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By Matt Maziarz


IMG_7799-300x197.jpgEven with floats, the Timber is right at home on its back.


DISTRIBUTOR: Horizon Hobby
TYPE: STOL Specialist
FOR: Any pilots with limited experience

PRICE: $249.99 (For the BNF as tested)



The only things needed to get the BNF version of the Timber into the air are a 5+ channel DSMX/DSM2 radio, a 3S 2200mAh LiPo and a compatible charger. The PNP offering of the Timber from Horizon requires a radio, receiver, LiPo and charger.

At the time of this writing, I had the Timber out of the box and in the air for roughly four weeks. Even my new limited role as “digital only flight jockey”, I still manage to get get out to the field every weekend with no less than 6 models in tow. The one model that has made the trek every weekend, since I cracked that packing tape off the box, is the Timber. Whether I want to cut loose with some wild scale aerobatics or touch and go til the cows come home, it is now my favorite sport model. The two-piece wing makes it easy to transport and factory labeled wire harnesses make field setup a breeze. The best part though, are the STOL capabilities of the Timber and its ability to take on punishing field conditions that would send other aircraft (and their gear) scrambling.


IMG_6705-300x167.jpgLow and slow is what the Timber does best.


  • Floats and NAV lights included
  • Amazing STOL performance
  • The BNF version includes SAFE for training pilots
  • 10+ minute flight times


  • Foam finish could be better
  • Belly mounted battery … booooooo


IMG_7683-300x246.jpgUpside down, NAV lights blazin’ and all.


WINGSPAN: 61 in. (1555mm)
WING AREA: 559.5 sq. in. (3610 sq. cm.)
WEIGHT: 50.3 oz. (1400g)
WING LOADING: 12.95 oz./sq. ft.
LENGTH: 40.9 in. (1040mm)
SERVOS: (6) Spektrum A330

MOTOR: E-flite 10 Ultimate 2

ESC: E-flite 40 amp



  • The light wing loading, combined with the slotted flaps on the Timber give it awesome STOL capabilities. I took my first few flights without adding the slats to the leading edge because I don’t think it needs them. Drop the flaps to half, punch the throttle and blip the elevator up for a takeoff that chews up all of 18-24 inches … and that’s without a headwind!
  • Bush planes are known for their ability to deal with adverse conditions, one of which being night flights. Make your dusk sortie with the sun just above the horizon and rest assured, you’ll bring the Timber back, straight on the numbers, with the bright wingtip, belly and top lights.
  • What STOL sport model would be complete without a set of floats, right? Horizon has long been producing such models in a wide variety of scales, but the floats were always an optional purchase. Not so with the Timber as it comes with them and they feature dual rudders!
  • The newest generation of the flight controllers, AR636A as found in the Timber, allows the user to bind the aircraft with AS3X and SAFE or with just AS3X. That’s a big plus in my book, as experienced pilots might get turned off by the limited throws as allowed by the SAFE system.
  • The bush-style wheels on the Timber make pretty much any surface suitable for takeoff and landing. To add to the realism and ability, the gear mounts reside on hinge pins and each strut is tied to the other via a sprung x-brace. That means even if you bounce it in or encounter a small rut, the Timber will stay on point. I’ve heard of folks breaking the springs at the 90 degree bend within the retainer, but I have yet to encounter any issues, even after dozens of touch and go’s.
  • The two piece wing of the Timber makes it super easy to store and transport, even with three leads dangling out of each root (LED’s, Flaps, Ailerons). E-flite labels each wire, so field installation is a breeze. Additionally, both the flaps and ailerons are driven by concealed pushrods, giving the model a nice and clean scale appearance.


IMG_6360-300x106.jpgThe spring loaded gear can take quiet the rough landing and the Tundra tires make nearly any field your tarmac.


Horizon, of late, has been on a tear with the foam releases and while they normally focus on sport aerobats and warbirds, the Timber takes things in an entirely different direction … and that’s a good thing. This STOL gem is perfect for lazy afternoon flights, even from the smallest of fields or body of water. The price is a bit high for a park-sized high wing BNF, but the inclusion of both NAV lights, floats and flaps make it easy swallow. The performance envelope is also quite wide, especially if you make a few choice modifications (to the BNF model). Let’s take a closer look …

The model arrives boxed up, nice and secure. However, once I pulled the fuse out of its enclosure, I was shocked to see the belly light dangling from its intended perch by about 6 inches of wire. A quick jump to the Horizon website revealed that I wasn’t the first to experience the distended belly light. I dabbed a bit of Fix N’ Flex from Deluxe Materials on the light mount and stuffed it back into place and was good as new. My only two other complaints are: 1) One of my four landing gear mount screws wouldn’t sink in all the way, obviously due to the mount not being tapped deep enough in that hole. I simply snagged a slightly smaller screw from my pit box and was good to go. 2) The entire model is attractive, yet the molding and finish of many of the surfaces leaves much to be desired. After my first few flights, I spent a good hour or so slicing rough flashing bits off the tail section alone. The wing joiner could be a bit more snug as well. These three qualms I alluded to in no way affect the performance of the Timber, which is amazing. The build is fairly simple and could take most modelers far less than an hour to complete, so make sure you get that flight pack on charge before breaking the box open.



  • Try the Timber out for yourself without the slats. You could always add them later if desired, but the there is a bit of yanking and gluing involved if you want to install or remove them. I found the STOL capabilities to be astounding, even without the slats. Plus, it’s a heck of a lot easier to transport without those small strips of foam on the wing halves.
  • Shove that battery all the way forward. I found that even with the wheels on, the Timber seems to be a bit heavy in the tail. With the battery crammed all the way forward, up against the bulkhead, the model balanced out perfectly. I did have to add about a quarter ounce of weight to the inside of the cowl when I had the floats on it, but aside from that, the model flies amazing well from both land or sea.
  • If you are an experienced pilot who loves to bust some aerobatics, but also putter around the patch at a lazy pace in true STOL fashion, get the PNP model and add a receiver without AS3X. The stability system works in the background to keep the model smooth and on track, but it also somewhat limits the amount of travel you can dial into the control surfaces. If you want to explore the full spectrum of flight possibilities with the Timber, set some expo and nothing else and let it rip.


IMG_8089-300x169.jpgUp on step in a hurry and about to liftoff.


The final build begins by installing the landing gear … or floats. I used my StandBox cradle to keep the Timber on its back, with the top of the rudder more than clear of the table top. Once the four screws are secure for the main gear, you can join the two strut assemblies with the small plastic clamp. I found it easiest to roll the model over at a 45 degree list to have the topside strut leaning towards the bottom one, making for an easy install sans an extra set of hands.

Once the gear or floats are on, you install the horizontal stabilizer and elevators. The two tail halves ride on a small carbon spar, are self aligning and interlock once seated. No more tape on the tail feathers … yay! After popping the quick clevis off the elevator pushrod, place it in whichever hole you like (inner for more throw, outer for less) and lock it back down with a twist.

IMG_8040-300x189.jpgWith the tail all situated, the main wing is all that’s left to finish the build. I found it easiest to assemble the wing and hold it in place with the bracket and screws, placing it on the fuse just aft of the opening on top and joined up the wires. The LED’s in both the wings and the receiver Y-harness are labeled either L1 or L2, but the aileron and flap leads are only labeled on the wing sides. Common sense (with Spektrum receivers) dictates that the Y-harness on channel 5 is for the flaps while the other is for aileron. Once all connected, bind the model to your transmitter using one of the prescribed methods in the manual (1: bind plug in, power model on, remove plug and bind model for AS3X and SAFE or 2: place bind plug, power model on, bind model, then remove plug for AS3X only). If using SAFE, you must program whichever switch you want to activate the different flight modes. Once bound, power the transmitter on, then the model back on. Once initialized, pull both sticks down and in and hold them there while toggling the desired switch back and forth at least five times. After that, it’s as simple as stuffing the bundle back down into the fuse while placing the wing. It would be nice if there was some sort of shroud over the elevator and rudder servos to prevent any wires interfering with them, but shoving the veritable bird’s nest of wires as far forward when attaching the wing.


IMG_7182-300x274.jpgIN THE AIR

I performed my maiden flight with the model bound in AS3X only mode and the factory recommended flap/elevator mixing dialed into my Spektrum DX6. To hit the proper CG point, I had to stuff the E-flite 2200mAh 3S all the way forward, right up against the ESC leads. After a range check and confirmation of proper deflection, I taxied the Timber out onto the centerline of the runway holding a fair amount of up elevator and making sure not to go too fast as the massive lift provided by the wing and flaps at mid would lift the model in a heartbeat. Once in position, I goosed the throttle, fed in a bit of up elevator (or so I thought it was just a bit) and the Timber leapt from the grass, consuming all of 18 inches of runway, and assumed a straight nose up attitude.

Thankfully, I was on point that day and managed the level the model off with the elevator while stowing the flaps, powering up to gain some altitude to check the trims. All I needed was a click of left aileron and the Timber was floating hands-free at just around ¼ throttle. I flew a few circuits around the field to get a feel for the model and was pleasantly surprised. The elevator has mucho authority and the manual specified rates and expo seemed spot-on. The ailerons make for some mighty fine scale turns, but the Timber will need a bit of altitude if rolling with them alone. Things were a bit tighter when rolling if coordinating a bit of rudder throughout. Snaps looked great and were super easy to perform and the model feels just as planted while inverted as it does upright.

IMG_8110-300x158.jpgWhile still up a bit, I dropped the flaps to mid position and, slowly (thanks to the recommended speed setting on the flap servos), the Timber lifted its nose. Rather than trimming the model on the elevator, I pulled the flaps back up and came around for my first approach … overshooting the numbers by about 100 feet! Even without the flaps deployed, the Timber will float for days. Before powering back up, I made note of how effective the ailerons and massive rudder remained, even at incredibly slow speeds. A quick touch and go and I made another circuit to line it up again. This time I killed the throttle while still on the downwind leg and then made a tight turn into the tarmac. This time, I still overshot the entry by a bit, but the Timber touched down just past me and rolled out ten feet or so.

I popped a fresh pack in and dialed the elevator to flap mixing a little heavier. The manual states to use 9% elevator at mid flap and 13% at full deflection. I increased those amounts to 13% and 17% respectively and headed back out. This time, I set my timer for five minutes, flipped the flaps to mid and slowly rolled on the throttle without so much as a tug on the elevator. With just a touch of right rudder, the Timber performed a perfect scale takeoff, rolling for twenty or so feet before lifting the tail and slowly creeping skyward … and this was still with nary an input from my right hand! So, the new flap mixing was spot on. Retracting the flaps once more, I put the screws to the Timber to see what this new 10: Ultimate 2 motor was worth. The model has plenty of grunt and can get up and go with a quickness. Rolls become much more axial at speed (duh) and the adrenaline factor is cranked to 11. Knife edge is possible and easy to do at anything above 50% throttle on factory rates, though there is a bit of coupling towards the gear with those giant tires hanging down there.

20170715_1315511-300x169.jpgHorizon and E-flite though of everything for this model. The inner front edge of each float has a splash fairing to keep the chop away from the fuse and cowl … and vital electronics withing them.

Low and slow and touch and go’s are where it’s at with the Timber. Drop the flaps all the way down to their maximum and putter the model in for a bounce or a roll without even needing to touch the elevator. With the Timber balanced and trimmed properly, I could simply chop the throttle, monitor the rudder and ailerons, let the mains settle, feed a little juice into it to keep the tail up and then throttle back up for another smooth liftoff. Likewise, Inverted low and slow passes are about as easy as they come. I’m no 3D master, but I was able to get the top of the rudder as close as six inches or less on some passes.

Subsequent flights were performed with the travel opened up to 130 on the elevator and ailerons. With more travel, the Timber will hover, but do nothing even close to an anti-torque roll. The 10 motor has plenty of rip for level flight and mediocre vertical, but limited bailout grunt, so keep the diligence up and on the sticks. I found the model always tended to lean towards flat inverted once the ailerons and elevator got mushy, so I would simply sacrifice a foot or two of height to pull out straight and inverted. With the increased travel, loops were as tight as I wanted them, from scale to extreme, with little rudder required to keep it straight.

On floats, the Timber is a joy to fly. Takeoff and landing are easier than stringing the dual rudders to the pull-pull horn at the base of the rudder. Each rudder is spring loaded, so you simply pull the line to tighten the spring until each rudder is straight, place the pin in the hole and tighten the set screw. The setup is a bit weird, but works incredibly well. Using the same trims and rates as I did while on land, I did have to add some weight to the nose to get it balanced, but I wasn’t at all worried about the miniscule gain. Inverted with floats isn’t something you’d normally see, but the Timber will hang on its floats all day, with only a slight rock being evident with the extra weight on the belly.

IMG_6753-300x170.jpgOne the water, with a mild breeze, the Timber is a joy to taxi. Being sure to keep on the elevator, the dual rudders have awesome turning power, so you won’t be trekking to retrieve your model if the wind picks up and it weathervanes. Being cautious, yet deliberate on the tail sections and with the flaps at mid, I advanced the throttle and watched the Timber climb up on step in just a few feet, just like on land. I pushed it a little harder and watched the model climb out in glorious amphibious fashion. Handling in the air was much the same as with the wheels on it, only a bit slower with the rolls and loops. If you can believe it, hovering was actually easier for me with the floats on, though I still kept it up a bit. Touching down on floats is always a nerve racking experience for me, but just as with the maiden, I lined it up and basically let the model do the rest. With limited chop on the water, I kept the tips just above parallel at ¼ throttle and waited for contact. Once the water touched, it did grab just a hint so a slight jab of up elevator and easing slowly off the throttle once settled makes the Timber about as easy as any float plain to land. I un-puckered and took back off for another series of worry-free touch and go’s aqua style.

A few weeks after my maiden, I did get the opportunity to (re)bind the model in SAFE mode for a couple of quick flights with a novice pilot. I must say, the Timber is the perfect model for anyone with very limited flight experience. Basically, if you can keep from banging the sticks, you’ll be fine with SAFE and AS3X. The SAFE system does tame things a bit, but that’s exactly what training pilots need and want. Selecting a bailout switch is as easy as holding both sticks down and in while cycling said switch five times. I did re-bind the model once finished with the lesson to disable the SAFe and only employ AS3X, but I do plan on putting a regular receiver sans flight control capabilities in there in the near future.


IMG_7852-300x228.jpgTHE LAST WORD

Ask anyone that knows me, read any of my previous articles, check the majority of pics on my Facebook page or just take my word for it; I am not a high-wing type of fella and when I ask folks to guess what my favorite new model is, they usually retort quick-like with an Edge 540 or some hot rod warbird. I toss them a flippant grin and then tell em’ it’s a bush plane … errr, float plane … errr, trainer … errr aerobat. The Timber really is all of those things and while the price begets a fit and finish that’s still a stones throw or two from what you actually get, it only takes a little tinkering to “scale off” the factory cut edges and tidy up any other issues (ie, the umbilical cord in my model). The Horizon support after the sale is top notch, should you encounter any debilitating flaws, and parts sourcing for wear and tear as well as crash damage are easy to get. Best of all, you can putter around for 10+ minute on a freakin’ 2000mAh 3S pack!



RADIO: Spektrum DX6 transmitter

BATTERY: E-flite 3S 2200mAh









The post E-flite Timber BNF: An STOL Flyer’s Dream appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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Words and Photos by Kevin Siemonsen

File-Jul-03-9-07-49-AM-300x234.jpegA shot of me and the sweet Extra 330 from the original review.

Building and flying RC models is a hobby that does not discriminate. The very moment you think you know it all, you get a harsh reminder that nothing could be further from the truth. With that opening statement in mind, let me tell you my $1500 lesson of hard knocks!

When reviewing a model plane I make it a point to use the components that accompany the kit. What I’m referring to are generally hardware items such as tail wheel brackets, wheels, hinges, fuel system components, servo arms, control linkages, etc. Where this lesson starts is with a 28% Flight Model Extra 330 with DA 35 engine, canister exhaust and loaded with high end Hitec electronics. This airplane was an absolute blast to fly and being a small gasser, would even fit in my Subaru.

This saga begins at a fly-in near Downsville NY. While camping overnight I had my Extra sitting under an EZ up awning. In the early hours a gust of wind scooped up the model, sending it cart-wheeling down the flight line. I came out of the camper to see what all the commotion was about to see an empty EZ up and my plane listing some 25 yards down the flight line. An onlooker witnessed the wind hurtling my poor plane down the line. Evident were the broken landing gear and surface blemishes from its tumble.


File-Jul-03-9-02-57-AM-300x225.jpegA beefy alloy arm like this one from SWB is all you should use (and trust) when employing servos with such grunt to move larger control surfaces.

Upon returning home I replaced the landing gear and looked into the rudder. There was hard over evidence with the elevator impression moshed into the side of the rudder. I powered up the radio and noted that the rudder did not center and if you moved the rudder stick quickly you could hear skipping. It was obvious, or I thought anyway, that the rudder servo gears were stripped. I replaced the rudder servo, centered things up and the Extra was ready to go!

Fast forward to a fly-in in Kingston Ontario Canada. I trekked the Extra the 400 miles from Connecticut to Kingston for the Fathers Day event. Gas up the Extra and put her up for a flight. All things were going until I was attempting an outside loop with an outside snap roll on top. That’s when things went from bad to worse. Upon neutralizing the controls for recovery the Extra maintained an “odd” attitude. I applied up elevator because I was, of coarse, low and approaching trees at a feverish pace. The Extra did an unexpected snap roll?! Things were really messed up and the fact that I was now a nano second from the trees made things that much worse! I neutralized the controls again and with the plane now inverted, gave down elevator that induced yet another snap roll. By this time the plane was practically already in the trees and there was no time to compute what the hell was going on. A second later it was all over, with my coveted Extra parked on top of a great big Canadian pine tree! The noise of a large scale gasser crunching its way through the braches is stupendous … and horrifying all the same! I began the walk of shame towards the wreckage and had no problem finding it … I crash as close to the field as possible and wreckage in the top of the tree is clearly visible. Below the tree lie the money end of the Extra. This encompassed the beautiful DA 35 engine, but only two servos. Up in the top of that damn pine tree was a wing panel and rear end of the fuselage.


File-Jul-03-9-05-51-AM-300x225.jpegAfter a day and a half, the main portion of the carcass came down with more than a little assistance from a pole.

For two days we watched the mother nature try to blow the bits out of tree. I thought for sure that wind gusts of 20+ mph would blow them down, but to no avail. The club had a chain saw, which I declined, in favor of a monstrous telescopic pole. I extended the pole from under the tree with the branches acting as guides, preventing the pole from bowing. As we poked and prodded at the plane the “peanut gallery” cheered from the flight line. This went on for about an hour with the remnants being reluctant to leave their perch. I was eventually able to retrieve the carcass and looking at the bright side, packing up the car would be much easier.

I was bothered about that crash. I typically crash because of a mistake, whether it be poor judgment or a wrong control input. Something seemed odd about this one, so I did a mini NTSB crash investigation. I found that when the rudder servo was centered the servo arm was not. I applied some force to the servo arm and sure enough, the splines were stripped. In the photos you will note that a black servo arm provided from the kit manufacturer was fastened to the original equipment servo arm. In the beginning of this article I mention how I try to use accessories included in the kit. When it comes to servo arms, I highly recommend that you DO NOT EXTEND ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT SERVO ARMS!!! The nylon servo arm is not designed to be extended and in doing so you could be setting up for failure!


File-Jul-03-9-04-03-AM-300x225.jpegThis factory included plastic servo horn (combined with an autonomous tumble down the flight line) is what caused the demise of my Extra.

The reason my plane crashed was because when the wind tumbled it down the flight line in Downsville, I failed to notice the servo arm was stripped. In my infinite wisdom I replaced the servo that worked great until there was and abrupt load. At that moment, the control the arm slipped on the servo. When the control sticks were centered, the rudder was not. I then proceeded to give elevator which was actually commanding a snap roll. Major bummer.

Today’s servos are torque monsters and rotational loads can be too much for nylon servo arms, especially when extended and the control gets bumped! There is an easy solution known as SWB. Since 1988, SWB has been an aftermarket manufacturer of performance aluminum model aircraft accessories that pioneered the industry. SWB is most noted for its high performance aluminum anodized servo arms. The SWB servo arm is superior, with a clever clamp design that maximizes engagement of the servo arm to servo output shaft. SWB arms come in a multitude of shapes and sizes and are available for all major radio brands. In the event that you’re not sure what you need for the job, Scott at SWB can help you choose the correct arm for your application.


File-Jul-03-9-05-12-AM-300x225.jpegPacking the busted airframe up after the crash was easy, but not exactly satisfying.

This was a long winded lesson learned story so I’ll keep the ending short and sweet. If I had an SWB servo arm on my plane I’d still have it today. Don’t overlook replacing a 5-10 dollar part that might cause you to lose your 1500-2000 dollar model. The end!



The post A Hard Lesson Learned … Losing A $1500 Model Due To A $2 Part appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

View the full article


By Kevin Siemonsen



A beautifully detailed foamy 3D thoroughbred that is rewarding regardless of skill level. The Aura 8 incorporates a 3 axis gyro system that can help you achieve your flying goals regardless of experience.  The QQ Night Extra is a proven airframe, except with the additional benefit of LED lighting in the wings. Though not labeled a full on night flyer, there is more than enough light for exhilarating night flying!

IMG_3988-300x200.jpgNEED TO KNOW

MANUFACTURER: Premier Aircraft
DISTRIBUTOR: Flex Innovations
TYPE: Foam 3D Trainer
FOR: Intermediate through advanced

PRICE: $309.99


NEEDED TO COMPLETE: Minor shop tools, receiver, radio and battery pack.

>> Performance is amazing

>> Level of completion from the factory

>> Attention to detail in construction

>> Lights enable better orientation after dark



>> Expensive

>> Mine was missing the prop adaptor

>> Can’t use sub trims when setting up radio



WINGSPAN: 47.8 in. (1215mm)
WING AREA: 572.5 sq. in. (3995 sq. cm.)
WEIGHT: 48.0 oz. (1360 g)
WING LOADING: 12.7 oz./sq. ft.
LENGTH: 15.5 in. (393mm)
SERVOS: (4) Potenza DS19 Digital metal gear Long Throw Servo

MOTOR: Potenza 10 1350Kv Brushless

ESC: HobbyWing SkyWalker 40 amp

FCS: Aura 8 Advanced flight control system 3 axis gyro
PROPELLER: SR 11.5 X 4.5


File-Jun-27-1-05-38-PM-300x225.jpegThe brains of the QQ Night Extra … the Aura * and those potent MG servos.


  • A lightly loaded airframe for optimum 3D performance backed by a host of electronic genius transforms this Extra into a would-be aerobatic thoroughbred. Whether you’re just looking to break into the ranks of 3D, are looking to dazzle club members with ever progressing routines or are a pro who needs an outlet to toss your thumbs at on the off days, the QQ Night Extra 300 is just what you need.


  • The Aura 8 is really the secret sauce behind the performance of the QQ Extra. It helps transitioning pilots slide into the more difficult maneuvers while giving seasoned pros the stability they might need while pushing the model to its limits.


  • The Potenza 10 motor might not sound like a lot, but it has plenty of grunt and when combined with the HW SkyWalker ESC, it is a perfectly matched power system for the QQ Night Extra.


  • The high end digital metal gear servos provide some serious muscle on the control surfaces and they keep them where you want them while rumbling through extreme 3D maneuvers.


File-Jun-27-1-03-24-PM-300x225.jpegEach wingtip is loaded with high intensity LED’s … perfect for reflecting light back from the SFG’s to the fuse.


I was fortunate to have met Quique Somenzini at the Toledo expo this spring. I was pretty blunt and posed the question: “a 3 axis gyro in a plane … really”? With that he went on to explain that the Aura 8 AFCS is not a head lock gyro system. The Aura 8 is specifically designed to act as an aide to bring ones flying to the next level. The gyro does help maintain the attitude of the plane, but that’s as far as it goes. The Aura 8 can make novices fly like intermediates, intermediates fly like experts and experts fly like Pros.

The QQ Extra Night is basically the same as the previous QQ Extra 300 except has lighting in the wings. This brought on another question for Quique… “How come there are not lights in the fuselage and tail?” With that question it was explained that it was more a concern about performance then lighting. Weight is somewhat critical on a 3D plane and unnecessary weight can really affect the performance. One thing that I got from my conversation with Quique was his passion for producing planes that performed beyond expectation and bringing the hobbyist to the next level.


File-Jun-27-1-04-44-PM-300x225.jpegI had to take a bit of material off the SFG’s to get them to fit nice and flush without rubbing against the LED’s.


The QQ Extra 300 is an injection molded foam fuselage with two part horizontal stabilizer and two part wing. The spring wire main gear fits into a slot on the belly of the fuselage and secures by fastening a cover plate with four screws. The tail wheel fits in a slot in the bottom of the rudder and is secured with a cover plate and three screws. With the wheels installed the carbon carry through horizontal stabilizer spar slides into receptacle in the tail. Each stabilizer half slides into position and self aligns as it bottoms out in a plastic cuff on either side. Clear tape is added to secure each half to the fuselage. The wing fastens in a similar way with carbon carry through spar and self alignment as the wings bottom out as they are fitted on each side of the fuselage. A screw is inserted from the underside of the wing root on each wing panel to lock the wing half into position. There is an added wire harness that exits the wing root that connects to a “Y” harness from the battery balance port. This powers an LED light ribbon throughout the hollow wing panel to the tip where additional high intensity LED’s are added. The only gluing step of construction is the over size wing tips that act not only as side force generators, but help direct some of that light back at the fuselage for better visibility without extra weight. The tips are side specific with an integrated hard plastic bottom to prevent wear damage with ground contact. The wing tips have a self aligning feature that interfered with the LED lights. This was quickly remedied with an hobby knife before CA-ing into position.

IMG_4006-300x200.jpgThe radio system is nearly 100% installed with servos and Aura 8 installed at the factory. The control linkages are metal rods with plastic clevises that require connecting. The manual is very detail oriented and gives specific recommendations for each control. Aiding for radio access are two large radio hatches, one in the bottom with a magnet and a top one with convenient spring loaded clasp for tool-less entry. The Aura 8 ACFS is not a receiver, but is compatible with all major radio systems. It accepts signals from DSM, Futaba S Bus, Graupner Hott, JR X Bus or PPM stream. I opted to use a Spektrum remote receiver which simply plugs into a port on the Aura 8. Binding is straight forward but requires two bind plugs with a plug in port one and the other plugged into port eight. A three position switch is required for channel five. This switch will select the various flight modes. In the initial set up I used sub trims to set up the servo centering. I found that when selecting the different flight modes, that the flight control centering would change with switch position. Sub trims have to be set at zero in order for the servo to remain centered when selecting the various flight modes. This means the flight controls must be centered using mechanical linkages. Once the system is installed the radio system is recommended to be set up with three different flight modes (1) Flight control system off with modest control deflection (2) Flight control gains set on moderate and tuned with modest control deflection for best performance while performing precision flying (3) Flight gains set on highest with maximum control deflection for extreme 3D aerobatics.

The Potenza 10 1350Kv motor is factory installed as is the HobbyWing SkyWalker 40A ESC. The motor cowl secures with a screw on either side of the cowl. It is factory installed, but can be removed if one needed access to the motor at a later date. I did not have a battery with the matching connector so opted to install Power Pole connectors on the ESC and 3S 2200mAh LiPo battery. The only step required for the power system installation is to the 5mm prop adaptor and the included SR 11.5 x 4.5 electric prop. In the event that lights are desired, simply plug the balance plug of the battery to lighting interface and make sure its plugged into the each wing JST type wire connector … it’s that easy :0)


IMG_4350-2-300x252.jpgIN THE AIR

The QQ Extra 300 Night, as far as I’m concerned, is good enough without the Aura 8. The plane tracks well, requiring little correction while accelerating for take off. The wheels are more suited for manicured fields, but there is more then enough power to motivate things if the grass is a little long. The Extra flies as you’d expect with its pedigree lines and generous flight controls. The plane is very agile, but does not give up tracking to achieve this. The power system is well matched with great acceleration and moderate top speed. This is the second plane I’ve flown that had SFG’s and was designed by Quique and am delighted by the balance of side lift that doesn’t detract from aspects of flight. I did ask Quique about the process of tuning SFG’s and he literally cuts off sections of SFG until it performs the way he wants it. This might also entail taping pieces back on if getting overzealous with the hobby knife. The plane is an obvious no brainer performing regular, precision and even 3D aerobatics … after all, that’s what it’s designed to do.

Where things go from good to incredible is when flying in mode with the Aura 8 ACFS activated. I consider myself to be a good pilot and some what of a 3D hacker! I don’t get the time on the sticks like I used to and fly a little rusty at times. Activate the Aura 8 and the rust got knocked off in no time. The ACFS system does not take over, but definitely enhances flight, especially when slowing things down and in high alpha. The gyro system senses the need for a control correction and gives one before you can even compute that it needed one in the first place. The first time I flew using and Aura 8, I felt like I was cheating. I was piloting for Matt Maziarz so he could get some “lower” to the ground 3D shots and was giddy at how it took the pucker factor out of hover. I mean it when I say it enabled you to be some what relaxed knowing big brother was there flying along side. Rolling circles, slow rolls, knife edge were all easy and very impressive. Hovering is truly effortless with rock a solid Harrier and seamless transition into vertical. The power system is linear and the QQ Extra hangs there like a carpenters plum bob. Torque rolls were magical and look awesome, levitating a foot off the ground. If you’re a hungry 3D’er, the QQ Extra is like an all you can eat 3D buffet!

IMG_3982-300x200.jpgJust about any 3S 2200-3000mAh LiPo is going to fit just fine in the spacious battery compartment.

As the QQ Extra 300 Night is no different than the original QQ 300, there really is no difference in the flight characteristics, but the LED laden wings really do crank up the fun factor after dark. At first, the thought of a fuse sans lights on a night rig did not tickle my fancy. However, after a few flights in the dark with the QQ Night, I am a believer. The post-stall capabilities of the model allow you to keep it in close, so there really isn’t any extra need for fuse lights. If so desired though, one could easily slip some extra LED strips down through the fuse as there is ample room within the interior.



The QQ Extra 300 isn’t your average foamy … it’s more! I never thought of this solid of stability in a foamy, but QQ Extra has brought performance to the next level. Unlike other gyro systems, the Aura 8 works seamlessly in the background and does a remarkable job at increasing confidence. The plane looks great with stylish graphics that not only look good, but also aide in orientation. The Extra is equipped with high top quality components that work harmoniously in this 3D thoroughbred. Even better, you can enjoy it in the dark!



RADIO: JR 12X transmitter

RECEIVER: Spektrum satellite receiver

BATTERY: Some random 40C 3S 2200mAh that was floating around my pit box



















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Get ready for one of the most exciting events in RC aviation. The dates are set for the Twelve O’clock High Warbirds Classics Event; Oct 19-21 2017. Mark your calendars, tell your family you’re busy and make plans to head to Lakeland FL. Find out more details HERE

Twelve O'clock High Warbirds Classics

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By Scott Copeland

It has been said that one learns more from his failures than his successes. Undeterred by my prior washouts, I vowed to improve my RC skills although those little green demons of haste and impatience continued to hound me.  At some point, I acquired a Pronto kit designed by Dave Robelen.  It was a cute little low-wing sport machine that reminded me of the PT-19, especially in Robelen’s original, yellow and blue between-the-wars color scheme.  As soon as the kit was in my possession, I had to start building!

004-300x225.jpgDave Robelen’s original Pronto

In retrospect, I have come to the conclusion that all projects have an appropriate pace.  That pace may be different for each individual modeler and each individual project but there is certainly a proper speed with which one should proceed.  This ideal pace is the perfect balance of progress and sound decision-making.  Work too slow; you succumb to every pitfall and never finish the project.  Work too fast; you make rash decisions that doom the project to eventual failure.  At the time in my life that I built the Pronto, I had not yet had this revelation.

Instead of carefully studying the plans and building instructions to make sure I understood every step, I simply bulled through the build trying to get things done ASAP.  Around this same time I also got quite familiar with another factor of modeling which demands recognition; the modeling budget.   Rushing through the building process is certainly one way to make sure things get done wrong, but also not realizing that a project is beyond monetary capabilities can lead to just as many mistakes.

Om33511-300x225.jpgThe original kit box label for the Pronto.

At some point in the project, I ran out of epoxy.  All my greenbacks had flown the coup, so I substituted.  Surely other glues would be sufficient for things like wing spar joinery…  I can’t recall which glue I substituted for the correct one, but that point, my friends, is now moot.  Additionally, I could not afford the Monokote that should have been used to cover the Pronto.  Instead, I had inherited an old roll of iron-on fabric covering that my grandfather had collecting cobwebs in his shop.  I decided to use this instead.  I quickly learned why this stuff had never been used.  It was quite heavy and did not stick well to the framework.  Luckily the Pronto had no compound curves because I am sure this mystery fabric would not have conformed to them at all.  The covering looked, as Dave Platt might say, “Like a pig’s breakfast”, but there was the Pronto, ready to fly in record time.

Dave27s-Orginal-pronto-300x217.jpgDave displaying his model.

I could not wait to test-fly this thing.  My friend Chris was always semi-interested in my aeronautical exploits and decided to come along for the maiden flight.  My flying field, prophetically, was at the edge of a cemetery.   It had a nice open field and a paved strip that could be used as a runway, and the neighbors were quiet.  I quickly assembled the model and filled the tank.  I rushed through the pre-flight check, failing to check the center of gravity, thinking forward about how great this plane was going to fly.  I started the trusty O.S. .15 and set the needle.  I did manage to check the controls, and then goosed the throttle.  The Pronto lept into the air after a 10 foot rollout and was climbing at about a 45 degree angle!  I quickly gave down elevator and managed to keep it from stalling.  I hurriedly fed in full down-trim but could not keep the nose level without massive amounts of down-elevator.  The Pronto was barely controllable, intermittently climbing and diving at 45-degree angles.  I did manage to avoid the trees at the end of the field but couldn’t wrangle my horribly tail-heavy machine into any semblance of a controlled flight pattern.

After about 20 terrifying seconds of piloting that must have given the impression to all bystanders that I must have stopped at the pub before the flying field, one of my sub-standard glue joints finally decided to give up.  I made a quick diving turn to the right and as I pulled out, the two wing halves clapped together as if mockingly applauding my stupidity.  The Pronto did its best impression of a V2 rocket and plunged vertically into oblivion, the roaring engine stopping with a thud.  The thud was followed by a brief silence, interrupted by the uproarious laughter from Chris, who could no longer contain himself.  Insult added to injury, the Pronto managed to seek out and find the paved strip amidst the preponderance of nice soft field turf.  The tail group survived; that’s about it.  My trusty O.S. .15 had a bent crankshaft and my receiver was cracked. To paraphrase Carl Bachhuber, I was learning by trial and error… mostly error:

  1. Never substitute when you know consciously that you are using the wrong glue!
  2. Haste makes (Pronto) waste!
  3. Sometimes, I am an idiot.
pronto10.jpgThe full size plans as downloaded from outerzone.com.

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Words and photos by Gary A. Ritchie


Now it’s time to build a fiberglass cowling that will fully enclose the electric motor in our Ultra Sport 60. Before we begin, sand the front of the fuselage into a smooth oval shape (Figure 1). Then draw a pencil line across the front center of the firewall and drill two 9/64” holes straight down through the firewall 5/8” in from the fuselage sides (Figure 2).

Building the cowling involves two steps: (1) making a mold from blue foam, and (2) building the cowling over the mold using strips of fiberglass cloth. When this is done, the foam mold is cut away leaving the fiberglass cowling. Let’s take them one step at a time.

Making the mold. To make the mold you will need a 1-foot square sheet of 2” thick blue foam (you can buy this at a hardware store, but I was able to get some scrap foam from a fellow modeler), two 4-40 blind nuts, two 4-40 x 5/8” long socket head cap screws, two small pieces of scrap 1/8” plywood, and some 20 minute Epoxy.

Bolt the motor to the motor mount and set the assembly on top of the firewall, center it up, and then measure the distance (D) from the front of the firewall to the back of the prop spinner plate (Figure 3). With my plane, D was 4 3/8”. Then cut two blocks of foam exactly 4¾” x 4 3/8” (modify this if D is not 4 3/8”). I used a band saw for this. If you don’t have a band saw you can use a table saw or even a hand saw with a miter block. The idea is to cut the pieces as square as possible. Then glue them together side to side and hold them firmly in place with a couple of metal weights while the glue dries.  I used Deluxe 20-minute Speed Epoxy II for this step (Figure 4). This will give you a block of foam with the dimensions: 4 ¾” x 4 3/8” x 4”.

Now cut two pieces of 1/8” scrap plywood to about 1” x ½” and drill a 1/8” hole in the center of each. Mount one of the 4-40 blind nuts in each hole (Figure 5). Then feed the two 4-40 bolts through the holes you drilled in the firewall (Figure 2) from inside the fuselage so that the ends protrude through the nose. You can make this easier by putting a blob of Deluxe Tacky Wax on the tip of your ball driver to hold the screw as you insert it into the front of the fuselage (Figure 6). A Glue Stick will also work but not as well. Then bolt each plywood block firmly to the front of the firewall (Figure 7).

Now firmly fasten your fuselage into an upright position (I used my Shop Mate) and press the foam block straight down on the front of the firewall (Figure 8). This will mark the locations of the ply blocks on the bottom of the foam block (Figure 9). Remove the plywood blocks from the firewall, cut out the impressions in the foam down to about 1/8” with your hobby knife and Epoxy the plywood blocks into these cutouts (Figure 10). These will be the mounting points for the foam block as we fasten it into place on the fuselage and begin shaping it. Then screw the foam block firmly to the front of the fuselage, again running the bolts in from behind the firewall as you did earlier. Then draw lines on the block to extend the outlines of the upper and lower fuselage (Figure 11).

Find the round 1/8” plywood spinner ring provided in the kit. Set the spinner backplate from the spinner you plan to use on the ring and use it as a template to draw a circle around the spinner ring. Then sand the ring to match the diameter of the spinner backplate (Figure 12).

Mark the center of the front of the foam block. Use the plan drawings to determine exactly where the center will be. Then place the spinner ring on the center of the foam block and draw a circle around it (Figure 13). Note that I am planning to add an air scoop beneath the spinner, so you need to draw that in as well.

We are now ready to begin shaping the mold. Using the front edge of the fuselage and the round forward edge of the block as guides, send the block so that it gradually contours from the fuselage down to the shape of the spinner ring – leaving a place for the air scoop beneath it. Finally place the spinner ring at the front of the block and make sure the foam exactly matches it. If not, do some final sanding to make it perfect (Figure 14). Note in Figure 14 the area that I left for the air scoop. To do the sanding I initially used #80 grit sandpaper. Be careful with this because it can tear large chunks out of the foam. To finish I switched to #120 grit to smooth out the mold. Keep working on it until you get it as smooth and uniform as you can.

Figure-1-900x600.jpgThe front corners of the fuselage were sanded round with a sanding block.Figure-2.jpgA horizontal line was drawn across the middle of the front of the fuselage. Two 9/64” diameter holes were drilled on each line 5/8” in from the outer edges. Holes are shown at the arrows.Figure-3.jpgThe distance (D) from the front of the firewall to the back of the spinner backplate was determined to be 4-3/8”.Figure-4.jpgThe two pieces of 2” thick blue foam were glued together side by side with 20 minute Deluxe Speed Epoxy II to form a block 4-¾” x 4-3/8” x 4”. They were then weighted down with metal plates to cure.Figure-5.jpgTwo pieces of 1/8” thick plywood were cut to about 1” x ½” and 4-40 blind nuts were inserted into 1/8” holes drilled in the center of each piece. Here you see also the two 5/8” 4-40 socket head cap screws.Figure-6-900x471.jpgA good way to get the socket screws into place in the holes in the back of the firewall is to apply some Deluxe Sticky Wax to the tip of a long socket driver, then stick it into the cap of the cap screw. This can then be inserted through the battery hatch and into the holes in the firewall.Figure-7.jpgThe plywood blocks are screwed to the front of the firewall with the socket head cap screws.Figure-8.jpgWith the fuselage mounted upward in a Shop Mate, the foam block was centered on the firewall and then pressed down hard onto the screws and wood blocks.Figure-9.jpgPressing the foam block down on the firewall made impressions of the wood blocks and protruding screws.Figure-10.jpgAfter the wood block impressions were cut out with a hobby knife, the plywood blocks and bolts were glued in place with epoxy. Before gluing, the bolts were liberally covered with Vaseline to prevent them from being glued to the foam or to the threads in the blind nuts. Then the bolts were removed.Figure-11-900x600.jpgThe foam block was fastened in place using the two 4-40 bolts screwed into the plywood blocks. Then lines were drawn on the blocks to serve as sanding guides.Figure-12-900x539.jpgThe 1/8” plywood spinner ring and the aluminum spinner backplate are shown here. The backplate was placed on the spinner ring and used to draw a circle on the ring. It was then sanded down so that the spinner ring and the backplate were the same diameter.Figure-13-900x600.jpgAfter the center of the foam block was determined and marked, the spinner ring was set on the front of the block and a circle was drawn around it.Figure-14-900x600.jpgAfter the block was sanded down to fit the spinner ring, it was held in place to facilitate final touch-up sanding.


This completes construction of our mold. Next time we will use it to fabricate the fiberglass cowling. Until then remember to take your time and enjoy doing a good job.





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Words and photos by Bob Benjamin – bob@rcmodel.com

A genuine Golden Oldie that’s perfect for today’s small electric airplanes.

NOTE: This article is required reading for the next installment of Master’s Workshop, Guillow’s Hellcat #4

Silkspan … what’s that? Simply stated, it’s a unique kind of paper that since the really old (pre-WWII) days of aeromodelling has been recognized as an excellent covering material for model airplanes. More specifically, it’s a specialized tissue made from woody plant fibers. It’s my understanding that most if not all of it comes to us from Japan. The material generations of aeromodelers around the world have called “silkspan”, a trade name of which I don’t know the origin, is very specific kind of tissue paper, but not all tissue from Japan is silkspan. You’ll recognize its subtly mottled appearance when you see it…and you almost certainly have already. “Silkspan” is the model airplane world’s name for teabag paper. “Japanese Tissue”, the lighter, finer-grained paper made from the gampi plant, sold on the US model airplane market under names such as Esaki, is a different product which demands slightly different application techniques.

Back when I got started in this business, during the late 1940’s and early ‘50’s, silkspan had long since been accepted as the default covering for all but the very smallest…and largest…model airplanes. In those days nearly all the kit manufacturers included a couple sheets of the stuff in every box as the recommended covering material, which everybody knew was supposed to be attached, sealed and finished with airplane dope. The silkspan that was available to us then (and still is) came in three different weights/thicknesses. “OO” is very light…very similar to the heavier tissue products and good for little models with wingspans on the order of twelve to maybe eighteen inches. “OO” silkspan has another special purpose application which works well on larger models as well. I’ll talk more about that later in this article. “GM” (gas model) silkspan is noticeably thicker and stronger…and the most commonly used. “SGM” (super gas model) silkspan was also there on the hobby shop shelf if you were building a six-footer and couldn’t afford very-much-stronger (and much more expensive) silk. If you opened a kit from Sterling, Goldberg, Berkeley, Top Flite, PDQ, Midwest, Kenhi, or Veco, among others in those days, you expected to find a couple of two-by-three foot sheets of silkspan included. This arrangement continued to be common into the 1960’s and beyond, long after most model builders had come to regard those various plastic film products as the new default choice of covering. You will still find silkspan in all the larger Guillow’s built-up balsa kits today, and that happy anachronism is what is going to lead us into this lesson on one of the good old skills of aeromodelling.

Regardless of the grade of silkspan you chose, if you were an experienced model builder you had long since learned to apply your covering NOT just over the “open” parts of the model structure. Instead you covered every square inch of the model’s surface, including the “closed” parts like sheet balsa or carved balsa blocks. If you left any balsa structure uncovered/unsealed by silkspan you would pay the penalty of having a rough, porous surface that was nearly impossible to finish to match the “covered” areas. A colored dope finish might help disguise the contrast between the silkspan and the bare, open grain, porous balsa around it, but even adding and sanding multiple coats of various “fillercoat” products could not give you a finish base to compare with “silkspan over everything” and a couple coats of clear dope. Some guys learned the hard way that if you started that color finish by putting on enough coats of sanding sealer/fillercoat over the bare wood to truly hide it, the extra weight pretty much guaranteed a non-flying airplane. Indeed, using colored dope containing heavy pigments was something we learned to avoid when building smaller airplanes that we wanted to fly well.

No matter how you planned to finish it, like most of the other “pre-plastic” coverings, silkspan could be applied dry by sealing down all the edges of the piece you were working on and then spraying it with water, which when it dried would shrink enough to pull out most wrinkles. The alternate method, which most of us preferred, was to cover wet by pre-moistening the silkspan with water and then taking advantage of the extra flexibility and stretchiness that resulted to pull the covering tight and flat even over compound curves like the top surface of a wing. As the water evaporated the covering would shrink itself really smooth. Once you got used to working with the more delicate, fragile wet silkspan you were almost guaranteed a tighter, neater covering job. Regardless of how you stuck it down, a silkspan covering job was always sealed and strengthened by adding several coats of clear dope. Usually you stopped adding coats when the silkspan began to look noticeably shiny after the dope dried. Using more dope added more weight but even worse, it always threatened to over-tighten the covering and warp (twist) your structure. There are different types of dope as well as various different techniques for using it, but no matter…they all come with a REALLY STRONG SMELL. Even if you didn’t mind it everybody around you DID…and that is one of the best reasons why lots of model airplane builders stopped using dope-and-silkspan as soon as they discovered those new plastic coverings.  Very recently a new product for sealing/surfacing silkspan (as well as other types of tissue) has become available to model builders. It does all the things we want the dope to do, but it DOESN’T SMELL and it doesn’t over-shrink. I will tell you more about this stuff later, but right now I want to talk about one more characteristic of silkspan that really expands its usefulness.

Silkspan, which is naturally white, used to be available in multiple pre-dyed colors as well. You could find red, yellow, orange, blue, green , black…or even checkerboard-patterned silkspan in red or black stocked right on the hobby shop shelf next the white kind. Can you imagine a model covered with, say, deep golden-yellow translucent silkspan sealed and turned glossy with five or six coats of clear dope, glowing in the afternoon sun at some grassy flying field? This is the effect that those transparent colored film products have been trying for years to reproduce. If you have ever seen a well-executed clear doped colored silkspan (or silk) covering, you will agree with me that they have not yet managed to get it right.

OK, enough of the history lesson. I have chosen clear doped colored silkspan as the covering/finish of choice for my ongoing series of electric RC conversions of Guillow’s traditional stick-and-tissue balsa model. I am going to show you how to use it a bit differently than we did in the past and in the process explain why learning to do it the new way is such a good idea.

opener-900x601.jpgThese are the two Guillow’s Kit. No. 403 Spitfires I talked about in the lead-off article of this series, and they provide an excellent example of what dyed, clear-doped silkspan covering looks like. I’m going to show you how to do stuff like this yourself.Silkspan-1-900x600.jpgUnfortunately, most hobby shops today carry silkspan (or any other tissue-type covering for that matter), and the guy behind the counter probably won’t even know what it is. There are in fact quite a few specialized dealers who sell it…mostly online…but let’s start the easy way. Do you remember my mentioning that Guillow’s, whose models we are featuring in this current Master’s Workshop series, not only include it in their larger kits but are also happy to sell it to you separately? What you are looking at here is a sheet of “OO” silkspan directly out of a Guillow’s kit box.Silkspan-2-900x600.jpgJust for comparison, this is a sheet of significantly thicker/stringer/heavier “SGM” silkspan. This piece happens to be at least sixty years old…it came from a dozen-roll tube sold by Berkeley to complement the materials included in their kits. Because it was kept in a closed container and out of sunlight, it’s in the same condition as when it was new stock on a hobby shop shelf somewhere. In fact, right after taking this picture I included a couple sheets of this old stuff in the same dye bath as the new silkspan from Guillow’s and set it aside for some future project.Silkspan-3-900x600.jpgHere’s where the action is. Ordinary “Rit” fabric dye does an excellent job of coloring silkspan. For this job I used a two-gallon pot and about half of the dye in the packet.Silkspan-4-900x600.jpgThe Rit package instructions for dying various fabrics suggest that the dyebath be at a gentle boil. Because silkspan is after all paper, not a textile, I don’t push its “wet strength” so far. The pot you see here is just at the temperature where the water steams slightly before bubbling, at which point I turned down the heat and added all my silkspan to the pot. Open up/unfold every sheet of covering you are going to dye and add it to the dye bath one sheet at a time, gently crumpled, so the dye will get to every corner of each sheet.Silkspan-5-900x600.jpgEverybody into the pool! There are eight separate sheets of silkspan in this pot, which I kept “just simmering” for about twenty minutes while stirring it very gently to keep it all distributed evenly.Silkspan-6-900x600.jpgFollowing the dye package instructions, the next step is to give the entire dye lot a cool rinse. Can you see how I am adding cold water to the pot while breaking the flow from the faucet with my hand to avoid damaging the covering with a strong stream of water?Silkspan-7-900x600.jpgThis part is a waiting game…sort of. According to the Rit directions you should keep adding cold water while pouring off the overflow until the rinse water is nearly clear. That’s what I do and it works.Silkspan-8-900x600.jpgPulling those wet sheets of now-colored silkspan out of the pot and separating them is a delicate job. If you don’t use plenty of patience and a gentle touch you will tear the sheets taking them out.Silkspan-9-900x600.jpgWet silkspan all crumpled and folded back on itself is frighteningly easy to damage. I prepare a “drying yard” using as many old bath towels (clean) as it takes to create an area large enough to spread every sheet out, free of folds and significant overlaps, and then work each sheet as nearly flat as I can get it. Here my batch of new Navy Blue silkspan is still pretty bunched up.Silkspan-10-900x600.jpgProceed slowly! If you look carefully you can see several sheets of covering already spread out at the rear. Once they are all spread out…as you have heard me say before…go away and let it all dry.Silkspan-11-900x600.jpgYou can tell by looking when that has happened. A fully-dried sheet of freshly-dyed silkspan is going to appear much less intensely colored than when it was wet. What you see here is a full sheet of Guillow’s standard kit silkspan spread out flat so I can cut it with a fresh/sharp razor blade to get the correct working size piece I need and to create a reliably straight edge to measure from when laying it in place on the airplane.Silkspan-12-900x600.jpgThis is what our nice new sheet of Navy-Blue-dyed silkspan looks like once it’s ready to be applied to the balsa surface of an airplane. Next to the Hellcat fuselage you can see a plastic bottle of the new product that is going to allow us to do no-smell doping. Deluxe Materials sells a wide variety of model building products; EzeDope is the one that has been painstakingly developed for the specific job we are about to do. I’ll fill in the details as we go along with a representative portion of a covering job.Silkspan-13-900x600.jpgBefore we go any further I want to remind you that on this particular modification of a Guillow’s Kit. No. 1005 Hellcat the entire surface of the model has been converted to sheet balsa covering. To cover open structure we will use a different technique based on another Deluxe Materials product called Tissue Paste. I will feature this in a future article based on a different model. What you see here is the curved upper surface of the Hellcat wing center section, which is flat all the way across the fuselage centerline from one dihedral break to the other. Notice that I have used that freshly cut straight edge of the working piece of silkspan to align it accurately along the center section-outer panel joint (the dihedral break). As we go on you’ll see why this straight-cut edge is going to help us. The most important part of what you see in this shot is how well the now-dry dyed silkspan spreads and flattens and lies snugly against the sheet balsa we’re attaching it to when I work outwards from a central starting point using a brush generously wet with EzeDope.Silkspan-14-900x600.jpgI alternate between “chasing” the dry edge of the covering out across the wing surface with the wet brush and careful thumb-and-finger stretching from the outer edge of the covering to get it down tight against the balsa with NO WRINKLES. We’ll get a better look at this technique during the next several steps.Silkspan-15-900x600.jpgNever pass up the chance to get an overlap where the silkspan (or any other covering) wraps around an edge. In addition to the more finished appearance that I already talked about, doubled-over silkspan provides a significant increase in strength in the structural edge it’s attached to. What you see here is the top of the wing center section with a sheet of blue-dyed silkspan sealed with EzeDope that has dried enough for us to handle it. Where the excess covering runs off the edge at that right-angle corner, which is the inboard end of the left wing flap cutout, I cut it so the resulting free edges can create the overlaps we want.Silkspan-16-900x600.jpgHere’s the same wing center section seen from the front. You can see how neatly that folded-edge overlap works at the trailing edge. With that overlap completed and the EzeDope I used to attach the silkspan dry enough to handle, I’m giving the entire section of new covering/finish a final blend-it-all-together coat of EzeDope.Silkspan-17-900x600.jpgAs you have already guessed, I did the let-it-dry thing again before coming back to cover the right wing panel. This time I’ll repeat the process we just saw in better detail. Here I’m beginning by checking that the sheet of blue silkspan is in my hand is big enough for me to cut off a piece just the right size to fit the surface I want to cover.Silkspan-18-900x600.jpgWhat you see is one end of a single sheet of “OO” silkspan from the Guillow’s kit, dyed and dried, ready for use. I’m marking a cut-off line that will give me a wide enough grab-and-pull margin without wasting material.Silkspan-19-900x600.jpgThere are several ways to cut silkspan. These large fabric scissors make it easy to follow that pencil line I just drew.Silkspan-20-900x600.jpgYou’ve seen me do this before. Because what will become the inner end of this pierce of silkspan is going to have to fit neatly against the center section edge that’s already on the wing, I need to make another straight cut in order to get a good fit. What you see is what you get…I’ve placed this sheet of covering over a clean, smooth surface so that a single pass along the steel straightedge with a nice sharp new razor blade gives me the clean cut I need. Doing work like this is not a place to try to economize on blades. A standard hardware-store-variety single-edge blade is good for maybe a dozen precision cuts like this before it dulls enough to risk catching and tearing the silkspan.Silkspan-21-900x600.jpgThis is about as narrow a gripper margin overhang as you should consider using. It’s WAY better to “waste” a few inches of covering material here than to cut too close and spoil the whole piece so you have to strip it off, throw it away, and start over.Silkspan-22-900x600.jpgRemember “working out from the middle” with the EzeDope? Here’s another close-up look. If you look carefully you can see (at the left behind the brush) where I have pre-aligned those neatly trimmed edges. By now you have figured out that a double layer of dyed silkspan, as created by an edge overlap, is going to appear darker and more deeply colored than the surface around it. On this project I’ve chosen to employ those narrow overlaps to represent the sheet metal skin joints on the full scale Hellcat.Silkspan-23-900x600.jpgMore of the same. You will develop a feel for just when it’s time to put down the EzeDope brush and switch over to pulling out all the wrinkles before they get locked in and impossible to fix.Silkspan-24-900x600.jpgWith the silkspan EzeDoped’d into place exactly where we want it at the inboard end of the panel it’s time to work the other end smoothly all the way to the wingtip. Again what you see is what you get here. The easy error to make is not using enough EzeDope … keep the brush and the silkspan really wet, or those wrinkles won’t “chase”.Silkspan-25-900x600.jpgWe’ve been here before, too. You can see where I’m working to pull enough of that gripper edge of the silkspan down and around the leading edge to provide a good overlap.Silkspan-26-900x600.jpgIf you’ve stayed with me so far, this shot needs no explanation.Silkspan-27-900x600.jpgOnce again this is more of the same. Where the silkspan is thoroughly wetted with EzeDope around the wingtip you can use the natural curve of you hand to form/squeeze/press it into place.Silkspan-28-900x600.jpgHere I have come back to the leading edge of the right wing panel and I’m using the same technique I did a moment ago with the wingtip. Getting the silkspan securely bonded and “no excuses” smooth just past the center of the leading edge curve is what we want to achieve.Silkspan-29-900x600.jpgI have done the same thing along the right wing tailing edge and now the EzeDope is almost dry. This is one of those places where you’ll have to develop your own sense of judgment…if you use that loose sheet of 220 sandpaper too soon you’ll tear the silkspan and pull it loose. If you wait until it’s completely dry this sanding technique won’t cut cleanly and you will have to work to pull away whatever part of the overlap has gotten stuck past where you wanted it to be. Practice, practice, practice.Silkspan-30-900x600.jpgI have done the same thing along the right wing tailing edge and now the EzeDope is almost dry. This is one of those places where you’ll have to develop your own sense of judgment…if you use that loose sheet of 220 sandpaper too soon you’ll tear the silkspan and pull it loose. If you wait until it’s completely dry this sanding technique won’t cut cleanly and you will have to work to pull away whatever part of the overlap has gotten stuck past where you wanted it to be. Practice, practice, practice.Silkspan-31-900x600.jpgThis is how that trimming process looks when you get it right.Silkspan-32-900x600.jpgAnd … this is the right wing panel all covered, trimmed, and sealed by the EzeDope I used to attach it. There are a couple of steps left to get this covering/finishing job done the way I want it, but we’ll talk about that in my Master’s Workshop Hellcat No. 5 installment (which is scheduled to appear right alongside this lesson).

There you have it boys and girls. An old classic that uses a few new tricks and products to get the job done better than ever. Be sure to check back in the next day or two for the latest Master’s Workshop installment, where all of this silkspan goodness will serve you well.





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Is registration of model aircraft a thing of the past?

The Federal Appeals Court of the District of Columbia ruled today that the FAA rule requiring that model aircraft be registered was in violation of the section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. In what was called a David vs. Goliath case, John A. Taylor brought the case against the FAA earlier this year. The court stated the following in their ruling.

In short, the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act provides that the FAA “may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft,” yet the FAA’s 2015 Registration Rule is a “rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.” Statutory interpretation does not get much simpler. The Registration Rule is unlawful as applied to model aircraft.

You can read a full copy of the ruling here.   Taylor VS FAA Opinion

There is the option for the FAA to appeal the decision but it is unlikely to be heard by a higher court anytime soon. The only other option is for the FAA to lobby congress to repeal or amend the 2012 law.

This is a huge win for hobbyists and will ease the access to model aviation once again. The registration rule had minimal impact on the safety of the national airspace and was seen as a government intrusion by most. We will continue to watch the progress of cases such as this one and pass the information on to you.

Today we congratulate John A. Taylor on helping maintain our abilities to enjoy this great hobby without extra burden.

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Futaba T16SZ Radio


Futaba T16SZ

Futaba has announced a new radio in it’s line that bridges the gap between the 14SG and the 18MZ. The new Futaba T16SZ brings many of the features of the 18MZ in a radio geared at the mid range pilot looking for more features then the 14SG but without the cost of the 18MZ. One of the biggest features people will like is the color LCD touch screen interface. This will make navigating the many features of the Futaba radio a breeze. With support for all the Futaba protocols upgrading from any Futaba air based system will be easy. The radio is slated to be available from the Hobbico network of dealers sometime in the summer of 2017.

Futaba FAAST protocols


  • FASSTest, FASST, T-FHSS and S-FHSS protocols.
  • 4.3” LCD touch screen.
  • Full telemetry compatible.
  • 30-model memory.
  • 10 programmable mixes.
  • 15-character naming.
  • S.Bus servo programmer.
  • R7008SB receiver.
  • Swash and throttle mixing.
  • V-tail mixing.
  • EPA.
  • Adjustable servo speed.
  • 8 flight conditions.
  • 3-axis gyro support.
  • Software-updateable.
  • Micro memory card slot.
  • Voice message/audio earphone jack.
  • Up/down/integral timer.
  • Lap timer/memory.
  • …and much, much more!

To find out more check out Futabarc.com

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SIG has long been known for their scale and sport scale models. From the T-Clips to the Somethin’ Extra, their models do not disappoint. That is, unless you were a hardcore 3D pilot … until now. The all new EDGEtra is a meld of two standout models in the realm of aerobatics, utilizing the wings of an Extra with the fuse of an Edge. This hand-crafted model is beautifully covered in a striking scheme that is easily identifiable while in-flight. The balsa and light ply parts are all laser cut and fit together for a perfectly assembled ARF.

siga0107_airframe_550-300x169.jpgBalsa and light ply construction make for a rigid, yet lightweight airframe.




WHO IT’S FOR: 3D and aerobatic pilots

PRICE: $289.99


  • 2-piece removable wing for easy transport and storage
  • Carbon fiber landing gear stock
  • plenty of room inside the cowl and hatch for your electronics of choice
  • Removable SFG’s
  • Ball link connectors for slop-free control surfaces
siga0107_servos_550-300x169.jpgBall links are supplied for all control surfaces for slop-free precision.


WINGSPAN: 60 inches

WING AREA: 675 square inches

LENGTH: 60 inches

AUW: 5.5-6 pounds

WING LOADING: 18.8-20.5 oz/sq ft


600-1200 watt power system, 5000-6000mAh 4S LiPo, four mini servos, radio system, various extensions and y-harnesses, prop and building tools.

siga0107_epsetup_550-300x169.jpgPlenty of room up front so no shoe horn will be needed under the cowl of the EDGEtra.


This model looks awesome! Finally, a 3D machine from the venerable manufacturer that is well designed, expertly built from the factory and includes a host of features that are usually classified as “optional” from most other outfits. With the wide range of power systems it can accommodate, the EDGEtra is sure to be the right fit for a wide variety of pilots as it can be setup from mild to wild. Best of all, the new trim scheme looks killer and is sure to aid in orientation while dazzling the crowd with your post stall prowess.





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By Scott Copeland

piece-o-cake-300x225.jpgPiece O’Cake kit box.

After the humility of my Bonzo experience, I resigned myself to the fact that I really needed a trainer.  Not a converted pylon racer, but a true, purpose-designed trainer.  Lucky for me, Santa put a long rectangular box under the tree that year.  Inside was the Craft-Air Piece O’Cake.  This would be perfect!  The Piece O’Cake was basically a powered sailplane with a 6-foot wingspan, polyhedral wings and light wing loading.  My grandfather supplied the Cox Golden-Bee .049 for power.

Within a week, I had most of the framework done and ready to cover.  Grandad’s Castoff Market supplied a couple rolls of dusty old monokote for covering and I cobbled together a simple orange and blue color scheme.  It looked fairly dreadful, but I was proud that I’d built the whole kit by myself.  Flying was, well … let’s just say that Craft-Air named this kit perfectly!  Hand launching was so easy that I hardly had to run before it lifted out of my hand.  The flight manners were extremely forgiving and it handled the extra weight of my archaic equipment with ease.  For the next few months, I enjoyed much success with the Piece O’Cake.

Brimfield-2000-300x218.jpgMe flying at the Brimfield, MA hydro meet a few years after the events of this story took place.

As is human nature, I was not satisfied to rest on my laurels.  I looked ahead to my next goal in modeling- to fly from water.  Every spring for as long as I could recall, I had attended the Brimfield Float Fly with my grandfather as a wide-eyed observer/helper.  The spring after I had completed the Piece O’Cake, I built a pair of Astro Sport floats designed by Mitch Poling and fitted them to my trusty machine.  The Astro Sport was a much smaller plane than my Piece O’Cake, but because there was little difference in the weight of the two planes, the floats supported the larger plane quite well.

I did not have a chance to test-fly my “Hydro-Cake” before Brimfield so I had no idea what to expect.  The forecast was partly cloudy with “winds light and variable”.  As one might expect from a typical weather prediction, we arrived at the lake to find strong, gusty winds whipping the treetops from side to side.  These were certainly not conditions suited to an .049-powered sailplane.  As I sat and pondered my chances of flying that day, an overwhelming force that has been the source of my undoing many times since began to take over; PRIDE.  I wasn’t going to show up and not fly, breezes be damned!

When the winds had lessened a bit, I fueled the little .049 and grabbed the frequency pin.  I was unsure whether I could take off from water, but wanted to try.  I tuned the engine for maximum RPM and set the model in the water.  It started gaining speed for about five feet then was promptly flipped by a wind gust and dunked in the drink.  The floats that had supported the model easily in calm conditions were no match for the leverage a gust of wind creates on a 6 foot polyhedral wing.  Foolish pride!  I dried everything out and probably should have called it a day at that point.  In stepped pride … again.

Golden_Bee_2-300x250.jpgThe venerable Cox Golden Bee .049.

I wanted to prove that I was not just another kid with no flying skills and I wanted to prove all of the people wrong who commented that the Piece O’Cake wouldn’t fly with my float setup.  I decided to have another go at it, but this time I hand launched.  I was flying!  Once airborne, I realized immediately that the wind was quite a bit stronger than the conditions I was used to flying in.  I also realized I had no clue how to keep my lightly-loaded trainer from being blown back over the beach by the strong head wind!  In hindsight, I probably could have used down-elevator to improve wind penetration or added some ballast to increase wing loading.   For that moment in time, however, I was petrified at the prospect of flying over the crowd, over the trees and into certain oblivion.

RC-Planes-1990-300x201.jpgMy RC airplane collection circa 1990. The wing from the Piece O’Cake can be seen on the flying boat in the back row. The floats from the “hydro-Cake” have been mounted to the Ace “Dick’s Dream” seen in the foreground.

After a series of twitchy turns and near crashes, the Piece O’Cake planted itself in the very top of a tree behind the beach.  Fail!  I was able to retrieve the plane by knocking it out of the top of the tree with a tennis ball.  As the airplane toppled to the ground with the sickening, drum-like sound of tree branches piercing hollow, monokote-covered wing bays, I wanted my pride to present itself in human form so I could give it a swift kick in the rear!  The airplane was repaired and flew many more years … on land.  The take-aways:

  1. – Pride is poor counsel on matters of model airplanes
  2. – Common sense should always supersede pride
  3. – This hobby is a humbling endeavor

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Words and Photos by Gary A. Ritchie

Last month we began building the hatch cover for our Ultra Sport 60. Now we will finish it up.

Figure-1-300x187.jpgA sheet of Saran wrap was taped in place over the fuselage front from behind H5 (which was glued down) to the back of the cockpit. H1 and H3 were glued together and held in place with tape and clamps.

Let’s get started by gluing H5 in place then removing the rest of the hatch structure from the fuselage. Then lay a sheet of Saran wrap from the front of the turtledeck down to the top of the fuselage all the way forward to H5. Tape it in place. This will keep the hatch from getting glued to the fuselage. Glue the base of H3 to the rear end of H1 using epoxy. Make sure they fit together properly then tape them together until the epoxy dries (Figure 1). Then, using fast CA (I used Deluxe Roket Hot), glue the H2 strips to each side of H1 (Figure 2). Make sure that the tapered end is forward. It will extend about 1 inch over the sides of H5. Then cut the tapered ends of both H2 strips flush with the back edge of H5 (Figure 3).

Figure-2-300x205.jpgThe two pieces H2 were glued in place along the edges of H1 and clamped down to dry.

Now we are going to fabricate the mounting points for the hatch using a plywood joiner and two magnets. First, place the hatch cover frame on the fuselage, straighten it up, and then determine the center of H5 and the hatch cover frame (Figure 4). Mark it with a pencil line. Cut a ¼ x ¼ x ¼” triangle from scrap 1/8” plywood. Remove the hatch cover frame, hold it down with a metal weight and glue the triangle to the forward edge at its center (Figure 5). Notch a tiny triangle into the rear edge of H5 and fit the forward edge of the hatch frame into it (Figure 6). This will hold the forward edge of the hatch cover firmly to H5.

Figure-3-300x223.jpgThe tapered forward ends of pieces H2 were trimmed even with the base of H5 (black line) with a razor saw and the tapered ends were glued to H5.

We will use two sets of neodymium 3/8” diameter powerful rare earth magnets (available at TOTALELEMENT) to fasten the rear of the hatch.  Place them down at the lower rear edge of the hatch frame (Figure 7) and mark their positions. Then very carefully drill out a ½” diameter hole at each position. Try to get the hole the exact depth of the thickness of the magnet. If you have a Forstner Bit use it here. Test this with a wooden or plastic straight edge to make certain that the tops of the magnets are exactly flush with the surface of the plywood (Figure 8).

Figure-4-300x198.jpgThe center of the front of the hatch cover and H5 was marked with a pencil line and a small (1/4 x 1/4 x 1/4”) triangle was cut from scrap 1/8” plywood.

Using H3 as a template, cut a piece of 1/8” balsa to fit exactly on top of H1 and cut it out. Then glue it to H3 and hold it place with clamps to dry (Figure 9). Place the hatch cover on the hatch, tape it in place and sand the edge of H3 flush with the fuselage with 120 grit sandpaper (Figure 10). This will increase the thickness of H3 to establish a stronger glue joint when the time comes to glue the plastic canopy in place on the hatch. If you plan to use a pilot figure in your Ultra Sport (highly recommended) now is a good time to get it fitted in place. The pilot figure should be no wider than 3 3/8” or taller than 3 7/8”. Set it in place near the rear of the canopy. You may have to trim the sides (H2) a bit to fit the pilot in place (Figure 11). Do not glue it in place yet.

Figure-5-300x272.jpgThe small triangle was glued to the front center of the hatch, which was held down with a metal weight.

Now we will fasten the magnets in place on the fuselage. These will engage the magnets on the hatch cover, so they must be aligned perfectly with them. A good way to do this is to paint the magnets that are already in place on the hatch cover (Figure 12). Then place the hatch cover on the hatch and carefully slide it directly into place (Figure 13).  When the hatch cover is removed, the locations will be marked with paint on the fuselage (Figure 14). Then carefully drill out the holes for the magnets with your Forstner bit (Figure 15) and set the magnets in place. Make certain that they attract the magnets on the hatch cover! These magnets, as those on the hatch cover, must be exactly flush with the surface of the top of the fuselage. Glue them in place with epoxy. Test fit the hatch cover in place – it should fit perfectly in place. To remove it, simply slide the rear of the hatch cover slightly to the side to break the hold of the magnets.

Figure-6-300x206.jpgA triangular notch was cut into the rear of H5 into which the front edge of the hatch cover fits and then the fit of the hatch cover was tested to make certain that it was dead center on the fuselage.

Our final step will be to finish off the nose and prepare it for building the fiberglass cowling. Here, again, we go off plan. Glue the two balsa Chin Blocks together lengthwise (instructions Page 28, Figure 8). When the chin block has dried, lay the fuselage on its back and tape the chin block on it as shown in Figure 16. Then draw a pencil line across the front and back edges. Maintain an angle on each edge that is in line with the front and rear edges of the fuselage. Cut the chin block off along these lines and glue them in place on the lower forward fuselage (Figure 17).

Figure-7-300x239.jpgRare earth magnets were set in the lower rear corners of the hatch cover and their positions marked.

Now, find part H4, which we fabricated from the Top Front Bock in last month’s column (Figure 12). Turn the fuselage right-side up and lay H2 on the front. Tape it down with the forward edge flush with the front of the fuselage. Slide the hatch cover into place then measure back 1/8” from the forward edge of the hatch cover and draw a line across the top of H2 (Figure 18). Then carefully cut along this line with a razor saw (Figure 19). Finally, glue the forward part only of H2 to the forward edge of the fuselage. Do             not get any glue on the hatch cover or the rear section of H2 (Figure 20). When the front of H2 is glued in place the hatch cover should slide into and out of the 1/8” gap easily and cleanly. Do not glue the rear section of H2 or the canopy in place on the battery hatch yet. We will do that during the covering process. Put the hatch cover, canopy and rear edge of H2 away in a place where you can find them later. Finally, sand the nose of the fuselage to its final rounded form with 120 grit sandpaper (Figure 21).

Figure-8-300x190.jpgAfter ½” holes were drilled into the lower rear of the hatch cover, the magnets were placed into the holes. A wooden straight edge was used to assure that the tops of the magnets were perfectly aligned with the surface of the hatch cover. Then the magnets were glued into place.Figure-9-300x248.jpgA 1/8” thick piece of scrap balsa was cut to shape and then glued to the rear of the hatch cover.Figure-10-300x200.jpgThe hatch cover was held firmly in place and sanded flush with the top and sides of the turtledeck. The masking tape was added to protect the turtledeck from sanding.Figure-11-300x200.jpgA pilot figure was test fitted into position at the rear end of the hatch cover.Figure-12-300x200.jpgThe magnets that had been installed in the rear of the hatch covert were painted with red paint.13-300x200.jpgThe hatch cover was placed firmly on the top of the fuselage to transfer the pain spots to the location of the second set of magnets.14-300x200.jpgyou can see the red spots on the fuselage indicating the locations of the magnets.15-300x200.jpgHoles were drilled here with a Forstner bit to create the cavities that will hold the magnets.Figure-16-300x200.jpgThe chin block was taped to the forward fuselage and lines were drawn across the top of the block and each end.Figure-17-300x187.jpgAfter the lines were drawn, the block was cut along the lines then glued in place and held in place with weights to dry.Figure-18-300x238.jpgWith the hatch cover in place, H2 was taped to the front of the fuselage and a line was drawn across it about 1/8” behind the forward edge of the hatch cover.Figure-19-300x200.jpgH2 was carefully cut cross ways with a razor saw dividing it into a forward and an aft section.Figure-20-300x200.jpgThe forward edge of H2 was glued to the front upper fuselage. Make certain that no glue gets on either the front of the hatch cover or the aft of H2.Figure-21-300x187.jpgThe fuselage was held in place with my Shop Mate, and then the nose was carefully sanded to its final rounded shape.

Next time we will build a fiberglass cowling. To prepare for this step you will need the following supplies:  block of Blue foam (carried by hardware stores – I got a small block from a fellow model builder), a sheet of ~2 oz. fiberglass cloth, 3M Super 77, several 1/2” throw away brushes, #200 and #400 wet sandpaper, and a bottle of Deluxe Materials Eze-Kote (available at Horizon Hobbies). Until next month, remember to “take your time and enjoy doing a good job”.




The post RC KITS: The Great Planes Ultra Sport 60 … Finishing The Hatch Cover appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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Twisted Hobbys has been a 3D pilot’s dream since the advent of their Crack lineup. Since the Crack Turbo Beaver came out, their designers have taken a liking to taking classic designs and giving them the proper Crack treatment that Twisted Hobbys is so well known for. This latest release was only a natural progression in response to the Crack Fokker. Simple truth is, everyone flying a warbird needs an adversary and to duel it out with the early German Fighter, Twisted has released the Crack Camel.

Crack_Camel_1__52410.1492710799-300x162.The Crack Camel comes in your choice of silver or blue … or you could just get one of each.


  • Astounding aerobatic performance
  • EPP construction offers excellent crash durability
  • Easy to transport and store
  • Perfect for larger indoor venues


  • The extremely light weight means outdoor flying with little to no wind only


Like most other models in the Crack hangar, the Camel spans 35 inches across the wing and is constructed largely of EPP parts that are laser cut and lock into each other for a rigid airframe once completed. The floaty nature lent to all of the Crack models from their light loading is doubled up with this Sopwith bipe, so you can rest assured that it’ll feel right at home and excel at post-stall flight, something the real model could never dream of.

Blue_Crack_Camel_GRlogo__94747.149364870HUGE control surfaces all the way around.

The Crack Camel comes in two different paint schemes and can be setup to run on a higher powered 3S system for extreme performance or a milder 2S system for those looking for more of a liquid and pattern type performer. The lighter weight batteries called for are the ubiquitous 450mAh 3S pack, which most small scale pilots will already have a bunch of.


PRICE: $82.99

WHO IT’S FOR: Proficient 4-channel pilots

REQUIRED FOR COMPLETION: A 20-30g brushless outrunner, 10-20 amp ESC, 450-600mAh 2-3S LiPo, (4) 7-9g servos and a 9x4SF prop (for 2S) or an 8x4E prop (for 3S).

WINGSPAN: 35 inches

AUW: 8-9 oz

LENGTH: 28.5 inches

Crack_Camel_Sliver_1__49818.1493592931-3WHAT DO WE THINK?

With the huge side surface area on the fuse, the Crack Camel should be right at home in Knife Edge and with double the wing area, low and slow will be the name of the game. Another key feature to this model was the use of 3D printed components in key places to both lighten the AUW, but also to expedite the entire final assembly process. Needless to say, we’re already drooling over the prospect of our Triplane dog-fighting with our Biplane.




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Words By Josh Bernstein – Photos By Jon Barnes

Words Josh Bernstein    Photos by Jon Barnes

DX6e_01-900x599.jpgSeems like an awful lot for well under $200.

In 2014, Spektrum (the brand known worldwide as a cornerstone of the radio system market) released the DX6, the long awaited upgrade to their popular, entry-level computerized radio, the DX6i. With features surprisingly similar to high-end units like the DX9 (albeit with three fewer channels), the DX6 – seductively wrapped in an all-black shell – provided virtually unlimited model memory, voice alerts, a plethora of 3-position switches, built-in telemetry, and too many upgrades to list. At $199.99 ($229.99 w/AR610 receiver), the DX6 represented a significant leap forward for DX6i owners ready to move on from their first multi-model radio.

DX6e_04-300x200.jpgAll the switches you’ll ever likely need … and this is only the left side!

Jumping forward two years, Spektrum has once again put their finger on the pulse of the RC community and responded with the DX6e, an option perfectly placed for those looking for a step-up from the DX6i (or any single-model radio), but not quite ready to drop two bills. At $149.99 ($179.99 w/AR610 receiver), the DX6e’s dollar-to-function ratio is attractive enough to catch the eye of pilots at all skill levels. Modern, sleek, and carrying Spektrum’s new black shell design (shared with the new DXe), the DX6e appears to be anything but a “budget” radio. Features include:

  • Three 3-position and four 2-position switches
  • Airplane, Helicopter, Sailplane, and Multirotor programming
  • 250-model Internal memory
  • DX6e_13-300x200.jpgThe comfortably familiar and easy to use jog dial for programming or other selections.

    Built-in telemetry

  • Patent-pending gimbal design with spring configuration switch
  • Wireless trainer link
  • 7 airplane wing types and 6 tail types
  • 7 swashplate types
  • 4 sailplane wing types and 3 tail types
  • Multirotor flight mode setup
  • 7 point throttle curves for airplanes and helicopters
  • 7 point pitch and tail curves for helicopters
  • Cross-platform model sharing with other Spektrum transmitters


Between the DX6e and its more expensive sibling the DX6, there are surprisingly few trade-offs (though their significance will be subjective depending on the user):

  1. Wireless trainer only: no wired trainer, which is necessary for “buddy-boxing” with a DX4/5/6i (and for computer simulators).
  2. Non-diversity (two-fixed) antenna: The DX6e utilizes a single adjustable antenna. While antenna configuration (and signal “cone”) is too complicated a subject for this review, suffice-it-to-say that while diversity is preferable, having the ability to adjust the DX6e’s antenna angle (nine positions from vertical to near-horizontal) may help to reduce signal loss if you hold your radio at an unusual angle (e.g. with antenna pointed at the plane or the ground ­– either being less than ideal). (An important note: the first release of the DX6 – model SPMR6700 – had only one fixed antenna. The second release – the SPMR6750 – upgraded the antenna to diversity.) Therefore, the DX6e’s adjustable antenna could be seen as a step up from the first generation (2014) DX6.
  3. No voice alerts: As contemporary radio systems continue to incorporate modern technologies, voice alerts (VA) are becoming more and more common. Regarding VA, however, I’m convinced there are two types of pilots in the world: the first type would love nothing more than to spend a rainy day setting up multiple VA corresponding to flight modes, rates/expo, flap position, landing-gear, mixes, throttle-cut, etc. For these pilots, their radio is an expression of their technological prowess, and it’s not uncommon for their volume settings to bang up against 100% (so that all others can partake). The second type is more likely to walk by that talking radio… and smash it with a rock. If you’re the latter, you’ll find the DX6e’s beeps and tones to be more than adequate.


While the DX6e gives up several functions to the DX6, a few improvements help to offset:

  1. DX6e includes a dual-rudder/dual-elevator mix.
  2. Gimbal tension adjustments situated around gimbals on the radio face dispenses with the disassembly required to adjust your gimbals on other radios.
  3. Power button vs power switch.
  4. “Spring configuration switch”: Allows for easy mode/model type change without needing to disassemble radio. Four gimbal spring configurations are available:
  • Normal throttle for modes 2 and 4 (Air, Heli, and Sailplane model types).
  • Spring-centered throttle for modes 2 and 4 (Multirotor model type).
  • Spring-centered throttle for modes 1 and 3 (Multirotor model type).
  • Normal throttle for modes 1 and 3 (Air, Heli, and Sailplane model types)
  1. Video Transmitter Setup Menu (VTX Setup): For the FPV aficionados among us, the DX6e will allow pilots to change channel, band, power, and mode directly on the radio. (This requires a compatible video transmitter and Spektrum receiver.)
  2. Lap timer: Of particular interest for multi-rotor racers, the DX6e includes a lap-timer function, which allows pilots to store and retrieve lap times. No downloading to computer required.
  3. AS3X Live View: This feature allows for “real time gyro info and adjustment in flight.”


DX6e_14-300x178.jpgHelis, Gliders and Planes … oh my, but also drones on the DX6e.

While the new DX6e is jam-packed with technological goodies, a radio’s tech features represent just one piece of its “value pie.” An equally important question is, “how does it feel?”

Ergonomics: The DX6e’s case is slightly more curved than the DX6, and its base tapers in a way that I found surprisingly comfortable. As a pincher, I find the location of the gimbals in relation to the radio’s frame is just right.

Power button: If you’ve ever accidently knocked your radio’s power switch, only to find your battery dead the following morning, the DX6e’s power button may be just what the doctor ordered. Requiring a deliberate press to turn on, and a press-and-hold (for a few seconds) to turn off, this feature may help to prevent the frightful experience of reaching for a trim switch in flight, only to knock the power button off.

Gimbal quality: As opposed to the original DX6i (which used bushings), the DX6e shares the same quad-bearing gimbals with the more expensive offerings from Spektrum (DX6 through DX18). Factory tension levels will work for the vast majority of flyers, however, if you should feel the need to make tension adjustments, fear not, as the DX6e offers easy access to the tension adjusting screws (situated around the gimbals on the radio’s face).

Batteries: The DX6e comes stock with four AA batteries, but also allows for an upgrade to Lithium-Ion (SPMA9602 and a power supply SPM9551 for charging). I’m a fan of this flexibility as I can keep a set of AA batteries in my flight bag, knowing if I ever get to the field with a dead radio, I’ve got back-ups at the ready.


DX6e_12-300x200.jpgBatteries included.

Practically speaking …

A common question I get asked by new pilots is, “I bought a ready-to-fly (RTF) ultra-micro that came with its own radio. I had fun, but now I’m thinking of getting a larger plane/building a kit. What radio should I buy?” After grilling them about their level of long-term interest in the hobby my response usually includes a reference to the familiar home-buying axiom, “You don’t want to over-buy, and you don’t want to under-buy.” While some pilots know after their first flight whether they’re in this hobby for life, for many others the realization develops slowly. For the latter, making a large financial commitment on a radio system “with legs” can seem daunting. It’s for this pilot the DX6e is uniquely placed. Capable of enhancing the flight experience of any already-owned bind-n-fly plane/multi-rotor (with Spektrum guts), the DX6e is capable of carrying a pilot through many years of multi-function enjoyment. Should that pilot ever require more than six channels, the DX6e’s wireless trainer function makes it a perfect “buddy-boxer,” and it’s near-unlimited model memory and surprisingly advanced list of functions make it the ultimate hand-me-down.


DX6e_03-300x200.jpgFor a cool 179.99, Horizon sells the DX6e bundles with the AR610 receiver.

Summing it up:

Whichever Spektrum radio system speaks to you (pardon the pun), the wide range of options –from the single-model DXe up to the drool-worthy DX20 – will allow pilots of any skill or budget level to choose his or her own path. The new DX6e is a worthy addition to an already wide-ranging lineup and provides a level of quality, function, and customization that not so long ago would have required a much more serious financial commitment. Lacking surprisingly few of the bells and whistles commonly found in higher-end units, the DX6e stands ready to welcome a new pilot into the world of customizable, multi-model, computerized radios.









The post Spektrum DX6E Transmitter: “SERIOUS BANG FOR YOUR BUCK” appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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By Bob Benjamin – bob@rcmodel.com

Let’s talk about that different technique of sheet balsa covering an open/stringered model airplane structure to create a better scale representation of a full scale sheet metal aircraft surface. I touched on the subject in my first Guillow’s Series article while describing the two Kit. No. 403 Spitfires you saw there, and I’ve given you plenty of hints earlier in this Hellcat feature, as well. What it comes down to is this. The best combination of improved structural strength, minimal weight gain, and “metal skinned airplane appearance” comes with attaching balsa sheet skin (the thinnest that you can manage is best) wetted with water , using a water-based adhesive such as Deluxe Materials Aliphatic Resin to do the bonding, and then wrapping/taping/weighting the entire structure while both the glue and the water dry. When this happens all the glue joints dry hard enough to hold tight while the wood is still wet. As the sheet balsa skin material dries it shrinks slightly. When that happens the entire assembly gains strength from the “pre-load” applied as the skin tightens and even more important, it becomes significantly more rigid/stiff and far less lightly to warp or otherwise distort than it might have been otherwise. None of this is my idea, by the way. I have found references to wet-balsa-sheeting on pre-WWII kit plans and magazine articles. Let’s get on with building this Guillow’s Hellcat and I’ll explain the details of the process as we go along.

Hellcat-3-1-900x600.jpgWe finished the last shop session with what you could see of the right outer wing panel n early hidden under several plastic shot bags. Before we go any further I’ll describe these. A shot bag, which is nothing more than a really heavy bean bag, is a soft, comfortable building weight that we can use to hold unevenly contoured structures in place/together without creating any hard spots or stress points that could both damage and distort the structure. These shot bags are made from standard-issue heavy duty kitchen sandwich bags filled with several pounds of No. 9 lead shot and reinforced with all that blue tape. Fabric bags are probably more durable if you have the sewing skills to put them together, and you can use sand or some other fine, dense filler in place of birdshot if you prefer. In this photo you can see the right outer wing panel “bagged” in place for drying. Some of the little details count. See what looks like a sheet of 1/8” light ply beneath the left panel? That’s exactly what it is. I used those big lead building weights on the rear edge to hold it in place on my work surface, then shimmed ONE corner…the left trailing edge…up about ¼”, enough to force the top working surface of the plywood into a twisted plane that exactly defines the washout I want to build into the wing panel. The shot bags hold the wing panel with the top and bottom skins in place, still wet and freshly glued, while the whole deal dries overnight. NOTE: The wing center section (the bare balsa structure you see on the right), which is wide and totally flat on this Hellcat, was assembled as a wet wood/glue layup without any twist in the plywood base the day before I shot this photo. The center section, which is now strong, flat and stable is happy just sitting there waiting for the new stuff to dry.Hellcat-3-2-900x600.jpgIt turns out that there is more than one way to align and secure one of these wet sheet balsa covering assemblies. I used those shot bags on the top surface of each wing panel because the bottom, which is flat nearly all the way forward to the leading edge, with the result that it can be accurately aligned and supported on a flat surface such as the little sheet of plywood we just looked at. Set up that way it will hold the shape we want it to when weighted/compressed from above by the shotbags. NOTE: To make this arrangement work I pre-glued the leading edges of both the upper and lower wing skins in place first. Check back to our previous shop session (Hellcat No, 2) for a good look at this step in the assembly.
Next comes a question. What part of the structure we have begun to build does not provide a flat base for alignment the way this wing panel does? That’s the case with the horizontal stabilizer you see here. It is symmetrically curved, top and bottom, and to surface it accurately we have to find a way to provide identical clamping pressure from both sides. Can you see how these clothespin clamps are just right for that job? Those scrap balsa strips distribute the clamping pressure evenly and prevent the clothespins from digging into the sheet balsa surface.Hellcat-3-3-900x600.jpgWe can get a better look at how this process comes together using one of the elevator sections, which tapers from front to back as well as from root to tip. Here I’m tracing the elevator outline on a piece of the soft/light 1/32” balsa sheet I’m using on the tail surfaces to help control weight.Hellcat-3-4-900x600.jpgOnce that piece fits, I trace and cut out a duplicate.Hellcat-3-5-900x600.jpgNow you can see how the elevator “core” and both outer sheet skins line up for assembly.Hellcat-3-6-900x600.jpgThis time I’m using yet another method for aligning/clamping this elevator assembly together. Off camera, I water sprayed both sides of each 1/32” balsa sheet skin, then applied a line of Deluxe Materials Roket Rapid to every part of the core that will come into contact with the surface skins. When all this lines up correctly I apply controlled hand/finger pressure all around while making sure that every taper…top-to-bottom etc…remains even. Don’t try this with a wing…it’s too big and will get away from you. For this “by-hand” method to work, any assembly has to be small enough to control completely with your hands all at once.Hellcat-3-7-900x600.jpgHere’s the same deal coming together on the vertical tail. I have both 1/32” balsa sheet skins cut to size.Hellcat-3-8-900x600.jpgI’m applying an even bead of Roket Rapid on every joining surface.Hellcat-3-9-900x600.jpgI’m not just hanging on… here’s what it looks like as I maintain just a bit more finger pressure through that lower leading edge curve while everything sets hard.Hellcat-3-10-900x600.jpgLet’s get back to the fuselage while these tail surface layups have time to dry. Earlier I started working on sheeting the fuselage by closing up the rearmost section between formers B10 and B-11. I did this in equal left and right halves to avoid tight curves around the top and bottom that would threaten to crack the sheet. Here I’m going to use the same method , starting with the left fuselage side, but I’m taking advantage of the single-curvature of the fuselage outline all the way forward to former B-7 to use a single, larger piece of 1/16” balsa sheet for each side. It’s a good idea to do this whenever possible…the larger skin section eliminates several edge joints and reduces the opportunities for the sheeting job to the stringers out of line.Hellcat-3-11-900x600.jpgJust as I did last time with the wing, I used a bead of Deluxe Materials Roket Rapid for an open-joint assembly of the precisely shaped skin section to the top keel, then water-sprayed the sheet. Now I’m brushing Deluxe Materials Aliphatic Resin onto every portion of the fuselage structure that will come into contact with the skin.Hellcat-3-12-900x600.jpgOnce that’s done I use plenty of that wide blue masking tape to pull the wet balsa sheet tight against all the places where we want it to stick…and hold it there. With this particular assembly I’ve chosen to skin each side of the fuselage separately, mostly because masking tape won’t stick to wet balsa and I’ll need the opposite side dry to serve as a place to stick it. Once that assembly was taped as securely as I could get it I moved ahead and used the Roket Rapid edge-glue technique to begin attaching some of the right fuselage side nose skin.Hellcat-3-13-900x600.jpgWith those new skin sections fully taped I have to let everything dry thoroughly/overnight before I can remove the tape and expose the remaining open bays for completion.Hellcat-3-14-900x600.jpgWith everything that I have assembled so far dry, I finished enclosing a few more of those open bays. The tape you see here is securing the corresponding 1/16” balsa sheet panel on the right side of the fuselage.Hellcat-3-15-900x600.jpgOnce again all that stuff has to dry, so I used that time to work on the nose…specifically the part that’s going to become the removable cowl. Do you remember that 1/16” plywood firewall/former that I added to the fuselage structure at B-2 instead of B-1? (NOTE: Like many Guillow’s kits, this Hellcat includes a revised firewall former made from a white vinyl material. Early kits used 1/16” plywood and I prefer this approach. In my experience those new vinyl parts weigh two to three times what the plywood equivalent would as well as being less dimensionally stable and otherwise more difficult to work with.) When I made the new plywood firewall I also made a 1/16” balsa duplicate. Here’s what I did with that. I cut off the entire front of the fuselage at the face of the plywood firewall, leaving B-1 with a bunch of stubby stringers attached to one side. I lined up the “open” ends of those stringers with the extra B-2 and glued up the entire assembly, then used some more of that soft/light 1/16” balsa sheet to wrap a new skin all the way around the outside of that new base cowl section like this. Note that I left plenty of extra 1/16” balsa sheet extending to both the front and rear of B-1 and B-2 so I’d be sure the new skin would easily fit that slightly tapered structure. What you see here is the original B-1 and the extra-balsa overlap that’s ready to be trimmed off flush with each former.Hellcat-3-16-900x600.jpgHere I have enlarged the opening in B-1 to provide clearance I’ll need later. The extra B-2 at the bottom/rear has not been similarly trimmed. I’m holding the stock Hellcat kit plastic cowl with the basic dummy engine molded into it still in place. Can you see where I have “relieved” the outside face of the 1/16” balsa sheet skin by approximately the thickness of the plastic cowl for about ½” back behind B-1?Hellcat-3-17-900x600.jpgHere’s why I did that. You can see through the translucent plastic cowl just how far it fits back past B-1 for a secure overlap joint with the outer skin. Off-camera I glued this entire joining area with Deluxe Material Roket Rapid (for open joints) and pressed the whole assembly into alignment. What you can’t see here is how the length of this new “scale” cowl matches the original distance on the plan from the front of the cowl to the original B-2, which coincides with the scale location of the rear edge of the cowl. NOTE: The whole point of this exercise is to provide a cowl with a nearly-scale outline and a cowl-to-fuselage parting line/joint that agrees with the scale location shown on the Guillow’s Action Plan. I’ll get into the details of mounting this scale cowl next…but… I want to be sure you understand that this extra work is not necessary. If you prefer you can build the nose from B-1 through B-3 exactly per the plan, attach the plywood firewall to B-1 as instructed , and fit the unmodified plastic cowl into place as designed. I went through the extra drill because I like the scale appearance it provides and to prove that it’s practical to add this touch of authenticity while adding very little weight.Hellcat-3-18-900x600.jpgThis is the modified cowl assembly seen from the rear. You can see that I have trimmed/opened up the new B-2 and added “hard points” of either spruce or basswood at three locations around the circumference. These will hold the cowl attachment/locating pins that are coming next.Hellcat-3-19-900x600.jpgThose look like this. I have cut and fitted short pieces of 1/8” “standard hobby shop” aluminum tube to fit all the way into these hard point blocks for support and to extend about 3/8” back behind B-2.Hellcat-3-20-900x600.jpgWith all those locating pins glued into place I marked where they met the plywood firewall, then drilled out new holes at those points for 5/32” O.D. tube…the “next size up” that telescopes over the 1/8” pieces. Because it’s way difficult to “back-engineer” a modification like this to get a perfect pin-to-tube alignment, I’ve drilled the holes in the firewall slightly oversize. When I protect the cowl from unwanted glue adhesion with that clear wrap and then slip the tubes in place over them I get enough tolerance/wiggle-room for the assembled outer tubes to seat themselves easily into Deluxe Materials Roket Gel waiting in the holes.Hellcat-3-21-900x600.jpgWhen I get everything into place it looks like this. The blue masking tape keeps everything in alignment while the Roket Gel cures and the plastic wrap prevents it from gluing the removable cowl into place.Hellcat-3-22-900x600.jpgWhile that assembly sets I can work at the other end of the fuselage. In the original kit design the tail cone is made up of several die-cut contour filler pieces that extend the lines of the fuselage stringers into a faired aft edge. There’s no way this would not look weird with the rest of the fuselage sheeted, but to try to work with more 1/16” balsa sheeting around that small cross section would be frustratingly difficult at best. I chose to rough-out a block of light balsa to replace all that.Hellcat-3-23-900x600.jpgWith the “extra” stuff cut off it’s easy to glue the new balsa blank against B-11 in its place. We will finish shaping it later.Hellcat-3-24-900x600.jpgA taste of things to come. Here I have added the nose cowl and battery hatch and secured them with masking tape to give you an idea of where this is taking us.Hellcat-3-25-900x600.jpgBy the time I got the fuselage structure in the previous photo all sanded out, shaped and smoothed there were a few places where my less-than-perfect work left me with some extra openings in the fuselage skin.Hellcat-3-26-900x600.jpgRather than trying to “patch” them with filler, I’ve added real patches of silkspan attached with Deluxe Materials Eze-Dope just as the “real” silkspan surface is going to be put on later. Doing this adds measureable strength with negligible weight gain and won’t show under the final finish.Hellcat-3-27-900x600.jpgEarlier in the process of building the modified Hellcat fuselage I added 1/16” balsa sheet skin “around-and-over” the original “L” formers that define the wing saddle. According to the original kit design the completed wing would be permanently glued to these and the bottom/center “fillet” of the fuselage would be built into the open space left below the wing. Because our wing is going to be removable we are going to do things differently. For a start I’m going to “true-up” what’ going to define the shape of the new wing saddle structure by taping a sheet of 100-grit sandpaper to the top center wing surface to turn it into a custom sanding block that will define its own attachment base. Can you see how sliding the fuselage “gently-but-firmly” spanwise (side-to-side) across the abrasive surface will cut away excess material and “mate” the opening in the fuselage to the already-shaped wing? NOTE: I’m going to add a reinforcing plate of 1/64” plywood right here, so I will sand back/cut away enough extra wood…go deeper into the fuselage…to compensate for that plywood as well as the thickness of the balsa sheet skin I have already added to the top wing surface. Not doing this would force the wing to rest too low in the fuselage.Hellcat-3-28-900x600.jpgI missed a shot! Off-camera I fitted a sheet of that 1/64” plywood to extend just outboard of the fuselage sides along the opening in the fuselage bottom from the leading to the trailing edge. What you see here is the joined-up assembly of the wing and fuselage with that plywood sandwiched in place between them. It’s glued to the fuselage with Deluxe Material Aliphatic Resin and protected from sticking to the wing by that clear plastic wrap.Hellcat-3-30-900x600.jpgOnce that has happened (overnight again) I used a pair of small snippers to rough-cut the protruding portion of the 1/64” plywood as close as I could to the fuselage sides and then…Hellcat-3-31-900x600.jpg…went back to the 120-grit sanding block to finish those edges flush with the balsa sheet fuselage skin. You are looking at the left side of the fuselage here, from the tail and down from the top. That’s the new battery hatch cover taped in place on the right.

Next time we will get on with making the actual working removable wing parts.







The post Master’s Workshop #52: Guillow’s Hellcat RC Conversion Part 3 appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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towa2090.jpgIt is hard to beat the look of the aircraft from the golden age. During this time the airplanes were just as much form as they were function. Tower Hobbies is bringing us back to he Golden Age of flight with their new release with the Ryan STA EP ARF. With a 53″ wingspan this plane bridges the gap between parkflyer and giant scale. Anyone can enjoy this model. Using a Rimfire .32 motor and a 3s 3200mah lipo battery the setup is affordable but looks to provide ample power for this scale aerobatic trainer. For someone looking to go the next step from scale foamies this one is a great choice.


  • The perfect plane for aerobatic maneuvers like loops, rolls and stall turns.
  • A great “step-up” aircraft for pilots who have mastered high-wing trainers or low/mid-wing sport models.
  • Strong, lightweight, built-up wood airframe.
  • Hand-laid fiberglass cowl, wheel pants and fairings improve scale looks and aerodynamics.
  • Individual aileron servos with short, direct linkages provide precise control.
  • Removable one-piece wing simplifies storage and transport.
  • Easy-to-attach magnetic cowl does not use screws, for cleaner lines and easier motor access.
  • Easy-to-remove hatch for faster LiPo battery changes.
  • Scale, high-viz trim scheme with checkerboard wing bottom design uses high-quality heat shrink film.
  • Ailerons arrive prehinged.
  • Low parts count for faster assembly.
  • Complete hardware package included.
[See image gallery at www.flyrc.com]

Radio: 4-channel
Servos: Four slim or mini size
Servo Extensions: Two 9″ (229mm) or one 12″ (305mm)
Brushless Motor: Rimfire .32 (42-50-800)
Electronic Speed Control: 75A
Propeller: To match selected motor
Battery: 3S 11.1V at least 3200mAh recommended
Battery Charger: Compatible with selected battery
Charging Bag, Battery & Motor Connectors, Building and Field


Length: 40″ (1016mm)
Wingspan: 53″ (1346mm)
Wing Area: 424sq in (27.35sq dm)
Wing Loading: 20.3 – 22.1oz/sq ft (61.9 – 67.4g/sq dm)
Weight: 60 – 65oz (1700 – 1842g)


Click here more information on the Tower Hobbies Ryan STA EP ARF 


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Foreword By Matt Maziarz

Main Body and Story By Scott Copeland

Joe-Nall-2016-39-300x139.jpgWe’ve all been there, right. You know; sitting at the field or on the bench looking at a model that you poured your blood, seat and tears into … after it’s been swept into a dust bin after a yard sale crash. Perhaps it was a mechanical failure. Perhaps it was an improperly setup radio. Perhaps it was just plain dumb thumbs. Perhaps it was all of the above, but that’s not really the point. What matters is that it happens to all of us at some point or another in our modeling and RC flying careers. We are all human (last I checked) and as suck, we make mistakes. We are stubborn and sometimes ignorant. We are impulsive and impatient. We are also creative and adaptive though. We are all those things and the fact that we are human means we are going to make mistakes. 

Hellcat-1-16-300x228.jpgOf Course, some of us take it to sadistic levels of stubbornness or wallet-bending trips to the LHS, but all of us have to get back up, dust ourselves off and get back into the air again. Why? As in, why the hell would I want to waste my time scratch building another beautiful model when my last one got destroyed? Why would I want to keep practicing that ever elusive 3D maneuver when I’ve already trashed two planes trying to perfect it? Why would I want to continue on with pylon racing when my old thumbs aren’t really keeping up with the millennials at the field? WHY??!!

Well, you already know why, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. It’s the glory you bask in after a full day of successful flights. It’s the joy you feel after a self-designed, stick-built model flies like a dream. It’s the thrill you get when you hit that perfect first flat spin and you do it over and over again (much to the behest and jibes of the fellow club members. It’s being able to final fly on your own after being trained by a competent veteran pilot. That’s why. For all the failures we suffer, whether self inflicted or not, The highs are much higher than the lows and Scott is ready and willing to share a few of his own tales that kept his focus strong in the aeromodeling hobby. I thank him for his humility and willingness to share his stories, even if they get him a few robust fists to the shoulder at the field this years. Thanks Scott!


Joe-Nall-2016-1-300x194.jpgI was a pretty typical 12 year-old kid in the summer of 1984.  I was in love with baseball, glad to be out of school and filled my days with playing and exploring.  One thing that seemed to separate me from my contemporaries was my absolute passion for airplanes.  My cousins, my brother and even my uncles had a surface interest in aviation, but for me, it was much deeper.  When I relaxed, I had a model airplane magazine in my hands.  When I went outside, it was rarely without something to fly.  When I daydreamed, my thoughts drifted to the magic of biplanes, round engines droning overhead and mayflies dancing over sunlit grass landing strips.

Like most 12 year-old dreamers, I was a boy with big dreams and small budgets.  Until now, I had been content building rubber-powered free-flight models, but wanted to get into RC in the worst way.   I had a paper route, but the cost of a kit, radio, engine, etc. was well beyond my financial grasp.  My grandfather was an RC modeler of some repute, mainly in the realm of “sport scale”.  He has to be given most of the credit or blame for my interest in aviation.  My Mom would smile and comment, “Child’s life ruined”, when he and I would return from the flying field, excitedly chattering about our aeronautical exploits.  I loved attending contests with him throughout the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s and he had also done a little bit of RC flight training with me using his old Fleet biplane and Kraft radio (with no buddy box; we hurriedly passed the transmitter back and forth during lessons).  If my interest in RC wasn’t galvanized before that, it sure was afterward! He decided when I turned 12 that the time was right to give me the responsibility of my own RC airplane.

When that big rectangular box showed up on my birthday, I was pretty sure I knew what it was!  The box was labeled “Midwest Bonzo”, a 1/2A pylon racer, based loosely on Steve Wittman’s famous race plane.   My grandfather thought that if we revamped it slightly and powered it with an O.S. .10 with 3 channels it would perform well.  We spent about a month of free time building the airplane together and it looked great when we finished!  The color scheme was white and silver and we even put a hand-painted pilot figure under the canopy.  The ship was guided by an ancient O.S. 3-channel radio, which seemed to have an antenna so long it could cast trout flies!  I patiently waited for the day we could fly.

Which-Way-To-Go-Gas-Or-Glow-1-300x251.jpWe got together on a brisk, sparkling morning to finally fly the Bonzo.  We did our pre-flight check, filled the fuel tank and started and tuned the engine.   I lifted it to shoulder height.  When I got the head nod from my grandfather, I ran about as fast as my legs could carry me and gave the Bonzo a hefty push when I felt the plane starting to lift from my hand.  It was one of the best hand launches I had ever performed and the Bonzo climbed away magnificently!   We put in a few flights that day, and I took the controls for at least half of the flight time.  What a rush!  After a couple such sessions, my grandfather felt I was sufficiently adept at handling the Bonzo, so he set me up with some field equipment and fuel and let me take the Bonzo home.

This is when the learning really began!  I was so excited at the prospect of my first true solo, I could hardly wait for the first good flying day.  It was a hot, calm day in July with light winds and perfect clear skies.  The Bonzo was loaded into my Mom’s car and off to the schoolyard we went.  Like a typical 12 year old, I had more confidence than experience and thought to myself, “I’ve got this.”  The objective truth of the matter was far different than my perception.

After starting the balky engine, I did all of the checks I was taught by my grandfather and felt I was ready to go.  I throttled up and my pulse quickened.  I started to run forward, but in the excitement of running, holding the transmitter in one hand and anticipating what I would do next, I rushed my launch and the Bonzo barreled into the ground.  Broken prop, bent landing gear, bent pride.  I replaced the prop, straightened the gear a bit and tried again.  This time, the launch was good, but I failed to let the model gain sufficient speed before pulling back on the stick.  You can guess the results; one massive stall, a brief moment of pilot terror, followed by a half-roll directly into the ground.  This time the firewall was broken, the wing was broken near the root and I was dejected.

I did eventually manage to get a few great flights with the Bonzo, although after my repairs, it began to resemble an anti-aircraft target rather than the semi-scale race plane it had once been.  For me, my first RC plane was a teaching tool and uncovered the core of this fine hobby.  My takeaways were in no particular order:

  1. Don’t rush, control your excitement and remember the proper way to do things (patience is the most important virtue of aeromodeling)
  2. If you fly, you will eventually crash (Sir Isaac?)
  3. Most airplanes are repairable, although they rarely look as nice as they did before
  4. When you are 12, you don’t know as much as you think you know

I learned a lot from my time with the Bonzo and held onto the airframe until only a few years ago.  It had some sentimental value and was a reminder of some of the less-intelligent, hurried decisions I had made in my modeling past.  I would love to tell you all that I only found success after this learning experience, but… you’ll have to wait until next week to hear my next adventure in RC flight.


The post Only Human – An Unabashed Recount Of What It Is To Be An Aeromodeler: Part 1 appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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1504-300x300.jpgHorizon Hobby has been releasing a bunch of cool new scale foam models in the past year or two, but most of them have been of the park flyer or mini size variety. Not this one though!

The all new Cessna 150 spans nearly seven feet across the wing and is almost five feet long. Don’t fret if you have a smaller car or vehicle to transport this beautiful beast as it has a two-piece wing that is “plug and play” … that means no fussing with servo leads into the fuse. Also, the nose gear is strut equipped for rough field operations and there are optional floats for those fond of flying from water. The power system is potent and capable of running any 4-6S LiPo with a maximum capacity of 7000mAh! Each model comes equipped with scale Nav lights and the BNF model has AS3X with the option to add the SAFE system.

1503-300x300.jpgBest of all? This Cessna can provide a wide flight envelope. Slow it down with the use of the included functional flaps for some knife edge and rolling circles or practice your STOL operations … OR … toss a potent 6S pack in there and let it rip! Whether scale flight or not so scale aerobatics are in your bag of tricks, the Carbon Z Cessna 150 is sure to please.

Check it out for yourself right HERE.

The post NEW RELEASE: E-flite Carbon Z Cessna 150 BNF And PNP appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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We all have our favorites, right? Some of us might be fond of a model that holds heavy sentimental value, passed down from an earlier generation. Some others might cherish a scale model that’s built-up, having spent hours upon hours detailing and making it as realistic as possible. Perhaps some model pilots will pick an aircraft not unlike one they actually flew while in Civilian or Military service. That’s not what we’re talking about in this instance though.

IMG_3817-MM-300x200.jpgBasically, imagine you’re relegated to a desert island, shipwrecked and alone and all you can have with you is one of your models. Which would you pick as the only one you can fly for the rest of your life? Yes, we’re aware that most pilots fluctuate in their tastes over the years, whereas a 3D powerhouse might be their fave one year, but an scaled out warbird might be the go-to source to keep that passion flowing the next year. So, what’s it gonna be then? You’re stuck with nary a hobby shop in sight and no means of ordering anything on this very day and you have to pick just one. We know, it might make your head spin as such a query is akin (to some) to picking which child or pet is your favorite. It might not be an easy question, but we figured it would be a great way to get the comments rolling and start a purely RC model debate … just keep it respectful and classy.
17761018_237885883353748_252432518484768Managing Editor for Fly RC, Matt “Mini Guinea” Maziarz is quite enamored with EPP models these days and though the resiliency of such aircraft is a strong selling point, it’s all about the performance for these machines. Of late, the models that are most often in tow to the field with Matt are the Crack Turbo Beaver from Twisted Hobbys and the Laser 260 full fuse from Aerobeez … both EPP, but also both very different in their flying styles. The Beaver is slow and capable of the most extreme 3D flips, twists and everything in between. Because of the x-style cross profile frame with a generous dose of side surface area, the Beaver will knife-edge with little to no rudder input and hang there all day if commanded. It’s also the perfect platform to hone your hovering and harrier skills, without a single worry of stuffing it and suffering crippling damage. The Laser, on the other hand, can get up to a pretty good clip flat line speed-wise, also excels at aerobatic flight. The surface areas aren’t a big as the Beaver’s, but in capable hands it can hang with just about any 3D machine. We all know that hovering a model is cool, but hovering it right on the deck, dipping the tail into the grass every so often only further amplifies the excitement for both the pilot and spectators alike.

IMG_3896-MM-300x223.jpgSo what’s it going to be then, eh? Tell us what your single favorite model is on the very day you read this post and be sure to comment on it. As stated before, we only ask that you keep it respectful and playful. Remember, we are merely a cross section of society and to that end, we might all share a love for flying models, but we are also all very different in our individual tastes and models.

If EPP tickles your fancy, be sure to hit the links below to check out Mini’s faves and feel free to reach out at any time with any questions regarding them or RC in general (Mini Guinea also pilots drones, helis, boats and cars … so long as it’s with a transmitter in hand).





The post What’s Your Favorite Model To Fly? appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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If you’re like most of the new generation of RC pilots, you probably got your start with electric powered models propelled by torque monster brushless power plants fed by LiPo cells. That’s definitely not a bad thing, but if you’ve got a hankering for more realism, gas is the way to go. The look, sound and smell of a two stroke gas engine is sure to satisfy that “Scale” need you’ve been hunting for, but how do you go about getting into it without destroying your engine and plane or harming yourself from a prop strike?

dleg0435-main-lg-300x292.jpgOf course, the best thing to do is consult with members of your local club who are familiar with gas powered models, but that might not be an option for everyone (or you might just be to proud or stubborn to ask). If you’ve got questions regarding getting into gas, our friends over at Hobbico have the answers you seek, using their DLE engine as a test bed and featuring on their Keep It RC website. Follow THIS LINK for all the info you need on how to get that beast burbling and feeding you the power you need whether you’re flying a scale Cub, a perfectly detailed Warbird or an extreme 3D machine. You’ve got questions, Keep It RC has answers.

As always, use extreme caution when starting a gas powered model. There is absolutely no shame in using a chicken stick or other such device to prime and start your engine and beyond that, you’re going to have to tune the gas breather after break-in or for optimum performance depending on what you’re doing. Keep it fun, but more importantly, keep it safe and Keep It RC!






The post Getting Into Gas Powered Models For The First Time? appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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So, did you ever think that your love for RC could be translated into monetary assistance for your higher education? Of course, we at Fly RC often dreamed of such glorious acts of altruism for our fondness of flying models, but this is now and this is real. RCJugde is offering a $1000 scholarship to the winning essay writer for their first ever contest of this kind.

The folks over at RCJudge have been reviewing models for a while now, but being RC enthusiasts themselves, they have also seen the vast improvements in or gadgets and electronics over the past few decades of the RC hobby. It wasn’t that long ago that most folks on the electric side of the fence were still relying, largely, on NiMH cells to power their rigs. Now, LiPo is the only choice. Brushed motors are much like the dodo, gone and mostly forgotten as brushless power plants have emerged. The innovation in the industry isn’t just an RC thing though, it’s an everything thing. The advances in tech throughout the spectrum of motors, engines, cells and materials in all facets and hobbies in life lead directly to advances in our models.

To further exemplify the fun of RC as well as the things that the wonderful hobby teaches us, far and beyond playing with expensive toys, RCJudge is sponsoring this awesome contest. What you’ve got to do for your chance at a G-note off your next year of college tuition is write a 700-1000 word essay on where you think certain tech-related components on our models will evolve in the future. Of course, there are certain restrictions, but pretty much everything RC related is fair game. So what are you waiting for. Dust off the word processor and get writing!

Check out the full list of eligibility requirements and where to send your essay to at the link below. The contest ends on May 21, 2017 and the winner will be announced on June 21, 2017.


The post RC Scholarship for College Students appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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By Bob Benjamin – bob@rcmodel.com

Last month we ran out of page space with all panels of the wing framed up, ready to be joined at the correct dihedral angles to prepare for a sheet balsa covering job that might be a little different from what you are used to. We finished off with a view of the bottom surface of the center section to serve as an example of the way all ribs, edges, etc. have got to blend together without any bumps or discontinuities that would spoil the final surface. Sanding is the magic technique to make that happen, so we will start off this session with more of that.

Hellcat-2-1-900x618.jpgThis is the surface of the wing center section, which has been assembled so far exactly per the Action Plan layout. Note that the bottom/lower 1/16” sq. balsa spars aren’t in place yet. Earlier you saw me doing some rough shaping of the stock kit leading edge with a No. 11 blade; here I’m using my 80-grit sanding block to finish the top surface of the leading edge so that it becomes a flat surface extending ahead of the ribs. The plans suggest that you need to round off the front of the LE. Don’t do that…leave a flat surface like this and on the bottom as well.Hellcat-2-2-900x596.jpgYou have seen me doing this before. This is the right outer wing panel including the partially shaped modified balsa block tip getting sanded to the same level of accuracy we saw last time on the bottom of the center section.Hellcat-2-3-900x464.jpgNow we are going to make some serious modifications to permit mounting a set of E-Flite 10-15 90 degree rotating retracts. I have already established to my satisfaction that a slightly smaller Guillow’s fighter (the Kit. No. 403 Spitfire) will fly well with the ordinary side-rotating E-Flite retracts, so we know this is going to work. Note: I have checked out many mechanical, pneumatic and electric mini-retracts. What I’m sharing with you here is the smallest, lightest RLG installation that I feel I can trust for real-world flying. If you are aware of a commercially available system that you believe might work better, please let us know about it.
Back to wing modification. I made 1/64” aircraft plywood doublers for F-3 and F-5 that fit on each inside face of the respective ribs to serve as hard mounting surfaces for the RLG mounting blocks I’ll show you next. ALSO NOTE: If you include this modification on your Guillow’s Hellcat you will discover that there’s a lot of cut-and-fit work involved. The important measurements to get right are the position of the upper retract pivot point, the forward rake built into those mounting blocks, and the length of the strut. Make all this stuff match the Guillow’s Action Plan as closely as you can.Hellcat-2-4-900x613.jpgThere are four RLG mounting blocks that I cut and shaped from medium-weight balsa block. You may be able to see some of my changes marked on the plan in pencil as well. Watch how this comes together and it will all make sense.Hellcat-2-5-900x577.jpgThis modification puts the inside/upper portion of the retract units so close to the inner face of the top wing skin that I chose to add some extra reinforcement to the front of the landing gear bay. I cut this 1/64” plywood doubler plate to fit flush with the top/outer edges of ribs F-3 and F-5. If you study the image you’ll see how it’s going to fit into place. NOTE: By the time we have removed enough balsa for the mounting blocks and RLG units to fit there’s not much left of rib F-4.I left that rear upper edge in place to help locate the sheet balsa wing skin that’s coming later.Hellcat-2-6-900x649.jpgHaving measured and marked all the dimensions and clearances carefully, I located the mounting screw holes in each of the blocks with them outside the airplane. The reason for this is to ensure that each RLG unit fits square and true against what will become its mounting base plate. You can trim the outer dimensions of the assembled RLG/block units as needed to fit the wing structure correctly. If you install the blocks first you risk having them line up with the RLG units incorrectly, which will cause stress and possible failure.Hellcat-2-7-900x615.jpgSee how it all comes together? We’ll worry about those over-length struts later.Hellcat-2-8-900x590.jpgSame game from above. If you study this assembly carefully you can work out how I’ve attempted to distribute the landing loads over as much of the original, pre-modification wing structure as possible.Hellcat-2-9-900x698.jpgMy next step was to remove the RLG units, assemble the various wing sections in place on the Guillow’s Action Plan, and join them per the kit instructions.Hellcat-2-10-900x620.jpgWith all the material I removed from the original structural design it was necessary to replace some of the strength that went with it. I made a pair of new leading edge doublers from 1/32” plywood, cut appropriate clearance slots between the front of each affected rib and the inside face of the leading edge and assembled it all with Plenty of Deluxe Materials Aliphatic Resin glue. NOTE: After shooting this image I secured each spar/leading edge assembly with some of those modified heavy duty clothespin clamps you have seen before.Hellcat-2-11-900x598.jpgI decided to fully cover/enclose the wing center section with 1/16” sheet balsa before putting the entire wing assembly aside to work on the fuselage. This is the bottom surface sheet cut as nearly to exact shape as I can get it before assembly. I’m going to use an unusual technique to attach the sheet balsa covering, which I’ll describe a bit later.Hellcat-2-12-900x636.jpgWith the wing structure set aside for a while I’m going to start work on the fuselage to get it caught up with the rest of the airplane. All the fuselage center keel parts (A-1 through A-5) are assembled exactly per the Guillow’s Main Plan. In addition to that first step I have glued fuselage former B-1 in place perpendicular to the assembled keel parts. Unlike the pair of laser-cut Kit. No. 403 Spitfires I told you about in my lead article on Guillow’s kits, this Hellcat along with the other four 1000 Series kits is still a die-cut product. Like most of Guillow’s other scale model designs, this one uses a fuselage structure based on a vertical center keel which is assembled from several die-cut parts and then “filled out” with a series of balsa half-formers that define the left half of the structure. What’s happening here is that I have assembled the keel in place over the fuselage layout on the Main Plan and added the left side of half-former B-1.Hellcat-2-13-900x600.jpgBefore we go any further let’s take a closer look at a representative die-cut fuselage former. This is B-8 (the first former behind the wing trailing edge). Remember that we have already explained Guillow’s willingness to replace any die-cut parts sheets of questionable quality? This 1/16” sheet part is cut from balsa that’s OK for this application, but there are some things we can do to improve it. Can you see the slightly uneven, soft-looking cut on the corner of the former away from my thumb?Hellcat-2-14-900x604.jpgSanding is the cure for this little piece of balsa’s shortcomings. First I flat-sanded each face of the part down to 220-grit smoothness while removing about 1/64” of thickness and weight…Hellcat-2-15-900x619.jpg…and then off-camera I turned the former on-edge and used that same sanding block to clean up any sloppy edges I could find. Here you can see half-formers B-1 and B-2 finish sanded and glued in place on the keel.Hellcat-2-16-900x497.jpgThe next several steps in fuselage assembly go exactly per the Guillow’s kit instructions. Here you can see half-formers B-1 through B-11 assembled in place to define the left half of the fuselage. The “extra” parts at the rear are for the right side half-formers and fuselage side keels.Hellcat-2-17-900x625.jpgThe next step, again following the Guillow’s Main Plan and instruction/assembly guide, is to glue the two left side-keel pieces (A-5 and A-6) into a single unit and then slip them into place in all the formers. Notice here that I am using a single-edge razor blade to trim the side keel notch in B-8 for an exact fit. When building a die-cut kit such as this one you have to be ready to adjust any of the pre-cut slots. In this case the notch centered about 3/64” too low with the result that the side keel had to bow out of line to fit into it. It’s up to you as a responsible model builder to make these simple corrections whenever you find the need for them.Hellcat-2-18-900x600.jpgFully assembled in place the corresponding right side keel looks like this. If you look carefully you’ll see that I have traced and cut out doublers for the top portions of B-2 and B-4. This is a departure from the Guillow’s plan that becomes the first step in creating a removable battery pack access hatch. Can you see the squared-off cutout in B-3 that aligns with the bottom of those new doubler formers?Hellcat-2-19-900x627.jpgThe next step in modifying the standard fuselage for that hatch is to install two inset 3/32” balsa sheet rails as you see here on both sides of the fuselage. These rails, which become edges/liners for the hatch and cutout, are glued to everything around them, but NOT to each other.Hellcat-2-20-900x600.jpgNow I’m using a 120-grit sanding block to trim the outer faces of those assembled hatch rails flush with the outside edges of all the surrounding formers.Hellcat-2-21-900x605.jpgThe next step, this time right in line with the standard kit assembly sequence, is to install all the 1/16” sq. balsa fuselage stringers. Here again is a situation that will very probably require you to do some trimming of the die-cut stringer notches to ensure that all the stringers line up on-center, straight, and evenly spaced from their neighbors. If there’s any doubt dry-fit a stringer in place and sight along it end-on. Any waves or wiggles you can see have to be corrected by trimming those holes. Here I’m using a custom tool that I made for this job. The piece of wood in my hand is a length of 1/16” plywood with a carefully-cut 1/16” wide strip of 120-grit sandpaper glued along each of the long edges. Aligned with what should be the exact location of a series of stringer notches, moving it back and forth in a sawing motion will leave neatly-cut notches just where the plans say they should be.Hellcat-2-22-900x624.jpgHere’s another look at the same process with several top stringers located and glued into place. NOTE: Follow the instructions that come with then kit and always install stringers IN PAIRS…right, left, right, left etc. At this point in its assembly a fuselage structure like this one is pretty floppy and at risk of being permanently twisted if you don’t keep the stringers from adding unbalanced stresses as you install them.Hellcat-2-23-900x637.jpgHere’s another significant modification from the original plan. As designed, former B-7 is flat/straight from top to bottom. If the model is built that way, with the wing permanently joined to the fuselage, this doesn’t matter. BUT, with a removable wing such as we are going to use there are two new issues to deal with. First, with the leading and trailing edge formers (in this case B-3 and B-7) are left flat, the process of inserting/assembling the wing into the finished fuselage will be a fussy job of keeping everything perfectly in alignment AND you won’t be able to use a dowel stub at either the leading or trailing edge per usual RC practice because there won’t be any way to rotate the wing into place to insert it. Second, if the model ever hits something you didn’t want it to…OK, we won’t use the “C” word…the beveled/angled rear face of the wing cutout that’s created by angling the bottom of B-7 will give it room to “knock off” without taking a lot of the rear fuselage with it. Also, did you notice that here I’m using a razor blade to cut stringer notches that line up with the rest of the formers?Hellcat-2-24-900x690.jpgOnce again while you weren’t looking I added an extra part…in this case a duplicate former B-2 cut from 1/16” aircraft plywood. This is going to take over the function of the plywood former/firewall that was originally designed to attach to the front of B-1. In recent Guillow’s kits several 1/16” plywood parts have been replaced by a die-cut sheet of white vinyl material. I cannot recommend that you use any of this stuff. Not only is it less dimensionally stable than the plywood it’s supposed to replace, it’s three to four times heavier than an equivalent plywood part. With all that said, the new B-2 doubler plywood firewall must have all those stringer notches cut into it to match B-2, This is not a job for a lone unsupported razor blade. If you can measure out and mark the notch positions you can pre-cut them on a scrollsaw before assembly OR you can use the edge of a Dremel grinding disc like this to do the slotting in place.Hellcat-2-25-900x600.jpgWith all the formers and 1/16” sq. balsa fuselage stringers in place it’s time for some serious sanding. We are going to create a very closely-fitted sheet balsa skin over this surface, and any bumps or other errors WILL show through. Another note…if we were planning to retain the open structure…tissue covering over open stringers…I would “scallop” the formers between each pair of stringers to avoid that poked-through “starved horse” look that results from leaving those rounded-off outer edges to protrude. But, since we’re going to use balsa sheet covering which creates and maintains its own curvature, we are going to leave the formers as designed to help that balsa sheet assume the curved “round” shape we want for this airplane.Hellcat-2-26-900x702.jpgThe next step in this process is to measure and cut out the actual sheet balsa panels that are going to become part of the fuselage. I’m going to use the best quality light 1/16” balsa sheet I can find. This not something Guillow’s currently includes in their kits. Why 1/16” and not something lighter like 1/32”? In a word, SANDING. Balsa sheet slightly thicker than we want the finished fuselage skin to be is the answer. The extra thickness provides material to “sand on”, to blend less-than-perfect panel edge joints along with any other errors that are going to appear in a job like this no matter how carefully we work. What you see here is one of the ordinary bond paper patterns I made to fit specific sections of the fuselage. The criterion here is that the dimensions/size of each panel must allow it to be attached creating only single-curvature bends.Hellcat-2-27-900x554.jpgLike here. What you see here is two separate 1/16” balsa sheet skins that meet/join along the bottom fuselage keel. I wet each piece thoroughly with plain water and then attach it with Deluxe Materials Aliphatic Resin glue, which is water-based. You’ll get a closer look at how I do this in a bit. Masking tape is the best way I have found to keep sheet skin like this in place while everything dries without damaging it the way pins would.Hellcat-2-28-900x600.jpgI can’t work on the adjacent tail panels with all that tape still in place so I went to the front instead to attach more of that 1/16” balsa sheet skin over then portion of the nose that’s going to become the removable battery hatch. Here it’s easy to see how that masking tape holds the wet balsa sheet and still-wet glue precisely in place.Hellcat-2-29-900x648.jpgWhile I was waiting for these two “wet balsa” layups to dry I decided to work on the cowl. This is going to turn out to be very different from the original Action Plan design, but I’m going to base it all on the standard Guillow’s molded plastic cowl. You can pretty well see “just looking” how I prefer to trim parts like this from their matrix sheets. I doubt that I could come as close to the accuracy I’m getting here using scissors or a blade.Hellcat-2-30-900x600.jpgRemember how I’ve often said in the past that I prefer to allow wet balsa/aliphatic resin glue assemblies to dry overnight “whether they need to or not”? Those fuselage skin assemblies DO need overnight drying so I did some work on the wing while waiting. The process I’m using for this Guillow’s Hellcat wing is identical to what I’m doing on the fuselage, but the shape of the wing permits me to work with much larger panels. This is the 1/16” balsa sheet panel that I have cut to fit the upper surface of the right wing. Watch how I keep it under control during assembly.Hellcat-2-31-900x671.jpgBecause the leading edge as I have sanded it to conform with the curvature of the wing ribs forms a straight line spanwise I can use it as a reference platform to keep everything in place and lined up while I do the wet-forming thing. What’s going on here is that I have applied a line of Deluxe Materials Roket Rapid (slow for open assemblies) along the lower surface of the leading edge and pressed the very front edge of bottom sheet into place against it. By holding the assembly together in place for a minute or so I got that fixed reference. Watch how that works…Hellcat-2-32-900x600.jpgI attached the top surface balsa skin to the upper leading edge in the same way, then sprayed all the sheet balsa with water. What’s happening here is that I’m using a conveniently sized brush to apply a generous coat of Deluxe Materials Aliphatic Resin to every part of the wing structure that’s going to come into contact with the surface panels, and then…Hellcat-2-33-900x579.jpgI used several of my custom made shot bag assembly aids to press the whole thing tightly together while maintain even pressure and preventing any movement while it all dries. I tell you more about how I made those shot bags later.

Be sure to check in next month to see how the rest of the build progresses. Until then, feel free to reach out if you have any questio0ns and by all means … check out the links below for all of the equipment used in this column or to peruse the Guillow’s lineup for yourself.







The post Master’s Workshop #51: Guillow’s Hellcat RC Conversion Part 2 appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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towa2040-300x300.jpgIt might look like an old school design, but this Uproar is all about extreme 3D performance, excelling at post-stall flight. This V2 incarnation of the Uproar features design enhancements by Gary Wright, comes complete with Oracover film and the power to weight ratio, whether using glow or electric will offer nearly unlimited vertical performance.

ltowa2040alt01-300x300.jpgFeatures include a symmetrical wing for neutral flight handling whether upright or inverted, side force generators for extreme knife edge flight and a two-piece wing for super easy transport and storage. If that’s not enough to slap an Uproar V2 in your hangar, the ARF is available from Tower Hobbies for less than 100 bucks!!!

Check the full breakdown of the model out over at Tower Hobbies or just click the link below. Due to be in stock by late April or early May.


The post Tower Hobbies Uproar V2 GP/EP ARF 47.6 Inch appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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SPM20000_a3-300x300.jpgAs some of you may have heard by now, Spektrum RC and Horizon Hobby are recalling certain DX-20 transmitters for a problem that “was found not to meet Horizon Hobby’s quality expectations.”

While we at Fly RC are not prvy to exactly what the issue is with these transmitters, we would advise all owners of them to check the link below to see if your DX-20 is among those with a PID number designating it recall worthy. Follow the instructions as to how you can get your radio serviced so you can get back in the air with a quickness.


The post Spektrum DX-20 Recall Info appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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Got an EPP (or other foamie) aircraft that needs to stay flexible after a damaging crash? Already tried certain CA glues, but the joint keeps cracking because it gets too brittle? Check out this cool new glue from the wizards at Deluxe Materials.

The Fix N’ Flex works awesome on foam models of all sorts, but really shines with the super flexible stuff such as EPP. It cures in around 2-3 hours per millimeter of adhesive (give or take per the relative humidity and temperature), but is best suited to be left to cure overnight.

Be sure to check it out at Deluxe Materials’ booth at the 63rd annual Toledo Show put on by the Weak Signals club this weekend in Ohio.





The post Video: Deluxe Materials Fix N’ Flex: The Flexible Wonder Glue For Foamies appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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Our flying field is the Former Champaign Municipal Landfill which was operated as a municipal solid waste landfill from approximately 1955 to 1975. As an AMA chartered Club our goal is to provide a forum for club members to exchange ideas and benefit from each others experiences with the hobby of building and the sport of flying radio controlled model aircraft. We are committed to promoting the enjoyment of safe R/C flying in accordance with AMA and Champaign County Radio Control Club rules and guidelines.

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