Voltair - Aerobatic sport model for electric power and 3 function radio control.
Quote: "JIM SLADE'S highly aerobatic funster for Cyclone-15 sized motors, 3 functions.
DURING the three years up to the end of 1975 I was employed in the model trade and, as a light relief from my other duties, spent some considerable time experimenting (some said mucking about) with electric-powered model aircraft. My first electric model was built and flown, with limited success, in late 1973 and, since then, both I and my then colleague, Paul Harrison, (still employed in the trade) have built around 20 different electric models and tried several different motors and power sources. The results of these efforts (plus many experiments by others) are now on sale to the modelling public. The powered-glider field has been most adequately covered by the Graupner organisation, so my efforts have tended to go in the other direction, towards semi-aerobatic and sports type models. My first aerobatic model was based on the larger Bullet motor and proved quite successful, having been flown at Sywell in 1975.
I have always felt, however, that electric flight should be simple and straightforward, and the smaller motor and model fits in better with this idea. It can be launched by hand by the pilot and needs only a small field to operate from - and, of course, it costs less !
I have found that, when building electric models with their attendant strength weight problems, it is necessary to adopt a definite attitude towards simplicity and lightness. The weight of the battery pack and motor is such that, in the event of a crash, your fuselage at least is going to be badly damaged. There is no point in adding two or three ounces more balsa to beef up the structure as 14oz of battery is not easily contained in the event of a mishap, and the performance will deteriorate much more than would a conventionally powered model as weight is added. You just have to tell yourself that you are not going to crash, and keep believing it! The same rationale also applies to an undercarriage on this size model at least. Most fields you will use have grass surfaces and even the smoothest turf will seem like a ploughed field to the size of wheel you can afford to lift. A skid is lighter, causes less drag and can be incorporated into the structure.
The above factors led to my building Voltair and its predecessors, all characterised by semi-symetrical section low aspect ratio wings and aileron-elevator control. All have weighed around 40oz and all have performed in a similar manner, the tapered wing of Voltair looking prettier than the previous constant-chord efforts, but not seeming to make much difference when flying. Voltair is based on the Cyclone 15 with its 8 cell 1.2ah battery pack but would almost certainly be satisfactory with any other similar motor/battery combination.
Although lightly built, Voltair has proved to be reasonably able to take the inevitable knocks that models - mine at least - always get. In fact, it has never been damaged due to normal flying but has had a series of accidents, starting with being trodden on by my daughter..."
Voltair, Radio Modeller, July 1977.
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