Hal's 1/5th Scale
RC Plane
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Updated Saturday, March 29, 2008

List of Videos Found on this Page
Ten minute streaming video of Nick flying the second and third flights of my Yak-54
Seven minute streaming video of Nick flying the fourth, fifth and sixth flights of my Yak-54
Seven minute streaming video of Nick flying his Hangar 9 Ultra Stick 60
Twelve minute streaming video of Nick flying his AeroWorks Extra 260 35% with DA-100

On June 20, 2007, I won a Will Hobby 72" wingspan Yak-54 "Almost Ready to Fly" (ARF) on Ebay.  DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM THIS COMPANY!  It was a cheap kit that had lousy hardware which cost me a ton of money to upgrade.  The model's airframe had been cut on a lazer jig, so the wood pieces fit together nicely.  However, the wood pieces were not glued together well, so I spent a lot of time and money re-gluing as much of the airframe as I could.  The kit included a pre-painted fiberglass engine cowl and a set of wheel pants.  The plastic coating on the fuselage and wings was done well.  However, the stripes painted on the cowl came nowhere near lining up with the stripes on the fuselage.  Also, the fiberglass engine cowl had been cracked during shipping, due to poor packaging.  Click on the thumbnail photos to the right for enlargements.

The plane has a 72" wingspan and a 68" fuselage.  Its dry weight when completed was just over 12 pounds.  This is the weight of the plane without the cockpit and pilot figure.  We are eliminating unnecessary weight until the plane has been fully tested.  To see the cockpit and the custom receiver mount, click on the photo to the left.

The engine is an O.S. 160 FX 2 cycle.  Its displacement is 1.6 cubic inches and at 10,000 RPM generates 3.7 horse power.  It runs on 15% nitro fuel.  The muffler is a Bisson Pitts.  The prop is a Zinger Pro 18X8.  A VP30 Perry pump regulator is used to pump fuel from the tank to the engine.

The radio transmitter is a Futaba 9 Cap Super.  The transmitter module and the receiver pack are a 2.4 gHz combo pack from XtremeLink.  Inside the plane, the receiver pack sits on a Smart-Fly PowerSystem Sport Plus, which controls the higher than normal current required by the 5 quarter scale JR DS8411 digital servos mounted in the airframe.   The plane utilizes two quarter scale servos for the elevator.  It uses another two for the ailerons and one for the rudder.   The plane utilizes a sixth servo for the throttle.  It is a Futaba standard digital servo.  The plane's radio system is supplied power by two Fromeco battery packs, each supplying 7.4 volts at 2600 MAH.  These battery packs cannot be connected directly to the receiver.  They are used in conjunction with the Smart-Fly system, or a similar voltage regulating system.

If you would like to purchase a similar size and appearance Yak-54 ARF, you might want to consider purchasing the 73" wingspan Yak-54 sold by Quique Somenzini.  The assembly manual for this model can be viewed here in PDF format.  At one time, Quique sold a 72" version.  Its assembly manual can be viewed here in PDF format.  Adobe reader is required to view these files.


On Tuesday, January 22, 2008, my Yak-54 flew for the first time.  Prior to its flight, I took some photos in case its first flight was its last!  These photos not only show off my plane but the air field and Tucson's beautiful winter weather.  Click on the thumbnail photos below for enlargements.

For the first flight, Nick agreed to fly my plane.  He is a very knowledgeable and talented IMACC and 3D pilot who is a member of Tucson Radio Control Club.  At takeoff, it was apparent that the plane was way nose heavy!  Nick carefully brought the plane around and made an emergency landing.  It was clearly apparent that my plane would have been a total loss if a lesser pilot had been at the controls.  Even so, the plane took some damage; the prop touched the ground and the left wheel pant took some minor damage, which was easily repaired.

Here are photos of the damage.  Click on the thumbnail photos for enlargements.

The GOOD NEWS was that I got to take the plane home.  I was SOOOOOOO happy and grateful to Nick!


Three days later, after making the necessary repairs, I met Nick at the field to try again.   This time, my plane made two very successful flights.  Between the two flights Nick and I made some adjustments.  We elevated the pitch of the engine and Nick made the trim controls more sensitive.  During the third flight Nick discovered that the plane is slightly heavy on the right side.

Click on the photo below to view a 10 MINUTE STREAMING VIDEO (in WMV format) of the second and third flights of my plane.

After the two successful flights, I celebrated by having my picture taken with my plane.  Click on the thumbnail photos below for enlargements.


On Wednesday, February 6, 2008, I met Nick at the field once again.  Using a second Futaba 9CAP Super transmitter as a buddy box, I flew my plane twice, with Nick's instruction.  They were far from flawless flights; nevertheless, my plane came home in one piece.  I made multiple passes down the runway and made a half dozen successful takeoffs and landings.  My last landing took its toll on the aluminum landing gear.  I'm going to straighten it and then try to give it some structural support by rigging it with guy wires made from 40# test steel line.

Since my wife had to work, there was no one to play videographer for my flights.  However, I shot video of Nick making the fourth flight of my plane, as well as he flying his Ultra Stick 60.

On the following Friday, after making the needed repairs and modifications, I decided that I should take a few more photos of my plane for posterity; good thing too!


On Saturday afternoon, February 9, 2008, my nephew Craig and my best friend Patrick came out to watch me fly.  Unfortunately, Patrick had to leave before I got airborne.  For the seventh flight, Nick flew my plane to make adjustments due to the repairs and modifications that I had made.  Nick made a brief eighth flight after discovering that I had a couple of loose servos, just to trim it out a bit.  He buddy boxed me for the ninth flight.  I made a couple of low slow passes and flew a knife edge half the length of the field.  Then I started horsing around, way too close to the ground and stalled the plane.  I was too low for Nick to save the plane.  It did a perfect belly flop in the dirt, which ground the prop to a nubin, took out the muffler, the bottom of the fuselage and damaged the structual support of both wings.  Oh well.  I'm glad that my first crash is behind me.

The plane is repairable.  As of Saturday evening, I have disassembled, cleaned and reassembled the engine.  It looks like it survived the crash.  A bench test will tell.  The rest of the plane will need structure and cosmetic repair.  However, there is enough of it intacted that I will be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again!  I even believe that I can fix the smashed muffler.

Earlier the same day, Nick flew his Aeroworks Extra 260 35% scale stunt plane which sports a DA-100 engine: made right here in Tucson, Arizona by Desert Aircraft!

As of Friday, February 15, 2008, I have cleaned and inspected my engine, done most of the fiberglass, repaired the wings and rebuilt the front of the fuselage and the landing gear.  I have made progress with the muffler but it's not finished. I have another week's worth of work and I'll have the Yak back in the air.... hopefully.  Stay tuned!

As of Saturday, March 15, 2008, I have completed the repairs on my Yak-54, except for painting the cowl and wheel pants.  I have been occupying my free time assembling my latest model, a Hangar 9 Ultra Stick 60 with an Evolution 1.00 NX engine.  I don't have photos of my Stick yet but I will get some soon because I am one to three weeks away from completing it, dependent upon how motivated I get.  Stay tuned.

Hal's & Patrick's Kite Page               Hal's Physics Page

I can't wait to get to the field!