Twin Speedy from Aeronaut
Ever have that feeling of déjà vu? I did when I first got wind of the Aeronaut Twin Speedy. I was sure I’d seen it somewhere before. A little internet search (don’t you just love it?) confirmed my suspicions when I discovered that back in late 2001 / early 2002 Ikarus were selling it under the name of ‘Turn On’. I guess it must have lost something in the German / English translation! No wonder they dropped it. This aside, here it was in 2005 tagged the ‘Twin Speedy’ and flying under the Aeronaut banner, as indeed it has been since around 2003.

The Twin Speedy is an electric glider / sport model fabricated from a high density polystyrene foam - a bit like the box you might get a new set of radio packaged in, close cell but easy to break. Quite a throwback in these days of EPP and Multiplex’ fabulous Elapor. It is, however, very light, but easily scuffed or marked and quite difficult to keep clean. Best make sure you keep a tidy bench whilst building this one.

The Twin Speedy is not really a hotliner, yet it’s certainly no slouch thanks to the very clean airframe. Of course, this is especially true if you go a little silly with the motors and hang a couple of Megas or Hacker B20s under there. Mind you, there’s really no need too, and you’d doubtless reduce it’s life expectancy in the process. Best to consider it as the sort of model you could happily fit out with the old bits of Twin Star.

As it was my intention to use a 3s lithium polymer pack, I chose to fit a couple of brushed Grauper 7.2V Speed 400s (that were originally outed from a similar model) in favour of a Permax set-up. The fact that the Li-Po flight pack (an excellent FlightPower 3s1p 2500mAh Evo) is the same weight as one of my 8 cell packs of KAN1050s meant I could also utilise these for some lower voltage cruising flights, without changing the C of G! Truth is, 6V motors would just fry in no time running at either 9.6V or 11.1V. Finally, the speed controller was to be a 20A Speedmax LP from Puffin Models with variable voltage cut off to allow swapping of cell types with minimal re-programming.

When it comes to sticking it all together you’ll find that the foam parts are reinforced at key points with liteply doublers. More crucially, there’s a tubular carbon fuselage longeron and a further carbon tube wing spar to fit. All glue joints are five-minute epoxy and unless you use some real cheapo nasty ‘never-set’ stuff it should be just fine.

The fuselage longeron is capped with a balsa strip under which runs the servo extension leads to the V-tail halves. I opted to leave the wooden piece un-glued to permit access to this wiring should problems occur. It really is just to finish off the groove and adds very little rigidity to the fuselage rear after the carbon longeron is fitted. Unfortunately the longeron, balsa cap strip, tailplane seat and balsa tailplane reinforcement are arranged in such a way that they finish (or start) at exactly the same point, i.e. to the rear of the fuselage just in front of the tailplane - a weak point if ever there was one. In fact I spent a little time scouring the supplied decal sheet for the sticker of a dotted line with a pair of scissors and the words ‘snap here’ on it to wrap around the fuselage but, strangely, there wasn’t one. Must be an oversight! With a little forethought you can extend the carbon spar to the underside of the tailplane and breach the gap a little but it’s probably best to just make sure you always land it well and avoid any kind of gymnastic cartwheel manoeuvres.

The wing is retained by three 4mm nylon bolts which thread into blind plastic inserts which must be securely glued into the fuselage recesses provided. It’s a fairly simple task but you must ensure that you don’t locate them so far down the holes that the wing bolts won’t reach them. Measure twice, cut once as the saying goes.

Of relatively vast proportions, the plastic canopy (carbon would have been nice) is retained with a small rubber band between a couple of cup hooks - a little fiddly to attach / detach but fairly secure once you have it on, if not a little rattly in fit. Incidentally, I haven’t yet felt the need to open up the moulded air scoop in the canopy to facilitate additional cooling. The trickiest part of the whole build is the fitting out of the wing, but even that is fairly simple. Cheap 9g servos are a good press fit into the moulded recesses with associated wiring being fed along the spar groove to the fuselage. Give some thought to the aileron differential situation as you might well need a bit to get the rolls nice and axial. This being the case, of course, you’ll be using two extension leads rather than a single ‘Y’ lead. Of particular significance is the fact that the supplied pushrods for both the ailerons and the ruddervators are not adjustable, so if you intend to use them be a little careful with your set-up and positioning.

As was standard practice when this model was conceived, the motors are simply glued to the underside of the wing fairings with five-minute epoxy. Be aware of internet sites depicting models with ‘popped out’ motors that have arisen from too much G-force at too high a speed. Indeed, if you’re worried about your fuselage being chopped to bits by a motor and thrashing prop dangling below your wing, then add a little something under the motors to help hold them in place.

With everything fitted, I covered the spar slot and motor wire runs with one layer of fibreglass reinforced tape followed by a strip of white Solartrim to retain the wing section across the gaps. A very tidy solution which is unnoticeable in flight. The same goes for the longeron slot along the belly of the fuselage.

By way of reinforcement for the aileron and ruddervator hinges, the instructions call for multiple layers of adhesive tape to be applied along their length. Once again I found that a single strip of 25mm wide cross weave tape was perfect for the job and, when covered by a strip of Solartrim, is UV resistant too.

Fitting the tail merely requires another mix of epoxy and the patience to sit and hold the parts in place whilst it sets. The moulded polystyrene tail halves are shaped to make this task a little easier so all you have to do is ensure they’re butted together. Don’t be tempted to pin and leave them - you’ll wish you hadn’t when you return.

Although fairly standard in design the decals are of reasonable quality and do stick well to the foam. A flash of colour is virtually mandatory on an all white model to assist proper orientation, though the black canopy does help at distance. Even so, you’re unlikely to spend much time enjoying long distance soaring expeditions - better suited, I expect, to the contradictory glider version called ‘Snail Speedy’ that’s available without the moulded nacelles.

Anyway, before you know it you’ll have the model in one piece and you’ll be bashing it around your workshop while you balance it on podgy fingers to ascertain the need for nose weight.

When it comes to installing the radio gear do note that there’s plenty of room within the fuselage for many combinations of speed controller, receiver and flight pack and with my batteries pushed as far forward as they could go there was no need for additional weight to achieve the correct C of G. Having those two servos up the chuff helps this somewhat but you’d need a chunk of lead if you fancy a lighter Li-Po pack in the snout.

No more excuses now, you’ve got to go to the field for the fun bit. The Twin Speedy is quite a slippery customer - very smooth to fly and makes good headway against even quite strong wind gusts. It almost grooves like a much higher performance model and is quite viceless even when approaching those bits of the envelope where the stamp usually fits.

The sound is a little unique. It’s different to anything I’ve flown before but akin to having an angry bumble bee in each ear! The little Gunther props are not the most efficient in the world and coupled with the near field effect of the wing’s trailing edge they strike up a throbbing harmonic at certain attitudes. It has a strange effect on the grin muscles at higher speeds though. Who knows, perhaps I’m genetically dispositioned in the speed department!

Moderate aerobatics such as Immelmans, bunts, loops, rolls, etc. are well within this model’s ability, though spins are a little quick and quite nose down as you’d expect from a V-tail model. The sharp tips do drop first near to the stall but recover with the minimum increase in airspeed. In calmer conditions and when well trimmed, she can almost be lined up to land herself. The glide is hampered a bit by the props if you have no controller brake enabled but it’s still fairly flat - although thermal sorties are not really within its remit.

Bear in mind, also, that strength might become a factor for you. Pull a little hard during any manoeuvre and you’ll see the wings visibly bend under the strain. So, bearing in mind what I said about flinging the motors off I’ve always backed off a bit before something snaps.

With a few flights on a wintered strip under its belt the Twin Speedy looks a little grubby around the belly now. It’s difficult to know what to clean it with to be honest. Maybe extending the strip of trim further around the fuselage bottom would alleviate this but sooner or later you’ll hit the point where it begins to wrinkle around the compound curves. At this point, the heat gun would be a bad idea - polystyrene, remember!

All in all, it’s a pleasant model to fly. The kit is quick to build yet fairly basic, especially as it’s supplied without motors, fibre tape or finishing trim, which you might have expected these days. However, with the price tag set at just £49 it won’t bust the bank to buy the extra bits needed. If you’re capable of landing a toy fairly well and your Twin Star is looking very sorry for itself these days, the Twin Speedy might well be worth a closer look.