RCU Review: Great Planes Synapse EDF RxR

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    Contributed by: Mike Buzzeo | Published: October 2007 | Views: 75114 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of Great Planes Synapse RxR

    Review by: Mike Buzzeo (MinnFlyer) Email Me

    Great Planes
    Model Manufacturing Company

    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021

    Window Media Player
    Synapse RxR

    • Super Fast Assembly
    • Clearly Written Manual
    • Pre-installed Motor, Servos, Pushrods, Clevises and ESC
    • Excellent Flight Chacteristics

    • None

    I have always liked park fliers. I used to fly them many years ago when they were usually powered by an .049 engine and you had to cram 3 or 4 standard-size servos into a tiny fuselage. They were a lot of fun, but you had to be careful not to fly them too close to a regular club field to avoid the dreaded "Shoot Down".

    But today, with the advent of 2.4GHz systems that worry is gone. And the current sophistication of electrics has really increased the ease. No more need to bring the whole flight box with fuel, glow driver, chicken stick, etc. Just head out to the field with your airplane and transmitter and have a ball!

    And the new Great Planes Synapse RxR even makes assembly a snap. It's ready right out of the box! Well, darn near anyway. "RxR" stands for "Receiver (Rx) Ready" so all that's needed is to add your receiver, route the antenna and plug in a lipo battery and you're off to the field, park, or whatever open space is handy.

    Synapse RxR from Great Planes

    And the Synapse is awesome. It's sleek, sexy and most of all, FAST! Come on, let's take a closer look.

    Name: Great Planes Synapse RxR

    Price: $149.97

    Wingspan: 26.5" (675mm)

    Wing Area: 168 sq in (10.8 sq dm)

    Length: 24" (610mm)

    Flying Weight (advertised): 12.5 - 13.5oz (350 - 380g)

    Flying Weight: (actual) 13.2oz

    Motor: Great Planes Ammo 20-40-3500 In-Runner Brushless Motor

    ESC: SS-25 for Brushless motors

    Battery: 11.1V 1250mAh LiPo
    Radio Used:Futaba 6EX - (2) B-8 Servos (Pre-Installed).

    Channels Used: 3 total - Elevator, Aileron (Elevons), Throttle

    Items Needed To Complete

    • 3 Channel Radio (Minimum) with Elevon mixing capability.
    • Battery: 11.1V 910mAh or 1250mAh LiPo
    • Battery Charger: LiPo compatible
    • Various Standard Shop Tools


    At first, I was surprised at the shape of the big, square box until I opened it. Sure, now it makes sense - the Synapse is fully assembled. Unpacking is a simple matter of removing the two pieces of tape that hold the wings (which are protected with bubble wrap). The packaging is simple, yet very effective, and all there is to remove is the plane and the canopy.

    The servos, control horns and pushrods are all pre-installed as are the motor and ESC. Great Planes also supplies a large sheet of decals so you can customize the Synapse.


    The manual is right up there with the usual quality expected from Great Planes. Good pictures, good instructions and well written.

    The first thing to do is to install your receiver and plug in the two servos. You will need a micro receiver or something small like the receiver that comes with the Futaba 2.4GHz FASST system because there is very little room under the canopy.

    Next you need to route the antenna(s). Since I'm using the FASST rx, I just drilled two small holes, one in each wing and at a 90 degree angle to each other, then I slid one antenna in each hole.

    Now you can add the provided Velcro strip to the fuse and the battery.

    Put the battery in place, and tuck the ESC and wires into the radio compartment and you're ready to go!


    On of the reasons it has taken me so long to get into electrics is because, frankly, I was concerned with all of the stories I had heard of LiPo batteries catching fire or exploding. If they are not charged properly, these things can be very dangerous. So when I decided to get an electric, I made sure to get the right equipment. The Equinox LiPo Cell Balancer by Great Planes was exactly what I was looking for.

    The Equinox will quickly balance 2 to 5 cell packs or it will go between your charger and battery to keep them balanced to within a few millivolts of each other as they charge.

    This little beauty has taken the worry out of charging LiPos for me, and for under $30 it's cheap insurance!


    The first time I hand-launched the Synapse I noticed something - It's slippery! There are two nice little indents to place your finger and thumb in, but I had a hard time throwing it without it slipping out of my grip. I even nosed it in once, but the high-density Aerocell foam took the punishment easily.

    Later I added a small pad of Velcro (The hook side) to each of the finger holds and that made a world of difference. Now you can really launch it without it slipping.

    Once airborne, the Synapse is great! It is very fast and very maneuverable. Fortunately I had very low control throws because as quick as the Synapse is I could have gotten into trouble had I had a lot of throw.

    But what really surprised me is how nicely it flew at slow speeds. At half throttle and less, the Synapse is a really easy-going airplane to fly. It just floats around the sky as pretty as you please. But crank it up and hold on to your shorts! ZING!

    Check out the video to see her in action!

    Great Planes Synapse RxR
    Video (7.3meg)


    Great Planes Synapse RxR
    Deluxe Video (15.9meg)

    The Synapse is a blast! But be warned, this plane is not for the weak-of-heart. It's a real rocket ship that will also slow down and float around, but it is mainly for intermediate to advanced fliers.

    The RxR (Receiver Ready) version couldn't be simpler and there is also an ARF version which requires some minor assembly, not to mention, a motor, ESC and servos.

    Either way you go, this is one FUN airplane. I can't wait to take it out again!

    Great Planes
    Model Manufacturing Company

    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Website: www.greatplanes.com

    Distributed by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021; Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Website: www.electrifly.com

    Futaba Corporation of America
    Distributed by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021; Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Website: www.futaba-rc.com

    Comments on RCU Review: Great Planes Synapse EDF RxR

    Posted by: Stickmaster on 03/04/2008
    I have herd of issues with the canapoy coming off in flight, and the servos failing on the rxr version..??
    Posted by: MinnFlyer on 03/04/2008
    I have not experienced either of these problems
    Posted by: GoFlight on 03/10/2008
    I have been flying mine (RxR) since early January and the only problem I have experienced is that the decals are peeling off after snow/wet landings.
    Posted by: caltrop on 06/13/2008
    The ARF kit is a piece of JUNK! Right out of the box and the paint or whatever started coming off; don't even think of getting the plane damp because the paint & decals come off. The tail ring was broken and the fan blade had a crack in it. Then there was the Rimfire inrunner motor... It looks like the ARF kit is put together with left over RXR parts or RXR parts that are not good enough for the RXR kit. Never again!
    Posted by: MinnFlyer on 06/16/2008
    Well first, it is neither an ARF nor a Kit. Second, have you contacted Great Planes? I'm sure they will replace anything that was broken in shipping.
    Posted by: it26b on 08/15/2008

    Posted by: it26b on 08/15/2008

    Posted by: DINOBRRC on 12/24/2008

    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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