Great Planes P-51 Mustang Sport Scale GP/EP ARF Review - RC Groups

Great Planes P-51 Mustang Sport Scale GP/EP ARF Review

The Sport Mustang, made of built up balsa, ply and a balsa sheeted foam core wing, all expertly covered in genuine MonoKote, is a standoff scale ARF offering from Great Planes that retains the sport heritage and ease of flight of the original.



Wingspan:56" 1420mm
Wing Area:543 sq in 35 sq dm
Wing type:Balsa sheeted foam - Semi-symmetrical
AUW weight:Advertised 6.5 - 7.25lbs (2950 - 3290g) Actual 6.75lbs (3062g)
Length:50" (1270mm)
Wing loading:~29oz/sq ft
Cube loading:14.75
Transmitter:Futaba 7c 2.4GHz
Servos: S3004 Futaba Servos
Receiver:Futaba R617FS 7 channel FASST 2.4GHz
Battery:Two - Flight Power 3350 3s 30c EON-X LiPoly
Motor:Rimfire 55 480kV Brushless Motor
ESC:Great Planes Silver 60 AMP HV OPTO ESC
US distributor:Great Planes
Sport Mustang ARF:Sport Scale Mustang
ARF Price:$169.98

Great Planes has released a great new sport model with scale details and outlines, the Sport Scale Mustang.

Many of us want to fly a warbird but worry about some of the bad habits associated with common airplanes of war. Some of them are downright difficult to manage, even for the most proficient pilots. Great Planes gives us this new Mustang that takes all those bad habits and molds them into an excellent flying sport model nearly anyone can tackle.

This is a high quality ARF model that will be within the budget of most pilots.

Kit Contents

The review package shipped from Hobbico, and it arrived in perfect condition. It was exceptionally well packaged, double-boxed and the contents in the box were isolated and protected from shifting during shipment.

As expected with Great Planes products, the there is an excellent, plain English, pictorial manual with complete step by step instructions. Manual

Kit includes:

  • Pre-built and covered balsa/ply fuselage
  • Balsa sheeted foam wing covered in genuine MonoKote
  • Tail surfaces, covered and ready for no glue bolt-on attachment
  • Conventional landing gear with forward sweep for excellent ground handling
  • Canopy and painted pilot
  • Factory hinged and glued
  • Hardware (Pushrods, torque rods, keepers and horns)
  • Scale adhesive type markings
  • Clear well-written picture assembly guide

Kit requires:

  • 55 brushless motor or (.40-.55 Two Stroke or .70 Four Stroke)
  • 60 AMP ESC
  • 6s LiPoly battery
  • 4-5 Full size servos (2-ailerons, elevator, rudder and for glow throttle)
  • 4 channel minimum receiver
  • 4 channel minimum transmitter
  • 6" Y-type servo extension for aileron servos

Included for this review:

<font size=-2>Rimfire 55 brushless motor</font>
Rimfire 55 brushless motor
Type:Brushless outrunner
Weight:268g (9.5oz)
Output shaft size:5mm
Cells:5-6S Li-Po
RPM/Volt (kv):480
Continuous Current:45A
Burst Current:80A

<font size=-2>Great Planes Silver 60A OPTO HV ESC</font>
Great Planes Silver 60A OPTO HV ESC
Continuous maximum current:60 amps
Input Voltage:4S-12S LiPo
Input connector type:Deans Ultra
Output Input connector type:4mm female gold bullet connectors
Weight:89g (3.13oz)
OPTO Isolated:No BEC

<font size=-2>2 - FlightPower 3s 3350mAh 11.V LiPo battery</font>
2 - FlightPower 3s 3350mAh 11.V LiPo battery
Voltage:11.1V each for 22.2v
Number of cells:3 each /font>
Weight:279g (9.8oz) each
C Rating:30C
Max. Continuous Current:100.5A

<font size=-2>Additional Hardware</font>
Additional Hardware
Needed additional items:6" Y, Deans Ultra Y, 12" Servo extensions and Earnst charge plug

<font size=-2>Futaba R617FS seven-channel FAAST receiver</font>
Futaba R617FS seven-channel FAAST receiver
Frequency:2.4Ghz FAAST

<font size=-2>Futaba S3004 Standard BB servos</font>
Futaba S3004 Standard BB servos
Torque:44 oz/in (3.2kg-cm) at 4.8V
Torque:57 oz/in (4.1kg-cm) at 6V
Speed:.23 sec/60 degrees at 4.8V
Speed:.19 sec/60 degrees at 6V
Dimensions (LxWxH):40mm x 20mm x 36mm
Gear type:Nylon


The Great Planes Sport Scale Mustang is a true ARF model and is very quick to assemble. Most of the difficult work is completed for you by the factory. This ARF is highly prefabricated, including a balsa sheeted foam core wing. The entire model was factory covered with MonoKote iron on covering arranged in an attractive military scheme. Most will find the Mustang can be assembled in just a few hours.

Done by the factory:

  • Entire model covered with attractive iron-on covering
  • Surfaces hinged and glued by the factory
  • Canopy installed with attractive pilot figure

The builder needs to:

  • Install the servos
  • Install the motor and ESC
  • Install the tail surfaces
  • Install the landing gear


The wing halves for the Sport Mustang were cut from white EPS foam. The foam wing panels were factory sheeted with balsa and covered with genuine MonoKote covering. Balsa sheeted foam wings are extremely durable, strong and true. The pockets for the dual aileron servos and channels for the servo wires were in place for you. The servos mounted right on the wing skin.

Installation of the servos was a snap as the recommended Futaba S3004 BB servos fit with no modifications. The factory had routed a string to allow the builder to quickly pull the servo leads to the wing center. You will have just enough end plug to attach the your "Y" cable or short 6" extensions.

The wings join with a simple butt joint and a large tube acting as a dihedral brace. There is no need to join the wing permanently; in fact the wing tube allows for the wing halves to be separated, if desired, for easier transportation. My product sample had the wing alignment tube slightly misaligned as one trailing edge was about 1/8" higher than the other. While that was very slight I elected to do a quick fix. Using my Dremel rotary tool to enlarge the alignment hole allowing the wing trailing edges to perfectly align. To assure the alignment pin would do its job I simply cut two small pieces of ply and glued them on the top and bottom of the hole. This allowed those pieces to center the alignment pin. It was a quick 10 minute fix.

The landing gear blocks are also ready for the pre-bent main gear wires. Landing gear installation was a snap with the wing mount blocks installed in the wing. The included nylon straps and screws for retention. Great Planes has also included attractive gear door covers to attach to the landing gear legs. These add great realism and add to the scale outline.


The massive fuselage on the Sport Mustang was large and roomy. It was easy to work on and provides plenty of room for all your equipment. The Mustang has a large top battery hatch that used magnets and slides for easy changes of batteries.

The firewall was quickly modified for "E" power by removing the laser cut ply cooling hole.

The motor installation was easy with the included laser cut plywood box. The tabbed box slid onto the firewall and a bit of CA glue had it secured. The box has blind nuts pre-installed for the Rimfire "X" mount.

The radio system receiver was installed on the bottom side of the battery tray. The R617FS was perfect for the sport scale Mustang.

Tail Assembly

The pre-finished tail surfaces were all hinged and glued ready for installation. There is no glue needed for this step as the fin assembly has long bolts attached that trap the horizontal stabilizer. This makes assembly a snap. If needed the surfaces can be removed later.


The Great Planes Mustang includes a tail wheel assembly. It is located in the rear of the fuselage, while not a scale location this greatly simplifies installation and ground handling, showing the sport underpinnings of the model.


The cowl comes with 4 small wood screws to attach it. I use a tested and true method for getting perfect cowl attachments.


The Sport Mustang came with an installed and painted pilot and canopy. It was really nice to see a proper scale painted pilot in the Mustang. This small step really adds to the scale realism of any model. Hats off to Great Planes. No installation necessary here all steps are done for you!

Power system

The Sport Mustang can be powered with glow or as in the case of this review the powerful brushless system. Mounts for both versions are included. Great Planes provided the recommend Rimfire 55 brushless motor. This is a large model and it needs significant power. The Rimfire 55 was easily up to that task.

Since the ESC is OPTO isolated you must use a BEC or battery to provide power for the airborne system. I choose the Hobbico Life Source 1100 battery. It was able to provide 6.6v to the airborne system providing excellent power for the radio system and servos.

Amp draws

The included brushless motor is perfect for use with either 5s-6s packs. The FlightPower 3s packs were doubled up to provide 6s voltage. With 3350 mAh 6s you are able to get the watts needed but still keep the amps in check. The powerful Rimfire 55 motor produced the following results:

Motor statistics on 6s
APCe Propeller Amps Watts Voltage
13x8 44 1016 23.09v

These power levels gave the Sport Scale Mustang 150 watts per lb enough for spirited warbird performance of this large sport model. The performance of the recommended Rimfire power system was just right for for the Mustang.

I am a big fan of the LiFePo4 batteries as a NiCad/NiMh replacement. Not having to add a supplemental BEC was welcome! Give the Hobbico LiFe packs a try!


Two 3s 3350 MAh FlightPower were used to provide power for the Mustang. Each of these packs weighs in right at 9.8oz/279g. An adapter was used to combining them for 6s power. Performance of these packs was stellar as can be seen it provided great voltage with the 44amp load.


The Mustang was covered using iron-on MonoKote film. The attractive scale Mustang color scheme helped add to the realism of this sport Stang.


Some ground shots of the Great Planes Sport Mustang. It is a very attractive model that is very large and easy to see. What is more even though a sport model, nobody will mistake the classic Mustang lines.


In order to attain the proper CG the two 3s 3350MAh packs needed placement right in the center of the battery tray. It is always a great joy when no extra weight is needed to balance models.

Rates and transmitter setup

The Futaba 7c FAAST transmitter was used to control this plane. Rates were set as recommended in the manual with ailerons at 6/8mm low and high rates and elevator at 8/11mm. The rudder was set to 37/48mm. Exponential rates were not recommended so I set those at 20% for the primary flight controls.

The ailerons were a touch tame in flight so I now use a bit more throw in low rates. The elevator rates were perfect for me.

The flight timer was set to count down from 5 minutes giving an audible warning to land before the batteries were depleted. The FlightPower EONX packs were easily able to supply the Mustang with warbird power. The Mustang with the Rimfire motor and recommended propeller provided excellent power, perfect for a sport model.


In the air the Mustang has the feel of a large model. It will perform any sport aerobatics you feel like doing. In flight pics come from Ronnie Pope. As usual, they are excellent!

Takeoff and Landing

With the forward cant of the landing gear legs on the Mustang it was able to take off from our rough grass field without any nose over issues. Our field is far from a manicured golf green, so this was impressive for me! The wide gear and forward leg position made it easy to taxi the Mustang. I found that take off power was reached before advancing much past half throttle stick position. There was plenty of reserve power.

Landings are very straightforward just as one would expect from a well designed model. The Mustang will carry speed well so you do need a long, shallow approach. This is no surprise with the slippery Mustang shape. Since the ailerons are strip type for most of the wing panel flaperons might be a welcome setup feature in order to help slow the Mustang down. This is certainly a club field airplane and needs to be flown in an area with plenty of room.

Special Flight Characteristics

The sport scale Mustang does not have any bad habits that I can coax out of this ship. It performed all 4 channel maneuvers with no complaints. Understandably, it is not a 3D ship and is flown on the wing.

Loops required nearly full power and were easy to keep very round and large. The Mustang rolls well with the increased rates I used for aileron throws. The rolls were remarkably axial with little down needed at the half point.

I am having a blast flying the Great Planes sport scale Mustang. The sport model heritage comes out in flight and the Mustang lines allow for a great combination. You will be hard pressed to find a Mustang of this size with better flight characteristics. It looks large in the air and on the ground.

Recommended power system

Power on 6s voltages was just right for warbird plane performance. It will certainly not leave you wanting more power.

Is this plane for a beginner?

The Great Planes Sport Mustang is intended for pilots with some skill so intermediate fliers with a bit of low wing experience will have no issues with the Mustang.

Flight Video



Great Planes has the warbird fan in all of us ready for the thrills of this new ARF. The Great Planes Sport Scale Mustang is large and easy to see. It looks great with an attractive MonoKotte finish.

The Mustang was very easy to assemble, and it went together quickly. The hard work was done at the factory, leaving you with the task of equipment installation. With the bolt on tail feathers and no-glue wing it was easy to finish this model in a few hours.

Ground handling was greatly enhanced by the use of forward cant on the main gear. Moving the gear legs forward greatly enhanced ground handling and our rough grass field is a good test of that. Many scale warbirds share the common trait of nose overs. The forward gear placement really helped to assure it would not be an issue with this Mustang.

Many warbirds are hard to see in flight that was a trait desired by fighter aircraft. The sport Mustang was easy to see and had a very large presence in flight. The large scale of the model enabled me to easily maintain visual orientation.

In flight the Mustang really comes alive. It is perfectly well behaved and allows you to go tame or wild depending on control throws and CG. Aerobatics were no problem and this ship will do any 4 channel acrobatics you desire.

Landings take space and the room of a club field. A gradual low approach helps to bleed off the speed from this slippery ship. Wind handling was excellent and this spring was a real test of its ability to cut through the wind.

The Great Planes Sport Scale Mustang model is a real treat to assemble and fly - get yours today!


  • Large battery hatch with a positive lock
  • Excellent hardware package and genuine MonoKote covering
  • Balsa sheeted foam wings
  • Detailed instruction manual
  • Short assembly time
  • Great fight performance


  • Wing alignment tube was very slightly off

Check the new Great Planes Sport Scale Mustang at your local hobby shop today!

Last edited by Angela H; Jul 21, 2011 at 06:08 PM..
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Jul 21, 2011, 11:21 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
Very nice review Mike. This Mustang seems like a real bargin -- nice sized warbird with sport plane flight characteristics.
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
Jul 21, 2011, 11:29 AM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
You would have liked it.

Maybe not as much as the Waco.....

Jul 21, 2011, 04:04 PM
Registered User

P 51

Great review. It looks like a fun plane to fly. Keep up the good work. thanks..Joe
Jul 21, 2011, 11:52 PM
I like to fly!
I really like the look of the Scale Mustang, and although I think this is a great plane, Great Planes didn't do much for it Scale-wise.
I know a guy who has one of these and he enjoys it though. It's definately something for a sport flyer who still wants that warbird look I guess. Not much for a Warbird guy though. Oh well, still a good ARF!
Jul 22, 2011, 12:46 AM
Registered User
Wingman26's Avatar
Looks like a nice plane!

I'm curious, why do you guys want to use the video download from RC Groups instead of You Tube? I can watch it streaming on You Tube with no problems, but downloading it from RC Groups server at dial up speeds on my high speed DSL connection takes quite a while, RC Groups servers just aren't up to the job. Sometimes a tester uses You Tube, it just works so much better!

Let's see....streaming video on You Tube versus a long drawn out low speed download...which one would be better?
Jul 22, 2011, 08:23 AM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
Originally Posted by Wingman26
Looks like a nice plane!

I'm curious, why do you guys want to use the video download from RC Groups instead of You Tube? I can watch it streaming on You Tube with no problems, but downloading it from RC Groups server at dial up speeds on my high speed DSL connection takes quite a while, RC Groups servers just aren't up to the job. Sometimes a tester uses You Tube, it just works so much better!

Let's see....streaming video on You Tube versus a long drawn out low speed download...which one would be better?
I normally do Vimeo as they really cut down the size. The issue I have with posting is I worry 4-5 years from now if those links will all still be active.

I will post that to Vimeo later and upload it and link it for you in the post section here. Good point.

But - I get the download in under 2 minutes for this vid so works pretty quick for me (615k). Not sure why the difference.

Jul 22, 2011, 01:17 PM
Registered User
Thrawn150's Avatar
I still have no idea why retract option was not included.
Jul 22, 2011, 04:28 PM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
Originally Posted by Thrawn150
I still have no idea why retract option was not included.
Because it is a sport model and it keeps the weight and complexity down. They would be very easy to add with a bit of time.
Jul 22, 2011, 07:17 PM
Registered User
Thrawn150's Avatar
Even my richmodels Spitfire 40 has retracts.
Jul 22, 2011, 07:30 PM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
That is nice. Some prefer models without retracts. I think that perhaps that may bulk of the case with sport models.

My field is a good example - retracts do not tend to hold up well there.

Jul 22, 2011, 09:51 PM
Registered User
Cabledawg1's Avatar
I think this model would fly great on a 170G motor and 4S. You could still get 850W and it would be lighter.
Jul 23, 2011, 12:08 AM
Registered User
Wingman26's Avatar
Vimeo works great for me. Downloading the video I saw download speeds at times fall below 50k, and a lot of it running around 100k, remember dial up 56k?
Jul 23, 2011, 07:36 AM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
Originally Posted by Wingman26
Vimeo works great for me. Downloading the video I saw download speeds at times fall below 50k, and a lot of it running around 100k, remember dial up 56k?
That is indeed strange. I am getting 630k right now. ??? Not sure what is going on.

Here is the Vimeo link:
Great Planes Sport Scale Mustang ARF GP/EP (1 min 48 sec)

Last edited by pda4you; Jul 23, 2011 at 09:56 AM.
Jul 23, 2011, 09:03 AM
Bajora's Avatar
I think you must have a fatter pipe coming into your house than the other users Mike? I do not think the RCGroups servers are the limiting factor .
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