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Horizon Hobby E-Flite Super Cub 25E Platinum Series Review

E-Flite and Horizon Hobby expand upon the Platinum series with one of the ultimate classics in general aviation history, the Piper Super Cub.

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Channels: 5+ (6 servos)
Motor: Power 25-32
ESC: 60A Eflite Pro
Weight: ~6lbs
Length: 45.5 in (1160mm)
Wingspan: 68.0 in (1730mm)
Distributed by: Horizon Hobby
Manufactured by: E-Flite
MSRP: $239.99
 
I remember being young and extremely enthusiastic about airplanes. I'm sure many of you can relate. Growing up in a more rural area, it wasn't all too often that I got too see the big iron that frequents larger municipal areas (unless of course we were going on vacation and getting on one ourselves). Where I grew up, Cessna 152s and Piper Cubs could be seen churning holes in the circuit around our local airport. I looked at those planes and the men brave enough to pilot those cool machines with respect.

As I got a bit older and my passion for all things with wings further developed, I ran across some of my grandfather's old books and found some great tales of Alaskan frontiersmen. I remember reading tales about trappers, gold hunters and folks looking for adventure traveling to Alaska, and no matter how heroic the tale or how brave the individuals, each spoke of his respect and admiration for the pilots who were able to transport and supply them with necessities for survival when nobody else could. Reading these stories really left an impression on me.

So imagine my surprise when I heard that E-Flite would be expanding their Platinum series of models with a 25 sized Super Cub set up for an electric power plant. Complete with operational doors, a magnetically attached cowl, stand off scale struts, flaps, and nice big wheels, the Super Cub certainly represents the heritage of its real life counterpart appropriately. Let's take a look at what's inside the box.

History

Of all the planes developed and sold during Piper Aircraft's long history, perhaps one of the best known is the Piper Super Cub. Many find it very difficult to think of the Piper name without the Super Cub attached. This lightweight training plane began its production in the late 1940s and continued in manufacture until the 1990s. Still quite popular today, this little plane's four-decade history included a lot of changes, but quality and affordability never wavered. The Piper Super Cub grew out of Piper's earlier Cub line. The Super itself is said to have been inspired by the PA-14 family cruiser. The new super plane took to the air for the first time in 1949 and began delivery that same year. The plane replaced the Cub Special in Piper's line. The Super Cub itself remained a strong feature of the Piper line for quite some time. From its initial launch until 1981, Piper built more than 7,000 Super Cubs. After 1981, this model was built for WTA, who then owned the marketing and manufacturing rights on the plane. By 1988, Piper regained the Super Cub and continued its production. After the 1980s, the Piper Super Cub sputtered into and out of production. The line was discontinued in 1992, but picked up again in 1993. By 1995, the model was officially off the line. Source: Piper Aircraft

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Kit Contents

My Super Cub showed up on my doorstep after just a few days after talking with the nice folks at Horizon and confirming my order. I'm not all TOO excited when I open a box anymore, but this time I couldn't wait to tear into the boxes and see just what the Super Cub looked like. Everything had been nicely packed, and just by the way things were positioned and how well they were secured in place, you could tell Horizon had thought about all the little details with this plane. One of the first things to catch my attention was the bright color scheme E-flite has selected for this plane. The red and white colors really pop and help show off all the subtle lines of the plane very well. As one would expect from any Horizon or E-Flite offering, the quality of the build and components are very nice, the hardware pack is very complete, and the instruction manual serves as a great guide for the build with both pictures and detailed text for each step. The fiberglass cowl attaches to the fuselage with a set of magnets, and its overall shape seems to be spot on with the original to my eye. The landing gear are nice and beefy as one would expect for a plane best suited for 'off-field' landings, and the oversize wheels have cool scale hubs as well. The split cockpit doors, flaps, and pre-applied decals round out some of this planes highlights and certainly help demonstrate why E-Flite has decided to give this plane the 'Platinum Series' designation.



 
 



 

Kit includes/features:

  • Awesome scale lines
  • Aluminum wing struts
  • Corrugated flaps and ailerons
  • Magnetically attached pre-painted cowl
  • Split cockpit doors
  • Complete hardware package
    (oversize wheels, scale hubs, control horns, pushrods, etc.)
  • Suspension with working struts

Kit requirements:

  • 6 mini servos
  • 5+ channel Receiver
  • Power 25 - 32 Motor
  • 60A E-Flite ESC
  • 13x6.5 or 14x7 prop
  • Battery (4s 2800-3200mah)

Horizon Hobby supplied the recommended components for my build in this review including six (6) JR MN48 servos, an E-Flite 60A Pro ESC, a Spektrum 7010 receiver, a Power 32 brushless electric motor and the optional cockpit kit and lighting system. The optional cockpit and lighting kit just take this plane to another level and in my mind they are must have items. The cockpit kit includes some nicely painted and detailed seats, an instrument panel and a slurry of other goodies that help make the Super Cub that much more scale. Lights are always a nice touch with any scale project and E-Flite has designed the Super Cub so it's ready to accept the optional kit Horizon provided. Right then, let's get cracking .... this thing isn't going to build itself!

 



Assembly

As an ARF, most of the major construction of the Super Cub is already done. All that really remains to do is to install your servos, radio gear and power system, attach the landing gear and install the scale accoutrements. Since I was installing the "extra" goodies included in the lighting and scale cockpit kit there was a bit more work to do, but overall things fit nicely; nothing a hobby knife, some glue, and a little patience couldn't get me through. Glue (CA & Epoxy), a hobby knife, screwdriver(s), dremel, and hand drill were all used during the construction of this model but most of you considering building this model will already have that in the workshop. My build took just over a week between work and family life, but those who can commit more than an hour a day should have this thing ready to go in just a couple of evenings.

Fuselage

The fuselage on the Super Cub is built up balsa and nicely covered with brightly colored red and white UltraKote. The "N" numbers, trim and all decals are in place on the model out of the box. In my opinion, one of the coolest features on the model is the opening cockpit doors which are two piece and open in a scale fashion. Overall the major construction of the fuselage is done out of the box and all the other components are assembled onto it. E-Flite certainly hasn't scrimped on the details of this plane, and close inspection of the fuselage really shows it. Things like the pre-slotted mounting position for the ESC switch and the pre-installed blind nuts for the motor mount really make life easier when building and show that some thought was put into the plane's construction by folks who know how to build planes. Adding to the list of cool features that anyone with previous building experience will appreciate are the servo access hatch, magnetically attached cowling and pre-cut and magnetized battery access hatch. Having all this stuff done at the factory really makes the assembly go by much more quickly and I for one love it!

 

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Wing

Building the 2 piece removable wing starts by hinging and attaching your flap and aileron surfaces. Both the ailerons and flaps are pre-slotted for their appropriate hinge style and simply need to be glued into place. The flaps are secured with robart style pin hinges and 15 - 30 minute epoxy while the ailerons are attached using the traditional thin CA method. Once the control surfaces are in place, the servos are to be installed in the wing. Another one of the features that I enjoyed with the build was the fact that when I removed the servo covers they were ready to accept the servos without any prep work. Simply install the grommets in your servo and screw them into the tray on the back side of the servo tray and voila, you're done. Center the servos and install the horns. Seal the servo in place inside the wing by screwing the tray into the pre-drilled holes (don't forget to reinforce the holes with thin CA) once you've attached the servo extensions and routed them through to the wing root. Next, grab the linkages and control horns out of the bag and install the horns into the control surfaces with the provided screws. Connect the control linkages to the servos and the opposite end to the horn you just installed and verify your control throws via the transmitter. The aluminum wing struts and scale lighting installation are covered elsewhere in the review.

 





 

Tail

Assembling the tail isn't difficult but make sure you read through all the instructions before you just start gluing things in place. Some of the steps are easier to-do before the parts are installed on the airframe but not impossible should you happen to get ahead of yourself. Assembling the tail feathers starts but dry fitting the horizontal stab halves on either side of the fuselage and their support rods. Once you have verified they will rest against the fuselage snugly mix up a batch of 15 minute epoxy and dribble some down inside the support rod guide holes in each stab half and slip them into place over the support rods on either side of the fuse. Make sure you get a good amount of glue down in the hole (use some piano wire, a toothpick, etc.) as this is an important structural part of the aircraft. Wipe up the excess glue and while its curing go ahead and prep the tail bracing rods by screwing the nylon ball links onto the threaded rods. Attach the tail bracing between the vertical stab and horizontal using the provided screws and washers. It takes a bit of tinkering to not cause any 'flexing' but keep at it it's just a matter of time until you get it just right. Next install the elevator control surface havles using regular CA style hinges and thin CA.

If you're installing the optional light kit, you will at this point need to prepare the tail light. Clip a 36" light extension and run the clipped end through the pre-installed control rod tube inside the fuselage and route it out the tail. Slip the rudder over the wire protruding from the tail and secure it in place again with regular style CA hinges and thin CA. Now grab a clear LED and clip the plugs off it, strip the wires and tin them up. Solder it to the wires you prepared earlier protruding from the tail. After things cool down a bit and you have your heatshrink in place go ahead and gingerly pull the lead inside as to take up the wire extending out of the tail feathers and to suck up the clear LED into the rudder. Once the light is flush with the rudder secure it in place with a dab of CA. Next, if you haven't already done it, pop open the servo hatch cover and install your elevator and rudder servos. The provided control rods (one of which is actually two control rods soldered together to connect the two elevator halves) are slipped through the pre-installed guide tubes inside the fuselage as with the tail light, and then a clevis is connected on the opposite end of the run. Finally connect the clevis to the control horn(s) you installed previously in the tails control surfaces.

 




 

Power System Assembly / Install

The Super Cub is set up out of the box to be powered by either the Power 25 or Power 32. Simply install the X-mount on the backside of your motor, attach the motor to the firewall, plug in your motor wires to the ESC and mount it (the ESC) on the inside of the fuselage. If you're using the power 32, make sure to use the included standoffs to get your spacing correct. As with the rest of the kit, everything fits very nicely and didn't require much fiddling to get things lined up as they should be. The switch for the ESC mounts inside the fuselage and once the ESC servo lead has been routed inside the fuselage accordingly all that is left to-do is mount the battery with the provided hook and loop straps and slap the battery hatch and cowl in place. Both the hatch and cowl are held in place with strong magnets and allow easy access to the battery between flights. Once the cowl is in place finish up your install by putting the prop and prop adapter in place on your motor. I was pleasantly surprised how easy the power plant was to install, and it's clear whoever designed the Super Cub spent a bit of time getting things as streamlined as possible.

 





 

Landing Gear

Assembling and installing the main landing gear is pretty straightforward. The struts are bolted onto the fuselage with the provided hardware and the rest of the assembly is bolted into place around it. Everything is of metal construction and coated with white paint making for a really nice scale looking completed set of gear and struts. The included tires are nice soft rubber and the hubs carry the 'Cub' moniker just as the planes real life counter-part. The tail wheel is a cool little unit that also bolts to the underside of the fuselage also nicely simulating the real Cubs real life components. After the tillers are bolted to the rudder and the tail wheel unit has been attached to the fuselage they are connected together by a pair of springs that require a bit of tinkering to get just right, but in the end functions pretty well. It does seem to lack a bit of authority in taxi tests and 'lags' behind inputs to the rudder but then again I'm not used to flying tail draggers either.

Once I got the gear together and bolted up on the plane, I couldn't help but see how much suspension travel the struts had. Initially there was a bit more resistance then I expected when trying to exercise the suspension, but after a few times through its range of travel things are working nice and smoothly. If you're anything like me, you're planning on flying the Cub at the beach or off of some bumpy strips to simulate some awesome backcountry flying. It appears the folks at Horizon had the same thing in mind and, the amount of travel on the struts should allow the Super Cub to handle those 'tundra' runs just fine.

 

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Radio Installation

Both the main receiver and satellite unit are installed inside the servo access hatch towards the rear of the fuselage. First, glue the receiver mounting plate in place and then attach the servo leads to the appropriate channels on the receiver and secure the receiver in place against the mounting plate with some double sided tape or velcro. There will be a decent amount of wires to tangle with so take your time and don't pull on wires that can't be coerced on where you would like them on your first attempt.

Optional Scale Cockpit Installation

The optional cockpit kit provides some additional cool points in my book. And while it might not be for everyone I certainly think its worth the extra hour or so to put one in place. Looking at the photos in the manual it can be a bit hard to figure out just where all the pieces go but I certainly know all to well how hard it can be to photograph things inside cockpits of R/C planes. That said, take a bit of time and lay the pieces out near the plane and start placing them in the aircraft. Before you know it, it will all start coming together like a big jigsaw puzzle. The majority of my components fit snug enough they didn't require any glue. The exception to that was one of the siderail pieces and the floor boards as they kept wanting to lift in a few different places. Overall the cockpit kit looks great and certainly adds to the planes presence on the ground.

 



 

Optional Lighting Kit Installation

What general aviation plane would be complete without lights?? Well the folks at E-Flite certainly share the same sentiment as I and prepared both the wings and fuselage so the optional light kit is easy to install. Each wing half has a guide tube which your prepared wires are slipped through and then a LED is connected at the opposite end. The fuselage also contains a guide tube so the tail lights wiring can easily be run through and out the tail feathers. Once in place, all the lights are hooked up to an E-Flite Universal light kit controller which is connected to the Spektrum receiver for power. The lights can be controlled via my transmitter via the gear switch which is very nice feature. I would love to have the option of having the lights blink or possibly even a rotating beacon to complete the whole package but I'm certain that it wouldn't be hard to source something that would do the trick.

Completion

Completing the Super Cub consists of installing your wing struts, scale accessories (light covers, aileron linkage covers, etc.), balancing the model, checking the control surface movements and range checking the model. Also, go over the plane in general and make sure you check all the linkages and what not to ensure everything is tight and operating as expected. Better to get all that stuff done at home before the maiden flight then to-do it out at the field in my opinion. Plenty of stuff to worry about, and you might end up forgetting a vital pre-flight step if you are distracted.

 

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Flying

Basics

Flying the Super Cub can best be described as 'realistic' in my opinion. Keeping the plane at about 1/2 - 3/4 throttle is where it seems to be happiest and turns need to be initiated with rudder in order to keep the plane from dragging its tail through the corners. Once airborne the plane looks really good in the air and with its decent overall size and bright colors visibility is a non-issue. On the maiden flight a little aileron trim was required as well as a tiny bit of elevator trim but the stock C.G. worked out perfectly for my tastes. All the control surface throws were set to the factory recommended values and everything but the rudder seemed fine to me. I've since reduced the amount of throw on my rudder and also mixed in a bit more expo then I normally use as it (the rudder) does seem to be fairly effective.

Spinning the 13x6.5 prop on the Power 32 setup the top speed of the Super Cub is respectable and the plane has excellent vertical capabilities. Testing the planes stall behavior (clean configuration) proved it to be very well behaved with no wing drop during the stall and a nice predictable nose down recovery attitude. With the stall tests out of the way and the plane all trimmed up we started to play with the flaps a bit. My initial flight I didn't setup any elevator to be mixed in with flap deployment (even though the manual recommends it) and while it was totally manageable, I did end up mixing in a bit of elevator to compensate for the pitch when the flaps do kick out. The flaps are very effective (even at half deployment) and into the wind with the flaps down the Super Cub will just hang in the sky.

Taking Off and Landing

Takeoff

Takeoffs with the Super Cub are really a non-event and things will go much more smoothly if you keep in mind you are flying a very scale aircraft and that it should be flown in an according manner. On a paved surface I find myself slowly increasing the throttle to about half stick when about that time the tail will be lifting off (or has already). Continue to feed in throttle and with half flaps the plane will lift off by itself (no flaps will require a slight bit of back stick to slip the surly bonds of earths surface). Once airborne I find that quite frequently I pull back the power to about 1/2 - 3/4 stick as the plane gets on step very quickly. Nothing happens too quickly with the Super Cub, so after a few flights everything will feel like second nature.

One last thing I'd like to mention is the planes 'off field' takeoff capabilities. It would only make sense that such a nice replica of one of the all time greatest 'bush' planes would perform well off of rocky surfaces or strips that have some pretty thick grass. Between the large tires, and active suspension on the landing gear the Super Cub can eat up some pretty gnarley looking strips. We tested in some medium length grass and the Super Cub gets rolling with about 3/4 throttle and even tracked pretty well at low speeds in the decent length grass. For takeoffs I'd recommend at least 1/2 flaps and going with a full throttle setting to ensure you utilize all the Power 32 has to offer.

Landing

Being a tail dragger has its advantages and disadvantages, and one of the things that makes a tail dragger a bit trickier then a more 'traditional' styled tricycle equipped aircraft is the technique utilized to steer the aircraft. While getting the hang of it does take a little practice, it's nothing to worry about and it certainly adds to the Super Cub experience in my book. As I've mentioned before in this article the Super Cub likes being flown in a scale fashion, and that certainly shows most during the landing phase. Setting up my landings usually starts by flying an extended downwind leg in which I will start reducing throttle to slow the plane down and deploy flaps should I decide I want them for this approach. By flying an extended downwind leg it allows for more time to setup your approach and visualize your glide slope to see exactly where you will end up landing. After a nice shallow turn to base leg and finals drop in your last stage of flaps should you desire, and let the plane settle into a nice stabilized decent. Using 'coordinated' inputs bring the Super Cub down to the runway on its mains and pull the power all the way back. Steering inputs during this period of time get a bit interesting as the rudder itself is no longer effective (not enough aispeed), and the tail wheel has not yet either touched down. Slowly feed in some up elevator to help the tail wheel settle down as the speed bleeds off and before you know it the Super Cub will be back on the ground. All in all landing the Super Cub is a really fun experience and will only take a few landings to pick up the techniques required for landing a tail dragger fairly proficiently.

Is This For a Beginner?

The Super Cub is a very docile handling aircraft but in reality I just can't recommend it for a true beginner. After you have mastered a few high wing aileron ships then I could see considering one but as I stated before complete newbies should choose a more appropriate model to build some stick time with.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

 
 



 
 



 
 



 
 



 
 



 

Conclusion

E-Flite and Horizon certainly have a great looking (and flying) model on their hands here and it certainly is worthy of the 'Platinum' series branding in my opinion. Things like the working suspension, the cool tail wheel assembly and cockpit kit, the corrugated sheeting on some of the control surfaces, and lighting kit are just a few of the goodies wrapped up in this ARF, and all help add up to one seriously cool airplane. I'm just waiting for a few more to show up at the local flying field so we can have some 'shortest takeoff competitions'. Anybody wanna come out to the field and play?

Likes:

  • Awesome scale looks on the ground and in the air
  • Cockpit kit
  • Ability to play around in rougher terrain
  • "Super" fun to fly (I had to-do it someplace in the review!)

Dislikes:

  • No 'channels' or easy ways to hide wiring inside cockpit
  • No blinking or strobing lights like many general aviation aircraft have

Last edited by gp125racer; Jan 04, 2012 at 11:14 AM..

Discussion

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Old Jan 10, 2012, 05:13 PM
daedalusrobert's Avatar
United States, GA, Valdosta
Joined Jan 2009
584 Posts
Great review! Really love the way this plane flies...and lands! The only beef I had with it is the tail wheel springs; the tension is not nearly enough to keep her from ground looping...IMO.
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Old Jan 10, 2012, 05:47 PM
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ducatirdr's Avatar
United States, MA, Sutton
Joined Aug 2006
1,287 Posts
+1 on the tail wheel springs. They don't work.
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Old Jan 10, 2012, 07:26 PM
Registered User
Upstate NY
Joined Nov 2007
9 Posts
It's always nice to read a review on a plane I have on order (backorder that is). From what they say it will be available the end of this month. I hope so. From all the reading I've done on the Super Club, I will be replacing the tail wheel assembly. Can't wait to get started. Great pictures and info in your review and I'm sure it will helpful once I get going.
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Old Jan 10, 2012, 08:43 PM
Registered User
Sebastopol, CA, USA
Joined Dec 1996
538 Posts
As always a beautifully done (as well as complete and informative) review.
Just plain classy!

I would like to do as well. Perhaps you can tell me, do you do all the coding by hand? Using EZone's editor? Or do you have some sort of Dreamweaver-like program that helps you with the layout, picture size, etc.

I know I can print out the source, but it runs to over 90 pages and looks vastly difficult to emulate.

So far, I have just edited in EZone's editor, but it is very limited.

Thanks for your wonderful work. Always a treat.
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Old Jan 10, 2012, 09:13 PM
Wherever you go there you are
7oneWo1f's Avatar
United States, MN, Minneapolis
Joined Nov 2011
8,331 Posts
wow, nice review, all HH stuff, too. Lot's of work went I to this review I can tell.
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Old Jan 10, 2012, 09:29 PM
Team EJF >>>WHOOSH>>>
AceMigKiller's Avatar
Joined Jul 2004
5,213 Posts
Very cool Don!

I have the pleasure of flying full-scale Super Cubs once in a while, alot of them painted in that White/Red trim scheme... it's soooo close to being REALLY scale right out of the box, I might have to have one and go the full 9-yards!

Excellent job on the review btw

Vic
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Old Jan 10, 2012, 10:04 PM
Serbia Moderator
molenjin's Avatar
Australia, SA, Adelaide
Joined Oct 2006
774 Posts
A stunning model! Good job, E-flite!
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Old Jan 11, 2012, 01:18 PM
Serenity Now!
jbrundt's Avatar
O'Fallon, MO, USA
Joined Jan 2001
1,318 Posts
How about a link to the thread that started it all:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1445753

Lot's of good info there.....
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Old Jan 12, 2012, 07:42 AM
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mavdriver's Avatar
United States, CA, Apple Valley
Joined May 2002
2,877 Posts
excellent review do they half a floats obtion in case you want to fly off water
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Old Jan 13, 2012, 09:09 PM
Registered User
portage la prairie,manitoba, canada
Joined May 2003
170 Posts
Excellent review and the timing is perfect - I got a super cub with the cockpit kit and light kit for Christmas (good old Santa!)
E-flight does sell floats for a 25 size plane - if I ever get some free time, I'm going to try to modify my cub to accept both floats and wheels.
Murray
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Old Jan 13, 2012, 09:30 PM
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Dan Parson's Avatar
Buffalo,MN
Joined Dec 2005
1,301 Posts
Nice plane, but just too big for me, if it were in the 48" WS area, I would be very interested in it.

All my planes run either 1300 3 cell or 2200 3 cell batteries, this would just add to the growing pile I already have!
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Old Jan 13, 2012, 10:39 PM
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mavdriver's Avatar
United States, CA, Apple Valley
Joined May 2002
2,877 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpatterson View Post
Excellent review and the timing is perfect - I got a super cub with the cockpit kit and light kit for Christmas (good old Santa!)
E-flight does sell floats for a 25 size plane - if I ever get some free time, I'm going to try to modify my cub to accept both floats and wheels.
Murray
Thanks for the response thats what I want to do also .
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Old Jan 15, 2012, 10:14 AM
The figure "9" Specialist
aeronca's Avatar
A Barrier Island in New Jersey, USA
Joined Oct 2003
3,452 Posts
That plane is a big 'un! Nice review Don, but I need to keep my hangar filled with 48" or less wingspan-models weighing 3lbs. or less that fly high-wing scale-like considering most places where I can still fly. A 6lb., 68" WS Super Cub would be terrific, but I just have no place to fly one that large safely anymore.

Aeronca
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Old Jan 17, 2012, 09:12 PM
Electric baptism 1975
DavidN's Avatar
Vernon, BC, Canada
Joined Dec 2000
2,852 Posts
The tail wheel springs look to me as if they need to be more horizontal to work properly. ?? bend the rudder metal horns down; but the spring might then be too long. Fishing line? or shorter springs
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