Great Planes Spirit Elite - RC Groups
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Jul 30, 2004, 02:08 AM
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Great Planes Spirit Elite

I'm trying to find an agile, fun to build and fly glider with ailerons. I'm considering the Spirit Elite. Anyone familiar with this plane, or could make some recommendations of other gliders? I'd like to stick with two or three channels, rudder not necessary, and no more than three servos. I have an Omei 2000, minus the motor package, but smashed the wing to bits on a freaky hi-start launch. I basically want to re-create what that glider had to offer, but would prefer the building experience. Please let me know if you have advice! Many thanks, Joel.
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Jul 30, 2004, 03:28 AM
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I Had The Spirit, Junk. Stomp On The Sailplane And Launch The Box It Came In.
Jul 30, 2004, 02:49 PM
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Vince inTX.'s Avatar
The spirit elite is a wonderful plane. I built one from a kit. It does not however fit your stated criteria of a 3 servo plane. It has a 4 servo wing(optional) in its top end configuration. Thats a 6 servo plane that requires atleast a 6 channel computer radio in order to get the most from the wing and airfoil. It takes some fiddiling but once you get the set up right and find the sweet spot for the CG you will have a plane that can do anything you ask. My flying buddy is a much better pilot than I am and he rolled my spirit on its back 50 ft up, held it there, and then rolled it back upright and lost only 10-15 ft. When you use the entire trailing edge ,in flaperon mode, rolls are as quick and as crisp as you could expect from a 2m sailplane.

One caution. If you are used to a floater type sailplane you will have to relearn somethings. This plane has a wing loading near 10oz. it flies fast and on a down wind run will look like it is about to break the sound barrier. If you try to slow it down with elevator it will tip stall and scare the bejesus out of you or worse yet it will crash.

Dont let the caution scare you away from this plane. I went from a gentle lady to the spirit elite. It took me 2 seasons to feel like the transition was successful. Considering my work schedule thats not bad

my 2 cents

Jul 30, 2004, 03:35 PM
Fish Head!
colin wavell's Avatar
the Spirit Elite is a good trainer for full house glider flying. I got one so I could try out all the different settings of my new computer radio. I would say its a better flyer of the flat using a bungee than a lot of two metre planes. Its easy to fly off the slope and when you've got the hang of the crow its very easy to land in lots of different conditions. But...and its a big a lot of planes that are designed to be multi purpose it doesn't do anything really well. I built the kit version and many people say that its much better than the ARTF. It is quite heavy for a 2metre so its not that special in very light conditions although having said that it will hang in the air with the flaps down in an uncanny way. I have eight gliders...all built up and if I could only have one it would be the Spirit Elite but I'm thinking of getting a mouldie and I think my opinion will change. I don't know if the Chris Foss Middle Phase is available where you are but as a two or three channel wood and foam sloper even at 25 years old its hard to beat as an aileron trainer/intermediate glider depending on how you build the wing
Jul 30, 2004, 03:52 PM
Gustavo Exel
gustabmo's Avatar
Originally Posted by Vince inTX.
One caution. If you are used to a floater type sailplane you will have to relearn somethings. This plane has a wing loading near 10oz. it flies fast and on a down wind run will look like it is about to break the sound barrier.
I don't like fast sailplanes and for this exact reason I chose a Spirit 100 as my first full-house glider, hoping it's slightly smaller wing loading and wider wingspan will make it a glider more suited to my taste. Package should be under way... I hope I'll not regret it

Jul 30, 2004, 03:59 PM
Fish Head!
colin wavell's Avatar
A good sailplane should be able to fly a different speeds so that you can penetrate and float. Trainers, and that is what the Spirit series really are tend to fly at one speed. The Spirit elite, however, has quite a good range of speed
Jul 30, 2004, 10:26 PM
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I have the ARF version of this plane. It was my first sailplane which I proceeded to crashed badly on my very first flight (poor choice on my part). I set it aside and moved to a better choice for a beginner. It has been a year since then and I have moved from a 2M foamy (rudder/elevator) I flew on a slope, to the 2M Spirit (rudder/elevator/spoiler) which I flew at our clubs thermal field. I have only recently repaired and begun flying the Elite again. It is a very fast plane, that is a blast to fly. I'm still learning it, but it floats very nicely on our thermal field. It has been much more difficult to stay in the thermals since it is pretty heavy compared to the regular Spirit, but I'm very happy with the performance of this plane. It can be set up for 4 channels (my original setup), but is much better with a computer radio and six channels (my current setup). I think it is more plane than you are looking for (channel wise).

Jul 31, 2004, 01:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Dewey12
I Had The Spirit, Junk. Stomp On The Sailplane And Launch The Box It Came In.
Thanks for the tip.......very funny! However, since a lot of people have talked highly of it, please share with me the reason for your low opinion, and if you don't mind, make a recommendation for a nice 2 meter glider with ailerons, elevator, and 3 servos. I like to keep things simple, and will probably never own a 6 channel system. Many thanks!!! Joel
Jul 31, 2004, 03:48 AM
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Poorly built, weak tail assembly, weak fuselage near stabilizer, too heavy when ready to fly, Mine required too much ballast to get it to glide,mine was tail heavy. It was my first ARF and my last.I saved the radio and gave mine away to another person. Recomendations for a 2 meter (I have none). I am building 2 Sagitta"s the 600 version. Airtronics has always been a favorite of mine. Wish they would get back into the kit business. Dewey
Jul 31, 2004, 06:46 AM
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RyanPSU21's Avatar
I'm not sure there is much out there that is aileron and elevator in a thermal glider. Maybe you should look at a sloper.

There are some real crappy parts to the Spirit Elite kit. The rudder linkage is horrible. Granted, I built it as an electric so I had to smash the servos into the very back end of the fuselage compartment so I had to use very short arms on the servos but the thermal expansion of the pushrods becomes a real problem. From hot to cold days my rudder will move over an inch. It is very difficult to get the recommended 2 inches of rudder travel. The center wing joint is very difficult to build and I'm not sure that great a design with the fiberglass tape strips. I just built it as a one piece wing and fiberglassed the entire joint.

I've built both the Elite and a regular Spirit 2m recently. The Elite was first. The regular was second as I didn't like how the Elite flies. It was my second regular Spirit, the first one I built about 10 years ago. It's probably more pilot then anything but I found I could not do decent turns with it. In a straight line it's glide was decent. I although I can fly pretty good coordinated aileron/rudder turns on a regular powered plane I couldn't turn this for crap without losing a lot of altitude on every turn. I built mine in the polyhedral configuration originally as rudder/elevator/spoiler, after the first flight attempt I removed the spoilers and cut the ailerons out because it wouldn't turn rudder only. My first flight was a nice sweeping lefthand turn that would not straighten out at full right stick.

If your going to build this plane, you should atleast go with aileron and rudder. What is your reason for wanting to use 3 servos instead of 4. You don't seem to have a computer radio you will be using a y-connector for the ailerons. You will have a very difficult time getting the correct throw differential since you'll have to do it with moving the control horn distance from the hinge line. Unless you are trying to fly this with a 3 channel or 2 channel radio you should really just put rudder on also.

It really doesn't take a lot of 3 or 4 channel transmitters to equal the cost of a 5 or 6 channel computer radio that will give you much more flexibility in setting up your plane.
Jul 31, 2004, 08:33 AM
Registered User
The Spirit Elite is not a bad flier.... pretty good actually and surprizingly strong, infact so strong i've seen a guy DS one..... quite impressive actually!!
Aug 01, 2004, 03:57 PM
Registered User

Spirit elite for sale, and others

I have an spirit elite. Im getting out of the hobby and I am selling all of my stuff. The spirit is built and has been flown 3 times. It flys fine, willing to get rid of it for 60 bucks airplane only + shipping.

Other planes for sale.
Buyer pays shipping.

Piper cub .40 fabric covered arf from GP (GPMA1310)
Still new in box. Opened the box to check it out, its perfect

Kyosho Sukhoi .40 arf (KYOA1060)
Still new in box, Opened the box to check it out, its perfect.

Look at for more info on these planes. The cub goes for 199.00 normally and the sukhoi normally sells for 219.99.

PM me if interested
Aug 01, 2004, 04:51 PM
Fish Head!
colin wavell's Avatar
A lot of different opinions....If your talking about the kit plane the comments probabley tell you more about the builder than the plane. Built as per instructions with the Cof G as per plan it will fly and very good too. Then you can move the Cof G back a bit and it will be more responsive.DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER FLYING THIS WITHOUT A COMPUTER RADIO. It needs flaps to fly well slowly and its too difficult to set up on a standard radio. IT IS NOT A BEGINNERS PLANE AND CLEARLY SAYS IN THE BLURB THAT IT IS FOR MORE EXPERIENCED PILOTS. IT'S ALSO NOT A BEGINNERS BUILD YOU REALLY NEED TO HAVE BUILT A COUPLE OF PLANES BEFORE TAKELING THIS ONE. Elevator trim is critical and this needs to be reset every time because of the expansion and contraction of the snakes as someone already mentioned. THIS IS EASY WITH A COMPUTER RADIO AND A REAL PAIN WITHOUT! If you trim it after taking it out of a hot car to set the elevator at neutral....after a flight in cooler air what was neutral will now be down elevator and it becomes a pig to fly. Today I was flying and found I had to add a click of UP every 10 minutes or so to compensate for the shrinking snake. Sometimes it can be the opposite problem. You do get used to it. I have thought of replacing the plastic inners with bowden cable...they don't expand and contract. I think they would fit and it would not add that much weight. THIS IS NOT A PLANE TO FLY ON A SHEEPS FART! On 7 mph + it will fly well.
The other really bad thing is the wing joining and fixing just isn't strong enough. I'm constantly having to re-thread the wing bolt holes and shim out the hole that the locator pegs on the leading edge go into.....especially after a heavy belly landing..I'm considering making it a one piece wing and reinforcing the slot for the LE dowels with GF board...................but I still like the plane... Its faster than a floater but nowhere near as fast as a mouldie. Its a good trainer for the next stages after you have mastered RE and basic aileron elevator flying. Its certainly not boring!...................I like it!
Last edited by colin wavell; Aug 01, 2004 at 05:11 PM.
Aug 01, 2004, 05:56 PM
Registered User
RyanPSU21's Avatar
To get away from the stripped wing bolt hole problem drill the hole slightly large and put a blind nut behind it. It only adds very minimal weight and you'll never have to worry about another strip out. I do this on everything I build that uses a thin plywood sheet tapped for the bolts. I'll tap hardwood blocks though.
Aug 01, 2004, 06:49 PM
Senior Member
LWThompson's Avatar


You mentioned building but then mentioned an ARF. Is this going to be open field hi-start only? If so, look at Art Hobbies Thermic and others. Easy build-out nice value. If you want to build from sticks, there is the woodcrafter's site with several balsa planes with 3-2 channel and open-bay wings. I hope this helps. Please tell us your choice and reasoning. You can always block off the rudder.

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