Sig Kadet Seniorita Sport EP ARF - RC Groups

Sig Kadet Seniorita Sport EP ARF

Another Sig classic reborn with popular modifications, right from the factory. Let's see what makes this Seniorita "sporty!"

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Wingspan:65 inches
Wing Area:square inches
Weight:4.8 - 5.0 lbs.
Wing Loading:13.8 - 14.4 oz./sq.ft.
Servos:4 req.
Transmitter:4 channel or greater
Receiver:4 channel or greater
Battery:3s - 4s 3000mah - 4000mah
Motor:400 -700w, 700-1000kv, 35-42 mm case diam.
ESC:45-75A
Typical Flight Duration:10 minutes
Manufacturer:SIG Mfg.
Available From:SIG Mfg.
Price:$249.99

Sig is a name almost every modeler is familiar with. Countless flyers got their start with one of the many versions of the Kadet. Billed as being able to land themselves, the Senior and the Seniorita are responsible for many smiles and an untold number of solo flights. Sig has been bringing back many of its famous models in ARF form, and has been making changes to make them more electric friendly. They also have taken some of the most common modifications and added them at the factory. The Kadet Seniorita (and the Senior) have been the subject of many mods by ingenious builders over the years. Adding ailerons and converting them to taildraggers are two of the most popular mods I have seen, and Sig decided to do this for us in the new Kadet Seniorita Sport. Couple that with a two piece bolt-on wing, battery access door, and a fiberglass cowl and wheel pants, the new Seniorita Sport is sure to capture the eyes and hearts of another generation of flyers.

Sig Seniorita Sport EP ARF - RCGroups Review (3 min 40 sec)

Kit contents:

The kit includes pushrods, clevises, control horns, pushrod keepers, a spinner, an aluminum spar, balsa triangle stock, and all the screws, nuts, bolts and blind nuts needed to assemble your new model.

Additional parts needed to complete:

Tools and supplies I used:

  • Zap Adhesives
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Metric Allen wrenches
  • Ignition wrench set
  • Xacto knife
  • FoamFlite Table Top Airplane Stand
  • Drill Press
  • Cordless Drill
  • Crimp tool, wire, and ends for the servo extensions

Before I go into the assembly, I want to take a minute and talk about the power system and a really handy calculator I use. My first commercial brushless motor was a Himax, and I learned early on about their quality. Sig also recommends Himax motors for a lot of their planes, so it was a natural choice. Couple the Himax motor with a Castle ESC, and you have a great combination. Castle has a version of eCalc on their website for props, EDFís and helis, and it is a great tool that allows you to see how different power systems (props, motors, and ESCís ) will act in your application. For example, with my chosen power system, and the props I had available, I was able to determine that a 12x6 APC-E would be a good choice, drawing 26 amps, using 403.2 watts, and providing a thrust to weight ratio of 0.81:1. You also get data like static thrust, pitch speed, estimated speed in level flight, as well as estimated flight time and other information. While the calculator states accuracy can be +/- 10%, I found that it was very close on the current figure. My AstroFlight watt meter showed 29 amps on the ground, at 16 volts for 464 watts. That works out to 92.8 watts/pound, which is a great power level for this type of plane. Even more impressive was the datalog I pulled from the ESC after the flights. The highest current it recorded was 26.6 amps, and the highest power was 402 watts. These numbers are right in line with the data the calculator provided. This further validates using the calculator to help with model setup.

The Assembly

The assembly goes quickly, and the manual is very easy to follow. Starting with the wings, you install the servos first. You'll notice that Sig thoughtfully included a pull string, saving some time and frustration. The Hitec 485 servos are a great fit for this plane, with 83 oz/in of torque at 6 volts, they will move the surfaces of the Seniorita with authority.

Next up are the ailerons. The hinge slots are already cut, and on my model, they lined up perfectly. The most important part of this step is maintaining an accurate hinge gap. Too close, and you reduce travel. Too far, and you can get flutter. The time tested method for getting it right with CA hinges is to use a couple of "T" pins in each hinge, This gives accurate spacing, and makes it easy to determine when the surface is fully seated. Thin CA is the glue of choice here, and it only takes a few drops per hinge to get good adhesion.

Control horn installation is made simple thanks to pre-drilled holes in all the surfaces. Since the aileron horns don't use backing plates, you want to be sure and run the crews in first, then remove them and apply a little CA to the holes. Once it's dry, it hardens the threads, and makes for a solid installation.

Pushrods are straight forward (no pun intended) Clevises and keepers make quick work of this task, and once completed, your wing is done and ready to trial fit to the fuse! Once you are satisfied with the fit, you can put the wing aside and finish out the fuselage. It's worth pointing out that the wing is a two piece design, and as such, it makes it easy to load into smaller vehicles.

The fuselage goes together quickly. First, you install the wheelpants and mount the gear, then you move on to the stabilizers. Take your time here, and you will be rewarded with a plane that tracks true.

After the stabilizers are mounted and the control surfaces are secured in place, it's time to mount the control horns.

Next, we turn our attention to the front of the plane, and the motor box. The motor box is a really smart piece of engineering. The box extends from the firewall, and is slotted to allow the motor mount plate to move fore and aft so you can adjust it to suit the length of your motor. This is important so you can properly position the cowl.

Notice those line etched into the mount plate? They allow you to accurately center up your motor mount. The HiMaxx HC3522-0700kv is one of the motors Sig recommends for this plane, if you plan on using 4s packs. They also offer it in a 990kv version if you want to use 3s, instead. The only thing I had to do to the motor was reverse the motor shaft, and thatís where the drill press came into use. The procedure is very simple and covered in the instruction sheet included with the motor. If youíve never done this before, there is nothing to worry about. Itís a simple process, and takes only a couple of minutes to complete. Just be sure and pay attention to getting the motor shaft vertical and keeping it there while you press the shaft out. I have a piece of drill rod I got many years back just for this purpose. Itís strong and straight, and makes short work of this type of job.

After determining motor placement, I tacked the plate in place with thin CA, and epoxied the included balsa tri-stock in place. Mounting the cowl is the next step, and is a simple one. You simply slide it on and center up the prop shaft in the proper hole. Once you are satisfied with its location, you simply drill pilot holes, and secure it with the included screws. Done properly, youíll have a minimal gap between the spinner backplate and the cowl, which results in a neat appearance.

At this point, all that's left is to install the windows, mount the receiver and servos, and set up the radio. The windows required minimal trimming and I secured them in place with a bit of hot glue. I chose to mount the receiver on the scrap balsa I installed for the Minion pilot my son donated. Setting up the radio will vary depending on what you use, but since you don't have to worry about mixes, it will be a quick task.

After setting the recommended throws as low rates, and maxing out everything for high rates, I loaded up a battery and checked the CG. With the 4s 3000 pack positioned all the way forward, the CG was right in the middle of the suggested range. I checked the all up weight, and my build came in at 82 ounces..merely 2 ounces over the top of the range noted in the manual. Having weighed the Minion pilot before I installed it, I knew he weighed 2 ounces, so this accounted for the discrepancy.

Flight report

A perfect Saturday afternoon presented itself, so I loaded up the Seniorita, along with my wife and son, and we headed to the field. Winds were 5-8 mph and the sky was pretty clear when we arrived, so I set about bolting on the wings, and taking some ďglamour shots,Ē before installing a battery and double checking the CG and control directions. After those tests were done, I throttled up and taxied the plane around a bit, getting a feel for how she handled on the ground. Just a touch of up elevator was needed to keep the tail planted, and maintain good ground steering. Satisfied, I taxied out to the runway, lined up and rolled into the power. The plane was quickly in the air. I needed to add a few clicks of aileron trim, but otherwise it tracked well. With recommended rates, it felt very nice in the air, responsive, but not overly so. Slow speed performance is rock solid, and stalls were uneventful. The break straight ahead, dipping the right wing ever so slightly. The barn door ailerons are very effective at all speeds, and the elevator and rudder followed suit. Itís no speed demon, but it will move along at a pace fast enough to keep a new pilot interested in flying it long after they have mastered the basics. After getting a feel for the plane, it was time to land, and swap batteries. For the second flight, I switched to high rates and took to the sky looking for fun. This time, I tried some basic aerobatics, rolls, loops, stall turns, and knife edge. The Seniorita pulled them all off with ease. Rolls looked best with some rudder, and needed a touch of down elevator when inverted. Loops could be as big or as small as you wanted, confirming that the Himaxx motor and Castle ESC were a great choice for power. I was even able to pull off a nice knife edge, though I did need quite a bit of aileron to keep the plane in that attitude. Thatís not really a surprise, considering that the Seniorita has dihedral, and is designed more as a basic trainer. Inverted flight took some down elevator to maintain, but that is expected with a flat bottom airfoil. This plane is certainly capable of taking a new flyer from learning the basics all the way into aerobatics with no trouble.

Is this plane suitable for a beginner?

YES! The manual is easy to follow, and I feel that anyone could put together their own Seniorita. As far as flying, it would make a great first plane. It is tame, and handles well in the air when you use the recommended throws, and even though itís a taildragger, it showed no bad tendencies.

Conclusion

I have built several Sig kits and ARFís over the years, and the Seniorita assembly was exactly what I expected. The fit and finish is great, and the assembly process went quite quickly. The only point where I had to stray from the instructions was when I removed material in the fuselage servo tray. I feel like assembling this plane is well within the capabilities of a first time builder, provided they sit down and read the manual from cover to cover a couple of times before they start. The pictures that accompany each step eliminate any questions one may have. For the experienced builder, a rainy weekend is all the time you need to add this beauty to your collection. You will be rewarded with a plane that flies great, and has a ton of tricks up itís sleeves. From lazy afternoon touch and goís, to fun filled loops and rolls, the Seniorita will have a place in my hangar for a long time to come!

Pluses and Minuses

Pluses

  • Popular mods already done
  • Motorbox design
  • Included hardware is good quality

Minuses

  • Elevator clevis difficult to adjust once installed
  • Servos may not fit in fuselage without trimming
  • Battery hatch fits a little tight under the cowl, and can be difficult to remove

I would like to thank my wife for the photos and video. Sig Mfg., Castle Creations, Maxx Products International, and HiTec RCD deserve a round of applause for their contributions. I would also like to thank Jim T., and Angela for their advice and guidance. Without them, RCGroups wouldnít be to my go-to source for RC information!

Last edited by IFLYOS; Nov 25, 2015 at 12:52 PM..
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Nov 30, 2015, 05:32 PM
MN WATTS Master
Vintauri's Avatar
I loved the larger Senior Sport and I think this one would be great for parkflyer sized fields. Great write up and video Tim! Keep them coming!
Nov 30, 2015, 05:35 PM
Left, NO your other left!
weathervane's Avatar

Well done.


WOW, Well done.

I have thought about the Kadet Seniorita. Now you have given me a reason to get one.

-Andrew
Nov 30, 2015, 05:37 PM
Registered User
sawatt's Avatar
Nice job Tim, What's worse is that I can hear your voice as I read this.
Nov 30, 2015, 05:52 PM
Electric or Bust!
skyjet's Avatar
Great review! Sig definitely has some of the best ARFs available! I have always had a couple in my hangar.
Nov 30, 2015, 05:52 PM
DFS#000178
Rampage's Avatar
Senioritas are wonderful, wonderful airplanes, but the SIG arfs are just so expensive...And I have to ask myself why.

I've got a Seniorita ARF (Transparent red and black. 1st generation ARF. Trike gear) that was about this price when they were on the market. Then SIG discontinued them and they started popping up everywhere as "Super Margarita". I got one from HobbyKing for less than $100. It's the same ARF as the SIG--in fact I've heard they were built in the same factory or by the same individuals that were building them for SIG, but SIG rejected the freight container after discontinuing the ARFs. The wood is all choice, the hardware was good, it's a beautiful airplane. It flies very well on an old Parkzone BL15 with a big ole' 12x6 Zinger woody with a no-name ESC and 3300MAh packs. 10-15 minute flights that I have stretched out to over 20!

But why does SIG charge so much? $250 is a lot of coin for what is essentially a trainer with no electronics.

I'm exceptionally happy with my Seniorita and it's one of my favorite planes. I'm very glad to see it come back, even though I prefer the original color scheme and trike gear. But the price tag puts it out of my price range unfortunately. That's warbird-with-flaps-and-retracts money.
Nov 30, 2015, 05:56 PM
Electric or Bust!
skyjet's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rampage
Senioritas are wonderful, wonderful airplanes, but the SIG arfs are just so expensive...And I have to ask myself why.
Quality!
Nov 30, 2015, 06:09 PM
DFS#000178
Rampage's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by skyjet
Quality!
Quality of what, though?

My Seniorita ARF's quality is great, the wood is choice--probably better than I've seen in any kit I've ever bit, the covering is Oracover/Ultracote, so that's good.

The thing is, I think I could pick up a Kadet Seniorita kit and build it for less than $250. The nice thing about ARFs has always been that you could generally get the ARF for less than you could build the kit.

I had my entire Seniorita ARF flying for less than $200.

I'm not bashing it or anything, I just want to know why it's so expensive. It seems to me that, when you can get a similarly-sized Apprentice for the same price--and it's bind and fly--who would go this route? It is a trainer, afterall. That is it's primary audience. It just seems to me like SIG is pricing themselves out of a competitive market.
Nov 30, 2015, 06:17 PM
Blew out my flip flop
David Hogue's Avatar
Nicely done Tim! I've had a few Seniors and Senioritas and loved them all
Nov 30, 2015, 06:31 PM
Registered User
Great review.

I flew my local club's trainer this weekend and it just happens to be a Seniorita.
I think you are spot on in your flight evaluation. Even as bad of a fixed wing pilot as I am, the Seniorita was very forgiving. Very nice quality especially compared to trainers like my Apprentice.
Nov 30, 2015, 06:31 PM
14s 180mah should be enough...
IFLYOS's Avatar
Personally, I think this plane is a pretty good deal. Part of the appeal for me is the fact that it brings back memories, and the rest of it is the mods are done.

One way to look at it is while it could be classed with the Apprentice (fine plane, BTW, I bought one for my 8 year old son), for me, foam vs. balsa isn't the same. Keep in mind, I have a lot of each in my hangar and I like them both, but good balsa birds are worth more, to me anyway.

I've built a couple of Seniors and Senioritas, as well as MK1's, and you might be able to build it cheaper, but if time is limited, then this is a great way to go.
Latest blog entry: Intro..a few years to late!
Nov 30, 2015, 06:53 PM
Home of "Golf Cart Flying"
pecanpatch's Avatar
Nice review and congrats Tim.... You are tha Man!
Nov 30, 2015, 07:02 PM
Registered User
rpstar's Avatar
Nice plane. Very reasonable price for sure
Nov 30, 2015, 07:11 PM
Registered User
Nice job on your review Tim.
Nov 30, 2015, 07:29 PM
Builder of flying things
fyrechaser's Avatar
Great review Tim! Very well Illustrated and narrated.


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