Half Scale Saab JAS 39 Gripen Takes Flight — Video

Half Scale Saab JAS 39 Gripen Takes Flight — Video

World’s Biggest RC Turbine Jet

There’s big and there’s BIG!!! This new RC turbine powered jet aircraft is the work of Frank Schroeder who has posted several images online covering its construction. It is a 1/2-scale Saab JAS 39 Gripen and it is 279.53 inches long and weighs in at an amazing 260.15 pounds!

With a thrust output of 220.46 pounds it has 18 liters (just under 5 gallons). Certainly at the upper range of the Large Aircraft Association’s regulations, this amazing jet is amazing to watch fly. You all had lots to say after seeing the video. Thanks to Patrice G. for sharing this video.

Updated: August 22, 2016 — 2:18 PM


  1. Fantastic ! Looks like a foammie flying, apparently very low wingload. Congrats for the paint scheme (Brazilian Flag)

  2. Really amazing to watch. Fantastic job. What is the engine (turbine) from? Sounds like an APU turbine.

  3. Nice but where do we stop

  4. Incredible model! Thanks for covering this story.

  5. Now that bores some holes in the sky! Really sweet. How come they didn’t suck the gear up? Or was this an early test flight?

  6. Very nice on achieving the 50% size… but as a scale flying plane it fails miserably… too light a wing loading and to much drag by the delta wing for the turbine. The speed regime it flies in is unrealistic… sorry!

    1. The biggest model jet made, and it fly’s beautifully…and you have to point out it doesn’t fly to-scale?! Maybe if the builder could find/afford a retired cruise missile turbine, and it could carry 100 gallons of fuel, and they could lengthen the R/C field by 2000′, and the pilot had perfect vision, and….it’d fly to scale.

      1. lol !! loved your comments DavidT! One achievement at a time!!!

    2. Yes, you are right it flies at speeds that allow it to land, take off, and fly from rc flying fields. If it flew at scale speed, it would only be able to fly at airports and would require telemetry at least or FPV at most to beable to maintain control. I’m sure the 1/2 scale jet that YOU HAVE built make this one look like a trainer. Amazing plane, awesome build, very nice finish. Incredible that it was built with a flight envelope that allows it to be flyable. Way to be Mr. Negative.

  7. Looks very similar to the F-16XL General Dynamics prototype, with canards.

  8. Bravo. A raving success. Stable and fun to watch.

  9. Too bad the AMA won’t let us build large scale Turbines in the states. 100lbs total flying weight limit. I love these big planes. I wanted to do the large L39 but it’s too big to be legal in the states.

  10. As I said David… cudos on being first to make 1/2 scale yet and beatiful finish… but flying around at 60-70 mph? Sorry… it fails. Doesnt have to go scale (600mph?) But it should be able to cruise at 120. As it is it looks like an overprized gigantic noisy glider

    1. Agree. Looks too slow, floaty.

  11. although not a fan of this super sized stuff I have to admire the planning and craftsmanship that went into getting this monster in the air. However, on the negative side my first impression was that this bird was woefully underpowered. I have no idea as to what the builder intended to accomplish. Perhaps he had and met his goal. Regardless, IMHO he did a magnificent job and he deserves to be congratulated.

  12. At the speed this plane is flying around at it is soon to fall out of the sky. Though that was going to happen on the first turn after take off.

  13. Beautiful Brazilian Flag scheme. Congrats to the pilot and builder for the great (and) big model. Wunderschön!

  14. Well done Mr. Schroeder! As a 43 year modeler (also have been flying jets since the mid ’80s), I can appreciate the time, effort, and dollars you invested in this project. I’m sure you expected criticism and have broad enough shoulders to ignore it. You could have added a plasma cloaking device and someone would have said it wasn’t scale because it didn’t phase-jump fast enough. As modelers fighting the whims of the FAA and full-scale fears of us, I would hope we were better stewards of our envy. Everyone is however entitled to their opinion. That’s mine with my sincere admiration of your craft!

  15. I am truly impressed with the construction ,paint ,etc.. But!!! in my humble opinion this project is totally A waste of time and money as an “R.C. CONTROLLED PLANE “.Do servos ever fail ,does other electronics ever give out ,or batteries go dead ,or wire connections ever fail,not to mention the ever present pilot error,even from the experts ?? At 260 # +/- and at even a none scale speed, the accident damage could be tremendous.Again , I admire the craftsmanship , effort and tenacity put into a show quality example of what can be done by an expert model maker ,but to fly beyond the initial maiden flight is ,I believe ,not prudent —-

    1. You’ve got to be kidding, as long as this plane is flown within the safety guidelines established by the AMA, it is just safe as any other model aircraft. Amazing how negative people can be.

  16. There are those who can build a beautiful model and those that wish they could. Those who wish they could stand around being negatively critical.

    Such superb craftsmanship! Thank you for the video.
    Such and impressive model!


  17. To Dave, personally I’m much more fearful of being taken out by some moron behind the wheel than an expert RC guy flying his pride and joy, especially one that probably cost more than I make in a year. More interesting to me is that it would be illegal to fly this amazing plane in the land of he free and the home of the brave. We put a man on the moon in 1969. Ever wonder why we haven’t been back?

  18. Perspective – it is BIGGER than the Bede BD5J, only slightly less powerful engine, substantially lower empty weight and the BD5J will fly at 200 mph. My guess is the engine was not at full throttle and that definitely impacted speed.

  19. Wow, what an incredible jet plane! Really fantastic, in flight as well. Congratulations on such a bird and beautiful craftsmanship!

  20. wow so so awesome my friend beautiful job guy.

  21. An amaing jet but if this video is of the same model it didn’t last long.


    1. Yeaj, just got destroyed. Such a shame, beautiful RC model.

  22. The full size aircraft can weigh approx. 30,000 lbs . 1/2 scale replica maybe should have a little more than 260 lbs worth of wood, fiberglass,carbon fiber,and metal and such if it wants to withstand the forces involved IMHO. This is less than your average ultralite. Videos of previous flights show repeated tail strikes on landing.

  23. Senna would be proud of this one……

  24. Giant scale Scratch built jets and others are always a welcomed avenue for those who love to expanded the envelope of our art/Hobby. Don’t stop, but do focus on the exponentially large forces they encounter and over design structures for such. Not any easy task nontheless. Great work and looking forward to your next scratch build

  25. Nice model… it is a pity that it was so poorly built and was destroyed so shamefully!

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