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Posts Tagged ‘Great Planes

In this week’s conclusion to ‘Blade Runner’ we discuss an important aspect of multirotor and airplane flight, propeller balancing. Granted an unbalanced propeller doesn’t keep something from flying, but it can cause propeller based failures as well as increased noise due to the blade imperfections. There are two parts to propeller balancing: Horizontal and Vertical Balancing.

To start, one needs a propeller balancing apparatus. This can be as simple as a pen placed across two boxes, or a commercial balancer from companies like this one from¬†Dubro¬†or this option from¬†Great Planes. Next, you need either sandpaper to shave down the prop, or some clear tape or stickers to add to the prop. I’m a big fan of tape/stickers, but there are many schools of thought when it comes to prop balancing, so work with what makes you comfortable.

Prop Diagram

For reference, above you will see a diagram of a prop courtesy of Horizon Hobby. When I talk about the¬†leading edge of a propeller, I’m making note of the thicker part of the propeller, shown as the light gray area of the propeller. The¬†trailing edge of the prop is the thinner edge of the prop and is marked on the diagram as the black area.

Before any balancing can occur, don’t forget to ream the mount hole to fit your propeller shaft (similar to making body post holes, for you surface RC people). If you do not ream the hole until after balancing, you will have to do it again, and no one wants that.

Horizontal Balancing

Propeller Balancing Horizontal

Once you have the propeller on your balancing post, place it into the horizontal position. Here is where the sandpaper or tape/stickers come in: See what direction the propeller spins after in the horizontal position, and either add tape to (or near) the leading edge of the lighter half of the blade or sand down the trailing edge of the heavier half of the blade. Continue this process until the prop only deviates from the horizontal position 5-10 degrees.

Vertical Balancing

Propeller Balancing Vertical

The same applies to vertical balancing. Place the blade on the balancing post into the vertical position and, like horizontal balancing, either add tape to (or near) the leading edge of the lighter half of the blade or sand down the trailing edge of the heavier half of the blade. Continue this process until the prop only deviates from the vertical position 5-10 degrees.

…And that is all there is to it! With your propellers balanced you will see an instantaneous change in the noise coming from your motors as well as small changes to performance.

If you have any propeller or other RC Aircraft questions, feel free to contact me (kevin (at) If you have not yet, check out the big Multirotor Build Project I’m working on right here. Until next time, Stay Shiny and Keep Flyin’!

Great Planes RC4WD
There is some big news out of Champaign Illinois that Great Planes is now distributing RC4WD products. This arrangement makes it easier for GP dealers to stock RC4WD products. On the consumer side, it means more local hobby shops will have your favorite RC4WD scale parts on the shelf, or if not in stock, they will be easier to order in for you.

For more information on Great Planes simply Click This Link and you can hit This Link to visit RC4WD’s official website.

Great Planes Curtis P-6E Hawk EP Biplane ARF
One of the latest airplanes in Great Planes product line-up is a Curtis P-6E Hawk EP Biplane ARF. The P-6E Hawk was one of the best looking bipes of the 1930s and was the last biplane produced for the Army Air Corps. The new Great Planes version features incredible scale detailing for an authentic look, and was designed to be lots of fun while up in the air. The Great Planes P-6E comes ARF and requires a 4 channel radio, 4 micro servos, an ESC and motor, and a 3S LiPo battery and charger to complete.

* Length- 34″
* Wingspan- 43.5″
* Wing Area- 352 in²
* Weight- 3.75-4.5 lb
* Wing Loading- 25-29 oz/ft²

The part number is #GPMA1164, it has a street price of $249, and you can expect to start seeing them hit hobby shops in late June. For more information hit up This Link over on the Great Planes website.

Instead of a TGIF mystery link, please check out This Link over on Associated’s website about Gene Hustings. Gene recently passed away and was a legend in the rc industry as well as a founding partner of Team Associated.


A while back a few of us around the office caught the flying bug. We love bashing vehicles, but planes just don’t quite take the same abuse. Our in house pilot 3DBill would take us out, get a plane in the air, and hand us the controls. This would normally result in two things. One, he rips the controller out of our hand and says ‘What are you doing!?’ or two, we look like we are trying to fly 3D when we are just trying to go straight until we smash into the ground and 3DBill yells ‘What are you doing!?’.

So it seemed like maybe we should look into a rc flight simulator. We have seen and played with RealFlight dozens of times at the kiosks located in just about every hobby shop on the planet. Those things are like a magnet, seriously! Have you ever been to a hobby shop and not seen someone messing around with it? So we picked up a copy with a controller and were ready to go!

The software and hardware installed without a hitch, and we were up and running in no time. Our version we were using was 6.5 (They update often) and consisted of literally 100′s of air vehicles. From foamies to giant scale planes, helis and quads. Nitro, gas and electric, it has them all! If you can’t find your perfect plane, you can tweak and modify them to get what you are looking for. There are also dozens of cool looking locations to choose from, as well as different scenarios. They also have tons of built in tools/training software to cover take off and landings, flight instruction, and more. I’m not kidding when I say you can start just about any question with ‘Do they have…’ and the answer will be yes.

To keep this short, I’m just going to mention some highlights of our experience. All the planes feel different, and this was awesome. I started off flying a ‘foamie’ because they are pretty easy to save yourself when you get into trouble, and they have a feel just like the real things. Then I changed over to a large scale plane, and whoa what a difference! I know I’ll never fly a large scale in real life, (cost, danger, skill) but RealFlight give you a chance to experience what that would be like, and how it would fly.

The question we always get ‘Is it just like the real thing? Will I be a pro after?’ The answer is no, but it’s darn close. We found that flying planes was slightly easier than flying the real thing. Using RealFlight is a great way to help get your bearings, and learn the controls. I don’t panic nearly as much when flying the real thing, as I believe RealFlight has given me the confidence and the skills to fly a little better, and work my way out of situations I get myself into. When it came to flying the quads, it seemed like it’s easier in real life than in the simulator. The simulator quads like the 1SQ didn’t seem to have as much auto stabilization as they do in the real world. So if you can fly one in the sim, you will have no problems in the real world for sure.

Yes you still crash, and parts/pieces go everywhere. Put it this way, I know never to attempt flying 3D with a nitro heli.. ever. We will leave that to the pros.

I find flying in the sim sometimes tranquil. It’s fun to just pick up in the evening and fly for a while. The kids love attempting to fly, and they are getting better. Maybe this summer I’ll give them a shot at some real world flight time and see how well their skills transfer over.

You can get the software with a few different transmitter options, or save some money (if you already have a transmitter) and the one with the transmitter interface. Our version used the InterLink Elite controller, and it worked well.

To sum things up, it’s fun to fly and experience all the different models. Something you could never do in the real world. It will help (especially new people) learn the controls, and get a better feel of how to fly. It won’t make you a master, but it will help you earn your wings. If you have been on the fence about picking it up, we recommend you do, or at least hit your local shop and give it a try in the kiosk. The support they give is top notch, and the constant updates and improvements are welcome additions.

For more information, to check out new versions, or to buy Click Here to head to the official RealFlight webpage.

Great Planes Videos
Our friends over at Great Planes have sent out two new videos showcasing the features and flying abilities of some of their aircraft. In the first video below you can learn a lot more about the F1 Rocket Evo Sport Scale ARF and see it in action. The second video features the Escapade MX GP/EP ARF, showing how versatile it is and how well it can maneuver in the sky. Prices for the two planes are $179 for the F1 Rocket Evo and $139 for the Escapade. Hit up This Link for more information on them.

Click Here for more air news on BigSquidRC.

Great Planes F-1 Rocket Evo GP EP Sport Scale ARF 52"
Modeled after popular kit aircraft, the new Great Planes F-1 Rocket Evo ARF is made for fun times up in the air. It can be flown casually as a “Sunday flier” or it has the capability to be quite an aerobatic performer.

The F-1 Rocket Evo comes mostly assembled, cutting the amount of time it takes to get in the air. It comes covered in MonoKote and with pilot figure already installed. It can also be powered by either gas or electric, making it more versatile.

The part number is #GPMA1030 and it has as street price of $179. It should be hitting hobby shop shelves by mid-July and you can get more information at THIS LINK.

Looking for more air news? Check out THIS LINK right here on BigSquidRC.

Great Planes Cirrus SR22T GP/EP ARF 69"
The newest plane in the line-up for Great Planes is the Cirrus SR22T. The Cirrus has a lot of things going for it, the first thing being its scale detailing. A molded fiberglass fuselage and MonoKote covered wood wings and tail are used for light weight and great scale looks. The plane is finished in an authentic Cirrus trim scheme and includes running and landing lights for even more scale detail.

The Cirrus can be set up to run either a glow engine or to be electric powered. This adds to its versatility, now and down the road. Some of its other key features and specifications include-

* Easy assembly
* Large canopy is easily removed to access radio gear
* Pre-hinged ailerons, flaps and rudder
* Wingspan- 69″
* Weight- 7.5-8.25 lb
* Length- 47.8″

The part number for the Cirrus ARF is #GPMA1363 and it has a street price of $349. Early July is the expected release date, click THIS LINK for more information.

Looking for more air news? Check out THIS LINK right here on BigSquidRC.

Great Planes Rifle 1M EP Sport ARF
Have you ever flown an rc plane at 130 mph before? Nope, me neither, but sign me up!

The new Great Planes Rifle 1M EP Sport ARF reaches speeds of 130+ with a “speed” power system, and 90+ mph with a “sport” power system. If you are looking for the thrill of sheer speed the Rifle 1M should impress you.

The Rifle comes as an ARF, meaning you’ll need to supply a radio system, a motor, speed controller, a battery and a charger. Otherwise the Rifle 1M takes very little in the way of final assembly, meaning you’ll be flying in a jiffy.

The 1M designation is for its wingspan, 1 meter, making it a fairly large size that is both easy to see and control at lunatic speeds. The part number is #GPMA1806, the street price is $160, and it should start hitting shelves in mid May. Click on THIS LINK for more information.

Interested in more Great Planes news? Check out THIS LINK.

Hobbico/Great Planes Exclusive Distributor for HPI Racing

We were the first to break the news a few weeks ago on our Google Plus show, Cubby then talked a little about all the details we had. Then again when all the other websites were claiming HPI was bought, we assured people that it wasn’t the case. HPI has now confirmed what we have been saying all along since we broke the news.

Here is the official announcement from HPI Racing about their exclusive distribution deal with Hobbico/Great Planes.

“In light of recent media speculation, HPI would like to confirm that it has appointed Hobbico/Great Planes Model Distributors as their exclusive distributor for HPI RC Cars in North America. This distribution partnership is a further extension of the HPI‚Äôs exclusive distribution network that is operating very successfully throughout the rest of the world.

We would like to be clear that Hobbico has not purchased HPI, HPI’s assets or the rights to any HPI products. Hobbico/Great Planes Model Distributors have simply purchased the necessary product inventory to enable them to provide the service levels required from an exclusive distributor in such a large market area. Their comprehensive distribution facilities will ensure fast and effective supply of the entire HPI product line.

As the exclusive North American distributor, Hobbico will also be providing first-class customer services utilizing their extensive facilities and knowledgeable staff at their headquarters in Champaign, Illinois. The customer service facility will be operational for the HPI product range beginning March 1st, 2013.

HPI USA will retain its headquarters in California, where we will continue to develop market-leading products and maintain relationships with our high-profile corporate partners. HPI Europe will handle centralized purchasing and logistics operations, resulting in more efficient accessibility of global product demand. These combined efforts will enable North American shops and customers better and faster access to HPI’s kits, spares and support.

This exciting partnership will enhance HPI’s presence within North America by giving both companies the opportunity to concentrate their efforts on their own specialized areas of the business.

HPI‚Äôs dedication to product development, marketing collaborations and our distribution partners will ensure HPI will remain the front runner in the worldwide RC market.”

So there you have it folks, expect big from HPI and Great Planes in the years to come. For more information on all of HPI’s fine products HERE is the link to their official website.

Another week has flown by and is in the books, why not give your luck a try on a TGIF Mystery Link?

Cubby iHobby Truck Give awayThe AMA Supercross series is 4 races deep and Davi Millsaps is still sporting the red plate, who would have guessed that before the season began? Dungey visited the LCQ again Saturday night but went on to win the main, Speedy Reedy has become a first lap human torpedo, RV2 is the fastest guy on the track but 4th in points, and Bubba’s knee is a mess but he looked faster than he has in the last two years. Bam-Bam’s sx season is over points wise, but he put it on the podium, Shorty is a riding a bike off the showroom and beat a bunch of factory talent, and Canard’s early season speed seems to have gone missing. Yes my friends, supercross is awfully good this season.

On to rc…

First up a couple of reminders. This coming Saturday, February 9th, the BigSquidRC Bash Crew will be doing special coverage of the world’s largest indoor flying event, eFest, from Champaign Illinois. Expect news posts and a live video feed (as much as the net will allow) from the event floor. If you can’t join us in person keep an eye on our front page to see exactly what we come up with.

Last week we posted three reviews- the Axial Jeep Wrangler, iMaxRC X200 charger, and Radiant Reaktor brushless system. This week we’ll be posting reviews on Pro-Line Pro-2 performance upgrades, TrakPower DPS power supply and VR-1 dual charger, Atomik 8th scale Deegan SCT, and the electric Thunder Tiger Mini Cooper. Yes, another huge week for reviews here on BigSquidRC. Btw, shoot us an email on how you are liking our new A/B/C/D grading system, we’d like to know if you like it better than our old 1-10 system.

Also… try and catch our Wednesday night Google+ LIVE show. This week we just might be breaking more big news (like we did last week, more on that later), and we will once again be inviting you, yes you, to join us live in the Google+ Hangout live video feed. To be able to join in with us, you’ll need to have a G+ account plus a webcam and mic already set-up. More details on Wednesday…

Also in rc news…

The Nuremberg Toy Fair was huge last week, so huge it put a serious hurt’n on us media outlets. It’s pretty rare when we simply can’t keep up with all the new products being introduced. In fact, I think last week was the first time ever. Congrats to the big German show, and congrats to the industry for its continued growth.

What was the biggest news from the Toy Fair? You’d have to have been living on Mars to have not heard about Vaterra yet. Horizon has been teasing about an all new brand for months now and they did the official unveiling at Nuremberg. It was a nicely done introduction- a big reveal at the Toy Fair, the Vaterra dot com and FB page went live with perfect timing, and they even sent out some pretty sweet press kits to the media.

It’s quite obvious someone over at Horizon has been eating/breathing/shit’n Vaterra for the last 6 months. For example- the unveil was amazing, all the pics of the new vehicles were incredibly well done, all the videos were amazing, and all the products look to be solid inside and out. I have the feeling a bunch of midnight oil got burnt by the Horizon crew the last few months, but it turned out awesome and hopefully those guys are finally able to get some much needed sleep.

The actual Vaterra product looks incredible, to the point of being legit shelf queens that you can actually drive. As a hobby grade rc’er it was burnt in my brain from the start that you can either have a high performance hobby grade rc, or you can have an incredibly detailed scale looking body, but you can’t have both. Vaterra is the first entire line (off and on-road) in our industry that shows that yes you can, you can have your performance cake and incredible scale looking icing too.

Horizon already had two solid line-ups, the legendary Losi line, and the upstart ECX line of surface vehicles. Was there a need for a third? Some industry types will say definitely, the third brand name helps put even more Horizon product on LHS shelves to help push other brands off. Then other industry types know how long (and how much money) it takes to get a new brand off the ground. Certainly it takes years for a new brand to earn its keep on LHS shelves, and certainly it takes millions of marketing dollars to firmly plant the name into consumers heads.

Vaterra is certainly off to a stellar start. Everything they’ve done thus far has been top notch, certainly a testament to the rc passion of the staff over at Horizon. 2012 was very quiet for them, but thus far Horizon owns 2013. Now it’s a matter of waiting to test the actual product. Does the performance and reliability of the new Vaterra gear stack up to all the marketing hype and incredible scale looks? We’ll find out soon enough, and should the actual platforms be rock solid, Vaterra has a long prosperous future in rc. In fact, the Vaterra line might go down as a real game changer, the line that proved that us rc’ers can finally have machines that look as good as they perform.

On a different note…

We broke some pretty big news on our Wednesday night Google+ LIVE show last week. We broke the news that HPI will soon be exclusively distributed by Hobbico/Great Planes. In the past HPI was distributed by Great Planes, HRP and Horizon, starting later this year they will only be available from GP. No doubt Great Planes is the premier distributor of rc products in the entire world, they’ve got their act together, and they should be able to take HPI to new heights. Rumors have been floating around for years about the financial status of HPI, hopefully exclusive distribution by GP will fix any ills that might be going on over there. Look for the official announcement to be made March 1st.

Speaking of HPI, they once again had their Octane gas engines on display at Nuremberg. If there is one thing that can put HPI on top of the heap it would be their Octane powered vehicles taking over the market. If the Octane works as advertised, HPI is staring directly at a sales floor success like they’ve never seen before. Unfortunately, and I know first hand, that there is at least one other “big” name that is getting close to announcing their own gas power-plant for smaller scales. I hope HPI’s decision to announce their gas platform well over a year before it could hit shelves does not come back to haunt them.

That’s it for this week ya bunch of rc fanatics. Thanks for reading, and support your local hobby shops and bash spots when ya can.

YOUR Cub Reporter

ST Racing Concepts Logo
While talking to a friend of mine over at Great Planes today, I learned they recently picked up the ST Racing Concepts line of hop-up parts. STRC is a well known aftermarket upgrade company that should be a nice addition to what Great Planes already offers their dealers. For you our reader, this should mean that you’ll be seeing more STRC parts in your local hobby shops. Most hobby shops are already dealers for Great Planes, so it will be easy for them to throw some STRC parts on their normal weekly orders.

Have you read our STRC Axial EXO hop-up review? If not, check it out HERE.

Hobbico At HobbyTown USA Convention
In one of the extra large suites was our good friends from Champaign Illinois based Hobbico. You might recognize them better as Great Planes Distribution and Tower Hobbies. Hobbico had many products from their vast product lines on display from names such as ARRMA, Duratrax, and Axial. They didn’t debut any new surface product at the convention, but it was nice to be able to leisurely look at their product lines while being able to talk to their incredibly friendly staff.

Have you read our review of the Duratrax Brushless Evader? Check it out HERE.

Unfortunately, Hobbico didn’t have any beans to spill to us as far as new or upcoming products, but they still have a very large presence at RCX, showing off a ton of their relatively new products like the DuraTrax VW Baja Bug (which we recently reviewed), and all of their recently acquired Team Durango products.¬† Check out some more pics in the gallery below.