Home RC Airplane Reviews The World Models AT-6 Texan Review
The World Models AT-6 Texan Review Print E-mail
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Monday, 01 July 2013 22:37

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 and USAAF designated it as the AT-6, the United States Navy the SNJ, and British Commonwealth air forces, the Harvard, the name it is best known by outside of the US. After 1962, US forces designated it the T-6. It remains a popular warbird aircraft used for airshow demonstrations and static displays. The Texan supports a crew of two (student and instructor) and is powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN-1 Wasp radial engine that propels the plane to 208 mph.



Intro

You know you’ve got a good catch when your significant other takes an interest in your hobby. My lovely assistant has long been a supporter of my airplane interests and I’m lucky enough that she even buys me a plane from time-to-time. I’ve been drooling over Airborne-Models’ AT-6 Texan for a couple of years now and this last Christmas she surprised me with the plane under the tree!

   

Kit Contents

The kit came double-boxed and was superbly protected with plastic wrap and foam. The AT-6 Texan comes pre-covered in yellow and black film. All of the edges are practically perfect and I didn’t find any flaw in the film. Inside the box you will find the wings with the servo-driven landing gear pre-installed, the fuselage, rudder and elevator, a fiberglass cowl, motor mount with brushless motor and folding prop, instruction manual and a bag full of hardware and goodies to assist in assembling the plane.

   

The instruction manual is plenty detailed and there were no parts missing from the package.

Assembly

Assembly of the AT-6 Texan begins with the wings. The wings come with CA Hinges installed in them but they are not secure and need glue to be finished. Before CA’ing the hinges it’s a good idea to make sure they are evenly spaced and not cockeyed in any manner. The 2nd step of the manual calls for the wheel pants of the retractable landing gear to be installed. This was actually my last step since the landing gear is a bit of a pain and I wanted to be sure they were perfect before attaching the pants.

   

Flipping the wing over, there is a nice place for the retract servo to be installed. Using a 9-11g metal gear servo I had no trouble getting it installed. There is no easy way to describe the steps taken to getting the retracts dialed in, but just know it takes some time and a little patience. I found the process went a lot smoother as I was using a servo tester instead of having to have everything hooked up to a receiver. The most important thing about installing servo driven retracts is making sure they are completely locked out when they are in the down position. This will require tweaking with the radio, retract servo and the internal struts attached to the gear. Take your time, have fun and it will be worth it when the plane is completed.

   

Once the retracts were done it was on to the aileron servos. The World Models kit comes with three different connections for installing your aileron servo. Once you’ve found the correct one it’s a matter of gluing the supplied ‘ledges’ into the aileron servo cover. It’s important to make sure the servo ‘ledge’ is completely dry before screwing the servo into it as you don’t want anything to break off because the glue hadn’t set.

As I found out the hard way it does matter which servo plate goes where. Make sure the opening for the servo horn is set to the farthest spot way from the control horns. Otherwise the control arms will be too long and you’ll realize your mistake like I did.

 

The World Models AT-6 Texan kit comes with a string inside of the wings to assist the modeler in pulling the servo wires through the wings. Unless your servo wires are insanely long, you will need servo extensions to reach the fuselage.

I do love the aileron servo connections on this plane. They are completely rock solid and I know there is never a chance that one will just unhook itself.

Moving towards the rear of the plane the elevator hinges are pre-installed just like the ailerons, they’re just craving some glue to finish them. I’m never one to be rude, so I gave the CA hinges what they wanted. Be sure to pay attention and remember to install the plastic hinge that connects the two halves of the elevators together. I made the mistake once on a plane of overlooking that step and after gluing everything down I discovered my terrible mistake. It was not a happy time.

Before gluing the elevator into the tail of the plane I prepared the rudder for installation. I did several trial fits of the two pieces and made sure they fit well. They did but I found they both had to be in just the right place to slide into one another. Because of this I glued both pieces into the tail at the same time.

     

Once the glue was dry I soaked each CA hinge of the rudder until it was secure. After all the hinges were secure I screwed in the Elevator and Rudder control horns. I highly recommend ‘pre-screwing’ the holes through the plastic bits as it is very hard to do once the control horns are halfway onto the plane. With the tail of plane almost complete I screwed in the tail wheel without incident.


My lovely assistant was in charge of mounting the motor onto the motor mount and it was her eagle eye that caught what looked like a slight defect in the motor mount. We’re not sure if this will cause any problems but I will definitely keep an eye and ear out for any excessive vibration. We used the supplied motor for the plane even though I may very well upgrade it in the future. The mount lined up perfectly with the pre-drilled holes and everything went in without incident.

     

The manual calls for a 20amp ESC. I felt like that was cutting it a little too close (especially if you want to upgrade) so I opted for a 30amp ESC. Unfortunately the 30amp I’ve been saving for this occasion appeared DOA so I had to install a spare 40 amp ESC I had lying around. Before installing the prop I slid on the shiny cowling and screwed it in to the fuselage. The cowl provides very little clearance for the removable battery hatch so it’s a good idea to be positively sure the battery hatch can be removed before completely securing the cowl.

   

The AT-6 Texan comes with an 11x6 folding prop and although I will use it for the maiden I don’t see myself sticking with the prop since it causes some power loss and honestly, it looks a little silly. Once the front of the plane is finished it was time to secure the pilot and canopy. The pilot is attached with double-sided sticky tape (I used glue as well) and the canopy is secured with four small screws.

   

With all of the controls rods in place and everything lined up I buttoned up the bottom of the fuselage with the nice wing. The wing attaches with two plastic screws that are a tad too small for my liking, but with everything snug it appears tight! Time will tell whether the screws are strong enough. Finally, the last step was to make sure the retracts were functioning perfectly and since they were, it was easy to install the wheel pants (which I forgot to do before the video!).

Features

The World Models AT6 Texan features a 44 inch wingspan and a fuselage length of 31.5 inches. With a 3S lipo under the hood the Texan weighs in around 31 ounces. The included motor pumps out 19 amps and 221 watts which is too much for the motor since it is rated at only 15 amps and 180 watts. The model is superbly covered and pops in the air no matter what type of weather you’re flying in.

First Flight

After a quick pre-flight check and a glance at the windsock I was ready for the maiden voyage. The weather was 100% perfect on the ground and it looked clear all the way to the stratosphere. I powered the Texan up and after a 20 foot roll out, the plane easily came off the runway. I flipped the gear up and continued climbing to a comfortable height. The AT-6 felt well balanced but needed some up elevator to keep from diving. The ailerons and rudder was spot on. The power of the included motor was adequate but not brain-splittingly fast. I putted around the field and had no problem commanding the plane to my every whim and desire. The bright yellow airplane was easy to spot and I never once felt out of control. After a 5 minute flight I landed the Texan without incident and was happy that my 3S 2200mah lipo still had 3.89 volts in each cell. The plane could have easily stayed in the air for another minute or two.

   

Flight Characteristics

The World Models AT-6 Texan flies very well out of the box. The plane is extremely light and sails through the air with ease. It tracks well and the default throws give it plenty of control for the advanced pilot. The roll rate is excellent and using the listed CG of 3 inches from the leading edge, balances the Texan perfectly for normal or inverted flight.

The curious thing about the World Models Texan is that the included prop and motor combination actually pumps out higher amps and watts than what the motor is rated for! I had the same issue with the World Model’s P-47. You’re probably thinking ‘great! I want more power Mr. RC Airplane Reviews!’ but I have to tell you, that is not always a good thing. After a 5 minute flight the motor comes down blazing hot which is a sign it is being pushed too hard. I’m not one to fly at full throttle, but the included prop is too much for the motor. The motor shows no sign of quitting but I’m afraid one day I’ll see the magic smoke while blasting through air. Because of this, I may either prop the plane down or buy a different motor for it.

The elevator on the Texan is very touchy. It doesn’t take much movement for a loop or a roll. The elevator does not move evenly across the surface and because of this the plane will want to roll out of tight loops. I haven’t figured out a fix for this, but will post one when I do.

Despite being a real-life trainer plane, the Texan seems prone to tip stalls when slowed down. The wings not only show some heavy rock on a stall but eventually the whole plane spins out of the sky. Be aware when flying slowly.

Takeoffs and Landings

Takeoffs are pretty easy as the Texan tracks very well while on the ground when it is gaining speed. Throttling up to ¾ throttle and pulling back gently on the elevator will have the plane off the ground in 20 feet or so. The struts for the landing gear feel strong, but are fairly short; this may be the reason behind the folding prop.

Landings are a cinch and don’t require much speed, just be aware of the plane’s stall speed. A tip stall 5 feet off of the ground would not be good thing. Gently reduce the throttle to ¼ or less and let the plane settle down to the ground. Very little elevator should be use or you’ll be taken to stall town. Once on the ground the plane is touchy as it reduces speed and little movements can cause ground loops.

It’s important to make sure the retracts are completely locking out before the first flight, otherwise they could collapse while taxiing. The wheels are very small on the aircraft and not recommended for grass landings or takeoffs.

 

Is This Plane For a Beginner?

This plane is not one I can recommend for a beginner. It’s a good airplane, but has a tendency to tip stall if flown too slowly and being balsa, it might be a nightmare should a newbie drive one into a ground.

Conclusion

The World Models AT-6 Texan is a stunning airplane and one that easily catches the eye of all who happen to see it. The plane looks great, but I was a bit disappointed at the characteristics of this warbird compared to others I have flown.  It is definitely an aircraft suited for the intermediate hobbyist. The motor provides good power for the plane but it runs too hot and it won’t be long until I change it out for something beefier since there is plenty of room under the hood for a bigger motor. With all of that said the Texan has great flight times and is still a joy to fly when your thumbs feel like dancing. It definitely handles like a warbird. The kit is easy to put together and for looks alone, it is a nice addition to the hangar.

 

GRADE: B-

Pros

  • Perfect Bright Yellow Covering
  • Very Detailed Manual
  • Included Retracts
  • Lightweight
  • Comes with Motor/Prop

 

Neutrals

  • Motor/Prop combo draws too many amps/watts – runs hot
  • The gear could be a touch longer, really low clearance while taxiing

Cons

  • Prone to tip-stalling and rolling out of loops – needs gentle input on the sticks

 

 Media and FLIGHT Time!

    

   

   

   

 


 Flight Video


Unboxing Video


 
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