The Pluma RC plane by Great Planes is a model that works well both indoors and out. This is an ultra-light plane that’s made from three millimeter extruded polystyrene foam. The plane features vivid, pre-applied graphics, and a slick paint job that really makes this plane pop during flight.
This is an almost ready to fly model, so it requires some assembly.
Pluma RC Plane Assessment and Features
This model comes with one 3D biplane, decal sheet, instruction manual, and landing gear. To fly, it requires a four channel radio, three micro high torque servos, and a battery charger. For indoor use, it requires the Rimfire Outrunner Brushless motor and a LiPo battery. For outdoor use, it works with the Silver Series 8A GP brushless motor.
Right off the bat, we liked that all of the control services, excluding the rudder, come attached and hinged with Blenderm tape. The fuselage also comes prebuilt, with the center cabane strut already installed.
If you’ve ever assembled a Great Planes model before, then you know they offer well-written manuals. The included manual offers comprehensive instructions and detailed images that work to easily walk you through the process.
This model remains light by utilizing plenty of carbon for push rods, aileron connections and bracing. While you may be used to being able to make push rod adjustments at any time after you’ve completed a build, this model’s push rods are slightly different. You’re required to make them up yourself during assembly. Once you’ve made them, they’re non-adjustable. The manufacturer includes some tools for control surface alignment, which works to ensure that you get the push rod dimensions and the control surface neutrals perfect. When inserting the Z bends you’ll need to be careful. They must be worked through slowly. If you force them through too quickly you can end up breaking a link or horn. Fortunately, the manufacturer includes some spares.
The plane’s top wing rests on the center cabane strut and the two interplane struts, while the bottom wing gets glued to the fuselage. Both of the wings have ailerons attached.
Out of the box, the fuselage and landing gear come fully assembled.
Most consumers can agree that the total amount of time it takes to assemble the Pluma is about an hour. Keep in mind that it’s a good idea to spend a few minutes verifying a correct center of gravity and setting up the control throws.
You can choose to purchase a couple of different power systems for this model. One of the systems is designed to keep the plane as light as possible, which is ideal for indoor flying, while the other is slightly heavier and more designed for outdoor flying.
We tried both of the power system options and here is what we found:
We tried the more powerful system first and took the plane out for a test flight. Even in windy conditions at five to ten miles per hour, this plane handles well. The outdoor system offers plenty of power to overcome windy conditions, allowing the plane to climb straight up with no problem.
With the indoor power system, you’ll notice a big change in the plane’s flight characteristics. The loss of weight that’s achieved by using a much smaller motor is very apparent. The plane can still go vertical, but it’ll take full throttle to do it. If you take it outdoors with this motor, similar to Hobbyzone Champ, any wind at all will require you to handle the throttle more aggressively. We were pretty eager to fly inside to see how this indoor power system handled, but to our disappointment, we quickly realized that the plane can’t reach its full aerobatic potential indoors.
Pluma Pros and Cons
Pros: Takeoffs and landings with this plane are not difficult at all. Using a light touch on the controls can prevent any damage to the landing gear. Hand launches with this plane are a piece of cake. Just hook a couple of fingers under the leading edge of a wing, aim the plane with the nose up at a forty-five-degree angle and let her go once you’ve powered up. When it comes to aerobatics, this plane is at the head of its class. The plane’s tracking abilities are excellent and the extreme throw rates allow for some daredevil, tumbling aerobatics. The outdoor power system definitely pulls hard, while the plane is totally capable of handling a tough breeze.
Cons: Several pilots had complaints about the plane’s landing gear. The landing gear is simply not able to deal with a rough runway surface. Because this is a 3D lightweight aerobatic plane, adding a lot of extra weight in the way of sturdier landing gear would inhibit the plane’s excellent flight performance. If you set this plane down too hard or if you try to roll out on a bumpy surface, you can end up jarring loose or breaking a wheel pant. Even though this model is marketed as a beginner friendly plane, due to the assembly requirements we feel like this plane is more designed for the fairly seasoned pilot. The plane itself, once completely assembled is actually very easy to fly.
If you’re looking for a fully assembled model and one that’s more beginner friendly, take a look at the Duet by Hobbyzone.
Great Planes Pluma Conclusion and Rating
This almost ready to fly plane is the perfect choice for the pilot that enjoys aerobatics and is searching for a model that can work both indoors and out, although some pilots felt that the plane simply isn’t indoor friendly. You’ll also need to purchase some components before this baby is fly ready. So, if you’re a seasoned pilot who enjoys the building aspect almost as much as you love to fly, and you’re looking for a lightweight 3D model, then the Pluma is the plane you’ve been looking for. Consumers who purchased this model gave it a rating of four out of five stars for innovative design, lightweight frame, and overall quality.