Note: To view the photos in a larger size, click on them.

FourStar5-640.jpg (265348 bytes)My most recently built plane (not yet flown) is a Sig kit-built Four-Star-40, modified for electric power. The original kit was designed for a glow .40-size engine. This model has an Astroflight 25 geared motor, powered with 16 cells. It has a hatch just ahead of the windscreen for access to the battery pack, and the nose "cheeks" of the original have been replaced with a carved balsa cowling around the motor and geardrive. The 4 1/4-in. diameter wheels were taken from a baby stroller. I didn't install the bubble canopy furnished with the kit, feeling that the design of the plane is more typical of 1930 than 1960, and so deserves an open cockpit. Otherwise, the kit has not been changed. I kept the lite-ply fuselage sides, even though balsa would have saved two ounces in weight. I'm not yet sure what the final wing loading will be, but it's likely to be low enough for normal aerobatics if not unlimited verticals. 

Here's a Porterfield Collegiate, modeled from a light plane manufactured in 1936. It was similar to the more familiar Piper Cub. My model is one-sixth scale, with a wingspan of about 69 inches. This plane is powered by an AstroFlight 25 geared motor, driven by a 12-cell nicad battery pack. Its flying weight is about six pounds. Radio controlled are the motor, rudder and elevator (it has no ailerons). It flies much like the full-scale original, slowly and gracefully.

"The Debra" 
Porterfield Collegiate (AstroFlight kit)


Another of my planes built from a kit is the American Eaglet, a Leisure-designed model powered by an AstroFlight 05 geared motor and 7 cells, with a wingspan of 62 inches and a weight under three pounds. The original of this plane was built in the early 1930s, and was intended as an economical personal plane. The open cockpit held two people, and the aircraft was powered by a 30-horsepower engine.

"Judilini" 
American Eaglet  (Leisure kit)
A closer view of the Eaglet. The three-cylinder Szekely engine visible on the nose is modeled from balsa and card stock. The working landing gear "shock absorbers" are actual bungie cord, as was used on recently restored full-scale Eaglets. The "pilot" is a Barbie doll whose neck has been shortened by 1/4 inch ("plastic surgery?") to be closer to scale.
"Judilini" 
American Eaglet  (Leisure kit)
One of my own designs, an electric twin-engine plane reminiscent of the 1930s, has a 54-inch wingspan and two direct-drive Speed-600 motors. It weighs about four pounds and is powered by 14 cells.

 

Original Design Twin

There never was a full-scale version of this model, although a number of small passenger planes of the late 1920s and early 1930s may have resembled it. I built it using a wing salvaged from a my first R/C airplane (Carl Goldberg Mirage) after one too many crashes. Originally powered by a single geared motor, it took on new life with the installation of twin electric motors. The 8-inch props shown have been replaced with 7-inch for better performance. Heavier than before, it flies faster and smoother. It was frankly an experimental craft, deliberately homely, but remains a favorite to fly. I'm thinking about replacing the fuselage again, using Styrofoam construction to further experiment with design and techniques.

Another original design (and another one using an existing wing), is called the "Bitsodis-bitsodat." It has a 35-inch wingspan and is powered by a direct-drive Speed-400 motor and 7 cells. It weighs a tad over 20 ounces.

 

"Bitsodis-Bitsodat"
Original Design S-400 Model

 
 
 

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