Herr Engineering Aqua Star - RC Groups
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Mar 04, 2007, 04:46 PM
Balsa just crashes better
Cub Fan's Avatar

Herr Engineering Aqua Star

Any one built one of these with electric power?
Nice little kit designed for 1/2 A nitro power. I saw it in the AMA mag a few months back and have somehow misplaced the book
I am going to use a BP-21 on 3 s.
I was debating mounting the battery on the pod where the fuel tank was designed to be and maybe the speed control on the other side?
Anyone had any experience with this bird?
Thanks, Jay
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Mar 04, 2007, 09:19 PM
Seaplane Nerd
JimCasey's Avatar
The three I have actually seen would not take off from water. The thrustline pushes the nose under when power is applied. I flew one of them after a hand-launch and it was pretty nice in the air.

Sig published a modification to add some strakes to the sides of the nose to help with lift while waterborne. A wider nose of the fore-body would be vastly useful, as would some up-thrust. Sig also cautions not to let it get heavier, but modern electrics can meet glo power-to-weight ratios.

I generally caution people not to start with one of these but after they are experienced builder/flyer/tuners they can make one fly. There are report of successful electric conversions of the AquaStar. You might hit the search feature in this forum and possibly some other fora to find those other posts.
Mar 05, 2007, 02:23 AM
Registered User
One of our group tried one with a BP 12 and even with 21oz of static thrust it would not take off. He never tried it again. All that Jim has said also applied to it. The prop saw a great deal of power robbing water spray. It was very audible !
Were I to try one, it would be an inch wider, have spray rails and about seven degrees of up thrust. The tip floats would be about a half inch out of the water at wings level rest.
Mar 05, 2007, 02:25 AM
Registered User
Brad Trent's Avatar
I have one, converted by a member of my club. The strakes are definitely needed, as the fus. is very narrow, and deflects a lot of spray up into the prop without them. I also played with the wing incedence, to ease the nosediving mentioned above, and found that lowering the t.e. of the wing about 1/8" made a big difference for the better in the water handling, completely eliminating the nosedive when throttled up on water, and had no adverse affect on the airborne handling qualities. Mine has a 6V Speed 400 can motor, originally used 8 720Mah AAA Nimh cells, but does much better with a 3S 1400 mah lipo. Once the strakes are added and the wing adjusted, it is a very enjoyable little flying boat.

P.S. Cub Fan, the battery will not work up in the motor pod, it needs to go under the foredeck, ahead of the windshield, to get the CG correct. I have a hatch there to access the pack. With the mods on mine, it does a very pretty r.o.w., but as soon as the pack charge sags a bit, it will no longer do splash 'n goes. A decent BL motor would probably help a lot here. The prop on my dd 400 is a Graupner 6x3 folder, btw.
Last edited by Brad Trent; Mar 05, 2007 at 02:33 AM.
Mar 05, 2007, 06:37 AM
jpgilbert's Avatar
Cub Fan,
I have built the AquaStar with an electric motor. And it will ROW. Most of the time. Occasionally, spray will get into the prop and you have to stop and restart your takeoff. It is a relaxing plane to fly and fun to do touch and go.
It is also a nice plane to fly from snow.

It does have the spray rails Jim mentioned. If you build it, keep it just as light as possible. I fiberglassed the hull back to and including the step. I put HS-81 servos in but you could most likely use HS-55 and save a bit of weight.

I have a flying buddy that has a glow version - 061 - and his never fails to ROW.


Electric Aqua Star
Himax 2808-0980
MA 7x4 3 blade prop
CC Phoenix 10
TP 1320 3 Cell Pro Lite
Max Watts 75.0 (measured by EagleTree Micropower recorder)
AUW 18.4
Flight time - 15 mins to max of 24 mins
Mar 05, 2007, 07:47 AM
Student of Ivan
mountainman2442's Avatar
I just built one with a Grayson Hobby Dynam A22-15M Brushless motor, and a Dynam 25 amp controller. I use a 3 bladed Master-airscrew 6x4 prop and 1650 11.1v 8C lipo pack from Common Sense RC. It will ROW just fine. Be sure to add the recommended chine rails and seal the wing saddle and windshield with silicon. A very relaxing airplane to fly.

Oh, and be sure to remove all the down thrust! Very important if you intend to fly off the water...

Mar 05, 2007, 07:23 PM
Balsa just crashes better
Cub Fan's Avatar
Thanks for the tips- I did see the mod sheet for the spray rails and thought they looked like a good Idea.
I will take the down thrust out also- Luckly I only have it framed out so far so now is the time for the mods.
JPGilbert - I see your from Maine. I live in FL but grew up in ME. We moved from there in 1963.
Actually I am building this model to fly on Forrest Lake in Gray Maine. My mom has a camp there we visit in the summer. I had been flying a GWS Estarter on floats from the lake the last couple of summer vacations and my son gave me this kit to try.
Thanks for all the great replys- Jay
Mar 17, 2007, 01:52 PM
Registered User
I built one using modifications set out in a Nick Ziroli article from Flying Models a number of years ago. One modification you might want to consider is expandind the size of the wing by one additional bay. The wood provided is long enough to accomodate this. I gave the motor 3 degrees upthrust. I extended spray rails all the way to the nose and back to the step. With a Hacker brushless it takes off the water with no problem. Great little plane. Good luck.
Mar 21, 2007, 06:13 PM
Registered User
Thomas Nelson's Avatar
Very easy to fly & build. This video shows the performance with stock thrust angles. Turns out I had a little more dihedral than intended due to a booboo when building the spar. Oh - and I agree that the spray rails are necessary.
Last edited by Thomas Nelson; Mar 22, 2007 at 12:57 AM.
Mar 21, 2007, 10:05 PM
bjaffee's Avatar
I dunno if this will help, but I've got a Drake II that I built up VERY heavy...so heavy that the waterline is just about at the top of the front hatch...almost prop level. At first it seemed nearly impossible to ROW.

The technique I finally discovered was to hold full up elevator and use full power right from the start. The horizontal stab would actually drag in the water in this configuration, but it kept the nose high and the water out of the prop. After 20 or 30 feet, it would pick up enough speed that I could ease off on the elevator, letting the nose rotate downward, and allowing the plane to get up on step. Then, it would pretty much fly itself off the water.
Mar 31, 2007, 02:35 PM
Electric Coolhunter
Thomas B's Avatar
The spray rails are a very good idea. I would add some fairly extreme upthrust to offset the high thrust line. That will greatly reduce the nose down effect in the water at low speeds and high power settings.
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Apr 01, 2007, 11:31 AM
Balsa just crashes better
Cub Fan's Avatar
I am still slugging away on mine- Fuse is mostly finished and the wing is framed- Ran into the stage of carving the nose block- wing tips and hatch- been putting that off- I hate carving on blocks! Will have to bite the bullet and get going again
May 20, 2007, 11:30 PM
Registered User
Cub Fan,
Looks great. Keep up the work and you'll be rewarded with a very nice RC plane. The Aqua Star has gotten a bad rap because of it's initial design. The Chine rails along the nose fuse will help and a BP-21 will do the rest. Another mod to think about is routing the rudder and elevator control pushrods at the top of the fuse instead of the side. This will limit the amount of water entering your pushrod exits.

My setup is:

APC Thin 8x4 prop
Common Sense 2000 mAh 3S Lipo

The battery barley fits in the nose and took a little mod work to accomplish. However, it provides about 15 minutes flying with touch-n-go's past the 10 minute mark.
May 21, 2007, 06:19 PM
Balsa just crashes better
Cub Fan's Avatar
I have been struggling with the balsa blocks in the nose but am making headway. I made a screw down attachment set up for the wing with dowels in the front - screws in the back.
the wing is about ready to cover
I like the idea of the raised pushrods
I was considering silkspan and dope on the fuse for sealing properties and iron covering on on the wing.
Hope to finish it up in the next two weeks
May 23, 2007, 03:48 PM
Registered User
Graeme Hogg's Avatar

My Aquastar

I've just finished building mine, but without the chine rails...it flies nicely and ROWs with ease

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