THE NEW ICON OF AVI­A­TION

FLY THE SLEEK & SO­PHIS­TI­CATED E-FLITE CIRRUS SR22T

Electric Flight - - FRONT PAGE - BY MIKE GANTT PHO­TOS BY JOHN REID

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.

UNIQUE FEA­TURES

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.

PI­LOT DEBRIEFING

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.

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