RCGroups Interviews Aircraft Designer Mirco Pecorari

With the recent Horizon release of the Commander airplane we decided we needed to know more about co-designer Mirco Pecorari. This Italian based plane designer creates works of art that fly!


Ten Questions for Mirco Pecorari - Aircraft Designer

After the recent release of the Horizon Commander we decided we needed to know about the man that helped design the plane with David Payne. Mirco Pecorari is a man driven by passion for aircraft design. His company, AircraftStudioDesign, is an extension of that passion.

"We offer innovative solutions, that enhance the intrinsec beauty of your aircraft."

Read on as I ask Mirco about his passion and the design of the new Commander aircraft:

1. How did you get into aviation?

My Mom said my first word has been “plane” instead of “Mom”. Is it enough? :-) I have an AAD (Aircraft Addicted Disorder) and I love to invent, sketch, build and fly aircraft. I have a huge collection of pencil sketches (around 7000) about fantasy aircraft that I made during the past 20 years.

2.Tell us about your company.

AircraftStudioDesign is a design studio based in Modena (Italy), the core of the “Motor Valley” and homeland of Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Ducati, etc. We are a team of designers, builders, inventors and crazy people with a true big passion. We are famous for paint schemes on Aircraft, but we also styled 4 full scale aircraft and dozen of scale models.

3. What do you love most about flight?

I really love aerobatic in full scale airplanes and scale flight in R/C. I’m not attracted to extreme 3D, I prefer realistic flight.

4. Is your main gig designing full scale aircraft?

Yes. Aviation industrial design is the main subject about livery design. R/C models is also a big part of my daily job. We also design transmitters, quadcopters and other R/C items.

5. How did you meet David Payne from Horizon Hobby?

I met him in Germany during the annual Horizon Hobby Airmeet. We have the same point of view about aircraft and models.

6. Tell us about your inspiration for the design of the Commander?

Funny story, I started traveling in U.S. in the 2005 for big events (Oshkosh and Sun ’N’ Fun) with Kevin Kimball and his “gang”. You can’t imagine how much fun we had during these weeks. One of the funniest guys of this group of people is Ben Morphew, a former Airline Commander from Texas. He used to fly very cool planes including P51D, Pitts S1, Midget Mustang, Model 12, Bad Butch, and many other crazy ones. One day I decided to design the perfect plane for him and, with the help of Kevin Kimball (he knows Ben very well), I put in one design all the cool elements that he and we love about sport planes.

A few years later David asked me to design a low wing cool looking sport plane (we love golden age racer but also modern aircraft) so I showed him the sketch of the Texas Commander. Starting from this plane we modified it from the original concept to the actual Commander mPd. We immediately felt in love with this project!

7. What is your favorite part about this plane?

The fact that it’s a tribute to a lot of aircraft that we love: Spitfire, P47, Extra and Ryan STA.

8. What type of pilot will enjoy the Commander?

A wide range! You can either fly the Commander very slowly with the flap down at 10 cm from the ground or fly it as an aerobatic plane or simply watch this beautiful shape in the sky.

9. Will we see a full scale version of the Commander?

I really hope so. We had a few people interested in making the full scale Commander. Kevin Kimball already knows how to do it and wich engine to use. It’s just a matter of finding one guy with the right budget in the pocket.

10. Are there any other RC planes in your future?

A lot...

The Commander Video

E-flite Commander mPd 1.4m BNF Basic & PNP (4 min 17 sec)

Learn More About Mirco and AircraftStudioDesign

Click here to look at other designs by Mirco and be sure to check out his blog. I want to thank him for taking time out to answer my questions for RCGroups and we look forward to future designs!

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Mar 03, 2017, 02:53 PM

Cermark Fantasy Racer

He designed that model. I still have it. It flies very well.

The Horizon Hobby's Commander will probably be better quality.

I had to replace 3 of the Fantasy Racer's servo's and its speed control that caught fire.
Mar 03, 2017, 10:03 PM
Registered User
echoplanar's Avatar
Just put together a Commander - it has some very nice lines. Spitfire, spacewalker, sbach....it has it all!
Mar 04, 2017, 05:42 AM
Registered User

E-flite Commander

Picked mine up yesterday. Beautiful job. Ball links on servo ends as well as control horns and AS3X. What moe could a fellow want? Bigger maybe!

Guelph ON
Mar 04, 2017, 12:58 PM
Forward ever, backward never!
Brainstorm's Avatar
Jim T: Great to see an interview with a talented designer, as opposed to a simple review of his RC model creation. Would love to see more such profiles. They are insightful as well as inspiring.
Mar 04, 2017, 02:56 PM
Registered User
echoplanar's Avatar
Originally Posted by jabiggerstaff
Picked mine up yesterday. Beautiful job. Ball links on servo ends as well as control horns and AS3X. What moe could a fellow want? Bigger maybe!

Guelph ON
carbon-z version!
Mar 05, 2017, 10:45 AM
Official Boat Bum
Eddie P's Avatar
I absolutely love this aircraft's lines and the paint scheme.

This isn't squarely in my genre of model aviation like scale, jet and warbirds are, but I love how they made a beautiful sport model look realistically "scale" in style. This is both a very creative and technically superior approach to producing a top notch model airplane that can appeal to discerning sport flyers and real airplane guys/gals who would never own a Das Ugly Stik type model airplane.

I would buy one today if I could clear out a few models in my hangar! Maybe that's next on my to do list.
Mar 05, 2017, 11:19 AM
Rampage's Avatar
I still think it looks like a Vans with rounded tips.
Mar 06, 2017, 10:14 AM
Registered User
Matt Gunn's Avatar
Originally Posted by Brainstorm
Jim T: Great to see an interview with a talented designer, as opposed to a simple review of his RC model creation. Would love to see more such profiles. They are insightful as well as inspiring.
Me pushing like button...
Mar 06, 2017, 04:17 PM
AMA 537620
ChillPhatCat's Avatar
AAD... glad to know what it is after all these years. I wonder if we can get that added to the DSM.

Very cool article, I occasionally sketch things like this, and used to spend all my study halls in middle school and a good amount of time in high school sketching sleek prop planes.
Latest blog entry: Ready for test flight
Mar 06, 2017, 06:38 PM
Registered User

Commander Build Comments

The Commander is without a doubt, the greatest flying, out-of-the-box foamy I have ever flown. Very easy and quick assembly. Great aerobatics, good response, rock-sold knife edges even in high wind. You can land it pretty short for those school parking lots and other shorter surfaces you find for runways. I have built and flown a couple hundred electrics since they came out and never felt like writing a review or anything on any of them until now. This Commander is the one you want! And, it is a great price for so much airplane! Horizon knocked it out of the park with this one.

There are a few problems you need to address. This plane is inherently tail-heavy. The designers probably knew that because of the huge, round steel rod they threaded out to make the prop nut. Proper CG balance is impossible with a 2200 mAh. I don't know why they advertise that as a battery option. You can't move it far enough forward to balance the plane without adding weights. Of course, it is always better to balance a plane with a bigger battery rather than adding "dead weight".

I went to the 3200 mAh, 3-cell used in the Apprentice. Even with that, you can't get it far enough forward without moving and mounting the ESC on the side of the channel were the battery goes. In any RC airplane, electronic components and wires should NEVER be loose and flopping around during flight. This is only asking for trouble. I fasten the ESC to the side of the channel with Welder adhesive, and it is best to let it dry overnight.

When the battery is slid far enough forward to achieve proper CG balance the back battery hold down strap ends up behind the battery and is useless.

Heat problems? To cool the ESC, as in most of the electrics I build, I take a hobby knife and cut the shrink tube off the ESC to expose the flat plate on the heat sync. This will not affect the function of the ESC, but definitely makes it run cooler. The other thing is that there is no place for the intake air to exit the cockpit cavity once the canopy is on. The foam bulkhead aft of the cockpit where the rudder and elevator control pass through blocks any exit air. I used a hobby knife and removed about a 2 in. X 2 in. square around the control rods, creating a nice tunnel for the cooling air to pass through and exit down to the vent holes on the bottom of the fuselage. I do not believe this to be a structural compromise, because you can see the outline of the foam block where it appears to have been glued in after the control rods were installed. All electronics were checked after two 8 min. flights, and everything was cool as a cucumber! Outside air temp around 60 degrees F.

I also had a vibration in the prop on first start-up. I always balance a prop before using it, so this had been done. What I found was that the spinner was not fully seating against the spinner backing plate. The reason, was the collar through which the spinner attachment screw passes was not molded properly and one side stuck up a little bit and compressed against the front of the prop nut, preventing the spinner from going on all the way. I milled about 1/64 in. off the face of the plastic collar inside the spinner, which allowed it to go on fully so it would seat properly into the recess on the backing plate. After doing this, the vibration was gone!

Some of the servo wires to the receiver can come into contact with the servo arms if not secured. A couple little cable ties to pull the wires together in a tight bundle in front of the RX solves that problem. Better to correct this on the bench, rather than discover the problem "in the air" when a wire gets tangled around a servo arm or gets pulled out of the receiver.

A couple of the ball links were a bit tight which adds unnecessary stress on the servos. A drop of silicone oil on each one eased them up a little and they will probably loosen up a bit more after a few flights.

Finally, the exceptionally strong canopy magnets are good, but you have to squeeze the canopy pretty hard to get it to slide back and up to get it off and you have a tendency to squeeze the fuselage so hard to hold the plane, that you could create " fingerprint" depressions in the foam. To solve this, a piece of reinforced strapping tape was added under the canopy and rear magnet, sticking up about 3/4 in. behind the canopy with a little piece of No. 22 GA wire wrapped into the top of the loop to keep your fingers from slipping off the tape when pulling back and up. Works great, barely visible.

If you would like to see a few photos of these mods, email me and I'll send them to you. budglass@comcast.net
Mar 10, 2017, 10:31 AM
Registered User
Kind of looks like a Super Emeraude
Mar 14, 2017, 06:56 PM
AMA 34191
Vulgar Vulture's Avatar
Originally Posted by Joe Fisher
Kind of looks like a Super Emeraude
Yes! And an RV-8 and a Rocket EVO and a little Culver Dart in there.
The drawing of the "GP-4 with a Rolls Royce Griffon engine up front" looks wicked too!

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