Electricus - RC Groups
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May 15, 2006, 12:11 AM
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Flew the Electricusthis evening. Thanks to all who answered questions before and during the build. The Electricusis a 2 meter, V tail, built up sailplane (Icuras) converted to electric. It dates back to the early 80’s and was kitted by Larry Jolly. I purchased a pristine kit on eBay and copied the plans and built from them, none of the kit was used.

The airplane was built in a conventional manner, no carbon. The only changes from the plans was a different airfoil (SA7038) to help with windy conditions we have around here in Kansas City, a removable tail for travel, and a built up trailing edge (no one had preshaped). The Icuras had a flat bottom airfoil and would not penetrate very well.

Equipment used:

Radio: Airtornics RD6000 Super
Servos: Hitec hs81
Motor: AIX 2826/10
Prop: Graupner 13x7
Controller: Jeti Advance Plus 40
Battery: Poly-Quest “Twenty” 3 Cell 11.1V 1200mAh

And for fun I added:

Soaring Circuits Ram2 recording altimeter

Finished and covered: 26oz
AUW: 43oz

Roughly checked the CG using the finger method and seemed close, maybe a little nose heavy but not much (I was in a hurry). On my way to a friends for dinner I pass a church field and have flown there before. Himmed and hawed about tossing it first but figured what the heck, I have a motor to get out of trouble. Hooked everything up and powered on, everything on that plane buzzes, beeps and chirps. Once everything quitted down I tested the control surfaces, right is right, up is up, tried the motor, buzz.

Hit the throttle stick to full and let the Electricus fly out of my hand and watched it proceeded to go straight up like a bat out, well you know. Got it up to about 150 feet and powered off and watched what happened, all okay, little up trim. Throttle again and up to 500 feet and move around a little getting the feel of the V tail. Came down and noticed the folding prop was not, landed to see what the problem was but could see nothing wrong, though maybe I had not set the brake function on the controller. (Checked when I got home and the brake is on so do not know why the prop did not fold, the blades swing very freely.)

Flew for 20 minutes just fooling around – this puppy is going to be fun!

Attached are some pictures and the graphs from the RAM2, neat little gizmo. I purchased it to verify that my eyes are getting old like me and I just couldn’t see the planes at very high altitudes.
Last edited by jbrandon; May 17, 2006 at 08:25 PM.
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May 15, 2006, 07:01 AM
Jesper Frickmann
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It looks beautiful - congratulations!

I have been debating with myself what is the safest way to maiden a new glider, and I tend to agree with your approach: get it up to safe altitude in a hurry!

That altimeter looks like a neat little gadget.

Best regards,
May 15, 2006, 11:58 PM
Registered User

I've had one of these on my to do shelf for about 10 years. In fact I took it down tonight with the idea of maybe building it after all these years.

I like your color scheme. What color is the underside of the wing?

Congrats on a fine job. May you have many flights.

May 16, 2006, 02:31 AM
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jfrickmann: Thanks!

Yeah, I know what you mean, throw it or not…

The RAM2 is a blast. The only problem is that all the data is in the past. I can land and download at the field onto a PocketPC but still it’s in the past! I really want some sort of transponding data collecting device (yes, I am a computer geek type of person). But it is still fun and I can actually prove “I flew that high and for that long!”

BillM: It’s all white on the underside. Don’t plan on letting it get that far out of sight.

If you have one then the color scheme is the same as on the box! Unless you have one of the later kits with black and white label.

Don’t build the kit, save the kit and scratch build one. It’s an easy build. Besides, the flat bottomed airfoil will give you fits with any sort of wind.
Last edited by jbrandon; May 16, 2006 at 02:42 AM.
May 16, 2006, 01:13 PM
Registered User
Thanks for the reponse. I decided to put it back on the shelf in favor of an Astro Challenger or a Sailaire. I have both kits but the size of the Sailaire kind of scares me. But my wife got it for me a couple of Christmases ago and keeps asking when I plan to build it.

May 16, 2006, 02:06 PM
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I really like the Astro Challenger. Skybench has one and have been considering buying one. Hey, I just looked and they have the Astro-Jeff, is that the same plane?
May 16, 2006, 10:48 PM
Registered User
I may be wrong but I think the Astro Jeff was/is an open class (100+inch) sailplane. I sort of remember it being a plan offered by R/C Modeler Magazine some years back.

May 17, 2006, 12:26 AM
Registered User
I am normally a quiet member of these discussions, but I will curteously chime in that the Electricus was a slightly different plane than jbrandon described and beautifully built. I have a dusty Electricus that I built from scratch about 20 years ago. It is still flyable and it was originally published in Model Builder in March 1983. I believe that it had the same or similar wing and fuselage as the Icarus but the tail is a conventional rudder and elevator. I also made it a two piece wing with a steel joiner. It was designed when can brushed motors were the order of the day. Mine has a heavy but powerful Astro Cobalt 05 which drew around 30 amps. The original airfoil was the 'hot' airfoil of the day, which was the Eppler 205. The Electricus has flown flawlessly for years.


PS. I believe you can still get plans for the plane from Bill Northrop at Model Builder Plans Service who's info I found at...


One additional note, The Astro Challenger plan can be found on Model Airplane News' website, #fsp06851 for $19.95
OK, enough of me...
Last edited by no one; May 17, 2006 at 12:40 AM. Reason: Adding info
May 17, 2006, 04:26 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by jbrandon
I really like the Astro Challenger. Skybench has one and have been considering buying one. Hey, I just looked and they have the Astro-Jeff, is that the same plane?
Congratulate to your success maiden.
Try to take a look on the Cloud Bound 4 in skybench site.
The quality of Skybench kits is great, parts are clearly marked, grouped and rubber banded, though some complaints about the discriminations of parts from 'original' plans. But I think sometimes is inevitable for many building materials has been changed along the times, and thus ways to build are to opt for. Those bigger kits are not intended for beginners anyway, and I think as long as the materials (numbered/ stringers to be cut) are not missed, then it will be no difficult for a 'modeller' to build accordingly.
I say that is based on the experience I am building (almost complete...always almost...) a Cloud bound 4 ,which is electrified and .......(will try to do a detailed thread on the comparison of those oldies with 'GOLDIE RADIO GEARS---Kraft to some high tech moldies with modern radio prog,....all things are prepared but just time.... )and I was returned to this hobby 5 years ago, after a long 'vacation' in aeromodelling of 23 years and STILL found no difficulties at all to build a big sailplane KIT. Also with the advance of tech , many things could be easier to get away with the use of composite materials which was a 'high tech ' and 'no cost friendly' at that time.

BTW, I see that your AUW is really light (at least compared to me), your climb is good.....if you want more, try a Graupner `16x13 or Aeronaut's 16x10 ,I have had such similar set up for a heavy 'plastic' eglider which helped me to pick up the flying skills...but be reminded that the said set up is quite a push to the power set up.(motor /esc/ batts--l used a Jeti red 40p 10 gp3300...) ....so NO MORE THAN 6 secs each burst. (~60+/-5A! AND BE SURE THE BATT is capable of )

Hope all enjoys what you have and you will have.

May 17, 2006, 04:35 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by no one
.... I have a dusty Electricus that I built from scratch about 20 years ago. ..... The original airfoil was the 'hot' airfoil of the day, which was the Eppler 205. The Electricus has flown flawlessly for years.


OK, enough of me...

Yours dusty is looking newer than my new planes ...is that the one in photo a 20 years old plane? I resurrected a FILIUS of MPX which has less than 20 secs life, shot by R/C jams..(may be it was the catalyst for a poor student to leave the hobby many years ago)...remains is just a pair of wing,with dope and silk, renovated with aerosol paint, but looks entirely different from the original execpt the wings/ its labels.....now is a pod and boom type R/E plane.

May 17, 2006, 09:28 PM
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C-MIC: David, my mistake, I forgot the prop! I am using a Grupner 13x7 currently (I flew it today again) and I have a set of 14x9.5 blades I will try later this week or weekend. Didn’t get any good flight data today, a little too windy and we had a shear at about 400 feet which made for some turbulent flying. I think I did get to over 1000 feet via thermal today.

No, the plane is not 20 years old, only the plans! I just finished it last weekend so that’s why no dust!

I have not built a kit in over 20 years, I always scratch build. Many because I almost have some grip about the kit. I just purchased a Skybench Oly II for a friend and will help him build it, it will be his first and he was a little intimidated by my scratch Meteor build, but that is a fairly hard plane to build. Looking over the kit it sure does look good, much better that I thought it would.

no one: The evolution of the Electricus stated in the early 80’s, probably even 1980. I purchased an Icarus kit from Larry Jolly and proceeded to blow up the wings on launch with my then very powerful 12-12 winch (it actually broke a lot of wings). I then built a new 2 meter wing using the E205 airfoil Larry was so enthralled with at the time, the Icarus flew even better, the wing was much stronger and the airfoil let the plane come home from down wind with out a sweat. Larry flew it at many contest and beat the pants off all of us but always complained the plane (with the V tail) would wander on low speed final. The plane was given to my fledging pilot son who soon smashed the nose into a car. It was put up for a while. Then along came Bob Bousha (I know I misspelled his name and I am sorry) with the Astro 05 (Cobalt) and a contest to be hosted by the PSA club in Anaheim. I threw together a fuse and used a standard tail (the V had gotten broken and the pieces lost, plus the complaints from Larry), thus the Electricus. Larry’s name, not mine!

Now, in the true sense the Electrcius should have a V tail thus the ius on the end of the name. But what was going on during that time was the advent of the 2 meter class. Well, take an Icarus replace the flat bottom wing with an E205 wing, put a standard tail on it and viola, you have an Altair - Alex Breakski (again I know I misspelled his name) named this one)! Now I don’t think the Altair ever made it into production but that was the hot 2 meter for then. Larry took the Altair and put a motor block in the box along with a standard tail and that was the Electruics.

You said you scratch built yours from published plans and you are right, the plans published were with a standard tail but many of the prototype Electrcus’s had V tails. Anyway, my Electricus has a V tail…
May 17, 2006, 11:17 PM
My oldest son is building the Electricus I bought a few months ago from a gentleman in R/C Groups. I had two, scratchbuilt, from the plans with the conventional tail. I can not remember the motor and prop. It seems to me that I flew it with an Astroflight 05 geared and a Master Air Screw 12x6 folder and later a Cobalt 05. Lost one of them to radio interference at an uncontrolled field in Austin, Texas around 1985, I think.
Anyway, I am trying to decide what would be a good motor, prop and battery combination for this airplane to train my son in the art of electric sailplanes. Something relatively inexpensive, but with good duration. Any suggestions?
Nice looking airplanes all!
May 18, 2006, 12:13 AM
Registered User
I was down in my shop today and I found the wing to my original Electricus in my round-tuit pile. I bought the original kit from Sheldons Hobby just about at the end of their availability. The second one I found at a flea market years later.
I also ordered Larry Jolly's other electric kit. The one with a 90 inch wing and vee tail but I never got it as it was out of stock and never produced again. I have a plan so maybe someday.

May 18, 2006, 01:58 AM
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BillM: I sent you an email to the address you used to register.

I vaguely remember that plane, that’s one of his I never built, it was towards the end of my flying in southern California before moving to Santa Barbara! As I remember he had a stick of batteries a yard long that he shoved down the fuselage and I think it was powered with a geared Astro 40. I do remember ragging him about the V tail because he gave me so much grief about my V tail! Wanders on final!!

balsaddict: I am not the one to ask about motors and such, I know very little. My experience in the past was with the Astro 05, either geared or direct. I used an outurnner in this one and they are on the expensive side. This plane is hot, it will climb vertical to out of sight in less than 30 sec. Way too much for what I wanted it for, a school yard flyer. So if you look for anything that puts out like the Astro then you will fly okay. My thought was when I was tired of this one I could build another using the same drive train. In fact the thought was for a scale project I have been ask to build next winter, a 1/5 scale Funk. It will be flown only once or twice then used as a static display for the owner of the full sized Funk.

I probably would not buy an outrunner again just because of the clearances needed around them and as you know sailplanes are tight in the nose. And I used an AIX and the wires are on the front of the motor and had to compensate for that with the bulged canopy. No, a nice can motor and just slide it in the hole! But I would use brushless just because of the power and run time. Next time. But the LiPo’s are nice, I was afraid of them at first as I had read all the horror stories about the exploding and catching on fire but with a good charger and some care they are fine and have lots of power. I started off modifying a 50cal ammo can and would seal the thing tight but after several charges I now just use a coffee can and sit it where there is plenty of clearance around it but I am always there when charging.

I am not a light builder, I build strong and if I add a few ounces so be it. But as you can see, it came in at 3oz over the high end (plane only). I did the feather weight thing and kept breaking planes, now I want to fly. Yes, I enjoy building but not the repairing.

I purchased a Master Airscrew motor and folding prop (kit about $40) to use but I had the fuse built and the motor with the gear box would have meant building a totally new one and I did not want to do that. But anyway the motor is something like a brushed 400 series and I bench tested it and it had plenty of thrust, I did not measure it but it would loft the Electrius. My one concern was the weight of the battery so I went to LiPo but those will put a dent in the budget real fast!
May 19, 2006, 01:10 AM
Registered User
I answered your E-mail.
The plane I spoke about was a vee tailed electric sailplane of about 93 inch wing span. It was powered by an 05 or a 10 Astro motor. I don't have the plan handy but I believe it was called the Electroglide. At any rate it is a nice looking plane and I hope someday to build it. It was shown in RC Video Magazine Volume 9 I believe in the chapter on striping tape.

I also have the plan for the Sorcerer. Im sure you remember that one. The 99 inch wingspan twin boom electric sailplane. It was a plan in RCM and was kitted I believe by Parker Planes in the late 70's or early 80's. That's also on my to do list.


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