RCU Review: Electrifly G-44 Widgeon ARF


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    Contributed by: Geoff Barber | Published: January 2012 | Views: 21419 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of The Electrifly G-44 Widgeon ARF
    Geoff Barber
    (Gabarber)

    Email Me




    Distributed by:

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

    www.electrifly.com



    The Grumman G-44 Widgeon, an amphibious aircraft, started production in 1941. Serving both in civilian and military roles, this flying boat originally carried five passengers. 176 Widgeons went to the military - the Navy, Coast Guard, Army Air Force, and the Civil Air Patrol all used the G-44 in different duties. I was impressed to learn that the Navy used this plane as an anti-submarine aircraft!

    Grumman re-designed the Widgeon after WWII to make it more user-friendly as a civilian plane. The hull was improved for better water-handling and a sixth seat was added.

    While the original G-44s had Ranger L-440C-5 200 HP inverted 6-cylinder engines, many were later upgraded to Lycoming GO-480-BD1 270 HP flat 6-cylinder engines. Other modifications included 3-bladed propellers, modern electronics, and larger windows, to name a few. The improvements earned the aircraft a new name - the "Super Widgeon".

    Electrifly has recently introduced their G-44 Widgeon. Sporting a fiberglass fuselage and many formed plastic parts, this water-loving aircraft is sure to be a great addition to anyone's hangar!


    • Nice Scale Appearance
    • Fiberglass, Balsa, and Ply Construction
    • Eye-catching Color Scheme
    • Large Removable Hatch For Battery Installation
    • Foam Assembly/Transport Stand Included


    • None as Tested


    Skill Level:

    Time Required to Build:

    Frustration Level:

    What do these ratings mean?


    Items Needed To Complete:


    Name:Electrifly G-44 Widgeon ARF

    Price: $179.99 (Accurate at time of review)

    Wingspan: 51 in (1295 mm)
    Wing Area: 373 in² (24.1 sq dm)
    Wing Loading: 25-28 oz/sq. ft; (76-85 g/sq dm)
    Weight: 4-4.5 pounds (1810-2040 g)
    Length: 36 in (915 mm)
    Radio Used:Futaba 7C
    Motors Used:Electrifly RimFire .10 35-30-1250 Brushless Outrunner
    Channels Used: 4 total - Elevator, Aileron, Rudder, and Throttle

    Control Throws: LOW

    • Elevator, up/down: 1/4" (6mm) 6°
    • Ailerons, up/down: 3/8" (10mm) 12°
    • Rudder, right/left: 5/8" (16mm) 12°

    Control Throws: HIGH

    • Elevator, up/down: 3/8" (10mm) 8°
    • Ailerons, up/down: 1/2" (13mm) 17°
    • Rudder, right/left: 1" (25mm) 19°





    The Widgeon came in a sturdy cardboard box with several color pictures, specifications, and requirements to complete the aircraft. All of the parts were bagged and taped together to prevent shipping damage. For a twin-motor plane, I was surprised by the low parts count!






    There are a lot of features on the Widgeon that I like. The included stand makes assembly and transport really easy! The Fiberglass fuselage is well-constructed, and there's a large hatch for easy battery installation and removal.



    The pre-assembled motor mounts easily bolt to the center section of the wing, and guarantee perfect motor alignment. I also liked the pre-painted two-piece motor nacelles and wingtip floats.



    Manual


    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!






    Center Wing Section/Motor Assembly


    Assembly began with routing the motor extensions through the center section of the wing. This was easy, thanks to the pre-installed pull strings. The motor mounts were attached to the wing using two machine screws - don't forget to apply a drop of thread locking compound - and the motors were secured to the mounts.






    The extensions were plugged in to the motors, and the wing dowels were secured using CA.



    Aileron Servo and Pushrod Installation





    I really liked the aileron servo set-up used. The servo is attached to a spacer that is glued to the inside of the hatch.





    After installing the hatch, the servo arm and pushrod were installed.



    Wing Assembly





    Using a second set of pre-installed strings, I pulled the servo wires through the center section of the wing. I then installed the wing joiners and epoxied the outer wing sections to the center. Once the epoxy had cured, I applied canopy glue to the lower part of the nacelle and set it in place on the bottom side of the wing.





    After installing the remaining nacelle piece, the lower section was taped in place while the canopy glue dried. The wing tip floats were installed using the included hardware, and I must say, they matched the covering and fuselage perfectly!



    Tail Installation





    I marked, cut, and removed the covering from the horizontal stabilizer before it was secured using thin CA. Once the CA had cured, the stab bracing was installed, along with the elevator halves and joiner wire. Thin CA was used to glue in the hinges.





    The elevator control horn and pushrod were installed next - the pushrod was attached to the horn before they were installed. I then used epoxy to attach the water rudder connecting rod to the air rudder. When the epoxy had cured, the water rudder was then temporarily installed. I removed the water rudder, at that point, to allow for easier assembly of the rest of the plane.





    Standard CA hinges attached the rudder to the vertical stabilizer, and presented no problems during assembly. Just like the elevator, the pushrod was connected to the control horn - then installed.



    Servos, ESCs and Reciever Installation





    I installed the elevator and rudder servos in the fuselage, along with the two speed controls. An ESC was stuck to each side of the fuselage using a small piece of the included hook-n-loop tape.





    The two speed controls were then plugged into the parallel battery connector, and then attached to the receiver using a Y-harness. The magnetic battery hatch was attached to the fuselage using a piece of the included rubber band and a few drops of medium CA.

    The small square of foam was then attached to the hatch using foam safe CA - this is a great idea as it will keep the hatch from sinking if it breaks free from the rubber band!



    Finishing Touches





    I installed the rubber drain plug - a great feature to have on a float plane, along with the foam sealing tape on the wing mount. The motor extensions and aileron servo wires were then connected, followed by the cockpit floor.



    The last two tasks were to attach the wing and balance the Widgeon. Using the Great Planes CG Machine, I was able to balance the plane by moving the battery pack. This is my favorite way to balance almost any aircraft!






    As luck would have it, the evening for the maiden flight was absolutely perfect! The water was as smooth as glass, and there was no breeze to speak of.

    After connecting the battery and securing the hatch, I set the Widgeon in the water and taxied around a bit. At a slow taxi, water did spray off the edges of the fuselage and into the propeller, but it was no big deal. I added a little more throttle and got the aircraft up on plane, and she really came alive! The Widgeon skimmed across the water effortlessly.

    When she broke the water's surface, the Widgeon climbed out briskly! I checked the plane for trim adjustments, but was happy to see that no adjustments were needed. I flew around a little to get acquainted with her, but after one "lap" around the bay, I was having fun! This plane really grooves, and feels very stable at high speed.

    I took the Widgeon a little higher and decided to intentionally stall her. The stall speed was faster than I had initially expected, but then I remembered that there was a fair amount of drag. Recovering was very easy, but I put the experience in my memory for when it came time to bring her down.

    While the full-scale Widgeon doesn't really do any aerobatics, the Electrifly version did perform loops and rolls - and looked good! I didn't try any other maneuvers because she just wouldn't look right in unusual attitudes. The float plane looked best flying like its full size counterpart.

    At about the 8 minute mark, I decided to bring her down. Remembering how she stalled earlier, I kept a little more power on that normal, and the widgeon just came in and touched down gently! I was very impressed by how easy the plane was to land!

    After a short taxi back to the shore, I lifted the plane out of the water and pulled the drain plug - she was perfectly dry!




    Check out the video to see the G-44 Widgeon in action!





    Electrifly G-44 Widgeon ARF


















    I'd have to say that Electrifly has another winning plane on their hands. From the quick, easy assembly to the great flying characteristics, the Widgeon is just an awesome plane. And the fact that it's a float plane adds to the appeal of this aircraft. After assembling the Widgeon and flying it, there's not one way I could see that Electrifly could have made it any better! Hats off to the design crew behind the G-44 Widgeon!





    Distributed by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors

    P.O Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    www.electrifly.com




    Futaba
    Distributed by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    www.futaba-rc.com

    Comments on RCU Review: Electrifly G-44 Widgeon ARF

    Posted by: MinnFlyer on 01/10/2012
    Nice landing!!!
    Posted by: Firepower R/C on 01/11/2012
    Quote: "The stall speed was faster than I had initially expected, but then I remembered that there was a fair amount of drag." How does a "fair amount of drag" raise the stall speed? Am I missing something? Otherwise a neat review and a cool plane!
    Posted by: wl7cpa on 03/29/2012
    I purchased the PBY Catalina from Nitro Planes and it comes with both motors, esc, props, almost ready to fly. Some assembly required. It flies really well. It is also all made from durable foam with a plastic bottom. It is worth the look before considering purchasing this model.
    Posted by: KellyMac on 04/10/2012
    Wood last longer then epo foam planes. They are worth the extra money imo. I have a kyosho PBY that I am converting to brushless. Hope it flies as nice as this.
    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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