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Written by Jon Barnes
Satisfy your need for speed
Product Review
As seen in the March 2019 issue of
Model Aviation.


WATCH IT FLY

Even on cloudy days, the bright orange and black scheme helps pilots confidently maintain in-flight orientation, which is a must when screaming around at more than 100 mph.

What’S In A Name? One of E-flite’s final airplane releases in 2018 was the E-flite V900. To many pilots, this name will seem unassuming and even somewhat ambiguous. To understand the symbolism and significance of this moniker, a pilot only needs to read the first few sentences of this model’s advertising to postulate as to why the letter V was chosen.

V as in velocity? This EPO foam-composition model was designed from the ground up to go fast! Its subtly swept and tapered wing and low frontal area fuselage veritably scream speed.

V as in versatile? E-flite’s recipe for speed promises pilots triple-digit speeds on either a three- or four-cell LiPo battery, without needing to swap propellers.

V as in victory? The included AS3X-equipped Spektrum receiver, with its associated and transmitter-selectable SAFE mode, suggests that this low-wing model might be the perfect speed-focused, propeller-powered racer for intermediate-level pilots who are tempted to taste the thrills of high-velocity flight.

As for the numerical component of the name, pilots only need to glance at the airframe’s basic specifications to crack this part of the code; the V900’s one-piece carbon-fiber-reinforced wing spans 900 mm.

With the model’s nondescript name pseudo-decoded, pilots can focus on several of the more defined and key features with which E-flite’s engineering team has endowed the V900. The included 15-size brushless outrunner motor is designed to be powered by either a three- or four-cell LiPo battery. The V900 power system is completely capable of performing on either cell count using the included APC 8 × 8E electric propellers.

this bnf basic
This BNF Basic kit goes together with only three fasteners. Pilots should pay special attention to thoroughly tightening the spinner collet assembly.

Switch to a four-cell battery pack and the V900 is transformed into a lightning-fast blur of orange and black.

Another important consideration when going extremely fast, especially with smaller airframes, is maintaining reliable in-flight orientation. The V900’s predominantly bright orange topside and black underside are sure to provide nearly bulletproof visual feedback, no matter at what speed the model flies.

Higher-speed flight also increases the net loads present on control surfaces when it is necessary to deflect them.

E-flite outfits the V900 with a four-pack of Spektrum 9-gram, digital metal gear servos to overcome these higher-than-normal loads. When I wrote this review, no detailed torque data or overall specifications were available for these new Spektrum-branded servos.

Plastic aileron pushrod fairings/covers are factory installed to streamline the airframe and to help prevent the aileron pushrods from catching on anything when the model slides across the ground during a belly landing. A swanky-looking 2-inch aluminum spinner is also included in the box and it nicely dresses out the V900’s nose!

Assembly

Three screws later, the V900 is fully assembled. Pilots could literally stop by their local hobby shop as they head out for a flying session, grab a V900, and assemble it at the field! The assembly manual contained several carelessly made mistakes. For example, the text of the assembly manual conflicts with the specifications section when it comes to recommended battery sizes.

I suggest that pilots heed the specifications section and use a three-cell 2,200 mAh or a four-cell 1,800 mAh battery pack. Another slight faux pas is found in the introductory paragraph. It mentions using flaps; this model does not come equipped with flaps. In the end, none of these assembly manual irregularities should ultimately impact the model’s assembly or operation.

A single-sheet assembly addendum supplements the manual and illustrates the correct method of mounting the included APC 8 × 8E speed propeller and aluminum spinner. The original propeller and spinner mounting instructions contained in the manual hint that the V900 kit might have initially been designed to use a less-impressive plastic spinner assembly.

The final assembly step, and one that is not to be accidentally omitted, is to connect the elevator pushrod to the elevator control horn.

Flying

Achieving the recommended center of gravity requires locating the batteries slightly to the rear of the V900s midship-located battery compartment. Although a three-cell 2,200 mAh battery pack fits comfortably in the svelte, tapered V900 fuselage, attempting to insert a four-cell 2,200 mAh LiPo battery pack into that space can create a few minor issues.

This is in part because the slightly heavier four-cell pack needs to be shifted farther aft than the same-capacity threecell pack. This results in the sides of the relatively thin, foam-composition battery compartment bowing slightly outward. Subsequently, when placing the removable canopy hatch in place on top of the fuselage, using a 4S 2,200 mAh battery creates a gap between the canopy and the fuselage. These minor issues are generally aesthetic, and at 100-plus mph, pilots and observers will be hard-pressed to see them!

Pilots who are determined to use larger battery packs in the V900 could use additional retention magnets to anchor the middle part of the long canopy in place. Another approach is to fall back to slightly smaller-capacity, four-cell battery packs. Using 1,800 mAh four-cell battery packs handily mitigates the limited dimensions of the V900’s battery bay and also eliminates any deformation of the fuselage sides and canopy-to-fuselage fit.

Best practices encourage pilots to make a few shakedown flights using three-cell packs. With a flight battery stowed securely in place, a pilot’s next few decisions involve the hand launch. Although the V900’s overall design suggests an overhand launch, pilots with longer arms might also be comfortable using an underhand toss.

A piece of hard plastic, affixed to the underside of the wing along the centerline of the model, serves as a conveniently located "handle" with which to grip the V900 when launching it overhand. This plastic reinforcing piece also does double duty as a landing skid, offering a significant amount of protection to help prevent the EPO foam fuselage from being damaged when belly landing on surfaces that are less than plush.

Pilots should give this plastic assembly the once-over before the first toss. One edge of the review model’s protective plastic grip needed to be lightly sanded because it overlapped the EPO-foam grip area. Cleaning it up a little eliminated the plastic’s tendency to "catch" on the pilot’s fingers when releasing the model during the hand launch.

the rearward position
The rearward position of the battery hints at the powerful, 15-size brushless motor that E-flite has crammed under the V900’s cowl.

choice of a 1 260 kv
E-flite’s choice of a 1,260 Kv motor allows pilots to swap back and forth between three- and fourcell battery packs, with no need to change propellers.

Whether a pilot chooses overhand or underhand tossing, launching the V900 is an easy proposition. Run the throttle up to 60% or 70% and give it a firm, arcing toss into the air. The V900 pulls so hard that pilots can safely release it at a 45° to 60° angle of attack. Pilots should be prepared for a strong yaw to the left on release. Activating the optional SAFE mode, with its bank and pitch angle limitations and self-leveling feature, is a great way to help inexperienced pilots master the art of the hand toss.

Rule number one after getting a new speedster in the air on its first flights is to pull the throttle back to a moderate setting while trimming out the model. This is partly because the usual rules of trimming an AS3X-equipped airplane are relevant: apply no control inputs for 3 seconds after inputting trim.

The V900 is surprisingly stable and well behaved at slower speeds. But given this airplane’s speed-bred pedigree, most pilots will quickly want to put the pedal to the metal and see what it has! On a three-cellbattery pack and at wide-open throttle, the V900 easily teases triple-digit speeds.

At A Glance

Specifications

Model type: Foam aerobatic

Skill level: Intermediate

Wingspan: 35.4 inches

Wing area: 203.7 square inches

Length: 31.8 inches

Weight: 29.7 ounces

Power system: Brushless electric

Radio: Minimum four-channel required

Construction: EPO foam

Price: $179.99 BNF Basic; $159.99 PNP

Test-Model Details

Power system: E-flite BL 15 1,260 Kv brushless outrunner (included); 1,800 to 2,200 mAh three- or four-cell LiPo battery (not included); E-flite 60-amp brushless ESC with 3-amp SBEC and EC3 connector (included); APC 8 × 8E propeller (included)

Radio system: Spektrum DX9 transmitter (not included); Spektrum AR636 six-channel AS3X sport receiver (included)

Ready-to-fly weight: 3S 2,200 mAh: 29.5 ounces; 4S 1,800 mAh: 30.9 ounces

Flight duration: 4 to 5 minutes

Pluses

  • Can be flown on either three- or fourcell batteries with the stock propeller.
  • Top speeds easily exceed 100 mph using both three- and four-cell batteries.
  • Orange and black factory graphics scheme offers pilots excellent inflight orientation.
  • Hard plastic belly skid/launch grip helps protect the EPO foam from damage during launching and landing.

Minus

  • Removable canopy could use additional retention mechanism(s) to prevent a gap in the middle.

the swanky looking
The swanky-looking aluminum spinner, multiple cooling air inlet ducts, and steeply pitched 8-inch propeller all serve notice that the V900 is a highperformance speed racer.

The recommended control throws for the ailerons suggest a small amount of differential to help keep rolls axial. On high rates and at higher speeds, the V900 performs basic aerobatic maneuvers with aggressive agility. Switch to a four-cell battery pack and the V900 is transformed into a lightning-fast blur of orange and black.

The AS3X technology makes this model track like an arrow! Vertical uplines can be as tall as a pilot’s visual acuity will allow. Although I flew multiple three-cell flights with no surprises, going to full throttle on my first four-cell flight saw the entire spinner/propeller assembly depart from the nose of the V900. To ensure that this does not occur, pilots will need to carefully and forcefully torque the collet assembly down while preventing the outrunner motor from rotating.

Inexperienced pilots can pare some of the workload of flying this racer by activating the SAFE mode. More experienced, speed-savvy pilots might feel as though it interferes with them flying the model as they prefer.

Typical flight durations of 4 to 5 minutes can be achieved, depending on how long a pilot prefers to leave the throttle firewalled. When it is time to land the V900, pilots may need to make a circuit or two to effectively scrub some speed.

The V900 can float along in ground effect for quite some distance before it finally acquiesces and is ready to reconnect to the earth. The V900 comes with the speed controller’s braking feature factory enabled. The apparent engineering behind this choice is that, when belly landing a gearless model such as the V900, there is more of a chance of breaking a freewheeling propeller than of breaking one that is electrically stimulated to be held slightly resistant to rotation.

Throughout the course of a dozen flights, all of which ended by belly landing the V900 in lush, green, irrigated grass, I didn’t suffer a propeller break.

Conclusion

Nebulous name notwithstanding, the V900 is lauded as the fastest out-of-the-box model yet produced by E-flite. Triple-digit speeds on both three- and four-cell LiPo battery packs, with no propeller change required, is nothing to sneeze at! Although some pilots might opt to save money and go with the receiverless Plug-N-Play (PNP) version, ponying up the extra $20 required for the BNF Basic version offers a preprogrammed Spektrum AS3X and SAFEequipped AR636 six-channel receiver.

The embedded stabilization technologies broaden the appeal of this airplane and ensure that pilots of a variety of skill levels are sure to experience success with this attractive speedster.

Manufacturer/Distributor

Horizon Hobby

(800) 338-4639

www.horizonhobby.com

Sources:

Spektrum

(800) 338-4639

www.spektrumrc.com

1 comments

Horizon you guys have dropped the ball on this plane on my four plane receiver and esc failure 2in the ground from a brown out one didn’t make it to the field battery plug in after binding at the hobby store get it home and no power to the 636 receiver . Don’t get me wrong I love this plane can’t understand why all the equipment failures you guys have been great in replacing them please do more r&d on eflite esc and spectrum equipment thanks

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