long series of “U-Can-Do” aircraft spans quite
a few years and includes a large variety of sizes as
well as engine/motor options. Notice the ‘GP/EP’
notation in the title of this plane. That stands for
‘gas powered/electric powered’. None of the
previous U-Can-Do’s was designed for electric power
while the engine for those nitro-powered planes ranged
from .40 thru 1.20! Many feel this series of planes
only became better as the size increased. Well this
offering is the first of this series to offer SFG (Side
Force Generators) so it will be an interesting comparison
as we have a couple of larger U-Can-Do’s still
flying in our club!
This plane appears to be the latest in a line of ARF’s
that can be assembled with either a nitro-powered engine
or an electric motor to compliment Great Planes Escapade
Sport GP/EP ARF 52.5" and Extra 300SP GP/EP ARF
ability is excellent
for glow or electric power
fiber tubes reinforce all pushrods
fit was excellent
Jig” makes mounting cowl easier
weight was much less than advertized!
Wing leading edge dowels 5/16” but holes in wing were
control horn’s pre-drilled holes could not be found
tail wheel attachment method places stress on the rudder
steps/procedure in the manual was already done
have to work a lot for knife-edge flight
may be a bit prohibitive for some
Small nose gear set screw inadequate for nose gear stearing
U-Can-Do SF 3D GP/EP
Wingspan: 59" (1500mm)
Length: 58" (1475mm)
Weight: 6.5 - 7.25 lb (2950 - 3290g)
Wing Area: 912 sq in (58.8 sq dm)
Wing Loading: 16 - 18 oz/sq ft (49 - 55 g/sq dm)
Center of Gravity (CG): 5-1/2" (140mm) back from the leading
edge of the wing at the fuselage side
Control Throws: Low Rate High Rate 3D
Elevator 3/4" (19mm) 11° 1" (25mm) 15° 2-5/16"
Rudder 1-1/8" (29mm) 10° 2-1/2" (64mm) 23°
4" (102mm) 39°
Ailerons 5/8" (16mm) 8° 15/16" (24mm) 12°
1-1/2" (38mm) 20°
(1) Electric Motor: RimFire 80 (50-55-500) Outrunner Brushless**A
battery lead extension is recommended if installing a brushless
(1) ESC: 60A
(1) 6" (152mm) Extension: For ESC
4 Channel Radio (minimum) and Receiver
4 Standard Servos
4S-5S 3350 mAh LiPo Battery and LiPo Charger
Thread Locking Compound and Thin CA
Various Shop Tools
Glow Powered Set-Up
Engine: .55 - .65 cu in (9 -10.5cc) 2-stroke glow, OR .82 cu
in (13.5cc) 4-stroke engine
4 Channel Radio (minimum) and Receiver
5 Standard Servos
Thread Locking Compound and Thin CA
Various Shop Tools
Glow Engine Field Equipment
Needed To Complete Plane:
4-channel, standard size receiver
Servos: Five with a minimum of 72 oz/in torque
(2) Servo Extensions 12" (305mm): for aileron servos
(3) Servo Extensions 24" (610mm): for tail servos
(1) Y-Harness: To connect aileron servos to the receiver
(1) Reversing Y-Harness: for elevator servos if TX programming
(1) Receiver Battery: 4.8V NiMH if using brushless motor OR
4.8V NiMH or 6.6V LiFe if using glow engine
and Materials Needed To Assemble Plane
Allen wrenches US and Metric.
Electric drill and selection of bits
Flat head screwdriver
Hobby heat gun
Hobby iron and covering sock
Needle nose pliers or crimping tool
Pen, pencil or felt tipped marker
Ruler and tape measure
CA kicker (optional)
Thick, Thin and Medium CA
Lets get started
took me back at how light the large box weighed! Therefore
after opening, unpack aging and taking umpteen pictures,
all the major components were placed on a scale. The wing,
tail feathers, and fuselage came out to a very respectable
weight of 2 pounds 13.9 oz. None of the Monokote really
needed any attention but the covering iron was fired up
while that blasted masking tape that holds the elevator
to the stabilizer was removed. It is just a personal thing
with me, but when you remove those strips of tape, the covering
is lifted at those places and that detracts from the beautiful
covering job done at the factory!
the hardware was neatly packed in a separate box. The nuts
and bolts were all SAE and appeared to be of high quality
as were the hinges (for the tail feathers). Other hardware
included the fuel tank, spinner and of course the wheels.
Blind nuts were already installed in the fiberglass wheel
pants and inside the fuselage for the wing bolts. Also supplied
was a nylon engine mount as well as a motor box for the
installation of an electric motor.
hinge line/gap for the ailerons was very small which was
good because the ailerons were already hinged and glued
When I start a project it is wise to take note of what is
new as far as parts or procedure. What first was observed
was the use of carbon fiber tube reinforcement for all the
pushrods! Then I noticed the elevator pushrods are on top
of the horizontal stabilizer which will require a pull motion
to move the elevator upward. I’m happy to report the
wing bolts have a nice large washer molded in place which
might save the wing from some slipping screwdrivers. Maybe
you don’t know this, but your 4-way ‘glow plug’
wrench has a perfect match for the wing bolts. Try it; I
think you will like it. Speaking of the wing, the leading
edge ‘dowels are molded nylon and are epoxied into
The manual consists of 32 pages and includes at least
one picture for each step. My first impression was
that the text seemed somewhat more detailed than necessary
considering the clientele who would be assembling
this aircraft. After reading the entire manual (before
construction started) I felt there was some very good
advice offered and well worth the read. I especially
liked the page that explained proper pushrod arrangement(s)
and of course the pages explaining how to do some
of those 3D maneuvers! The entire manual can be downloaded
or read on Great Planes website: http://manuals.hobbico.com/gpm/gpma1272-manual.pdf.
suggested assembly progression is as follows: ailerons; wing;
tail feathers; landing gear; motor/engine; tank; receiver.
The only modification to this sequence was to install the
OS Max 65AX first, then remove it and continue with the manual’s
recommended succession of steps. Through the years I have
found it to be easier to mount the engine with the tail-less
fuselage resting on the floor and the firewall about waist
As was previously mentioned, slide the carbon fiber tubes
over the pushrods BEFORE you make that final 90 degree bend
for the servo arm. If you fail to follow this procedure and
have the pushrod already bent, you can force the carbon fiber
tube over the threaded end – and it will take some force
–the tube can still be epoxied in place, but it is better
to follow directions!
The Belly pan has to be epoxied in place and maybe a suggestion
can be made as how to glue it in place and at the same time
not let ugly, yellowing epoxy ruin the wing/pan joint. When
you are done mixing up your 30 minute epoxy for this task,
take a toothpick and dip it in some (Blue) Testor’s Plastic
paint and use that for your new mixing stick. Your epoxy is
now blue and when you attach the belly pan to the wing, use
some paper towels and rubbing alcohol to wipe off any excess
glue. Any remaining glue will be blue!
¼-20 nylon wing bolts are well designed in that they
have a large washer molded into place. In addition, you can
use a 4-way wrench to secure the wing. The bolts are recessed
through the belly pan.
The tail feathers can be glued into position without having
to remove a portion of the covering to obtain a good wood-to-wood
contact point. Nonetheless, the instruction booklet does a
great job of explaining how to remove the covering and if
you have never done it the correct way (with a soldering iron
or hot knife) it would be well worth the time to read that
section. Tower does offer a great knife for this task: Walnut
Hollow Hot Knife (part # LXZTZ8).
A personal point of minor irritation is Great Planes method
of attaching the tailwheel – which I should add - can
frequently be found on the majority of sport ARFs. With their
method (the tailwheel assembly glued into the rudder) the
majority of the shock should the tail impact the ground on
landings will be borne by the rudder. Perhaps if this wasn’t
a review plane, Great Planes’ manner of installing the
tailwheel would be replaced with an alternative system. Enough
be careful where you place your control horn on the rudder
as the tailwheel assembly could interfere with the control
horn’s machine screws (look closely and you will see
mine had to be moved upward to permit the tail wheel wire
space to enter the rudder.
The elevator and rudder control horns were attached to their
respective surfaces before being positioned on the fuselage.
I never could find those ‘pre-drilled’ holes when
attaching any of the control horns, but it isn’t rocket
science to install them.
In order to have the elevator servos working together require
one of two things: 1) Computerized transmitter that will enable
‘Master/Slave’ arrangement for the two elevator
servos, or 2) a reversing “Y” connector. My Futaba
6EX transmitter could electronically arrange this with one
caveat: the slave servo could not be individually trimmed
with the transmitter, therefore a “Y” connector
(Futaba SR-10 Dual Servo Reverser; part # LXANF2) was utilized.
The only hardware replacement for the U-Can-Do was for personal
reasons: replaced the motor mount and engine mounting bolts
with socket head machine screws. The supplied nylon motor
mount was drilled and tapped for 6-32 bolts using Du-Bro’s
drill and tap set.
though this is not an electric powered review, I would
be amiss if I didn’t mention the assembled ‘complex’
motor mount that was supplied. The manual steps you
through this assembly, but it was already done for
you! And to make certain your cowl is correctly lined
up, a special “jig” was supplied and mounted
to the firewall so you can mount your cowl without
fear of being crooked.
cavity in the bottom of the fuselage was large enough for
the muffler and no additional work was necessary to fit the
muffler to the engine/plane. This size engine/muffler did
require removal of some of the fiberglass cowl, whereas according
to the manual, the OS Max 55 would not require as much removal
in the muffler area.
Mounting the cowl required some of the fiberglass to be removed
to clear the cylinder head and some nearby spaces. When it
came to place the cowl on the plane (with the engine in place)
it quickly became apparent it wasn’t going to fit over
the engine. Many different angles were tried and once I heard
some of the cowl cracking and groaning, a new solution had
to be found.
about an hour of fritting and complaining, George was asked
what he would do. Good Ole’ George came through again….he
suggested I open up the bottom of the cowl giving the cowl
some additional flexibility and sure enough – it fit!
The 65AX muffler requires a lot of room, whereas (according
to the manual) the 55AX‘s muffler fits inside the cowl.
So some additional material was removed to accept the muffler,
needle valve and some space for the pressure line from the
tank to the muffler.
supplied engine was an O.S. Max 65AX that included the muffler,
installed glow plug (OS #8) and a needle valve extension.
From pervious experiences with this engine, the 65AX is a
natural choice for this U-Can-Do. The angled back high speed
needle valve makes engine adjustments much safer than previous
versions. With a maximum RPM of 12,000 the thrust will far
exceed the weight and drag of the U-Can-Do. An APC 12.75 x
3.75; 13x4w and Top Flite 13 x 6 were used at one time or
another for this plane.
decided to remove the glow plug and try with an electric
starter. That worked – sort of – because the
engine was too tight at TDC and bogged down the starter.
New starter (18 volts) was tried and for 20-30 seconds
the engine was ‘run’ by the starter and couldn’t
start because the glow plug was still sitting on the
the plug in and tried again and this time was success.
We ran one tank trough stopping and starting and running
rich at 3000-4000K. Second tank was consumed doing
about the same thing – with Richard (or local
‘Engine guru’) making all sorts of minor
adjustments (1/8th turn here, 1/8th turn there) on
both the high end and low end. Engine was running
nice and stable now, so a third tank of 10% PowerMaster
fuel was added to the routine.
With the engine running on the rich side, the cowl
off and no more excuses, it was time to fly. Overcast
sky, little wind and bit cooler than normal (55 degrees)
the OS 65AX started with just a touch of the starter.
off from left to right, the U-Can-Do tracked straight
but needed some right rudder until the tail came off
the dirt runway. A gentle climb out was interrupted
with a roller coaster dip and climb until a slight
amount of up trim was added. Then the flight was at
least flying level. The ailerons were very sensitive
and thinking I was flying with high rates, flipped
the switch to what I thought was low when in reality
it was already on low rates!
couple of laps around the field the ailerons became
friendlier and various maneuvers were tried: spins,
loops and of course rolls were found to be excellent.
The “Peanut Gallery” was breathing down
my neck and I could feel their desire to fly this
plane, so Steve got the first shot and tried some
“high” hovering and liked the way it handled
and thought the plane was a winner. Then Rich took
the transmitter and was very impressed with the way
the plane handled – but” is very sensitive”
(it should be Rich because it was on high rates!).
After doing a variety of maneuvers, known only to
him, the engine ran out of fuel and Rich brought it
in with a VERY slow approach and did an excellent
3-point landing, almost ending up at where the gaggle
of pilots, err “Peanut Gallery” huddled
around Rich. As slow as he was going, the plane didn’t
even hint at snapping! We were all impressed.
next flight saw some excitement – while doing
some knife edge the canopy popped up and a quick landing
was made. No damage, but some clear tape was added
to keep the canopy where it belonged. Remember the
cowl was off which assists in holding the canopy in
I made another flight and some observations were noted.
Every time a vertical climb was initiated, the engine
torque would pull the plane strongly to the left and
whereas the rudder on this plane is very effective,
some right rudder was needed for a clean up line.
I really became more comfortable with the low rate
settings, but rolls with high rates are unbelievably
Stalls will result in a dropping of the left wing
after mushing along will full up. Spins are tight
if you can get a clean stall first. All vertical maneuvers
are unlimited as the OS 65AX will pull this plane
into the next solar system if you let it. We then
switched to a 13/4W APC prop.
next day three flights were made and some pictures
with the cowl on were taken while the plane was in
flight. We tried some expo and dual rate adjustments
on the ailerons and elevator so the high rates became
equal to the low rates from the day before and cut
the low rates to ½ of their original settings.
I didn’t like it that way……but it was
George’s (AKA Grouchy George) turn so after using
up ½ of the tank, the transmitter was passed
to him while on low rates..…within 10 seconds,
he flicked the switch to high rates – so that
confirmed the settings – try the low rates as
specified in the manual for your first flights and
you may want to add some, not much expo.
the next flight a problem developed in that the canopy
wanted to depart from the fuselage. It seems the attachment
method needed more attention from the installer (me).
With the cowl on (and I think I installed it too tight
against the top of the firewall), it was difficult
to slide forward, but it could be done (that was not
the problem). The problem was that it was very difficult
to slide BACK far enough to engage the two locking
pins. The solution was to remove a very small amount
of the locking pins permitting the canopy hatch to
lock into place.
Talmadge has owned and flown all three sizes of the
U-Can-Do (.40, .60, and 1.20) so he was eager to try
this one. His conclusion is two-fold….one; he
feels it flies better than the .40 size (but not as
good as the 1.20) and two; he is going to get one
(and put on an OS75)! He tried many of his 3D maneuvers
and was impressed with its flying abilities. He was
nice enough to bring his .60 sized U-Can-Do so some
pictures could be made showing the size relationship
between the two planes.
next day Jessie Campbell showed up and I asked him
to wring out this plane. Jessie loves flying all sorts
of 3D maneuvers so he tried them all. The good news
is that the U-Can-Do did everything he asked of it
in spite of the plane being slightly nose heavy. Jessie
like the plane! I don’t think the plane flew
more than 2-3 seconds in a level flight – he
was all over the sky doing some maneuvers I really
don’t know how to describe. And notice the canopy
stayed on! Jessie, Jim, Steve and Luis all said knife-edge
was difficult as the plane wanted to keep rolling…but
as Jessie said, “You really have to work”
to keep a long knife-edge. But Jim stated this plane
is the best of all the U-Can-Do aircraft when it comes
to knife-edge, so your former U-Can-Do owners take
believe this plane is a keeper and the engine/plane combination
is right on. Everyone at the field had the same or similar
comment in that this U-Can-Do is one beautiful looking bird.
This plane is made for 3-D maneuvers so speed is not your
friend, yet with the OS Max 65AX at full power (11,400 RPM
and using Omega 20-20 Heli fuel and 13/4W APC) the plane showed
no high speed flutter or twitching. Take-offs can be as short
as you like, landings very slow, and everything in between
can be as wild as you wish! The more flights I fly, the stronger
the OS Max becomes – Rich said the engine is flying with
a smile on its face, leaving a nice smoke trail. I’d
recommend you start with the factory settings for control
throws and go from there. Yep, this plane is a keeper –
Great Planes, yadidgood!
2904 Research Road
Champaign, IL 61826
2904 Research Rd
Champaign, IL 61822
Phone: 1-217-398-8970 www.futaba-rc.com
Distributed through Great
2904 Research Road
Champaign, IL 61826
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.