Historic Aviation


The Great Planes Fokker DR-1 EP ARF is a pre-built balsa and plywood R/C parkflyer version of the historic WWI Triplane. It takes advantage of technology breakthroughs in electric power for long flight times and maintenance-free operation. The quick build ARF is ready to fly in just a few hours of assembly time.

For my complete review on RC Universe, go here.


Electric Conversion

Click here for my 7' Monocoupe electric conversion on RC Universe.

Click here for my "Monocoupe on Floats" thread on RC Universe.




1913 Rapid

In March 2006, I purchased this scratch-built design of a 1913 Rapid at a local auction. It was built in 2003 from Peter Rake proto-type plans by local modeler, David Ottney. The model came with a geared Speed 400 motor, 9x6 prop, and two GWS servos. I just couldn't pass it up!

I have added a new Encore dual-conversion micro receiver, Jeti 030 speed control, and a 3-cell Kokam 1500mAh pack. The Rapid appears ready to fly at 22.5oz.

Models and Plans of Peter Rake

From the Czechoslovak Aviation History:

Pilsen and Pardubice were the centers of Czech aviation in early 1900s. A flying club was founded in Pilsen in 1910. Its members, such as Cermak, Tucek, Bloudek, Potucek and Simunek, significantly influenced the development of aviation in the country. Aviation activities of the day reached their peak in the pioneering flights by Jan Kaspar and Eugen Cihak. Jan Kaspar covered the distance of 120 kilometers from Pardubice to Prague in his Bleriot in 1911: the longest flight in Austria-Hungary. Eugen Cihak became the first recognized Czech aircraft designer. He and his brother Hugo built their famous Rapid, which outclassed most of the contemporary types.


Graupner GeeBee

The 1928 GeeBee Sportster X was an early racing model from the Golden Era of aviation.

Check out my review of the Graupner GeeBee on the E-Zone.

bulletWingspan: 39.4" (1000mm)
bulletWing Area: 256 sq. in. (16.5 dm2)
bulletLength: 26.8" (680mm)
bulletFlying Weight: 24oz. (680g)
bulletMotor: Speed 480Plus
bulletProp: 6.5x4 
bulletCells: Graupner 8-cell 500AR NiCd
bulletSpeed Control: integrated w/motor
bulletRadio and gear: Hitec 555 micro receiver and 3 HS-55 sub-Micro servos
bulletManufacturer: Graupner Modelbau
bulletAvailable From: Hobby Lobby International Inc.

The Graupner Gee Bee is a foam ARF scale model of the 1928 Gee Bee Sportster. It is designed to fly on a direct drive Speed 480 motor with an all up stock weight of about 24oz. The plane has rudder, elevator, aileron, and throttle controls. The wing houses two servos that can either be connected to a single aileron channel or to separate channels for advanced aerobatics.

For my review, I used a Hitec 555 micro receiver and 4 HS-55 servos. The ESC was built-in to the Speed 480 Plus power system. I used the stock Graupner 8-cell 500AR pack for initial testing and then alternately tried a new HE cell 1100mAh pack. I also used the stock Graupner 6.5x4 semi-scale nylon prop and Graupner 6053.31 prop adaptor for 3.2mm shafts.

You can check out my entire review of the Graupner GeeBee on the E-Zone.

The GeeBee takes off with much more power using a Plettenberg Freestyle 24 brushless motor.

Check out my power system upgrade and review of the Plettenberg Freestyle 24 brushless motor here.


W.W.I. German Taube

This early observation aircraft (circa 1909) was called by the French, "the Invisible Aircraft". Because of the translucence of the clear doped linen covering the Taube was almost invisible when above 12OO feet. The world's very first "stealth plane"! It was one of the last WWI Scouts to use the wing warping method of control. The word 'Taube' means 'dove' in German and you can see how it got it's name.


bulletModel: Taube 40 from Balsa USA
bulletWingspan: = 62"
bulletWing Area = 680 sq. in.
bulletLength = 44"
bulletWeight: RTF @ 5.1lbs
bulletMotor: Kyosho Endoplasma
bulletMotor Mount: Sonic-Tronic ST-160 Speed 600 mount
bulletGearbox: Great Planes GD-600 geared 3.8:1 with 12T pinion
bulletCells: 10 cells of 3000RC NiMH
bulletProp: Master Airscrew (black) 11x7.5

My Taube is finished in more traditional German colors that makes it easier for the pilot (me) to see from the ground. A "stealth plane" is not a good idea for R/C.

I was just about to leave a local auction after I sold all my stuff that I had brought when this plane came up for sale. It was beautifully built and setup for glow flight but never flown. It was clean and "slime-free".

After reviewing the size and weight of this ship, I decided that an inexpensive E3D-like power system will work just fine. I also just happen to have one lying around. My Hacker Helio Courier has become a donator for standard size servos and a Futaba R127DF receiver. Although the Taube 40 is a big ship it has a relatively huge wing area and only needs a limited amount of power.

Although I knew the wingarea was huge, I didn't expect my geared Endoplasma to power it so nicely.

I used 10-cells of 3000RC NiMH and most of the flight was 1/3 - 1/2 throttle so it lasted forever.

Unlike the picture I posted above, the final position of the flight pack was way forward up against the firewall. Balsa USA e-mailed me the CG of 3.5" from the leading edge.

The rudder control was interesting to say the least. I was flying in a good deal of wind but had little problem with the weight and wingarea of the Taube.

The Taube really makes a distinctive silhouette in the sky! A very cool addition to my hanger.

Here are some interesting links to more information about the historic Taube:

1909 WWI Etrich Taube

George Eastman House Archive

WWI Hangar Tour

Propaganda Postcards

My plan to fly it at a local show worked out well. The combination of a historic design kit flying on electric power (especially a cheap $20 R/C car motor) was well received at the 2002 RCCR Ray Edmond Memorial Fly.


Ikarus Bleriot III

images/Bleriot.jpg (14795 bytes)When Hobby Lobby had their IKarus Bleriot III blowout sale for $19, along with the motor/gearbox/prop kit for another $10 , I just had to try my first Slow Flyer! The Bleriot series was a proven design and the Ikarus name was well known by seasoned slow flyers.

bleriot_gondola_thumb.jpg (22399 bytes) Slim1_thumb.JPG (4835 bytes) Slim2_thumb.JPG (5759 bytes)

I recently upgraded my Bleriot III to use #14 carbon reinforced "Fireline" from Berkely on my pull-pull control system and a new pilot "Slim" from Hobby Lobby. He weighs only a couple grams.


bulletIkarus Bleriot III SlowFlyer
bulletWingspan = 50"
bulletWing Area = 472 sq. in.
bulletLength = 34"
bulletRTF @ 12.0oz.
bulletIkarus 280 Speed motor
bulletGreat Planes Electrifly C-10 ESC
bulletAPC 12x5 Nylon prop
bulletx.x amps @ xxx RPMs with 7-cells of 350mA NiCd

Modifications from Stock:

bulletUnder the wing camber modification string
bulletuse 7-cells NiCd instead of the stock 6-cells
bulletReplaced wheels with 3.5" Lite Stik wheels
bulletadded a bushing to the stock gear drive


Wingspan: 40.1 in ... Wing Area: 253 sq in ... Weight: 12.4 oz
Wing Loading: 7.1 oz/sq ft ... Length: 25.5 in

Charles Lindbergh had to fly non-stop across the Atlantic to hear the roar of the crowds. Generate the same excitement in just 10-12 hours with the Spirit of St. Louis Park Flyer ARF! The fuselage, 1-piece wing and tail group already have a painted silver finish. Fairing material for the struts and realistic, scale-like landing gear is provided and painted just cut it to length. A replica radial engine, scale-like spinner and decals for authentic markings are also supplied. With its all-foam airframe, the Spirit is exceptionally light. The included 280-size motor can provide slow, gentle loops, graceful rolls and simple stall turns. With a 350mAh pack, you can count on up to 5 minutes of flight...and the admiration of onlookers when you land.

Check out my review on the Spirit of St. Louis here.

For more information on the Spirit of St. Louis go here. Additionally, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum hosts an informative Milestones of Flight Web page.