Half-Scale Pfalz D.III Update with Flight Video

Jan 31, 2012 17 Comments by

 

 Today, giant scale has developed into a whole new sector of the RC modeling community and truly gigantic planes are being developed to fill this growing special interest group. Recently, a ½-scale Pfalz D.III WW 1 German fighter successfully flew its first test flight and impressed everyone who was there. The plane is a custom built model built from an Arizona Model Aircrafters Short kit that includes many prefabricated parts. Jaime Johnson of Scottsdale, AZ is the owner/operator of the company and he developed the ½-scale project starting with a set of Tom Polapink drawings, and incorporated many traditional modeling materials with lightweight Experimental Ultralight Aircraft materials and construction techniques to produce a plane that’s both scale, and that conforms to the new Academy of Model Aeronautics super giant scale RC aircraft guidelines.

 
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Exclusive First Test Flight Video, Courtesy of Jaime Johnston/Arizona Model Aircrafters

 

The aircraft has a wingspan of just under 15 1/2 feet and it is powered by a 210cc twin inline ZDZ gas engine which turns an impressive 36×12 prop. Bill Powers was the lucky test pilot and the aircraft was built by John Deacon, Bob Frey and Bill Powers. All the formers are made of plywood and the fuselage is sheeted in balsa (the full-size aircraft’s sheeting was plywood,) and the wing ribs are made from balsa and in some areas stiff cardboard capped with capstrips. The main spars are made of plywood and use I-beam construction.

Bill used a JR 9503 2.4GHz transmitter and Hitec heavy-duty giant scale digital/programmable servos. Two for the elevator, and one each for rudder and ailerons. The ailerons being so far apart, use fiber optic servo leads and each aileron servo has its own LiPo battery pack for power. All rigging wires are functional (250lb. test braided fishing leader,) and the shock absorbing landing gear uses bungee cord suspension and the wheel are 18-inches in diameter and are from a bicycle shop. They are fabric covered to look scale.

 

The flying weight of this WW1 monster is 108 pounds and Jaime Johnston said: “I’m a bit jaded being involved in RC Scale airplanes for more than 17 years, but when our new Pfalz’s engine cranked up and it took off, I was amazed and had goose bumps! It really is a sight to behold.”

Short kits are available from Jaime and they are custom assembled to meet the customer’s requirements. All the hardware is included as are welded landing gear and many scale fittings and detailed parts. Because of shipping limitations, there are no “long wood” parts included. Realtime Tech Help is available and contact information is at the company’s website at: www.arizonamodels.com

 

Of the first flight, Bill comments that: “Takeoffs and landings are actually fairly easy and it is a wonderful flying honest airplane. Being the first flight it did need some trimming and he is going to add more aileron travel. Everything else felt great!”

Right now the ½-scale Pfalz is hanging in a hangar at the Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force Museum in Mesa, Arizona. The full-size historical aircraft organization is hosting a WW 1 aircraft event and they wanted the impressive monster to be present at this full-scale aircraft event.

Featured News, Gerry Yarrish

About the author

Senior Technical Editor About Me: I have a lifelong passion for all things scale, and I love to design, build and fly scale RC airplanes. With 20 plus years as part of the Air Age family of magazines, I love producing Model Airplane News and Electric Flight.

17 Responses to “Half-Scale Pfalz D.III Update with Flight Video”

  1. Jed says:

    C’mon where’s the video. Pictures are worth a thousand words but nothing beats video and sound too!

  2. Baron says:

    WW I era planes are one of my favorite RC planes and that Pfalz is a really great piece of work.. I would have liked to see them add a pilot as that would be frosting on the cake.

  3. DAVID HADSALL says:

    THANK YOU HAVE A NICE DAY. DAVID

  4. Amos Palmer says:

    I agree with the other responses, a video would be great.

  5. Richard says:

    Whereas this large aircraft is very impressive, I believe this may be a dangerous trend for RC aircraft as a whole. One can imagine the FAA looking at these large models as another way to regulate our hobby. And I don’t think we need that!! The AMA was able to negotiate certain rules in our favor last year, but that may not be the case if we see models of this size appearing in the future. Just a thought for discussion………and I would like to see the video as well!!

  6. Wayne says:

    I agree with Richard,although i really like the plane. But with the FAA breathing down our necks maybe we should wait and find out what the ruelings are going to be before putting that kind of time and money in a amazeing airplane.

  7. gale throne ama 204248 says:

    Why does anyone care about a video, Once it’s in the air, it becomes small, and looks like anyother plane. What would be more interesting would be close up shots of system installation, hinging and scale details

  8. Edo McGowan says:

    I would like to know about the construction of the Mercedes engine. I’m working up a much smaller Gipsy Moth engine so any info you might have would be appreciated.

    edo_mcgowan@hotmail.com

  9. Chris Doherty says:

    Really cool! i cant see this becoming a trend. To expensive. the affordability of the smaller planes is what keeps this hobby going. Huge models like this will always be few and far between.

  10. Jan Labuschagne says:

    I love these big planes! They fly very scale like. I am the owner of a 45% Bucker Jungmeister, and enjoy every moment of it – even when it is not flying. Just looking at the monster is great! The Pfalz looks great! Would also like to see more build-detail on the model, as a previous reader has commented.

  11. Benja says:

    half scale !! what a work my friend. A little more effort a you can have your own full scale plane and piloting it yourself without radio. Don´t you think?

  12. Dick says:

    I agree with Wayne and Richard. With the recent article about the Stupid attempt by a deranged individual to use a model jet to deliver explosives, this size model will creat the illusion that it is indeed possible.

  13. Barb D says:

    Does anyone have a link to how scale size / weights are calculated properly?

  14. Tim OBrien says:

    Incredible achievement….. but – I sure hate to see a beautiful scale plane flying without a pilot!!! They don’t go up that way unless they’re a runaway!

  15. Greg McCullough says:

    I think it’s great! A beautiful job of building and a beautiful job of flying. Just as with the turbines, there should be waivers for special airplanes like this. Lets not stiffle our options or our enthusiasm. Great job guys!

  16. jeferson oliveira de almeida says:

    this, at superb planes :

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