Archives for July 2013

Video Menu Tab Added

Demoiselle geared electric motor

Geared electric motor

I added a video menu tab to the website today.  I have 38 videos on YouTube covering a wide range of modeling activities.  Under the Video tab I’ll include some of the more popular videos.  Subjects will include model design, kit review, discuss of ready to fly models and my TurboCAD training CDs.

The PayPal button for the TurboCAD training CDs will go up this weekend.  The CDs contain two hours and 50 minutes of video training on how to use TurboCAD for drawing a set of model airplane plans.  The CDs are my most popular item for sale on, and I look forward to offering them on this website.

The intro video does a great job of going over the TurboCAD user interface.  Learning TurboCAD is like learning how to ride a bike.  You might fall the first few times and be a bit wobbly, but once you get the hang of it you never forget.  I use TurboCAD for all of my model plans.

Electro Aviator Plans For Sale


Electro Aviator model plane

Electro Aviator top view

I successfully made several updates to the website today. I am making steady progress with learning the various ins and outs of WordPress. WordPress is one amazing program for building a website, and I am looking forward to adding more content.

PayPal button

I now have my first PayPal button up, for the Electro Aviator CAD plans. The PayPal button is near the bottom of the page.

I designed the Electro Aviator in 2006 and the four channel model was published in March 2007 by Quiet and Electric Flight International magazine. The CAD plans are available via e-mail for $5.00. The files are in a CAD (Computer Aided Design) format. The three plan files are in TurboCAD, AutoCAD Native Format (DWG) and Drawing eXchange Format (DXF).

Printing CAD plans

The important point is that you will need some sort of CAD program or CAD file reader to open the files and print them out. This could be on your computer, a friend’s computer or at a local graphics store. If you have access to a plotter, the plans will print out full size.

Detail of Electro Aviator nose section drawn with TurboCAD

Detail of Electro Aviator nose section drawn with TurboCAD

The alternate way to make a full size paper copy of the Electro Aviator plans is to take the path I followed. TurboCAD (or whatever CAD program you are using) makes it very easy to print out your plans on regular 8.5” by 11” paper on your home printer, usually with a command along the lines of “Fit to Print.”

The print section will list a ratio of the “Fit to Size” print out as compared to the full size CAD plan. Convert this ratio to an enlargement ratio. At a printing shop such as FedEx/Kinko, they have computerized large format printers that will scan the smaller print of your plans and enlarge to whatever percentage size is entered into the scanner. It really is a neat capability, and a simple way to print out full size CAD plans from a smaller image, without the need for a plotter.

I included two views of the Electro Aviator plans on the web page. Scroll down to the bottom of the page. You can see the full set of plans followed by a detail of the forward fuselage.

TurboCAD is the answer for anyone wanting to draw a set of model aircraft plans. I have a very useful three hour narrated training CD I made that takes you step by step from a clean sheet of paper to a finished design. The CD is for sale at my older website, The CD will be available on this site shortly as I continue the migration.

TurboCAD plan for the Electro Aviator

TurboCAD plan for the Electro Aviator

Electro Aviator picture gallery

I also added a third picture gallery, this one for the Electro Aviator. I now know how to make the picture file size a bit smaller (with Photoshop) so that the pictures load quickly when called up in WordPress, but the pictures still retain their full detail. In the gallery the best way to view an image is to tap once on a thumbnail. The full size picture will show. Arrows underneath the picture let you advance. To return to the thumbnails, just tap on the full size picture once.


Electro Aviator

Side view of the Electro Aviator

Side view of the Electro Aviator

I added another page to the website today, this one on the Electro Aviator four channel electric powered sport RC model airplane. CAD plans for the Electro Aviator are for sale at the link above!

The Electro Aviator was my second model airplane design, after the Yankee Mike in 1998. I started sketching out the Electro Aviator in 2006 and completed the CAD plans in 2007. I was just getting into electric powered RC flight during this time. Drawing up the plans for the Electro Aviator was the first time I had the chance to see and use a brushless electric motor. Quite a difference in power those days from the geared brushed motor set ups common with the early electric powered models.

I really did not have any hard and fast design rules at the time for model surface area, moments, wing settings, etc. For the Electro Aviator I adapted existing layouts from other sport RC aircraft, making adjustments to such areas as tail shapes and fuselage lines. In effect, this is a “kit bash” concept applied to an original design.

This is a good way to start your RC model airplane design efforts. Do not try and take on too complex a project for your first effort. In addition, I was just starting to get comfortable with the use of TurboCAD in preparing the plans for the Electro Aviator.

The CAD plans came out very well. As a matter of fact, I e-mailed the Electro Aviator CAD files to a laser cutting company in Colorado, and had a “laser cut kit” prepared for my final version of the Electro Aviator. The cutting could not have gone any better, to include 1/16 inch plywood and ¼ inch balsa for the cowl formers.

F-4E "Phantom" flying over Germany in 1983

F-4E “Phantom” flying over Germany in 1983

One fun aspect of model aircraft design is adding unique, personal touches to your version. In the case of the Electro Aviator, I made the vertical fin shape similar to the F-4 “Phantom” fighter jet, which I had a chance to fly in while I was with the USAF.

I also cover how to make decals on your home computer and printer. The ability to use computer graphics for your RC models opens up a wide range of things you can do to enhance all your model planes.

The Electro Aviator builds quickly and is not a complex model. I think this would be a great project for someone building their first RC plane from a set of plans. Just ensure you have a couple of kit built planes successfully completed first.

With the Electro Aviator you will have an attractive, smooth flying and responsive RC model to enjoy at your local flying field.


Fokker Spin Prototype Video

I added my YouTube video of the Fokker Spin to the page on the prototype Spin discussion.  The video is about

Fokker Spin nose

Spin prototype nose section

two thirds of the way down the page.

I spent a fair amount of time building and test flying the prototype version of the Spin.  The model was fairly large for the ParkZone control and power package, at a 28 inch wing span and over 2.0 ounces in weight. I needed to ensure the model had sufficient thrust to fly.

To speed construction of the prototype, I used a “modern” landing gear set up and located all the electronics on top of the fuselage.  I knew I could relocate the electronics underneath the fuselage on a later version, as well as include the scale landing gear.

As you can see in the video, the prototype worked just fine.  I hope to have the PayPal button up this weekend for the purchase of the Spin CAD plans.

Picture Gallery Update

I have figured out the best way now to properly install and prepare the various picture galleries for this site.

The key item is to ensure the picture files are reduced in size to properly (i.e. quickly) load into your view.  The way to accomplish this is via a photo editing program such as Photoshop Elements, an affordable and very capable image editing program.

Pictures need to be around 1,000 pixels in size.  This results in a file size that loads quickly, yet offers great detail when viewed full size.

Fokker Spin

Prototype Fokker Spin top view

I added a second picture gallery today for the Fokker “Spin” prototype three channel radio control model plane.  The Spin prototype ensured my design was the right size (28 inch wingspan) for the ParkZone electronics and motor combination, as well as verifying the wing incidence setting, control throws, etc.

Note also that the Spin prototype does not have any of the simulated cabane struts or rigging wires.  The prototype also uses a single, conventional landing gear, again for ease of installation.  The attractive landing gear arrangement of the full scale Spin is included in the final version, and really makes the model “come alive.”

Note also on the prototype that I mounted the radio control electronics on the top of the Spin.  This approach was taken to ease the installation.  On the final version of the Spin, which will be discussed in a later post, I moved the electronics to the fuselage underside.

Publish and Fokker Spin Updates

Electro Aviator RC plane

Electro Aviator design

Two big updates to the site today.

First, I added a Menu tab for “Publication“.  It is a lot easier than most folks think to get yourself published in the modeling press.  This could be a model airplane construction article, a kit review or an article on some aspect of model aviation.  More to follow in this section.

I have two items in the publish queue.  Both will be in Quiet and Electric Flight International magazine, based in the United Kingdom.  The first will be a review of the Stevens Aero kit of the Pietenpol “Air Camper” indoor flyer, and the second will be a set of construction plans for the Fokker Spin.

Fokker Spin RC plane

Final version of the 1911 Fokker Spin

Speaking of the Spin, a full recap of my development of the plans for the prototype of the 1911 Fokker Spin.  The Spin was a trainer aircraft designed, built and used to learn how to fly by the famed World War I Dutch aircraft designer, Anthony Fokker.  Fokker was just 21 years old when he accomplished this remarkable feat.

The Spin is an attractive model with great character.  The Spin uses the ParkZone line of ultra-micro radio control electronics, so you cannot go wrong with the guidance and power package. The Spin has a 28 inch wingspan and is ideal for something different on your indoor flying venue.

CAD plans will be available by mid-August, once I get the PayPal button up on the page.

Picture Gallery and Demoiselle Video

I added a very useful plug in program today to display picture galleries.  See the one I posted today on the Sig Demoiselle here.  You can view the pictures as a slide show, or click on one of the pictures to view in full size.  Arrows at the bottom go to the next picture.  This is a great way to see close detail on the various model pictures.

I also completed a new update for the video of the Sig Demoiselle three channel RC airplane kit.  You can view the YouTube video here, towards the bottom of the page.

Sig did a superb job with the engineering of their kit.  The Demoiselle is not an easy aircraft to model, with its

Sig Demoiselle RC balsa kit

Demoiselle ready for flight

open fuselage frame and extremely short nose moment.  But Sig somehow figured it out, and the Demoiselle flies like a dream.

The original Demoiselle was designed in 1908 by the famed Brazilian aviator, Alberto Santos-Dumont, while he was living in Paris.  The plane was small with a 20 horsepower engine.

Santo-Dumont had a vision, and that vision was that others should be able to use and enjoy his remarkable aircraft.  Thus, Santo-Dumont made the plans for the Demoiselle available for anyone, in a word open source.  And this was in 1908, just amazing.

This led to the Demoiselle being the world’s first series production airplane, with around 20 lot from a planned production run of 50.

Site Updates

Guillow Lancer model airplane

Guillow Lancer – free flight to RC conversion

I am making very good progress both learning WordPress and adding to this site.  For anyone out there thinking about making their own website, WordPress is the way to go.  Period dot.

I had a great time over the past four years working with Dreamweaver to build my former site,  But with all the changes in Google algorithms and search procedures, now is the time to make the transition to WordPress.  Bottom line is a much more attractive site and user-friendly experience for you, the visitor.

I’ll have all my model airplane plans and TurboCAD training CDs on this site shortly.  It will just take some time to get everything moved over.  Plus, I’ll review all the text to ensure it reads better.

I will also be updating my YouTube videos.  I have 38 videos up (go here and search for gbmckay).  I have learned a LOT since my first video efforts went public.  Little things, like adding a narration.  Anyhow, lots more to offer now that I have a better idea of what to do and what to include.

I am happy to report that my YouTube videos have a total of over 1,085,310 (as in over one million) views and 326 subscribers.  By next weekend I will add a nice update on my Demoiselle video.  Please check back for results!


I uploaded my first page of the website today.  This page is a recap of my build of the Sig Demoiselle three channel semi-scale radio

Demoiselle RC airplane kit

Gordon with Demoiselle

control model airplane.

The Sig kit is from their “Pioneers of Flight” line of electric flyers.  The Demoiselle is an historic aircraft, first flying in France in 1908 by the noted Brazilian aviation pioneer Santos Dumont.

The Demoiselle (“young lady” in French) was essentially the world’s first ultra-light aircraft.  The engines of that era were weak and heavy.  Santo Dumont decided the best way to tackle this challenge was to make the aircraft as light as possible.  This worked well, as Santos Dumont himself was of slight stature.

The Sig kit does a great job of recapturing this remarkable aircraft.  There is hardly any nose moment at all, but the battery is located well forward to help locate the center of gravity.  The kit goes together well, due to a thought out construction sequence, an illustrated photo manual and a clear set of plans.  But we sure to follow the instructions to the letter, as you have never built a kit like this!

Perhaps the neatest aspect of the kit is the all-moving tail plane.  This unit incorporates the functions of rudder, fin, stabilizer and elevator all in one device.  This faithfully replicates the tail control of the full scale