RCUniverse.com Review of the Great Planes Proud Bird ARF
Proud Bird ARF from Great Planes is an exciting new release that is
race ready and approved for NMPRA EF1 racing. Available in ARF
form that has been covered in Jet White
MonoKote, the Proud Bird is like a canvas that is waiting to be
customized based on your trim preference.
Capable of being
powered with either a 'sport' or 'speed' setup, just how fast you want
to go is left up to you. The hot setup which is also the one that
qualifies this airframe for EF1 racing utilizes a .25 OS electric motor, a 70A
ESC and a 4S battery which is supposed to create enough power to thrust
the Proud Bird to speeds over 100 mph according to the marketing
claims. During the time of review, the 'speed' components were out of stock so I will be using the 'sport'
option which uses 0.15 motor, 45A ESC and 3S LiPo battery which should
still propel the Proud Bird pretty quickly around the airfield.
white for custom trim
with 'speed' setup
'sport' or 4S 'speed' options
hatch for easy battery access
plastic fairings do not match color of Jet White MonoKote.
usual Great Planes fashion, the Proud Bird ARF is delivered in a
colorful and nicely decorated box.
separate deck separates the box in two components which houses the
fuselage and plastic fairings in the bottom and the wings and
stabilizers on top. All of the components have been securely tied down
and as usual, I was glad that I did not have to contact Great Planes
for any replacement parts due to damage during shipping.
component count of this ARF should make the
assembly a quick one.
Planes Proud Bird ARF
built-up airframe with fiberglass cowl and wheel pants
parts count for fast, easy assembly
finish allows for total trim scheme customization
by respected pylon racer Jim Allen, the Proud Bird EF1 is both a
competitive EF1 class race plane AND a great everyday sport plane. It
has the look of a speed demon, and backs it up with the capability of
100+ mph (160+ Km/h) speeds when equipped with the recommended racing
power system. But it also handles exceptionally well and can perform
radio with 3 micro servos, .15-.25 brushless motor, 47-75A ESC,
11.1-14.8V 2200-2600mAh LiPo battery
of the unique features of the Proud Bird is the inclusion of the
plastic fairings and the distinctive cowl. A small space is left open
under the spinner for air to enter and small holes are available where
the fairing meets the cowl for hot air to exit in order to help cool
the motor which will no doubt be running full throttle for most of the
flight. Another unique feature are the hatch lower floor sections which
are composed of two molded plastic pieces. One will get attached
permanently to the fuselage to hide the receiver and servos and the
other is removable for access to the battery. The hatch will seal with
magnets in the back and once assembled creates a very secure connection
and is very easy to operate. The wings are provided as two pieces and
will be glued together. A carbon fiber wing tube and an anti rotation
pin along with some epoxy will secure the two halves together. The two
vacuum formed plastic fairing pieces will require trimming before they
can be attached to the body. The horizontal and vertical stabilizer are
not airfoiled and will require the control surfaces to be hinged during
other bags contain the landing gear, the pushrods and various screws
required during the assembly and a collection of spacers that are meant
to accommodate a variety of motor options. The white spinner is included
in the box along with a simple decal kit. Final trim is of course left
up to you.
assembly process of the Proud Bird starts with the wing.
The wing tube
and anti-rotation pin is inserted in the wing and the two halves are
epoxied together. On the bottom of the wing, a support is added
for the wing bolts.
The ailerons are hinged using thin CA and the
aileron servo is installed in the pre-cut bay and the connections made
to the control arms.
A bit of covering is trimmed from the vertical stabilizer and
the assembly slides in place on the tail. A metal U shaped joiner will
connect both elevator halves. I was glad to see that the vertical
stabilizer cut out did not require any adjustment as the stabilizer was
perfectly level with the wings.
The horizontal stabilizer is glued in
and the tail wheel is installed in the rudder before hinging. The
control arms and pushrods can then be installed using the pre-installed
guide tubes in the fuselage.
The elevator and rudder servo are mounted
in the fuselage and the connections made to the control surfaces. A
quick and enjoyable process.
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
with 14 total transmitter channels ? 12 proportional and two switched.
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.
menu supports 3-axis gyros and is perfectly tailored to the CGY750.
menu allows pilots to customize and display frequently used functions.
(Variable Pitch Propeller) compatibility can be set to three conditions
for throttle and pitch curve.
factory-defined mixes help you program like a pro.
latency and cutting-edge 2048 resolution combine for fast, accurate
32MB to 2GB SD memory cards* ? add as much memory as you want.
sensitivity receiver weighs only .25oz (7g) without case yet is a full
range system for all aircraft from giant scale to park flyer
applications-no need to buy separate receiver for
one-touch linking - no plugs to mess with or loose
Antenna Diversity allows 2.4GHz FASST Futaba transmitter to select the
best reception between the two receiver antennas with no signal loss
grommets installed where antennas exit to eliminate stress and fraying
of the two antenna wires
year limited warranty
for electric planes and small electric helis
39 oz-in (2.8 kg/cm)
1.1 x 0.5 x 1.2" (28 x 13 x 30 mm)
50C continuous discharge currents and 100C burst currents provide
massive power for brushless motors used in large-scale aircraft and 3D performance models
5.43 x 1.81 x 0.71" (138 x 46 x 18 mm)
trimming the excess from the plastic fairing, you can trial fit the
components before gluing them in place. I was not happy with the color
match of the pure white plastic fairing to the Jet White MonoKote so I
sprayed all the plastic parts with TopFlite Jet White to get a perfect
match. After the paint dried, I glued in the side fairings, installed
the wing and proceeded to glue in the bottom tray.
Sport airplanes up to 4lbs (1815g) and 3D airplanes up to 2.5lbs (1135g)
for explosive acceleration and maximum torque
aluminum can houses high torque rare earth Neodymium magnets
maintenance-free; no commutators or brushes to wear out
oz (102 g)
for larger higher performance airplanes
Delivers 45A of continuous current and 50A of surge current
a powerful 2.0A BEC
simple to use, with on/off brake and Safe Start
2.76 x 1.30 x 0.39" (70 x 33 x 10
continuous, 50A surge
motor is attached using several spacers. I was surprised to see that a
specific measurement was not provided from the back of the firewall to
the tip of the motor. I trial fitted the cowl and the motor and played
around with the number of spacers required until I got it right. The
cowl can be a tight fit after you have glued in the side fairings.
not force the cowl as I cracked my first cowl when I was just about
right and decided to push it a bit further. Instead sand or cut the
plastic fairings to get a nice fit as most of the plastic will be
concealed by the cowl anyway. I ended up using 7 spacers for the
RimFire 0.15 motor. Once the cowl has been fitted, it is secured to the
fuselage using two screws on each side.
The receiver and ESC can then
be attached in their recommended positions using hook and loop material
and the plastic canopy floor glued in place which does a great job of
concealing the electronics.
forward canopy floor is not glued in but held in place with friction.
The manual recommends that you cut and place a few pieces of plastic to
create a latch for the front but I found that when squeezed in place,
it already rests against the back of the cowl which holds it securely
in place. Once all plastic components are in place,
you will have to glue the magnets to the hatch by placing the magnets on
the fuselage, applying some CA to the magnets and placing the hatch
over the magnets to secure the magnets to the hatch. After the CA has
bonded to the hatch, it should be easily removable.
decided to complete the Proud Bird in a simple trim scheme that resembled the
image on the box but with some slight modifications to the pattern and
color. The completed airframe came in at 43 oz. The provided 3S
2550mAh flight battery came in at 8.2 oz. The 0.15 RimFire motor at
full throttle is good for 450 Watts of power at 40A. While it wont be
a speed demon at this rating, it is still 166W/lb and should provide a
good performance envelope.
maiden of the Proud Bird happened to land on a calm and sunny day.
After charging the 3S2550mAh battery and double checking the control
surfaces and C.G., I took the Proud Bird out to the runway and prepared
for its first flight. The ground handling did not provide any
noticeable issues thanks to the steerable tail wheel which allowed me
to easily taxi the Proud Bird and line it up against the wind. After
starting my timer, I advanced the throttle and the Proud Bird started
to pickup speed as it accelerated towards its first flight. Liftoff was
uneventful and as the Proud Bird started to climb I noticed that it was
perfectly in trim which was a good sign.
in the air, I had to resist the urge to take her to full throttle to
see what the power system was capable of delivering. I flew a couple of
simple circuits to get acquianted with the flight envelope of the Proud
Bird. On low rates, the Proud Bird performs like a sport plane meaning
it goes where you point it and is capable of performing a majority of
your basic acrobatic maneuvers such as rolls, loops and stall turns.
Even though it has a very small rudder, the Proud Bird is capable of
performing nice knife edge passes but they have to be flow with some
speed to keep the nose from dropping. Snaps are possible with low rates
and the Proud Bird performed them without a hitch allowing me to stop on
command thanks in part to its long wingspan. After flipping to high
rates, I noticed immediately that I had too deflection on the surfaces
as pulling up on the elevator caused the Proud Bird to unexpectedly
snap and stall. Since this is really a racer setup with a sport plane
power system, I was perfectly happy to fly the Proud Bird around with
lower rates and perform smooth and fast circuits.
getting comfortable with the airframe, we brought out the radar gun and
I opened up the throttle and started to perform full throttle passed
over the runway. We repeatedly clocked the Proud Bird around 70mph for
level flight. I was able to squeeze out a 85mph pass coming out of a
dive with a slight tail wind which was quite satisfying but quite a
ways off from the 100+ mph number that was etched in my mind which of
course is only possible with the bigger motor and battery. Regardless,
the speed that the sport setup provides is more than sufficient to get
your adrenaline going on those full throttle passes.
Proud Bird is a very slippery airframe. After deciding to come in for a
landing, I had to abort several times and go around since I could not
bleed off enough speed to perform an acceptable landing. Even when I
cut the throttle on the upwind approach right before the final turn,
the Proud Bird still glided forever and just wanted to keep on flying.
At this point I was glad that we have a very long runway which allowed
me to land the Proud Bird and make the final turn right before I ran
out of pavement.
Great Planes Proud Bird ARF
Proud Bird is a well constructed ARF that is easy to assemble and
thanks to its all white covering can be customized per taste. The white
of the plastic parts did not perfectly match the Jet White MonoKote®
covering but that was easily remedied by spraying the parts with
a spray application of Top Flite LustreKote Jet White.
Proud Bird allows the user to use a variety of power options. Two
setups are recommended. The 'Sport' .15 motor and 3S battery setup and
the 'Speed' .25 motor and 4S battery setup. When setup as a sport plane
the Proud Bird is capable of carving out fast and smooth lines across
the sky and can perform a variety of basic acrobatics. I was not able
to test the 'Speed' setup as the required components were out of stock
at the time but I will most definitely be replacing the power system
with the higher performance counterparts to squeeze even more speed out
of the Proud Bird in coming days.
Proud Bird is approved for NMPRA EF1 class racing but I do not
personally have enough experience with pylon racing to
comment about its performance in that regard. The manual contains a
good bit of information on how to setup and trim the Proud Bird for a
racing environment which I hope to try out once I get the speed setup
installed in my bird. I think Great Planes has another nice offering in
the form of the Proud Bird ARF and I look forward to many more
Great Planes Model Distributors
P.O. Box 9021
Champaign, IL 61826-9021 www.greatplanes.com
Corporation of America
Great Planes Model Distributors
P.O. Box 9021
Champaign, IL 61826-9021
Phone: (217) 398-8970
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.