RCU Review: Great Planes Electrifly de Havilland Tiger Moth (GPMA1134)

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    Contributed by: Burc Simsek | Published: June 2010 | Views: 30928 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of de Havilland Tiger Moth ARF


    Distributed Exclusively by

    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61822
    Phone: (800) 637-7660

    • Pro-Formance Foam
    • Easy to Fly
    • Quick build

    • Suggested battery provides for short flight times outdoors.

    Skill Level:

    Time Required to Build:

    Frustration Level:

    What do these ratings mean?

    Great Britain's "J-3 Cub"
    From the Electrifly Website

    By 1930, Geoffrey de Havilland's one- and two-seat civilian biplanes had grown so popular in England that virtually any kind of private airplane was called a "Moth" ? much as, in America, any small plane was automatically a "Cub".

    The prototype of the DH 82 Tiger Moth made its debut flight on October 26, 1931. The Royal Air Force took notice and began using Tiger Moths for elementary pilot training. By the end of World War II, de Havilland had delivered more than 4,200 to the RAF. About 3,000 more were built in Australia, Canada and New Zealand for Commonwealth Air Training.

    Eventually, over 8,700 de Havilland DH 82 Tiger Moths would be manufactured. Of them, more than 250 are still considered airworthy.

    Name: de Havilland Tiger Moth (GPMA1134)
    Price: $64.99 (Accurate as of review date)
    Wingspan: 30 in (760 mm)
    Wing Area: 282 in² (18.2 dm²)
    Length: 24.5 in (620 mm)
    Flying Weight: 8.1 oz (230 g)
    Wing Loading: 4.1 oz/ft² (13 g/dm²)

    Radio Used: Futaba 7C 2.4GHz w/R6004FF 2.4GHz Rx
    Servos Used: Futaba S3114
    Motor Used: RimFire 250 28-13-1750
    ESC Used: Silver Series 8A
    Channels Used: 3 total - Elevator, Rudder, Throttle
    Prop Used: 8x6 Power Flow Slo-Flyer electric propeller
    Recommended Battery(s): ElectriFly 7.4V 300mAh 20C Lipo

    Items Needed To Complete
    • Hobby knife
    • Foam safe CA glue and accelerator
    • Various standard shop tool

    The Electrifly Tiger Moth arrives in a well packaged box with all of the components wrapped and taped down. Once all of the items are removed from the box, you immediately realize that there are only a few components and that this build should not take more than a few enjoyable hours.

    The de Havilland Tiger Moth arrives with nice factory applied scale touches such as the dual cockpit area complete with wind screens and instrument panels. The Firewall is pre-drilled to accept a Rimfire 250. The tail section comes with a wooden tail dragger setup and the push rods for the rudder and elevator are ready to go out of the box.

    The Pro-Formance foam that is used to make up the Tiger Moth looks quite striking with details such as ribbing and aileron cut outs. The landing gear is comprised of a single pre-bent wire and the wheels have the de Havilland logo on them. The only bag of parts that is required to complete the assembly holds the two cut-out pilot figures and an assortment of screws and parts.

    The manual is written and illustrated very nicely. Detailed instructions are given for each step of the assembly along with specifics on setting up the balance and throws of the model.

    Manual (729 KB)

    The assembly process involves using foam safe CA and accelerator to glue on the wings, struts and tail section. The motor and ESC along with the servos are installed next. The assembly is completed by installing the landing gear, cowl and wiring the optional rigging. It took me only one evening to complete the assembly.

    The manual suggest that the bottom of the wings are reinforced with some fiber tape if the Tiger Moth will be flow outdoors in windy conditions. As I rarely find a good indoor arena to fly, I decided to perform this step using some BiDi tape. The slots for the landing gear are then cut from the bottom wing. A C.G. marking template is supplied on the last page of the manual. This is cut out and then attached to the wing to transfer the respective locations of the balance points on the wing with a T-pin.

    The bottom wing is simply glued in with some foam safe CA. Make sure you remove the hatch for the servo housing before you mistakenly glue it in place during this process. The center cabane struts are then inserted in the pre-cut slots in the fuselage. There is a technical notice available for those who have trouble with this step which involves tapering the tips of the struts a little but mine fit in without any trouble.

    The top wing is then glued on to the center cabane struts. The manual suggest that the Tiger Moth be flipped on its back to check for alignment of the both wings but again, I did not have to make any adjustment as the fit was near perfect. The installation of the wings is the completed by gluing on the outer cabane struts.

    With the wings glued on, we move on to the tail section. The stab and the fin are first prepared by removing the thin layer of skin from the Pro-Formance foam. Make sure you do not apply too much pressure when test fitting the horizontal stabilizer to the fin as the whole assembly can easily crack under pressure. Before gluing on the parts, make sure you flex the elevator and rudder a few times to make sure the hinge joints have sufficient movement and that they are not too rigid. The fin can then be glued on to the stab and the whole assembly glued on to the tail section. Make sure you check first that the horizontal stabilizer is parallel to the wings and if not trim off some excess foam from the tail section to make it so.

    With the push rods pre-installed, all that is left to do on the tail section is to glue on the control horns and attach them to the push rods using the micro FasLink connectors.

    While the Tiger Moth calls for two ES40 pico micro servos, I was supplied with the slightly larger S3114 servos for the review.

    The manual calls for the elevator servo hole to be 5/16" out from the center of the servo while the rudder connector is 13/32" out. The second and third holes of the 3114 servo horns work quite well for these locations.

    The servo bay has to be trimmed a little to make the S3114 servos fit. I used a rotary tool to remove some wood from the bay area and installed the servos with four wood screws.

    The servos attach to the push rods using screw-lock connectors.

    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
    • Simple one-touch binding
    • Size: 0.85 x 1.53 x 0.48" (21 x 39 x 12 mm)
    • Weight: 0.24 oz (6.7 g)

    The power for the Tiger Moth will be supplied by the RimFire 250 and an 8A Silver Series ESC spinning an 8x6 prop.

    The motor is simply screwed in the firewall after hardening the screw holes with CA. I did notice that the wood screws can crack the wood connecting the firewall to the fuselage in one location so pay some special attention to that last screw.

    The ESC is then attached on the bottom of the firewall using Velcro or double sided tape.

    At this point, it is a good idea to connect the receiver and motor wires to make sure that the motor is spinning in the right direction.

    The receiver is secured in the back of the firewall and is a snug fit.

    With everything installed, I used a couple of zip ties to tidy up the wiring.

    Product Highlight
    RimFire 250
    • Diameter: 28mm (1.1 in)
    • Length: 13mm (0.51 in)
    • kV: 1750 rpm/V
    • Constant Watts: 90W
    • Burst Watts: 120W
    • Weight: 20g (0.71 oz)
    • Shaft Diameter: 3mm (0.12 in)
    • Voltage Range: 7.4V-11.1V (2-3S LiPo)
    • Prop: 7x6 to 8x4 slow fly

    Silver Series
    • Length: 30mm (1.18 in)
    • Width: 20mm (0.79 in)
    • Height: 6mm (0.24 in)
    • Weight: 11g (0.39 oz)
    • Input Voltage: 6-12 Cells NiCd/NiMh, 2-4 Cells LiPo
    • Output Current: 8A Continuous, 10A Surge
    • Max Output Power: 100 W
    • On Resistance: 0.05 Ohms
    • Operating Frequency: 8.5 kHz
    • BEC: 5V/1.5A
    • Low Voltage Cutoff: Battery Voltage x 0.67
    • Thermal Cutoff: 110°C (230°F)
    • Timing Angle: 12°
    • Brake: On/Off

    7.4V 2S LiPo


    • Capacity: 300 mAh
    • Rated Voltage : 7.4V
    • Continuous Discharge Current: 6A (20C)
    • Dimensions" 52x32x8mm (2x1.3x0.3")
    • Weight: 19.6g (0.7 oz)

    A final few steps required to complete the Tiger Moth assembly involve installing the landing gear, cowl and the optional rigging. The landing gear simply slides in place and is then supported by the V shaped wooden struts. The back of the struts do not actually make contact with anything to absorb the flex from the landing gear.

    There cowl is held in place by 1.6x4mm wood screws which are very tiny and can easily get lost if dropped. The manual recommends that you use a small drill bit in the range of .040" to .052 to drill the screw location. As I did not have such a small bit, I used the tip of a hobby knife to make a tiny hole and insert the wood screws in their respective locations. The 8x6 Slo-Fly propeller is then attached using the prop saver that is already attached to the RimFire 250.

    The manual also describes how to install the optional rigging which add a nice scale touch to the Tiger Moth. Finally, the pilot figure can be glued in to the pre-cut slot in the cockpit and the Tiger Moth is ready for some action.

    That weekend, I charged the collection of 300mAh batteries that I have and headed out to the field hoping for calm weather. Luckily, the maiden flight of the Tiger Moth happened to land of a fairly calm day with very little wind.

    With a freshly charged battery, I set the timer to 5 minutes and spooled up the motor. Facing the wind, I applied a little throttle and within a few feet, with almost no rudder correction, the Tiger Moth was airborne and climbing. I had to apply a little down elevator trim to achieve straight and level flight.

    The Tiger Moth is really a relaxed and easy to fly slow flyer as advertised. Turns are easily achieved with rudder and elevator and the lack of ailerons are not missed at all. While the Tiger Moth is not an acrobatic aircraft, I was surprised at some of the maneuvers I could perform including tight loops and stall turns.

    It was a please to see the Tiger Moth perform nice and slow coordinated turns and scale like passes over the runway. While pulling into a big loop at full throttle, I had the misfortune of having the prop saver fail and losing the prop. However, I was able to complete the turn and land without any issues. I later replaced the prop saver with a 3mm prop adapter and found that the added weight of the prop adapter and spinner also helped with the CG as well.

    Later on in the afternoon, the winds picked up significantly and I flew the Tiger Moth again in winds that were in the 10-15mph range and she handled it quite well though it was getting thrown around a little and landings were harder. Also, to fight against the wind, I had to fly at close to full throttle settings which reduced the flight time from the 300mAh battery to around 2-3 minutes.

    Download and Watch in Windows Media Player here

    The de Havilland Tiger Moth delivers on what is advertised as a pleasurable and easy to fly model. I enjoyed flying the Tiger Moth outdoors in low wind conditions. As it does not require a lot of space to fly, I looked forward to getting home from work when the wind was dying down and putting in a flight or two right in front of my house.

    I found that the prop saver can be a slight hassle as no matter what I did, I ended up breaking the supplied O-rings even while it was just sitting in the hangar. Either a toolbox full or spare O-rings is in order or you may want to opt for the adapter from the start.

    The recommended 300mAh battery will provide a decent flight time if you are flying in low wind condition as the throttle required to pull the airframe around is only around a quarter stick. However as the wind picks up, the flight time will be drastically reduced as you try to fight the wind with more throttle. But to be fair, that is not what the Tiger Moth was designed to do.

    Overall, I would recommend the Tiger Moth if you have access to an indoor flying venue or can wait out for the calm days and enjoy the relaxing fun that a scale looking slo-flyer can deliver.

    Distributed Exclusively by

    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 de Havilland Tiger Moth (GPMA1134)

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    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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