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GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

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GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

Old 11-19-2003, 07:25 PM
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n714wp
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Default GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

I have read current and posts that are nearly a year old describing this airplane, owner experiences and questions regarding engine size, performance, airframe failures, etc.

I hope this post will help those in question to make a final decision (either way) regarding the purchase or ownership of this model aircraft.

My qualifications: R/C planes (sport and scale) since 1972 - Helicopters since 1984
This is NOT bragging - I am simply stating here that I have seen, built and flown A LOT of model aircraft. My opinions and judgements posted here are mine and mine alone and I hope will serve a USEFUL purpose. Regardless of its beauty, this aircraft is big, heavy and potentially deadly if not handled in an experienced fashion.


Last month I ordered, received and built the GP PITTS 1/3 SCALE ARF. My first flight was this past weekend.
Here is MY MOST HUMBLE "2 cents" on this ARF aircraft, power, handling and cautions ...


THE KIT ITSELF:
I received, as anticipated, the "UPDATED" version. (Please refer to the many posts regarding the actual/specific updates made by the manufacturer.)

Absolutely worth every penny for it's LOOKS.
I could NOT build AND cover for the price tag it carries as a true ARF.

The QUALITY of the CONSTRUCTION is typical of pre-fab, non-US assembly. However, I would consider the OVERALL quality/craftsmanship as adequate for it's size and weight.

The forward , right side cabane strut mounting block was pre-drilled 1/2 inch too far forward. This hole was plugged and redrilled to match the left side mounting position. Until corrected, it would have been IMPOSSIBLE to have the cabane struts line up perfectly to accept the top wing "L" bracket s and bolts. This is an apparent factory template or measurement error.

The belly pan was not correctly shaped to "blend" with the fuse however this was considered a minor flaw.

Nothing about the tail feathers is worth noting.

The upper and lower wing half assembly was straightforward.

Ailerons - Great Planes states that you can use 2 aileron servo's for control of the 4 ailerons. This is accomplished by driving the two lower ailerons with 1 servo each AND THEN ADDING (GP does NOT state any particular method) A CONNECTING ROD BETWEEN THE UPPER AND LOWER AILERONS thereby negating the need for 2 upper aileron servos. IF YOU HAVE NEVER COUPLED AILERONS ON STAGGERED AND SWEPT WINGS BEFORE, I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU EITHER TAKE TIME TO FIGURE OUT THE CORRECT ANGLES, CONTROL HORN POSITIONS, REQUIRED DEFLECTION, ETC. *BEFORE* ATTEMPTING A 2 SERVO INSTALLATION FOR A 4 AILERON AIRCRAFT or add the 2 additional upper wing servos..
The added weight of 2 additional servos for the upper wing ailerons plus the added security of 2 more directly driven control surfaces is well worth it. PERIOD. 'Nuff said on that subject.

Firewall - adequate for ANY power *RECOMMENDED* by the manufacturer. THIS IS NOT A "3-D" performing model. It should be flown scale and ANYTHONG OVER the max. engine displacement should be avoided. Beefing up the firewall to secure the added weight or power of a non-compliant engine puts YOU in the "Experimental" category as well.


ENGINE:
I chose a G45 (Zenoah) gasser for power. It's performance for this plane is a perfect match. Done.


WEIGHT:
Ready to fly, with the G45, muffler and dry (no gas) she is at 18 pounds. Based on it's performance, (see more on performance below) I WILL be adding a smoke system. The added weight will NOT have a significant affect on it's flying habits.

FLYING/PERFORMANCE:
EXTREMELY PREDICTABLE and probably one of the MOST realistic looking aircraft I have seen take to the air.
I modeled mine after a local pilots full scale Pitts. (See my enclosed picture - The picture is of MY MODEL not the full size Pitts.
Take off - No special remarks here ... except, as with any airplane, make sure it has adequate speed BEFORE pulling back on the stick.
Most of the first flight was 1/3 to 1/2 throttle. All vertical maneuvers were performed with throttle management where necessary to keep the speed as constant as possible through all vertical maneuvers, i.e., full throttle or cut throttle.

If you dead-stick - DO NOT PANIC - Immediately DROP THE NOSE a bit and keep it slightly down until final landing flare. Speed WILL bleed off quite fast so a negative wing attitude is necessary to keep in the non-stall configuration. IF YOUR LOW when you deadstick, DO NOT ATTEMPT to make any steep turns. You will need adequate airspeed for the final touchdown flair - wherever that may be!

Throttled Landing: If you chop the throttle, just keep the nose down and the airspeed up... she will 3-point with a well-timed flair. If you fly her in under some power, 1/4 throttle is nice for a smooth 2-wheeler touchdown.

This plane has NO undesirable habits. However, if this is your first LARGE aircraft, remember that you are flying more weight and you will need (relatively speaking) a new sense for altitude, distance and speed. Practice stalls with plenty of altitude until you become familiar with the flying characteristics of this OR ANY NEW AIRCRAFT.

As with any 1/4, 1/3 scale or larger model, RESPECT IT'S WEIGHT AND POWER.


Specifics of my model:
Zenoah G45 power-plant
Futaba radio
8 high-torque servos
Slimline brand wrap-around style pitts muffler w/sti smoke chamber (Sounds awesome by the way ... )
Stock wheels
Stock Gas tank
Stock firewall - (Epoxy coated the ENTIRE firewall and box)
Smoke system WILL be: TME pump, check valve and restrictor, futaba 6 volt battery and 16-24 oz tank
Balanced at 5 1/2 (5.5) inches from top wing lead-edge.
Some extras were added - note closely the landing gear and horizontal stabilizer struts and the wings "wire" bracing.
18 Pounds dry

Please feel free to E-mail me if you have any questions. I will respond ASAP.
- Carmen

cjelectronics@comcast.net
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Old 11-19-2003, 09:41 PM
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Mokken
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

Great write-up. I've got on order a GP Christian Eagle, going to put a DA-50 on her, should be a great combo. The two planes are very similar..I'm looking forward to next spring.
Old 11-19-2003, 11:16 PM
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rfw1953
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

Excellent thorough write up and very nice finish job on the airplane. Looks clean and very well done. I have a good friend with over 30+ years building experience who made a similar comment.
Absolutely worth every penny for it's LOOKS.
I could NOT build AND cover for the price tag it carries as a true ARF.
I like the landing gear struts for added strength. I didn't have any problems with this on Pitts-1 and it weighed close to 20 lbs. Pitts-2 weighs in at 18 lbs. I used the 2 aileron configuration on Pitts-1 ( without any real issues except for a bit of slop in the slave rods) and went with four Futaba 9405's on Pitts-2. Only thing I did a bit different was to pin and fibergalssd the firewall. Would suggest you keep a close eye on this with the gasser. Plenty of thread reports of vibration causing cracks in the firewall with separation. I also added tristock inside and out. Just a personal preference. It is a great looking airplane especially when you consider that it's an ARF. I would recommend the smoke system. Really adds a nice flying touch. Congratulations on a successful project. I hope to do the maiden on Pitts 2 this weekend. All finished, checked out and ready for the maiden flight.
Old 11-20-2003, 06:44 PM
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clemrick
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

I agree this was a very well written post. Am looking forward to flying mine.

Clemrick
Old 11-21-2003, 02:14 AM
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smaze17
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

Guys-

Do you think this "gap" is acceptable?

Thanks in advance!

Spence
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Old 11-21-2003, 07:36 AM
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n714wp
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

Hello Spence,

It (your gap) will only affect the "cosmetic" appearance and not the flying or engine cooling quality on this size aircraft.

I purposely left a 3/16 inch gap on my model because of the backplate rivets used on the stock spinner and if I indeed decided to change (for any reason) from the supplied spinner to another brand, I wanted some reasonable clearance between the cowl and the backplate of whatever spinner I might use.
My idea turned out to be a winner in this instance since both backplate rivets sheared off on my model when using an electric starter. I replaced them with a nut & bolt combination (the head of the replacement bolt against the rear of the backplate) and all-was-well again.

I have placed a picture here - it's a zoom-in from a distant profile shot. Hope it gives you some idea of the space I have between my cowl and the spinner backplate.
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Old 11-21-2003, 12:11 PM
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smaze17
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

Thanks!!

Spence
Old 11-22-2003, 10:32 AM
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Goldwing-RCU
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

Carmen - n714wp:

How did you add the extra landing gear bracing and do you have a better photo of it. I fly off grass and it can be a bit of a bumpy field coupled by my 'hard on landing gear' style landing more support is always welcome.

Thanks

Sheldon

"Some extras were added - note closely the landing gear and horizontal stabilizer struts and the wings "wire" bracing."
Old 11-23-2003, 02:40 AM
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n714wp
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

Hello Sheldon,

I am afraid that you may find my answer a disappointment.
The "additional" landing gear struts I installed are "passive" and do NOT add any structural strength. In fact, they are constructed in such a way as to give-way under a hard landing so as not to puncture to belly of the Pitts.
I am installing the smoke system this morning and I will be happy to take and post pictures and give a detailed description of the method of construction and installation for you or anyone else interested.
By the way Sheldon, the stock gear is quite strong and flexable. My club field can be quite bumpy in spots too and I have had NO indication that the gear is/was going to bend out of shape. In my humble opinion, the addition of "functional" gear struts are not necessary for this plane. HOWEVER, if you (or anyone) are prone to hard landings, may I suggest temporary removal of the wheel pants and the installation of slightly larger wheels until you become familiar with the Pitts' landing characteristics?

Pictures to follow soon ...

- Carmen
Old 11-27-2003, 10:12 PM
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HeliBound
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

Has anyone used the super tiger G4500 on the gp pitts? would this be a bad fit? power to weight ? Thanks in advance for your replys.
Old 11-27-2003, 10:47 PM
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rfw1953
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

n714wp - When I mounted the Fuji in Pitts-1 I had the same thing happen to the riveted brackets for mounting the spinner. I used the Megatron starter with 24 volts and it was just too much power for the rivets. I had a friend tap the Prop nut with the same threads as a True Turn spinner adapter, just like you would use when mounting a spinner to an OS 160. This worked great. The spinner bolt then goes through the adapter and then into the prop nut for the same installation as on a glow engine. This method eliminates the mounting brackets completely on the stock spinner. If your current method continues to work out then I wouldn't mess with it, but if you aren't happy with this over time then this is a good solution as well.
Old 11-27-2003, 11:14 PM
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ROGER RUSSELL
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

Here is my removal smoke tray.
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Old 11-27-2003, 11:15 PM
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ROGER RUSSELL
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

Attaches to these two rails I screwd in.
Old 11-27-2003, 11:21 PM
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ROGER RUSSELL
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

Attaches to these two rails that I screwd in.
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Old 11-27-2003, 11:24 PM
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ROGER RUSSELL
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

Final completion.
If I want to fly with smoke I put in, or take out if do not want smoke system in.
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Old 11-28-2003, 08:04 PM
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n714wp
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

Hello Roro,

Very nice job on your installation of the TME smoke pump.
I tried to install my TME last week but found a defect in the TME electronic switch that comes with the deluxe unit. I had to wait for a replacement unit. So, tonight I will be installing the replacement unit with hopes of a smoke test this weekend.

A word of caution Roro. After reading several posts about the older AND newer TME pump units leaking after a short service life, I contacted TME directly.
Turns out that they have had a few complaints about leaking when SOME of the older pump units were rigidly mounted to the aircraft.
The vibration associated with the engine COULD eventually cause the pump seal to leak or the line attachment nipples to break off.
No doubt, we could be talking a major mess if that were to occur. My guess is that this is more likely to ocurr if the pump were mounted directly to the firewall using the supplied pump mounting ears.

So, with this in mind, I have elected to FOAM MOUNT all the components including the smoke tank and 6 volt smoke system battery pack. Since I have layed the smoke system components out as a "package", I have installed foam between all of the smoke systems components and around the entire package. Finally, the whole assembly will "float" inside the fuse, below the muffler height and on the C.G., in a bed of foam.
As a final precaution, I put the "package" (less the surrounding foam) in a zip-lock plastic bag - JUST IN CASE. It will not stop a leak but it may keep the inside of the fuse from becoming "saturated" in the event of an unwelcome leak.

I am not sure that your "tray" method will render your pump useless over time from vibration, but it is something to think about.
In any event, nice, neat job you did there. I like the simplicity of it.

Best of luck and take care,
- Carmen
Old 11-29-2003, 01:13 PM
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rfw1953
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

I have my Simple Smoke motor hard mounted and never thought about the vibration issue. I use a tray similar to what Roro is using. This works great, but think I will mount foam under the motor as a precaution to the leakage concerns. Arrgh! Always something. better to do it now than having to clean up a mess of oil after the problem occurs. Curious if any others have experienced the leakage problem with a hard mount. I have a 24 oz Dubros tank mounted in mine. Works very well. use 1100 Mah NiCd on a separate switch.
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Old 11-29-2003, 06:21 PM
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n714wp
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

Hello Roger,
Nice, clean installation as well.
The foam is something to consider. It truly is a form of inexpensive added security to perhaps prevent that puppy from leaking.

Good luck,
- Carmen
Old 11-24-2004, 10:51 AM
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

rfw1953

How long can you run your smoke sytem with a 24oz. Tank? I have just got my GP Pitts and I am getting ready to set up my smoke sytem but I was not sure what size tank I wanted to use.

Thanks
Baker
Old 11-24-2004, 09:34 PM
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Lean540
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

I am a little off topic as well here but, what the heck..........
I have the TME simple system and was wondering if it is absolutely necessarey to run it with a check valve?
Great idea with the removable tray, I am building one now that I have seen what you have done.
Thanks in advance.
Lean540
Old 11-24-2004, 10:20 PM
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Default RE: GREAT PLANES 1/3 PITTS ARF - INFORMATION FOR THOSE LOOKING TO BUY OR ALREADY HAVE ONE ...

N714wp, Just wanted to complement you on the write up as well. You have described this beautiful bird to the 'T'. It is a great flying plane and is quite predictable. Mine weighs in at 23 pounds and has an OS 320 on it. You can see it at the Pitts with a Fuji 50 sight at http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/fb.asp?m=2278916. You talk about how they sound! You wouldn't believe how realistic mine sounds with the 24" prop on it and those four cylinders. It'll put a tent in your pants!
I am putting a 22" on it because I chopped about an inch and a half off one tip of the 24" on a rough landing on a windy day. I got into some rotor off of a grassy knol too low and clipped the know just enough to skip it in on the gear and left wingtip and prop. Whew! Sure thought I broke it!
So, don't worry about the added weight of the smoke system. I think I would though if I put one in mine.
Best wishes bud. bird.
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:16 AM
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CaptRKO
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Anyone currently building the GP Pitts? I found one on Craigslist and want to start building her soon.....still trying to find the "Build Thread"

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