RC AIRCRAFT DESIGNING, BUILDING, & FLYING
Experiences In Designing & Flying RC Aircraft At Higher
Altitudes In Colorado
HI! My name is Bruce Stenulson, and I've lived in the central Colorado
Rocky Mountains for over 46 years. I enjoy designing & flying RC
Aircraft that perform well in our thinner air up here; (my home sits at
roughly 10,300 feet A.S.L.) I hope that some of what I share with you on
these pages will be useful!
Parts of this web site were last updated on January 28th,
2021; thanks for visiting!
HERE'S THE BEST FLYING WEATHER / WIND INFORMATION!! FOR THE SOUTH PARK
HERE for Surface Condition Weather Forecasting for Air Sports
Aviators: For Leadville, CO
THE LATEST UPDATES AND AIRCRAFT DESIGNS
(The newest aircraft designs are added to the top of this
page, with links to new pages.)
The HIGHLANDER is a ~36" span bush
plane that is built from Depron foam sheet material. It features A
KFm3 variant shaped airfoil wing with flaps, slats, ailerons, full
wingtip plates, and airflow fences on the upper wing surface. The
horizontal stabilizer also has tip plates. It flies either with 4"
tundra tires, or from snow with skis. CLICK
HERE to go to the HIGHLANDER page.
ABOVE: DANCER V on Skis
Above is a late 2011 design, the DANCER V. It's designed to fly from
wheels or skis; optionally, the landing gear can be quickly removed for
belly landings in areas where gear is not suitable. It's flying with a 62"
span built up foam Bluecor wing with the MH32/KF3p airfoil profile. The
information on this design is on RCGroups.com in the
"Foamies-Scratchbuilt" forum, starting with post 145 in the DANCER
discussion thread; click on the image above to jump to that page.
Above: This is DANCER II with the 46" span KF3P wing mounted. The
fuselage is designed to mount a variety of wings; It is designed to be
powered with a C20 motor with a 2050 Kv rating, so that it generates good
thrust while turning a modest sized 6" prop. (This size of prop generates
less drag than lasrger props when the motor is turned off and the prop has
stopped.) The fuselage is sized just high enough to provide clearance for
this size prop, while the forward end of the fuselage exrtends far enough
forward to allow for balancing with a light weight 2S 900 mAH battery
installed in a compatment in the nose. A high under-camber slow flying
wing with a 12 LED array for night flying is also shown on
the DANCER II page, along with a lot of photos and build details.
is the DANCER 3 with a high performance MH32/KF3P airfoiled 63" span
wing. CLICK HERE to jump to the DANCER 3 page.
THE FLIRT 20
The FLIRT 20 is a new snow flying design; it draws inspiration from the
HOOT, the Nutball, and The Snowball designs. It implements a narrow top
doubler panel with an elliptically cut trailing edge which only extends
back to 17.5% of the total wing panel chord. It has elevons as well as a
large rudder, so it's very capable both in the air and on the snow! It has
a wing loading of only 3.38 ounces per square foot. Further information
and build sequence photos are on the FLIRT 20 page.
THE LITE STIK SL
Above: (12-07-2009 first flight): This is the Lite Stik SL. It has a 36"
span built-up balsa wing which uses the NACA4408 under-cambered airfoil to
generate good lift at low speeds with a modest amount of input power.
Flying weight is at 7-3/4 ounces with the lightweight skis mounted, and as
low as 7-1/8 ounces on foam wheels when flying with a 2S 360 mAH LiPo
battery. Wing area is about 2 square feet, so depending upon the battery
being used, the wing loading ranges from a bit over 3-1/2 ounces, up to
3-7/8 ounces per square foot. Motor is a 24 gram brushless out-runner,
1200 Kv, turning an APC 8x3.8 prop. (Plans are not available for this
design at this time.) This is a new slow flier variant of the
LITE STIK B design of several years ago; more photos are now also
placed on that page.
Update; I switched to flying woth a folding prop on the Lite Stik SL to
reduce the drag produced by the fixed blade prop while gliding in the
Above: The Skyray is a 29" wingspan 'stand-off-scale' rendition of the
Douglas F4D Skyray. This one is designed using a thin KFm2 airfoil. Flying
weight is at 14 ounces; with a wing area of 2.4 square feet, the wing
loading is 5.83 ounces per square foot. It's running an inexpensive motor
that is providing 170 watts of input power, so the performance is VERY
impressive! It uses elevon control, and handles high speed very well, yet
also performs very well when slowed down. Launches and landings are smooth
and predictable. And it has some nice flowing lines to it's profile, too.
Click HERE for many more photos, plans, a flight
video, and further information on the SKYRAY.
Above: The Voyager was designed, built and flown in early November of
2009. This 36" wingspan aircraft is built from Bluecor PP; it implements
an 8.3% thick KFm3 variant low camber line lifting airfoil wing, and has
large control surfaces for good aerobatic capability. (It was designed
with extra structure within the wing to allow it to be mounted directly
onto a set of solid EPP floats, without using any added struts or bracing
framework.) This is an aerobatic aircraft that enjoys speed, yet handles
very well when slowed down. The wing's airfoil design allows it to handle
well in all conditions; it ignores gusty winds, and has a decent power-off
glide for an aerobatic aircraft of this general type.
Click HERE to jump to the Voyager's web page.
Above: The SNOWBALL T-Tail variant is a fun flyer aircraft with
floats, optimized specifically for water flying. (It can also fly off snow
It handles very well both on the water and in the air. Takeoffs &
landings are easy & fun. The wider stance contributes to the water
flying stability, while the slightly lower dihedral angle on the shorter
wing tip panels contribute to it's being less vulnerable to being
flipped by a gust of wind from the side.
Rudder authority & response is good, and the roll rate is quite
fast. The T-tail elevator works well, and this approach gets it up out
of the water, while the trailing edge runs on the water cleanly. By
having the rudder extended beyond the wing's trailing edge, it acts as a
very effective water rudder while on the water.
CLICK HERE to go to the SNOWBALL T-Tail float plane's page.
The SKYCART (photo below) is a novelty 'Flying Gocart' design by
Leadfeather, posted to this
SKYCART build and discussion thread The Foamies-Scratchbuilt section
on RCGroups I started following it at the first of September of
2009, and started posting about my own Skycart build in page 26, post
My Skycart ended up as shown above, flying at 7.5 ounces flying
weight. It uses a 1700 Kv 24 gram motor and a 2S 460 mAH Rhino LiPoly
pack, turning a GWS 8043 SF propeller. This aircraft is fun to drive
on the ground, and also a very capable and predictable flyer in the
air. With the last addition, the rear vertical stabilizer fins on the
edges of the wing / deck, this Skycart can now be flown into &
back out of any insane attitude & maneuver (inverted flat spins,
tumbles, etc.) Recovery from any crazy antics is now quick &
predictable. It handles quite a bit of gusty wind conditions without
any problems, too. It's been a fun project!(Note: this is not a
project for a novice RC pilot!)
Plans are included at the start of the discussion page linked above.
To go to my SKYCART page for details on my
build, CLICK HERE.
Here's the new Me163 variant - the "ME163-e"; this is my designation
for an electric powered variant that has been morphed to use an 8" or 9"
folding prop on an extended slim nose. It's at 39-3/4" wingspan as shown
in these photos, with an overall length of 26-1/4". The 'e' is for
electric, eliptical, and efficient. Click on the photo above to jump to
the KOMET page, where extensive details and many photos of the build
sequence can be found.
Above: The 32" wingspan YAK55 EPP as finalized, with all rear
fuselage anti-twist bracing in place, and the Doculam wing skin
overlays in place- flying smoothly and handling great! Flying weight
is at 6-5/8 ounces. Click on the photo above for a look at more photos
of the construction and more of the specifications for this design.
Here she is, "The FLIRT" ready to play- and what a FUN girl she is
to play with!!
This sexy cousin of the Nutball has great control response- fast
roll rate, great inverted flat spins, the usual insanely tight
loops, inverted flight- as well as very good low speed handling. The
70 watt 16 gram motor has far more power than is necessary- I
switched to a 10 gram motor, and find that it still has plenty of
power to fly the way I like it. The FLIRT was designed with a full
length upper fuselage where the ESC, radio receiver, and servos are
all easily installed. The slightly thicker EPP lower fuselage is
designed to allow room for carrying the battery within the foam,
directly on the center line, and out of the cold winter air. The
lower fuselage also provides adequate support for the extremely
light weight landing gear.
It's amazing how aerobatically this Rudder / Elevator aircraft
can fly. The 24 degree dihedral setup allows for this type of
agile handling response. She will roll very rapidly, do either
inside or outside loops in a very small amount of sky, and does
inverted flat spins very nicely. She recovers from any attitude
quickly. And with a flying weight of 3.5 to <4 ounces
(depending upon the 2S battery being flown) and a wing area of
1.55 square feet, the FLIRT has a wing loading of only 2.26 to 2.6
ounces per square foot, so she can slow down beautifully. The
under-body and tail skids act as effective vertical stabilization
when flying in high-alpha attitudes.
(Elevons are ineffective on a aircraft with this high dihedral
layout; there are lots of high performance elevon designs, such as
the MANTA OMEGA and ACE designs. The Flirt was designed to be
highly aerobatic using only rudder and elevator.)
Oh- the name??? My wife came up with it, and it FITS! The FLIRT
is a resilient girl that just Loves to flirt with the dirt- and
flirt with the trees- and flirt with the bushes- she can't hardly
wait to play in the snow! My kind of girl!! Click on the image
above to jump to the FLIRT's page.
The Spinner 20 is flying at 6-3/8 ounces in December of
2008. It features a Kline-Fogleman variant wing design, with the
top step at 50% of chord, and an extensively heat-shaped wing
leading edge airfoil. Click on the image above to jump to the
SPINNER 20 web page.
In the photo above, it has a 9 gram motor mounted with a GWS
6030 SF prop; it was a bit weak on performance with this motor.
In early Dec. of 2008, I replaced it with a ~18 gram motor,
which gave it the power it needed to perform superbly! I'm
flying an APC 6x5.5 propeller on this motor, and flying a 3S 620
mAH battery pack.
The SPINNER 20 is somewhat based as a scaled-down version of my
very successful 30" wingspan SPINNER, which I designed in
November of 2004. It is also partially inspired by the 'Shark
Bait' design. It has a wing, tail group, and upper fuselage
which is built of Bluecor fanfold foam, while the under-fuselage
is made from EPP. It features very lightweight landing gear made
from 2mm CF rod, and employs wing tip plates.
This is the VARRKAIN, a 48" wingspan EPP and Coroplast slope
combat aircraft. Click on the image below to jump to that page
Above- the newest design in the MANTA Project series,
the "ZARKANIAN Scout Ship" - (Zark for short.)
This electric powered lightweight RC miniature aircraft is
designed for fun flying either indoors or outdoors. The material
piece count is small, and the build is simple and
straight-forward. The 'Fantasy Scale" fuselage is an integral
aspect of this design, allowing thia aircraft to be built out of
many types of material without needing extra structural support
members such as bamboo or Carbon Fiber. The underside forward
battery compartment maintains the side profile while hiding and
protecting the battery. My approach to adding the mono-wheel
landing gear is another of my own design aspects; it offers an
utterly simple and very effective landing gear implementation.
The Zarkanian Scout Ship is likely one of the
easiest-building RC aircraft I've designed to date... and it
flies superbly! You may want to build one for yourself! I'll
provide enough in the way of plans and instructions so that a
modeler should be able to do that. The base design criteria is
to KEEP IT LIGHT & SIMPLE! The material you use will have
a bearing on the weight, structural strength, and longevity of
your Zarkanian Scout Ship. It's all about trade-offs, with a
certain flight performance envelope in mind.
Above- Another of the designs in the MANTA Project
series, the "ACE". Flying at 7.5 ounces, this is a fine flying
addition to the "UFOs OVER SOUTH PARK" series. Click on the
image above to visit the Manta Project "ACE" page, with more
photos and information.
The SUMO +G is an EPP and Bluecor PP foam high
resiliency aerobatic flyer with a well-protected mid-mounted
motor; it is my design variant of the SUMO design from the RC
Groups discussion thread in the "Foamies: Scratchbuilt"
section of RC GROUPS. Click on the image above to go to the
new page on this aircraft.
(Above): DANCER - the latest design with the highly efficient
glider wing using the 'Kline-Fogleman step treatment' on the
wing's top surface
The SLIM BEAGLE has a new Kline-Fogleman Airfoiled
Glider wing with ailerons! It's now morphed into a lite
hotliner!! (Well... a lightweight 'warmliner' at least,
This is the latest generation of the SPINNER design
series; it features a three layer wing leading edge for the
front 30% of chord and a sharp 90 degree 'Kline-Fogleman
step'. The wing spar structure consists of a 1mm diameter
carbon fiber rod glued to the top & bottom surface just in
front of the step at 30% of chord. The result is a very rigid
wing which flies much more like a fully symmetrical wing than
like a flat plate wing - a major performance improvement over
the earlier SPINNER design. CLICK HERE
to visit the Spinner page for more photos & information.
CURVACIOUS! II (Above) is the second generation of the 'Curvy'
foamies; it's highly aerobatic, with large ailerons, rudder, and
a counterbalanced elevator. It's a LOT of fun to fly; rolls
cleanly & quickly, flat spins easily, loops tightly... a
great lightweight flyer! For more information, click on the
photo above to go to the web page.
The CURVACIOUS! - ("CURVY" for short)
shown as it is flying on January 1st, 2007. This is a very
responsive Rudder-Elevator controlled design. Landing gear is
removable, mounted in place with Scotch "Extreme" cross-filament
nylon filament tape. With a 2S 800 mAH CSRC LiPoly battery pack,
the flying weight is at 7-7/8 ounces. The motor I used on this
build was a GoBrushless GBv kit motor with 23 wraps of 26 gauge
wire, Y termination, driven by a Castle Creations Thunderbird 9
ESC. UPDATE NOTE: Many 24 gram brushless motors are now
available to use on this size design; something in a "Blue
Wonder" motor with a 1200kV to 1300kV motor wind would be most
For outdoor flying, I'm using a 9x7 GWS slowflyer prop,
which provides almost unlimited vertical, and the ability to do
high-alpha maneuvers. Handling is responsive, but very
predictable; it'll take off, turn, and land in the same place on
the snowpacked road behind me in the photo above!
The MANTA, a foamie scale rendition of John Frost's 1952
'Flying Saucer' aircraft design; click
here for more information on this project.
SOARBIRD is a 61" wingspan slowflyer / thermal cruiser built in a
stylized soaring hawk shape. It was designed to look a lot like a
hawk or eagle from below when it's riding thermals above. (I've
wanted to do one something like this for a long time!) There are
already a few other bird-like designs of varying complexity; what I
wanted to do was to come up with a design that would be relatively
easy to build, without complex airfoil shaping or any hot-wire
cutting. SOARBIRD II is a 52-1/2" wingspan version with elevator and
ailerons / spoilerons, which is far more agile in windy conditions.
For more information and the build sequence photos,
click here to jump to the SOARBIRD page.
The SNOBOAT is a Canard Flying Boat design made from BlueCor and
EPP; the design was first flown in December of 2005. It was modified
with several design / control updates on December 2nd, 2006. It now
flies GREAT from snow, with improved control response and very good
stability! CLICK HERE to jump to the SNOBOAT
NEW: Click here to visit the newest page
featuring the "WOODSTOK" design, as shown in the photo above.
This is another foamy park flyer with a 35-3/4" wingspan, powered by
a CD-Rom kit motor in a pusher setup, flying on a two cell 1300 mAH
LiPoly battery pack at 8-7/8 ounces.
On December 4th, 2006 WOODSTOCK had his trike floats quickly
remounted, and went out for some snow flying!
The BEAGLE has a 33' wingspan, using an undercambered shaped BLUECOR
polyhedral wing and BLUECOR tail surfaces for rudder - elevator -
throttle control. This 8 ounce airplane uses either a modest amount of
power from a GWS LPS power system powered with a 2 cell Li-Poly 1300mAH
battery pack for up to 30 minutes of flight time before recharging, or
optionally can be powered with a light brushless motor for hotter
performance. This is a superb primary trainer design; several aspiring
newbie pilots have quickly become capable RC pilots by flying the
I did a rather extensive kit bashing project on a WILD WING; the photo
above shows the results. Click HERE to go to
the WILD WING project page.
"THE SPINNER"- a BlueCor Aerobatic Aircraft Fun-Flyer Project
The Spinner is a 30" wingspan, 12-5/8 Oz. flat plate airfoil plane made
from BlueCor, set up with a brushless motor system which is producing 16
ounces of thrust; it flat-spins easily & recovers almost
instantaneously, and is capable of amazing maneuvers. It's set up
"0-0-0", for neutral stability... it's not a plane for novice flyers,
but it does performe very well in the hands of an experienced pilot. For
details on how this plane is built, visit the
WEATHER INFORMATION LINKS
CONDITIONS FOR FAIRPLAY , SOUTH PARK REGION, COLORADO
There are two new EPP foam Slope gliders, a 60" span BD5J and the 48"
span "SLOPE CRUISER" now shown in new photos on
the "SLOPERS" page; click here
Click on the photo above for a page with photos and information
on one of my EPP slope ship designs- the VIKING 60. This is a
versatile 'high durability' EPP foam aircraft that is easily switched
between a slope soaring configuration, and an E-powered aerobatic
flyer configuration. It's hadling in all flying conditions superbly-
beyond my expectations!
VIKING 60 Kits are not presently available as of August, 2008 ;
jump to the VIKING 60 Page for details on
this 60" wingspan EPP Slope ship that's also easily set up for
E-Powered aerobatic flight!
INTELLICAST WIND FORCAST
Do you wonder what the flying conditions will be like as far as wind
direction & strength for the next couple of days? Here's the place
to check to get an idea if you'll be likely to lazily float around the
slope with your 'floater', or whether you'll need to tie your hat on
& pile in the ballast weight in a sleeker slope ship.
Hello, and welcome to my RC Flying
Web Site. My name is Bruce Stenulson. I started flying RC gliders in the
Mountains of Colorado (On the face of the Lake Dillon dam ) in January
of 1982. I started building electric powered aircraft in 1984, and have
designed many planes for E-Power. I first flew a 'wet powered' RC
aircraft on January 7th of 1990, when I built my Telemaster with float
flying in mind. I've since designed and flown many wet powered aircraft,
and continue to design and build both E-Powered and wet-powered planes
(although the majority of my aircraft are now E-powered.)
Other Recently Completed RC Aircraft Designs
RECENT ADDITIONS TO THIS PAGE:
(Click on the image above for more info on the E-FOX, A 63"
span Electric Powered Sport Aerobatic design for 12 cells,
Geared Cobalt 20. It has been mounted on floats in May of 2004,
and performs well from water!
Here's a photo essay on High Altitude
FLOAT FLYING, featuring some more recent photos of
high lakes and float planes. There's also a lot of info on float
design and setup.
NEW Slope Flying Site for NW to North winds:
Click HERE Jump to the SLOPE FLYING SITES page for
information on the LOOKOUT POINT site, about 7 miles from the KING
slope flying site.
The "E-SPIRIT 100"
An Electric Powered Spirit 100" Sailplane
Click HERE or on the photo above
to jump to the page featuring more photos and details of my custom
fuselage design project, to end up with a electric powered Spirit
100, using a 20 sized brushed Cobalt motor running on from 10 to
Above is a photo of my KYOSHO VIENTO, a high performance Electric ARF
Sailplane design with ailerons, using the RG-15 airfoil. Click on the
image above to jump to the page of photos and information on how I set
up my own VIENTO.
For a look at several of my earlier E-Power designs,
CLICK HERE to jump to the ELECTRIC FLIGHT main page.
SLOPE FLYING SITES!
I enjoy slope flying, and have offered a variety of information on
slope flying aircraft and
flying sites in the central Colorado Rockies. The EPP foam
slope ships available today are incredibly durable, and can handle
rough landing areas that built up balsa gliders can not. It's
revolutionized the opportunities for "Extreme terrain" slope flying.
The SOUTH PARK SLOPE FLYING SITES page
has been periodicly updated, with more new photos of some of the
slope flying sites presently listed on this page. The last addition
includes 6 new photos of the Hoosier Pass / North Star Mountain
Slope Flying area at 12,230 feet elevation. I think you'll really
enjoy these new high resolution photos (and the information about
this exceptional slope flying area!)
In the spring of 2004, the NIGHT FLYING page was expanded,
featuring information on setting up a newer, higher intensity light
weight LED lighting system for night flyers. This is particularly
well suited to Park Flyers and Slow Flyers, as the entire setup is
in the 1-1/2 ounce weight range, including the separate lighting
battery pack I'm using. Click here to go to
the "Night Flying" page.
On 1-4-97, I started the page featuring details on the NITEOWL, a
giant scale origional RC aircraft, with photos and handling
evaluation. Now a newer design is already in the works, the
"FLOATMASTER", a giant scale plane designed for a 2 cycle 75
engine, with a deep wing chord, new airfoil, and wide control
surfaces. The NITEOWL does fly well at night, as was
demonstrated at the SPARCS 1997 Christmas party at Lost Creek
International RC Airfield (a private RC flying facility owned by
SPARCS member Ron Teke.) , and again at the 1998 SPARCS July
Here are photos of some of our favorite RC
FLYING SITES In The Mountains, for both
powered planes and slope gliders, and the planes we fly here.
If you've wondered about setting up a plane for
NIGHT FLYING , but weren't sure how best to
go about it, here's some usefull information based on my
experiences, including recommended materials and methods.
Float Flying is a lot of fun; maybe now is the time to plan and
build your float setup! Here's an article on
Tired of all of the oil on your plane, but you don't want to hurt
it's performance by adding an exhaust diverter? Check out this Photo
illustrated article on RESONANT
EXHAUST DIVERTER SYSTEMS for 2 Cycle engines;
your system may even GAIN RPM! (Article added 3-8-97 PM)
Web sight designed and maintained by Bruce Stenulson,
Fairplay, Colorado. (c) 1997-2018; All Rights Reserved.