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 RCU Review: Great Planes Giant Big Stik More On This Product
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Review by: Mike Buzzeo (MinnFlyer) Email Me
First Look
Posing Time
Flight Report
Manufacturer Information
For as many airplanes as there are in this hobby, there are few that
have the instant recognition of a Stik. And it's no wonder - Since
Phil Kraft first introduced "Das Ugly Stik" back in the 60's this plane
has taken on more forms than - well, than you can shake a stick at!
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the "Stik" should be very
proud - Ugly Stik, Sweet Stik, Big Stik, Little Stik, Fast Stik, Slow
Stik, Foam Stik, SPAD Stik - You name it, there's a Stik for it.
Great Planes
Model Manufacturing Company
And there's a good reason why there are so many versions - It is a
no-nonsense, straightforward, damn good flying platform! I had one
when I was a kid, both of my brothers had one, in fact, just about
every flier I know has had one at some point in there lives.
Now, Great Planes introduces the latest Stik in their Hangar, "The
Giant Big Stik ARF". This 80.5" monster is IMAA Legal, and - being
P.O. Box 9021
Champaign, IL
the purist that I am - I'm thrilled to see that it comes in the familiar
Red/White with black Iron Crosses.
While I plan to use a small (35cc) gasser on it, the Giant Big Stik is
also made to run on a 2-stroke 1.20-1.60 (20-26cc) or 4-stroke
1.20-1.80 (20-30cc) glow engine. And while the Giant Big Stik can
be flown on 4 channels, Great Planes give you an extra dimension
of fun by adding Flaps! (I love Flaps!)
Ok, time to clean off the workbench, break open a new bottle of CA,
and dig in!
Window Media Player
Giant Big Stik ARF
Name: Great Planes Giant Big Stik ARF
Price: $249.99
Wingspan: 80.5 (2045mm)
Wing area: 1520sq in (98sq dm)
Weight per Mfg:
Total: 13-15lbs (5.9 - 6.8kg)
Actual Flying Weight:
Total: 13.5 lb
Skill level: Semi Advanced
Ease of
Completeness of
Covering Quality:
Basic Flight:
Advanced Flight:
MonoKote Covering
Excellent Parts Fit
Well Designed and
Radio Used: Futaba 6XAS
Futaba R148DF FM Rx
(4) Futaba S-9001 Servos for Ailerons (2), Flaps (2)
(2) Futaba S-9202 Servos for Elevator, Rudder
(1) Futaba S-3004 for Throttle
Channels Used: 5 total - Elevator, Aileron, Rudder, Throttle, Flaps Prop Used: Top
Flite Power Point 15 x 8
Required to Complete: 4-5 channel radio with 7 or 8 Servos Servo Wire Extensions - Two 6" Two 24" and Two 36"
1 or 2 "Y" Cords
CA glue
30-Min epoxy
Loctite thread lock
Solder and Soldering Gun or Torch
1.20-1.60 cu in (20-26cc) 2-stroke, 1.20-1.80 cu in (20-35cc)
4-stroke, lightweight 26cc - 35cc gas , and Propeller Standard building tools
The box measured 59 x 24 x 6.5 inches (Note: I placed a can of alcohol in the picture as a size
reference). Everything was nicely packaged and separated, but while the box was in good shape,
it looks like the "Guys in the Brown Truck" may have played hockey with this one. Nothing was
damaged - which says something for the packaging - but the various bags of accessories, which
had been taped to the sides of the cardboard compartment, were no longer secured by the tape
and were floating around loosely. They stayed within the confines of the compartment, they were
just no longer taped in place.
Aside from that, everything looked good. There were a few minor wrinkles in the covering, but
nothing a little heat didn't take care of.
The box shows that the Giant Big Stik can be built with a conventional glow engine, or with a small
gasser. It can also be built with a Nose Wheel, or as a Taildragger. Since I will be using a Fuji
BT-32b Gas Engine, I will be building it in the Taildragger configuration. Great Planes also
provides a large Composite Engine mount for those who choose to use a Glow Engine.
The Manual is well written, with clear illustrations. I was
surprised to see some minor details left out, but then, if you're
flying a plane that is this far along the learning curve, you'd
better be able to figure these little things out for yourself
anyway. There was also an addendum to the Manual
correcting the misprinted CG and control throws, but frankly,
the CG range is so huge on this plane that I even brought it
back to the originally stated 7" (Just to see what would
happen) and found that I liked it even better there!font>
Time to start! The first thing that needs being done is to open the covering in the four places where
Wing Servos will mount. I used Futaba S9001's in all 4 locations. Once the holes were opened, I
touched up the covering as per the instructions.
With the Servos installed, I can now hinge the Ailerons and Flaps (Note: Do not hinge the Rudder
and Elevator at this time!). Great planes supplies ample sheets of hinge material from which to cut
CA Hinges. I opted to drill "Wicking Holes" into each of the slots before installing the Hinges.
The next thing to do was to mount the Control Horns in line with the Servo Output Arms. Then, the
pushrods are cut to length, and a Clevis is soldered to the other end.
Dowels were epoxied into the front of the Wing, and an anti-rotation dowel was added to one side
near the Trailing edge. Then the Wing Hold-Down blocks were epoxied in place to strengthen the
Wing Bolt area.
With that, the Wing Assembly is complete!
Pretty basic stuff here. Align the Stab, remove the covering in the gluing area, and attach with
30-minute Epoxy. The same goes for the Fin, the only exception being that there is a shipping
block that needs to be removed from the rear of the Fuse first.
Once the epoxy on the Fin and Stab had cured, I installed the Tail Wheel. The Manual called for the
wheel to be installed, and then the wire bent to a 90 degree angle. Since the wire was so strong, I
found it easier to bend the wire first, and then install it. It made it a little tricky to get through the
bottom of the Fuse, but all in all, I thought it would be a lot easier than bending the wire in place.
With the Tail Wheel installed, the Elevator and Rudder were hinged in place.
The landing Gear was another piece of cake. As much as I like the looks of those little details like
Wheel Pants, they sure can be a pain to install. This is one of the nice features of a Stik. By
omitting a lot of the "Bells and Whistles", it's a joy to assemble such a simple design. Bolt axel to
Gear, slide on Wheel Collars and Wheels, and bolt to the Fuse. (Ok, I did have to file a flat on the
axel for the Wheel Collar Set Screw, but no biggie)
I'll also note here that Great Planes gives you two complete sets of Main Gear Mounts in the Fuse
- one for a Nose Wheel configuration, and one for Taildragger.
Engine Spotlight
Fuji BT-32b SInce the Fuji BT-32b is one of the
recommended engines for the Giant Big
Stik, Great Planes Provides almost
everything needed to mount it. A paper
template is supplied for locating the
mounting holes, but you'll need to make a
trip to the local hardware store for the 1/4 20 Blind nuts and bolts.
A specially designed mount for the Fuji
BT-32b is also included. Just glue the two
identical mounts together, drill for the four
8-32 screws, and mount it to the front of the
Flip by Hand
Gas Power
The BT-32b 2.1 gasoline engine boasts
several upgrades for better
performance and more convenience. The scavenger port has been
improved, boosting top end rpm by
A stronger magnet on the flywheel
allows the BT-32b to be started by
Retains the same quality Walbro
WT407 carb, Champion RCJ6Y spark
plug and rear-mounted muffler.
Solid-state, 1-piece CDI (Capacitive
Discharge Igintion) system for reliable,
virtually maintenance-free use.
Compact, rear-mounted muffler is
designed to fit inside more cowls and
designed to fit inside more cowls and
preserve scale looks. Ideal for
airplanes with two exhaust ports.
Factory-set midrange, for optimum
performance under normal conditions
— very little adjustment should be
needed. A regulating pump optimizes fuel flow
for dependable performance at any
attitude; a 40:1 gas/oil mix extends
engine life up to 4 times longer than
other gasoline engines. Linkages designed for R/C-only
applications .
Another very impressive feature are the 4
aluminum engine mount stand-offs that
Great Planes provides. Once the frame is
bolted in place, the engine is ready for
Mounting the Fuji BT-32b is now as simple as installing the four 8-32 bolts. I can't emphasize
enough the importance of using some type of thread lock when you're dealing with large engines.
If you have a metal to metal thread contact, it WILL come loose without thread lock! (Note: This
applies to ALL screws, not just around the engine)
Now the Throttle pushrod can be installed, and the engine mounting is complete.
If you are using a Gas Engine, you'll need to replace the provided stopper with one that is suitable
for Gasoline Engines. Once the Tank is assembled, it inserts into the nose through a large hatch
opening in the underside of the Fuse where it is cradled in place.
Mounts are provided at the rear of the fuse for servo installation. I mounted two Futaba S9202's in
the tail for the Rudder and Elevator. A plywood tray and Velcro Straps are provided for mounting
the Receiver and Battery pack. However, I later moved the battery pack just to the rear of the radio
compartment for balancing. That and 1/2oz. of lead at the tail got the balance point right where the
Addendum to the Manual suggested. (Note:I later found that it needed more tailweight)
There is a space provided for mounting a standard switch, but instead, I added a DuBro
Switch/Charge Jack. With the switch installed, it's time to charge it up and introduce this beautiful
giant to the sunlight.
I have to say right off the bat how impressed I am with how easily the Fuji BT-32b started. It
literally flip-starts as easily as any standard 2-Stroke glow engine. I ran two tanks of gas
through it to break it in, then headed out to the field.
I got a great evening for a maiden flight. The temperature was 75 degrees, and the evening
was dry and calm. I cranked up the Fuji BT-32b and taxied the Giant Big Stik out to the runway.
It tracked very well as she powered down the runway and liftoff was smooth as silk. Minimal
trim was required before the Stik was flying hands off, and after a few customary laps to get the
feel for it, I started putting it through a few basic maneuvers.
She tracked very well through Loops and Rolls, but it felt a bit nose heavy for my taste. I
brought her in and back on the ground, I added some tail weight. A few flights later I had added
enough weight to bring the CG to the Manuals original location of 7" aft of the Leading Edge of
the wing, and found I liked this much better. And even after adding the tail weight, she still
came in just a hair under 13.5lbs!
Next, I zipped up the controls a bit to where I like them and took it up again. Now I was
REALLY having fun! What a thrill! An old familiar plane in a new HUGE size! I was really having
a ball.
I got a total of four flights in that day, and three more the next. I can see that this is going to be
one fun airplane!
As it turned out, the following weekend I got an invitation to attend the annual Fun Fly
sponsored by the Alexandria R/C Fliers in Alexandria, MN. The Alex Club has a great field,
and some really great guys who really know how to put the "Fun" in Fun Fly (I can still smell
that roast pig!) So I thought that would be a great time to bring the Stik out in public. The
weather was so good, I decided to shoot the video right then and there. See for yourself what a
nice flier she is!
Great Planes Giant Big Stik ARF
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