RCU Review: E-Flite Stearman PT-17 15e

More On This Product

  • Discussions on this Product
  • Show user ratings
  • Check for Retailers
    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: October 2009 | Views: 67729 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    E-flite Stearman PT-17 15e ARF

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

    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 Kit with hardware
    High Quality Construction with a great looking finish
    Superb Flying Performance
    No Painting or Decals Needed
    Painted Fiberglass Cowl and Gear Fairings
    Easy Access Magnetic Hatch
    Optional Upgrades Available
    Detailed Manual Instructions


    Skill Level:

    Time Required to Build:
    10-15 Hours

    Frustration Level:
    No Problem

    Degree of Difficulty Explanation

    E-flite Stearman PT-17 15e ARF

    E-flite has expertly re-created the rugged good looks and flight behavior of the full-scale Stearman PT-17 with this easy-to-assemble 15-size model that is a joy to fly. It comes out of the box constructed of balsa and light plywood and covered in an authentic early-WWII UtlraCote® trim scheme. Other scale touches include a painted fiberglass cowl, painted fiberglass landing gear fairings, and a great-looking 9-cylinder dummy radial engine. Assembly is remarkably simple thanks to the plug-in wings and bolt-on interplane struts. E-flite?s even included specially designed jigs that allow you to keep the upper and lower wing halves connected for easier transport and storage.

    In the air, the Stearman PT-17 15e?s flat-bottom airfoils and light wing loading translate into exceptionally scale-like flight characteristics that everyone from intermediate to advanced pilots will instantly fall in love with. Originally used as a primary trainer for the U.S. Army Air Corps in the days leading up to WWII, the Stearman PT-17 had numerous post-war roles from crop duster to air show star, making it one of the most recognizable biplanes among the general public to this day.

    Key Features:

    • Can be assembled and flight ready in just a few evenings
    • Large magnetic hatch for easy access to electronics
    • Plug-in wings speed assembly
    • Includes wing jig for easy transport and storage
    • Realistic 9-cylinder dummy radial engine
    • Painted fiberglass landing gear fairings
    • Authentic pre-WWII UltraCote® trim scheme
    • Painted fiberglass cowl


    • Wingspan:44.0 in (1120mm)
    • Overall Length:35.0 in (890mm)
    • Wing Area:608 sq in (37.5 sq dm)
    • Flying Weight:3.5?3.8 lb (1.5?1.7 kg)
    • Motor Size:Power 15
    • Radio:4-channel
    • Servos:JR SPORT MN48 (2)(JSP20040) and JR SPORT MC35 (2)(JSP20030)
    • Trim Scheme Colors:HANU875 Sky Blue, HANU872 Bright Yellow
    • Prop Size:APC 12x6E electric prop
    • Hardware Included:Yes
    • Speed Control :40-Amp Pro Brushless ESC (EFLA1040)
    • Recommended Battery:3200mAh 3S 11.1V Li-Po battery EFLB32003S
    • Approx. Flying Duration:12?15 minutes
    • Scale:yes
    • Approx. Assembly Time:6?8 hours
    ARF Contents :

    The parts are well protected in the box using custom compartments, sub-boxes, and bags. The beautifully painted fiberglass scale cowl was additionally wrapped in foam in its own box, which also served to protect the delicate windows.

    I did not find a single wrinkle or warped surface on any of the covered pieces. All the alignment dowels were pre-installed.

    The pre-painted fiberglass landing gear fairings come already built with the wheels attached. The 32-page manual is loaded with clear photos and instructions, continuing the tradition of E-flite excellence!


    A closer look at the fuselage reveals the incredible detail in building it light and strong. The decals are already applied and the cockpit painted. The hatch is held in place by two strong magnets in the back portion.

    Power System :

    The power system components for the Stearman PT-17 include the following items:

    The receiver and servos used are:

    • Spektrum DSM2 AR6200 6-channel Receiver
    • Two JR Sport MN48 Mini Servos for Rudder and Elevator
    • Two JR Sport MC35 Micro Servos for the ailerons

    The first step of the assembly is to install the two JR Sport MN48 mini servos for elevator and rudder control.

    Stabilizer Mounting:

    The horizontal stab, elevator, rudder, and tailwheel all installed exactly as described in the manual. I had no problems following the detailed photos and descriptions. Thin CA was used to glue the stab in place as well as the hinge material. An Allen wrench is supplied to secure the tailwheel assembly.

    Pushrod Installation:

    The rudder and elevator pushrod installation went according to the manual with a few minor changes. Use a 5/64" bit instead of a 1/16" bit to enlarge the servo arm holes for the pushrod. Also, the amount of turning to get the clevis in the correct position warranted cutting of 1/4" of the threaded ends of each pushrod.

    All the hardware is included in the kit and the pushrods are already bent for the servo arms.

    Gear Mains:

    The landing gear and cabane strut installation was very easy. All the t-nuts are pre-installed so you simply screw it together after dabbing a small amount of thread locker on each screw.

    Aileron Servo Mounting:

    The aileron installation uses two JR Sport MC35 Micro servos. The servos are first mounted to the hatch using the supplied blocks and then screwed in place on the bottom wing halves.

    Strings are installed in the wing halves to help pull the control cables to the ends. The ailerons are secured using thin CA and the linkages are installed using the same technique as the rudder and elevator. The difference here is that the control horn screws do not go through the ailerons for a cleaner look.

    The 5/64" drill bit was used again instead of a 1/16" bit to open the outer servo arm holes. Other than this drill bit size error, the manual instructions are flawless.

    Motor and ESC:

    The motor and ESC installation is also well described in the manual. The important areas here are to select the correct spacer lengths, as there are two sizes in the bag, and use thread locker on the x-mount screws and 1" Allen bolts to prevent them from vibration loose in flight.

    The E-flite 40-amp Pro Brushless ESC is held in place using hook and loop tape. I used my own Industrial Strength Velcro here. The motor/ESC wires are then secured using your own cable ties.

    Cowl Mounting:

    The fiberglass cowl installed easily using the paper strip guide technique in the manual. I cut the four strips needed from the backing on the E-flite ESC packaging. The cowl is positioned by hand and then marked for the exact hole placement.

    Wing Mounting:

    The wings are simply pressed into place and secured with 4-40 x 3/8" Allen bolts. Both top and bottom wings are supported by carbon tubes and aligned by pins in the center section.

    The interplane struts (shaped like the letter "N") and pre-mounted metal lugs in the wing panels were already pre-drilled and tapped to accept the 4-40 x 1/4" Allen bolts. I used a single JR Sport (JSP98020) 6" Y-Harness to connect the two servo wires to the aileron channel on the receiver.

    Transport Jigs:

    E-flite has included specially designed wing jigs that hold the upper and lower halves in place as you slide them on.
    When it comes time to pack everything up and head for home, the jigs will allow you to leave the upper and lower halves connected for simpler transport and storage.

    Optional Pilot:

    E-flite offers the (EFLA150) 1/9 Military Pilot as an option to use in the Stearman. The windows and pilot were glued in place using Pacer Formula 560 canopy glue.

    Receiver and Battery Placement:

    The components were placed per the manual recommendation. My extra satellite receiver was positioned between the two servos. Note that the battery pack is held by Velcro on the bottom as well as a strap.

    The APC 12x6 e-prop seems like a good fit and my initial run up to full throttle revealed plenty of power!


    The last step of the assembly was to check the CG. The manual recommends 2oz to 4oz of lead weight to obtain proper balance.

    I added 3oz of lead to the inside of the cowl to get my Stearman to balance right in the middle of the suggested CG range.


    My Stearman PT-17 was Ready-To-Fly at 61.4oz (3.8lbs) including the 9.4oz E-flite 3s 3200mAh LiPo pack. The power system measured 420 watts at 36 amps which gave me a strong 109w/lb.

    Test Flying

    The E-flite Stearman PT-17 flies as good as it looks! The video shows the first two flights we had on the Stearman and just how dynamic the flight envelope is for this WWII trainer. Pilot, Devin McGrath, puts the Stearman through a series of maneuvers that includes loops, rolls, hammer heads, inverted flight, and some great slow flying around the field.

    The stock E-flite 3-cell 3200mAh LiPo pack provides a good 15 minute flight with plenty of mixed aerobatics. We had no problems with grass take-offs or landings other than the occasional elevator delay. Sometimes when landing the Stearman, the elevator control was sometimes blanked out by the air over the wing. This caused a slight dampening effect where we would feed it elevator until it reacted and would notice a slight pitch change when landing. The Stearman didn't want to stop flying and really loved to float before landing. This model is an easy build and an easy flier but still requires intermediate flying skills. Although the Stearman seemed to handle 10-15mph winds without issue, we had the most fun in calmer conditions. Other than that, the Stearman flies great will plenty of authority using the Power 15 outrunner motor, which the video shows on several hammer-head maneuvers.

    Download and Watch in Windows Media Player here! (26 MB)


    The E-flite Stearman PT-17 has a light wing loading that provides exceptionally scale-like flight characteristics for pilots from intermediate to advanced skills. It comes out of the box beautifully constructed of balsa and light plywood and covered in an authentic early-WWII UtlraCote® trim scheme, allowing for assembly times around 10 hours.

    The recommended E-flite Power 15 Brushless Power System provides plenty of authority to perform a series of maneuvers that includes loops, rolls, hammer heads, inverted flight, and some great slow flying around the field.

    The large magnetic hatch allows easy access to the electronics and battery pack. The plug-in wings and included wing jig provide for easy transport and storage. The Stearman design was very well done, continuing the tradition of E-flite excellence!

    E-flite AT-6 Texan

    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

    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 Stearman PT-17 15e

    Posted by: silent flyer on 10/25/2009
    I enjoyed your review. I really enjoy my PT-17 also. Mine is powered by an E-flite Power 25 ( because I had one)- It is a good flyer and just looks awesome in the air. I would recomend it as a great sport flyer Jay
    Posted by: ezland24 on 07/28/2010
    The link to Windows Media Player is not of the Stearman.
    Posted by: RickMunn on 11/16/2010
    Hi While I am enjoying my PT-17 immensely, E-Flight should make the radial dummy engine a little more sturdier - while the cowl is fiberglass, the dummy engine part is molded from plastic that is tissue thin in some places. On my fifth flight I bumped the nose very gently on a slow landing and one of the lower cylinders broke partially off. Also, beefing up the radial engines plastic would most likely remove some of the needed lead (3-4oz) in the cowl for balancing. The replacement cowls aren't that expensive ~$15, but it's all these little parts that add up so quickly...Oh well, my Hangar 9 Piper Pawnee purchase will have to wait a little longer.
    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.

    Tower HobbiesJ-3 CubWith its distinctive looks, it is probably safe to say that the J-3 Cub is one of the most recognized and known airplanes in ...11/23/2015
    RCGF21cc Twin Cylinder Gasoline EngineRCGF, a Chinese manufacturer of gasoline engines, designs and manufactures engines specifically for 'the RC aircraft market. ...11/23/2015
    RCGF120cc Twin Cylinder Gasoline EngineRCGF, a Chinese manufacturer of gasoline engines, designs and manufactures engines specifically for the RC aircraft market. T...11/23/2015
    Seagull ModelsMaule Super Rocket 10-15cc ARFWhen Seagull Models announced that they were going to produce not just a model, but an ARF of the Super Rocket, I just had to...11/22/2015
    HobbicoEstes Proto-ZThe Proto-Z is a Blast of micro-sized fun! It's the ultimate user-friendly drone- The fastest, easiset and most economical wa...11/22/2015
    FliteworkEdge 540The Flitework Edge 540 is an electric only ARF airframe with a generous wing span of 66.9" and also beautifully dressed up in...11/21/2015
    Seagull ModelsSteen Super Skybolt 15cc ARFSeagull Models introduced this biplane early on in 2015, and SIG mfg. had a pre-production sample at the Toledo Expo. That pr...11/20/2015
    ST ModelSaltoST model brings us a fun aerobatic glider with the H101 Salto. The self-launch electric glider has no bad tendency and will b...11/19/2015
    RCGF10cc Gasoline EngineRCGF, a Chinese manufacturer of gasoline engines, designs and manufactures engines specifically for 'the RC aircraft market. ...11/17/2015
    Seagull ModelsFunky Cub 10-15cc ARFThe new Funky Cub has some really cool attributes, borrowed from scale aircraft, that should add up to make it a great flying...11/16/2015
    RCGF20cc Gasoline EngineRCGF, a Chinese manufacturer of gasoline engines, designs and manufactures engines specifically for 'the RC aircraft market. ...11/15/2015
    ST ModelASW28ST Model chose to reproduce the Schleicher ASW28, a single seater standard class glider capable of glide ratio up to 45. The ...11/10/2015
    The World Models30% PT-17 Stearman ARF (U.S. ARMY) Some may call me lucky. I would agree! One of the reasons that the PT-17 is so close to my heart is that I have a personal co...10/03/2015
    Bomberfield USA 201527th Annual B-17 GatheringEvery year, the end of the summer brings the big birds back to Monaville, TX, for a festive fly-in weekend at the local RC si...10/03/2015
    HeliMaxVoltage 500 3DThis quad is absolutely not for the faint of heart, but if you·re an established heli pilot with some experience under your b...10/03/2015

      Return to Magazine Homepage

    Copyright MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands Copyright © 2001-2019.
    Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

    Search | Marketplace | Event Central | Local Clubs | Magazine | Product Ratings | New Products | Discussion Forums

    Photo Gallery | Instructor Search | Field|Track|Marina Search | RCU Youtube Channel | | RCU Twitter!

    Member Locator | Advertisers | Hobby Vendor Resources | Rate Manufacturers | Sign In/Sign Up

    Products Videos WattFlyer.com RC Classifieds

    RCU2 | | 0 | 1 | 11:51:38 PM EST | NC