THE NEW ICON OF AVIATION
FLY THE SLEEK & SOPHISTICATED E-FLITE CIRRUS SR22T
What kind of full-scale airplane would you have if you had your pick? At the top of my list has always been the Cirrus SR22T. The “T” stands for that extra boost of power, which is always welcome. Starting with the curvy lines of the aircraft, Cirrus aircraft are simply sweet. An additional plus is the fact that there is a rocket-deployed parachute protection device installed standard; it is not an accessory nor is it optional, and will save lives. I’m pretty sure E-flite’s designers had the spirit of these things in mind when they put together this 1.5m version of the airplane. Perhaps the parachute in form would look really cool but the included SAFE (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) programming features provided are as good if not better. This model is indeed licensed by the Cirrus Aircraft Corporation—and rightfully so. As far as outlines go, they’re on point: This baby is gorgeous! The airframe’s foam construction and shape is strengthened with carbon fiber in all the right places. Paint and decal work has all been preapplied. Many details that are typically left up to the end user to add have been carefully placed at the factory. Aluminum landing gear arrive prewrapped in décor and require minimal assembly work. The wings are plug-in, and I mean this in two ways (which I will discuss below). A beginning pilot who has mastered a trainer could easily fly this airplane.
THE OVERALL LOOK AND PERFORMANCE OF THIS MODEL IS GOING TO MAKE MANY PILOTS WANT TO OWN ONE. SCALE DETAILS ARE ABUNDANT AND ALMOST ALL OF THEM ARE INSTALLED AT THE FACTORY, SO YOU HAD BETTER GET YOUR BATTERIES CHARGING AS SOON AS YOU OPEN THE BOX.
If you like both buying and flying a sweet-looking model airplane the same day, E-flite’s SR22T is the plane for you. The model comes with preinstalled aileron pocket hinges. These operate super smoothly and, by design, close the typical air gap associated with a wing-to-aileron hinge connection. The use of these types of hinges is unique to a foam model and typically results in a better-flying airplane. Moving inboard along the wing halves, you’ll find preinstalled slotted flaps that are quite true to scale in both looks and operation. During setup time, I slowed their deployment speed through my Spektrum transmitter and also mixed in some positive elevator per the recommendations in the instruction manual. Speaking of which, the multilingual manual is concise and contains all the info needed to assemble, set up, and fly the model. The only materials used on my end for completion include a Phillips screwdriver, an adjustable wrench, and some blue threadlocker. No aligning airframe parts, no installing servos or control horns, no gluing on little pieces here and there; everything keys together and is mechanically fastened into place. The test subject part fit was perfect. Four machine screws hold the wing panels in place; preinstalled mating plugs at the fuselage and wing-root connection areas create a hands-free quick connect for all required electronic operations. There are no wires to fumble and fuss with; just slide the wing in place and twist four fasteners home. All fasteners provided were installed into the model with no slop, stripping, or difficulty locating. The magnetic hatch/cockpit assembly opens to reveal a big interior in which the electronics and battery reside. Wires are factory routed throughout the area and are used for controlling the six servos and the many preinstalled navigation lights. It really is like Christmas here, with its red and green location lights, landing lights, position lighting, an anticollision beacon, and (just in case) a cabin light. Hops during the dawn and dusk hours are most definitely a sight to behold. An AS3X receiver and a 40-amp Lite speed control are also nested
inside. The former features a SAFE Select mode preprogrammed within, which can be toggled on and off with a transmitter switch if a pilot so desires. The speed control employs a switchmode BEC for powering the guidance electronics efficiently and without excess heat.
IN THE AIR
If at all possible, I take my aircraft to the field fully assembled. A large vehicle helps, and the SR22T does fit on my full-size truck’s back seat with wings on. In smaller vehicles, you may need to remove/reattach the wings, both of which take only seconds. This is where the hands-free servo-connection system is simply awesome as it helps get you in the air quicker. Short grass is easily tolerated by the wheel pants and the 3-blade propeller, which has about a 1 1/2-inch clearance. The factory-painted prop looks great both still and while spinning. There is enough power to get off the ground in a few feet, but long scale rollouts look much nicer. Using the flaps will shorten departures and slow the plane’s landing operations, and they look cool when deployed. Landings are easily predictable; it almost feels as if the plane lands itself. The tricycle landing-gear setup works fine and looks good.
GENERAL FLIGHT PERFORMANCE
Stability: The receiver included with the Bindn-fly (BNF) Basic model tested is factory programmed to absorb turbulence and smooth the flight characteristics in windy conditions. This proved to be an incredible aid to stability; pilots will feel more locked in with the aircraft, rather
than fighting the forces surrounding it. Tracking: With wind and its buffeting being worked on behind the scenes, the model feels and tracks like a larger airplane and goes where it is pointed. The control surfaces have plenty of authority, so adjustments in flight can be made quickly if required. Aerobatics: E-flite did an excellent job at hiding a sport plane in a Cirrus civilian suit. The vertical performance is more than scale, which translates into a pretty fast-flying airplane capable of many maneuvers. Glide and stall performance: The flight envelope of this plane is amazing. It can slow down well and still maintain good control effectiveness and stability, making for some smooth glides with gentle slopes. Forced to stall, the plane will dip forward and eventually a wing will drop. If you engage the SAFE technology, the plane will right itself immediately and continue to fly straight and level.
This is a solid-looking and solid-flying model, and E-flite has done an excellent job with its scale looks and features. The long thin wings are deceiving because the plane floats around incredibly well.
A pilot bust and cockpit details are housed in a magnetized access hatch.
The painted 3-blade prop comes with the model.
Above: The prewired electronics are under the access canopy. Below: The front end is magnetized, making motor access fast and easy.
The flap system looks cool and works well.