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Model Airplane News February 2021

Model Airplane News is the brand that started it all back in 1929, and it remains the trusted resource for RC aircraft enthusiasts everywhere. Written for the full spectrum of RC airplane, helicopter, and multirotor fliers—from beginners to seasoned pros—Model Airplane News entertains and informs with on-the-flight line event coverage, impressive flight techniques, detailed flight reports, DIY workshop projects, and much more.

United States
Air Age Media
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12 Issues

in this issue

1 min
the competition continues

Every spring, Frank Tiano’s Top Gun Scale Invitational has heralded the beginning of the flying season, offering builders an opportunity to show off their projects in Lakeland, Florida after a winter spent finishing them in their workshops. Unfortunately, the 2019 Top Gun—along with the rest of our RC events and shows—was postponed due to Covid-19. When Frank rescheduled the event for the end of October, Top Gun 2020 became a homecoming of sorts after a too-long spring and summer of social distancing. With 91 elite RC pilots competing in 10 classes, this year’s Invitational prevailed over the pandemic, albeit with more hand-sanitizer stations and distance between the pilot tents. Check out our special expanded feature this month, where we get up close and personal with these incredible planes and their…

3 min
lockheed model 10 electra

This ⅛-scale scratch-built model is the same type of plane Amelia Earhart was flying when she disappeared in 1937. Mark shares that he built the plane for his club’s winter building contest, starting by enlarging plans from an image he found online. The 83-inch-span model has split flaps and scale ailerons with Robart HingePoints. Powered by two Rimfire 32 motors spinning APC 10x5.5 props, it has electric retracts and custom TWA decals from Callie Graphics. Mark writes, “This was my first time making molds and fiberglass parts for the nacelles and cowls. [The plane] came in at 15.5 pounds and flies great.” SUPER SPORTSTER Wayne Cook, Newark, California After a friend gave him this Great Planes model, Wayne converted it from glow to electric power. He also lengthened the nose so it would…

2 min
hobby hacks

No-Slip Straightedge When you have to make long, straight cuts in balsa sheeting, like when you repair wings, your ruler can slip and ruin the cut, or worse, injure yourself. A simple trick is to use a suitably long sanding bar. I attach the sandpaper so one edge is clear of the grit and use that edge as a cutting guide. The sandpaper makes a no-slip grip on the balsa sheeting. Michael Radcliff, Southbury, Connecticut Mixing Pads To avoid the mess and cleanup of mixing two-part epoxy glue, I recycle my second-class junk mail as a handing mixing pad. Glossy color print brochures are especially useful as the epoxy does not soak through the paper. Ripped into convenient 4x6 sized pieces, you will have plenty of pads to use. When done mixing and applying…

5 min
getting started in fpv

I've always wanted to explore the world of FPV drones, but I found myself intimidated by its complex nature. I knew that entering FPV required strategic selection and assembly of certain components that were required for flying. For example you need the drone, controller, goggles, camera (transmitter), receiver, batteries, and charger, and they all need to be compatible. Generally speaking, when building an FPV drone I realised that I would have to select a specific number of components to build a craft I was capable of flying. Then I would have to deal with purchasing a controller and understanding its protocols, which are another big learning curve when entering FPV. I found it all a bit too much to take in. The game changed, however, when I recently stumbled across a company…

4 min
building bench & workshop tips

I have built countless RC models, from kits, plans and even my own scratch designs. For the most part, building an RC model is a lot easier than most beginners might think. If you have assembled a few ARFs in the past however, you’ll have the basic knowledge of how things go together so by choosing a simpler design to start with, you’ll do just fine. Just don’t start with a B-17 bomber of a P-51 Mustang! THE BASICS Here are some of the basics to keep in mind while setting up your workbench. Keep it straight. In my workshop I use two interior grade hollow-core doors from the home-improvement store, and made the legs and edge bracing using 2x4s and 1x4 boards all screwed together. Placed end to end, I have one…

2 min
top gun favorite mark chapman’s ⅓-scale albatros d.va

Hugh Ryder: Your Albatros D.Va is a beautiful model, what is the history behind the full-scale Albatros? Mark Chapman: The Albatros D.Va was manufactured by the Albatros Company. It was built in their factory by boat builders and cabinet makers because the bulkheads and the outer skins were all birch, like a boat. HR: What about the model? MC: The model came from a Balsa USA kit, in ⅓ scale. I started it in 2015, and it took me a year and a half to build it. I brought it to Top Gun in 2016 and had it static judged. I had a different powerplant in it at the time, and unfortunately, it failed while I was test flying it. From the static score, there were five things that I needed to…