E-flite’s MkXIV Spitfire, a Timeless Design that Flies Great!
Though the E-Flite Spitfire MkXIV has been out for a few years now, it’s one of those designs that stands the test of time. If I remember correctly, this was one of the earlier 1.2m airplanes to be released from E-flite and there’s a reason why it’s still offered. This comes through E-flite providing a great looking and quality built airframe with great flight characteristics packaged with a versatile power system that provides you with options!
The Griffon-Powered Spitfires such as the MkXIV were never produced in great numbers, especially compared to the Merlin powered variants, but the engine upgrade provided a significant performance increase for the Spitfire airframe. Increased vertical tail area and also a slightly more streamlined forward fuselage were necessary to suit the engine. Based on the MkXIV’s performance, it was in fact the most effective Spitfire against intercepting V1 buzz bombs during the war.
AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES
The E-Flite Spitfire is a really simple airframe to assemble. It’s mostly just a matter of installing the tails and wings and then setting up the radio. I think the most difficult part assembly was routing and connecting the wires from the wing into the fuselage. I had a friend and his son over when we assembled this he and his son put it together. They had a good time and the next day his son got to fly it, so he was stoked!
In terms of the assembled airplane, it really looks great! There’s no mistaking the classic lines of the Spitfire which this model captures very well. There’s no mistaking that characteristic Griffon powered Spitfire look. Also, the paint scheme is really well done too and nicely characterizes the British WWII camouflage well.
The airplane also includes some nice details including a proper scale gear stance which is huge for me and the full scale dual segmented flap setup which is awesome and works excellently. Additionally, the model features a 5-bladed propeller which I was really excited to see. I’m a sucker for any multi-bladed prop! 😉
AIRCRAFT SETUP & CG
The subject model was the bind and fly version of the Spitfire which means that it includes SAFE. I have a discussion posted about SAFE Select with some suggestions on how to use it effectively if you’d like more information. In my case I wanted SAFE Select off, so the airplane was simply bound normally keeping the bind plug in place the whole time. Should you choose to bind with SAFE select on, then during the bind procedure, simply remove the bind plug before selecting bind on the transmitter.
For the control surface setup, the E-Flite control recommendations are usually quite good. I started with the downloadable file from the Spektrum website for this airplane and then tweaked the settings a bit. Ultimately, through flying the airplane I honed in on the following rates:
- ELEVATOR ► 9mm up and down, 5% expo
- AILERON ► 18mm up and down, 20% Expo
- RUDDER ► 22mm left and right, 25% expo to desensitize the steering
- FLAPS ► 15mm mid, 2%up elevator mix, 40mm full 4% up elevator mix
The CG location recommended in the manual is 78mm as measured from the wing leading edge root aft and the CG felt good there. Possibly a little nose heavy, but I didn’t experience any bad habits with it there so that’s where I stayed with it. Interestingly, the recommended battery is a 3s 2200mah pack. There was no way to achieve that CG without adding weight to the nose. So, I just happened to have a pair of Admiral 4s 3600mah packs which fit nice and snug in the battery bay with no modification and CG’d the airplane perfectly when pushing them all the way forward. Remembering my experience flying the E-flite P-47 Thunderbolt on 4s, I figured why not give it a go and it has worked great! One thing to note is if you run 4s on the airplane, be sure to balance the propeller. On the first flights, it was quite out of balance at full throttle which caused a significant amount of vibration.
FLYING THE E-FLITE SPITFIRE MXIV
My experience with Spitfires has been that they make absolutely great flying models. Well, this E-flite MkXIV Spitfire is no exception to that as it flies absolutely beautifully! Flying the airplane on the 4s 3600mah pack, the airplane has great speed and virtually unlimited vertical while also obtaining exceptional flight times. The airplane cruises perfectly at half throttle which works for most maneuvers while full throttle is reserved for fast passes and verticals. In terms of aerobatics, the airplane will handle anything you want to throw at it and I didn’t notice any bad habits in the air.
Similar to the E-flite AT-6 Texan I did notice is that the Spitfire can get a little hoppy on landings if you don’t get the touch down quite right. Keeping a touch of power on in the flare all the way down to touch down helps avoid this. Also, with the narrow gear track, expect to touch wingtips periodically as well. Even the smallest side load on a straight roll out can result in a tip touch. The other thing is on takeoff, based on the gear stance and the 4s battery power, I found that it was best to apply power a little more gradually on the takeoff roll to help avoid a potential nose over. There’s also no need to go completely to full throttle during takeoff when using 4s either. I found myself only applying up to about half throttle before lifting off. You can sense of that in the flight video below:
Well, there we have the E-Flite 1.2m Spitfire MkXIV. This is a great flying model that I have really been enjoying of late. It has all the right features, looks good, and has the excellent flight characteristics to match. It’s truly a timeless E-flite design. Until next time, I’ll see you at the field!