Great Planes 27% Extra 330s
|Wing Area:||1209 sq. in.|
|Weight:||14 lbs. 9 oz.|
|Wing Loading:||27.7 oz/sq. ft.|
|Servos:||(5) Futaba S3305 and (1) Futaba S9202|
|Transmitter:||Futaba 7c 2.4GHZ|
|Battery:||(1) 4.8V 2600mAh NiMH and (1) 6.0v NiMH 2700mAh|
|Motor:||Fuji Imvac BT-43EI|
|Prop:||Menz 20 x 8 at 7400 RPM|
|Available From:||Tower Hobbies|
The Great Planes 27% Extra 330S is the newest addition to the already outstanding line of Performance Series IMAC precision/3D capable scale aerobatic airplanes currently being offered by Great Planes. The Extra 330S was bred to be an aerobatic champion, and Great Planes has done a great job of replicating all of those champion qualities in this great looking and terrific flying airplane. The Great Planes 27% Extra 330S can be flown on a wide variety of power setups including glow, gas and even electric power, making this a very versatile airframe for pretty much anyone looking for a great way to get into a giant scale airplanes.
So let's take a look as Tim Tworek sets out to see if the new Great Planes 27% Extra 330S can meet or exceed its aerobatic pedigree.
My 27% Extra 330S arrived in a HUGE box with a beautiful picture of the finished product adorning the top. Upon opening the box I was very impressed with how well every part was neatly packaged and protected, and my eyes were immediately drawn to the great looking covering scheme that Great Planes has used on the new Extra. After unbagging all the parts, I was equally impressed by how well the MonoKote® looked, and I noticed very few wrinkles in the covering. I couldn't wait to start building this beauty!!
The GP 27% Extra 330S ARF contains:
The GP 27% Extra 330S ARF requires:
Items used to complete the Great Planes 27% Extra 330S ARF:
Great Planes has always done a fantastic job of providing a build/flying manual that is easy to follow and that provides the builder every detail needed to complete the model from start to finish. The 27% Extra 330S manual is no exception, and I found it extremely user friendly and easy to follow. The manual covers how to setup the Extra using gas, glow and electric power systems, and pretty much all the hardware needed to accomplish this is included with the kit. It really leaves nothing to the builder’s imagination; everything is clearly explained. Great Planes has even added a 3D flying section in the Extra 330S manual that explains how to fly 10 different aerobatic/3D maneuvers. I found many of the explanations and approaches on how to perform some of these maneuvers quite helpful, and I've put many of these instructions to good use at the field.
June 17th, 2008: Great Planes issues a addendum stating that the servos used on the control surfaces of the 27% Extra 330S should have metal gears.
The first thing you notice when you start to work on the Extra 330S wings is how large the control surfaces are and the distinct covering scheme used on the top and bottom of the wings. While the 27% Extra 330S is by many accounts a large airplane, when flying this size of an airplane through IMAC (International Miniature Aerobatic Club) sequences it's nice to have a covering scheme that will aid in good orientation, and the 27% Extra 330S comes through with flying colors.
The Extra 330S makes use of robart style pinned hinges on all the control surfaces, and I chose to use 30 minute epoxy to glue all my hinges in place. There is plenty of surface deflection area available as the wing’s trailing edge and the aileron leading edges are fully beveled. To handle the control of the ailerons I used a Futaba S3305 on each wing half. These are very affordable, high torque metal gear servos that put out 124 oz./in. of torque on 6v. I chose to use the Dubro long arms on all of my control surfaces. The Dubro arms allow for full 3D deflection when needed, and I have found that they work absolutely flawlessly in my Extra 330S.
The pushrods on the 27% Extra 330S require one end to be soldered. Take your time on this, and ensure you have a good solder joint. The manual once again does a great job of explaining this and provides a very easy to follow procedure. My soldered pushrods have worked out great in this airplane.
The wings ride on a VERY robust aluminum wing tube that weighs in at 12.6 oz.. There is no doubt in my mind that this tube will withstand a tremendous amount of force that may be exerted on it in-flight. It would have been nice to see a carbon fiber wing tube come with the Extra 330S as I'm sure a fair amount of weight savings could be had by making the switch. As it is, I know the aluminum wing tube will not let me down.
The tail surfaces on the 27% Extra 330S hinge together in a similar fashion to the ailerons, and in no time my rudder and elevator control surfaces were installed. The horizontal stabilizer on the Extra 330s needs to be epoxied in place, and I chose once again to use 30 minute epoxy for this. It would have been nice if the Extra 330S had a removable horizontal stab riding on a carbon fiber stab tube. This setup makes transporting an airplane of this size much easier for those driving smaller trucks or cars. However, I have had no problems transporting my Extra 330S in the bed of my Ford Ranger (plenty of room). The elevators on the Extra 330S make use of one servo per elevator half, and the setup was very straightforward and installed per the manual.
The rudder also makes use of two servos, one mounted on each side of the fuselage tail. The manual shows a couple of different rudder servo configurations based on the motor being installed. Because the Fuji motor is the heaviest motor choice, the tail mounted rudder servo locations are the best to use so that the correct CG can be obtained without having to add dead weight. For ease of programming and trying to set up two rudder servos (my first time doing so) I just simply used a Y-harness between the two rudder servos and plugged the servo connection right into the rudder channel on the receiver. This setup has worked great, and with the rudder servos located in the tail I have had to add ZERO additional weight to get my Extra 330S to balance correctly.
WOW!!!!! That was the first word out of my mouth when I saw the inside of the fuselage on my Extra 330S. This fuselage does not look anything like the older 78" Patty Wagstaff Extra or for that matter any previous Great Planes giant scale airplane. I was completely blown away by how little balsa and ply was used inside the fuselage. The only built up area inside the fuselage is the turtledeck area and that just consists of lightweight balsa and foam. The fuselage has all the right support where it needs to be without adding any unnecessary plywood or balsa.
The fuselage is very roomy inside and allows plenty of access to the radio compartment (more on that later) as well the fuel tank and wing bolts. I was also very impressed with the landing gear plate which is actually located on the bottom of the motor box. While at first I wasn't sure how this was going to hold up, I have since become sold on it and have had ZERO issues with the landing gear plate after many flights on the airplane.
|Muffler:||Steel bolt through construction|
|Spark Plug:||Champion RCJ6Y|
|Displacement:||2.6 cu. in. (43 cc)|
|Output:||4.2 hp @ 11,000 RPM|
|Weight:||3.5 lbs. w/ muffler|
|Recommended prop:||20 x 10|
|Prop Tested:||Menz 20 x 8|
Mounting the recommended motors on the motor box of the Extra 330S couldn't get much easier than this. The motor box, which comes fuel proofed out-of-the-box, has etched markings on it that can be used to install your glow motor mount or recommended Fuji Imvac BT-43EI gas motor. I decided to go with the Fuji 43 gas motor as this is the largest gas motor recommended by Great Planes. The etched "X" cross markings on the front of the motor box are located perfectly for the Fuji motor which simply bolts to the front of the motor box. The Fuji motor also comes with a paper template that could be used as a backup reference as to what bolt pattern you need to drill out in the motor box. The throttle linkage on the Extra uses approx. 26" of nyrod and some threaded 1" rods to connect the plastic connectors to the throttle. The length of nyrod will depend on which radio tray position you end up using based on your motor selection.
The Fuji electronic ignition box comes in a plastic casing that I simply mounted to the side of the motor box with two screws with some foam padding placed under it to reduce some of the vibration on the EI unit. The muffler on the Fuji 43 is very compact, and as I came to find out, fits perfectly inside the cowling of my Extra.
I really couldn't have been more pleased with how well the Fuji 43 mounted and the ease of setting up the throttle/choke linkages. It really doesn't get much easier than this!!!
I was a little bewildered by where the manual instructed me to place the fuel tank and mounting plywood. The manual shows a forward fuel tank placement that puts the fuel tank half way into the motor box area. In my past experiences with gas airplane setups I've always placed my fuel tanks in gas powered airplanes as close to the wing tube phenolic as possible to minimize the change in CG due to fuel burn during each flight.
I'm sure the forward fuel tank location would have worked out just fine but I decided to use some of the additional plywood supplied in the kit and 30 minute epoxy to make a fuel tank plate that mounted directly in front of the wing tube phenolic (see picture above). As it turns out this location has worked out perfectly for me as my Extra's CG needed to be moved aft to obtain a more neutral flight characteristic while inverted. The forward fuel tank location would have required additional weight/battery packs to be mounted well aft of my radio tray location to obtain this neutral flight mode.
The Extra has two different areas in the fuselage to mount the plywood radio tray in the airplane. The forward radio tray area is actually located right where I mounted my fuel tank, right in front of the wing tube. However, with the heavier gas Fuji motor out front, the radio tray gets mounted in the aft location which is almost just below the turtle deck area. The provided plywood radio tray has a lot of precut openings in it that allow easy access for places to zip tie/velcro your radio equipment in place. The throttle servo bay is precut in the radio tray, and my (1) Futaba S9202 was a drop-in fit. For guidance I decided to use my Futaba 7c 2.4GHZ radio and Futaba R617FS receiver which has worked absolutely flawless in my Extra 330S. To power my servos I'm using a 6.0v 2700mah NiMH battery pack and a 4.8v 2600mAh battery pack on the ignition. This setup is very easy to install and maintain, and I'm able to get 7 to 8 flights on my Extra before needed to recharge my packs.
The Extra's cowl gets mounted through the use of 6 wood screws and small plastic washers that get screwed into hardwood blocks that have been epoxied to the F1 former. It is very important that each area where the hardwood blocks are to be epoxied on the F1 former gets roughed up with fine grit sandpaper so as to ensure a solid bond with the wood. The Extra 330S kit comes with a cowl mounting ring for the Fuji motor which makes getting the correct spacing from the spinner back plate super easy. I dremeled some holes in the bottom of the cowl for cooling and exhaust as well as my chock pushrod. It was really nice to see how well the Fuji motor fits completely inside the cowl. It makes for a very clean finished look. VERY NICE!!! I chose to use a Menz 20 x 8 prop on my Fuji which puts out 7400 RPM. I had initially put a Menz 20 x 10 on my Fuji 43 motor but was not very pleased with the lower RPM readings (6400-6600 RPM) using this prop. The Menz 20 x 8 really brings the Fuji 43 motor to life!!
I was EXTREMELY pleased with the great looks of my finished 27% Extra 330S. I estimated that I put roughly 27 hours into the build of my Extra, very close to the 20-25 hour estimation Great Planes claims it should take to build this airplane. I'm sure the additional time I needed to complete the airplane was mostly attributed to taking the review photos and carefully studying every step of the manual. An experienced modeler could easily build this airplane is less time.
My finished 27% Extra 330S weighed in at 14 lbs. 9 oz. dry (no fuel) which puts my Extra well inside the weight range specified by the manufacturer (13.5-15.5 lbs.). The manual calls for an initial CG of 5 1/4" measured from the leading edge at the wing root where the wing meets the fuselage. While I used this as my starting reference point, I have since moved my CG back to 6". At this CG my Extra only requires a slight push of down elevator while inverted, and for me, that is just about a perfect CG location for both precision and 3D flying.
Control Throw Setup
|My control throws were set per the instruction manual|
|Low Rates Up||Low Rates Down||3D Rates Up||3D Rates Down|
|Aileron:||3/4"||3/4"||1 1/2"||1 1/2"|
|Low Rates Left||Low Rates Right||3D Rates Left||3D Rates Right|
My 27% Extra 330S ground handles extremely well, and with the nice wide gear track I found no evidence of the Extra wanting to ground loop. The larger rudder makes keeping a straight track during the takeoff roll very easy, and I found that only a small amount of rudder was needed to keep my Extra tracking straight as an arrow down the runway. Once airborne, the Extra 330S tracks fairly well but I did feel as though the centering on the (5) Futaba S3305 servos could have been a little better but was definitely manageable. My Extra 330S has excellent response to the control inputs (even on low rates), and I found the low rate settings to be nearly perfect for practicing my IMAC sequences.
The Extra 330S is a very sleek and aerodynamic airplane, and this becomes very apparent during the landing sequence. The Extra 330S is not hard to land by any means but it does require some advanced planning in order to slow it down. The 27% Extra 330S loves long and low approaches which makes bleeding off airspeed much easier and makes greaser 3-point landings possible every time. I also like to slip my Extra 330S in for a landing which allows for a slightly steeper approach without gaining too much airspeed. This may be a great technique to use if you have obstacles such as tall trees at the end of your runway.
One nice about the 720cc stock fuel tank is that you will get plenty of flight time. Plan on at least 14 minute flights with time enough for a couple of missed approaches or touch-and-goes.
One of my recent passions this year has been competing in IMAC (International Miniature Aerobatics Club) events. These events require the pilot to be in complete control of his airplane while flying precision aerobatic maneuvers and be judged based on how well they fly the sequence maneuvers. So I decided to see how well my 27% Extra 330S would perform flying the basic class sequence (which is the class I have been competing in this year in the North Central Region).
I hope you don't think that all the Extra 330S is capable of performing is precision aerobatics, far from it. The Extra 330S is also very capable of performing mild 3D aerobatics. What I have come to discover about my Extra 330S is that the airframe is FULLY capable of performing most any 3D aerobatic maneuver. The control surfaces on the Extra are definitely large enough to make this airplane tumble all over the sky. The Fuji 43 does an admirable job of pulling the Extra 330S through most mild 3D maneuvers but really lacks the brute power needed to allow any kind of DOD (down-on-the-deck) 3D flying. While the Fuji 43 cc motor is at the top of the power setups recommended by Great Planes the Extra 330S really needs a solid 50cc motor in order to take full advantage of its 3D prowess.
Below is a compilation of some of the 3D maneuvers I've flown with my 27% Extra 330S and a brief description of how the Extra 330S performed each of them:
The 27% Extra 330S is definitely not for the novice pilot. The 27% Extra 330S does not posses the self-leveling qualities that many high wing trainers have. However, it would make for a great first gas airplane for anyone that has mastered a low wing aerobatic airplane and is looking to moving up to a great flying giant scale gas airplane.
My overall impressions of the Great Planes 27% Extra 330S is that this is one well built, great looking, and fantastic flying airplane. I think that Great Planes has done a terrific job of building an aerobatic airplane that meets the needs of both precision and 3D pilots alike who are looking to get into a giant scale airplane at a reasonable price. The Extra 330S is a very straightforward build, and as usual, the manual is of the normal high quality that we have come to expect from Great Planes. The covering scheme presents very well on the ground and most importantly in the air.
With its two piece wing design the Extra 330S is very portable for most people and should be able to find its way to the field just as easily as your favorite .90-1.20 sized airplane. While the Extra 330S could stand to use a little more power for 3D flying, as it stands the Fuji 43 does a nice job of pulling the Extra through most any aerobatic maneuver.
So you think the 27% Extra 330S might be just a little to big of an airplane for you at this time? Need something a little smaller? Great Planes has you covered with their 41" Electrifly Extra 330S.
But wait!!! Are you wishing Great Planes had something a little bigger than the 27% Extra 330S? I think they have you covered as well with their 38% Extra 330S. I'm sure you'll find that one of these fine Extra's will fit both your flying style and budget!!
|Aug 08, 2008, 07:55 PM|
Very nice. I would make a very thin aluminum or carbon plate (washer) that bridged over the six landing gear screws to connect the left and right sides for MUCH greater strength with almost no penalty.
|Aug 08, 2008, 08:00 PM|
The landing gear and the landing gear plate is actually very solid. I think you would be suprised how rigid this setup is.
|Aug 08, 2008, 08:04 PM|
The biggest difference I've seen is that the GP 27% Extra tends to fly the sequence a little faster than my 87" SHP. I'm pretty sure this is due to the turtledeck/canopy area has a much higher profile than does my GP 27% Extra. I'm also turning a 24" prop on my SHP as compared to the 20" prop on my GP Extra which tends to let me fly a little slower through the sequence maneuvers.
They both fly the Basic sequence very well though.
|Aug 08, 2008, 08:07 PM|
Trust me I know what you are talking about.
|Aug 09, 2008, 12:16 AM|
This one seems more apealing,nice video . Does the fuji have enough power to pull out from hover at that weight?,looked really under powered for hovering. Nice looking plane,i think id go with a dl50 though . Would probally be a beast on a 12s electric set up.. hint hint .
|Aug 09, 2008, 04:57 AM|
I'm nearly at full throttle during any type of hovering.
I definately agree that a 10s2p or 12s setup would work great in the Extra.
|Aug 09, 2008, 05:51 PM|
I have been working on one of these extra's. I am going the electric route though. Power is a Hacker A60-16L on 10s, I may step up to 12s but not sure about that at this point in the build. It does swing an APC 22x12w prop real well on 10s.
I have to agree on the control rods and links, I know they work decent when done correctly but I beleive they are seriously outdated. Ball links at both ends seem to be the norm for todays bigger airplanes.
My e-conversion fully loaded comes in right at 15lbs.
Hope to get it finished up within the next day or two, cant wait to get a chance to fly it.
Nice review btw.
|Aug 09, 2008, 06:47 PM|
Let us know how it flies on e-power. What battery packs are you planning on flying in your Extra?
|Aug 09, 2008, 07:32 PM|
I think 12s might be the best setup for this airframe, at least with the motor I will be running. I guess I will have to try what I have and find out.
I'll keep you posted as things progress.
|Aug 14, 2008, 05:51 PM|
Nice review ! Looks like it flies like the electric 41", although it weights more. Really like my electric one. I wonder if apart the weight (more stable in the wind) there is a lot of difference in the flying ? Is it tougher to fly since the power to weight ratio is smaller ?
|Aug 14, 2008, 06:20 PM|
No not really. Under normal IMAC/sport flying there is PLENTY of power from the Fuji 43 to pull it through most any maneuver. However it's in the 3D flight realm that you really are wanting more power.
Overall I'm pretty pleased with the flight characteristics of my Extra, no bad tendacies, tracks fairly well, and looks great in the air.
|Aug 15, 2008, 11:01 AM|
well I finally got a chance to fly the extra on e-power today. Judging from the videos posted of this plane with the fuji43 I would say its very comparable in power maybe slightly more. Its definatly not overpowered though..
Flightpower EVO25 3700's (2 5s packs in series for 10s)
APC 22x12w e-prop
It will hover at about 3/4 throttle but doesnt have much pullout power. Its plenty of power for my flying style but I think it would be lacking for all out 3D stuff. Ready to fly weight comes in at 15lbs even with batteries installed.
I put two 6-minute flights on it just to see where I am at, and I think 8-10 minute flights would be easy to do. I'm charging now so I will know more shortly.
all around its a Great flying aircraft and I'm looking foward to getting in some more flights later this weekend.
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