E-flite/Hori­zon Hobby P-51D Mus­tang 1.2 m

The ul­ti­mate WW II war­bird

Model Airplane News - - CONTENTS - By Gerry Yarrish

In this time and age, any­one with even the slight­est bit of in­ter­est in avi­a­tion and mil­i­tary his­tory will need no in­tro­duc­tion to the amaz­ingly sleek and wildly suc­cess­ful P-51 Mus­tang. Unique to the North Amer­i­can P-51 was its drag-re­duc­ing lam­i­nar-flow wing de­sign, which was de­vel­oped by the Na­tional Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee for Aero­nau­tics. Orig­i­nally pow­ered by the 1,000hp Al­li­son engine, the Mus­tang’s im­pres­sive flight per­for­mance was lim­ited to only 15,000 feet. It wasn’t un­til the

Mus­tang was matched to the more pow­er­ful Rolls-Royce Mer­lin engine that its per­for­mance dra­mat­i­cally im­proved, al­low­ing it to ful­fill its du­ties as a full-fledged high-al­ti­tude fighter and bomber es­cort.

The new P-51D Mus­tang 1.2m

ARF from E-flite truly is an ex­cit­ing model, and it’s per­fect for pi­lots who have al­ways wanted a WW II war­bird for their RC han­gar. Molded out of durable EPO foam, the Mus­tang comes out of the box with lit­tle assem­bly work re­quired. In fact, mak­ing this P-51 ready for ac­tion only re­quires in­stalling six screws

(four for the wing and two for the hor­i­zon­tal sta­bi­liz­ers). A car­bon-fiber rod sup­ports the sta­bi­liz­ers, and the el­e­va­tor halves key to­gether with a sturdy joiner. Once you con­nect the wing-servo leads to the al­ready in­stalled Spek­trum AR636 AS3X re­ceiver and in­stall the pro­pel­ler and spin­ner, the Mus­tang is ready to go.



The P-51 Mus­tang comes with ev­ery­thing you need to get it air­borne, in­clud­ing func­tional flaps and re­tractable land­ing gear, a 4-blade pro­pel­ler, and a scale spin­ner. The scale mark­ings come ap­plied, and de­tails like ex­haust stacks, a clear bub­ble canopy, and a pi­lot fig­ure in the cock­pit add to the re­al­ism. There is even a pair of re­mov­able drop tanks to add to its bomber-es­cort looks.

The cock­pit/canopy assem­bly acts as the main hatch cover, and is held in place with a strong mag­net at the rear and a molded align­ment tab up front. With the hatch cover re­moved, you have ac­cess to the speed con­trol as well as the ra­dio sys­tem and ser­vos. Ev­ery­thing comes in­stalled, and all you need to add is your own trans­mit­ter and a 3S 2200mAh LiPo. The bat­tery pack is held in place with a plas­tic tray that snaps into the cor­rect po­si­tion, and it in­cludes two hook-and­loop fas­tener straps to keep the pack in place.

When the wing and tail sur­faces are in place, all you have to do is con­nect the el­e­va­tor pushrod cle­vis to its con­trol horn and guide the wing-servo leads through the open­ing in the fuse­lage and into the ra­dio com­part­ment so that they can be plugged into the re­ceiver. A bind­ing plug, some spare screws, and some Y-har­nesses are in­cluded in the hard­ware pack­age. Fea­tur­ing AS3X sta­bi­liza­tion and SAFE (Sen­sor As­sisted Flight En­ve­lope) Se­lect tech­nol­ogy, your new Mus­tang’s re­ceiver just takes a mo­ment to bind to any com­pat­i­ble trans­mit­ter. I chose to use my Spek­trum DX9; fol­low­ing the setup in­struc­tions in the in­cluded man­ual, ev­ery­thing worked per­fectly right from the start. The Mus­tang is also avail­able in a Plug-N-Play (PNP) ver­sion with­out a re­ceiver.


Spek­trum’s AS3X and SAFE Se­lect Tech­nol­ogy re­ally has made it eas­ier than ever for RC pi­lots to con­trol many E-flite air­planes with­out los­ing any con­trol feel. The in­struc­tions that come with the Mus­tang in­cludes all the in­for­ma­tion you need to prop­erly bind and set up your model. You can also as­sign a switch to turn the Safe Se­lect func­tion on and off de­pend­ing on your skill level as well as set up your trans­mit­ter to use a spe­cific two- or three-po­si­tion switch to turn the func­tion on and off be­fore or dur­ing flight.

To as­sign the func­tion to a switch, choose an open, un­used switch and en­sure that the travel for that chan­nel is set at 100% in both di­rec­tions. Bind the re­ceiver to the trans­mit­ter while en­sur­ing that the SAFE Se­lect is ac­ti­vated (this pro­ce­dure is shown in the in­struc­tions). Hold both con­trol sticks to their bot­tom in­side cor­ners of the gim­bals, and

tog­gle your cho­sen switch five times up and down. Each tog­gle equals a full up-and-down move­ment of the switch. If you want to re­move the func­tion from the switch, sim­ply re­peat the process.


As men­tioned, the BNF ver­sion of the P-51 Mus­tang comes with a fac­tory-in­stalled AR636 AS3X re­ceiver, which helps smooth out the ef­fects of wind and tur­bu­lence, pro­vid­ing im­pres­sive sta­bil­ity and giv­ing the Mus­tang the feel of a much larger air­craft. With SAFE Tech­nol­ogy ac­ti­vated, the P-51 vir­tu­ally be­comes crash­proof. For the per­for­mance eval­u­a­tion, I switched sta­bil­ity off.


With its 15-size brush­less out­run­ner mo­tor and power sys­tem, I flew the eval­u­a­tion flights with a 3S 2200mAh LiPo bat­tery pack. You also have the op­tion to go be­yond the al­readyex­cel­lent flight per­for­mance and en­ter the bal­lis­tic cat­e­gory by us­ing a 4S LiPo pack with no mod­i­fi­ca­tions.

Sta­bil­ity: Prop­erly bal­anced with the bat­tery in the cor­rect lo­ca­tion, the Mus­tang has a solid feel. With sta­bi­liza­tion ac­ti­vated, it is im­por­tant, af­ter you have it trimmed prop­erly, not to touch the con­trol sticks for about three sec­onds dur­ing your first flight. This al­lows the re­ceiver to learn the cor­rect set­tings to op­ti­mize the AS3X per­for­mance.

Track­ing: It’s sur­pris­ing how well the Mus­tang tracks. It stays on point and is pre­dictable. Aer­o­bat­ics: The words “crisp” and “pre­cise” are what comes to mind. Even with sta­bil­ity switched off, you fly nice long lines with hand­soff con­fi­dence. Once you have the model trimmed, it will go where you point it, even if in­verted. Con­trol re­sponse is not over­sen­si­tive; you can per­form what­ever aer­o­batic ma­neu­ver you like. Big and soar­ing loops, four-point rolls, wing-over and stall turns, and spins are all within the model’s flight en­ve­lope.

Glide and stall per­for­mance: Slow flight is easy and gen­tle. And with flaps, you can come in for your land­ings with a steeper-than-nor­mal ap­proach with­out build­ing ex­cess speed. With full flaps, three-point land­ings are amaz­ingly slow and fully con­trolled. Take­offs are easy with­out flaps, but us­ing half flaps will get the Mus­tang in the air a bit more quickly. Power-off glides with flaps and gear up are smooth and easy.

The Mus­tang also has plenty of scale ac­ces­sories in­clud­ing slide-in-place drop tanks.

The elec­tric re­tracts come fac­tory in­stalled. In the re­tracted po­si­tion, the gear door fit flush with the bot­tom of the wing.

Re­move the cock­pit and canopy sec­tion and you have easy ac­cess to the ra­dio gear and flight bat­tery pack, which is held in place with a slide-in sup­port tray.

The 4-bladed scale pro­pel­ler and spin­ner add much to the Mus­tang’s ap­pear­ance while pro­vid­ing a lot of thrust.

The rud­der also comes con­nected to its pushrod. The sta­bi­lizer halves slide into place and are se­cured with screws and an in­ter­nal slide-in car­bon-fiber sup­port rod.

The in­cluded 15-size brush­less mo­tor is a per­fect match for the 1.2m Mus­tang. You can power it with a 3S or 4S bat­tery pack with­out any mod­i­fi­ca­tions.

Both the aileron and flap ser­vos come in­stalled and at­tached to the con­trol sur­faces. Stick-on de­cals are used to cover the ser­vos and servo leads

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