by: Michael Luvara
by: Chris & Michael Luvara
P.O. Box 9021
Champaign, IL 61826
Channel Radio with 5 servos, switch, battery and Y harness
(CA and epoxy)
shop tools (screw drivers, drill bits, tap, hobby knife, etc)
The Little Toni is known as one of the famous Formula 1 racers
of the 1940's. Sleek, and slender, this little racer is a champion
on looks and in the air. Better known as the Cosmic Wind, there
were three variants – The Little Toni, Minnow and Ballerina.
All with subtle differences, they retain the same general looks
and sported similar color schemes (red/white, green/white,etc).
has brought this classic aircraft out in ARF form after many years
of being unavailable on the R/C market from any R/C manufacturer.
Most notable was the previous Bridi/Great Planes kit, which sported
a fiberglass fuselage. At a 63" wingspan, the airplane is quarter
scale, and consequently IMAA legal.
Wingspan: 63 in (1600mm)
Wing Area: 775 sq in (50dm 2 )
Weight: 7.25-8.25 lb (3290-3740g)
Wing Loading: 21.5-24.5 oz/sq ft (65-75
g/dm 2 )
Length: 56.5 in (1435mm)
Engine Required: 2-stroke .61 cu in (10cc)
or 4-stroke .91 cu in (15cc)
Radio Required: 4-channel with 5 servos
the box, you will find an excellently packed kit, along with
one of the highest quality ARF's on the market. I am constantly
amazed at the workmanship in most of the ARF models today, especially
when it comes to the paint and mask work involved with producing
so many of these kits with such splendid paint jobs.
is known for their superb aircraft and instruction manuals.
This aircraft is no exception. Accompanying the aircraft components
is a 27-page manual, with excellent diagrams and photography
of the construction process. Instead of duplicating the work
they have presented in the manual, this review will drift from
the norm and focus more on the flight characteristics and technical
aspects of the model, along with what was found during construction.
ARF construction is becoming fairly standardized these days
and the exact steps need not be covered in their entirety.
in the kit is a high quality fiberglass fuselage, cowling, and
wheel pants. A built-up wing and horizontal stabilizer, covered
in Monokote, are beautifully done, ready for the builder to
glue in the hinges. The fuselage has an integral vertical fin
and includes a Monokote covered rudder. The cowling is one piece
and slides snugly over the fuselage. A painted aluminum landing
gear is supplied, with all holes drilled and even countersunk
where necessary. An excellent set of decals rounds out the kit
contents. At first glance, there isn't much for the builder
(assembler) to do.
and supplied accessories for review
with pre-cut cooling slots
with the review model was a Great Planes glue pack, which included
6 & 30 minute epoxy, mixing sticks, cups, and brushes. We were
also supplied with a flight pack, consisting of four Hobbico
CS-65 servos, a Futaba S3004 switch, Futaba 127DF receiver,
and a 600mah battery pack.
the first things done prior to construction was to obtain
weights for each of the individual components and understand
where the weight of the airframe would be coming from. More
often than not, models exceed the manufacturer's weight claims.
The break-down is as follows:
(with vertical fin and rudder): 1lb, 14oz (30oz)
Horizontal Stabilizer: 3oz
Landing Gear: 3.8oz
Wheel Pants: 3oz (1.5oz ea)
Spinner + hardware: 4.4oz
the weights, it can be seen that the components weigh in at
reasonable numbers. Noticeably light is the horizontal stab.
The cowling and spinner are a little on the heavy side.
first began with the wings. The supplied hinges (CA glue type)
were cut into the appropriate size (from the supplied large
strip) and then inserted into the control surfaces. These hinges
are more or less plastic with a mesh of fibers bonded to each
side and resulting
in material about 1/64” thick. Great Planes recommends drilling
small holes into the center of the hinge slots so that the thin
CA will wick into and penetrate the wood farther, resulting
in a better hinge bond. After affixing the hinges with thin
CA, it was time to prep for the joining of the wing. The wings
are set up for two aileron servos (one per panel), which is
a must for a plane of this nature. Already routed through each
panel are pull strings for the servo wires. After ensuring the
strings were routed out their respective pre-cut holes in the
top of the wing, 30 minute Great Planes Pro epoxy was mixed
up and applied to the wing joiner and mating surfaces. Once
the two halves were pressed together, tape was applied to hold
things in place while the proper dihedral was measured and the
glue "weep" holes for better penetration
look at the airfoil and wing construction
Hatch bay, with pre-routed pull string
servo and linkage
landing gear supplied with the model has pre-drilled mounting
holes and is even painted to match the aircraft. One simply
locates the supplied screws and bolts it onto the aircraft,
with the application of Locktite on the screws. Mounting of
the wheel pants and wheels is rather straightforward. With the
exception of the wheel axles, nothing requires cutting or drilling.
Simply bolt it on and you are done.
cut for wheel axle
with the review model was a SuperTigre 90 engine, slightly above
the displacement recommendation for the kit. The .90 is physically
the same size as the .60 and .75, so fitting it in the cowling
was not a problem. This engine is the newer model SuperTigre,
clearly denoted by the “ China ” lettering on the back of the
muffler. Comparing it to the previous Italian counterparts,
the engine casting is clean and well made. On the surface, it
looks every bit like the original
Stock Number: SUPG0235
Displacement: 0.90 cu in (14.73
Bore: 1.083 in (27.5 mm)
Stroke: 0.976 in (24.8 mm)
Output: 2.5 bhp @ 14,800 rpm
Weight: 20.66 oz (589 g)
Includes: muffler; exh. stack; glow
Requires: mount (HAYG2085); fuel;
Recommended Props: 12x8, 13x6 (w/inc.
90 mounted on airframe
of the engine is straightforward. First, one locates the bolt
pattern template provided in the manual (page 27) and then uses
this to drill holes for the engine mount. Referencing the pattern
to the firewall is easy as there are centerlines molded into
the fiberglass fuselage. The manual provides a distance for
mounting the engine (5-5/16" from firewall to front of
prop washer). There is no mention of thrust offset in the manual,
so one assumes the engine is to be mounted perpendicular to
the firewall, which has thrust offset already built in. The
cowling is another guideline, with a special spacer included
to jig it to the fuselage. The paint lines on the cowling match
very well with the fuselage. Some cutting will be necessary
on the cowling so that the engine fits. This includes openings
for the high speed needle, cylinder head, and exhaust. The amount
of cutting will vary with the engine used.
of servo tray, pre-installed formers and pushrod housings
view of firewall. Note right thrust.
view of firewall with cutout for fuel lines
the wing is unbelievably painless. The dowels are already
installed in the wing leading edge and holes for the wing
bolts already drilled. Blind nuts are even installed in the
fuselage. Simply locate the wing bolts, put the wing in the
saddle, and bolt it on! A check of the wing-tail alignment
showed it was well within reason.
overspray in horizontal stabilizer slot prior to gluing
the stab is a very simple process. The horizontal tail
simply slips into the cutout already in the fuselage.
After roughing up the inside of the slot (removing paint
overspray) to achieve a good bond, and removing the
necessary covering on the stab, the unit was slipped
in, trued, and glued in with thick CA. It is not necessarily
possible to glue in the stab with epoxy, due to the
fact that there is no way to get glue inserted inside.
The stab has to slide in and hence, would make quite
the mess if trying to be slid in with epoxy on it. Once
dry, the elevators were connected to the stab and hinges
affixed in place with thin CA. Next up was mounting
the rudder and its integral tail wheel. The tailwheel
assembly is simply a pre-bent piece of wire that is
glued into a slot in the rudder. Using thin CA, the
rudder was glued in place with the supplied hinges.
exceptional quality of the kit hardware was evident when it
came time to install the pushrods. Great quality pushrods, along
with sturdy control horns and clevises, make up the major connections.
In the fuselage, pushrod housings for the elevator and rudder
were already installed, saving much time. A housing for the
receiver antenna is also integrated in the fuselage, giving
a nice touch. In only two instances did we deviate from the
recommended control linkage hookup. On the elevator pushrods,
it was suggested to connect the two parallel elevator pushrods
together with wheel collars. Instead, we opted to wrap the two
wires together with copper wire and solder for a sturdy bond.
The throttle linkage even comes with its own laser cut pushrod
supports. This was our second deviation, as a flexible cable
was utilized for the throttle linkage. In no time, the servos
were installed in their pre-cut slots and moving control surfaces.
installation. Note soldered elevator pushrods
and control horn details
hardware and supplies
cut pushrod supports for throttle linkage. Nice touch!
kit's decals were applied to the aircraft. They come on one sheet
and have to be cut before application. We cut them to size, sprayed
some Windex on the area of application and then placed the decals
in place. A squeegee was then utilized to work all of the fluid
out from the underside of the decals. The result is a very clean
application (no bubbles) and the chance to reposition them before
fixing in place. The decals are of high quality and add a nice
touch to the plane
of model without fuel: 7.75 lbs (within listed weights!)
that construction was complete, I couldn't wait to test
fly this beauty. More often than not, it is reported in
reviews that a model "was fast", "exhibited
great stall characteristics" and "flew on rails".
We used an RCATS telemetry system to measure some of the
data from the test flights and give a better understanding
of the model from a technical perspective.
checking the center of gravity and going over flight controls,
we fired up the SuperTigre 90, spinning its 12x8 prop,
and performed a radio range check of our Futaba radio
equipment with the engine on. With slight adjustments,
the engine was running well, and the only concern was
some vibration. It was elected to flight test the airplane.
out onto the 520' runway at the SCCMAS ( www.sccmas.org
) field in Morgan Hill, CA, power was applied and
the tail of the Little Toni quickly came up into the air.
Ground tracking was very predictable and shortly thereafter
the Little Toni was airborne. After climbing out to a
safe altitude, the throttle was reduced to about one-half,
and trim was applied to keep the Little Toni flying level.
The throttle was later opened for a brief period this
flight, in order to test the flight envelope and structural
integrity, since the engine is over the recommended size.
After a few minutes, it was time to bring the aircraft
back in and check it over after the first flight. Landing
is as would be expected. Without a headwind, the aircraft
is difficult to slow down, due to its clean lines.
inspection of the aircraft after the first flight, it
was found that the cowling screws were loose. No other
items of concern were found. For the second flight, we
re-fitted the spinner in hopes that it would eliminate
the vibration being seen. The second flight was uneventful,
except for the engine quitting suddenly, and resulting
in an off field landing. After inspection, it was found
that the supplied fuel line had developed an air leak
where it connects to the carburetor. Further testing showed
that while the supplied line stretches well, it does not
like "compression" from tools such as forceps
when pinching and thus contributed to our engine quitting.
Because of the rough landing, we had to make some repairs
and fly again another day. Further investigation of the
spinner concluded that it was severely out of balance,
possibly due to the backplate not being flat. This was
causing excessive vibration. The aircraft was repaired
and further flights were performed without the spinner
note: Great Planes has since made some changes to the
spinner, and they have already been incorporated into production.)
next several sorties, the aircraft was put through its paces.
We tested stall characteristics, high speed dives (120 -
130 mph), aerobatics and whatever else the mind could think
of. The aircraft fared very well throughout these tests.
The short coupled airframe was found to snap in excessively
tight turns if one is not on top of it. If this occurs,
simply release the controls and let it build up speed. Nevertheless,
the airplane has great flight characteristics, of which
any sport modeler will enjoy.
we had hoped for higher speeds out of this combination.
The SuperTigre engine never really put out the horsepower
that was expected of it, thus speeds were down compared
to preliminary estimates. This appears to be due to the
baffling in the stock muffler causing excessive restriction.
One option is to change the muffler. However, this is
a newer model supertigre, made in the Chinese factory.
The engine has a good transition and overall power curve.
the Little Toni is a racer at heart, it is also quite
aerobatic. Snap rolls are quick, yet it stops when one
releases the sticks. Loops and rolls are quite typical
and one should laterally balance the aircraft if they
expect perfectly executed loops. Inverted flight requires
a little down elevator, but nothing out of the norm.
of telemetry data collected during flights is shown below.
speed: 20mph IAS
Takeoff speed: 25mph IAS
Typical airspeed (level flight): 90-110mph IAS
Max airspeed (dive): 131mph IAS
Note: IAS represents Indicated Airspeed , via pitot-static
probe pressure measurement. This is not “ground speed”
Typical G's in normal flight: +4 to 6, -3