(more photos below)
E-FLITE: PIPER L-4 GRASSHOPPER 250 ARF
By Mark Phillips
Wow, E-flite has a winner with its new Piper L-4! This amazing little full 4-channel, built-up balsa ARF comes to you complete with everything safely packaged in a nifty, compartmentalized cardboard box. You could use the box to transport the plane safely to your favorite field. All the hard, time-consuming work has been done for you. Its low parts count, magnetically secured plug-in wings, preassembled tail feathers and pre-hinged control surfaces make assembling this ARF about as easy as it gets. You should have this little plane ready to fly in 3-5 hours. The Grasshopper would be perfect for someone looking for an easy-flying, scale-looking park flyer that could be assembled and flown by anyone with at least one electric ARF under his or her belt.
The new E-flite L-4 Grasshopper depicts an actual military Piper Cub. The Cub began life at Piper’s Lock Haven factory on September 22, 1944 with the serial number 12776. The USAAF received the Cub in early December of 1944, numbered it 44-80480 and assigned it to the NINTH Air Force for Army Ground Forces. It also served with the 30TH Infantry Division as 44-E until it was retired from service on October 16, 1946. It is now based at Rayne Hall Farm, Braintree Essex. The Piper L-4 had an important role in the Invasion of Normandy and the rest of occupied Europe, during World War II. The L-4 performed a wide variety of functions for the U.S. Army. Some of its functions included an artillery spotter, courier service, frontline liaison and pilot training.
The aileron servos are hidden inside the magnetically secured plug-in wings. A pre-installed string is located in each wing to pull the supplied servo’s wires through. The ailerons hinged and glued in place. A carbon wing tube slides into a socket in each of the wing panels and a rear-locating pin and magnet firmly secures the wing to the fuselage. The wing struts are a functional structural part of the airframe and quickly snap into place. In case of a mishap, the wings and struts pull loose, thereby minimizing damage to the airframe. The supplied power system went together quickly with only one small problem with the speed controller. The supplied E-flite 10-amp Pro ESC will not work as is with the supplied 2S LiPo. The factory default setting for the auto cut-off on the E-flite 10-amp Pro ESC is set for a 3S (9V) LiPo. It’s a simple matter of going to e-fliterc.com, download the instructions for the ESC and reprogram it for a 2S. Problem solved! The supplied battery fits well in the roomy battery compartment, which is accessed through a magnetic hatch located on the bottom of the plane. Install the supplied, tiny, receiver under the cowl and bind it to your DSM2 radio. Install your GWS 6 inch by 5 inch Slow Flyer Prop onto the included prop-adapter and you’re almost done. Take your time fitting the cowl to the airframe. The molded windshield and top windscreen are a perfect fit and secure with clear tape. The supplied scale-looking landing gear plugs right in and looks great. The tail feathers are preassembled and the control surfaces are already hinged and glued in place. The elevator and rudder pushrods are already in place. The supplied elevator and rudder servos fit perfectly into their respective slots. Another plus of this model is the control-horns are already installed on all the control surfaces, adding to the ease and fun of assembly. Hangar 9 UltraCote Parklite is used to achieve the scale appearance and looks excellent. This latest high-tech material greatly contributes to the lightness and strength of the L-4’s airframe. The covering only needed a quick pass of my heat gun to be perfect. The decals are already applied, accurately copy the represented model, and look great. Way to go, E-flite!
E-flite makes quality products and the Piper L-4 Grasshopper is no exception. If you take your time and follow the comprehensive assembly manual systematically, you’ll have no problem having this Cub ready to fly in an evening. I spent about three hours putting the plane together. I was rewarded with a park flyer that has a great-looking scale appearance, is super easy to transport and set up and is a pleasure to fly.
IN THE AIR
To achieve E-flite’s recommended center of gravity (CG) for the Cub, I had to add one-ounce of lead to the Cub’s firewall. Satisfied that I had built the Cub to all the recommended specifications, I headed off to a dry lakebed near my home for the test flights. At the lakebed I connected the Cub’s battery, performed a safety check and then pointed the Cub into the wind. I advanced the throttle and added a little right rudder. The Cub tracked straight and was airborne in about six feet. The Cub quickly gained altitude and I was happy to see it had so much power. I turned the Cub downwind, leveled it out, and let go of the sticks. The Cub flew perfectly straight, a testament to its quality engineering and craftsmanship. After flying the Cub for eight minutes, I lined it up for final and it effortlessly floated in for a perfect 3-point landing. I really like planes that make you look good.
STABILITY: The Cub is very stable both on the ground and in the air. The Cub immediately makes you feel comfortable while flying it.
TRACKING: The Cub tracks beautifully.
AEROBATICS: The Cub performed all the basic scale maneuvers just like the real thing.
GLIDE AND STALL PERFORMANCE: The Cub glides very well. I purposely induced a stall by chopping the power and feeding up elevator. The Cub responded by dropping it nose and slowly loosing altitude. I released the sticks and the Cub immediately started flying again.
PILOT DEBRIEFING: The E-flite L-4 Grasshopper ARF is a great-looking and very well-engineered model. It flies fantastically and would reward any experienced flyer with an easy and fun plane to fly.
+/- 9/32 in., 0% expo (low); +/- 3/8 in., 10% expo (high)
+ 3/8in./-5/16 in., 0% expo (low); + 1/2in., -3/8in., 10% expo (high)
+/-1/2in., 5% expo (low); +/- 13/16 in., 15% expo (high)
RADIO: Spektrum DX6i/AR6300 DSM2, Nanolite 6-channel receiver, 6.0-gram Super Sub-Micro Digital Programmable Servo JST (4) (spektrumrc.com)
MOTOR: Included Park 250 Brushless Outrunner Motor 2200kV and 10-amp Pro Brushless ESC (e-fliterc.com
BATTERY: Included 430mAh 2S 7.4V 20C LiPo, 20AWG JST (e-fliterc.com)
PROP: GWS 6×5 Slow-Fly (gws.com)
MODEL: Piper L-4 Grasshopper ARF
MANUFACTURER: E-flite (e-fliterc.com)
DISTRIBUTOR: Horizon Hobby (horizonhobby.com)
TYPE: electric park flyer
SMALLEST FLYING AREA: large indoor flying venue
IDEAL FOR: Flyer experienced with at least one electric ARF
WINGSPAN: 38.2 in. (970mm)
WING AREA: 210 sq. in. (13.5 sq. dm)
LENGTH: 23.7 in. (600mm)
READY-TO-FLY WEIGHT: 10.6 oz. (300g)
RADIO REQ’D: 4-channel
FLIGHT DURATION: 8-10 minutes
+ Fast and easy to assemble
+ Excellent photo-illustrated assembly manual
+ Beautiful, scale-appearance covering job
+ Great to fly