Letter from USA

header marabu600Today we got a letter from Duane Wilson, SPA newsletter editor. He is very lucky to own one of our Marabus. I have never built or flown an electric plane. As I’ve been writing in the newsletter, I’ve been working with the Sky Aviations Marabu as a true to the original ARF.

I have never built or flown an electric plane. As I’ve been writing in the newsletter, I’ve been working with the Sky Aviations Marabu as a true to the original ARF. The Marabu is a Swiss design by Bruno Giezendanner, and is a “big deal” in Europe. It won both the 1969 and 1971 World championships. The color scheme used here is the 1969 version and is my favorite.


In spite of working with Vic, I had been experiencing problems in the early going, first with a motor that was never quite right and finally burned up after about 4 minutes during the first flight, (no blame or fault intended—don’t know for certain if it was something we did or a problem with the motor; but it burned up nonetheless), then a nose wheel retract that turned while retracting and got jammed in the well and burning out the retract motor. After a replacement nose wheel retract (courtesy of Sky Aviations,) then learning a new way to hook up the steerable nose wheel by studying Victor Diaz’s Komet in Knoxville, Burkhard and I were ready to test it out again today. The fact there was next to no wind today may have helped some with the flights, but I don’t think that was the primary factor in the way the Marabu flew.


The results were fantastic! Jerry Black had earlier, (the day the nose wheel jammed), done some preliminary trim tests so we knew we were in the ball park with the settings, though at the moment it may be just a tad tail-heavy—I may remove a bit of tail weight for future flights.


The plane flies very well—easy and predictable with excellent slow flight characteristics due to its built-in washout airfoil, relatively thick wing, and large 68” wingspan which makes it a little easier to see. It has plenty of power with a Scorpion 4020-12 motor and a Gen Ace 5000 6-S set-up, but it isn’t a “speed-demon”, (which I happen to like). With only five flights logged, I am still experimenting with trim settings and balancing, but I am genuinely excited about how well if flies. I was particularly impressed with how the plane immediately slows down when the throttle is backed off which makes setting up the next maneuver easier with more time to position the plane correctly compared to what I’m used to—it just seemed easier to do. Maybe all electrics do this; I don’t know but I like the fact that speed control is much easier.


The biggest surprise came when I attempted the Reverse Outside Loop, (Sportsman). Maybe this maneuver is easy for you—it’s not easy for me. Even with my best Daddy Rabbit, each plane I’ve flown this maneuver with tends to “fall off” one way or the other when I applied full throttle to begin the loop. It has been a constant battle (for me at least), to apply just the right amount of rudder at the right time to try to keep it on track. The Reverse Outside Loop has always been a maneuver that has been a problem for me—it’s been a “pain” and something I have to do. Sometimes the plane totally veers off one way or the other and I’m lucky if I can complete a recognizable “loop” at all. The Marabu however, (the very first time by the way), simply pulled itself straight up and over without losing heading whatsoever. I could hardly believe what I was seeing! Just that made my day, and the rest was icing on the cake. Landings today were both slow, controlled and easy.


Anyway, I was very pleased with the way the plane flew, and that I felt confident with it, and confidence is something I haven’t had a lot of this season, (my contest performance proves it). It was just so much “fun” to fly the thing and practice was more fun than normal.


I don’t know if I’m ready to try to compete in Chattanooga with the Marabu, (remember only five flights so far), or stick with my familiar Daddy Rabbit, but today has given me something to think about. I am still much more used to regular glo-powered models, but from now on I’ll practice with both and see how things go.


I don’t mean this to sound like an ad for Sky Aviations, but I was just having fun today, and wanted to share it with you. Burkhard leaves Wednesday. It was great having him visit. We did a lot of “stuff” over the past three weeks.

Duane Wilson, SPA Newsletter Editor

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