RCU Review: E-Flite Beechcraft Bonanza 15e ARF

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    Contributed by: Geoff Barber | Published: April 2010 | Views: 49316 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of E-Flite Beechcraft Bonanza 15e ARF
    Geoff Barber

    Email Me

    4105 Fieldstone Rd.
    Champaign, IL 61822
    Phone: (217) 352-1913

    • Large Battery Hatch
    • Solid, Lightweight Construction
    • Nice, Scale lines
    • Spinner Included
    • Very Little Modification for Retracts
    • Many Optional Accessories

    • None

    Skill Level:

    Time Required to Build:

    Frustration Level:

    What do these ratings mean?

    As America emerged from WWII, a new breed of private, single engine aircraft was born. Designed by a team led by Ralph Harmon, the model 35 Bonanza was one of the first modern high-performance personal aircraft. It was fabricated using all metal construction, featured retractable landing gear and signature V-tail, which made it both efficient and the most distinctive private aircraft in the sky. The prototype 35 Bonanza made its first flight on December 22nd, 1945, and the first production aircraft in 1947. During the late 1970's a conventional tail design started showing up as the V-tail had been shown to be dangerous in high turbulence situations. In 1982, the V-tail design had been retired, and the Bonanza's on the market today with the V-tail bring high dollar.


    E-flite has just released their version of this classic aircraft. This new plane boasts sleek styling, many optional parts, and a very convenient size that makes transport easy!

    Name:E-flite Beechcraft Bonanza 15e ARF

    Price: $179.99

    Wingspan: 48 Inches (1220 mm)

    Weight(w/ battery): 4.2-4.5 Pounds (1.9-2.0 kg)

    Length: 41.9 Inches (1065 mm)

    Requires: Minimum 5 Channel Radio and Receiver (6 if using retracts), 7 Mini Servos, Electric Motor and ESC of Appropriate Size, and Battery

    Channels Used: 6 total - Elevator, Aileron, Rudder, Throttle, Flaps, Retracts

    Items Needed To Complete

    • Thin CA
    • 12 and 30-Minute Epoxy
    • Canopy Glue
    • Thread Locking Compound
    • Electric Motor, ESC, and Battery
    • 5 or 6 Channel Radio, Receiver, and 7 Servos
    • Misc. Shop Tools

    The Bonanza arrived on my door step in a colorful, nicely decorated box. Upon opening the box, I found the packaging to be up to E-flite's normal shipping standards. All the pieces were in individual bags, and taped together to prevent shifting during shipping.

    As I removed each piece from its bag, I found a beautiful looking airplane that had a fiberglass cowl painted to match the red, white, and blue covering scheme on the fuselage, wings and tail.

    A few of the items that caught my eye were the large top hatch for battery access, the sturdy fixed landing gear, and the flap linkage system (more on this later).

    E-flite also sent me a set of their new electric retracts to install in the Bonanza. After installing and using them, I can say without a doubt that they are extremely easy to install and are very reliable!


    The manual included with the Bonanza is probably the best manual I have seen to date! The written instructions are clear, and the illustrations are very informative. One of the coolest things is the included instructions for all of the optional accessories!

    I am really excited to get this project started... Are you?

    V-Tail and Tail Servos Installation

    Assembly begins with the tail and servos. Removing the large top hatch is done with a slight tug forward and lifting upwards. Installing the rudder and elevator servos, or in this case, the ruddervator servos is standard procedure. Just make sure to slide the pushrods in their respective tubes to locate the correct servo placement. For the V-tail, The top set of pushrod tubes are used, and they direct the pushrods out the top of the tail section.

    Installing the V-tail is done by inserting and tightening the two machine bolts that hold everything in alignment. Just be sure to apply a little thread locking compound to the bolts before tightening them up. Installing the painted tail cone is next, and is mounted very similar to mounting a cowl. Mounting the tail cone presented no difficulties, and the manual walks you through every step. The V-tail is an optional kit, and it includes its own tail cone.

    Conventional Tail Installation

    For those of you that install the conventional tail, it is done almost the same as the V-tail. The differences being you must remove a small section of covering and cut out the right rear corner of the fuselage to allow the rudder pushrod to exit. The lower set of pushrod tubes is used for this tail set. The control horn for the rudder is threaded onto the rudder wire before installation.

    The conventional tail is attached the same way as the V-tail. Two machine bolts through the bottom of the fuselage are all that are required to secure everything in place. Again, make sure to apply a little thread locking compound to the bolts before tightening them. Once installed, attach the clevises to the horns, and install the tail cone.

    Nose Gear and Steering Cable

    It's time to install the nose wheel landing gear and steering cable. The Bonanza comes with very nice, stout fixed landing gear, but I opted to use E-flite's new electric retracts. The first step is installing the guide tube and flexible cable. Once the cable is in place, the steering servo's location is marked and drilled, and then the servo is screwed in place. The steering servo is required regardless of which tail set you use. You'll want to make sure that you harden all the servo screw holes with a drop or two of thin CA.

    At this point, I prepared the nose gear by cutting the wire to length, bending it, and installing the axle. The wheel is removed from the fixed gear at this point and used on the retract. Cut the template from the back of the instructions and, using the directions, tape it in place on the bottom of the fuselage. Mark, cut, and carefully remove the bottom sheeting ONLY if installing the retracts.

    After removing the bottom sheeting, notch the corner of the firewall and trim the first former as I have shown in the green shaded areas. Mark the locations of the retract (which is the same for the fixed gear) and drill the screw holes. After threading and hardening the holes with thin CA, install the retract and attach the steering cable.

    Aileron and Flap Servo Installation

    We'll now move on to the aileron and flap servo installation. Each wing half requires it own flap and aileron servo, and the mounting blocks must be located on the covers and epoxied in place. There is a template in the rear of the instructions to make finding the mounting block locations easy. Just make sure to use each template on the correct wing half, as they are different. If you notice the inset on the last picture, I had to make a relief cut to allow room for the servo lead to clear the mounting block. This may not be necessary depending on your choice of servos.

    After the epoxy has cured, mount the servos and screw the aileron hatch covers in place. For the flaps, you'll need to prepare the pushrod and attach it to both the flap control horn and then the servo before attaching the hatch cover to the wing. This is the first plane I have assembled with the hidden flap servo, and I really like this set up. While it is more complicated than a typical aileron servo set up, I think it looks much nicer and keeps the scale lines cleaner! There is a pull string in the wing for pulling the servo leads though and out the exit hole on the top-side.

    Wing Assembly and Belly Pan Installation

    Now that the wing halves have been prepared, it is time to epoxy them together. Mix up plenty of 30-minute epoxy, and apply it to the wing joiner slot and each root rib. Slide the wing joiner into the slot and push the wing halves together. The manual shows you how to use a clip on the front wing tab, a rubber band and the wing hold-down screws to keep the wing tight while the epoxy cures.

    After the epoxy has cured, attach the wing to the fuselage and fit the belly pan. My belly pan required a little trimming, but it was nothing a rotary tool and sanding drum couldn't handle. When satisfied with the fit, tape the belly pan in place and secure with canopy glue.

    Main Gear Installation

    If you are installing the fixed gear, simply locate and drill the four mounting holes, then secure the gear in place. As I am installing the electric retracts, I had to cut and remove the covering from the gear holes, and seal the covering down around the edges. I next assembled the electric retract per the instructions, removed the wheel from the fixed gear, and installed it on the retract. Mounting the retract was so easy! Simply center the assembly in the hole, mark, and drill the mounting holes. Apply a drop or two of CA to each mounting hole, and when dry, install the retract.

    I really like these new electric units! With no airlines and tank, mechanical linkages, or extra servos, they take all the hassle out of the installation! I can see these retracts becoming very popular.

    Motor and ESC Installation

    Motor and ESC installation is straight forward. The motor is attached to the firewall using the included bolts, washers and spacers. Be sure to put a little thread locking compound on the motor mount bolts.

    For the ESC, you'll need to drill or ream a 7/16 hole in the battery/ESC mounting plate for the wires. Run the ESC wires through the hole and out the lower right front firewall hole. Now, plug the motor into the ESC and attach it to the mounting plate with a piece of the hook-and-loop tape provided.

    Cowling and Spinner Installation

    The Bonanza comes with a very nice, pre-painted fiberglass cowl. If you are using the retractable gear, you will need to trim the cowl slightly to clear the steering arm. Mounting the cowl is easy using the method described in the manual. You'll cut four small pieces of cardstock, drill a small hole at the instructed location, line the hole up with the mounting area on the fuselage and tape them in place. Now slide the cowl on, and drill the mounting holes using the card stock as a guide.

    Aapply a drop or two of CA to the holes in the firewall tabs. It's much easier to do this with the prop and spinner removed. Once the CA has dried, secure the cowl with the screws provided, and reinstall the prop and spinner.

    Battery and Receiver Installation

    Installing the primary and satellite receiver is easy using the provided hook-and-loop tape, there is plenty of room in the fuselage for all the radio gear installation.

    The battery pack is secured using two long hook-and-loop straps that are provided.

    Final Assembly

    Final assembly consists of installing the wing, attaching y-harnesses to all necessary servo leads, and plugging in the leads and the battery. I found it very helpful to label all the servo leads, because with flaps, retracts, and an extra servo to steer the nose gear, it can get pretty confusing if you don't! The last step is to check the balance on your plane. I added just a little weight to the nose of my Bonanza to get it to balance right in the middle of the 3 1/2"- 4" back from the leading edge of the wing where it meets the fuselage.

    As you can see, whichever tail set you use, the Bonanza looks great!

    Optional Cockpit Interior and
    Aluminum Spinner Installation

    You can get an optional polished aluminum spinner that looks great.

    The cockpit kit is a very nice feature, and installation takes just a few minutes (if you don't count canopy glue drying time).

    The seat backs are glued in place using canopy glue. There is a small section that is glued to the rear interior of the hatch, and a nice instrument cluster decal is provided as well. The decal must be cut to fit, and after a few minutes of trimming, it slid in nicely.

    The floor is two sections, splitting right behind the front seat backs. The rear section is slid in place and secured using canopy glue, followed by the front floor section, also secured with canopy glue.

    The optional spinner and cockpit kit really make the Bonanza stand out from the crowd!

    Let's take the Bonanza out into the daylight to see how she looks!

    The maiden flight of the Bonanza was done on a bright, clear day in early March. The winds were fairly calm, but there was a 5-7 mph crosswind. My normal runway was still covered by two feet of snow, so I opted for a very quiet, paved road on the outskirts of town.

    Since this plane has two tail options, I flew both in the same day, so they could be compared in the same weather conditions. It takes just a few minutes to switch the conventional to the V-tail, and can be done at the field. I found no performance differences between the two versions.

    Time for take-off! The throttle was advanced, and the Bonanza took off very scale-like and climbed out nicely. Once in the air, I cruised around at half-throttle, and pulled in the landing gear. This airplane looks REALLY nice with the gear up! The Bonanza will do almost anything you ask it to. It can fly very fast, and with a little finesse, it will fly quite slow as well. When it comes to aerobatics, it'll do almost anything. Loops and rolls are beautiful, and Cuban eights look great- although straight and level is pretty much what its full scale sibling does most of the time.

    Landings are easy, and the flaps really help to slow the plane down and provide a little extra lift. The landings you'll see in the video are a little on the rough side due to the crosswind and the large snow drifts right beside the temporary runway. Flight times are reasonable with a 3200 MAh LiPo battery. I flew for 6-8 minutes, changed from the conventional tail to the V-tail, and then flew another 6 minutes on one charge!

    Check out the video to see the Beechcraft in action!

    Eflite bonanza 15e ARF
    Download and Watch in Windows Media Player here

    With its scale lines, flaps, and optional parts, the Bonanza really looks great sitting on the ground and even better in the air. From start to finish, I couldn't find any faults with this Beech, and I think I'll enjoy many more flight with this one! If you like scale civilian aircraft, you've got to have this one (complete with optional retracts, spinner, and cockpit kit)in your hangar.

    Distributed through Horizon Hobby
    4105 Fieldstone Rd.
    Champaign, IL 61822
    Phone: (217) 352-1913

    Spektrum Radios
    Distributed through Horizon Hobby
    4105 Fieldstone Rd.
    Champaign, IL 61822
    Phone: (217) 352-1913

    Comments on RCU Review: E-Flite Beechcraft Bonanza 15e ARF

    Posted by: FrankHawks-delete on 04/06/2010
    My congradulations to E-Flight on a very eloquent model.
    Posted by: FrankHawks-delete on 04/06/2010
    My congradulations to E-Flight on a very eloquent model.
    Posted by: PassionOfFlight on 04/07/2010
    Very nice!!!! Always wanted a Bonanza in an arf form and now i have my chance to have one! Nice job E-Flite!!!!
    Posted by: av8tr on 04/26/2010
    Nice review!!
    Posted by: Reson7 on 06/30/2010
    Would you recommend this as a second or third plane?
    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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