RCU Review: Electrifly Super Stearman

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    Contributed by: Geoff Barber | Published: November 2011 | Views: 22420 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of the Electrifly Super Stearman ARF
    Geoff Barber

    Email Me

    Distributed by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors

    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021


    Stearman. A name synonymous with teaching thousands of World War II pilots how to fly. The aircraft started life as the PT-17, but as the war drew to a close, there wasn't much (government war-time) use for it anymore. After World War II, the thousands of Stearmans were auctioned off to civilians and former pilots. Many were modified for cropdusting use, with a hopper for pesticide or fertilizer fitted in place of the front cockpit, but some went on to a life of stardom as Super Stearmans! (with some modifications, of course)

    I first saw the Electrifly Super Stearman at the Toledo Expo 2011. While looking at all of the new designs, this little aerobat caught my eye. After the show, I never did quite forget about the small plane. While covering 'Watts over Owatonna' this year, I got the chance to see one fly! I was impressed right away by its flight envelope, so when the opportunity to review the Stearman came up, I grabbed it!

    So I'm going to quit typing now and open the box!

    • Nice Scale Appearance
    • Balsa and Ply Construction
    • Eye-catching Color Scheme
    • Large Removable Hatch For Battery Installation
    • Quick, Easy Assembly
    • Easy to Transport Without Disassembly

    • None as Tested

    Skill Level:

    Time Required to Build:

    Frustration Level:

    What do these ratings mean?

    Name:Electrifly Super Stearman ARF

    Price: $149.99 (Accurate at time of review)

    Wingspan: 36 in (915 mm)
    Wing Area: 365 in² (23.5 sq dm)
    Weight: 2.25-2.75 pounds (1020-1250 g)
    Length: 29.5 in (750 mm)
    Radio Used:Futaba 7C
    motor Used:Electrifly RimFire .10 35-30-1250 Brushless Outrunner
    Channels Used: 4 total - Elevator, Aileron, Rudder, and Throttle

    Items Needed To Complete

    Control Throws: LOW
    • Elevator, up/down: 1/4" (6mm) 6°
    • Ailerons, up/down: 1/4" (6mm) 10°
    • Rudder, right/left: 7/8" (15mm) 14°

    Control Throws: HIGH

    • Elevator, up/down: 1/2" (12mm) 12°
    • Ailerons, up/down: 3/8" (10mm) 14°
    • Rudder, right/left: 1-1/8" (29mm) 19°

    The Stearman arrived un-damaged in a well packed box. I was surprised by the number of parts that came out of the relatively small box!

    The fuselage has a large top hatch for battery access, and the pilots and windscreens are pre-installed! I really like the color scheme, and the fact that it's all done in MonoKote covering. The cowl is attached to the fuselage with three magnets, and it literally just 'snaps' in place!

    A pair of painted wheel pants are included, and the colors match the covering perfectly. All of the supporting hardware is high quality, and the plastic pieces are painted to match - and fit well too!


    The manual lives up to the Electrifly/Great Planes namesake. The instructions are easy to read, and the illustrations are clear and easy to follow!


    Assembly begins with installing the aileron servos in the bottom wing. After marking and gluing the brackets to the servo hatches, the micro servos were attached to their mounts. A 6" extension was secured to each wire using the included heat-shrink tubing. Each of the hatch mounting screws was turned into its mounting tab, and a drop of thin CA was added to harden the wood. After securing the hatches to the wing, the carbon fiber control horns were glued into the pre-cut slots in the aileron, and the pushrods were installed.

    The linkage connector tabs were then glued into a pre-cut slot in the trailing edge of each of the four ailerons, the mounting dowels were secured into the leading edge of the bottom wing, and the wing bolt doublers were attached using medium CA.


    The vertical and horizontal stabilizers are "keyed" to fit together. After installing both on/in the fuselage (DON'T FORGET TO ADD THE ELEVATOR JOINER WIRE) and centered, the fin/rudder was removed. I glued the stab in place using thin CA. The elevator halves were installed next using CA hinges.

    The tail wheel bracket was epoxied in place, followed by the fin/rudder. Once the fin was slid into place on the fuselage, thin CA was wicked into the joint where the vertical stab meets the fuselage. The lower rudder 'fairing' was glued in place, and the tail wheel was secured with a wheel collar.


    The main landing gear was attached to the fuselage with two screws, followed by the fairings. The fairings were secured with canopy glue, and taped in place to allow the glue to dry. While the glue was drying, I installed the axles.

    Adding the wheels and spacer washers came next, followed by the wheel pants. The wheel pants were attached to the landing gear using small screws and some thread locking compound.

    I again used canopy glue to attach the turtle deck to the top of the fuselage, and some masking tape to hold it in place while the glue dried.


    Using the included hook-n-loop tape, the ESC was attached to the lower, forward section of the fuselage and the motor was simply bolted to the motor box.

    The servos were mounted for the elevator and rudder, and presented no trouble at all. Once the servos were in place and centered, screw lock connectors were added to each servo arm, and the push rods were connected.


    It's time to install the wings! After installing the four center struts, the top wing was attached, but I did not tighten any of the screws yet. The lower wing and belly pan were installed, again using canopy glue to secure the belly pan.

    The outer strut mounts were glued into the precut slots (be sure to follow the instructions at this point) and the N-struts were installed. After the N-struts had been installed, I tightened the four center cabane bolts, and the four top wing screws. The aileron slave push rods were then installed.


    The battery pack and receiver were installed next, followed by the cowl and propeller. I really like the magnetic cowl attachment!

    The last two items were to apply the decals and balance the Stearman. I had to add 3 ounces to the top of the motor box to correctly balance the plane. I used the Great Planes CG Machine to balance the Stearman. It is my favorite way to balance almost any plane!

    As I stated in the introduction, I was able to see the Super Stearman fly at 'Watts over Owatonna' in July of 2011, so I had an idea of how the plane was going to perform before I received it. When I actually got the chance to fly it, I was quite happy with its performance!

    I set her down on the runway, and taxied out to take off. I was pleased immediately by the ground handling, as the plane moved nicely, without being too sensitive to rudder inputs!

    I advanced the throttle and stayed alert on the rudder as the plane started rolling, and it was a good thing - the Super Stearman does require steering down the runway on take-off. Now, it's not twitchy on the ground, but it will veer off the center line if not corrected.

    As soon as the wheels left the ground, I started to have a lot of fun with this little plane! Once at altitude, I made a couple of circuits around the pattern to get a 'feel' for the Super Stearman, and adjust the trims. I added just a couple of clicks of left aileron trim, and she was flying level.

    The Super Stearman is not designed to be a fast plane, by any means, but it will move along nicely at full throttle. At lower throttle settings, the plane will just keep flying with very little loss of control surface authority. Stalls are hard to come by naturally, but when forced, the nose will drop. Add a some throttle and a little up elevator, and she'll start flying again.

    Aerobatics are what this plane was designed for! If you can think of a maneuver (not counting any 3D stuff here...) the Super stearman can do it! There is plenty of aileron control, and the plane will roll very quickly. Simple aerobatics are lots of fun to do, and come very naturally to the Stearman!

    About 8 minutes after taking off, I decided to land. Once lined up on the runway, I controlled the decent with the throttle and brought her in. Landing the Super Stearman was easy!

    Check out the video to see the Super Stearman in action!

    Electrifly Super Stearman ARF

    There's not much more I can say about the Super Stearman. It's a great looking plane, assembles easily, and flies very well. I really like the fact that this little aerobat is the perfect size to keep in the back seat of any car for that 'spur-of-the-moment' flight. If you're looking for a small plane, and it has to be a biplane, you've just gotta get one! Before you know it, you'll be putting on your very own airshows in your local park!

    Distributed by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors

    P.O Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021


    Distributed by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021



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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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