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Great Planes Bird of Time ARF

Great Planes is rolling out the new release announcements and this one is aimed right at the sailplane pilots. The iconic Bird of Time is back as an electric powered ARF! This 3 meter (118in) legend has been around for many years but the start or winch launch requirements have left many glider pilots dreaming of it. Now Great Planes has brought it back as a quick assembly ARF featuring an electric folding prop power system that will get the Bird of Time up to altitude and thermal hunting in no time!  You can choose their recommended power system or change it out with your own setup. Just a couple servos are required along with a 3+ channel radio system for guidance. The fiberglass fuselage provides a clean, strong and sturdy base for the glider. A three-piece wing and removable full flying stabilizer help make transport and storage of the Bird of Time an easier task. Between the graceful looks and the known performance of the Bird of Time design, this is sure to be a hit with the glider pilots.


gpma1053-size-lg-300x225.jpg   gpma1053-gallery4-lg-300x180.jpg  gpma1053-hatch-lg-300x225.jpg


Prebuilt Wing, Fuselage and Tail assemblies, Prop, Spinner, two Motor
Mount Templates and Instruction Manual


Radio: At least 3-channel
Brushless Motor: Great Planes RimFire .32
Electronic Speed Control: 60A with BEC
Battery: 14.8V 3300-3600mAh
Field and maintenance equipment


Wingspan: 118″ (2997mm)
Length: 49″ (1245mm)
Wing Area: 1050 sq in (67.7 sq dm)
Wing Loading: 10oz/sq ft (31g/sq dm)

Click here to find out more about the Great Planes Bird of Time EP

The post Great Planes Bird of Time EP appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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Great Planes has been going after the sport scale market and their latest offering is the PT-19 ARF. With a 56.5″ wingspan it comes in at a convenient size for those looking for a home for their .46 glow engine or 800-1000w electric power setup. The PT-19 was a popular trainer model for new recruits looking to be fighter pilots during WWII. This sport scale recreation will take you back to the late golden age as young aspiring pilots took their first flights. With its easy looking build style and easy on the budget required gear the PT-19 from Great Planes looks to be a great addition to any flyers fleet.  Keep an eye on FLYRC for more on the PT-19 from Great Planes.


Radio: 4-5 channel
Servos: 4-5 mini digital
6″ (150mm) Servo Extensions: Two if mixing aileron servos
electronically with programmable mixing in the transmitter
Dual Servo Extension: One if connecting servos with Y-harness
Building and field equipment

For Electric Power;
Motor: 1.65″ (42mm) 925W, 42-50-800 ElectriFly RimFire .32
Electronic Speed Control: Castle Creations Edge Lite 75 if using
motor listed above
Battery: LiPo 4S, at least 3300mAh
Battery Charger: Compatible with selected battery
Propeller: To match selected motor
For Glow Power;
Engine: .46 – .55 cu in 2-stroke, or .70 cu in 4-stroke
Propeller: To match selected engine


Wingspan: 56.5″ (1435mm)
Length: 46.2″ (1173mm)
Weight: 80 – 88oz (2268 – 2495g)
Wing Area: 536.7 sq in (34.62 sq dm)
Wing Loading: 21.5 – 23.6 oz/sq ft (65.5 – 72.0 g/sq dm)

ample space for battery and radio gearOptions for both electric or glow powerScreen-Shot-2017-09-14-at-7.52.09-AM-300









For more information on the PT-19 Sport Scale GP/EP ARF head over to Great Planes website



The post Great Planes PT-19 Sport Scale .46 GP/EP ARF appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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By Matt Maziarz


 NEED TO KNOW                                                                                                                                                    

FOR: Speed freaks and FPV flyers

PRICE: $139.00


IMG_8538-300x253.jpgReady for the maiden!


The TechOne wing comes from Motion RC complete with all the flight electronics, so to get it air worthy, you just need to add your own radio system (that is capable of elevon mixing) and a 3-4S LiPo battery for LOS flight. To get the full FPV experience, toss your own camera and vTX into the nose of the beast and you’re ready to rip from the pilot’s seat.


Since FPV wings have come onto the scene, I have been a full blown junky. First, I don’t have the dexterity to keep up with the youngsters when flying drones. Second, I love to go fast and a high-powered wing is all about speed. Third, the TechOne wing is only 139 bucks with all of the flight electronics! So, I was sold on this model before I even had it in my hands, but I also had my reservations as it is not sheeted (duh, it’s only $139) and the early reviews seemed to have folks bashing it as it tended to “tuck” at high speeds and otherwise waiver do to flex. After flying it many times, I can honestly say that it is worth every penny and it doesn’t stray from where you point it all that much.


IMG_8687-300x191.jpgThe TechOne Wing slows down very well for a wing, keeping great control authority at all but a snail’s pace.


– Super inexpensive for an FPV wing

– Incredibly easy to launch

– All flight electronics included (minus radio system and battery)

– Magnetic wing retaining system

– Long flight times on a 2200mAh 4S



– There is a bit of torsional flex as it is not sheeted



WINGSPAN: 35.4 in. (900mm)
WEIGHT: 608 – 760g (depending on equipment used)
LENGTH: 12.1 in. (308mm)
SERVOS: (2) 11g micro servos

MOTOR: T-motor F80 2500Kv

ESC: 45 amp
PROPELLER: 3-blade 5 x 5

FLIGHT TIME: 5-6 minutes (using the 4S 2200mAh)


IMG_8666-300x393.jpgKEY FEATURES

  • EPP is key when it comes to FPV wings as it is much less susceptible to damage after a crash or hard landing. The TechOne Wing is no different as it is constructed almost entirely of EPP, except it has a super sweet carbon center fuse to give you loads of mounting options for electronics.
  • Magic Magnets! No, there is no adhesive or tape used to secure the wing halves to the carbon fuse. Instead, TechOne buried super strong neodymium magnets in the root of each wing half and the fuse, making for super easy transport and field installation.
  • The F80 T-motor and ESC are pre-installed from the factory. All that’s left for you to do to make it flight ready is install the elevon servos, your radio system and a battery. It can go from the box to flight ready within 10 minutes (if using CA and accelerator).
  • Even with a heavy 4S 2200mAh LiPo strapped to the top of the carbon fuse, the TechOne wing is super easy to launch. There is no pinch-point on the bottom, so the Frisbee toss is the way to go. Simply throttle up to 70 percent or so and let it rip! No wobbling, wavering or any other pucker-inducing behavior. It flies straight ant true every time.
IMG_8647-300x212.jpgThe F80 T-Motor provides excellent power when motivated by the Admiral Pro 4S LiPo.


  • If you’re okay with cutting a servo out of a foam wing (if it needs replacing), skip the wooden servo mounts and just toss em’ in the trash. Mounting the servos without the ply cutout provides for a nice level pushrod that is parallel to the wing surface.
  • Thread lock is a must! None of the factory fastened hardware has any thread lock on it. I like the Mercury Adhesives blue stuff because each bottle top has its own brush making it much easier to apply, especially on the adjustable pushrod connections on the control surfaces.
  • Speaking of the adjustable pushrod connections, they could use a bit of finessing as well. They come from the factory with a washer on each side of the horn and have a good bit of slop. That doesn’t make for great control authority. I took the washers off, moved them both to the backside of each quick link and thread locked each lock nut. Yes, I know it sounds redundant, but the threads on each locknut doesn’t bite too far into the nylon in the nut, so it is a must!
  • Use caution when you choose your mounting location for the vTX. I mounted mine right in front of the battery, but in a hard crash (brought on by a loose control rod retainer … see above tip), I went nose first into the ground and inertia slid the battery forward … tearing the wire harness receptacle right off the vTX. If you’re not going to use an HD cam, the dampened mount up top is the perfect spot for it.


IMG_8646-300x188.jpgThe CA20 600TVL cam from AKK offers crisp, clear imagery on the goggles or monitor, plus it’s dirt cheap!


TechOne does not supply a printed manual with each model as they have gone “green” and they can be downloaded and printed or saved straight from Motion RC’s website. Said instructions are brief, to say the least, but this is a flying wing so there isn’t much to it.

The first step of the assembly process is to glue the wooden ply servo mounts in place, which I ignored (see Pro Tip #1). Gluing the factory supplied servos directly into the foam created a much better pushrod angle for each elevon, so that’s why I did it. To finish off the servo installation, simply center each servo with your radio system of choice and lock down the rod retainers (see Pro Tip #2). I had to cut about ½ inch off the end of each rod to keep them from stabbing into the elevons at full up elevator … after they were installed and locked down.

IMG_8645-300x260.jpgThe 600mW vTX from AKK provides great long range reception, features 40-channels and has a LCD display for band and channel.

From there, it’s on to installing your receiver and taping down the ESC, which is factory installed and plugged in. There is a carbon tube that the motor is mounted too, so you only have one option to keep the motor wires from chafing on the tube, which is face down. I placed my Graupner GL-12 recevier as far forward as possible, but well clear of the neo-mags in the fuse and routed the antenna back down towards the aft of the fuse for the best reception, after installing the servo extensions.

After your servos are installed, it’s as easy as installing the wing spars and sliding the wings into place. At first (when following the manual, I was a bit confused as to why there was no mention of glue or tape to keep the wing halves secured to the carbon center fuse. Much to my surprise (and … DUH!), the wings are held in place using neo-mags and they are more than strong enough to keep them where they need to be at high speed. Once that’s done (which should take well less than 30 minutes using CA and accelerator), you’re ready for LOS flight.

To top of my TechOne wing, I used a combo from AKK. I used their CA20 cam and 600mW vTX combo as it’s a mighty fine bargain and produces excellent images on the screen. The CA20 cam comes with a swivel mount and there are two different mounting locations to lock it down. I opted for the forward position to keep the front/center cross member out of view and placed the vTX just forward of the battery. In hindsight and from my first crash forward, the vTX has been mounted on the right wing half, just outside of the fuse.


IMG_8718-300x325.jpgIN THE AIR

Maiden flights with flying wings have always given me mud pain (as in, my stomach is so balled up I want to blow mud in my pants), but the TechOne wing is about as easy as they get when it comes to launches. As a matter of fact, it’s even easier to launch than my Theory Type W with the SAFE system. Crank the throttle up to anywhere from 50-75% and give it a gentle toss outward with a slight up-line and you’ll be golden.

Once in the air, the wing is docile, yet agile at all but the slowest speeds. I took it up high to get a feel for it LOS and was pleasantly surprised. I had read early reviews claiming that the model would “tuck” or dive during high speed passes, but found this not to be the case. The wing does flutter a bit when maxxing out the throttle, but it’s not abrupt or absurd, simply keep on the sticks and you can keep it in check. I think the 4 degree down thrust on the motor plays a big part in the “problems” folks were having with it early on, but if you balance the model properly (for which there are locations right on the bottom of each wing half), you’ll be right as rain … as they say.

The wing itself is fully symmetrical, so it will fly inverted with no issues whatsoever. Additionally, the large elevon surfaces provide for excellent authority, giving the wing awesome roll rate and super tight inside and outside loops. Vertical performance is astounding and you can speck the model out in a heartbeat. The F80 motor combined with the 3-blade 5×5 prop not only generates an incredible sound, but it pushes the wing toward the century mark with a quickness. Even if you’re not into FPV, the TechOne wing is a great machine for flying LOS.

Slowing the model down for a stall, the controls will get mushy really quick and it’ll drop to one tip or the other, but a quick burst of throttle will straighten it up and get it motivated in the blink of an eye. Landing is about as easy as launching the wing, but just be wary that it carries speed very well and will float for days off power, so just be sure to make a few approaches before finally letting it settle in. I chose a nice big patch of long grass for my first landing, but after that, I was spot landing right in front of my feet.

IMG_8649-300x282.jpgThe model is just as at home on its back as it is right side up, thanks to the symmetrical wing design.

When it comes to durability, EPP is the way to go and the TechOne wing is no different. On one occasion, I was actually attempting to fly underneath my GMC Sierra 4×4, but chickened out at the last minute … which saw the wing smack bottom side first onto the rear quarter panel and plant itself square in the bed of the truck. Much to my amazement, the model suffered zero damage and I was able to toss it back into the air. After a dozen flights or so, one of the control rods came loose from the retainer on the elevon horn, which had me crash nose first at a fairly high rate of speed into the grass (like I said, thread lock is mandatory). The battery did slide forward and ripped the wire harness clean off the vTX, but the model itself was unscathed. The carbon center fuse and alloy cross member absorbed the brunt of the blow, so unless you plant it nose first into a brick wall, you should be fine even if you plant it lawn jart style.


IMG_8650-300x477.jpgThe center fuse is a carbon box that has plenty of space for placing your receiver, vTX and battery. Plus, it utilizes neo-mags to secure each wing half to the fuse, making for nice quick field installation.


I must say that I’m more than just a little impressed with the TechOne wing. It’s tough as nails, easy to build and fly, it’s stupid fast right out of the box and it checks out at a fraction of the cost of most other FPV specific flying wings. Could it be better with a fully sheeted wing? Of course, but that would also drive the cost up considerably. As it is right out of the box, the model is an excellent choice for a first FPV wing or just as an LOS model for speed junkies. If you wanna go fast for not a lot of cash, check it out over at Motion RC … you’ll be glad you did and your wallet won’t be hurting at all.



RADIO: Graupner MZ-24 Pro

RECEIVER: Graupner GL-12

BATTERY: Admiral Pro 4S 2200mAh

VTX: AKK 600mW


ANTENNA: Tactic Omni

GOOGLES: Spektrum Focal V2









The post TechOne FPV Wing Review From Motion RC appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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Great Planes Giant Big Stik XL 55-61cc Gas/EP ARF


The “Stik” design has been a staple at most RC airfields for many years. The design makes for a great all around flyer. Great Planes has introduced their latest version of the Stik with the Giant Big Stik XL ARF! This plane sports an impressive 96.5″ wingspan and is ready out of the box for your choice of a Gas or electric setup! Don’t let it’s large size scare you though, with a two piece wing design it should not be hard to fit it in many vehicles without hooking up the trailer! For a first-time pilot getting into larger airplanes, this looks to be an excellent choice! This one should be an easy build and we hope to try one out soon!




Wingspan: 96.5″ (2451mm)
Length: 85″ (2159mm)
Weight: 18 – 21lbs (8165 – 9525g)
Wing Area: 2029 sq in (131 sq dm)
Wing Loading: 20-24 oz sq-ft (61-73 g sq-dm)


Radio: At least 5-channel
40″ Servo Extension: Two for aileron servos
16″ Heavy Duty Extension: Two for flap servos
12″ Servo Extension
Y-Harnesses: Two for connecting aileron and flap servos
Receiver Battery: At least 3200mAh LiFe battery recommended
Adhesives, building supplies and field equipment

For Electric Power;
Brushless Motor: Great Planes RimFire .65 Outrunner recommended
ESC: 160A high voltage
LiPo Batteries: Two 6S 22.2V wired in series, at least 5000mAh
Battery Charger: Compatible with selected battery
BEC Voltage Regulator: 20A max
16″ Heavy Duty Extension: For ESC
12″ Servo Extension
LiPo charging bag
Propeller: 24x12E if using motor listed above
Motor Mount

For Gasoline Power;
Engine: 3.4-3.7cu in (55-61cc) two-stroke
Throttle Servo: Standard size and torque & 6-8″ servo extension
Ignition Battery: At least 1300mAh LiFe battery recommended
Heavy duty On/Off Switch, Prop, Gasoline

Click here for availability and more info on the Great Planes Giant Big Stick XL




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Hot off the heels of their A-26 Invader release, Phoenix Model has another sweet warbird coming down the Tower Hobbies pipe … The 95″ RAF Supermarine Spitfire!


This ARF kit comes with all sorts of cool features such as panel flaps, pneumatic retracts with suspension struts and the ability to accommodate either gas or electric power plants. The scale detail on this Spitty was not overlooked either, as the sliding canopy can be pulled back to reveal a fully decked out instrument panel and pilot figure as well as operational cockpit doors.

spitty3.jpgThis is everything you get with the ARF Kit. Simply add your own electronics and power system and you’re ready to fly the Spitfire for yourself.

Check it out for yourself or pre-order one at the link below.





The post Phoenix Model 1/4 Scale Spitfire GP/EP ARF appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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By Steve Mills – Photos by Karla MillsYouTube-Thumbnail-900x600.jpg



  • MANUFACTURER: Tower Hobbies
  • DISTRIBUTOR: Tower Hobbies
  • TYPE: Parkflyer Warbird
  • FOR: Intermediate pilots with aileron experience 
  • PRICE: $119.99 (For the base ARF without optional retracts)


The only things needed to get the P-51B Mustang into the air is a 4-Channel radio with receiver and a 3S 2200mAh LiPo battery.


WINGSPAN: 40 in. (1016mm)
WING AREA: 282 sq. in. (18.2 sq. dm.)
WEIGHT: 30 oz. (850g)
WING LOADING: 15.3 oz./sq. ft.
LENGTH: 34 in. (864mm)
SERVOS: (4) Micro included (2) Micro required for option flaps not included
MOTOR: 30-35-1000kv
ESC: 30 amp
PROPELLER: 10 x 7e


  • Quick Assembly with few tools needed
  • Options for retracts and flaps
  • Handles well at both fast and slow speeds


  • Foam finish dents easily

Introduction and Assembly

It’s hard to not love the iconic P-51 Mustang. Yes, we know there are many Mustangs out there, but that’s because people truly love this thoroughbred fighter. We’ve all seen the P-51D done time and time again, but I’m a real fan of the Razorback styled warbirds and when I saw that Tower Hobbies was releasing a P-51B model, I knew I had to have one. Then when I found out it had the option for retracts and flaps the deal was sealed and I placed my order.


P-51b-5-300x225.jpgHere are the main parts as we pulled them from the box. Very little assembly here

The Mustang came well packed with all the parts in separate bags that were taped to keep things from shuffling in shipping. I also ordered the electric retract option as well as making sure I had a couple extra servos for the flaps. The build was very easy. The retracts dropped right into the existing wheel mounting slots and a channel was pre-cut for the servo wires to route to the middle of the wing. The flaps were cut free and the servo bay outline was molded into the foam so it was easy to cut it out and drop the flap servos in place.

Foam dowels hold in the Horizontal Tail.The horizontal stabilizer is held in with foam dowels and this works very we

The horizontal stab is held in place by some foam plugs that both align and lock it in so it cannot move. The wing simply bolts on from the inside of the fuse and with all the servo leads routed to the middle. I dropped in a Futaba R617FS receiver so it was out of the way of the battery. The Tower Hobbies P-51B has plenty of room in the battery bay for adjusting the CG for varying packs. We tried a few different 3S 2200 batteries on the stock prop and had no problem balancing the Mustang with any of them. A quick setup of the rates using the recommendations in the manual and it was ready to fly.

In The Air


The fields I usually fly at have smooth runways so I was able to do a rolling take off from the runway. The steerable tailwheel gave decent control on the ground. If there is a breeze it is likely to fight it and wants to weathervane as there is not much weight keeping this plane on the ground.  The main wheels are close to the CG so the plane does have a tendency to want to nose over. Judicious use of the elevator while taxiing and on the take off roll will counter this or a few shims to the rear of the gear mounts would help push the main wheels forward a bit to help. If flying from anything other than a smooth runway it would be best to leave the landing gear off and just hand launch the Mustang.

P-51b-22-2-300x200.jpgIn the air, this Mustang is a real treat. The stock power system on 3S is well suited and pulls the plane with authority. It does not feel like a sluggish model at all and the controls are quite nimble. Large loops from level flight are easy and the plane rolls like it’s on a rail. Kick in a little rudder and you can go knife edge for a nice photo pass. Inverted flight is no issue either and when balanced correctly, requires just a little forward pressure on the elevator. I found myself making figure eight strafing runs down the X pattern of our field. Feel free to insert your own gun sounds if you do this. I won’t judge you! The plane is a thoroughbred fighter and is meant for speed, but it does surprisingly well with the throttle pulled back. For those wondering, a ball field would be perfect for this plane and you would not feel boxed in.

P-51b-33-300x200.jpgI took the Berlin Express up on a day with more wind to see how it would fly. In the air at speed, it’s happy as it can be. It still penetrates forward and does not bobble around too much. When slowing down for landing a gust would bump it around a little, but quick corrections on the stick and it still made it back to the runway and landed just fine. The flaps are a nice addition, but not really needed on the stock setup. When flying in wind I’d leave them up altogether. If you do have a runway to fly from, it’s hard not to add in the optional retracts. Being able to take off and tuck the gear away then make a high-speed low pass is just too fun! Then being able to drop the gear back down and grease in a landing just helps to complete the experience.




RADIO: Futaba 14SG with R617FS Reciever

BATTERY: Electrifly 3S 2200mAh


The Last Word

For me it’s hard not to fall in love with a razorback warbird from WWII. I’m loving the Tower Hobbies P-51B Berlin Express model. It’s the perfect grab and go flyer for spur of the moment flight opportunities. Just about everyone who flies electric airplanes has a few 3s 2200 LiPo batteries laying around. Throw in a spare 4 or 6 channel park flyer receiver and you’re off up into the air. If you have a smooth runway then grab the retract upgrade and throw in a couple servos for the complete package. For how little you’ll spend to purchase this and the very little time it takes to assemble, you’ll have hours of fun with this Mustang.





The post Tower Hobbies Berlin Express P-51B RxR : Not just another Mustang appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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Even if you’re not an FPV aficionado, the new 900mm Techone wing from Motion RC is worth a look … especially if you like to go fast. This thing is fast as hell, dirt cheap and tough as nails.

Be sure to check back for the full review or if it tickles your fancy …


The post VIDEO: TechOne 900mm FPV Wing Action From Motion RC appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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Words and photos by Gary A. Ritchie

This time we will complete the fiberglass cowling of our Ultra Sport 60 and mount the motor and speed controller. To finish the cowling here is what we will need (Figure 1):

A sheet of 2 oz. fiberglass cloth, a bottle of Deluxe Eze Kote, a spray can of Scotch Super 77 spray, the foam mold we made last time, a small (3.4 to 1 inch) paint brush, a pair of sharp scissors, the two bolts that we used last time to fasten the mold to the firewall, the round 1/8 plywood spinner ring, a sheet of Saran or similar wrap and a couple sheets of 220 to 400 grit sanding paper. Not shown in the photo are a tube of Bondo Glazing and Spot Putty, available in automotive stores,  a spray can of automotive primer and a spray can of gloss paint of a color you select to match your covering scheme (more on that later).

First let’s glue the round plywood spinner ring to the front of the mold using the circle we drew in Part 1 (Figure 2).  I used Deluxe Speed Epoxy II 4-minute epoxy for this. Set that aside to dry and while it is drying cut about thirty 2” x 6” strips of fiberglass cloth (Figure 3). To pick up the stray fiberglass hairs from the worktable I like to wrap a loop of masking tape around my fingers and roll it across the fibers.

Next, take the fuselage and mount it in a Workmate so that the top is horizontal and then tape the sheet of plastic film wrap to the top of the firewall and a couple of inches down the fuselage (Figure 4). Now, bolt the foam mold back onto the front of the firewall making sure that it fits snugly and square to the front edge of the fuselage. Fine sand the block at this time focusing on the area surrounding the 1/8”plywood spinner ring (Figure 5). This is your last chance to perfect the mold, so perform whatever sanding that may be needed.

Now comes the messy part, so here a couple of tips to help out. Wear latex or nitrile gloves throughout the next steps. The Scotch Super 77 is very sticky and likes to get all over everything. You can clean it up easily, though, with rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol. So keep some handy along with a cleaning rag or two.

Take a strip of the 2” x 6” fiberglass cloth, lay it down in the middle of a sheet of newspaper, and spray it with the Super 77. It is best to do this in small puffs; long blasts will blow the cloth off the work table. Once it has been moistened, pick it up using a pair of forceps, and place it on the blue foam mold – sticky side down. Then carefully firm it out on the mold smoothing it and pressing out any air bubbles that may form (Figure 6). When it is securely stuck to the mold, place another strip on the newspaper and repeat the process. Orient the strips in different directions so that they overlap several times. Continue this process until the entire cowling mold has two layers of cloth on it. This may take 20 or more strips. Then set it aside for a few hours until the Super 77 has dried. Then pour a small amount of Deluxe Eze-Kote onto a small plastic or glass jar. With the paint brush dab the Eze-Kote onto the cowling making certain that it soaks all the way through the glass cloth (Figure 7).

Having done this, take another ten or so fiberglass cloth strips and lay them, one at a time, over the first two layers of cloth, then dab Eze-Kote onto them as before, making sure it soaks completely into the cloth. You will now have two layers of fiberglass cloth laid on top of each other. Allow this to dry for several hours.

When the fiberglass and Eze-Kote are fully dried (I waited overnight for this), using a pallet knife cover the entire structure with a light coat of Bondo and let it dry. Try to smooth it out as much as possible. After this is done you can remove the cowling from the fuselage by unbolting it and simply pulling it off (Figure 8). Sand the cowling smooth with 220 grit sandpaper then spray it with the automotive primer. I used gray Brite Touch General Purpose Primer purchased at an auto supply store. When this has dried it will reveal the areas of the cowling that need more Bondo. Apply it, let it dry, and then sand it again (Figure 9). During this part of the process I shoved a heavy screw driver into the foam to hold the cowling while I painted and Bondo’d it.

When you are satisfied with the cowling surface you can apply the final paint. I used Krylon Super Maxx bright white – use whatever color you need to fit in with your covering scheme. Apply the paint in very light layers so it doesn’t run and then let it dry thoroughly. If you place the cowling in front of a small fan you can reduce the drying time appreciably.

During this process you will undoubtedly find small imperfections in the surface of the cowling. You can continue to add Bondo to fill in these imperfections as you add layers of paint (Figure 10). Hint: the Bondo will melt the paint, so just dab it on and don’t try to shape it. It sands very easily when dry. During this process of painting and filling, sand the surface of the cowling with 400 grit wet sand paper. I wrapped mine around a small foam pad (Figure 11). I spent several days on this process trying to get the cowling as smooth and perfect as I could. Even so, I never got it as perfect as I wanted it but finally decided that I had had enough sanding and painting and called it done (Figure 12).

When the paint is thoroughly dry, pull the foam out of the block with a pair of needle nose pliers (Figure 13). This reminded me of a bird packing pieces of bread out of a hard loaf. Take it apart in small pieces and be careful not to puncture the surface of the cowling. I used a small pallet knife to scrape the remaining pieces out (Figure 14). Finally, very carefully cut out the round opening in the plywood spinner ring and the air scoop (if you added one) with a sharp #11 hobby knife (Figure 15).

Examine the cowling carefully looking for weak or thin areas. If you find any they can be easily reinforced by sticking a piece of 2 oz. fiberglass cloth inside on the weak area with Super 77, then smearing fast-drying epoxy on top of it (Figure 16). This process can also be used to repair a damaged cowling.

Now that the cowling is finished it is time to mount it and the motor to the front of the fuselage. Begin by gluing a 3/8” square x 3 ¼” long piece of hard balsa or hardwood along each side of the front of the firewall. Make sure the sides of the wood strip are perfectly aligned with the edge of the fuselage (Figure 17). Test fit the cowling to the front of the fuselage. I set my fuselage up in my Workmate to hold it vertically for the next several steps (Figure 18). Make any trimming and final adjustments at this time.

Assemble the parts of your power system (Figure 19). Here A = the brushless motor; B = the plywood motor mount we made earlier; C = the speed controller; D = the power battery; E = the wire from the controller that goes to the throttle plug on the receiver; F = the power connectors that came pre-installed on the battery, and G = the adaptors I used to connect the battery to the speed controller. These are ProgressiveRC HXT 4mm connectors, which fit the connectors that came with the battery. If your battery has different connectors you need to make an adaptor that joins them to the connectors that came pre-mounted on the speed controller.

Remove the cowling, set the motor on the front of the fuselage and run the wires through the bottom of the mount and down into the usage as shown in Figure 20. DO NOT glue it in place yet. If possible, mount the speed controller below the motor where it will receive incoming cooling air from the air scoop in the cowling. Now mount the cowling back in place and move the motor mount so that it fits perfectly in the center of the wood spinner ring and the back of the spinner plate is about 1/16 to 1/8” above the cowling (Figure 21). Remove the spinner and cowling and then epoxy the mount in place on the firewall with 20-minute epoxy. Re-mount the cowling and spinner to ensure that they are still aligned and make any final adjustments that may be necessary before the epoxy dries.

That’s it. You just made a fiberglass cowling that will cleanly and elegantly enclose your electric motor and you have mounted it and the motor and speed controller to the front of the airplane.  (A shout-out to my flying friend Rick Linstad of Puget Sound Silent Flyers here in Olympia who, many years ago, taught me this useful technique).

We’re getting very close to having our bird completed. Next time we’ll do some finishing up and covering of our plane. You might be thinking about what color scheme you want to go with and purchase some iron on covering. I like Ultracote. I‘ve never used yellow before so I’m going to try yellow and white with black trim.

Until then, remember to “take your time and enjoy doing a good job”.

Figure-1-900x683.jpgFigure 1. These are the tools and materials you will need to finish the cowling.Figure-2.jpgFigure 2. The wooden spinner ring was fastened securely to the nose of the cowling using 4-minute Deluxe Speed Epoxy II.Figure-3-900x568.jpgFigure 3. You’ll need to cut about twenty five 2×6 inch strips of fiberglass cloth.Figure-4-900x777.jpgFigure 4. Before beginning make certain to cover the nose of airplane with Saran or another plactic film wrap to protect it from the Eze-Kote.Figure-5-900x600.jpgFigure 5. The foam cowling was bolted to the nose of the fuselage and final sanding was performed.Figure-6-900x600.jpgFigure 6. After the fiberglass strips were sprayed with Scotch 77, each strip was fastened to the outer side of the foam mold.Figure-7-900x600.jpgFigure 7. After the first and second layers of fiberglass were applied they were painted with Eze- Kote.Figure-8-900x600.jpgFigure 8. After the Eze-Kote was completely dried, the cowling was covered with a thin layer of Bondo using a pallet knife, allowed to dry, then unbolted from the fuselage.Figure-9-900x600.jpgFigure 9. The cowling was trimmed and sprayed with gray automotive primer, Bondo added as needed to fill in low areas, and sanded smooth with 220 grit sand paper.Figure-10-900x680.jpgFigure 10. Several coats of the final color were sprayed on the cowling. During this process additional filling and smoothing was done with Bondo where needed.Figure-11-900x676.jpgFigure 11. The cowling was wet sanded with 400 grit sandpaper in between coats of paint.Figure-12-900x600.jpgFigure 12. Here is the cowling finished and ready for removal of the internal foam mold.Figure-13-900x600.jpgFigure 13. The blue foam mold was plucked out of the cowling using a pair of needle nosed pliers.Figure-14-900x600.jpgFigure 14. The remnants of the foam were scraped from the inside of the cowling with a pallet knife.Figure-15-900x600.jpgFigure 15. A very sharp #11 hobby knife was used to cut out inside the wood spinner ring and the cowling air scoop.Figure-16-900x600.jpgFigure 16. Weak sections of the cowling were reinforced from the inside with 2 oz. fiberglass cloth and 4-minute epoxy.Figure-17-900x600.jpgFigure 17. Two 3¼” long by 3/8” square hard balsa strips were glued to each side of the firewall to serve as mounting blocks for the cowling.Figure-18.jpgFigure 18. With the fuselage held vertically in a Workmate, the finished cowling was test fitted on the nose.Figure-19-900x614.jpgFigure 19. These are the power components that will be mounted inside the cowling and fuselage. See text for explanation.Figure-20-900x600.jpgFigure 20. With the cowling removed, the motor mount and power components were set, but not glued, into place on the front of the fuselage.Figure-21.jpgFigure 21. With the cowling mounted, the motor was slid carefully to the center of the cowling opening, while the cowling was aligned to create a 1/16” to 1/8” gap between the front of the cowling and the rear of the spinner backplate. This accomplished, the cowling was removed and the motor mount fastened in place with 20-minute epoxy.

We’re getting very close to having our bird completed. Next time we’ll do some finishing up and covering of our plane. You might be thinking about what color scheme you want to go with and purchase some iron on covering. I like Ultracote. I‘ve never used yellow before so I’m going to try yellow and white with black trim.

Until then, remember to “take your time and enjoy doing a good job”.




The post RC Kits 32: Great Planes Ultra Sport 60 – Making The Fiberglass Cowl Part 2 appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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IMG_7055-900x600.jpgEach MZ-24 Pro comes in this sweet case … with three receivers, SD card, neck strap, charger, data cord, USB cable and manuals!!

So let’s say you’re in the market for a new radio system, but aren’t sure exactly which direction to go. Of course, you could go with the latest and greatest from Futaba, the 18MZ’s. Futaba has been around forever and in purchasing one of their radios, you know you’re getting a great product … but at a steep cost. Something to the tune of $3000 is what you’ll pay for that system. For a bit less, but with the same basic features, one could jump into the Spektrum DX20. Spektrum is great stuff as well, though there was a “service bulletin” concerning the DX20 after its initial release, so take that for what you will … as you’re shilling out more than $1000 for that system. Truth be told, both the DX20 and 18MZ’s only come with one receiver each, so if you’re looking to revamp your entire hangar with the new system, you’re gonna have to take out a small mortgage to outfit all your models with comparable receivers.

I’ll let y’all in on a little secret. There’s another radio system out there, from a manufacturer that has been around longer than Futaba, that’s less than half the price of the other two aforementioned systems, that has all the features one could ever want, that includes three receivers right out of the box, that features full touch-screen menu navigation, that has 4096 resolution, that is telemetry capable and also has an amazing feature in the Auto-Trim function. Well, that’s just scratching the surface of the Graupner MZ-24 Pro and to top it all off, it comes with its own hard case, is fully updatable and can accommodate up to a 32GB micro SD card for jamming out to the sweet sounds of your favorite tunes via the onboard MP3 player while flying … and it’s all available for less than 500 freakin’ bucks!





WHO IT’S FOR: Anyone

PRICE: $469.99


IMG_7056-300x200.jpgSnug as a bug in a rug.


  • Auto-Trim feature
  • Includes three receivers
  • Touch screen
  • Telemetry capable
  • Hard case included
  • Two year warranty


  • Programming is a bit different than any other system
  • Limited brick and mortar support



  • MZ-24 transmitter
  • (2) GR-12L receivers
  • (1) GR-16L receiver
  • USB cord and adapters
  • Neck strap
  • Manuals
  • 4GB micro SD card
  • 5000mAh LiPo with charger
  • A hard case to keep everything safe and sound


IMG_7074-300x213.jpg5000mAh of HV power means long run time and excellent power for long range and operation.

Let’s face it, when it comes to superior engineering when concerning electronics, Germany is the cream of the crop. Since 1930, Graupner has been providing the world with quality electronics, stepping into the RC realm in the early 50’s. They were also the pioneers of electric flight, owing many a great success (and failure) to the ways and forces of LiPo technology. In these modern days, production has been outsourced just like every other manufacturer, but the R&D is still based in the mother land.

Fast forward a half century and change and Graupner is still tops in the game when it comes to electronics, especially radio systems. The MZ lineup has been around for a while now, but the pinnacle of all the years of hard work is the shiny, lustrous, red MZ-24 Pro. It packs a host of features that top-dollar systems boast, but at a fraction of the cost. Follow that up with a Two year warranty and you’ve got yourself a recipe for success in the RC radio world.

IMG_7075-300x200.jpgThis is the startup screen, where the first question you’re asked is if the receiver is powered … and the MZ-24 Pro will keep beeping at you until you answer the question.

This particular MZ-24 comes in its own hard case, emblazoned with the Graupner and MZ-24 logos. The inside of the case has foam inserts for the radio, receivers, neck strap and pretty much anything else you’ll need for the system. There is also a main divider that can be moved, should you choose to customize your case with some denser cut foam. For the $469.99 price tag, you also get two GR-12L 6-channel park flyer receivers and one GR-16L full range 8-channel receiver. The basic 12L retails for $33.90, so you can frugally update all of your models to the HoTT protocol with the MZ-24 Pro.

Already have an MZ-24, but you’re bummed that you don’t have the Pro version? Worry not as the older systems can be updated to the Pro software via the USB adapter. The MZ-24 Pro also includes all the programming cables needed for future firmware and software updates, so you can rest assured that your shiny new radio will keep up with the current trends as things progress down the road.


IMG_7076-300x240.jpgAnd this is the main screen after you have confirmed that the receiver is hot and everything is linked properly.


  • 12 fully proportional channels, all of which can be adjusted for different speeds and assigned to the multitude of switches, sliders and dials on the fronts, top and back of the MZ-24.
  • It’s all about the Phases. Formerly known as Q.Links in Graupner radio programming, Phases can be set to effectively enact different trim settings for different phases of the flight, get it? For example, let’s say you have a tricycle geared model that is fond of nosing over. You can assign a switch to enact a Phase during takeoff that will trim the elevator up a bit to keep the nose where it needs to be.
  • The Auto-Trim feature is just plain awesome. Assign it to any switch you like, take the model up for it’s maiden, set it in a level attitude and flip the switch. Voila! All your surfaces are now centered in an instant!
  • Telemetry has become more of a standard than a luxury these days and the MZ-24 Pro is no exception. There are a number of different sensors you can equip your Graupner guided model with and you can decide exactly at what parameters and how those alerts are called out. You can also link multiple receivers together for redundancy on larger models, but still employ the telemetry modules on the last linked receiver.
  • Three receivers right out of the box means you can instantly convert your three most favorite models over to the MZ-24 Pro without any other purchases. One 8-channel and two 6-channel receivers are included with every Pro package.
  • A 5000mAh LiPo onboard means less time charging an more time flying, not to mention no having to fumble around with AA batteries.
  • It’s always good to have options and the MZ-24 Pro has tons of them. There are loads of settings specific for heli or glider models that you won’t find on other systems. Butterfly braking for gliders and Autorotation settings for larger helis are available and that’s just scratching the surface.
  • The MZ-24 Pro is most definitely an aircraft system. After all, it features 12 channels and can be switched from modes 1 or 2. However, there are program features for airplanes, helicopters, sailplanes, drones, boats and cars (yes, some folks still drive cars with sticks). That means if airplanes or drones aren’t your only bread and butter, this radio will keep you covered.


IMG_7077-300x205.jpgThe Base menu offers a world of tuning options, from the basic EPA and reversing options on up to telemetry and beyond.


If you’ve ever read any of my previous ramblings about radios and such, you know I’m already a huge fan of the Graupner systems. The MZ-12 is one of my favorite choices for FPV racers and other sport drones as it the GR-18 receivers double as a potent flight controller that is fully programmable. The simplicity of that setup on the model, however, was often a hard fought battle on the first few attempts as the Graupner programming is completely different than any other system out there. That’s where the ease of the touch screen on the MZ-24 Pro comes in.

As Graupner states on their product brochures … “See it, Hear it, Touch it.” That is to say; there are no jog dials, double buttons to hold or complicated menu selection processes. Basically, if you can use a smart phone, you can setup this radio. Right from the main screen, there are four icons on the lower right that will direct you straight to all the programming and telemetry menus you’ll need. Within those menus, you’ll find pretty much any feature you’d ever need for nearly any type of RC model. There are tons of wing and tail configurations to choose from, preset mixes, servo and motor testers, song lists (via an SD card) and pretty much any other function imaginable.

IMG_7078-300x180.jpgIn the Function menu, you can dial in your model with expo, dual rates, mixes, logical switch programming and more.

Physically, the MZ-24 Pro feels great in the hands. It is well balanced and not at all cumbersome, thanks to the light weight of the LiPo battery. Additionally, Graupner includes a balance handle for the neck strap, so you can pick and choose which orientation best suits your flying/holding style while it’s in your hands. There are loads of switches and dials on the top of each side as well as two dials front and center. The back also features two sliders that are easily reached with your index fingers. All of the switches, dials and sliders can easily be assigned to any function and there is also a sequencer to make your scale models look and act the part when it comes to gear and gear doors … or any other function you might need to sequence (bomb bay doors and cargo drops, perhaps).

IMG_7088-300x240.jpgLike jamming out to your favorite tunes while flying? The MZ-24 Pro has a built-in MP3 player, so you can shoehorn 32GB worth of music in there and plug your headphones in the back.

Personally, being a compact fella, I love the size of the MZ radios, the Pro included. I never pinch as my digits are a bit on the short side, but with both the MZ-12 and MZ-24 Pro, I can easily access all the switches and dials I need without disrupting my two thumbs while flying. The rounded grips on the back are comfortable and my hands never, ever tire or cramp while flying in Graupner style. Best of all, when all the other club members see me using the touch screen, they drool.



Look, I know everyone has their favorite when it comes to radio brands, but if you’re in the market for a top of the line system that doesn’t come at a top of the line price, the MZ-24 Pro is precisely what you need. It packs all the same features as the more popular other brands, at a fraction of the cost and does it all with way more style … plus it’s freakin’ German! The absolute only thing you’ll need to get rockin’ with the MZ-24 Pro is a screen protector so your grubby RC mitts don’t scratch that beauty up.



IMG_7063-900x600.jpgThere are enough switches, knobs, dials and sliders to satisfy even the most demanding of pilots … or a model with a ton of peripherals.

The post Graupner MZ-24 Pro Radio System: Top Of The Line At A Basement Price!! appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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Aces High FW-190A


When Extreme Flight announced a new line of products including the Aces High series they had our attention. We got to see teasers over the past couple years of what would come from this product line and it only served to build our excitement. But the wait is over and the hard work is done and the first aircraft in the Aces High line is now available! The FW-190A is a 62″ warbird available in two highly detailed and weathered covering schemes.

The ARF includes custom made electric retracts that have the scale look that a FW-190 needs. The 62″ model is built light so the average aerobatic or sport flier will feel right at home at the controls of what is usually a heavy warbird. The available accessories include a 3 bladed spinner for extra realism. Even the cockpit is detailed from the factory for a complete look with minimal work.


FW190A_RedTulip_01-900x507.jpgAces High FW-190A in the Red Tulip Scheme


FW190A_Black8_01-900x507.jpgAces High FW-190A in the Black Eight scheme



Wingspan: 62 in / 1574mm
Length: 53 in / 1353mm (with spinner)
Wing Area: 648 sq. in / 41.8 dm²
Weight: 6.5 lbs / 2.95 kg (without battery)


  • 1400 watt Brushless motor
  • 80 Amp ESC
  • 5-6s 3600-5000mah Lipo
  • 15×7 Prop
  • 6 Standard size servos
fw190_05.jpgDetails such as rivets, nomenclature and weathering is added into the printed covering.


For more information on the Aces High FW-190A visit the website at Extreme Flight



The post Aces High FW-190A appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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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









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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!



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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

The post Only Human 2: Winds Light And Variable appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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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.




The post Twisted Hobbys Crack Camel: An EPP 3D Sopwith Bipe appeared first on Fly RC Magazine.

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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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