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Written by Greg Gimlick
Simulated crop dusting day or night
Abridged product review
Photos by the author
Read the full product review in the June 2016 issue of
Model Aviation.


Specifications

• Model type: Sport scale BNF park flyer
• Skill level: Intermediate pilot
• Wingspan: 48 inches
• Wing area: 382.6 square inches
• Airfoil: Flat bottom
• Length: 36.6 inches
• Weight: 45.8 ounces
• Power system: BL480 750 Kv outrunner motor (installed); E-flite 30-amp brushless ESC (installed); 11.1-volt 3S 2,200 mAh LiPo battery; 10 x 8 three-blade propeller (two included)
• Radio: Spektrum six-channel AR636A DSMX receiver (installed)
• Construction: Z-Foam
• Street price: $279.99


Test model details

• Ready-to-fly weight: 48 ounces
• Wing loading: 18 ounces per square foot
• Flight duration: 6 to 7 minutes
• Needed tocomplete: Five-plus channel Spektrum DSM2/DSMX-compatible transmitter; 2,200 mAh 3S 25C 11.1-volt LiPo battery and charger


Pluses

• Fast assembly; includes a screwdriver and a wrench.
• Great lighting system.
• Extra propeller included.
• AS3X stability.
• Optional flap hardware included (except servos).


Minuses

• Black paint around battery hatch chips off easily.
• Firewall wasn’t glued to fuselage formers so motor was loose.


Abridged product review

After admiring this airplane on the Horizon Hobby website, I was excited to actually get my hands on one. I did some crop dusting years ago in a full-scale Bell 47 helicopter and loved watching “the big boys” spray from their Cessna AGwagons, AGtrucks, and Piper Pawnees.

When I got the E-flite Pawnee Brave Night Flyer out of its well-packed foam box, I wasn’t disappointed with the look! Everything was wrapped and protected so the finish was pristine, until I started handling it. I immediately noticed that the black paint around the edges of the battery hatch had chipped off, exposing the white beneath it. I touched it up, but during the assembly, it needed more touch up. Aside from that, everything was gorgeous and the box included the only two tools required for assembly: a screwdriver and a wrench.

The finish on the foam is smooth and when the lights come on, it’s impressive. I was eagerly anticipating its first night flight.




The model comes out of the box with little work required to get it ready for flight.




There are several wires protruding from the wing halves after they’re joined. Be sure everything is there and not pinched anywhere before bolting them on.




There are several wires inside of the fuselage. Try to get them as neat and secure as possible. The button inside of the battery hatch activates the interior lights.




The author removed the cowl to glue in the firewall. This offered a good view to see if the battery would contact the motor bolts where they come through the firewall. Protect that area if you see that they’ll rub the battery.


Flying

The power from the 480 motor spinning the three-blade 10 x 8 propeller was more than adequate, and it was up in the air and mission-ready in no time. Tracking was excellent on the takeoff run and control authority felt good despite gusty conditions.

The AS3X stabilization technology nicely dampens bumps from thermals and turbulence. Crop-dusting alone is strenuous and nearly aerobatic, but no self-respecting agricultural pilot would do the things with his or her airplane that you can do with this model. Performing loops, rolls, flying inverted, and even knife-edge flight are possible with the Pawnee Brave Night Flyer. Knife-edge wasn’t pretty, but it’s not in the mission profile, either.


Own the Night

The wingtip lights are always on when the airplane is armed, but there is a button inside of the battery hatch that activates the interior lights. When the lights are on, the model glows beautifully, making orientation at night a breeze. The Pawnee Brave Night Flyer is nice and stable, so it is a great platform with which to gain some night-flying confidence.




The optional flaps were worth the effort. When fully deployed, they slow the model to a crawl.


Conclusion

I might never be a full-scale agricultural pilot again, but the Horizon Hobby E-flite Pawnee Brave Night Flyer brings back memories. I think E-flite has a winner in this one.
—Greg Gimlick
maelectrics@gimlick.com


Bonus video


Manufacturer/Distributor

Horizon Hobby
(800) 338-4639
www.e-fliterc.com


Sources

Spektrum
(800) 338-4639
www.spektrumrc.com




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