Spirit of Sam Power System Decoded

I’ve had a number of inquiries for an alternate Spirit of Sam power system. I worked out a system for Phil Pearce. He’s had a chance to do some run time and amp draw tests. Here are his comments thus far.

Phil Pearce Spirit of Sam Afterburner Setup

Phil Pearce Spirit of Sam Afterburner Setup

Good morning Dave. Here are a few picture of the little 5 oz Wren, built for the Spirit Of Sam event at the Society of Antique Modelers events. The rules call for the power battery be a single 160 mah lipo. The task is endurance, using the second best flight time of two flights. The motor you provided is an “Afterburner High Performance Brushless Motor. The number on the info. sheet says: MR-012-030-4000-1.5 I ended up using a GWS 9/7 prop. As the picture shows, the rear lipo is for radio power. The BEC is disabled. My procedure for maximum flight time is to hand launch with full power of about 1.5 amp draw, than establish a slight climb at minimal power of probably about 1 amp. I level out at about 200 feet and only use enough power to maintain altitude while looking for signs of lift. The motor will start slowing down at somewhere between 8 and 10 minutes with no thermal help. I must immediately start a landing approach while the prop is still spinning and plan on landing in about 15 seconds. Unfortunately a folding prop is not allowed. The drag on a stopped motor is dramatic on this small light model. I hope this is what you wanted. Thanks again for you help. Regards, Phil

P.S. If you have any advice on another prop, please advise. PP

Phil Pearce and his 5 ounce Wren Spirit of Sam competition model.

Phil Pearce and his 5 ounce Wren Spirit of Sam competition model.

Equipment is a 4000kv 12mm Afterburner with 1.5mm shaft. Running in a GWS LPS gearbox 4.8:1 ratio.

close up of gws lps gearbox with afterburner motor installed.

Close up of GWS LPS gearbox with Afterburner motor installed.

Links to parts supplied by Radical RC:
GWS LPS 5:1 “B” Pinion: GWGER002
GWS LPS 5:1 “B” Blue Spur Gear: GWLPS4B
GWS LPS 5:1 Blue Spur Gear: GWLPS4B
GWS LPS Ball Bearing Set: GWLPS2A
GWS LPS Gearbox Shaft: GWLPS6A
GWS LPS Gearbox Frame: GWLPS5A
Afterburner Motor (Take 1.5mm shaft option): MR-012-030-4000
Screws for AFterburner Motor: MR-SCREW-080-125-2
All parts needed are contained in the system linked below. Replace motor with 12mm Brushless Afterburner. Note, If you buy the brushed motor system to get all the parts, consider buying a pinion. A puller is needed to remove one from the included brushed motor and it can be ticklish. Some skill, minor tools and a drill press (or press of some sort) are required to install a pinion on LPS RXC OR RLC Drive take “B” gear ratio option: GWLPS-RXC or GWLPS-RLC
GWS LPS Gearbox Frame: GWLPS5A

side view motor and rx battery spirit of sam geared brushless power system

Side view motor and RX battery.

Note, the point of this blog post is to record what we did in a way that will last longer than my memory. If you want to do the same thing, all the links are provided. ;-)

Some thoughts that I have based on what I know thus far: An “A” ratio (less reduction) could be considered in order to reduce the pitch or perhaps the disk diameter. That might lead to a 9-4.7 or 9-5 or 8-6 being optimal. I’m tickled by the idea of a 4 or 5″ high rpm setup in order to try and get the model to glide with a stopped prop longer than Phil reports with 9″ props. Not being experienced in the competition, my thoughts might be completely off base here. The higher KV Afterburner motor should be avoided because the higher no-load current. Although it might be more efficient at wide open throttle, the minimum no-load current would kill you in cruise (partial throttle flight). So, the lesson is stick to the 4000kv motor. Anything you can do in this contest to utilize a low non-load current motor would probably be an advantage over most motors with higher no-load currents. The no-load current rating is one of the fixed parameters (motor constants) of every motor. Explaining it fully is beyond the scope of this article.

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Micro Stick Fleet Tryout

Gil Weiss from southeast PA sends a beautiful photo of his Micro Stick. Just test flown. Looks Great Gil!

Gil Weiss Micro Stick from South East PA.

Hi Dave,

Several years ago I built a Micro Stick. The kit went together very nicely. The little plane sat on a shelf until today. I enjoyed the last nice day of calm warm weather here in SE PA and test flew the plane. It was a real Hoot! Flew great and had an unbelievable roll rate. Landed fine. Other than add some more “expo”, no changes were required. I will keep this plane in my active fleet from here on out.

Regards, Gil Weiss

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John Harper’s Creamsicle Stick 600 Part 4

Hi Dave…
The Stick 600 got its maiden flight today. Test pilot Doug says it’s a real sweetheart, and had it alternating between floating and zooming. My watt meter says I’m getting around 248-250 watts with the 11×5.5 prop, and we had about 70% of the 3s 2200 battery left after a 6-7 minute flight. Due to my complete imeptness attaching photographs, Susie is going to send you some pics and short videos. As you can see from the takeoff there’s no shortage of power. Nice plane!
Thanks, John

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Stick 600 – Creamsicle Part 3

creamsicle comparison stick 600

How does she stack up?

John gives us a comparison photo between his Stick 600 and a Great Planes ElectroStick. His comments: “Here’s a comparison with Test Pilot Doug’s Great Planes Electrostick. It’s about 5 lb. with a .32 Rimfire. It flies nice but not very slow.”

Front 3/4 View of John Harpers Stick 600 Creamsicle

Front 3/4 view.

John Says: “Here’s a front quarter view. All pictures by my lovely and talented wife Susie, who is a damn fine pilot in her own right.”

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Stick 600 – Creamsicle Part 2

stick 600 creamsicle

John Harpers Stick 600, the business end.

To: John Harper: (July 31, 2014)

I made a mistake in that last email. I calculated the Power 15 from Eflight. If you used a Power 10 then it’s 36 amps, 11×5.5 prop, 2357 feet per minute at 83 degrees. Should be very impressive. That is a much smaller motor and battery than my lowest recommendation. I think your test flight is going to prove to me that I could have recommended something even smaller than I did.

I think you’ll end up around 405 watts if you meter it. You may be using a different motor than the E-Flight. I’m just guessing. Hope you can balance it. The normal motor on the small end of 3S that I recommend is about 8 ounces hanging out in front of the firewall. You’re only 4.3 ounces.

It should be a barrel of fun. You’r ship will do all that mine will do but at 1/2 pound lighter, it will be cable of doing them even slower. I’m wondering if you’ll have to add a touch of throttle to keep the glide from getting uncomfortably slow? That’s the only thing I would watch out for. It’s capable of descending under control in a nose high probably 45 degree angle of descent. But, you need a little speed to find a flair at the end. ;-) You’ll be amazed at how low and slow you can trust this airplane. If you’ve been flying a bunch of overweight models, this is really going to be different for you.


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An Interesting Stick 600 is Birthed! Creamsicle Part 1

Edgar Harper has just finish “Creamsicle”. Orange has been my favorite color of late.

radical rc stick 600 creamsicle

John Harper’s Stick 600 “Creamsicle”

Hi Dave- (July 31, 2014)

Thought you might be interested in how my stick went together. It hasn’t flown yet, but is in the final stages of tweaking. Nice kit, parts fit well, although the tiny 8-1/2x11planform is a little hard for us old guys to decipher. ……

Here’s the thing- with a .10-size 370-watt motor and a 3s 2200 mah battery, it came out at 2.5 pounds! My club buddies are quite impressed, as I am not known for building “light.” I had to check to make sure I hadn’t left anything out. Guess I got the kit with ALL the good wood.

I’ll send you some pics and a flight report if you would like. Thanks for making such an excellent kit.


Thanks for the report. …………

Yes, it is a very light kit. Lighter than every other 40 size sweet stick kit every produced by at least 2 pounds. You’ve also used and exceptionally small motor and battery. My smallest recommended setup is probably about 8 ounces heavier. Were you able to balance it without lead?

I’m going to calculate your motor now and see what I think of your choices…..

Ok, looks like 3S and 12-6 prop you should be at 45mph pitch speed, 66 ounces static (weight 40 ounces), 2670 foot per minute climb rate at 90 degrees. Should be an amazing aircraft.

Hope we cross paths at an event someplace. I’d love to fly it. Send me some photos if you can. A video would be great.


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Independence Day Observed

It occurs to me on this July 5th that my evening was spent with my neighbors performing a patriotic duty. We enjoyed a wonderful fireworks filled evening of fun and celebration. I even corrupted a couple of young boys by giving their father highly illegal bottle rockets. I enjoyed watching the father teach his sons about what “bottle rockets” are. How to launch them safely and that good ol dad really is a barrel of fun. Between myself and my neighbors, we had quite a display. Over an hour of entertainment and reminders of what we did to the Liberty Objecting British of old. All of those fireworks, every rocket, every giant bloom, every explosion was quite assuredly against the law. Most patriotic of all; we were civilly disobedient. We did what we wanted, we harmed no one. Liberty!

What is Liberty? Liberty is the capacity to act without hindrance according to one’s own self interest without inhibiting others from the same. A group does not approve of something other people wish to do. So they write it down on paper and vote among themselves to use force and violence to assure compliance with their own personal choices. Their voting does not make the behavior they wish to impose on others moral. Nor does it make the use of violence moral against those who force no one. I’m pointing out that immoral laws which substitute our choices with the will of others cannot stand in the face of mass disobedience. Or should I say, cannot long stand in the burning gaze of free people. The 4th of July is a day of civil disobedience. Disobedience to the crown, disobedience to King George who claimed a right to impose his law and will on people. It’s a celebration of our declaring our independence against the imposition of law. It is a reminder of what can be accomplished against tyranny if we are only willing to stand boldly against it together. By lighting off high altitude fireworks for an hour, we are clearly not depending on “luck” not to get caught. Our burning eyes stare down those who would force their personal choices on us. Let our dear Sheriff come to quash a celebration of freedom and Liberty. He is elected. Let the police officer arrive who’s chief is hired by the mayor who is elected. Apparently these patriots, by not arriving to squash Independence Day are civilly disobedient with us. As they should be, lest they become exposed in the white hot public spotlight.

Independence Day refreshes my resolve to remain free. I pound my chest when I state boldly, I am for Liberty.

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FAA Bans First Person View, Ruins sailplane flying, subjects fields within 5 miles to permission from control towers.

Have you responded to the FAA yet? Will you sit back and take it while the very technology we have developed in this hobby is barred from our use? Here is my response just filed with the FAA. Read the AMA action notice. Do it today! Read your AMA action notice.


Please read the blog guidelines to make the most effective comments to the FAA.

Submission form for commentary on proposed rules

Comments regarding FAA-2014-0396
The suggested regulation of recreational model aircraft is in complete violation to the law: “The Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft,…”

The suggested regulations ignore the many decades of safe operation of model aircraft in our airspace.

The stipulation outlawing First Person View rejects the most basic requirements of sense and avoid. Preventing a model aircraft operator from looking through the models windscreen while full scale pilots are required to do so is inconsistent with logic. The notion of outlawing a technology seems to be a movement back to the dark ages.
How are new products to be demonstrated by sponsors and factory pilots at modeling events? Suggesting that the FAA should be in control of these pilots as they are over professional full scale pilots ignores the great difference in scale. Models do not carry human beings. I manufacture model kits which are sold through my company. You seek to subject me to criminal charges each time I fly one in public. When a customer asks me to test fly or otherwise evaluate a model which was purchased from me years ago, your vague rules would imply that I could not do so. I could be accused of flying professionally. Am I to avoid using my own products in public in order to avoid prosecution by a resume’ enhancing government regulator? Seriously?
Limiting model aircraft to 400′ nationwide rejects common sense safety practices already in place at many model flying parks. Those operators are familiar with likely traffic patterns currently. Operation of sailplanes which often fly higher than 400′ will essentially be banned by your new proposed rules.
I reject every point of the FAA’s proposal FAA-2014-0396 as similar and as objectionable as the IRS scandal. Here we have a government agency blatantly attempting to circumnavigate a law (FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012
Senate Bill, Section 607(g)) passed by congress and signed by the president designed to protect citizens from draconian government over reach. The IRS is getting away with immoral treatment of citizens. Is it the policy of the FAA to expand into the current vacuum of prosecution of Liberties objectors in a similar way? Expanding the FAA’s yoke of control to every hobby industry employee will have a stifling effect on our hobby and future development from which the entire country benefits.
It’s particularly despicable that the very people who have developed these capabilities for our national defense and environmental study, farming uses, fire and rescue capability would be barred from it’s use and further development. I consider these actions an intolerable objection to Liberty of honest law abiding citizens.

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Springfield Barnstorming Carnival July 19-20

New event near Dayton Ohio. This full scale fly in takes place with area pilots and those stopping over on their way to Oshkosh.

barnstorming carnival springfield ohio

Join real barnstorming pilots an model pilots for an entertaining weekend full of activities

Check it out at: Barstorming Carnival

Antique biplane rides
Vintage 1920 and 1930 aircraft on display with actual barnstorming pilots
Aircraft fly-by’s
RC Model airplane and Helicopter demonstrations
Skydiving demonstrations
Custom car cruise – in
Ford Model A cars
Airplane rides
Kids model rocket build ( 3:00 pm ) * See additional information*
Kids Bounce house
Pancake/ Fly-in breakfast (Saturday 8:00am- 11:00am)
Outdoor barnstorming movie Held at Young’s Dairy Farm. *Free admission!*

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Keith Shaw’s Modifications to our 1905 Wright Flyer Kit

A customer wanted to know Keith Shaws Modifications of our 1905 Wright Flyer. Keith is an experienced modeler. A member of the AMA Hall of Fame. His advice on any model is well worth reviewing. Here are Keith’s views as written myself and on of our builders:

Hi Dave,

………….I really didn’t do much of anything to make the Wright fly “better”. Most mods were for convenience and scale appearance.

1) Made the front “head” removable so that I can transport it in my minivan along with other airshow planes.
2) Made the fantasy long range tanks to house the four A123 cells. Voltage/current/power is virtually identical to the 3s Lipo you spec. I just prefer the safety of A123 cells.
3) Used a tan magic marker to draw fake ribs and spars on the bare foam before painting with the Almond High-heat Rustoleum.
4) Made a dummy engine, sprockets and chains. Found a toy fireman that was just about the right scale for Orville. Sewed a suit and made a high collar, tie and cuffs for the figure.
5) My flier seems to need more positive elevator trim than yours at the given CG. I move my CG back to about 7/8″ back of the leading edge to reduce the front surface loading. This could be due to a slightly different camber profile than yours. Hard to guess when using the heat gun, ribs and rubber band method.
6) I used #117 rubber bands from OfficeMax rather than linking two #33 together.
7) I guess there were a couple of improvements now that I think on it. I found the vertical rudder hinge wire far too flexible and was the cause of the slow rudder oscillation. I used 3/32 instead of the spec’ed .055.
8) The roll axis was a little vague, and I suspected that the wing warping pushrods were buckling under load. I sleeved the .055 wire with 1/8th O.D. aluminum tubing. Now the wing warping is *almost* as positive as ailerons. Of course there is still adverse yaw from their use, so I mix in about 10% aileron-rudder coupling.

Hope this helps him,


Note’s from Dave; I do remember Keith mentioning that he runs the CG a bit further back than I suggest in the plans. He may have forgotten to mention that in the above letter. I do advise however that you start with the CG where suggested and only after a couple of flights, start to adjust it rearward. Any such adjustment should be made in careful small increments. 1/4″ is a long way to move a CG. Try to move it 1/8″ per flight until you find the uncomfortable location then readjust slightly forward. This is the method I used to arrive at the instructed location. For me it feels tail heavy any further back. By tail heavy, I mean, the model begins to hunt about the pitch axis. Keith feels that location is a bit further back and perhaps he is correct. Someday I may start moving it back again on my own model. Just bear in mind, you’re not experimenting to start where I suggest in the instructions. I want you to have a successful test flight.

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