RCU Review: E-Flite RV9

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    Contributed by: Chris Batcheller | Published: December 2009 | Views: 35086 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of Horizon RV-9 480 by E-Flight

    Introduction | Specifications | First Look | Assembly
    Photo Shoot | Tech Data | Flight Report | Summary | Dealer

    RCU Forums: batchelc
    Email: chris@nolapilot.com

    • Scale Looks
    • Quality Construction
    • Conceiled Servos
    • Excellent Performance
    • High Visibility Trim Scheme

    • Flaps were stiff

    Degree of Difficulty

    Skill Level:

    Time Required to Build:
    2-5 Hours

    Frustration Level:
    No Problem

    Degree of Difficulty Explanation


    The successful Van's RV-9 kitplane can now be assembled for a lot less time and money in the form of a park flyer by E-Flite! The E-Flite RV-9 450 sports a 50" wing span and is powered by either a 450 or 480 sized brushless motor.

    This airplane retains the scale lines of its full scale counterpart and boast excellent performance thanks to it's lightweight electric power system and airframe. This airplane combines stability and sporty flight characteristics that can be flown in a small field or a park.

    Included in this review:

    • RV-9 450 ARF (EFL2775)
    • Park 480 Brushless Motor (EFLM1505)
    • 40 A Lite-Pro SB Brushless ESC (EFLA1040L)
    • 2100 mAh 3S 11.1V 20C LiPo battery (EFLB21002S)
    • (5) S75 Servos (EFLRS75)



    • Wingspan:50.0 in (1270mm)
    • Overall Length:38.0 in (920mm)
    • Wing Area:385 sq in (24.8 sq dm)
    • Flying Weight:3640 oz (10201135 g)
    • Trim Scheme Colors:Hanger 9® UltraCote® Bright Yellow (HANU872); Deep Blue (HANU873); Black (HANU874); True Red (HANU866)
    • Spinner Size:Included
    • Hardware Included:Included
    • Minimum Age Recommendation:14 years
    • Experience Level:Intermediate
    • Recommended Environment:Outdoor
    • Assembly Time:3-5 Hours
    • Is Assembly Required:Yes

    First Look

    The E-Flite RV-9 450 comes well packaged in a full color box. Each major part is individually bagged and packed well. The kit includes all the hardware that you need to complete the airplane.

    The E-Flite Servos, Battery and ESC all came in full color plastic and cardboard packaging. The motor came well packed in a full color box with foam padding. The Spectrum Receiver came well packaged in a plastic box.

    Needed to Complete

    To complete this airplane you will need:

    • Motor Size:450- to 480-size brushless
    • Radio:4+ channels (5+ for flaps)
    • Servos:4 or 5 (with flaps) E-flite S75
    • Prop Size:450 - APC 10x7E; 480 - APC 12x6E
    • Speed Control :450 - E-flite 30-amp brushless; 480 - E-flite 40-amp brushless
    • Recommended Battery:450 - E-flite 1800mAh 3S; 480 - E-flite 2100mAh 3S
    • (2) 12" servos extensions for the ailerons
    • (1) Y-Harness for the ailerons
    • (1) 3" servo extension for the flaps (optional)
    • 30 minute epoxy, Thin and Medium CA, Canopy Glue
    • Small zip-ties
    • Rubbing alcohol

    Only hand tools will be required to assemble this airplane. The manual HERE lists the required tools.


    The assembly takes 3-5 hours to complete and includes all the hardware needed to complete the airplane. The first step is to install the landing gear using a 5/64" hex wrench and threadlocker.

    The vertical and horizontal tail bolt on to the fuselage. I really like that no glue is used, allowing you to remove the tail later if needed. The tailwheel comes pre-installed on the rudder.

    When installing the tail, I found it handy to use a pickup magnet and a 3/32 hex wrench to get the screws started when installing the tail assembly onto the fuselage. The next step is to remove some covering and install the control horns. Some medium CA ensures that the control horns will stay put.

    The servos fit nicely into the precut holes and installed easily. It's best if you install the servos, then remove them and put a drop of thin CA into the screw holes in the plywood. Let that completely dry before reinstalling the servos. This will harden the area, allowing the screw a more solid grip into the soft wood.

    I pushed the rudder and elevator push rods into the fuselage via the installed guide tubes and secured them to the servos. The pushrods attach to the servos with small plastic keepers and a screw. Do not over-torque the screw or you will strip the plastic!

    The wing servo requires a 12" extension. The manual included an addendum to use a string to get the servo wire from the aileron to the wing root. Future kits will include a string pre-installed in the wing. I used a small diameter piece of music wire and some tape.

    The servos are installed so only the servo arm sticks below the wing, keeping to the scale looks. The wing servos are installed onto a mounting plate. Make sure you reinforce the screw holes with thin CA the same as the servos in the fuselage. Some covering is removed to glue the aileron control horn to the aileron. The installed aileron servo has a clean appearance thanks to internally mounting the servo.

    Epoxy makes makes quick work of gluing the wings together. The manual specifies 30 minute epoxy. The wings lined up well and fit nicely. I used some tape to make sure the wings stayed aligned while the epoxy cured. Once the wing joint cures, the wing hold down dowels are installed using some thin CA. The dowels are short and should be adjusted so they are aligned to each other and parallel to the wing chord. On this airplane, one dowel fit well and the other needed the hole opened just a little.

    At this point you can either install the flap servo or fix the flaps in place with the servo cover that comes with the airplane. Before installing the flaps linkages, make sure that they move freely and do not bind. On this airplane, one flap worked great the the other needed to be moved a few dozen times to free it up. To install the flaps, first the control horns are screwed onto the linkages followed by the pushrods. Be sure to mark the flap servo wire so you do not confuse it with an aileron servo wire!

    Now that the wing is complete, the motor and ESC (Electronic Speed Control) can be installed. The ESC is held to the fuselage with some hook and loop material. The wires are secured with small zip ties.

    The canopy is glued together using some canopy glue for the canopey and some medium CA for the seats. There is also an optional pilot that can be installed.  When installing the canopy, a little of the canopy should stick past the wood which has the magnet. This will help guide the canopy to the magnet later.

    When installing the canopy, follow the directions in the manual. If you don't follow the directions, the canopy will not fit correctly. The manual has you use use some wax paper between the canopy and the fuselage to make sure that no glue gets on the fuselage. You can use some tape and outline the outside edge of the plastic canopy. When you glue on the canopy, any glue that seeps out past the canopy will stick to the tape. Use a razor blade to cut the glue at the edge of the canopy and remove the tape. Don't cut any deeper than the tape! This will leave a clean line and remove any unwanted glue drips.

    The propeller installs on the Park 480 motor using the included spinner and supplied propeller adapter. When installing the propeller, take care to make sure that the propeller lines up with the cutouts in the spinner. The back edge of the propeller blade will not sit against the pegs on the spinner backplate.

    The E-Flite 11.1V 2300 mAh battery is held in the fuselage with some hook and loop material and the supplied battery hold down straps. The battery hold down straps are the hook and loop type and they work great!

    The wheels and wheel pants install easily with a few screws and wheel collars. The axles screw onto the metal landing gear and secure with a nylon lock nut. A wheel collar is then secured to the axles. The last step is to slide on the wheel pant, wheel and wheel collar onto the axles. It sounds tricky, but the hex wrench fit secure in the wheel collar set screw. I was able to position the wheel collar on the shaft using the wrench and some gravity with the airplane partially upside down.

    The wing is secured to the fuselage using two 4-40 screws and T-Nuts. Make sure the T-Nuts are glued well to the plywood. The first time I assembled the wing to the fuselage, one of the T-nuts came loose. When installing the wing pay attention to all the wires, and carefully stuff them in the fuselage.

    Photo Shoot

    Technical Data

    Once completed, the RV-9 has extremely clean lines.

    The ready to fly airplane came in right on the advertised weight of 39 oz.

    Center of Gravity
    2 to 2 1/4" " back from the Leading Edge
    Control Throws
    Up / Left
    Down / Right
    Low High Low High Low High
    Elevator 5/8" 3/4" 5/8" 3/4" 10% 15%
    Ailerons 3/8" 9/16" 3/8" 9/16" 10% 15%
    Rudder 1" 1-9/16" 1" 1-9/16" 10% 15%
    Flaps 5/16" 5/8"

    The Park 480 Motor and APC 12x6E propeller provided more than enough power to fly the RV-9 450 ARF. With the 12-6E propeller and the 40 Amp ESC you can see the airplane hovering in the video. This power package gives you the option to fly the airplane scale when throttled back, or all out with the throttle wide open.

    Power System Performance
    Full Throttle (Takeoff) Performance
    Full Throttle static thrust peaked at 2 Lbs 11 oz and steadied around 2 Lbs 8 oz.
    Half Throttle Performance where most scale flying will be done.


    You can fly the E-Flite Park 480 ARF in a small space as can be seen in the video. The airplane is very maneuverable on high rates and stable when flown scale like on low rates. Like the full-sized kitplane, the E-Flite Park 480 ARF is full of performance. The Park 480 Motor and APC 12x6E propeller had enough thrust to hover this little scale flyer. The E-Flite Park 480 is fully aerobatic and is recommended for intermediate pilots.

    The airplane looks great in the air. The lines of this airplane are very scale and the trim scheme is very visible with the giant "N" numbers on the bottom of the wing.

    Flight Report
    Takeoff: Takeoffs are easy, the airplane tracked straight and was able to make shot takeoffs with the Park 480 motor and the APC 12x6E propeller.
    Slow Flight, Stalls and Spins: The airplane is controllable in slow flight thanks to the large rudder and elevator. Get in the habit of using the rudder and ailerons during slow flight as the ailerons are less effective in slow flight. The stalls are mild and generally the airplane breaks straight ahead. In a few stalls the airplane had a tendency to drop a wing, but nothing challenging. The airplane will spin as can be seen on the video. The spins in the video are not flat and easily recoverable. With a further aft C.G. (flown at 2" for all the video), the spin will flatten out.
    Basic Aerobatics (Aileron / Elevator): This airplane will fly all the basic aileron and elevator flight maneuvers including loops and rolls. A bit of elevator is needed while inverted.
    Advanced Aerobatics (Aileron / Elevator / Rudder): This park flyer is fully aerobatic and will perform hammerheads, spins and other advanced aerobatic maneuvers.
    Trim: The airplane required some nose-down trim to maintain level flight.
    Go-Arounds: Go-Arounds are easy if you remember to add a touch of nose down stick while powering up.
    Landing: The airplane is very easy to see while landing as can be seen in the photos. The wing stalls clean and this airplane doesn't float. With the flaps down you can slow down a bit more for landing and make a steeper approach too. I prefer to carry some extra speed and power in the approach since the airplane slows down quickly in the flare.



    The E-Flite RV-9 450 ARF is an easy to assemble airplane that gives you the choice of flying scale manuvers or fully acrobatic ones. It's trim scheme is easy to see and E-Flite has kept the lines clean by installing the servos so only the servo arms stick out. The airplane closely resembles the successful Van's RV-9 kitplane and looks very scale when flown around 1/2 throttle.

    The airplane can perform just about any aerobatic maneuver thanks to the generous elevator and rudder. For faster roll rates you will want to increase the aileron throws. Also while upside down, the airplane requires some elevator. With the optional flaps, you can make steeper approaches and slow the RV-9 down on landing. The RV-9 isn't a floater, so I like to carry a bit of extra speed and power on landing.

    Overall I found the E-Flite RV-9 to packed with performance that I wasn't expecting. Looking at the RV-9 you would think that it would be a lazy flyer. Thanks to it's light weight, semi-symmetrical wing and strong power package, the RV-9 is capable of flying scale or all out aerobatics. It's great performance combined with it's scale looks make this airplane a great little package.


    Dealer Information

    RV-9 450 ARF by E-Flite:

    Horizon Hobby, Inc.

    ATTN: E-Flite
    4105 Fieldstone Road
    Champaign, IL 61822

    Main Phone: (217) 352-1913
    Toll-Free: (800) 338-4639
    Support Phone: (877) 504-0233
    Sales Phone: (800) 338-4639

    Web: http://www.horizonhobby.com



    Hobby Lobby International, Inc.

    5614 Franklin Pike Circle
    Brentwood, TN 37027

    Website: http://www.hobby-lobby.com

    Phone: 1-866-WE-FLY-RC (1-866-933-5972)

    Fax: 615-377-6948


    Chris Batcheller
    Joe Schambre
    Chris Batcheller
    Chris Batcheller

    Written: 10/25/2009

    Comments on RCU Review: E-Flite RV9

    Posted by: *monkeygutz69-delete* on 01/28/2010
    Flying Weight:3640 oz (10201135 g).... hmmm 227.5 lbs. On an E-Flite 480... No wonder it could almost hover!!!!!I want THAT motor... LOL... TJ
    Posted by: jhicks112562 on 03/10/2010
    Great review on a cool little plane! I highly recommend installing and using the flaps. Use of flaps greatly enhances the stability of this plane on takeoff and landing. Besides, they look cool!
    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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