Print this articlePrint this article

Written by Greg Gimlick
As featured on page 55 in the March 2013 issue of
Model Aviation.
As featured in the
Model Aviation tablet app.

Model type: Sport aerobatic ARF
Skill level: Intermediate builder; intermediate pilot
Wingspan: 36 inches
Wing area: 329 square inches
Airfoil: Semisymmetrical
Length: 35 inches
Weight: 27 to 30 ounces
Power system: .10 outrunner brushless motor; 25-amp brushless ESC; 11.1-volt (3S) 1800 to 2200 mAh LiPo battery; 9 x 6 electric propeller
Radio: Four-channel with four micro servos
Construction/finish: Built-up wood with MonoKote covering
Street price: $ 99.98 (airframe only)

Motor: Great Planes Rimfire .10 35-30-1250 outrunner
ESC: Great Planes Silver Series 25-amp brushless ESC 5-volt/2-amp BEC
Battery: Great Planes ElectriFly LiPo 3S 11.1volt 1800 mAh 30C
Propeller: APC-E 9 x 6
Radio system: Futaba T7C seven-channel 2.4 GHz FASST transmitter, Futaba R617FS receiver, four Futaba S3114 Micro High-Torque Servos, one 6-inch Y connector, four 6-inch servo extensions
Ready-to-fly weight: 30 ounces
Flight duration: 8 minutes

• Classic design.
• Easily removable cockpit held by magnets and dowels.
• Hardware package.
• Online updates for manual.
• Flight performance.
• Large battery compartment.

• Wrinkles in covering are hard to remove.

I was excited when I found out that the famous Contender was being released as a smaller ARF. I heard the term retro bandied about after the press release, but I preferred remembering one of my first low-wing flights on my instructor’s .40 Contender. It was a classic from the 1970s and innovative at the time.

Designer Dave Platt is world renowned for his Scale achievements and participation at the annual Top Gun event. He is an innovator in Scale techniques and in the case of the Contender, he changed the way people thought about aerodynamic designs of the time. This is best explained by his own words from the July 1970 issue of American Aircraft Modeler:

“Aerodynamically, the model incorporates many variations from the norm. There are no absolutes in model design so one man’s approach represents only his opinion. Mine is that the ‘drive-the-CG-back-as-far-as-you-can’ philosophy is bad for the average pilot, because it leads to a touchy model with a razor-edged margin of stability. Instead, I place the CG well forward and achieve the maneuvers by sufficiently large and far-moving control surfaces to overpower the inherent stability of the model.”

This was a major design philosophy change and one that continues today. Look at our current line of 3-D designs and you can see how his larger control surfaces and exaggerated throws dominate the market.

This is a great little airplane! As one of my friends said while flying it, “It sure flies bigger than it is.” I have to agree. It feels like the original one which I haven’t flown since 1979. It’s easily disassembled for transporting, but I leave it in one piece because of its compact size.

I can see this will become one of my “go-to” airplanes when I need a quick trip to the field for some flying. I highly recommend it!

Read the entire article in the March 2013 issue and tablet app for Model Aviation.

Add new comment