27% "Gee Bee Model Y" 2nd Generation ARF

27% "Gee Bee Model Y" 2nd Generation ARF
 RCU Review: Pacific Aeromodel 27%
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Review by: Dick Pettit
27% "Gee Bee Model Y"
2nd Generation ARF
Intro & Specs
RTF Contents
Test Flying
Manufacturer & Distributor
Pacific Aeromodel Mfg. Inc
12368 Valley Blvd.
El Monte, CA 91732
ORDER: (800) 780-0100, TEL: (626) 618-0300
quick and easy
all parts suitable for a
plane of this type and
size, gentle, stable and
graceful in the airmildly
G-62 is an excellent
power choice
"The Gee Bee Model Y Senior Sportster was built in 1931, and
this aircraft was slightly larger than the previous Warner
powered Gee Bees. The Y model was a two seat version, just
two were built, NR11049 and NR718Y."
"By March of 1931 the great Depression had world wide scope
and was continuing to deepen and the market for single place
sport planes was non-existent. The Gee Bee Senior Sportsters
were expensive airplanes, the 'D' cost: $4980, and the 'E'
cost: $5,230, which compared unfavorable with other aircraft.
None of the eight Senior Sporsters survive today."
Model Gee Bee Senior Sportster Model Y
Airplane Type: 27% Sport Scale ARF
Distributor: Pacific Aeromodel Mfg. Inc
Suggested Retail Price: $699.99
Wing Span Advertised: 97"
Wing SpanMeasured: 96 3/16"
Fuselage covering is
pieced together at
several places
two cracked fuselage
formers due to shipping
control horns supplied
are different from those
shown in manual
several steps in the
manual contain info
that is incorrect
(probably a typo)
a few more wrinkles
showed up out in the
sunshine Wing Area Advertised: 1576 sq. in.
Wing Area Measured:1606.4 sq. in.
Airfoil Semi: Symmetrical
The Kit:
When the term "Gee Bee" is spoken at a flying field, people scramble to get under cover if one is
about to take to the air. Granted, many Gee Bee racers are just a bit on the "squirrelly" side when
it comes to talking off and landing, but there's one Gee Bee that handles like a dream, and that's
the Gee Bee Model Y Senior Sportster. A beautiful and sleek looking low wing radial engined
beauty, the Model Y is one of the more normal looking Gee Bee designs when compared to their
other pure race planes. It was quite large with a 30 foot wingspan and could hold its own either
while sport flying or even in an air race. The Model Y would make a perfect basis for a scale
model, especially if done in a large size. That's exactly what Pacific Aeromodels has done with the Second Generation of their 27% Gee Bee
Model Y. The first generation series had a solid wire main gear arrangement while the newest
release features spring loaded struts for smoother ground handling. The 97" wingspan model
requires a 40cc to 62cc gas engine, the smaller needing some extra nose weight for balance and
the larger needing a little tail weight to balance. It is available in three color schemes, only one of
which is true to scale. The white with red trim version is close enough to scale for most people,
while a black and yellow version and a dark red and black color scheme are also available for
those modelers desiring something that is just a little different. When Pacific Aeromodels
announced that the newest generation of large Senior Sporsters would be available, I made
arrangements to put my name on the list to get one.
The Senior Sportster shipping boxes (there are two of them) arrived at the shop shortly after they
were shipped. The smaller box held the cowl, dummy engine and huge wheel pants while the
larger box held the fuselage, wing panels, tail surfaces and everything else. I took out each and
every part, checked it for shipping damage, finding two cracked fuselage formers that made the
covering appear to be extremely wrinkled. I used some balsa sticks to "prop up" those broken
former pieces and the covering became quite tight again.
The two wing panels were packed inside bubble wrap, as were the stab with elevators and the fin
with rudder. The point style hinges were installed in pre-drilled holes but were not glued in place to
allow the builder to remove the control surfaces to shrink any bubbles or wrinkles from the
covering. I used my covering iron with a protective sock on the shoe along with my heat gun and a
soft cloth to track down and remove any bubbles that were hiding under the Oracover covering.
The ailerons are already hinged for shipping but the hinges are not glued in place. I removed all of
them and checked to see if they could be reinserted without the pivot points too far from each
mating surface. If they stuck out too far, I could use a countersink bit to open up the hinge hole a
little. All the holes were properly drilled and I used some Pacer Hinge Glue to install the hinges to
the wing panels. After these cured for an hour or so, I glued the ailerons to the wing panels using
more Hinge Glue and let everything cure while I ate dinner.
The aileron servos, a pair of Spektrum 821 digitals, were installed into the pre-opened servo
mounts after wiring in some homemade servo extension wires. I used DuBro Heavy Duty Servo
Arms to connect the servos to the ailerons along with the pushrods included in the kit. These may
be either 4-40 or 3mm, but are definitely larger than the ones I have seen in other ARF kits
The main landing gear legs are a pair of struts that telescope under
spring pressure and are braced to the back of the wing for more
support. The legs are bolted to mounting plates with substantial
sized hardware and the rear brace is then loosely installed. The
wheel pants come as two piece units, a lower part that eventually
gets screwed to the wing panel and an upper part that bolts to the
movable part of the gear leg and will telescope inside the lower
piece. After the wood formers are removed from the pant parts,
the lower fixed piece is slipped over the gear leg and the rear
brace is secured to the wing. Then the upper movable part is
gently twisted over the gear leg forks and with a little luck and a
few religious incantations, it will eventually telescope into the
lower piece.
The 5 ½" foam wheels and steel bolt axles were installed using
some nylon spacer pieces that were in the hardware bag but were
not described. The movable part of the wheel pants gets bolted
not described. The movable part of the wheel pants gets bolted
securely to the gear leg forks and these nylon spacers probably
prevent damage to the fiberglass. Wheel collars keep the wheels
centered on the axle bolts and the movable pant parts attach to
the fork with 4-40 bolts. Once the pants are in place, the fixed
parts were screwed to the wing panels with small wood screws.
The wing panels were now joined using the metal main joiner tube and a pair of small aluminum
alignment tubes. The pre-installed wing dowels fit the holes in the fuselage perfectly and the wing
bolts fit into the fuselage blind nuts with a little fiddling. The stab fits through a slot in the fuselage
and aligned vertically with the wing after a little sanding on one side of the fuselage slot. I
centered the stab to the fin post, aligned the stab tips to the rear of each wing panel and marked
the position of the stab in relation to the fuselage.
The wings were removed and separated and the stab was reinstalled in the fuselage slot. There is
plenty of wooden structure at the fuselage stab opening and rather than use epoxy to hold the stab
in place, I used thin ZAP dripped into each joint sparingly to secure it.
The elevator halves were then hinged into place with Pacer Hinge Glue and allowed to cure. The
elevator horns are now installed using small wood screws and the elevator servos are mounted in
the pre-cut servo openings. Like the ailerons, the elevators are connected to the servos by 4-40
rods and clevises supplied in the kit and DuBro HD servo arms. Before the fin and rudder were
installed, I cut out the Gee Bee logo pieces from the self-stick vinyl graphics sheet and applied
them to the fin and rudder using a light misting of window cleaner and a soft cloth. When these
were dry, the fin was glued to the slot in the fuselage making sure that it was 90 degrees to the
stab. This also requires a little sanding on the tab that fits inside the fuselage
The tail wheel assembly is a coil spring arrangement that is supported by a bracket on the bottom
of the fuselage and is driven by the rudder. I really don't like to place any extra side loads on the
rudder servo, so I replaced it with a leaf spring tail wheel assembly from my local stock and I'll
connect it to the rudder with a pair of coil springs. The rudder is then hinged into place, holes for
the rudder horns are drilled and the horns are attached. While I'm back here, I rigged up the
pull-pull control linkage for the rudder using the parts supplied. The rudder servo, a JR ST-126 HD
unit, mounts in a plywood tray in the fuselage. If a lighter engine were chosen to power the Gee
Bee, the elevator servos could be moved to this tray since it has 4 extra servo openings available,
two on the rudder servo tray and two on the side of the fuselage, which will probably be used for
the throttle and choke servos once the engine gets here.
The engine box is an adjustable sliding unit that can be positioned anywhere inside the front of the
fuselage to accommodate any length of engine. The manual says that the box "…is not glued in…"
but it was really tight and I had to use several implements of destruction to get it out. The firewall
and front of the engine box were already coated with thinned epoxy which probably contributed to
the tight fit. I marked the engine mounting hole locations on the front of the box and drilled them
for ¼-20 bolts that will hold my Zenoah G-62 engine and Bennett Built cup type mount in place.
There is built-in right and down thrust in the engine box, so I marked the top boldly and will be
sure to install it correctly.
The huge fiberglass cowl with the dummy radial engine was put into position against the four wood
blocks that align it to the fuselage. The prop hub was not centered, but before epoxying the motor
box permanently, I set the engine fore and aft position and marked the box at that location. The
dummy engine was cut out just in front of the Zenoah G-62 cylinder head to allow cooling air to
pass only through the engine and nowhere else. I also installed the throttle and choke servos and
associated linkage using the parts supplied in the box..
The Gee Bee comes with a large 750 ml. fuel tank, but the brass tubes supplied are larger than
the standard 1/8" tubes found on aftermarket fuel tanks. Rather than try to modify the fuel tubes,
I used a DuBro 24 ounce tank with a gas stopper and some DuBro fuel barbs to keep the fuel
tubing from slipping off. I set up a 2 line tank system and put a tee in the carb line for filling and
draining. The tank fits inside the engine box with a little foam padding and I used a large rubber
band and two cup hooks to keep the tank in place.
Only a few details remained like adding the ¼ scale pilot figure from Great Planes and installing
the Vess 23B wood prop and Tru-Turn prop hub on the G-62. I took the completed Gee Bee to the
back yard to run the engine. Taxi tests showed that the G-62 pulled the model just fine, both on
hard surface runways and on grass.
I made plans to meet Rick Cawley, my assistant test pilot, at
our local field for the first flights on the Gee Bee Model Y. I
assembled the plane, took the ground photos and fueled up the
plane for the first test flight. After a quick radio range check, I
taxied the plane to the far end of the runway, took a deep
breath and advanced the throttle slowly. The Gee Bee
accelerated briskly, its tail lifted and it was off the ground in
short order. After turning around and heading the other way,
only a click or two of down and left trim was needed for
straight and level hands off flight.
I then tried a few simple aerobatic maneuvers like a loop and
an axial roll, which turned out to be almost pattern plane-like. A
stall turn was easy to do and looked really graceful in the air.
Other maneuvers like a Cuban Eight and a short knife edge also
liked great. I then realized that I had not pushed the throttle
stick much past the halfway point. I pointed the nose of the
Gee Bee straight up, added full power and it just kept climbing.
I'd say that there is sufficient power for just about anything.
While the Gee Bee was way up there in the sky, I cut the
power, fed in full up and full left rudder and it dropped into a
stall and then began spinning. I let it rotate a few turns and
once I released the sticks it resumed normal flight, straight
down, but normal. A little up elevator and it was back to
horizontal flight.
I then tried a few high speed passes for the camera, adding full
power and diving from the left end of the field. The Model Y just cruised across the field, engine humming and
looking just like the typical racer of its day. I did this one more
time and then decided to set up for a landing to check things
out on the ground. I reduced power on the downwind leg,
turned final and once aligned with the runway, cut power back
to a high idle. The Gee Bee just glided to the grass runway, and
after a tiny bounce, it settled into a perfect three point landing.
Other than a few wrinkles in the covering, the Gee Bee Model Y
had no obvious problems after the first flight. Rick and I
exchanged the camera and transmitter, the fuel tank was
refilled and the G-62 was restarted. Rick got the Gee Bee off
the ground quickly and smoothly and immediately after he got
it turned around he began saying things like "…I like this
plane…" He then began to fly the plane as if he had been flying
it for years. Low sweeping high speed passes, great big loops,
a few stall turns and even a few high speed pylon turns all
turned out great. Rick kept saying that he liked the way the
plane flew, plenty of power, smooth and graceful, gentle on the
controls and very stable. He did a pretty good touch and go,
and then set up for his first landing. Rick then commented that
the G-62 provides plenty of power and he thought a smaller
40cc gas engine would fly it pretty well too. Even though this is
a Gee Bee, it is not one of those squirrelly little racing Gee
Bee's that are a handful to land or take off. With the engine just
a bit above idle speed, the Model Y floats down to a gentle
landing every time. While Rick was taxiing the plane back to
the pit area, he said that this was one of the best test planes he
had flown in a long time. That just about summed up the entire
test flight session for us.
Low Bandwidth
High Bandwidth
9.42 MB
28.4 MB
The Pacific Aeromodels 2nd Generation 27% Gee Bee Senior
Sportster is a large model with great lines and graceful flying
characteristics. It assembles quickly and easily and can be
powered by a wide range of power plants. It doesn't need any
of those high dollar super fast and powerful servos and with a
total weight less than 22 pounds, the wing loading is light
enough to allow slow flight without any problems. It looks great
in the air and on the ground. I have to agree with Rick's
comment when he said "I like this plane!"
Pacific Aeromodel Mfg. Inc
12368 Valley Blvd.
El Monte, CA 91732
Phone: (800) 780-0100, Phone: (626) 618-0300
Horizon Hobby, Inc.
4105 Fieldstone Road
Champaign, IL 61822
Phone: (800) 338-4639
Fax: (217) 355-1552
B & B Specialties
14234 Cleveland Road
Granger, IN 46530
Phone: (574) 277-0499
P.O. Box 815
Wauconda, IL 60084
Phone: (800) 848-9411
Fax: (847) 526-1604
Great Planes (GPM)
Great Planes (GPM)
Phone: 217-398-8970
Comments on RCU Review: Pacific Aeromodel 27%
Posted by: homeboy61 on 02/03/2009
Profile Well ya know it looked like a beautiful plane and I bet it will float in on a hell of a lot calmer day good job and A NICE
Posted by: EMB145CA on 02/07/2009
Profile Having the generation 1 version, I can tell you it is stable and solid during all regimes of flying. But, due to that large
fuse, if you get slow, you will stall the wing and go in. I would also change to tires to something you can fill with air but
left empty so the tires give a little on landings. Overall, one of my favorite airplanes in the fleet and everyone
can't believe it's an ARF.
Page: 1 The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply
generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in
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