Horizon Hobby’s Mightiest Foam Mustang Yet

Written by By Jay Smith and Ryan Ramsey E-flite P-51D Mustang 1.5m BNF Basic With Smart Technology As seen in the June 2020 issue of Model Aviation. Review

Bonus Video

E-flite P-51D Mustang 1.5m with Smart Technology Shakedown Flights

E-flite P-51D Mustang 1.5m with Smart Assembly, Radio Setup, and Telemetry Overview

in the air the e flite p 51d mustang
In the air, the E-flite P-51D Mustang presents and flies like a full-scale Mustang. Having the retractable tail wheel further enhances the illusion that you could be looking at the "real thing." Photo courtesy of Horizon Hobby.

Access additional content by visiting www.ModelAviation.com/bonuscontent.

THE E-FLITE 1.5M P-51D MUSTANG with AS3X, SAFE Select, and Smart Technology is a must-have model for any electric-powered Mustang enthusiast. The Lou IV paint scheme is an interesting choice and is surrounded by a healthy debate as to what the "real" colors are in the dark sections. E-flite chose to replicate the modern-day air show version of this beauty that depicts the dark areas in an easy-on-the-eyes shade of blue.

Scale purists and aviation historians tend to agree that the color is a mix of olive drab and a British deep green or insignia blue. This scheme is modeled after the full-scale aircraft of Col. Thomas Christian, who was the commanding officer of the 361st Fighter Group, 8th Air Force.

He flew escort missions in the European Theater of Operations and was shot down by German forces. This P-51D truly is the mightiest Mustang yet in the E-flite lineup, with all of the cool onboard technology and a high-performance 6S power system. A 4650 460 Kv brushless outrunner and 100-amp Avian ESC spin the massive 15.5 × 11 four-blade propeller. A removable battery tray makes swapping out batteries—anything from a 3,200 to 7,000 mAh LiPo—a breeze.

I used the 5,000 mAh Smart 30C 6S battery in the videos that were shot. The three-piece wing also lends a tremendous amount of ease to the transportation aspect. The outer panels are removable, leaving the aircraft up on its gear for easy transport and handling.

There’s no glue needed for the assembly. In fact, there are only six screws on the model’s airframe assembly. All of the linkages and control horns are preinstalled, with the exception of one for the rudder. The linkages are ball links, which make for a locked-in, precise feel to the controls.

You could even be done assembling this beautiful aircraft before the battery has charged. Having onboard telemetry without the use of any external modules is one of the coolest surprises I could have imagined. Simply scroll right from your Spektrum transmitter’s main screen and you can begin to access real-time flightpack voltages, temperature readings, and more.

You can also dig deeper and set alarms to alert you when your system has reached certain parameters. On my first flight, I had not yet set anything. I had a low-battery warning alert sound and I quickly landed the airplane. My alarm was set to a 4.1-voltage-per-cell warning, but I still had plenty of life left in the pack.

I set the warning to go off at a more-useful 3.6 volts. The lowest number allowed is 3.3. Many of you know that low-voltage cutoff begins at roughly 3.7 volts. You should keep in mind the sag and spike that happen to a battery throughout the range of a model’s normal flight. For me, 3.6 sets a buffer with a little headroom.

It’s definitely nice to have enough power for a go-around. The amount of technology that is available right out of the box is unbelievable. It’s possible to ween yourself off of a flight timer and instead use real-time telemetry readings when you’re comfortable.

The Plug-N-Play (PNP) version comes with a 100-amp Avian ESC. The BNF Basic version comes with the new Spektrum AR637TA receiver. To fully utilize the onboard telemetry, make sure that your Spektrum radio has the updated firmware installed. It’s super easy to do. I did it to my DX9 so that I could take full advantage of the technology.

There are many extra scalelike details that I don’t want to forget to mention. The scale panel lines and rivet detail really set this model off. Even the fabric-covered control surfaces are well replicated. It’s easy to see that the trim tab on the rudder is made to look like metal, while the rudder itself emulates fabric.

It is top-notch all the way, with navigation lights, a scale propeller, and diamond-treaded tires on scale-looking suspension struts with ball bearings to keep it smooth. There are many great additions designed into the Mustang.

the well detailed mustang comes out of the box
The well-detailed Mustang comes out of the box with a high level of completion and requires only minor assembly.

The belly scoop allows air through and is dressed to the nines with a plastic-molded leading edge for scale accuracy, as well as the screen that you’d see on a full-scale Mustang. The exhaust stacks allow the powerplant to breathe, which I have always thought was a cool, and sometimes necessary, modification.

There are many Mustangs out there, but if you want to upgrade your fleet or want to acquire the best one yet that is full of all of today’s modern innovations, the E-flite P-51D Mustang is the one. With SAFE Select, this aircraft is even accessible to modelers who otherwise wouldn’t have been ready for it. I would not recommend this as a first or second airplane, but it could easily be someone’s first or second warbird model if he or she can successfully and consistently fly and land other types of aircraft models.


Let’s discuss flying this beauty. The E-flite 59-inch wingspan P-51D Mustang on 6S power is a beast. With the large 15.5 × 11 propeller up front, you know it’s going to be awesome. Pilots who aren’t up on their stick-and-rudder game or who are not well-versed at tail-draggers will appreciate the SAFE Select option. SAFE can be selected via a switch of your choosing.

servo and lighting connections simply plug
Servo and lighting connections simply plug in when attaching the wing’s center section to the fuselage. The scoop is also nicely done.
the retractable tail wheel with gear door is a nice addition
The retractable tail wheel with gear door is a nice addition. One of the three horizontal stabilizer screws is hidden inside and is a fine touch.

There are minor differences on how you bind the aircraft that will allow you to choose whether or not SAFE is available. If you bind without SAFE, you will still have the AS3X stabilization enabled. AS3X helps smooth out bumps and minimize the wind’s effects, making the aircraft fly and feel like a much larger model. AS3X is a little helper that you can hardly tell is there. SAFE Select is designed to help much more and it is obvious to experienced fliers that it is there.

Now that you have a basic idea of what the onboard stabilization options are, you can take off. I only used AS3X and had a typical tail-dragger warbird experience. You really have to be mindful of your right rudder when getting this performance machine ready to roll. Keeping the tail planted helps keep your Mustang tracking straight. After you are up to speed, make sure you relax your elevator’s back pressure or it will be up in a hurry.

Had I used SAFE on my takeoffs, they would have looked much better. I set up the P-51D according to the manual and generally enjoyed the low-rate settings for full-scale, warbird-type flight maneuvers.

When I wanted to tighten the radius of my loops and quicken my rolls, the highrate settings were just right. Its presence in the air and its vertical performance are breathtaking. The aircraft presents well with its highly visible livery. This Mustang has rock-solid performance and great speed from the 6S powerplant.

Its flight envelope further impressed me. The Mustang’s slow flight is remarkable, and when you drop full flaps and crawl by, it’s hard to believe what you’re seeing. The sound of this beauty at full speed is something amazing. It sounds mean, but in a good way. It is fun to rip the Mustang around and super sweet to savor when you make a slow pass.

the semiscale four blade propeller requires only minor assembly
The semiscale, four-blade propeller requires only minor assembly and is worth the effort. Locknuts slide into molded cavities on the back to keep them in place.
behold a larger battery radio
Behold a larger battery/radio tray that those who have larger hands will appreciate. The removable battery tray can accommodate 6S LiPo battery packs from 3,200 to 7,000 mAh.
the unique three piece wing includes a center section
The unique, three-piece wing includes a center section with main gear, plus outer panels that securely snap into place without fasteners. This allows the Mustang to stay on its wheels during storage and transport.

I flew with the recommended 6S 5,000 mAh Smart battery and had a great time. Landing the Mustang takes a fly-it-down approach. I allowed myself to get too slow on a couple of my approaches and bounced it around slightly. By the way, the landing gear is tough (don’t ask me how I know).

After my first not-so-good landings, I calmed down and better managed the speed. The Mustang likes to be flown down and wants a two-wheel landing. I actually added a few clicks of down-elevator to increase the predictability of my approach. It settled out of the descent and made my landings and touch-and-gos look much better.


As the day went on, I had even more fun. This is the best foam Mustang I have ever flown—and I have flown them all! Out of the box, you can tell right away that this is not a typical Mustang. It is the mightiest, most definitive foam P-51 Mustang on the market today.

the main gear features sequenced doors and scalelike
The main gear features sequenced doors and scalelike, shock-absorbing struts for operation from a variety of surfaces, including grass.

In the hand, it’s solid. The landing gear is tough and up to the task. The retractable tail wheel and other cool features put it up a notch on scale fidelity. On grass, takeoffs and landings are uneventful. It’s great to see the scalelike suspension struts in action, smoothing out the takeoffs and landings.

Every time that I have transported the Horizon Hobby E-flite P-51D Mustang, I have been glad that I could take the outer wing panels off and transport it on its gear, making it easy to load and unload and allowing more room in my vehicle to carry other airplanes to the flying field.

Check out videos of this model at Pilot Ryan Media on YouTube. You will find an assembly video, shakedown flight video, and a flight review video. If you have any questions or comments, you can leave them under the videos in the comment section.



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