RCU Review: ElectriFly Gee Bee R-1 EP RxR


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    Contributed by: Burc Simsek | Published: September 2012 | Views: 17646 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of the ElectriFly Gee Bee R-1 EP RxR

    Burc
    Simsek






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



    It seems that ElectriFly has been on a roll lately in coming out with nostalgic racers from the years past. First was the Mr. Mulligan followed by the Cosmic Wind and now we are presented with the unmistakable looks of the Gee Bee R-1.

    The Gee Bee was designed by the Granville brothers some 80 odd years ago and carried some unique features such as a fuselage which acted as an airfoil, an rearward positioned cockpit and carried the largest and most powerful engine of its day.

    The ElectriFly rendition of this airframe seems to stay true to its scale lines and looks of the original and promises outstanding performance. Equipped with a brushless power system and four micro servos, all that is required to get this Gee Bee in the air is a receiver and a 3S 2200mAh flight battery.

    So lets put one together, take it out to the field and see what she is capable of...


    • Nice scale looks
    • Power system and servos provided
    • No-glue assembly
    • Roomy interior
    • Magnetically attached wheel pants
    • AeroCell foam construction with detailed panel lines and vents



    • With flying wires attached, wing is no longer removable
    • Wheel pants may detach on aborted landings



    Skill Level:

    Time Required to Build:

    Frustration Level:

    What do these ratings mean?

    The Gee Bee arrives in a nicely decorated and sturdy box.



    Inside the box, you will find the fuselage, wing, horizontal stabilizer and the rest of components securely wrapped and taped down.

    With only a few components, the Gee Bee should be ready in no time at all.

    ElectriFly Gee Bee R-1 EP RxR

    Price: $159.99

    Key Features

    • Smooth and predictable sport performance
    • Simple, fast, no-glue assembly
    • Brushless motor, ESC and 4 micro servos installed

    Overview

    The Gee Bee's unusual fuselage design acts as an airfoil, allowing the plane to make smooth "knife edge" turns without losing altitude. With foam construction and a brushless electric power system and 4 micro servos already in place, this Receiver-Ready replica of the famous pylon racer can be turning heads and drawing attention at the field within minutes after installing your radio of choice and battery!

    Specs

    Wingspan: 38.5 in (980 mm)
    Length: 27 in (685 mm)
    Flying Weight: 1.75-2.0 lb (790-970 g)
    Wing Area: 241 in2 (15.5 dm2)
    Wing Loading: 16.7-19.1 oz/ft2 (51-58 g/dm2)
    Suggested Battery: 11.1V 2200mAh LiPo Battery





    One of the first things that will grab your attention is the magnetically sealed access hatch on the top of the fuselage. The magnets are very powerful and it does take a little bit of force to get the hatch off, but they should help in making sure that the hatch does not fly off during flight. The cowl is held on with four powerful magnets as well. The motor is already mounted to a black painted wood motor box and all that remains is to attach the provided propeller. The motor mount also houses six large ball bearings which help to add weight to the nose of the Gee Bee to get the C.G. on spot. The distinctive rear cockpit is decorated with a pilot which helps in completing the look of the sleek Gee Bee.





    One of the advertised features of the Gee Bee R-1 RxR are the magnetic wheel pants. the idea behind the magnets is to allow the wheel pants to pop loose in the event of a rough landing. The  tail gear comes pre-attached and is connected to the rudder via a small L shaped connector. The horizontal stabilizer connects to the fuselage using four magnets eliminating the need for glue. The two elevator halves are connected using a small carbon fiber stick.





    The wing is a single piece and comes with the aileron servos installed and connected to the horns. The wing is attached to the fuselage with a single bolt. The cowl features a nice mock radial engine and is spaced perfectly to accept the provided propeller. All that is left for the modeler to do is to bolt everything together and install the optional flying wires.




    Manual


    The Gee Bee R-1 RxR manual is detailed in describing the short assembly process and provides the recommended control throws and the C.G. location.

    Download the manual 





    The assembly starts by installing the horizontal stabilizer on to the fuselage by simply inserting the halves together until the magnets engage.

    Once the stabilizer is on the fuselage, the control connection to the elevator is made.

    I installed an Futaba R617FS receiver in the recommended location using double sided tape and made the connections to the elevator and the rudder servos. The wires can be routed under the battery tray for a clean installation.


    Futaba 8FG Super

    Overview

    The original 8FG was already the best 2.4GHz radio value available. Now, for the same cost, the 8FG Super offers six additional channels — plus new software with menus tailored to Futaba's super-fast CGY750 gyro. Recommended by Bobby Watts, Matt Botos and Kyle Stacy, it's the first radio that really supports flybarless helicopters. And it's perfect for all other applications, too...a smart choice for ANY forward-looking flier.

    Key Features

    • Expanded with 14 total transmitter channels — 12 proportional and two switched.
    • Included R6208SB receiver's PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) channels support up to 8 standard analog or digital servos — and it handles up to 18 channels when used with an S.Bus system.
    • Gyro menu supports 3-axis gyros and is perfectly tailored to the CGY750.
    • User menu allows pilots to customize and display frequently used functions.
    • VPP (Variable Pitch Propeller) compatibility can be set to three conditions for throttle and pitch curve.
    • Swash trim can be adjusted from the swash screen.
    • SensorTouch™ programming maximizes navigation ease.
    • Numerous factory-defined mixes help you program like a pro.
    • Low latency and cutting-edge 2048 resolution combine for fast, accurate Real-Time Response™.
    • Accepts 32MB to 2GB SD memory cards* — add as much memory as you want.





    The main landing gears are installed to the bottom of the wing by simply inserting them until the magnets engage. With both gears installed, the wing can be attached to the fuselage and bolted in place using a single nylon bolt.





    I used the provided Velcro to prepare the battery area and tightened the elevator and rudder connectors after making sure all the surfaces were centered. The cowl can then be installed and the propeller attached to the motor shaft.





    The optional flying wires are installed next by routing the provided silver elastic thread through the holes in the wing, fuselage and wheel pants.  Four spreader bars are provided to complete the look of the flying wires. I would recommend to check your C.G. and add/remove any weight before you install the flying wires as the wires are right over the C.G. point and can get in the way of your C.G machine. With the battery installed in the forward position, I did not have to add any weight to the Gee Bee as it balanced within the recommended range.




    I really like the looks of the Gee Bee but admit that I was nervous about the maiden flight knowing the infamous landing characteristics of Gee Bees in general. For the maiden flight we headed out to Tom Bass park in Houston with two Gee Bees. One with the optional flying wires installed and one without. After installing the battery and checking the control surfaces, we experimented with the ground characteristics only to find that the provided tail wheel does not allow for tight turns and that the Gee Bee likes to turn into the wind which became a challenge to avoid tipping the Gee Bee on the ground with the cross wind condition that existed that day.

    After I lined up the Gee Bee on the runway and applied power, the tail quickly came off the ground and the Gee Bee lifted off in an uneventful manner. Once in the air, I had to apply a few clicks of trim to get her to fly level. After performing a few circuits, I started to enjoy the nice sport flying characteristics that the Gee Bee had to offer. The provided power system pulls the Gee Bee around pretty quickly and with authority through big rolls and loops. As advertised, the Gee Bee with its fuselage acting as a airfoil can perform some nice knife edge passes which to my amazement did not exhibit much coupling from the rudder. Inverted flight required a little down elevator to be held to maintain level flight but that is to be expected. 

    I did not see any nasty habits that you would expect from a short coupled aircraft in turns but was constantly paying attention to my stall speed as I kept the speed up during my flight. The Gee Bee looks especially nice when performing full speed low passes over the runway with nice long rolls mixed in. The rudder is capable of pulling the Gee Bee through stall turns and is very effective in coordinated turns. The roll rate was on par which what you would expect from a sport airplane.

    Now for the interesting part, the landings. For my first landing, I lined up the Gee Bee while maintaining a little power to make sure I did not stall and the Gee Bee flew in over the runway and settled on the mains, rolled for a long while and settled the tail and came to a stop without tipping over or scraping the wings. I was telling my self that this was too easy and had to be a fluke which turned out to be somewhat true. On later flights, both me and David had some trouble keeping the Gee Bee from toppling over (as is evident from the quick fadeout in the flight video) as we tried to apply some down pressure on landing gear on touch down with the elevator to make sure the Gee Bee did not drag a wing or bounce back up. On one landing, I must have hit the mains a little harder than expected as the magnetic wheel pants came off on one side and were dangling from under the wing as I aborted the landing and tried to come around for another pass which was an exciting experience to say the least. 

    Check out the video to see her in action!




    ElectriFly Gee Bee R-1

    (Pilots, Stills & Video: Burc Simsek and David Smith)





















    The Gee Bee is a great looking replica of the 1930s racer and should provide the scale and sport enthusiast with a nice small sized airframe that is easy to transport and fly. You need to be sure that you are up for the task of landing the Gee Bee as this is not an airframe for the beginner and might even give intermediate pilots a run for their money which also made me realize that I probably have been flying helis and 3D airframes a little too long and might benefit from practicing a few more landings with short coupled airframes. Once in the air, the Gee Bee flies great and can perform almost any sport maneuver that you can throw at it. I was very pleased with its capability to perform nice knife edge passes with minimal coupling. The recommended 3S2200mAh should be common place in most modelers inventories and provides a good flight time upwards of 6-7 minutes depending on throttle usage. 

    Overall, I think that the Gee Bee R-1 RxR delivers on the advertised features and performance claims and will make a good addition to the ElectriFly lineup of sport/scale airframes.




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



    17260 Westheimer Parkway
    Houston, TX 77082

    http://www.bcflyers.com/


    Comments on RCU Review: ElectriFly Gee Bee R-1 EP RxR

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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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