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Written by Jay Smith
Horizon Hobby E-flite Night Timber X 1.2M BNF Basic With AS3X and SAFE Select
As seen in the December 2020 issue of Model Aviation.

THE E-FLITE TIMBER, both the standard and ultramicro versions, proved to be great Short Takeoff & Landing (STOL) aircraft that are beginner friendly and enjoyable to fly. The new E-flite Night Timber X adds factory-installed, high-visibility LED lights throughout the airframe that light it up like a Christmas tree. It retains the X designation because it incorporates a wing design that features oversize ailerons and flaps, plus an enlarged rudder and elevator, combined with a powerful 3S- and 4S-compatible power system, to deliver a 3D-capable Timber.

Assembly

As with other E-flite EPO foam aircraft, the Timber X is expertly packaged and requires little time and no glue (if the slats are not attached) to achieve flight-ready status. Before beginning the assembly, I read through the manual, checked the product page on the Horizon Hobby website for any addendums to the manual (none were found), and downloaded the transmitter setup file.

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The integrated, high-visibility LED lights have connectors in the horizontal stabilizer halves and the wing halves that are connected during assembly.

The Spektrum website has four different setup files: two basic and two advanced. With the basic transmitter setup, the ailerons and flaps will operate separately. For increased aileron authority, the AR637TA receiver included in the BNF version can be configured so that the flaps can operate as both flaps and ailerons.

The other option for both basic and advanced is thrust reversing. The Night Timber X is equipped with the Avian 60-amp Smart ESC with reversing. This requires a Spektrum receiver with SMART technology, such as the AR637TA, and a Spektrum transmitter with a minimum of seven channels. The Avian ESC is also backward compatible with receivers that only provide a PWM output. Simply assign a switch to channel 7 (aux2) to reverse the motor’s direction of rotation.

The SRXL connection of the smart ESC, when combined with an AR637TA receiver, allows the ESC to use input from channel 7 in addition to channel 1 (throttle). Reversing the motor can be helpful when taxiing or using floats when flying from water. It can also help to shorten ground roll after a landing.

During the assembly process, two decisions need to be made. One involves selecting one of the two included stabilizer joiners—either the lightweight composite joiner or the heavier, 1-ounce steel joiner. For tame flying and maximum stability in general flight, use the lightweight joiner to keep the center of gravity (CG) at the front of the recommended CG range. For maximum performance and stability in high-alpha maneuvers, use the steel joiner to shift the CG to the rear of the recommended CG range.

The second is deciding whether or not to install the wing slats for improved slow-flight performance. The slats require being glued in place, so they are not easily removed if attached. I opted to land somewhere in the middle by using the lighter joiner without wing slats. This likely allows for the best combination of STOL and aerobatic capabilities.

If you opt for the advanced BNF setup for full-span ailerons, you will have to source two servo extensions because they are not provided. The included Y harness is then moved to another point on the receiver. I used two 6-inch Spektrum extensions (SPMA3001) that I had on hand.

I was happy to see that the propeller does not come preinstalled on the model. It is safer to bind and set up the model with the propeller removed. Having it arrive that way likely means that more people will install the propeller after assembly.

Flying

The large wheels and shock-absorbing landing gear allow for flight operations from less-than-perfect flying locations. Pavement, grass, and packed dirt are no problem for the Timber X.

Given this aircraft’s STOL capabilities, you likely won’t be surprised to learn that it can be off the ground within a few feet, if desired.

The flaps set at 50% and 100% are quite effective. The combination of a slight delay and a touch of down-elevator keeps the aircraft from ballooning when the flaps are deployed.

In the air, the Timber benefits from coordinated turns using rudder and ailerons. It is also capable of turning using only the large rudder when a pilot gives the Timber a little up-elevator.

On the 3S battery setup, the Timber is capable of unlimited vertical climbs. It is almost like driving up a mountain—it will get you there, just not in a hurry. If you prefer a more spirited climbout or want to exit a hover with authority, the 4S battery is the way to go.

The low-rate setting for the aircraft provides a comfortable flight experience for those who are looking for an aerobatic sport aircraft capable of flying from a variety of surfaces. It also works great for slow flight and aerobatic maneuvers such as a Cuban 8, a Split-S, and an Immelmann.

On high rates, the Timber becomes a more responsive aerobatic aircraft and is fully capable of knife-edge flight, knifeedge loops, high-alpha maneuvers, and nearly anything you can throw at it.

Pilots who are looking for an amazingly fast roll rate can use the advanced BNF setup for the flaps to work in conjunction with the ailerons. The full-span ailerons will smile broadly the first time the P-Mix is enabled and a roll is performed.

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With separate aileron and flap servos in each wing half, as well as connections for the lights, the Timber has a lot of wiring that needs to be connected/disconnected when installing and removing the wing.
Using 3S and 4S 2,200 mAh LiPo batteries, only the rear battery strap was fastened. To ensure that the battery doesn’t shift in flight, Velcro was used on the top and bottom of the batteries. If the heavier steel joiner is used in the tail, the batteries will be mounted farther forward and both battery straps could be used.
The shock-absorbing landing gear, combined with the oversize tundra-style wheels, works well to handle flight operations from less-than-perfect flying locations.
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The Night Timber X is capable of a mild-to-wild flight envelope. Utilizing the flaps as ailerons in the advanced setup provides an excellent roll rate.

When it is time to land, the Timber X handles like a trainer. I prefer half flaps, and the model is capable of extremely slow, stable flight in that configuration.

Similar to other AS3X-enabled aircraft, the Timber X benefits from the subtle inputs and corrections that the stabilization provides, and benefits pilots of all skill levels.

SAFE Select is also included in the receiver for those who are looking for an additional helping hand.

Conclusion

It’s nice to have aircraft-configuration choices out of the box to match the intended flying style, with the included leading edge slats and two stabilizer joiners.

The E-flite Timber X carries the STOL capabilities of the previous aircraft in the Timber line, while incorporating an LED lighting system that improves visibility and extends the flying window to include dusk and dawn and anytime in between.

The wing design, with oversize control surfaces, metal-geared servos, and a 3Sand 4S-compatible power system, provides a versatile aircraft that pilots of varying skills and flying styles can appreciate.

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The "Night" designation of the Timber X incorporates an LED lighting system that improves visibility and extends the flying window to include dusk-untildawn and during daylight hours.

SOURCES:

Spektrum

(800) 338-4639

www.horizonhobby.com

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