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These can be whatever you want them to be - but are not beginners' planes.

This type of plane is outside the range that would be flown early in a beginner's flying career, but is here for completeness, and to show you where they fit in.

Type of plane: Anything driven by a motor which is bigger than a Speed 400.

Usually, the next step up from a Speed 400 is a Speed 540. These are 5.4cm long (hence the "540") and costs A$20-A$40. The more engineered and more efficient motors are referred to a "buggy" motors. They have replaceable brushes, give differing performance depending on the motor and the number of windings on the commutator and cost from A$50 to A$120 - or as high as A$200 for something really good. Moters get bigger still - Speed 600, Speed 700, other sizes in between and bigger.

Apart from the gliders (referred to in the "7 Cell Gliding" section of this article), just as with the speed 400 models, these larger planes can possibly be split into:

  • Docile models which stooge around the sky - some are to scale, some not. Generally, the most successful will have gearboxes, some will have direct drive with smaller propellers. Some with landing gear, some not.
  • Aerobatic models (including scale aerobatic and "warbirds") - generally with ailerons and generally with a direct drive setup. Span for a 540 motor about 1 to 1.3 metres.
  • Pylon racers - always with ailerons (some only have one!) and direct drive, very fast. Span about 1 metre.
  • Multi engined models - whatever configuration and size you wish to make.

Power trains: Here we are in the realms of "whatever works".

For the beginner who owns a 7 cell glider, there are advantages in flying with the same 7 cell battery pack. This would dictate any of the single engined planes described above, with a 540 or a Speed 600 motor and a 35 amp speed control. You would be seeking flight times of no less than 3 and a half minutes on full throttle, so would need to calculate the number of amps you could draw from your battery in that time before it went flat, and then attach a propeller which draw no more than that. Calculating it all is (I'm sorry) also outside the scope of this article, as is coverage, descriptions of larger craft. For these you really will need to speak to the people who fly them.

By the way, these larger planes can carry more than 20 cells(!).

I liked the suggestion I heard recently - to buy a A$40 cheap 12-14.4 volt drill, pull out the cells and 600 series motor and build something from that!! You'd need to built light - but no doubt someone will do it one day!

Flight Times (See also Catching Thermals article)

This will depend on your propulsion unit, weight, size and setup of the plane, the conditions, the thermals and your ability to stay in them.

Expect 4 minutes minimum for an aerobatic model, or up to 15 minutes for a well set up light docile model.

Don't think that 4 minutes is a short time - with a nippy plane your brain will be ready for a rest after that time!!

Construction: various. Mentoring usually required to assist with building, installation of radio, balancing and trimming.

Buying ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) : A few available - some people adapt internal combustion planes, but considerable lightening of the airframe is generally required..

Radio Gear: multi-channel radio. Computer radio has advantages, particularly as you will probably be building from scratch and some in flight mix compensation - or flaps - may be required to keep your beautiful plane from harm.

Items required and approximate cost: See 7 cell glider section for some guidance.

Degree of difficulty: Raw beginners are not advised to start with these - start with something simpler/ cheaper/ more docile / more disposable(!)

Location requirements: Plenty space for launches and landings and to safely hoon around the sky, few trees to crash plane into, grass to land on if hand launched.

Weather: Calm days strongly preferred for slower planes, aerobatic planes can cope with more wind.

Further investigation: See these for yourself and speak to those who fly them.

Byam Wight's magnificent Piper Cub. 16 cells run a 9.6 volt Speed 700 motor through a 2:1 belt drive.


1.5 metre (5 foot) span Tristar (I think), powered by 4 Speed 400 direct drive motors.


Trevor Doran's magnificent .. (I'll get the detail soon!)


Bill Hamilton's VERY speedy ducted fan Sky-Hawk


Above and below - Colin Kahn's magnificent multi-engined Lancaster. 4 geared Speed 280 (?0r 300?) motors


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