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Jarel Aircraft Design Telos Slope Glider Review

Chances are that you've seen his work in TV and film, and this same creative mind brings us this unique aircraft.



Wingspan:52" counting the wing tips
Wing Area:364 sq. in.
Wing Loading:12.7 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:Airtronics 141/Hitec HS85
Transmitter:JR 9303
Receiver:Hitec Electron 6
Available From:

When I started writing for magazines many years ago the editor asked me what I was and wasnít interested in reviewing. I told them that I didn't want to review anything weird. The Telos, while not exactly weird, is certainly different, and itís an eye-catcher on the ground and in the air. With the main wing is in the middle of the fuselage and the stab (or canard as itís actually called) forward on the fuselage, it has a look like no other slope airplane around. Letís get started building this unique slope soarer!

Kit Contents

Kit Contains:

The kit is comes under the category known as a ďshort kit.Ē Short kits are usually a set of wing cores, a fiberglass (or other material) fuselage and any special items a modeler wouldnít be able to buy off the shelf at his local hobby shop.

Kit Contains:

  • plastic parts
  • wing and tail cores
  • fuselage

Kit Requires:

  • Your choice of sheeting material, which is typically 1/16Ē balsa, but 1/64thĒ ply or obechi can also be used.
  • Two sets of aileron control rods for the wing and tail
  • Normal building supplies like glues, razor blades, covering materials, etc.


Wing and Tail

Wing assembly starts with your decision on sheeting selection. I chose 1/16Ē balsa. A 3/16Ē diameter birch leading edge is provided in the kit. I wrapped some 220 sandpaper around a small section of the leading edge and started sanding a groove into the foam to inset the LE. You want the LE to be slightly more than Ĺ way into the foam. I used ZAP foam friendly CA and Foam Friendly Kicker to install the LE. Once the LE glue had cured, I used some 220 sandpaper to fair the LE into the foam.

I glued several pieces of 1/16Ē sheet together with thin ZAP and sanded them smooth. Then I drew out the outline of the wing on the sheeting and cut them to size. There are multiple types of adhesive to attach sheeting to the foam, but nothing is faster than 3M Spray 77. I used it to attach the wood to the foam. Youíll want to use two coats of Spray 77 to make sure the sheeting sticks permanently to the cores. I also used some 5 minute epoxy at the LE to make sure that the wood would be attached permanently to the leading edge material before I started sanding.

Once the sheeting was installed, I trimmed the wing panel to size, faired in the sheeting at the LE and reduced the thickness of the sheeting at the tips to prepare for the addition of the ABS tips.

The plastic parts included in the kit are easily cut with a pair of scissors or with #21 blade glued to a scrap of balsa. You donít use the sharp side of the blade, but you scrape the plastic with the back side of the blade while keeping the balsa block firmly on the work surface. After several passes itís easy to flex the scribed area, and the plastic will break apart along the line. If you try to use the blade to cut the plastic, it will wander badly and create more work for you. I used Plasti-ZAP to install the plastic wing tips. I also took some artistic license and added some bass wood to the TE of the tips to make the TE swept back. In retrospect, I should have used plywood as it wonít break as easily as the bass wood.

Next, I cut out the aileron opening in the wing and installed the aileron control rods. Keep the control rods as close to the center line of the wing as possible without binding on the other control rod. The fuselage is really narrow where the linkage sticks out above the wing, and binding can occur if the arms aren't placed near the center line of the wing.

You have your choice of hinging the ailerons or elevators. I chose to use hinge tape which meant that I had to install a brass tube in the elevator and ailerons at the center line to allow the control rod to slide in and out as the surface moved up and down (see the drawing). This isnít necessary if you use a center line hinge but it can be used if you wish.

The tail assembles just like the wing. Put the control rods as close to the center line of the stabs as possible. Make sure they donít bind with the control rod on the other side.


The fuselage only requires installation of a couple of pieces of wood which house the blind nuts for wing and stab mounting and a couple of holes drilled for alignment pegs for the wing and tail. You will also need to cut a hole for the elevator servo. I did this in about an hour.

Radio Installation

The Telos is a simple 2 channel sailplane with one servo mounted in the wing at the center line to drive the ailerons and a fuselage mounted servo to drive the elevators. Make sure the servo you choose for the ailerons will fit the fuselage before permanently mounting it in place. I started with a standard size servo and found that once the linkage was installed it wouldnít allow the wing to sit on the fuse without binding. I had to remove the original servo and servo arm and replace them with a smaller servo and shorter servo arms.

The elevator linkage will need to clear the canopy, so make sure you deal with that when installing the control linkages and servo. I had to bend one of the control arms toward the center line of the fuselage to keep it from rubbing on the canopy. These things are no fault with the design, just things the builder needs to take account of before finalizing the radio installation.


I prefer paint over plastic film on my slope planes since I fly in rocky slope sites. Iíve used fiberglass cloth over balsa wood for many years, and it gives a smooth, durable surface to apply Klass Kote Paint. Since the demise of K&B epoxy paint, Klass Kote paint has become the paint of choice for many modelers including myself.

Finishing Tips

There are many ways to finish a slope model. Since many use a fiberglass fuselage that requires painting, it makes sense to paint the rest of the model so that all of the colors will match. There is a saying in the painting world; "Nothing looks worse than a "close match."" You've seen cars going down the road and a door or a fender looks really, really close to the rest of the car, but it's off just enough to let you know the paint applied to the off-colored panel was painted with a slightly different color than the rest of the car. If it has a fiberglass fuselage, I paint the wings and tail so everything matches.

Slope models have to deal some pretty rough landing areas. For example, my site has rocks from fist size up to ones that need a forklift to move. They are sometimes hidden by tall grass or short stubby brush. At other sites, the plane will land on dirt roads while some are lucky enough to fly on smooth grass. These conditions require a paint system that is durable and yet easy to apply so that the average modeler can get decent results the first time. To achieve this, installing fiberglass with epoxy or polyester resin over the sheeting is the best option.

There are and have been a multitude of paint choices for the hobbyist in the past. As early as the 1970s, two paint products marketed specifically to radio control modelers were K&B Superpoxy and Hobbypoxy paint. The chemical formulas for both paints were nearly identical, and components of each could be mixed freely with one another. Unfortunately, K&B and Hobbypoxy ceased to be available in the early 1990s so automotive paints became the norm for modelers wanting a painted finish, but the cost was usually high as you have to buy larger quantities than a modeler typically needs.

Back in the late 1990s, a product called Klass Kote became available to modelers all over the world. Klass Kote has almost the exact same chemistry as K&B/Hobbypoxy and can be freely mixed with the original K&B Superpoxy (not Ultrapoxy). I had the opportunity try out Klass Kote epoxy paint on the Telos and I came away quite impressed with the results.

Starting with all of the surfaces prepped with fiberglass over the wood, a fiberglass fuselage and smoothly sanded ABS wing and canard tips, I was able to apply an overall white base coat. I use yellow in many of my color schemes, and the best base for yellow is white. If you use any other color under the yellow the final color will be tinted. For example, if you use a white base in one area and a silver base in another and spray yellow over them, the final colors will end up as the joke, ďa close match.Ē

Klass Kote mixes at one part paint, one part catalyst and one part reducer. They recommend a 30-40 minute ďrestĒ period to allow the paint and catalyst to mix before adding any reducer, and I use that time to get my gun out and clean the cup, wipe down the surface Iím painting and check any masking Iíve done to make sure the tape is stuck down 100%.

I use a small HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) spray gun I purchased from Harbor Freight. I set the gun to shoot at 10-15psi according to the gauge supplied with the gun. I mixed the paint exactly as recommended, 1-1-1. I used the widest spray pattern and had the gun approximately six inches away from the surface when painting. I applied a light dust coat and let that sit for about 5 minutes. Then I started spraying my wet coats. I got about half of the coverage I wanted and took another break. Then I shot the entire section to make sure it had complete coverage. I overlapped each pass by 50-75% to make sure of smooth, even coverage. Yellow has to be sprayed correctly and evenly or it will show. Silver is another color that needs to be sprayed correctly or it is very obvious.

While the paint went tack free and print free fairly quickly, I left the painted surfaces alone for several days so they would harden up properly. The longer you wait to touch the surface the better. If I had the patience, Iíd wait a week in 70 degree weather before touching them for the next process. Klass Kote has three different catalysts: gloss, semi-gloss and flat. For the Telos I used gloss. If you are going to spray graphics onto the model, use some good 220-400 grit wet sandpaper and sand the area where the graphic will go. Use water with a little dish soap in it. The soap acts like a lubricant making the sanding easier.

There are several good, inexpensive programs to work out color schemes, but for me, CAD works as well as any of them. Iíve included a line drawing with the text so feel free to download it and start drawing either with crayons, colored pencils, or a computer program. 2858372 At this point, we had a very nice, shiny, mostly yellow Telos. It was also kind of boring looking. I knew it needed graphics that accentuated its looks, one which would be easy to mirror from side to side, and I needed to bring in other colors to make the entire package eye-catching. Iíd hoped to include the name ďTelosĒ in the graphics so I made a CAD drawing and started playing. I knew I wanted some long stripes on the fuse that swept up the fin and thought about including the name with the text. Since the first letter is a capital ďTĒ, it made sense to use the cross section as part of stripe. Once that was done, I looked at the fuse from a side view and thought a similar pattern could be used on the wing and tail. From their, the outlines were drawn, but the centers were unfilled.

For the graphics, it was time to turn to another product that Klass Kote sells, X-otic airbrush paints. X-otic airbrush paints are typical 2-part automotive spray paint. However, they come in small size bottles and in a huge number of colors. They have pearls, candies, base coats, metallics and many, many more choices. They will also mix custom colors for you and I can tell you from experience, they do an excellent job. Instead of getting one of their kits, I got a little of this and a little of that. I donít have all base coats, or all metallics, or all of any one thing, but an assortment of choices. While they arenít marked this way on the web site, they will sell them to you this way.

I went to my library of DVDs and started watching the ďCheap Tricks and Special FXĒ series from Craig Fraser. I found a technique that I liked and started airbrushing. Digging through the box that contains my airbrush paint I saw Peecock Teal Metallic and knew that was the color to use for the hatching. I used a piece of cardboard as a shield and put one line down after another. By the time I got to the end of the graphic, the other end was dry. Thatís one benefit of using automotive paint.

I finished the rest of the model and stood back and looked at what I had. Something was definitely missing. After conferring with my wife, I went back out to the shop to think it over. Like a flash, I knew exactly what was missingÖ red! Since everything was dry already, I repeated the hatching with the red which blended perfectly with the teal and yellow. I allowed the X-otic to cure overnight

All that remained was a coat of gloss clear Klass Kote. It was applied the same way all of the other Klass Kote colors were applied and the finish came out fabulous. If you really want to have a show finish, you could use an automotive buffing system to get everything even smoother, but 98% of us will be more than happy by just using the paint as recommended.

Itís always good to find a product that does exactly what it says it will and Klass Kote paint is one of those products. It doesnít require any special skills to apply and get great finished results. Iíll be using Klass Kote and X-otic paints for my slope planes from now on.

Look for a complete article on painted finishes coming soon.



The Telos is quite stable, and while it looks unusual, its flying characteristics are very close to a standard configuration airplane of similar size. One thing many slope pilots like to do is what are called half pipes, or simply stated, alternating stall turns. The Telos does half pipes like a standard aircraft but the stall turn is much different. Canards simply don't stall like a conventional plane: They drop their nose and start flying again, all while still in perfect control. You pretty much have to roll the Telos over on its back at the peak of the half pipe to start the next diving run, one of the neat things about owning and flying a Telos.

Taking Off and Landing

The Telos doesnít require anything special for launch. Since the CG is at the LE of the main wing, itís best to grab the Telos there and throw it off of the hill. Notice in the video that it doesnít need much of a throw to get to flying speed. Pay particular attention to the footage around the 1:20 mark. You can see we are literally able to back the Telos up without losing control of the plane. This is the key to landing. Canards donít stall in the same manner as conventional aircraft. Full up elevator (the elevators move physically down!) cause the nose to bob up and down without losing control. To land you simply fly the plane back to the landing zone and continue to apply up elevator. The nose will bob while the plane comes down vertically with virtually no airspeed. Itís fun to watch and cuts down on landing rash.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

Typical loops and rolls are well within the Telosís repertoire. Inverted flight requires almost no forward stick. The Telos doesnít mind flying fast or slow, ripping up the face or just calmly making passes one after another. Weíve flown the Telos in as little as 10 mph winds and as much as 20mph winds with gusts to 30, and the Telos handled them all with aplomb! The Telos is quite stable in any wind weíve flown it in, and I would be comfortable flying it in much higher winds than 20mph. In constant winds less than 10mph I think other planes would be more suitable.

Though it doesn't need it to move around the sky, we are planning on adding a ballast tube to get the weight of the Telos up to around 50 ounces, raising the wing loading to nearly 20 oz/ft^2. Though it's already fast, we expect it to get much faster with the addition of lead. Since there is nothing in front of the wing inside the fuselage, installing a ballast tube should prove to be fairly easy.

Is This For a Beginner?

Since itís a short kit, I canít recommend it for the rank beginner. However, there is a great building thread from the manufacturer here on RC Groups. If you know how to fly and can follow instructions, it would make a good first short kit build.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery



With so many cookie cutter planes available today, itís fun to show up with something that is really interesting to look at and flies very well; the Telos fits that bill. Yes, it comes as a short kit but honestly, itís not that hard to put together. If you use rattle can paint on the fuse and Ultracote on the wings and tail, Iíd expect two weeks of evenings and weekends and you can have the Telos ready to fly.


  • Unique design guaranteed to turn heads at the slope
  • Unique looks makes it easy to spot in the air
  • Easy radio installation
  • Excellent quality cores and fuselage


  • Takes a little while to get used to seeing the tail in front of the wing when flying
  • Itís a short kit and possibly requires some additional skill of the new owner

Last edited by Angela H; Nov 06, 2009 at 07:16 AM..
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Nov 05, 2009, 09:16 PM
The Legend continues
CR_Aircraft's Avatar
Nice review George,

...good to see more retro kits available again. Look forward to hear how the ballasted flight performed.
Nov 05, 2009, 09:23 PM
Composites Kid
Alex.Schweig's Avatar

she looks great!

The graphics look like ribs under the skin... Nice work on the canopy too!

Nov 05, 2009, 10:57 PM
I'd Rather Fly
Alex May's Avatar

Is it just me or does the video link not work?
Nov 06, 2009, 08:52 AM
Registered User
jarel design's Avatar

smoe additional footage:


Incredible paint job! Somehow (with most auto paints) I bet it's even more spectacular in person!

George, I hope it's ok with you to post these Telos videos until your video comes on line. I'm looking forward to being able to see your video too.

Here's a couple from a friend flying his Telos in Spain:

One is his first slow maiden flight with a pretty harsh landing (kind of cool because you get to see how the Telos geometry just cartwheels without a long tail section to break off.

Telos de Miguel Angel (2 min 54 sec)

This second video was taken much later after he got the ship "dialed in" (obviously worth, adjusting the CG until it gets "up on step", His flying in this one is pretty "pumped up", but it's still without ballast!

Telos Miguel Angel 2 (1 min 32 sec)

This last one is "Vintage" footage of the very first maiden flight of the Telos taken February 2, 1987 at Hughes Hill in Marina Del Rey (Los Angeles). This is the hill where the Telos was developed and all prototype flying was conducted. Again, playing with the CG is worth the time. My first flight was with the CG too far forward. The canard configuration allowed me to fly, but I could not climb out. After bringing it in and adjusting the CG a little further back, well, the video says it all.

(2 min 3 sec)

Great job George! I'm going to have to build one just to follow your lead on the paint job! (All mine are just white!)
Nov 06, 2009, 02:25 PM
Registered User
gavoss's Avatar
Thanks for all the comments guys. As many of you know I enjoy this hobby greatly and my pay so to speak is responses like the ones above.

I must add here that Richard is the guy we have to thank. He's a true genius with permanent displays in the famous Guggenheim Museum in New York and he's done work for many movies and TV shows including Power Rangers the movie, The Fifth Element and many, many more. He works seemingly tirelessly and is a real perfectionist, not for himself, but for his customers.

He's got several new planes in the works and he's developing them simultaneously as he does build articles here on RCG. I wish I had half of his energy.

Angela has gone out of her way to make this review possible and got the video going. Since we are pretty much limited to 2 minutes of video the video shows just one loop, a couple rolls, some inverted flight, backing up (my favorite) and landing, which looks surprisingly like backing up...because that's how you land the Telos.

I'm really excited about mine. They are inexpensive and fly great as you can see in all of the videos.

As for the paint, look for a full on article coming soon.

Thanks again Richard for a timeless design.

Nov 06, 2009, 02:41 PM
Registered User
jarel design's Avatar
Smiling here...

George you did a great job and I don't have the words to match my appreciation for the work and energy you put into this piece (and your gracious comments!). Thank you!

Glad to see the video! looks like you had fun!

Tireless? It's catching up with me... Physically... and mentally... I just keep telling Tresa and my doctor: "One more kit! really!" (sound familiar? Except at this end, it's not buying another kit, it's designing and tooling up for one more kit! lol!) There just isn't enough time to get all I want completed in one day. There are now three build threads going on with a fourth (once the sailplane/slope ship nose has been tooled up for DaVinci 1.5 (Glider version),production. There are also several new designs that no one has seen or even heard of yet! (Let' see what my doctor has to say about that, next week!) ...Gulp!

(And here I am laughing at myself (as if this will make any difference at all... I tend to downplay accomplishments (what I've "done"), in search for self with regards to who "I am"). Rather than the Guggenheim museum, I have a piece in the New York Museum of Modern Art, ... as if it really makes a difference? Still laughing at myself!) It's been years now since it was installed and I still have a hard time "getting" that it's real... Some day, I'll need to stop in and take a peek just to be sure! lol!)

Again, Thank you so much George!

ok... back to work. fuselages in their molds and vacuum forming to do.

Warmest Regards,

Nov 06, 2009, 02:42 PM
Where'd The Wise Men Go?!?
AC5FF's Avatar
Does the man ever sleep??? There's at least 3 (maybe 4) new planes I think I've seen that he's working on!!! Incredible!

I'm hoping to pick up one of these in the near future... Got too many other projects on the bench right now...

How do you all think this would handle lighter winds/smaller slope sites? Moving away from the 'Black Hills' of SD soon and I'm not going to have anything nearly as nice back in Omaha NE starting next fall..
Nov 06, 2009, 03:01 PM
Registered User
jarel design's Avatar
I think sleep and exercise is what I am going to be lectured about next week by my doctor...!

I don't really "go to sleep"... I tend to just collapse into unconsciousness... no joke! My mind just keeps going, designing new planes, engineering parts to fit, stress analysis, production design... it just keeps going until I pass out... Tresa will be laying next to me in bed and ask (as I stare up at the ceiling in the dark quietly...) "Planes?" "Yeah" I just have a dream that began 20 years ago and there is a very personal investment that was left behind as I entered the motion picture special effects industry. I really love what I do and I can talk about it all day... and night... So, late at night I turn over, hug my honey fully appreciating having a partner like her and finally fall asleep with a smile on my face in her arms...

As for Telos flying in light air... YES! With the older full size gear and nicad battery pack, the Telos originally flew at a 9oz wing loading... (Glassing the wings as George did, to protect them is wise especially if you're flying on a rocky area...)

I would think with the newer micro gear, that a Telos could come in under a 7oz wing loading and fly just about anywhere... Unlike an elevator on a 'tail aft" airplane, the "elevator, doesn't push down on the plane, it adds lift. (You can and should add the canard wing's surface to the total wing area. Once dialed in, the Telos will penetrate like crazy...

I'm still building my own (When you make the kits, you don't get to have the planes! unless it's a prototype!) I will try to keep it light so that I can have the option of ballast the way George shares as well as trying some extremely light air flying... We'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Nov 06, 2009, 03:02 PM
Registered User
gavoss's Avatar
I think he's sleep deprived myself. I was a kit manufacturer once and know what it takes to bring a quality kit to market. He has the daunting task of creating plugs and molds for his products so it's not like cutting balsa or hardwood, but much more detail oriented. I keep telling him not to burn out. We need his designs on the market as they all fly well and are inexpensive and the part replacement is unheard of in the industry.

I've already purchased my motor and ESC for the Crossbow and I won't get a kit for weeks!

I could have easily knocked at least 6 and maybe more ounces off of the Telos with lighter wood selection, lite covering film etc. I started building free flight models as an entry into modeling. We had no kits of the models we contested so I learned to scratch build. This taught me about wood selection. You can save a considerable amount of weight with the right wood choice. As an example, I cut 2 sets of sheeting for a PSS model recently. Each panel consisted of approximately 1 sheet of 1/16" balsa. I had sheets that ranged from 8 grams to 19 grams, with the majority around 16-17 grams. If I'd had put all the heavy ones on one side I would have had to add lead to the lighter side. Now I not only have the weight of the wood, but the balance weight too. By using all 8 gram wood I would have saved an ounce in wood alone.

AF5FF, You won't be far from Wilson Lake in KS. While not the hills of ND, it's the best site south of you. I come up from OKC a number of times a year to fly there. They put on Wings Over Wilson on the Weekend after Mothers Day and it brings the towns population up 10-15%. Yes it's a small town.

Last edited by gavoss; Nov 06, 2009 at 03:40 PM.
Nov 06, 2009, 03:10 PM
Where'd The Wise Men Go?!?
AC5FF's Avatar
yeah.. planning that trip! My relitives have a farm not terribly far from there in Blaine KS. Never hurts to pop in on relitives to say hi!
Nov 06, 2009, 06:22 PM
Registered User
yellowblue's Avatar
Nice review George...whilst I had mine flying it was great fun and a talking point on the slope.
It will fly again.... not in to bad a condition having been BBQ'd... paint blistered all over, but at the back of the queue whilst building new stuff to get me in the air..
Nov 06, 2009, 06:45 PM
Registered User
gavoss's Avatar
yb, thanks for the comments. It took me a little longer to get the review done than I like but I was happy with the results. Not bragging, but I thought the paint job came out looking pretty good. I'm not very good at creating things artistically, but I copy things pretty well. I just watched a couple of custom painting videos and got ideas from them. Carlski recommended some of the truck magazines as they usually have some wild paint jobs. I hadn't thought about that but he's right. I may have to subscribe to get some additional ideas.

I don't know what I'd do if I had to deal with a fire like you did. After modeling for over 40 years I have things are can't be replaced.
Nov 06, 2009, 07:19 PM
Registered User
yellowblue's Avatar
Originally Posted by gavoss
yb, thanks for the comments. It took me a little longer to get the review done than I like but I was happy with the results. Not bragging, but I thought the paint job came out looking pretty good. I'm not very good at creating things artistically, but I copy things pretty well. I just watched a couple of custom painting videos and got ideas from them. Carlski recommended some of the truck magazines as they usually have some wild paint jobs. I hadn't thought about that but he's right. I may have to subscribe to get some additional ideas.

I don't know what I'd do if I had to deal with a fire like you did. After modeling for over 40 years I have things are can't be replaced.
I've had to put it behind me (the fire) and am moving on (25years of toys lost)...I now have a nice new shop and playing at making toys
Have a look at my new shop
Its so nice...We fly a lot of epp 60" mom racing in our club so I need to replace some those toys first before refurebs/rebuilds.
Yep nice paint job...Very nice...but those take time, wished I had some.
Happy landings.
Nov 07, 2009, 01:30 AM
Sane til the lift starts!
kpeevyhouse's Avatar
Very nice review gavoss! I have a couple Telos kits that I'll be starting on next week. I can't wait to see a pair of these Teloses (Telosi?) in the air at the same time.

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