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Old-School Electric Puts on a Show

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This terrific video features legendary designer/builder Ivan Pettigrew flying one of his very popular float planes, the Short Solent 400. Powered by four GWS Speed 400 geared motors (remember those?!), it can fly for over 15 minutes on eight 3,000mAh NiMH cells. Videographer TripleThreatRC writes, “I was invited to visit the Chilliwack Electric Flyers Club to check out the action at the 2017 Ivan Pettigrew Land and Float Fly in British Columbia. The highlight of the day was getting to meet Mr. Pettigrew and to watch him fly one of his very popular float plane designs, the Short Solent. The wingspan on the Short Solent 400 was kept to 82 inches to make it easy to transport. Ivan also has plans for a 99-inch version, the Short Solent 480. Ivan is just a few ticks of the clock away from his 88th birthday and it was an honor to spend some time with him. Ivan hails from New Zealand and amongst other things, was a school teacher and then a professional pilot who flew missionaries all over South America paving the way for other adventurous pilots that fly from rough, short take off and landing runways as well as flying from runways at extreme altitudes (of more than 14,000 feet).”

Plans for Ivan’s planes are available at ivansplans.com.

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  1. Glad my old friend is still enjoying this hobby , I built my 480 short solent about 6 or 7 years ago from his great plans . I have two other plans from him , joe

  2. I have a Short Solent built from Pettigrew’s plans. Came with the same geared speed 400 motors. I found them to be quite inadequate! If you’re a great pilot, there’s a bit of chop on the water and you get lucky, they work fine but, off glassy water, won’t break the suction! Needs more power …. just put some Turnigy brushless 480’s on it and, as soon as I get the throttle mixing done, need to mix the outboard motors with the rudder for water handling, it will be RTF again.

    If you build it, don’t believe the “flies fine on the geared speed 400’s”. It doesn’t, needs more power than that.

  3. Sweet airplane. Construction? Foam? Balsa? covering? It looks to be very light. Nice flying there Ivan!

  4. It is constructed from balsa and is very light.

  5. The folks at Triple Threat RC labeled this video “Ivan Pettigrew and his Short Solent Float Plane”. It is not a float plane.

  6. Magnificent flight performance. Ironically, I just discovered Ivan’s plans a few weeks ago, and have been reading all I can about his Martin Mars, another elegant design. Please do an article on his seaplane designs.

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