Home RC Airplane Reviews Airfield AT6 Texan 800mm Mini-Review
Airfield AT6 Texan 800mm Mini-Review Print E-mail
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Thursday, 16 June 2011 20:18

History

The North American Aviation T-6 Texan was a single-engine advanced trainer aircraft used to train pilots of the United States Army Air Forces, United States Navy, Royal Air Force and other air forces of the British Commonwealth during World War II and into the 1950s. Designed by North American Aviation, the T-6 is known by a variety of designations depending on the model and operating air force. The USAAC designated it as the "AT-6", the US Navy the "SNJ", and British Commonwealth air forces, the Harvard, the name it is best known by outside of the United States. It remains a popular warbird aircraft. The AT-6 carries a crew of two (student and instructor) and is powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN-1 WASP radial engine which produces 600hp. The Texan has a maximum speed of 208 mph and a service ceiling of 24,200.



Intro

In a surprising stroke of luck I was out at the field one night helping a friend setup his table full of airplanes, parts and other miscellaneous wares. On the table sat a small Airfield AT6 Texan that looked a little banged up from bad landings but nothing was broken on the plane. My buddy asked me to help him fly it because he said he had a helluva time getting it off the ground and staying in the air. After trying (unsuccessfully) to fly it, he through his hands up in the air and told me I could have the plane.

Sweet! A free un-flyable plane!

Kit Contents

The plane was given to me so I never got to see it in kit form, but knowing Airfield I am sure the plane came with all the control horns, motor, sevos and necessary parts to assemble the Texan.


Buy Airfield AT6 Texan ARF!


Assembly

I didn’t have to put the plane together, but looking it over I can tell it looks about as simple as attaching the control horns to the ailerons, elevator and rudder. Spinning on a proper propeller, screwing the wings into the fuselage and snapping in the landing are needed to completely assemble the plane. I reckon it could be built well under an hour, and if you’re slow or drunk, maybe a full hour.

Features

The Airfield AT6 Texan features a bright yellow paint job that is easy to see when buzzing the field or high up in the sky. The little RC airplane has full 4-channel control and sports a wingspan of 800mm. The plane is very light and is made with EPO foam that can withstand nasty crashes and tumbles. The Texan’s motor specs are unknown but it is definitely quick on a 3S setup and the included 20amp ESC can handle the extra power.

First Flight

The Texan was flown completely stock for the first few flights and it took a while to reign in the plane. On a 2S battery with an APC 7x4 prop the plane needs nearly full throttle to leave the ground. My first flight was short lived as the plane almost immediately torque rolled and flopped back to earth like a baby seal on takeoff. I tried it again, very slowly fed in the elevator input and the Texan came off the runway in a scale manner. While in the air the little plane flew ‘ok’ but if I gave it too much elevator input it would spin out of control and plummet to the earth. After fussing with it for a few minutes I brought the plane back down to try and figure out how to make it fly better.

Fixing the Texan to fly like an eagle with rockets

It was obvious the Texan needed some work, but I wasn’t completely sure what it needed. The first suggestion by one of the members was to turn down the elevator throw since too much movement can cause the plane to ‘spin out’ like it was when I tried to take off or perform a loop. The 2nd fix came by accident. Crazy Thumbs had bought the 800mm Airfield Trojan and since his model had an upgraded motor in it, he wanted a bigger prop for more power and field dominance. After buying an 8x6 prop he learned that the 8” prop would strike the ground while taxiing. Since my Texan was a tail-dragger I had much better clearance for a larger prop, so I swapped my 7x4 for his 8x6.

Oh BABY that woke the Texan up! The final ‘upgrade’ to the stock Texan was running the plane on a 3S battery. There is not a whole lot of weight difference between a 2S 1000mah battery and a 3S 1000mah battery but the power upgrade is phenomenal. With the 8x6 prop on a 2S battery the plane pulls about 73 watts and 10 amps. On a 3S battery the plane pulls 130 watts and 15 amps! That is nearly double the power and well within the specs of the ESC.

Flight Characteristics

Doing the small steps outlined in the previous section completely changed the flying characteristics of the Airfield Texan. Toning down the elevator was pivotal in taming the torque roll of the plane on the ground and in the air. The elevator is still touchy, but nothing where it was when I first received the airplane. Using a bigger prop and battery certainly increases the top speed of the plane, but it still flies quite well on a 2S setup if you are looking for scale, controllable flight.

The Texan is able to loop, roll and fly inverted, although given its size I have noticed the little airplane needs more speed when executing maneuvers and even in general flight. The plane does not have much floating ability and if the throttle is cut, it will come down to the earth in a hurry. At higher speeds subtle input on the sticks is imperative to keep the Texan from twitching out of control.

Takeoffs and Landings

With the bigger prop and 3S battery the Texan takes off from the ground with much better authority. The AT6 still needs gentle elevator input until it gets up to speed otherwise a torque rolling tip stall is in your future.

Landings are a little tough since the Texan likes to carry some speed when coming in. The plane is so light it often bounces and dances around on the ground when trying to land so be soft with your thumbs and lightly coax her in with decreasing throttle and up elevator.

Is This Plane For a Beginner?

Not really, I’m sure over time a beginner could be successful with the 800mm Texan, but the plane might be smashed to bits before that could happen. This is best for someone that has a little flying time and ability, although it is not hard, it just has some unique nuances that are highlighted in this review.

Conclusion

The Airfield Texan is a nice little plane that can fly very fast on the stock setup. Out of the box the Texan might need a little tweaking to fly soundly, but with a few tweaks the plane can be a joy to fly. The plane is a little twitchy and is not the floatiest of planes, but it is a blast to speed through the air at full throttle on 3S. If the stock setup is your method of choice, make sure the elevator throws are turned down and the battery is all the way in the front. I was given this plane by someone who thought this plane couldn’t fly; I am here to say it can fly and with a little love it can really fly!

GRADE: B

Pros

  • Cheap price
  • FAST on a 3S 100mah battery
  • A blast to zip around the sky like a bumble bee on speed

Neutrals

  • Landings are little rougher than other planes

Cons

  • May need some tweaking out of the box on the CG, battery/prop and control throws to really be ‘dialed in’. Not a big deal but some folks may give up before getting it right.


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