RCU Review: Great Planes Model Distributers / ElectriFly Cirrus SR-22 Turbo EP ARF

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    Contributed by: Andrew Griffith | Published: October 2010 | Views: 53908 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    ElectriFly Cirrus SR-22 Turbo ARF

    Review by: Andrew Griffith
    Andrew Griffith


    Distributed in the US by:
    Great Planes Model Distributers
    PO BOX 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    (800) 338-4639

    Looks awesome!
    Fiberglass fuselage is flawless
    Hassle free battery access.
    Flew great with recommended motor/ESC/prop combo.

    Nose wheel steering.
    Small parts for the same steps were packaged in different bags.

    Click HERE for explanation
    Skill Level: Moderate

    Time to complete: 4-5 Hrs

    Frustration Level:Slightly Annoying

    Built by Cirrus Aircraft of Duluth, Minnesota, the SR-22 Turbo has been one of the best selling aircraft in it's class for the last 5 years. Designed as an improvement to the SR-20, the SR-22 features a Continental 6 cylinder, 310 HP engine, a Garmin glass cockpit, and even an emergency parachute system.

    With it's plush, well appointed interior, clean lines, and composite construction, the Cirrus is marketed as being more than just an airplane, but "an elite lifestyle." With the Continental engine swinging a 3 blade composite propeller the SR-22 is capable of speeds of 219 knots or 252 miles per hour.

    If you desire a Cirrus but have neither a pilots license, or a half a million dollars to spare, ElectriFly has come to the rescue!

    Built as an officially licensed model from Cirrus, the ElectriFly Cirrus SR-22 Turbo ARF captures the clean lines and excellent flight characteristics of it's bigger brother, at a significantly reduced price tag.

    Kit Name: Cirrus SR-22 Turbo EP ARF
    Price: $149.99
    Wing Span: 50.5"
    Flying Weight as tested: 2lb 9oz
    Motor Used: Rimfire .10 brushless outrunner w/ APC 10x7E
    ESC Used: ElectriFly SS35
    Servos Used: ES50 Nano
    Battery used: ElectriFly 3S 2200mah 25C LiPo
    Radio equipment: Futaba 9C, Futaba FAAST Module, R617FS FAAST receiver.

    • 4 Channel (min) radio system
    • Rimfile .10 brushless motor or equivalent
    • 35Amp ESC
    • 4 Nano Servos, 2 12" extensions
    • Y Harness or radio mixing for dual ailerons
    • 2200min 3S Lipo Battery
    • Small Phillips screwdriver
    • Small standard allen wrenches
    • Small drill and bits
    • Medium and Thin CA
    • Liquid thread locker
    • Canopy glue or silicon
    • APC 10x7e propeller
    • 6-minute epoxy
    • Medium grit sand paper or emery board
    • Covering iron

    Everything well protected
    Kit contents

    The Cirrus SR-22 had caught my eye when I received my Tower Hobbies advertisement in the mail so when I found out that I would be receiving one for review I went to the ElectriFly website to read more and download the instruction manual. Great Planes produces first rate instruction manuals so it was no surprise that the Cirrus manual included everything that I consider essential in a good manual. There are detailed instructions, lots of photographs, a complete kit inventory, support contact information, CG, and control throws. While not designed for a beginner, the SR-22 could easily be assembled by anyone that has put together a few models.

    When I received the kit I had already gathered together all of the necessary parts and materials. My Cirrus is outfitted straight from the Tower Hobbies tech notes, so I was confident that all of the parts would work well together without any fuss, and the performance would be very acceptable. In addition to the Rimfire .10 motor, we used an ElectriFly Silver Series 35amp speed controller, 4 E550 Nano servos, and an ElectriFly Power Series 3S 2200 Mah, 25C LiPo battery.

    In addition to the above, you will need common modeling hand tools such as a sharp hobby knife, thin and medium CA, a small drill, small allen wrenches, and a small phillips head screw driver. You will also need to have handy some sanding implements and a small amount of liquid thread locker. The adhesives I will be using to assemble the Cirrus SR-22 will be Zap Thin and Medium CA, and Pacer Z-Poxy where epoxy is required and Z-42 blue thread locker. As always, please ensure adequate ventilation when sanding and using modeling adhesives and chemicals.

    Initial inspection revealed a well packaged kit with parts wrapped in individual plastic sleeves and everything compartmented and taped down. There appeared to be no shipping damage to any of the parts and the fiberglass fuselage was flawless with an excellent finish and no blemishes. The wood support structure for the servos and wing mounting was installed and appeared both sturdy and light. My initial impression was that this was going to be a good looking airplane.

    Rimfire .10 Motor
    35A ESC
    2200Mah 3S Battery
    ES50 Nano Servos
    Aileron servo installation

    The wings came covered with genuine white Monokote with chrome trim simulated de-icing boots on all of the leading edges. As usual with any ARF, I spent several minutes sealing the edges and making sure all of the covering was tight. There's an excellent insert that contains detailed instructions on how to clean up the covering on an ARF model, follow the steps and you won't have any problems. I went ahead and ironed down the covering on the flat portions of the stabilizer so that it would stay put when I removed the sections for gluing. Also the wings contained a nice touch; there were strings pre-installed to pull the aileron servo wires through. Having these pull strings available greatly simplifies aileron servo installation.

    At this point my friend Frank Foti showed up. He's a licensed pilot, and a big fan of civilian aircraft, so he not only volunteered to help out but when he saw the Cirrus he nearly tried to take over the project. Conveniently enough for him, I can't fly and film at the same time so he also did the piloting honors for the photo and video flights at the end of the review.

    I won't bore you here with a step by step building summary, that has already been well covered in the detailed instruction manual. I'll just sand over the few rough edges that we encountered during the building process.

    The wings went together without any issues. The recommended servos fit perfectly in the provided bays and the covering has already been removed for you. Getting the aileron extensions takes a little shaking and pulling in both directions due to the fact that there isn't a straight shot from the servo bay to the wing root. In order to assure that we didn't end up with a servo in one hand, and an extension tied to a string on the other we secured the servo wire to the extension with a few wraps of un-waxed dental floss. Any of the other contraptions designed for this purpose won't pull through the small openings in the ribs. You're going to either have to use the dental floss technique or equally effective is a sleeve of heat shrink over the connection.

    Plywood wing roots
    Make sure joiner is straight
    Drill hinge slots for CA

    The final task on the wings is to drill a guide hole for the servo screw and install and remove the screw. Use a few small drops of thin CA to harden the threads in the wood before you mount the servos. The aileron servo installation was one thing that I would change on this kit if I had the chance. The recommended servos are so small that they could have easily been laid on their side and mounted on a hatch resulting in much cleaner looking installation. The thin airfoil on the Cirrus leaves about half of the servo hanging out the bottom of the wing.

    After centering the servos and installing the pushrod and control horns, we cut the control horn screws off flush with the top of the nut plate and the aileron pushrod a few millimeters from the servo. Leave 4 or 5 millimeters of pushrod in case any mechanical adjustment is required later.  As the ailerons come pre-hinged the aileron servo installation is complete.

    When installing the carbon anti-rotation pins in the wings be sure to scuff the gluing surface of the rod before gluing them in place. Medium CA or 6 minute epoxy works best for these.

    The last step before fitting the wings to the fuselage is to install the main landing gear. When you install the nuts on the landing gear axle, ensure that the sides of the nut are straight up and down. If the nut isn't on right it will seem like the wheel pant doesn't fit down over the axle nut correctly. The photograph in the manual is correct but it's not noted in the instructions.

    Elevator installation
    Servo installation
    Rudder installation
    Receiver installation
    Rimfire .10 motor
    Motor installed

    On our plane the landing gear installation on one side looked perfect but the other side the drilling appeared off a little bit and the result would have been toe out on one wheel. To correct this we had to remove the gear and tweak the right gear leg in a vice until the wheel was tracking correctly. (I've inspected another kit since we built this one and this appears to have been a one off problem with our plane)

    Now is the time to install the wings.  The two piece wing uses a carbon tube and nicely machined thumb screws to hold them in place.  Take your time and carefully fit the wings. The fuselage has two root ribs glued to the inside of the fuselage. The holes for the anti rotation pins were too small and had to be enlarged slightly for a nice fit.  Dry fit and carefully measure and align the horizontal stabilizer. The fuselage required a good bit of work with an emery board so that the horizontal stabilizer was square to the wings.

    I used a dry erase marker to mark the covering where it was to be removed. An old soldering iron and a metal straight edge removes the covering without scoring the wood. I then went over the exposed covering edges with a sealing iron when we were done. You can epoxy the stabilizer in if you feel the need but I have found on many models that thin CA wicked carefully into the joint works just as well. Because of the sanding required I shimmed the low side with a toothpick until the glue had set. Don't get carried away with the thin CA, you don't want it running all over the gorgeous finish on the fuselage.

    ElectriFly thoughtfully provided two sets of servo mounting holes. Since we will be using a 2200mah battery the servos get installed in the forward set. If you plan on using a larger capacity battery you should mount the servos in the rear most holes. This will allow extra room for the larger battery as well as moving some weight backwards for CG purposes.

    The last bit of challenge in building the Cirrus was the nose gear installation. The true to scale looks of the end result is well worth the effort though. We found that the nose gear steering arm was a very tight fit in the nose gear steering arm block. It took some sanding of the steering arm to get everything moving freely. Also, if you're going to glue yourself to this project, gluing the halves of the nose gear fairing together will be the time it happens. There's not a lot of gluing area on each half, use medium or thick CA and try your best to avoid CA finger prints. After the edges were cleaned up, and the excess glue sanded away with 600 grit paper though, it looked great.

    Nose gear done
    Final installation
    Ready for decals

    Once the nose gear was out of the way the rest of the assembly went quickly. The motor installation was as easy as I have ever seen (both times). Be sure to use the indicated phillips head screws with thread locker to hold the motor in place. The motor came with four socket head screws that I thought would be easier to get tight and have less chance of stripping. While this may be true, my smug smile of knowing better than the designers disappeared when I installed the propeller and the socket head screws hit the back of the prop driver. Out came the socket heads screws and in went the ones that were supplied for this purpose.

    The radio and cabin installation was all that was left to get the plane ready for decals. For guidance we choose my Futaba 9CHP radio that's equipped with a FAAST module mated with an R617FS receiver. This combination has given me many hours of interference free flying at our busy club so it was my first choice for the Cirrus. If you're using a Futaba radio be sure to reverse the throttle channel before hooking it up to a speed controller. I set up the recommended high and low rates following the manual and added 25 percent expo to the elevator and ailerons and 45 percent to the rudder. I also installed the nose wheel steering pushrod in one hole on the servo arm so the nose wheel steering wouldn't be overly sensitive.

    I didn't have the recommended pilots but I wanted to keep my options open for installing them later. I fitted the cabin inside the hatch and found that it was a tight fit and looked fine without being glued in so I left it that way. When the hatch is installed the cabin and console lay flat and it doesn't move around so I can go back later and install the pilot and passenger when they come in.

    Since I often make my own graphics I don't usually use the supplied markings on my models. After looking over the box and the supplied decals however, I decided I couldn't do any better. When the decals were done following the steps in the manual using dish soap and water, we decided I was right. The supplied decals look great and really set the Cirrus off. Before starting on the decals, wash your hands thoroughly with dish soap and warm water to remove the oils from your hands and wipe down the model several times with the same mixture and dry it off with a clean, lint free towel.

    With the servos installed in the front bays, and the recommended battery installed we balanced the Cirrus by turning it upside down and checking the CG. The Cirrus balanced perfectly without adding any useless weight or moving anything around in the cabin.

    The control throws were set up per the instruction manual and a final radio check completed. A few high speed taxi tests showed that the nose gear was having some issues. After some investigation we decided that the pushrod, though braced per the instructions, was flexing and allowing the nose gear to turn sideways. I added another brace towards the front and things got a lot better.

    We hooked up an in-line watt meter and tested the power output on the ground. The system with the recommended APC 10x7e propeller pulled 30 amps at full throttle and 350 watts. This yields a power rating of 135 watts per pound which should be fairly spirited performance. The 35 amp draw was 5 amps below the speed controller rating and just over half what the 25C battery is capable of delivering so the important components had an acceptable overhead margin.

    With nothing else left but to fly, I topped off the battery and taxied out to position and hold. Smoothly advancing the throttle and giving a bit of right rudder correction the Cirrus lifted off in about 70 feet as the throttle stick passed three quarters.

    The clean lines of the Cirrus really looked great in the air and a few half power fly-bys confirmed the control settings, high rate is fine for general flying and the expo makes everything smooth. Opening it up the Cirrus moves out nicely. The white color on an overcast day can get hard to see if you get too far away but against the trees or a blue sky and there is no problem.

    I took the Cirrus up a couple of mistakes high, pointed it into the wind, reduced the throttle and fed in up elevator until it stalled. Nothing crazy happened. At a speed slower than I might have expected given the thin wing and clean lines, the Cirrus stalled straight ahead. I added power and it pulled out nicely. Landings shouldn't be any problem.

    The first few times we flew the Cirrus it was a bit on the breezy side. The Cirrus handles mild wind just fine, tracks well, and cross wind landings are no problem. If the wind kicks up more than 12 mph our so I'd probably leave it in the car. The light plane gets kicked around if it's really windy.

    Though the Cirrus isn't designed to fly "wring it out" aerobatics, it will certainly do the basics. Inverted and slow rolls require a bit of down elevator. Point rolls and large loops are no problem. The relatively small rudder makes knife edge difficult to achieve though.

    Landings, as I suspected, were no problem. The light weight and clean lines make it want to float right on down the runway when the wind is calm. I almost wish it had flaps to create a little drag. Landings are smooth and predictable and ground handling was excellent once the nose wheel issue was addressed.

    Download and Watch in Windows Media Player here

    Action Shots

    The ElectriFly Cirrus SR-22 is a great looking airplane that flies as good as it looks. The few challenges we encountered during construction were easily overcome by anyone with a little bit of building experience.

    The SR-22 is not a trainer but is a great intermediate airplane for those pilots that possess moderate low wing flight experience. While I'm sure that there's a few people out there that will be tempted to over power the Cirrus, the recommended power system has plenty of zip.

    The fiberglass fuselage is a virtual work of art, especially for a kit in this price range. Easy battery access makes swapping out flight batteries quick and painless. The removable wing makes transportation possible in even the most modest vehicle; I carry mine around in my Jeep with plenty of room to spare.


    Distributed in the US by:
    Great Planes Model Distributers
    PO BOX 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    (800) 338-4639

    Comments on RCU Review: Great Planes Model Distributers / ElectriFly Cirrus SR-22 Turbo EP ARF

    Posted by: marcv on 10/25/2010
    Nice job on the review Andy!
    Posted by: gtrcvry on 12/07/2010
    nice plane
    Posted by: CRAZYRYAN on 12/18/2010
    i wonder if this be a good first person view plane to use?
    Posted by: mkranitz on 01/22/2011
    The filming on this could have been better. The crackling of the camera coupled with the "dot in the sky" passes need to be edited out. Otherwise, a nice review.
    Posted by: BETTERRCBUILDER on 09/17/2013
    The video should be scraped and shot over , not a very positive vibe throughout the review ( try not to glue yourself to the plane blah blah blah) Sandimg things to get them just so , glue on your fingers , etc are all part of medeling not an inconvenience.
    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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