It was in the May 1975 issue of R/C Modeler magazine that I first saw the Airtronics Aquila sailplane (she's way too graceful to refer to her merely as a glider). Airtronics had not introduced a kit yet, but they were selling a canopy and hardware kit along with plans, so I ordered them and scratch built my first Aquila. I was 17 years old then. It was covered to look like the one in the photo above (which would become the kit box label photo). Not having lite ply for the fuselage, I used hard balsa. Somehow I eventually managed to destroy Aquila #1, but by that time a kit was available, so I bought one and also the ABS plastic fuselage. A standard Hi-Start was used for launching. Back in the 1970s, there were still plenty of areas, even near small cities, to stretch out a Hi-Start - unlike today where large enough fields are rare. The December issue of R/C Modeler of that year contained a prototype build review of the Aquila. Of course it received the highest ratings possible.
RCM Product Test: Airtronics Aquila
The Aquila by Airtronics, P.O. Box 626, Arcadia, California 91006, is a Standard Class sailplane with a wingspan of 99.9" and a total wing area of 810 square inches. The wing utilizes polyhedral, with a 9.6% flat bottom airfoil and a total wing area of 810 square inches. All-up weight of our prototype was 43 ounces with a wing loading of 7.6 ounces per square foot. Two servos can be used for control, although three are recommended to utilize the Aquila spoiler system.
The basic materials used in construction consist of Italian poplar, balsa, and spruce in the fuselage; balsa, spruce and plywood in the wing; and balsa tail surfaces. All hardware is included in the kit including spoiler cables, tubing, spoiler hardware, adjustable tow hook, brass tubing, music wire wing joiners, rudder hinges, stabilator bellcrank, pushrods, skid, horns, clevises, spoiler return weights, spoiler hinging material, canopy, and other miscellaneous items.
The plywood fuselage sides are pre-shaped and drilled and there are two large easy-to-read plan sheets and very specific step-by-step instructions including construction sequence photos. The kit is beautifully machined and all parts fit together perfectly.
The Aquila has made quite a record for itself in the contest circuit and features a very strong climb and high launch with both electric winch and Hi-Starts. It has an excellent speed range and a long, flat glide with a low sink rate. It has responsive controls with the spoilers especially effective for spot landings. However, the Aquila is not difficult to fly and performs more like the larger Open Class sailplanes. It is a superb sailplane from both a construction and performance standpoint for the sport and contest pilot alike.
R/C Modeler magazine Airtronics Aquila product review ratings
R/C Modeler Prototype Aquila Specs
Aircraft Type: Sailplane
Manufactured by: Airtronics, P.O. Box 626, Arcadia, California 91006
Mfg. Suggested Retail Price: $59.95
Available From: Bolh Manufacturer-and Retail Mfg.
Recommended Usage: Comp. sailplane, Standard Class
Wingspan: 99.9 Inches
Wing Chord: 9" root, 5.75 "tip
Total Wing Area: 810 sq.in.
Fuselage Length: 46.2 Inches
Radio Compartment Dimensions: (L) 11.0" x (W) 2.2"x (H) 2.0"
Wing Location: Shoulder
Wing Dihedral: 2.5" (8°)
Airfoil: Flat Bottom
Wing Planform" Constant Chord & double taper
Stabilizer Span: 25.25 inches
Stabilizer Chord (Incl. elev.):. 4.25" avg.
Total Slab Area: 106.0 sq. in.
Stab Airfoil Section: Diamond
Stabilizer Location: Top of Fuselage
Vertical Fin Height: 10.1 inches
Vertical Fin Width (incl. rudder): 7" max.
Mfg. Rec. Engine Range: NA
Recommended Fuel Tank Size: NA
Landing Gear: NA
Recommended No. of Channels: 2·3
Recommended Control Functions: Elev., Rudder, landing spoilers
Basic Materials Used In Construction:
Fuselage: Air-Ply, balsa, spruce
Wing: Balsa, spruce, plywood
Tail Surfaces: Balsa
Hardware Included In Kit: Everything needed is included
Plan Size: 53" x 23" (2 sheets)
Building Instructions on Plan Sheets: Yes
Instruction Manual: Yes (12 pages)
Construction Photos:. Yes
Kit Includes: Shaped Parts
Mfg. rec. flying weight: 40-44 ounces
Wing loading based on rec. flying weight: 7.5 oz./sq. ft.
Posted April 27, 2019