Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Electric Free Flight Test Model

I am always looking for new challenges in my model airplane hobby which consists of radio control and free flight models. My free flight models for the most part have all been rubber powered or gliders of different launch methods. In 2014 I had so much fun with a free flight discus glider until it finally flew away in a thermal. For 2015 I planned on building an E36 electric free flight the Pearl E202 , over the winter the wing and stabilizer were built. When spring came my thoughts were on flying and some repairs to keep the various models flying. 

Hank Nystrom of Texas Timers had been after me to get the E36 flying; I had purchased the electric components from him. As it had gotten well into summer and I still had not finished the Pearl E202 it occurred to me that I had a ½ A glow powered model that someone had sent to me without the motor, maybe the electric could go into this model for a test bed. That is what I did; electric motor, speed control, timer, and DT were put in the model that I would learn was a Starduster. 

With everything installed I set the timer for a very short motor run and a DT in 30 seconds. I was amazed at how this model that is considerably larger and heavier than typically E36 climbed so fast. I had visions of it smashing into the ground but it didn’t although the field had tall grass but was very small. The climb was to the right and a pretty good transition to the right.

The next chance to fly the Starduster was on a somewhat larger field with grass. I launched again but the plane had too much right and hit the ground breaking the motor loose. It was Labor Day and the auto parts store down the road was closed so I could not buy any epoxy, there was a grocery store open so I found some super glue.  With the field repair I had the Starduster flying again, flight after flight. The Tatone timer that was still on the plane came off so I added a bunch of clay for balance; looked like heck but it flew.

I had one chance to fly it from a large farm field where I didn’t have to worry so much about it drifting too far. That was a short flying session because it was getting dark. On some flights the DT was rather hard as it got close to the ground it went into a spin.  I added a wire landing skid but didn’t get a good chance to try that out.

The end of the 2015 flying season was rather windy so I have been RC slope soaring. I have resumed working on the Pearl E202 and plan to have it done for sure for 2016. There was much I learned with the Starduster but I am no expert on power free flight.  I look forward to more challenges.

Bill Kuhl

Related Links

Texas Timers
Pearl Free Flight



  1. The E36 I think would be the perfect plane for a scholastic program. Due to small fields at school yards I think we will need to build them as RC. So I propose a E36RC. This also allow for the added experence with servos and radios.

  2. I had thought of making my E36 RC and I might try that on the old plane in this article.

  3. I had thought of making my E36 RC and I might try that on the old plane in this article.