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Written by Terry Dun.
This sleek model will satisfy sport pilots and speed demons alike
Read the full review in the June 2014 issue of
Model Aviation.


Specifications

Model type: Sport electric ARF
Skill level: Advanced pilot
Wingspan: 39.5 inches
Wing area: 174 square inches; 1.2 square feet
Length: 30.5 inches
Radio: Futaba 7C 2.4 GHz transmitter; Futaba R617FS receiver; three Futaba S3156 micro-digital, metal gear servos.
Components needed to complete: Power system, radio gear, and basic assembly tools
Minimal flying area: Standard club field
Price: $159.99 (ARF airframe)


Test model details

Sport Setup
Power system (electric): Great Planes Ammo 28-45-3600 brushless motor; APC 5.25 x 6.25E propeller; Castle Creations Edge Lite 50 ESC; FlightPower 2S 2,100 mAh 25C LiPo battery
Power output: 40.9 amps; 277 watts, 173 watts/pound
Flying weight: 25.6 ounces; 1.6 pounds
Flight duration: 5 minutes
Wing loading: 21.2 ounces/square foot
Cube loading: 19.3



Speed Setup

Power system (electric): Great Planes Ammo 28-45-3,600 brushless motor; APC 4.5 x 4.1E propeller; Castle Creations Edge Lite 50 ESC; Great Planes 3S 2,200 mAh 30C LiPo battery
Power output: 40.7 amps; 428 watts; 252 watts/pound
Flying weight: 27.3 ounces; 1.7 pounds
Flight duration: 5 minutes
Wing loading: 22.6 ounces/square foot
Cube loading: 20.6



Pluses

• It can fly fast or cruise around
• Easy to assemble with a strong, simple design
• Plenty of room for the radio gear and power system



Minuses

• Untrimmed fiberglass near receiver mounting area
• Some areas have minor paint bleeding



Abridged Review Highlights

If you like to fly fast, or maybe just want to give it a try, there are plenty of models that will scratch that itch. The problem with these speedsters is that they often sacrifice practicality for a few more miles per hour. It’s similar to driving a top fuel dragster to work. Sure it’s fun to leave the minivan drivers agape at the stoplights, but parking is a real pain!

It would be better to have something fast and sensible. That’s the idea behind the Great Planes Rifle 1M. This model is intended for fliers who have a speed jones, but would rather not deal with the hassles of a go-for-broke velocity demon.

The Rifle 1M appears similar in design to many electric Pylon racers, including its predecessor, the original Rifle. The main difference is that this new iteration is several inches longer and has a larger wingspan. This makes the 1M easier to see in the air and provides more room for its components.

Great Planes provides sport (90 mph top speed) and speed (130 mph) configurations in the Rifle 1M. These options use the same motor, so I will review both. Going from one setup to the other requires switching the propeller and battery. You can get a feel for the airplane in the sport mode, and then stretch its legs with the speed configuration—all in the same outing.

When I opened the box, I was surprised by how few parts it contained. There is the one-piece wing with attached ailerons, hollow fiberglass fuselage, horizontal stabilizer, and a small bag of parts. All of the airframe parts come painted in an orange, white, and black color scheme. My kit showed some color bleeding in a few areas, but it’s only visible up close. Overall, I was impressed by the parts’ quality and finish.

Some modelers may be surprised that the Rifle 1M uses simple metal pushrods with Z-bends on every control surface. Although they appear somewhat rudimentary on a high-performance airplane such as this, Z-bends are actually a robust and dependable choice. If you’ve ever tried to get good Z-bends with needle-nose pliers, you know how tough it can be. I started using Hobbico Z-bend pliers a few years ago and haven’t looked back.

Great Planes recommends gluing in the single elevator servo and two aileron servos using Zap Goo adhesive. I used Amazing Goop (a similar adhesive) and it is holding up well. With either choice, be careful to keep the glue away from the wing’s foam core.

To aid in separating the hook-and-loop tape that secures the battery, the kit includes a plastic spatula (it works surprisingly well). I’ve modified the spatula into a field kit for the Rifle 1M. It now features tethers that hold the ESC arming key and a hex wrench for the wing bolts. It’s a handy way to manage the tools I need for a quick battery swap.

Because I started with the sport setup, I installed an APC 5.25 x 6.25 propeller and a FlightPower 2S 2,100 mAh LiPo battery. The entire battery must be forward of the wing opening to get the right CG, but the spatula makes installation and removal easy. With the heavier Great Planes 3S 2,200 mAh LiPo used on the speed version, the pack is accessible through the wing saddle.

Even with the sport setup, the Rifle 1M doesn’t need a grunting Hail Mary heave to get going. The required effort is more akin to a game of backyard catch. Keep it level and you shouldn’t have any drama.

My Rifle 1M required a significant amount of aileron trim on its maiden flight. I later determined that my lateral balance was off. Pay attention to that detail! After correcting the balance issue, I neutralized the trim.

After getting comfortable with the sport setup, I switched to speed mode. The Rifle 1M could still cruise around at moderate speeds, but it is noticeably faster when the stick is pushed forward. Great Planes claims the aircraft can reach a speed of 130 mph, and I don’t doubt it.

With either setup, you’ll want to plan far ahead for landing. The Rifle carries plenty of energy and takes time and real estate to slow down. I typically deploy the spoilerons (which doesn’t cause a trim change for me) before entering the pattern and kill the throttle on the downwind leg. I still occasionally overshot the runway and had to go around. Keep a stash of propellers handy in case you excel at finding mole hills and divots on your runway!

Read the full review in the June 2014 issue of Model Aviation.




Flight Video






1 comments

Hi Terry! Great review on the Rifle 1M. I'm sold..I think i'll just order one right now! Going to try out some telemetry with it..airspeed for sure. ;)

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