Great Planes introduced the Escapade several years ago with their .40 sized ARF. Two years ago, a .61 sized ARF was released, and was a big hit. Following the success of the first two, Great Planes has come up with a third plane in this series - the Escapade Mx GP/EP.
Though different than their previous designs, there are still some tell-tale signs that point to this Escapade's lineage - the tail surfaces and long tail moment remain nearly the same, along with the multiple, easy power plant mounting options. Like its relatives, the Escapade Mx retains the sturdy main landing gear and wheel pants as well!
Designed for both glow or electric power, this new version looks a little leaner and meaner. With its mid-mounted, straight wing and forward canopy, this sport plane should be a hit at any field!
Price: $139.99 (Price at Review Publishing Date) Stock Number: GPMA1202 Wingspan: 52" (1320mm) Wing Area: 449 in² (29 dm²) Weight: 5-5.5 lbs. (2270-2490 g) Length: 45" (1145mm) Center of Gravity (CG): 2-3/4" (70mm) from the leading edge where wing meets the fuselage Radio Used: Futaba 7C 2.4GHz Receiver Used: Futaba R617FS Engine Used: O.S. .55AX ABL
Channels Used: 4 total - Elevator, Aileron, Throttle and Rudder
Control Throws: LOW (Per Manual)
Elevator, up/down: 3/4" (19mm)
Ailerons, up/down: 5/16" (8mm)
Rudder, right/left: 1-3/16" (30mm)
Control Throws: HIGH (Per Manual)
Elevator, up/down: 7/8" (23mm)
Ailerons, up/down: 17/32" (13mm)
Rudder, right/left: 1-3/4" (44mm)
Items Needed To Complete:
4 Channel Radio (minimum) and Receiver
4 Standard Servos
4S-5S 3350 mAh LiPo Battery and LiPo Charger
.46-.55 sized Brushless Outrunner Motor (480-800 kV)
60 Amp ESC
Thread Locking Compound and Thin CA
Various Shop Tools
.46-.55 2-Stroke or .52-.70 4-Stroke glow engine
4 Channel Radio (minimum) and Receiver
5 Standard Servos
Thread Locking Compound and Thin CA
Various Shop Tools
Glow Engine Field Equipment
The Escapade arrived in a nicely adorned box with many pictures and specifications, and a required items list. Opening the box didn't show me much, at first, because everything was well packed and protected. A quick inventory showed that all parts were accounted for and in good shape! There are just a few major parts, so I'm betting this will be a quick assembly!
Several features caught my eye as I first looked over the plane. I really liked the large, removable canopy/hatch , the pre-installed pilot figure, and the pre-assembled tail feathers!
Also worth mentioning are the sturdy aluminum landing gear and fiberglass wheel pants. Great Planes has also included parts for both glow and EP power plant installations!
For this review, I will be using Futaba equipment: an R617FS receiver and five S3004 standard sized ball bearing servos.
The manual included with the Escapade lives up to the long standing tradition of excellent manuals produced by Great Planes - it's informative with great pictures, and makes it easy enough for even the newest modelers to assemble the plane!
Assembly began with the wings. I started by tightening the covering with a covering iron. There were only a few wrinkles, so it took very little time to complete!
With the covering done, I moved on to aileron servo installation. With a servo wire extension securely attached to the servo, I pulled the wire through the wing and installed the servo.
I attached an arm to the servo and installed the push rod. Since the control horns were pre-installed at the factory, this took very little time to complete.
Moving on to the tail section, I removed the small post at the rear of the horizontal stabilizer mount.
With the post removed, the stab was slid into place, followed by the fin and rudder assembly. The locking nuts and washers were then installed on the threaded shafts protruding from the bottom of the fuselage, using the included socket tool.
Editor's note: always use a drop of thread locking compound on any metal-to-metal connection.
Next came the tail wheel assembly. I removed the wheel collar and bracket, and installed the bracket on the fuselage. I then slid the tiller arm through the guide post in the rudder and secured the tail wheel assembly in the wheel collar.
Elevator and Rudder Servo and Push Rod Installation
After assembling and sliding the push rods into their respective guide tubes, I attached an arm to each of the elevator and rudder servos. I then marked and drilled the servo mount holes, and secured them to the servo tray.
With the servos and control surfaces centered, the push rods were marked and bent. I installed the 90 degree push rod connectors, and removed the excess rod with a wire cutter.
Main Landing Gear Installation
Main gear installation began with attaching the aluminum gear legs to the fuselage. Again, I used a few drops of thread locking compound to keep the machine screws tight.
Next came the axles, wheels, and finally, the wheel pants. These all installed with no problems, and the finished result looked great!
Engine, Fuel Tank, and Throttle Servo Installation
The three-line fuel tank (pre-assembled)was mounted behind the firewall. A piece of the included hook-n-loop strap held the fuel tank in place - the neck of the tank extended through a hole in the firewall.
I then installed the engine mount using the included hardware. Again, I used thread locking compound to keep the mounting hardware tight.
After installing the engine mount and marking the engine's location using my Great Planes Dead Center Tool, I removed the engine and drilled and tapped the engine mounting bolt holes.
more power in your .40-size model the easy
way: just drop in a 55AX engine. It has the
same bolt pattern as the 46AX for no-mod retrofits,
but it also has the added displacement it
needs to swing bigger props - and everything
you need for better 3D, precision and sport
The engine was then placed back on the mount and secured using the 6-32 x 3/4 machine screws and #6 washers. A 13/64" hole was drilled for the throttle push rod. For this task, I have a drill bit that's 12" long. This makes drilling the hole easy with the engine already installed.
The throttle servo was mounted to its tray next.
I set the throttle servo and tray into its position and secured it using four wood screws. The push rod guide was glued in place next using a bit of medium CA, and then the push rod was assembled, cut and installed.
We're nearing completion!
I used the remaining piece of hook-n-loop strap to secure the battery and receiver to their mount, and then installed the mount in front of the elevator and rudder servos. A switch was attached to the fuselage side opposite the muffler, and a tube was glued inside the fuselage for one of the receiver antennas. More on the second antenna in just a minute!
The propeller and spinner came next, followed by the wings. The wing tube was slid into one of the wings, through the fuselage, and the remaining wing was installed. A thumb screw secured each wing to the fuselage.
Per the instructions, I drilled a small hole in the canopy floor behind the pilot figure. I slid the second receiver antenna through the hole when I installed the canopy. This is something I hadn't seen from Great Planes before, but it makes good sense.
I balanced the Escapade Mx using my Great Planes CG Machine, which made the task simple. The plane balanced perfectly as set up!
That's it! The Escapade Mx has been assembled, and it's ready to go to the field!
November rolled through town very quickly this year, and before I knew it, it was December 1st. Normally, this means close to a foot of snow on the ground in Minnesota, but there was not a flake to be seen! With the temperature getting close to 30 and no wind to speak of, my buddy, Jim Buzzeo, and I headed to the field to get in some 'last minute' review flights! It was a mostly overcast sky, but we can't get too picky this late in the season...
This was also the first time that the O.S. .55ax had been run. By this time, I have usually put away all of my gas/glow engines for the season. Years ago, I was a member of a club that had year-round flying, so I knew that a glow engine could be run in sub-freezing temperatures, but I've never had to start the break-in process on one when it was that cold. But, I had a fully charged glow driver, a fully charged LiPo in my starter, and some fresh 15% nitro fuel, so Jim and I gave it a shot. A few minutes of tuning, and the brand new .55ax was purring like a kitten!
So, with engine running well, I taxied the Escapade Mx out onto the runway and got ready for the take-off roll! The .55ax was still running a bit on the rich side, so it coughed an sputtered a little, but kept going like a trooper. A fifty foot roll (not the straightest of my flying career) and the Mx was off the ground and climbing. Even taking it easy on the new engine, the Escapade was gaining altitude quickly!
Within a few seconds, I was 'two mistakes' high, and checking trims. One click of right aileron was all the Mx needed for straight and level flight
I tried some high and low speed passes. Despite the optical illusion of the wing being small, the Escapade will fly much slower than I anticipated. When I finally got it to stall, the nose dropped straight ahead. I added some throttle and a little up elevator, and the plane was flying quickly. High speed flight was fun, and the plane will cover a fair amount of distance in very short order.
Back up in the sky, I had to check the plane's aerobatic capabilities. I was pleased with what the Escapade could do! Loops were a lot of fun, and rolls were pretty quick on high control rates. The Mx can do any sport aerobatic maneuver with ease!
Since my hands were starting to get cold, I brought the Escapade Mx down for a landing. There's really not much to mention here, as the plane pretty well lands itself. A little throttle and elevator control were all that was needed for a nice three point landing!
Planes Escapade Mx .46-.55/EP ARF
The new Escapade MX is a great all-around sport plane that almost any pilot can handle. It would make a good second plane, but even better as a third! Great Planes hit another one out of the park with their new Escapade Mx. It's easy to assemble, and looks and flies great!
2904 Research Road
Champaign, IL 61826
Futaba Corporation of America
Great Planes Model Distributors
P.O. Box 9021; Champaign, IL 61826-9021
Distributed through Great Planes Model Distributors
2904 Research Rd.
Champaign IL 61826
Phone: (217) 398-8970