Atlanta Move Update

It has been an incredibly busy past few weeks. While not much has happened directly regarding model aviation, a lot has taken place that will set the stage for a great deal of future RC modeling activity.

First, my work as a First Officer with United Express at Washington Dulles airport is going very well. I have 230 hours in the CRJ-700 aircraft as of yesterday to include 83.2 hours over the past 28 days. It was a busy month!

Mini Flash RC model airplane by Mountain Models

Mini Flash RC model airplane by Mountain Models

Our move south to Atlanta is going well. We will travel to Atlanta tomorrow morning and close on our new house August 11th. Movers will be here in Chicago on Aug 25th for our household goods shipment. Our move should be complete by mid-October.

I will have an ample building area in our new house so the door is open for a wide range of new RC building, design and YouTube projects. I am very excited.

Yankee Mike RC model airplane fuselage

Yankee Mike RC model airplane fuselage

I also plan on updating some of my older models with lipo batteries and newer engines. For example, I have not flown my old Mountain Models Mini Flash since 2005 due to the extensive winds in the Chicago area.

Many of the Mountain Models kits are available on-line. You should take a look. Mountain Models offered a great line of aircraft kits with extensive CAD engineering to ensure a lightweight and strong model.

Recall, these models were produced in the day of heavy NiCads and brushed electric motors. The upgrade to lipo power and newer brushless motors transforms these great flyers.

I also plan to get my second original RC model design, the Electro Aviator, back into the air. Plans for the Electro Aviator are here. The model has only been flown with NiCads and a brushless motor. The addition of lipos will make for an interesting increase in performance.

More to follow!

Mini Vapor and Tiger Moth


Ares Tiger Moth ready to fly RC model plane

Ares Tiger Moth ready to fly RC model plane

I recently purchased two ready to fly models, Horizon Hobby’s Mini Vapor and the Ares Tiger Moth. Both are interesting models and come from quite differing design perspectives. I look forward to the test flights when our indoor flying venue opens on Sept 16th.

My first impressions are positive. Both models are well made and very light weight. The Mini Vapor uses a lot of carbon rod technology and plastic film covering to achieve its weight goals. The Mini-Vapor uses a 30 milliamp lipo battery. This is one of the smallest batteries I have seen to date. As a general rule, you can get a good idea how serious the designer is by the size of the battery.

The Mini Vapor uses a ParkZone “brick” that combines the receiver, two linear servos and electronic speed control into one compact unit. The brick is located aft to ensure the correct center of gravity.

The Mini Vapor uses all-moving control surfaces which is a useful method for positive control with low flight speeds. There is even an airfoil shape via plastic ribs for the wing.

I made a short test hop in our indoor garage. The Mini Vapor handles well and will provide good practice on paying attention to slow flight characteristics. Learning how to handle an aircraft flying at low airspeeds is a skill sometimes not fully learned by the RC flying community.

Slow flight involves the use of pitch to control airspeed and throttle to gain or lose altitude. Becoming comfortable with slow flight, which is the flight regime for any takeoff or landing, makes you a better pilot. I’ll provide more information on the Mini-Vapor after I complete a few additional test flights.

The Tiger Moth is a great combination value with a 2.4 GHz transmitter, built in charger and a completely assembled aircraft. The Tiger Moth employs an actuator for rudder control and a liner servo for the elevator. The electric motor throttle is via an electronic speed control.

Mini Vapor RC model plane in flight

Mini Vapor in flight

A lot of thought went into the Tiger Moth ready to fly design. The aircraft is made from foam. The wings, struts, landing gear and lipo battery are all held in place with rare earth magnets. This is an innovative technique that I have not seen before.

The advantage of the magnets is their light weight while retaining the ability to allow a part of the aircraft to safely separate in the event of a bump into a wall or hard landing. Glue does not provide this option, while almost certainly adding more weight than the magnets.

The Tiger Moth’s wing incidence settings are precisely set in place via the length of the cabane struts. The foam wings have a well-defined airfoil shape.

All in all, two carefully designed ultra-light weight radio control models. More to follow!

I also added an updated video of my Electro Aviator RC model plane. The Electro Aviator is my second model aircraft design and was published in Quiet and Electric Flight International magazine.

The Electro Aviator is a good looking sport flyer and is an ideal first plans built aircraft. The construction is straightforward and you will be rewarded with an attractive model aircraft that flies well and stands out on the flight line. Purchase a set of CAD plans here.


Electro Aviator PDF Plans


I added the Electro Aviator plans in a PDF format today. The plans will be sent via e-mail so you can get started right away. The plans print out on five 8.5 inch by 11 inch sheets. The plans will need to be enlarged 343%. I also include the plans files on three CAD formats, to include TurboCAD, AutoCAD Native and Drawing eXchange formats.

Electro Aviator model plane side view showing decals

Electro Aviator side view showing decals

Until I created the PDF files, all I was able to supply were the original CAD files. The limitation of the CAD files is that the user must have a CAD program installed on their computer to view and print the plan files. The advantage of the PDF format is that anyone can print out the plans through the free Adobe PDF Reader.

The Electro Aviator is a sport radio control model airplane. The Electro Aviator uses four channels of control and is made from normal construction materials of balsa and light plywood. The Electro Aviator makes a great initial project for someone new to plans build model aircraft.

Plans can be enlarged at a variety of office supply stores such as FedEx Office. Note that the plans can be enlarged to any size desired. Many modelers make a smaller or larger version of a design. Depending on the size difference, you may have to substitute wood sizes.

A great example of changing a plan size is Werner’s enlargement of my Blackburn plan by 125%. Given the slow speeds of this type of model and resulting lower flight loads, you can use the same wood sizes as shown on the original plan.

Stay tuned as I will prepare a plan making the Electro Aviator in a smaller size suitable for indoor flight. I am looking at around a 30 inch wingspan and a weight of under three ounces. Control will be via the ParkZone ultra micro RC equipment. More to follow as I get started on the TurboCAD drawings.

Sheet one of five showing the Electro Aviator PDF plan file

Sheet one of five showing the Electro Aviator PDF plan file

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.