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Great Planes Extra 300S .40 (Kit NOT arf)

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Old 03-24-2002, 12:00 AM
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MiL
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Default Great Planes Extra 300S .40 (Kit NOT arf)

I recently built the .40 sized Great Planes Extra 300S. It was the second kit i've built, the first one was a PVC/Foam/Aluminum Duraplane, so really the Extra was my first built up balsa kit. Info and stats for the Extra can be found HERE.

Please keep in mind throughout this 'review' that i am by no means at all a "master modeler." And in fact this is only my 3rd plane. So take what i say with a grain of salt, since i probably don't know what the heck i'm talking about Still, this should be of at least some value to anyone interested in this plane.

There were no missing parts in the kit, some of the wood had slight warps to it, but nothing too bad. I did nothing to correct the warps and the plane came out straight. Construction starts with the stick built tail feathers. Nothing difficult at all, just pay attention to the plans. Next the wing goes together. The die cutting seemed to be pretty good, a little sanding was required on most parts, but very few required any significant sanding. I must admit, i don't really have anything to compare it to because like i said, this is the first balsa kit i've built.

Anyway, the wing ribs had built in tabs on top and bottom so that the tapered wing (the wing is thinner at the tip than at the root when measured vertically) can be built flat on your table top with the ribs perpendicular to the table. The correct amount of dihedral is properly established this way also. It is pretty foolproof. Everything went together pretty well, no real problems here. My wing came out very straight also, which to be honest, surprised me a little The only part that leaves much room for error is the joining of the wing halves. Even that is not too bad though, just make sure that all your jig tabs are touching the table.

The fuselage is constructed of a very light ply with doublers around the wing cut-out. It's basically just a box. One of the very few things i didn't like about the kit is how the bottom corners of the fuse were done. Balsa sheeting was used to make "chine" sheets (i think thats what the manual called them, too lazy to go look right now ). It's a little hard to describe (maybe i'll make a graphic) but basically, after you've sanded them flush with the fuse, the joint has been sanded away and they are very weak.

The fuse sides are of slightly different length so that when you install the firewall the proper amount of thrust angle is automatically built in.

The front deck and rear turtle deck are formed with formers and stringers that are then sheeted. The very top part of the rear deck is a 1/2" block that is carved and sanded to shape since the sheeting probably would not bend that sharply.

Most of the hardware included in the kit is pretty good. I especially liked the little plastic clips that snap onto the control rods so that you just make an L bend instead of a Z bend, and then the clip keeps the rod locked into place. These make it quick and easy to disconnect the rod if desired, but also seem very safe and reliable. I used metal clevises instead of the plastic ones supplied, just because i already had them and they have "real" threads. I'm sure the plastic ones would work fine though.

The ABS cowling could probably stand to be a little thicker, i have a couple of cracks forming already. It's not too bad though. Also, i might reccomend using small screws instead of glue to attach the canopy. I glued my pilot (Marky Mark Wahlberg Planet of the Apes action figure ) in and then glued the canopy on. Naturally, since my canopy is permanently attached, Marky Mark came loose and is now rattling around the cockpit untill i can decide how to fix him.

I also used nylon bolts in the landing gear instead of the included steel cap screws. They've probably already saved my plane from damage at least once. that way the gear can easily just pop off and not tear out the bottom of the fuse with it.

I used a standard futaba reciever, 4 cell pack, and 4 standard servos (2 S-148's and 2 standard HiTec's). All installed fine. I opted not to use the included ply servo mount tray and instead just put two ply rails across the fuse. This way i could have a little more space between each servo. Again, probably not really necessary, but just makes things a little easier. Since i was using a Saito .72 four stroke, i figured the plane might come out a bit nose heavy, so i mounted the battery right in front of the servos (where the plans show the reciever) and mounted the reciever right behind the servos. everything balances just right with no additional weight required. If i later decide to move the CG back for more aggressive flying, i can probably just swap the reciever and the battery.

FLYING

My first flight was in very windy conditions. To be honest, it was too windy to fly, but i just couldn't help myself... a dumb move, but fortunately the plane survived. It was a very short flight, as soon as i was airborne, i realised that i wanted to be back on the ground! I landed as soon as possible. Since i had a sort of emergency approach, i ended up going off the runway and landing in the grass. The nylon LG bolts popped as intended and there was zero damage.

Now that i've got a little sticktime with the plane, and in much better conditions, i can tell you that she's a pretty sweet flyer. Take offs with the saito .72 occur at about 2/3 throttle and 30 or 40 feet. I could probably take off much shorter if i just slammed it to full throttle instead of gradually increasing. Once airborne the plane is actually quite a gentle flyer. It's my 3rd plane (after a trainer and a Big Stik) and i'm very comfortable with it. One thing that really surprised me was how well it handles low speeds. Stalls are straight ahead and don't really snap over or anything bad. It will just kind of mush along untill you've got full elevator, then it will nose over a little and resume flying pretty quickly. I still tend to overshoot my landings because the thing glides in so nicely. I have seen some other similar stunt planes, like Caps at the field, and they do not seem to slow down and float in nearly as nicely as this Extra does.

I'm not sure how well it would perform 3D maneuvers, nor am i a good enough pilot to test that kind of performance. I do know, that full up elevator on high rates causes a high speed stall. The plane will pitch up, stall, "catch" and pitch up some more, then stall again, repeating the process. A loop with full deflection looks almost like a point loop or something. The roll rate is nothing phenomenal, although it is sufficient. I may just need to seal my hinges, i just haven't gotten around to trying it yet.


OVERALL

I got this kit at my LHS for $99, i think it's available through Tower for a little less than that even. Given the cost, i think it's a fantastic building, flying, and looking plane. I really don't have any major gripes with it at all. Any little problems that there may be are things that i caused with my inexperience, and not the fault of the kit.

Overall i would have to rate this kit about an 8.5 or maybe even 9 out of 10 stars. It flies beautifully and posed no problems for a first time builder, what more can you ask for?

MiL
Troy Smith
smittroy@onid.orst.edu
Or TroyS600 on AOL Instant Messenger
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Old 03-24-2002, 12:02 AM
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Default Great Planes Extra 300S .40 (Kit NOT arf)

another picture.

Also, i will try to get a pic of it all finished sometime in the next few days.
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Old 04-10-2002, 11:38 PM
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Default Great Planes Extra 300S .40 (Kit NOT arf)

Here is a picture of the finished plane

and another

One more
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Old 06-15-2013, 11:02 AM
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Burt Reynolds
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Default RE: Great Planes Extra 300S .40 (Kit NOT arf)

I am currently building this exact kit and must say you were spot on with the details of the kit. The only major difference with mine is it is getting an O.S. 61 fx and extended surface area on the elevator and rudder. Im glad I still found this 11 years later but good review.
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:24 PM
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its useful info for me
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