[Headline: Electric-powered Giant Scale aircraft]
Welcome back. As the year 2014 comes to an end and the holiday season is upon us, this is a good time to reflect on the past modeling year and to think about what’s in store for the upcoming year.
As always, I wish you all a happy, healthy and safe holiday. If you have an interesting project in mind for 2015, drop me a line and I will be happy to share it with our readers.
As we are all aware, the proliferation of electric-powered flying models is staggering. From miniature indoor vehicles and BNF foam models to Giant Scale powerplants, electrics are here to stay and can be found in abundance at many of our flying fields. The reasons are varied and many.
One of the last bastions of RC modeling to see progress in electric-powered flight is Giant Scale. Once the domain of large glow- and gasoline-powered engines, battery, electric motor, and controller technology now make flying large models safe, clean, and efficient. I will share a few examples of successful electric-powered RC Giants.
1/3-Scale Fokker D.VIII
Dave Perrone of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, built this nice 1/3-scale Fokker D.VIII from a Glenn Torrance Models kit. The model is powered by an AXI 5360 outrunner electric motor spinning a 30 x 20 propeller on two six-cell 5,000 mAh LiPo battery packs in series.
The D.VIII is covered with Glenn Torrance Models lozenge-pattern fabric and all markings were hand painted using acrylic paints. As was the full-scale aircraft, the wing is completely covered with aircraft-grade plywood. The model used 1/64 plywood.
For a little history, the Fokker D.VIII was the last of the Fokker series to fight in World War I. It became operational in the last months of the war and is credited with scoring the last aerial victory of the war. Nicknamed the Flying Razor by Allied pilots because of its single parasol wing, the D.VIII was easy to fly and agile. Roughly 380 were built, but roughly 85 made it to front line service.
1/3-Scale Morane-Saulnier A-1
Mike Krug from Manhasset, New York, brought his Balsa USA 1/3-scale Morane-Saulnier A-1. The A-1 is powered by an AXI 53-60 electric motor and covered in Solartex. It spans 103 inches with a fuselage length of 68 inches.
The model was designed for a 40cc to 60cc engine with an all-up weight between 25 and 30 pounds. Balsa USA originally released the kit in 1979 and rereleased it in 2006. It has a Benedini sound system for engine and machine gun sounds. The guns light up when the sound system is on.
The Morane-Saulnier Type A-1 was a single-seat, parasol-wing fighter similar to the Fokker D.VIII that was under development in 1917. It entered service in 1918, slightly earlier than the D.VIII. Similar to the Fokker, the Morane initially suffered from wing failures. However, the pilots liked its speed and maneuverability.
By May 1918, the A-1 was replaced by the Spad XIII.
Sal’s 1/4.5 Me 163
With an 82-inch wingspan, my Me 163 Komet is slightly less than 1/4 scale. The plans were designed by Jim Kiehl of Largo, Florida, and the fiberglass fuselage was made by Joe Saitta of Seminole, Florida.
The Komet was originally powered by an O.S. .90 ducted-fan glow engine. During the winter of 2012-2013, it was converted to electric power using a Hacker A50-10L Turnado motor with a Castle Creations HV-160 controller and two 4S 5,000 mAh LiPo packs in series. The performance is outstanding with unlimited vertical.
The Komet is an excellent choice for electric power because of its amazing glide ability. With electric-powered models, throttle management is the key to extending flight times. The model is often flown to altitude at full throttle then glides without power for an extended period.
The full-scale Messerschmitt Me 163 was a tailless, swept-back wing aircraft designed by Dr. Alexander Lippisch after years of glider research. It was the only rocket-powered interceptor to become operational during World War II. It was also the fastest aircraft of World War II.
Easy to fly and impossible to spin, the aircraft lacked proper landing gear and had a dangerous rocket motor that used corrosive fuels. It was produced too late in the war for any significant impact, and only approximately 360 were built.
That’s all for this month. Remember to have a safe and happy New Year. See you all in 2015!