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Jul 17, 2001, 04:18 AM
Sloping off....
leccyflyer's Avatar

MAF Mini Flying Machine

Just wondering if anyone else out there has electrified a Miniature Aircraft Factory Mini Flying Machine?

After two unsuccessful attempts to make this conversion of a small IC model (27.5" span, only 195 square inches) fly properly with Speed 400 and 480 race direct drive on a variety of props, she finally flew yesterday. In the end I lobbed a Permax 480 in her, turning a Graupner 5.5sq prop on 8x900AAs and was quite pleased with the performance.

The MFM was designed for an .049 but lots of people shoehorn an OS.10FP in there for more power, then there are a few speed maniacs who somehow manage to get a .15 in there! This particular model is the prototype made for IC(it was hanging up in the LHS along with another couple of MAF prototypes when they got out of the business) and weighs in at 500g without the batteries.

Initially I thought that even with the 480 it was a little underpowered, but once she got going the motor seems to be sufficient- she'll loop from level flight easily, rolls nicely but lacks a rudder for some other manouevers.

Anyhow- has anyone else converted this wee beastie to electric and if so, can you tell me which power train you decided on?


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Jul 17, 2001, 05:20 AM
Registered User
Bill Glover's Avatar
Sounds small and heavy!

I have an ail/ele model with similar dimensions (28" span), but that flew IC with a TD 020 at 9 oz all-up and is now electric with S280BB and 6x500AR (have also used 7x720 nimh). Think the AUW is about 13 oz (370g) now, using smaller & lighter r/c gear than when it was IC. I also have a 4-channel IC version with a PAW .55 diesel, and that's about 14 oz AUW.

Are MAF still going? I built a 3 ch. Rainbow Bipe for another PAW .55 and that was a close contender for the worst kit I've ever seen. The plans were all distorted .. it would have had swept-forward wings if I'd built off them! When I rang, the guy said yes, their photocopier did that (often)! And the wood was mostly like oak, a lot of it I replaced and the rest I filled with lightening holes!

Back on-topic, the 480 is quite a bit heavier than a 6v S400 ... in order to get some benefit from that extra weight I'd go to a slightly bigger prop, maybe a 6x4 or 7x4? I doubt the MFM flies fast enough for a 5.5 to unload and the blades will certainly be stalled at low speed. Have you run the numbers through Motocalc?

But bear in mind these are suggestions from someone who doesn't have any experience of the MFM ... so feel free to ignore them

[This message has been edited by Bill Glover (edited 07-17-2001).]
Jul 17, 2001, 05:45 AM
Sloping off....
leccyflyer's Avatar

Thanks for the comments. I do intend to do a lot of experimentation with props on this one because I too believe the 480 would benefit from something a bit larger than the speed prop, which looks awfully small. I'm a bit short in the 6-7" electric prop line at the moment though and so is the LHS. I put the numbers through Motocalc yesterday just before leaving for the field and frightened myself to death!

I agree with the comments on the MAF plans - Kev and myself both have MAF Searching 400s and the plan for that was severely out of kilter and distorted so Kev squared it up again to build his Searching.

As far as I know the original MAF team packed it in a few years ago and Peter Kent put a few of his prototypes up in the LHS for sale, resulting in me ending up with the PK-built orignals of the Webbit, Searching and Mini Flying Machine. Kev picked up some of the little Buzz-Bipes and other wierd things they used to do - remember their WWII one-man assault glider the Hawker Headbutt? . Some of the kits are still available through FMK models in Liverpool (aka 5-star adhesives).

In case some folks haven't see the Mini Flyng Machine this is what one looks like -

I'll let you know how I get on with a bigger prop Bill.


Jul 17, 2001, 07:54 AM
Visitor from Reality
Blast from the past time! I had a MFM, from the MAF kit - yeah, got an OS15FP into it. That thing was nearly fast. Surprised there's room for e-stuff in it though, it was a tad crowded inside there with glow stuff and RC.

I've also still got my Hawker Headbutt, though mine was built for me as a "Leaving England" present by designer Gray (now writing "Sport Channel" in RCMW, all contributions "Gray"-tfully accepted ).

Understand that FMK was less than impressed when they found out the Headbutt kit also came with a royalty payment agreement to Gray. They were trying to cheapskate the deal somewhat.

BTW - I never had one, but saw Shane Harding fly MAF's show demo "Flying Machine". Take off involved holding it just aft of the wing with the nose pointing straight up, winding up the OS46 FSR and letting go into a climbing roll followed by a snap into a climbing inverted spin.

Be a while before we can do that with an electric (and still fly for five minutes afterwards )

Bet the shape of the Flying Machine, a light structure and around 500 watts would work real well.


Jul 17, 2001, 08:26 AM
Blew out my flip flop
David Hogue's Avatar
I wondered about this when I saw the first post...Was this based on Don Muddiman's .40 size design? Now that I see the pics, I know it is!!! Dunno about the MAF kits, but I scratchbuilt one from Don's plans and cores..the Cloud Dancer's were using OS .46's piped in buddy and I ran piped Rossi .45's. Don said thiers were clocked at 120mph...I know ours were even faster. The vertical hand launches were always exiting...6lbs thrust on a 4.25lb frame will tend to be!! It slowed down really well on landings too, with the reflexed airfoil. Mine died one day when too low and too far ahead of the pilot, but the wing survived and I still have a few copies of Don's excellent plans. And I was just thinking how nice a small electric one might fly, haha!!!! Gawd, I loved that airplane...

Jul 17, 2001, 08:49 AM
Registered User
Bill Glover's Avatar
The shape is very similar to a number of other designs ... when I saw the original (.40 size) Flying Machine I assumed it was a clone of the earlier 'Hots' (which also came in several sizes).
Jul 17, 2001, 09:20 AM
Sloping off....
leccyflyer's Avatar
Originally posted by Dereck:
Surprised there's room for e-stuff in it though, it was a tad crowded inside there with glow stuff and RC.

Well, it's only small electric stuff

Not enough room for the 8x800ARs I'd hoped to use but the wing loading is high enough as it is. Hitec Mi04 RX velcroed to the former at the back of the wing behind the aileron torque rods, cheap RC Line MSC20B ESC velcroed to the roof of the fuel tank bay, leccy's patented Kodak film canister motor mounting tube with ply nose ring shoehorned into the nose so that the motor can be easily dropped in through the big 'ole in the ex-firewall and 8x900AA cells in a block pack configuration

[---][---]OO x 2 layers like so (I knew that wouldn't work first time)

squeezed in behind a lolly-ice stick battery retaining system. Two HS-81s, one in the wing for the ailerons, and t'other servo taped and blocked to the fuselage side. My 8x500AR packs are too long to fit in the available space as well, but you could reconfigure these into a humpback pack and fit them for a shorter but quicker flight profile.

Not sure if it would be possible to fit a proper "posh" motor in it but at the moment it's plenty quick enough for my ppp-skills with this one in it It's small and heavy and is to see service as a familiarisation trainer for some other things waiting in the wings. It's life expectancy is short



[This message has been edited by leccyflyer (edited 07-17-2001).]
Jul 17, 2001, 08:26 PM
Blew out my flip flop
David Hogue's Avatar

Trust me on this one, the Flying Machine as Don designed it( I dunno bout the MAF's ), is a much better airplane than a Hots ever thought about being...faster at top end, slower at landing, and wilder anywhere in between!!! Now, back to your regularly scheduled program( the electric one )


PS: Anyone want a set of plans? Email me..
Nov 24, 2004, 12:53 PM
Registered User
I am the owner of the miniature aircraft factory., the kits are still all in production, however they are only supplied to the model trade through Five star distribution, retail sales are sometimes made at model exhibitions through FMK Models, who i am co director, these companies are seperate entitiies as are Five Star Distribution, model mold ,starloc adhesives, and starspan model coverings yes im involved with all of them but they are not the same company and all have other co owners
The comments above by dereck are somewhat libalous and ill informed, as to where he got this info, i dont know, possibly from gray, ( who still scams freebies off us, we never get a mention in his mag article more freebies for gray!)
WE took over complete production and the name of the miniature aircraft factory, the sales contract mentions that i have the rights to use the name, the logo, the plans, the instructions, the tooling etc, and that i own the copyright for a complete list of model kits which are all listed, the hawker headbutt is one of them, it is stated on the bill of sale that no royalties are payable to anyone for anyone of the kits!,
Shortly after taking over the miniture aircraft factory, we were contacted by `gray` who commented that he had alowed peter to use the design, but now he would need a royalty payment as peter was a freind! and a cottage industry! ,we did say thay we would consider about arranging something if we ever made any of the headbutt kits, at this time we also pointed out that we would probably never produce the kit, even though it would be listed in our catalogues (still is, but with no price) to see if there was a demand for production of the kit, reaserch.
There was never any demand for kit as in my opinion it was quite ugly and had no commercial potential as our kit runs at the time were in batches of 1000, however we still own the sole rights as a manufacturer of the kit that was produced by the miniature aircraft factory,
In our 1999 cataloge we listed a range of `MAF` electric kits that were slightly different construction specificaly for our stinger 400 electric motor ( similar to the robbie 480 ), thee MFM was one of these we used 7* 500 AR cells at the time as there werent many cells around that would fit.

The website is

Trade sales to
Nov 24, 2004, 01:04 PM
Registered User
, The coments about the quality of the MAF kits, I have never heard any complaints about the quality of peters kits, however there was a model shop local to us in cheshire producing cheapo copys with wonky plans, he used to do this with the wot4 as well!
The kits cant be any of mine that you are commenting on, as we have never produced any searching 400 kits!.Rainbow bipes, no one ever phoned up and got an answer off a guy on the phone as the phone is always answered by a woman!, all our plans are produced on lazer plan printers, that cant go wonky like a photocopier!, peter got them done at work i think on a photocopier, spoke to many people at shows who demand that i should produce some kits, never heard any complaints though!
Nov 24, 2004, 01:17 PM
Registered User
Bill Glover's Avatar
I built my Rainbow Bipe in 1994, and stand by the comments I made above. The kit was bought direct from MAF on 2/12/94 via an ad in one of the UK mags, it cost 21.45 including p&p.

I had to re-draw the plan myself in order to build a straight set of wings. Sorry but I didn't take the name of the guy I spoke to

I still have the plane, as modified it flies very nicely.
Nov 24, 2004, 01:28 PM
Registered User
That`l have been peter kent , back then the photocopiers werent that good, so i suppose things could happen, we had new plans done when we took over, not that we found anything wrong with the masters, just that we like things done our way!
Peter always had a bit of trouble keeping up with manufacturing around then as his kits were very popular, im told his reason for giving up manufacturing them was that he never wanted to see another model kit again!, he made them all in his single car size garage!, we have trouble making them and weve got 5000 sq.ft for the rc model kits/bits!, how did he fit the stuff in,
glad it wasnt one of the kits we made!
At that time we took up cutting all our own balsa , as we used to buy up the uks balsa supplies ready cut to do our kits! and all we could get was rubbish, quite often very very hard and not exactly straight, so we took up cutting our own, thats why we dont make the kits in small quantities anymore as we have to cut the balsa, you might as well do a load at once and get it over and done with!
I always liked the flying machine aand the buzz bipe, couldnt get on with the rainbow bipe as it was too slow!
Last edited by FMK / MAF KITS; Nov 24, 2004 at 03:24 PM.
Nov 24, 2004, 01:56 PM
Registered User
Bill Glover's Avatar
My Rainbow Bipe zips along with the PAW 55, ROGs happily from normal club strip grass and I flew it at Olympia one year (where it was a real handful .. rudder/elevator indoors is not nice!). It rolls quite fast on rudder only, but the slightest touch of down elevator to keep the nose up when inverted causes the most violent negative flick rolls you've ever seen! If you are high enough this is a fun and spectacular manoeuvre, otherwise you have to remember to start the roll slightly nose high and not touch the elevator ... or you're in big trouble! I was going to build an aileron wing for it but never got round to it.
Nov 24, 2004, 05:16 PM
Visitor from Reality
Gray's Headbutt has just been published 'over there' - Aviation Modeller or somesuch mag. The model has had a lot of adherents over the years - I have one still, but it was built for me by Gray. Must give it another airing sometime ...

Gray I've known for many years, met Peter once or twice at shows when he hauled the MAF along - yes, they were good friends and the arrangement between them over the Headbutt was well known and out in the open back then.

Now the HB is a magazine plan, that opens up a new can of ownership worms (unless you're Chinese and believe there's a market for a BARF, of course ).

I keep having an urge for a bigger Headbutt, maybe even a twin electric - have the important parts ready ie - the plan to scale up, and the 'phony scale' story to go with it.

Now, if we could get Gray to do something else with the four engined canard version of the Lancaster, that would be something else!


Nov 25, 2004, 06:48 AM
Speed Demon
GregG's Avatar
FMK / MAF KITS, Welcome to "The Ezone"!

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