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)
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!
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!
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!
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!
manual lives up to the Electrifly/Great Planes namesake. The
instructions are easy to read, and the illustrations are clear
and easy to follow!
SERVO INSTALLATION AND LOWER WING PREP
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
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
AND TAIL WHEEL INSTALLATION
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.
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.
GEAR AND TURTLE DECK INSTALLATION
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.
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.
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.
AND ESC INSTALLATION
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.
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
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
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.
battery pack and receiver were installed next,
followed by the cowl and propeller. I really
like the magnetic cowl attachment!
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
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
out the video to see the Super Stearman in
Super Stearman ARF
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!
Great Planes Model Distributors
P.O Box 9021
Champaign, IL 61826-9021
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.