RCU Review: Great Planes P-47 Thunderbolt GP/EP ARF

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    Contributed by: Steve Herlacher | Published: April 2009 | Views: 44262 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Great Planes P-47

    Review by: Steve Herlacher


    Dealer Info
    Great Planes
    P.O. Box 9021
    CHAMPAIGN, IL 61826

    Website: www.greatplanes.com


    Great Planes P-47 Video in HD


    Pre-cut Decals
    Ease of Build
    Looks and fly's great!


    Wood not sanded before covering
    No steerable tailwheel
    Skill Level:
    Low to Moderate
    Time required to build:
    2-5  Hours

    Frustration level:

    Click here to learn

    Great Planes P-47 Thunderbolt GP/EP ARF

    The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, also known as the Jug, was the largest single-engine Fighter of its day, and a vast improvement over the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, its predecessor It was one of the main United States Army Air Force (USAAF) fighters of World War II, and also served with other Allied air forces. The P-47 was effective in Air combat but proved especially adept at ground attack. It had eight .50-caliber machine guns, four per wing. When fully loaded the P-47 could weigh up to eight tons. (From Wikapedia)

    Great Planes introduces their version of the famous fighter, in a smaller size of course, perfect for a .25 size Glow engine or Electric. As in the full scale version, this P-47 follows in the same size P-40 also by Great Planes.


    Kit Name: Great Planes P-47 Thunderbolt GP/EP ARF
    Price: $119.98 retail price
    Wingspan: 39.5 "
    Wing Area: 290 sq. in.
    Flying Weight: 41-45oz.
    Motor: Electrifly Rimfire 35-36-1200kv
    Battery used: 3s Electrifly 3200mah
    ESC used: Great Planes Silver series 45amp Brushless  ESC
    Radio equipment: Futaba S3115 Micro Precision servos

    Needed to Complete


    • Square
    • Hobby Knife
    • Ruler
    • Small Phillips screwdriver
    • Drill bits
    • Pliers
    • Thin and Thick CA
    • 5 or 30 minute epoxy
    • Canopy Glue
    • Allen drivers

    Few rough spots, not too bad
    Another one here
    The P-47 is one of my favorite Warbirds and the smaller size is great for less expensive gear and ease of transport. The ARF came packed well as all other Great Planes ARF's do. It only needed minor shrinking of the covering before assembly. One thing I did notice was some areas on my model didn't seem to be sanded very well before covering.

    The aileron hinges are already glued in place so that timesaver allowed me to move to the Aileron servo mounting. The Aileron servo plate was laser etched for the proper position to mount the wood mounting blocks, I glued them in with 30 minute Epoxy.

    The recommended Futaba S3115 Precision Micro servos were used and the only thing I did before mounting them was add some double sided servo tape to the bottom of them, its just a little insurance I like to add in case the blocks would ever come loose.


    Servos used
    Aileron Mounting plate with laser etched guides for the blocks
    Shrink tube on the connector
    The Aileron control horns were next and per the manual there are 2 different sets. The Ailerons have the larger hole in them as seen in the picture. After lining them up and installing them, along with the servo and linkage the wings were ready to be joined.
    Double sided tape
    Horns with larger hole are for Ailerons
    Completed Aileron servos

    The Wing joiner was test fit in both wings to make sure there were not any gaps, then the Wings were glued together with 30 minute Epoxy.

    When the Epoxy was hard the wing mounting bolt plate was glued in place with thick CA, after removing the covering of course, and the wings were now complete.

    Wing Joiner
    Wings glued together
    Mounting bolt plate
    Remove the balsa piece
    Stab with Covering removed
    String used to align Stab

    The Tail sections were next, and the small piece of balsa in the rear of the fuse needs to be removed so the Horizontal stab can be slid in place. The people at Great planes were nice enough to make a laser etched mark on the firewall that is the center mark for using a piece of string to locate the Horizontal stab evenly on both sides. It was also checked to make sure it was level with the Wing. When it was aligned and level the covering was removed from the stab and it was glued in place with thin CA, you could also use Epoxy if you desired.

    The Rudder was glued in place next, making sure to install the bottom CA hinge first. It was checked to make sure it was 90° to the Stab and then glued in place with thin CA as well. The wire pushrods were slid in place inside the Fuse and the control horns were mounted in place. The Z bends of the rods need to be inserted into the horn before mounting them or you won't be able to get them in the horn.

    The Futaba servos were a perfect fit in the radio tray and the linkages were slid into the E/Z connector and that was all that was needed for the Elevator/Rudder setup.

    Rudder before assembly
    Completed tail
    Servos arm and control rod
    Motor Mount pieces
    Completed Motor mount
    Power system used
    Where the adapters go
    Completed motor/ESC mounting. Notice cooling holes cutout
    The ply motor mount provided was assembled next. I carefully read the instructions when putting it together as there is down thrust built into the mount and it needs to be assembled per the manual. I test fit mine together and when it was correct used thin CA to hold it all together, I then went over the joints with Epoxy to make sure it was strong. The cooling holes in the firewall were already pre-cut and they just needed to be knocked out. If you were using a glow engine you would leave them in and seal them with Epoxy.

    The Power system used was the Electrifly Rimfire 35-36-1200 Outrunner motor, Electrifly Silver series 45 amp ESC, and the Electrifly 3 cell 3200mah Lithium Polymer battery. The connections between the motor and the ESC did not use the same size bullet connectors, no idea why they weren't. A set of Electrifly 4mm to 3.5mm adapters were used between the Motor and ESC.


    Landing gear mounted
    Tail skid with washer
    Tail skid installed
    Belly pan pieces
    Belly pan assembled
    Canopy glued on
    Belly pan glued in place
    Cowl mounting method
    Remove covering from cooling exit
    Cover installed
    Machine gun rods
    Machine guns installed

    The Manual provided excellent instruction on mounting the cowl, after gluing the mounting blocks in place some spare cardboard is used to align the holes, then slide the cowl underneath the cardboard and drill your holes. They also provided the Aluminum spinner nut as well!

    You can fly your P-47 with the landing gear or without it, I chose to install mine since I fly from a paved runway. It just bolts in place as seen in the picture. The tail skid is a piece of ply with a washer glued in the middle of it, I mounted it in place with thick CA.

    The belly pan was assembled and then glued to the bottom of the wing with thick CA, I also glued the canopy on with Canopy glue, and the cooling exit with thick CA. The Machine guns are small carbon rods and once I slid them in place in the correct order I used thin CA to glue them in place. These finishing touches didn't take long at all and there were no difficulties in mounting them.

    Take the time to install the included Decals as they really make the plane look great. The decals were also pre-cut so the time to install them is drastically reduced!

    That's it! the P-47 was now complete.


    Flight Report

    I assembled the P-47 to check the CG and I noticed the included wing mounting bolts were only long enough to screw in about 2 turns, which I was not comfortable with so I replaced them with longer ones I found at my Local Hobbystore, they are Metric.

    The balance came out perfect, at 2 1/4 back from the leading edge of the wing, with the 3s Battery pack right in the middle of the tray, the control throws were setup per the manual as follows.

  • Elevator High rate - 3/8" up and down
  • Elevator Low rate - 15/64" up and down
  • Aileron High rate - 13/64" up and down
  • Aileron low rate - 1/8" up and down
  • Rudder High rate - 1" right and left
  • Rudder low rate - 11/16" right and left

    These are suggested starting rates and can be adjusted to your flying style, I later bumped all of the throws up a bit.

    I took the P-47 out on a windy day, but it was the nicest day we have had in Months. The battery was hooked up and all the controls checked and it was ready to fly. Since there is no steerable tailwheel, taking off in a crosswind can be a challenge as it will go where it wants to. The power of the Electrifly motor pulls the P-47 off the ground in about 10 feet so I just hit full throttle to quickly get it off the ground.

    In the Air the P-47 is a very smooth flyer, I didn't notice any tendency to tip stall or snap and it cut thru the wind with ease.

    Full throttle passes were in the 70mph range I would guess and it was really quiet. I used a APC 9x7.5 Electric Prop on the P-47, the manual calls for a 9x6 but I did not have one available. Either one will work just fine. The power system pulled right around 35 amps so it was within the ESC's limits and possibly a little larger prop could be used but I found the P-47 to fly very well with the 9x7.5 I didn't see a reason to change it.

    Aileron rolls were very axial and loops were no problem as well. I flew for around 6 minutes before landing, with some throttle management they could be stretched a little longer.

    Landing the P-47 was easy, but it can come in a little fast, a good trick is to let the prop "idle" at low RPM as this will create drag to slow the plane down. I let one a friend of mine fly it for the video and he commented it was one of the nicest flying planes he has flown!

    After 3 flights I noticed the tail skid had lost its washer and was wearing down, I decided to replace it with a Dubro Micro Steerable Tailwheel and used a pin stuck in the rudder for the steering.

    The hatch is held in place with magnets but with all the wire under it from the battery and ESC it can be a tight fit. My Hatch popped off twice in the air but the P-47 fly's fine without it. I now use a clear piece of tape as well, but you could add more or stronger magnets.

    See the Great Planes P-47 in action!



  • Strike a pose

    The Great Planes P-47 is a great addition to your Warbird or your Combat fleet. It is a smooth flyer with no bad habits and goes together quickly. With the recommended power system it has plenty of power to get off the ground in a hurry and for full throttle passes. It looks great in the air and I would hate to crash it flying combat, but im sure lots of you will. :) The Great Planes P-47 is available at your local Hobby shop or online so be sure to get yours in the air!

    Manufacturer/Distributor Information

    Great Planes
    P.O. Box 9021
    CHAMPAIGN, IL 61826
    Support Phone:
    Website: http://www.greatplanes.com


    Comments on RCU Review: Great Planes P-47 Thunderbolt GP/EP ARF

    Posted by: Kostas1 on 04/07/2009
    Excellent review! I wish we could see more Electrifly reviews soon! Thank you again,though, Kostas Greece
    Posted by: silent flyer on 04/07/2009
    Nice review- I built this plane also and love it. It is my favorite electric warbird. I added invasion stripes under the wings to help my old eyes see it better. I am getting ready to try a 4 blade prop- It meters well - so I will try it in the air soon
    Posted by: BarracudaHockey on 04/09/2009
    Kostas, I just got the ElectriFly SU31 in yesterday, look for the review in a few weeks. Overall my initial impressions are very positive though.
    Posted by: WaltHow on 05/17/2009
    Terrific looking model. Sure would like to know the cost of it. WalterH <walthoward2@valornet.com>
    Posted by: WaltHow on 05/17/2009
    Terrific looking model. Sure would like to know the cost of it. WalterH <walthoward2@valornet.com>
    Posted by: webdr on 06/28/2009
    I have flown this plane about 10 times since its maiden last week. Started off with a 9x7.5 speed prop but was a little too hot for my skills. swapped it out for a 9x4 prop and it made all the difference. The plane is very docile now and lands slowly enough for me to stick the landings. it does have a high wing loading with the big 3200mah lipo. Coordinated turns are a must when flying anything but wide open or she will tip stall. Obviously this doesnt happen every time but you can feel it want to fall on base to final if you dont use a fair amount of rudder. Overall I like this plane and would recommend it to a seasoned flyer...which I myself am not!
    Posted by: gwinhh on 02/28/2011
    Insignia on tops of wings incorrect; should be top left, bottom right. No invasion stripes on wings, but present on fuse. arrgh. howell
    Posted by: Iflyit on 02/28/2011
    Page: 1
    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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