The Telemaster Saga


Some years ago I bought a Sr Telemaster plan on ebay from the USA. The dealer refused to send it other than rolled in a tube and the weight of the paper was declared unusually high. When it arrived, I discovered the previous owner had entirely covered the plan with transparent plastic adhesive to make it waterproof and last forever.

Consider that the plan is so big that on it is written that humidity in the air can affect the true length of the pieces. Enclosed was a homemade article on a splitted wing conversion. Splitted wing is necessary for European modellers that don't have a 1959 Chevrolet Impala! Only with this car can you fit the wing in the rear trunk and make the model take off from the bonnet. On the other hand, foam wings make it possible to avoid bankruptcy acquiring the balsa necessary for the wings.

The Telemaster is a great favourite of mine, and it really is a classic design. But don't just take my word for it, here are two great reviews from modelling magazines:

"With a 2.4m wingspan, the Senior Telemaster is an impressive looking radio controlled aircraft. Not only that, it is now available to buy as an Almost Ready to Fly kit for around $300. That's a lot of aircraft for a reasonable price by any standards and, being an ARF, all that is required to go flying is several hours assembly and setup. The Telemaster is not a new model. The original, a German designed RC plane, dates from the late 60s. There were 3 wingspan size variants; the Junior 1.24m, Standard 1.8m and the mighty Senior 2.4m. The Senior Telemaster was unique and very popular in this era due to its size. Back then, most model aircraft were limited to a wingspan of less than 2m due to the restriction of power to weight ratio with the engines available at the time. Though the Senior Telemaster was big in comparison, its design and lightweight construction enabled the model to perform remarkably well on the equivalent of a 45 size glow engine. A versatile workhorse, one of the original Senior Telemasters was reported to have been used to carry a pilot line across a ravine for the setup of telephone cables in Germany - a task normally carried out by a full sized helicopter. This exercise was possibly the first where a model aircraft was employed in an industrial situation. More commonly, the Telemaster is regularly rigged to tow advertising banners or undertake glider tows. Aerial photography and lolly scramble drops also feature as regular tasks. There are many reviews available on the Senior Telemaster as it has been around for such a long time which is a testimony to the reliability and popularity of the design. It is a stable, docile plane in the air and the size makes it easy to see. It's a great first large model and this is why my husband, Pete, decided to buy one..." download full PDF review (Janice Angus, KiwiFlyer, October/ November 2011)

"There are few models which reach legendary status in this hobby. Sure, there are some that are popular for a while and will appear at the field every weekend for a season or two. Rare is the model that soldiers on, year after year, often for decades or more. The Telemaster, designed in Germany in the 1960s by Karl-Heinz Denzin and originally marketed by Alexander Engel, is one of those classics. It borrowed heavily on the aerodynamics of popular free flight designs, wrapped up in the appearance of a more modern airframe. The combination of stable flight and straightforward construction has proven irresistible for nearly forty years; the Telemaster is prized for its easy flying, and in the larger sizes, incredible load-carrying capability. These characteristics make the Telemaster a wonderful trainer, but it is equally at home dropping candy for the kids at a weekend fun fly, carrying aloft a parachutist, or simply floating about on a calm afternoon. Hobby Lobby has long offered Telemaster kits to the American market, and recently added ARFs for those who prefer to save some building time. Here is a close look at three members of the Telemaster family. The Mini Telemaster is a conventional balsa built-up kit, while the Telemaster Electro and Senior Telemaster are both ARFs. These three models feature distinct differences, but in the end, they all share the common Telemaster DNA and are delightful flyers..." download full PDF review (Thayer Syme & David Baker, Fly RC Magazine, August 2006)

And to show you what a great workhorse the Senior Telemaster is, here is an RCM plan to show the mounting for a fullsize Canon camera to take aerial photos:

Camera Module
RCM plan 839. For use with the Canon Sure Shot AF35M
Designed by Jerry Smith
from RCM June 1981

Quote: "Camera is mounted in fuselage under wing looking out from side of model. Although specifically designed for the Senior Telemaster, this camera module can be used in any large model that has room for its size and weight..." download PDF plan

As further proof of the great genius of the Telemaster design, there have been many, many versions of the kit. A keyword search for Outerzone (as of now Nov 2017) will display 6 different Telemaster plans at 3 different sizes and with different construction styles - also 2 more plans that were designed around a donor Telemaster 40 wing. that is a popular design!

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