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Written by Stan Alexander
RC Scale
As seen in the December 2017 issue of
Model Aviation.

Bonus Photos

Model Aviation Magazine - RC Scale

Every year I see a model at the RC Scale Nats, held at the International Aeromodeling Center in Muncie, Indiana, that stands out and is somewhat above the rest. It’s easy to see the craftsmanship in the aircraft’s details.

I will discuss one of the aircraft that I thought was an excellent example of the builder’s art of designing, constructing, and detailing an RC Scale model.

Jack Buckley is no stranger to the static circle, or the winner’s podium for that matter. A model aircraft such as his can take several years to complete, and being dedicated to finishing the project is an accomplishment in itself.

Jack designed and built a 1/3-scale model of a de Havilland D.H.82A Tiger Moth. The aircraft uses a set of wing ribs from Mick Reeves in England, so Jack can’t enter the model in the Designer Scale class. The model spans 133 inches and weighs 40 pounds.

Jack’s Tiger Moth on landing—even the aileron linkage is scale. It’s hard to find anything that says this is a model!

The airplane is covered with Stits Lite fabric and painted with Stits Poly-Tone paint. Power is provided by a Desert Aircraft DA-50 engine, 300-ounce MG servos on all flying surfaces, and a Futaba 14SG radio system with a 14-channel receiver. Jack uses two 4,000 mAh NiCd battery packs—one for the ignition and the other for the receiver—and heavy-duty Futaba servo wire for the six-volt system. The fiberglass parts are all molded and finished by Jack, as well as all of the details.

I asked Jack where he obtained his documentation for the big Tiger Moth. He told me that the full-scale airplane is local to his area and he has gotten to know its owner well, so he has access to it to measure and photograph all of the building documentation that he needs. I’ve seen this model (with different judges) receive 99.0 static scores several times and it has won in national events across the US, including the National Association of Scale Aeromodelers (NASA) Scale Classic, the AMA RC Scale Nats, and other competitions.

Note the rib tapes, metal fittings, and hardwood wing struts on Jack Buckley’s 1/3-scale Tiger Moth.

The model flies realistically without a gyro and is very stable in the air. The landing gear operates as per the full-scale airplane and is fully articulated.

New Modelers at the Nats

Every year I look forward to seeing who shows up for the RC Scale Nats. This year there were two new Juniors and one Senior pilot at the event.

Joe Graber, a 16-year-old from Grafton, Ohio, brought his new Balsa USA Sopwith Camel to compete. This is his first built-up model! The 84-inch wingspan Camel is powered by a Zenoah G38 engine. Joe’s entry also has Solartex covering and is controlled by a Futaba radio system.

Joe Graber displays his first kit-built model, a Balsa USA Sopwith Camel. Joe has found that taking off and landing with a skid will keep your attention.

Joe practiced with his airplane and put in several flights, but chose to sit out of the competition part. He wanted to watch and learn. Hats off to his dad, Mike Graber, for attending the Nats with him. Everyone looks forward to seeing them next year.

Brady Ornat, from Wakarusa, Indiana, brought a Top Flite Supermarine Spitfire with a DLE-55RA. It was controlled by a Futaba 2.4 GHz radio system.

Brady Ornat and his dad prepare Brady’s Top Flite Spitfire for the next round of competition. The model flew rock solid.

Brady came with his parents to compete in Fun Scale Novice. They helped him in the pit area and made sure his airplane was ready for the next round of competition. This was his first time at the RC Scale Nats, but Brady flew the Spitfire like a pro! His caller, Greg Hahn, said, “He’ll be beating me soon.” Brady went on to win Fun Scale Novice.

Evan Gaston has attended the Nats as a Junior competitor in the past with his dad, Dan Gaston. This year they brought Evan’s 86-inch wingspan Extra 300LP, powered by a DLE-55 gas engine. He uses a Spektrum radio system and Savox servos. The big aerobatic airplane had Kirbys Kustom Vinyl Graphics on it.

Evan Gaston’s Extra 300LP was built from the parts from two other airplanes. Evan flew the model in Fun Scale Open and finished sixth overall. This was his fifth Nats!

The airplane was built from the remains of two crashed airframes that were picked up at a swap meet. Evan took the bits he had left, stripped everything, and repaired, reinforced, and finally re-covered and repainted the airframe. He finished in sixth place in Fun Scale Open this year.

For complete contest results and special awards, check out the June 26 edition of the NatsNews newsletter, available at the link listed in “Sources.”

Merry Christmas!

-Stan Alexander



Mick Reeves Models

Stits/F&M Enterprises
(817) 279-8045

Kirbys Kustom Vinyl Graphics
(513) 932-2422

Balsa USA
(906) 863-6421

Top Flite
(217) 398-8970

(217) 398-8970

(800) 338-4639


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