Stinson Reliant – Aircraft Of the Month

The Reliant is one of my favorite vintage planes, its also one of the few vintage aircraft I got some decent flight hours in.

In the 90’s and early 2000’s the Tillamook Air Museum in Oregon had aircraft rides in a few aircraft, one of them N1942A was owned & flown by a very nice man named Larry who sadly passed away a few years ago. He Knew I was a pilot and once the aircraft was off the ground I got to fly it around Oregon’s scenic coast line on trips my family made to Oregon every 2 to 3 years. 

Flight characteristics are quite easy going with well balanced controls.

One of the best attributes of the Reliant is its “realistic” cockpit, cabin and useful load. It’s a common sad joke in the US that many general aviation aircraft when you divide useful load by seat plus small cabin sizes you end up having to be 5′ tall and 100 lbs per person. Not with the Reliant there is plenty of room and capacity to spare.

Here are some mint condition Reliants I saw at Oshkosh 06

Here i am standing next to one for scale.

 

Some of the Reliant’s where powered by a Guiberson A-1020 Air Cooled Radial Diesel engine, I came across this interesting video of them running one on the Cars and Engines YouTube Channel

There are some good RC options as well.

125″ Span by Dick Barron on Outerzone

https://outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=5680

57″ Span from Sterling on Outerzone

https://outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=2385https://outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=11765

Top Flite made a real nice 100.5″ version, its out of production but there are quite a few un-opened kits floating around.

One of my favorite Hobby Shops, Garves RC In Orlando has one you can order online, and they show up every now and then.

https://www.gravesrc.com/top-flite-stinson-reliant-sr-9-kit-1-08-1-99-100-5.html

Some Canada options for the same kit

https://www.greathobbies.com/productinfo/?prod_id=TOPA0310

and a good write up on the build and details

https://www.rc-airplanes-simplified.com/rc-model-airplane-kits.html

Søren Steinicke Sørensen YouTube Channel has some good videos on the Top Flite version

Some Interesting Finds about the Stinson Reliant on Amazon:

Hallmark Keepsake Ornament – 1936 Stinson SR Reliant

I Think I have this one, my mom bought it for me years ago.

Gearbox STINSON RELIANT GULF Airplane Coin Bank

1/48 Stinson Reliant Airplane

Plastic Model Kit

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De Havilland Mosquito – Aircraft of the Month

One of the most unique Propeller driven aircraft of WW2 I think is the De Havilland Mosquito. While most of the aircraft where classified into fighters or bombers, the Mosquito has an in between status with out the typical draw backs of combined use aircraft.

One of the other unique features of the Mosquito is it’s built out of wood. Despite being seen as an inferior material, performance numbers for top speed where in the same ball park at over 400 mph & a service ceiling of 37,000′. This aircraft also served all the way up to 1963 well into the jet age.

https://www.airforce.gov.au/sites/default/files/minisite/static/7522/RAAFmuseum/exhibitions/restoration/current.htm

With 8 forward facing machine gun’s right in the nose this aircraft packs a serious punch.

 

For the RC readers there are some options:

Outerzone has a great free RCM Plan from 1978, this model has a 67″ span and would likely make a good electric model, preserving the streamlined cowlings.

https://outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=5482

There are also some discontinued kits that may pop up on ebay or at an RC auction:

Freewing de Havilland Mosquito 1400mm (55") Wingspan – PNP

https://www.horizonhobby.com/product/mosquito-mk-vi-bnf-basic/PKZ6350.html

 

 

EA-7 Edgley Optica – Aircraft of the Month

 

This aircraft of the month is the Edgley Optica a Observation aircraft designed to be a low cost alternative to Helicopters. It was developed and manufactured in England in the 70’s. 22 Aircraft where built

The 8 Hour endurance at Loiter speed is impressive. The center mounted Ducted fan is something usually only seen on models.

A dedicated web site for the aircraft can be found at: http://www.optica.co.uk/index2.html

Sketchfab has a online 3D model where you can see many of the details of the aircraft at: https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/edgley-optica-b9a0cc7a21344aee94d147362edbcda5

And for some YouTube Videos:

MS Flight Sim X has a freeware sim aircraft you can download at:

https://flyawaysimulation.com/downloads/files/15773/fsx-edgley-optica/

Outerzone does not currently have any options for the Optica but there is a UK web site where you can buy plans for a 2M wing span version with .60 glow power:

Edgley Optica – Plan

This Aircraft of the Month is brought you by Audible, now is the perfect time to check out all the different books available.

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Schweizer SGS 2-33 – Aircraft of the Month

The Schweizer 2-33 is a very popular training glider, I got to do some glider training on one at the main Glider training base in Boulder Municipal Airport in Colorado in the 90’s. Glider training still goes on at this airport, check out  https://www.milehighgliding.com/ to learn more.

The aircraft was easy to fly and had simple & conventional construction.  Like the contemporary 172’s & PA-28’s peak production was in the 60’s – 70’s.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schweizer_SGS_2-33

http://www.fiddlersgreen.net/models/aircraft/Schweizer2-33.html

The market’s voting dollars however chose sleek composite sail planes in the early 80’s ending production on the 2-33.

The 2-33 is still a good gliding trainer. Like Acrobatic training ability to grow performance skills, glider training gets conventional pilots more skills in the case of an engine out.

The 2-33 also has the same NACA 63-618 Airfoil as the SP-500 offering Aerodynamic & Structural efficiency

Not too many RC options, none on outerzone yet. If your gun-ho for a RC model Aviation Concepts has a 1/3 scale version with a mammoth 17′ wing span

https://www.aviationconceptsrc.com/1-3-scale-2-33

& a 1/8 scale version

https://www.aerosente.com/a078-schweizer-sgs-233a-18-scale.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ercoupe – Aircraft of the Month

This months aircraft is the ERCO Ercoupe.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ERCO_Ercoupe

On my commute to work I listen to a lot of audio books on Audible, the current book I’m on is Sam Walton made in America (the auto biography of the man who started Walmart)

I was surprised to  how much of a role general aviation played in his success in building one of the largest and most profitable companies on the planet. He got his pilots license and the first aircraft he bought for business travel  was a Ercoupe N2278H

He not  only used general aviation as a faster and more efficient commuting method to check in on his stores he also used it as aerial scouting for new sites for stores decades before internet sites like google earth / maps and real estate sites.

Another connection to the Ercoupe is Fred Weick, who deigned this aircraft for ERCO in 1936. Fred later went on to Piper Aircraft in Vero Beach where he went on to be the lead designer in the Cherokee series. I worked at the same plant from 2005 – 2008 on many of his designs.

Ercoupe’s are still a viable & low cost option today for general aviation. Airworthy examples can be found below $20K

https://www.trade-a-plane.com/search?make=ERCOUPE&s-type=aircraft

https://www.barnstormers.com/listing.php?catid=20352

For the RC community Outerzone has a bunch of options:

https://outerzone.co.uk/search/results.asp?keyword=ercoupe

Many of these are from the 40’s-60′ and original designed for free flight but with today’s modern electric motors and micro servos they could easily become RC aircraft.

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Quickie – Aircraft of the month

This months aircraft is the Quickie, Q2 & Q200.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rutan_Quickie

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quickie_Aircraft

One of my EAA chapter 203 friends & former co-worker Kevin Sheely built one and has been flying it for years. The craftsmanship is immaculate and many of the design features are very unique. You can read more about his aircraft on the chapter 203 web site, formatting of this page you have to scroll about half way down before it starts.

http://eaa203.com/quickie_q200.htm

I’ve also seen a single seat version built and flown buy a very thin man under the age of 20.

Surprisingly the EAA web site does not have a page dedicated to the Quickie?

The original Quickie was designed by Burt Rutan in the 70’s. Gene Sheehan & Tom Jewett created a 2 seat-er based on Rutan’s work. The original company is gone however quick heads has taken up the support for the aircraft.

The aircraft is very compact (like Pitts Special compact) while being very fast and fuel efficient.

http://www.quickheads.com/

You can still buy plans for both the single seat & 2 seat versions on the site at low cost. The kit version had a pre-molded fuselage, with plans its built from templates.  Quickheads also offers CNC cut foam cores and hardware packages.

Now for some videos:

There are some RC options as well for the Quickie.

1982 RCM plan for the single seat-er from outerzone with a 55″ W.S.

QAC Quickie (oz8746) by Ray Jennings from RCMplans 1982 - model pic

https://outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=8746

https://www.airagestore.com/plans/rc-planes/1-4-scale-quickie.html

 

 

Fly Baby – Aircraft of the Month

The Fly Baby is a very popular Home Built aircraft with a good amount of RC options as well.

It first flew in 1962 and was designed by Boeing historian Peter M Bowers.

The Fly Baby can also be converted into a Biplane called the Bi-Baby.

http://www.bowersflybaby.com/ is a great unofficial Fly Baby web site

https://eaa.org/eaa/aircraft-building/kits-and-plans/d—g/fly-baby

Is a great resource, If you are an EAA member there are Sport Aviation articles ranging from 1962 – 2005 plus a pdf download of the 74 paged Building the wood airplane part of EAA’s “HOW-TO” series from way back.

 

Now for some RC options, Outerzone has a bunch, here are some that look quite workable today with electric power.

56″ Span from Modellismo in 2012

https://outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=4062

 

72″ span from RCM in 1980

https://outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=5837

And for some kits & Arf’s

Sig 68″ Span = https://sigmfg.com/products/seagull-models-bowers-flybaby

Balsa USA Giant 112″ span = https://shop.balsausa.com/product_p/447.htm

Balsa USA Giant 88″ span biplane version = https://shop.balsausa.com/product_p/452.htm

 

 

 

Pitts Model 12 – Aircraft of the month

The Pitts Model 12 is the #1 aircraft I think of when it comes to Sun-N-Fun. Because the event canceled for now due to COVID-19 I won’t get to see it. Likely the reason it comes to mind is they always have one displayed on a corner in one of the highest traffic areas of the aircraft company display area.

Curtis Pitts design /built the aircraft between 1993 – 1995 and completed it on his 80th birthday. Curtis is well known for a series of acrobatic biplanes that set the standard for IAC contest. The model 12 is the largest  of the Pitts series and uses the legendary M14P Radial Engine.

The model 12 can be built from a Kit or Plans. 92nd West Aviation Inc is the contact.

Aircraft Spruce also sells components and supports the model 12

I got a good amount of experience on Pitts biplanes when I was the Composites & Aerodynamics engineer for  Team Jamaica Mistaka, Race 68 owned & piloted by Jason Newburg (inverted.us now viperairshows.com) in 2006. This highly modified Pitts took home gold @ Reno the same year for that category. I’ve always been impressed with the simplicity & structural efficiency of this design.

There are quite a few YouTube videos on the model 12, here are a few I found interesting.

 

For the R/C crowd I could find no real scratch built plan options. However Outerzone does have options for other Pitts bipe models.

Amazon does carry a 1070 mm (42.1″) wing span pre-built electric RC model 12 made by DYNAM.

The design team at Dynam has captured this wonderful biplane and stretched the fuselage to improve on pitch damping. It optimizes flight performance without losing the classic lines of this incredible aircraft. The span is a compact yet respectable 1067mm and with the clever use of; EPO foam, carbon and phenolic composites, the resulting aircraft is incredibly lightweight and rigid.

A 4S Li-Po is the battery of choice and paired to this is the perfect balance of oversized brushless motor and ESC giving a potent punch of pace and performance that we haven’t seen in a model of this size.

Featuring a fabulous showroom finish using quality paint and decals this bold scale scheme and contrasting colors will stand out in flight and take center stage on the deck. The aircraft devours snaps, gyroscopic tumbles, flat spins, prop hang climb outs and gives ample grace and poise in slow, point and ratchet rolls that will have all levels of pilots grinning from ear to ear.

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Anderson Kingfisher – Aircraft of the Month

 

For those interested in a cabin class 2 seat home built amphibian the Anderson Kingfisher “EA-1” is worth checking out. The over all configuration is similar to Grumman sea planes from the 40’s (G-44, G-21, HU-16).

I’ve seen them at Oshkosh & Sun-N-Fun before and they look like a real solid design. This one looks like its the one from Sun-N-Fun behind the 4 expo buildings and next to the large pond. (credit to Adrian Share from Air-Britain).

The first flight was in April 1969 and a few hundred kits have been sold.

To help expedite the build, the kingfisher uses Piper cub wings.

Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anderson_Kingfisher

EAA: https://www.eaa.org/eaa/aircraft-building/kits-and-plans/h—l/kingfisher

The aircraft has a popular Face Book following: https://www.facebook.com/andersonkingfisher/

Kits / Plans:

Warner Aviation, Inc.
Thunderhill Aerodrome
Rt. 4, Box 401
Covington, LA 70433

Wing kits (J-3 Cub type) are available:
Carlson Aircraft
60642 S.R. 14
PO Box 88
East Palestine, OH 44413

For those wanting to learn more about American sea planes this book may be worth checking out:

It’s available in Paperback & Kindle.

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One of my favorite self designed RC aircraft had some kingfisher influence is this plane called the barracuda (built in 2003). It has over a 7′ WS and is powered by a Tower Hobbies .61 2 cycle engine. Uses 6 TS-53 Futaba style servos and is fully covered in Monokote with a conventional truss frame / 1/32″ ply fuselage  & foam / balsa wings / tail. It’s a great flyer but an even better display model.

 

The Kingfisher is a popular RC Aircraft as well, owing the same simple configuration as the full size original, here are some RC options:

108″ Wing span RCM plan from 1990 by Dennis Tapsfield

https://outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=6038

&

72″ Span from Champion Models, 1983

https://outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=11867

Christen Eagle – Aircraft of the month

One of my favorite Acrobatic Biplanes is the Christen Eagle, I first got to see the eagle in action with the eagles acrobatic flight team consisting of Tom Poberezny, Charlie Hillard & Gene Soucy in the early 90’s at Oshkosh.

The Eagle was designed to compete with the Legendary Pitts Special in the late 70’s

Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviat_Eagle_II

For those interested in a Kit or Plans:

Aviat, Inc.
Box 1240
672 S. Washington
Afton, WY 83111

Telephone: 307-886-3151
Fax: 307-886-9674

Website: http://www.aviataircraft.com

EAA Resources:

https://www.eaa.org/eaa/aircraft-building/kits-and-plans/00—c/christen-eagle

 

RC aircraft on Outerzone:

50″ Span, 1980 Publication date, .40 – .60 glow power

https://outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=4560

 

62″ Span,

https://outerzone.co.uk/plan_details.asp?ID=6164