I can fly a trainer (Seagull Arising Star) with confidence and now want to
move to a low-wing model. Is the Great Planes Super Sportster 40 MkII ARF
too ambitious? Any other advice / info on this model worth knowing?
Great Planes lists the Super Sportster as a "novice" level sport plane for
pilots fresh out of flight training. Having seen the Super Sportster 40 ARF
flown here locally, I'd have to disagree with that assesment.
I think the Super Sportster would be a terrific third airplane. I think
that someone looking to move up from trainers would be better off with a
more docile plane like a Hangar 9 or Thunder Tiger .40 Super Stik/Tiger
Stick, a Great Planes Easy Sport .40 ARF, or a SIG Four Star .40 ARF. Any
of these planes would be a good introduction to the faster flight speeds and
more exciting aerbatics that the Super Sportster will eventually offer the
Powered with an O.S. .50 SX, the Super Sportster .40 ARF flies at 80+ miles
per hour. Unlike a trainer, it also tends to fly exactly where you point it
with little or no "self-correction" that trainers normally exhibit.
It's fast, it's low-winged, it's very aerobatic, and it's quite a bit
different than flying a trainer.
If you really, really want a Super Sportster, you might be able to make the
jump if you take a few simple precautions. Don't overpower it, a .40 ball
bearing or .46 ball bearing 2-stroke is the maximum powerplant you should
consider for a Super Sportster for your second plane. You should also start
out with very conservative rates of throw, a Super Sportster .40 ARF set up
with 100% throw rates is extremely agile. Starting out with 50% rates would
improve your likelyhood of success. Lastly, be very, very careful with the
CG so that your landings aren't too hot due to a nose-heavy balance.
Of course this is just my opinion, and I wish you luck with whatever you
They fly well, look great and fly well. I have a .20 sized version kit built
and fly it on a regular basis. If you are truly comfortable flying the
trainer you should be able to fly the SS40.
Another option would be the World Models T34 which was my first low wing.
I beg to differ with you. My second plane was a Super Sportster 20 pulled
around by a ST .28 and I learned a lot about all kinds of flying with that
combo. What a blast it was learning all the things the big guys already
knew (which mostly are the things you warn about). About the only critical
comment I have is that the landing gear needs to be relocated out of the
wing for a beginner or the wing will be rebuilt many times. Guess how *I*
My first plane was a SIG LT40, great trainer.
After about a year, I graduated to a Goldberg Tiger 2. It's a low wing
Powered by a OS Max .46 BB, it flew like a dream. Takeoffs could be
fast or slow, very stable in the air, very arobatic. Landings were
smooth and predictable. I usually would line it up about 50-75 yards out
and drop the throttle. She would settle in about 1/3 the way down the
runway and coast right up to the pits.
You'll notice all the past tenses I used in the above description.
Sadly, two weeks ago I experienced total radio failure during a nice
high speed banked turn about 3 mistakes high. My sticks were saying
"straighten out" and the airplane said "I think I like turning, and I'll
continue turning until I run out of air". She went in nose first and
tried to dig a deep hole in the outfield. Total loss. There wasn't
enough left to figure out exactly what happened. Control surfaces were
still reasonably attached to what was left of the airframe and both the
tx and the rx batteries were still fully charged. Our club is a small
one and I trust everybody out there, I'm reasonably sure that nobody
turned on my channel accidentally. If they had, I'm sure they would have
told me and apologized.
Anyway, There's a new Tiger 2 on my workbench, she'll be in the air in a
week or 10 days, weather permitting of course.
Dusted off the LT40 and flew three tanks of fuel through it yesterday.
Great plane, but not a Tiger.
The Super Sportster can be an excellent second model if not overpowered and
set up like a hotrod. It is basically an RCM Trainer 40 with the wing on the
bottom and a bit of cosmetic work to make it look fast. Yes, it can be
converted into an excellent hotrod, but so could the Trainer .40 and Trainer
.60. The latter two used to be the default hotrod fun fly plane many years
If one were to power the Super Sportster with a GS-40 Super Tigre, or their
.45 and then have the instructor teach a little throttle discipline, it
could be an excellent second model.
On the other hand, if one is too proud to ask for an instructor's help
again, it could be a handful for all of the reasons that Ed stated. If you
are on your own, it might be wise to fly something a bit gentler, such as
the Four Star Forty (with a forty on it). If you have an instructor worthy
of the name, you could proceed with the Super Sportster with little
The Bridi airfoil used on the Super Sporster will permit you to perform nose
high landings with ease. Winds that would ground less able models are a
piece of cake for the Super Sportster. Or, you might consider the Tower Kaos
.40 ARF. Even better in the wind and not much more difficult to fly, if at
Thanks for the advice! Ironically I have a GP Easysport kit on the shelf
which, from your posts, seems to be a better choice. The arrival of my
first son has lead to a nice layer of dust on the kit box. Since I have no
time to build it I thought of buying an ARF to help me make that next step.
The Super Sportster seems to be a plane that (provided I don't make
matchsticks in the first few minutes) will grow with me. If not, I'll be
selling a box of firewood on Ebay sometime in the near future :)
So, I think I'll take the plunge and buy it. I have an OS 46 LA in the
cupboard which should be just enough for me to handle with help.
Thanks again for the advice and wish me luck!
I flew a SuperSportster ARF as my second plane.
I loved it. It was a very honest plane, It did EXACTLY what you asked of it.
Unfortunately, the original SS ARF had a couple of nasty weaknesses
One was crappy wood in the landing gear mount blocks
but the worst one was that every one (that I saw) of the early ones had real
weak wood in the horizontal stab, and a nasty tendency to rip the horizontal
stab off in flight, Not necessarily fast flight or any radical maneuver.
GP did give me a new plane for no cost to me when I shipped the original back to
them for their inspection.
I put flying wires on the tail, moved the landing gear to the fuselage and flew
it regularly till I got too brave and dumb-thumbed it into the ground, kind of
a classic single-point landing.
I suspect that GP has long since remedied these problems.
Anyway, I would rather build than buy, so I can't speak for the newer ones.
I have no doubt you'll love the Super Sportster, David. I think your idea
of "growing with the plane" will serve you well. A .46 LA should be a good
starting powerplant while you get acquainted with the Super Sportster's
excellent handling characteristics.
The performance envelope of the Super Sportster varies a great deal. You
could see one set up with a .40 FX or .46 LA and gentle rates, and another
set up with a .50 SX or .70 4-stroke and dual rates, and not even believe
they're the same plane.
Combine your .46 LA with gentle throws and careful CG balancing and you'll
be growing along with your Super Sportster for a long time to come.
Hopefully you will have a chance to build your Easy Sport kit sometime this
winter. It would make a terrific second home for your .46 LA once you
decide to upgrade your Super Sportster. Good luck and have fun!
It seems to be a well-liked plane. I spoke to another guy a few days ago
who said he had one for three years and it was pretty much all he flew. He
eventually sold it and said he's regretted it ever since. I'm sold.