jumped on the chance to review the Eagle 580. Not only is
it a high-performance aerobat, it's painted in the colors
of my alma mater, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU).
Matt Chapman represents ERAU at airshows with the full scale
Eagle 580. He calls his CAP 580 the Eagle 580 because the
ERAU mascot is an Eagle.
usual, the folks at Great Planes have produced a great looking
airplane with performance to match. The Eagle 580 is constructed
from laser cut wood and covered in genuine MonoKote. The airplane
also features carbon fiber laminated parts to yield a strong
yet light airframe. The finished appearance of this model
is very clean thanks to the pre-installed magnets that hold
the cowling and canopy in place.
This model is designed to fly with a brushless LiPo system
for maximum performance and minimum fuss.
The Rimfire .32 (42-50-800)kV Outrunner Brushless Motor is
designed to plug and play with this airframe to minimize building
50 in (1270 mm)
Area: 494 in² (31.9 dm²)
3.25-3.5 lb (1475-1590 g)
Loading: 15-16 oz/ft² (46-49 g/dm²)
47.75 in (1215 mm)
4-channel radio w/4 micro servos (5-6 channel recommended)
The Eagle 580 comes well packaged
in a full color box. The MonoKote covered parts were
wrinkle free and individually wrapped in plastic. The
kit comes with an airframe, landing gear, wheel pants,
wheels, hardware and decals. The cowling and canopy
both snap into place thanks to pre-installed
rare-earth magnets. The magnets are so strong, removing
the cowling for the first time broke part of the bulkhead
in the cowling. I would recommend that you check the
bulkhead to make sure it is secure. If you add some
additional glue, make sure that you don't get glue on
the side where the magnets are exposed, as you may affect
the fit of the cowling.
Assembly of the Eagle 580 doesn't
take long and it can easily be completed in 3-4 hours.
The fuselage, wings and tail are all pre-covered in
MonoKote. The first step in the manual is to install
the aileron servos in the wings. The wings come with
a string through the ribs to make installing the servos
easy. Just tie or tape the string to the servo wires
and pull the wire through to the wing root. I did find
that the all the servo cutouts were a little undersized
in width for the Futaba S3115 servos. The hardware kits
includes small carbon fiber plates to hold the servos
down in place of the rubber and grommets that are supplied
with the servo. The manual does show the included nylon
clevises being used on the ailerons, but I substituted
all the nylon clevisis for metal clevisis.
I made two modifications to the
airframe to make it more durable. Both were made after
the original airframe proved too weak. The first modification
is the landing gear mounting area and the second is
the elevators joiner. Both modifications are easy to
do, especially if you complete them before the airplane
is completely assembled.
The gear area of the fuselage is too weak. A bounce
on landing broke the attach plate rearward into the
fuselage. Some searches on the forums revealed that
I wasn't the only one with this issue.
I peeled back the covering just behind the landing gear
attach plate on the bottom of the fuselage. Then I installed
(5) pieces of 3/32 lite plywood. The first two pieces
of 3/4" wide lite plywood go on the fuselage insides
just behind the landing gear mounting plate up. An additional
two triangular pieces were also installed.
The last piece was a 1-1/2" wide piece of 3/32 lite
plywood installed from the rear of the landing gear
mounting plate to the battery tray. This piece was glued
on top of the original structure.
All these pieces were glued in place using thick and
thin CA. I then added some balsa to the bottom of the
fuselage and covered it with some MonoKote.
The wheel pants are easy to assemble to the gear legs.
The manual does a good job of pointing out which gear
leg goes to which wheel pant. The next step is to attach
the gear to the fuselage. The gear attaches with 4-40
screws and lock washers. I used a dab of thread locker
for some additional security.
Next the rudder is installed with
thin CA and CA hinges. The manual shows a great tip,
to push a pin through the center of the hinge when installing.
This will keep the hinge from going too deep on either
side. After the rudder is installed, the tail wheel
assembly can be installed. Looking down the inside of
the fuselage, you can see the carbon fiber laminations
that add strength to the airframe.
The elevators are connected with
a wire joiner that slips into balsa wood on each elevator
half. This setup worked for a while, and then some slop
developed. This modification is easier to do before
the horizontal stabilizer is glued to the fuselage.
I drilled the holes that the elevator joiner slip in
out to a 1/4" diameter hole. I drilled the hole out
using several drill bits, stepping up in size 1/8" or
so at a time. Then I inserted a 1/4" hardwood dowel
into the hole and glued the dowel into place with thin
CA. Next I drilled the dowel out to the original size
of the elevator joiner wire. Then I filed the hardwood
dowel to match the profile of the elevator leading edge.
The last step was to cut away some covering and epoxy
1 layer of fiberglass over the elevator joiner wire.
If you do this modification before gluing the tail in
you can do all this on your workbench. Otherwise you
will need to complete this with the elevator joiner
through the fuselage. This modification made a stiff
connection to both elevators.
Next it's time to glue the horizontal
stabilizer in place. Fist the manual has you install
the wings by sliding the canopy off and slipping the
carbon fiber joiner tube into place. Then the wings
can slide onto the joiner tube and get secured with
a nylon thumb screw. After the wings are installed,
the horizontal tail is fit checked against the main
wing. Remember to slide the elevators or wire elevator
joiner in the slot before the horizontal stabilizer
is glued in. Remove the covering from the center section
as indicated and slip the horizontal tail into the fuselage.
It's important to make sure that the wing and horizontal
are parallel to guarantee straight flight characteristics.
Once the tail is square with the wing, the horizontal
tail can be glued in place with some thin CA. After
the tail is glued in place the elevator can be installed.
The elevator installs the same as the rudder with CA
The next steps are to install the motor, ESC and the
remaining radio gear. The ElectriFly Rimfire .32 (42-50-800)kV
Outrunner motor simply bolts on to the motor mount without
any modification. The ESC installs with Velcro that
is included in the kit. I installed the ESC a little
further back to allow some additional surface for the
Velcro to stick to. I then secured the ESC with 2 zip
ties. Snap the cowling into place and install the propeller
The rudder servo is installed
in the fuselage and the elevator servo is installed
in the tail. The rudder is set up with push-pull cables
that work very well. To get the cables down the nylon
tubes, I used a piece of music wire to push it down
the tube. When installing the threaded rudder control
horn, the control horn should be installed 19 mm, not
21mm from the bottom of the rudder as the manual indicates.
You will see a hole cut in the rudder for the threaded
rudder control horn. Also, when installing the rudder
it is easy to confuse the threaded control horn nuts
and the nuts used on the push-pull cables.
The receiver is Velcroed to the
bottom of the fuselage in an open bay. This means the
receiver is stuck to the MonoKote. While I would prefer
a piece of wood to mount the receiver to, this worked
well. Velcro is also supplied for the battery, and the
plate that the battery sits on holds the battery securely.
Now comes the fun part, installing the giant decals
that come with the kit. The Embry-Riddle on the bottom
of the wings is pre-applied, but the decals need to
be installed on the top of the wings and sides of the
fuselage. The decals are easy to install if you follow
the directions in the manual. A mild dish soap solution
and water will allow you to position the decals. I used
a ruler and a marker to make very small marks on the
MonoKote to help me position the wing decals. The fuselage
decals install easier because the fuselage structure
gives you a good reference to where "straight" is. On
the rudder it may help to use some clear tape to help
the decals stick close to the hinge. I ran a piece through
the hinge line from one side to the other to keep the
decal pressed against the rudder.
Some of the decals were not illustrated
well in the manual (this is my only complaint about
the manual since overall the manual is excellent). The
pictures here will help you place the decals. One note
of caution, you may want to look at Matt Chapman's web
site (address at the bottom) to place some of the decals
if you're picky. The Lycoming Engines decals are in
a different position on the full scale plane. The full
scale plane also has Goodyear logos on the wheel pants
that were included with the kit but not shown in the
Once the decals have dried, it's time to begin those
final checks before you tear up the sky. The C.G. came
out perfect at 3 1/4" back from the root leading edge
per the manual after adjusting the position of the battery.
It's a good idea to put a mark on the battery tray so
you know where to put the battery after you've take
it out to charge. Set up your control throws and complete
a range check. Complete the rest of your preflight checks,
and this thing is ready to fly!
This combination of motor, Electronic
Speed Control (ESC), battery, and the 12 x 6 E propeller
worked great for sport and acrobatic maneuvers. The 13 x
8 E propeller provided for 3D work pulled more amperage
than the ESC is rated for (45 amps), so all the flights
on the video were made with the 12 x 6 E propeller. If
you plan on doing a lot of 3D type maneuvers with the 13
x 8 E propeller, then I would bump up to the SS-60 ESC from
the SS-45 that was tested here or try a few different propellers.
The Silver Series 45A ESC has a built in 5 volt, 2 Amp Battery
Eliminator Circuit (BEC). An external BEC is optional and
recommended by Electrifly, however the manual has a table
that suggests the ESC will drive 4 non-digital micro servos.
I flew it stock using the BEC in the ESC to test its capabilities.
If you plan on flying 3D, add the BEC.
motor mounts to the airframe with no fuss and 4 screws.
The ESC is very simple to use and all the programming is
done with the throttle stick. I would recommend turning
the "brake" function on. While landing this will keep the
airplane from slowing too quick and bouncing in. The battery
performed excellent and provided reliable power. The APC
propellers worked great! They come with precision inserts
to keep the propeller centered on the shaft. A propeller
reamer is required to ream the hubs to fit on the Rimfire
Motor. These products were easy to use and performed beyond
ElectriFly Rimfire .32 (42-50-800)kV Outrunner motor is a high performance
outrunner motor that is made with high powered rare-earth Neodymium
magnets. It has a 42mm diameter motor, 50mm motor length with
50A of continuous and 80A of surge current. Weight is 7 oz and
the input voltage is 11.1-18.5 volts. The Rimfire .32 (42-50-800)kV
has a kV rating of 800 rpm/volt. During my testing the Rimfire .32 (42-50-800)kV performed flawlessly. The motor comes with a propeller
adapter, motor mount and hardware.
Silver Series 45A Brushless Electronic Speed Control, GPMM1840
ElectriFly Silver Series 45A Brushless ESC (Electronic Speed
Control) weighs only 1.76 oz and is 2.76" x 0.39" x 1.3" with
pre-installed receiver plug, a Deans Ultra Connector and gold
plated 4mm female bullet connectors. This ESC sports a 2A BEC
(Battery Eliminator Circuit) that can power 3-4 standard servos.
This ESC also features a motor brake and does not require a
programming card or software to program. It also features a
safety circuit that requires you to arm the ESC before the propeller
will move. This is easy to do, just bring the throttle to full,
then the ESC will beep. Bring the throttle back to idle and
the ESC will beep again. Now the ESC is armed and you are ready
ElectriFly Power Series Lithium-Polymer Battery is a balanced
20C Discharge, 2100 mAh, 14.8V battery. It comes with a balancing
tab and deans connector installed. This battery weighs in at
Composite Thin Electric Propellers
propellers were tested for this review. The fist was an APC
Composite 12 x 6 E Thin Electric propeller and the second was
a 13 x 8 E. These propellers are noticeably lighter than their
gas and glow counterparts and are marked "Not for gas engines"
S3115 Precision Micro Mini Servo
review used 4 Futaba S3115 Precision Micro Mini Servos. Two
servos were used on the ailerons, one for the rudder and one
for the elevator. The Futaba S3115 Servo is ideal for electric
planes and small electric helicopters. It comes with a one year
warranty. This servo uses precision nylon gears and it replaces
the Futaba S3101 Servo.
Torque: 39 oz-in (2.8 kg/cm)
Speed: 0.15 sec/60°
Dimensions: 1.1 x 0.5 x 1.2"
(28 x 13 x 30mm)
Weight: 0.60oz (17g)
Lead Length: 6.5" (165mm)
servos proved to have enough power and speed to complete any
of the maneuvers that I could put the Eagle 580 through. The
2A BEC on the ESC was able to power four of these servos with
76 F Air Temp, 3 Lbs 8 Oz Takeoff Weight
x 6 E
x 8 E
Lbs, 11 oz
Lbs, 12 oz
the C.G. checked 3-1/4" back from the root leading edge, and
the control throws set to the recommended high and low settings
it was time to see what the Eagle 580 could do.
Eagle 580 accelerated quickly down the runway and with a slight
tug on the elevator it was airborne. It didn't take long to
figure out that this was one smooth machine. After a few minutes
I switched to the high rates (middle columns in the chart
above) and kept them there. The ElectriFly Rimfire .32 (42-50-800)kV
Outrunner motor and APC Composite 12 x 6 E pulled the Eagle
580 with authority.
The takeoff is short as seen in
the video and a little rudder was required to maintain
a straight takeoff from the grass field.
Flight, Stalls and Spins:
Slow flight is very good. The ailerons
have good authority in slow flight and the model comes
to a predictable nose up attitude. Stalls are mild with
little tendency to drop a wing. Upright and inverted spins
had a tendency to come out after a 1/2 - 3/4 turn. All
the flights were flown with the C.G. at the recommended
location. As you get more comfortable with this plane,
you can probably move the C.G. back to increase the spin
Aerobatics (Aileron / Elevator):
The Eagle 580 handles all the basic
loops and rolls with ease. Rolls are very axial and smooth.
Loops from level flight are nice and round.
Aerobatics (Aileron / Elevator / Rudder):
The airplane knife edges well, with
a little tendency to drop the nose. Point rolls are very
crisp with almost no tendency to overshoot. For 3D flying,
take advantage of a radio with programmable exponential
and set the rates to the 3D settings when the sticks are
moved to the extremes. The plane hovers well, even with
the 12 x 6 E propeller.
Go arounds are predictable with
no bad habits.
The Eagle 580 will make nice smooth
landings with the ESC brake on. The airplane glides
well, slipping the plane on final helps to steepen the
the brake function off, and the propeller windmilling,
the Eagle 580 will slow down fast and bounce in on landing.
If you fly with the brake off, bump the throttle trim
up to keep the plane from slowing down too fast. See
the instructions with the ESC about enabling the brake
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The Matt Chapman Eagle 580 50" EP ARF
is a solid plane. It combines high performance aerobatics
with a great looking airplane. This airplane will appeal to
a wide range of modelers. Not only can this plane work as
a sport flier, it will also please someone looking to learn
or perform advanced aerobatics and 3D. Great Planes has added
some nice extra touches with this airplane. The carbon fiber
laminations in the fuselage add strength with minimal weight.
The cowling and canopy both have magnets pre-installed, making
it easy on the modeler and giving the finished airplane a
very clean appearance.
Eagle 580 delivers all this with clean and quiet electric
power. The fit and finish is excellent and is up to the usual
high Great Planes standards. I was disappointed with the landing
gear attachment structure and the elevator joiner structure,
as both required reinforcement. The landing gear structure
would have been a great spot for some carbon fiber. The elevator
joiner wire slips into soft balsa on the elevator, within
a few flights slop developed between the elevator halves.
Installing a hardwood dowel plug and securing the joiner wire
with some fiberglass made a slop-free connection.
Rimfire motor, Silver Series ESC and ElectriFly LiPo battery
handled the Eagle 580 with authority. The APC Composite 12
x 6 E Thin Electric Propeller worked great for aerobatics
while the 13 x 8 E propeller is the obvious choice for 3D
with a thrust to weight ratio of 1.64. Without question the
Eagle 580 will have everyone's attention, either in flight
or standing proud on the flightline.
review would not be complete without a shameless plug
for my alma mater. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
is widely recognized as the world leader in aerospace
and aviation education. Graduates train for all disciplines
of aviation and aerospace careers in the schools 30 plus
degree programs. Programs are offered in undergraduate,
graduate and PhD levels. Embry-Riddle has two main campuses
and many more with the worldwide extended campuses, often
located on military bases. In addition, ERAU offers online
Aeronautical sponsors Matt Chapman to fly the Eagle 580
(a Cap 580) at airshows across the country. Matt has been
awarded the Hilliard Trophy and also won the prestigious
International Aerobatic Club Championships in 1994 and
the Fond du Lac Cup in 1995*. Much like Matt is highly
decorated and well respected aerobatic pilot, Embry-Riddle
graduates are respected in the professional community
because of their achievements.
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.