E36: lack of interest

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    Here is a reply I sent to Al Lidberg as part of a conversation we were having about electric free flight and E36 in particular:

    I agree that E36 is a pretty lame event. I have a Sparks kit, but after seeing one at the field yesterday I don’t think I’ll build it. Too heavy with the full length sheet fuselage and the pylon. I think Bud Matthews said his weighed 190 grams. At such low power levels a pylon is just extra weight. It may LOOK like a high performance gas plane but sure won’t fly that way. I flew at the Astroflight first annual electric event at Mile Square in 1977 with a Brooklyn Dodger 020 replica. As I recall, it weighed 8 ounces and was anything but exciting to watch. The concept is OK but again here the electric gurus have made it too hard for the non electronic savvy to compete with the requirement for NLA (no longer available) batteries. Look at P30, plastic prop, no carving required. If we want to promote an entry level electric event then off the shelf components should be able to be used.

    I recently completed 2 electric free flights and flew them for the first time yesterday. The Tomboy used a speed control, battery and servo right off the shelf from the hobby shop. The Ztron timer had NO wires coming off it, just had 2 sets of pins to connect to the servo and speed control, like a 2 channel receiver would have.

    The Simplex is a straight half size redraw of the original 5 foot old time gas plane. I used an off the shelf R/C GWS motor/gearbox. The timer in this case was an “E36 Short timer” from electricfreeflight.com. It came with a mating connector to the motor. All I had to wire was the battery side with a mcro Deans plug, and of course the mating plug from the battery. I built a nicad pack but could have easily used a LiPo from a park flyer, along with a smaller prop to keep the current draw down.

    I think the Flying Aces old time gas replica event would be good, but with a limited engine run. If one is using LiPo batteries a timer is needed anyway to keep from going too low in voltage. The old way of timing the runs by battery charge won’t work with Lipos. The E36 short timer is only 25 dollars. For an entry level event just specify 36 inch span and a limited motor run and let the rest of the parameters sort themselves out. Overpowered lead sled vs. powered glider approach, which is best?

    I think the future flyers of free flight will come from the R/C park flyer ranks, not kids with rubber stick planes. There must be lots of crashed foamies out there with parts to salvage. Almost any sized free flight can be converted to electric without too much trouble.

    I’ve seen the FAI F1Q electric planes fly. They go up faster than gas planes. The cost is an issue, but those FAI guys were always the rich kids and they seem to like to spend money. I think that one could use the same plane for FAI and AMA electric B, but I’m not sure.


    John in the basement



    I agree. The use of 4 – 1.2V Ni Cd or Ni Mh cells limit the motor selection too much. The guys who want to win contests will spend the big bucks no matter what rules. It is supposed to be fun. Look at the class B elec event at the nats-If I remember correctly, Jim Jennings flew 24 maxes-who wants to do that? Personnally, I couldn’t! I guess, besides never being any good even when I was young, that contests bore me. But, have a fun fly event where I can see what others are doing, and I will try to be there. I love free flight and the new electric gadgets make it easy to fly again. I have an old Sundancer 330 powered with a GWS 2015 outrunner, same sergio timer you have, a Castle Creations 10 amp ESC, a Thunder Power 1320 2 cell LiPo, and a Cirrus 10 servo for DT. I can max easily (2min) with a 20 sec run, but I need thermal help to max at a 10 sec run. Can get a whole slew of flight with a single battery charge.

    Getting back to E36, I am recovering an old 020 Strato Streak (34 ” W/S) and plan on using a 4/1 geared 4.8V GWS 12 mm motor using the short timer as you have. I have a 020 Playboy at 36″W/S that I am going to build. Should be ok if I can bring it in at minimum weight. It would be easier if I could use your take on the rules.


    Larry Lake
    Pahrump, NV

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