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Posted by ChrisS | Sep 27, 2015 @ 01:55 PM | 4,467 Views
Originally I wanted a giant version of what I just built, bigger is always better, right? Plus, I haven't even put a dent in that big box of balsa yet. Well, in the process of laying that out, I started making changes (no surprises there) and what I ended up with is really a totally different design altogether.
It's specs are:
Wing: Span is 74", MH44 airfoil, 9.6% thick, tapered 4.5 inches from root to tip
Full house wing, with mixing for flaperons, spoilerons, brakes and full or 2/3 span ailerons.
Tail: swappable, can be cruciform, V or T type. This is key as I wanted to prove to myself definitively what the different types have to offer using the same airframe as a reference.
It's a large-ish plane, weighing in at 110 ounces AUW. Using a 5065 motor on 5 or 6S and spinning a prop in the 15 to 18" range.
Posted by ChrisS | Jul 09, 2015 @ 09:45 PM | 4,579 Views
I have this problem...I HAVE to be building something all the time. "Big deal" you say, "I have the same problem". OK, I get that, it's what this site is all about. Well, ever have a desire to build but nothing looks good? I have a stack of kits and scads of plans, but sometimes, nothing looks satisfying. That's usually when I put pencil to paper.

So, I recently acquired a box of balsa from a friend who is downsizing and moving cross country. Serious bummer, I hate losing friends and even worse, flying partners.

Anyway, this box of balsa is more than I will need for a couple of years. No kidding, it's more balsa than a decent hobby shop would have in stock.

So I'm thinking, hmmm, what can I make that uses nothing longer than 36" wood, will be a nice sport flyer, comes apart easily for quick trips to the field, and can be powered nicely with one of several 400 size brushless motors I happen to have on hand. Oh, and I wanted a V-tail, for no particular reason other than I like the way they look.

This is what I came up with:
Posted by ChrisS | Jun 06, 2015 @ 09:16 PM | 4,576 Views
If you look down my list of projects here, you'll see a plane called the Speed Twin, this was designed by Tim Hooper and is a nice flyer. I liked it so much I decided to do another of his designs called the Clean Sweep 60.

An odd looking plane to be sure, forward swept wings, something of a racer styled fuselage and a T tail. There are now 3 Clean Sweep plans available, this is the larger of the bunch. It uses a 4260 sized outrunner motor and 5S battery.

Getting started, here are the tail parts: Fairly simple, 1/4" sheet for the elevator and rudder and the fin is built up from 1/4" square and sheeted over. This is done to create a hollow structure for the elevator flex cable to pass through.
Posted by ChrisS | Jun 06, 2015 @ 09:03 PM | 4,543 Views
These things have been around for decades. Kind of a really short coupled plane some would call a flying wing although the designer states this is incorrect. In any event, I had never built one, flown them, but never done one of my own.

I happened across a kit here (where else?) and set it up with a Hacker A30-12M running on 4 cells and spinning a 7X6 or 7X7 prop.

Great little plane, it has a huge speed envelope and is extremely true. I built it with the angular tails and Hoerner wing tips. It seems to be pretty well balanced either upside down or rightside up and is very easy to launch owing to the fact that it makes more thrust than it weighs.

It's a keeper.

Posted by ChrisS | Apr 18, 2015 @ 07:47 PM | 6,094 Views
Back in the late 80's Graupner produced a neat little JU-52 kit. I had the good fortune to run across one of these older kits on EBAY and won the auction. The kit had been started and what was done was done wrong. Additionally, there was a lot of bad wood, wood that had just gotten brittle. But it had a lot of nice features, neat hinges for the Junkers style "doppelwingen" ailerons, a very generous hardware package, and the critical milled wood parts were all still good. So I went ahead with the build.

I made a couple of changes, changes that I felt were no-brainers. I went to three small Hacker A20-16M outrunners (the kit originally had speed 400's). I used a 4 cell LiPo battery (the kit originally used an 8 cell sub-C NiCd pack). I added washout to the wings as they are of a fairly steep taper. And of course aileron servos in the wings.

The final product is quite nice. The three motors combined only pull 20 amps, so a 2700mAHr pack flies the model for longer than needed. Power is quite good with full throttle only being needed occasionally. The model lifts it's tail immediately upon power up and is airborne in 20 feet. And the sound of the three motors is oh so sweet.
Posted by ChrisS | Jul 15, 2014 @ 09:34 PM | 6,863 Views
Not too long ago, I mentioned to a friend that I was thinking about giving SPA a try and I thought maybe the classic Curare would be a good way to go. What a good friend, not much later he calls me back and tells me he found an original MK kit, as new in-the-box. This is the 40 size kit (57" wing), I think it'll do well as an electric conversion...retracts and all.

It is somewhat prop limited (about 10 to 11"), with that in mind and wanting a power system based around middle sized 4S packs, I chose a Hacker A30-8XL as the motivator. This should spin a 10X7 right around 13K rpm and yield a thrust of better than 80 ounces and pitch speed of around 90mph...sounds good.
Posted by ChrisS | Aug 11, 2013 @ 06:53 PM | 10,794 Views
-----Soooo, I've been wanting to do a large-ish scale project for a while. I still have a love for all things "two". So why not a twin engined biplane?

I looked around at the available offerings for plans and settled on Ivan Pettigrew' newest creation, a 74 inch DH.90. A beautiful plane, one of four different models of it's general type produced by the British de Havilland company in the 1930's. The Dragon, Express, Dragon Rapide and finally the Dragonfly.

This will likely take a while but I'll post pics here as I progress, along with observations and nuances of the general build.

So far I have pretty much finished the fuse, Upper wings and empennage pieces. The most interesting detail so far has been the "Frise" ailerons. These do good things for planes that would otherwise suffer from adverse yaw. The designer has also added another detail to tackle the known issues of the long thin wings of the DH.90 by adding washout. These features and several others should yield an airplane that is well mannered and easy to fly...I can't wait.

The wing loading is stated to be 13.7 ounces/ft^2. Mine will be a bit heavier as I need the wings to come apart for transporting. Hopefully I won't add too much weight in the process...the woes of driving a small car.

-----I have been working on the Drangonfly a bit. I finished the upper wing by creating a center section that will afix permanently to the fuse. The wing outer sections connect with a carbon tube-in-tube...Continue Reading
Posted by ChrisS | Jan 19, 2013 @ 03:36 PM | 7,674 Views
I got this bug a while back to build a vacuformer. We had one at MinAir while I worked there and I learned to really like making stuff with it.

After some research on the internet, I came up with a plan of my own utilyzing several of what I considered the better ideas from what I had read. A few trips to Lowes and a couple weekends working on it had the completed unit ready to try.

It is an outstanding success, I could vacform a fly and capture the details of it's wings!

For those of you who may be on the edge with building up one of these things, don't be, dive in and do it. The major parts are a shop vac and electric grill. All else is just a bunch of bits from the shelves of the hardware store.

Posted by ChrisS | Jan 19, 2013 @ 03:24 AM | 7,433 Views
A few months ago, RCM&E included a nice set of plans with the mag, the Speedtwin. Nice looking plane, scale, twin and what the heck, free plans. I had to give it a go.

Well, it took a month or so and had it's challenges, there are no molded parts included with free plans (although there is now a laser cut wood pack available). In the end, I prevaled and wound up with a nice looking model that flies well.

I set it up with, what else, a pair of Hackers. A20-8XL's to be exact, on 3S, swinging 7x5's opposite to each other for about 20 amps to each motor.

Additionally, I used a pair of "RC Lander" landing gear from Hobby King, a pair of aluminum 2" wheels from Maxx Products. The result is a nice, good looking landing gear combination.

The model wants more power, and as soon as I work over some cooling issues, it will get more, as simple as a pair of 7x7's. The issues I have are with the esc's, as they seemed a bit warm after the first few flights.

For now, it's very distinctive in the air and flies quite well, exhibiting no bad tendencies at all. Landings are smooth and drama-free, even with the extra wing loading I added with the retracts and larger wheels.

Posted by ChrisS | Aug 04, 2012 @ 06:09 PM | 8,092 Views
I started this one a while back, got it finished a month or so ago, and then never flew it until just recently. I'll blame the hot Vegas weather, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, it's an unusual subject in that no part of the fuse extends forward of the leading edge of the wing. The kit is produced by Hobby Hanger and is fairly complete even including a number of moulded plastic parts. As there was only one original built, and that one was not particularly pretty, I chose to model the "Blackhawk" plane from the comic book of the same name a few decades back.

I set it up with a pair of Hacker A30-14L's running on two 4S 2700mAHr packs taking in right at 1000watts. I used the $8 electric retracts from HobbyKing. And of course the vinyl was done by my wife Sharon (she's gotten pretty good with a vinyl cutter).

The plane flies very sedately. It gets off the grass in 10 to 20 feet and flies at a brisk but easy to follow speed (I know, get out the radar and quantify that).

It is only a 60" wing, but with virtually everything on that wing, it becomes quite bulky and heavy. Field setup is a little cumbersome as a result. I need to build a rack to hold it all together while I fix the wing to the fuse and install the batteries.

That said, it's just plain cool lookin' in the air. It has great presense and the sound of the two motors in harmony is second to none. I think it'd make a good addition to anyones fleet...especially if you are into odd looking twins.


I have gone to Hacker A30-10XL's turning APC-e 10X10's on 4S. This added another 300 or so input watts while increasing my ground clearance (smaller diameter props). At the same time the change also allowed me to take some of the lead off the firewalls. The net result yields a pitch speed of right at 100mph. The model sings along quite swiftly now, certainly not 100mph, but more than fast enough for a model of this type.
Posted by ChrisS | Jul 31, 2012 @ 02:34 AM | 7,774 Views
Soooo, I had never built a Cub before, they always seemed kind of like a scale trainer to me. Actually, that's exactly what they are. But I spotted one of the older Herr kits in the classifieds one day (I really like Tom's kits) and in a moment of weakness, I bought it for a rainy day. Well, rainy days don't happen all that often here in Las Vegas, but they do happen... So, last weekend, I dug the kit out, and 20 hours later, had it done. Using nothing but stuff I had on hand, hardware-wise (I did have to order the monokote and paint), the plane turned out well.

It's the 48 inch version. I deviated from plan in that I flattened the wing and added ailerons (I can't stand R/E only planes). A Hacker 20-20L provides motivation and surprisingly, it is fun to fly.
Posted by ChrisS | Mar 23, 2012 @ 11:28 PM | 8,151 Views
Well, I spent better than 7 months away from home last year, which put a serious crimp in my building activities. But, I'm back home now, hopefully for a while, so let the building continue.

First for 2012 is an Alien Aircraft C-310B. A neat little kit done by Tom Herr. Tom has a long history of making fine model aircraft kits and this one continues in that tradition.

I set it up with a pair of Hacker A20-34's swinging a pair of APC-e 7X5's opposite to each other. Certainly not a power house or particularly aerobatic, but darned fun to fly around as scale like as possible. I have also found that differential throttle mixed in with rudder makes for some pretty neat yaw maneuvers as well as taxiing (it has a fixed nose wheel).
Posted by ChrisS | Dec 25, 2011 @ 10:13 PM | 8,311 Views
Top 10 Reasons to Spend Christmas Holidays at Kandahar
1. Where else can you get your picture taken with a Predator or Reaper
wearing a giant Santa hat?
2. You can wrap all of your presents with newspaper and everyone will
think it’s okay.
3. If you’re really nice to the omelet guy at Niagra, he may even make
you an omelet with cranberry sauce and turkey (by turkey, I mean
some form of pork product).
4. The dust looks like snowflakes if you squint your eyes and look at
just the right angle.
5. If you had “dead terrorist” on your Christmas list, Santa may just
6. With all of our special ops friends sporting cool beards, there is no
shortage of Santa look-alikes.
7. The squadron provides a safe haven from visiting in-laws.
8. The Chinese government has sent free mini-Christmas trees complete
with USB plug-ins to all Kandahar personnel.
9. You really don’t have to shop for anyone…if someone asks you what
you bought them, stare blankly and yell, “Rocket Attack!”
10. With any luck at all, you might find a cool holiday souvenir (rocket
Posted by ChrisS | Aug 14, 2011 @ 04:01 AM | 9,120 Views
I'm not sure what it is, but I have a lot of affection for twins and biplanes. Recently this has turned to DeHavillands. This one has a 50 inch wing, retracts and almost a horsepower divided between those two nacelles. I built it from a short kit put out by T&J models. Not for the faint of heart, this model has no angles, it's all curves, so lots of sanding and shaping. I actually started this first in the year and put it down out of frustration. I got back to it later with renewed zeal. My wife, Sharon, did the vinyl for it (and all my models). I'm very lucky to have someone to take on such challenges for me. And she does a good job to boot.
Posted by ChrisS | Aug 11, 2011 @ 05:48 PM | 9,162 Views
This is an EMBAT for those that remember them. Kitted in the early 2000's, they were sold by AVEOX. Basically a sport/performance plane, it followed in the footsteps of the then popular ElectroStreak from Great Planes. Long since gone from the market, I had the good fortune to run across a complete kit here on EZONE and decided to re-live a bit of the past. I updated the model with flaps, a reinforced wing, Landing gear and a ton of power...hence the "2011" designation. It is a blast to fly and has a wide speed envelope.
Posted by ChrisS | Aug 11, 2011 @ 05:35 PM | 9,142 Views
This is another of those early electric kits that did very well. Great Planes kitted this one all in balsa at first and then later in an ARF kit with FG fuse. It was called the ElectroStreak.

Twice lucky, I found this one here on the Ezone at the same time as I found the EMBAT kit above. Loving to build wood kits and modify things, I built the wing with carbon spars, added the landing gear, lengthened the rudder and installed a bunch of power under the hood. The final product is a plane that flies remarkably well at mid stick settings and is ballistic at full stick...faster still than the EMBAT, and a good bit more predictable.
Posted by ChrisS | Aug 10, 2011 @ 04:26 PM | 9,186 Views
One of five planes so far this year, a Radical RC e-Hornet. This is a neat little kit consisting of 110 of the nicest laser cut parts I have ever shaken out of a bag. The kit builds very much like a 3D puzzle and requires no special building board or tools. I built the plane 100% box stock and installed a Hacker A20-6XL motor turning a Graupner 5X5 prop at 23K rpm. the result is breathtaking. By far the fastest flat and level flyer I have built in a long time...maybe ever.