Written by Troy Hamm
A solid performer for intermediate pilots
As seen in the April 2017 issue of Model Aviation.
Model type: Semiscale sport model
Wingspan: 44 inches
Wing area: 403 square inches
Length: 42.3 inches
Weight: 40.6 ounces
Power system: 10-size electric
Radio: Six-channel minimum
Test Model Details
Power system: E-flite BL10 1,250 Kv brushless outrunner(installed); E-flite 40-amp ESC (installed)
Radio system: Spektrum DX8 transmitter; Spektrum AR636A receiver (installed); four 13-gram digital servos (installed)
Propeller: 12 x 4 two-blade (installed)
Battery: 2,200 mAh 3S LiPo
Ready-to-fly weight: 40 ounces
Flight duration: 5 to 6 minutes
• Super-fast assembly
• Includes high-quality electronics
• Excellent instructions
• Well built
• Flies great
• Only available in one color scheme and one size
The Sukhoi SU-29 is a two-place Russian aerobatic aircraft that was developed from the single-seat Sukhoi SU-26. With only a 27-foot wingspan and weighing roughly 1,700 pounds, the SU-29’s 360 hp radial engine provides plenty of power for unlimited aerobatics.
The Mike McConville-designed E-flite Sukhoi SU-29MM is a 1.1-meter BNF version of this capable aerobatic aircraft. The SU-29 comes with all of the electronics preinstalled, including a Spektrum AR636A receiver with AS3X three-axis stabilization. The Sukhoi is equipped with an optional SAFE technology feature called Panic Recovery mode.
The rudder, rudder servo, pushrod, and the tail wheel assembly are all preinstalled.
With Panic Recovery enabled, a pilot can depress a button on the transmitter and the aircraft will return to upright, level flight without any additional transmitter input. The SAFE technology also functions as a failsafe if the transmitter’s signal is lost. It will automatically lower the throttle to the lowest setting and return the aircraft to a wings-level attitude.
The Sukhoi was shipped in a double box and arrived in perfect condition. The airframe is constructed with E-flite’s lightweight and durable Z-Foam material. Everything needed to fly is included in the box, with the exception of a Spektrum DSMX/DSM2 transmitter and a 3S 2,200 mAh LiPo flight battery.
It took nearly as much time to read through the 16-page instruction manual as it did to assemble the Sukhoi. The airframe comes with the receiver, servos, brushless motor, ESC, propeller, and spinner preinstalled.
The brushless motor, propeller, and spinner are all factory installed.
The first step is the installation of the main landing gear, which slides into place in the fuselage, followed by a plastic landing gear cover. The landing gear strut fairings snap into place and the entire landing gear assembly is retained by four small screws.
Two self-tapping screws on each side of the landing gear secure it in place.
A carbon-fiber wing tube slides into the fuselage. The two-piece wing slides onto the wing tube and is secured by one screw on each wing half.
The horizontal stabilizers slide into place on a horizontal tail tube. Each is secured with two pieces of clear tape.
The last step in the assembly is the installation of the elevator pushrod, which takes less than a minute to mount in place.
The manual includes instructions for programming 11 different Spektrum transmitters—from the DXe all the way up to the newest model, the DX20.
A word about safety: It’s always a good idea to remove the propeller from the aircraft while programming the transmitter.
The fuselage has plenty of space. You can see where the 3S 2,200 mAh LiPo battery is located.
The instruction manual includes the high- and low-rate settings for the ailerons, elevator, and rudder as well as the exponential settings. It also explains how to enable or disable the Panic Recovery mode.
The ESC comes with a male EC3 connector already attached. The recommended E-flite 3S 2,200 mAh LiPo battery pack comes with the appropriate female EC3 connector. The battery is secured in the fuselage with a hook-and-loop battery retention strap. The canopy hatch assembly is held in place with a single spring-loaded canopy latch. This makes for quick and easy battery removal. After the throttle cut and panic mode were set, the Sukhoi was ready for its first flight.
At the flying field, the Sukhoi was given a range check and a thorough preflight inspection. I was concerned about the airplane’s ground handling when operating off of a grass runway because of the small included wheels. My concerns were quickly put to rest because it taxied on the grass runway just fine.
The Sukhoi tracked straight on takeoff and was airborne in less than 40 feet. There was no rudder or aileron trim needed; however, it was slightly nose-heavy and required a couple of clicks of up-trim.
On the next flight, the battery was moved back a couple of inches and then no elevator trim was needed.
The Sukhoi balanced perfectly with the battery centered on the battery retention strap. The Sukhoi is stable and tracks well. It flies like a much larger airplane. The first flight was made on a day with 15 mph wind. With the AS3X stabilization, it flew like there was no wind.
The Sukhoi rolls smoothly and the roll rate is fast when high rates are selected. I found that the Sukhoi is capable of flying any aerobatic or 3-D maneuver. From hovering to inverted flat spins, I was impressed with the Sukhoi’s knife-edge capability. No mixing was needed to fly straight knife-edge in either direction.
The Sukhoi is stable and tracks well. Hovering is not an issue and snap rolls are impressive.
I was absolutely amazed at the snap rolls that can be performed by the Sukhoi. It completes snaps faster than any airplane that I have flown, and stops instantly when the controls are neutralized. I flew knife-edge to knife-edge snaps, inverted to inverted snaps, and upright 11/4 snaps to knife-edge flight.
The Sukhoi easily performed every type of snap roll that was attempted. The AS3X helps stop the snaps rolls where you want without any signs of over-rotation.
The assembly of the Sukhoi takes very little time and that time is well spent because the builder will be rewarded with a great-looking and fantastic-flying airplane. The quality of the airframe and all of the included electronics is top-notch. All that’s needed to get the Sukhoi airborne is a 3S 2,200 mAh LiPo battery pack and a Spektrum transmitter.
Pilots of every skill level will enjoy flying the Sukhoi. It’s not only stable in flight, but easy to land. I would recommend the E-flite Sukhoi SU-29MM to any modeler who is beyond the beginner skill level and looking for an easy-to-build, easy-to-transport, and great-flying electric aerobatic airplane.