Includes the 4 servos installed in fuselage and wings.
Lead nose ballast for non-powered configuration included if you want it.
E-power nose firewall & cowl assembly included in case you want to convert it back to powered.
The Aquila has been converted back to its original pure sailplane
configuration (no electric power). I removed the e-power firewall and
cowl and glued the pine nose block back in place. You can see in the photos where the division line
is from where Monokote was applied across the joint. It still looks good, but you can see the line.
In preparation for selling the Aquila, I removed my AMA number from the wing. There is still a little
adhesive residue on the transparent red Monokote that you might be able to remove, but I didn't want
to risk it. Once you apply your own number in the area, it will be difficult to see. Alternately, you
could replace that area of Monokote altogether without much trouble. Lots of construction photos and
January 10, 2015: Not being able to hold off any longer,
I finally began working on a scratch-built version of the Aquila. I had the good folks at Staples enlarge
the plans to 105% to push the wingspan just over 100" (~104") so it will
be my biggest sailplane ever - yeah, I know, lame. By scaling up so slightly most of the structural
components like the spars, balsa and plywood, etc., will be able to stay per the original without risking
overstressing. However, since this Aquila will sport a brushless motor in the nose
(sacrilegious?), I am beefing up some of the areas and using harder balsa
in places I might not have otherwise. Since I do not have easy (pronounced "affordable")
access to the large pieces of 1/8" LitePly specified for the fuselage sides, medium density 3/16" balsa
is being used instead, and will be judiciously carved and sanded to apportion strength and weight as
experience guides. None of the original custom hardware - nylon stabilator control horn, special all-flying
rudder hinges, canopy, etc. - is available anymore, so everything had to be made from scratch as well.
I will post photos as they become available.
April 9, 2015 Update:
As of today I declare the 105% Aquila to be officially complete! The final flying weight is 51.2 oz.,
resulting in a wing loading of 8.6 oz./sq.ft. That is a tiny bit more than I would really like it to
be, but she has a very strong frame that should endure. Since the motor was replaced with a tow hook,
I now need to find an open field large enough to accommodate the full-size Hi-Start launcher (~800 feet
needed). The Up-Start (~300 feet needed) did well for my 2-meter Spirit glider, but it'll never be able
to launch the Aquila. Quite a lot of work goes into planning and executing a plans-built model, and
is further complicated when you change the size and a few aspects of the implementations. It's no wonder
s many people these days have either never built a model or have given up building. Here are a few photos
of the radio installation and other details that might be helpful if you decide to build your own some
Video tour of the completed 105% Aquila - April 11, 2015
The color scheme, BTW, was suggested by Melanie. She likes my Old Spice aftershave lotion aroma and
thought the transparent red and cream colors of Monokote would look nice - and they do. I considered
doing the Old Spice logo on the fuselage, but figured the company might try to sue me for infringement.
Completed Aquila fuselage
Wing joiner rods and spoiler servo leads. The 7/32" main joiner rod will never fail,
although it is pretty heavy. Replacing all the music wire (4x 3/23" and 1x 7/32" = 2.2 oz.) with carbon
fiber rods would save about 2 oz.
Spoiler servo & pushrod detail. Pushrod is shaped to relieve lateral force on
servo when fully deployed.
Cockpit area showing radio installation, canopy hold-down method, and HowHigh altimeter.
Aquila empennage overview.
Casting the 6.8 oz. lead nose weight.
The Great Planes GPMA2365 canopy, made for the U-Can-Do ARF, is a near perfect fit
for the 105% Aquila. At $7 it is quite a deal!
All-flying rudder and stabilator halves and 3/32" music wire hinge pins.
Spoiler full-length hinge pin allows easy servicing and makes covering much
The stabilator control horn is made from 0.062" fiberglass printed circuit board material, and sections
of 1/8" brass tubing were epoxied as shown, being careful to keep the tubing at right angles wrt the
fiberglass control horn. 3/23" music wire passes through the tubing and into the two stabilator halves.
The original all-flying rudder hinges were heavy duty nylon jobs with a tab to be inserted into the
fuselage and rudder, and had a hole lengthwise to accommodate a 3/32" music wire hinge pin. The ones
shown are fabricated from sections of 1/8" brass tubing with a piece of fiberglass cloth tightly wrapped
and epoxied around them. Clamps pulled the cloth tight and held it while the epoxy cured. Afterward,
the epoxy-impregnated tabs were trimmed for insertion into the frame members. It worked amazingly well
and is very sturdy.
Tailpost construction is conventional, using custom-built stabilator control horn as seen here.
Stabilator & fin post assembly parts.
Completed stabilator control horn.
Plywood shims added to prevent wobble in stabilator control horn.
Plugging in the wings for the Aquila's maiden flight.
Electrified Aquila E-flite 450 brushless motor mount & cowling
Pine nose block replaced with 450 brushless motor and cowl with cooling slots. Nose
block can be re-attached using cowl mount screws for a quickly reconfigurable sailplane.
Underside of Aquila showing belly skid & tow hook.
Note: The Aquila has been converted back the to pure unpowered configuration again.
March 8, 2015 Update:
Back in the late 1970s I built an Aquila from plans that appeared in RC Modeler magazine, then I
built another Aquila in the early 1980s from a kit. Both are long gone. About 6 months ago while waxing
nostalgic about the Aquila, I decided to build another, but this time I had the plans enlarged to 105%
to get the wingspan over 100" while not having to change airframe component sizes. This version has
a 450-size electric motor for power. I wanted to determine the amount of down-thrust needed to prevent
a nose-high climb prior to final nose shaping and canopy installation. For this maiden flight, there
was about 8 degrees, which was not enough. It really needs about 12 degrees at full power. As you can
see from the video, the flight went flawlessly. It was very gusty so I only put in one flight. The wing
spoilers work like a charm and bring the Aquila down FAST when fully deployed. I do believe that I'll
remove the motor and its support equipment and convert the Aquila back to its original tow line format.
That'll make it more authentic and reminiscent of old times (and save a few ounces of weight to boot).
Thanks for watching.
December 2015 Update:
A month or so after completing my 105% Aquila sailplane, I decided to convert it to electric power.
I would have preferred to fly in pure sailplane mode, but there is no field in my area large enough
to safely employ the full-size Hi-Start towline. E-power was really the only option without needing
to drive long distances to fly. The nose block was carefully cut off so it can be re-attached for reverting
to unpowered flight. The motor and cowl bolt on for easy swap-out. Here are the details of the installation.
I finally got around to processing and uploading a video of my 105% Aquila sailplane with a short
narration about its unique features. The flight was made on July 26, 2015, in Kernersville, North Carolina,
across the street from where we lived at the time (we have since relocated back
to Erie, Pennsylvania). It was a typically hot, humid day there, and the sun was shining brightly
- up until a couple minutes after I launched, and then it went behind some slow moving clouds for about
20 minutes. After a total of 25 minutes in the air I decided to land and wait for the clouds to clear.
Once on final approach and committed to landing, the sun appeared again. If you watch closely, you can
see a few seconds before landing where the Aquila makes a sudden drop toward the ground, demonstrating
how effective the spoilers are when fully deployed.
Back around 1975 or so, RC Modeler magazine
ran a feature on a design by Lee Renaud called the "Aquila." It had incredibly graceful lines and I
knew I just had to build one. Airtronics had not yet produced a kit for it, so I ordered plans and built
one from scratch. There was a hardware and canopy package available, though, so I purchased it. The
picture to the right is of the Aquila I built off the plans. It was way back in 1976, the year I graduated
from Southern Senior High School (in the background). A radio failure (still that same old 3-channel
job) ended its life prematurely.
Prior to the Aquila, I had built and flown the Marks Model Windward
glider (72" wingspan) and the Marks Models Windfree glider
(99" wingspan). The Aquila construction was a real step up from the Windfree (which also has a 99" wingspan),
which was extremely flimsy.
To the right, below, are a couple pics sent to me by Dick E., of his Aquila. It was built in the
1980s, but never flown until very recently. I don't recall my Aquila coming with a vintage Corvette
to sit it on!
Fortunately, by then the kit was available from Airtronics, and my parents gave me one for Christmas
that same year (1976?). It was very well done and the parts all fit very well. The Aquila was not a
beginner's project by any means. What I liked best about the design was the removable, all-flying stabilizer
(stabilator), and the lift spoilers. I bought a Cirrus 4-channel radio to use in it and built the optional
wing spoilers. That brought a whole new dimension into RC sailplane flying.
Dick E.'s Airtronics Aquila from an original 1970s kit - sitting atop a very nice
I put so many flights on it that the fuselage got worn out (OK, so partially due to some hard landings).
Some company began offering an ABS molded fuselage for the Aquila, so I bought one and breathed new
life into the plane. The picture to the left shows the the ABS Aquila fuselage hanging in my barracks
room at Robins AFB, Georgia. Also pictured in the photo is a
DuBro Tri-Star helicopter and a Dumas
Pride of Pay'n Pak hydroplane.
There were quite a few flights put on the Aquila while I was at Robins AFB. My AFSC (Air Force Specialty
Code) was 303x1, which is an Air Traffic Control Radar Repairman. My radar shop was part of the
5th Combat Communications Group.
Our MPN-14 radar was a mobile unit composed of two towable trailers. I tell you this only because my
trainer, Sgt. Chuck Powell, went with me on a couple of the flying sessions and towed the Aquila aloft
a few times for me before I bought a Hi Start (money was pretty tight in those days). Warner Robins,
Georgia, was not exactly a place you would expect to find a cliff to try slope flying from, but I actually
found a place where it was possible to toss it from the top, and work the air a little before having
to land about 50 feet below. The Aquila saw its final flight in a field on the edge of town. I let it
drift too far downwind and did not have enough altitude to get it back to where I could see the ground
for landing. I just let go of the sticks and hoped for the best. It wasn't a pretty sight. The ABS fuselage
did survive, but both wings were destroyed; I'm guessing it cart wheeled based on the spread of the
Notice: There is a website, Aerosphere,
that claims to be manufacturing most of Airtronics' original kits - including the
Aquila. Kits are promised by the end of 2008 (I write this in January of 2009),
but plans are available now for both the
Aquila XL, and the
In the summer of 2007, I bid for and won an Aquila kit from a gentleman on eBay. They are now selling
for $200 or more. It was part of an effort to reacquire copies of many of the kits I had in my younger
years. All the parts appear to be present, and everything is in absolutely excellent shape. Wingspan
Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain
some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey
through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which
all began in Mayo, MD. There
is a lot of good information and there are lotof pictures throughout the website that you will probably find useful, and might
even bring back some old memories from your own days of yore. The website began life around
1996 as an EarthLink screen name of ModelAirplanes, and quickly grew to where more server
Try Using SEARCH to Find What You Need. >1,400 Pages
Indexed on Airplanes & Rockets!