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SIG Rascal 80 EG ARF - FlyingGiants Review

The SIG Rascal 80 is a throwback high-wing with some modern amenities. Join us as reviewer Nikolei Zinsli takes it for a spin!

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Meet your new every-day flyer - the SIG Rascal 80!

Product:SIG Rascal 80 EG ARF
Wing Span:80"
Wing Area:800 sq. in.
Length:56"
AUW:7-7.5 lb.
Wing Loading:16-18 oz/sq. ft.
Glow Power:2-Stroke .46-.55 / 4-Stroke .53 - .65
Electric Power:60-1100 Watt Brushless / 60-80A ESC
Battery used:Turnigy 5s 4000mAh
Price:$299.99
Available from:sigplanes.com
PDF Manual:Click Here

If you've been in the hobby for any length of time, you'll surely know the name "SIG". SIG has been a pillar of R/C aviation for a long, long time in part due to their excellent fit & finish in their kits. Many of their airframes have a classic look, and a long history to go with them; this beautiful plane is no exception to this rule.

The SIG Rascal has roots going back to a small free flight model in the 1950's, and has been available in a variety of sizes ever since. You just don't see many airplanes at the field these days with a design that goes back over 65 years! This spring at the Toledo Weak Signals Show, SIG unveiled the new Rascal 80 and 110 ARF kits. I've secretly been wanting a Rascal or Cub for a casual no-stress flyer, so I jumped at the chance to review the new Rascal 80! SIG says the Rascal is perfect as a leisure flyer, tow plane, advanced trainer or float plane with very light wing loading and "dreamlike flight manners". Can the SIG Rascal 80 live up to these high expectations? Let's take a closer look and find out!

Features:

  • SIG EG Series - For Electric or Glow Power
  • Handcrafted Wood ARF
  • CAD Drawn, Laser Cut, and factory Jig Assembled
  • 2-Piece Wing Design with Aluminum Tube Wing Joiner
  • Clear Windshield and Side Windows
  • Magnetic Top Hatch
  • Aluminum Landing Gear
  • Fiberglass Cowling and Wheel Pants
  • Covered with UltraCoteŽ Premium Film
  • Complete Pushrods and Hardware
  • Illustrated Assembly Manual

In the Box

As you'd expect with most any ARF these days, all of the major pieces were individually wrapped to protect their covering. While the box was well packed, I did notice the the pieces were not taped to the box itself to prevent shifting, as I've seen with other kits. Thankfully nothing was damaged, and as you can see in my unboxing video the covering and build quality looked excellent! The included instruction manual is very well done and full of pictures and tips.

Unboxing the SIG Rascal 80

SIG Rascal 80 EG Unboxing - RCGroups Review (8 min 40 sec)

Assembly

As you should with any ARF, I started by going over all the seams and edges with my covering iron. While the covering on my Rascal 80 looked to be top-notch, a little time and care will make sure this beautiful covering job lasts a long time. I did have a couple small bubbles on the vertical stab, which were taken care of by several small pin pricks and some heat.

Fuselage

Assembly then went into full speed by gluing all of the CA hinges (except rudder) and mounting the landing gear, wheels and wheel pants. I did need to drill out the wheels to fit on the axles, but the manual did say this may have to be done.

To get the horizontal stab aligned and centered, I mounted the wing and put a pin through the hole in my measuring tape into the gap of the wing halves. This gave me a swiveling measurement to check the distances to the left and right elevator corners. I pinned the stab, measured, adjusted and finally marked the bottom of the stab before removing and gluing it in place. Be sure to double check your measurements once you glue it on.

Once the horizontal stab was dried, it was time for the vertical. I had to trim the slot in the fuse just slightly to get it to sit perfectly vertical. I laid painters tape on each side for easy glue cleanup once it was positioned. Some 15 minute epoxy, a speed square and painters tape were used to check for vertical and hold its position until dry.

With that done, I proceeded to glue the hinges of the rudder to the vertical stab, and mount the control horns and the tail-wheel assembly. The bottom CA hinge slot on the rear of the fuselage wasn't pre-cut, so I had to locate it and slice the covering before sliding the hinges in to glue. Also, a few of my control horns had flashing covering the 3 holes that the bolts go through; which were easily cleared with my X-Acto, not a big deal but still worth mentioning. You may also need to poke the covering on the top side of the elevator to allow the bolts to pass through. The bottom covering had the holes, but not the top. I also noted that the tailwheel bracket was painted a grey-ish tan, making me wish it was white to match the covering.

Electronics

The servo installation for ailerons, rudder and elevator all went perfectly and as outlined in the manual. I'm using standard Futaba S-3004 servos, which should be just fine for sport flying. I chose to use Z-bends on the servo end of the control rod instead of the nylon keepers. The keepers work just fine, but always have the potential to loosen and come off. If you don't have a z-bend pliers like in the picture, you can do the same by using simple needle nose pliers. I also chose not to use the crimps for the rudder pull-pull and instead twisted the wire around itself and used a lighter to melt the nylon coating to fuse itself together. This method saves a lot of time and is just as secure. Try it on a scrap piece before you decide to use this method on your pull-pull setup.

I'll be powering this Rascal with the Rimfire 55, and Great Planes Silver Series 80A ESC (Thanks to Great Planes for supplying these!). The motor-box installation was interesting and relatively simple with SIGs adjustable-depth firewall & motor box assembly. The box comes pre-assembled and features a sliding forward firewall that lets you adjust it for your motor to get the correct 5 3/8" depth needed to get out of the cowl. I subtracted my motor depth from the 5 3/8" total, and made marks 2 9/16" from the rear end of the box. Once the firewall was slid to the correct depth, I verified by placing the box and motor on top of a ruler. Once I was happy with that, I tack glued it in place with thin CA and then cut the provided triangle stock to be glued in behind the firewall with thick CA. The whole assembly was secured to the fuselage with the provided bolts, and then bolted the motor to the firewall. I did have to go out and purchase 4 M4x16mm bolts, as they were missing from my kit.

Since the Great Planes Silver Series ESC doesn't come with a BEC, I added a Castle Sport BEC to the setup by soldering the leads to the Deans connector of the ESC. Then, I mounted the ESC to the bottom of the motor box and connected the motor & ESC bullets. With that out of the way, it was time to get the battery box glued in and mount the cowl. One side of my battery box was broken off when it arrived, but it was merely a broken glue joint and easily repaired.

After mounting the motor and electronics, I test fit the canopy/hatch and found out that the motor box mounting bolts were hitting it and not allowing correct seating. A minor touch with the Dremel sanding drum at the spots I marked with the red arrows allowed it to clear the bolts and sit fully to engage the magnets.

When mounting the cowl, I used blue painters tape instead of the poster board scraps that the manual suggested...both methods work fine, although using only tape helps hold the cowl in place while drilling. The cowl fit perfectly and the 5 3/8" depth given earlier during the motor installation resulted in a perfect spinner gap. I then placed some tape on the bottom and drew a couple guide lines to Dremel a slot for cooling airflow.

Wings

There was very little needed to get the wings ready for flight. Once I dripped some thin CA in the aileron hinges to secure them, the servos and control horns were mounted after I used heat-shrink to secure a 12" extension to the servo. I had to shave 1/2mm or so from the aileron servo pockets to get the servo in, but it wasn't much at all. Then, it was a simple matter of assembling the control rod and marking the bend location for my Z-bend, and finally trimming the excess. I cut servo plug sized slots in some small scraps of balsa which I glued to the inside of the wing to keep the aileron servo wires always easily accessible.

Final setup

With the prop & spinner balanced and installed, the last thing to attach was the side windows. I'm not sure why these aren't pre-installed, perhaps to make Rx installation easier, but it was easy to do regardless. I used Beacon Quick Grip glue on this step.

Now it was time to attach the wings, slide a battery inside, and check our CG. Just slide the battery in...sounds so easy, right? I was planning on using my 6s 4400 or 5000 packs, but didn't try fitting it in until I went to test the CG. Long story short, they don't fit! The problem is, there's only 4.5" from the firewall to the next former, which limits the height and length that will be able to slide in at an angle. I dialed up "Mean Joe V" and asked what he used in his..."Turnigy 5s 4000mah". I pulled up the dimensions of that Turnigy pack (148 x 49 x 33mm) and made a cardboard box just a little bigger. I made it about 10mm bigger on all dimensions, just to see what the max dimensions of a pack would fit in. After several attempts slowly cutting down the box size, I can tell you the Turnigy 5s pack mentioned earlier is just about the biggest pack that will fit. With some frantic searching, I was able to find only 3 packs over 3500mAh with dimensions that *should* fit:

Pretty disappointing to have such limited battery options! (Note that I was able to get solid 10 minute flights on this Turnigy pack...so you could go with a smaller (& easier to fit) pack if you don't want that long of a flight. Thankfully, Hobbyking came to the rescue and sent over the same Turnigy 5s 4000mAh pack that Mean Joe V used. Days later it arrives and with baited breath I go to slide in the pack and...IT FITS! *Joyful Noises*

With a total weight of 7.4 lb, it balanced within the recommended range without the battery. I decided to start with the battery all of the way back in the compartment to keep the weight off the nose as much as possible. Once I was happy with the CG, I did a quick throttle test (apologies for not posting Watts/Amps output - my power meter has gone MIA...I'll post numbers when I find it!). All of my control throws and expos were then programmed into my DX18. FINALLY! LET'S GO FLY THIS BABY!!

Flying

Takeoff & Landing

My first takeoff was a little rocky as it swerved one way and the other as it gained speed, but my next flights went fine as I applied the throttle a little quicker and was ready on the rudder. If you're on grass, this shouldn't be a problem. The Rimfire 55 had the wheels off the ground in no time, and could certainly do a short field takeoff if you had to. But this style of plane really looks best with long scale takeoffs and a gradual accent.

Landings were also a non-event, with its extremely nice glide slope. I kept a click of throttle on until just a few feet over the runway and then cut it to a gentle flair and touchdown. This is a perfect plane to do endless touch-n-goes on a nice summer evening!

Also of note, I was able to get about 10 minutes out of my 4000mAh pack and still have 30-35% left in the pack. Note that this was with fairly casual flying.

Basic Flying

The SIG Rascal 80 needed absolutely no trim adjustments on the maiden. I setup rates & expos based on the recommended surface deflections in the manual. Low rates gave the Rascal a very nice, stable and predictable flight. And high rates allowed us to get a sportier response. The Rimfire 55 had us comfortably flying the circuit at around half-throttle. Full throttle was a comfortable speed, but I might try a 16" prop or a smaller 6s lipo for a little more pep & speed. We did test some stalls at altitude (apologies for not getting this on camera), and it unfortunately dropped a wing pretty bad each time. I was told by other Rascal owners that this shouldn't happen, and that a CG shift might help. I will move the battery forward on my next flights to verify.

Aerobatics

As previously mentioned, once high rates were turned on we decided to see what the Rascal could handle. Basic sport aerobatics were handled ok, considering we're talking about a high-wing plane. Loops were graceful and knife-edges held ok with some power. Rolls were a little floppy as the high wing made its way around, but it's possible some aileron differential programmed in might reduce the barrel effect. The Rascal did snap pretty well on high rates, but it didn't want to negative snap. Inverted needed an touch of down elevator. The controls seemed a bit squishy in the transition to inverted, and inverted turns seemed to want some coordinating rudder to help it around. I intend on shifting the CG forward a little to see if it improves these minor issues. We did have enough power and control throw to do a decent hover at altitude, as well as a rolling circle. I think once you get used to the aerobatic characteristics of this high-wing beauty, you'll have a good time with it.

Flight Video

SIG Rascal 80 - FlyingGiants Review (6 min 31 sec)

Conclusion

Pluses

  • Great construction, parts fit & covering
  • Easy assembly
  • Adjustable motor box allows virtually any motor to fit
  • Nice gentle flier

Minuses

  • Small hatch area severely limits battery options
  • Small hatch area also makes getting the battery off the velcro & out a little tricky
  • Minor fit issue with hatch once motor box mounted, easily fixed
  • Tailwheel assembly could have been painted to match
  • Motor mounting bolts missing or not included

The SIG Rascal 80 is a sweetheart of a plane! If you've been looking for a casual sport plane with a nice glide slope and the reliability and ease of a high-wing design, look no further. The plane has that classic sleek look and it's beautiful construction will keep heads turned at the field. You'll surely want some spare batteries (assuming you can find some that fit...) because you won't want to let the Rascal 80 sit on the ground for long! Thanks for reading...I'm headed back to the field for some back & forth touch-n-goes with my Rascal. :)

*Thanks to Dane Edwards and Alex Fredrickson for helping with the in-flight video and pictures!

Last edited by Matt Gunn; 09-08-2016 at 01:38 PM..
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Old 09-14-2016, 01:25 PM
Jkoch713 is offline
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Hatch space to which batteries are to go, yet No Pictures about it?
What hatch?
I wouldn't use electric anyway... I am however a visual person...
Thank you for the review.
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Old 09-14-2016, 02:33 PM
airboss/oc is offline
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80" and less than 8 lb makes for a great flying plane
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Old 09-14-2016, 02:43 PM
wyo69cowboy is offline
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Gettin better 1 crash@ a time!
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Cody WY
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I agree--I read the review and watched the video, and while it explains the battery limitations somewhat, a few pics of the area would be nice. Any possibility of putting in an angled battery holder/tray, like I've seen for CarbonZ Cubs?
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Old 11-04-2016, 08:01 AM
old nitroman is online now
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been nice to have the option of flaps
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Old 11-11-2016, 04:19 PM
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I've had several Rascals, the old 72 and the 110's all the way down to the tiny electrics... Living only an hour or so from SIG, it was kind of a requirement! They have all been tremendous airframes and performers. when powered properly, they are way more aerobatic then given credit for. GREAT airplane for Floats! I have no doubt that this new 80" will be well received. Good job SIG.
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