RCU Review: Great Planes Stinger II ARF

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    Contributed by: Geoff Barber | Published: September 2011 | Views: 36580 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of Great Planes Stinger 2
    Geoff Barber

    Email Me

    Great Planes
    Model Distributors

    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826

    The Stinger - a plane that's been synonymous with burning holes in America's skies for decades. The kits came in many sizes throughout the years, from a .10 size all the way up to a 106" wingspan Monster Stinger! A couple of years ago, I had a kit-built Giant Stinger, and I loved it. I loved its flight envelope as it would do almost anything I wanted it to. From mild to wild, the Stinger could do it all! Mine had one problem - the one-piece wing was too long to fit in my truck box and get the roll-up Access Cover closed. Because of this, the Giant Singer only got to the field when I was bringing IT alone. I had often wanted a smaller Stinger, but as my time was always short, I didn't have time to build a kit Stinger - that's IF I could even find one!

    At the Toledo Expo this past April, I saw it for the first time: The Great Planes Stinger II! I was immediately drawn in by its color scheme. This new rendition of the classic Stinger has lots of great features built into it, AND it's an ARF! This plane just begs to be wrung out in the sky!

    So, without wasting another second, let's open the box!

    • Balsa and Light Ply Construction
    • MonoKote Covering
    • Classic Stinger Styling
    • Fiberglass Cowl and Wheel Pants
    • Large Access Hatch/Canopy
    • Fast, Easy Assembly
    • Great Color Contrast Between Top and Bottom of Plane

    • None as Tested

    Skill Level:

    Time Required to Build:

    Frustration Level:

    What do these ratings mean?

    Name:Great Planes Stinger II ARF

    Price: $169.98 (Accurate at time of review)

    Stock Number: GPMA1010

    Wingspan: 49.5" (1255mm)
    Wing Area: 586 in² (37.8 dm²)
    Weight: 5.0-5.5 lb (2,270 - 2,490 g)
    Wing Loading: 20 - 22 oz/ft² (61 - 67 g/dm²)
    Length: 46" (1,170mm)
    Center of Gravity (CG): 3-1/4" (83mm) from the leading edge of the wing
    Radio Used:Futaba 7C
    Servos Used: (5) Futaba S3004 Servos.
    Channels Used: 4 total - Elevator, Aileron, Throttle, Rudder

    Control Throws: LOW

    • Elevator, up/down: 5/8" (16mm) 12°
    • Ailerons, up/down: 5/8" (16mm) 10°
    • Rudder, right/left: 1" (25mm) 11°

    Control Throws: HIGH

    • Elevator, up/down: 3/4" (19mm) 15°
    • Ailerons, up/down: 15/16" (24mm) 15°
    • Rudder, right/left: 2 5/8" (67mm) 31°

    Items Needed To Complete

    • 4-channel radio (min) w/ Receiver
    • .46 - .55 2-stroke or .70 - .72 4-stroke Glow Engine
    • CA Glue
    • 30-minute Epoxy
    • Hobby Knife
    • Drill and Drill Bits
    • Thread Lock

    The Stinger II arrived well-packed in a very nicely colored box. The box had lots of great full-color pictures of the plane along with specifications and recommended equipment information. There is a relatively low parts count, so I'm hoping it won't take me long to get it assembled!

    Some of the features I really like were the large canopy/access hatch with installed pilot figure, the colorful trim scheme, and the fiberglass cowl and wheel pants, and the aluminum wing tube and landing gear. One other item that I found to be better than the original Stinger was the two-piece plug-in wing!


    The included instruction manual lives up to Great Planes' high standards. The illustrations follow the written instructions, and though the Stinger is not a beginner's plane, any novice could assemble it without any trouble.

    Assembly started with the wing panels. After pulling the servo wire through the wing with the pre-installed string, the mounting screw locations are marked and drilled. A servo screw was turned into each of the four holes, the screw removed, and a drop of thin CA was added to harden the wood surrounding the hole. I then installed the servo using the hardware that came with the servo.

    The control horn, clevis, and pushrod are pre-assembled as shown, put into the correct position on the aileron, and marked. The holes were then drilled and a drop of thin CA added to each.

    Reviewer's note: The easiest way I have found to thread the pushrods is to secure the non-threaded end in my cordless drill. All I have to do is hold on to the clevis and let the drill do most of the work!

    The pushrod was cut to length, bent at a 90 degree angle, and secured to the servo arm using the included Faslink. I added the recommended 6" servo extension, and secured it using the included heat-shrink tubing. The last step in wing assembly was to secure the anti-rotation pin using epoxy.


    Tail assembly starts with installing the wing panels on the fuselage. The horizontal and vertical stabilizers are then test-fit on the fuselage. When satisfied with their fit, I secured both stabilizers using 30-minute epoxy. A little more epoxy was used to secure the tail wheel wire in the rudder, and then the rudder was installed using the included CA hinges. Another thing I'd like to mention at this point is that the elevator halves are pre-hinged!


    Using the same technique from the aileron pushrods, I prepared the elevator pushrod assemblies. Then the rod was slid into its guide tube, the control horn location was marked, and the holes were drilled on the elevator.

    After a slight modification of the rudder control horn, it and the pushrod were installed just like the previous elevator installation. I did have to make a slight bend in the rudder pushrod to allow it to move smoothly when connected to the control horn.


    After marking and drilling the servo screw holes, a screw was turned into each of the eight holes. Once the screw was removed, a drop of thin CA was applied to harden the servo mounting area. The servos were then secured to their mount, and the pushrods were marked and bent. Finally, the FasLink connectors were added to secure the pushrod to the servo.


    The landing gear set up was really easy. The axle was secured to the landing gear leg with a locking nut, a spacer and wheel were slid onto the axle, and a wheel collar was then added to the axle. The wheel pant slid over the wheel and was secured to the landing gear leg using two small screws, and then two more screws attached each gear leg to the fuselage. MAKE SURE TO USE THREAD LOCKING COMPOUND WHEN SECURING ANY METAL TO METAL CONNECTION!!!


    Assembling the fuel tank was next on the list. The instruction manual states to use the included fuel tubing in the tank along with the fuel clunks, however, I chose to add a section of hard tubing in the middle of the fuel lines in the tank. Adding the hard lines prevents the fuel clunks from sliding forward and lodging in the front of the tank in the case of a hard, nose-first landing. The assembled fuel tank was then secured in the fuselage with six inches of the included hook-n-loop strap and a piece of foam under the tank (not included).

    I chose to use three different colors of fuel tubing to differentiate the lines. In my set-up, the green line goes to the carburetor, the red line goes to the muffler fitting, and the blue line is for filling and draining the tank. The colored fuel lines I used are available from DuBro.

    Installing the battery pack and receiver were easy, as there is a location for both right behind the wing tube. Using the remainder of the included hook-n-loop strap, I secured both the battery and receiver and padded them with some more foam. The receiver switch and charging jack were intstalled on the right side of the fuselage. Since I used a Futaba 2.4 gHz receiver, the two antennas need to be placed perpendicular to one another.


    After installing the engine mount and marking the engine's location using my Great Planes Dead Center Tool, I removed the engine and drilled and tapped the engine mounting bolt holes.

    The engine was attached to the mount using the included 6-32 hardware.

    I used the recommended Bisson Pitts Muffler .

    O.S. .46AX Spotlight

    As the replacement for the high-performance 46FX, it's no wonder that the .46 AX shares many of its features. The raw power. A remote needle valve. Mounting bolt patterns. A balanced "D"-cut crankshaft supported by dual bearings. CNC-machining for the piston and other parts. And the same exclusive ABL cylinder liner that has made FX reliability a byword. But all the same, the 46AX is a different, and better, engine. Why? Because times change and technology advances. And because O.S. uses the best of both to make a good engine a better engine.

    Key Features

    • Type: 2-Stroke
    • Bore: 0.866 in (22mm)
    • Stroke: 0.772 in (19.6mm)
    • Displacement: 0.455 cu in (7.5cc)
    • Practical RPM Range: 2,000 - 17,000 rpm
    • Weight: With muffler- 17.2 oz (489 g)
    • Practical RPM Range: 2,000 - 17,000 rpm
    • Prop Range: 10.5x6-12x6-7
    • Fuel: 10% - 30% Nitromethane
    • Cylinder Type: ABC
    • Carb Type: Barrel, 2-needle
    • Crank Type: Ball bearing

    Download the manual in PDF format - Click here

    With the engine installed, I marked and drilled the throttle pushrod hole using a long 3/16" drill bit. I then pushed the guide tube into position, leaving 1/4" protruding from the firewall, and secured with CA.

    The throttle servo was then installed (just as was done for the rudder and elevator servos), and the pushrod was installed and secured to the throttle arm on the carburetor and the quick connector on the servo.


    Now that the engine is mounted, we'll move on to adding the cowl. After locating a piece of card stock, I marked and cut out the hole for the cylinder head, and taped the template in position. Since the Stinger's cowl has such large cheeks, I was able to simply remove the head from the engine for cowl clearance. If you are not comfortable with removing the head from the engine, you must remove the engine from the mount!

    The cowl is then slid into position, followed by the spinner back plate, propeller, and prop nut. Once I was satisfied with the fit, I taped the template to the cowl, and traced the hole onto the cowl.

    After cutting and grinding the cowl holes to their final shape using my rotary tool, it was put back in place to find the locations of the five retainer screws. I used the directions and measurements given in the manual, and everything was spot-on! The screw holes were hardened with a drop of thin CA in each, and the cowl was secured in place.


    We're almost done! I installed the prop and spinner again, and assembled and installed the fuel filler line holder. The instruction manual states to install this on the front lower section of the firewall. Now, I have big clunky fingers that don't fit well inside a small hole behind a muffler. After I had installed the cowl, I noticed how much room there was in the cheek, so I set the filler line holder on top of the cowl mount. It fit perfectly, so I secured it there instead. Now, it is much easier for me to reach, and there's no risk of touching a hot muffler during a quick refill for another flight!

    The wings and wing joiner tube were then installed, the two thumb-screws were tightened, and the large top hatch/canopy was installed and secured.

    One last important item- I checked the CG on my Great Planes C.G. Machine. The Stinger came out perfectly balanced at the recommended 3-1/4" from the leading edge of the wing at the root! I was pretty impressed.

    Well, let's get this plane out in the sun, shoot a few pictures, and get it in the air!

    The day for the maiden flight had arrived, and I was planning on shooting the footage for the video as well. Unfortunately, the timing didn't work out for shooting the video that night, but the maiden flight did go well.

    After firing up the O.S .46 AX, I taxied the plane out onto the runway and immediately noticed how well the Stinger II handled on the ground. It sure is nice when the research and development team gets everything right- including the ground handling!

    I turned the nose of the plane into the wind, and advanced the throttle to full - That's when I first realized that this plane/engine combination was going to be a riot!!! The Stinger rolled about 25-30 feet, took off and climbed out at a 45 degree angle!

    I took the plane up to a safe height, made a few passes around the circuit, and trimmed her out. Once satisfied, I performed some high and low speed passes. High speed passes, while not blisteringly fast, are a lot of fun! Slow passes are equally as fun, and she'll slow down very nicely and still have control authority.

    Ok, let's get on to aerobatics. The Stinger excels at aerobatics! If there's a maneuver you can think of, this plane can do it. It will do all of the simple maneuvers (Loops, Rolls, ect.) with no problem at all, and most of the more complicated stuff too! I absolutely LOVE doing things like Stall turns, Cuban eights, Split s's, and Immelman turns, as well as the "Humpty Bump", and snap rolls. I have standard Futaba servos in my Stinger, but I'd also bet that with faster, higher torque servos, she would probably do well at simple 3D maneuvers as well!

    After a really great 10 minutes of flying, I brought the plane back down to Earth. That first landing can sometime be a bit nerve-wracking, but I felt completely at ease landing the Stinger. All I had to do was keep the wings level with about 3-4 clicks of throttle on, and she settled in so nicely and landed beautifully! A little back pressure on the right stick (for mode 2 pilots) and the flair was perfect for a three-point landing.

    The day that the video was shot was a bit on the windy side - the wind was blowing at 12-15 mph pretty constant, but the Stinger handled it like a champ!

    Great Planes Stinger II
    Or, Download the Video (21.4 meg)

    The new Great Planes Stinger II - Easy to assemble, Loads of fun to fly, and reasonably priced. There's not much more to say! As a side note, when I received the Stinger for review, I still had my truck. Between then and when I sat down to write the conclusion, I traded off my truck for a smaller, more fuel efficient SUV. I am happy to say that the Stinger II will fit, FULLY ASSEMBLED, in the back of my GMC Jimmy! Now, I have a stinger, and I can take it to the field too!

    And to all of you, Happy Landings!

    Great Planes
    Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826
    Website: www.greatplanes.com

    Futaba Corporation of America
    Distributed by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Phone: (217) 398-8970
    Website: www.futaba-rc.com

    O.S. Engines
    Distributed by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign IL 61826
    Phone: (217) 398-8970
    Website: www.osengines.com

    DuBro Produsts, Inc.
    P.O. Box 815
    Wauconda, IL 60084
    Phone: (800) 848-9411
    Website: www.hobby.dubro.com

    Comments on RCU Review: Great Planes Stinger II ARF

    Posted by: skyblue on 10/06/2011
    I had the Lanier Stinger several years ago.I remeber what a joy it was to fly this plane.The plane had no bad habits.Take off and landings were super smooth.Glad to see this plane back on the market.I would hope some day a electric version(lighter)will be produced.
    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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