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Building and flying radio controlled model airplanes was once a passion of mine. It's still a hobby that I have sitting on the back burner hoping to enjoy again in the future. Many of my planes are still hanging in the garage.

Here are a few pictures of my birds, past and present. Many of the following pictures were scanned from old photographs while the others were recently taken with my digital camera.

Sportster 40 Mach I Bipe Stik Cessna 182
At the field Bumble Bee Laser 200 Gliders

Click on any of the pictures below to view a larger image.


Sportster 40

  • Wingspan: 56"
  • Engine: Super Tigre .45
  • Weight: ~ 5.5 - 6 lbs.

I built this plane from a Great Planes kit and covered it to look just like the picture on the box. Construction is all balsa with an option to be built with standard tricycle gear or as a tail dragger. You can see I opted for the tail dragger option which looks smart, but can be bit tricky to handle on the taxiways. It's a fast and snappy flier complete with a smoker for those impressive stunts.

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Mach I

  • Wingspan: 62"
  • Engine: Super Tigre .61
  • Weight: 8 lbs.

I bought this plane at an auction so I don't know much about it's construction other than it has a balsa sheeted foam core wing. It's a stable, easy-to-fly pattern ship. I love making touch-and-goes with this plane. Make a slow low approach and touch down on the main gear while holding the nose wheel up. After rolling a good distance on only the main gear, the nose wheel settles down just before accelerating for the next takeoff.

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Bipe Stik

  • Top Wingspan: 44"
  • Bottom Wingspan: 38"
  • Engine: Saito .45 (4-stroke)
  • Weight: 5+ lbs

I acquired this plane from a friend that was retiring from the hobby. It's the classic Bipe Stik constructed of balsa and plywood. Power is supplied by a Saito .45 four stroke engine. This engine sounds great and has plenty of power for the plane as long as I can keep it running. Once the engine dies, this bird drops out of the sky like a rock since the glide ratio is very steep. Flying is a challenge and the tail dragger configuration makes ground handling difficult too.

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Cessna 182

  • Wingspan: 72"
  • Engine: K&B .61
  • Weight: 8 lbs.

This Pica all-balsa kit plane was acquired from a friend in a built-up yet only partially finished state. I completed most of the finishing work.

There is a pilot bust in the cockpit and the pilot's head turns when the rudder and nose wheel turn. It has also been fitted with floats for flying off lakes.

This plane has been on display at several airshows including a booth the RC Bees of Santa Cruz County had at the Watsonville Fly-In and Airshow. The RC Bees of Santa Cruz County was one of the model airplane clubs I held membership in.

This scale bird flys just like the real thing. Executing a fine turn requires a little rudder in addition to the aileron/elevator combination.

The last two photos here show my Cessna sitting along side a Piper Cub built by my friend Al.

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At the field

Here are a couple of shots taken at the flying field. The first picture was taken at the Santa Clara County Model Aircraft Skypark (SCCMAS) when my friend Al and myself were members there. You can see Al sitting with his TrainAir 20, Piper Cub and Piper Comanche in the foreground. Next to him you can see my Sportster 40, Cessna 182, Bipe Stik and the Bumble Bee.

The second picture is my friend Al revving up the engine on his Northeast Aerodynamics Sport Air 40. It was taken at the RC Bees of Santa Cruz County flying field that was alongside the Pajaro river in Watsonville.

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The "Bumble Bee"
  • Wingspan: Unknown
  • Engine: .40-.45

Northeast Aerodynamics made some excellent kits. They were easy to build all-balsa kits with stable flying characteristics. Super planes for learning how to fly RC.

This Northeast Aerodynamics TrainAir 40 kit acquired the name Bumble Bee because it was yellow and flew so much. It was built by one of my friends and changed hands two or three times before it ended up in my fleet. It's also been repaired numerous times as each of us had crashed it once or more. Unfortunately, it bit the dust one time too many and has since been scrapped.

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Laser 200
  • Wingspan: 55"
  • Engine: .40
  • Weight: 5.7 lbs

This ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) kit was pre-built and offered as a raffle prize by one of my modeling clubs. My first wife won the raffle and I was lucky enough to end up with this great flying ARF.

I enjoyed many flights with this aerobatic champ. One of my favorite stunts was performing multiple flat spins ... that is until the time I was unable to pull out of the spin and it spun all the way into the ground. Needless to say, this plane is now history.

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Gliders

Glider flying is much different than flying engine powered RC aircraft. You rely wholly on thermals or wind currents to stay aloft. This is a real challenge sometimes but can also be a very relaxing method of enjoying RC flying.

Most of these pictures were taken up at Summit Meadow which was a fantastic place to fly. In the first picture, you see my friend Steve with three of our earlier birds. The red and orange bird was shredded when it dove through a fir tree due to loss of battery power.

To get flying again quickly, my friend Steve and I each bought a pre-built glider from Sheldon's Hobby shop. These were all-balsa Pussycats from Bob Martin kits. Steve got the orange one I got the pink one. In the middle left picture you can see them sitting together in the grass at Summit Meadow.

The top right picture shows Steve about to launch his Pussycat. And you can see Steve's Pussycat in flight at Summit Meadow in the bottom left picture.

You can get a good look at my pink Pussycat in the two pictures at the lower right.

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