Eflite Stearman PT17 15e

Eflite Stearman PT17 15e

Current Power Setup

  • Motor: Eflite Power 15 950Kv, 34A/42A max, 575W, 152g
  • ESC: Eflite 40A Pro SBEC (EFLA1040)
  • Prop: 12×7 wood on Eflite prop adapter
  • Batteries: 4S 3200mAh 30C and 4S 3300mAh 30C
  • Amps, Static: 34-36A w/APC 12x6e or 12×7 wood prop

Current Radio Gear and Setup

  • Transmitter: Spektrum DX18 G1
  • Receiver: Spektrum AR400
  • Servos (4): JR MN48 22.7g

Current Specs

  • Wingspan: 44″ or 1117mm
  • AUW: Will post soon
  • CG: Will post soon
  • Flight Time: 7 minutes

Manuals, Specs and Instructions

I purchased my Eflite Stearman PT17 15e used from craigslist. The previous owner had a maiden flight and crashed but it was not badly damaged. The left main gear was ripped off, a few faux cylinders on the cowl were busted, and a broken prop. I added plywood reinforcement to the main gear mounting area, reinstalled the blind nuts, and added balsa pieces and filler to re-sculpt the fuselage around the gear. I recovered just the lower nose and gear area with UltraCote Sky Blue covering, purchased a new Cowl with Dummy Motor, and installed a wood prop.

My Maiden Flight
My first flight revealed why this Stearman PT17 crashed on its original maiden flight. It was tail heavy! Here’s the First Flight Video:

Not sure if the video shows it but I had all I could do to get it back down in one piece. Prior to my first flight I did put the Stearman on my CG Machine but it didn’t look that tail heavy. I later learned that with the Stearman’s short nose moment, getting the fuselage level is even more important. With its nose closer to CG, more weight is needed to get it right.

After removing the existing lead weight from the top of the motor box and throwing it on a scale, I found it was a mere 3 ounces! There was no additional weight on the original cowl or anywhere else. So I put the Stearman back together, put it on my CG Machine, and stacked weight on the front of the cowl until it leveled out. 4.9 ounces is what it took. I epoxied it under and around the brown exhaust ring and crankcase. Flew it again and all is well!

Battery Tray and Power Switch
Originally the power switch was mounted in the stock location on the side of the fuselage toward the nose. Since I was recovering the nose, I decided to relocate the power switch inside the hatch so it was not visible from the outside. The pencil tracing on the bulkhead around the switch is where a hole is the cockpit/hatch so it does not interfere. The power switch wiring on the Eflite 40A Pro ESC was long enough for this location without adding wire. The white Depron foam is just cushion for the end of the battery, as the motor collar protrudes through slightly. I use a Velcro battery strap in addition to the Velcro on the bottom of the tray.

Stearman PT17 15e Battery Tray and ESC-Power Switch
Stearman PT17 15e Battery Tray and ESC-Power Switch
Stearman PT17 15e JR MN48 Tail Servos
Stearman PT17 15e JR MN48 Tail Servos

Pilot Figure “Hank The Tank”
I first installed a pilot figure with scarf from a ParkZone SE5a. It was just not right… too small, wrong color, too old-timey military looking. So I replaced it with a little larger 1/9th scale civilian pilot figure from Horizon Hobby. Now “Hank The Tank” is large and in charge! And the colors go really well with the Stearman.

Fitting the 9th scale civilian pilot figure
Fitting the 9th scale civilian pilot figure

Of course Hank didn’t go in without some coaxing. I cut 1/2″ off his waist because he was looking over the windscreen and an 1/8″ in between each shoulder. I epoxied his arms back on, ground smooth, and repainted after taking a little material off either side of his flying helmet to allow a scarf to set in more around his neck. Horizon’s description says the pilot figure is constructed of fiberglass but I did not see any fiberglass strands in mine. It was molded from solid pinkish colored resin and very easy to work with.

9th scale civilian pilot figure (Hank The Tank) with scarf
9th scale civilian pilot figure (Hank The Tank) with scarf

Wheel Replacement
The Eflite Stearman PT-17 15e ARF comes with foam wheels. To make it look more scale and get rid of some of the bounciness, I switched to Dubro 2.75″ Low Bounce soft rubber smooth wheels.

Once dialed in, the Eflite Stearman PT-17 15e flies great and looks awesome in the air!

Close-ups, Feedback and Reviews
To be more mobile friendly, photos on TazRC are limited in size. I would be happy to post any close-up photos on request. Just leave a comment below. Also, feel free to leave your feedback or personal review on the Eflite Stearman PT-17 15e. Registration not required.

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