RCU Review: Great Planes Reactor Bipe

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    Contributed by: Michael Parsons | Published: May 2008 | Views: 60296 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Electrifly Reactor Bipe

    Review by: Michael Parsons- email me

    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021

    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Phone: 217-398-8970 (Option 1)
    Web site: www.greatplanes.com

    See what others are saying:

    Following on the footsteps of the widely popular Reactor, is the Reactor Bipe from Electrifly. The Reactor Bipe has all of the same features and lines of the original Reactor, but with almost twice the wing area. It also boasts a new color scheme that makes as much of a statement as the plane itself. I thoroughly enjoyed the Reactor and I look forward to getting this one on the table as well.

    • Wing Span: 35 in
    • Overall Length: 43 in
    • Wing Area: 600 sq in
    • Flying Weight: 34-38 oz

    As used:

    • Motor Size: RimFire? 35-36-1200 out-runner brushless motor
    • Radio: JR 9303
    • Servos: Futaba S3114 micro- 4 required
    • Prop Size: 11x7 APC electric propeller,
    • Speed Control : Electrifly SS-35a Brushless ESC
    • Battery: Electrifly Power Series 3S 2100

    The box arrived safe and sound (Thanks UPS!) and in customary fashion I ripped it open like a 10 year old on Christmas day. Upon initial observation, words like "nice!" and" wow!" escaped my mouth several times. Each part of the Reactor Bipe is meticulously complete and without flaw. There are no twists in the control surfaces and glue joints are exactly where they should be. Electrifly has even taken a couple of steps forward with the cowl assembly. On the Reactor, the builder had to glue in the wood frame and magnets for the cowl retainer. Now this is complete out of the box to save the builder time.

    Even a CG checker and wing alignment tool is included. The CG checker must be assembled however, everything is tabbed for easy placement. It went together very smoothly and held fast with thin CA.

    The control surfaces are hinged with the customary CA hinges. The slots were well centered and as I mentioned earlier there is zero warp in the control surfaces. This made for a very uneventful installation.

    Futaba S3114 micro servos simply drop in the provided cut-outs with little effort. Two screws hold them firmly in place and the servo extensions route out through the wing root and into the fuse.

    There seems to be a love/hate relationship with some manufacturers and the supplied hardware.  Make no mistake, the hardware supplied with this project is great.  Personally, I love it. They worked flawlessly on the Reactor build and the scenario here was no different. A Carbon Fiber rod spans the distance between the control horn and servo horn. Each side gets a plastic z-bend connector that the CF rod seats into and a small screw then pinches the Z connector holding the CF rod firm. A drop of thin CA helps to add a little security once the ailerons are trimmed up and in final position.

    Two ply slats trimmed in CF are provided for the bottom wing. These slide through the fuse and then into the wing. I used 30 minute epoxy to secure the lower wings. To help in alignment, the wings recess into the fuse about an 1/8th of an inch. With the slats and the recess, it is a glue and forget installation.

    Mounting the center cabane strut may seem intimidating at first, however, after completion, it now seems simple. Two CF rods are inserted into the top deck of the fuse with the smaller one CA'd. This keeps the Cabane aligned perpendicular to the fuse. The longer CF rod serves two purposes. It keeps the cabane from shifting and once finished, it protrudes into the top wing. This provides a very strong support structure from the top wing to the lower fuse and really locks it in.

    The outside cabanes are tabbed for easy installation. It is a simple approach to an age old problem of getting two wings properly aligned. Then on top of that, the supplied wing jig holds them in place while CA is wicked into the joints. The wing jig also aids in keeping the ailerons aligned while installing the connecting rod between them.

    Since the Wing Jigs are a one time use here's a helpful tip. Hold onto them. The wood can be used to make excellent battery trays and control horns for other projects!

    I am all for anything that saves me time and with the covering on the horizontal stab center section removed, it is one less thing for the builder to do. The two elevator halves are connected with a common metal "U" rod that passes through the rear fuse.

    Instead of having the tail drag around on the bare wood and covering, the kit contains a washer. The washer is to be set into the wood after making a small slit. It is simple yet effective. I would rather not have a proper tail wheel as this method works and saves weight.

    There are no surprises in installing the Rudder, and control horns. Everything went according to the manual and in perfect sync. Same can be said for the wing connecting rod. Again, a love/hate relationship may be had with the connecting hardware, but it works and works well.

    There is nothing quite like proper gear and wheel pants. The wheel pants even include a recess for the landing gear to seat into. Once assembled, they secure to the fuse with two bolts. The entire landing gear area seems to be reinforced as well for those less than perfect landings.

    The recommended motor for the Reactor Bipe is the Rimfire 35-36-1200 as seen above. A ply X mount is provided that mates to the motor box perfectly. The Rimfire out runner is a 45a continuous and 55 amp burst motor. That yields around ~650 Watts continuous and ~800 Watts burst. The Reactor Bipe came in just a hair under 38 oz, so that puts thrust to weight ratio right around 282 watts per pound. Fun just begins around 150 watts per pound on an aerobatic model, so anything over 200 Watts per/lb provides permagrin. The provided 35a Speed controller of course cant continously run at 45 amps, so Ill be testing a 45a controller and changing the prop from a 10X7 to an 11X7 to push above the 400 watts currently available with the current setup.

    Mounting of the Speed Controller yields lots of options. I choose to mount mine similar as described in the manual underneath the battery tray. This position allows good airflow, however placing it on the motor mount is a good option as well.

    The included spinner was free of warping and spun true. Also the distance between the cowl and spinner back plate is perfect. Everything is spot on in all of the stock locations.

    Upon taxiing out on my club field I could tell that the Reactor Bipe was going to perform well. Sometimes I get that feeling and any nerves and apprehension suddenly wash away. With the throttle pushed three quarters of the way to full, the Reactor Bipe began to roll out and leave terra firma behind. Tracking was dead on and no adjustments were needed. The long tail moment is truly noticeable as it punched a hole through the sky with little effort. The wind was blowing around 8-10 mph and it seemed to have no effect on how well the plane tracked.

    On full rates and 70% expo the roll rate is quick and precise. Start to stop, the quad ailerons listen to the input given and respond accordingly and accurately. Two wings are definitely twice as nice!

    While there is almost no lateral coupling in Knife edge, there is a slight amount of roll coupling. I ended up mixing 10% and 8% respectively and that corrected the problem. Knife edge was now rudder only with the left stick correcting for adjustments in the wind. Knife edge to Knife edge snaps are clean as well and easy to execute.

    Harriers showed a little bit of wing rock until the plane got into a well defined high alpha. Once the nose altitude reached it's destined height, it would settle in nice and easy. So much so that you can drive it around with rudder and throttle only.

    While the Reactor Bipe will handle 3D maneuvers it also performs IMAC sequences just as equally impressive. With the long tail moment and light feel that the Reactor Bipe has, it will fly through maneuvers with grace. It allows plenty of time to react and counter act any changes, so you feel your flying the plane and not the other way around.

    Handling this plane at slow speeds is wonderful. There is no tendency to drop a wing at stall speed and time after time it wanted to drive the nose down instead. Landing speeds are nearly at a walking pace and should the approach be short just a few clicks of throttle will provide enough power to extend the landing zone.

    The Reactor Bipe is not for beginners. It is for those that are looking for the next high performance 3D/IMAC aerobatic aircraft. Even with it's good characteristics and gentle handling it may be too much for someone to handle without extensive four channel experience.

    Electrifly has done a wonderful job in providing a well built model that performs as advertised. Cad technology is amazing in itself, however CAD doesn't make an airplane. It takes a company like Electrifly to make sure all the pieces of the puzzle come together correctly and accurately. I was/am a big fan of the first Reactor, but I think I have found a new favorite.

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    Distributed exclusively by:

    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Phone: 217-398-8970 (Option 5)
    Web site: www.greatplanes.com

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

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


    Mercury Adhesives
    6150 Parkway North Dr
    Cumming, GA 30040

    Phone: 770-886-9566
    Email: sales@mercuryadhesives.com
    Web site: www.mercuryadhesives.com

    Comments on RCU Review: Great Planes Reactor Bipe

    Posted by: cobrajocky on 03/22/2010
    This is a great plane (no pun intended), flies effortlessly and a great ego booster for an intermediate level pilot. My only two complaints are: 1) the covering is way too thick and getting out even minor wrinkles are nearly impossible, and 2) the tail skid is ridiculous! What were they thinking on a plane of this level and price?? I chucked it and installed a Du-Bro rudder steerable tail wheel. NOW, it's a pleasure to take off and land (and taxi back to the pits)!
    Posted by: mustangherb on 06/22/2014
    I recently picked up a used version of this plane and I was wondering if you could explain the knife edge mix. I have not ventured much into mixes, so I need a little help. My Tx is a Futaba 14SGA.
    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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