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Jul 06, 2007, 11:57 AM
Vertical Unlimited
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About me

I have been building and flying model aircraft since I was 4 years old, but I only got into R/C when I was 15. I flew control-liners in my younger years, and also free-flight gliders + rubber-power. This was a good grounding in building and flight principles.

Memorable Moment
I built a Veron Cardinal free-flighter when I was 14, using plans from a kit my dad had recently built. I powered it with a Cox Baby Bee 0.049, and it flew WELL. The motor was way too powerful, sending it in a vertical spiral to about 1500ft , then it began a slow circling glide. I lost it on its first outing, being unable to keep up despite running flat-out down-wind. Thankfully I put a return-to-sender message inside, and received the phone call soon after I got home. I later switched the motor to a Cox Pee Wee 0.020, only to lose it AGAIN . Another phone-call and another reward payment later, my folks agreed it would be cheaper to get RC gear.

Going RC
My first RC model was a Cosmo 25SR, shouder-wing trainer, powered by a Magnum 25 2-stroke. I had completed some stick-time on my instructor's Ugly Stick, which scared the heck out of me . The Cosmo was a good plane - very neutral to the controls, and taught me a lot. I got over-confident after a few weeks of training, and performed a loop at low altitude. I came out even lower - into the ground! . My instructor was not impressed, and even though the damage was minor, this set-back my learning a LONG way. I eventually went solo many months later, at the age of 16, after finally beating the yips.

Moving on up
I slowly began to push the Cosmo through aerobatics - just loops and rolls at first. It was just baby-steps forward, until I began to find the plane was limiting what I could do. I entered my club's annual Sportsman aerobatics contest, and was well out in front when a heart-breaking dead-stick terminated my final flight early, and cost me the win. I didn't think I was even in with a chance, so this really kicked me straight.

I was finding the Cosmo under-powered and limited by its semi-symetrical wing + dihedral. I went all-out and ordered a plan for a Jetta pattern-ship, powered by a Blue-bird 46 BB 2-stroke. The motor was powerful, but unreliable. The plane was finished in 9 months (competing study priorities), but flew well. I loved the high horsepower, but it took some learning to slow this ship down! I had enough stick-time to fly in the following year's Sportsman comp, and made no mistake this time.

Where to next?
I started to diversify from aerobatics after this. My Jetta was still my bread-and-butter, and soon received a new wing complete with mechanical retracts and a tuned-pipe. It was AWESOME! It was even better when I switched the Bluebird for a YS45 pumper, thanks to a 21st birthday present.

I built a 100-inch thermal glider called the Aeroflyte Albatross, and it turned out better than expected. The first launch was too low due to insufficient bunjee tension, but I still managed 20 minutes - not bad for a first attempt at thermalling. I suspect a refrigerator could have thermalled that day! I frequently managed over 30 minutes, and one day nearly lost the glider when the 100mAh flight-pack went flat! I really miss that plane, that was ultimately lost due to damage in a house-move. I currently fly a Great Planes Fling HLG, and a Cermark New Timer for my thermalling fix. I’ll never leave glider flying.

My club president sold me a fibre-glass/foam pylon racer, which was ready a few months later for the club sports-pylon scene. This was insane! I had never flown so fast and so low. I did okay on my first outing, but spent the next few weeks practising every time I could. At the next race meet I was flying a TIGHT line, just 10’ - 20' up. I over rolled into a turn, and when I hit the elevator it nearly went into the ground! To my surprise, I won the meet - practise really does pay off.

I also built a Piper J3 Cub from a pilot kit, and had a great time flying it with a PAW 0.35 diesel. However, I had no interest in scale…

After such rapid success, failure was inevitable. I entered my Jetta in the Sportsman Aerobatics class at the National Championships. I went in confident, having recently won my club's open-aerobatics comp. Sadly, the national judges simply weren't impressed by my style. I flew very fast, and they felt the manoeuvres lacked grace. I guess I was too young and immature, so this crushed me. I quit the hobby for 5 years, which gave me time for 2 new hobbies - windsurfing and women.

Back in the game
How addictive is this hobby of ours? A lot changed in 5 years. Everything got a lot cheaper, and ARF planes were suddenly abundant. They were well made too! Gone were the delicate foam-skinned ARFs. I bought a VMAR CAP231 and had it flying in a month – now this was more like it! The YS45 and tuned-pipe made it positively zing! However, I had no interest in competing anymore, and now just fly for fun.

First design
I lost the Cap 2 years later when the engine stalled during a vertical climb-out (out of fuel, and out of altitude). I designed a low-wing aerobat, incorporating the best features I had seen. The fuselage was made from fibreglass, using a displacement foam casting. The tail-plane was all-moving – a system I would soon regret. It flew beautifully. About a month after its maiden flight, the tail control mechanism came apart during a high-speed vertical dive, prolonging the dive into the ground. A sad loss, where I only got the tail back…

I acquired Paul Gray’s design of the BAe Hawk for 45 ducted fan power. The design was all built-up, but I made the fuselage plug out of foam and then made a set of moulds. After about 2 years of toil I had a completed airframe, with foam-honeycomb wings, and a fully moulded epoxy fuselage (including ducting). I was shaking like a leaf on its maiden flight, and I could not get it to ROG. After mods to the dolly-undercarriage I snuck out to the field and gave it another go… success!!! It was damn fast, using a K&B 45 + tuned exhaust to turn the Micromould Fan at 25,000rpm. Unfortunately, belly landings were harsh on the structure, and despite the flying success, I ended up doing frequent repairs to the underside.

I now have a Trim Aircraft Spectre and AMD Hawk waiting to be built, using K&B100 power, but they are waiting for my return home (I’m away from my base until further notice). Turbine power is awesome, but beyond my financial capability at the moment.

Mega Power
Shortly after Y2K, I thought back to my Jetta, now defunct due to oil rot into the timber. I wondered why we used such tiny engines and wrung their necks to get the horse-power. I theorised that it would be simpler to use a much bigger engine and simply fly with throttle control. I bought an ESM Extra 300 for 45 power, and installed a Supertigre 90 to everyone’s universal horror. However, when they saw it fly, they were instantly convinced.

The plane would leap off the ground and climb out vertically, then I would throttle back to about 1/3 throttle and fly circuits. Any time I pointed the craft up, the power was available to keep it moving. UNLIMITED VERTICAL. Straight Up was born. Soon after this, 3D flight became VERY popular, and everyone was using mega power. I’m not saying my idea was stolen – just that everyone else must have been having the same thoughts I did. The Extra is now several years old, and is still going strong. I’m careful to check regularly for wood-rot.

Park Flyers revolutionised the hobby! Aircraft were now VERY quick to build, and cheap. My dad built a GWS Ugly Stick, while I bought a Wattage EDF Sabre (how’s that for bold?). Dad’s Stick was so convenient, and there was no messing around tuning engines. The Sabre was a screaming success, although it also suffered from the rigours of belly landings. Electric power was now a low-cost alternative.

A few years ago the Lipo battery came onto the scene, and brushless motors became readily available. I built a GWS Formosa, which was hopelessly underpowered after my mega-power experience. I re-engined it with a Himark 6800kV brushless and a 3S Lipo – a TOTAL FAILURE! I didn’t know anything about kV, so I didn’t realise that 6800rev/V was a little insane for direct-drive with an 11V battery. My local hobby store took the near-virgin Himark motor back and gave me an Axi 2208/34 outrunner. AWESOME! Now I had the power… well almost. I eventually upgraded to an Axi 2808/16, which gave the Formosa mega-power. A few weeks later I learned the importance of securing the battery, when my 3S Kokam pack ejected during a negative pull-out, never to be found again. My dad was screaming “Pull up! Pull up!” as the Formosa headed earthward, so I calmly turned to him and asked “how can I do that?”. Electric power introduced new failure modes…..

I was given a lucrative job offer in the Middle East last year, that was too good to pass up. I knew I would need to fly RC while I waited for my gear to be shipped over, so I bought a T-Rex electric chopper kit and took it in my luggage. I flew the Reflex Simulator for the first month in the desert furnace, thinking, “how good would this have been when I was learning RC!?!?”. The chopper took just 3 days to build, and flew without any trouble.

I’ve now clocked up over 60 flights on the T-Rex. I never had any ambition to fly choppers, but fate pushed me into that department. I’m never going to be a 3D pilot, but I can do basic aerobatics, and fly the craft well enough to impress the local onlookers. I fly it all over town….

The future
Who knows what the future holds? I cannot import ARF kits anymore due to some paranoid bureaucrat who doesn't understand our hobby, so it’s back to scratch-building for me. I’ve just designed a hot-liner, to be constructed primarily from Depron – we’ll see how that goes.

I continue to be impressed by innovations in our hobby, and how it keeps getting cheaper. I cannot believe I can now get digital servos for less than the equivalent cost of a standard servo 20 years ago. I believe the days of glow-power are numbered, just as the diesel engine became extinct. I don’t fly glow in the ME (I’m having trouble getting fuel), but electric has proved to be just as capable as glow, and a whole lot simpler. I wonder if a new power source will come along soon? However, my flying outlook continues to be STRAIGHT UP…..
Last edited by Straight Up; Aug 10, 2011 at 10:23 AM.
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Aug 18, 2017, 04:33 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by Straight Up View Post

Going RC
My first RC model was a Cosmo 25SR, shouder-wing trainer, powered by a Magnum 25 2-stroke. I had completed some stick-time on my instructor's Ugly Stick, which scared the heck out of me . The Cosmo was a good plane - very neutral to the controls, and taught me a lot. I got over-confident after a few weeks of training, and performed a loop at low altitude. I came out even lower - into the ground! . My instructor was not impressed, and even though the damage was minor, this set-back my learning a LONG way. I eventually went solo many months later, at the age of 16, after finally beating the yips.

I am trying to enter a vintage event and I need to find ou if the Cosmo 25SR was designed before 1980.

Can you help ?

Whend did you buy yours?

Aug 28, 2017, 08:45 AM
Vertical Unlimited
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Thread OP
Hi Martin,

I responded to your PM. I believe the Cosmo 25 SR was designed and released in the 1980s.

Cheers, SU

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