In April I finally got started building my E-Flite Taylor Craft 450 that I won at the Christmas Auction. This is a quality “kit”. Well it’s not really a kit, it’s an ARF, but this is about as close to a kit as we get nowadays unless you actually go out and buy “a box of sticks”.

When I opened the box the first thing I noticed was that everything is neatly bagged within the box. The bags are even taped to the inside of the box to prevent damage. The hardware and smaller parts are bagged separately and are in compartments within the box. I usually can tell the quality of a kit by the instructions. Well this is a quality kit. The instruction booklet is large and filled with construction photographs. The instructions are written in English and are clear and concise. I have built a few models that had instructions written by someone for whom English was not his primary language, probably not his secondary, but maybe his tertiary. One feature I like in the instructions is the check-off boxes. That way you can mark each instruction off as it is completed. I have a tendency to work on my projects is spurts, so check off boxes are always a plus for me.

The aircraft itself is very scale like in appearance. It’s finished in a cream and dark red color scheme. It looks like a late 1930 or early 1940 design. The model is covered in ULTRACOTE, which is always good. There is nothing like trying to match an off-the-wall covering when you have to repair your model. The covering was tight without any wrinkles and all of the painted parts match the covering perfectly. The model is made of balsa and lite-ply construction consisting of several built up structures to save weight. It looks like a complicated build and I’m glad I didn’t have to build it from a kit. All of the hardware needed is included and looks to be of good quality. The threaded screws are even in US measurements, i.e. 4-40 or 2-56, so they’re easy to replace if you lose some. The push rods look a little on the thin side but should be OK.

A problem with a model this size is that it just doesn’t leave you enough room to work within the cabin. While there is ample room for receiver and servos, there just isn’t any room for your hands when you try to place these items in the correct positions. I just couldn’t get my hands all the way in there to work. I had to resort to using tweezers and a pair of long nosed pliers to install servos, the receiver and to plug everything together. I also think that’s why you don’t install the side windows until the very end. You need access to the electronics in the rear of the cabin and going through the side window openings is one way to go. The most difficult part of construction was attaching the cowl to the fuselage. The difficultly being in lining up the stripes on both sides of the cowl with the stripes on the fuselage and still getting the propeller shaft centered in the cowl opening. I followed the instructions but still had some problems getting everything to line up. I probably just needed some extra hands, (about six). A far as the set up goes, since you need two servos for the ailerons, I set up my Taylor Craft with flaperons. I went for the
‘Sport” set up, that is, the 450 brushless motor turning a 10 x 8 prop. I don’t see this model as a 3-D or high-speed screamer. Besides, I think the 10-inch prop gives a better scale appearance. I also reinforced the mounting holes in the cowl with fiberglass strapping tape. I just taped a square on the inside of the cowl over the mounting holes I drilled, just for some extra strength. While they do supply seats for the interior, there is no instrument panel and all of the electronics can be seen behind the seats. I hid the electronics with a piece of thin cardboard painted gray and fitted in the two slots behind the seats. I folded the cardboard over the electronics and under the windows and just tucked it under the top of the fuselage to hold it.

As always the big question is “How does it fly?” It flies just as expected, like a Piper Cub. It kind of floats but it does go where pointed. I think I need a little less ailerons and a little more elevator. While ground checking before the first flight we did notice that the right half of the elevator moves more than the left half. I’m not sure why this is because everything is hinged at the factory. Perhaps the connection between the two elevator halves is either weak or broken. It has flown a few times in this condition and except for corkscrew loops it seems to be OK. This problem is on my list to fix, as soon as I figure out how to fix it.

Fly Smart, Fly Safe, Larry Dudkowski