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Great Planes Rifle 1M EP Sport ARF Review

Not for the faint hearted, this speeding bullet of a plane is just perfect for Advanced Flyers looking for a real thrill.

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Great Planes Rifle 1M Review

Introduction

Great Planes Rifle 1M
Wingspan:39.5 in (1000 mm)
Length:30.5 in (775 mm)
Wing Area:174 sq in
Weight:25-28 oz (710-795 gm)
Wing Loading:20.7-23.2 oz/sq ft
Servos:Futaba S3157
Receiver:Futaba R617FS
Sport Battery:2S 2200 mAh 30C LiPo
Speed Battery:3S 2200mAh 30C LiPo
Motor:28–45–3600 Ammo Brushless
ESC:50 Amp Castle Phoenix Edge
Sport Prop:APC 5.25x6.25
Speed Prop:APC 4.5x4.1
Sport Power WOT:300 Watts
Speed Power WOT:500 Watts
Transmitter:Futaba 8FG Super
Manufacturer:Great Planes
Available From:Hobbico Dealers
Street Price:$159.99

The original Rifle was introduced in 2010 and was listed as a 31 inch "Sport Airplane" for advanced pilots. That little plane pretty much set the Gold Standard as an inexpensive entry level F5-type pylon racer. The new Rifle 1M is the Bigger, though younger, brother of the original. This version boasts a carbon fiber reinforced wing and increased wing area for better durability and milder launch manners. It's larger size also helps with better visibility and improved handling and the larger fuselage cavity allows the use of bigger battery packs which means even higher speeds.

WARNING!!! Fast, small planes are very addictive. The faster you can fly a plane, the faster you will want to fly. You have been warned!

The good news for all those who want to dip there toe into the wonderful world of F5 Pylon style racers is that Great Planes has come up with a brilliant solution to the often times steep learning curve of F5 planes. The new Rifle 1M can be flown as a "slower" Sport style model on a 2-cell Lipo battery. This sport setup will allow the pilot to learn all about safely launching the plane and safely flying a small model while easing up to the 100 MPH flight level. With the new 2-aileron servo setup, the pilot will be able to program spoilerons and learn the proper method to slow down and land a very slick airframe.

OK, it's time to open the box and get started building this little beauty.

Kit Contents

Kit Includes:

  • Fiberglass Fuselage with pre-installed Motor Mount and Elevator Pushrod Tube
  • 1-Piece Fiberglass/Foam Composite Wing with pre-hinged Ailerons
  • Fiberglass/Foam Composite Horizontal Stab with pre-hinged Elevator
  • Generous Hardware Package
  • Colorful Decal Sheet
  • 24-Page Photo-Illustrated Instruction Manual

Kit Requires:

  • 28 mm Brushless Inrunner Motor
  • 50 Amp Brushless ESCs
  • 5.25x6.25 Sport Prop or 4.5x4.1 Speed Prop
  • 2200 mAh 2-cell Sport Battery or 3-cell Speed Battery
  • Minimum 4-Channel Radio, 5-Channel for dual Aileron programming
  • Three 20 oz-in Torque Servos
  • 2-6" Servo Extensions
  • 30-minute Epoxy Glue
  • Thread Locking Compound
  • Assorted Drills, Knife Blades, and Screwdrivers

Recommended Parts

This is a list of the parts recommended by Great Planes for the Rifle 1M:

  • Ammo 28-45-3600 Brushless Inrunner Motor
  • Castle Creations Edge Lite 50 Amp Brushless ESCs
  • FlightPower 2100 mAh 25C 2-cell Lipoly Sport Battery
  • ElectriFly 2200 mAh 30C 3-cell Lipoly Speed Battery
  • 3-Futaba S3157 Digital Micro Servos
  • APC 5.25x6.25 Sport Propellers and 4.5x4.1 Speed Propellers

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Parts Supplied by Hobbico for this Review

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ammo 28-45-3600 Inrunner Motor
Type: Brushless Inrunner
Motor Diameter: 28 mm
Number of cells: LiPoly 2s-4s
RPM/V: 3600
Weight: 133 grams
Max Continuous Current 40 Amps
Max Surge Current: 70 Amps
Max Power(watts): 592 Watts
Shaft diameter: 3.2 mm
Male Motor Connector : 3.5 mm

Castle Creations Phoenix Edge Lite 50 Amp ESC
Type Brushless Speed Control
Number of cells 2-8 Lipo cells
Max Continuous Current 50 Amps
BEC 5.0 Amps
Data Logging Supported
Programming Transmitter, PC, or Field Card
Dimensions (L x W x D) 50.8mm x 25.4mm x 23.2mm
Weight 56 grams

FlightPower EONX Lite 2S 2100 mAh 25C LiPoly Battery
Type Lithium Polymer
Number of cells 2-cells
Capacity 2100 mAh
Voltage 7.4 Volts
Weight130 gm
Dimensions (L x W x D) 104 x 34 x 16mm
Maximum continuous discharge 25C
Maximum continuous current 52.5 Amps

ElectriFly 3S 2200 mAh 30C LiPoly Battery
Type Lithium Polymer
Number of cells 3-cells
Capacity 2200 mAh
Voltage 11.1 Volts
Weight174 grams
Dimensions (L x W x D) 102 x 35 x 24mm
Maximum continuous discharge 30C
Maximum continuous current 66 Amps

Futaba S3157 High Speed/High Torque Micro Servos
Type: Digital
Size Factor: Micro
Bearing: Nylon
Operating Speed 60°: 0.10 sec @4.8V, 0.09 sec @ 6.0V
Torque: 21 oz-in @ 4.8V, 23.6 oz-in @ 6.0V
Weight: 8.3 grams
Dimensions: 22mm x 11mm x 23mm
Gear Type: All Nylon

Assembly

The 24-page Instruction Manual is possibly the best manual Great Planes has produced to date. In addition to the numerous photos, illustrations, and very helpful building tips, the manual includes valuable model set up tips and flight instructions that are spot on. Advanced pilots should have no problems with this quick build. The parts count is very low and the assembly is straight forward. If this is your first F5 pylon racer build, you may also want to read over the Rifle 1M Thread on RCGroups for some additional building tips.

Fuselage

On the Rifle 1M, the assembly process begins with the fuselage rather than the wing like other ARFs. More precisely, the process begins with fitting the motor to the firewall of the fuselage. The kit includes a drill template to properly position the motor mounting holes in relation to the fuselage top seam. The proper installation would result in the motor power wires mounting up against the very top of the forward section of the fuselage. When I checked the motor leads on my Ammo motor, I found that they were not aligned exactly with the motor mounting holes. I carefully marked the motor case with the wire lead location and then mounted and marked the drill template.

I was then able to line up the template mark with the top fuselage seam line and get the motor wires positioned exactly in the top of the fuselage. The manual suggests that you may have to trim off some of the motor shaft to get the prop spinner to space properly with the front of the fuselage. On my Ammo motor, I did not have to trim the shaft at all for a very tight fit. I recommend that you install your motor in the fuselage and then completely install the spinner with a prop to check your clearance before you decide to trim your motor shaft.

The next step involved installation of the elevator assembly and the elevator pushrod. I found that my elevator needed a little sanding of the stabilizer mounting saddle to get the elevator to sit level. Once the elevator was properly leveled, I installed the elevator pushrod and found that it had what I considered to be excess drag. Even after careful cleaning of the pushrod surface and cleaning of the pushrod tube interior, the drag still seemed excessive. After some experimentation, I found that putting a gentle bend in the pushrod that more closely matched the curved path of the tube within the fuselage, allowed the pushrod to move much easier within the tube.

When I got ready to mount the elevator servo in the fuselage, I found that all three tubes of my favorite brand of Shoe Goo had hardened to a point that they were no longer usable. Luckily I was able to find the recommended Zap Adhesives brand of Zap Goo at my local hobby shop. I found it helpful to carefully mark the servo position in the fuselage and rough up the servo side before I applied the Zap Goo. Even though the Goo set up pretty quick, I weighted down the servo and let the Goo completely set up overnight.

Wing

The first step of the wing assembly process began with the fabrication of the aileron pushrods. The recommended Hobbico Z-Bend Pliers made the fabrication process a joy rather than a chore. This tool made precise Z-bends at exactly the right spots on the wire every time.

The aileron servos mounted in recesses in each wing half using Zap Goo. There were no pull strings for the servo wires, but the wires were fairly easy to push through the short molded tunnel to the wing center.

The aileron pushrods needed to be connected to the aileron horns and to the servo arms before the servos could be glued in place. As I was working on centering the servos and the ailerons, I found that there was some side-to-side play in the pushrods due to the depth of the Z-bend. I eliminated the play by installing some spacers made out of old servo horn arms. The finished product was light and slop free.

Radio Installation

The receiver was a tight fit in the area just behind the wing saddle. I routed one of the receiver antennas through the rear fuselage and left it pointing at the tail. I used a short section of pushrod tube to hold the other antenna in a vertical orientation just behind the fuselage former.

Completion

The completed Rifle 1M weighed 1 pound and 9 ounces with the 2S battery and 1 pound 10.5 ounces with the 3S battery. Using the provided balance stand, I carefully balanced the plane to achieve the recommended balance point of 1-3/16" from the leading edge and marked the 2S battery location in the fuselage. I then installed the 3S battery and performed the same process and marked the 3S battery location. I was surprised that the battery location was almost the same for the 2S and 3S batteries.

I set the control surface throws at the recommended amounts and set the exponential to the recommended amount for each rate setting and each control surface. l set up the recommended spoileron mix on the ailerons and programmed in the recommended elevator deflection. I then set up an additional mix with the Rudder channel as the Master and the Aileron channel as the Slave. This mix allowed me to control the ailerons during hand launches between the time my right hand left the fuselage and the time my right hand finally got back on the aileron stick on the transmitter. This mix also allowed the plane to react to my instinctive rudder inputs during landings. I set the transmitter count down timer for the Sport Power set up to 4 minutes and had it start and run at any throttle setting above 20%.

The Sport Power set up charted 300 Watts peak power in flight for a whopping 192 Watts per pound power loading. The 500 Watt Speed set up raised the power loading to an amazing 320 Watts per pound! No wonder this slippery little racer flies so fast!

Flying

Basics

The Rifle 1M is a small plane that flies really fast. It gets really small in a hurry and it requires 110% of your attention at all times. The high speed and the big adrenaline rush are it's primary attributes.

Taking Off and Landing

The Rifle 1M has no landing gear, so it must be hand launched and belly landed. Both processes are described in depth in the Assembly Manual. The manual recommended low rate elevator for launches and for flying while high rate elevator was reserved for landings.

Hand launches can be tricky. The Rifle 1M needed a very firm toss and about a 20 degree launch angle. I found that it was best to have someone help with the first few launches so that I could concentrate on flying and trimming the Rifle 1M. I only needed one click of aileron and one click of elevator to keep the plane flying straight and level so I didn't spend much time on trimming. The first launch was too steep and too slow, and the plane wobbled a little before it stabilized and started flying. The second launch was too shallow but plenty fast, so the plane got up to flight speed almost immediately. The best news was that the sport set up was pretty forgiving and the plane survived both launches.

Landings were very fast and required a shallow approach angle. It took a long time to bleed off enough speed to allow the plane to slow down and land. The use of spoilerons helped slow down the Rifle 1M and shortened up the landing approach. I found that it was best to fly a long approach and apply the spoilerons once the plane was lined up with the runway. I was able to apply some up elevator once over the runway threshold and keep the nose up all the way to touch down. Even though our PertoMat runway surface is pretty gentle on plane finishes, I covered the bottom of the Rifle 1M with some 3M automotive paint protection film just in case.

Normal Flight

At 1/2 throttle, the Rifle 1M flies pretty much like any groovy sport airplane. From 1/2 to WOT things start to happen mighty fast. High speed passes are this plane's forte and it does them while flying solid as a rock. The Rifle 1M didn't take long to cover the length of our flying field so I had to immediately start turning or climbing vertically to keep the plane in sight. In addition, there was that amazing high-pitched motor/prop sound that put a huge smile on my face every time I heard it. I think I'm hooked on this racer.

Aerobatics

The Rifle 1M has plenty of power and is perfectly capable of performing any maneuver an elevator/aileron plane can perform. Rolls, loops, split-s, inverted flight, and figure eights are all easily accomplished. Though the plane CAN fly aerobatics, it is much more fun to fly high-speed passes.

Is This For a Beginner?

No!

Is This For an Intermediate Flyer?

No. The website states that the Rifle 1M is "For advanced pilots only, not suitable for beginning or intermediate pilots." Because of the small size and very high speed of this plane, I have to agree that it would not be suitable for intermediate pilots.

Flight Photo Gallery

The Rifle 1M is small and very fast. It was extremely difficult to get quality flight pictures of this speedy little plane. I think Mark McClelland did a great job on these flight pictures.

Flight Video

As hard as the plane was to photograph for still pictures, it was even harder to follow for video. Again, Mark McClelland did a great job keeping this tiny missile in the video frame.

Great Planes Rifle 1M (2 min 50 sec)

Conclusion

The Rifle 1M is the much improved next generation in the Rifle F5 pylon racer lineage. This newer Rifle is larger, stronger, and has much better flight manners than it's smaller sibling. The stock set up is way faster than I could have ever imagined, and the price point is so much lower than anything else on the market, it's really a no-brainer for advanced pilots wanting a go-fast plane. The Rifle 1M Sport set up allows a seasoned pilot an opportunity to learn about F5 pylon flight and landing characteristics without the extreme high speeds and higher wing loadings of the Speed set up. When the pilot is ready, a simple prop and battery change will raise the speeds to well over 130 mph.

I think it was Tom Cruise that said it best. "I feel the need --- the need for SPEED!"

Grab yourself a Rifle 1M and join me at the flying field.

Pluses

  • F5 level performance without the high price of exotics
  • Two-stages of power and performance in one plane
  • Much improved airframe over the original Rifle
  • Stock AMMO motor had plenty of power and speed
  • Spoilerons allowed safe slow speed landings
  • High-Speeds were seriously FAST

Minuses

  • Elevator pushrod had a little too much resistance in the pushrod tube.
  • Aileron Z-bends had too much play.

Thanks

I'd like to thank Hobbico for providing the Rifle 1M for this review. I'd also like to thank Mark McClelland for shooting the great photos and video, and our editor Angela for her assistance in editing this review.

Last edited by kingsflyer; Feb 25, 2014 at 09:47 PM..

Discussion

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Old Mar 03, 2014, 01:44 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
United States, TX, Kingsland
Joined Sep 2005
5,058 Posts
This first post is reserved for future updates and for videos.
McD

Here are two graphs from the logged data on the Castle ESC. They show the performance with a 2-cell pack and with a 3-cell pack.
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Last edited by kingsflyer; Mar 11, 2014 at 01:08 PM.
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Old Mar 03, 2014, 02:15 PM
Registered User
Toronto
Joined Jun 2007
473 Posts
Awesome review. Thank you.
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Old Mar 03, 2014, 02:24 PM
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Canada, SK, Prince Albert
Joined Jan 2006
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We already have a 1M Rifle thread
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Old Mar 03, 2014, 03:23 PM
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cjbucher's Avatar
Raleigh, NC
Joined Sep 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arcticflyer View Post
We already have a 1M Rifle thread
Um yes. But this is a product review.
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Old Mar 03, 2014, 10:25 PM
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United States, MI, Commerce Charter Township
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Review

Nice review, good flying... Camera guy had no clue what he was getting into... Hehe.
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Old Mar 03, 2014, 11:05 PM
Lloyd Robinson
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USA, MO, St Louis
Joined Jun 2007
780 Posts
Hatcam is so much better for speed planes. Cameraman always knows where the plane is going because he is one flying it.
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Old Mar 04, 2014, 01:38 AM
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Auckland NZ
Joined Aug 2007
7,290 Posts
Nice review Great photos too.

Im not too sure what you mean by F5 levels of performance though? Its definetly not an F5D/B/J model and doesnt fit into any of those classes. Its certainly great bang for buck, but you might look out of place at an F5J ALES meet with it
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Old Mar 04, 2014, 07:52 AM
We shall serve the Lord
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United States, TX, Kingsland
Joined Sep 2005
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JJ -- Mark took the still pictures before we tried the video, so he had a little idea of what he was getting himself into, but the reality was a lot more difficult that he anticipated.

JackO -- you are right of course. The Rifle 1M is not an actual F5 competitive sized model. I hope I didn't give that impression in the review. I was hoping to suggest that the Rifle 1M would be a very good starting point for someone who had an interest in exploring the sport of F5 competition. The Rifle 1M is small enough and fast enough to give a taste of the speed and flight experience that is part of F5 type of flight without the expense or risk of an actual high-dollar exotic airframe and motor.

I still heartily recommend the Rifle 1M as a great introduction model and great learning tool to use before you spend the big bucks and try to launch and land a "real" F5 racer.

McD
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Old Mar 04, 2014, 08:37 AM
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Mike, you and Mark did a really nice job on those photos. Takes a good pilot to properly setup the photographer for success!
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Old Mar 05, 2014, 01:42 PM
Registered User
United States, FL, Orlando
Joined Sep 2011
1 Posts
Does anyone know if any of their local hobby shops have one in stock. I'm tired of waiting and I don't think they will actually ship the end of April. If I could get the name and phone number of the LHS they might ship it from there.
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Old Mar 05, 2014, 01:54 PM
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United States, MI, Commerce Charter Township
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msm411 View Post
Does anyone know if any of their local hobby shops have one in stock. I'm tired of waiting and I don't think they will actually ship the end of April. If I could get the name and phone number of the LHS they might ship it from there.

Absolutely, we have one at nankin hobby on 9mile and Farmington road here in Michigan..
2489190040
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Old Mar 05, 2014, 05:27 PM
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Joined Jan 2006
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me too msm411, ordered in June and still waiting. Has to be a record for me in ordering and waiting (or is it preorder a backorder?)

btw you bought the last one at nankin hobby!

Any others out there?
-Mike
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Old Mar 06, 2014, 09:52 PM
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Jezzejamez's Avatar
United States, MI, Commerce Charter Township
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I've been saying for two weeks there was one left at nankin. I'll check the other stores local see if anyone has one I'll let you know in a day or so
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Old Mar 06, 2014, 11:51 PM
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"I've been saying for two ..." I know, I know

Took the final slip shipment date to push me away from Tower (where my LHS ordered it from)
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