For those of you that don't know me, I want to tell you something: I love the Piper Super Cub! For several years, it has been at the top of my "favorite aircraft of all time" list.
I can't exactly put my finger on why I love the Super Cub so much, but I'll bet it has a lot to do with its great looks and fantastic flight capabilities. This is the fourth review I've done on different brands and sizes of this plane, and I love each and every one of my models.
A while back, I was talking to one of my friends at Horizon Hobby and I mentioned my love of the Super Cub. I had also asked her if they would be bringing back this plane in one form or another. She didn't say anything at that time. A few weeks later, I was on the Horizon Hobby website - low and behold, the E-flite Super Cub popped up on the home page! I was ecstatic!
So, without wasting any more time, let's get the box open and see what's inside!
The E-flite Super Cub arrived securely packed in a colorful box. I really liked that, besides the normal bagged and taped items, a few of the pieces were in a separate box to keep them in place. As I took inventory, I was pleased to see that everything was accounted for and undamaged.
There were several features that I really liked! From the pre-painted cabin and skylight to the scale fin fairing and mock stab trim adjustment slots, I was very pleased to see the amount of detail that was added to the airframe.
I was impressed by the adjustable motor mount and magnetically attached fiberglass cowl. The paint on the cowl matched the covering perfectly! I also thought the removable seats were a neat idea as well - the seats are secured to the bases with magnets. This makes installing and removing the wing bolts easier. There was an instrument panel decal included as well, but I'll be installing the optional cockpit kit in this little beauty.
The scale, shock-absorbing landing gear was really neat - and heavy-duty too! More scale details included the corrugated aileron and flap surfaces, and the airfoil-shaped aluminum wing struts.
For this review, I'll be using the E-flite Power 32 brushless outrunner motor, Power 60 pro ESC, and 3200 mAh 14.8V LiPo battery. The servos are all JR Sport MN48, and guidance is from a Spektrum DSMX AR7010 7 channel receiver.
I'll also be installing the optional E-flite Super Cub interior kit. It looks like a lot of pieces, but from the pictures I've seen, the installation will be well worth the effort!
One more optional Item is the lighting kit. Since I'll be installing the interior, it only makes sense to add the lights as well!
The manual is top-notch and has great illustrations. The written instructions are clear and concise, but I did run across one small error - if you will be installing the lighting kit, make sure you get 5 of the 36" universal lighting extensions. The manual states that you will need three for the wings, but you will need a total of four 36" extensions for the wings, plus one for the light on the rudder. Other than this small concern, the manual is great!
Flap and Aileron installation
Assembly begins with hinging the flaps and ailerons. E-flite went the "extra mile" and set up the flaps with pinned hinges that emulate the full-scale plane. Installing these hinges was easy after trimming one side of the hinge per the instructions. Once trimmed, epoxy was used to secure the hinges.
Reviewer's note: Make sure to apply petroleum jelly to the pins to avoid getting epoxy in the hinge!
The ailerons were installed using CA hinges, and were made easy with the pre-cut hinge slots. I did drill a 1/16" hole in the center of each slot per the instructions.
Aileron and Flap Servo and Pushrod Installation
After mounting the flap and aileron servos to their respective hatches, I attached and secured the aileron servo extension wires. I have started using heat-shrink tubing to secure the extensions - it works very well, and the tubing is available at most home improvement stores. The servo wires were pulled through the wings using the pre-installed strings, and the hatches were attached using the included screws.
I then installed the control horns and pushrods, followed by the simulated aileron linkage covers (one per wing panel).
Motor, ESC, Cowl, and Prop and Spinner Installation
The E-flite Power 32 motor was installed using the stand-offs included with the plane, and the ESC was secured to the inside of the fuselage - right above the front landing gear mounts. I secured the power switch using the screws that came with the ESC to the cabin floor.
(reviewer's note - if you're going to install the optional interior kit, don't attach the power switch yet - it will be secured after the floor pieces are installed.)
This is where the magnetic cowl mounting really shined - it simply snapped into place when lined up correctly! The optional 2" aluminum spinner and prop were then secured to the motor shaft, and the battery was strapped in place using the included straps and hook-n-loop tape. Like the cowl, the battery hatch is held in place by magnets.
Main Landing Gear Installation
The landing gear was installed next, and presented only a minor concern - the parts seemed to bind a bit, but removing a little paint at the pivot points made the parts move freely. Following the instructions, the landing gear went together easily!
I installed the axle in the wheel first - this consisted of disassembling the wheel hub, securing a wheel collar on the axle and then reassembling the hub with the axle inside. Then the axle was attached to the landing gear with a set-screw.
She's starting to look like a Super Cub!
Horizontal Stabilizer, Elevators, and Tail Bracing Installation
The two stabilizer halves were attached to the fuselage using two carbon fiber rods - the rods slid into tubes in the fuse and the stab halves, and were then secured using epoxy. Once the epoxy had cured, the tail bracing was installed and the elevators were secured with CA hinges.
I then installed the two elevator control horns, which was easy since the holes are pre-drilled in the correct locations. A drop of thin CA hardened the horn bolt holes and kept the bolts secure.
Rudder and Tail light Installation
After installing the rudder control horn, the light was test-fit in the pre-drilled hole. I cut the plug off a 36" universal lighting extension and pushed it through the tube in the rear of the cabin area, which exits at the lower rear of the fin.
The extension was then slid through the rudder, and then the rudder was attached using CA hinges. The LED leads were soldered to the light extension, and the LED was secured in the rudder.
I attached the tiller horns to the rudder, followed by the pre-assembled tail wheel bracket on the fuselage. The two springs were modified according to the instructions, and then installed.
Elevator and Rudder Servos and Pushrod Installation
The elevator and rudder servos were installed in the underside of the airframe using the hardware included with the servos. After the pushrods were slid though their respective guide tubes, the clevises were installed and connected to the control horns and servo arms.
Receiver, Lighting, and Servo Extension Installation
Since I will be installing the cabin interior kit, I installed the plate and receiver just in front of the servos. The servo wires were all connected to the receiver, along with the lighting kit controller. I attached the lighting controller using hook-n-loop tape.
The servo and lighting extensions were installed next. To keep all of the wiring up and out of sight, I glued the extensions to the roof using a few small drops of medium CA. The servo bay cover was then installed using the included screws.
Windshield Bracing, Windshield, and Window Installation
The windshield bracing was installed using medium CA. Because I really liked all of the scale detail on this Super Cub, I decided to spend a few extra minutes and touch-up the few areas that weren't painted.
I then installed all of the windows and windshield using canopy glue. After the glue had cured, I removed all of the masking tape.
Optional (But You Really Should Have!!!)Interior Installation
Now onto the interior! After installing the two floor pieces, the rest of the side panels and left "arm rest" were installed. These pieces were attached using (sparingly) medium CA. The rear curved cabin pieces were then installed - they looked a little daunting at first, but installed easily.
I then installed the seat bases, rudder and brake pedals, control stick, and instrument panel. They really added a lot of realism to the cabin! The seats are attached to the bases with magnets, and just snapped in place.
The skylight was then secured using the included screws.
We're almost done! The lights were installed in the wings and were easy, following the instructions in the manual. Just remember that you need four 36" extensions for the wings. After soldering all the wiring connections, I tried to "seat" the landing lights in the wing's leading edge. I was not able to get the light flush in the wing, so I covered the black heat shrink on the LED's with white heat shrink. The lens cover was then secured using canopy glue.
The wings were the last item to be installed. After they were slid onto their aluminum tube, the scale struts were installed. After reading the instructions and looking at all of the pieces carefully, I assembled the struts with no problems.
The last item to complete was checking the CG - At the recommended location, I came out a little bit nose-heavy, but I do like my Cubs to balance that way.
As I taxied out onto the runway, I was really impressed by the tail wheel authority - it did a perfect job of directing the plane without over-steering!
Once the Super Cub was lined up on the runway, I advanced the power to full. The plane was off the ground in just a few feet! On subsequent take-offs, I found that half throttle produced very scale-like acceleration and liftoff.
With E-flite's Power 32 motor in the cowl, she had more than enough pull, and I immediately felt comfortable flying the Super Cub! At full throttle, she moved along very quickly - almost too fast for scale flight, but the extra power was nice to have, just in case I decide to compete in a short take-off competition...
The Cub will fly nicely at slower speeds, but watch your speed when turning - get too slow and she'll start to stall. This was the only flight characteristic that I had to be careful about - otherwise she's a gem in the air!
Aerobatics are easy with the Super Cub. Large loops are graceful, and rolls are fairly quick at the recommended control throws. My favorite maneuver with a Cub is a stall turn, and though I didn't catch one with the video camera, you'll love them too!
With the Cub's near perfect scale looks, I really liked flying it in a scale manner. Short take-offs and flying slow with the flaps down look VERY realistic!
Speaking of the flaps, don't forget to mix in the down elevator - I did on the maiden flight, and the Super Cub ballooned drastically with the flaps down! Once I had added the correct mix, she flew beautifully!
Check out the video to see the Super Cub in
E-flite pulled all the stops out to get this one right, and it paid off! The scale look of the plane is beautiful. The optional interior kit, spinner, and lighting kit are worth the extra time, money and effort to install - they really add to the realism of this really great Super Cub! The flight characteristics are true to scale as well, so I would recommend that you have intermediate piloting experience. With her beautiful appearance and attitude, you'll want to bring this one to the field every time you fly!
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.