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									Official Publication of the Academy of Model Aeronautics    July 2005 $4.50

                                                                SINCE 1936

                  Airplanes                                of
                                   Airplanes                                                               of

                                                                  by Walt Nowotny

All photos courtesy of Miramax Film Corp., Aerotelemetry and Joseph Bock.

                                                                            AS FILMING BEGAN on Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award-
                                                                            winning movie The Aviator, he was faced with a dilemma: how to
                                                                            accurately portray Howard Hughes’ aircraft and the film’s flying
                                                                            scenes without having the original airplanes. Of those needed for the
                                                                            major flying sequences, one no longer existed and the other two
                                                                            were on permanent display in a museum, unable to fly.
                                                                                Digitally re-creating flying airplanes is notoriously expensive
                                                                            and time-consuming, and the aircraft look unrealistic even after all
                                                                            of the computer finishing work and digital special effects; they
                                                                            never convince the viewer that they are “real.” The Aviator’s
                                                                            executive producer Chris Brigham was frustrated by having to settle
                                                                            for the costly, unconvincing digital effects, so he decided to try
                                                                            something that had never been done: create the largest scale flying
                                                                            models ever built.
                                                                                Howard Hughes’ aircraft needed to be reproduced and flown
                                                                            realistically enough to convince movie critics and viewers that the
                                                                            flying sequences were authentic. That may seem simple, but these
                                                                            airplanes needed to be so big (with wingspans of up to 30 feet) that
                                                                            they would be placed in the Federal Aviation Administration
                                                                            experimental aircraft category.
                                                                                The technical challenge fell to Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
                                                                            pioneer Joseph Bock, whose company Aero Telemetry Corporation
                                                                            specializes in building and flying UAVs for the US military. His
                                                                            designs and technical innovations have been used on many
                                                                            unmanned airplanes that are currently in service around the world.
                                                                            Joe is considered by many to be the Howard Hughes of the UAV
                                                                                He said:

                                                                                “To pull off the effect of realism, the airplanes had to be big
                                                                            enough and heavy enough to fly as convincingly as a full-scale
                                                                            airplane. Building three scale, unmanned flying models of this size,
Howard Hughes in the cockpit of his world-record-setting H-1B.              and flying all three of them within this time frame (roughly 12

                                                                                                                                July 2005 17
                                                                                        weeks) has never before been attempted by
                                                                                        anyone within a military or commercial
                                                                                        aerospace entity—ever. Only the recent
                                                                                        advances in technology implemented by
                                                                                        skilled and experienced engineers could
                                                                                        have pulled this off.”

                                                                                            Working at their Southern California
                                                                                        facility, Joe and his team of 35 aerospace
                                                                                        engineers and technicians put all their
                                                                                        know-how and physical might into
                                                                                        constructing several huge flyable models
                                                                                        and motion-control miniatures. They did so
                                                                                        relying only on old drawings and pictures
                                                                                        from museum archives.
                                                                                            Aero Telemetry’s senior engineer and
                                                                                        crew chief Darrel Hofmann said:

                                                                                            “The XF-11 reconnaissance airplane, the
                                                                                        H-4 Hercules [Spruce Goose], and the H-1B
                                                                                        racer were all built by the Hughes Aircraft
Joe Bock with his 1/4-scale H-1B. It was used as a motion-control example to convince   Company in the 1930s and 1940s, when
Martin Scorsese that using flying models instead of computer-generated models           aviation was still in its infancy. Hughes was
would be better. Eugene Garcia photo.                                                   a real aviation pioneer. He hired the best
                                                                                        engineers in the world at the time and spoke
                                                                                        directly with the leading aviation experts of
                                                                                        the time.
                                                                                            “He personally had a say in the design of
                                                                                        the airplanes and he most certainly took on
                                                                                        the tremendous personal responsibility of
                                                                                        flying several of them for the first time as
                                                                                        the test pilot. This attests to the man’s skill
                                                                                        in the cockpit.”

                                                                                           Joe noted:

                                                                                            “Howard Hughes himself had an
                                                                                        extremely difficult time with the real
                                                                                        airplanes and was nearly killed in two of
                                                                                        them while flying. Although historians have
                                                                                        been unkind to some of his airplane designs
                                                                                        [the XF-11 and Spruce Goose are
                                                                                        prominently featured in a comprehensive
                                                                                        aerospace reference titled The World’s
                                                                                        Worst Airplanes], I have become quite fond
Aero Telemetry designed major H-1 structures—such as the retractable landing-gear       of both the XF-11 and H-4.
system—in Solid Works.                                                                      “Having studied them this closely I have
                                                                                        come to see the subtle genius in each of the
                                                                                        airplane’s designs. However, it was those
                                                                                        particular design constraints that
                                                                                        significantly impact any attempt to
                                                                                        successfully build and fly a large-scale
                                                                                        replica of them.
                                                                                            “This meant I had to come up with a
                                                                                        design that could fly very stable and provide
                                                                                        a degree of safety with respect to low
                                                                                        landing speeds and controllability.”

                                                                                            Joe as chief aerodynamicist and Darrel
                                                                                        as senior engineer set to work perfecting an
                                                                                        airfoil design that would do the trick.
                                                                                            “For safety’s sake, Joe and I designed an
                                                                                        airfoil with a significant tolerance for heavy
                                                                                        airframe weight and minimized the onset of
                                                                                        any tendency to tip stall,” said Darrel. “The
                                                                                        airplanes had to be built so quickly that they
                                                                                        would have to forego the benefit of many
                                                                                        standard weight-saving manufacturing
                                                                                        techniques that would have otherwise been
                                                                                        applied, and therefore we knew we would
                                                                                        have a reasonably high wing loading going
The H-1B designed and built from old Hughes drawings begins to take shape.              in.”

Joe Bock (R) and John Keefe tune the heavily modified 360cc       Another view of H-1 landing gear designed in Solid Works. Lack
engine with the in-flight adjustable propeller.                   of wing thickness had to be accommodated in the plans.

Ian Stevenson checks fuselage straightness. Airframe accuracy     Joe Bock checks the H-1 hydraulic system’s operation on one of
was of prime importance for historical and aerodynamic reasons.   the massive retractable landing-gear units.

                                                                                                        Roger Thornton and
                                                                                                        John Keefe hold on tight
                                                                                                        as the big engine is run
                                                                                                        up and tested in the H-1

                                                                                                                 July 2005 19
                                                                                          “We concentrated on high-Reynolds
                                                                                      number airfoils that tend to have lower
                                                                                      airspeed envelopes but tremendous
                                                                                      coefficients of lift,” added Joe.
                                                                                          Behind the scenes, Chris Brigham was
                                                                                      busy negotiating with Jim Wright of
                                                                                      Cottage Grove, Oregon, to use his newly
                                                                                      built, $2 million, full-scale H-1B racer. Jim
                                                                                      had painstakingly replicated the aircraft and
                                                                                      had just finished preparations to attend EAA
                                                                                      AirVenture—the premier aviation event at
                                                                                      Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He was slated to fly
                                                                                      his airplane for the movie cameras when he
                                                                                      returned in September.
                                                                                          As the Aero Telemetry design-team
                                                                                      members were settling into their respective
                                                                                      responsibilities on the XF-11 and the H-4,
                                                                                      tragedy struck. On August 4, 2003, Jim
                                                                                      Wright was killed while flying his H-1B
                                                                                      back from the Oshkosh event.
                                                                                          Stranger still, the propeller governor
On the flightline (L-R), Jason Somes, Darrel Hoffman, Adam Gelbart, Joe Bock, and     problem that caused Howard Hughes to
John Keefe prepare to start the H-1 race airplane.                                    make an emergency landing at Mines Field
                                                                                      (Los Angeles International Airport) almost
                                                                                      75 years earlier contributed to Jim’s
                                                                                      airplane’s demise. His death and subsequent
                                                                                      loss of a fine aviator and airplane cast a long
                                                                                      shadow on The Aviator cast and crew and
                                                                                      on Joe’s team.
                                                                                          During the following weeks, a meeting
                                                                                      was held at The Aviator and it was decided
                                                                                      to call on Joe and his team to see if they
                                                                                      could pull off a miracle and come up with a
                                                                                      1/2-scale H-1B in less than 10 weeks! Joe

                                                                                      still had to build and fly the XF-11 and the
                                                                                      H-4 by the last week of October—less than
                                                                                      eight weeks away!
                                                                                          After a lengthy conversation, Joe agreed
                                                                                      to the challenge; he felt that with the
                                                                                      addition of veteran aerospace machinist
                                                                                      John Keefe and highly touted hydraulics
                                                                                      engineer Butch Fleck, his group could
                                                                                      handle the heavy load. The Aero Telemetry
                                                                                      design and manufacturing teams were split
                                                                                      into two groups, which had multiple
                                                                                      responsibilities, and two more complete
                                                                                      shifts of laborers.
                                                                                          “Because of the additional film
                                                                                      scheduling issues, The Aviator required that
Crew performs final landing-gear check for H-1 before its first test flight.          the H-1 be the first airplane to fly, even
                                                                                      though it was the last airplane ordered,” said
                                                                                          His airplane shop needed to run from 6
                                                                                      a.m. until midnight, seven days a week, to
                                                                                      get the job done.
                                                                                          “The engineering design room was
                                                                                      moved closer to the CNC machines so we
                                                                                      could keep closer track of the parts and
                                                                                      tolerances as they came off the line,” said
                                                                                          John Keefe kept the CNC milling
                                                                                      machines and lathes running at maximum
                                                                                      output to keep up with all of the custom-
                                                                                      built aluminum parts required for all of the
                                                                                      airplanes. Joe’s engineering design team
                                                                                      began to close the gap between untested
                                                                                      computer drawings of parts and functional
                                                                                      working aerospace machinery on the XF-11
                                                                                      and H-1.
                                                                                          “It was an amazing process to be a part
                                                                                      of,” said Joe. “We would come with an idea
Aero Telemetry crew starts engine for first flight while sun sets fast in the west.   on the back of a napkin and have it

                                                                                Airplanes                           of

                                                                       Roger Thornton, John Keefe, and Joe Bock show the stress of
                                                                       the test flight.

                                                                       Left: Except for shorter-than-scale landing gear, this photo
                                                                       could have been of the full-scale H-1 preparing for takeoff.

Joe Bock gives his H-1 one last bit of help as it taxis out to make its mark on history.

                                                                                                                    July 2005 21
The H-1 wings over for the cameras during a full-power, low flyby (R) and
then makes one last flyby for the hundreds of cast and crew of The
Aviator. Spectacular!

Joe Bock (L) and John Keefe (R) tuck the H-1 racer back into its trailer after a successful film flight.

designed, built, and integrated within days      Telemetry’s talented “surfboard sanders” led      landing gear attach points needed to be,
of its conception … it was simply amazing.”      by Jon Neill and Ian Stevenson. The               extra consideration had to be given to the
    The initial plan called for a radio-         finished fuselage would then be covered in        length of the landing gear, hydraulic-system
controlled model that was half the scale of      fiberglass and painstakingly finished with        location, and ground-clearance issues due to
the original H-1. It had to take off under its   strips of aluminum tape to give it the “flush     the large-diameter propeller,” remarked Joe,
own power and fly at distances of up to          rivet metal” look.                                a former linebacker who has a bachelor’s
three to five miles while performing                 The wing was constructed using                degree in aerospace engineering and a
numerous flight maneuvers.                       conventional wing-building techniques, with       master’s degree in engineering management
    It would require custom hydraulic            the exception of including the new Aero           from the University of Southern California.
retractable main landing gear (which had to      Telemetry 28VDC hydraulically actuated,           While there he studied under the auspices of
be designed from scratch, built, tested, and     fully retractable landing-gear system for         renowned aerodynamicist Professor R.F.
fully operational in eight weeks). Because of    medium-endurance tactical UAVs.                   Blackwelder.
the model’s sheer size, the weight of the            Darrel said:                                      “This project required a substantial
hydraulic and electrical systems, and budget                                                       amount of aerospace engineering and a very
and schedule constraints (which have an              “Fundamentally, in order for an airplane      practical application of mathematics,
impact on building options), it was              to fly, it must be balanced precisely at its      especially during the design phase of all
anticipated that the airplane could weigh        center of gravity, or CG. This was the single     three airplanes,” according to Joe.
more than 400 pounds.                            most difficult task for the H-1 racer design          While the H-1 was being finished and
    Heavy use of composite technology            and necessarily became the most critical          prepared for its all-important film debut,
borrowed from years of working with the          issue.                                            work on the ultracomplex XF-11 was
US military on classified projects would             “The ultralong tail moment about the CG       progressing at a blistering pace. Critical
help the team build the airplanes quickly,       and center of pressure on the bottom of the       engine and propeller testing for both models
yet still provide a high degree of strength in   wing coupled with the huge chord of the H-        commenced at approximately the same time.
the structure. Within four weeks the H-1         1 made the airplane severely out of balance           Aero Telemetry’s engine instrumentation
began to look like a formidable machine.         (aft CG condition) right on the drawing           engineer Kenny Schaefer said:
                                                 board. The hard part was that we had to
Construction and Design: Many daunting           make it look exactly scale.”                         “For about three weeks, all throughout
design issues had to be addressed for the                                                          the day we were blasted from our daily
three airplanes. Each would be radically             To solve the problem quickly, Joe and         routine by the powerful engine test runs in
different from the others and would have         his crew had to design a complex yet              the testing area next to the shop. They had
different engines and complex control            coordinated wing and fuselage design that         the high-compression engines running as
systems.                                         would place the maximum amount of weight          well as could be expected and then they
    Because of the compressed schedule, it       and components in the forward section of          were modified further by us and tuned for
was decided to make the racer’s fuselage         the airplane, which was already cramped.          maximum output by Joe [Bock] and John
from foam blocks designed in Solid Works.            “Also, due to the thin airfoil thickness at   [Keefe].”
It would be finish-sanded by Aero                the main spar and wing root where the                The group tried different types of fuel

and varying ratios of fuel and oil until the    since September 16, and they were                 were to be destroyed during testing, there
right combination provided the required         exhausted.                                        would be neither enough time nor resources
horsepower at a safe cylinder-head                  “And we hadn’t even started the flight-       to build another to fit into the filming
temperature. Integration of the Aero            testing portion of the project yet!”              schedule, and its flying scenes would be
Telemetry AT-DRV-3000 Telemetry and             exclaimed Joe.                                    deleted from the script.
Data Acquisition System would later                                                                   A crash at this early stage would likely
substantiate the preliminary ground-test data   First Flight Test: November 4, 2003—the           result in the cancellation of the entire
with actual airborne-test data.                 day for the H-1’s first flight—had arrived.       project, including the XF-11 and H-4 which
    Between the deafening engine test runs      The team was nervous, and Joe was                 were already under construction. The visual-
and the scream of hydraulic pumps               concerned because they had been unable to         effects producer indicated that if Joe failed,
throughout the shop, Aero Telemetry’s           test-fly the airplane first. All things           the other models would be too risky,
scale-detail expert Adam Gelbart and the        considered, safety was the foremost issue.        expensive, and dangerous to try. So this
rest of the team were putting the finishing         When the crew arrived at Santa Clarita,       single flight would have serious
touches on the airplanes coming down the        California’s famous Mystery Mesa (a               consequences for the team; everything they
production line.                                location just north of Los Angeles, long          had worked on up to this point was at risk.
    “These airplanes were being used for        favored by Hollywood as a unique film                 The combination of all these issues
close-up film-camera work, so we had to         setting), they found a full movie set with        created such liability, pressure, and anxiety
make the airplanes look as good as they         more than 500 people milling about. Service       within the team that Joe declined to fly at
flew,” said Gelbart.                            trucks and vehicles were everywhere, and          that location and time. It was decided that a
    By October 25—the week originally           there was only a crowned dirt road for a          proper flight test in a safe place was needed.
scheduled for filming the H-1B—the fires in     takeoff area. Above it all, the set was               The entire flight crew set off for a
Los Angeles had decimated The Aviator set,      directly on a windy mountaintop surrounded        location roughly two hours away known as
rendering it unusable. The accompanying         by extremely treacherous terrain, with no         El Mirage Dry Lake, which is located closer
heavy smoke made it almost impossible to        place to land in case of an in-flight             to Edwards Air Force Base and in the high-
breathe, much less film, so all outside shots   emergency.                                        desert area of California. The lakebed is
were postponed for two weeks. This break            “The area was completely untenable for        known as one of the flattest places on
in the action gave Joe and his team the         aircraft, to say the least,” Joe remarked.        earth—perfect for airplane testing.
respite they sorely needed to continue.         “Any problem with a critical component on             The crew arrived tired from the early
    They performed static load testing and      an airplane this big and fast that might cause    morning at Mystery Mesa but relieved to be
CG tests, and the final finishing touches       loss of control would spell certain disaster      in a safe, remote area. After assembling the
were added to the H-1’s cowl and fuselage.      for the airplane and probably death or            H-1, the team started final preparations for
The engine, hydraulics, linear servo            serious injury to anyone if it came into the      the flight. The hydraulic landing gears needed
controls, Aero’s onboard telemetry system,      crowded film set area.”                           finishing adjustments, as did the big military
and fuel-supply system were retested and            Besides the safety and liability issues for   drone engine; the altitude was roughly 2,700
secured for flight. By this time the entire     Joe, crashing the model was not an option at      feet above sea level, and increased altitude
crew had been working two-and-a-half shifts     this critical point in the project. If the H-1    decreases engine performance.

                                                                                                                              July 2005 27
    To help with the power loss, it was          from Joe, the H-1 headed off for its date          landing. Jason leveled the wings for the final
decided to remove the mufflers from the          with destiny. It picked up speed, and after        time and held the model in a nose-level
engine to get every last bit of power it had.    what seemed like forever, with the engine          attitude while reducing the engine’s power
Although this increased power, it made           running at full throttle, its tail lifted and it   setting to the point of nearly shutting it off.
working around the running engine almost         started skyward. Cheers from the crew                   The H-1 descended quickly with the big
unbearable; the exhaust noise sounded more       overpowered the sound of the engine.               three-blade propeller windmilling out in
like a 20mm machine gun than an engine!              Jason climbed the H-1 in a relatively flat     front, and it became deathly quiet in the
    In an eerie coincidence, the in-flight       left-hand turn that brought it back around         desert; no one spoke as all eyes were glued
adjustable-propeller-pitch mechanism was         toward the crew so they could get a visual         to the aluminum fuselage as it flashed in
not going to cooperate. This was the same        on the landing gear and control surfaces.          front of the crew and the model began to
type of problem encountered by Howard                Everything looked good, so he throttled        settle into a condition known as “ground
Hughes (forcing his emergency landing at         back and the airplane settled in a little,         effect.” This is a buffeting that occurs as an
Mines Field) and Jim Wright (ultimately          moving in an oval racetrack pattern                airplane’s wing nears the ground, preventing
causing his crash). A temporary fix was          probably within roughly a mile of the              it from touching the earth while riding on a
installed, and the crew proceeded with a         ground control.                                    pillow of air.
fixed-pitch propeller.                               Trim adjustments were made to the                   As the aircraft’s nose pitched up a few
    “We would try to keep the airplane           elevator for pitch stability, and it was time to   feet off the ground, a tremendous roar went
climbing as fast as possible without over-       retract the hydraulic landing gear. The            up from those present. It touched down in a
revving the engine,” said John Keefe.            switch was flipped, and the gear disappeared       perfect three-point landing, skidding slightly
“When the airplane got to a cruising             into their wheel wells perfectly.                  to the right while sending up a rooster tail of
altitude, the pilot could reduce power and           The H-1 flew better with the gear up, but      dirt and sand from the fixed tail-skid
try to see if the airplane would stay in level   Jason was beginning to notice a                    assembly, signifying that the H-1 had made
flight so we could get some real                 considerable pitch-stability issue. Whenever       its way into aviation history and would live
aerodynamic data from our H-1.”                  he slowed the model with the engine                to fly again.
    With the major telemetry checks              throttle, it tried to pitch up. This is a deadly        With pride in his voice, Joe said:
showing green, the only other problem was        condition when combined with the over-
that the sun was setting fast in the west.       running-propeller problem.                             “The pressure of the flight, its schedule,
With only minutes of good flying                     Joe called for more altitude, and the H-1      and long hours of engineering manifested
conditions left, Joe gave the launch signal,     responded with a smooth climbout before            themselves in some tears of joy from many
and the arming switches were turned on           making another pass in front of the crew. It       of those who had just witnessed the
the engine, a multitude of airborne              was time to come home.                             amazing flight of the largest unmanned H-
electronic systems, and the Aero                     Jason lowered the landing gear on the          1B racer in the world.
Telemetry UHF uplink transmitter.                downwind leg; as the airplane made its base            “The flight was significant insofar as it
    Seasoned RC pilot Jason Somes pushed         turn to final approach, those present stood        proved many of the design innovations that
the throttle forward, and, with a final push     still and held their breath for the setup to       we [Aero Telemetry] brought to the project

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 aerospace with respect to Unmanned Air           minimal number of people in the area to             vintage airfield equipment lined both sides
 Vehicle design and manufacture. This flight      minimize safety hazards during the flight.          of the runway, making it a challenge not to
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 the innovative Aero Telemetry command            dark at 4:30 a.m., and by 7 a.m. the engine         landing.
 and control systems to be used on the            was started and retuned for the location’s              The H-1 climbed out steadily, much to
 remaining two airplanes.”                        altitude. After a lengthy safety meeting, the       the amazement of the film crew and
                                                  cast and crew prepared for an attempt. Two          emergency personnel, who had never
     Many other issues had to be addressed        fire trucks, an ambulance, and emergency            witnessed such a spectacle. When the
 before the H-1 would fly for the film crews      personnel stood at the ready.                       airplane began its first pass over the film set
 the following week. However, for all that            Joe explained:                                  in a diving left-hand turn, the roughly 200
 had transpired to make this magnificent                                                              spectators looked gripped by fascination. As
 airplane come to life, this had been one of          “We installed a new 48-inch-diameter,           the gear retracted and the airplane picked up
 the most amazing days in scale-model             three-blade, in-flight adjustable propeller         speed, it seemed to transform into Howard
 aviation.                                        and was prepared to adjust it for the               Hughes flying the H-1 as he had more than
                                                  maximum pitch of around 54 inches when              75 years ago.
 Film Flight: At Santa Clarita on November        we got ready to cut the engine loose.                   At nearly the time Jason was getting
 17, 2003, the H-1B was flown and filmed to           “The larger propeller required that the         more comfortable with the airplane’s
 simulate the world-speed-record attempt that     pilot take off and land the Hughes racer in         handling characteristics, it came time to land
 Howard Hughes made in 1935 at Santa Ana,         the three-point position or risk the chance of      and refuel. He shot a perfect approach to the
 California.                                      hitting the prop blades on the runway.              top of the mountain and three-pointed the
     Between the model’s last flight at El        Therefore, the high angle of attack made the        aircraft right on the money. The several
 Mirage and the morning of the 17th, amazing      takeoffs and landings very nerve-racking.”          hundred film personnel and spectators
 things had taken place. At Aero Telemetry, a                                                         cheered wildly as it settled in and slowed to
 review of video and data telemetry from the           With Jason Somes back at the controls,         a stop, using every inch of the bumpy
 test flight showed that several changes were     Joe gave the order for the takeoff run; the         runway.
 necessary before the H-1 flew again. Those       military engine roared to life as the H-1               Before the cheering had stopped, the
 modifications had to be made quickly and         rolled out on its first flight of the day. The      Aero Telemetry ground crew was in action
 could not disturb the aircraft’s paint or        takeoff did have its issues; the model got “a       downfield, trying its best to ensure the H-1’s
 delicate aluminum finish.                        little sideways” from the engine torque and         quick recovery and turnaround. But it was
     Meanwhile, the fires in and around Los       huge three-blade propeller turning at a full        discovered that the rough runway coupled
 Angeles had finally come under control and       54 inches of pitch.                                 with the heavy down-force on the empennage
 it had started to rain. With the principal            Although the runway was perfect, the           had destroyed the tail wheel on landing.
 filming finished at Mystery Mesa, the            airplane was so large that it was the width of          Crew chief Darrel Hoffman immediately

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                                               set about fabricating a fully functional         surrounding the set. When they brought the
 West Mountain Radio                           replacement tail-skid assembly that not only     airplane in at full throttle through the pylons
                                               worked perfectly for maintaining directional     only 20 feet from the ground, it sounded like
  Computerized                                 stability for the big racer, but remained out    a freight train and was indistinguishable

  Battery                                      of sight for the movie cameras during the        from the real thing … it just literally shook
  Analyzer                                     next flight.                                     the ground around us as it flew past.”
                                                   “There wasn’t a machine shop available
                        New! 0-40 Amps         out there, so it became a race with time for         The aircraft’s rock-steady flight
                                               me to come up with a tail-skid assembly that     characteristics, high speed, and detailed
                                               would be functional and strong enough to         finish combined with the vintage-airfield
                                               withstand the weight of the airplane, and I      setting at Mystery Mesa was realistic and
                                               only had about 20 minutes to do it!” he          convincing, even for the spectators. The
                                               exclaimed.                                       Aviator Executive Producer Chris Brigham,
                                                   While the movie crew busily reloaded         who had witnessed the flight from the
                                               ground cameras and made final adjustments        vantage point of the helicopter, told Joe that
                                               to the aerial coordinator’s helicopter film      “the airplane was simply breathtaking to
                                               cameras for the next flight, John Keefe and      watch from up there.”
                                               Roger Thornton quickly refueled the H-1,
                                               and Joe adjusted the engine for maximum              After several passes through the mock
                                               power. He said:                                  speed course, the H-1 was ready to land.
   Will your battery                                                                            Before it did, though, Joe told Jason to
                                                   “1/4 turn of the high speed needle put the   perform an unscripted maneuver as a fitting
    keep you flying?                           big drone engine at a full military power        salute to Howard Hughes and those who
                                               setting. For the film sequences of Howard        were there that day to witness his H-1B’s
        Find out!                              Hughes’ world-speed-record attempt, we not       record-setting flight.
                                               only tried to re-create something very               As the model flew past the crew at full
  Capacity test with a                         special for Martin Scorsese and Chris            throttle, “the H-1 did the most beautiful
                                               Brigham, but also we were attempting to          slow roll you’ve ever seen,” said Joe.
                 CBA                           own the world speed record for the fastest
                                               1/2-scale airplane manned or unmanned, and
                                                                                                “Probably something that Howard would
                                                                                                have done too. The record-setting
  ■   The easy and inexpensive way to test     I think we did it on this flight!                performance of our H-1 racer was
      any battery, LiPo, NiCad, NiMh, etc.         “We were clocked going downhill at           absolutely breathtaking to witness, and it
                                               somewhere around 150 knots [172 mph], and        was done under some of the most extreme
  ■   Lab tests that anyone can do. Let your   it was an utterly amazing sight to behold.”      circumstances imaginable.”
      Windows computer do all the work.                                                             Of the day, he said:
  ■   Constant current graphical discharge         The next flight had an escort in the sky:
                                               a manned helicopter used for aerial                  “The incredible effort of the team during
      testing at up to 40 amps or 150 watts.   filming. The H-1’s three-point takeoff was       these last few weeks cannot be overstated.
                                               perfect, and the landing gear were               The airplane flew perfectly and provided
         APP Powerpoles                        retracted before the airplane had even           the cameras with some of the most amazing
                                               turned crosswind as it climbed out in a          aerial footage of the H-1 racer that could
                 PWRcrimp tool                 beautiful arc across the sky.                    have only been had if Howard Hughes
                                                   As the aircraft was brought out of the       himself were here to do it … in some ways
                                               diving turn, the throttle was pushed full        I really think he may have been … ” MA
                                               forward and the giant propeller turned at                                        Walt Nowotny
                                               maximum pitch. The model’s incredible
                                               sound echoed throughout the canyons
  18 Sheehan Ave., Norwalk, CT 06854           surrounding the set. Roger Thornton                  (Editor’s note: Next month learn how
   tel: 203 853 8080 fax: 203 299 0232         commented:                                       Joe and the Aero Telemetry team designed,
                                                                                                built, and flew the world’s largest and                             “The H-1 made an incredible sound that       fastest Hughes XF-11 scale model for
      Dealer inquires invited.                 literally echoed throughout the canyons          Martin Scorsese and The Aviator.)


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