Mike Patey’s Monster Wilga…DRACO! Fly it like you STOL it!
The E-flite DRACO 2.0m is probably one of the most anticipated models to come to market in recent time. Announced in 2019, there have been many a rumbling of its pending release since then. Well, E-flite’s DRACO is here and it is one of the nicest executed models E-flite has made to date…it is incredible! Every detail is characterized, the shape is perfect (Horizon Hobby actually 3D scanned DRACO to make the model from), and this big red beast makes for some fun STOL operations, especially with a bit of head wind.
If you’re unfamiliar with DRACO as an airplane, it literally was one of a kind. It was the master mind of Mikey Patey who took a Wilga 2000 and completely modified and rebuilt the airframe to the extent that very little of the original Wilga remained. He added wing area, modified the airfoil while also adding a fixed slat, installed a full glass cockpit, and at the front installed a PT6A 680Hp turbo-prop engine with full reverse thrust (I believe he also added chord to the control surfaces). In short, the airplane was a beast of a STOL aircraft and in fact, Mike Patey won the 2018 High Sierra STOL Drag competition with it. Unfortunately, the aircraft was totaled in Sept 2019 in a high crosswind takeoff incident. Be sure to check out Mike’s YouTube channel as he documented the build there and is currently building a highly modified carbon cub called Scrappy!
AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES
The E-flite DRACO 2.0m is an impressively large airplane that is been broken down into only just a few large components which means that despite the large size, assembly is quick and easy. Assembly starts with installation of the shock absorbing landing gear via 4 screws which have plastic fairings over a carbon strut and feature the dual shocks of the full size. From there, the tail wheelContinue reading →
Droppin’ off a load and watching it explode…in my Spad…
Well, we’ve talked through the assembly and painting and weathering, at last, it’s time to talk through flying the Legend Hobby A-1 Skyraider. You’ve probably figured out by now that I love how this beast flies! It has incredible presence and with the new paint and bomb drops, it presents much like the real thing in the air. It has been extremely fun and frankly I would fly the airplane every weekend if I could and I can’t wait to get it out to some events (if they happen this year).
A LITTLE HISTORY
The A-1 Skyraider was first conceived in June 1944 to meet a US Navy request for a new carrier-based, single-seat, long-range, high performance dive/torpedo bomber. Designed around the Wright R-3350 Duplex-Cyclone engine used in the B-29 Superfortress, the result was one of the world’s largest and most powerful single-engine/single-seat combat aircraft capable of carrying weapon loads greater than that of the Boeing B-17. Coming too late for WWII, the Skyraider served from the late 1940s into the early 1980’s worldwide proving instrumental in both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. Being among the first aircraft to perform strikes in North Vietnam in 1964, Skyraiders proved essential in close-support missions over South Vietnam due to their long loiter times, large bomb load capability and ability to perform accurate strikes when needed. Being a piston driven attack aircraft in the jet age, the A-1 Skyraider became a flying anachronism and was affectionately nicknamed the “Spad” after the WWI French biplane.
I knew at the moment I received the Legend Hobby A-1 Skyraider 86″, that it needed the full treatment. It’s such an impressive looking and good flying model and there’s just something about the A-1 Skyraider that I love. That’s not to mention that the model is actually a fairly scale representation of the airplane as well! So, in my research of the A-1 Skyraider and collecting of books and plastic kits, I came across a specific scheme I liked and so it was off to the races to repaint and weather the airplane!
During the Vietnam conflict, the A-1 Skyraider proved essential in close-support missions over South Vietnam due to their long loiter times, large bomb load capability and ability to perform accurate strikes when needed. For the repaint, the scheme chosen was George J. Marrett’s personal aircraft in Vietnam from 1968-1969 which carried the moniker of “Sock it to Em,” a tag line from the 1960’s comedy show “Laugh-In.” The aircraft operated with the 602nd Special Operations Squadron (SOS) from Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base and George completed 188 missions with over 600 combat hours in the aircraft. He even wrote about the aircraft and his missions in his book “Cheating Death.”
ABOUT THE MODEL
One quick note about the model itself if you’ve not seen my Assembly Review. This particular model started as a Legend Hobby Southeast Asia camouflage A-1 Skyraider ARF and was dressed in the kit supplied markings for the initial flights. Though the colors are good for an ARF, they weren’t correct to the Federal Standard colors of the full size. So, being the scale perfectionist that I am, I had to do a full paint work up on it! It’s important to note that what makes a repaint like this possible on this mylar covered ARF is that the airframe comes from the factory with a flat clear coat sprayed over the glossy mylar/monokote. As a result, it takes paint exceptionally well with very minimal prep work. Without that clear coat, considerable prep would be required to ensure paint adhesion on the covering material.
Cruisin’ into town and looking all around…in my Spad…
Having grown up in the hobby, there are certain models that I recall seeing as a kid that have inspired a fascination for that aircraft well into adulthood. One such aircraft for me is the A-1 Skyraider. Having seen two immaculate representations with folding wings at the US Scale Masters in the late 80s/early 90s (built by Diego Lopez & Gene Barton), it started a long fascination with the Skyraider for me. There was something about the airplane that I just liked and having since seen the full scale Skyraider fly, they are an impressive beast! Being a piston driven attack aircraft in the jet age, the Skyraider was a flying anachronism and was affectionately nicknamed the “Spad” after the WWI French biplane.
So, needless to say I was very excited to see the Legend Hobby A-1 Skyraider came to market! At 1/7 scale sporting an 86” wingspan, it offers a very nice sized ARF with an accurate scale outline. It also includes some really nice details through a fully detailed cockpit and an assortment of external tanks and rockets. A Skyraider isn’t a Skyraider without external stores afterall! Additionally, each of the three external tanks pylons come setup to accept E-flite payload releases which means the external tanks can be made droppable very simply. So, with a little 3D printing the sky’s the limit as to what this model can and will carry! More on that to come as for this article, we’re talking through the assembly of the model. I have a full repaint planned which we’ll talk through next where I’ll touch on the stores mods I made and then we’ll finish it up with a full flight review…but, spoiler alert, this model flies incredible! (see my first flights video at the bottom of this article)
ABOUT THE MODEL
The Legend Hobby Skyraider kit comes available in multiple color schemes (US Navy Gray/White, US Navy Blue, AF Camo) without any markings applied or as an ARC. Of course, markings are included, but coming as a blank canvas, this also allows for full customization and there are so many great color schemes for the Skyraider to choose from! This particular model is the Southeast Asia camouflage ARF and was dressed in the kit supplied markings for the initial flights. Having a very unique and characteristic shark mouth, the model represents Skyraider BuNo 137628 which was assigned to the 22nd Special Operations Squadron (SOS), 56th Special Operations Wing (SOW) that flew from Operating Location Alpha-Alpha (OL-AA) at Da Nang, South Vietnam.
If 1 is good, then 2 or more is better…when setup right!
We as modelers are collectors. We’re always collecting something related to our awesome hobby, be it RC gear, kits, or the like (you should see my hardware stash, when I go to the hobby store, I usually buy things in multiples). And of course we always have those kits we’ve stashed away for a rainy day. A couple years ago, I received an ASM F7F Tigercat ARF kit. ASM was a line of ARFs distributed by Hobby People and they made some really awesome and unique airplanes (mostly twins). Unfortunately the company no longer exists and the kits are no longer available. But, if you find one at some point listed online, they’re definitely worth a look if the subject aircraft interests you.
As an airplane I love the F7F Tigercat (one of my favorite multi-engine warbirds) and so was absolutely stoked to receive the kit! I promptly collected all of the gear for it but was busy finishing up some other projects and so put it in the que for a later date. Well, that later date didn’t seem to come until a few months back when a friend staying with my folks, who’s always looking for an RC project during his stays, offered to help get the basic assembly done for me on the airplane. The last couple weeks I’ve been finishing up getting it flyable (hence some delay in my articles and videos 😉 ) and I thought that Continue reading →
5-blades of Sea Fury Heaven…but it Takes the Right Motor
The Hawker Sea Fury is one of my favorite propeller warbirds. I guess the simple yet elegant lines of it combined with the beastly (and exotic) radial engine and 5-bladed propeller just have a certain appeal to me. Though it came 2 years too late to support WWII operations, it had a nice stint in Korea; not to mention was one of the fastest single piston engine airplanes ever produced. So, it’s not surprising then that so many Sea Fury’s have adorned the course at the Reno Air Races.
A few years back, Thunder Tiger offered a small line of 1/7 scale RC warbird ARFs that were quite nice. The lines of the airplanes were good and they flew incredibly well. The kits included the Sea Fury (military and September Fury racer schemes and the best looking Sea Fury ARF out there for some time) and an F8F Bearcat (military and Rare Bear racer schemes). I was fortunate to acquire one of the Sea Fury kits when they first came available and of course it had to be electric with a 5-bladed prop! So, I thought I’d use that to talk a little bit about designing an electric propulsion system for your propeller airplanes. First off though, here’s a little video of my Sea Fury in action, 5-blade prop and all! 🙂 It sounds just as good in person, no sound system needed!
Prop: Zinger 16×14 prop (aluminum hub with wood replaceable blades)
In sizing an electric power system (we’re talking propeller airplanes here as opposed to EDFs), the first question to ask is “what do I want my power system to do for the airplane?” What I mean is, Continue reading →