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Great Planes' Giant U-Can-Do-3D ARF with OS 160FX Review

Steve Herlacher has a blast with this extremely aerobatic, ultra easy to fly "easier to land than a trainer" large aerobat, affectionately known as UC3D, or UCANDO!

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:82" (2085mm)
Wing Area:1772 sq. in.
Weight:12.5 - 13.5 lb
Length:84"
Wing Loading:16.1 - 17.4 oz/sq ft
Servos:Futaba S9206 S9001
Transmitter:Futaba 14MZ
Receiver:Futaba R148DF
Battery:1800 NIMH
Engine:OS 1.60
Manufacturer:Great Planes
Available From:Tower Hobbies

The Giant U-Can-Do is the latest in the series of U-Can-Do planes. There is a .46 size a .60 size and now this one. Both of the other ones fly great so I am sure this one will too.

Kit Contents

Assembly

The first thing I did was go over the whole plane with a covering iron. It is a large plane and this took me a while. I also cut out the servo pockets and made sure the covering was folded in on them to keep glow fuel from getting to the bare wood. It is expertly covered with MonoKote and yes, it IS pink! (Only real men/women fly pink airplanes.)

Wing

The first step was to solder up the 4-40 control linkages after cutting them to the correct length.

The manual gave a lot of great tips in the manual on how to do things, like drilling a hole in the hinge slot so the thin CA can wick in the hinges better. I also cut the covering away from the slot like they instructed, so that the covering doesn't keep the CA from soaking in.

Tail

The stab and fin installations were next. The stab was bolted to the fuse, no glue needed! I made sure to use Locktite on the bolts so they couldn't back out. I also could have used glue if I wanted.

The rudder was squared to the stab, then glued in place. I also sealed all hinge gaps with clear covering.

I used Futaba S9206 High torque digital servos on the elevators and rudder and they fit in the opening perfectly. I used Dubro heavy-duty servo arms on everything, but I used some aluminum ones on the elevators with Dubro ball links as I had them in my spare parts box.

Landing Gear and WheelPants – No Grinding Required!

I hate grinding fiberglass to install wheelpants -- but that wasn't necessary with this ARF. All the grinding and installing blind nuts was already done! Just slip a wheel on the axle, add a couple wheel collars, and then slip on the wheelpant and bolt it on with 4-40 bolts ,locktited of course. It took about 5 minutes to do each side. I wish all ARF's were this easy!

Engine/fuel tank

The engine compartment and surrounding areas already had a thin coating of epoxy on them so they were fuelproof, they even did the wing root ribs as fuel can get in there also, Nice touch!

The blind nuts for the engine were already mounted in the fuse so I just bolted the included heavy-duty mount to it and held the OS 1.60 in place with some clamps. I then used the Great Planes Dead Center Engine Mount Locator to start the holes. I threaded the engine mount but I used longer bolts than the ones supplied so I could put locknuts on them.

The fuel tank was assembled and installed in the fuse. The fuel line you see going back thru the firewall is for the fuel filler that goes in the side of the fuse per the instructions. I installed a Futaba heavy duty switch harness and charge jack next to the fuel dot.

The canopy came pre-assembled, all I had to do was glue in the wooden dowel in the front and bolt it on. I used a tiny O-ring on the supplied 4-40 bolts that hold on the canopy to keep the screws from backing out due to vibration.

I also installed a McDaniel remote glowplug kit -- since the engine is mounted inverted it can be hard to get to the plug. Installation was only a couple wires and then bolted to the bottom of the fuse.

This kit even supplied the Polished aluminum spinner and came cut out for the APC 18x6 wide prop and included the adapter. How much more convenient can it get? No grinding or running to the hobby store to find the right adapter nut, its all included!

Radio setup

I used my Futaba 14MZ radio on this and setup couldn't be easier. I used to have another plane with flaps and setup like this one and it took me a long time to get it programmed in my prior radio, but it only took me a couple of minutes to get a basic setup with the 14MZ! I simply went into the model menu and picked the correct wingtype, plugged the servos into the correct spot in the receiver, and essentially that's it! I also put a picture of it on there so I know which model I am flying :)

You can download my setup for the 14MZ to make setting up yours even easier to set up on your 14MZ:

Downloads

Here is how I have everything plugged in

  • Elevator - channel 1
  • Elevator2 - channel 2
  • Rudder - channel 3
  • Aileron - channel 4
  • Aileron2 - channel 5
  • Throttle - channel 6
  • Flap - channel 7
  • Flap2 - channel 8

My left wing panel uses channel 8 and 4; the right wing panel uses channel 5 and 7. Since I was using an 8-channel receiver I used a y harness in the throttle channel to plug in the battery as well. I have crow setup on a switch with ailerons going up, flaps down and a little bit of down elevator. I originally had it setup so I could use the outboard ailerons by themselves, or hit a switch to use the flaps along with them for one large aileron, but I found that I was flying it with the mix on all the time as the roll rate was better so I made the mix always on. I also have flaperons mixed in, moving the ailerons down as flaps with up elevator(for tighter loops), and spoilerons that move the ailerons up with up elevator (to make harriers have less wing rock). I use switch SC on the 14MZ -- I move it up for spoilerons and down for flaperons. I use one of the pushbuttons in the center for a throttle kill.

Completion

I slid the Gold anodized wingtube in the fuse and put each panel on. They supplied these really nice 1/4-20 thumb screws and one on each side holds the panel to the fuse. I wish I could buy them in bulk.

It only took about 2-3 evenings to have it ready to fly. I didn't put the decals on it for these pictures. I used an 1800 MAH NIMH receiver pack made from 4/5 A size cells. The manual said to mount it under the fuel tank but I had to put it right over the wingtube to get the CG at 6 1/4" back from the leading edge where the manual says it should be. The complete airframe minus fuel weighs 12.5 pounds, right at the lighter side of the specs.

Control throws

I setup the control throws to the manuals suggestions for low rates and high rates. The high rates are pretty much as much throw as physically possible.

Low rates

  • Elevator 1 3/4" up and down
  • Rudder 4" left and right
  • Ailerons 1 1/4" up and down

High Rate

  • Elevator 5" up and down
  • Rudder 6" left and right
  • Ailerons 2 3/4" up and down

Flying

Maiden Flight

I took the Giant U-Can-Do-3D to the flying field and had the wings and servo extensions together in no time. (It was a stormy day so the first video is a little dark but it was just the maiden flight.) I went to start it up but the engine was flooded -- I assume from being mounted inverted and I left fuel in the tank from the day before when I ran a couple tanks thru the engine. After clearing the fuel out it fired right up.

The first flight went without a problem. Takeoff roll was straight down the runway with little rudder correction and it lifted off within 50 feet or so. The rudder is very effective as it is so large. Vertical is unlimited with this combo and it feels really light. The engine was not yet broken in but it would still hover and pull out, but I didn't get too low in case of an engine flame out. The roll rate was fairly quick for a wing this large. The crow I originally had setup on it needed some adjustment, I lowered the rates on the ailerons/flaps and increased the down elevator travel. I had one dead stick right over the runway so I turned it around and hit the crow to stop it, worked perfectly!


Landing this thing is easier than a trainer, it just floats in and sets down for a perfect 3 point landing almost by itself.

The Giant U-Can-Do 3D can do anything you would want. Rolling circles were easily done with the U-Can-Do-3D.

Hovering/Torqueroll

The Giant U-Can-Do-3D is rock solid in a hover, more than likely due to its long tail moment. It will also torqueroll at a pretty fast rate but seems to take a while to get going sometimes more than likely due to the large thick wing. The OS 1.60 has plenty of power to pull out of a hover if you happen to get out of line or need that extra burst to get back in line :).

Knife Edge

The Giant U-Can-Do-3D is probably the best knife edging plane I have flown. Knife edge required almost no rudder to hold it and it had no coupling. I even did some ugly knife edge loops with it, a new trick for me. It looks like the canopy sticks up higher than the previous U-Can-Do models so I am sure that helps. It will hold a very slow knife edge at about 1/4 throttle and will even knife edge harrier. The rudder is very effective and I didn't notice any coupling to the canopy or to the wheels. The Futaba S9206 servos seem like a perfect match for speed and power on this model.

Harrier/Elevator

In the first flights I did not use aileron-to-elevator mixing and the wing rocked when trying to do a harrier. Without any mixing on the ailerons to elevator the Giant U-Can-Do-3D likes to rock its wings pretty badly, but turn on the mix so the ailerons go up while the elevator goes up and it will Harrier/elevator all the way to the runway if you want it to with no wing rocking at all.

As seen in the video, I simply controlled the altitude with the throttle and drove it around with the rudder. It does like to sink pretty quickly if not enough throttle is used.

Waterfall/loops

It does pretty good waterfalls but my model seemed to need a more than usual amount of rudder to correct them so they would be straight. It could just be my setup or technique though. Loops were pretty tight but not flipping over the CG. Again this could be my setup or technique.

Crow mix

This is a really fun mix to use anytime you need to slow the model down. The ailerons go up, the flaps go down and the elevator goes down a tiny bit when I hit a switch. This creates a lot of drag, which slows the plane down. You can use this to slow down a fast landing or you can point the nose straight down and it will keep it from picking up much speed. In the second video below look for the landing, I went straight up at the end of the runway, dove it down, hit the crow and it pulled out to a nice slow landing!

Is This For a Beginner?

Although the Giant U-Can-Do-3D is not quite a beginner’s plane, it would make a great first 3D plane as it lands and takes off very easily. When you master the basics it can do almost anything you ask of it.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Downloads

Conclusion

The Giant U-Can-Do-3D is a great plane for the money. The included aluminum spinner, high quality hardware and finishing touches make this a very complete kit that can be put in the air very quickly. The OS 1.60FX engine is a perfect match to it as it keeps it light, which is what you want on a 3D type airplane. I have heard of people putting big gasoline engines on it but I see no reason to do that since it will add unnecessary weight and vibration to a model that flies great already!

Thanks to Jose Zayas for sticking it out between rain storms to get the video. :)

Discussion

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Old Jul 03, 2005, 11:01 PM
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Turbo442's Avatar
North Plains, OR
Joined Nov 2003
491 Posts
Good job on the review. Two things I have noticed on mine.

1. The fuel tank might be a smidge high in the fuselage. If I am not careful I can siphon the entire tank of fuel though the carbureator (inverted motor). I would guess this could be prevented if the fuel tank was an inch lower. I noticed the author of the article seemed to have a similar experience.

2. The main landing gear are two piece which means they are not joined in the center. Any Giant UCD owners should fabricate a aluminum strap with 4 bolt holes to tie the left and right landing gear together. I set my bird down hard one day with out the strap and folded both main gear.
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Old Jul 04, 2005, 08:42 PM
Registered User
Zebulon, NC
Joined Aug 2000
5,086 Posts
Thanks.

Your right about the gear, I was doing a low elevator today about 5-10 feet off the ground and was going to try and land it that way, well I did when I ran out of fuel and it plopped right on the gear breaking the wood and spreading them out. If the plate was in there it might have just bent them or it could have done more damage I don't know.
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Old Sep 08, 2005, 09:51 PM
Registered User
Northen Indiana
Joined Feb 2004
201 Posts
Giant U-can-do

Here a couple of photos of mine with a Moki 2.1
Jerry
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Old Sep 13, 2005, 10:20 PM
Registered User
Joined Dec 2004
1 Posts
steve have you tryed your YCD with the gas engine
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Old Sep 13, 2005, 10:29 PM
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Zebulon, NC
Joined Aug 2000
5,086 Posts
No I have not.
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Old Oct 04, 2005, 07:55 PM
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nate 1001's Avatar
PA
Joined Jul 2003
103 Posts
Do you think a zenoah g 45 would fit? Someone offered me a good price for one and I found a good deal on a ucando. I'm just not sure if this would fit or not
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Old Oct 04, 2005, 08:12 PM
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Zebulon, NC
Joined Aug 2000
5,086 Posts
It wont fit in the cowl and will also be too heavy for it more than likely.
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Old Oct 14, 2005, 12:17 PM
New Jersey USA
Joined Jul 2004
76 Posts
What might be a good gas engine for this bird?
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Old Oct 14, 2005, 12:24 PM
Registered User
Zebulon, NC
Joined Aug 2000
5,086 Posts
Seems people are using the zdz 40 but I tried a gas engine on mine and it had enough power but it was definatly heavier and I could feel it in the air. I am putting the OS 1.60 back on it as it flys really well with that engine.
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Old Oct 23, 2005, 07:51 PM
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san diego
Joined Jan 2003
16 Posts
Has anyone tried and electric conversion yet?? I'm sure that baby would scream with the double axi motor!!
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Old Mar 16, 2006, 08:13 PM
trisprandel
Dothan AL
Joined May 2005
76 Posts
[B][I] Has anyone had a problem with weakness in the landing gear area. I have had the .40 and now am flying the .60 and they both would break out easy in the gear area. I had to beef up the gear area on both, which worked well.

I am seriously considering the "gentle giant". On the video it appears to handle identical to my .60. I was thinking a Super Tiger 2300 which puts out as much power as the OS FX 1.60 would be a good choice to keep cost down. Tiger is only $149.00 at Tower with the muffler.

Any suggestions......quality, performance, comparision to the smaller ones etc....THANKS!
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Old Mar 27, 2006, 05:51 PM
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Joined Jul 2004
2 Posts
I have a fix for the 60 UCanDo landing gear.....add an aluminum block maybe 1.3" wide x .75" tall x .4" wide. bolt it to the bottom forward part of the gear. The .4" lies for/aft. The 1.3" lies side to side. .75 lies verticle. Attach a tough strap of aluminum .050" thick x .6"wide x 4.5" long, from the bottom of the block forward in the cutout made for hot air from the engine. Epoxy and (7) wood screw to the plywood allowing a firm support preventing the gear from pivoting rearward on tough landing.
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