I’m a sucker for the golden age of aviation. There is something about the big round engines and rounded airframes. The open cockpits and big wheel pants. Perhaps it’s because it could be considered the youthful time of aviation when we were still figuring out this marvel of flight. One of the iconic airplanes of this time was the Gee Bee R1 and R2 racers.
Back in the early 1930′s air racing was a hot sport. Records for speed were broken every year. Howell “Pete” Miller and Zantford “Granny” Granville worked on the Gee Bee R design. They theorized that a teardrop shape would induce less drag then the typical standard taper. So they spent 3 days in a wind tunnel testing the design. They also moved the cockpit as far back as they could to maximize the pilots viewing area in tight pylon turns. What they did not count on but were pleased to find out is that the teardrop body acts as a large airfoil so in a tight knife edge turn the plane would hardly loose any lift.
The R1 won the Thompson Trophy race in 1932 being flown by Jimmy Doolittle. He loved the airplane and spoke very highly of it. However in 1933 pilot Russell Boardman was killed During the 1933 Bendix Trophy race. The airplane quickly became known as a killer in the hands of an inexperienced pilot.
Non-flying replicas of the R-1 have been built using original plans for the aircraft.A flying replica of the R-2 was built by Steve Wolf and Delmar Benjamin that first flew in 1991. Benjamin flew an aerobatic routine in this aircraft at numerous air shows until he retired the aircraft in 2002. This aircraft was put on display the Fantasy of Flight in Polk City Florida in 2004. I had the chance to see this replica fly at an air show once and it was a sight to see.
A few years ago E-flite released a parkflyer Seafury featuring mechanical retracts. It was quite an advancement at the time. People loved the plane as it flew great and there just are not that many Seafury kits out there. Unfortunately for E-Flite the company they contracted to manufacture the kits went out of business so they discontinued the kit.
Well it’s back now and made of the more durable Z-Foam. It still has the mechanical retracts and detachable rocket armament. additionally it also retained the same stick mount setup for the motor. While not a big issue for more modelers these days it’s unfortunate that some minor revisions could not be made to update the kit for the modern electric retracts and firewall mounted outrunners people enjoy these days. But lets not dwell on the minor issues but be glad we now have a parkflyer Seafury back in ARF form. Perhaps we’ll see the P-38 revived as well? We’ll have to wait and see what Horizon and E-flite have to say about that.
Durable molded Z-Foam construction with removable wing
Striking scale detail, including panel lines and an authentic paint scheme
Mechanical retractable landing gear included (two sub-micro servos required)
Factory-installed spars, hinges and control horns
Lightly loaded wing for stable flying characteristics
Fully detailed, factory-painted cockpit and pilot figure
Factory finished rockets included for added scale appearance
Large, easy-access magnetic hatch
4- to 5-channel operation (retractable landing gear is optional)
Propeller and scale spinner included
Needed To Complete
- 4+ channel Transmitter and Receiver radio system (5+ for retract operation)
- 4 sub-micro servos (6 for retract operation)
- Brushless outrunner motor
- Brushless ESC
- Flight battery
The Gee Bee R2 racer is one of those planes most everyone loves but hates to fly. With the big round body meant to house a large radial engine and just enough wing area to keep it in the air it can be a handful to fly. Enter E-flite and their new AS3X technology to tame down the beast and make it in a micro fly anywhere size.
The release date is late December of 2011 so we might not see it under the christmas tree but hopefully by new years we’ll be tearing up the ball parks and indoor arenas with this new micro plane from E-flite. Check back for my take on this plane once it’s released.
Below are the specs from E-flite. See the product page here: http://www.e-fliterc.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=EFLU4580
UMX Gee Bee R2 BNF
Gee Bees competed in all the popular airplane races of the Golden Era of aviation. These highly engineered, teardrop-shaped, super planes required a skillful hand and perfect circumstances, but with the right pilot, they ruled the speed course. The UMX Gee Bee R2 is yours to groove through the skies just about anywhere because it features specially tuned handling more in common with a Sunday sport model than a short-coupled engine with wings. The awe-inspiring UMX Gee Bee R2 replica offers handling so remarkably smooth, you’ll want to fly this authentically scaled model every day. Its built-in, specially tuned, AS3X System invisibly helps you enjoy the kind of silky handling and outstanding control you always wanted from a conveniently sized RC model, but never thought possible before now. And you get all the benefits without having to spend a lot of setup time. No special programming is required. Just charge the included Li-Po battery, bind to a basic DSM2™/DSMX® airplane transmitter setup and the UMX Gee Bee R2, enhanced with the AS3X System, will instantly offer you the best flight experience possible.
20.1 in (510mm)
13.9 in (352mm)
72.5 sq. in. (4.7 sq. dm.)
3.60 oz (102 g)
180-size 3000Kv brushless outrunner
4 channel minimum transmitter
(4) 2.3 g Performance Linear Long Throw Servo
Trim Scheme Colors:
Red and White
5.25 x 3.5 Electric Propeller
2S 200 mAh 25C Li-Po Battery (included)
Approx. Flying Duration:
DC powered 2S LiPo charger (included)
Minimum Age Recommendation:
Is Assembly Required:
Needed to Complete
Any 4+ channel DSM2- or DSMX-compatible Transmitter
Futaba announced the release of a new 18 channel radio today. It’s a first of it’s kind with 18 true channels and a new version of the FASST 2.4 technology called FASSTest. It also features an SD slot for system updates, model memory and more.
Check it out online at: http://www.futaba-rc.com/systems/18mz.html