RCU Review: Aeroworks 20cc-30cc Trainer GT ARF-QB

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    Contributed by: Ken Isaac | Published: March 2014 | Views: 38136 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Aeroworks Trainer GT, An RCU Review

    Ken Isaac

    Email Me

    4903 Nome St.
    Denver, Co 80239

    Phone: (303)371-4222
    Email: info@aero-works.net

    There are many different types of flying in our RC world, including sport, pattern, scale, jets, warbirds, aerobatic, electric, vintage and many others. But regardless of what type of plane people fly now, almost all of them started off in the same place. And that was with a trainer. Stop and think about it, we all started off learning to fly with a good old trainer. And for the most part those trainers are pretty much the same. I would be safe in saying that a huge majority of us started out with a .40 sized, high wing, flat bottom, semi-symmetrical, tricycle landing gear, trainer. Some of the more popular over the years have been names such as Sig Kadet Senior, Great Planes PT-40 and 60, and the Tower Hobbies bare bones trainer. These are just some of the few out that that we all used to get started. And for many years things in the training world haven't changed much. But there are some changes coming that will make a huge difference in the world of trainers.

    Aeroworks 20cc-30cc Trainer GT ARF-QB

    Over the years in this hobby one thing that I've always heard said is "Bigger is better". And that's pretty much true when it comes to RC aircraft. Smaller aircraft can tend to be a bit "twitchy" and can be harder to see as they move away from the pilot. But bigger aircraft will be more stable in the air and will be smoother as they respond to control inputs, and a bigger aircraft will be able to be seen from farther away. All of these lend to making bigger aircraft better to fly when compared to similar smaller aircraft. So it's natural to think that a bigger trainer is going to be better for the learning process for students learning to fly.

    Trainer GT on display at the 2013 Toledo Weak Signals Show

    Every year I attend the Weak Signals RC Show held in Toledo, Ohio, more commonly called "The Toledo Show". One booth I always look forward to seeing is the Aeroworks booth, because I want to see what new planes they have each year. Over the years I've really liked a lot of Aeroworks planes and just can't wait to see what they have to offer each year. This year as I approached their booth  I saw a high-wing tricycle plane sitting front and center in their booth. My first comments was "It looks like a trainer". Their answer to my comment? "It is a trainer". One look and I was sold, I knew that I wanted to get my hands on this plane to see what it holds in store for people who want to learn to fly.

    OK, one quick word about this review before we get started here. Since we are talking about a trainer here I am going to gear this review to the level of people that don't have a lot of experience in the world of RC. So for those pilots that have lots of time on the sticks please bear with me because we're trying to help those guys thinking about buying this plane to get into flying with.

    So, let's dig in and take a look at the Aeroworks Trainer GT.....

    • Large size
    • Smooth and easy movements resulting from size
    • Super easy to land due to size
    • Easy to see due to size
    • Designed for gas engines
    • Large size is easier to work on
    • Professionally built and covered
    • Fuel stopper pre-assembled
    • Candy drop option
    • Wheel Pant Options
    • Great option for club trainer/candy drop
    • Would make great glider tow plane


    • Cost may be a bit prohibitive for some
    • Small nose gear set screw inadequate for nose gear stearing

    Skill Level:

    Time Required to Build:

    Frustration Level:

    What do these ratings mean?

    Name: 20cc-30cc Trainer GT ARF-QB Quick Build

    Price: $449.95 (Prices current as of review published date)

    Trainer GT with DLE-20cc combo package - $679.90
    Trainer GT with DLE-30cc combo package - $704.90

    Stock Number: E310
    Wingspan: 88"
    Wing Area: 1320 in²
    Weight: 11 - 13 lbs
    Fuse Length (Rudder to front of cowl): 70.5"
    Fuse Length (Rudder to front of spinner): 74"
    Engine: 20cc to 30cc
    Center of Gravity (CG): 5" back from the leading edge of the wing at
    fuselage side. Included with the plane is a CG tool that will help set the
    CG properly.

    Radio Used: Airtronics SD-10G
    Receiver Used: Airtronics 8 Channel FHSS-3 Reciever
    Weight As Reviewed: 12 lbs, 2 ozs.
    Batteries Used:
    Flight System Battery: A123 LiFe Battery, 6.6v 2300 Mah
     Engine Ignition Battery: Eneloop 2700 Mah Ni-MH Battery Pack
    Channels Used: 5 total - Elevator, Aileron, Throttle, Rudder, and
    Ignition Cutoff
    Control Throws:

    • Elevator, up/down: 10mm
    • Ailerons, up/down: 6mm
    • Rudder, right/left: 15mm

    Items Needed To Complete Plane:

    • Engine, Gas 20cc or 30cc. DLE-20 or DLE-30 recommended
    • 5 Servos - Aileron, Elevator, and throttle 80 oz. minimum
      Rudder 170 oz. minimum
    • Spinner, 3 in. Aluminum recommended
    • Ignition power system
    • Servo extensions.
    •  1- 36" extension for elevator, 2 -12" extension
      for ailerons in wing, and 2 - 18" extensions for receiver to ailerons
      (or 18" Y-harness if you want to use one channel for ailerons)
    • Propeller - 17x6 for 20cc engine or 19x8 for 30cc engine

    Tools and Materials Needed To Assemble Plane

    • Allen wrenches US and Metric.

    • Electric drill and selection of bits

    • Razor saw

    • Flat head screwdriver

    • Hobby heat gun

    • Hobby iron and covering sock

    • Masking tape

    • Modeling knife

    • Needle nose pliers or crimping tool

    • Paper towels

    • Pen, pencil or felt tipped marker

    • Phillips screwdriver

    • Rubbing alcohol

    • Ruler and tape measure

    • Scissors

    • T pins

    • Wire Cutters

    • Blue Loctite

    • CA kicker (optional)

    • Thick, Thin and Medium CA

    • Epoxy, 30-minute

    • Rubbing alcohol

    • Wipes

    Ok, let me start of by saying that the Aeroworks trainer GT is big, I mean it's BIG, ok it's REALLY BIG!!! Do you get the impression that this plane is BIG? In almost 2 decades of RC I've had a lot of experience with a lot of trainers and I think that I've seen most that are commonly used for training people to fly RC, and I've never had a problem getting them to fit on my building bench in my shop. That changed with this plane, as you can see in the pictures. The box is well over 6 feet long and barely fits on my bench. Opening up the box reveals the graphics for the plane, the vertical and horizontal stabilizer packaged in plastic wrap, and a cardboard box at each end of the box containing various items. Everything is well secured in the box and there no damage to anything that I can see.

    As we start unpacking the box we find the wing halves packed in bubble wrap which does a good job of protecting the wing halves during shipping. Under the wings is the fuselage which takes up almost the entire length of the shipping box. As with the other major assemblies in box, the fuselage is wrapped in plastic to protect it. As I was unpacking the major parts of the box I pulled out a piece of cardboard that was separating the wings from the fuselage. I set it aside and didn't think anything of it, thinking that it was just a piece of cardboard. However, I noticed later that there were actually parts taped to the underside of the cardboard. So care needs to be taken as you unpack the box to make sure that get all the parts unpacked.  Included in the Instruction Manual is a list of all parts that can be used to inventory all parts to make sure you have everything as you unpack the box.
    Inside the cardboard boxes on both ends of the box we find all of the smaller parts to Trainer GT. Included in this are a very nice high quality fiberglass cowl, an instruction manual CD, small rolls of Ultracote covering materials, several bags of  parts, balancing tool, and clear plastic window parts.

    As I started to unpack the big parts of the plane I really liked what I was seeing. All of the control surfaces of the plane are pre-hinged. I was worried that a plane like this would be done with CA hinges, but Aeroworks did the job right and used hinge points on all the control surfaces. I gave all the control surfaces a good pull to make sure that they were securely attached and nothing came loose, so that's a good sign. Hopefully they won't come off in the air. As I look around the parts of the Trainer GT I'm really liking what I'm seeing. Moving up to the front of the fuselage the firewall shows some homework went on here as well. The plane is set up for 20cc-30cc gas engines. Looking at the firewall shows blind nuts and the firewall center all setup for a 20cc engine. A quick look at the manual shows that there are instructions for a quick conversion if you want to change this to 30cc. Also, the firewall is pre-sealed as well.
    Unpacking all the smaller hardware shows no lack in quality here as well. Everything included in the smaller hardware was very good quality and lives up to the reputation that Aeroworks has come to be known by. One thing that was very interesting was that the entire fuel stopper assembly was completely assembled. This was a really nice touch in the kit. A 15 oz fuel tank is included with the plane as well a fuel tank vent that flush mounts on the fuselage. Included with the plane are are templates used to cut the ventilation holes in the cowl, drilling guide for the firewall, and an Aeroworks deflection gauge used to set the throws for the control surfaces. The hardware for the controls surfaces are all high quality.

    The windows are included in a sheet that will need to be cut out and glued in place. The graphics on the plane are adhesive decals and are high quality decals that stand out. Aeroworks has a tool they have started including with planes that I think is one the the greatest things since sliced bread, their CG tool. This tool is designed for each specific plane and hooks over the wing tube on the plane and then allows you to lift the plane to check the plane's balance. It's a great way to check the balance on larger planes that can be harder to balance otherwise.

    Ok, we've got everything unpacked and sorted out. Let's dig in and start getting this plane put together!!

    The "Manual" that Aeroworks ships with the kit isn't actually a traditional paper manual. Instead it's a CD with PDF copy of the manual on it instead. In today's technology age this is something that we are going to see more and more from manufacturers of aircraft. The manual that is provided in PDF format is easily viewable on any personal computer or tablet and is more than enough to successfully get the plane put together. The folks at Aeroworks have really done an outstanding job on the manual for the Trainer GT, and having a target audience of beginner pilots the manual does a very good job of explaining every step that has to be done. There are clear color pictures that illustrate each step so that there is little doubt about what needs to be done to assemble the plane.

    Even though I work in the IT field and technology is where I earn a living I guess I'm an old fashion kind of guy in that I like paper. I went ahead and printed out the manual so that I had a paper copy. I like to do this so that I have something in my hands that I can read through completely before I start assembling the plane. I also like having the paper so that I can jot notes on of anything I need to pay special attention to as I work through the assembly of the plane

    When I received my plane there was an addendum tucked into the shipping label on the box. This included several changes in several steps throughout the assembly process of the plane. As I mentioned above I went through the manual and penciled in the changes to the steps in the areas mentioned in the included addendum.

    Tightening And Re-shrinking The Covering

    When I first opened up the box and unpacked the Tranier GT I thought I was going be able to skip this step. When I got all the parts out of the box the covering was tight as a drum and looked picture perfect so I thought that I really wouldn't have to go back over it and tighten it up. Unfortunately it was actually almost a weeks time between when I took all the parts out of the box and when I could get back to them and start on this review, and when I got back to them everything looked like a  raisin that was all wrinkled up. It was incredible how much the covering had changed over that time. So it was time to tighten up covering. The first thing the instructions tell you to do is to remove the windshield from the plane so that it doesn't get damaged by any heat as we re-shrink the covering. I've found the best way to tackle covering is to first use a covering iron to go over the areas that are over areas that is attaches to areas such as hard wood first so that the covering materials won't pull away when you start to re-shrink it.

    After the edges are all sealed back down then take a heat gun and use it to shrink up the covering. Start in the middle of the big areas and work out to the edges. I love working with Coverite that this trainer is covered with because it's so forgiving. If you make a mistake you can simply work it back out. Just keep working it and you'll get all the wrinkles worked out of the covering. After all the wrinkles are gone I like to seal the covering back down to the wood structure. I've found that this helps to keep the wrinkles out for a longer period of time. To do this put a hot sock on your heating iron and then go back over the covering sealing the covering down to the wood structures.

    Checking Glue Joints

    Before I get started putting together the plane let's finish up a few quick things. First off, a build stand. This plane is big. I've talked about it a couple of times now already and I'll talk about it one more time. Here I'll mention a stand. As you work on this plane you'll find that if you have a stand like the one that I have shown in the pictures you'll find it's a lot easier to put plane together. You can get the PVC to put one together at your local home improvement store and it only takes a few minutes to build. The second thing is boo boo's. We all have them. Glue drips where you don't want them to go. Here above you can see I had one on an aileron. I had a drop of thin CA drop that hit the aileron when I wasn't paying attention. The best thing to do here is to simply not get bent out of shape because it's really not a big deal at all. It's an easy fix and nothing to worry about. Keep some acetone on hand. If you don't have acetone on hand nail polish remover will do.. Pour some acetone on a paper towel and rub it on the spilled CA and wipe it off. It will remove the CA spot quickly and easily. A word of caution: do this in a well ventilated area as acetone vapors can do a number on you.
    Aeroworks suggests that you use thin CA to go over and reinforce glue joints on the fuselage. With the size of this plane this is actually pretty easy to do. It's pretty easy to get your hand in inside of the fuselage and with a small applicator tip on a bottle of thin CA work a bead of thin CA down most of the wood joints of the fuselage. While I couldn't get my arm all the way back to the tail, I could get about 2/3 of the way back to the tail of the fuselage. 

    Wing Assembly

    Aeroworks recommends using Hitech 635HB servos for the ailerons. The specifications for these servos are 69 oz of torque on 4.8v and 83 oz of torque using 6v batteries. So this is what I had to use to base my choice of servos on. Looking through my box of servos I had a group of JR DS 821 servos which have 88 oz of torque on 6v, so this is what I planned on using.
    Start the assembly of the wing by checking to make sure the extension is long enough to reach all the way through the wing to the exit out through the base of the wing. Do this by placing your aileron servo in the servo socket and make sure the attached extension can reach out to the base of the wing. Then use a supplies safety clip to secure the extension to the servo lead. Located in the servo area in the wing will be a small piece of wood lightly glued in place with a pull string secured to it.
    The piece of the wood in the aileron servo area is easily broken out in order for you to use the string to pull your aileron servo wire through the wing. At the base of the wing there is another small piece of wood located there that has the other end of the string attached to it that is also easy to break out.

    Once you have both ends of the string broken loose you can pull your servo wire through the wing. If it hangs up as you pull it through just take your time and "jiggle" it a little bit to get it through all the ribs. Once you have the wire pulled completely through the wing use a small piece of tape to secure it on the inside of the wing at the base so that it doesn't slip back into the wing while you are storing or transporting the wing to and from the field.
    To mount the your servo in the wing first drill pilot holes for each servo mount hole. Use a servo mounting screw to tap threads into the balsa wood of each mounting hole for your servo. After the threads have been cut into each hole wick thin CA into each hole. This hardens the wood so that the threads hold the servo in place.

    Give the CA time to dry before mounting the servo, then install the servo in the wing. When installing the servo make sure that the servo mounting screws just barely touch the rubber of the grommets. Too many people will tighten them down too tightly which is what you don't want to do here. You just want it to barely touch the rubber of the grommet. To set the center of the servo I use this little gadget that is a godsend and I can't recommend highly enough. I picked it up at the Toledo Show many years ago and I wouldn't dream of setting up a plane without it. It lets me set the center of a servo without having to pull out my radio. If you don't have one of these you can set up your servo by attaching your receiver and setting the aileron so that the servo is set in the center position. Once you have it in it's center position screw attach the servo arm in place. You're going to take it back off here in a bit, so you'll want to keep everything handy so you can get it back to center when you put it all back together.
    Shown above is the hardware needed to mount the aileron to the aileron servo. The control horns for each control surface are actually 2 piece metal horns that are mounted so the ball link can be mounted between them. Unlike other planes Aeroworks recommends completely assembling the pushrods before actually mounting them on the control surface. To assemble the pushrod on the Dubrol Heavy Duty servo arm requires drilling out the mounting hole.
    The mounting holes for each control horn are pre-drilled at the factory, but still need to have threads in them. This is easily done by using one of the mounting screws in each hole to tap out threads. Once this is done it's time to mount the control horn. Thick CA is used here as a thread lock. While there is a bit of working time here, you will still have to move quickly before the CA sets. Put a drop of CA on each mounting screw and screw in place in each mounting hole.
    Now we're back to where we need whatever we used to center the aileron servo with, so let's get set back up again so that we can get the aileron servos setup. An easy setup that I like to use is shown above in the first picture. Use 2 clamps and 2 craft sticks to easily center the aileron with the wing. Turn on your radio, or whatever you are using to center the aileron servo, and center out the aileron servos. The aileron servo arm can now be mounted to the servo. If it's off center it's very easy to use the provided wrench to adjust the center point until it does now center. Once the aileron is centered make sure all mounting screws as well as the servo horn screw is in place.

    Horizontal Stab Installation

    When you move to the step of mounting the horizontal stab you're going to find out just how big this plane is, and just how small how your working your working area really is. While my workshop has been a bit on the small side it's always been enough for everything I've build, but when I did the the Trainer GT I was really really pushing the limits to fit all in place.

    The first steps of installing the horizontal stab are to dry fit the horizontal stab as well as the vertical fin. Once those are in place they need to clamped place so that they don't move while we dry fit their placement. Also, the wings will need to to be installed on the fuselage in the same manner as if the plane were ready to be flown. This is where you're going to find out just how small your shop really is. I found myself having duck back and forth underneath the fuselage as I set the horizontal stab because I didn't have enough room to walk around behind it. So make sure you have enough room to assemble the plane before you get started on it.

    One of the biggest things that can be done to make sure any plane flies well is to make sure that the horizontal stab is set square to the fuselage and wings. While this may sound like it's something that is very difficult to do, this is actually a very easy measurement to make. To start off with first place a straight pin in the tip of each wing, making sure you place it in the same spot on each wing. There are lots of different ways of measuring the distance to the horizontal stabilizer, but here is a trick that picked up awhile back, and it works really well for me. Remember that we need to make sure that we want to make sure that the distance from wingtip to the outside tip of the horizontal stabilizer is the same on each side of the fuselage. What I do is take a small piece of twine, or I have found that dental floss works well here too, and fold a piece of tape over it and place a mark on it in pen. Now you can use this twine to measure from the tip of each wingtip to the tip of the horizontal stab, using the mark on the tape to see if the distance is the same. Keep adjusting until you have the distance the same on both sides.
    The next measurement that is critical on the tail feathers of any plane is that the horizontal stab is square to the wing. Stand behind the plane and sight down the fuselage and ensure that the horizontal stab is square with the wing, that it is the same distance from the wing on both sides. When the horizontal stab is square and everything is in place mark the position of the horizontal stab. On the underside of the fuselage use the tri-stock provided to mark guide lines that will be used to remove the covering before we apply epoxy to mount the covering.
    After marking the position of where the horizontal stab will be mounted, as a hobby knife is used to carefully cut through the covering. After cutting through the covering then it can be pulled away. Make sure that the covering is also removed for both the horizontal stab and the tri-stock reinforcing piece that will be put in place on.
    On the fuselage the covering that is folded over the top of the stab saddle needs to be removed.

    I'd like to take quick moment here to give a shout out for the epoxy that I use here. Normally the glues that I use in the hobby are just that, they are glues, and any one name is just as good as the rest. But I use an epoxy called Epo-Grip. As far as the actual holding power of this epoxy I don't know if it's any stronger or weaker than anything else that I've ever used before. But the real advantage to Epo-Grip is that it is a paste like product which is a HUGE advantage for me. When it's mixed together it has the consistency of peanut butter with really gives me a lot of advantages as I work with it. I've been using Epo-Grip epoxies for about 6 years now and I can't recommend them highly enough.

    For mounting the horizontal stab a 30 minute epoxy will need to be used. This will be for several reasons which include giving enough time to get the stab set in place as well as having enough strength in flight to keep the stab in place.

    After putting epoxy on the bottom of the horizontal stab position the stab on the fuselage.Use the marks that were made before to  properly position the stab. At the front part of the stab use clamps to hold down the stab. Put some wood between the clamps and the stab and fuselage to make sure there is no damage. At the rear of the stab blue painters tape is a good way of securing the stab in place until the epoxy sets. Double check that everything is in place and make sure it doesn't get bumped until the epoxy has set.

    Vertical Stab Installation

    Mounting the vertical stab starts out a lot like the horizontal stab, by dry fitting it and marking it's position. Once the position is marked then the covering is cut and removed.
    The vertical stab needs to be mounted so that is square to the horizontal stab. An easy way to set this is to simply use a square. The one that you see in the picture above is great for doing this kind of setup and is easy to find. You can pick them up at you local home improvement stores. Apply the epoxy to the bare wood area of the vertical stab and then put it in place. Once again blue painters tape is used to hold it in place while the epoxy sets. As with the horizontal stab, I used the square to check to make sure that the stab was properly set and then I stepped back from the plane and left it alone. After the epoxy sets on the vertical stab there are 2 stab reinforcement strips that need to be installed. Apply epoxy to these and put them in place, wiping away any epoxy that oozes out.
    Included with the Trainer GT are several squares of Ultrakote covering. At first I thought they were for making repairs, which I thought was really cool that they were there. But they are actually part of the assembly as well. The instructions call for cutting strips of the covering and using it to seal up the seams that are left in the vertical stab after it is installed.

    Elevator Servo Installation

    The fuselage is setup with a cutout in each former to run servo wire through. This is a big advantage with the length of wire that the servo extensions will be running because without the cutouts in the formers the wires would just hang loose and would cause problems as the plane is flying. With the size of the fuselage it's really easy to get the fuselage wire ru up through the fuselage. I've got several tricks that I use for doing this, but in this case I found that a pushrod and a piece of string (psst, the same string from horizontal stab works really good here!) work really well. Tape the string to the pushrod and then starting the elevator opening at the back of the plane run the pushrod up through the plane. Like I said, with the size of the fuselage you can reach inside if you need to give the pushrod a little assistance as it moves up through the fuselage.
    After the string is all the way up through the fuselage the next step is to bring the the elevator servo wire extension up through the fuselage, tie the wire to the string. Make sure the servo wire and extension are secured with a safety clip before pulling the servo wire up through the fuselage.
    Setting up the control horns, push rods, mounting the servo, installing the servo, and getting everything set is pretty much the same as it was for the ailerons earlier so I won't go back through that here again.

    Rudder Servo and Pull-Pull Assembly

    The rudder for the Trainer GT is the strongest of the servos on the plane and is located in the center of the fuselage. The control of the rudder is done by a pull-pull setup using wire cable running through the fuselage to control the rudder. The rudder servo is installed inside the fuselage in the same manner as the other servos in the plane. The two wire ropes used for the pull-pull are installed through the small opening at the rear of the fuselage where the horizontal stab is mounted. The pull-pull wires are going to run forward through the fuselage and cross inside the the fuselage. To keep the wire from pulling through while working pull the wire into the fuselage and then tape it in place to hold it with a small piece of tape.
    As I said above, the pull-pull wires cross inside of the fuselage. Pull the wires through and then tape them temporarily to keep them from pulling back into the fuselage until you're ready for them. Looking at one picture above I marked the servo control horn which direction was going forward. This was a little bit important because the servo horns that I used from Dubro do have a specific center position, and once I had it set I wanted to make sure that I had the horn properly position back to the same place as I started building everything up. The pull-pull wires are very easy to crimp using a brass sleeve that is provided. The wire is run through the sleeve, then looped though the brass swage nuts, back through the sleeve (this is a little confusing, but look at the next picture below to clear this up), and then loop the wire back around and through the sleeve again. Once all this is done then clamp down on the brass sleeve to lock all the wires down.
    Apply thick CA to the brass sleeve to help lock all the components in place. Assemble the servo arm with the two pull-pull control arms as well as the pushrod control arm that will be used for the nosegear steering later on in a future assembly step. Place the servo arm on the rudder servo in the same as previous servos.
    As with previous servos the rudder servo will need to be centered as the rudder pull-pull control horns are installed. The control horns  for the rudder are assembled in the same manner as they were for the other control surfaces on the plane. As the control horns are mounted on the plane there is one difference from the other surfaces. The control horns mount using machine screws through the rudder instead of using wood screws into wood. To mount the control horns put the control horns in place and then run the machine screws through the rudder and then apply blue Loctite before applying a nut on each machine screw.
    With the control surfaces for the rudder in place on each side the cables can now be setup and crimped in the same manner as they were at the servo end. Use craft sticks and clamps to secure the rudder in it's center position and center the rudder servo in the center position before crimping the pull-pull cables to length. Make sure that the lengths are correct before crimping them.

    Landing Gear Installation

    The first picture shows all the hardware provided for the nosegear. Go through your kit when you get it and see if you have something different. To honest I had a few head scratching moments and some emails back and forth with Aeroworks because what the manual showed didn't match up with what was in the kit. And in Aerowork's defense, this is normal when a plane/kit first starts hitting the market. Until they get this supply line/chain solidified there are sometimes changes that happen that will make things differ from what a manual will say. As I read the instruction manual it said "The taper edge of the landing gear goes to the back of the airplane." and I sat there trying to figure out which way was tapered and such. However when I sat the gear on the plane I discovered that because of the way they have the holes drilled there is only one way that the landing gear can be mounted on the plane. This was a change from the manual, and this is what I was just talking about in watch out for changes. As the gear is mounted use a thread locker to keep the bolts tight.
    Setting the up landing gear was very easy and pretty straightforward. There was another change from the manual here. The manual showed a bolt going through the landing gear and then a collar installed on the bolt on the outside of the landing gear. However, the hardware that was in my plane had a shouldered collar already on that bolt and then a nut goes to the inside of the landing gear. The wheel is then slid over the axle and then to complete the installation a collar is placed on the axle.
    The  nose gear is mounted in using a nylon nose gear mount, and the blind nuts that are used to mount them are already in place in the backside of the firewall. Place a bit of Blue Loctite on the 4-40 mounting nuts and then install the nosegear mounting bracket in place. For the installation of the nose gear control horn please follow this link to an update.
    The nosewheel is put in place on the axle and then secured in place with an outer wheel collar. As with all the other collars the bolt is kept in place with blue locktite.
    The pushrod for the nose steering is inserted through the firewall and goes back through the fuselage to the rudder servo and is screwed into the ball link on the servo arm for the rudder servo.
    Center the rudder servo and then observe it from above. The center picture is a bit off center. Adjust the nosewheel until it is centered

    Engine Installation

    The Trainer GT was first designed around the DLE-20 and then then added the DLE-30 into the mix, and this can easily be seen in how instructions are laid for these two engines. There is no reason that this plane can't be used for other engines, but if you are thinking about getting this plane I would highly recommend the DLE 20/30. Since the the plane is set up for the DLE-20, there will be some minor modifications that will need to be made if you plan to put a DLE-30 in your setup.
    Since I planned to use a DLE-30 in my trainer needed to make the needed modifications as I indicated above. These modifications are minor and are very easy to do. To start off with we need to knock out the blind nuts that are in place in the backside of the firewall for the DLE-20. Using the mounting nuts for the DLE-20 put them in place into the blind nuts and very gently tap them out. When I say gently I do mean gently. It would be easy enough to just whack the heck out of it and knock them out in one or two whacks, but that would more than likely take a lot of wood out of the back of the firewall as well, and we don't want to do that either. So just very gently knock them out with gentle taps.
    Once the blindnuts are off the back the holes need to be filled back up. Dowels are provided to fill the holes with. Using epoxy place the dowels into the holes in the firewall that contained the blindnuts for the DLE-20. After the epoxy has set use a razor saw to cut off the dowel at the firewall. Get it as close as you can to the firewall so that you don't have  too much sanding after you have made the cut.
    After making the cut on the dowels I used a small sanding board to sand the dowels flush with the firewall. Aeroworks provides a template to use to mark the firewall for use with a DLE-30. To use it,  it needs to be mounted on the so that the centering marks on the firewall of the plane line up with the lines on the template provided. Once those match up simply mark the 4 mounting holes that will be used for the DLE-30.
    The new mounting holes are drilled out where they were marked in the previous steps. The mounting bolts that were provided with the DLE-30 were put down through the firewall from the backside and then the DLE-mounts were put in place in order to set the DLE-30 mounting locations.
    With the 4 mounting standoffs in place the engine was put in place. Going back to the beginning of the build one of the included changes that came with the plane was the distance that the engine sits from the firewall. The easiest way for me to accomplish this was to simply place washers between the engine and the standoffs. This moved the engine out far enough from the firewall so that the engine properly fits the cowl when it is placed on the plane.
    With the engine in place the next step is to get the throttle cable in place. Assemble the fiber extension on the throttle assembly for the engine to use as a guide for drilling the firewall to where the throttle cable will exit. Use the throttle cable itself to find on the firewall where to mark to drill for the throttle cable.
    Mark the firewall to where the firewall needs to be drilled for the throttle cable. Once you are sure go ahead and drill out the firewall where the cable will exit out from the firewall.
    As I moved on to finish up the throttle cable I ran into an issue. The picture above on the left is from the Aeroworks manual and it shows the throttle cable coming down and exiting to the right side of the throttle servo, and this was how the model was supposed to have been setup. However, looking at the picture in the middle you will see that the the throttle cable hole was drilled to the left side of the throttle servo. Because of this I needed to relocate the throttle cable to run to the hole that was on the left side of the throttle servo. In the one picture above I put the handle of a putty knife underneath the tubing to keep it in place while the glue dried in place.
    After the outer housing of the throttle cable has been installed the throttle cable itself needs to be cut to length. The tubing is then threaded onto the threads of the ball links at the servo arm end of the throttle cable. The cable is then fed into the throttle cable hosing from inside the fuselage. With this in place the tubing is then cut to length so that another ball link can then be threaded on to complete the assembly of the throttle cable.

    Ignition Installation

    Since the Trainer GT is setup for a DLE engine there are accommodations inside for both the ignition module and for the ignition battery. This compartment is behind the firewall at the bottom of the fuselage. Two small platforms will need to be built from materials that are provided in the kit. These platforms consist of four small blocks of wood and a flat piece that is the actual platform. To assemble the platform put a small spot of epoxy on each block and then put it on each corner of the flat platform. Once these are built cut the provided foam to fit to make a pad for the ignition and the battery. Use the provided zip ties to secure the ignition and batteries to the platforms
    The platforms can then be secured into the compartment with epoxy. Make sure to test fit everything before actually gluing into place.
    When I test fit the ignition battery I was not happy with the nose gear pushrod. It was routed such that it rubbed right along to where the terminals of the batteries where on the packs. Now the batteries where protected by both heat shrink around the batteries and the zip tie that lifted the push rod, but it still made me very nervous to have a setup like this. If the movement of the pushrod were to rub through the heat shrink on the batteries it could short them out and then create a fire. A situation like this is just asking for trouble. So to feel better about the installation I decided to cut the blocks in half so that the batteries sat lower in the compartment and terminals of the batteries were now below the pushrod.
    When I run a gasoline engine I like to have a way of killing the engine from the radio. There are 2 ways that most people will usually use for doing that: using the choke or using an optical kill switch. Since the Trainer GT wasn't really setup for a choke servo I decided to go ahead and add in the optical kill switch. One nice thing about these is that when you install them they also have a super bright LED that you can install on the side of the fuselage to show you that the ignition is on. Because the fully charged voltage of the battery pack of eneloop battery pack I choose to use in this plane really is above what the ignition module calls for I choose to also install a small voltage regulator.
    Everything in the compartment is ready to be hooked up. The kill switch and regulator sit right between the battery and the ignition module. The kill switch runs back into the fuselage and is mounted on the side of the fuselage. Mark the fuselage and then use a hobby knife to cut the fuselage. Install the switch into the fuselage.

    Fuel Tank Installation

    One feature that I found very nice in this plane was that the fuel stopper was pre-assembled. Assemble the fuel pickup using a piece of fuel tubing long enough so that the fuel pick sits just short of the back of the fuel tank. Once this is ready tighten down then fuel stopper so that it sits tight in the tank. It's a good idea to label the lines in the tank so that you can remember them later on. You'd be surprised how easy it is to forget which line is which! On the fill/pickup line there is a "T" connection that is inserted in the line that will be used to fill the tank. One side of the "T" goes to the carburetor and the other side of that "T" will go to a fill line.
    I found that pulling all the lines though the fuselage is easier by using a piece of string tied around all the tubes. Once they are pulled through the fuselage the feed line will be put through the firewall and connected to the pickup on the carb of the engine. On the side of the fuselage is a pre-drilled hole for the fill line. This is located and needs to be cut out with a hobby knife, and then the fill line installed into that fill hole.
    The vent line is installed in the hole that is located in the bottom of the fuselage. Pull the line through the fuselage and use the provided hardware to attach the outlet to the vent line. The vent line outlet is then held in place using thick CA. The fuel tank is held in place by a small block of wood that is screwed into place.

    DLE-30 Cowl Installtion

    Aeroworks provides templates to cut the cowl for both the DLE-20 and the DLE-30. Since I have the DLE-30 that's what I used to mark the cowl with. To mark the cowl for cutting simply tape the templates in place and then use a Sharpie type marker to mark the cowl for cutting.
    Once the cowl has been marked for cutting take your time as you go to cutting the areas. The tools that are used here will eat up a lot of materials in a hurry so take your time because a slip means that a mistake could be very noticeable. But it's really easy to take your time and easily take time to get the cut outs done. Then use a sanding drum to smooth out the edges of the each of the cutouts.
    After the cowl is cut it still needs to be trimmed so that the muffler exhaust can fits as well. A very simple way of doing this is to use a piece of manila folder to first mark the location of the exhaust location on the engine and then to transfer it to the the cowl. After the marking has been transferred to the cowl, the cowl can then be trimmed to fit so that the exhaust fits inside of the cowl when it's placed on the plane.

    Radio Installation

    I chose to go with a 6.6v 2300 MaH LiFe battery pack from Buddy RC (formerly EP Buddy) as the power for the plane. The servos that I used in this plane are all digital servos and I wanted to have a battery pack that had plenty of juice in it to feed those servos. To mount the battery Aeroworks supplies large Velcro straps to use to secure the battery in place on foam padding. There is a strap supplied for the receiver as well. To help myself remember what batteries I have installed in my planes I place labels in the planes somewhere that is easy to see, but won't come off in use of the plane. On the trainer that was on the fiberglass tube that is in place in the cabin. In normal use this will be closed up when the hatch is closed, but when the plane is being charged the hatch is open and I will know which battery is which.
    The receiver switch is installed in the same manner as the ignition switch. An aileron y-harness is used to split the ailerons and then extensions run up to the rubber grommets on each side of the wing roots on each side. These will remain in place, and when the wing is installed this will be joined with the wires in the wing and then the wires will be placed in the cavity in the wing itself.
    All modern 2.4 radios use a small wire element as an antenna, and I won't go into great detail about installation of radio components as they are going to vary by each individual flyer. But a small piece of the tubing cut from the throttle cable makes for a great keeper to install the antenna element in when installing in the fuselage.

    Windshield Installation
    The windows for the trainer will need to be cut apart as they are on a sheet with 2 windows on each sheet. Measure out a line about 1/4" around the edge of the windows and then cut away the windows. There is an old saying that says you learn something new every day, and while doing this review I learned something new. This trick with using tape for placing the windows was new to me and I want to thank the guys at Aeroworks for showing it to me. The trick is to use a piece of tape to make a small handle on the back of each window
    A couple of the windows didn't fit very well into the openings, so I needed to take a file  to work the wood in order to get the windows to fit properly. Using a red Sharpie is a good way to color the wood red prior to putting the windows in (thanks again for the tip Aeroworks!). Formula 560 is the go to glue for putting anything that has to with a canopy, and that's what is used here. This glue is the best stuff around bar none to use for canopies and it's what I used here.
    A good deal of Formula 560 around the edges of the window and it's ready to go into place. With the canopy in place hold it in with tape until the glue dries. Once everything has finished up and all the internal windows are finished up the front window can be put back on the plane.

    Plane Setup
    Aeroworks goes out of their way to make it very easy for people to setup their planes, and they give them the tools that they need to do this with. Here in this review I used several that were sent along with the plane, and one that I actually had from other Aeroworks planes I've owned. The first tool shown above is the Rudder Throw Meter and is supplied with the plane. To use this simply tape this guide underneath the rudder and center the rudder on the "0" mark. Then use the guide to setup the rudder to the specified deflections. The next tool that I used actually wasn't included with the plane, but can be purchase directly from Aeroworks. I highly recommend that people purchase these as they are very nice for setting up the plane. Although it's not impossible to setup the plane without this gauge, it's just a lot easier to set up with
    Without the gauge that is shown a ruler would be used to measure the amount of travel for both the elevator and ailerons in setting up the throws. The last tool is another one of those that once you see it you kind of ask your self how did we ever get along without these before we got them. The CG for the Trainer GT is 5" back from the wing leading edge at the fuselage edge, but on a plane the size of this measuring that can get a difficult, especially for one person. But Aeroworks new C.G. Buddy Tool makes this a very easy measurement to make now. What this tool does is slips down over the wing tubes and the alignment tubes at the wing roots, and then pushes the wings into the wing fuselage. Once this is done one person can now lift the plane to check the CG on the plane. While it looks a little nose heavy in the picture above it's a funny angle, as the Trainer GT did balance spot on when I did balance it.


    Reviewer's Notes!

    Original set screw

    Wheel turned after trying to take off with the supplied set screw

    Replace set screw with 8-32 hex screw
    If you skip ahead to the Flight Report you will read that I had problems with the nose gear on the Trainer GT. What happened when I tried to take off was the set screw wasn't enough to hold the nose wheel straight and it turned 90° to the fuselage and this then let the nose of the plane dig into the runway and shatter the propeller. If you look at the first picture you will see that the supplied set screw just simply isn't enough  hardware to hold a plane 12 pound plane. When this happened at the field I thought to myself, "This is so unlike Aeroworks, what's going on?". But when I got back home on Monday I called Rocco at Aeroworks and his answer was , "Oh sure, we ran into the same problem here and we're changing the production in the next run." His advice was the same thing as what I did to fix the problem on my plane here. I took a 8-32 hex bolt and threaded into the collar and then reassembled landing gear according to the instructions. After I did this the nose wheel held firm and I had no problems being able to steer plane and was able to take off and land the plane.


    Normally when I first fly a plane for it's trim flight I will put it on the the high rate settings. My thoughts are that I would rather have the throws and not need them than need the throws and not have them. And that's where I put the throws for the Trainer GT for it's first flight, on high rates. As it rolled down the runway and I lifted off the ground I knew within 2 or 3 seconds of lifting off that high rates were going to be WAY too much for this plane so I changed the elevator and ailerons down to the low rate settings. With the plane now on low rate I took a couple laps of the field to get the plane trimmed in which didn't really take too much. A couple of clicks of right trim of the ailerons and a click or two of up trim on the elevator and the plane was flying hand free in level flight. It was kind of fun seeing such a big bird in the air that was designed for training people to fly RC airplanes. I was having a little bit of fun flying around in this new plane, but I had to remind myself that I was doing a review on this plane and I didn't have any of the "work" for the review done yet. By that I mean that we hadn't shot any of the video or taken any pictures of the plane in flight, so I really shouldn't be playing around with the plane or "Murphy" would wind up teaching me a lesson and crash the plane on me. So I decided that it was time to land the plane so that we could take it back up to film the plane in flight. That was where I got my first real test of the plane. On the downwind side of the field the engine quit on me and I was going to have to make a dead stick landing on a plane that I had never flown before. I kept reminding myself that no matter how big it was it was still a trainer, which in the end turned out to be great advice. I brought the plane around on a normal approach pattern to our runway and set it down right on the end of the runway with no problems at all in what turned out to be one of the nicest landings I've ever made.

    After fueling the plane back up we got setup to take the plane back out to do our filming for the review and that is where we ran into the only real problem with the plane that I had: the nose wheel landing gear. I had noticed on my first flight that the nose wheel was a bit "springy" which had me a bit worried as I was taxing out, but I didn't have any problems getting off the ground for the first flight so I didn't worry it about too much. However, on the second flight as we started the takeoff run the nose wheel bounced a little bit and then turned in on itself as the plane "nose dived" into the runway. Other than a broken prop there wasn't any other damage to the plane. Once I was back in the pits I discovered that the steering arm on the nose wheel had slipped off the flat spot on the nose wheel shaft which allowed the nose wheel to turn so that it was at a 90° angle to the fuselage. I loosened the set screw and repositioned everything to where it was supposed to be, and then reassembled the nose of the plane. With a new prop on the plane we fired it back up and headed back out to the runway to try again to get her back in the air. Unfortunately putting it back together didn't help as the second attempt to take off resulted in the same results as the first. The nose wheel turned 90° to the fuselage. So I gave up for the day and made plans to call Aeroworks to see if they knew about this problem. Luckily when I called Rocco at Aeroworks the next day he said that they knew about this problem. The small set screw that came in the early run of the planes simply isn't big enough to hold the steering arm and needs to be replace with a bolt. He recommended a 6-32 bolt. Rocco indicated that the next production run of planes will have this change made to them so future owners of this plane shouldn't have this problem. Once I got off the phone I looked at my plane and placed a 6-32 bolt in the steering arm, but I wasn't happy with the way it was fitting in there so I actually went with a little bigger and used an 8-32 bolt to secure the steering arm to the nose wheel shaft. Click here to See Reviewer's Notes on this

    Back to the field with the repaired nose gear we felt comfortable enough with the repairs to fly the plane. Fueled up we taxied the plane out to the runway and  turned her into the wind and advanced the throttle and we were off. The plane was off the ground easily at about 1/3 throttle. In fact, as we were flying around it was rare that we ever went over 1/2 throttle and I'm not sure that we ever used full throttle at all during the day.  The best thing I can say about the Trainer GT was that it flew, well, like a trainer. Now I don't mean that in a mean sort of way at all. I mean in a good sense. The Trainer GT flies like what you would expect a trainer to fly. It flies smooth, easy, and predictable and simply doesn't have any bad habits that we could find as we put her through her paces at the field. On low rate there is still enough elevator authority to do a very nice loop and ailerons on low rates will result in a roll with just a little bit of nose drop. This can be compensated for very easily by raising the nose before you start the aileron roll. We took the plane up and pulled the power back to get it to stall so that we could observe how she handled, as the speed dropped off the plane dropped her nose and the right wing dropped as she stalled. Recovering from the stall was as simple as adding power and flying out of the stall. We flew the Trainer GT around for 10 minutes shooting video for this review and then we decided it was time to see how it behaved on the landing. This was where I was in for another surprise with this plane. With a plane weighing in over 12 pounds I figured it was going to take some time to get her slowed down. But that wasn't the case. As we made our approach and flared out at the runway the Trainer GT just slowed down and made a sweet landing on the mains and then settled down on to the nose gear. Very pretty landing indeed. I can go on and on about how well this plane flies, they say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well if that is the case then a video is worth ten thousand words. Check out my video below of the my flight of Aeroworks Trainer GT.


    Aeroworks Trainer GT

    When taken as a whole package the Trainer GT has something to offer a lot of people more than just your basic student learning how to fly. Of course the plane will fill the role of a basic trainer teaching people how to fly. But then it can be expanded from there to a club trainer to where a club can use the plane to train a lot of people. Or a club can use the plane to give "demo" flights to lots of people. Or that can be expanded to add the candy drop module to the plane and now the plane can be used at club events to drop candy for the kids. And with a little modifications this plane could easily be used for glider modifications. And I'm sure there are even more roles that this plane can fill that I'm missing as well. So overall, Aeroworks has been able to find a plane that is going to way beyond that one basic role it was made for.

    Looking at it from the standpoint of a beginner who's just now getting into the hobby Aeroworks has done their job in KISS (Keep It Simple Silly). The instructions are very well written and everything goes together easily. There are no surprises for the new pilot as they assemble the plane and get this plane ready to fly. In the time and tools indicators at the beginning of top of the review I gave these because of the size of the plane. That is going to the one downside is that the new pilot is going to have to have a pretty large space to be able to work on this.

    Getting the plane to the field and getting it in the air really showed some of the Trainer GT's best features. I've always said that bigger always flies better, and that was truly the case here. This plane really flies well and a lot of that comes from the size. Our setup had a DLE-30 on the and we were able to take, fly, and land and never need ever go above half throttle as this plane really flies nicely. When it was time to land this plane really shows it's grace as it flattens out and simply flares for a landing better than just about any trainer than I have ever seen before. This is really a sweet plane in how she flies and I can't wait to get some more time on her.

    As I said above, we did have a problem with the nose gear. Rocco says that the nose gear are being fixed in the next production run so that it has a stronger screw holding the nose gear in it. As long as that happens then I think everything should be good the trainer as all the bugs are worked out. I know that that was just an initial bug that needed to be worked out and that Aeroworks did take care of it right away.

    This plane does have 2 choices for engines, the DLE-20 and DLE-30. I know that I would have a hard time to convince anybody to go with the DLE-20 as it's only $30 cheaper than the DLE-30, and there really isn't going to be any reason why anybody would put a DLE-20 on the plane. However, for just simple flying a DLE-30 is simple overkill. In our flying we never used full throttle with the DLE-30. If you're not going to do something like towing gliders or similar then I would say that getting a DLE-30 would overkill. And if a student is learning to fly I would recommend them to get the DLE-20 so that they learn to fly with less power, or fly on the was we would say. Yes, I can hear all of you out there saying that is what a throttle is for, but I would recommend that if a student is planning to just learn to fly they may want to lean towards the DLE-20.

    Over the time that I've been flying RC I've seen quite a few trainers that I've worked with, and the guys at Aeroworks have really done their homework to make sure that they've dotted their "i's" and crossed thiers "t's". The Trainer GT goes a long way to being a lot of trainer for a lot of people. One thing that I have seen suffering in trainers for many is that they are many times small. And small trainers usually makes them a bit "squirrelly", but when you start making the trainer bigger that starts making the plane more stable. And is especially true here with this plane. This trainer really flies very smooth because of it's size, and it really tracks nicely in the air. With a DLE-30 on the nose the plane way more power than it will ever need, but that gives it the option for doing a lot of different projects later on down the road. Our club is planning on using ours for glider ops this summer, which I think it's going to excel at. Personally I think that Aeroworks has done a really great job on the Trainer GT.


    4903 Nome Stree
    Denver Street
    Phone: (303)371-4222
    Email: Info@aero-works.net
    Product Used: Trainer GT 20cc- 30cc Airplane

    Hobby People

    18480 Bandilier Circle
    Fountain Valley, Ca 92708
    Phone: (800)854-8471
    Email: etail@hobbypeople.net
    Products Used: SD-10G 10 Channel 2.4 Ghz Radio, RX 861 8 Channel Receiver

    Buddy RC
    Du-Bro Products, Inc.
    P.O. Box 815
    Wauconda, Il 60084
    Phone: (800)848-9411
    Products Used - Heavy Duty Servo Arms

    Micro Fasteners
    Micro Fasteners
    24 Cokesbury Rd Suite 2
    Lebanon, NJ 08833
    Phone: (800)892-6917
    Email: Info@microfasteners.com
    Product Used: #2 Servo Mounting Screws

    Buddy RC
    EP Buddy LLC
    4249 Diplomacy Dr
    Columbus, Oh 43228
    Phone: (614)824-7250
    Email: Info@buddyrc.com
    Product Used- 6.6v 2300 Mah A123 LiFe Battery Pack

    Balsa USA

    P.O. Box 164
    Marinette, Wi 54143
    Email: balsausa@balsausa.com
    Product Used - CA Adhesives, Thin & Thick

    Epo-Grip Adhesives

    Newton Supply Company
    13953 SW 140 Street
    Miami, Florida 33186
    Phone: (800)888-2467
    Email : sales@epogrip.com
    Product used - #30 Paste Epoxy

    Falcon Props
    540 N. Goldenrod Rd
    Orlando, Fl. 32807
    (407) 277-1248

    Product Used; Wood Propellers

    Comments on RCU Review: Aeroworks 20cc-30cc Trainer GT ARF-QB

    Posted by: BarracudaHockey on 03/28/2014
    Nice job Ken!
    Posted by: SigMan on 04/14/2014
    very nice.
    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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