RCU Review: Great Planes F-20 Tigershark sport-scale EDF ARF

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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: June 2010 | Views: 47256 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Great Planes F-20 Tigershark

    Review by: Greg Covey
    Flying Photos: "Papa Jeff" Ring
    Video Pilot: Lynn Bowerman

    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Telephone: 800-637-7660
    Telephone: 217-398-3630

    Web: www.greatplanes.com
    E-mail: gpinfo@gpmd.com

    Complete Kit with DF, motor, and hardware
    Easy to build with an excellent manual
    Superb Flying Performance and great looks
    Durable Aerocell foam
    Matched Power Set
    Spare Parts Available

    Non-scale right side flag
    Great Planes F-20 Tigershark

    The Great Planes ElectriFly F-20 Tigershark is a sport-scale EDF ARF made from lightweight and durable Aerocell foam construction. It includes a HyperFlow ducted fan unit with a powerful Ammo 20-45-3790 inrunner brushless motor. Also included are two AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles and a display stand that lets your F-20 EDF look as great on the ground as it does in the air!

    The F-20 Tigershark EDf ARF can reach speeds of 85mph using the recommended power system. The pre-assembled cockpit includes a pilot, dashboard controls, and is held in place with powerful magnets. There are few parts to put together so the assembly is fast and easy.


    • Wingspan: 22.5 in (570mm)
    • Wing Area: 162 sq in. (10.4 sq dm)
    • Weight: 26.8 oz (760 g)
    • Wing Loading: 23.8 oz/sq ft (73g/sq.dm.)
    • Length: 37 in (940mm)
    • Center of Gravity: 3.75" (95mm) back from the leading edge of the wing measured at the fuselage

    Key Features:

    • Made from lightweight and durable Aerocell foam
    • Two-piece wing with carbon wing spars and pre-hinged ailerons
    • Removable foam wing tip missiles (for display only)
    • Clear canopy with painted pilot bust and instrument panel decals, magnetically secured canopy hatch is removable for battery access
    • Foam Display Stand with easy tab and slot assembly (NOT AeroCell foam)
    • Ammo brushless motor (24-45-3790) with HyperFlow ducted fan unit (Included)
    ARF Contents:

    The fuselage and parts were very well secured in the box using plastic bags, custom compartments, and tape. There were no loose parts to get damaged. Two manuals were included, one for the HyperFlow fan assembly and the other for the model assembly. One of the decal sheets provided was for scale markings and the other for promotional branding.

    The control surfaces were pre-assembled including the horns and quick links. All the control horns were additionally protected by custom foam pockets that could easily be removed after shipping.

    I was surprised to see servo extensions and a motor included in the kit. This was a nice added touch by Great Planes!

    A closer look at the fuselage revealed several design details. The AeroCell foam made the fuselage very light but not delicate. The surface did not appear prone to dents or rash. The detailed canopy was magnetically secured for easy access to the F-20's battery compartment. Likewise, the aft hatch that secures the HyperFlow DF could be easily removed by sliding it back and then lifting out.

    Strings were pre-placed inside the fuselage to allow easy routing of the servo control wire extensions.

    The air intake ducts and exhaust area were optimized to provide maximum speed and efficiency to the F-20.

    Components Used:

    I used the following components to complete my F-20 Tigershark.

    • Great Planes Silver Series 45A Brushless ESC
    • Great Planes ElectriFly LiPo Pack 4S 14.8V 2200mAh 25C
    • Futaba R617FS 2.4GHz FASST 7-Channel Receiver
    • Three Futaba S3114 Micro High-Torque Servos



    The Tigershark assembly begins with gluing a carbon rod into a channel on the bottom side, followed by the wing halves and a foam filler piece. Since Aerocell foam loves CA and kicker, this is a quick assembly.

    Likewise, the horizontal tail piece is glued to the bottom of the fuselage into a custom channel. The piece is held forward in the channel to allow for proper operation of the pre-assembled elevator joiner.

    Before you know it, the model looks like an F-20 Tigershark!

    Power System:

    Assembling the HyperFlow fan unit was fairly straightforward. The unit allows for several size motors so I needed to trim away the alignment guides for my AMMO 24mm motor. This job was made much easier with a Dremel tool sanding barrel.

    The spinner is left off for this model and the stator extension is pressed into place onto the back of the ducted fan housing. The extension is secured with a few drops of medium CA. Locktite thread locker was applied to all screws on this part of the assembly.

    The instructions recommend testing the fan unit prior to gluing it into the fuselage. Initially, I was disappointed when the pre-installed bullet connectors on the AMMO motor did not fit properly on the Silver Series 45A ESC connectors. I then discovered that Great Planes had indeed supplied adapter cables to extend the motor wires and properly convert the different sized bullet connectors.

    The rotor had a slight area of rubbing onto the fan unit but I knew that a few seconds of running this soft plastic would correct the issue. When I ran the system up on my bench, I was happy with the excellent amount of air getting pushed through the fan. This power system should work very nicely with the F-20 Tigershark.

    DF Mounting:

    Note that I extended the battery wires on my ESC before I found the motor wire extensions in the kit so this step is not needed. Great Planes has provided extensions for the three motor wires that also act as size converters for the different bullet connectors on the ESC and AMMO motor. Three pieces of shrink tubing are also supplied to cover the connectors at the joint.

    The tested ducted fan unit is secured in the fuselage using glue or servo tape. I used a small amount of 5-minute epoxy.

    Note that I color-coded my black wires on the ESC with paint so that I did not need to re-test the power system for proper rotor rotation. I also added two small cable ties to secure the motor and ESC wires from vibrating during flight.

    The intake ducting looked like it was designed very well and should be quite efficient. Even the combiner area of the two intake ducts formed into a round foam rod that actually plugged into the rotor center. Since the foam is soft, the first second or so of the motor running will seat the rotor properly if there was any rubbing. I cut about 1/4" of the foam rod off for a proper fit without excessive rubbing on the rotor.

    Servo Mounting:

    The Futaba S3114 servos mounted in the custom pockets using a small amount of medium CA. The servo leads are tied to the strings and then routed back towards the DF unit. The leads are then connected to the supplied extension and Y-harness before their final routing through the fuselage to the battery bay.

    I used a small amount of medium CA to attach the plastic extension connector to the foam side and neatly routed the wires. Although heat shrink tubing is supplied to secure the servo leads in the extensions, I used some green 3M masking tape. I prefer not to use a heat gun near a foam model. Before fitting the motor hatch to the fuselage, I removed the 72MHz antenna tube since it was not needed. The hatch has plywood hooks and strong magnets to secure it in place.

    Control Rods:

    The control rods were any easy install since they were pre-bent and cut to length. The Z-bend went in the center servo hole and the straight end into the pre-installed quick link. I added some Locktite to keep the screws secure.

    The aileron control surfaces were aligned to meet the fuselage flat bottom and the elevator to center in the stabilizer. The main wing appears to be flat on the bottom and the stabilizers are symmetrical airfoils. Once the rods are installed, the servo covers simply press into place after peeling the paper off the pre-applied double-sided tape.


    The vertical stab presses into place after applying some medium CA to the base. The tail cone can either be taped in place or held by a few drops of CA. I used some CA for a cleaner look.


    The CG lines were marked at the recommended setting of 3-3/4" back from the leading edge (LE) of the wing at the fuselage. Don't use the air intake duct as it is 1/4" forward.

    The battery position was determined, as shown, after the first few flights.

    Test Stand:

    The supplied display stand assembled easily with 5-minute epoxy. You can also use white glue buy not CA. Another nice touch by Great Planes!



    My F-20 Tigershark was Ready-To-Fly at 27.1oz (1.7lbs) including the 8.7oz LiPo pack. I measured 550 watts at 37 amps after 10 seconds of full throttle. This provides an awesome 324w/lb so this little foamie should really go!

    I mounted the F-20 in my trailer for a planned day of test flying. Note that I used my own flag decal for the right side of the vertical stabilizer. (lower right photo) The flag should always face with the stars forward on aircraft.

    Test Flying:

    We had some very successful flights with the F-20 Tigershark. The jet really moves out so it gets small fast! After the first flight, I moved the pack back about an inch and it flew true without any elevator offset. The pack position shown earlier in the review was the new position that moved the CG back about 3mm.

    A firm hand-toss is needed to get the model airborne. The Tigershark performed loops and rolls with ease but inverted flight was a bit difficult with the flat bottom airfoil. To my surprise, the missiles had no problem staying put during flight but we lost one or both when touching down in the grass. The two AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles are really meant for display but the Tigershark did look great flying with them on!

    F-20 Tigershark Maiden Flight Video (12meg)

    The maiden flight of the F-20 Tigershark was captured on video. Pilot, Lynn Bowerman, did a good job keeping an eye on the EDF as it gets small very fast at full throttle. The F-20 slows up nicely and remains stable at a wide range of speeds.

    The Great Planes ElectriFly F-20 Tigershark is a sport-scale EDF ARF made from lightweight and durable Aerocell foam construction that is easy to assemble with CA and kicker. It includes a HyperFlow ducted fan unit and a powerful Ammo 20-45-3790 inrunner brushless motor that provides an awesome 324w/lb propelling the model to speeds of 85mph! Also included are two AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles and a display stand that lets your F-20 EDF look as great on the ground as it does in the air!

    I had no issues with the assembly and the build was very quick using CA and kicker. I would only recommend this model to intermediate and advanced pilots because it is extremely quick and gets small very fast at full throttle.

    The Tigershark met my expectations for performance, looks, and overall design. For a small foam EDF running on four LiPo cells, this Great Planes EDF design is primed for hyper speed!

    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Telephone: 800-637-7660
    Telephone: 217-398-3630

    Web: www.greatplanes.com
    E-mail: gpinfo@gpmd.com

    ZAP Glues On-line at Frank Tiano Enterprises
    Pacer Z-42 Thread Locker
    5-minute Z-poxy
    Pacer POLY ZAP(tm)

    Comments on RCU Review: Great Planes F-20 Tigershark sport-scale EDF ARF

    Posted by: SunShyne on 06/27/2010
    nice review. I have to have one since i'm a sucker for the F-5/20 series.
    Posted by: jcg1112 on 07/02/2010
    Just placed my order a few minutes ago. I knew it was going to be quick, but what really sealed the deal were the low and slow passes, verrry nice and stable. Can't wait!!
    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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