ElectriFly Nieuport XI WWI Parkflyer EP ARF Review - RC Groups

ElectriFly Nieuport XI WWI Parkflyer EP ARF Review

ElectriFly continues their lineup of parkflyer sized World War I planes with a fine looking and superb flying rendition of the Nieuport XI.



Wing Area:314 sq. in.
Weight:21.9 - 23.1 oz.
Wing Loading:10.0 to 10.6 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:Futaba S3114 Micro High Torque Servos (4)
Transmitter:Futaba 10C 2.4GHz
Receiver:Futaba R617FS 7 channel receiver
Battery:Electrifly 1600mAh 11.1V 20C
Motor:ElectriFly RimFire 400 28-30-950 brushless outrunner
ESC:ElectriFly Silver Series 25 amp Brushless ESC
Flight Durations:6-8 minutes
Available From:ElectriFly
Available From:Your local hobby supplier or Tower Hobbies

Over the last few years, ElectriFly has been regularly cranking out a very nice selection of parkflyer sized World War One era war birds that come in a convenient size and can be flown at smaller sized parks and schoolyards. Each aircraft has included scale details that make these ARFs look quite realistic in the air. As they released them, the RCGroups reviewing staff reviewed them. In case you missed any of the reviews, I offer them below for your convenience.

ElectriFly Fokker DR1 Review ElectriFly Spad XIII Review ElectriFly Fokker DVII Review

ElectriFly Sopwith Camel Review ElectriFly S.E.5a Review

I have grown quite accustomed to seeing these planes at my various flying venues. Many of my flying friends own one,or two, of these little gems but I had for some reason not joined the ranks of old time biplane flyers. With the announcement of the fifth model in the series, the Nieuport XI, it was time for yours truly to join the ranks. And I quickly learned that this plane is subtly different than the other four planes. While they are all technically biplanes, this one is not. If it isn’t a biplane, what is it?I learned something new during the review of the Nieuport. And I'll share it with you a bit further down in the review.

Kit Contents

The Nieuport XI kit contains a relatively high number of parts but that does not mean the assembly will be a lengthy proposition. The many included plastic scale details really dress these little war birds up in my opinion. As usual, ElectriFly does a nice job of securing all of the components in the box. Hardware is segregated into several different plastic bags. The airframe comes pre-covered in several different vibrant colors of Monokote brand covering, so should repairs ever be necessary, they can assuredly be made with no worries about difficulties in matching the colors. (Aluminum, True Red, Royal Blue and Jet White) The list of included scale details are impressive in a kit of this price point and include a pilot figure, a very appropriate period scarf for him, machine gun, cowl vents, wind screen, dummy access doors, tail skid, carb tubes, dummy engine and coaming.

In The Box

  • Balsa and light ply fuselage, wings and tail surfaces
  • Metal landing gear legs and cabane struts
  • Wood wing struts
  • Plastic cowl
  • Plentiful scale detail parts
  • Metal landing gear with scale plastic wheels
  • Composite control horns
  • All required assembly hardware
  • Single sheet of decals
  • Black and white photo-illustrated assembly manual

Required for Completion

  • Four micro servos with minimum torque of 20 oz-in
  • Minimum of four channel receiver/radio system
  • One servo Y harness
  • 150 to 250 watt power system (Motor,speed controller and lipoly battery)
  • Propeller
  • ElectriFly Collet Prop Adapter 3mm-5mm

Included for Review

  • ElectriFly RimFire 400 28-30-950 Brushless Outrunner Electric Motor
  • ElectriFly Silver Series 25 amp Brushless Electronic Speed Control
  • ElectriFly Lithium Polymer 1600mAh 11.1V 20C Battery Pack
  • ElectriFly PowerFlow 10x4.5 Propeller
  • Futaba S3114 Micro High Torque Servo (4)
  • Futaba R617FS 2.4GHz 7 channel receiver
  • Servo mounting screws


Whenever I review a product, I keep a pen nearby and make plentiful notes in the assembly manual to keep track of any deficiencies or errors in the instructions. When I reached the end of the Nieuport build, all 23 pages of the assembly manual were as white as the day they left the printer! The ElectriFly instructions are spot on, accurate and thorough. Close adherence to them will result in a successful build.

Nieuport XI Assembly Manual

The usual building tools and adhesives are required to assemble this kit. Cyanoacrylate glue, CA accelerator, five minute epoxy, canopy glue and a hot glue gun were all used in my Nieuport build. The instructions make good recommendations when it comes to selecting the best adhesive for each step of the build. I spent a few minutes tightening up the covering in a few places, before I actually commenced the assembly. For the most part, the Monokote was in great shape right out of the box. The long boat ride that brings most of these models into the USA often puts the models through a range of temperatures and environmental variations. I have always felt that it is not fair to blame the manufacturer for any wrinkling that occurs. 99% of it can be remedied in a few minutes with a heat gun and iron. The Nieuport was no exception. It is also a good idea to check for any warpage before beginning the build. My horizontal stabilizer had a slight twist to it. I heated it up with a heat gun and twisted it right back out, using a flat surface to verify that it was indeed correct.

One excellent suggestion made in the manual, best accomplished before any of the airframe is assembled, is to use some of the green 3M® Scotch Brite™ to scuff the surface of the plastic film covering. This has the effect of dulling the finish and simulating the brush marks that were visible on the real aircraft back in the day. Another approach worth considering is Mike Heer’s method in the article "Matte Varnish: Making Shiny Plastic Covering Look More Like Fabric Covering". While Mike’s method may add a little more weight than the method suggested in the manual, either technique will create a more accurate weathered look for the Nieuport.


The two built up Nieuport wings are feather light in weight. The lower wing bolts to the fuselage with a pair of machine screws, while the upper wing is attached to the wooden struts and metal cabanes with small screws. The narrow chord of the lower wing is the main reason why the Nieuport is disqualified from being a biplane. Well, what is it then?

The installation of the aileron servos in the top wing is done in the conventional way. I used hot glue to secure the servos to the mounting plates. Offsetting the servo horns from center on the servo spline, as the instructions direct the builder to do, helps achieve connection geometry of ninety degrees on the aileron push rods. The necessary servo extension leads for the ailerons come pre-installed in the Nieuport. In fact, the pre-installed lead includes a Y cable, so that only one lead will exit the upper wing center section.

The aileron control horns and strut and cabane attachment points are in the box and made of of fiberglass. I used CA to mount these into their respective slots in the two wing assemblies. The ailerons are pre-hinged at the factory. The two wings attached to the fuselage and one another with no alignment problems. I was pleased to find that all of the attachment points ended up in the correct positions and that the two wings were properly oriented to the fuselage and each other.


The bulk of the fuselage assembly involves mounting the elevator and rudder servos and assembling and attaching the landing gear. It is interesting to note that the two servos mount just behind the firewall but a short nosed model like the Nieuport often requires nose weight to hit the correct CG. Keeping everything as far forward as possible helps prevent having to add any "dead weight". The Futaba 3114 micro servos do not come with mounting screws included. Hardening the mounting holes with CA is always a great idea. The outer sleeves for the rudder and elevator push rods come installed. All push rod connections to servo horns and control horns are made with either the included quick links, Z bends or a 90 degree bend with a plastic fastener pushed on to secure it. The metal landing gear is sturdy but yet soft enough by design that it will bend a little before the wood mounts it attaches to gives way. The two large diameter wheels use long #3 metric machine screws as axles. Thread locking compound will ensure that the axle/wheel assemblies remain tight after you complete their assembly.


The vertical stabilizer, horizontal stabilizer, elevator and rudder are constructed of built up balsa. While the elevator comes pre-hinged, the sole hinge used to attach the rudder must be installed and secured with CA. I use a cloth tape to verify that the horizontal stabilizer is parallel, level and perpendicular. After confirming all measurements, I like to use the eye as the final verification that it is right.

The instructions recommend using CA to attach the vertical and horizontal stabilizers to the fuselage. One reason is that using epoxy in this part of the build could add excess weight in the tail, where it will prevent achieving the recommended CG. This is always a valid concern on short nosed airframes from this early era of aviation. The control horns for the rudder and elevator are also small pieces of composite material and are included in the box. CA does a fine job of anchoring them in place.

Radio Installation

The little Futaba 3114s fit perfectly on both the aileron mounting plates and in the fuselage cutouts reserved for the rudder and elevator servos. For the same reason that the rudder and elevator servos are mounted just aft of the firewall, the Futaba receiver gets mounted to one side wall of the same compartment. The other side wall is reserved for mounting the ESC.

I have used these little Futabas in several projects in the past. They are great little servos for parkflyer sized airplanes but I would suggest resisting the urge to move the control surfaces by hand after the linkages are connected to the servos. Doing this, or bumping them into a wall or doorway while transporting the plane, will strip the gears. The response time in flight on these little guys seems quite snappy, and I like the way they perform. And I have never had one strip out in flight.

The Futaba R617FS seven channel receiver fits tidily on the side wall of the Nieuport, just behind the firewall. The connections from the rudder and elevator servos could not be any shorter. The two ailerons come down into this radio compartment from the top wing via the included Y-cable. There are enough open channels available when using a seven channel receiver that each aileron could be connected to its own channel.

Power System Installation

The pre-installed bullet connectors on the speed controller and motor are different sizes. A little soldering was in order to solve this, or adaptors can be purchased to mate them up without any need for resoldering. (Great Planes bullet adaptors) I took advantage of this to shorten the ESC wires up a little, since they were a bit on the long side for this application. The speed controller mounts on the opposite side of the fuselage from the receiver. I used a little hot glue to hold it in place. I personally like the fact that ElectriFly includes a pre-attached Deans connector on the battery leads of their ESC.

The brushless outrunner motor gets mounted to a little triangular plate, which in turn mounts to the motor box on the firewall by means of a trio of metal standoffs. The thrust angle correction to required to make the Nieuport behave in flight is obvious when looking at the motor after installation. Hook and loop material is included in the kit for anchoring the lipo. It fits quite snugly on the shelf located over top of the firewall. In fact, I had to notch the top arc of the firewall where the corners of the battery contacted it, to give the battery enough room to be easily inserted and removed. I used a very narrow strip of hook and loop material and due to the relatively tight fit of the battery, I would be hesitant to use too much hook and loop, lest the battery be too difficult to remove.

The plastic dummy engine fits snugly over the motor box. Screws are provided to secure it. Hot glue could also be used to get the job done. The plastic cowl attaches to the front of the Nieuport via rare earth magnets. Removing the battery is done by lifting straight up on the cowl, to pop it off the magnets, and then removing it. The battery can then be slid out and removed. I used some acrylic chalks to "dirty" up the dummy engine a bit. The prop adapter required to mount the prop to the Rimfire motor shaft is not included with either the motor or the ARF. I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase one at my local hobby retailer.


Once the airframe is assembled and the radio system and power systems are installed, all that remains is to slap the decals on the rear of the fuselage. The roundels on the wings are applied at the factory. The final step involves attaching all of the cool little scale details that ElectriFly includes in the box. There are pre-drilled holes for the wire machine gun supports in the center section of the top wing. CA works nicely for securing then in these holes. I used canopy glue for the blue access panels and wind screen, and hot glue for the pilot, carb tubes, coaming and cowl vents. The white pilots scarf can simply be tied around his neck but not too tightly!

The manual makes detailed recommendations for setting up both high and low rate throws. I suppose it may be indicative of a developing bad habit but I have grown accustomed to exponential of around 30-40% on most of my recent planes. The low rate rudder is the only setting that does not receive any exponential, as it tends to cause a pilot to over control an aircraft when taxiing or performing a takeoff roll.

CG: 2-7/8" [73mm] back from the leading edge of the wing at the first rib outboard on each side of the center wing rib.

My center of gravity was exactly where the manual recommends it fall, which is a testament to the engineering that must have gone into developing this little Nieuport. World War One. Biplanes, and planes like the Nieuport are notorious for needing some ballast added to the front end for proper CG, due to their typically short nosed design. I am especially reticent to add any nose weight on an electric plane, as it is literally dead weight. And the battery compartment/shelf really cannot accommodate any larger of a battery than the recommended ElectriFly 3S 1600 pack.


Before I take a new plane up for the first time, I always snap a few photos of it, In the case of the Nieuport XI, I could not stop snapping away! It is a very photogenic little plane. These static shots were taken both in front of my home and at the local schoolyard where we fly.


Having seen all of the predecessors to this Nieuport fly quite a few times, I expected it to also be a very well behaved and good flying plane. Looking the airframe over with an analytical eye however, I found myself wondering about a few things. With a short nose and a fairly short tail moment, a plane can sometimes be a little pitch sensitive? And the Nieuport is definitely on the stubby side. Another item which can demand a little extra ability and attention is an airplane with a tail skid instead of a tail wheel. The lack of a tail wheel allows the tail to remain unplanted and affected by even a slight crosswind while maneuvering on the ground. Having ailerons on the top wing only, instead of both top and bottom wings as other dual winged planes have, can substantially slow the roll rate down quite a bit. Would the ElectriFly Nieuport validate any of my preflight concerns? It was time to find out.

Takeoff and Landing

Before you fly the Nieuport, it is a good idea to limber up your thumbs. That is not to say it is necessarily difficult to fly this little park flyer but it will keep you on your toes when it comes to getting it up in the air and then back down! Everything in between is pretty easy. A tail dragger is inherently a little less stable than a tricycle gear equipped airframe. Eliminate the tail wheel, and replace it with a tail skid and you ratchet the difficulty up another notch. An airplane with a short tail moment will add yet a little more complexity to the equation.

There are a couple of different ways you can tackle the takeoffs. The little Rimfire brushless outrunner provides plenty of watts and will accelerate the little Nieuport down the runway with haste if you pour the coals to it by slamming the throttle stick to the wide open position. It will leap off the ground in a couple dozen feet, albeit in a very non-scale manner.

While anybody can perform a full power takeoff, I personally enjoy the challenge afforded by trying to perform a scale one. To do it requires a deft touch on the rudder and a little finesse on the throttle but the look of the Nieuport gracefully lifting off and gradually climbing out makes it so worth it. It is best to keep the tail of the Nieuport planted by maintaining full up elevator while on the taxi. I like to point the nose directly into the wind if at all possible. Trying to take off with a cross wind or quartering crosswind will make for trouble, as the smallish rudder does not have the authority required to keep the nose from swinging around. I slowly advance the throttle to around 1/3 or 1/2 and relax the up elevator as the Nieuport accelerates. It will naturally want to lift its tail and start flying on its mains. I am always prepared to hold some right rudder, as the plane will naturally pull hard to the left. As it picks up speed, it will be necessary to relax the amount of rudder gradually. Holding it too long will cause the Nieuport to ground loop around but relaxing it too soon will let it do the exact same thing but in the other direction. It does not take very much speed before the Nieuport will have sufficient momentum to rotate and leave the ground.

Landing the Nieuport is also not in itself difficult, if you are willing to accept just any old landing. A perfect landing though will require close attention to the details of a good approach. This little aircraft likes to be flown in all the way. Chopping the power as you turn final and trying to glide in for a landing will almost always result in bad things happening. I usually fly a slow downwind leg, making sure I am positioned a good distance out from the runway so I can keep my turns gradual and shallow. Trying to turn too tightly at too slow of a speed in an effort to align the Nieuport with the runway could cause it to fall out of a turn.

As I work through the pattern and turn onto final, I keep the throttle a half dozen clicks above full off and let the Nieuport slide down the glide slope. As I cross the threshold of the runway, I retard the throttle a little more and coax the Nieuport lower until the mains contact the ground. I visualize flying it down to the runway instead of the more conventional style of landing with a flare. The right thumb has to be ready to use the rudder as soon as you start to pull the throttle back. It can be a little tricky to keep the Nieuport tracking straight ahead on the rollout but it can be done with practice. Once you have slowed the plane enough, the tail will drop onto its plastic skid and it is again time to work that rudder to get the nose around when you need to turn. Goosing the throttle a little helps provide the airflow the rudder needs to be effective in turning the Nieuport while on the ground. I really enjoy the way this parkflyer challenges me to look good on my takeoffs and landings. And it gives me renewed respect for the daring young men who flew the Nieuport XI in real life and no doubt faced the same challenge but with much more at stake than a little club face and pride.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

Once the Nieuport is in the air, it can be flown in any number of ways. With a very moderate power setting, it will happily cruise around the sky looking every bit the part of the full scale plane. Push the throttle forward and start working the sticks and the Nieuport will respond by performing any number of spirited acrobatics. Though the ailerons are located on the top wing only, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Nieuport’s roll rate is way faster than scale when at speed. Slow aileron rolls require a healthy dose of down elevator while inverted. Loops are possible but best with a slight diving entry. I was very surprised t find the little rudder is actually capable of holding the Nieuport in a knife edge orientation of sorts. Stall turns look impressive as the Nieuport rotates around and falls earthward again. This aircraft likes to be flown with both rudder and ailerons, in coordinated flight, and though a mix can be configured on ones transmitter, it is fun to improve one’s flying skills by doing it manually. Though I had mused that it may be pitch sensitive, I could not have been more incorrect. With the elevator throws set as recommended in the assembly instructions and my 30% exponential setting, the Nieuport maintains whatever pitch orientation you put it in. I have not seen any signs of pitch sensitivity, on either high or low rates.

Is This For a Beginner?

A beginner could easily be frustrated by the skills required to fly this little parkflyer. As mentioned above, ground handling can be challenging and most beginners are not prepared for all that is required to manage it successfully. Once in the air however , the Nieuport does not really offer up any surprises or sneaky behavior. Most new pilots would be comfortable with it in between the take off and landings. It is an honest airplane that flies very predictably. Another possible problem that could make this one tough for rank beginners is its small size. With the throttle wide open, it moves right along. Forget to make a turn, as beginners often do, and you may find it at the edge of your visual range.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery



Though I have been on the sidelines for some time now and watched as ElectriFly released each of their new World War One war birds, I am thrilled to finally find out for myself just how fun these little park flyers really are. Their small wingspan and overall dimensions mean they can fit into even the smallest of cars with no problems. I really enjoy the way the Nieuport is helping me improve my tail dragger handling skills. Though ElectriFly could have undoubtedly taken liberties with the airframe and softened it up to improve its ground handling, it would have probably been at the sacrifice of overall scale appearance. Most intermediate pilots do not complain about an airplanes foibles if they are true to its full scale counterpart. The Nieuport, when fully dressed out with all of the scale details included in the box, looks fantastic in the air.

If you have not figured it out already, the Nieuport XI is not technically a biplane but is instead classified as a sesquiplane. The main reason for this is the narrower than usual chord on the bottom wing.


  • Great flying and looking sesquiplane! (Sesqui = a wing and a half!)
  • Plenty of plastic scale details included to make it look convincingly real in the air
  • Aileron servo extension leads/Y cable installed at the factory
  • All components mounted far enough forward that no weight needs to be added to hit CG


  • Recommended lipoly battery fits a little too snugly in the battery compartment

Last edited by Bajora; Feb 12, 2010 at 04:36 PM..
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Feb 12, 2010, 10:56 PM
Registered User
What a beautiful plane it is in the air =). Are you flying out of Vacaville? I'm a reservist at Travis.
Feb 12, 2010, 11:16 PM
Bajora's Avatar
Yessiree, the video was shot over at Lagoon Valley RC. Do you ever make it over there to fly?
Latest blog entry: My Blade 200S
Feb 12, 2010, 11:38 PM
Warbird Flyer
Great review! You nailed it...

I had to do the same thing to make the battery fit.

Mine has been all finished and waiting to be flown for a couple of weeks, but I figure I'll have to wait at least another month. Last thing I want to do is crash because my fingers are too cold

I appreciate your takeoff and landing advice, I'm used to landing the L-4 Grasshopper which is a pure floater, so I am sure looking forward to the challenge. Thinking about it, this may be my first aircraft which will require power on landings... the PZ T-28 and Micro Mustang sure dont!

Feb 13, 2010, 12:00 AM
badpilotto's Avatar
ssgtakeo, I have flown into Travis does that count?!?! LMAO

Hey Jon, Super review which we (or at least you) are showing you age because of all the reviews of ACFT from yesteryear. LOL I have owned and flew many of them..... I love all planes and enjoyed the pics. As always, great information that it is driving me and other to purchase those fine flying airframes. Keep em coming our way.


Feb 13, 2010, 01:38 AM
The sky is my playground.
Dora Nine's Avatar
Fine work as always!
Feb 14, 2010, 04:08 AM
Registered User
Originally Posted by BARNESJONR
Yessiree, the video was shot over at Lagoon Valley RC. Do you ever make it over there to fly?
On Drill weekends, and when I lived there the couple times I've been activated. Those tarp runways are pretty cool. I'll have to pick up a DrI and turn and burn with you.
Feb 14, 2010, 12:08 PM
Registered User
stacker's Avatar
Super review Jon!

Take care--Stacker
Latest blog entry: He219
Feb 14, 2010, 12:30 PM
Xpress..'s Avatar

I wonder when they're going to make them out of EPP, so we can play realistic combat?
Feb 14, 2010, 06:46 PM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
Great review Jon - these planes are great performers.
Feb 15, 2010, 01:51 PM
Registered User
What a beautifull plane will buy it as all the others electrifly sells they look terrific even as a show model without flying.
Will use them between my flights with my big ones ....
The review is excellent ....can do better ...well yes could add mini cam for inflight videos but you where perfect.
Would like to know if at hobbyking or www.giantcod.co.uk/ there is a similar motor to fit .
Feb 16, 2010, 03:21 PM
Registered User
Rekitter's Avatar
Hey Jon: Outstanding review and video. Great planes should use that for their marketing of this plane. You fly the Nieuport beautifully. Look forward to dogfighting with you at SSP soon!

Feb 18, 2010, 05:58 PM
Registered Snoozer
Neil Morse's Avatar

Outstanding video and scale flying! That lovely blue sky with the big clouds looks so great. It reminds me of the story about William Wellman waiting for cloudy skies to film "Wings." The clouds give a reference to show the plane moving through the air and not just floating on a blue background.

Feb 19, 2010, 11:46 AM
Registered User
Any suggestion wich motor to use instead of the RIMFIRE ELECTRIFLY and where to buy...same question for prop...does it exist in wood or lokking like wood ?
Feb 28, 2010, 11:59 PM
I tell her RC is cheap !
carguy1994ca's Avatar
Very nice video ! I'd like to see you make one with some dogfight with your friends !

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