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Flair ATS Kite MK4

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Robin Colbourne17/10/2020 14:05:59
691 forum posts
17 photos

Basil, I'm glad you were able to get hold of another Kite. Do let us know what the kit is like when you get it and tell us about the build.

Out of interest, does anyone know the differences between the Kites from the various manufacturers, i.e. ATS, JBA and Flair? Plus did Flair make four different marks of Kite themselves?

Robert Parker17/10/2020 15:05:33
1003 forum posts
1378 photos

Hi Robin,

There is no difference between them other than the later ones had a carbon fibre u/c.


JB Aviation advert from 2002, I had one of the ATS kits as well as a flight box, I still have the flight box. I took my A cert at ATS, my model was identical to theirs. I must say it was the best trainer I ever had and I tried a few over the period of my learning. It had the option of being made tail dragger of tricycle u/c.

I have recently purchased a DH71 Tiger Moth Racer which I have wanted for years.


Flair's Kite from their catalogue issue 6 2004. It quotes that, "originally developed and produced by Aerial Target Systems (ATS) and JB Aviation, incorporates all the experience gained in thousands of hours spent teaching novices to fly at the highly professional ATS Model flying School. It offers features unmatched by any other trainer in terms of strength and flying characteristics."



SIMON CRAGG17/10/2020 16:15:10
606 forum posts
5 photos

We have got two flying in our club. Outstanding model which has stood the test of time.

Peter Roberts18/10/2020 10:42:41
205 forum posts
20 photos

My understanding is that the inventor of the Kite was 'jbaviation' and supplied ATS flying school (in which Paul Heckles was one of the instructors) with the Kite which became known as the ATS Kite. I think that version contained modifications suggested by the school to improve it as a trainer.

I think the man who built the Kites for ATS eventually became ill and wasn't able to continue his business and only supplied ATS. I think eventually this wasn't possible and Flair became interested in taking over the manufacture of the Kite and outsourced it to China but to their spec. I was told they had to have a minimum order of a large number of kits and when finally delivered to the UK didn't sell in as big numbers as they hoped so they never commissioned another batch.

At the time Flair beat me to it as I entertained ideas of taking over or licensing the design because I thought it an exceptional plane but that wasn't to be. I still think it an exceptional plane

Engine Doctor18/10/2020 11:04:24
2618 forum posts
40 photos

The Kite was a great trainer . I used mine for a few "Have go sessions" at the Croydon's club Paddock Wood show some years ago. This s!ot was very popular during the lunch break at the show. My kite was finally killed by a perfect, head on collision with another trainer, ie ;the engines hit head on, who entered the circuit in the wrong direction. A lovely easy to build model with good manners and brilliant glide if the engine cut or ran out of fuel. Would I buy another ? Probably but not at the silly prices some are asking .

Peter Roberts18/10/2020 11:46:16
205 forum posts
20 photos

Dear Bas,

You asked about 'electrification' specs. I wanted to modify the basic kit to allow flight under electric power without compromising the inherent strength of the Kite which is one of the things great as a trainer to give confidence and to deal with sudden 'arrivals'. So worked on providing plenty of power to handle the relatively heavy build.

I also wanted it to have a reasonable duration (8-10 mins) leaving at least 20-25% battery left to secure battery life. In my experience also it has additional power to allow the instructor to 'save' it if needed and also has the most outrageous vertical performance (if that's your thing).

Generally it flies fast enough on no more than half power but has a reserve on 6s to give better duration and confidence.

The specs therefore are

Motor Battery - 5s or 6s LIPO - I use Turnigy 6s 4000 to be housed in modified fuel tank bay

RX power separate NIMH / Eneloop 6v 2500 mah (for all day flying)

ESC - I prefer 80A to keep cool and provide plenty of headroom with XT90 anti spark connectors

Motor - Turnigy G60 500Kva powerful and good value

Prop - 12 x 8 I like APC but the photos show a Master which I fitted first. (My glow version uses 11 x 6 prop). Note on props I do not use 'electric' props as I find them too flimsy and they break regularly in training whereas as standard prop is a lot more durable and its weight is not an issue with the power available.

To keep things cool I opened up the rear cowl slightly and mounted the motor on a ring and rod mount, located the ESC under the fuselage, added air input from the motor bay and via side air scoops and allowed large air extract vents to the rear of the battery location and in the bottom of the rear fuselage for good airflow.

The lipo is located in what was deigned as the fuel tank bay. This is extended rearward by cutting through the bulkhead to allow enough clearance to insert the 6s from the front but with the connectors at the rear of the compartment above the large vent hole which also allows the ESC cable connections.

I hope that helps



Edited By Peter Roberts on 18/10/2020 11:59:14

Peter Roberts18/10/2020 11:55:24
205 forum posts
20 photos
Posted by Wilco Wingco on 16/10/2020 17:08:22:

I recently had a conversation with Paul Heckle regarding the engine for a Flair Kite. He recons that most people over power them and recommended that an OS 48 FS is more than enough power for a learner. He should know ??? wink

Absolutely great advice - and I bow to Paul Heckles as he is a brilliant instructor, examiner and flyer and has helped me in setting up and has a wonderful emphasis on the importance of correct mechanical setup. He can make the Kite sing as well as fly. I originally flew my Kite on an OS 40 which I found underpowered and somewhat un responsive to the weight of the build. I later replaced the engine. In building electric I err on the side of excess power to handle the weight of the build. I had no guidance so was guessing at a lot of it. My club now has the electric version as one of its trainers.

Edited By Peter Roberts on 18/10/2020 11:55:55

Edited By Peter Roberts on 18/10/2020 11:56:28

Robin Colbourne18/10/2020 13:35:00
691 forum posts
17 photos

Hi Robert,
Thank you for the history of the various Kites. I had forgotten all about the about the Supersport, and don't remember the MiniSport at all. I remember a chap, John Green, being involved in ATS in the early days, I suspect he sold or stepped down from the business around 2003.

I did go down to ATS sometime earlier than this, for a meeting with John and a flight, with a view to becoming an instructor for them. The Kite was in use at the time, and I recall discussing the design and construction. It certainly seemed well thought out for its job, as an all-weather trainer, designed to take the rough and tumble of ab-initio instruction.

Quite by chance I spotted another Flair Kite on eBay; electric this time, hiding behind a particularly vague title:

Electric Flair Kite in Chalfont St. Giles

Is it my imagination, or does that LiPo look a bit puffy?  Perhaps if he had tried it with the prop on the right way round he wouldn't be selling it? surprise


Edited By Robin Colbourne on 18/10/2020 13:36:47

Basil20/10/2020 08:39:18
96 forum posts

Hi, I managed to get hold of a full Kit for an ATS kite, at a reasonable price, looks good from what I saw. I did not know that the wings came ready assembled.

Being a novice I would like some advise on wing jioning as descibed in the kit insructions. It says to use wing joining bandage and 2 pk epoxy. It goes on to say do not use 5 min use 60 min as the 5min is not as strong . The instructions were dated 2004.

Two points arise from this.

Q1) What is wing joining bandage precisely( I can buy 2pk so dont need a kit). Where can I buy this product.

Q2) I was not aware that 5min was weaker than 1 hr 2pk epoxy, as this is what I normaly use for construction.

Q3) Is the Epoxy in the joining kit the same as 60min 2pk, or is it of a thinner nature?

Lastly I would like to thank everybody who has been kind enough to offer thier advise.

Cheers Bas


Edited By Basil on 20/10/2020 08:43:49

Edited By Basil on 20/10/2020 08:45:10

Keith Berriman20/10/2020 09:38:13
793 forum posts
11 photos

Basil. The wing joining bandage and epoxy is available as a kit from most model shops. I can advise to use an old bank card or similar plastic piece to spread the epoxy on the balsa and then smoothing the bandage on. Use masking tape to give a good edge to the epoxy and remove when finished before the epoxy starts to go hard.

Peter Roberts20/10/2020 09:53:40
205 forum posts
20 photos

Keith's advice is good - the bandage I think is a glass fibre bandage - easiest from a wing joining kit - don't stint on it as you need the strength. The obeche covered wings are excellent.

Do you have the assembly instructions with the kit?

I would also suggest using protex, or solartex or similar for covering - the fibres built into the covering add 30% to the strength of the finished model - a lot stronger than ordinary solarfilm and counts in a major way to the integrity of the plane.

On Epoxy I absolutely use 1hr epoxy the slower set makes it significantly stronger. I use it for major construction projects. Otherwise worth having 20/30 min for quicker sets.

Jon Laughton20/10/2020 10:07:48
1227 forum posts
72 photos

Try **LINK** for the wing bandage. Note that One hour epoxy also gives you plenty of ‘working time’ to spread the epoxy carefully into the bandage.

Once the wings havebeen epoxied together to apply the bandage The method I use is to apply two pieces of masking tape to the wings top& bottom that are slight wider apart than the width of the bandage, then apply a thin layer of epoxy to the wing surfaces between the masking tape. You then carefully apply the bandage using the credit card to squeegee the epoxy into the weave. Once done all over you can apply a little more epoxy and squeegee again. Leave it yo dry overnight then remove the masking tape leaving you with neat edges! You can thin mixed epoxy with methylated spirits but only use a micro amount for that.

Hopefully this helps

Robin Colbourne20/10/2020 18:19:17
691 forum posts
17 photos

When doing the wing bandage its well worth having a hot air gun or your wife's least favourite hair dryer handy. A bit of warmth on the epoxy will wet it into the bandage, avoid trapped air and smooth the surface out. You don't need to get it really hot; if you do that, the epoxy will bubble and that will make things worse.

The talk is of bandage, however a lot of modellers use either glass cloth or 2" or wider glass fibre tape like this: Glass fibre Tape

I had a secondhand MFA Yamamoto which had the glass fibre and resin extending out about 4" onto each wing. It did add some weight, but it stopped any chance of the the wing bands digging into the leading and trailing edges.

Edited By Robin Colbourne on 20/10/2020 18:19:28

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