Great Planes ElectriFly Super Stearman Review


 
The Super Stearman roared onto the scenes as a powerhouse showman in the 70’s, and now ElectriFly has given us all the chance to be show pilots with our own RC version. See how this muscle-bound little brute performed for Kurt and Rob’s 5X5 inspection!
 

Intro and Flight Footage
5X5 Review Scoring

 

Summary

Upon inspection of the kit, you’re immediately taken by the fact that a near-weightless fuselage is going to be yanked around by a big .10 Rimfire motor. Your attention however is quickly turned to the assembly: one of the smoothest builds we’ve ever experienced. Everything fits perfectly! Considering the complex alignment throughout a biplane’s airframe, the Stearman went together like a Swiss watch. Our APC prop was dead-on and needed no balancing so before we knew it, our Stearman was ready to take to the skys.

Throws were set to factory recommendations and with our rates plugged into our T8FG Futaba Tx, we lined the Stearman up on the runway for it’s maiden flight. If we were relaxed up to this point, everything suddenly changed. The Stearman is a powerful little bipe and you realize the shortness of the fuselage as soon as you apply power. The Rimfire .10 give the airframe a healthy shot of torque as you roll into the throttle and your reflexes are tested for sudden rudder and aileron correction and the Stearman jumps off the ground. Things happen pretty fast on that first take-off so make sure your rates are set to low and your eyes are focused. We took off with a crosswind so things were a bit accentuated.

The Stearman, in the air, takes complete charge. Rolls, Snaps, Loops, Knife-edges, Inverts, and big air maneuvers like Cuban 8’s, Split-s’s and anything else you can muster make the Stearman seem bigger than it is. The short-coupling means the tail has no objections to stepping in front of the nose so be prepared for everything happening quicker than expected. We found ourselves executing basic aerobatics on low rates as we got used to the Stearman’s willingness, no, eagerness, to get wild. What you’ll find is that the Stearman also behaves quite nicely when you back off the gimbals and fly relaxed. A wide flight envelope makes the Stearman a blast to fly, but not for the beginner or faint of heart!

Once all the excitement is over, the Stearman settles into a nice glide slope and sits down on the runway with the best of the bipes. Note: I said bipes, not high wing trainers so keep the tail up, set it down on the mains, and then lower the tail for a gentle rolling stop. Three-pointing a biplane often results in a tip stall to a cartwheel during the attempt for many new bipe pilots, so be conservative until you learn the Stearman’s tendencies.

A beautiful, fun to fly re-creation of the Super Stearman!

5X5 Review Scoring

Model Characteristics

Build as Advertised:

Build Instructions and Advertised Difficulty...
4.5 / 5

Finish:

Covering, Paint, Plastic and Decals...
5 / 5

Power:

Specified Powerplant Performance...
5 / 5

Ground Handling:

Landing Gear, Floats, and Hovering...
4 / 5

Durability:

Model Impact and Transportation Durability...
4 / 5

Pilot Experience

Flight as Advertised:

Flight Experience As Compared To Marketing
4.5 / 5

Flight Time:

Flight Duration Of Recommended Powerplant
4.5 / 5

Field Size:

2 Brothers Flying Site Recommendation
Flying Field

Portability:

How Easily The Model Transports Without Damage
4.5 / 5

Skill Level:

2 Brothers Recommended Skill Level
Intermediate - Adv.

Model Specifications

Model Type:

ARF

Wing Span:

36 in (915 mm)

Wing Area:

365 in² (23.5 dm²)

Weight:

2.25-2.75 lb (1020-1250 g)

Wing Loading:

14-17oz/ft² (43-52 g/dm²)

Length:

29.5 in (750 mm)

Motor Design:

Brushless Outrunner

Motor Wattage:

325-390

Motor kv:

1250

Motor Size:

.10

Volt Range:

3S LiPo (11.1VDC)

Propeller:

APC 10X7 Thin Electric

Construction:

Balsa Built-up

ESC Amperage:

35

Radio Channels:

4

Needed Items:

Radio system with a minimum of 4 channels and 4 micro servos; 35-30-1250 outrunner brushless motor; 35A brushless ESC (min); 11.1V 3S 2200mAh LiPo battery & 10x7 electric prop.

Street Price:

$149.97 USD

Special Features:

Incredible scale detail, painted cowl, painted fiberglass wheel pants, replica radial engine, rare-earth magnets on cowl and canopy, landing gear farings, two finished pilot figures

Where to Buy
Product Page

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11 Responses to Great Planes ElectriFly Super Stearman Review

  1. avatar Ludi says:

    I just now finished the Super Stearman ARF and have yet to fly it. Nice, I like it and I have a few questions:
    1. Is there another way to connect the upper ailerons given the Z-bend rod has no threaded end for the clevis?
    2. Is there a method of exacting cooling vents as there are none shown or present in the model?
    Best regards,
    Larry

    • avatar kurt says:

      Ludi, Your z-bend rods should be threaded on the clevis end, in fact I think they recommend about 19 turns to get you close to level ailerons. The thicker rods have threads, the thinner rods are for the lower aileron linkage. If your thicker linkage does not have threads, get a hold of ElectriFly for replacements.

      As for the cooling, intakes are around the cowl and at the center of the mock radial engine. Exhaust vents are in front of both pilot figures (it should be open to below). We ran nice and cool with our Stearman and it was about 87 F degrees during our test flight. Be sure to locate the ESC as shown in the instructions and you shouldn’t have any problems. Have fun flying the Stearman!

  2. avatar dcsd says:

    Tell me about the balancing of this plane. How much weight did you have to use to balance it according to the instructions?

    • avatar kurt says:

      We didn’t have to add any weight at all. With our 2200mAh 3s pack shoved all the way forward, the Stearman was perfectly balanced and I mean dead level. Now, that means the Stearman has full aerobatic tendencies so if you want to ease things off a bit and stabilize the flight characteristic to a little less responsiveness (maybe you’re new to bipes or want to ease into aerobatics) you could add one or two 7g lead weights to the motor mount (not the cowl!) and the Stearman would be a bit more tame. Just be sure to verify the acceptable CG range in the instruction manual and don’t make it too nose heavy. That can make landings pretty hot and take-offs very, very difficult. Good Luck!

  3. avatar dcsd says:

    Thanks for the very quick response. The reason I asked is because I got this plane a couple of weeks ago and used 2200 Mh batteries and a super tiger .10 motor. It took 4 ounces of lead on the motor mount to balance as per the instructions. The amount of weight to balance it has been the subject of several conversations and comments that I learned of after the fact. Some of these plane have to be different. some people(using the same weight gear) need no weight and others use as much as 5 ounces to balance it. Needless to say my flying result s were disasterous. I have built and flown bipes for 16 years, small and large, for some reason unknow there is a very great desparity in experiences with this plane.

    • avatar kurt says:

      I know the Rimfire .10 is a little heavier than the SuperTigre .10 and it’s also a little longer, but not by very much. RF: 1.2″, 71g, 2.5oz. ST: 1.18″, 69g, 2.4oz. I’d have to hold them side-by-side to really check the difference. The Rimfire also uses that bulky aluminum prop adapter base for firewall mounting, and I don’t know if that is figured into the spec’d length and weight. It’s hard to imagine any of it adding up to 5 oz. though, either way. All I know is that when I stuck it on the CG machine, it was DEAD level at the middle CG. It wasn’t my preferred first flight CG point, but I convinced myself I could handle it. As you see in the video, I had my hands a bit full on my first take-off! In the air it was a very solid flyer. Sorry about your crash, hopefully you could get it back together.

    • avatar Jerry Dunlap says:

      According to the manual, my model was in balance with with a 2650 pack pushed against the forward bulkhead. That was not the case. My first flight almost ended in a disaster because the plane was tail heavy. Luckily, I managed to bring it down without crashing. I then added 4 oz of lead under the motor. It now flies OK.

      I had a similar experience with the balance point on my Reactor Bipe. I had to add 3 oz. of lead to it.

  4. avatar MustangMike says:

    Thanks for the great review! I was interested in getting this plane as a grab-n-go flyer with more pep than the PZ T-28 I had been flying as my spur of the moment plane. After checking this story out I broke down and got one. As your review states, it was a great and quick build. I did need to add 1.5oz to the motor mount to get her to balance, but other than that everything was perfect. My first flight I did what you recommended in the video and gave her full throttle for takeoff. Almost stuck it in the bushes, but made it into the air. Later flights I have found slowly rolling on it produces a very nice takeoff with no drama as long as you are diligent on the rudder. Superb flying plane, it has quickly become my favorite. One piece of advice I would give to others would be to set up the throws as per the manual, except the elevator on low rates: it needs at least 1/8″ more IMO.

  5. avatar Wolfman says:

    Question: What would you recommend for a first biplane trainer? I eventually want to progress to this, but it sounds like a little bipe experience would help. I would like to stick with electric if possible. Thanks guys!!!

    • avatar Kurt Gornek says:

      Hi Wolfman, We reviewed the Albatros from ParkZone a while back. It would be an excellent learning platform for 4 channel bipe experience. It’s pretty durable and the power plant requires that you “fly it on the wing” a bit more than some over powered bipes. Great for landing practice since it’s pretty tough on nose-overs…which we did several times. http://www.parkzone.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=PKZ5980 Another route to go is lightweight EPP foam bipes. Typically 3-channel like the SE5a from E-flite: http://www.e-fliterc.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=EFL1925 This is a good flying bipe and slows things down a bit for better learning. Also a lot less expensive at around 65.00 for the ARF but you’ll need servos, Rx, ESC, and 250 size motor. Alternatively you could go micro, but if you already fly and the Super Stearman is your target, best to stick with park sized stuff that flies slower and is more durable. Hope this helps!

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