The M-7 Super Rocket, part of the Maule family, took its first flight in the mid-1980's. To this day, the Super Rockets remain very popular in the aviation world. With their high-performance engines (both piston and turboprop varieties) and short take-off and Landing (STOL) characteristics, they are hard to beat at unimproved airstrips around the world. Though the Super Rocket and its other family members are so highly regarded in the aviation world, there aren't many companies producing models of the M-7.
When Seagull Models announced that they were going to produce not just a model, but an ARF of the Super Rocket, I just had to have one! So, after a few emails back and forth, Seagull sent me one of their pre-production samples - this will be the fifth in my series of reviewing these samples.
Though these pre-production samples are, at times, more difficult to assemble and review than production aircraft, they have brought me an opportunity that I may not have otherwise had. I have the opportunity with every model to speak with the manufacturer and tell them where I see concerns and what needs to be changed. This has been one of the cooler things I've been able to do in my adult life!
So, sit back and have a look at this incredible STOL aircraft - I'm sure you'll be glad you did!
All Wood Construction
Covered in Yellow UltraCote (OraCover)
Pre-hinged Control Surfaces
Removable Wings for Easy Transport
Electric Conversion Parts Included
Oversized Wheels for Rough Terrain
Sport Plane Flight Characteristics
Battery hatch uses two machine screws to secure it - A latch or magnets would be preferrable.
Price: $288.99 (Price at Review Publishing Date) Stock Number: SEA254Y Wingspan: 70.9" (1800mm) Wing Area: 810.3 in² (52.3 dm²) Weight: 9.0 lbs. (4 kg) Length: 47.4" (1204mm) Center of Gravity (CG): 2.75" (70mm) from the leading edge where wing meets the fuselage
1-3 - Y-Harnesses (Depending on how the model is set up)
Thread Locking Compound, CA, and Epoxy
Various Shop Tools
Gas/Glow Engine Setup:
5 Channel Radio (minimum), Receiver, and Receiver Battery
8 Standard Servos
.60 2-Stroke Glow Engine OR
10-15cc Gasoline Engine OR
.90 4-Stroke Glow Engine
2 - 18" Servo Wire Extensions
2 - 6" Servo Wire Extensions
4 - 12" Servo Wire Extensions
1-3 - Y-Harnesses (Depending on how the model is set up)
Thread Locking Compound, CA, and Epoxy
Various Shop Tools
Gas/Glow field Accessories
As I stated in the intro, the Maule Super Rocket is the fifth airplane in my new series of pre-production samples from Seagull. Because it is a sample, it arrived in a plain brown box. Rest assured that by the time you read this review, the box will have a full-color label with all the specifications and recommended equipment listed. Most of the parts were either bagged and taped together or separated by cardboard inserts. All parts were accounted for, and they were in perfect shape.
The parts layout is standard for most ARFs so assembly should go quickly. I like the black on Yellow trim scheme, and there wasn't a wrinkle in the covering to be found. It looks as though the design team at Seagull had their hands full when they put the Super Rocket together - there are a lot of curves on the belly of this plane!
There are two large hatches in the belly.The forward hatch is for the fuel tank or LiPo battery, while the rear hatch covers the tail servos. Each hatch has a tab at the rear and is secured with two machine screws. While technically not a design flaw, I would have liked to see the forward hatch be secured with a spring latch or magnets. The two machine screws could be a little time consuming during flight battery changes. The good news, though, is that the hatches certainly won't come loose unexpectedly in flight!
The paint on the fiberglass cowl perfectly matched the color of the UltraCote. I also liked the fiberglass tabs at the wing mounting area - they slide into a slot in the root rib of each wing half, and a machine screw secures each wing half to the fuselage via the tab.
Seagull has kept the great looks of the Maule's tail and made an easy-to-assemble-ARF at the same time! Nice job, Seagull! A printed instrument decal is pre-installed at the factory. I really like the fiberglass control horns Seagull has been using. They are simply epoxied into slots in each control surface.
The aluminum main landing gear is more than strong enough to support the the Maule, and the steerable tail wheel assembly looks nice as well! Like most of the newer Seagull ARFs, the Maul comes with parts for glow, gas, and electric power options.
Items Used for Completion
From the ground, I will be using my trusty Hitec Flash 7 transmitter. This 7-channel transmitter is very quickly becoming one of my favorite! It feels good in-hand, and the sticks and switches are where they should be. A very nice LCD display makes programming a breeze, and shows me telemetry readouts as well!
I will be using a Hitec Optima 6 receiver in the Super Rocket - The single antenna makes the Optima 6 easy to install nearly anywhere inside a model!
Speaking of control surfaces, I will be using Hitec HS-485HB deluxe standard servos. These are great servos, and available at very reasonable prices. With a ball bearing on the output shaft and 83 oz-in of torque (@ 6.0 V) these servos are great for aircraft up to 12 pounds!
An Electrifly Rimfire .80 brushless outrunner motor (5055-500kV) will be mounted inside the cowl. The Rimfire .80 should provide ample power to pull the Maule around!
A Hitec Energy Sport 80 Amp ESC will provide power to the receiver and servos - These new ESCs from Hitec are great, and affordable as well! With a retail price of under $60.00, the Energy Sport ESC gives me peace of mind, knowing my plane is backed by a great company!
Finishing out the front end is a Falcon 15x6 Beechwood electric propeller. These props not only perform very well, but they look great as well!
Since I was assembling a pre-production sample, I didn't have the manual while assembling the Maule. But, I did have a chance to talk with Seagull and help edit the manual you will see in the box. As a result, I'm going to have to say that this is one of the better manuals not completely written in the US - there are lots of illustrations, and the instructions can be well-understood! Any intermediate modeler will have no trouble reading through this manual.
I started wing assembly by installing the ailerons and flaps. The ailerons are installed with CA hinges and thin CA, and the large flaps use four composite drop hinges - the drop hinges are attached to the wing and flap using six wood screws.
The aileron and flaps servos are mounted on their respective hatches. A pre-installed pull string makes short work of pulling the 18" servo extension through the wing. I then mounted the aileron servo hatch using four wood screws, and epoxied the control horns into slots in the flaps and ailerons. If you're quick enough, you can get all four control horns installed with a single batch of 5-minute epoxy, but a slower curing epoxy will give you more installation time.
When the epoxy had cured, I assembled the aileron pushrod, bent and cut it to length, and secured it with a snap-keeper. After installing the flap servo hatch, I assembled and installed the flap pushrod in the same manner.
I slid the wings onto the aluminum wing joiner tube, set the stab and fin in place, and checked the tail for proper alignment. Everything looked perfect, so I drew a centerline on the stab and pinned it in place for tracing.
With the fuselage and fin sidelines traced onto the stab, I cut and removed the covering from the stab and installed it with epoxy. When the stab epoxy had cured, I installed the fin with a second batch of epoxy.
While the epoxy was curing on the fin, I epoxied the three control horns into the elevator halves and the rudder. When all the epoxy had fully cured, I attached the elevator halves and rudder using CA hinges and thin CA.
Pushrods and Fuselage Electronics Installation
The elevator and rudder pushrods were then assembled and installed, along with the three fuselage servos - The outer two servos are for the elevator halves and the center servo takes care of the rudder. I bent and cut the pushrods to length and secured them to each servo.
The Hitec Optima 6 receiver was secured using a pair of zip ties and a small piece of DuBro 1 4" foam rubber. All of the servos were connected to the receiver, including the four 12" servo wire extensions for the ailerons and flap servos, and the rear hatch was secured with a pair of machine screws.
Landing Gear Installation
The painted aluminum landing gear consisted of three pieces, plus the axles. There is virtually no flex in the main gear once it's assembled, but the tires will provide a little give on hard-packed runways.
The tiller arm is attached to the bottom of the rudder with two wood screws before installing the tail wheel assembly. Two machine screws held the tail wheel assembly in place, and two springs were cut to length and installed to connect the tiller arm to the tail wheel.
Motor,ESC, Cowl and Prop Installation
On to the business end of the Maule! I started by marking the motor box and tracing the Rimfire .80's aluminum mount onto the motor box. With the mount's location marked, I was able to drill the four holes for the Rimfire .80. The motor box was then attached to the firewall with four machine screws - a drop of ZAP Z-42 blue thread locker was applied to each of the four machine screws before they were installed.
The Rimfire .80 was installed on the motor box, and the Hitec 80 Amp ESC was installed inside the front battery hatch area - a small Velcro strap secured the ESC to the battery mounting tray. The battery and retaining straps were added next.
With the forward hatch secured in place, I used the 'card stock and tape' method to install the cowl.
The Falcon 15x6 Electric Beech wood propeller and spinner were then installed.
I epoxied the pilot figure to the Maule's cabin floor and installed the windshield. I like to use Formula 560 Canopy Glue to install windshields. It's available from ZAP and Frank Tiano Enterprises, and is the cleanest, easiest way to install windshields. After running a bead of Canopy Glue around the windshield, I taped it in place with several pieces of low-tack masking tape.
I slid the wing tube through the fiberglass tube in the fuselage and installed the left wing - The flap and aileron servo extensions were connected before sliding the wing tightly to the fuselage.
The right wing was then installed, and machine screws secured the wing halves to the fuselage.
We're almost done! I assembled and installed the wing struts per the manual, and the basic assembly was complete.
I received the manual just in time to set the control throws, so they were set accordingly. All that remained was to check the Center of Gravity (CG). Per the manual, the CG should be set at 70mm (2.75") behind the leading edge of the wing at the fuselage. With a 5S 4500 mAh LiPo in the nose, the Maule Super Rocket balanced perfectly, and She was ready to fly!
Although the sky was overcast, the day of the maiden flight was otherwise quite nice. The temperature was in the low 70's with a 5-10 MPH wind.
I strapped the 5S 4500 mAh Lipo battery to the tray, turned on my Hitec Flash 7 transmitter, and connected the Battery to the ESC. The hatch was then secured with the two machine screws, and the Maule was ready to fly.
I taxied the Super Rocket out to the textile runway, which consisted of taxiing through about 30 feet of grass - the oversized main wheels and steerable tail wheel had no trouble in the grass at all! Lined up with the runway, the Maule was ready to go - I pushed the left stick forward, and the Rimfire .80 and Falcon 15x6 propeller came to life! In no time at all, the Maule was off the ground, and required only minimal rudder input to keep the Super Rocket on the runway. The Maule climbed out swiftly, and it was clear that the power setup was a perfect match for the airframe!
At altitude, the plane was checked for required trim adjustments - slight right rudder and aileron adjustments were all that was required to keep the Maule flying straight and level. I did notice quickly that I had to remove some exponential for subsequent flights, as 30% Expo made the Maule dangerously docile on low rates.
High and low speed flight were tested next - High speed is not high at all - the low pitch of the propeller kept full-throttle excursions well below anything considered high speed, but the Maule did move along quite well. Slow speed flight was decent at 1/4 throttle, but with the flaps dropped, the Super Rocket slowed to a crawl. The flaps are very effective on this plane! The Maule will get very sluggish on the controls before she even thinks about stalling - if you're not asleep at the sticks, you'll feel the stall long before it happens!
Aerobatics in a Maule? While not really in the full-scale plane's playbook, the Super Rocket can do mild aerobatics. Loops and rolls looked nice on high rates (Don't try them on low or you may find yourself in trouble), and the rudder has just enough authority to perform a decent stall turn. Inverted flight is possible for short periods as well, but the Maule looks really weird upside down.
When it came time to land, the Super Rocket came down without any issues. It slowed down nicely, and set down on the runway with just a little bounce. The bounce, I believe, was actually induced by the textile runway, and not the airplane itself, as it landed smoothly in the grass on subsequent flights.
After the maiden flight was completed, I pulled the LiPo from the battery tray and checked it - it was barely warm to the touch and had 25% power remaining after an 8 minute flight. That should leave plenty of flight time in case I ever need to go-around for a second landing attempt!
Models Mauler Super Rocket 10-15cc ARF
I love the fact that Seagull has produced an ARF of the Maule Super Rocket. Though seldom modeled, it's a great looking airplane, and Seagull did a good job of scaling it down. While I would have liked to see a magnetic battery hatch, the machine screws are not a deal breaker by any means. The rest of the plane is really nice - it went together easily, looks great, and flies well! Seagull has done a fine job on their new Maule Super Rocket, and I have a feeling that this one will be around for quite a while!
Distributed by: SIG Manufacturing
P.O. Box 520
401-7 South Front Street
Montezuma, IA 50171-0520 www.sigmfg.com
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.