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Who is still flying 'Classic' electric airframes?

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stuey24/06/2013 13:51:16
602 forum posts
12 photos

I have been reading Nigel Hawes exploits with interest as he flies electric airframes and power trains from the old days of electric. As someone who has flown and built a couple of these (MFA Magicfly and Balsacraft Bearcat) amongst a few others, I was wondering who else has older electrics still flying or hanging around? When I say 'classic' I dont mean vintage as such, more the models from the brushed/ni-cad days and the dawn of brushless motors.

I still have a few bits knocking around, including a Multiplex Skycat, Scorpio ThreeDee and a Kyosho F-16. I have been pondering a brushless upgrade for the F-16, even though it has a Plettenberg 200-25-4 and a Minifan. I havent been able to find a 40-50A brushed controller that is li-po friendly.

What do you have knocking about guys?

Olly P24/06/2013 13:56:17
3215 forum posts
181 photos

I have a Phase 3 Chipmunk currently awaiting repair, which is a brushed motor, needs some repairs after it went sloping and lift disappeared, and a new ESC to be electric powered again.

I am tempted to upgrade her due to the work needed anyway....

I am planning to build an 'older' design TB-3 designed by Chris Golds for Nicads and 4 brushed motors, but I will be upgrading to Li-Po and brushless on the powered one...

Frank Skilbeck24/06/2013 14:25:29
4608 forum posts
101 photos

Does a Mk1 Twinstar (now upgraded to brushless) apply?

I did have a Magicfly 20 years ago with the Olympus belt drive (11 x 7 prop), home made electronic switch (relat based) and 6 cell Sanyo 1200s (the red ones) and a Galaxy Sonata with direct drive 600 motor and home made switch. But I sold both of these over 10 years ago.

BTW the Olympus belt drive units used to sound like a quiet 4 ssoke in operation!

Paul Marsh24/06/2013 14:31:54
3853 forum posts
1115 photos

Got a mk1 Twinstar, a Twinjet a 600 glider. Also got the Kyosho T-33 Shooting Star with the Ap29 Motor. It did fly just but took a while, Still got it and put a spektrum rx in it, but not flown it since. Did fly it with a 10 cell Nicad, even a 8cell just flew it, but longer duration.

stuey24/06/2013 15:42:12
602 forum posts
12 photos

I would say a Mk.1 Twinstar counts Frank! Models had become decent flyers by that point, not sure what my Dad ended up doing with his. We also had a couple of Picojets, one he flew the other day. Oh yeah and a Twinjet.

I never quite got round to buying a T-33 (not cheap), there were a lot of people trying to squeeze more efficiency out of the ducting to get better performance. Would be easy these days, a Minifan and 3 or 4S and your away! I still have a brand new fan/AP29L in a drawer at home.

Dont know the Phase 3 Chipmunk tbh, but a lot of older designs would be in a different league now. The only thing is considering the battery pack if old Nicads/NiMh were used for cg purposes.

Another thing that just occured to me, with the event of 2.4ghz how much easier it is to avoid glitching these days. My Phase 3 F-16 nearly came a cropper first time out with a Schulze 35meg, despite my best efforts to avoid it. Prompted me to go 2.4!!

buster prop24/06/2013 16:21:03
491 forum posts
13 photos

I still have two very old electric planes that may be called 'classics'. One is my Ironic, built from the Graham McAllister Designs kit in about 2001. The kit was laser cut with a superb plan which I kept in case I had to rebuild anything. I wonder what happened to Graham Mc? Originally the model had a geared speed 400 on 7 Sanyo NiCads. Later a small brushless motor and now with a Pelikan Ray C2830/12 motor on a 3S 1300 and 9 x 6 prop. It doesn't get flown very often as I have newer planes but it gets the occasional outing, I use it with a flycam. I also have a GWS Formosa airframe, and until about 2 years ago a Galaxy Models Scamp. I didn't crash it but passed it on to a beginner to learn with. In theory electric models should last longer, having no fuel to soak into the wood but I'm sure they crash just as often as i/c/ models.

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator24/06/2013 16:31:42
15748 forum posts
1460 photos

Well of course Nigel's own design, the Tucano - subject of this year's mass build, could be said to fall into this group. Originally designed to hold a 10 cell NiMh pack and employ a brushed motor. The long (now empty) space amidships originally intended to hold the battery pack makes modern radio installation very easy!


PatMc24/06/2013 20:40:04
4326 forum posts
524 photos

I've got 4.5 candidates.

An IFO that came with a brushed, geared cheap motor though I only flew it with 2s lipo & brushless. It's hanging around in the loft.

A 62" span R&E motor glider, Henry that originaly flew with a Cox 049. It was published in Silent Flight as a free plan after I converted it to 400 can motor & 7 cell 600 nicads. Later upgraded to brushless & 3s 2p Etec 2500 lipos. The lipos weighed about the same as an 8 cell 600 nicad pack & cost around £40. They were only rated at 7C but the difference in power & duration was amazing. Also now in the loft.

Another OD is RelaxE a 2.8m motor glider. First flew using a 600 can motor with a Master gearbox & 7 then 8 sub C nicads. Converted to brushless still using 8 nicads then upgraded to 3s. I flew it a lot with a Flycam on board, sometimes self launch thermaling on the flat other times slope soaring without power. Last flight, about a year ago, involved a chimney pot retrieval. It's resting, awaiting some minor repairs when I get a circular tuit.

Fourth is the Protech Ultimate. Bought SH, discarded brushed buggy motor & fitted brushless. Flew with 8 sub C nicads/nimhs for a while then upgraded to 3s lipo. Quite fast & aerobatic, still gets an outing as a hack.
The Ultimate came with a spare fuselage (model 4.5) which I fitted out with a pair of servos, Rx, 4.8v battery & dummy spinner containing nose weight. By sharing the EP version wings this flew as on occasional slope hack for a few years. Then a re-fit with a brushless motor, 3s lipos & a pair of 6ft polyhedral wings that were redundant from a previous glider project. Named Igor (Terry Pratchett fans will understand) it's a self launch thermal glider that has a much better performance than expected.

Edited By PatMc on 24/06/2013 20:40:52

Pat (rActive) Harbord24/06/2013 22:57:16
634 forum posts
49 photos

SIG Rascal (the little one). I built my kit 10 odd years ago. It had a geared brushed 400 and ran off an 8 AA cell niMH pack (I've always been a trail blazer) esc was a jeti 30 as I recal. Still have the airframe, need to sort a brushless setup for it.

still flying is my Steven Aeros G-Ride which was intended to use the GWS brushed set ups. Mine has always had a geared brushless in runner and is perfect on a 3cell 850mah lipo.

PatMc24/06/2013 23:23:32
4326 forum posts
524 photos

Posted by stuey on 24/06/2013 13:51:16:

I havent been able to find a 40-50A brushed controller that is li-po friendly.

Stuey, if you already have a pre-lipo brushed ESC you could use this LipoShield to convert it or for individual cell protection a CellShield .

I use a CS with an old pre lipo brushless ESC but I think the cheaper LS would have been adequate.

Old Geezer25/06/2013 07:45:46
670 forum posts

I'm still flying One of Nigel's PRATs, actually not my original, this is my third, this one has a small outrunner and a LiPo, much lighter and a bit quicker than the original with it's 400 can, Gunther and NiCad power. Just as nice as Nigel's later Whizzers and Fizzers, but smaller, lighter and simpler - love it!

Allan Bennett25/06/2013 07:46:51
1603 forum posts
44 photos

I still regularly fly "classics", though most of them started out with glow engines in them, e.g. Flair Magnatilla, DBS&C Cub, DBS&C Tiger Moth, Cambrian Models Mustang; all now with brushless setups. I also fly my Kyosho Learjet with twin Wemotec fans and Mega motors in place of the original brushed power -- originally I had to get an Olympic javelin thrower to get it launched, but now it rolls off our grass strip in about 30 metres.

GrumpyGnome25/06/2013 07:59:14
513 forum posts
145 photos

Not got any flying but have some in the eaves in case I trash some of my current armada:

Hawes Tucan - large

Hawes Tucan - small


Howard Metcalf Sunburst (?)

Mirage 2000

Mini Laser 3d

Balsacraft FW190

Razor Flting Wing

I think some of those count .......

Does a Mini Untra Stik count ? I've had it about 7/8 years and stil fly it regularly.


stuey26/06/2013 10:30:15
602 forum posts
12 photos

Seems like a few of us still have some older models on the books then!

I did look at the Liposhield but I couldnt find a UK supplier, and it may end up expensive to order from the States. Thanks for the info though

PatMc26/06/2013 11:41:31
4326 forum posts
524 photos

I forgot about the Balsacraft kits that I have yet to build - Hurricane, FW190, Blenhiem, Spitfire & Bearcat.

Stuey, international postage is only $1.25 although it is a bit slow, my Cellshield took about 2 weeks from ordering to arrival. The Liposhield should cost about £15 inc P&P. OTOH so long as you time each power run it will probably be OK.

stuey26/06/2013 19:55:22
602 forum posts
12 photos
So you have all the Balsacraft kits then! Its a shame they have not been brought back in some form. I would like a chance to try out a Bearcat with modern gear.
PatMc26/06/2013 20:07:03
4326 forum posts
524 photos

Not quite all of them, I don't have the Seafury.
I intend to mod each of them with some sort of hatch for battery access. As designed access is by removing the wings each time to re-charge/change batteries.

A clubmate used to fly a Bearcat with ic power, IIRC it was a MDS 18 & went very well.

David Ashby - Moderator01/07/2013 07:20:53
10953 forum posts
1681 photos
614 articles

Still flying my Graupner Terry (Chip), a little-appreciated classic in my book. If anyone has a kit they don't want then let me know thumbs up

leccyflyer27/07/2014 09:31:12
1351 forum posts
314 photos

Came across this thread when looking for some info on the old Kyosho T-33, so will indulge in a post even though it's been dormant a while.

I've been reading Nigel's column with interest, seeing all of those old school electrics brought up to date, and noting that a large part of my fleet consists of those classics. Indeed they get the occasional outing and my BVR Tucano, on AXI 2820/10 and lipos now, is what I regard as my main hack model, for first flights on new sites and the like and still hugely enjoyable - those stall proof flat plate wings just keep on flying

Other "classics" that are currently in service include the Balsacraft Bearcat, which flew a couple of days ago, though now on 3s1p 3000mah lipos and an AXI 2820/10, instead of her original 8xRC2400s and Magnetic Mayhem hot buggy motor. Her sister ship FW190, with the Mega 22/30-3 and 3s1p 3000mah lipo also a regular old campaigner and both of them go off the buggy, which provides some explanation for their longevity - if they had been handlaunched they would have been long dead. The Blenheim very nearly flew on Friday, but a wingbolt issue kept her on the ground.

My MAF Mini Flying Machine still gets the odd flight, but she does require a hand launch, as does the MAF Searching 400, which is a replacement for my original Searching, destroyed in a crash a few years ago.

There's still quite a few of those classics in mothballs as well, only needing a little bit of fettling to get them back in the air, mostly in the form of new 2.4ghz receivers, and accomodation for lipos - which includes my electrified Wot-4, Cambrian Spitfire and Bf109, E-Sprit Models Supra-E and Balsacraft Hurricane, Plus that Kyosho T-33 - which might even make the transition to a PSS model. My venerable Zagi-400 has been transmogrified into a slope wing, and the Razor 400 will follow suit.

My first electric model, from 1996 - the Beeline Models Easy Bee - is currently in the process of being repaired, the fuselage has been fettled and awaits recovering, and the wing needs a couple of ribs and recovering one panel. When she gets back in the air all will be right with the world.

Chris Bott - Moderator27/07/2014 09:48:01
6724 forum posts
1392 photos
1 articles

I had a King Bee, Leccy, that we even converted to a twin at one point. It's sadly no more though.

I still have a Balsa Cabin Sonata-E, and the balsacraft Spit.
Most of my others were/are all converted IC models, so not classic electrics.

Battery hatch added by extensive mod of the nose though.


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