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Great Planes Fairchild PT-19 EP ARF Review

Mike Llewellyn takes on the all new scale Great Planes PT-19 EP ARF 41.5". It is an excellent performer and perfect for the park.

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Introduction


Wingspan:41.5"
Wing Area:270 sq in
Wing type:Built up balsa - Symmetrical
AUW weight:Advertised Ė 23-29oz Actual - 24oz
Length:31.5Ē
Wing loading:~13 oz/sq. ft.
Cube loading:9.35
Transmitter:/Futaba 7c 2.4/GHz
Servos:Futaba s3114
Receiver:R617FS 7-Channel Receiver
Battery:BP Series 1600MAh 3s LiPoly
Motor:Rimfire 400 (28-30-950) Motor
ESC:25 AMP Silver Series ESC
US distributor:Great Planes
PT-19 Fairchild ARF:PT-19 EP ARF
ARF Price:$99.98

Great Planes has released a new scale electric power ARF, the PT-19 Fairchild. This is a great park-flyer sized model that has a very attractive scale yellow and blue covering scheme, and as good as the PT-19 looks - the flight performance is even more amazing. This plane is a winner!

Kit Contents

The review package arrived in perfect condition. It was exceptionally well packaged, double-boxed and the contents in the box were isolated, bagged and protected from shifting during shipment.

The PT-19 came with an excellent pictorial manual with complete step by step instructions which were clear and easy to follow. PT-19 Manual

Kit includes:

  • Stunning, built up fuselage
  • Built up wing and tail surfaces, covered and ready to go
  • Windscreens
  • Factory hinge slots all precut
  • Ailerons factory installed including the torque rods (single servo)
  • Hardware (keepers, push-rods and horns)
  • Stick on markings
  • Clear well-written picture assembly guide

Kit requires:

  • ElectriFly Rimfire 400 (28-30-950) 950KV brushless motor
  • ElectriFly SS-25 amp ESC
  • 3s LiPoly battery 1200-1600mAh
  • 3 Micro servos (Ailerons, elevator and rudder)
  • Receiver
  • 4 channel minimum transmitter

Included for this review:

<font size=-2>Rimfire 400 28-30-950 Motor</font>
Rimfire 400 28-30-950 Motor
Type:Brushless Outrunner
Weight:1.9 ounces (54g)
Cells:2-4S Li-Po
RPM/Volt (kv):950
Continuous Current:14A
Burst Current:20A (15 sec)
MSRP:$49.99

 <font size=-2>ElectriFly 25A Silver Series ESC</font>
ElectriFly 25A Silver Series ESC
Continuous maximum current:25 amps
Surge current:28 amps
Input Voltage:3s-4s
Output Input connector type:3.5mm female gold bullet connectors
Weight:.92 ounces (26g)
BEC:5v 2amp
MSRP:$39.99

<font size=-2>ElectriFly 3s 1600mAh 14.8V BP LiPo battery</font>
ElectriFly 3s 1600mAh 14.8V BP LiPo battery
Capacity:1600mAh
Voltage:111.1V
Number of cells:3
Weight:5oz
C Rating:15-20C
Max. Continuous Current:32A
MSRP:$39.99

<font size=-2>Futaba R617FS FASST seven-channel receiver</font>
Futaba R617FS FASST seven-channel receiver
Frequency:2.4Ghz FASST
Channels:Seven
Size:38x22x7mm
Weight:9g
MSRP:$99.98

<font size=-2>Great Planes Power Flow Slo-flyer Electric Propeller</font>
Great Planes Power Flow Slo-flyer Electric Propeller
Diameter:10 inches
Pitch:4.5 inches
MSRP:$3.99 for 2

<font size=-2>Futaba S3114 micro high torque servos</font>
Futaba S3114 micro high torque servos
Type:Analog
Torque:21 oz/in at 4.8V
Speed:.10 sec/60 degrees at 4.8V
Weight:7.8g
Gear type:Nylon
MSRP:$14.99

Assembly

The Great Planes Fairchild PT-19 comes in true ARF form with most of the difficult work completed at the factory. Itís highly prefabricated, including a expertly covered fuselage, wing and tail surfaces.

Most will find the PT-19 can be assembled in just a few short hours. Especially impressive was the factory installed MonoKote in scale colors. I found it very attractive, and it shows up extremely well in flight.

Done by the factory:

  • Surfaces have slots cut for hinges (ailerons were installed and glued)
  • Factory installed battery tray
  • Factory installed servo cutouts

The builder needs to:

  • Install the servos
  • Install the motor and ESC
  • Install and align the horizontal/vertical stabilizers, elevators and rudder
  • Install the landing gear and tail wheel assembly

Wing

Assembly starts with the wing panels. It was a simple matter to build up the two piece joiner and then join the wing halves. Use 30 minute epoxy on the wings as for the necessary open working time.

Once the epoxy cured, the installation of the single aileron servo was complete. The PT-19 uses torque rods and short linkages to actuate the strip ailerons. Installation of the aileron servo was totally straightforward with the servos mounting in the wing and direct short linkages (my preference).

Landing gear was quickly installed. Although the kit had two straps per gear leg, I have found one is more than enough and saves a tiny bit of weight. Every little bit counts!

Fuselage

The fuselage comes assembled and covered. The builder must install the stabilizers, elevators, rudder and tail wheel assembly.

My elevators were a bit misaligned with one higher than the other. A quick bend of the elevator wire had those surfaces even.

Gluing the fin was straightforward, and the slot was perfectly aligned. The tail wheel assembly also bolted right on.

The servo installation was completely standard. factory-cut holes in the servo tray fit the S3114 servos perfectly.

The PT-19 has a factory installed battery tray. While I appreciate the lightening holes in the ply battery tray, it makes attaching the hook and loop tape a bit tricky. I added a 1/16" hard balsa piece to form a solid tray and give more glue surface for the hook side of the hook and loop tape.

Power system

The recommended Rimfire 400 brushless motor was used to power the PT-19. Installation was straightforward, and the blind nuts factory installed. They mated to the three leg mount on the Rimfire 400 perfectly.

The instructions had the 25 AMP ESC mounting under the battery tray, but I moved it forward to aid in obtaining the proper CG without having to stuff the battery too far forward and allow for better ESC cooling.

I did cut out the MonoKote in the last bay of the underside of the PT-19 to allow the cooling air to escape from the fuselage.

Windscreens

The PT-19 as a primary trainer was obviously a "two holer". The forward cockpit point acted as a battery hatch. Great Planes has used strong magnets to attach the hatch which is my preference on small models.

Cowl

The cowl attachment for the PT-19 uses small screws and washers.

Amp draws

The included Rimfire 400 brushless motor is a lower 950Kv motor intended for use with 3s packs. With the ElectriFly 1600mAh pack I recorded the following results:

Rimfire 400 brushless motor statistics on 3s
Propeller Amps Watts Voltage
PowerFlow 10x4.5 16.5 190 11.6v
GWS HD 9x7.5 14.8 170 11.7v

These power levels gave the PT-19 about 127 watts per lb, enough for solid performance. In fact, it is certainly well past scale power for a WW2 trainer. The performance was perfect for me, but the low pitch of the 10" propeller was not enough speed for my taste. I settled on the 7.5 pitch propeller for a bit more speed and a bit less power.

The Futaba 3114 servos have provided consistent, solid performance. They are fast, center very well and provide plenty of power for this small plane.

The Silver Series 25 AMP ESC has also performed well and has plenty of overhead for larger projects. The tiny Rimfire 400 is a little powerhouse. It is small and light yet does not complain at 170w. Itís amazing for its small size!

Battery

A single 3s 1600 MAh 20c LiPoly battery was used to provide power. This pack weighs in right at 5oz (140g). Performance of this pack was stellar. It provided great voltage with a 14+ amp load. I have also used some smaller, lighter 3s packs with excellent results.

Finish

The PT-19 is covered with a very attractive, genuine MonoKote covering. As is common, the change of climate from factory to Texas made a few wrinkles form but they were easy removed with an iron.

Flying

CG

The 3s 1600MAh pack placed in center of the tray had the PT-19 balancing right at the recommended spot. I was glad that I moved the ESC forward. The CG was flown at the recommended 64mm. CG is a pilot preference, and I found it nose heavy here, but itís a good starting point.

The Futaba 7c transmitter was used for this plane. Rates were set as recommended in the manual, and they even included some easy to cut out deflection gauges. Ailerons were set to 6/10mm, elevator at 6/13mm and rudder at 13/22mm. Exponential rates were not recommended so I used my preferred 25% low rates and 35% high rates for the primary flight controls. I used 40% expo in rudder.

The roll and pitch were very light on control responsiveness, so I switched to high rates throws for low rates. This provided plenty of aileron and elevator control more suited to my taste.

Control surface throws are a very personal preference, so please adjust your accordingly.

The flight timer was set to the throttle stick. Eight minutes gave an audible warning to land before the battery was depleted.

Basics

The park sized PT-19 was a pure joy in flight. It had not a single bad habit, and it lands wonderfully. It is a touch and go tail-dragger airplane if I ever have seen one. It was smooth and forgiving allowing me to stick the wheel landings, stay tail up and take to the air again.

Thanks to Ronnie for his spectacular in-flight shots!

Takeoff and Landing

With its light wing loading and power the PT-19 gets up to takeoff speed in a hurry but with great dignity. I was amazed at how little rudder input was needed. It tracks remarkably well! Ground handling was excellent, among the best of any tail-dragger I have flown.

Landings were easy and uneventful. The PT-19 tracks well with gentle inputs. Go easy on the elevator inputs, and use throttle to control altitude! It is a blast to keep the tail off the ground for a good long while and for wheel landing touch and goes.

Special Flight Characteristics

The PT-19 is not a super acrobat, but it will loop, roll and perform inverted flight with ease. It was comfy with stall turns, snaps extremely well, will form a very tight corkscrew spin and recovers quickly and well.

The planeís stalls very predictable for a model with a low ~13 in/oz wing loading. Recovery is very quick and assured, especially with no wing drop.

Recommended power system

Power with the Rimfire 400 was very good. It provides great sport power. Remember this was a primary trainer not a rocket ship!

Is this plane for a beginner?

The PT-19 has its heritage as a step-up trainer from the Stearman used for pilots in WW2. They advanced from flying this to the AT-6, then on to the war birds we also know and love. While used as a trainer, this is likely not a good choice as a first RC trainer. However, it was not hard to fly by any means and would make a great first low wing plane.

Flight Video

Downloads

Conclusion

It was clear from the beginning that this small model was going to quickly become a favorite for me. The MonoKote covering scheme, wing and tail surfaces were all perfect. It is a well engineered plane.

Assembly of the PT-19 ARF was quick and straightforward. The prefabricated parts fit was good and made the assembly process smooth. I appreciated the magnet system for securing the battery hatch.

The Rimfire 400 brushless power system provided great power for this park flying scale bird.

Flying is where this little gem really shines. It goes to the park site with me every single time I go, and it never leaves me wanting more. It is responsive yet very well behaved on the ground and in the air.

It is fast becoming a true favorite for me. It is budget priced, looks fantastic and will make an excellent addition to your hangar!

Pluses:

  • Fantastic covering and color scheme
  • Instruction manual is detailed, in plain English full of helpful details
  • Short assembly time
  • Excellent flight results
  • Wonderful touch and go wheel landings - a gem!

Minuses:

  • Markings looked great but we need the bottom wing markings too!
  • Would be nice to see pilots included
Last edited by pda4you; Nov 15, 2009 at 07:46 AM..

Discussion

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Old Nov 18, 2009, 02:28 PM
Let slip the dogs of war!
Park_Flyer's Avatar
United States, VA, Virginia Beach
Joined Jun 2005
1,675 Posts
Nice review Mike, as always. The assembly coverage really tells the story of how quickly this one goes together. Your description of the flight and ground handling characteristics are spot on .

Here's how I resolved the missing bottom markings. I used my printer, Monokote trim sheet, and an Xacto to cut out the U.S. ARMY marking and some spare MonoKote to make the roundels. Here's what it should have looked like out of the box:



You can find a Word template and image of the U.S. ARMY markings, a full color roundel image, as well as other discussion on the model here.

Ben
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Old Nov 18, 2009, 04:19 PM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
USA, TX, Trophy Club
Joined May 2002
14,443 Posts
Looks great Ben! It is a fantastic flying airplane. I really enjoy it.

Mike
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Old Nov 18, 2009, 04:29 PM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
United States, CA, Los Angeles
Joined Sep 2003
22,594 Posts
Nice review! I agree it is a sweet looking airplane.

Reference the missing markings, as soon as this plane was announced I sent Great Planes an e-mail informing them of this mistake. I am surprised they never made an addendum and included the missing markings or made them available to customers.

Re: GPM Product Suggestion
From:
Kevin Burner <kburner@hobbico.com>
Add to Contacts
To: tkeliher@xxxxxxxxxx.com
Dear Mr. Keliher,

Thanks for the input. I thought he had it right but I will need to take another look at it. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

best regards,

Kevin Burner
Sr. Manager Airplane Division


>>> <tkeliher@xxxxxxxxxx.com> 7/30/2009 12:00 AM >>>
Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted by
(tkeliher@yahoo.com) on Thursday, July 30, 2009 at 00:00:30
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

firstname: Tom
lastname: Keliher
country: USA
product: AIR
suggtype: IMP
suggestion: Hey guys, the new PT-19 park flyer looks awesome! Only
thing is, you forgot to include the decals for the
underside of the wing. It needs two more star roundels
as well as the lettering for US ARMY. Best wishes!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Old Nov 18, 2009, 05:09 PM
Let slip the dogs of war!
Park_Flyer's Avatar
United States, VA, Virginia Beach
Joined Jun 2005
1,675 Posts
Well, at least you got a reply.
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Old Nov 18, 2009, 07:17 PM
Registered User
Kmart's Avatar
United States, CO, Boulder
Joined Sep 2008
7,428 Posts
Great Review! Awesome pictures, too.
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Old Nov 18, 2009, 07:20 PM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
USA, TX, Trophy Club
Joined May 2002
14,443 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmart View Post
Great Review! Awesome pictures, too.
Thanks man - Ronnie is a genius with the camera.
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Old Nov 18, 2009, 07:26 PM
Registered User
Kmart's Avatar
United States, CO, Boulder
Joined Sep 2008
7,428 Posts
I swear, that man is the photo God!!!

By the way, I'm shooting you a PM- I'm going to be down there next Monday for the Holiday.
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Old Nov 19, 2009, 02:16 PM
Let slip the dogs of war!
Park_Flyer's Avatar
United States, VA, Virginia Beach
Joined Jun 2005
1,675 Posts
I really hate that crease in the fuselage covering above the wing saddle.

I was thinking about attempting to add a piece of balsa stock that would keep the saddle in its compressed position. CA it in place with the wing installed, then remove the wing and work the wrinkle out of the covering. I'll have to look at the model tonight and see if you can even get to it.

Any other thoughts on how to eliminate it?
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Old Nov 20, 2009, 02:00 PM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
USA, TX, Trophy Club
Joined May 2002
14,443 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by benhobe View Post
I really hate that crease in the fuselage covering above the wing saddle.

I was thinking about attempting to add a piece of balsa stock that would keep the saddle in its compressed position. CA it in place with the wing installed, then remove the wing and work the wrinkle out of the covering. I'll have to look at the model tonight and see if you can even get to it.

Any other thoughts on how to eliminate it?
I sanded the ply tab on the wing until the wing fit did not cause that bind?

Mike
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Old Nov 20, 2009, 02:23 PM
Balsa just crashes better
Cub Fan's Avatar
Bradenton, FL
Joined Nov 2004
591 Posts
Nice review Mike - I love mine also- She is a blast to fly. If you have the decal sheet from a GWS -P-40 laying around( happens I did) it has the missing markings for the bottom of the wing in the perfect size in water slide decals.

This is a great plane for the money and a joy to fly- It has become one of the planes I always take to the field.

Cub Fan
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Old Nov 25, 2009, 07:07 AM
Registered User
Douglas C's Avatar
Roanoke Texas
Joined Jun 2007
360 Posts
Mike

Thanks for the review now I will go buy the kit and be done with it, you rock.
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Old Nov 25, 2009, 07:44 PM
rc nut in az
Tamiya tony's Avatar
goodyear Arizona
Joined Mar 2009
382 Posts
I love the way it flys with a 1800 mah 25c batt and a 9x7.5 apc prop,very peppy and rolls great on high rate
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Old Nov 25, 2009, 08:51 PM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
USA, TX, Trophy Club
Joined May 2002
14,443 Posts
Thanks guys....

It is a great flying machine - no question. And I really do like the extra pitch speed 9x7.5 prop gives that.
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Old Dec 06, 2009, 05:42 PM
Registered User
Colorado Springs, CO
Joined Oct 2004
727 Posts
OK, how many folks were like me and spent a bunch of their allowance or paper route money on the almost indestructible Cox control line version of this aircraft back in...well, too many years ago? I've never bought an ARF, but I might have to make an exception for this one just for nostalgia's sake.
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