Originally designed by Gustave Delage as a racer, the Nieuport 11 was fast and extremely maneuverable, so when WWI broke out, it quickly entered service with the French Aéronautique Militaire, as well as the Royal Naval Air Service, and the Dutch, Belgian, Russian and Italian air services.
The "Bébé" (baby) as it became known, quickly became popular amongst aces like René Fonck and Georges Guynemer, for it had an excellent rate of climb and was extremely maneuverable. Its biggest drawback was the lack of a synchronized machine gun. Instead, they were armed with a single Hotchkiss or Lewis machine gun mounted over the wing.
Although its fighting career was short, it outclassed its rival, the Fokker Eindecker in almost every respect and its performance at the Battle of Verdun in February 1916, the Nieuport 11 inflicted such heavy losses on the enemy, that it forced a radical change in German tactics.
Now Electrifly has modeled this beautiful sesquiplane in the color scheme which features the hunting horn and shield of Armand de Turrenne, which he used while flying with Escadrille N.48.
Channels Used: 4 total - Elevator, Aileron, Rudder, Throttle
Items Needed To Complete
4-channel radio with micro receiver
Four micro with at least 20 oz-in torque
Rimfire 400 (28-30-950) Brushless Outrunner
25A brushless compatible
11.1V LiPo, at least 1600mAh and Charger
10x4.5 slow flyer type Propeller
Soldering Iron and Solder
Thin CA Glue
Medium CA Glue
Small Drill bits
Various Standard Shop Tools
Great Planes did their usual excellent job of packaging. All components were securely taped in place and no damage was evident. All parts were present and accounted for, so it was on to the manual.
The manual was on par with what you would expect from Great Planes, that is to say, outstanding step-by-step instructions. My only criticism would be that the picture of the combing on page 16 is so dark that none of the detail can be seen. However, the on-line PDF version of the manual shows this step clearly - I just wish I had checked it before I glued it on upside down. No biggie, it's just a decoration anyway.
Like any ARF we need to start by spending a few minutes getting out any wrinkles that may have developed in shipping. A little time with a covering iron and heat gun and all was well - although on models this small, you do need to take care not to warp any surfaces during this process. If this should happen, a little twisting and more heat easily returns any surface back to normal.
The lower wing needs to be temporarily installed before gluing the stab. The forward dowels are glued in place and the wing gets bolted to the fuse.
Now the stab can be aligned with the lower wing and glued in place. Next, the rudder is attached with a single CA Hinge. Note the fact that there is no vertical fin on the Nieuport, so this single hinge is the only attachment point for the rudder.
The pushrods are attached to the control horns and the horns for the tail surfaces are glued into pre-cut slots. In a later step, the servos are installed.
The Rimfire outrunner is bolted to the firewall with the supplied mount and standoffs. A Velcro strip is added for battery and ESC placement.
Note: Before installing the ESC, you must replace the connectors with smaller ones. These can be soldered on to the ESC wires, or you can use a 3.5mm Male to2.5mm Female Bullet Connector Adapter (Part # GPMM3122).
AILERON SERVO INSTALLATION
Remove the servo hatch and voila! There is a "Y" Cord for the servos built right into the wing! All you need to do is glue the servo to the hatch (Yes, I said glue the servo to the hatch, however, standard mounting blocks are provided if you choose to use them), install the control horns and pushrods, and the installation is complete.
WING AND STRUT ATTACHMENT
Hard points are now glued in place for the "V" Struts and the cabane brackets are screwed to the top wing. Note that after installation, any and all screws should be removed to have the threads hardened with thin CA glue.
Now the top wing is temporarily bolted in place, the bottom wing is attached and the "V" struts are added. At this point is it critical that you check and tweak the alignment of the two wings as they are rather delicate and easily distorted.
The landing gear was a snap. The tail skid glues into a slot in the rear and the manual gives excellent instruction as to the placement of the main gear brackets.
At this point, all of the major work is done. All that's left is to glue the belly pan in place (I used canopy glue) and screw the dummy radial to the motor box. The cowl snaps in place with the aid of a few magnets for easy access to the battery.
Finishing touches include cowl vents, access panels and combing (which I installed upside down). The scale machine gun and pilot are added and with the addition of a few decals, she's ready for the sunlight!
I had the opportunity to work from our Florida office for a few weeks in January (Which you take advantage of if you live in Minnesota), so I shipped the Nieuport down there for the flight testing. My folks live in that area, so my dad and I would sneak out to the field each morning to get a few flights in before I went to work. Once I had the Nieuport re-assembled, we headed out to the field one morning when the weather was perfect, about 70 degrees and absolutely no wind at all.
The first takeoff was interesting to say the least. Due to the lack of tail wheel steering, the Nieuport was rather squirrelly on the ground, but I quickly learned that slowly increasing the throttle was the wrong approach. I found that by zipping the throttle quickly to about half-speed resulted in a straight run and an easy liftoff.
Once airborne, I did the prerequisite laps of the field and I was somewhat surprised to see that I needed no trim at all. Normally, this wouldn't be a surprise, but after tightening the wing covering, I had to remove a few warps that the covering had created and although everything looked straight afterward, I just assumed that something was off somewhere. However, the Nieuport flew a straight and level line beautifully.
Full power resulted in a rapid gain in altitude (Not unusual for a WWI biplane), but at half-throttle, the Nieuport was delightful to fly! It has no bad habits and tracks very well. At full speed, you can trim out the extra lift and she really zips along! The Nieuport is also quite maneuverable. It accomplished any basic maneuver that I threw at it.
Landings were equally as stable. I found that by leaving just a click or two of throttle (just enough to keep the prop spinning) was an ideal setting. She just floated down and settled in. Taxiing can be a bit tricky - you need to have enough propwash blowing over the tail to steer, but not so much throttle that it will take off, but again, this is to be expected with this type of aircraft.
My dad and I hit the field again the following day and dad flew her around as I shot pictures and video.
Check out the video to see her in action!
Electrifly Nieuport XI ARF Or, Download the Video (24meg) CLICK HERE
This little Nieuport is great. Assembly is straight forward with no hassles, the instructions are excellent and it flies very well.
The manual does a great job of ushering you through each procedure and assembly is complete in about eight hours (my only complaint being the one dark picture in the printed version of the manual). The color scheme not only looks nice, but also makes the Nieuport easy to see.
While this plane assembles well and flies great, I would discourage a beginner from attempting it, but for those WWI fans that have good flying skills and a few prior assemblies under their belt, the Nieuport XI would be a great choice!
All in all, this is a terrific little airplane at a great price!
Great Planes Model Distributors
P.O. Box 9021
Champaign, IL 61826-9021 www.greatplanes.com
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.