I have been flying RC aircraft for over twenty years now, but there are manufacturers, still in business, that make my twenty years look like a short span. SIG Mfg. is one of those companies. From their humble beginning in 1951, Sig has grown into a large, US-based company, covering a huge portion of our hobby!
Most of their products are made here, with a few of them out-sourced. Though the newest ARF planes are manufactured overseas, they are held to the very high SIG standards.
SIG's latest offering is the new Kadet Senior Sport EG. Like the Seniors of yesterday, this version offers stable and forgiving flight characteristics. What's new is that the Senior is now an ARF and it's set up as a tail dragger!
When the opportunity to review this new rendition of a classic plane came up, I jumped in with both feet. There's a lot of really cool features to this new plane, so let's dig into the box and see what's inside!
All Wood Construction
Covered in Blue/Red and White UltraCote (OraCover)
Price: $279.99 (Price at Review Publishing Date) Stock Number: SIGRC96EGARFB Wingspan: 78" (1980mm) Wing Area: 1148 in² (74.1 dm²) Weight: 8-8.5 lbs. (2720-2950 g) Length: 65" (1651mm) Center of Gravity (CG): 4-5" (101-127mm) Behind the Leading Edge of the Wing
Radio Used:Futaba 7C 2.4GHz Receiver Used:Futaba R617FS FASST Receiver Motor Used: E-flite Power 60 - 5062 400kV Outrunner (Max.of 50mm Case Diameter) ESC Used: E-flite 60Amp Pro Switched ESC Battery Used: E-flite6S 5000mAh 30C LiPo
Channels Used: 4 total - Elevator, Aileron, Throttle and Rudder
Control Throws: (Per Manual)
Elevator, up/down: 3/4" (19mm)
Ailerons, up/down: 1" (25mm)
Rudder, right/left: 1" (25mm)
Items Needed To Complete:
4 Channel Radio (minimum) and Receiver
4 Standard Servos
4S-6S 4000-5000 mAh LiPo Battery and LiPo Charger
600-1100 Watt Brushless Outrunner Motor (500-800 kV)
60-75 Amp ESC
2-Stroke .40-.53 cu. in. Glow Engine
4-Stroke .50-.61 cu. in. Glow Engine
Glow Engine Field Equipment
Thread Locking Compound, CA, and Epoxy
Formula 560 Canopy Glue (Optional)
Various Shop Tools
The Kadet Senior Sport arrived double boxed. A couple of full color decals adorned the outside of the actual box containing the airplane. They have some nice pictures on them, and list all the specifications and required equipment. With the top removed, I found all of the parts individually wrapped and taped in place. Removing the wings and tail pieces, I got my first glimpse at the long fuselage with its transparent blue covering.
The Senior Sport is so large that I decided to split my normal 'parts layout' photo into two separate photos - each wing half is pushing 40 inches in length, and the fuse is nearly FIVE FEET long! The aluminum main landing gear is robust and, combined with the fiberglass wheel pants, looks great as well. I also like that the tail wheel assembly is fully assembled out of the box, needing only to be installed on the fuselage!
SIG Mfg has included electric motor and glow engine mounting options, and high-quality hardware.
I LOVE the large front hatch. This makes changing batteries (Electric Power) extremely fast and easy. The large hatch also provides great access for installing and checking the fuel tank, if you go with a glow engine. The lightweight, but sturdy, structure is easy to see through the transparent covering.
All of the major components are preassembled at the factory, and all of the decals are pre-applied as well! One more neat feature is that all of the control horn mounting holes are pre-drilled, making placement easy and accurate!
I really like it when planes come with quality accessories, and the Senior Sport is no exception! The fiberglass cowl and wheel pants are strong, lightweight, and the paint is flawless!
Controlling my Senior Sport are four standard servos and a Futaba R617FS 7-channel receiver. Additional wiring required was limited to two 12" servo extensions and a Y-harness. Both of the extensions and the Y-harness are for the aileron servos.
It was the middle of February in Minnesota when I received the Kadet, so I decided to go for an electric setup this time around. For this review, I'll be using an E-flite Power 60 brushless outrunner motor, an E-flite Power 60 Pro-switched ESC, and an APC 16x8 electric propeller. Power will be provided by an E-flite 6S 5000mAh LiPo battery pack. This motor is, perhaps, a bit on the over-kill side, but it still falls within the dimensions of motors in the instruction manual. I'm fairly certain that cruising speed will be at around one-quarter throttle. But we'll see how it goes when we get to the flight review!
SIG has always had great manuals, and the Kadet Senior Sport manual is no different. The illustrations are clear and concise, and the written instructions are VERY informative, leaving nothing to question!
Like most of SIG's other ARFs, Assembly began with the wings. After removing just a couple of wrinkles from the covering, I prepared the aileron servo for mounting. A section of one-half inch (diameter) heat shrink tubing was used to secure the servo extension to the servo's wire. The extension was pulled through the wing using the pre-installed pull-string.
I marked and drilled the servo mounting screw holes, and then ran a screw into and back out of each of the four holes. A drop of thin CA was applied to each hole to harden the wood, providing a better surface for the servo screw to 'bite' into. With the servo mounted, I installed the aileron using four CA hinges. Using a pair of T-pins in the center of each hinge assured proper hinge placement in the aileron and wing.
A few drops of thin CA was applied to the top and bottom of each of the four hinges to secure them. The aileron control horn was installed next, followed by the pushrod. I really liked the metal clevis and lock-nut on each of the pushrods!
Main Landing Gear
Installing the axles to the gear legs was next, and proper positioning of the axle was followed, as instructed in the manual. Using my rotary tool, I ground two flat spots on the bottom of each axle and installed the wheel and wheel collars. The inside wheel collar must be spaced one-quarter inch away from the hex-head portion of the axle. This allows for proper spacing of the wheel inside the pant, which was installed next and secured with two machine screws. This was also the first area that I added a drop of thread locking compound to keep the screws tight.
With the main gear assembled, it was time to secure it to the fuselage. Three socket-head cap screws, with flat and lock washers on each, were used to keep the gear on the belly of the plane. Again, I added a drop of thread locking compound to each screw before it was tightened.
On to the tail! This section seems a little lengthy, but it went quick! With the wing halves assembled (each half slid on to the aluminum wing tube) and installed, and the horizontal stabilizer sitting in place, I verified the stab was level with the wing. The stab was then secured using some 15-minute epoxy. While the horizontal stabilizer epoxy was curing, I removed the covering from the tabs on the fin. The fin was then secured using more 15-minute epoxy and some low-tack tape kept the fin in place while the epoxy cured.
At first glance, the tail wheel assembly looks rather long, but once it's ran through the fuselage it looks right at home. The 'bent' portion is routed through a small hole in the bottom of the fuse and up through the horizontal stabilizer. The rudder was then installed with its CA hinges (to locate the proper height of the tail wheel wire).
The plastic tail wheel bracket was marked, drilled and screwed to the fuselage.
With the tail wheel assembly in place, it was time to secure the rudder using thin CA. Using the same T-pin method used on the ailerons, the elevator was installed on the stab.
I added a few drops of thin CA to each side of the five elevator hinges and let the glue dry. Once dry, I gave the elevator a few tugs to make sure the hinges were properly glued in place. Aligning and Installing the rudder and elevator control horns was really easy thanks to the pre-drilled holes in the control surfaces!
Receiver, Elevator and Rudder Servos, and Pushrod Installation
Installing the rudder and elevator servos, along with the Futaba receiver, were easy due to the cavernous cabin area of the fuselage. I spun a clevis and lock-nut onto both pushrods, slid them into their respective guide tubes, and connected them to their control horns.
With the servos and control surfaces centered, the pushrods were marked, bent, and cut to length. Sliding the bent portions through their servo arms and securing them with nylon snap keepers completed installation.
Motor and ESC, and Battery Tray Installation
Motor installation began with removing the lower section of the firewall - this portion is ONLY removed when installing an electric motor. The motor box was marked and drilled for the mounting pattern, and the blind nuts were installed on the back side of the adjustable section of the mount. With the blind nuts in place, I temporarily mounted my Power 60 motor on the box and measured the total length of the box and motor. With the adjustable section slid to the rearmost position, the propeller hub of the motor was in proper placement. I then removed the motor, secured the sliding section to the remaining motor box with epoxy and added the balsa tri-stock for reinforcement.
The motor box was attached to the firewall using the included socket head cap screws and washers. Again, I added a drop of thread locking compound to keep these screws tight. Reviewer's Note: I added four Du-Bro Servo screws to each side of the motor box to help keep everything in place. The ESC was secured to the inside of the battery compartment with a piece of the included hook-n-loop strap, and the battery straps were slid in place.
Mounting the cowl was really easy - the holes were pre-drilled in the cowl, so I simply slid the cowl in place, held it in place with a few pieces of low-tack tape, and drilled the mounting holes. With that done, the tape was removed and the cowl was attached with four screws. The propeller was the last piece installed - I chose to forgo adding a spinner to improve airflow into the cowl.
We're nearing completion! Several pieces of low-tack tape held the windows in place while the Formula 560 Canopy Glue dried. I really like using this canopy/window glue because it's easy to apply, cleans up with water, and dries CLEAR!
I did add a couple sections of additional hook-n-loop tape to the battery tray. While it's not included with the plane, it sure helps the two straps keep the large, 6S 5000mAh LiPo battery from sliding fore and aft. The battery was installed, and looks rather small in the large hatch area.
That's it! We're ready to head to the flying field!
Daylight savings time began on March 9th this year, and it also brought the first nice day of outdoor flying weather. Prior to the 9th, the last nice day we had, for flying, was December 1st. Now, even for Minnesota, that's a LONG TIME to be cooped up without being able to get a flight in outdoors!
The winds were light at around 5-7 MPH, and coming straight across our runway. It was cloudy, but the temperature was peaking at 46 degrees ABOVE zero, and I had a huge itch to get out and fly! After a couple minutes of assembling the Kadet Senior Sport at our abandoned runway, it was ready to take to the sky.
I pushed the throttle slightly forward, and the E-flite Power 60 came to life. The large 16x8 prop tugged the plane slowly forward out to the center of the runway. I was very happy with the maneuverability of the plane on the ground - the Steerable tail wheel did a great job of directing the Kadet without being twitchy or hard to control.
Sitting in the center of the runway, the Kadet was ready to go. I advanced the throttle to just half, and the plane started rolling forward. Within just a few feet, the tail came off the ground. Rolling down the runway on just the main landing gear, the Kadet looks graceful and light on its feet - 25 or 30 feet more and it lifted gently off the ground. With the throttle still at half, I was pleased to see the Kadet climbing out quickly and easily. At this point, I was pretty sure that the E-flite 60-sized outrunner was way more than plenty of power for this plane!
Within a few seconds, the plane was up high enough to check the trim settings. Two clicks of down elevator and one of right aileron were all I added for level flight at a little less than half-throttle. I found that this was also a good motor speed for comfortably cruising around with the Kadet.
Like most trainer-type aircraft, the Kadet likes to climb when the power is above half throttle, but the Kadet isn't really about flying fast. Slow speed flying is easy and a lot of fun. With a little up elevator held on the right stick, I was able to crawl around at one-quarter throttle.
Simple aerobatics are possible with the Kadet - loops and rolls are fun, and neither happen too quickly. With that said, I felt that the plane rolled very nicely - even with the six-and-a half foot wingspan! Stall turns look great, and split S's and Cuban Eights are easy too!
I set the timer on my Futaba 7C transmitter for 8 minutes on first flights - I don't like running low on battery power on a maiden flight. I turned final to land on the runway, keeping just a little power on, and the Kadet sailed right past me and touched down 50 feet to my right. A bump in the throttle got the plane airborne again, and I made two more left turns to have another go at getting the Kadet on the ground. This time, I pulled the left stick all the way back and let the large plane glide in. The Kadet turned final and came in so smoothly on its own, with just a touch of up elevator added at the end for a nice gentle touch down. The Kadet Senior Sport EG is one of the easiest planes I've flown in a LONG time! From take-off to touch down, everything was smooth and happened slowly enough to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience!
With the pictures and video footage for this review done, I wanted to have a little fun with the Kadet, and see what the E-flite Power 60 was capable of doing. From a stand-still on the runway, I flipped the left stick to wide open - The Kadet rolled about 6 feet and the tail came up. I pulled back on the elevator stick, the tailwheel dropped back to the ground, and within a couple fuselage lengths the Kadet was up! I pulled the nose vertical and kept it pointed upward - in just a few seconds, the Kadet was close to 200 feet in the air! Now THAT was FUN!!! Yes, I will admit - my Kadet has too much power. But, nobody ever said that it had to be flown at wide-open throttle all the time!
When I got home, I checked the 6S 5000mAh LiPo. In three flights, I had the Kadet in the air for over 15 minutes, and the battery was only down 45%. With more throttle management, I believe 25 minute flights could easily be attained!
MFG Kadet Senior Sport ARF
SIG has been around for a long time, but in the past year, they've really stepped up to the plate in the ARF business. Five new releases in the ARF market since 2013 is a huge success! I have personally flown 4 of the five new planes, and I can honestly say that I like each of them. But, I can say without a doubt, that my favorite is the new Kadet Senior Sport EG ARF. This plane will be heading to my local flying field A LOT this year!
401-7 South Front Street
Montezuma, IA 50171-0520
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.