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Great Planes Giant Big Stik XL 55-61cc Gas/EP ARF - FlyingGiants Review

This popular airframe has seen many sizes, kit types and power options. Nikolei checks out this new giant-scale ARF Stik offering from Great Planes.

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Another Stik? *GIANT* Big Stik!

Product:Great Planes Giant Big Stik XL 55-61cc Gas/EP ARF
Wingspan:96.5"
Length:85"
Wing Area:2029 sq in
Wing Loading:20-24 oz sq/ft
Weight:18-21 lb
Motor req:55cc Gas / RimFire .65 Elec
Servos req:7 High Torque
Price:$499.99
Available from:towerhobbies.com
PDF Manual:Click Here

The Big Stik is an extremely popular airframe that has been around for quite some time. From small electric 38" to huge 144" gassers, the Stik has a size for everyone. The large fully symmetrical wing makes it stable yet fun for sport aerobatics. Great Planes recently released the largest Big Stik ARF yet, a 96.5" 50-60cc beast! Nikolei just got his hands on one of these monsters, so let's take a closer look.

In the Box

The Giant Big Stik XL came with all of the major pieces nicely wrapped in plastic and taped together to avoid shifting parts. The parts taped to the box were a bit loose, but nothing appeared to shift much. As I pulled each piece out of its plastic bag, I was impressed with the quality of covering. No wrinkles or loose covering at all. Some of the cut edges did need to be ironed down a bit, and I did end up needing to tighten up some areas with the heat gun after the airframe sat in my hobby room during construction, but it all tightened up excellently!

Inside you'll find the wing panels, metal wing tube, 2 fuselage halves, heavy duty landing gear and all of the hardware needed for pushrods, hinges, etc. You'll also find a nicely illustrated manual and 2 decals to be added to the fuselage sides once the halves are joined.

Assembly

Accessories Provided by Hobbico

I'll be powering the Giant Big Stik XL with a DLE-61, 3200mAh Life pack, Futaba S3305 servos all around, and a 24x10 prop. I chose the DLE-61 over the 55 because I'd like to add a payload drop for our famous candy-drops at Fly for Tots. That engine with this monster wing should be able to haul a bucket-full!

Other accessories I've added to complete the build is a small anodized fuel dot and colored fuel tubing, and wing servo harnesses from Taildragger RC, a Tech Aero Ultra IBEC ignition cut-off, and a heavy-duty switch from Electro Dynamics.

Wings

Despite the size, the wing construction was extremely easy. The main task on the wings was simply gluing in all of the hinges. I mixed enough epoxy to get the first half of hinges into one wing panel at a time. Once the hinges were done, I got the servos installed and connected to the dual-servo wing harnesses from TDRC and mounted the control horns. These servo harnesses make multi-servo wing connections super easy and painless, I highly recommend them!

Fuselage

With the fuselage, you start off by joining the two halves by first gluing in the alignment pins and then slathering epoxy on the joining surfaces. The holes for my alignment pins needed very slight sanding to get them in. I'm not sure I mixed quite enough epoxy for all of the surfaces on both halves (so make extra when you do it), but it was enough for a thin coat and it felt secure to me once cured.

Next was getting the tailfeathers squared up and glued in. My horizontal stab slot needed a touch of sanding on one side to level it with the wing, but I encountered no major issues getting this and the vertical glued in and square. Once the hinges cured, I mounted the control horns and installed & connected the 2 servos for rudder and elevator. With that and all of the hinges done, the tailwheel and landing gear were mounted without issue. I used a small piece of wax paper taped to the fuse when gluing in the tailwheel to make any extra epoxy cleanup easy. I Dremeled out holes for my switch, ignition light and fuel dot at this time as well.

The manual says to install the battery & receiver now, but I decided to get the engine mounted so I could do a rough CG check before deciding the location of those things. When drilling the holes for the stand-offs, pay attention to which pre-marked symbol corresponds to your engine (assuming its one of the few they called out). I marked mine with a pen to ensure I drilled the right spots.

The right edge of the firewall needed to be Dremel sanded down a few millimeters to clear the muffler of the DLE-61, and shouldn't be an issue at all for the 55. With the holes for the fuel line and throttle rods drilled into the firewall and the engine mounted, I assembled the throttle servo box and mounted the servo to it. With the throttle control rod loosely held in place to the engine, I held the servo box to the side of the fuse and marked a good level for it before gluing it in place. Also note that the pivot-ball provided with the kit is not the same thread as the DLE throttle arm hole. I ended up having to drill mine out a bit and used a normal Dubro 2-56 ball-link.

I set my balancer up to the recommended range and hoisted the beast on. With the battery and ignition all the way up front, about 7oz* of segmented lead brought the nose down to level. To verify, I used a bubble level on the horizontal stab. I used some epoxy to secure the lead and then secured the battery and ignition with velcro on the bottom and straps surrounding them. You'll notice that the throttle box was just high enough that the ignition fit nicely under it.

*Note: When we turned on my mix for flaperons (flaps that act like ailerons), we got some intermittent ignition sputters when doing rollers across the field, which didn't present itself with flaperons off. It was diagnosed that the LiFeSource pack voltage was dropping very low when the servos were pegged. For the following flights, I added a 2nd LiFe pack and noticed no further issues.

If you're choosing a gas engine for the Big Stik, the kit does include a gas tank & clunks. However you'll need to add 2 packs of DUB-813 barbs to your cart to prevent the fuel line from slipping off. Also, as I wasn't sure if the rubber stopper was gas-friendly (a lot aren't), I played it safe and got a DUB-400 gas stopper as well. With the barbs soldered on and the stopper assembly done, I buttoned up the tank and used some spare long velcro loop straps to secure it (the included velcro is fine, I just prefer the ones that have the plastic loops on one end).

You may notice I opted to mount the tank at the rear of the tray, instead of up front where the hatch is. You always want your tank to be as close to the CG as possible, so your flight characteristics don't change as your tank empties and changes the CG. Finally with the tank mounted, I routed the gas lines to their correct spots including a hole drilled in front of the landing gear for the vent tube.

I had intended on mounting the receiver up by the receiver pack and switch, but it ended up taking less servo extensions to locate it under the wing. And since it's light weight, it won't affect the CG much. I whipped up a couple scrap pieces of wood and cut them to length to make the perfect mounting areas for the receiver and wing servo harnesses.

As a last detail, I wanted somewhere to keep the wing bolts and wing bolt plate during transport. A couple pieces of scrap foam sandwiched between the side of the fuselage and the gas tank made a prefect spot to hold these with just friction alone.

Completed Big Stik

The finished Stik came out to 18.8lb AUW. It looks great, has a great big presence on the field, and should be a great flying plane. Let's go find out!!

Flying

Takeoff & Landing

The Giant Big Stik climbed into the air quickly once we added throttle. Once in the pattern, it needed only a few clicks of down elevator and left rudder to be hands off. After a few circuits and some full-throttle passes, it was quite evident that the DLE-61 was PLENTY of power for this big bird, and should work nicely for lugging up a few pounds of candy for the kids at Fly for Tots!

Stall tests were extremely tame, with the nose simply sliding down until airspeed was re-achieved. Flap tests with the recommended amount of down elevator mixed in worked ok, but needed more down. I added more travel and ended up at 15% and 25% down elevator mix for half and full flaps. Even with full flaps, this big bird took a long time to slow down on final. I credit this at least in part to having to keep the idle RPMs up a bit until it gets some more run-time and needles fine-tuned. In future flights, I may try programming in some crow into the ailerons and see if that helps get this giant Stik as slow as I know it'll go.

Landings also proved uneventful, with that huge wing giving lots of lift even at slow speeds. We had to cut the throttle on the first few landings as our idle was set a bit high, but once we got the flaps dialed in landings & touch 'n goes were a pleasure.

Aerobatics

With its huge fully symmetrical airfoil wing, basic sport aerobatics were handled with ease. Inverted flight was basically hands off! Loops and rolls were no problem, but knife-edge flight was a little tough to hold altitude & alignment. The big wing doesn't want to stall, so the few snaps we attempted were slow and sluggish. Other than that, my pilot Alex had a lot of fun putting it through various sport maneuvers, and the DLE-61 had plenty of power for all of them.

While the control surfaces are relatively large, we didn't find that it liked 3Ding much...which is ok, this is a sport plane after all! Hovering at a safe altitude was possible, and some mild harriers too, but this isn't the plane if you want to do rolling harriers on the deck.

Flight Review Video

Great Planes Giant Big Stik XL ARF - RCGroups Review (8 min 53 sec)

Flight Photo Gallery

Summary

The long history of the Stik speaks for itself, and this addition to the family does not change that. This 8' wingspan ARF is a beast of a plane, but flies like a trainer. The big wing and symmetrical airfoil give options for any pilot, whether you want to drop payloads, flap & landing practice, basic aerobatics, or simply fly around...the Giant Big Stik is a gentle giant that'll handle em all. What's more, you have power options depending if you like the long flight-times of gas, or the simplicity of electric. If you've owned a Stik or two in the past, you need to add this one to your collection! If you haven't, I'm sure this Giant Big Stik won't be your last of the famous Stik family!

Hits

  • Proven airframe, in a really BIG ARF package
  • Nicely covered
  • Quick assembly
  • Good hardware
  • Well illustrated manual
  • Plenty of room for gas equipment or batteries for electric setup
  • FAST field assembly
  • Flies like a big trainer
  • Good fast & slow speed envelope
  • Virtually no stall

Misses

  • Throttle/Carb arm hardware doesn't fit the gas engines they use in the manual
  • No barbs or gas fuel line provided, unsure if provided stopper is gas-compatible
  • Questionable fuel tank placement in directions
  • Wheel-pants would've been nice

*Many thanks to Hobbico for sending the Giant Big Stik XL for review. And to my helpers at the club, Alex Fredrickson and Rodney Earp.

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Last edited by Matt Gunn; 02-15-2018 at 09:57 AM..
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Old 02-16-2018, 02:23 AM
extrabad3 is offline
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Extra Bad
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Great looking plane. You just can’t go wrong with an ugly stick
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Old 02-16-2018, 04:49 AM
Lifer is offline
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No surprises here. Sticks are always great flyers. Agreed, a set of wheel pants would be a nice addition.
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Old 02-16-2018, 11:55 AM
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It lacks a cowl for it to be well finished...
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Old 02-16-2018, 06:13 PM
scubabubbles is offline
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DLE 60 Twin

Wonder how this would fly with a DLE 60 Twin?
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Old 02-16-2018, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scubabubbles View Post
Wonder how this would fly with a DLE 60 Twin?
My guess is perfect. My 160 size Big Stick is perfect with a DLE 40 twin.
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Old 02-17-2018, 09:37 AM
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How about a DA-50, there are alot of those around?
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Old 02-17-2018, 07:32 PM
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A few thick washers between the firewall and the engine standoffs would have prevented cutting up the firewall for muffler clearance AND helped with the aft CoG.


Dave R.
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Old 02-17-2018, 07:37 PM
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I hammer at 1500 feet
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this was my 1st gasser! Fun times. Great flying airplane too.
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Old 02-17-2018, 08:52 PM
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If it's R/C, I LIKE IT!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcguy! View Post
A few thick washers between the firewall and the engine standoffs would have prevented cutting up the firewall for muffler clearance AND helped with the aft CoG.


Dave R.
Good point and something I hadn't thought of doing! Usually you don't have that kind of liberty when dealing with a cowl, but you can do pretty much anything you want with an open engine.
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Old 02-21-2018, 10:22 PM
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I just about have mine finished powered with a BME 102 cc twin.
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:54 AM
Nikolei Zinsli is offline
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If it's R/C, I LIKE IT!
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Holy smokes! No lack of power there.
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Old 02-22-2018, 11:13 AM
orthobird is offline
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I hammer at 1500 feet
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I flew mine with a Zenoah G 38. Cannot even imagine what it would be like with a 100 cc twin! Must be insane vertical
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Old 02-22-2018, 11:44 AM
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If it's R/C, I LIKE IT!
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Its already unlimited with the 60 I had on this one...so yeah! With a 100 it might take off at idle
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Old 02-22-2018, 12:27 PM
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well, you probably don't require any lead up front LOL
i have a zdz 100cc twin that no one wants, hmmm....
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