EC-1500 OPERATION TANK DROP!
The aerobatic cargo plane has been kind of a thing lately and upon seeing the E-flite EC-1500 twin 1.5m Cargo, it most definitely looked like a fun airplane. Being fully aerobatic with reconfigurable ailerons and flaps to suit the desired performance and aircraft response along with an operational cargo door, there was no question I would have fun with one in the hangar! And, I KNEW that I had to drop something…the only question was what would it be?! 😉
Though the model isn’t painted in a scale paint scheme out of the box, the model itself is actually inspired by the C-27 Spartan which has served in the US military and Coast Guard as well as many other forces around the world. Truth be told, I wasn’t too aware of the C-27 Spartan as an aircraft, but I quickly learned through watching videos of the full scale online that it was an impressive beast. It’s is the only cargo aircraft I’ve actually seen execute a legitimate knife edge and it’s pretty awesome to behold! So, as it turns out, those epic knife edge passes with this airplane are indeed scale! 😉 Oh, and you’ve probably noticed the C-27 Spartan livery on the model…I couldn’t handle it, I had to make it a true C-27 and I love it!
AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES
The EC-1500 assembly was a very simple process as the parts count is very low being broken down into only the large components. The vertical tail is attached first and is held in place by two screws. From there, the horizontal tails slide into place over a carbon tube spar and snap into place. I found the snap lock on the tails a really unique features as I’d not seen this before on previous models. Also, there is an elevator torque rod with plastic paddles which slip into each base of the elevators resulting in a hidden elevator pushrod setup. Next, the wings are placed onto the fuselage over the main wing spar and held in place via four nylon bolts. The wing features hard mounted connectors, so no need to keep track of servo connectors or wires at all. Lastly, to wrap it all up, the props are placed on each of the motors.
With the airplane together and on the bench, it’s a pretty cool model to behold. It’s a good size and the cargo bay door is awesome! I can’t say I’m a fan of the stock paint scheme (hence the repaint), but there’s no question as to whether or not the airplane is easy to see in the air. 😉 It’s a faux Coast Guard scheme which definitely works though as the C-27 is currently being operated by the USCG.
There are a couple things to note related to the assembly. First of all, the ailerons and flaps are reconfigurable on the wings to tune your desired style of flying. For me, I wanted the large flaps and so I configured small ailerons and large flaps. There are two plastic joiners to choose from which are held in place with tape. The model came with the large aileron setup, so removing the tape and swapping the joiners was required and an easy prospect.
Secondly, I noticed that the propeller collets when pushed all the way onto the motor shaft actually bottomed out against the motor can. So, when tightening the props down, I recommend sliding the collet all the way on and then slightly backing it away from the motor can so that the collet has room to really synch down hard. Otherwise, there’s a possibility that the collet won’t tighten fully and could result in the prop flying off.
A QUICK REPAINT
The truth is, the airplane didn’t stay in the stock paint scheme for too long. Being inspired by the C-27 Spartan, I really wanted to paint the airplane up as one. So, with the help of my son, we peeled the stickers off, applied a couple coats of minwax polycrylic, applied a couple coats of Rustoleum 2x primer and painted away. I used Rustoleum 2x Granite for the gray and 2x Black for the leading edges and then did a little weathering to finish it up. The markings I made myself out of clear water slide decal paper for the black markings and a laser printable white vinyl for the color markings. The window graphics came from Callie-Graphics. I absolutely love the end result as it really transformed the airplane for me! Here’s a quick video on the process we used.
AIRCRAFT SETUP & CG
Once the airplane was assembled (and subsequently repainted 😉 ), it’s all about the radio setup. This is the bind and fly version of the EC-1500 which means that it includes SAFE Select (see my discussion on SAFE here). I originally bound the airplane with SAFE off and found that the rudder throw wasn’t where I wanted it and I couldn’t effectively get more from it. I found that binding the aircraft with SAFE on and then assigning SAFE to a switch and turning SAFE off there, resulted in considerably more rudder throw available (the viperjet has the same issue). This worked out too as I had the intention of using the model as a trainer for my son anyhow, so it gives that extra layer or protection.
Through flying the airplane I honed in on the following rates. Please note, as mentioned, I have the airplane configured for large flaps and small ailerons, so if you have it configured for the large ailerons, you may need to reduce the aileron rate.
- Elevator – 15mm up and down, 15% expo
- Aileron – 27mm up and down, No Expo (small aileron configuration)
- Rudder – 38mm left and right, 25% expo to desensitize the steering
- Flaps – 28mm mid, 44mm full with about a 5% and a 9% down elevator mix respectively which is only about 1mm in physical down elevator travel
I’m flying the airplane with a Roaring Top 35c 4s 6250 mah battery which provides some really awesome flight times and makes obtaining CG fairly simple. I have the battery pushed forward in the battery area up against the steering servo. This equates to a CG location of 70mm as measured from the wing leading edge aft. This feels great and provides some great maneuverability from the airplane.
FLYING THE E-FLITE EC-1500 TWIN 1.5M
It took me a couple flights to get used to the airplane and truth be told, it wasn’t until after the repaint that I truly fell in love with the model. It’s such a fun and unique flying airplane that provides some exciting aerobatics but also has the cargo drop capability. It has great power on 4s and will perform most any scale type maneuver you want to try with it (loops, rolls, etc.)…including a knife edge just like the real one! 😉 As mentioned previously, I do have the airplane configured with the large flaps and small ailerons. I chose this because I wanted to have the ability to really slow the airplane down on approach and landings. I will say that the roll rate isn’t extremely quick, but it’s certainly quick enough for performing any of the maneuvers I want to perform. I have not flown the airplane with the large ailerons, but if you are wanting more roll rate from the model, that would certainly be the way to go.
One of the real draws of the EC-1500 is the cargo door. I picked up a mini tank off of Amazon which has been a blast to drop out of the cargo door of the airplane. I like to place it at the base of the door, and then shoot a touch and go and drop the door during the roll out (dropping in flight didn’t quite work, it needs a parachute). The tank driver drives the tank out the back onto the runway and hilarity ensues as the tank bounces to a stop and lands upright (most of the time). It’s always a good time and the kids especially love it! I think that includes the 12 year old adults too (myself included)…
Oh, and here’s a bonus flight video of the airplane in her C-27 colors. It really transformed the airplane for me and completely changed the look.
Well, there we have the E-Flite EC-1500 Twin 1.5m cargo plane. This has been such a fun airplane to have in the hangar and I find myself taking it with me to the field pretty often. It’s also going to be a great next step trainer for my son if he hopefully has the interest to get to that point. Now I need to find some additional goodies to drop out of the cargo door. I’m thinking some paratroopers may be in order. Until next time, I’ll see you at the field!