Horizon Hobby E-flite Piper Cherokee 1.3m BNF Reveiw
A civil aviation classic that delivers a great flying experience in a scale package with lights and flaps.
|Wingspan: 1310.0mm (51.5 in)|
|Length: 1040.0mm (41.0 in)|
|Flying Weight: 1550 grams (54.5 oz)|
|Wing Area: 472.0 Sq in (30.4 Sq Dm)|
|Motor: 10 BL Outrunner (1000Kv)|
|ESC: 50A Brushless|
|Prop Size: 12x8|
|Battery: 3S or 4S 2200-3200mAH Lipo|
|Available From: Horizon Hobby|
|Price: BNF $229.99 / PNP $199.99|
In the early 1960's Piper Aircraft started producing the PA-28 Cherokee, it would eventually become the forth-most-produced airplane in the world with over 32,000 being built. This is a testament to its sleek simple design and great flight performance. It is the airplane that many a new pilot trained in and examples can be seen at almost any airfield that you might visit. The model that E-flite has produced of this classic may be destined to be a classic of its own available in both BNF and PNP versions. It faithfully captures the originals sleek looks and includes functional navigation lights and strobes as well as flaps and even a scale full flying stabilizer. Let's take a closer look.
What's in the Box
The box is large and all the parts are well packed and secured in styrofoam to prevent any damage while in transport. Here's what is included in the box:
- Fuselage with motor, esc, sprung steerable nose landing gear, lights and servos installed
- Wing with aileron and flap servos and lights installed
- Horizontal stabilizer
- Wire main landing gear with wheels and wheel pants installed
- Carbon support rod for wings
- 11x5.5 prop and spinner
- Accessory bag
After the short and very easy assembly process I installed the flight battery and did a CG test. The model balances perfectly with the battery located in the indicated location in the fuselage, no need for any additional nose or tail weight. Since the battery is close to the CG of the model a wide variety of batteries can be used with little effect on the CG. A wide range of flight speeds are also possible as the Cherokee can be flown with either a 3-cell or 4-cell pack. I flew my initial flights with the 3-cell 2200mAh pack supplied by Horizon for this review.
Couldn't be easier. I just nosed the model into the wind and applied about 1/3 throttle. The ground tracking is very solid with the wide stance gear making everything simple. I did not use flaps on the initial takeoff and the model lifted off smoothly after a short takeoff roll. I did need to trim the elevator a bit to maintain level flight but that was the only trim required. On subsequent flights I experimented with using partial flaps for takeoff. The results were as expected, a shorter takeoff roll and quicker lift off. They are certainly not required but work very well.
The first flight consisted of doing some initial trimming (elevator) and then exploring the models basic flight performance. Power is way more that scale even with the 3-cell pack and the climb performance reflected this. The full power speed is also quite a bit more than a scale speed. Full throttle is certainly not required but it is there in case of emergency or for performing non-scale maneuvers with the Cherokee. I took the model to the normal "3 mistakes high" and proceeded to check out the stall characteristics of the Cherokee. I nosed the model into the wind and slowly reduced the throttle to zero while slowly adding elevator. The model kept getting slower and slower and finally at a very slow speed the model eventually stalled. It was very gentle and it just dropped its nose without any violent departure from normal flight. Releasing the back pressure on the elevator was all it took to regain normal flight. These characteristics are good for soothing the newer pilots anxiety when flying a new model.
While the aerobatic ability of the full scale Cherokee is limited at best, the model Cherokee will perform many non-scale maneuvers with ease. I was flying on 3-cells and rolls, loops, inverted and even snap rolls were possible. I'm not a huge fan of thrashing scale models of civil aviation aircraft around the sky, just not my thing. For those with a more adventurous appetite, the Cherokee is able to perform. When the model is flown with a 4 cell pack the speed and power is substantially increased.
For me the great fun with this model is shooting touch-n-go's and seeing how smooth a landing I can make with this airplane. Full flaps are very effective and slow the airplane while increasing lift. I needed to keep a little power on for final approach and touch down. Smooth landings are the norm with this model, it's easy to land. Flight times exceeded 5-6 minutes with mixed throttle usage and still had adequate pack voltage for safe operation. I flew the Cherokee on a windy day and found that 1/2 flaps or no flaps were best in these conditions. Full flaps with a significant head wind just brought the ground speed to nearly a standstill.
While perhaps not a plane for the complete novice, the Cherokee is suitable for low time pilots. For additional assistance SAFE Select can be initiated and that will reduce the bank, climb and dive angles and prevent serious over control. With SAFE Select turned on the airplane will nearly land itself if lined up with a suitable landing site. While the SAFE Select feature is a pilot selectable function, the AS3X stability is always active. Even though it is always active it does not impose on your flight controls. It just smooths out some bumps and bobbles from turbulent air.
I really enjoy this plane. Its scale fidelity along with its excellent flying manners make it a hit. The folks at Horizon did it again. Made an airplane that is quick and easy to assemble, great to look at, reasonably priced and a joy to fly. What more could you ask for.