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Great Planes 25 Spitfire EP ARF Review

Sharp looking design, blistering speed performance and good value make this an exciting plane for the seasoned pilot! Ronnie Pope reviews the Great Planes 25 Spitfire EP ARF.

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Introduction


Wingspan:39" (990mm)
Wing Area:272 sq in (17.5 sq dm)
Wing type:balsa and light ply covered
AUW weight:Advertised 40-48 oz, Actual - 42.2 oz
Length:35.5" (895mm)
Wing loading:21-25 oz/sq ft (65-78 g/sq dm)
Servos:4 Hobbico CS-12MGs for ailerons, elevator and rudder
Transmitter:Hitec Optic 6
Receiver:Hitec Micro 05
Battery:Electrifly 3S1P 3200 LiPoly pack available from Great Planes
Motor:Great Planes Rimfire 35-30-1450 Outrunner Brushless available from Great Planes
ESC:Great Planes Silver Series 45A Brushless ESC:available from Great Planes
US distributor:Great Planes
Available From:Great Planes
Retail Price:Plane only: $99.99, Plane with Brushless Motor/ESC Combo: $199.95

The Supermarine Spitfire was an iconic British single-seat fighter used by the British Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries during the Second World War and into the 1950s. It was produced in greater numbers than any other Allied design and was the only Allied fighter in production at the outbreak of the Second World War that was still in production at the end of the war.

Produced by the Supermarine subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrongs, the Spitfire was designed by the company's Chief Designer R. J. Mitchell, who continued to refine the design until his death in 1937; the position of chief designer was then filled by his colleague, Joseph Smith. Its elliptical wing had a thin cross-section, allowing a higher top speed than the Hawker Hurricane and other contemporary designs; it also resulted in a distinctive appearance, enhancing its overall streamlined features. Much loved by its pilots, the Spitfire saw service during the whole of the Second World War and subsequent years, in all theaters of war, and in many different variants.

The Great Planes Spitfire 25 EP ARF is a combat class .25 size sport-scale aircraft that's a high quality, quick building model and a joy to fly!

Kit Contents

The review package arrived from Great Planes with no damage. The parts were neatly placed in the amazingly small ARF box and were also undamaged. With the low parts count, I knew the Spitfire 25 EP ARF would be a quick, worry-free build.

Kit includes:

  • One-piece fuselage
  • Two wing panels
  • Painted plastic canopy
  • Painted fiberglass cowl
  • Balsa covered tail group
  • Light plywood spar
  • Pre-bent landing gear and wheels
  • Hardware (EZ type connectors, pushrods and horns)
  • Excellent illustrated assembly guide and instructions

Kit requires:

  • Brushless Motor
  • Brushless ESC
  • 9X6 APC 'E' Thin Electric Propeller
  • 3s 3200 mAh LiPoly battery
  • 4 Hobbico CS-12MG or equivalent servos
  • Receiver
  • 4 channel minimum transmitter

Included for this review:

  • Great Planes Rimfire 35-30-1450 Outrunner brushless motor
  • Great Planes Silver Series 45A Brushless ESC
  • Electrifly 3S1P 3200 LiPoly pack
  • 4 - Hobbico CS-12MG servos (2 aileron, 1 rudder, 1 elevator)
  • 2 - 9" servo extensions for aileron servos

Assembly

The build went very quickly and took me only three evenings to complete. The Spitfire 25 is built like a tank, with a sheeted fuselage and thick, sturdy wing. It can be built as either a belly lander with the servos on top or with landing gear and servos on the bottom. My club field is short grass, so I decided on the landing gear version. This proved to be the right choice (with a little modification) as I'll explain later.

The instruction manual was extremely easy to follow and understand, with lots of photo-illustrations throughout. As previously mentioned, this is a very straightforward build for anyone with even basic ARF building experience. The manual includes instructions for building the Spitfire 25 as a glow or electric conversion model. I used 15 minute epoxy and regular CA throughout the build.

Wing

Both wing halves include pre-installed string that made pulling the servo leads through the wing a snap. The landing gear inserts into pre-drilled holes in the hardwood section of the wing, and is held in place with some sturdy nylon straps. The wing retaining bolts are inserted through a covered plywood bolt plate and into the fuselage. The aileron servos use very sturdy clevises and control horns.

Fuselage

The Spitfire 25 electric conversion was simple to do, thanks to the included outrunner motor mount adapter. The laser-cut pieces glue together like a puzzle, and there are pre-drilled holes at the firewall and motor mount ends for installing the included blind nuts. The Rimfire motor X-mount bolts right into place! The instructions recommend cutting a cooling hole on the underside of the beautifully painted cowl to accommodate airflow to the Rimfire outrunner.

Tail assembly

The tail group installs using 15 minute epoxy in the usual way: by first removing the covering on the horizontal stab, aligning it with the wing and gluing it in place. I like to use an old soldering iron for this. CA hinges and a joiner wire hold the elevator halves in place. Although the Spitfire 25 has a functional rudder, there is no steerable tail wheel, but instead it uses a light ply tail skid with a steel washer where it contacts the ground.

Power system

Motor - ElectriFly RimFire 35-30-1450 Brushless Outrunner Motor

  • Motor statistics:
  • Diameter 35.0mm
  • Length 30mm
  • Weight - 71g(2.47oz) Motor only
  • Shaft 4.0mm(.16")
  • Peak current 35A
  • Peak surge current - 40A
  • KV (rpm/v) - 1450
  • Max Power: 388W

The ElectriFly RimFire 35-30-1450 Brushless Outrunner motor provides superb power for the Spitfire 25. The amp draw at full throttle using the recommended APC 8 X 6 prop is easily within the limits of this motor. The Rimfire brushless outrunners are an excellent value for their price, are reliable and maintenance free. They include mounting options for both behind and in front of the firewall. Highly recommended!

Speed Control - ElectriFly Silver Series 45 amp Brushless ESC

  • Size 2.76" x 1.30" x .39"
  • Weight 50 grams (1.76 oz.)
  • Battery recommendations 6-12 cells NiCd/NiMH, 2-4 cells LiPo, 5V/2.0 amp BEC *
  • Max. current 45A

The ElectriFly Silver Series 45 amp Brushless ESC: I was highly impressed with the Electrifly's performance and features. It's simple to use and very affordable.

Battery - Great Planes ElectriFly Power Series Lithium Polymer 3200mAh 11.1V 20C Lithium Polymer pack

  • Cells - 3s
  • Capacity - 3200 mAh total
  • Weight 9.52oz
  • Size 5.7 x 1.9 x 0.94"

Great Planes ElectriFly Power Series Lithium Polymer 3200mAh 11.1V 20C Lithium Polymer battery:This was my first experience with Electrifly LiPo batteries, and I'm very satisfied with the performance of their new Power Series. Their 20C amp draw discharge capability is excellent and they come with a Deans connector preinstalled. I flew the Spitfire 25 at half to three-quarter throttle most of the time with a few full throttle passes and the Electrifly Power Series 3200 was cool to the touch on landing.

Finish

Finally, I applied the Spitfire 25 decals. No cutting or trimming is necessary, just peel them off the decal sheet and install them using the box as a guide. They really add to the Spitfire's already great looks!

Flying

With an AUW of 42.2 oz., the Spitfire 25's wing loading of 21-25oz/sq ft makes it a naturally fast flier, but it slows down surprisingly well.

The CG was set at 2-3/8" (60mm) back from the wing's leading edge at the fuselage. With the Electrifly 3200 mAh pack at the furthest forward position on the battery tray, the Spitfire 25 balanced perfectly with no additional weight needed!

Rates were set as recommended in the manual. Control throws were as follows- High Rate/Low Rate: Elevator: Up & Down 3/8" (9.5mm)/1/4" (6mm) Rudder: Up & Down 3/4" (19mm)/1/2" (13mm) Ailerons: Up & Down 3/16" (5mm)/1/8" (3mm)

As I normally do with most planes, I used a little exponential to 'soften the sticks' a bit. I used 30% on both low and high rates on the ailerons and elevator. Don't you just love computer radios?

I made the first flight on a Saturday morning in calm winds. As previously mentioned, my club field is short grass, and because of their small diameter, the Spitfire 25's stock wheels are really better suited to a smooth surface. And as I've learned about warbirds, they tend to nose over easily. After three takeoff attempts and three nose overs, I had to try something else. Luckily, I had a pair of 2.5 inch wheels in my flight box and installed them. BIG difference!

Takeoff and Landing

With full power and full up-elevator applied, the Spitfire 25 took to the air in less than 20 feet. I throttled back to half, and the plane settled into a nice groove. At 3/4 throttle it climbed with authority, and full throttle passes were very fast and exciting!

Landings required a fairly long approach and a small amount of power. Just line it up, and apply a few clicks of throttle and flare with elevator to slow the Spitfire down. It did slow down surprisingly well in spite of its weight and was very controllable even at slower speeds.

Special Flight Characteristics

The Spitfire 25 has a very predictable stall for a model with a fairly high wing loading. I never detected a wingtip drop even when I induced abrupt stalls, and it slowed very significantly just before stall. Although the nose dropped fairly abruptly, it remained fully controllable and the recovery was very quick and smooth with throttle application.

Loops are easy to perform and are large and scale-like. With the powerful Rimfire Outrunner, the plane easily looped from level flight and I never detected any snap characteristics.

The Spitfire 25 rolls extremely well at the rates that the manual recommends. In fact, I was surprised at how quickly it rolled. Usually I've noticed that warbirds have a distinct barrel role but this was not the case with the Spitfire 25.

Stall turns are a lot of fun to perform as well; just point the plane straight up, kick the tail over and it comes straight down.

With three-quarter to full power, the Spitfire 25 flies as if it's on rails. I had a blast doing high speed turns, loops and rolls, and the power curve was just amazing! The plane seemed almost unaffected by wind and with the recommended Electrifly Power Series 3200 LiPo battery, flight times of 12-14 minutes should be no problem.

Is this for a beginner?

Definitely not. The speed and performance of the Spitfire 25 requires that the pilot have at least intermediate flying skills. That said, I would highly recommend it to warbird fans, sport fliers or someone just wanting a great looking plane that gives a healthy dose of adrenaline every time he flies it!

Flight Video

Downloads

Photo Gallery

Conclusion

The Great Planes Spitfire 25 EP ARF is an excellent flier and a great value. The recommended power system is a fantastic performer for it, and it makes the Spitfire 25 a blast to fly! It is easily one of the most exciting planes I've flown and should put a big grin on the face of any seasoned flier. Check out the Great Planes Spitfire 25 at your local hobby shop or at Great Planes.com.

Pluses::

Sharp looking design and decals

  • Blistering high-speed performance
  • Quick and easy assembly
  • Excellent photo-Illustrated instruction guide
  • Tough construction
  • Complete hardware kit

Minuses::

Stock wheels could be a little bigger.

Everything else about the Spitfire 25 was excellent!

Last edited by Angela H; Sep 17, 2007 at 02:50 PM..

Discussion

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Old Sep 17, 2007, 03:11 PM
MN WATTS Master
Vintauri's Avatar
United States, MN, Mankato
Joined Jul 2003
7,385 Posts
Looks like a spirited flyer. Now we just need those wheels to tuck up after take off!

Steve
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Old Sep 17, 2007, 03:30 PM
"Have Glue - Will Travel"
dawnron1's Avatar
Ft. Worth, Texas
Joined Jan 2004
2,428 Posts
Steve,

It is indeed a 'barn burner' at 42oz, and retracts would be very cool!

Ronnie
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Old Sep 17, 2007, 04:03 PM
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Dallas Intl, Texas, United States
Joined Aug 2004
877 Posts
Great review Ronnie.

This thing does carry quite a bit of energy. It moves from one side of the field the next very very quickly.

Nice flyer also.
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Old Sep 17, 2007, 04:12 PM
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Honolulu, Hi
Joined Feb 2005
87 Posts
Are the wings thick enough for retracts?
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Old Sep 17, 2007, 06:11 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
United States, TX, Kingsland
Joined Sep 2005
5,136 Posts
Great Job, Ronnie. The Spitfire is one of my all time favorite airplanes, and this one looks like a winner. Man that thing moves out at full bore! It looks like it slows down nicely and should be able to belly land fairly easily. I'd probably leave off the gear rather than add retracts.
Mike McD
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Old Sep 17, 2007, 06:23 PM
The sky is my playground.
Dora Nine's Avatar
United States, NH
Joined May 2005
7,711 Posts
Could this plane be belly flopper?
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Old Sep 17, 2007, 07:22 PM
"Have Glue - Will Travel"
dawnron1's Avatar
Ft. Worth, Texas
Joined Jan 2004
2,428 Posts
Haze b,

I would think so, if the mechanisms were fairly thin.

Thanks Mike!!

Dora Nine,

It could indeed! I should have mentioned that the servos can be mounted on the top of the wing as well, to make it a belly lander.

Ronnie
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Old Sep 18, 2007, 11:22 AM
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pda4you's Avatar
USA, TX, Trophy Club
Joined May 2002
14,519 Posts
Mmmmmm Spitfire.............

Great review Ronnie - a great yank and bank airplane!

Mike
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Old Sep 19, 2007, 10:32 AM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,538 Posts
A very nice review. If you had done a slow climbing axial (victory) roll and a few Taka, Taka, Takas for machine guns my mind would have been totally in the "Battle of Britain" movie. I will be happy if my Spit flies as well. You should have a lot of fun with this one. Mike
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Old Sep 19, 2007, 11:32 AM
"Have Glue - Will Travel"
dawnron1's Avatar
Ft. Worth, Texas
Joined Jan 2004
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Thank Mike and Mike!! Can't wait to see your Spitfire review, Mike. The P-36A Hawk is finished and ready for the maiden on Saturday...

Ronnie
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Old Oct 10, 2007, 12:45 PM
Registered User
Tri-City Airport Municipal, Tennesse, United States
Joined Oct 2003
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Could this baby stand up to belly landing on a grass field?

Jake
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Old Oct 10, 2007, 01:19 PM
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Ft. Worth, Texas
Joined Jan 2004
2,428 Posts
Jake,

Absolutely! The wing and fuselage are balsa sheeted and VERY strong, and you can even mount the servos on top of the wing if you like(there are pre-cut servo bays on the top and bottom).

Ronnie

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjake
Could this baby stand up to belly landing on a grass field?

Jake
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Old Apr 06, 2009, 08:07 PM
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Southern California
Joined Feb 2006
2,925 Posts
Fast-forwarding about a year and a half:

I just maidened mine with the recommended O.S. 25FX. Holy crow, the thing is fast. I was worried about excess wing loading; the tail needed nearly three ounces of lead to balance out the engine! I cut an opening ahead of the slot for the tail skid and installed two old Great Planes 1/4 oz. weight strips without the tape vertically and back-to back in sets of three each plus a few loose weights less their backing tapes as well. It was a snug fit, so I just squirted some CA into the tail to hold the weights in place. I cut a small piece of the leftover gray Monokote to cover the weights before I replaced the skid.

Works like a charm.

In addition to being insanely fast, it takes off in about six feet of runway and floats in almost as nice as a trainer. Next project will be a tailwheel; I don't like the skid.
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Old Apr 19, 2009, 11:34 PM
Really, I meant to do that...
Pensacola, Fl.
Joined Feb 2008
265 Posts
Nice to see the thread is still going. I'll be doing the electric version with all the factory recommended equipment. I'm flying the GP P-47 and its fast as well and can't wait to get the Spitfire in the air to see how it compares with the P-47. Should be by next weekend...
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