|Wing Area:||550 in2|
|Wing Loading:||21-24 oz/ft2|
|Servos:||4 Futaba 9001|
|Battery:||FlightPower 14.8V 3800mAh 30C LiPo Battery|
|Motor:||RimFire 42-50-800kV Brushless Outrunner Motor|
|ESC:||45A with BEC|
|Available From:||Tower Hobbies and Fine Hobby Stores Everywhere|
My simple rule that has served me well is that if the title of the plane includes the word "Sport," it was designed to fly as a sport plane. I think Great Planes hit that target with a bulls eye with this Mustang. It is stand off scale and is easily recognized as a Mustang both on the ground and in the air. Very scale warbirds can be more difficult to handle with all the details that make them as scale looking as possible. Sport planes are generally easier to fly and great for the newer intermediate pilot to expert as they make basic aerobatics easier to perform. While I will discuss the flight characteristics in more detail below, I found this plane easy to fly and I was able to perform aerobatics smoothly which is just what a good sport plane should do. There is no mistaking the classic lines of the Mustang and the color scheme and decals do a good job of completing the Mustang appearance but don't look too closely or compare it directly with a full size Mustang using a magnifying glass. This is a sport plane first and a stand off scale plane second.
If you are looking for a fun plane to fly with the general look of a warbird, this is the right plane for you. In this review I cover the assembly of this plane with the recommended components and how she comes together nicely. Once she is assembled I take her to the field and go flying where she conveys the appearance of a Mustang ready to dogfight with any Axis airplane that might enter her space. Suit up and strap in for a smooth ride.
|P-51 Mustang Sport Fighter ARF by Great Planes (1 min 44 sec)|
Recommended Tools and Supplies
Before starting the assembly I got out my covering iron to tighten up the covering as needed. The wings and tail surfaces covering were nice and tight but the covering on the fuselage needed some tightening. Some additional cover tightening was needed after the first flying session and again once more later in the review.
After completing the assembly, the only hard part of this assembly, in my opinion, is removing the lower piece of the firewall to make the access to where the ESC goes and the wires from the motor to the ESC go. As explained later in this review I used my Dremel drill and a cutting disc to remove the "connected" pieces for the opening. If I didn't have a Dremel drill I would have used a regular drill to make drilled openings into this area so I could get space for a small saw or cutting blade to fit in there. I recommend for those doing the electric version to remove this piece of wood as the first part of the assembly. In the instructions this is covered on page 14 item 6 "Remove the opening in the firewall." In retrospect I would do this step first.
Assembly started with the wing. I found the string in the servo bay and pulled that end out. I secured the string around the servo lead and pulled the wire to the wing root. Later I would put the wire through the hole at the top of the wing but I didn't do that until I had finished working on the bottom of the wing. I used a 1/16" drill bit and my power drill to drill four mounting holes to secure the the aileron servo into the wing. I took the four arm servo arm mount and cut off three arms and secured the arm to the servo with the arm facing the wing tip. I repeated these steps with the other wing half per the instruction manual.
Futaba 9001 Specs
|Operating Speed||(4.8V): 0.22 sec/60°|
|Stall Torque (4.8V):||54 oz-in.|
|Dimensions:||1.57" x 0.79"x 1.42"|
|Operating Voltage:||4.8-6.0 Volts|
At this point I deviated from the order of assembly shown in the instruction manual as I did not glue the two wing halves together at this time. Instead I installed everything onto each wing half and then joined the two halves together. Do it either way as my order worked fine for me.
The aileron control horns are mounted with two screws each but they don't go all the way through the aileron. While using a 1/16" drill bit and my power drill I had dark brown sawdust come up and the suddenly it went from a slow drill to fast drill in soft wood. I suspect under the covering there was some hard wood over balsa and I stopped drilling as soon as I felt the soft wood. I didn't drill through the aileron and I was able to secure the aileron control horns onto the ailerons with two screws each. This leaves the top of the aileron looking pristine with no ugly servo mounting block and screws in view as they aren't used.
Next I secured the landing gear struts into the wing. I drilled holes for the screws for the straps one at a time with a 5/64 drill bit. I again found some the same darker sawdust and then hit soft wood I assumed was balsa. Each strap was secured with two supplied screws with two straps per strut. A picture of the secured landing gear strut is posted below. I repeated the process on the other wing half.
I next secured a main landing wheel to one of the landing gear struts. A wheel collar was secured to the strut at an inner flat spot with a set screw. I used my Allen wrench to lock it in place. I then slipped on the wheel and then a second wheel collar was secured in the outer flat spot with a set screw. I then repeated the process on the strut on the other wing half.
Next I sorted out the parts for the landing gear doors that attach to the landing gear struts for a nice visual. I put the washers on the screws and slipped four screws into each landing gear door. I held the doors against the struts and on the inside of the strut I pushed the landing gear straps onto the screws and held them together as I slipped on the retaining nuts. Using needle nose pliers and a small screw driver I tightened the screws. the landing gear doors added a lot to the looks of the landing gear.
I got out the two single arm servo arms that had previously had three arms removed and I drilled the outer hole to bexpand it to 2mm. I attached them to the aileron servos. I got out the aileron control rods and attached the clevises to them and put the rubber hose pieces on their base. I temporarily attached them to the aileron control horns and measured and bent the control rods to fit in the servo arms. I installed the control rods in the arms and secured them in place with the supplied FasLinks.
I glued the two wooden wing joiners together with 30 minute epoxy and when dry glued it into the right wing half. I glued the plastic pin into the right wing root. When they were dry I applied 30 minute epoxy to both wing roots, the pin holder in the left wing and the slot for the wing joiner in the left wing half. I fit them together tightly and secured them together with four pieces of masking tape.
I next carefully removed the covering from the bottom of the wing where the forward fairing and the air scope are located. I mounted the wing to the fuselage and using epoxy I glued the front fairing in place.
I removed the mounting bolts from the wing and applied glue to the air scope and then carefully placed it and secured it in place with the mounting bolts through the air scoop and back into the fuselage and I used masking tape to hold down the front of the air scoop while the glue dried.
Except for installing the decals the wing was now complete. When the glue was dry I looked at the available pictures (box and instruction manual) and installed the decals on the wing'stop and bottom.
The tail components came already constructed with the horizontal stabilizer and elevator ready to install into the fuselage and the same with the vertical stabilizer and rudder. There is no tail assembly! Simply installing them into the fuselage is the first part of the fuselage assembly.
The first step of the fuselage assembly is to carefully cut away the block at the very back of the fuselage that maintains the proper space for the horizontal stabilizer and elevator. With the block removed I trial fitted the stabilizers in place with first the horizontal stabilizer and then the vertical plugged into it. I checked the alignment with the wing installed and mixed up some 30-minute epoxy and glued the stabilizers in place.
With them in place and the glue dry, I secured the rear tail wheel mount to the bottom back of the fuselage with two small screws. I installed the elevator and rudder control horns with screws using the pre-drilled holes for the screws. Next I installed the tail wheel onto its strut and secured it in place with a wheel collar and set screw.
I skipped step 10 on page 13 of the instructions concerning the control rods for the rudder and elevator and instead installed the servos into the fuselage that control the rudder and elevator. I removed three of the four servo arms as I had for the ailerons and I expanded the outer hole in the remaining servo arm with a 5/64" drill bit. With the servos in place I went back to step 10 and added the clevises to the control rods and inserted them into the fuselage from the back of the fuselage. I temporarily connected the clevises to the control horns and aligned the rudder and elevator in their neutral positions. I then bent the control rods to properly go into the servo arm and clipped off the excess wire. I fitted the bent wires into the servo arms and secured them with a Faslink keeper. I adjusted the clevises as necessary to the the elevators and rudder centered. It was now time to mount the RimFire electric motor.
|Motor specs||RimFire 42-50-800kV|
|Type: Brushless Outrunner|
|Motor Weight 7 oz|
|Output Shaft Size: 5mm|
|BATTERY: 4S Lipo|
|Voltage Range: 11.1-14.8|
|Prop: APC 12 x 6 to 13 x 8 electric|
|Constant Watts: 850|
|Continuous Current: 42A<br>|
|Maximum Burst Watts: 1480|
|Speed Control: 45A Brushless|
The first step for the motor installation was to glue together the wooden motor mounting box. This involved seven major wooden parts and eight pieces of triangle stock. Per the instructions on page 14 I tapped in the supplied 6-32 blind nuts into the back side of the front portion of the motor mount. I assembled the wooden box gluing it together with epoxy. I set it aside for the glue to dry. I jumped ahead to remove the bottom opening in the firewall.
"Remove the opening in the firewall." It sounded so easy! Looking at it you could see the opening was mostly cut out with six little spaces of wood remaining to be cut to remove the covering from the opening. I got out a new # 11 hobby blade and started tracing on one of the remaining spaces of uncut wood. I was pressing pretty hard but making little progress in the plywood. I next tried to cut the wood from the side working the blade into the already cut portion of the slot. That didn't work so well for me so I went with my Dremel option. I got out my Dremel drill and a new round cutting blade and cut out the remaining pieces of the plywood cover. Success with far less effort then I was using and failing with my hobby knife.
The epoxy on the motor mount box was now set up enough that I could mount it to the firewall. I found two sets of four bolts and studying the instructions I determined the shorter set of bolts were intended for this mount and the longer set of bolts for the engine mount that was included in the kit for the gas engine option. Using the four 1/2" bolts, 4 number six flat washers and four number 6 lock washers I secured the wooden mount to the firewall.
I got out the supplied Rimfire motor and with the hardware included with the motor I mounted the X motor mount to the back of the motor and the propeller shaft to the front portion of the motor. I next used the last set of four screws, smaller then the two sets described above, from the Mustang kit to secure the motor to the wooden mount with flat washers and lock washers. I lined up the motor so that the motor wires were mounted on the bottom side of the mount. The motor was installed.
The receiver is secured with straps on the mount in the fuselage in front of the servos. I added a 6" extension wire in the aileron channel to make it easier to install. I plugged in the elevator and rudder servos as well as the throttle from the ESC and connected the wing. I plugged the Y-harness from the ailerons into the 6" extension I had plugged into the receiver in the aileron slot. Only four channels are needed for this plane.
The recommended brushless electronic speed controller and the one supplied for this review is the Silver Series 45 Amp ESC and I have posted its specifics below.
Silver Series 45 Amp
|Type:||Brushless Motor Controller|
|Continuous Maximum Current:||45A with reasonable cooling|
|Female Motor Connector:||4 mm|
|Battery Connector:||Deans Ultra|
Before installing the ESC I installed a 6" servo extension wire onto the controller's wire and secured it in place with some tape. Next I glued the fluffy side of some Velcro onto the Silver Series 45A ESC and the matching piece onto the bottom of the fuselage just inside the hole I made in the bottom of the firewall.
Mike's Very Minor Battery Tray Modification
I like to use a strip of Velcro on the bottom of the battery and on the battery tray. The battery tray has very limited space so I decided to glue two small thin strips of Velcro on the top of the battery tray. After I had balanced the plane on the C/G I glued a long strip of the matching Velcro onto the battery and marked where the battery should be for the proper C/G. By doing this I increased my confidence that the battery would not shift in flight and I would always get the proper C/G when I installed the battery. I installed the two battery straps through the slots for them on the battery tray. The two straps are the main security to secure the battery. My little strips help keep the battery from moving.
It was necessary to remove the covering that was over the cooling holes in the back bottom of the fuselage. This was done with my hobby knife.
A 6-channel Tactic receiver was supplied for this review. It was secured in front of the servos as discussed above. I did this with a Velcro strap. I bound the receiver to my Tactic transmitter. I reversed the throttle control and tested the other controls reversing two of the them to have throw in the right direction. I reconnected the battery to the ESC and then made sure all control surfaces were properly centered and moving in the proper direction. To due this I adjusted the clevises on the ailerons and when in proper position I closed the clevises and slid the tubing over the clevises to secure them in place.
With the wing setup finished I now finished centering the controls and securing them for operation with the clevises for the rudder and elevator.
I made NO holes for a switch or charging jack as I will just connect the battery to the ESC when I am ready to fly and disconnect after every flight.
I plugged in the three wires from the motor and from the Silver Series ESC and with the prop off made sure the motor was turning in the proper direction. Next I installed four strips of masking tape to the sides of the fuselage as shown on page 19 and marked them per the instructions to properly drill the four mounting holes through the cowl and into the fuselage. I had the cockpit in place when installing the cowl. After drilling the holes and installing the motor cowl screws. I removed the screws and took the cowl off. I removed the tape and installed the cowl back in place with the canopy cover in place. I enlarged and installed the spinner back plate and the propeller onto the propeller shaft previously attached to the motor.
I recommend carefully installing the spinner screws into the back plate to cut the screw channels before installing the spinner in place. The screws are soft metal but using a 0 size screwdriver and working carefully I didn't strip the screws while cutting the screw channels into the plastic spinner back plate. I removed the screws. I trial fitted the propeller and it was necessary for me to cut away some of the plastic from the spinner to make room for the back of the propeller to fit the spinner. I used my hobby knife to trim the back opening of the spinner for the propeller to fit.
I was supplied with an optional pilot and using my hobby knife I was easily able to cut out the portion of the canopy bottom where the pilot gets installed. Using my knife I cut away most of the pilots body as only his head and a wee bit of shoulder will fit into the canopy. When I was happy with the fit I glued the pilot in place on the wooden piece from the canopy bottom. When that glue was dry I glued and taped the canopy floor piece back into place with the head in the canopy.
Finally, I set up dual rates on my Tactic Transmitter with the following throws measured at the widest part of the control surfaces.
Elevator: Low Rates 1/2" up and down: High Rates 3/4" up and down Aileron: Low Rates 3/16" up and down: High Rates 5/16" up and down Rudder: Low Rates 3/4" side to side: High Rates 1" up and down
The Center of Gravity is 3 1/2" back from the leading edge of the wing. This measurement is made holding the plane upside down and balancing the plane 3 1/2" behind the leading edge on my index finger tips. The LiPo flight battery was moved to obtain proper balance and then I marked the battery tray so I will be able to properly position the battery pack for proper balance every time in the future.
I installed decals mostly after the rest of the assembly was completed. I decided to name my plane "American Maid" rather than "Sizzling Liz" as both names were supplied in the decal set. Some of the decals can be seen below.
The P51 Sport Mustang only requires a four channel radio and the four controls are throttle, ailerons, elevator and rudder. No flaps or retractable landing gear are involved nor was there any discussion about adapting the plane for them so I didn't and won't be considering those possibilities. The controls are all proportional and with dual rates for the control surfaces I found her very responsive on high rates as will be discussed below. I used low rates for taking off, landing and for simple relaxing flight around the sky and even high speed passes down the runway. I found she could easily be flown three channel with rudder not really required for general flight except for takeoffs and landings with a strong cross wind. That said, turns are smoother with no or very little yaw if about 25% rudder is used with the ailerons. If you are using a transmitter with programmable mixing I would recommend a mix with 25% rudder with the ailerons. You will want to be able to turn the mix off for performing aerobatics. If your transmitter has exponential I recommend 20-25% (Your choice) on all control surfaces as a good starting point for both high and low rates and adjust from there for your flying comfort.
I found the recommended 3 1/2 inch balance point behind the leading edge of the wing to be excellent. I have stayed with that center of gravity throughout this review.
The trade off from scale detail in this sport plane really shows up in its lighter weight, superior speed and great aerobatics with this plane. The ailerons run just about the entire length of the wing which allows for quicker and tighter axial rolls then a scale Mustang would perform. The plane is also lighter than my approximately same size wingspan scale Mustang and with the same recommended 4-cell battery it is both much quicker and has a higher top end speed, lower stall speed. She can be slowed down for a wider range of flying than the typical full scale Mustang allows. For me it is the best of both worlds for my general flying fun. Scale enough from a distance that she looks like a Mustang to me, but with better aerobatics making her easier and more fun to fly.
FlightPower has come out with a whole new line of LiPo batteries. They feature a new connector they call the Star connector and it works with current Dean Connectors. I found this connector easier to grasp in my slightly arthritic fingers for both attaching and disconnecting. The back end of the connector can also be opened to check on the soldering on the connectors and wires. I very much like these new connectors! As for the battery the one I was using in this review was rated 30C but it seemed to supply more power to the motor than two of my older (but not old) 30 C 4S 3700 & 4000 mAh batteries. No scientific testing by me but the battery performed excellently throughout the review and I will be buying more of them when I need new batteries. I felt they truly deserved special mention. The recommended ESC and RimFire motor also performed excellently in this plane or the performance of the battery would not have been noticed. I very much liked the combined performance of the recommended components. If you need components for this plane I strongly recommend those that I used in this review because they worked very well in this plane.
While I am still on the battery I was getting ten plus minutes of mixed speed flying with the battery I was using. Her high speed passes both look and sound great so there is a temptation to fly fast all the time But I didn't yield to that temptation. I always had more juice when I landed but better safe than sorry.
Most of my takeoffs and landings have been in calm conditions or with a light wind straight down the runway. Running up the motor slowly for a scale like takeoff I found the handling to be very easy. One day there was a strong cross wind and rudder was required to keep the plane centered on the runway but she tracked properly once I started to use the rudder. The landing that day also required a lot of rudder. I started slightly on the wind side of the runway and ended up 1/2 way over on the downwind side of the runway but the landing itself was nice and straight. I did try a faster than scale takeoff and I had to use rudder to counter some motor torque. I was glad I didn't apply any more throttle than I did. I have since stuck with the slow run up for the scale style takeoff and it is not only easier for me it also looks great in my opinion. Expo on the elevator is really helpful in shooting smooth landings. Bad landings can be a bit bouncy and surprisingly loud on the first bounce.
In the demonstration video the wind was coming in from the front left and Chris would turn into it as he took off. That is the normal direction for wind at our field.
The recommended motor, ESC, propeller and battery combination gives a nice range of power allowing for some relatively slow flying to very fast flight and a good range of aerobatics. I was able to make small and large loops and tight fast rolls as well as somewhat slower slightly wider "Victory" rolls over the field. The extended landing gear is probably slowing down the rolls slightly but the rolls still look pretty darn good despite the gear. S-turns and wing overs into strafing runs down the runway are easy, fun to perform and look good. There is enough rudder control for nice stalls with tail falls into half pipe maneuvers. Full speed passes right down the runway both look and sound impressive and gets the pilots not watching the flight to turn and catch the end of the high speed pass. As a sport plane plane I expected her to be good in handling aerobatics and she was.
NO! I recommend sport planes for intermediate or better pilots. This plane has no bad habits handled properly but I prefer beginners start with slower trainer planes.
My You Tube video of my Mustang in flight.
|Great Planes RC Mustang Sport Test Flight (4 min 5 sec)|
I am one of the many pilots who prefers the easy handling of a nice sport plane over a true to scale warbird for most of my general flying. Sport planes are generally lighter and handle better than scale warbirds which can be more difficult to fly, especially at slower speeds and when taking off and landing. As discussed above I have been very happy with the speed range (fast and slow) of this Sport Mustang and found her handling to be excellent. While I like sport handling, I prefer the appearance of a warbird over an overly bright covered sport plane. The Mustang Sport gives me both. She is definitely stand off scale and if you are looking just for scale, pick another Great Planes model. But if you like to fly a great handling sport plane that gives the appearance of a warbird, this plane has hit that mark perfectly in my opinion.
I found the instruction manual to be excellent over all. I would have liked more help with where the decals should go and I always appreciate a screw guide reference page which this doesn't have but otherwise it would be hard for even a beginner to not get this assembly correct. I enjoyed finding the hardwood under the covering when I drilled to install the aileron control horn screws and for the screws that secure the landing gear strut straps. They provided the strong hardwood those areas needed to secure the screws. It allowed for no unsightly retainers or screws coming through the aileron control surfaces. I was glad I had a Dremel cutting wheel to remove the plate from the bottom front of the plywood firewall. Removing those pieces in the firewall was really the only difficult part of the construction for me.
While the supplied Velcro straps might have secured the battery adequately... I like to use some Velcro on the battery tray. The designed tray didn't have much surface space to meet my normal needs for Velcro but the two small strips I used along with the straps kept the battery in place very well. I was able to position the battery in place for perfect C/G balance. I used the balance point recommended in the Instruction Manual and stayed with it through this review at 3.5" back from the wings leading edge. There was room on the battery compartment to go nose heavy or move the C/G back some if I wanted.
All of the above would be meaningless if the Mustang wasn't a good flyer. She is a very nice flying Sport plane as described above. From simple basic flying in pattern around the field to a variety of aerobatics I found her to handle great, with a wide speed range and she looks beautiful in flight. As stated above: If you want a very scale Mustang this is not it. If you want a very nice flying sport plane that conveys the strong appearance of a Mustang in stand off scale then I strongly recommend you consider this new Great Plane's Mustang Sport with the recommended electric components! One more bit of news I picked up in a magazine ad. This is to be the first in a series of sport warbirds from Great Planes. I say the series is off to an excellent start.
My thanks to Great Planes and Hobbico for supplying this plane and the necessary components for this review. My thanks to my friend Chris for flying her for the media shots and video for this review.Last edited by Michael Heer; Feb 15, 2015 at 07:25 PM..
|Mar 06, 2015, 11:06 AM|
This model seems to be a modern day replacement for the Dynaflite/Jemco/Mark's Models fun scale IC powered P-51. Models like this are great everyday fliers and can make an average pilot look good.
|Mar 06, 2015, 11:16 AM|
United States, FL, Brooksville
Joined Apr 2008
An excellent and nicely balanced review, Mike.
Like yours, mine went together quickly and easily with no real issues. It has all the control surfaces prehinged, drop in wing servos, the elevator joiner rod installed, and even most of the control horn holes pre-drilled. So there's not much of the tedious assembly work left to do.
My plane had lots of covering wrinkles on nearly all the pieces. But after one tightening it looked great and they have not returned.
The plane is a remarkably docile flyer for a warbird - which makes for low stress and very enjoyable flying. Sure it's standoff scale, but it still presents in the air as a Mustang.
|Mar 06, 2015, 03:17 PM|
United States, FL, Brooksville
Joined Apr 2008
No retracts and flaps are consistent with its goals of being a simple, straightforward sport plane that looks "a lot like" a Mustang.
|Mar 06, 2015, 04:20 PM|
I very much like this plane and the way it handles. I have had a few more flights on mine since submitting my review and the sport handling is really very good. Fast passes down the runway are impressive to both eyes and ears yet she slows down and handles very docile on low rates. Axial rolls immediately after takeoff may look daring but they really aren't as she handles so nicely. Again this is a first in a series of new sport warbird planes and I am interested in seeing what comes next. Mike H
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