by Vic Bunze

Dazzler ARF

Model: Dazzler 40 ARF
Manufacturer: Great Planes Model Mfg. Co.
Distributor: Great Planes
Type: sport aerobatic ARF
Wingspan: 48 in.
Wing area: 578 sq. in.
Weight: 4.85 lb.
Wing loading: 19.5 oz./sq. ft.
Length: 43 in.
Engine req'd: .32 to .46 2-stroke or .40 to .52 4-stroke
Engine used: O.S. .46 SF
Radio required: 4 channels with 5 servos (rudder, elevator, throttle and 2 for ailerons)
Radio used: JR 10X with 5 Hobbico servos
Fuel used: Wildcat 15%
Prop used: APC 11x4
Price: $159.99
Features: built airframe covered with preprinted heat shrink film, includes pushrods, pre-bent landing gear, wheels, engine mount, fuel tank, spinner and photo-illustrated assembly manual.
Comments: the Dazzler is designed to provide exhilarating flights in a compact package with big-plane performance. The wing is permanently attached, and the plane fits easily into a car trunk or back seat. It has a thick, semisymmetrical wing for slow landings and smooth maneuvers. It has unlimited vertical performance with the O.S. .46 SF and can be flown most of the time at 1/2 throttle.


  • Outstanding sport aerobatic plane.
  • Nicely constructed and easy to assemble.
  • Excellent instruction manual.


  • None.

Dazzling aerobatic performer

I have always found that my flying improves when I have a highly maneuverable plane that does not represent a major investment and requires very little maintenance–in other words, a carefree flying plane that allows me to let it all hang out. Great Planes' Dazzler ARF is such a plane.

Kit Features
The Dazzler is beautifully constructed of balsa and plywood and expertly covered in a dazzling array of six colors printed on heat shrink covering material. It is complete with all the hardware, an engine mount, fuel tank, wheels, clevises, horns and pushrods–everything required to complete the model. Many of the assembly steps have already been done, so it's incredibly easy and quick to put together–one weekend or a few nights.

The Dazzler has a one-piece airframe; other than fueling it, nothing has to be done at the field. Quite convenient!

Wing and fuselage. The wing comes with the ailerons installed and hinged, and keeper pins further secure the hinges to the wing's trailing edge. First, join the wing halves with the wing joiner that must be epoxied into slots between the main wing spars. Then epoxy the wing to six triangles that are added to the inside of the wing-saddle area of the fuselage. The bottom of the wing at the fuselage is an open bay in which a pre-cut servo tray is mounted, and there's also room for the receiver and battery. The large hatch cover is secured to the fuselage with four nylon straps and eight screws. I mounted the on/off switch and the charging jack on the hatch so that I don't have to open the hatch for normal flight operations.

The main part of the fuselage is complete out of the box and includes installed pushrod guides for the rudder and elevator. The aluminum engine mount and the canopy are also in place. You just attach the tail group. The pre-cut slots for the stabilizer and vertical fin are accurately cut and greatly facilitate their alignment.

Final assembly.
The horizontal stabilizer and elevators are hinged, and the elevator halves are joined. I had only to remove the covering material where the horizontal stabilizer had to be glued to the fuselage. The same applied to the vertical fin.

The supplied universal aluminum engine mount easily accommodates a variety of engines in the recommended .32 to .52 range by using hold-down plates that have to be bolted down over the engine lugs, and the O.S. .46 SF fit well. The throttle linkage is a flexible, stranded-steel cable routed through a plastic guide tube and attached to the throttle arm using a screw-lock connector.

The fuel tank fits into the forward hatch area. I set it up using two lines, and I routed these pressure and feed lines through the center opening in the engine mount. The forward hatch is secured with four small screws.

Flight setup.
When I set up the Dazzler, I used the recommended control throws of 3/8 inch for the low rate and 1/2 inch high rate for the elevator. The aileron rates are 3/8 inch for low rate and 3/4 inch high rate. I also included outrageous rates for 3D flight modes; I added 1/4 inch of elevator and aileron throw. I also added some exponential because I increased the throws. Low rate has no exponential; mid-rate has 40 percent; 3D rates use 65 percent. The dual aileron servos allow me to add a flaperon mix for coupled elevator-to-flap mixing for tighter loops and tumbles.

The main radio-compartment hatch is on the bottom of the fuselage and is held in place with nylon straps and screws. I mounted the receiver switch and charging jack on the hatch.


Takeoff and landing
The plane accelerates on a straight track with slight application of right rudder, and it lifts off smoothly with a little elevator backpressure. All takeoffs are quick and easy.

The generous wing area, thick, semisymmetrical airfoil and low wing loading make for easy, gentle landing characteristics. Landing approaches can be made fairly steeply without a lot of speed build-up. Once the model has landed, it handles beautifully with the tailwheel steering.

Low-speed performance
The Dazzler has excellent slow-speed flight characteristics. It slows down nicely under solid control. It doesn't have any tendency to snap when it stalls, and it can do slow-speed aerobatics at 1/2 throttle–a lot of fun!

High-speed performance
Using a low-pitch, 11x4 propeller, top-end speed is moderate. This is my preference, as it provides more vertical performance and less acceleration through down-lines. The Dazzler is very responsive at high speeds, but it's still easy to control and tracks well. It doesn't exhibit any high-speed stalling characteristics in tight turns or loops.

The airfoil's blunt leading edge contributes to a constant speed profile through maneuvers such as loops, Cuban-8s and split-S's. The Dazzler will do just about any maneuver you want it to. Inverted performance is similar to upright and requires only slight down-elevator pressure; spin recovery is immediate. The Dazzler has good tracking through maneuvers and requires little correction to stay on course. The O.S. .46 SF with the APC 11x4 provides unlimited vertical performance.

I get a lot of enjoyment from the Great Planes Dazzler. It's capable of a full complement of maneuvers and is compact and easy to transport. It goes together effortlessly and is beautifully made. Its dazzling covering colors are head-turning and draw many looks at the field. Fly it with a standard radio system, or set it up as a 3D trainer. At the field, it doesn't require any assembly; just fuel up and fly. This is the type of plane you will always enjoy flying.

Reprinted with permission.
August, 2002 Model Airplane News
Editor: Gerry Yarrish