E-flite/hori­zon Hobby Car­bon-z Cessna 150

A fan­tas­tic first gi­ant-scale air­craft

Electric Flight - - CONTENTS - By Mike Gantt

A fan­tas­tic first gi­ant-scale air­craft

Get­ting into gi­antscale mod­els can be down­right daunt­ing for folks. The cost, lengthy build­ing and assem­bly process, and issues with trans­porta­tion can be dis­cour­ag­ing. But thanks to the de­sign­ers at E-flite, we now have an 84-inch-span Cessna 150 that re­moves all those bar­ri­ers to gi­ant-scale en­try. The su­per-smooth foam air­frame is well shaped and fairly flaw­less. Re­in­forced where nec­es­sary, the Cessna 150 is avail­able in Bindn-fly (BNF, needs just a bat­tery and com­pat­i­ble ra­dio) and Plug-nplay (PNP, which also re­quires a re­ceiver).

THIS 84-INCH AIR­PLANE FITS IN A SEDAN AND HAS PLENTY OF POWER AND ABIL­ITY TO TURN HEADS AT THE FIELD, AT THE LAKE, OR IN THE SNOWPACK.

UNIQUE FEA­TURES

Be ready for a large box to show up at your doorstep, and make sure you have am­ple space for un­box­ing and assem­bly. The model’s tri­cy­cle land­ing gear setup al­lowed me to use a small 4-foot-long kitchen counter, with the plane’s tail hang­ing over the edge. This proved to be a con­ve­nient and com­fort­able height to work on the Cessna. The model comes with il­lus­trated instructions, which make assem­bly a breeze. Dig­i­tal ser­vos run through­out the air­plane, and the wing halves fea­ture pre­in­stalled flaps, ailerons, and their ser­vos and link­ages. These plug-in wings are lit­er­ally plug-in: The de­sign­ers have cre­ated a servo-con­nec­tion sys­tem that en­gages all wiring from fuse­lage to wing pan­els by sim­ply plug­ging the wing halves into place. After each half slides over a car­bon-fiber wing tube, knob-type wing bolts hold the pan­els in place, mak­ing the field assem­bly tool-less. A large bat­tery-ac­cess point is dis­guised as part of the air­plane’s nose and a wind­shield. Two plas­tic tabs al­low for an easy grip with­out com­pro­mis­ing the fin­ish. A sec­ond smaller hatch over the cabin area is where you’ll find the re­ceiver, tail ser­vos, and light con­troller. The lat­ter op­er­ates a host of LEDS, in­clud­ing an­ti­col­li­sion strobes, nav­i­ga­tion, and land­ing lights. Work­ing aft you will need some thin CA glue to at­tach the rud­der to the fuse­lage. There is a pre­in­stalled wire for the rud­der light. Down be­low, the pre­vi­ously men­tioned land­ing-gear sys­tem comes to you as­sem­bled and ready to in­stall. Hex-head screws an­chor ev­ery­thing in place, and the nose-gear strut fea­tures shock ab­sorp­tion. Avail­able op­tions in­clude a Car­bon-z float set for wa­ter works, land­ing skis for snow op­er­a­tion.

IN THE AIR

SAFE (Sen­sor As­sisted Flight En­ve­lope) Se­lect is pre­pro­grammed into the AR636 re­ceiver that’s in­cluded in the BNF ver­sion, and it im­ple­ments pitch and bank-an­gle lim­i­ta­tions and in­cor­po­rates an auto-lev­el­ing fea­ture. These fea­tures will aid new pi­lots and keep those over­con­trol­ling thumbs at bay. You can as­sign a switch on the trans­mit­ter to turn the SAFE func­tion on and off dur­ing flight if you pre­fer. All of this is out­lined in the man­ual. The take­off roll is smooth and easy to pre­dict. Min­i­mal rud­der keeps the plane on the cen­ter­line un­til liftoff. Once the plane is ro­tated, any climbout an­gle can be achieved. Land­ings are easy thanks, in part, to the fac­to­rypro­grammed AS3X pro­to­col. I like to keep the pro­pel­ler spin­ning and ad­just the el­e­va­tor as needed for speed un­til the wheels re­unite with the world. After a short slow­down roll, the plane is easy to steer back to the pits.

GEN­ERAL FLIGHT PER­FOR­MANCE

Sta­bil­ity: The Cessna 150 is about as sta­ble an air­plane you could hope for. Add in the sheer

size of the plane and the sta­bi­liza­tion func­tions and you get un­be­liev­able sta­bil­ity in flight. The man­ual’s cen­ter of grav­ity rec­om­men­da­tion is per­fect. While on the tar­mac, this gi­ant plane is right at home with ex­cel­lent ground han­dling and no bad ten­den­cies. Track­ing: Trim­ming was al­most un­nec­es­sary; I think the test flight re­quired three clicks for straight and level flight. As often stated, the wind hardly has an ef­fect on flight per­for­mance with planes equipped with AS3X tech­nol­ogy. Aer­o­bat­ics: There is more than enough power to ac­com­plish a wide va­ri­ety of aer­o­batic ma­neu­vers. For some, chan­delles and lazy-8s will fill the bill. More-ag­gres­sive pi­lots will search and find that knife-edge flight, rolling cir­cles, and spins are well within the plane’s bag of tricks. Glide and stall per­for­mance: Re­mem­ber that even though it feels light in flight, the Cessna 150 weighs al­most 10 pounds. That said, the model will fly at very slow speeds and feels quite solid be­fore it fi­nally breaks. Glides are fairly shal­low and com­fort­able, to say the least.

PI­LOT DE­BRIEF­ING

Whether you’re an in­ter­me­di­ate pi­lot or a hard­core stick banger, E-flite’s Cessna 150 is ready to go. It han­dles wind well and can do myr­iad ma­neu­vers from mild to wild. If you hap­pen to bang it up, re­place­ment parts are read­ily avail­able.

An E-flite 6S 5000mah flight pack fits with room to spare. Above right: Here you can see the wing plugs just be­fore they are seated against the fuse­lage.

There are zero servo leads or safety clips to fum­ble with as ev­ery­thing sim­ply plugs in.

The wing struts are held with pins and clips; no tools needed.

Pre-in­stalled elec­tron­ics and wiring get you in the air fast.

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