Tim Tworek builds and flies the all new Great Planes Extra 300 SP, the newest in the line of Performance Series® airplanes that feature next generation construction technology, large scale performance and super quick and hassle free assembly.



Wing Area:590 sq. in.
Weight:6lbs. 8oz.
Wing Loading:25.38 oz/sq. ft.
Cubic Wing Loading:12.54 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:(3) Futaba 9650 digital servos and a Futaba 9252 digital servo
Transmitter:Futaba 7C 2.4 Ghz
Receiver:Futaba R617FS 7
Battery:(2) GP Electrifly 3s 3200mah (20C) lipo packs
Motor:GP Rimfire .80 brushless motor
Engine:0.46–0.55 cu in [7.5–9cc] two-stroke, 0.52–0.81 cu in [8.5–13cc] four-stroke
ESC:GP Silver Series 60A High Voltage
Manufacturer:Great Planes
Available From:Tower Hobbies
Retail Price:$199.98

Great Planes’ new line of Performance Series® ARFs have really taken the RC community by storm over the past couple of years. With the immense popularity of their Reactor, Cap (232 & 580), Ultimate, Edge 540, and, SU-31, and now a couple versions of the Extra, Great Planes has just about any kind of RC airplane for the sport/aerobatic pilot. The new GP Performance Series Extra 300 SP ARF is a next generation redesigned airplane that offers large scale performance in a .40 sized package.

The Great Planes Performance Series® Extra 300 SP ARF gives the builder the option to fly it either with electric or glow power, and both setups are covered quite extensively in the included detailed manual. The Extra 300 SP ARF comes with a very complete and high quality hardware package that allows you to have this plane from box to the flight line in 6-8 hours. Let’s go through the building and flying of this awesome new addition to the growing line of Great Planes Performance Series® ARFs.

  Great Planes Performance Series® Extra 300 SP ARF
Great Planes Performance Series® Extra 300 SP ARF

Kit Contents

My Great Planes Performance Series® Extra 300 SP ARF arrived in a highly detailed box with an excellent boxtop picture of the finished airplane. I was immediately impressed by how well the Extra 300 SP parts were packed and protected from damage. I was thrilled to see that the monokote was nearly wrinkle-free. I gave the covering a quick once-over with the heat gun after letting the parts adjust to the Ohio temperatures.

The Great Planes Extra 300 SP kit contains:

  • Awesome new and highly visible trim scheme
  • Carbon fiber wing tube
  • Sliding canopy hatch lock system
  • Perfectly matched painted fiberglass wheel pants and cowl
  • Large airfoiled control surfaces
  • Comprehensive hardware package for easy setup as electric or glow
  • Full photo illustrated build/flying manual

The Great Planes Extra 300 SP kit requires:

  • .80 sized outrunner brushless motor
  • 60A sized brushless speed controller
  • (4) standard or digital mini servos
  • (2) 3s 3000-3200mah lipo battery packs
  • APC 15 x 7E prop
  • Standard building supplies

Items used to complete the Great Planes Performance Series® Extra 300 SP:

  • Great Planes Rimfire .80 brushless outrunner motor
  • Great Planes Silver Series 60A high voltage speed controller
  • (2) Great Planes Electrifly 3s 3200mah lipo batteries
  • (3) Futaba 9650 digital servos and (1) Futaba 9252 digital servo
  • Futaba 7C 2.4 Ghz tx with an R617FS rx
  • APC 15 x 7E prop
  • Used included stock hardware

Here is the product video that is posted on the Great Planes website. Just something to tide you over till the end of the review!!

"Click" on picture to view video of the GP Extra 300 SP in action.


Futaba 9650 Mini Digital Servo

Type: Coreless motor
Dims: 1.4" x 0.6" x 1.1"
Weight: .92oz. (26g)
Speed: 0.14 sec/60 deg. @ 4.8V, 0.11 sec/60 deg. @ 6.0V
Torque: 50oz.-in. (3.6kg/cm) @4.8V, 63oz.-in. (4.5kg/cm) @ 6.0V

The Manual

Great Planes has always been a leader in providing product manuals that are extremely detailed and leave the builder with little doubt on how a step is to be completed, and the manual for the Extra 300 SP is no exception. I found it very helpful during the build. It provides clear photo-illustrations for each step of the assembly. The manual clearly lays out the starting CG location and gives the builder safe forward and aft CG locations depending on how one would like to fly the plane. The manual goes into full details on how to set up the Extra as electric or gas, and the required hardware is included in the kit for either configuration.

It's fantastic to see Great Planes’ commitment to quality in providing a manual that is as clear, concise and detailed as the one provided in the Extra 300 SP kit. KUDOS!


Aileron hatch cover.
Aileron hatch cover.
Great shot showing the contrasting covering scheme.
Great shot showing the contrasting covering scheme.
 Final aileron servo setup.
Final aileron servo setup.

The Great Planes Extra 300 SP has very distinctive covering on the top and bottom of the wings to help with orientation. I found the blue and yellow covering scheme presented very effectively in most all sky conditions and the chord length strips on the bottom of the wings showed up quite easily even during cloudy/overcast sky conditions.

The aileron setup for the Extra 300 SP begins with removing the hatch covers from the bottom of the wings and gluing in some hardwood blocks. To handle the work load of the ailerons I selected a couple of Futaba 9650 digital servos. These mini digital servos fit great on the servo hatch covers, and I was also able to use the long servo arms that came with these servos to get full bevel-to-bevel 3D throws on the ailerons. I really liked the short direct push rod linkage setup on the Extra 300 SP. It allows for a slop-free setup, and with the hatch covers in place allows for a very clean finished look.

Tail & Fuselage

 Nice light ply and balsa construction.
Nice light ply and balsa construction.
Fuel proofed motor box.
Fuel proofed motor box.
 Battery tray area. Note the pre-installed blind nuts for the motor mount. <i>NICE!!!</i>
Battery tray area. Note the pre-installed blind nuts for the motor mount. NICE!!!

One look inside the Extra 300 SP and you will automatically see that this is just not some typical ARF Extra. The fuselage is very light weight, constructed entirely of light weight balsa and plywood. The fuselage from the radio tray back is really nothing more than formers and stringers with a sheeted balsa turtle deck.

The battery tray in the Extra 300 SP allows for both mini and standard sized servos. Each servo bay is laser etched so that pretty much any mini servo will just slide right in. However, if you want to use standard sized servos you can do so simply buy cutting along the laser etching and removing a small piece of plywood. I really like this idea; it gives the pilot the option to use either size servo.

My Futaba 9650 digital elevator servo installed.
My Futaba 9650 digital elevator servo installed.
 My Futaba 9252 digital rudder servo also installed.
My Futaba 9252 digital rudder servo also installed.
 Pushrods for the elevator and rudder servos installed.
Pushrods for the elevator and rudder servos installed.

I decided to use a single Futaba 9650 digital servo for the elevator. This little servo packs plenty of torque (50 oz.-in. on 4.8V / 63 oz.-in. on 6.0V) and I knew it would work great in the Extra 300 SP. For the rudder I opted to use a Futaba 9252 digital servo. This did require me to remove a small portion of the servo bay in the radio tray to allow this standard size servo to fit properly. This only took a few minutes to do thanks to the laser cut etch marks in the radio tray (see picture above). The Extra 300 SP has pre-installed rudder and elevator pushrod guides that make it easy to run the pushrods back to the tail of the plane and exit out the correct locations. Just like on the ailerons I was able to use the stock long servo arms that came with both the rudder and elevator servo to obtain full 3D throws on both control surfaces.

I really like the fact that Great Planes incorporated airfoiled tail surfaces into the Extra 300 SP. Both the elevator and rudder on the Extra 300 SP are airfoiled which even on this size of model definately improves both tracking performance as well as pitch authority. It's not often you see an airplane of this size have airfoiled tail surfaces. I really applaud Great Planes for including this feature on the Extra 300 SP as it's just one more feature that gives this airplane that "larger" more solid feel in the air.

Motor and ESC Installation

Power By Rimfire

  GP Rimfire .80 brushless outrunner
GP Rimfire .80 brushless outrunner
Type: Brushless Outrunner
Size: Replacement for .80-size glow engines
Recommended Prop Range: 13x8E to 16x6E
Voltage: 18.5V to 22.2V
RPM/Volt (Kv): 500
Shaft Diameter: 8mm (.32 in)
Motor Length: 55mm (2.17 in)
Weight: 298g (10.5 oz)
Motor Diameter: 50mm (1.97 in)
Max Continuous Current: 52A
Maximum Surge Current: 65A
Maximum Constant Wattage: 1154W
Maximum Surge Wattage: 1440W
No Load Current: 1.8A
Connectors: Bullet style, .16" (4mm) diameter

To handle the power up front I went with the recommended GP Rimfire .80 brushless motor. This motor can really haul the mail in the Extra 300 SP, and I'm completely happy with how it has performed with well over 40 + flights on the Extra 300 SP. The Rimfire .80 brushless motor was bolted on to a GP brushless motor mount which did require some dremeling to get the correct distance for the cowl/spinner back plate spacing. The whole process took maybe 10-15 mins. before I was ready to mount the Rimfire motor to the motor mount. The motor mount lined up beautifully with the pre-installed blind nuts in the motor box.

I mounted the GP Silver Series 60A High Voltage ESC directly under the motor box to provide sufficient air flow for cooling. This setup has worked flawlessly, and the ESC stays right around ambient temperature even during high throttle application flights. Because the GP Silver Series 60A High Voltage ESC is an opto speed controller I did solder a Castle Creations 10A BEC on the ESC to eliminate the need for a separate receiver battery pack. This little gem has a selectable output voltage from 4.8-9.0V, and with my Castle Link I was able to program a 6.0V output voltage. This setup has been bulletproof, and I would highly recommend it to anyone with an opto speed controller.

Canopy Hatch and Radio Installation

The Great Planes Extra 300 SP utilizes a very unique hatch locking setup. The canopy system uses a set of powerful magnets and plywood slats that lock the canopy in place. This system works great, and I have really pushed the plane to see if I could get the canopy to eject in flight but the setup has held up perfectly. It allows quick access to the radio compartment, and there are absolutely no worries of the canopy coming off when it is properly locked in place.

The canopy on the Extra 300 SP needs to be screwed onto the hatch assembly. While this method works fine I have found that over time the canopy will start to warp (buckle) when the plane is left outside especially on hot summer days. I think a better alternative would be just to use a canopy glue such as Pacers 560. This glue dries clear and holds up great. I have used it on many canopy applications in the past with excellent results.

The radio compartment in the Extra 300 SP is very spacious for this size airplane and there is plenty of room on the radio tray for the elevator, rudder and rx.


I was completely thrilled with how my Great Planes Extra 300 SP ARF looked once I had it finished!! The color scheme shows up very nicely, and the finished lines of the Extra were definitely very pleasing.

I opted to spray the canopy silver to give it a very distinctive appearance. The kit does come with a cockpit instrument panel decal that can be applied that gives the plane a more scale look inside the cockpit. My finished Extra 300 SP ARF came in at an AUW of 6.5 lbs, right at the high end of the manufacturer’s specs. While I was hoping for a little lighter finished product I was sure that with the power setup on board the plane would have more than enough mojo for pretty much anything I commanded it to do.

My CG was initially set to the recommended 3.75" from the leading edge measured at the wing root but after a few flights I was able to move it back to close to 4" by sliding my battery packs aft on the battery tray. This slightly rearward CG definitely better suited my flying style.

I set up the control surfaces per the manufacturer’s recommendations. On this particular plane though I have not changed my settings from what the manual has indicated. For me they were spot on!!!!

Control throws setup on my GP Extra 300 SP

Control throws were set per the instruction manual:
Low Rates UpLow Rates Down 3D Rates Up 3D Rates Down
Elevator 3/8" 3/8" 3" 3"
Aileron 3/8" 3/8" 1 3/8" 1 3/8"
Low Rates Left Low Rates Right 3D Rates Left 3D Rates Right
Rudder 2" 2" 5" 5"


Basics Including Takeoffs and Landings

Power Setup Number

Motor: GP Rimfire 50-55-500
Battery Packs: (2) GP 3s 11.1V 3200mah packs wired in series
Prop:APC 15 x 7E
Amps: 54.5A
Wattage: 1110W
Watts/Lb: 170W/Lb.

The Extra 300 SP is super easy to transport to the field thanks in part to its two piece wing design. Once at the field the Extra's wings ride on a very light weight yet robust carbon fiber wing tube, and the wings are held in place by just two thumb screws. This makes the Extra flight-ready in only minutes which means more flight time... and we could all use more flight time!!!!

After installing both of the (2) GP Electrifly 3s 3200mah (20C) lipo packs I connected them to a series harness and slid the canopy in place. In no time, my GP Extra 300 SP was ready to take to the skies. The Extra taxis effortlessly thanks to a solid tail wheel setup and more than ample rudder authority. This makes the Extra feel right at home on either grass or paved runways. The power setup in my Extra 300 SP provides TONS of power, and this can definitely be seen during the short takeoff runs made at full power. The Extra 300 SP accelerates very quickly at full power which leads to very steep (make that vertical) climb outs. You can actually perform very scale takeoffs with the Extra at around half throttle which provides more scalelike climb outs as well.

On low rates the Extra 300 SP is very stable and provides positive response in all axes. I found the ailerons to be very effective, and they provided near axial rolls in both directions. The Extra 300 SP tracks extremely well, and while using the low rate elevator settings, I found there was no need to chase the nose of the plane because it went exactly were I told it to go. The large rudder on the Extra does an AWESOME job of keeping the Extra 300 SP tracking straight lines during windy conditions which is great for those of us who love flying precision aerobatics.

The Extra 300 SP has a very clean look, and it shows in the air. The thin aspect ratio airfoils really allow the plane to penetrate the wind and also allow the Extra to carry some energy into aerobatic tumbling maneuvers.

Landing the Extra 300 SP takes a little planning due to its clean design. I have found that a longer, shallower approach works very well with this airplane. The Extra 300 SP control surfaces stay very effective even at very slow speeds so there really is no fear of premature tip stalling as long as the plane is flown all the way down until the flare. When setup properly for landing, it will reward you with a nice 3-point landing nearly every time.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

The Great Planes Extra 300 SP is fully capable of both precision and 3D aerobatics. This is the best of both worlds for me as I enjoy flying an airplane that is capable of flying IMAC style precision aerobatics and at the flip a switch is able to fly DOD (down on the deck) style of 3D flying. If this is your flying style as well then you will be very pleased with the performance of the Extra 300 SP. I was initially concerned with the finished weight of the Extra and the somewhat higher cubic wing loading on the plane but to my surprise, the Extra 300 SP carries the slightly higher weight just fine. It allows for some CRAZY tumbling maneuvers and very clean and sharp high speed snaps.

I've put together a list of some of the many aerobatic and 3D maneuvers that I've flown with my Great Planes Extra 300 SP and my thoughts on how I thought the airplane performed flying each of them. Many of these maneuvers are featured in the video listed below.

  • Flat Spins - The Extra 300 SP flies both upright and inverted flat spins equally well. I've found that the inverted flat spins require some throttle once they are entered to maintain a nice rotation and only require a release of the sticks for a clean exit.
  • Tumbles - My Extra 300 SP is a tumbling machine!!!! This plane just loves to be flown at moderate speeds and then just having the sticks thrown to the corners. Because of the Extra 300 SP's weight, it carries very good momentum in the tumbles which you will need to plan on doing a little higher than most maneuvers as they will require some altitude for recovery... but boy are they fun to fly!!!
  • Harrier Flight - I've found that the Extra 300 SP does have some wing rock in upright harrier flight. The rock can be worked out with careful aileron inputs, but timing is everything when trying to get stable upright harriers. Inverted harriers are nearly rock-free and can be flown quite confidently down low without the fear of a wing drop.
  • Rolling Circles - This plane just loves to roll!!! My Extra 300 SP does some excellent rolling circles, and I have found that it's very easy to keep the rolls coordinated. A nice rolling circle can easily be accomplished using low rates on all control surfaces, or if you’re looking for some real excitement, flip the aileron switch to high while keeping the rudder and elevator rates on low. Talk about keeping your fingers busy! Lots of fun!!!
  • Snaps - The Extra 300 SP snaps very cleanly through both positive and negative snaps. It is very easy to show the pitch break before snapping, and clean snaps can easily be done on low rate rudder/elevator and moderate/high rate aileron. I found the snaps were fairly easy to stop where I wanted them to, and multiple snaps can be done without any problems thanks in part to the plane’s ability to carry its momentum.
  • Slow Rolls - Very easy to fly with the Extra 300 SP. This maneuver, when done right and with the correct stick inputs, is one very smoooooooth looking maneuver, and it really shows how well the Extra tracks during precision flight.
  • Hover - The Extra 300 SP takes a little getting used to in a hover. I found that the plane had a constant need for up elevator once established in a hover. I'm sure that some of this up elevator can be attributed to the slightly forward CG that is recommended in the manual. I have moved the packs back slightly and have noticed a slight decrease in the amount of up elevator needed to keep the plane pointing vertical. The ailerons are very effective during the hover and are capable of countering any unwanted torque rolling.
  • Point Rolls - Much like the slow rolls, point rolls with my Extra 300 SP are pure enjoyment. The Extra has plenty of rudder authority (even on low rates) and very low coupling in knife edge so it is very easy to fly precise point rolls from one end of the field to the other.
  • Knife Edge - I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Extra 300 SP flew in knife edge flight. My Extra had a small amount of pull to the gear while in knife edge that could easily be flown out on the sticks but I did decided to put in a 3-4% rudder to elevator mix in my radio to eliminate this. I found that my Extra needed no roll coupling mix at all when in knife edge flight.

Is This For a Beginner?

No. While the Great Planes Extra 300 SP can be set up on low rates to fly in a pretty docile way it does not possess the self leveling characteristics found in most of today's trainers. The Extra 300 SP is better suited for intermediate to advanced pilots who are looking to refine their skills with a highly aerobatic/3D sport airplane.

Photo Gallery

Flight Video



The Great Planes Performance Series® Extra 300 SP is a really terrific looking and even better flying precision/3D aerobatic airplane. With its ease of assembly and detailed manual, most any experienced builder/flyer will be able to assemble this airplane in only a few hours. The Extra 300 SP's performance on the recommended power setup will definitely please even the most power hungry pilots: The unlimited vertical climb outs can be very breathtaking to say the least.

I have really been enjoying taking my Extra 300 SP out to the flying field. It seems to get a lot of attention from the other members, and I've even let a few of them fly it as well. The guest pilots always comment on how solid the plane feels in the air and how quickly they became comfortable flying it.

If you’re looking for an Extra 300 that can provide it all - portability, flyability, stability, and is just plain fun to fly you owe it to yourself to take a good look at the Great Planes Performance Series® Extra 300 SP.


  • Great looking covering scheme
  • Ease of assembly
  • Comprehensive build manual
  • Two piece removable wing design
  • Sliding hatch design ensures canopy will stay on at all times
  • Excellent flight characteristics
  • Airfoiled tail surfaces


  • Canopy will warp slightly over time when attaching it with screws as outlined in the manual
Last edited by sun.flyer; Sep 11, 2009 at 09:59 PM..
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Sep 12, 2009, 12:23 PM
Registered User
great looking great flying plane but i want to point something out

recently a guy at our field and his son built one of these.. the young man was flying it and all at once on a fast pass the ailerons started to flutter badly ... broke the control rods we narrowed it down to the gap between the aileron and the wing... it was built as per instructions using all the stock parts the fix was of course simple ... put some covering over the gap so air can't go through stopped the flutter

and the control rods are made of some very soft material

other than those 2 issues "which are easily remedied" this is an amazing plane
Sep 12, 2009, 12:24 PM
Balsa just crashes better
Cub Fan's Avatar
Great review Tim- The color scheme really pops and she looks great in the air.
looks like a very solid airframe

Cub Fan
Sep 12, 2009, 03:47 PM
Registered User
Wingman26's Avatar
I got one of these 3-4 months ago, I was very pleased at the quality of the plane and materials, and the decals were pre cut which is pretty rare these days. Mine flies very nicely on a OS Max 46AX, has plenty of power, and has done any maneuver I have asked of it. I have not experienced any flutter at all, even on wide open throttle dives, so the flutter mentioned by a previous poster can likely be connected to the builder rather than the plane. The yellow really pops and makes the plane easy to see.

The plane is pretty rugged, I did an outside snap too low and the plane smacked the ground pretty hard, it bent the wing tube and badly bent the aluminum landing gear, but there was essentially no other damage, and I was able to straighten the wing tube and gear and the plane was good as new. A lot of the newer planes are built so light that they are easily damaged, I've seen a lot of planes rip their landing gear out very easily, but this plane took that smack, bent the gear way back, but it didn't damage the gear mounting at all. Its a very sturdy plane!

The plane in the photos has a silver canopy, but the canopy furnished with the plane is clear, and the cockpit area is finished, a control panel decal is included with the plane, and it would look really nice with a pilot figure which you could purchase separately.
Sep 13, 2009, 03:14 PM
Registered User
kevinb120's Avatar
Wow 3" more wingspan then the Eagle 580/Edge 540t and the weight more then doubles...I'd probably run it on a Saito .82 before going electric.
Sep 13, 2009, 03:26 PM
Test your IMAC!!
sun.flyer's Avatar
Originally Posted by Cub Fan
Great review Tim- The color scheme really pops and she looks great in the air.
looks like a very solid airframe

Cub Fan


Sep 13, 2009, 03:34 PM
Test your IMAC!!
sun.flyer's Avatar
Originally Posted by kevinb120
Wow 3" more wingspan then the Eagle 580/Edge 540t and the weight more then doubles...I'd probably run it on a Saito .82 before going electric.

The Extra 300 SP is not part of Great Planes/Electrifly's Extreme Light Concept (XLC) series of airplanes.

The Extra 300 SP was built for both glow and electric power setups. The XLC series of airplanes are built purely for electric setups hence the lighter construction.

Sep 14, 2009, 01:24 PM
3DHS Junkie
Great job Tim!
Sep 14, 2009, 02:05 PM
Test your IMAC!!
sun.flyer's Avatar
Originally Posted by ipsmotors
Great job Tim!

Thanks Kevin!!

Sep 14, 2009, 02:29 PM
USAF Retired

Way to WRING it out!

Great job Tim! I hate it when reviewers don't put these 3D planes through their paces. You certainly left nothing in the box! Thanks!

Sep 14, 2009, 02:36 PM
Test your IMAC!!
sun.flyer's Avatar
Originally Posted by phyxer
Great job Tim! You certainly left nothing in the box! Thanks!


Ha, thanks Troy!! 3D planes are ment to 3D. The Extra 300 SP is a very capable 3D/precision performer which definately makes my job a little easier.

I hate it when reviewers don't put these 3D planes through their paces.
Totally agree!!

Sep 14, 2009, 04:12 PM
Wind Powered
george@dream-flight's Avatar
Great job Tim!
Sep 14, 2009, 04:19 PM
Test your IMAC!!
sun.flyer's Avatar
Originally Posted by g_rod22x
Great job Tim!

Thanks George!!

Thanks to you and GP for producing yet another outstanding product.

Sep 14, 2009, 10:24 PM
Here We Go!
Safety Hawk's Avatar
Nice flying Tim. I don't usually think of Great Planes when I think of 3d....but it looked like it did well....even if it is a smidge on the heavy side.
Sep 14, 2009, 10:37 PM
War Eagle!
Spackles94's Avatar
Wonderful review, Tim —*very nicely done! You definitely have a God-given talent when it comes to flying 3D. Well done on all counts!

And you're right — this Extra 300 is one lean, mean, tumbling machine!

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