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Great Planes Giant Scale Super Sportster ARF

Rich Noon has a blast assembling and flying this big brother of the oh-so-popular super sportster lineup, with the OS 160FX.

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:82" (2085mm)
Wing Area:1293 sq in (83.4 sq dm)
Weight:13 - 14.5 lb (5850 - 6575 kg)
Length:72" (1820mm)
Airfoil:Fully symmetrical, low wing placement
Center of Gravity:5-1/4" (133mm) Back from the flat part of the leading edge of the wing at the middle

EQUIPMENT USED:
Servos:5-Futaba 9201, 1-Tower 69 BB
Transmitter:Futaba 9Z WCII
Battery Pack:Futaba 1500mah
Engine:O.S. 1.60 FX
Prop:APC 16x10
Fueling:Great Planes Remote Fueler
Ignition:Sullivan Locking Remote Glow

Manual:Giant Super Sportster Manual
Manufacturer: Great Planes
Available Online:Tower Hobbies

The Super Sportster is a classic design that has been around a very long time. It's been kitted in glow powered versions ranging in size from .20 all the way up a .90/1.20. Also an electric and .40 size ARF versions are available. This should tell one something about the popularity, quality of design, and flying characteristics of this classic airplane.

Great Planes has now produced another fantastic version of this design in a gorgeous 82" wingspan, giant scale, IMAA legal ARF!

KIT CONTENTS:

  • Pre-built and covered wings
  • Fuselage
  • Tail assemblies
  • Pushrods
  • Pre-bent 3/16" (5mm) main landing gear
  • Decals
  • 3.5" (87mm) main wheels
  • 1" (26mm) tailwheel
  • Adjustable engine mount
  • 14.2oz (420cc) fuel tank
  • Wood servo trays
  • Wing joiners
  • Great Planes hardware package
  • Photo-illustrated instructions

KIT REQUIRES:

  • Engine: 1.20 - 2.00 cu in (20 - 32 cc) 2-or 4-stroke OR 2.00 cu in (32cc) gasoline
  • Muffler: as needed to match your engine/installation
  • Ignition Switch: GPMG2150, if using gasoline engine
  • Radio: 4 - 5 Channel
  • Servos: 7 total, 5 ball bearing (2-Elevator, 2-Ailerons, 1-Rudder) 1 standard torque servo for throttle 1 standard torque servo for kill switch if using gasoline engine
  • One 6" (150mm) Servo Extension: For receiver to aileron connection
  • Three 24" (610mm) Servo Extensions: 2 elevators, 1 rudder
  • Two 12" (300mm) Servo Extensions: For ailerons
  • Two Dual Servo Extensions: For aileron and elevator servos
  • Receiver Battery: Minimum 1000mAh
  • Misc. Items: Glow plug, 1/4" foam rubber padding, medium fuel tubing, fuel filter, propeller, building and field equipment.

FIRST GLANCE

Everything came extremely well packaged, with all pieces individually wrapped. As I unwrapped and inspected each piece, I was impressed at the excellent quality of the covering, fiberglass parts and paint work.

The fuselage, wings and tail surfaces were all nicely covered in MonoKote. A couple small sags in a few of the open bay areas, but a quick pass with a sealing iron quickly took care of them. Nothing to complain about. All the trim lines were very nicely aligned and the seam overlaps were very well done. Most of us would be hard pressed to produce this this nice a covering job.

Assembly

Great Planes has always had some of the best assembly instructions of any manufacturer. Complete with excellent photos and detailed "check box by check box" building. Assembly steps are very sequential and logical. If you follow the manual, you'll have no problems quickly assembling this great kit. A person with an ARF or two under their belts should build it with ease. I won't rehash all the assembly steps, but instead point out a few interesting points along the way.

Wings

I found the hinge slots were all cut a bit shallow. It took just a quick pass into each hinge slot with my Great Planes Slot Machine to remedy the situation. While I had the slot machine out, I ran it through the all hinge slots on the tail surfaces at the same time.

Solder Clevises:

Great Planes included very detailed instructions on how to properly install the solder clevises. If you've never used this type of clevis, using their instructions, and you'll end up with a very solid and easy to install linkage.

Landing Gear

Don't forget to grind the flat spots in the gear for the outer wheel collars!

Fuselage

The front turtle deck was balsa sheeting over ply formers with the rear turtle deck built using ply formers and stringers. The fuselage was straight and all the glue joints were very well done and tight. The firewall was very well glued and fuel proofed. The MonoKote covering was excellent with no wrinkles. The pre-applied trim and all overlap seams were tight and very well done.

Tail

Wheel Pants

Engine

Aluminum Spinner: I had to shorten the mounting screw a bit to keep it from bottoming out in the adapter before becoming tight. Be very careful when tightening the spinner not to over-tighten and warp the backplate.

Editor's Note: Hobbico advises that the engine could be mounted at a 45 degree angle. This would minimize the cowl cutting, improve appearances, and put the muffler down the belly tunnel. The manual didn't suggest this so our reviewer didn't use this approach, but the manufacturer says it's fine.

Cowl

The cowl was a nice, heavy, one piece fiberglass unit. The paint and trim lines matched the MonoKote perfectly.

Radio installation

The manual illustrated many different combinations of positions for the fuel tank and battery depending on the engine choice.

For gas engine applications requiring tail weight the fuel tank is moved to the center of the fuselage area and the battery to the rear for better balancing.

For glow applications requiring nose weight, the fuel tank is positioned forward near the firewall. Great Planes included a battery mounting tray that allows you to position the battery above the tank near the firewall for glow installation.

Final Assembly

My model's final weight ready to fly was 13 lb. 7 oz., well within the advertised weight of 13-14.5 lb.

All that was still required was to shift the battery forward or back til the correct balance was achieved. Requiring no additional weight to balance the plane at the recommended 5-1/4" [133 mm] balance point! NICE!

Throws High Low
Ailerons Up & Down 1-1/4" (32mm) 3/4" (19mm)
ElevatorUp & Down 1-1/2" (38mm) 1" (25mm)
RudderRight to Left 3" 2" (51mm)
Weight: Ready to fly 13 lbs. 7 oz.

At The Field

Flying

By the time I arrived at the field, it had rained most of the day and there was more rain on the way. It was hazy and there was no sunshine to be seen. At least the wind and temperature were cooperating. It was only sprinkling and would quit any minute, right?

After assembling the plane, fueling and a radio check, it was time to fly! Heck, it was barely sprinkling.

Ground Handling

The Giant Super Sportster ground handled very well. Even with the wheel pants on the rough grass strip, it showed no tendencies to nose over or drag. Steering was very responsive with a touch of up elevator.

Takeoff

I lined up on the runway and advanced the throttle. A slight touch of rudder was all that was necessary to keep the Sportster tracking straight down the runway. In a couple feet the tail was up. A few more feet and the plane was airborne gently climbing out. No surprises or "heavy feeling" with this airplane.

Basic Flight Performance

I climbed to about 75 feet and turned into the pattern. Two clicks of down elevator and one of left aileron and she was trimmed. It didn't have the feel of a huge 80 inch giant scale airplane. The control response was smooth and the plane amazingly nimble for a plane this size. The O.S. 1.60 FX pulled the plane effortlessly. It cruised along at a touch over 1/3 throttle.

Two thoughts came to mind. "This is one smooth flying airplane" and "This is going to be fun!"

Aerobatics

There are thousands of sportsters out there flying, and thousands of discussions about this oh-so-popular sport plane's flight performance. The important note -- this one flies just like its smaller brothers, in a word, GREAT!

The Sportster is a very smooth flying, solid feeling airplane. It will perform all the standard aerobatics in the book: Split S's, wing overs, loops big and small, knife edge, Cuban 8's, etc. very precisely. Snap rolls, touch and go's and barrel rolls were a blast with this plane. It's a very honest, solid flying plane that will do what you ask of it.

The 1.60FX had enough power to pull the Sportster straight up till you were tired of going straight up. It performed flawlessly from first run through the rest of the flights. It really sounds great too!

Flutter Testing -- PASSED!

I made a couple "wide open runs" down low to the runway, checking for elevator or aileron control surface flutter. Some giant scale planes seem susceptible surface flutter at higher speeds. Those large, unbalanced surfaces can wreck havoc with an airframe if they start fluttering. I heard no fluttering on the Sportster. The short 4-40 control rods and heavy duty hardware really did a nice job keeping the control surfaces solid.

Landing

Landings were very simple. I just lined it up with the runway keeping a click of throttle in till over the end of the field and cutting to idle and she floated in. There was no dropping a wingtip and all controls were solid until touchdown.

For the beginner?

For the beginning flyer, no. After becoming comfortable flying a low wing, tail dragger it would be a great introduction to giant scale airplanes. But it's not a trainer.

For the beginner in "Giant Scale" aircraft a resounding yes!

First Flight (she floats....and floats...and floats...)

Editor's Note: I couldn't let this review go live without sharing this great story, and providing the complete picture of this bird's first flight...

It was a beautiful day when I arrived at the field. Of course a crosswind, but only about 5 mph for a change. The Sportster was solid as a rock on the rough grass strip and handled very well. No nose over tendencies or bad habits.

I lined up with the runway and advanced the throttle. The tail was up almost immediately and the plane was airborne in about 30 feet, climbing gently with no surprises. I climbed to about 75 feet and turned into the pattern. Two clicks of down elevator and one of left aileron and she was flying straight and level hands off.

I made a few passes around the field and the plane felt very smooth and responsive. It didn't have that "heavy" feeling like a lot of the giant scale planes I've flown. It felt more like, for a lack of better words "a Sportster" -- you know, the little ones we've all had. I did a couple rolls, snap rolls and a few wing overs on both high and low rates to get the feel of the plane. No snapping or unpleasant surprises. The OS 1.60FX flew the plane great at a touch over 1/3 throttle.

I decided to land and do a quick check over. I made the final turn into approach and chopped the throttle. The sink rate was smooth and predictable. I added a click of throttle until I was just over the end of the runway then pulled it back to idle. It floated in gently without dropping a wingtip till it was in front of me, then it floated some more! Three feet off the ground and she just didn't want to land, she wanted to fly!

The end of the runway was coming fast, along with it's corn field backstop. Let's see: new engine running rich, three feet off the ground, cornfield coming quick, do I nail it and try to climb out or try to set down and turn quick? I had visions of the engine being overloaded a bit from being run rich and the long idle on approach. Then possibly stalling as I cleared the tops of the corn and dropping into a full grown corn field. Wouldn't be a pretty sight. Those of you that fly near corn fields know what I mean.

The crosswind decided to make its presence known about then and she drifted to the right. So much for a go around, so I decided to land. Just as she touched down I hit left rudder and a touch of right aileron. The right wingtip went into the corn, taking a couple stalks down with it before coming to a stop.

Once my heart rate slowed and I got it back down out of my throat, I went to the plane and moved it to edge the runway, expecting the worst. I checked the right wing and NO DAMAGE! So I checked the rest of the plane over and other than a slight scratch to the cowl and some green "corn stalk juice" on the wing tip there was nothing broken! The plane was fine. I thought to myself,

"This is one well built, tough airplane!" Yet it doesn't fly like a Mack truck. Too nice!

I took this as a sign that this was enough fun for one day. I'll come back tomorrow, after I and the battery are both recharged.

Flight pics and video

Downloads

Conclusion

Through the years I've built practically every version of the Super Sportster, and enjoyed building and flying them all. This Giant Super Sportster was no exception! It flies as well, if not better, than most of the smaller Super Sportsters I've flown. Bigger does fly better!

Great Planes has done an incredible job on the design, construction and covering of this latest addition to the Super Sportster family. If you liked the classic Sportster you'll love the Giant Super Sportster!

I have had many compliments on the Giant Super Sportster at the field...ranging from: "Wow! That's big!" to "When did you build this one? No way that's an ARF!". It really is a big, gorgeous airplane and a real blast to fly.

With the risk of sounding corny: Great Planes has created yet another "great plane" in their Giant Super Sportster.

Pluses:

  • First class construction
  • Beautiful paint and covering
  • Fiberglass cowl and wheel pants
  • Heavy duty hardware and accessories
  • Included hardware for both gas and glow power
  • Excellent instruction manual with detail instructions for both gas and glow installation
  • Fast assembly
  • Easy to transport
  • IMAA Legal
  • Flys like a dream!

Hmmm Points

  • Wheel pants fit required some adjustment or trimming
  • Spinner screw length and backplate
  • Amount of cowl cutting for engine mounting as described in manual
Last edited by AMCross; Sep 21, 2006 at 09:39 AM..

Discussion

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Old Sep 19, 2006, 08:44 PM
Registered User
Joined Sep 2006
15 Posts
Wow, great review! The pictures and video are top notch as well. I hope someday that I can build and fly a plane like that...

How long to build?
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Old Sep 20, 2006, 08:44 AM
Registered User
Joined Mar 2004
51 Posts
Hi Twistedflip,

Thanks for the kind words.

I'm sure you'll be building and flying planes like this in no time.

The kit has a very low parts count and goes together very quickly. I really didn't keep track time wise. But would guess, taking your time, it could be built in a few evenings easily.

Rich
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Old Nov 14, 2006, 04:41 PM
Registered User
Cincinnati Cin N.Knty, Ohio, United States
Joined Sep 2004
1,037 Posts
I just bought one of these, should be here in the next couple days. Looking forward to it as it will be my first bigger sized plane.
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Old Dec 11, 2006, 11:30 AM
Got toys?
kenhiraihnl's Avatar
pearl city, hi
Joined Feb 2005
714 Posts
Giant Sportster Fits in VW Golf

a few pics of my giant super sportster...RichN's article was instrumental in my buying and building my sportster in two days...as can be seen in the pic, it fits very nicely in my vw golf tdi...

-ken
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Old Feb 21, 2007, 05:13 PM
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ElectricFlyGuy's Avatar
United States, FL, Palm Coast
Joined Jan 2007
117 Posts
Your Giant Plane

Hi, are you still flying this plane? Any up-dates on how this plane is doing so far? I just love this plane and will be buying one soon. Thanks----> Scott

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenhiraihnl
a few pics of my giant super sportster...RichN's article was instrumental in my buying and building my sportster in two days...as can be seen in the pic, it fits very nicely in my vw golf tdi...

-ken
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Old Feb 21, 2007, 05:32 PM
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Joined Mar 2004
51 Posts
Hi Scott,

Mine got a lot of air time this last fall. No problems at all and just keeps getting better. I had to pull the engine for another project, but it will be back in the air come spring.

I think you'll really enjoy the airplane. It's a great design.

Rich

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElectricFlyGuy
Hi, are you still flying this plane? Any up-dates on how this plane is doing so far? I just love this plane and will be buying one soon. Thanks----> Scott
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Old Feb 21, 2007, 05:52 PM
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ElectricFlyGuy's Avatar
United States, FL, Palm Coast
Joined Jan 2007
117 Posts
Thanx


Quote:
Originally Posted by RichN
Hi Scott,

Mine got a lot of air time this last fall. No problems at all and just keeps getting better. I had to pull the engine for another project, but it will be back in the air come spring.

I think you'll really enjoy the airplane. It's a great design.

Rich
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Old Feb 22, 2007, 12:42 PM
Got toys?
kenhiraihnl's Avatar
pearl city, hi
Joined Feb 2005
714 Posts
Quote: "Hi, are you still flying this plane? Any up-dates on how this plane is doing so far? I just love this plane and will be buying one soon. Thanks----> Scott"

hi scott...yes, i'm still flying my gpss...osa5 plug, powermaster10% w/ extra castor, 19x10 apc (gonna try a xoar 18x10 one of these days), berg7p rx...impressive level knife-edges, giant loops, 1/2 rolls on upline and downline of humpty-bumps...

update: i get 7,050 rpm with the xoar 18x10...the apc 17x10 gives me 7,950 rpm...engine slightly rich for safety...i'll stay with the apc 17x10

latest update: as of 4/30/07 - 3s2100lipo with 6v regulator for rx pack...replaced the fut9chps/berg7p radio with a fut6ex2.4ghz system...very noticeable improvement in performance--from a moderately-priced plane, engine, radio system...highly recommended...ken

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Last edited by kenhiraihnl; May 07, 2007 at 02:02 PM. Reason: New configuration
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Old Aug 11, 2007, 08:22 PM
Pro Bro # 2398
GassPasser's Avatar
BoonVegas, Indiana
Joined Dec 2005
674 Posts
gotta have one ! looks like fun.
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Old Aug 11, 2007, 08:26 PM
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GassPasser's Avatar
BoonVegas, Indiana
Joined Dec 2005
674 Posts
does the engine mount come pre-installed for a side mount glow installation.. i cant tell from the pictures. thanks
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Old Aug 11, 2007, 11:01 PM
Got toys?
kenhiraihnl's Avatar
pearl city, hi
Joined Feb 2005
714 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by GassPasser
does the engine mount come pre-installed for a side mount glow installation.. i cant tell from the pictures. thanks
if you mount the engine like i did, you'll have to drill new holes in the firewall for the mount...i mounted my engine 45-degrees inverted just to get the muffler in the tunnel...btw, my last mod was to add an exhaust diverter...it added just enough back pressure to over-richen the high and low needles, causing two deadstick landings...i leaned the low about 1/8 turn and the high about 1/4 turn, and now it's happy again...

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Old Aug 21, 2007, 09:50 AM
Smoke me a Kipper
fritzdecat's Avatar
Cedar Grove North Carolina
Joined Oct 2006
1,210 Posts
Very surprised to read at the tail end of this review the writer did not come down harder on Great Planes for the landing gear design on this bird?

It looks like they did a great job all around on the plane but when it came to the LG they chose double wire? Give me a break.....

LARGE PLANE needs stronger gear.
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