Control Tower - October 2000
By Steven Horney
Steve discusses products and projects, along with covering a couple of meets and offering a contest (of sorts!)
Ugly Airplane Contest
Well, maybe not as much of a contest as an opportunity to show off your favorite "real-life" mount. We often see the really pretty planes in magazines like this one, and for good reason - they're nice to look at! When it comes to what we generally fly, however, I'll bet that many of us have a plane that's not so pretty, but it's a long-time favorite. Maybe it's a superb flyer, or just a faithful companion. Whatever the reason, send me a photo of your favorite not-so-pretty plane and some information on it (specs, but also why you like this plane so well). I'll post the pictures in my column and ask readers to vote on their favorite. Maybe it will even help someone see which planes seem to become "old favorites"! As an incentive, I'll offer a free E-Zone plan of your choice to the winner (selected by e-mail voting). What could be more appropriate than an opportunity to build a replacement for that tired warrior?
Upcoming Indoor Meet
A little later in this column you'll see a report on the first Fort Wayne Indoor Meet. If you missed out on the first one, no problem - it's about to happen again. If you're interested and think you can make it to Fort Wayne, Indiana USA, then check out the information on Pat Mattes' web site: http://hometown.aol.com/pimatte490/indoor.html This is a great experience, especially if you've never flown indoors before.
One of the items I've been trying to get reviewed for some time now is MaxCim's incredible brushless motor system http://www.maxcim.com/ . Well, it should happen shortly. I recently received a Kyosho Super Stearman ARF to review, and it appears to be the perfect candidate for the MaxCim system. I had the MaxCim system operating in a 4-Star 40 at the beginning of this year with phenomenal results. The 4-Star was a converted glow plane, with no changes other than those required to install the electric system. I even used full-sized servos. Equipped with 21 cells, the 4-Star weighed 101 oz - less than 6.5 lbs. Using a Master Airscrew 14x8 prop and a 3.3:1 gearbox, the 4-Star was only pulling 30 amps, yet it turned the prop 8000 rpm and produced a fierce amount of thrust - it was pretty hard to hold it back at full throttle. This was a true vertical performer. You could take off and pull it straight vertical, apparently for as long as you felt like it. Pat Mattes had owned the 4-Star 40 when it was equipped with an O.S. 46, and after flying the conversion he felt it had more performance with the MaxCim setup (although it had a heavier feel on the controls). The 4-Star wasn't real fast and it had a unique growl from the gearbox, making it sound and look something like a radial-engined crop duster. A lot of fun! Unfortunately, a radio problem caused the motor to stop on one flight right after I took off and pulled it straight up. Without enough room to fully recover, the plane sort of ended up belly-flopping into the ground with just enough damage to make it somewhat difficult to repair. Tom Cimato and I agreed to hold up the review until I could check out the cause of the problems and find another plane to replace the 4-Star. I'm quite excited about this new project (I love the looks of the Stearman), so look forward to seeing this one in the near future.
MaxCim's MaxNeo 13Y brushless motor system with 3.3:1 gearbox and controller that allows BEC up to 21 cells (!) and motor reversing without re-timing (an optional jumper will allow you to reverse the motor from the radio). On the right is my late 4-Star 40, a conversion of a former glow plane. 4-Stars make excellent electric conversions - they're light and have plenty of wing area.
Some of you may remember my review on the Hobbico Viper, an Almost Ready to Cover (ARC) Q-500 racer/sport plane that I converted to electric power last year. My original conversion used an Aveox 1412/3y motor (www.aveox.com) on 12 cells turning an APC 11x8 prop. It pulled a little over 40 amps at full throttle, weighed around 4.5 lbs., and flew with quite a bit of authority. Unfortunately, the Viper met its demise before too long when I got caught out of power in a serious cross-wind at an R/C airshow. The plane was heading for the crowd and I couldn't get it to turn towards the runway, so I had to dump it in the field. It wasn't too badly damage overall, but the nose and some of the interior took a beating (along with a bent motor shaft, replaced by Aveox at a very reasonable price).
I let the Viper sit for almost a year, until I recently wanted something with a little more performance to fly at Azarr's meet. I've been missing the Viper every since it went in, so I finally got busy and got it back together. This time I made a couple of changes, though. I've since sold the 1412/3Y and picked up an Aveox 1409/3Y, which I used in the Viper on 10 cells turning an APC 9x7 prop. Although there isn't as much thrust as before (it doesn't seem to notice it much, though), I find the Viper is an even nicer flier due to the lighter wing loading and longer flight times. By using the lighter motor, BEC, and 2 fewer cells I shaved off over half a pound (it's now 63 oz) and made it even more convenient (no more receiver packs to hassle with). My first two flights at Azarr's meet showed the CG was a little aft, but by moving the battery pack forward an inch or so I had the plane flying in top form - very smooth, very capable, and easy to fly. It won't go vertical out of sight, but it will fly very large square loops and almost anything else you want to try. The 1409/3Y turns the APC 9x7 prop 11,000 rpm @ 32 amps for most of the battery life (a little higher at first). This combination is so smooth and quiet that it can hardly be heard, even at an electric meet! Joel Maxwell, a friend of mine, say's he'll take low wing loading over excessive power any day. I think he's on to something.
APC Slowflyer Props
Joel Maxwell took one of Hobby Lobby International's (www.hobby-lobby.com) Fokker E.III slow-flyers and equipped it pretty much as recommended: geared Speed 280 motor, Graupner CAM 9x5 prop, and 7 cells. Joel's plane was a little heavier than some, since he used 600AE cells instead of the normal 350's, and his Astro 215 esc was a little larger than the normal Jeti 05 (or similar). However, the very large wing area indicated it should have flown pretty well. Unfortunately, performance was below expectations. It would barely fly on 7 cells, and going to 8 cells only helped a little. We assumed the plane would need a Speed 400 to fly well. When I reported this to Jim Martin at Hobby Lobby, he suggested that we try out one of the relatively new APC 10x7 slowflyer props. Jim reported that these props seem to really improved the performance of most of the slowflyers he markets.
Jim was right! Without any other changes, the Fokker now flies like a good slowflyer should - it gently floats off the ground and flies around very nicely for the full duration of the pack. Joel and his son Nicholas really enjoy flying it in the grass region between the homes in their subdivision, and they hope to bring it to our next indoor meet. This was a pretty cheap way to completely transform a marginal airplane. Consider giving this prop a try on your slowflyer if you're not getting the performance you're expecting.
Gus Morfis, noted designer of 704 combat aircraft (1/12 scale), now has several very nice scale designs for Speed 400 power. Rather than re-tell Gus' story, I've reprinted his note to me below, along with some pictures of his planes:
From: Gus Morfis CMMORFIS(at)aol.com
Subject: New R/C Electric Plans
Thanks for your prompt e-mail response. Sorry that I cannot scan these photos for you, but I am having trouble getting past the 'walking while chewing gum' stage of the internet's technology.
Since I retired, I have gotten into the R/C plan selling 'business' and now that electrics have come upon the scene, I have given them a try. As you see, I have had some small success with some of the magazines, and if any of your readers want a set of these plans (those used in magazine articles - Ed) they will have to get them from the magazine involved.
While I prefer the scale models, 'Batty' is a little different. I have had a very successful Messerschmitt ME-163 Komet design in my catalog right along. But when the Speed 400 motor hit the scene, my friend [and builder/flyer/photographer], Tom Fey, discussed the Komet as a possible Speed 400 project. I was a bit concerned about simply shrinking the design. Would it really work in the smaller size?
So I took it down to our local copy shop and reduced it, and I simplified the design so that Tom could get it into the air quickly. When his kids checked out what he was doing in the garage, they promptly claimed that it was Batman's airplane! Thus, we scalloped the trailing edges in order to make it 'more scale'.
Batty flew, and flew well! And I went back to the board to design the Komet! If your readers want, I can sell Batty and the Komet plans. The price is $11.00 each, post paid. Canadian orders, please add $1.00. Other foreign, please add $3.00. The P-39 Aircobra is $11.00, too. (my favorite! - Ed)
4709 Green Meadows Ave
Torrance, CA 90505-5507
P.S. A Mig-3 is now in the works.
This 33-1/4" span Douglas AD-1 Skyraider was featured in the May 2000 issue of Flying Models magazine. Don Belfort built the model
This is the 28-3/4" span "BATTY", the flight test model for the Messerschmitt Me-163 Komet. Tom Fey built the model.
This 36-3/4" span Citabria is in active negotiation with one of the modeling magazines. Tom Fey built the model. Thats Tom smiling.
This 30-3/4" span P-51D was featured in the October 2000 issue of the R/C Modeler magazine. Jack Hix built the model.
This 27" span Buggati R-100 is in active negotiation with one of the modeling magazines. Tom Fey built the model.
Fort Wayne's First Indoor Meet
Pat Mattes, after attending an indoor event in Michigan, decided we ought to have something similar here in Fort Wayne, Indiana. So, he made contact with the local Golf Dome (indoor golf driving range) and arranged for a trial night. Measuring about 350 ft long and 260 ft. wide (and I'm guessing around 75 ft high in the center), it provided quite a bit of room for indoor flying (our esteemed Indoor Columnist had been heard to cry "unfair" over this!). Crashes still happened, of course (how many people seem to hit the only tree in an open field?), but we were able to fly a number of planes that push the definition of "slow flyer". Most notable might have been Pat's Pico Jet, which he hot-rodded around with spectacular effect. Although it was a Wednesday night, and fairly late at that (9 - 11 p.m.), we still had 11 participants and a number of spectators. All in all, it was considered a success and plans have already been made for the next event (see above). Below are a few photos from this endeavor:
Pat Mattes never fails to show up with his own squadron - and something a little bit different!
From left to right, top row: A few of Pat's planes, shown in the "pits" - the driving range made a nice place to keep planes and gear; Pat giving a talk on slowflyers to some of the club members; Pat demonstrating his LiteStik; Pat's PicoJet in flight.
Bottom Row, left to right: The Ferrias in flight; Pat about to launch his converted Lanier U-2; the U-2 in flight. Pat used a direct-drive 6V Speed 400 with a Gunther prop on the U-2. A very gentle and elegant flyer.
The Mini-Pleaser in the upper left (available from Northeast Sailplanes http://www.nesail.com and Marky's Hobby Shop http://www.parkflyers.com) has the distinction of being the only plane at the meet to perform aerobatics (at least intentionally!). Pat Mattes used it to perform a loop. It may well have been the nicest indoor flyer there - it seemed to fly as gently as the LiteStiks, but with more control and authority. The lower left photo shows Dennis Adamison flying a LiteStik. The other photos show a few of the planes in flight.
Now there's a scary sight! Darwin Garrison, the man behind Garrison Aerodrome, flying - what else? - an EPP foam winged PF-6 slowflyer. Darwin had a little gearbox problem (loose pinion, I think) that's since been corrected. The two photos next to Darwin's picture show the PF-6 in flight.
Here's my fleet. My son Patrick and I flew our Miss 2 and Miss Bohemia aircraft in the Dome. The Miss 2 is a little on the large side, but it's such a gentle, well behaved flyer that was pretty easy (of course, I just made large circles with it). We had taped in the servos on the Miss Bohemia (just changed servos shortly before the meet), and they were tending to shift a bit, making things a little interesting. They're now solidly mounted, and the plane is a joy to fly. The three in-flight photos show the Miss Bohemia and the Miss 2 cruising the dome.
Azarr's Fall Non-Event
Azarr's semi-annual (spring and fall) Non-Event is one of the most enjoyable electric meets I have the opportunity to attend each year. It's a very informal affair, with a nice field, no fees, no prizes (although I think they had one door prize), and this year - free food for the pilots! Otherwise, it's just an all-day, fly as much as you want event. This year we had quite a showing from Indiana. Out of 29 pilots, 8 were in our group from Fort Wayne, and I think there were at least one or two others from Indiana as well. We also stayed the latest (although I don't think we won any prizes for that...). It was a great time meeting up with old and new friends, enjoying everyone's latest projects, and just generally avoiding the soy bean field (which is much nicer on planes than corn fields!). My son Patrick raced his Aveox 1005/3y equipped Sliver against Nicholas Maxwell's Aveox 1005/4y Adrenalin. As might be expected, the more powerful Sliver held an easy lead for about 45 seconds, then the two planes stayed about even for another 45 seconds, then the batteries begin to drop off on the Sliver. The Adrenalin flew quite a bit longer, but that's to be expected with the much lower current draw. The very mild weather that day allowed some very light slow-flyers to take wing in the morning, and almost anything else could be flown all day - quite a change from the normal heavy winds that seem to plague most of these meets. Below I have a sampling of some of the people and aircraft at the Non-Event:
Ron Daniels with his Hawker Tempest. Ron was on his way back to Canada, and decided to drop by and grace us with his presence. He's produced a really nice line of British fighters (Typhoon, Tempest, and Sea Fury) now kitted by Hobby Hangar www.hobbyhangar.com . I had the chance to fly his Tempest, and I can honesty say it's an incredibly sweet flyer - one of those planes that's feels so controllable that it just begs you to make strafing passes right on the deck! Since the Sea Fury is one of my favorite planes, I might have to pick up one of these kits sometime. The second photo shows Ron and Jim Ryan ready to re-live a little of W.W.II. Ron's Tempest was powered by a geared Astro 035 on 10 800AR's turning a 9x8 prop. Jim's FW-190 is powered by an Astro brushless 05 on 8 cells. Both flew very well. The photo on the far left shows the planes and pilots right after launch.
A few of the more "creative" planes at the meet. An interesting Speed 400 delta in the upper left, a pair of Lazy Bees (note the aileron wing and non-standard landing gear in the Lazy Bee on the right), and a Sig LT-25 with sort of a camo scheme. The Sig appears to be powered by an Astro 15 on 14 cells.
This beautifully covered Kyosho T-33 on the left really moved out. Powered by an Aveox 1114/4y motor on 10 cells. The little Sokol racer was no slouch, either, even on a Speed 400. This plane comes fully built with torque rods installed for around $125. The forward swept canard on the right is fascinating, but I don't have any information on it.
A couple of Jim Ryan's new planes. The P-47 on the left put on a nice airshow with superb performance, while the PBY Catalina looked to be an elegant and smooth flyer. The photo on the right shows Jim getting the PBY ready for flight.
Mark Wolf's fleet. I saw the German bomber on the right fly shortly after I arrived. An awesome flyer - very strong performer on twin geared Astro 05's, with that beautiful sound that only multi-engined models can make. Mark was having interference problems, so the rest of his fleet remained grounded during the meet. That was unfortunate; Mark's a great pilot, and he puts on a nice show with his planes. The Kyosho Stearman on the left is identical to the plane I'll be reviewing with MaxCim power (Mark powers his with an Astro geared 40 on 20 cells).
A few representatives from the slow crowd, albeit at somewhat different scales! The gentleman on the left is showing off his IFO and half size IFO, while a peek inside his car revealed an Elipstik and a few other very light flyers. The winds were so calm in the morning that even the lightest of slow flyers could venture out. The huge old-timer on the right was originally powered by a .60 glow engine. The owner had an Astro geared 25 on the front for this meet, backed up by 16 cells. It appeared to fly very nicely, sort of like a huge insect, but the owner felt it was a little slow compared to its glow performance.
Ken Johnson brought along several nice planes, among which were his Pica PT-19 (subject of a currently-posted E-Zone review) and his Kyosho Learjet (soon to be published E-Zone review). The PT-19 flies very well on a Speed 480, 6x4 prop, and 8 800AR cells. The grass field prevented the Learjet from taking off at Azarr's meet, but it flew recently from a paved strip with nice flight performance.
Joel Maxwell brought along his Comet twin 480 ducted fan "jet", formerly reviewed for the E-Zone by Shaun Cronin. A very nice looking plane with surprisingly good performance. His son Nicholas flew their Aveox 1005/4y equipped Adrenalin extensively (see a review on this motor/plane in this month's E-Zone). This is a potent system, probably the second fasted plane at the meet (after my son's Sliver with an Aveox 1005/3y). Young Nicholas is quite a pilot. I believe he won first or second in the junior class flying Quickie 500 at this year's AMA Nationals.
Shaun Cronin brought along several very nice flyers, but this wasn't to be the day for his Pylon Buster. Shaun had just repaired the plane from a previous "incident", only to have it go in right off the hand launch. That didn't really hurt the plane, but while it was being carried back by Joel Maxwell an errant Zagi hit Joel and the Pylon Buster, splitting it in half. Joel is thankful Zagi's are made of soft foam and have props in the back! The seaplane on the right is the Osprey, sold by Hobby Lobby International (www.hobby-lobby.com). This will be the subject of an E-zone review soon to be published.
Pat Mattes' Sig Wonder caused quite a stir. This little plane really moves out! He's currently powering it with a direct Astro 05, but he prefers a geared Astro 035. On the right you can see Pat proving that a Twinstar is indeed aerobatic. Pat pulls more out of the Multiplex Twinstar http://www.multiplexrc.com/ than anyone I know.
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2000
I've got three Bill Evans gas Simitars I've been flying for years. I wanted a small electric powered one so I took out a bunch of his plans and tried to come up with some sort of design formulas. The pictures I'm sending are my result. A touch of down trim was needed; other than that it flew off the board.
- Weight: 31oz
- Length 33 inches
- Wing Span: 36 in
- Root chord: 10.5 in
- Tip chord: 6.75in
- Wing Area: 315 sq.
- Motor: Graupner 480 with 3.45 gears
- Prop: Graupner 10x8 Cam prop
- Battery Pack: 8 Sanyo 500AR cells
- Speed Control: FMA
- Radio: Hitec 555 receiver with two mini servos using transmitter mixer.
- Airfoil: Simitar airfoil printed from Compufoil
- Wing loading: 14.1 oz
It's a real sweetheart of a flying machine; it's fast, smooth, and fully acrobatic. Bob Kopski flew it also at the Burlington new Jersey meet. He liked it and took some photos.
1746 Holly Rd
North Brunswick, New Jersey 08902
Planes should be seen and not heard. Pour on the Watts!
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