flying. Every beginner pilot experiences their share of bumps and bruises, so the Apprentice's durable build and easily repairable construction ensures more opportunities for success. The Apprentice is the perfect training aircraft thanks to its gentle flight characteristics. This model is equipped with tricycle landing gear allowing better ground handling over tail-dragger aircraft. This landing gear setup is durable and will also allow takeoffs and landings on maintained grass runways. This is a high quality trainer with an excellent setup, taking the pilot from beginner to basic aerobatics all from this one-box purchase. Go from buy to fly with the Apprentice.


    • Wingspan:58 in (1475mm)
    • Overall Length:37 in (940mm)
    • Wing Area:525 sq in (33.7 sq dm)
    • Flying Weight:40-45 oz (1135-1275 g)
    • Wing Loading:12 oz/sq ft
    • Motor Size:15-size brushless outrunner (installed)
    • Servos:Sub-micro servos (installed)
    • CG (center of gravity):3-1/4" (83mm) back from the leading edge
    • Prop Size:11 x 8 electric (installed)
    • Speed Control :30A Brushless Pro SB Brushless ESC (EFLA1030) (installed)
    • Recommended Battery:3200mAh 3S 11.1V 15C Li-Po (EFLB1040) (included)
    • Approx. Flying Duration:15 minutes
    • Approx. Assembly Time:30 minutes
    • Charger:3S Balancing Li-Po Charger (EFLC3010) (included)
    • Radio:Spektrum DX5e 2.4GHz (included)

    Key Features:

    • Completely ready-to-fly
    • Durable Z-Foam construction
    • Includes DX5e transmitter and AR500 receiver
    • 3s 3200mAh (15C) Li-Po battery included
    • 2s or 3s Li-Po balancing charger included
    • Tricycle landing gear
    • 15-size brushless outrunner motor installed
    • E-flite 30A Pro Switch-mode BEC Brushless ESC installed
    • All servos and electronics installed
    • Great flying time
    RTF Contents :

    The Apprentice comes well packed and secured in the box. Everything you need to fly is included. The 44-page Assembly Manual is divided into sections to help make assembly easier to understand. The 24-page Spektrum Radio manual details the transmitter control functionality and explains the 2.4GHz DSM2 Dualink Technology.

    The first step after removing the parts is to charge the flight battery. The included Li-Po balancing charger connects to any 12v supply capable of delivering at least 3 amps. First, set the charger switch to the "3-cell" setting and turn the "Amps" knob to "3.0". Next, plug the balance charge lead into the larger 4-pin port on the bottom right of the charger and press the "Start/Stop" button.

    Your 3-cell LiPo pack will automatically charge and balance all the cells. In about 60 minutes, when the battery pack is fully charged, you will hear a beep for 3 seconds and the green LED will stay on solid.

    The included AA cell batteries for the transmitter simply install in the back after sliding off the battery cover. Note that the polarity of the batteries must be correct during their installation.


    The tail assembly was as simple as inserting the vertical fin into the horizontal stabilizer and into the fuselage. The whole tail locks in place and is held with just two screws.

    The elevator clevis and rudder clevis were attached to the outer holes on each control horn to minimize throw for beginner pilots. Rubber keepers are slid over each clevis to safely keep it attached in flight.

    The nose gear installed with a Phillips screwdriver by tightening the screw onto the pre-cut flat spot of the wire. The rear mains simply pressed in place.

    The Apprentice?s tricycle landing gear provides stable and predictable ground handling.

    Note that the inside electronics are well laid out and there is a y-harness adapter already installed to attach to the aileron servo leads when the wing is mounted. Check that all the servo leads are properly plugged into the Spektrum receiver and that each clevis properly connects to a servo arm.

    Horizon Wing Hold Down Bulletin
    Due to a recent consumer feedback concerning the plastic caps coming off the wing hold down rods on the E-flite Apprentice, we are asking that you perform a very simple precautionary step to assure there is adequate adhesive on the caps.

    To assure there is adequate adhesive to hold the plastics on the wing hold down rods, please apply some additional drops of Thin CA to the inner edges of the plastic caps. This will ensure the caps are secured to the hold down rods and eliminate the possibility of failure.

    I pulled and twisted my plastic caps but saw no need for additional glue. Note that the Apprentice is constructed of Z-Foam for a light and durable airframe. It's easily repaired at the field with CA glue or packing tape.

    The wing halves slid together by pressing the carbon tube into the socket of the opposite side. After removing the backing from the adhesive tape, a set of custom front and rear wing covers were pressed into place. As with the previous linkages, the aileron clevis was attached to the outer hole of the control horn and secured with the supplied rubber keeper. On my Apprentice, I used the hole next to the outer one for slightly increased aileron throw.

    The aileron servo leads were plugged into the Y-harness and the now single-piece wing assembly was held in place with 8 supplied rubber bands. Note that the aileron control rods came pre-connected.

    The bottom side battery hatch provides quick and easy access to install the included 3-cell 3200mAh Li-Po battery. A built in hook and loop strap holds the battery securely in place during flight.


    After connecting the battery pack, I turned on the transmitter and tested all the controls. Remember that with Spektrum radio systems, it doesn't matter if the transmitter is turned on first or last.

    All the control surfaces went in the proper direction without any changes to the transmitter. Even the high/low rate switch worked fine. I did, however, adjust the aileron and elevator clevises a few turns so that the control surfaces were perfectly aligned when the transmitter trims were centered electronically.

    It was amazing just how quickly my Apprentice was ready to fly! I was off to the park for photos and a video.

    Test Flying

    The Apprentice offered no surprises at the park as it flew perfectly. I could even take off from grass that was a bit long for the smaller 15-size wheels. I had plenty of power when needed and the flight time was a full 15 minutes as advertised. The Apprentice could loop, roll, and slow down to fly within a smaller soccer-sized field.

    E-flite Apprentice Video (12meg)

    Landing the Apprentice was as easy as it gets. I simply turned the throttle off and let it glide into the landing, feeding a small amount of elevator when needed. I took off from grass, pavement, and even hand-launched the Apprentice. The radio system was range tested as we flew the Apprentice very high up in the sky. I have not found any issues with the Apprentice and the Spektrum DX5e radio system performed flawlessly.


    The E-flite Apprentice 15e is a gentle-flying high-wing trainer that includes everything you need to get started. It is truly a Ready-To-Fly (RTF) package that includes the full range DX5e Spektrum radio with the 2.4GHz interference-free technology, AR500 receiver, and a 3-cell (3s) 3200mAh 15C Li-Po battery and charger. There is no building required, just charge and install the included battery, mount the wing and tail, and fly.

    The Apprentice is made from durable Z-Foam which not only makes it tough enough to handle everyday flying but can easily and quickly be repaired with CA and kicker (accelerator).

    All the electronics are installed including the Spektrum DX5e 5-channel radio system and brushless motor. It was amazing just how quickly my Apprentice was ready to fly!

    The Apprentice has plenty of power to loop and roll, yet can slow down to fly within a smaller soccer-sized field. It can take-off from grass, pavement, or even be hand-launched. First time pilots should seek the aid of another pilot with at least intermediate flying skills. With the help of an excellent 44-page Assembly Manual, anyone can get the Apprentice ready to fly!

    Manufacturer and Distributor

    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

    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

    ZAP Glues On-line at Frank Tiano Enterprises
    Pacer Z-42 Thread Locker
    5-minute Z-poxy
    Pacer POLY ZAP(tm)

    Comments on RCU Review: E-Flite Apprentice 15e

    Posted by: ekotil on 09/30/2008

    Posted by: ekotil on 09/30/2008
    Good review Greg!
    Posted by: qchenry1937 on 10/12/2008
    Very enjoyable review.
    Posted by: QF306 on 10/17/2008
    Great Review I got this as my first plane 5 weeks ago flown it 4-5 times because crashed afu but great as a teach yourself to fly plane if you have a sim as well
    Posted by: stevenimpalass on 11/28/2009
    I enjoyed flying the plane. You did not have to clean it up after flying like nitro planes so it was a good plane to get a quick flight in for the day. The only problem I can see is that the first engine started to grind and then the armature separated from the backing plate. When to order a new engine and was out of stock until December. Bought a plug and play model so I could be flying again and not have to wait three months for parts. That engine was a disappointment too after two flights it started to grind and separated from the backing plate. Decided not to buy anymore 15 out-runner E-Flite engines. Good plane to lean on but with engine problems it might be better to buy a different brand.
    Posted by: byrdman1 on 04/22/2010

    Posted by: roflmcwaffle on 10/28/2010
    awesome review, I just bought this plane. I looked up Canandaigua Sky Chiefs (i live in canandaigua) and your page came up. That's awesome to know there is such an enthusiast in the area, i'm just starting up
    Posted by: ror on 10/04/2011
    yes it is a nice flyer but we had a clevis break and then found out that it is a non standard clevis on the push rods. it appears to get a clevis you have to get clevis and pushrod from Eflite..
    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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