Monster DC-10 — Robert Pannell’s Best Electric Jet Performance Winner

Monster DC-10  — Robert Pannell’s Best Electric Jet Performance Winner

Florida Jets is an annual event in Lakeland, FL that has grown dramatically over the past few years—mostly due to site improvements and the huge, growing interest in jet RC flying.

DC-10  -- Robert Pannell’s Best Electric Jet

Adding impetus is the availability and accessibility of a wide variety of jet models and accessories. In general, the models are large, highly pre-fabricated and of amazing quality, usually consisting of composite structures. Most are also turbine powered; so why are we discussing them in an “electric” magazine? I think we can conclude the electric-ducted fan propulsion, to most enthusiasts anyhow, generally means a foam-structured model driven by a 70mm or smaller fan unit using a 3S or 4S battery. It may also include 90mm fan models with either foam or partially fiberglass components. Beyond this size, most electric jet models are either scratch-built or converted from other ducted-fan jet models.

DC-10  -- Robert Pannell’s Best Electric Jet

Beyond the offerings of Bob Violett Models, there wasn’t much at Florida Jets to satisfy the interests of electric “fans”; I don’t know whether it’s a cultural thing or just the fact that electric jet fliers feel intimidated by the bigger, more powerful and cooler sounding “big guys.” There was, however, one absolutely eye-watering machine on hand that was “right” in all regards AND was electric-powered: the amazing DC-10 cargo carrier designed, built and flown by Robert Pannell.

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Bob started with a 3-view drawing, lots of motivation (which he reports was challenged from time to time), and a desire to duplicate one of the fleet operated by his employer, UPS.

DC-10  -- Robert Pannell’s Best Electric Jet

Balsa and foam are the primary building materials employed along with fiberglass lay-up where necessary. Dimensionally, the wide body is 124 inches long and has a 112-inch span. For power, Bob chose a pair of Schuebeler DS94 carbon-fiber four-blade units turned by Steve Neu’s 1527/1.5Y motors controlled by a pair of Castle Phoenix 110-amp, high-voltage speed controllers. Juice is provided by a pair of 12S LiPos.

In flight, there appeared to be no shortage of power, as the sound told you it was cruising around at way less than full throttle—really amazing scale performance for a 42-pound model!

Illustrating how this wasn’t just a thrown together “proof of concept” model, it featured full functioning flaps, leading-edge slats, spoilers and speed brake in addition to an impressive lighting package! And all of the components fit together and worked perfectly! PPG Concept auto paint system was used for the finish to replicate the UPS livery, a far cry from the more often seen “painted in the mold” finishes! Bob received the “Best Electric Jet Performance” award” for his efforts and clearly showed that there are still builders out there and some very good ones at that. Kind of gives some of us lesser electric jet enthusiasts something to shoot for.

Well done, Bob!

Photos and Text by Rich Uravitch

Updated: April 10, 2015 — 11:20 AM


  1. Fantastic bird. All the controls working for the wings slats and flaps, plus it is Electric. BRAVO.

  2. Beautiful!…But why tail 806???? There is no N806UP in the UPS livery…800 series registrations were for the DC-8’s. 200 series numbers are used for the MD’s.

  3. Incredible craftsman for sure! Very impressive!!

  4. Stunning! wow.. Well done.

  5. Mr. Pannell,
    How long did it take to build this creature? Is there more information somewhere?


    Karl Schneider

  6. Do you have a video of it flying?

  7. Can we see photos of the flaps, slays and speed brakes deployed? Video? Fantastic plane!

  8. Well looks like a typical UPS landing …. no wonder everything electronics I order delivered by UPS is broken on delivery! 😉 A gorgeous model, but WHAT!! No video of this flight??? Come on!! Once again MAN delivers a 5 out of 10 in coverage.

    1. Google


      You will find one of his flights here!

  9. Excellent looking plane…! Would be nice to build one myself but od different advertisement. Any way the plans are available for this?

  10. Absolutely breathtaking, as well, with all the labor & focus, it would be a thrill, if you could take a ride, onboard,
    your DC-10 and give us a pilot’s cockpit view. Bob, you could put a camera, in the cockpit, so us land lovers
    would see the topography, from a scale aircraft, and pay no airfare.


  11. Great looking aircraft. The only thing is that UPS never operated DC-10s. They do have a sizeable fleet of MD-11s though. I used to work for UPS myself back in 2009 and that job was guaranteed to make you lose

  12. Splendid craftsmanship! Perhaps corporate will buy it from you for permanent display at HQ (to further fund your modeling efforts!)

  13. Superb. Congratulations.

  14. Looks “Real” to me, Well done!

  15. Awesome ! that”s what modeling is all about. so realistic.

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