E-flite Scimitar — Just in for Review!

E-flite Scimitar — Just in for Review!

We just got the new Scimitar in the office and are ready to kick the tires and light the fire! Here’s a sneak peek of the Pilot Report coming soon to Electric Flight Magazine. How did it perform? You’ll have to wait and see!

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | E-flite Scimitar — Just in for Review!

Several years ago, I was fortunate enough to see Quique Somenzini compete at the Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas and watched in total amazement as he put his model through outrageous maneuvers.  I not only admired his skill as an RC pilot but also the cordial manner with which he spoke with his many fans, including yours truly. So, when I was asked by the editors at MAN if I would like to review Quique’s latest design, I naturally jumped at the chance. They told me it was E-flite’s Carbon-Z Scimitar BNF and I said, “Scimitar?”  Well, according to my Random House Dictionary, Scimitar(pronounced simitar) is a curved, single-edged sword of Oriental origin. The Carbon-Z Scimitar, however, turns out to be a red hot fantasy-scale, twin- rudder  delta-wing electric with a revolutionary single-axis, vectored-thrust propeller system that gives the Scimitar an unheard of level of maneuverability. 

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One of the most unique features  of the Carbon-Z Scimitar is the technology incorporated into its airframe; namely, Carbon-Z. This patent pending technology combines a blend of carbon, plywood and Z-foam and an entirely new design philosophy in which the wings, for example, are no longer made of solid foam but are molded in a built-up format with ribs and include embedded plywood spars  and carbon rods. This gives a lightweight structure with rigidity and strength previously unattainable  with solid foam.
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The BNF version of the Scimitar comes with everything you need to get airborne except for the transmitter. The “kit” includes six high-speed digital servos, a powerful Power 32 brushless motor, a 60 amp ESC, a four-cell, 3200mAh Li-Po battery and a 3-4 cell variable rate DC Li-PO balancing fast charger. Fixed landing  gear are included but the plane is set up to accept optional E-flite electric retracts. High-quality socket-head hardware is used throughout and the necessary Allen wrenches are included. This plane goes together without glue of any kind and can be ready to fly in one evening. All of the included servo extensions are labeled and plugged into the installed Specktrum AR600 receiver. An extension is even provided for the bind plug so you don’t have to get to the receiver to bind it to your transmitter.  If you install the optional electric retracts, which I highly recommend,  you will find the wiring harness already installed with the connectors brought out to convenient locations. Obviously, E-flite has thought of just about everything.

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | E-flite Scimitar — Just in for Review!  Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | E-flite Scimitar — Just in for Review!

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | E-flite Scimitar — Just in for Review!  Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | E-flite Scimitar — Just in for Review!

The single-axis vectored- thrust (VT) propeller system is a well engineered unit in itself consisting of the brushless motor housed in a can which, in turn,  is mounted in a housing with two ball bearing mounts. The specially designed metal gear mini servo that drives the VT unit is installed immediately behind the VT unit. E-flite recommends that the VT unit not be used until the pilot gets used to the way the Scimitar flies so they have made provisions to let you lock the unit in place after the servo is unplugged from the receiver.

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | E-flite Scimitar — Just in for Review!

Because of the Vector Thrust on the Scimitar, the propeller must be precisely balanced to prevent excess vibration and damage to the VT servo. The propeller included with the Scimitar has “ears” located on the hub to make it easy to obtain a precise balance and detailed instructions are included to assist the modeler with that task. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to have received a prop that did not need any additional balancing.

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | E-flite Scimitar — Just in for Review!

Considering the fact that the Scimitar is a BNF model, I was somewhat surprised when I saw the 95-page instruction manual but then I realized that it is written in four languages. The manual not only covers assembly but also includes information on battery warnings and charging, transmitter and receiver binding, transmitter set up, maintenance, a pre-flight check list and flying tips. All sections are adequate for an intermediate builder/flyer but, personally, I would have liked more info in the flying tip section.

 The Scimitar comes in a distinctive red white and black color scheme for superior visibility and the design includes effective front and side cooling inlets with internal venting. The battery gets installed in the forward section of the fuse and is readily accessible through the magnetic canopy hatch. The receiver and ESC are accessible under a second hatch which is held in place with a single screw in the front and tabs in the rear. The VT unit can be accessed by simply removing four screws that hold the motor hatch in place.

The “no glue” assembly consists of installing two carbon rods in the fuselage the sliding on the vertical fins and wing panels. Each fin is held in place with a single screw and each wing panel uses two screws. The only place I had difficulty was getting one of the wing screws to line up but that problem was solved by making sure the wing was pressed tightly against the fin.

A DSM2/DSMX six-channel (or better) computerized transmitter with adjustable dual rates, expo, delta/elevon mixing and programmable mixing for vector thrust is recommended for flying the Scimitar. This model requires differential which is important for good axial rolls and a lot of expo for both high and low rates. Also, the VT servo has to be mixed with the rudder control to get the proper amount of yaw control. I used a JR9503 DSMX transmitter and spent a fair amount of time programming it for the various mixes recommended in the instructions.

The Carbon-Z Scimitar is not inexpensive and definitely not for beginners. It is a very unique airplane with awesome flight characteristics that will give the experienced pilot many adrenaline pumping moments. Its single-axis vectored thrust propeller system combined with its twin rudders raises its performance to previously unheard of levels. This is a very well engineered design that goes together quickly and looks great on the ground or in the air. While doing a little research for this project, I came across a comment on one of the many internet RC forums that stated that this was “a Stryker on  wheels”. Well, I can honestly tell you that that couldn’t be further from the truth. The Scimitar is in a class by itself! 

— Jim Onorato


Wingspan:  42.5 in

Length:   35.4 in

Wing Area:   565 sq in

Weight:   4.4 lb

Wing Loading:   17.9 lb/sq ft

Radio System:  Spectrum AR600 6-channel Sport DMSX Receiver, 6 digital high-speed servos (installed)

Radio Req’d:  6+ channel DSM2or DSMX compatible transmitter capable of elevon mixing, dual rates, and exponential programing.

Power System: 32-size BL outrunner, 1010Kv motor (installed), 60A Pro Switch Mode BEC brushless ESC (installed), 3200mAh 4S 30C Li-Po (included)

Price: $399.99

Updated: July 16, 2015 — 11:13 AM


  1. Nice article. I think the wing loading figure should say 17.9 oz/sqft not lb/sqft.

    Bill McNeal

  2. Very cool looking plane! E-Flite presents top quality stuff, and Horizon’s service is second to none. All good? Not necessarily. First, $400 for essentially a foamie is a bit much, don’t you think? All the cool stuff seems to be the same as the StrykerQ only a bit larger, with the exception of the vector system. I strongly disagree the performance will be markedly different with the Scimitar. The StrykerQ can do it all and more — if you can handle the high rates. Retracts add weight and complexity that isn’t necessary in a plane like this one. My EDF Squall is a lot of fun with vectoring, granted, but prop vectoring? Not too sure what the point is. Lastly, the severe maneuvers this plane might provide might be available in more conventional and less expensive platforms, especially the Q. Would I like to have one? Of course, but everything new in the hobby presents another decision, and bang for the buck doesn’t seem like it’s here on this one. Meanwhile I’m headed out to let the StrykerQ give me another lesson in aerodynamics — like a nice flat helicopter landing in a 10mph breeze. Guess you can tell the Q is my number one for this type of flying. At $185 it’s a super bargain.

  3. I have to agree with the preceeding comment. I love Horizons products and I love their support even more, that’s why I have been a very good customer for quite a few years. But I just don’t see $400.00 (lets face it, almost half a grand!) in this model. There is a lot of competetion out there these days for our hard earned dollars and with the dismal economy and all….. well, you get the drift. If the price drops considerably or they offer a blank fuselage kit, I may be able to afford one. For now, I hope I see one at my local flying field soon, it looks like it will be a great deal of fun to fly!

  4. all good comments thanks for writing. The Scimitar is however not just a hopped up Stryker. it is a larger and more substantial airplane. It is still smooth and groovy but with retracts you take off and land for the complete flight experience. The Carbon Z construction is very very sturdy and it holds up much better than the molded Stryker. All in all it is a great flying and cool looking plane but i agree, it could benefit from a smaller price tag.

  5. I am delighted to see the Carbon Z technology come to a second plane, a sport plane (and will be very happy to see it come to a ‘scale’ plane too).

    Gerry, do you think this plane can be hand launched? (I fly from grass fields.)

    1. Wouldn’t recommend it on your own; it’s too heavy. You *could* have a friend hand-launch for you. A bungee is another option …

  6. Wonder about speeds, or maybe I missed it.

  7. Man…it does look like fun! But for the price…I think I’ll buy 2 planes on the selection menu from Horizon and another 3 cell lipoly for the Stryker I already have. I have 3 planes already that use the 2200~ 3-cells. Why go to all that expense with the blasted 4 cell batteries. There are a BUNCH of really nice planes under $200.00 that will utilize the batteries I already have! In some cases having 2 planes (or maybe even 3) is better than having ONE $399.00 plane.

  8. I fly at a grass field and takeoffs can be quite hard. We hand launch most planes and I wonder if it’s even worth getting this for my Christmas gift. Can it be handlaunched. Thanks for the magazine and all the help to the newbs of the world, namely me.

  9. Sounds like a very nice airplane. I would like to get one, but agree with another person, the $400 price tag is way too steep for a foamie, carbon z or not. Horizon H.needs to provide more purchasing choices for the customer. Some people aren’t interested in a BNF or PNP. Also, not everyone flies with Spectrum radios. An airframe only version would be great, because not everyone has deep pockets, these days. Great design for the plane.

  10. When you said “review” I expected a flight review. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the magazine instead.

  11. This looks like a blast and I am saving up for it! I am going for the big bang! The Stryker looks ok, but this looks like a totally upgraded beyond belief Stryker! VT?1?! I’m in!

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