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Great Planes' Electrifly Brand Reactor 3D EP Review

TimTworek explores this fantastic looking, innovative designed, superb flying 3D electric addition to the Great Planes Performance Series ARFs!

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Introduction

Wingspan:41.5"
Wing Area:384 sq. in.
Weight:25.5 oz.
Length:42"
Wing Loading:9.5 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:(4) Futaba 3110's
Transmitter:Hitec Optic 6
Receiver:Berg 7p
Battery:GP 3s 1250mah 15C
Motor:Rimfire Brushless Outrunner
ESC:GP Silver Series
Manufacturer:Electrifly
Available From:Tower Hobbies

In the wake of Great Planes' immensely popular Performance Series glow/gas airplanes, their Electrifly brand has come out with their new E-Performance Series airplanes. The first in their new line of electric powered 3D aerobatic airplanes is the all new Reactor 3D. The Reactor is a parkflyer 3D aerobatic airplane that presents much bigger in the air than it's 41.5" wingspan appears. It comes in a great looking covering scheme and your choice of setting the Reactor up with either an outrunner or inrunner motor, making the plane suit every flyer's needs. So lets take a look at Great Planes newest addition to the 3S sized 3D parkflyer, the Reactor 3D.

Kit Contents

The Reactor 3D arrived very well packed with no shipping damage, and every part was individually wrapped. My initial impressions of the kit were WOW this plane looks great!! The Reactor comes already covered in a very vibrant color scheme that immediately catches your attention and definitely compliments the lines of the Reactor.

Kit Includes:

  • Laser cut balsa and ply airframe construction
  • Pre-painted fiberglass cowl with magnetic attachment
  • Extensive hardware package
  • Custom spinner
  • One piece wing design
  • Excellent illustrated manual

Kit Requires:

  • min. 4 channel receiver
  • (4) micro servos (high torque recommended)
  • servo extensions: (2) 6" ext. and (2) 20" ext.
  • brushless ESC (25a min.)
  • battery packs in the 910mah-2100mah size range
  • motor: inrunner or outrunner
  • prop

Used for this review:

  • Great Planes RimFire 35-30-950kV brushless motor
  • Great Planes Silver Series 25A brushless ESC
  • Great Planes 11.1V 1250mAh 3S 15C lipo pack
  • (4) Futaba S3110 micro high torque servos
  • Berg 7p receiver
  • Great Planes ElectriFly PowerFlow 10 x 4.5 prop

Assembly

Excellent Manual!!

Great Planes has always been a leader in the development and illustration of their kit manuals. Their manuals are thoughtfully laid out in a manner that novices to experienced builders can easily read and interpret the information. The Reactor 3D manual was no exception, with its terrific illustrations and clear and concise directions being very easy to follow. This made for a very quick and easy build on the Reactor and estimated assembly time should be between 3-5 hours, depending on your level of experience.

Wing

The very first thing I noticed was how incredibly large the ailerons are on the Reactor. They are some of the largest I have seen on an airplane in this size class.

The ailerons already had a nice 45 degree bevel which allows for plenty of throw for even the most advanced 3D flyer. I left a small amount of gap to ensure full movement. I also sealed the hinge lines with some clear transparent tape.

NOTE: Sealing the hinge line of your control surfaces is a very important and yet sometimes overlooked step in the assembly process. Sealing the hinge lines ensures smooth airflow over the control surfaces even at low speed (3D flying). Sealing the hinge line also helps in reducing the dreaded flutter from happening as well. Please do not forget this step!

Many people also like to use 3M blenderm tape. This tape sticks extremely well but will peel off without leaving any sticky residue on your surfaces should you need to remove it.

Servo Installation:

The manual had me epoxy the servos into their servo bays. While at first I was skeptical about this, as it turns out it has worked out great. If you plan on using the servos you put in the Reactor into another model, then I would recommend taping the servo case first, or using some servo screws to mount your servos instead.

INNOVATIVE IDEA!!

Great Planes has come up with a very clever idea in their Reactor kit. They have included several different size and shape servo arms to fit many of today's micro servos. One of the many included servo arms should fit the output spline of your intended micro servo. I tried a servo arm on one of my other micro servos I had on hand and I was able to find one of the servo arms to fit it as well. Once a servo arm is selected there are plastic adjustable clevises that slide onto the pushrod and then simply snap onto the servo arms. The plastic pushrods are fully adjustable using the supplied clevises and small metal screws which hold the clevises in place.

Installing the wing panels of the Reactor required a little different technique than most arf wing assemblies. Great Planes included (2) wing alignment jigs to aid in the wing attachment setup. The center spars of each wing panel extend into the fuselage and must be interlocked together. I removed some covering from a lightening hole in the cockpit area which gave me access to the interlocking spars. With the wing jigs in place, and weight on the front of the plane, after ensuring the spars interlocked correctly, a fair amount of epoxy was used to glue the two spars together. I used small clamps to hold the spars together while the epoxy dried.

Being able to correctly mount the wing panel is a critical part to ensure the Reactor flies straight and true. Once I read over the manual a few times and practiced the technique a few times I felt very comfortable with this entire process. I have almost 30 flights on the Reactor now and the wing has held up terrific, even on the roughest 3D maneuvers. I also have no problem with the wing being permanently attached. This size airplane will fit fully assembled into even the most compact of cars. However, having said that, I am sure there might be those times in the future that having a detachable wing might come in handy.

Tail

Motor Mount

The new Rimfire 35-30-950 is a great motor for the Reactor. Using the recommended 10 x 4.5 SF prop and 3s 1250mah 15c battery pack I was seeing 20A and 215W WOT. Flight times were roughly 6-7mins. which would normally deplete the pack down to around 11.1v. This setup provides for strong vertical climbs and plenty of pull out strength from hovers. This setup also works great with 3s 2100mah packs with only a slight weight penalty.

The Reactor 3D kit includes motor mounting boxes for both the GP C35-30-950 outrunner motor as well as the GP B24-33-4040 in-runner motor. This is really a great idea that will help satisfy many of those people that prefer running one type of motor over the other. I am sure that other motors in these size groups would also work with little to no modifications needed. The mounting of the motor box and motor was easily accomplished with the included ply parts. For the review I used the GP C35-30-950 out-runner motor and mounting box hardware.

The instructions are very specific on how the motor box is to be assembled. Each piece has a letter on it that needs to be facing to the outside of the motor box to ensure the box is built with the correct thrust line.

I would highly recommend either using medium CA or epoxy in this step to ensure a solid bond between the plywood firewall and the plywood mounting box.

Landing Gear

Attaching the one-piece landing was simple. The gear is light weight yet has plenty of strength and has held up quite well. The included painted plastic wheel pants finish off the look for the landing gear and I have had no problem flying the Reactor off of grass fields with them.

Radio & ESC

The radio installation is kind of a tight fit. I cut an additional hole through the covering in the cockpit area to gain access to the radio equipment mounting. I installed the new Berg 7p receiver; with the Berg's small size it was a terrific fit inside the restricted fuselage area.

Note About the Motor and ESC Bullet Connectors

ElectriFly ships their motors with male bullet connectors soldered on, and an extra pair of female connectors slipped onto the blades. This is done so that you can then solder those females onto your ESC, in case you are using an ESC with different connectors. Similarly, the ElectriFly esc ships with female bullets already installed, as a plug-n-play setup. Unfortunately, they are slipped on so securely that it isn't immediately obvious that the male connectors are under there. I wanted to note this so that those who chose to go with the Electrifly motor and ESC combination don't think that only female connectors are attached to both the motor and ESC.

Cowl

Like many areas of this model, several design steps follow the larger Performance Series models designs. One example is that Great Planes has taken a different approach with the Reactor 3D's cowl attachment setup.

Cowl Mounting Steps:

  • Glue 2 small neo magnets into the pre-drilled holes in the firewall sides;
  • Glue 2 magnets into the cowl ring;
  • Protect the firewall from epoxy;
  • Attach the cowl ring to the firewall temporarily;
  • Attach the cowl and trial fit the spinner backplate;
  • Remove the cowl, and epoxy the ring in place.

When done correctly the cowl ring gets epoxied to the inside of the cowl and is held in place by the magnets on the firewall. While at first I was unsure that this setup would hold the cowling in place, after many flights to date I have had no problems with the cowl detaching from the firewall. The magnets have held up just great!!

Completion and Finishing Touches

The battery compartment is located on the belly side of the Reactor. It will accommodate most lipo packs in the 900mah-2100mah size range. The battery hatch door is held in place by magnets. The battery pack is held in place by a velcro strip on the bottom of the pack and with the use of a velcro seatbelt.

Posing Time

The Reactor came with some great looking decals that really set off the final look. I also took the liberty of tinting the canopy. The manual calls for the canopy to be held in place with some clear tape. I opted to use (4) small screws to hold the canopy in place which will allow easier access to the receiver and esc.

The Reactor weighed in at 25.5oz. ready-to-fly. This was well within the manufacturer's range of 24-27 oz. The control throws were set per the manual and the cg was easily set at the recommended 3-3/8" from the leading edge of the wing measured at the fuselage. The CG was later moved back slightly to around 3 3/4" to improve 3D flight performance. Total time to assemble and make flight ready was approximately 5 hours.

Recommended Control Surface Throws
Low Rates High Rates 3D Rates
Elevator9/16" up/down 7/8" up/down 2" up/down
Rudder1 3/16" right/left 2 3/8" right/left 3 1/2" right/left
Aileron3/4" up/down 1 3/8" up/down 2 5/8" up/down

SO HOW DOES THE REACTOR FLY??

I had a terrific no wind morning for the maiden flight of the Reactor. The Reactor tracked very straight and after a short takeoff run the Reactor was airborne. Only a couple of clicks of down elevator and the Reactor was flying hands-off. Starting off on low rates, the Reactor tracks very well and has excellent wind penetration.

The Reactor has a very broad speed range and exhibits no bad habits. Stalls happen at very high AOA (angles of attack) and resulted in the nose falling forward. Recovery was quick and easy with the release of the elevator back pressure and an increase in throttle. I did not get any wing drop during the stall testing of the Reactor.

Landing the Reactor couldn't be easier; it slows down very nicely on final and requires only a little power to settle in for a nice soft landing. Once again no signs of any imminent tip stall even during the slowest of flight. This was quite impressive considering the airfoil on the Reactor is very thin compared to many planes in this size range.

Aerobatics / 3D Flight Performance

The Reactor was made for aerobatics and 3D flying. With its huge control surfaces I just knew it would shine in this area, and the Reactor did not disappoint. With all controls set to the 3D rates, the Reactor is a very responsive yet predictable 3Ding machine. The ailerons provide excellent roll rate and are extremely effective in harrier and high alpha flight. The manual does not tell you how much expo. to use while on 3D rates so I used a set value I have used on other 3D planes in the past.

Exponential used on 3D rates
Elevator -60%
Rudder -80%
Aileron -50%

The Reactor will not snap out on full elevator deflection in high speed or high alpha flight. This builds a tremendous amount of confidence in a short amount of time...I felt comfortable with the Reactor on 3D rates after only a couple of short flights.

ManeuverGrade Notes
Hover A The Reactor locks very easily.
High Alpha Level Flight A Minimal wing rock upright.
High Alpha Inverted A+ Detected absolutely no rock at all!
Flips (high alpha half loops) A No signs of snapping out.
High Alpha Knife Edge A-Very little coupling required.
Stall Turns A Rudder has plenty of authority.
Parachutes A+ Nice! Reactor pops up beautifully with no signs of falling out.
Wall AEasily done, looks great done down low.
ElevatorsA+ With a little wind it will fall almost straight down.
Snaps (Pos./Neg.) A Blistering fast on high rates.
Spins B+ Could not get to completely flatten out, cg needs moved back from stock.

Is This For a Beginner?

No, the Reactor is NOT a beginners airplane. While it can be flown very mild on low rates, it makes for a better 2nd or 3rd airplane after really testing the limits of their trainers, and would make for an excellent 3D trainer for someone new to this style of flying.

Flight Video

Downloads

Conclusion

The Reactor went together great and used some very innovative ideas in its assembly process. The Reactor flies great. It will quickly build confidence in any new 3D pilot and hone the skills of the more experienced pilot. The Reactor kit comes with some very innovative hardware not found in other kits on the market today. The Reactor has become one of my favorite planes take to the field airplane because of its convenient size and awesome flight characteristics. The Reactor has met and exceeded all of my expectations and I look forward to expanding my 3D flying skills using the Reactor 3D EP.

Plusses:

  • Terrific manual
  • Great looks
  • Ease of assembly
  • Excellent flight characteristics
  • Innovative ideas used in the build
  • Price

Minuses:

  • Plywood skid -- a tail wheel would be nice
  • One piece permanent mounted wing design, two piece might make it even more portable
Last edited by AMCross; Nov 21, 2006 at 07:05 PM..

Discussion

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Old Nov 23, 2006, 04:40 PM
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pda4you's Avatar
USA, TX, Trophy Club
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Great review Tim!

Mike
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 08:50 PM
Registered User
Joined Jun 2004
2,236 Posts
Nice looking plane. Removable wings would be nice for such a good sized plane.
I'd definitely dump the S3110 servos and replace them with HS-56 or HS-65. The Futaba servos may have 22oz of torque, but the tiny nylon gears aren't strong enough for this application.
Good review.
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Old Nov 27, 2006, 12:24 PM
volare est vivere
ray foley's Avatar
United States, OH, Toledo
Joined Jan 2005
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Tim:

Well written review, good helpful images of the assembly process, and a cool video that shows the plane's capabilities in the hands of a fine pilot.

Well done -rjf
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Old Nov 27, 2006, 12:45 PM
Test your skills....fly IMAC!!
sun.flyer's Avatar
Swanton, Ohio
Joined Feb 2005
7,990 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by ray foley
Tim:

Well written review, good helpful images of the assembly process, and a cool video that shows the plane's capabilities in the hands of a fine pilot.

Well done -rjf
Thanks Ray!!

Tim
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Old Nov 27, 2006, 12:47 PM
Wind Powered
george@dream-flight's Avatar
United States, CA, Goleta
Joined Oct 2004
538 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malves
I'd definitely dump the S3110 servos and replace them with HS-56 or HS-65. The Futaba servos may have 22oz of torque, but the tiny nylon gears aren't strong enough for this application.
Simply untrue.


Nice review.
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Old Nov 27, 2006, 12:52 PM
Test your skills....fly IMAC!!
sun.flyer's Avatar
Swanton, Ohio
Joined Feb 2005
7,990 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malves
Nice looking plane. Removable wings would be nice for such a good sized plane.
I'd definitely dump the S3110 servos and replace them with HS-56 or HS-65. The Futaba servos may have 22oz of torque, but the tiny nylon gears aren't strong enough for this application.
Good review.
I have had very good success with the S3110 servos. They have plenty of torque for this size application. These servos have seen alot of 3D type flying and have held up quite well. I have approx. 40 flights on the Reactor now and have not stripped a gear yet.

Tim
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Old Nov 27, 2006, 01:00 PM
Scott Stoops
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United States, CO, Longmont
Joined Mar 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g_rod22x
Simply untrue.
I found similar stripping issues with mine, but it was always because I bumped the control surface, i.e - not inflight. I guess I need to be more careful moving the model, but I've not had this problem with any other servo before.

Nice review Tim! Nice video as well. Very thorough and forthright.

Scott
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Old Nov 27, 2006, 01:09 PM
Test your skills....fly IMAC!!
sun.flyer's Avatar
Swanton, Ohio
Joined Feb 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sukhoi26mx
I found similar stripping issues with mine, but it was always because I bumped the control surface, i.e - not inflight. I guess I need to be more careful moving the model, but I've not had this problem with any other servo before.

Nice review Tim! Nice video as well. Very thorough and forthright.

Scott
Thanks grod and Scott! I will be using more of the s3110's in a future review and I hope to have the same success with them as I have had in the Reactor.

Tim
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Old Nov 27, 2006, 02:24 PM
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george@dream-flight's Avatar
United States, CA, Goleta
Joined Oct 2004
538 Posts
Good to hear!
Like you stated...these servos will hold up to any forces generated by thee types of models.
They are not designed for being cranked over by large hands, car trunks, etc.


Looks like you are having fun flying the Reactor.....I liked the wall in the video...cool.
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Old Nov 27, 2006, 04:31 PM
Scott Stoops
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United States, CO, Longmont
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g_rod22x
Good to hear!
Like you stated...these servos will hold up to any forces generated by these types of models.
They are not designed for being cranked over by large hands, car trunks, etc.
Agreed. No cranking required. A simple bump will do. Like I said, I need to be more careful.

Tim, where's your final CG (I might have missed it in the review)

Scott
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Old Nov 27, 2006, 04:50 PM
Test your skills....fly IMAC!!
sun.flyer's Avatar
Swanton, Ohio
Joined Feb 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sukhoi26mx
Agreed. No cranking required. A simple bump will do. Like I said, I need to be more careful.

Tim, where's your final CG (I might have missed it in the review)

Scott

Scott,

It is at 3 5/8" right now measured at the fuse. Hovers very good at this location but I will be moving it back some as the blenders are not as flat as I want them to be.

Tim
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Old Nov 30, 2006, 05:27 PM
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Joined Jun 2004
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I've stripped 2 sets of gear on the elevator servo on my Jumping Jack. After that I just decided to replace them with HS-56/65, before I loose the plane.
I really like the S3110 and I have a few, but I'll keep them on my foamies. The HS-56/65 also don't have any slop at all, contrary to the S3110 that has some.
Oh well, to each its own.
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Old Dec 27, 2006, 05:42 PM
Just go with the flow
goflyhighrc's Avatar
Modesto, CA
Joined Nov 2006
3,231 Posts
just got the new elec reatocr !! question on installing the ailerons the manual says to install the CA hinges on the wing first, pin the CA hinges to kee parralel- then slide the aileron all the way up to the wing then glue with thin CA.......question ? will the glue have a chance to glue the wing and aileron together with them being so close? or should you leave a little room, applly CA to all the hinges then slide the aileron up?
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Old Dec 27, 2006, 05:51 PM
Test your skills....fly IMAC!!
sun.flyer's Avatar
Swanton, Ohio
Joined Feb 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goflyhighrc
just got the new elec reatocr !! question on installing the ailerons the manual says to install the CA hinges on the wing first, pin the CA hinges to kee parralel- then slide the aileron all the way up to the wing then glue with thin CA.......question ? will the glue have a chance to glue the wing and aileron together with them being so close? or should you leave a little room, applly CA to all the hinges then slide the aileron up?

Go,

It really does not matter whether the CA hinges are installed in the wing or the ailerons first. Just be sure you pin them so that the hinges do not move when the wing and aileron are hinged.

I try to leave approx. 1/64" or .4mm of gap between the wings trailing edge and the leading edge of the ailerons. This will allow for the full range of motion of the control surfaces.

Tim
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