RCU Review: The World Models 30% P-17 Stearman ARF (U.S. ARMY) Part 2

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    Contributed by: Geoff Barber | Published: October 2015 | Views: 22268 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of the World Models PT-17 Stearman ARF - Part 2
    Geoff Barber

    Email Me

    The World Models
    Distributed through:
    AirBorne Models

    4749 - K Bennett Drive
    Livermore, CA 94551
    Phone: (925) 371-0922

    The Boeing model 75 Stearman, also known as the PT-17, was one of the first planes many new U.S. Army Air Force Pilots got to fly. The Stearman is a two-seat biplane known for gentle flight characteristics, and remains popular to this day as a warbird that can be easily flown. Perhaps 'warbird' is a bit of a stretch, but it did help a lot of WWII fighter pilots earn their wings.

    Donned in a very recognizable yellow and blue (U.S. ARMY) trim scheme, the PT-17 was powered by a Continental R-670 7-cylinder radial engine. Sporting somewhere between 210 and 240 HP, the large biplane taught pilots how to fly on the wing, rather than rely on brute power from a high performance engine. One must see a PT-17 for themselves to truly appreciate the aircraft!

    • Top quality balsa and plywood construction
    • Hand ironed on ToughLon coverings
    • Extensive hardware package included
    • Painted fiber glass cowling
    • Painted fiberglass landing gear covers
    • Large hatch for easy access to electronics
    • sprung tailwheel assembly
    • Designed for gas engines
    • Decals Included
    • Two color schemes available
    • Nice, scale appearance

    • None as Tested

    Skill Level:

    Time Required to Build:

    Frustration Level:

    What do these ratings mean?

    Name:The World Models 30% PT-17 Stearman ARF (U.S. ARMY)

    Price: $1,199.99 (Price at Review Publishing Date)
    Stock Number: A300
    Wingspan: 116" (2950mm)
    Wing Area: 3700 in² (238.7 dm²)
    Weight: 36-40 lbs. (16-18 Kg)
    Length: 88" (2240mm)
    Center of Gravity (CG): 5.25" (210mm) back from the leading edge of the TOP wing

    Radio Used:Hitec Flash 7 - 7 Channel 2.4gHz Transmitter
    Receiver Used:Hitec Optima 9 - 9 Channel 2.4gHz AFHSS Telemetry Receiver
    Control Surface Servos Used:8 Hitec HS-5645MG - Digital Metal Gear Sport Servo
    Throttle Servo Used:Hitec HS-5485HB - Standard Karbonite Gear Digital Sport Servo
    Battery Used:TrueRC 14.8V 4000mAh LiPo

    Channels Used: 4 total - Aileron, Elevator, Throttle and Rudder

    Items Needed To Complete:

    • 4 Channel Radio (minimum) and Receiver
    • 8 High Torque Servos and 1 Standard Servo
    • 2 Batteries (Receiver and Ignition)
    • 100cc Gasoline Engine
    • Thread Locking Compound, CA, and Epoxy
    • Standard Shop Tools
    • LARGE Building Space

    Control Throws:

    • Elevator, up/down: 35mm
    • Ailerons, up/down: 30mm
    • Rudder, right/left: 60mm

    Some may call me lucky. I would agree! One of the reasons that the PT-17 is so close to my heart is that I have a personal connection to one of these great airplanes. I have an uncle that owns one of these beautiful biplanes. It was restored locally (in my home state of Minnesota) a few years ago, and I have had the privilege of getting up close to the plane for photos and even going for a ride in the Stearman! There is just something about the open cockpit feeling when I'm up in the air that is AWESOME! (For the record, that is me sitting in the front seat of my uncle's plane getting ready to go for a ride - Yep, I am THAT lucky!)

    As a result, when Airborne Models and The World Models released their new 30% version of this WWII primary trainer, I just HAD to have one! Immediately, the gears started turning. I decided that my new Stearman would bear a distinct resemblance to that of the full-scale plane owned by my uncle!

    It's time for a quick recap. Part one of this review went over the assembly process and equipment used during assembly. The assembly itself was easy, aside from the physical space needed for the project.

    Part two is going to cover the rest of the review! I apologize for the delay, but I ran into a few things that I just HAD to do to make my Stearman look as real as possible. As I stated in part one, I had access to a real PT-17 that belongs to my Uncle. Because of this, I decided to go a little overboard on the detailing, documenting the part/serial number and warnings that cover the plane. A local vinyl cutter (Buzz Tees in Litchfield, Mn) was gracious enough to go through several feet of vinyl and a lot of patience getting the decals correct. With everything in place, the engine was started and broken in according to the manual. After running the engine, I loaded the Stearman in my small trailer and met up with my uncle and the full-scale PT-17 at the Alexandria (Mn) airport. I proceeded to take nearly 300 photos of the model and its 'big sister'. With the photo shoot complete, it was time to fly the Stearman! So, take a look at the photos, read my flight report, and watch the video - you're sure to enjoy every minute of it!


    The maiden flight took place at the TCRC Scale Saturday event in Jordan, Mn. Weather wise, we couldn't have asked for a better day! The temperature was a beautiful 70° F with a west wind ranging from 3-5 MPH. A few thin clouds broke up the bright blue sky ever so slightly. I chose to maiden the Stearman at this field because it's much larger than my home field in Willmar - TCRC has about five acres of short grass with cris-crossed 400' asphalt runways. My local field is only 400' from end to end!

    With the wings and fuselage out of my trailer, I started assembling the PT-17. The process took about four times longer than normal due to the attention the large biplane received! Every few minutes, I was stopping to talk about the plane with fellow pilots and roaming spectators. I finally was able to get the plane assembled and ready to fly. One small addition I made to the assembly process was to safety wire all of the clevises and connectors on the wing wires - this may not have been necessary, but I definitely felt better about having done so.

    A good friend of mine, Scott Anderson was the man running the event, and he was kind enough to shut down the flight line and let me, Jim Buzzeo, and Rick Freeman have the field for the maiden flight. With all of our fellow pilots and spectators eyes glued to the Stearman, we started the RCGF 120cc engine.

    After letting the engine come up to operating temperature, Jim taxied the PT-17 out past the asphalt runways to the grass strip. The sprung tailwheel did a great job of directing the Stearman, and it was lined up for takeoff very quickly. Jim was at the sticks for this flight, as I was behind the video camera. While I'd love to have maidened the plane myself, it's much easier to find an experienced pilot that it is to find a good videographer. Jim slowly advanced the throttle, and the RCGF 120 and Falcon 27x10 prop began pulling the Stearman forward. Within 20 feet, the tail came off the ground - the PT-17 already looked so realistic! A few more feet had the Stearman's main wheels leaving the ground. The large biplane was gaining altitude quickly and easily!

    Within a few seconds of takeoff, the PT-17 was already high enough to check for trim adjustments. A few clicks of down elevator were needed to keep the Stearman flying straight and level.

    Once trimmed, Jim made a few circuits around the pattern just to get a feel for the plane. The ailerons, rudder and elevator control throws were set to the specs provided in the manual, and were spot on. We did add 15% Exponential to each of the channels, and it proved to be perfect. At this point, I had a few minutes of video footage, so I put down the video camera and picked up my digital camera to get some in-flight photos. Jim made several low passes for the camera, and I got some great shots! At this point, we were about seven minutes into the flight. The engine started losing power, so Jim decided to bring the Stearman around to land. I quickly grabbed my video camera again to catch the landing.

    As Jim turned the PT-17 onto final, the engine quit. Though fearing the worst, I kept the video camera rolling - through talking with my uncle, I've learned that the full-scale Stearman doesn't glide so well. So, with the video camera rolling, I watched the Stearman come down - it was one of the most perfectly executed dead-stick landings I have ever seen, let alone coming from a 42 pound biplane! The PT-17 came in so sweetly and gently and just set down with a single small bounce. When the plane came to a stop just a few feet after the wheels touched the ground, applauses were heard from everyone watching!

    With that, the maiden flight was done. I was wishing it could have been longer, but it just didn't happen - that's one of the many things we reviewers run into 'on the job'. I know Jim and I were both very happy that the Stearman flew very well and landed even better with no power!

    The World Models 30% PT-17 Stearman ARF

    Well, there you have it. Part two is in the books! I absolutely love the way this large plane looks - it turned into a very scale looking rendition of the real plane, and everyone that saw it liked it. Even my uncle loved the looks of this 30% version of his Stearman. I cannot say enough about how well the plane flew as well. The recommended control throws are perfect for scale flight - with or without power! Yes, I have added a few more scale touches to my Stearman than what it will look like stock 'out of the box', but every painstakingly placed decal was worth the end result! What's the bottom line? If you've got a place in your heart (and garage) for a large Stearman, you're going to want one of these PT-17 Stearmans from the World Models. From unboxing this 'Gentle Giant' to getting her airborne it was all straight forward and a lot of enjoyment! I'm sending out a huge thank you to The World Models and Airborne Models for bringing such a wonderful biplane to the U.S. - this one's a winner!

    I'd also like to thank Jim Buzzeo for manning the sticks for the maiden, Rick Freeman for acting as Jim's spotter, and Scott Anderson for some additional in-flight photography. Thanks guys!

    The World Models
    Distributed through:
    AirBorne Models

    4749 - K Bennett Drive
    Livermore, CA 94551
    Phone: (925) 371-0922

    RCGF USA LLC. No 166-167,Renmin North Road
    4029 E. Golden Acres Drive
    Sierra Vista, AZ. 85650
    Email: rcgfsale@zjrcgf.com

    11215 Paine Street
    Poway, CA 92064
    Phone: 1-858-748-6948

    Distributed through
    Bob's Hobby Center
    540 N Goldenrod Rd
    Orlando, FL 32807
    Phone: (407) 277-1248
    Email: info@bissonmufflers.com www.bobshobbycenter.com

    P.O. Box 815
    Wauconda, IL 60084
    Phone: (800) 848-9411
    Du-Bro Hobby Products

    ZAP Adhesives
    Distributed by:
    Frank Tiano Enterprises
    3607 Ventura Drive E.
    Lakeland, Florida 33811
    Phone: (863) 607-6611


    Phone: (773) 203-8695

    Comments on RCU Review: The World Models 30% P-17 Stearman ARF (U.S. ARMY) Part 2

    Posted by: Pull Up Now! on 10/18/2015
    Thanks for the terrific review!
    Posted by: outacontrol41 on 11/22/2015
    A dead stick landing on the maiden flight. Not a good reflection on RCGF engines. Did anyone figure out what happened? Run out of fuel?
    Posted by: G.Barber on 11/23/2015
    Thanks for the comment outacontrol41. The engine dead-sticked due to lack of lubrication - Please see part 2 of the RCGF 120cc twin cylinder engine review for further details.
    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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