Incredible B-777 Paper Model Airplane

B-777 fuselage made from manila folder paper

B-777 fuselage made from manila folder paper

Below is an amazing video of Luca Iaconi-Stewart’s incredible model of a static display B-777 model airliner made entirely of manila folder paper and glue.

B-777 landing gear made from manila folder paper

B-777 landing gear made from manila folder paper

The detailed construction work is stunning. As you can see, the landing gear actually retracts, passenger doors open in the correct manner, even the aft two wheels of the main landing gear bogeys turn as with the real aircraft.

This is a perfect example of the modeler’s art. How someone can take ordinary manila file folder paper combined with glue and create this incredible construct.

As an aside, the video has almost a million views. Lots of folks had a chance to see this, to include the insightful team at Singapore Airlines who commissioned a model of their flagship A380 aircraft as part of an ad campaign.


Indoor Turbine RC Model!

This post is a bit off topic for a website devoted to electric radio control flight. But below is an incredible video of a true RC model turbojet flying indoors!

This remarkable flight took place at the recent Model and Hobby Fair in Leipzig, Germany. The builders and pilots, Christian Huber and Jurgen Schonle, used a Diamond plan produced by Aviation Design.

Wingspan is 2.4 meters and the length is 3.1 meters. The model weighs about 5.5 lbs and uses eight ounces of fuel. Building materials were 6, 3 and 1.5 mm Depron. The engine is a T-20 Hummingbird Lambert.  The engine can operate at up to 235,000 rpm.

As you can see in the video the model handles very well. Keep in mind there is no prop wash over the control surfaces to aid in responsive flight controls with the turbine thrust exiting out the rear of the aircraft. Note the retractable gear and half flaps, needed for the slow flight in the indoor display area. The pilots report they only needed half throttle for the demo.

Also a wise move to have the fire department literally on scene should anything go amiss with the turbine engine. Amazing!


Mini-Yard Ace Video

I completed my first video using iMovie on my Mac and uploaded it to YouTube. All previous videos were with Movie Maker with my now defunct PC.

The video is of my test flight of the Mini-Yard Ace, a smaller variant of my 34 inch wing span Yard Ace design, this time with a 24 inch wingspan and use of the ParkZone ultra-micro electronics. Mini-Yard Ace flew well!

As you can see, being able to construct a model from a set of plans opens up an entire new world of model aviation. You can recreate successful model aircraft designs from today to 90 years ago in just about any size you desire. OuterZone alone has over 7,000 quality aircraft plans available.

Please check back as I rebuild some of the all-time classic RC airplane designs . . . looking forward to the challenge!


Full Size Electric Plane from a Model

Front view from airborne drone of Peter's test flight

Front view from airborne drone of Peter’s test flight

I added a page to the site today regarding a remarkable young man who designed a twin engine electric powered model biplane and flew it . . . then created via CAD a full size variant . . . built it in his basement with materials from Lowe’s . . . and then flew the aircraft himself.

The article also discusses the rapid advances of electric power in the full scale aviation world and how this parallels our experience with electric powered radio control model aircraft flight.

The video documentation is exceptionally well done, to include air-to-air drone shots of Peter’s initial flight. Folks are doing amazing things these days!

Huge Indoor A-10

Technology has truly revolutionized radio control model airplane flight. Indoor electric flight has been a specific beneficiary of these incredibly rapid advances.

A-10 Warthog in flight

A-10 Warthog in flight

As recently as ten years ago it was a remarkable accomplishment to simply fly a model airplane inside a local gym. Batteries and radio control hardware were heavy and the models generally underpowered.

All this changed rapidly with the introduction of micro RC gear and ready-made affordable foam model planes such as those offered by ParkZone. Suddenly, modelers had well flying aircraft that opened up an entire world of indoor RC flight to everyone

Modelers took advantage of advanced technology with light-weight building materials, advanced lipo batteries, micro RC hardware and small electric ducted fans to create advanced and well flying model airplane designs.

AN-225 "Dream"

AN-225 “Dream”

Below are two examples of these pioneering aircraft. The first video demonstrates one of the largest indoor RC aircraft I have ever seen, an A-10 flown in Germany.

The A-10 is an ideal candidate for an electric ducted fan model. The straight wing offer plenty of lift at low airspeeds.  Twin rudders combined with ailerons allow for tight turns required for a constrained flying space.  The model has full-span flaps for added indoor slow flight capability.  This particular variant even has retractable landing gear.  This plane is simply an incredible modeling and engineering accomplishment.

The second example is a smaller model of the Antonov AN-225 Mriya (Dream or Inspiration). The AN-225 is a strategic airlifter built in the Soviet Union in the 1980s to transport the Buran space shuttle aircraft.  Only one AN-225 was ever built.  It was powered by six jet turbofan engines, and the AN-225 is the longest and heaviest airplane ever constructed.
The indoor AN-225 is another remarkable example of today’s RC pilots pushing the limits of model aircraft design and performance. It is hard to imagine what future types of advanced model aircraft will show up on the flight line.


Electric Indoor A-10 from Germany


Electric powered AN-225 indoor model airplane

Brian’s Blackburn

Side view of Brian's completed Blackburn

Side view of Brian’s completed Blackburn

Brian recently purchased a set of Blackburn CAD plans, completed his model and was kind enough to share the results. Executive summary:  Brian’s Blackburn looks great!

Detail of Blackburn cockpit and after servo installation

Detail of Blackburn cockpit and after servo installation

The 1912 Blackburn Type D Monoplane was one of the first aircraft designed and built by an Englishman and then flown in the United Kingdom. With its front mounted engine and aft tail surfaces, the Blackburn has a surprisingly modern layout for an aircraft conceived just nine years after the Wright brothers’ first flight.  The generous wing and control surface areas as well as the substantial nose and tail moments make for an ideal radio control model aircraft.

Front view of the Blackburn, ready for takeoff

Front view of the Blackburn, ready for takeoff

Brian’s reports that his model finished out a bit tail heavy. Brian wisely added the correct amount of nose weight to bring the model with the proper center of gravity range.  It is absolutely critical that any aircraft balance within the correct center of gravity range prior to any test flights.  A model will be uncontrollable if flown with a CG out of limits as there is simply not enough control authority to override the resulting uncommanded pitch changes.

Top view of Brian's Blackburn showing rigging and ample wing and tail areas

Top view of Brian’s Blackburn showing rigging and ample wing and tail areas

As to why the model came out tail heavy, there is no certain answer. What I do is to always attempt to “build in lightness” as I construct the model.  I try to employ the lightest weight balsa for any fuselage structure aft of the cockpit, to include the tail surfaces, to minimize the possibility of a tail heavy aircraft.

Nice job with simulated spoke wheels and landing gear arrangement

Nice job with simulated spoke wheels and landing gear arrangement

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a model will come out slightly tail heavy. One of the reasons I selected the Blackburn is the generous nose moment (distance of the propeller to the center of gravity) to make the most use of any weight added to the nose to move the center of gravity into the correct place.

Custom built foam carry case

Custom built foam carry case

The slight added weight for Brian’s model (about five ounces) should have no appreciable impact to the Blackburn flight characteristics. The full scale Blackburn had ample wing area, as the aircraft of those initial days were woefully underpowered due to the early state of aviation engine technology.  In a sense many of these early flyers were powered gliders.

This plentiful wing area makes the addition of some extra weight essentially not noticeable. The added mass will likely make for a smoother flying aircraft in the end.

Detail of custom built foam carrying case for the Blackburn Monoplane

Detail of custom built foam carrying case for the Blackburn Monoplane

Brian also took the extra step of constructing a custom designed foam carrying case for his Blackburn. As per the plans, the Blackburn’s wings friction fit into metal tubes mounted to the fuselage.  This makes it a snap to disassemble the model for ease of transport.

Brian did a superb job of tailoring his foam carrying case for the Blackburn. This is a great idea I had not thought of, and I will for sure employ this approach for future model aircraft designs.

Brian, thanks again for sharing the photos of your finished aircraft and carrying case.  Good luck with the test flights!



Kit Bashing and the Dreamlifter

Korean Air B-747-400 touching down

Korean Air B-747-400 touching down

A great way to begin with radio control aircraft design is to “kit bash” a model made from a kit or set of plans. The idea behind “bashing” is to make simple changes in an aircraft’s shape and dimensions such that the overall flight characteristics will not change yet you have a plane that differs in appearance from the original version.

Bashing does not require drafting skills as you can eyeball the various changes. Examples would be changing the shape of the rudder and fin, perhaps lengthen the wingspan or add an upper deck.

Singapore Airlines B-747-400 on landing approach

Singapore Airlines B-747-400 on landing approach

As a general rule it is acceptable to change a control surface outline if you maintain the same surface area. Same goes for the wing.  For example you can increase the wing span without any harm to the flight handling characteristics.  On the other hand you could run into problems if you reduced the wingspan, as the smaller wing area would now have to support more aircraft weight per square inch.

Side view of the Boeing Dreamlifter

Side view of the Boeing Dreamlifter

Once you bash a few of your models it is a logical next step to consider designing an original airplane of your own!

Believe it or not, “bashing” occurs in a similar vein with full scale aircraft. The changes could be a simple as adding a canopy to an open cockpit homebuilt to a fuselage stretch of a jet airliner.  Perhaps one of the best examples of “bashing” a full scale aircraft is Boeing’s B-747 Dreamlifter.

Swing tail assembly on the Boeing Dreamlifter

Swing tail assembly on the Boeing Dreamlifter

When Boeing designed their new B-787 Dreamliner, ANA (All Nippon Airways) was one of the initial customers with an order of 50 aircraft. As part of this initial launch ANA built the wing for the B-787.  Fuselage production was also planned for the B-787 in Italy.

Boeing was faced with the problem of how to safely get these very large sub-assemblies to the Boeing factories in Washington and South Carolina. It would have taken up to 30 days to ship these items overseas via cargo ship and rail.  There was debate if this would even be a feasible approach due to the huge size of the assembly.

Boeing Dreamlifter taking off

Boeing Dreamlifter taking off

Boeing’s solution was to “bash” a B-747-400 to allow carriage of the fully assembled B-787 wings and fuselage sections. This entailed detailed engineering studies that created the Dreamlifter.

Four of these huge cargo aircraft exist and they are used solely to fly B-787 sub-assemblies from Japan and Italy to the United States for final assembly

The Boeing Moscow office did some of the initial Computer Aided Design work for the enlarged fuselage with a Spanish company devising the swing tail. Modifications of the B-747-400 were completed in Taiwan.

At 65,000 square feet the B-747 Dreamlifter’s cargo hold is the largest of any aircraft in the world, and three times larger than a B-747-400 freighter.

Interestingly enough, even after all of these changes the Dreamlifter flies much like an unmodified B-747-400.  Pilots who are type rated in the B-747-400 are fully qualified on the Dreamlifter with no special FAA check ride required.

There is a lesson to be learned here that with this amount of outline and fuselage volume changes to the Dreamlifter with minimal impact on flight characteristics, the same approach can be applied to changes with our radio control model aircraft. Go ahead and give it a try!


Yard Ace Flight Video

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

Yard Ace electric powered RC model airplane on a fly by

On my December 1st blog post (below) I shared some pictures of Russell’s build of his Yard Ace electric flyer. The Yard Ace is a simple to construct RC model that makes a great first time plans-built project.

Russell did a super job with his build of the Yard Ace, electing to add ailerons to his version.

Yard Ace three channel RC plane front view

Yard Ace three channel RC plane front view

Russell shared a video of his completed Yard Ace. Russ unfortunately had a minor crash during a flying session. He took the damaged aircraft back to his workshop, made the required repairs, and flew a “reborn” Yard Ace with the wing now mounted on the fuselage underside.

This is a perfect example of the fun with learning to make a model aircraft from plans. After making modest changes to a vertical or horizontal tail outline, converting a high wing mount to an under fuselage installation is one of the most common modifications one can make to an original model design. The flying characteristics typically remain similar yet you have the satisfaction of creating a much different look to your RC plane.

In my TurboCAD training videos I go over exactly how easy it is to make a change of this nature to a using the Yard Ace as an example. Russell, thanks for taking the time to do this modification and share your flight results!


Guillow RC Conversions

It has been an extremely busy month for me, but all good.

Atlanta Hobby shop - lots of good electric RC stuff!

Atlanta Hobby shop – lots of good electric RC stuff!

First, my flying with Mesa for United Express at Washington Dulles airport is going very well. I am now at 150 hours in the CRJ-700 aircraft and learning a lot about Part 121 (airline) flight operations.

Second, we are moving to the Atlanta, Georgia area. This move has been in the works for a while, but events started moving quickly earlier this month. We have an accepted offer on a house and plan to close on August 11th.

Guillow's Avenger balsa frame, ready for covering

Guillow’s Avenger balsa frame, ready for covering

This move is good for a variety of family reasons. One of the nicer personal ones is that I will be able to focus on building and designing larger electric radio control models now that I have a garage to work in and can fly in outdoor fields. I did not have the building space while living in the Chicago area, thus the focus on smaller indoor models. This will all change as the move to Atlanta progresses.

For a minor preview of what is ahead in Georgia area modeling check out my visit to Atlanta Hobby, one of the country’s largest electric modeling outfits. Great group of folks and I look forward to working with them.

Finally, I added a page on converting Guillow model aircraft kits from free flight to radio control. Guillow kits have always been popular with modelers. The new miniature RC electronics, batteries and motors made these conversions entirely feasible. Give it a try. The conversions work well, are a lot of fun and add some diversity to your flying fleet.

Guillow Lancer Conversion

I added a page today on converting the Guillow Lancer free flight model airplane kit to radio control flight.  This conversion came out very well using the ParkZone line of micro-electronics.

The finished weight was right at two ounces.  The model flies very well.  Review the full planning process and construction details to include a video.

Front view of completed Guillow Lancer

Front view of completed Guillow Lancer