Flying High With Electric Power!

The Ampeer ON-LINE!
March 2012
The Club Newsletter of the Electric Flyers Only, Inc
AMA Charter 2354
Walled Lake, MI, USA

Editor: Ken Myers

Fly the Future - Fly Electric!

What's On This Site:
Site Table of Contents

Ken MyersRichard UtkanRick Sawicki
1911 Bradshaw Ct.240 Cabinet5089 Ledgewood Ct. W.
Commerce Twp., MI 48390Milford, MI 48381Commerce Twp., MI 48382
(248) 669-8124(248) 685-1705248.685.7056
Board of Directors:Board of Directors:Ampeer Editor
David StacerArthur DeaneKen Myers
16575 Brookland Blvd.21690 Bedford Dr.1911 Bradshaw Ct.
Northville, MI 48167Northville, MI 48167Commerce Twp., MI 48390
Mailed Ampeer printed subscriptions are no longer available.
The Ampeer is FREE on-line in Acrobat .pdf format and HTML with active links!
The Next Meeting: Date: Thursday, March 15 Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: Ken Myers' house, Commerce Twp., MI (see info above)

What's In This Issue?
A Different Power System Recommendation for Harvey's 80" PBY, Ken suggests another power system possibility Electric Twins, Are You Ready?, Ken discusses the four factors that must be considered for a first twin project.
A 1/4-scale Piper Tri-Pacer, Don Belfort shares a photo of his plane under construction. Michigan Source for Indoor 3D Types, Bill Mackey shares a source in Michigan.
Musing From Iowa on Wing Cube Loading, Plenny Bates shares info on the WCL of two of his gliders. Looking for Plane Plans?, Tom Cimato reminds us where to look for some classic plans.
Good February 2012 Issue, Art Lane shares photos of his Lasy and indoor Heli and an indoor venue in Canada. RC Safety Item: ArmSafe, Doug Schumacher shares info on his latest product.
Maxx Products Arming Switch, info on the arming switch from Maxx Products. Indoor Flying Equipment Source, Alex Stockli shares a source he found
A Brooklyn Dodger Conversion, Willie McMath shares his conversion of this old-timer with photos. RC Micro World Continues, Bob Aberle shares some info on this e-zine.
RCadvisor Calculator Now 100% Free, Carlos Reyes site now FREE and more and articles available.
Upcoming E-vents

A Different Power System Recommendation for Harvey's 80" PBY
By Ken Myers

     The February 2012 issue of the Ampeer presented a power system recommendation for a scratch-built 80" PBY; "Twins: An 80" PBY Power System".
     At an expected flying weight of 11.25 pounds, I recommended a power system that would provide about 1125 watts in.
     While the power system that I recommended should work, I have since rethought the recommendation. I did NOT like the high amp draw, for me, from the battery of anywhere from 60 to 80+ amps depending on the prop used.
     The battery pack voltage can be increased by going from my recommended 5S Li-Poly pack to a 6S. A 6S Li-Poly has a NOMINAL VOLTAGE of 22.2v. 1125 watts in / 22.2v = 50 amps.
     Again I used the information for the Cobra line of motors at Innov8tive Designs. According to the propeller test results for the Cobra C3520/14 (4346-700, 216g), a 10x5x3 Master Airscrew at 22.2v volts yields; 27.52 amp, 610.9 watts in, 12,740 RPM and a pitch speed of 60.3 mph.
     The Castle Creations' Ice or Ice Lite 50-amp ESCs remain a good choice for speed controls, but the battery can be a single 6S1P 5000mAh Li-Poly.
     I believe that this is a lot better way to go because it eliminates any parallel pack harnesses or wiring while still 'feeding' both motors from a single pack.

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Electric Twins, Are You Ready?
by Ken Myers kmyersefo@the

     Twin-engine aircraft, twins, seem to fascinate many RC modelers. Maybe it is an historical image we carry in our minds. We can picture a Doolittle B-25 lifting from the deck of the Hornet or the sleek design of a de Havilland DH-88 Comet.

     Unfortunately, all too often our fantasy, when put into practice with a model twin, doesn't work out all that well.

Are Twins Really More Difficult to Fly?

     Several EFO members and friends fly twins on a regular basis. Keith Shaw flies his DH-88 Comet "Black Magic" or an Aero Commander Shrike or his modified TwinStar seaplane. Jim Young might have his self-designed DH-88 Comet or Gloster Meteor. Denny Sumner may have his Sportwin, Super Sportwin or HOB Commander/Shrike. Paul Sockow might be seen flying his Multiplex TwinStar II. Jim Senia brings out his Dynam Grand Cruiser Twin. Tom Bacsanyi usually has his big P-38 at many of our outings. Rick Sawicki has a Banana Hobby P-38.
     What do all of these pilots and all of their planes have in common? They all use electric power systems in their planes. They have removed one of the big headaches of flying a twin by using a reliable power system.

Factors Influencing Twin Success

     There are four factors that greatly influence the success of any twin.
     The first factor is the wing cube loading. A review article, "Cubic Wing Loading (CWL)" is found at
     More information on Wing Cube Loading (WCL) may be found in the Site Table of Contents at the EFO Web site. Look for the heading Cubic Wing Loading.

     I have found seven WCL levels.

Level 1 ? - 2.99 oz./cu.ft. flies like indoor

Level 2 3 - 4.99 oz./cu.ft. flies like backyard flier

Level 3 5 - 6.99 oz./cu.ft. flies like park flier

Level 4 7 - 9.99 oz./cu.ft. flies like trainer/sport

Level 5 10 - 12.99 oz./cu.ft. flies like adv. sport

Level 6 13 - 16.99 oz./cu.ft. flies sporty for an Expert

Level 7 17+ oz./cu.ft. requires expert finesse on the sticks and a complete understanding of the things not to do with the particular aircraft!

     The majority of planes flown by the whole RC Community, electric/glow/gasoline, are WCL Level 4 planes. On any given day at an RC flying field you see more planes that belong in Level 4 than any other type.

     Over the years I have logged data for over 600 individual aircraft. The data comes from reviews in magazines, online and personal experience. The data in the graph demonstrates that Level 4, 7 oz./cu.ft. through 9.9 oz./cu.ft., is the dominate type of RC aircraft. Well over 1/3 (218) of the logged planes are of this type.
     The data, in Excel workbook form, is at
     The majority of RC twins are found in WCL Levels 5, 6 and 7!

     The majority of RC pilots fly planes in WCL Levels 1 - 4 or 5.

     A second factor that influences the success of a twin is speed. There is no, or very, very little data available on actual flight speeds for the majority of RC models.
     In his article, "Electric Twins", by Keith Shaw, Model Airplane News, Dec. 1991, he notes "Actual flight speed for streamlined twins will be at the prop (pitch) speed or a little faster. Twins with higher drag such as large radial cowls or large cross-section fuselages might only be 85 to 90 percent of the prop (pitch) speed."
     I have calculated the median pitch speed and average pitch speed for the 600 models based on their stated prop pitch and RPM.

     The graph shows the median pitch speeds for electrically powered prop planes in WCL Levels 1 through 7. Median indicates that half the planes are faster and half slower, but it gives a reference point.
     The trend is quite clear. As the wing cube loading (WCL) level increases, the median pitch speed also increases. Most of the electric planes at the flying field, WCL Level 4, are flying at a median pitch speed of about 50 mph. Most twins are found in levels 5 through 7 where the median pitch speeds are between 58 mph and 62 mph.

     The third factor is wing planform and overall design. As demonstrated by the photo of the crashing DH-88 near the beginning of the article, a highly double-tapered wing planform can sometimes provide unwanted consequences, even worse than when used on a single engine aircraft.

Advice For a Successful Twin Project

     There is little help online regarding the selection and tips for a twin project. There are two articles online that provide some tips for glow powered planes. They are "So You Want To Fly Twin Engine RC Planes" author unknown and "twin tips - 1/21/2012" by Ed Moorman.
     Both articles stress the importance of having a reliable power system, which using an electric power system provides.

     Both authors are vague about wing loading.

Author Fly Twin, "Wing loading is higher than standard airplanes and so landing speeds are faster... Do not try to slow down and risk a stall..."

Ed Moorman, "5. Twins are heavy... and have a higher wing loading.
6. Twins land faster. Since they are heavier, a twin tends to land a little bit faster..."

Increasing the Chance of Having a Successful First Twin Experience

     For the 'typical' sport pilot, it is a good idea to select a plane with a lower WCL than a typical twin.
     As with most things in life, there are exceptions. Twins are no different.

Exceptions Table

     According to Model Aviation, Feb. 2012, page 97, Jeff Weisend's DC-3 has an astoundingly low WCL of 3.74 oz./cu.ft. and flies like a backyard flier. With a wing area of approximately 1420 and a weight of only 7.25 lb./116 oz. it is truly amazing. This is not something a typical modeler would be able to create, not that they might want to.
     As noted in the text, "... the model looks better in the air from a distance, as one can see the effect on the plane of the slightest breath of wind."

     The Multiplex TwinStar II is a good place to start a 'twin experience'. It has the WCL of a park flier, although it is too heavy to fit the AMA definition of a Park Flyer, but it flies like one.

Click on photo to open the link to the builder's site

     A biplane twin like the de Havilland DH-84 Dragon-2 or the DH-89 Rapide are good choices.
     The biplane configuration lowers the WCL. With no retracts, the weight is kept down and construction kept simple.

     The New 310-Scale 90 - 92.5" Twin Engine Nitro Power Radio Controlled Plane ARF is a glow powered plane but has what appears to be an extremely low WCL, based on their specifications.
     None of the data that I've collected on RC planes ranging from 1000 and up suggests the advertised flying weight of 11 lb. is possible.
     Dick Pettit Associate Editor of R/C REPORT Magazine reviewed this plane.
     His weighed 16.5 lb. WCL at 16.5 lb. is 9.5 oz./cu.ft. Although powering this plane would be very expensive, it could make a good first twin electric.

     A twin the size and weight of Keith Shaw's "Black Magic" is best left to the master. The empty fuselage weighs just 4 oz. Can you do that?

     The Dynam Grand Cruiser Twin flies like a sport plane. Anyone who is comfortable flying sport planes should be successful with it.

     The SIG Do 217 provides one more clue to producing a successful twin. It has a WCL on the high side of sport or low side of advanced sport, which indicates that folks who generally fly planes in the Level 4 category shouldn't have a problem flying it. The designer used several "tricks" to make this a twin that can be flown by the 'masses'.
     One reason that it flies like a sport plane is because the designer enlarged the wing. Using the fuselage length to scale the model from the full-size plane, it is about 1/19-scale. At 1/19 scale the wing area should be 242 With a 242 wing the model would have a WCL expected of a typical twin, ~16 oz./cu.ft. Using the wingspan, the plane scales to about 1/16-scale. At 1/16 scale the wing area would be about 349 The given wing area for the model is 335 By enlarging the wing the designer moved the WCL to just about 10 oz./cu.ft, which makes it a bit easier to fly for most RC pilots.
     Also, by having the rudder and the landing gear as "optional", the designer cut down on the ready to fly (RTF) weight.

     The fourth factor is pilot experience.
     To learn what your pilot experience is, inventory the planes that you fly day in and day out and calculate their wing cube loadings.

WCL = RTF weight in ounces / ((wing area/144)^1.5)

     The highest WCL of your regularly flown fleet indicates the level that you are comfortable flying at.

     For me, it would be my Bill Griggs Rocket and my self-designed E-250. The Rocket has a CWL of 16 oz./cu.ft and the Lightening (yes, I meant Lightening not Lightning) E-250 14.9 oz./cu.ft. Both are CWL Level 6 types. Personally, I would choose a twin like those listed in the Level 5 table to start with and then move up through each progressive level to reach my 'ultimate scale twin'.

Powering a Twin

     Whenever possible, follow the recommendation of the manufacture, designer, supplier or what was used on similar types and sizes found in the modeling press or online.
     If that is not possible, selecting a power system for a twin propeller type plane depends on ground and fuselage clearance. The largest diameter prop should be chosen that provides sufficient clearances.
     There are many ways to select an electric power system, if one is not recommended. If you are unsure of how to do that, please drop me an email, and we will discuss it here in the Ampeer, or give me a call. Also, see the February 2012 Ampeer. I describe how to select a power system for an 80" PBY and that information may be applied to other twins as well. Also, the first article in this issue should help as well.

Final Tips When Choosing a Twin

1.) For your first twin, choose a subject with a WCL similar to or just below the WCL level you are comfortable flying at now. There is a lot to learn about twin engine operation. Learning to fly with a WCL greater than you are comfortable with should not be one of them.

2.) Before flying your twin, put in a lot of practice time on your highest WCL plane(s) and consider acquiring a single-engine type with an even higher WCL or even adding weight at the CG to a plane you already have.

3.) If you 'roll your own' designs, consider going through a series of steps to get to your ultimate twin. Remember that the more options* that are added to the airframe the heavier it becomes with a resulting higher WCL and the more difficult it becomes to fly.
(options* - anything that is added to the airframe that has nothing to do with controlling the airplane. Keep the Sig DO-217 design in mind; start with only the necessary flight controls, keep the landing gear simple, if used, and/or fudge the wing area of the early prototype.)

Wiring Twins

     Information about wiring brushless twins:


Web Links:

November 2004, Fly RC, Tom Hunt's article on multi-motor brushless power systems.

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A 1/4-scale Piper Tri-Pacer
From Don Belfort via email

Hi Ken,

     Here's my 2012 Project. It is a 1/4-scale Piper Tri-Pacer from Calvin's Classic Plans. I'll keep you posted on the Tri-Pacer!

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Michigan Source for Indoor 3D Types
From Bill Mackey via email


     Many of the better indoor 3D type flyers are using aircraft from Western Michigan Parkflyers. We fly in a smaller size church space. Web address


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Musing From Iowa on Wing Cube Loading (WCL)
From Plenny Bates via email


     Have enjoyed the Cube Wing Loading pieces.
     I have two electric sailplanes and a pure sailplane that have low sink and yet are clean and penetrate fairly well. Modern composite and balsa construction permits thin wing sections that still have good strength.
     The 2 meter Electron F5J (571" sq., 21.5 oz.) has a loading of 2.72 oz./cu. ft.
     The Ava electric (1100" sq., 54 oz .) has a loading of 2.56 oz./cu. ft. The AVA sailplane (37 oz.) has a loading of 1.75 oz./cu. ft.
     These are all in the "indoor" category as far as wing loading. No wonder they have low sink and are easy to fly.
     Sadly Kennedy Composites no longer sells the Ava series. They have the Electron F5J and a new Ava Pro series but it is harder to electrify than the Ava.
     My Electron F5J has 200W/lb. input and the Ava 300W/lb., so they climb well. A friend thinks he can build an Ava electric for altitude limited electric soaring (ALES) competition down to 44 oz. which would give a loading of 2.08. For ALES you need only enough power to get to 660' in 30 sec so the battery and motor can be fairly light.
     Bob Livin and I are looking forward to the Mid-Am and Keith's Birthday Party next season.

Plenny Bates

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Looking for Plane Plans?
From Tom Cimato via email

     I received this reminder from Tom. Check it out. KM


     Bob Aberle's "Frequently Asked Questions" column in the February 2012 issue of Model Aviation listed this plan service in the UK. Great source of downloadable pdf plans. Enjoy "hours&quit; of searching and nostalgia.

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Good February 2012 Issue
From Art Lane via email

     Ha, did I say your January issue was Fantastic? Well, you've outdone yourself this time. The February issue is a real keeper, even has indoor info. Told ya we'd get you into this. Many thanks Ken. GREAT Job.
     I've ordered a new receiver from Hobby King, for Ultralight indoor models and have pulled out my Lasey to revamp it along with a new heli I got. It is German designed but China made. I have had a ball with this one.
     I've sent some pictures of my latest project and our indoor with the new Parkzone cub and a fellow flyer with his Champ.
     Many thanks for the latest issue. I'll have to print this one off for the other fellows to read.
     I'll send more info on the Lasey as it gets nearer to flying time.


     Thank you so very much Art. Keep us informed on the Lasey. You might be interested to know that your name first appeared in the Ampeer in the July 1988 issue. Scroll to the bottom of the issue and there is your name on the map to the London field.

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RC Safety Item: ArmSafe
From Doug Schumacher via email

     You've probably seen this advertised in all the current RC magazines, but here's a little more 'background' on Doug. KM

Hi Kenneth,

     I'm a RC club member from the WRC Club in Gilford, NH. And after years of seeing propeller injuries, we developed the ArmSafe System to help reduce the possibility of propeller strikes. IT IS AN OLD IDEA IN A NEW PACKAGE. The product was developed out of necessity for a small, light, and high amp arming system. The product has gone through several iterations over the many months of development and testing, to make it as small and light as possible. It has been an exhaustingly long (and expensive) process to bring this product to market, but we are finally here!!!  
     Our goal was to create a great arming system to add another layer of safety to help keep our electric RC modelers safer. See them at

Thank you and Happy New Year,
Doug Schumacher

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Maxx Products Arming Switch

Click on image to open Maxx Products Web site
Scroll to the bottom of the page to view items

     As Doug mentioned, this arming switch has been on the market for quite awhile and has been mentioned in previous Ampeers.
     It is available with both Deans and Anderson Power Poles with 14ga and 12ga wire. Deans are shown in the photo. The arming plug is APP on this style.

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Indoor Flying Equipment Source
From Alex Stockli via email

Hi Ken,

     First of all, I would like to thank for your monthly information about EFO. I like it very much. Now, since the Winter season is here, the discussions about indoor flying is the number one theme with the club members. I am always looking for mini or micro motors and servos. While looking for parts on the Internet, I came on this page:
     The Chinese people have a lot of micro units, like 15 gram brushless motors and servos, escapements, etc. at very competitive prices. Probably you know this site already or if not, then look once into it.
     I came on this site because I was looking for mini devices for the Mud Bug I am building from Stevens Aeromodel. So maybe you can eventually give this address in one of your newsletters to the EFO fans.
     I take the opportunity to send you all my best seasons greeting for the coming days.

Yours Alex (Oldtimer, only 80 years)!!!!

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A Brooklyn Dodger Conversion
From Willie McMath via email

Hello Ken,

     Enjoyed your latest issue of the Ampeer.
     Here is my latest project with specifications and photos. It is a Brooklyn Dodger old-timer with electric power. It has a 72" wing span. Power comes from four "A123" 2300mAh batteries and two "A123" 1100mAh cells for the Xtreme link 2.4-Futaba 8aup set up. I will fly this in the spring. I can’t take this cold weather.
     Congrats on your Award. Well done.

Happy Holiday season to You and Family.
Willie McMath

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RC Micro World Continues
From Bob Aberle via email

     It is now published and edited by Roland Friestad. Roland took the place of the late, John Worth. (The Cloud 9 Web site should be up and running by the time you receive this issue. KM) We also have plans to place all 38 of my micro designs, that appeared as construction articles in RCMW, on to a single CD which will include access to full size plans and as a bonus will have a copy of my 120 page book/CD on the subject of micro/indoor RC flying.

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RCadvisor Calculator Now 100% Free
From Carlos Reyes via email

     I have launched a brand new version of my website, There are two major changes:

1. My model airplane calculator is now 100% free.
2. I'm posting at least one high quality article a day.

     With over 10,000 registered calculator users already, I expect the calculator to be more popular than ever. The feedback on the articles has also been very positive. I hope you like the changes.

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To Reach Ken Myers, you can land mail to the address at the top of the page. My E-mail address is:
EFO WEB site: