RCU Review: Great Planes ElectriFly Super Sportster EP ARF

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    Contributed by: Burc Simsek | Published: November 2009 | Views: 61718 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of ElectriFly SuperSportster EP Brushless


    Distributed Exclusively by
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61822
    Phone: (800) 637-7660

    • Quick Assembly
    • Vibrant Colors
    • Relaxed to Fast Flyer

    • None

    Skill Level:

    Time Required to Build:

    Frustration Level:

    What do these ratings mean?

    If you are just graduating from your trainer and looking for your first sport airplane, or an experienced flyer looking for relaxed Sunday flyer, the Super Sportster brushless EP should be on your short list of no mess, no fuss electric airplanes.

    The Super Sportster has been around for a while and probably most every pilot has owned one version of this airframe. ElectriFly has now introduced this low part count airframe with a brushless configuration that allows for long relaxed flights or fast blazing fun that can be put together in one evening. With a low price tag and vibrant red/white color scheme that is hard to miss, I am excited to have a chance to put this airframe together and see what she can do.

    Name: Super Sportster EP (GPMA1161)
    Price: $99
    Wingspan: 48 in (1220 mm)
    Wing Area: 383 in² (24.7 dm²)
    Length: 39 in (990 mm)
    Flying Weight: 2.75 - 3 lb (1250 - 1360 g)
    Wing Loading: 17 - 18 oz/ft² (52 - 55 g/dm²)

    Radio Used: Futaba 7C 2.4GHz w/R617FS 2.4GHz Rx
    Servos Used: Electri-Fly ES80
    Motor Used: RimFire 0.25 42-40-1000
    ESC Used: Silver Series 45A
    Channels Used: 4 total - Elevator, Aileron, Rudder, Throttle
    Prop Used: 11x8.5E APC
    Recommended Battery: ElectriFly BP 11.1V 3200mAh 20C Lipo

    Items Needed To Complete
    • Hobby Knife
    • Phillips Screw Driver
    • Thin and Medium CA Glue
    • 30-min Epoxy
    • Various Standard Shop Tools

    The Super Sportster arrives in a double boxed package and every component is individually wrapped and securely taped down. Removing the top cardboard layer which holds the wing and tail reveals the fuselage and canopy at the bottom of the box. The cowl and wheel pants along with the rest of the parts are packaged in side boxes.

    This plane has a really low part count. The ailerons are pre-hinged from the factory and the fuselage has nice cooling holes that do not require cutting or trimming. The push rod tubes for the elevator and rudder are pre-installed as well. About the only thing that is left for the modeler to do is to glue the wing halves together, install the tail and landing gear and setup the power and radio system which should not take more than one evening.

    The manual is written and illustrated quite well. Measurements are given in both standard and metric. It should not be a problem for a beginner to put this plane together while following the manual. The recommended throws and CG are clearly documented as well.

    The assembly process is actually quite quick. The first step involves preparing the wing. This is followed by the tail and landing gear. The motor and ESC are installed followed by the radio system. Finally the cowl and hatch can be installed and the model prepared for flight. I had the Sportster ready in one evening.

    The two wing halves are epoxied together using the wing joiner that is provided. A clamp and some tape is useful to have here to make sure that the wings do not move while the glue dries.

    The provided servo mount is used to house the aileron servo. The covering is removed and the mount glued to the exposed balsa. The aileron servo is then mounted and attached to the factory installed control arms using the provided servo links. The kit does come with an addendum providing two separate servo attachments which must be used here.

    The tail is installed by first removing the small joiner in the back of the fuselage. I was happy to see that the alignment of the tail in relation to the wing was perfect out of the box which is a rare occurrence for me. A small section of covering in the tail and rudder stab has to be removed to give the epoxy or CA something to adhere to.

    Instead of Epoxy, I used some thin CA followed by some medium GAP filler CA to make this a quick installation process. The Elevator can then be hinged using the supplied CA hinges.

    The tail wheel assembly is inserted in the rudder and aligned with the stab then can be epoxied into the back of the fuselage. The rudder is also hinged with CA hinges. Before installing the control arms, make sure you insert the push rods so that you can get a good alignment on their position. I had to trim a small section of the rudder control arm to make sure it was not hitting the fuselage. I also had to replace the provided machine screws with hex head versions that I had sitting in my screw box since I stripped them by mistake.

    The wheel pants require the wood backers to be aligned and epoxied followed by inserting and aligning the support for the landing wire on the other side of the wheel pant. At this point the manual suggests that you remove the landing wire again but I simply installed the landing wire and squeezed in the circular support and used some medium CA to set it in place. The wheel is then sandwiched in place with the provided wheel collars.

    The whole assembly then slides into the pre-drilled holes in the bottom of the fuselage and is secured using the provided plastic retainers and self tapping screws. I really like how the large wheel pants look on this airframe.

    The power for this build will be supplied by the brushless RimFire 0.25 42-40-1000 motor and a 45A Silver Series ESC.

    The motor looks very nice and has some strong magnets..

    The motor is simply screwed into the blind nuts that are pre-attached to the firewall.

    The ESC is attached to the side of the battery compartment using the provided double sided tape. Make sure the motor is spinning in the correct direction before attaching the cowl.

    The suggested 3200mAh battery is a tight fit through the hatch. It can alternatively be inserted through the bottom wing opening.

    Product Highlight
    RimFire 0.25

    • Diameter: 42mm (1.7 in)
    • Length: 40mm (1.6 in)
    • kV: 1000
    • Constant Watts: 650W
    • Burst Watts: 740W
    • Weight: 125g (4.4 oz)
    • Shaft Diameter: 5mm (0.2 in)
    • Voltage Range: 11.1-14.8V (3-4S LiPo)
    • For Sport: 2040g (4.5 lbs)
    • For 3D: 1360g (3 lbs)
    • Recommended ESC: 45A
    • Prop: 11x8.5 to 12x6 Electric

    Silver Series
    • Length: 70mm (2.7 in)
    • Width: 33mm (1.3 in)
    • Height: 10mm (0.39 in)
    • Weigth: 50g (1.76 oz)
    • Input Voltage: 6-12 Cells NiCd/NiMh, 2-4 Cells LiPo
    • Output Current: 45A Continuous, 50A Surge
    • Max Output Power: 500 W
    • On Resistance: 0.008 Ohms
    • Operating Frequency: 8.5 kHz
    • BEC: 5V/2A
    • Low Voltage Cutoff: Battery Voltage * 0.67
    • Thermal Cutoff: 110°C (230°F)
    • Timing Angle: 12°
    • Brake: On/Off

    11.1V 3S LiPo


    • Capacity: 3200 mAh
    • Rated Voltage : 11.1V
    • Continuous Discharge Current: 64A (20C)
    • Dimensions" 155x45x24mm (6.1x1.8x0.9")
    • Weight: 285g (10.1 oz)

    The airframe only requires 3 servos. The chosen servos were the ES80 micro servos

    The elevator and rudder servos are installed in the bays provided and connected to the push rods.

    The wing servo is shown here again for reference.

    The receiver is installed with double sided tape. I secured the antennas to the side of the fuselage with some tape to make sure that they were opposing each other and they would not float around in the cabin.

    Product Highlight

    • Available with 4 S3152 high-torque servos (FUTK7000/7001); 4 S3004 ball bearing servos (FUTK7002); or 4 S3001 ball bearing servos (FUTK7003)
    • Dial'n KeyTM programming.
    • Airplane/Heli software
    • Assignable switches/functions
    • Up/Down timer
    • Mode 1-4 selectable
    • Large 72x32 LCD screen with adjustable contrast
    • 10-model memory, 6-character model naming
    • Digital trims, trim memory, EPA, subtrims and servo reversing
    • Dual/Triple Rates* (aileron/elevator/rudder)
    • Exponential (aileron/elevator/rudder)
    • Adjustable throttle cut and Fail-safe
    • Dual antenna diversity and simple one-touch binding
    • Size: 1.6 x 1.1 x 0.35" (40 x 27 x 9 mm)
    • Power Requirement: 4.8 - 6V
    • Weight: 0.34 oz (9.8 g)

    The final bits of assembly include attaching the cowl, spinner and canopy and setting the throws per the manual. The cowl fits nicely around the motor spacer with perfect spacing. It is attached using four wood screws. Use some tape to hold it in place as you drill and screw it in so it does not move once you have aligned it. The provided spinner completes the sleek look of the Super Sportster.

    The canopy is trimmed and glued to the fuselage. I choose to simply tape it on since I did not yet have the pilot figure which I will be adding later. With the battery strapped down and the wing bolted on, I balanced the Sportster on the recommended CG point. Finally, using a throw meter, I set triple rates to low, high and max available throw.

    The maiden flight of the Super Sportster EP happened to land on a beautiful day for Houston. The weather was in the low 70s with little to no wind. I took the Sportster to Tom Bass Park, which has a medium size runway, with a box full of charged batteries and prepared her for flight.

    The field assembly of the Sportster is very simple requiring the insertion of the aileron servo lead and the bolts to hold the wing in place.

    After securing the battery and making sure all the control surfaces were moving in the correct directions, I taxied to the top of the runway and slowly applied throttle till the tail lifted of the ground. A few moments later, the Sportster was airborne with little to no rudder correction required for straight and true take off. Once airborne, I had to apply a few clicks of down and left trim to get her flying straight and level. Rolling inverted, the Sportster required a good amount of down elevator to fly level. On later flights, I shifted the battery back a little, which caused less of a drop in the altitude of the nose during inverted flight.

    The first thing I noticed was that the max rates I programmed in the Futaba 7C were not really necessary (or really safe to fly). With max elevator applied, the plane tends to snap rather easily. So take care in setting your throws as recommended till you are comfortable with the flight characteristics of the Sportster. Basic aerobatics such as loops, Cuban eights, stall turns are easily flown with the Sportster. I found that knife edge required a significant amount of throttle to maintain but did not require major correction besides the rudder and slight down elevator.

    After couple of maneuvers, I did couple of full throttle low speed passes over the runway and can say that she is quite fast for a small electric plane. The RimFire is really a strong motor for this airframe.

    Slowing things down I started attempting some slow figure eights and circles right in front of the flight line as a full moon was rising over the tree lines. It was really fun to see the Sportster cruising slowly in front of the big full moon. You can really slow the Sportster down for a leisurely flight around the field.

    I noticed the Sportster likes to glide. If landing on pavement, the landing gear can spring, causing the airplane to bounce a little. With that said, landings were a breeze as long as I kept my approach a little longer, and the glide slope more shallow.

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    The Sportster is truly a fun plane to fly. The suggested battery can provide long flight times with less than half throttle on the RimFire 0.25, which still pulls the airframe around fairly briskly. After a twelve minute flight, I put back in 1600mA. At full throttle, the fun really begins as you push the airframe to the extremes of its flight envelope.

    If this is your second airplane, you can get introduced to the world of low wing airframes with at a relatively low cost, and with brushless power and no nitro mess to clean up afterwards, can concentrate on improving your flying skills.

    The suggested throws for high rates are only a fraction of what the surfaces can achieve. Use the recommended throws till you are comfortable with the flight characteristics of the Sportster. At max deflection you can perform some wild snaps but make sure you are high enough to recover.

    The Sportster is small enough that it can be kept in the back of a small car for a quick getaway to the flying field after work but still large enough to present itself nicely in the air.
    I would have preferred to see the pilot figure included in the kit as that is just one more thing to order.

    Overall, I am very pleased with the assembly, looks and performance of this Sportster EP that I will find a place for it in my hangar and see if I can throw together some sort of wing bag to protect the wing during transport. Now, I just need to order a pilot figure and glue down the canopy and get more time to go out to the field.


    Distributed Exclusively by Great Planes Model Distributors

    2904 Research Rd.
    Champaign IL 61826
    Phone: (217) 398-8970

    Futaba Radios
    Distributed Exclusively by Great Planes Model Distributors
    2904 Research Rd.
    Champaign IL 61826
    Phone: (217) 398-8970

    ZAP and Pacer Adhesives
    Distributed by Frank Tiano Ent.

    3607 Ventura Drive E.
    Lakeland, Florida 33811
    Phone 863-607-6611


    Comments on RCU Review: Great Planes ElectriFly Super Sportster EP ARF

    Posted by: Farmer Ted on 12/05/2009
    I'm glad to see that GP has finally made a brushless version of this plane. The old brushed version was my second plane several years ago and it taught me a lot about flying. It is a very strong and durable plane, good flier, good looking, and a great size. It's nice to see GP updating some of their older electric designs and making them available for brushless motors and lipo power instead of supplying ARFs with brushed motors and ESC systems designed for NiMh or NiCd power. I felt they were a little behind the times with some of those offerings and many casual pilots don't want to do the engineering work to convert a brushed plane over to brushless or pay money for a fairly useless brushed motor and ESC that is included in an ARF kit. Good Job Great Planes.
    Posted by: Taildragger55 on 12/06/2009

    Posted by: opjose on 10/15/2010
    Wonderful plane, but do NOT use the recommended servos. Instead file out the opening a bit and utilize MINI servos instead of Micros. Also the ailerons come pre-hinged, but the gap is too small, which restricts aileron movement. The included CA hinges will delaminate over a year or so! ( I know this from experience! ) Use non-plastic substrate CA hinges, such as the Dubro ones instead.
    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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