Really BIG RC planes, part 2

Aug 29, 2012 16 Comments by

My post on Greg Hayfield’s 87% Pitts Python generated nearly 100 comments last week, from admiration to disbelief that someone would build and fly such a huge RC plane. Dave’s father Greg added to the discussion and shared that in the UK, large-scale RC aircraft  (over 20kg, or 44 pounds) are subject to stringent inspections during the build as well as exhaustive flight tests with inspectors at the field. I’d like to share his comments here along with some videos of other giant planes that Greg sent to me.

“Reply from Dave, Greg’s Dad and a professional electronics engineer, modelling for 50+ years and a long standing member of our UK Large Model Association. A model of this size and any model over 20 Kg has to go through the most strenuous checks required by our CAA before it can be flown anywhere. The construction is inspected thoughout its build to the same specs as any full size aircraft. As far as flight testing is concerned our CAA requirements for a model of this size are that it should be flown for not less than 2 hours  which has to include 12 takeoffs and incorporating the style of flying that this type will be perfoming at displays.

We are modellers, althought many of our LMA members are airline pilots or general aviation flyers and we enjoy building large scale models. These large aircraft are only flown from airfields, not club sites, and mainly to entertain the general public who flock to our model airshows which we organise throughout the summer months. What is the point of putting on an airshow with models more at home on your club patch? People come to see something different and that is what we strive to do. I’m probably tempting fate here but our safety record over the last 20 years has been exemplary with very large models and recently, with the introduction of turbines, very fast models. (Take a look at our website.) All aircraft have to have failsafe systems incorporated and very strict proceedures are adhered to at all airshows. The resulting financial income from our events has provided funds for many of our aircraft museums and since we are all enthusiasts we are indepted to the museums for keeping the fine craft from our past available. I see some correspondents are not to positive about our large models, all model flying has its risks, so has motor racing, hang gliding, anything where faults can occurr but we can’t all be wrapped in cotten wool all our lives, you may walk in front of a bus tomorrow, who knows? Safe flying is no accident!” I’d like to thank both Dave and Greg for sharing more information about these impressive aircraft with us, and you can look forward to more information on Greg and his “monster” Pitts Python in a future Model Airplane News.

This PT-17 Stearman is powered by an 800cc 7-cylinder radial engine and weighs in at 265 pounds. It was videotaped at the 2011 Euroflugtag in Rheidt, Germany.

This huge Bücker Bü 133 Jungmeister was videotaped in Poland in 2010.

Debra Cleghorn

About the author

Executive editor About me: I’m a publishing professional who has a passion for aviation and RC, and I love creating issues, books and a website that help RC pilots to enjoy this sport even more. I admire scale aircraft and enjoy the convenience of flying smaller electrics.

16 Responses to “Really BIG RC planes, part 2”

  1. Roger says:

    absolutely awesome, thanks Debra for sharing this , and never mind the negative people

  2. Luke says:

    That PT-17 is just beautiful! What I’ve found over the years is that those who are apposed to others activities are so because of generally two things, jealousy and fear because of ignorance. America has become the land of the terrified and the lawyers, where complete safety is the ultimate goal. Reading the negative responses on your last article, I would attribute most of those to jealousy however. Some saying why not just build a full scale plane? lol! That is a combination of jealousy because the commentator has no money himself and ignorance. I’m proud of you boys over the pond, cheers to freedom.

  3. Raul says:

    Yessssssssss!!!!!!!!!!! That’s what I’m talking about, awesome, magnificent, and spectacular!!! Not just the size, but also how beautiful that PT-17 is and how well it flies. Congratulations to the builder and the pilot as well. Thank you Debra for article, the videos and staying true to your principles; do not let the narrow minded individuals change you! I’m pretty sure that those who advocate the censorship of information will start spewing out their ignorance and envy soon enough. You just keep on doing what you do and never mind the extreme “Reich.”

  4. John Clark says:

    Thanks for posting this Debra, clears up the confusion and for providing the comments of Dave Hayfield pointing out that there indeed rigorous build, flight, and safety checks for these magnificent flying machines :)

  5. Brian Martin says:

    As mentioned previously, I love the Stearman and although nothing as big, I have two 1/3 scale Balsa USA Stearman. I hate being the one to comment negatively, just have to say the model is great BUT… the wheels are too small and the pilot flies from the rear cockpit when flying solo. What capacity radial is up front?

  6. Brian Martin says:

    OK, sorry, Should have read the complete artical. 800cc is quite a lot of motor.

  7. J_0TAY says:

    i’ve been an airplane modler for over 50 years. However, I feel that if a plane is too big to fit in a standard station wagon or SUV…….then it is no longer a “model” and the bigger it gets the more DANGEROUS it gets! People say “Big Flys Better”. Well what’s wrong with using your “skill” to build and fly something smaller and safer! I’m not suprised that the FAA in the U.S. is trying to “regulate” aero modeling in the U.S. People have gone Far Over Board with “Big”!!! If they want “BIG” they need to join EAA and build planes they can ride in!

    • Terry Solesbee says:

      The big planes are cool And I don’t see your problem with someone else spending their time and money doing what they think is exciting and doing it by the rules that govern them.Can’t do that here in the USA because of people like you that would make rules like if it doesn’t fit in an SUV or station wagon you can’t do it ! you sure are a spoiler.!

  8. Les says:

    Whatever the size of plane, I am always amazed at the skill and expertise required to produce such magnificent models.
    I have been building since 1938 and I’m 81 years old to-day, and I readily admit that I do not have the skill to build such magnificent models, or the money either.
    BUT, I can thorouly enjoy such models and congratulate the builders and flyers.
    SAFE FLYING AND HAPPY LANDINGS!

    Les Harding

  9. Paul says:

    I just love it and wish that I could go to one of the shows of them

  10. Bob says:

    Some people, for one reason or another, cannot fly full scale planes. (I’m not talking about skill), so this would be the next best thing.
    I’d love to have the engine from the Stearman just to run on a stand! Sounds GREAT!! By the way, I’ve flown a full scale Stearman and they fly easy and gentle. Aerobatics are like a ballet in the sky!

  11. Anonymous says:

    There are pros and cons for a plane that size. Knocking someone for a difference of opinion and labelling them is sad. If we respected each others opinions we may all live a happier life. Labels are the easy way out of any issue.

  12. Max says:

    Wow. Loved it!!!

    Big is beautiful!

  13. mike says:

    is the Bucker electric? cool airplanes!

  14. tim hladik says:

    whatever turns your crank! Looks like more trouble than their worth!

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