A while back for some odd reason I found myself in our local hobby shop. My dad had given me a 3-channel v-tail RC model airplane that I had spent the last couple of years flying.
(if you want to skip the article and just check the price on this awesome training plane just click here.)
I had broken the tail feathers on this plane and the battery would no longer charge. At the hobby store, I found replacement parts for my plane but I also found the best 4 channel RC model airplane trainer package– the Eflite Apprentice S 15E.
I shelled out $350 for mine (they are less now) and told myself this was for all of those Christmases I wanted a larger plane and didn’t find one under the tree. Let me tell you, this is one of the best investments I have made.
Eflite Apprentice S 15E with S.A.F.E Technology
The new Apprentice comes with everything you need to start flying in about 1 hour. Included is a Spektrum DX5e transmitter. A real transmitter! Not a dedicated-to-your-plane-only transmitter but a 5 channel transmitter you can use with hundreds of other planes (and basic Helicopters) as your skill levels progress.
You get a 3c Lithium battery and a balancing charger that also charges 2c batteries. Very little assembly takes place and if the winds are light, you are ready to fly in no time.
What is S.A.F.E.?
This is where the magic happens. You have three settings on your transmitter. The first is the “I am a total noob” setting. The second is “I’m getting better, let me have some more control” setting and the third is “Okay, She is all yours” setting.
These settings can be switched on the fly and will save your plane countless times.
The beginner setting restricts your throws and by using a gyro in the receiver, will only allow you to pitch, roll and yaw the plane in safe learning attitudes. This means no matter how hard you try to turn, dive or climb the plane is going to help you do it smoothly and gently (and not too much).
The plane will not invert on this setting and will not let you make any dangerous for beginner maneuvers. I had never flown a big 4-channel plane and with ease (and a rapid heartbeat) I took off, flew pattern after pattern, and easily landed this plane. Not exactly on an imaginary strip, but safely. Now I can land and stop this plane at my feet.
The intermediate setting gives you a larger attitude envelope. After you get used to flying on basic, you switch over and find out that “Oh dang, I would have already crashed this plane if it weren’t for the beginner setting. ” This setting still keeps you from getting into trouble but gives you more of a feel for what the plane can do.
Now the Fun Begins!
After you have been flying on your trainer settings for a few runs, gain a few hundred feet of altitude and switch to the third setting which turns the plane over to you completely. Tight rolls, slow rolls, tight loops and slow loops. Fly inverted, go crazy.
As soon as you are out of control just hit the switch back to beginner and “Bam” the plane instantly, and I mean instantly, rights itself and is easy to control.
I bought an additional transmitter and linked them together so my 6-year-old could fly with me. I get him up to altitude and then turn it over to him. It’s fun watching him do insane maneuvers that I would never do. His transmitter is set to full control and mine is set to beginner.
As soon as he starts to get too far away or scare me, I let go of the trainer switch (panic switch) and I take over in easy mode and fly him back to us.
When I first got the plane, a reckless buddy and I were out flying. We were linked together in training mode (like with my son) and he was flying crazy. A guy walked over to talk to us and I was watching him come over.
My buddy starts to yell and I look up in time to see him hurtling my plane nose down at us at lightning speed.
I don’t know how I did it but I let go of the trainer switch and watched the plane right itself and fly on just a few feet from the ground. I totally thought I had lost it. I was amazed at how instantly it corrected itself.
And amazed that we didn’t pop off all the rubber bands holding the wing on!
How well built is it?
Well, I invite my sister out to watch me fly. This is after about my 10th flight. I am showing off for her and have been flying around inverted a few flights before she arrived. So I show her my abilities by rolling over inverted with not near enough altitude.
I get confused and pull back on my stick (with too much throttle of course) and slam my plane into the ground hard. I mean hard.
With my head down I do the walk of shame over to find that I have broken the main wing almost in half. Broke the cowling into no less than 10 pieces and chipped off a trailing edge of one front wing corner. No broken propeller.
Nothing else hurt. I have no idea how I could destroy that cowling so bad and have no other major damage. This is one tough RC model airplane!
So I hot glue the wing. Sand the other wingtip to match the chipped one. Buy another cowling at the hobby store for $5.00 and I’m back in action.
And since I had now broken the plane in, no pun intended, I followed some easy instructions on youtube and converted it into a tail-dragger and added L.E.D. lights as well. Oh, I also added some bigger tundra tires. The plane still flies like day one.
Do you have any Specs on it?
Sure this is from the E-flite site.
|Wingspan:||59.0 in (1500mm)|
|Overall Length:||42.5 in (1080mm)|
|Wing Area:||515 sq. in. (33.2 sq. dm.)|
|Flying Weight:||49.0 oz (1390 g)|
|Motor Size:||15-size brushless outrunner|
|Radio:||Spektrum DX5e transmitter (included)|
|CG (center of gravity):||3-1/8 in (79.0mm) back from the leading edge of wing|
|Prop Size:||11 x 8|
|Speed Control :||30-amp brushless (installed)|
|Recommended Battery:||11.1V 3S 3200mAh LiPo (included)|
|Control Throw (Ailerons):||Low: 0.71 in (18mm); High: 0.91 in (23mm)|
|Control Throw (Elevator):||Low: 0.71 in (18mm); High: 0.91 in (23mm)|
|Control Throw (Rudder):||Low: 1.10 in (28mm); High: 1.35 in (35mm)|
|Charger:||2–3S LiPo balancing charger, 0.5–3.0A (included)|
|Minimum Age Recommendation:||14 years|
|Assembly Time:||Less than 1 Hour|
|Is Assembly Required:||Yes|
How did it come packaged?
Very well. Very protected. E-flite is a top-notch company. The plane was packaged tightly and very protected. I would have no fear having one shipped to me. There is every replacement part for the plane you can imagine. If you break something there are no worries.
All of this makes the Apprentice the best 4-channel RC model airplane trainer to learn on.
Where do I get the best 4-channel RC model airplane to learn on?
Best price I have found is below…
E-Flite Apprentice S 15e – REVIEW
Great plane, great price, you will not be disappointed…
Put Floats on your Apprentice!
Recently the price for the Apprentice floats dropped by 50% so I pulled the trigger and ordered a set. Took me about an hour to get them set up (but mainly because I had modified my plane to be a tail-dragger).
I didn’t know when I would get a chance to try them out but my folks took the kids to the lake the other night and we went out to meet them for hot dogs on a beautiful, fairly windless night. Check out the results below.
You can find the apprentice floats here.