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85" (85%) Wingspan Airtronics Aquila Sailplane

Aquila Sailplane in May 1975 "RC Modeler" - Airplanes and Rockets

The Airtronics Aquila sailplane appeared in the May 1975 issue of R/C Modeler magazine.

See my custom 2-meter Aquila Spirit -- kit-bashed from an Great Planes 2-meter Spirit glider, and here is my custom 105% Aquila sailplane. Also, this is the original Airtronics Aquila kit, and the full building instructions booklet.

85% Aquila Sailplane & Carl Goldberg Falcon Jr. Supermodel Melanie - Airplanes and RocketsYou might have noticed that I have a "thing" for the Aquila glider. Having built two - one from plans and one from a kit - back in the mid-1970s when the article first appeared in RC Modeler magazine, I developed an appreciation for the graceful lines and the flight performance. In later years I modified a Great Planes 2-Meter Spirit glider to look a bit like the Aquila, and dubbed it the Aquila Spirit. Next, never having had a glider with a wingspan greater than 99", I scaled up the Aquila plans to 105% and built that - my 105% Aquila. That one, which was a lot of work to build, was sold to a guy in Maryland before making a household move.

Winged Shadow Systems High Highâ„¢ Electronic Altimeter - Airplanes and Rockets

See my Winged Shadow Systems' How Highâ„¢ electronic altimeter teardown report.

News Flash: I set a personal thermalling altitude record of 1,267 feet in my 85% Aquila glider on May 23, 2024! The drawing shows the best case visual size with full wingspan facing pilot is about 1/3 the of the sun and moon.

Now, desiring another Aquila, I decided to build a version with a one-piece wing, but did not want it to be 99" long. Two meters was too short, so I went with an 85" wingspan. That is the one pictured and described here. Because large flying sites are so hard to come by, I elected to install a motor in the nose, but also provided for a tow hook just in case. As noted in the 105% Aquila write-up, because of the tail-heaviness of the unballasted model, replacing the NiCad battery and lead weight in the nose with a brushless motor and propeller, 850 mAh LiPo battery, and ESC only added 2-3 ounces.

Note the unique method for attaching the wing. I didn't want a removable cut-out section in the fuselage, so instead the wing passes through the fuselage and is held fast with a couple small rubber bands. The rubber bands only keep the wing in alignment. I've never seen anything like it before, so maybe I've just invented a new method of wing attachment (patent pending).

Also, rather than building an all-flying stabilizer (stabilator), I opted for a conventional horizontal stabilizer and hinged elevator. It sacrifices the removability for easier transportation and storage, but I'll live with it. The rudder hinge pins are fixed, unlike the original that allowed removal of the rudder as well. It saves weight and complexity. The full-size Aquila and 105%  Aquila needed lead ballast in the nose to compensate to the heavier empennage, but this 85% Aquila balances with no ballast. A final all-up flying weight has not yet been determined. Spoilers were omitted, too. They are very effective on the other Aquilas, but I never really felt like it was something I couldn't live without.

As of this writing, all the construction is complete and the covering is nearly done. I still need to finish installing the electronics and attach the canopy to the frame (always a daunting task). Hopefully, the 85% Aquila's maiden flight will happen within the next two weeks.

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider Maiden Flight Launch - Airplanes and Rockets

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider Maiden Flight Launch

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

Radio Installation of 85% Aquila Sailplane

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider  - Airplanes and Rockets

 

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

Measuring and aligning wing for center and skew

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

85% Aquila Sailplane Glider   - Airplanes and Rockets

 

  

 

 

Posted April 15, 2023

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About Airplanes & Rockets 

Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and RocketsKirt Blattenberger

Carpe Diem! (Seize the Day!)

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 ...

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