Great Planes Matt Chapman's Eagle 580 EP Review - RC Groups

Great Planes Matt Chapman's Eagle 580 EP Review

The "BoneDoc", Joshua Young, takes a turn at Great Planes' second XLC offering and puts her through the paces.



Wingspan:50 in
Wing Area:494 sq in
Weight:56 Oz.
Wing Loading:16 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:Futaba S3150 digital micro servo
Transmitter:Futaba 9C
Receiver:Futaba R617FS FASST Receiver
Battery:Electrify 20C 4S 2100mah LiPo
Motor:RimFire .32 42-50-800kV Outrunner
ESC:Great Planes Silver Series 45A Brushless ESC 5V/2A BEC
Manufacturer:Great Planes Electrifly
Retail Price:$219.99 for the Kit
Available From:Fine hobby stores

Great Planes is well known as one of the leaders in the ARF industry, and they continue to push the limit with the second of their XLC (Xtreme Lightweight Class) series of EP (Electric Powered) aerobats. This new plane is the only replica of Matt Chapman's personal ride, the Eagle 580. Am I excited to be given this honor of reviewing this kit? You BET! So let's hop on.

Kit Contents

The Eagle 580 kit came to me double boxed in perfect condition. Upon opening the box, I found all the parts individually bagged and meticulously placed. Nothing was amiss and everything arrived intact. There wasn’t even a single wrinkle on the covering. It is a beautiful kit, and you could buy it on looks alone, but I suspect that her beauty is more than just skin deep.

The Kit Includes

  • Great Planes Electrifly ARF Matt Chapman Eagle 580 Airplane
  • Fiberglass Cowling
  • Pre-slotted fiberglass wheel pants
  • Aluminum landing gear
  • Light-weight aluminum axle
  • All required hardware
  • Detailed photo-illustrated instruction manual

Items Needed to Finish the Kit

  • Radio: 4-channel minimum (preferably 5 channels with flapperon mixing)
  • Servos: 4-micro
  • Extensions: Two 24" (610mm), two 12" (305mm), one 6" (152mm)
  • Motor: RimFire .32 42-50-800kV Out-runner (GPMG4700)
  • ESC: Great Planes Silver Series 45A Brushless ESC 5V/2A BEC (GPMM1840)
  • Battery: LiPo 4S 2100mAh, GPMP0618
  • Cell Balancer: For LiPo battery (GPMM3160)
  • Battery Charger: LiPo compatible
  • Propeller: 13x6.5 E


Like all Great Planes products, the Eagle 580 came with a very thorough and easy to follow manual that takes a beginner step by step through the whole process. So much of the work is already done for you, that I'd call this more of an “assembly” rather than a “build”. Someone experienced in assembling ARFs can get this done in several hours.


The wings on the Eagle 580 came pre-hinged, and the lettering on the bottom was pre-ironed. Servo pockets were also precut, and the only thing left to do was to install the control horns and servos. As a nice addition, strings were also included to make threading the servo wires easy as pie.

Horizontal Stabilizer and Elevator

There’s one big change as you move up to the "big boy" category in aerobatic aircraft: the use of an airfoiled tail. Great Planes really deliver here with a solid yet light construction. The covering is already removed in the factory so you won't have to risk scoring and weakening the tail.

Tip for success: Before gluing everything, make sure you align the joiner as pictured. I always do a final "eyeball" also to make sure that the H-Stab is perpendicular to the fuselage.

The included tail wheel also installs easily and has a very classy look. Make sure after you glue the peg to add a drop of oil before putting the tail in so that it won't bind.


There's a lot of engineering done to the fuselage to keep it light yet strong. Fiberglass, balsa, lite ply and CF are used in combination, and the result is a beautiful, strong and lightweight airframe that will take whatever in-air abuse you throw at it. All the holes are precut, with the exception of the exit hole the location of which you can decide for yourself. The turtle deck is also balsa sheeted foam and is very strong, just like what you'd see in giant scale airplanes. It's definitely strong enough for hover catching.

The motor box is built light, but should be able to stand rigorous 3D routines. The battery tray is long enough that placement and CG should not be an issue. As an added bonus, since the Eagle 580 is a low wing design, you can extend the battery a considerable distance past the tray or wing tube itself.

Great Planes Silver Series 45A Brushless ESC 5V/2A BEC

Number of cells Li-Po 2-4S
Maximum Amps 45A Cont / 50A Surge
Maximum Watts 500 W
Weight 1.76 Oz
BEC Switching /2A
Maximum servos 2-4/5V

Electrifly RimFire 42-50-800

Number of cells 3S-5S Lipo
kV rating 800
Weight 198g (7 oz)
Maximum efficiency 75%
Shaft diameter 5mm
Current capacity 50A / 80A Surge
Maximum power (watts) 925 W / 1400 W Surge

Motor + ESC installation

Motor and ESC installation is a breeze. Since the motor box is already pre-drilled, this adventure requires nothing more than bolting the motor in place with the provided screws, securing the ESC with zip ties and ensuring that your motor is spinning the correct way.

The receiver mounts easily at the aft section of the battery tray. There is still plenty of room where the battery sits.

Electrifly 4S 20C 2100 LiPo

Number of cells 4
Maximum Amps 42 A
Maximum Watts 500 W
Weight 232 g (8.2 Oz)


The cowling is light weight fiberglass beautifully finished and painted. It's held together securely by five neodymium magnets which allow for easy access and removal. As the manual recommends, if you're going to do hard 3D with it, you should secure it further with either tape or screws.


The Eagle 580 has a very unique canopy attachment that is just as strong as latches without ruining the aesthetics that Great Planes has worked hard to achieve with this ARF. Please follow the instructions carefully when first opening the canopy: YOU HAVE TO SLIDE IT FORWARD FIRST and then it lifts off. The fit is snug at first, but as I have taken the canopy on and off for regular build / maintenance, it's become a much easier fit.

Wheel Pants

The included wheel pants for the Eagle 580 are beautifully finished, and notched already for the landing gear. Installation could not be any easier, and unless you're flying from rough grass, I highly recommend installing them; they really add to the beauty of the aircraft itself.

Decals and Finishing Up

The Eagle 580 is beautifully finished even without the decals. Those with creative minds can use the whole top of the plane as a canvas for their own artwork. However, the included decals are complete and will enable you to turn this beauty into an exact replica of Matt Chapman's full scale ride. AWESOME!

Applying decals is easy. Just soak them in water and soap, apply, wipe off excess water and work out the extra bubbles.

Here's the final result after the decal application:


At the Field

There is no doubt that the Eagle 580 is a head turner. You could buy her for sheer looks alone, but her beauty if of course more than just skin deep.

The Basics

The Eagle 580 with this power setup can take off in a few plane's lengths. However, I prefer the more scalelike takeoff. On the ground, tracking is great and keeping the nose straight is not a problem as you feed up the power. Once in the air and properly trimmed, the Eagle 580 tracks straight as an arrow and hold its lines very well. Landing is also uneventful. Just point the nose toward the runway, attain a 5-10 degree nose down attitude, ease up the throttle and flare at the end. My preference is for harrier landing. Read on.

Conventional Aerobatics

A Note on the Power System
The recommended power system for the Eagle 580 EP proves to be a solid performer. It can easily suit anyone whether they are into sport flying, hard core 3D, or just loves to burn holes in the sky.
Mild Sport Flying
those who are into a milder type of sport flying, the 4S 2200-2500 with a 12x6 prop, or a 3S 2500-3000 with a 13x6.5 prop is what you're looking for. There will be enough power for unlimited vertical while still being easier on the battery for those who are rather heavy handed with the left thumb. Expect around 500 watts and a flight time around 7-10 min with the above-mentioned setup.
3D Flying
3D flying, I recommend a 13x6.5 prop on 4S 2200-2500. It's still light enough for 3D, and definitely has enough punch to bail you out of botched maneuvers. It provides for great vertical while at the same time still being kind to the power system. Expect around 500 watts and a flight time around 5-7 min. This setup is what I used for the 3D video.
For ballistic flying, prop up to 14x7, or 14x8.5. Punch out of hover is ridiculous, and you will definitely impress the peanut gallery. For those trying to impress your glow-flying buddies, this is what you'd want. You'll need 4S 2200-3000 to accomplish this task. However, at this setting, you will be drawing around 900-1000 watts!!! Flight times will be down to around 4 -7 min, depending on the size of the battery used. The motor can certainly take it, being rated up to 1400 watts on bursts, but you will need to use a 60A or better ESC, like the Electrifly 60A Brushless High Voltage ESC (GPMM1895). This setup is what was used on the Sport Flying video (keeping in mind that the pilot rarely goes beyond 3/4 throttle on this setup). I find that for 3D, this much power is probably too much for the average aspiring 3D pilot. The sweet spot for hovering is rather small. That effect though can be mitigated with a throttle curve (found on the Futaba 9C or 10C).

Sport Flying

For those not in tune with 3D yet, the Eagle 580 is an excellent sport flyer. Fly it with the recommended CG, and she tracks solidly. The plane does everything you ask it to do without biting you back. There's lots of power for unlimited vertical on the 4S setup. If you’re not used to exercising your throttle management (i.e., if your idea of the left stick is as an on / off switch), 12x6 is a better prop for you. It has unlimited vertical without overtaxing your setup. For sport flying, I recommend no more than 15-20 degrees of elevator which will be more than enough.

Looping Figures (Loops, Immelmans, Cuban 8's)

The great tracking of the Eagle 580 allows it to perform conventional aerobatics with ease. Loops require only small amount of rudder to keep it going straight (a normal phenomenon for all aerobatic aircraft). With elevator at low rates, there is no tendency to want to snap out of the loop. Throws in the 25-35 degrees are a no man's land where it's not enough to induce a stall (a la doing a "Wall"), but enough to cause snapping behaviors. This is true with any aerobatic aircraft, including the Eagle 580. Please make sure to enter the loop with some speed as low speed entry will cause a pseudo-stall that will wobble the plane.

Rolling Figures

The Eagle 580 rolls blurringly fast on high rates. Again, sport flyers not used to 3D rates will do well with the low rates recommendation as their high rate, and half the rate for their own low rate. Once properly mixed out, point rolls start and stop with precision. Slow roll is also not a problem once the plane is properly mixed out (see the section on Knife Edge).

Snapping Figures

The Eagle 580 does awesome snap rolls. They start and stop precisely. Though if you use high rate aileron to aid your snap it could be a little too fast. I found myself oversnapping a couple of times until I got used to how fast this plane snaps. KE to KE snaps also start and stop with precision.

3D Aerobatics

The 50" Eagle 580 can do everything its full scale counterpart is capable of, and some of which even Matt Chapman can only dream.

Elevators & Harriers: Upright and Inverted

The elevators are easily done with the Eagle 580. There is just a hint of rock in upright elevator, but it’s very manageable indeed. Inverted elevators are rock solid without any rocking whatsoever. At low AOA of 20 degrees or less, there’s a very small amount of wing rock, but it’s very manageable. Increase the AOA to >35 degrees, and the rock disappears for good, and the Eagle 580 performs upright harriers with relative ease. When you want to turn, just bank gently with the ailerons while adding a touch of rudder to prevent sliding (like drifting in cars) and a little more throttle. The Eagle 580 will obey your command willingly and perform a beautiful and graceful turn. The controls are very responsive, so you do have to be careful not to overdo the rudder (which will cause any aerobatic, 3D capable plane to want to snap out of harriers). Harrier landings with the Eagle are also relatively effortless to those familiar with the technique. To land, simply let the tail touch the runway, then ease up on the elevator and then throttle. The construction will sustain repeated harrier landings without problem.

Inverted harriers are even better and are rock solid at any AOA. Anyone who feels comfortable with inverted harriers will be right at home with the Eagle 580.

Walls, Parachutes and Hard Pitching Movements

The Eagle 580 has great stability when you pitch the elevator hard such as in doing walls or parachutes. There is no tendency to snap out or drop a wing (see the video). Couple that with the robust construction and the strong CF wing tube, and you can yank the elevator with abandon and confidence knowing that the plane is not going to bite you back.

Hovering and Torque Rolling

With the shorter moment in the Eagle 580, the tail is responsive to your stick input and will correct quickly. However, you do have to be smoother on the sticks to prevent overcorrection. It doesn't feel twitchy to my thumbs at all, but if you find it a little hard, try increasing your expo to soften the control in the middle. I do find that the servos are a bit slow for my taste, which makes hovering a bit more work to make sure that I stay ahead of the plane.

Waterfalls, Tumbles, KE Spin and Blenders

This is where the Eagle 580 really shines. Short tail moment coupled with powerful rudder and elevator authority translates to some wild waterfalls, tumbles and spins. Waterfalls are especially super tight, and loose no altitude when done correctly. KE spin is also very tight, and the airframe is definitely up to the abuse. The blenders are violent, but you can rest assured that your plane will hold through the abuse. (Please make sure that you tape the cowl in place if you're planning on doing these maneuvers.) The Eagle 580 loves every bit of it and asks for more each time.

Knife Edge

With lots of rudder authority, the Eagle 580 knife edges (KE) with relative ease. For those not as familiar, when you apply the rudder, most aircraft will roll and change pitch or roll and pitch coupling respectively. Between the two, roll coupling is definitely the more important of the two because it is the more difficult of the two to correct with your thumbs. Improperly corrected, it's also the one that will cause the plane to snap at a high angle of attack. With its low wing and high stab design, coupling in KE flight is to be expected, but I was surprised how little it is when it comes to roll coupling. There's around 5% rudder to aileron mix (in the same direction as the rudder) needed to eliminate the roll coupling. With the aft CG that I have for 3D flying, there's a little bit more pitch coupling (to the gear). It takes approximately 8% rudder to up elevator mix to eliminate the pitch coupling. I could fly knife edge even without the mix, but turning on the mix makes KE a breeze, especially when doing a KE loop. High speed, or low speed, high beta KE can be done with ease. Its stability in KE instills confidence to take it down low.

Rolling Harriers

The Eagle 580 is definitely up to the task as well when it comes to rolling harriers. At max deflection, the roll rate is quite fast, so those just learning should probably set a lower rate to help groove their rolling harrier. Other than that, the pilot’s skill is the only limit when it comes to this 3D maneuver.

Flight Video/Photos

The Author putting the Eagle 580 through a precision + 3D workout in High Definition



Here are some images that you can use as wallpaper should you like.

Is This for a Beginner?

As great as the Eagle 580 is for the experienced pilot, a low-wing, symmetrical, fully aerobatic aircraft is definitely not for a beginner. It does not have the self-righting tendency of a trainer, and the same trait that makes this plane responsive is also going to make it uncontrollable as a first plane. However, those who are familiar with flying with ailerons will find this plane to be a very capable sport flyer. Those with 3D aspirations can rest assured that she is indeed capable


There's no doubt that Great Planes has another winner with their second XLC airframe. This is worthy to bear Matt Chapman's name and is a great must-have addition for any aspiring sport / 3D pilot.


  • Great looks
  • Complete set of hardware
  • Lightweight yet rigid construction
  • Great 3D performance
  • Pre-slotted wheel pants
  • Accurate and complete set of decals
  • Awesome power


  • Servo response a little slow for 3D
Last edited by Angela H; Nov 03, 2009 at 03:36 PM..
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Nov 03, 2009, 11:21 AM
"Because I was pǝʇɹǝʌuı"
bighead93's Avatar
Nice review! What other servo would work for this plane?
Nov 03, 2009, 11:58 AM
3DHS Junkie
800mZero's Avatar
Nice review Josh!
Nov 03, 2009, 12:02 PM
Team 3DHS
BoneDoc's Avatar

HS85mg would be a drop in replacements.

Adventure ones with anorexic building tendencies might even try HS65mg .
Nov 03, 2009, 12:13 PM
Registered User
twistedgrim's Avatar
great review josh.. looks great.. love the way you edited the videos !
Nov 03, 2009, 12:28 PM
Registered User
I thought the review was well written. But I do have a question. For the "Misses", the servo response is a little slow. First, I didn't see any mention of slow servo response in the review. And second, what does that have to do with the review of the aircraft? Not bashing here, just trying to understand as I'm very interested in purchasing this one. TIA!

Nov 03, 2009, 12:30 PM
Registered User
twistedgrim's Avatar
It was part of the reccomended setup by great planes.. if you look he uses all of the components on the reccomended list..
Nov 03, 2009, 12:34 PM
Team 3DHS
BoneDoc's Avatar

From the Hover & TR section:

"I do find that the servos are a bit slow for my taste, which makes hovering a bit more work to make sure that I stay ahead of the plane. "

Here's the Spec of the Futaba S3150 slim digital from tower hobbies:

SPECS: Speed: .24 sec/60° @ 4.8V
Torque: 51.4 oz-in @ 4.8V
Dimensions: 1.2 x 0.4 x 1.1" (30 x 11 x 29mm)
Weight: .81oz (23g)
Power Supply: 4.8V (Futaba does NOT recommend using 6V)

I would prefer a response of around 0.15 sec / 60 degree for good 3D work. However, for pattern / sport flying, it should be fine.
Nov 03, 2009, 12:41 PM
Registered User
twistedgrim's Avatar
wow its .24 geez.. lol
Nov 03, 2009, 12:52 PM
I will be an angry old man!
marc1's Avatar
My advice: don't use the elevator joiner, use separate 10g servos for each elevator half.
Nov 03, 2009, 12:54 PM
Team 3DHS
BoneDoc's Avatar
Mine has worked well so far. Correctly done, it's not a problem.

You can see from the 3D videos that I pulled a couple of hard walls. There is NO tendency to snap out with those, which tells me that the joiner is stiff enough to correctly moves both side of the elevator.
Nov 03, 2009, 03:48 PM
AMA 125691
wmcneal's Avatar
Great review! I have been enjoying mine since February of this year. I am using the stock Rimfire 32 motor on a 4S 4100Mah pack with a 12x6 SF prop. The plane will fly ok on 3s also. It just does not have the same awesome vertical performance as on 4s. I'm using Hitec HS82mg servos in mine. I do not have quite enough throw with the standard servo arms for hovering but I'm sure it would do fine with longer arms installed. My only complaint with the kit is that when you are installing the elevators you have to be careful to line them up with each other. One of mine came out slightly higher than the other. It does not affect the flying, it just looks a little off If you know what I mean. I should have used 2 separate servos as mentioned previously. Here's a couple of aerial videos I did with it recently:

Matt Chapman Great Planes Eagle 580 onboard video (7 min 39 sec)

Great Planes Eagle 580 Aerial Video 09-19-09 (9 min 7 sec)
Nov 03, 2009, 03:58 PM
Team 3DHS
BoneDoc's Avatar

Yep, that's why I emphasized it in the build section. Please refer back to the picture.

Nov 03, 2009, 03:59 PM
Team 3DHS
BoneDoc's Avatar
wmcneal. If your esc can take it (ie 60A or better), go for 13x6.5, or even 14x7. Talk about ballistic performance.
Nov 03, 2009, 04:38 PM
I am ready for HHAEFI!!
powerlines's Avatar
I had one of these.. Good little Tumblers.. Not Quite as CAppy as some of the others..

I flew the punk out of in at the WINdy Fly-in in Florida with Doc Austin and others..

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