RCU Review: E-Flite T-34 Mentor 25 ePTS


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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: May 2010 | Views: 38710 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    E-flite T-34 Mentor 25e

    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
    Website: www.horizonhobby.com


    Complete ARF Package
    Great value and looks
    Superb Flying Performance
    Easy Assembly
    Scale trim scheme


    Could use more options like retracts and pilots


    Skill Level:
    Low



    Time Required to Build:
    3 to 5 Hours



    Frustration Level:
    No Major Problems



    Degree of Difficulty Explanation

     

    E-flite T-34 Mentor25e
    E-flite’s sport scale re-creation of the T-34 Mentor perfectly replicates the easy-going flight characteristics of the full-scale version by using a blended Selig airfoil design that yields impressive aerobatic capability without any surprises. Available in two 25-size electric-powered versions, ARF and RTF, the T-34 Mentor provides simple, straightforward assembly with plenty of the details already completed for you.

    Designed for the intermediate to advanced pilot, the T-34 Mentor 25e ARF has the following features and specifications.

    Specifications:

    • Wingspan: 55.0 in (1575mm)
    • Overall Length: 44.0 in (1110mm)
    • Wing Area: 545 sq in (34.9 sq dm)
    • Flying Weight: 5.00 - 5.25 lb (2.20 - 2.30 kg)
    • Motor Size: Power 25 or Power 32
    • Radio: 4+ channels, 5 with flaps
    • Servos: Standard size servos, JR Sport ST47 (4, 5 with flaps)
    • Trim Scheme Colors: White (HANU870), Flame Red (HANU883), Black (HANU874)
    • Prop Size: 11x8 electric (Power 25), 12x6 electric (Power 32)
    • Spinner Size: 2.25 in.
    • Hardware Included: yes
    • Speed Control : 60 Amp ESC (EFLA1060)
    • Recommended Battery: 3200mAh 4S 14.4V Li-Po, 20C or better

    Key Features:

    • Can be flight ready in just a few evenings
    • Balsa and ply construction
    • Blended Selig airfoil design
    • Painted fiberglass cowl
    • Genuine UltraCote trim scheme
    • Large magnetic battery hatch
    • Plug-in wings
    • Pre-hinged control surfaces
    In the Box:

    The T-34 Mentor parts were secured well in the box with tape and custom cardboard designs. All parts were sealed in plastic and all control surfaces were pre-installed. Even the control horns were pre-installed.

    Some of the covering was wrinkled so I touched it up with a heat gun. The Ultracote shrunk very nicely!

    The wings have optional flaps and both the servo bay and gear main slots are pre-trimmed.

    The pre-assembled canopy has magnets to secure it to the fuselage.

    The cowl comes completely pre-painted along with pre-drilled holes for mounting.

    All the hardware is included along with a matching red spinner. The 28-page manual is the usual E-flite high standard with clear photos and text instruction which helps guarantee a successful assembly. The promo decal sheet won't be needed on this scale model.

    Fuselage:

    A closer look at the fuselage reveals the high quality of the design as well as the amount of pre-assembly. What you can't tell from the photos is that it is very sturdy yet weighs only 13oz. The slots for the stabilizers have the covering already removed for a clean, precise look.

    The scale decals are pre-applied, the motor box built, and the control rod tubes pre-installed. Even the nose wheel mount has been pre-installed. Magnets are mounted to hold the canopy in place and t-nuts for the gear mains are pre-installed. The servo bays have pre-drilled holes for the JR Sport ST47 standard servos.

    High Performance Setup:

    I'll be using the High Performance Setup which includes the following items:

    • E-flite Power 32 Brushless Outrunner Motor
    • E-flite 60-Amp Pro Switch-Mode BEC Brushless ESC
    • E-flite 3200mAh 4S 14.8V 20C LiPo
    • Spektrum DSM2 AR6200 6-Channel Receiver
    • APC Thin Electric Propeller 12x6 e-prop
    • JR Sport ST47 Standard (1.55 oz, 47 oz/in Torque) Servos
    • JR HD Servo Horns/Arms (2)


    Assembly:

    The T-34 assembly begins by mounting the stabilizers. A few of the steps in the manual were already done so I suspect that they increased the pre-assembly after the manual was created. Note that all the control surfaces are pre-hinged and already have the control horns mounted.

    Both the stabilizers simply press into position and are held in place with two 4-40 washers and locknuts. The rudder control horn is inserted while pressing the vertical stab in place. My aft tail cone arrived damaged in the box so I requested a new one. It is a single hallow piece of thin painted plastic that screws into the rear of the fuselage.

    The T-34 tail assembly procedure is as good as it gets. No glue, no cutting, simply a clean beautiful look! So far, I have only used a Phillips screwdriver and a 1/4" nut driver.

    When using standard size servos like my JR Sport ST47s, you need to install the servo plates with medium CA before mounting the servos. All the hardware that came with the servos was used, including the grommets, brass eyelets, and screws.

    The receiver is also installed at this time. I used a Spektrum AR6200 6-channel receiver and mounted it per the manual. The excess servo leads were secured with a cable tie.

    Horizon Hobby was quick to send out the replacement tail cone. It simply screws into place with the supplied hardware. Now my Mentor tail looks just right!

    Tail Servos:

    The rudder servo uses the (JRPA215) HD Servo Arm for both rudder and steerable nosewheel control. Since the control rods are pre-bent, they simply slip into the pre-mounted plastic rods before attaching the clevis to the threaded ends.

    The elevator rod is the longest one at 23.25". I did end up cutting about 1/4" of the threaded end off because it was a bit too long for the clevis. The keepers were supplied in the kit and everything else fit perfectly.

    Nose Steering:

    The nose gear installation was simple and solid. All the work has already been done so it was easy to install per the manual. However, I did have some binding when turning the nose wheel to the right which required that I elongate the slot in the motor box.

    I used a small amount of Locktite on the metal screw that secures the steering rod in the brass connector.

    The E-flite T-34 motor box is designed to accept either a Power 25 or Power 32 outrunner motor. When using the Power 32 motor, you need to use the included 3/16" metal standoffs. Note that the manual calls them 3/8" (5mm) standoffs but it meant 3/16". I used some Locktite on the 3mm x 15mm socket head screws to keep them from vibrating loose.

    I discovered something new upon reading one of the E-tips in the manual. If you use all E-flite components (e.g. motor and ESC) in the power system, you can connect the ESC and motors wires by matching the colors and the motor will spin in the correct direction for a tractor (or puller) setup. Previously, this was always hit and miss for me which required testing the direction of rotation with a live setup. A nice consistent feature from E-flite!

    The E-flite 60-amp Pro Brushless ESC was placed per the manual recommendation. I used some servo tape in the upper corner of the fuselage frame and a foam wedge on the bottom to secure the ESC. The manual recommends using the supplied hook and loop tape but I didn't want to apply it across the inside of the covering material.

    Lastly, I added a few cable ties to keep the motor/ESC wires neat and secure.

    Since the cowl was ready to screw in place using the supplied 3mm x 12mm socket head screws, the alignment was perfect. I used the supplied red plastic spinner with an APC 12x8 e-prop. Although the backplate fit perfectly onto the collet adapter, the prop hole needed to be opened a small amount by using a 1/4" drill bit. The fit and gap of the red spinner was perfect and I had no wobble at the tip of the spinner when spinning the prop.

    E-flite offers a 2.25" Aluminum Spinner (EFLSP225) as an optional scale upgrade.

    Ailerons and Working Flaps:


    The JR ST47 aileron servos were installed using their own grommets, eyelets, and hardware. I used a JR Sport (JSP98110) 6" servo extension on each servo lead before routing them through the wing halves using the installed strings. All the threaded rods were pre-bent so they simply inserted into the pre-installed control horns and were secured with the supplied keepers.

    Working flaps are optional on the T-34 Mentor so it comes installed with the fixed flap linkage and a flap "stay" glued to the right wing half. I'm using the flaps on my model so I installed another ST47 servo in the wing bottom after first removing the covering from the optional servo opening.

    A second metal threaded Y-rod is provided in the kit so you need to swap the two clevises over from the fixed linkage. The flap servo arm hole needed to be opened with a 5/64" (2mm) drill bit and the two clevises twisted to obtain a 1/4" (6mm) flap offset when the servo was centered. Again, all the keepers were supplied.

    Joining the wing panels required only inserting the main aluminum wing tube and a 5/32" x 1-3/16" aluminum pin near the trailing edge of the wing. Once the two wing halves are pressed together, they are held by a nylon strap and two 3x12mm self-tapping screws going into the pre-drilled pilot holes. At this time, you can connect the remaining flap linkage.

    The main landing gear press into the wing panel and are then held by two nylon straps. Unfortunately, this great looking model does not have an option for retracts.

    Final Wing Assembly:

    The final wing assembly is as easy as inserting the tab in the front of the wing into the slot in the fuselage and then secure it with two nylon bolts. The wing saddle fit perfectly against the fuselage and no alignment is required. The Mentor could now stand on its own three wheels and did not tip back without the battery installed.

    Battery and CG:

    The battery position shown provides me with the correct CG (4-3/4" or 120mm) from the leading edge of the wing center when using active flaps. I used the supplied hook and loop straps as well as my own industrial strength Velcro to secure the battery. The Velcro goes underneath the battery pack to keep it from sliding and the straps act as a "seat belt" to keep the pack from pulling away.

    The canopy simply slides into place. It uses two prongs in the front for alignment and two magnets in the back. Although both dashboards come equipped with gauge decals, there are no pilots.

    I set up the control throws per the manual and added 30% exponential function to all throws except rudder. Suddenly, my T-34 Mentor was done!

    We had some nice weekend weather in upstate NY for April which gave us a chance to test fly the T-34 Mentor. Before flying, I measured the power level at 784 watts at 53 amps which settled down to 775 watts after 10 seconds. The plane weighed 83oz (5.2lbs) RTF including the 13oz LiPo pack. My high performance setup produced a very capable 149w/lb.

    Team JR's Devin McGrath took the sticks and gave the Mentor a real workout. The plane was very stable in flight and could perform advanced aerobatics like knife edge passes. Inverted flight was also very stable. The fuselage did twist a bit during the knife edge pass causing the canopy to drop off. This didn't seem to affect the Mentor as much as I feared and Devin landed it without any noticeable issues. We put the canopy back on with a small piece of cellophane tape on the aft end and had no other issues.

    The flaps didn't seem very effective using the recommended throws in the manual. Perhaps more flap throw would have a better effect on slowing the Mentor but we decided that they are not needed anyway. The plane also required a fair amount of elevator offset as it wanted to pitch up with flaps so I would recommend adding a mix in with the flap switch. Overall, the Mentor was a solid and stable performer.

    Download and Watch in Windows Media Player here (25MB)

     

    The video shows the Mentor landing with and without flaps. We didn't see any difference in landing speed so perhaps increasing the flaps to around a 30 degree swing would work better. The landing gear was nice and solid. It performed well in the thick, damp grass. The Mentor needed very little take-off runway and was rock solid in every maneuver.


    Summary:

    I liked just about everything on this T-34 design. It was a quick, easy build and feels solid yet light in my hands. The Mentor looks great in the air and flies very well. There is an upgrade for the red spinner, if desired. Additional upgrades for retracts and pilots would have been nice but the Mentor does have a nice price as is.

     

    The E-flite T-34 Mentor is a good choice for intermediate level pilots looking to get a mid-sized scale electric airplane that can fly off grass. It has the power to perform a wide range of aerobatic maneuvers or just fly a level circuit, even in some wind.

     




    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

     

    The product(s) contained in this review were given at no cost to the
    reviewer for the purpose of this RCUniverse review.

    Comments on RCU Review: E-Flite T-34 Mentor 25 ePTS

    Posted by: gruntled on 05/20/2010
    I just put one of these together and also noticed the flap throw is pretty minimal, but I am not sure the best way to increase the throw. It looks to me like the torque rods are at their mechanical maximum throw. I was also considering trying crow braking as well.
    Posted by: Greg Covey on 05/21/2010
    Since we did experience a pitch change even with the minimal flap throws, you may want to start there and see if you like it before adding more throw. I'm not sure if a CG change would help reduce the pitch offset or if the overall lightness of the design is adding to it. Since mine flew so well with the stock CG, I plan to leave it alone and keep the flaps for show. Good luck with your Mentor!
    Posted by: phillipmorris on 05/23/2010
    Thanks for the very nice review, have this one and I lack landing skills but not here ! If the novice uses the progressive settings, flaps, droops, etc this puppie comes in slow like an airliner nearly refuses to stall, only plane I can flare too early 5 times and still make a nice smooth touchdown, I prefer field landings but your choice.. Its a super plane with outstanding flying handling, give it max stars, inlove with mine ! Mine is stock and still will aileron roll even with flaps, its a winner ! Again nice review, this plane is outstanding looks and handling ! BEST ..<>.. WARREN Sterling Illinois
    Posted by: Greg Covey on 06/04/2010
    Thanks for the feedback, Phillip.
    Posted by: RTice on 06/26/2010
    Nice review. Has anyone tried alternative power systems (ie Turnigy, etc) that they can share?
    Posted by: acdii on 09/07/2011
    I got the RTF version, and found I needed to add an ounce to the nose as it was a touch tail heavy and showed in flight, very pitchy. Now that it is slightly nose heavy it flies great! What a fun plane to fly, it drifts like a Civic! Half throttle pitch up to a stall and slide the tail around and give it juice, a blast to fly. Have to agree the flaps are fairly useless at this point, it seems to hang in the air for a long time with zero throttle without them. Note on the Canopy, put a slide latch in to keep it in place.
    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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