|Contributed by: Fly RC Magazine | Published: January 2005 | Views: 115925 | Email this Article
review appears courtesy of Fly RC Magazine.
by: by Vic Olivett
This is another winner from Great Planes. I was impressed
with the Eagles looks, construction and quality. The
hardware is of high quality and the engine I installed, the
Fuji 50, is a perfect match to the airframe. I found the recommended
CG to be a little forward for my aggressive flying style,
but after moving it back by 3/8 in., the airplane flies extremely
well. The Great Planes Christen Eagle II is a welcome addition
to my hangar.
PLANES Christen Eagle II ARF
CLASSIC AEROBATIC BIPLANE
Christen Eagle II is one of the most popular home-built
aircraft ever made. Developed in the late 1970s, the Christen
Eagle II set a new standard in excellence for home-built
aircraft. Based on the famous Pitts Special designed by
Frank Christensen, the Eagle II was designed for unlimited
class aerobatic competition, advanced aerobatic training
and sport cross-country flying. The Christen Eagle II is
a delight to its owners.
When you first open the box, you will see how Great Planes
has captured both the looks and quality of this beautiful
sport biplane. Its magnificent color scheme will impress
you. All of the components are covered with MonoKote, including
the feather graphics. As usual, Great Planes includes a
complete hardware package for the kit. You will also find
an included fiberglass cowl and wheel pants, flying wires
and a polished aluminum spinner
Christen Eagle II
Manufacturer: Great Planes Model Mfg.
Distributor: Great Planes Model Distributors
Type: Sport Aerobatic
For: Intermediate to advanced pilot
Wingspan: 68.5 in.
Wing area: 1,436 sq. in.
Weight: 290 oz.
Wing loading: 29 oz./sq. in.
Length: 62.5 in.
4-channel with 8 servos; flown with a Futaba 9C transmitter,
Futaba FP-R127DF receiver and Hobbico C-65 servos
Range: 1.6 to 2.2 ci 2-stroke, 1.8 to 3.0 ci 4-stroke,
2.0 to 3.2 ci gas; Engine used: Fuji BT 50 gas
Top Flite 20x8; Spinner include in kitTOP
Gas and oil mixture as recommended by engine manufacturer
BATTERY: Sanyo 1400mAh NiCd 4.8 volt
needed to complete: Radio, servos, engine, prop, fuel
tubing, battery servo leads, Y-harnesses and switches
(one for radio and kill switch for engine)
I go any further, I think I should point out that
the full-size CE II is a real hotrod. Keep in mind
that the Great Planes Christen Eagle II is designed
for a maximum gas engine size of 3.2 ci. I know that
we are always tempted to go bigger than recommendednot
a good idea for a kit of this scale. You know what
will happen: Put an outsized engine in the plane and
you wont be able to resist the temptation to
fly the Eagle wide open. And if the airframe fails
it will be your loss. So stay within the range suggested
by the manufacturer.
bottom wing is made up of two panels. Along the same line,
take note of the pull strings. All of the hinge locations
on the airplane are pre-cut, which saves time. A generous
amount of PK Industries Hyper Bond thin CA on each hinge
will result in a very strong hinge system.
wings are very well prepped for assembly. The top
wing is made up of three sections: two outer panels
and a center section. Inside each of the outer panels
you will find pull strings for the servo wires. Just
be careful not to glue the strings when you are joining
the three sections. I used PK Industries 30-minute
epoxy and alcohol to clean the excess epoxy.
Included in the kit, as with most Great Planes kits, is
a better than average hardware package. In this case, most
of the hardware is heavy-duty, which is great when using
a high output gas engine. Spend a little extra time on the
alignment of the wings. It will be worth it in the end.
A straight and true plane will always fly better.
Christen Eagle is designed for several engines,
the Fuji 50 being one of them. The engine installation
is very simple and the fit is excellent. The only
thing you may want to do is to add an extension
to the Fuji muffler to get the exhaust out past
the bottom of the cowl.
The entire assembly of the Great Planes Christen
Eagle is straightforward and as usual, the high
quality and well-written instruction manual will
make assembly of this beautiful ARF trouble free.
The Fuji ATM (Automatic timing module) is supposed to
make this engine start by hand. The first time was somewhat
difficult. However, after running the engine for about
fifteen minutes and allowing the fuel to get into the
engine and lubricate the parts, hand starting was as good
as with an electronic system. Two or three flips with
the choke on and the engine will pop. Two more hand flips
and the Fuji 50 comes to life. After the pre-flight and
run up, the Eagle was ready to fly.
Ground handling is excellent. Just remember to hold
in some up elevator while taxiing. With the nose into
the wind and a touch of up elevator, the Eagle tracks
straight down the runway and as you relax the elevator,
the tail comes up and the Eagle is airborne. The Fuji
has more than enough power. To my surprise I did not
have to add right rudder. The climbout was straight
and true. Once leveled out I only needed to add about
two clicks of right aileron and the Eagle was trimmed
and ready to play.
flight handling With power set at about 70 percent,
the Christen Eagle handles very nicely. Both elevator
and ailerons are positive and quick to respond. Turns
in both directions needed some elevator input to keep
the plane level. Stalling the airplane is a bit touchy.
As I pulled back the throttle and the plane lowered down,
I found that I needed to add a generous amount of elevator.
The nose dropped sooner than one would think. It seemed
that the stall speed was higher than you would expect.
However, the stall was clean and straight. By adding power
and slight up elevator, the plane was straight and level
Now the Christen Eagle comes to life. At full power the
rolls to both left and right are straight as an arrow.
The Fuji 50 yanks the Eagle up through a loop with authority.
Even with a snap at the top of the loop, the controls
are clean and crisp. Slow rolls do require some down elevator
on the inverted side. Inverted flight also required down
elevator input. Knife edge also required a good amount
of rudder to keep the nose straight. The plane acts as
though it is slightly nose heavy, yet the CG was set at
the recommended point as per the instruction manual.
manual notes that after gaining familiarity with flying
the Eagle II, you may experiment by moving the CG
forward or aft by as much as 3/4 in. I moved the CG
3/8 in. aft of the recommended starting CG point and
found that rudder and elevator inputs provided much
more authority in maneuvers where input is needed
to keep the nose up. If you want a more responsive
ship, I can only advise that you move the CG aft in
very small increments. If you back the CG too far
aft of the recommended location, the Eagle II will
become quite a handful and you would not want to risk
such a beautiful plane.
Biplanes have more drag than their single wing brothers.
Therefore, they require a little more power on final approach.
With the Christen Eagle lined up on final, it settled
in very nicely. However, when I went to flare for landing,
the plane seemed to run out of elevator response somewhat
early. Be ready and close to the ground. This can be remedied
by moving the CG slightly aft.
The Great Planes Christen Eagle is one of the best looking
planes to come to market in a long time. The 1/3 scale is
big, but not too big to transport to the field. I was impressed
with its looks, construction and quality. Flight characteristics
were quite good and, if you prefer a very responsive aerobatic
airplane, can be improved through careful experimentation
with a slightly more aft CG. After many flights and some CG
adjustments, I have the ship set up to fly exactly the way
I want it to. Theres no doubt, this is a great looking
and great flying model.
article appears courtesy of Fly RC..
RC Magazine is published by Maplegate Media.
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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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