Note: To view the photos in a larger size, click on them.
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.
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.
Porterfield Collegiate (AstroFlight kit)
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.
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
American Eaglet (Leisure kit)
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.
American Eaglet (Leisure kit)
Original Design Twin
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.
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.
Original Design S-400 Model
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