Triad Aeromodelers, Inc.


Rob Watson

I don't know what to say about Rob other than he has been a member of our club about a year and a half and we have all been better for it. Rob is the first one to help when someone needs help and he is always at the field when we have work to do. Rob has some really great planes, too. Some he has had since the 1980's, packed in wardrobe moving boxes. Rob is like a lot of us in that he collects neglected or broken down planes and nurses them back to life. Especially a "Freewing 70mm BAe Hawk T1" you have got to see to believe.


Quickie 500




Freewing BAe Hawk

Giles 202

Tough Day at the Field!


Old School Comet

Sig Wonder "Speedster"

Extreme Flight Outlaw Rebuild

More to Follow

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"Quickie 500 "

Pylon Racer and fun fly sport plane…it will go right as well as left.

Got a second barely broken in Webra 32 for it, Made in Austria probably 20-30 years ago.   Same engine that's in my lighting fast Outlaw Delta wing. 


Rob said he had made some progress on the Quickie 500. That it actually looks like an airplane now and it is very light weight.  Lots of lightening holes in all the components.

Rob can't wait to fly his Q-500 with the Webra 32 that has his DYI Mousse can pipe/muffler on it.  17,000 peak RPMs! 

Tomorrow he thinks it’ll be warm enough to bench test his Webra 40 with two larger MCP’s he made for it.  He is holding them in his hand in tthe picture on the right.


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Rob Watson's "Rookie"

My first of two winter plane projects is building a kit called a Rookie, designed and produced by Richard Bird of TX.  It’s a 60 sized “stick” style plane suitable for pattern flying.  It has a slightly swept balsa skinned foam core wing which makes it cool.  I’m pretty sure I’m putting an old K&B 61 2-stroke in it.  It is a light engine.  I might put my Italian made Super Tigre 75 in it.  Not sure yet.

Richard sent me this picture of a completed "Rookie" in the “Envel Kneivel Patriotic Theme”.



Today my OCD kicked into high gear playing with my wire shock absorbing landing gear concept that is working so well on the Sonar.

The Rookie is a tail dragger, with the main gear that is normally aluminum, instead being a plastic/fiberglass material.  It has some cushioning built as it flexes under load, where the Sonar struts had none.

So after duplicating what I did on the Sonar, I realized on the Rookie all the shock absorbing came from the plastic main gear piece flexing, not the “U” bend in the wire.  The wire part was too stiff.  Next I made another set using a larger “U”, still with 1/8” wire.

Voila!  The perfect cushiony affect… more so than without it, and hopefully still stiff enough.  Jury is still out on durability using on this type of gear instead of on a strut design like the Sonar.

Adding this does make the plane sit taller on its main gear, which maybe good on a grass field, and this particular gear appeared a bit wider and lower than some.  I also fabricated a tail wheel using smaller diameter wire that also has the “U” bend.  I made it the same increase taller as the mains.

It will be interesting to see how well, or not perhaps, this works!

3 weeks before I get my magnetic jigs delivered. I couldn’t wait to start the “Rookie”… so what to do? Use every block, clamp, magnet that I currently have, and get her done! This is just a dry fit, tomorrow it gets glued up.

I’m finally done after about two months. The covering inspiration is from the Kit provider, Richard Byrd of Ft Worth TX.  I’m trying my “torsion bar” landing gear suspension that worked so well on my Italian Sonar.  The covering job took me a Looooong time!

Engine is an ancient K&B 61 that is actually new and runs great. Its very light at 1lb 4.5 oz with spinner and prop. I modified another engine mount with same firewall mounting bolt pattern to easily swap in my heavier Super Tigre 75 that weighs in closer to 1lb 13.5 oz.  Wonder which will fly better?


Even Kneivel patriotic on the top

with a Flash Gordon on the bottom.

I have had good luck using a micro servo for the tail wheel on my Sig LT-40.  This makes tail wheel repair or changes very easy compared to connecting it to the rudder.1lb 13.5 oz.  Wonder which will fly better?

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Rob Watson's "Sonar"

The “Sonar” is a rare plane at least 20 years old. The only articles on it on-line are in Italian. I translated one to get the CG! I got it as an airframe only. Balsa sheeted foam core wings. It took me nearly 2 days just to fit the engine and cowl. Tricky with plane and firewall already built for a different engine mount. I am putting a free, to me, OS 45 FSR that I resurrected. The engine is from late 70’s to early 80’s. Runs like a scalded cat! It’s a job and half completing other people’s builds, but I think it will be a stunner when finished. 


I bought this uncovered sheeted foam core wing airframe from a very nice man along with a beautiful Sig LT40 Kadet with a modified tail, that he had just recovered, but had no servos, engine, etc; it was a recovered air frame only. The plane came with a new in box OS 46FX, several Futaba 3004 servos and misc hardware.  The LT40 flies great!

He had built the sonar with his father over 20 years ago, and never finished it.  The LT40 is the same vintage.


 The Sonar took me three weeks to finish as it came with typical challenges fitting a new engine mount and control rods to a completed airframe.  Plus I created a difficult (for me) Monokote design.  I mounted a similar age engine I already had, an OS 45 FS with a Venturi muffler that spins at 14,000 rpm… it’s a screamer, and lightweight engine.

As you can see I went with an Italian theme.  I’m pretty happy how it turned out. It weights 6 lbs and the engine pulls 5.75 lbs static thrust.

Can’t wait to maiden it!

The registration number is my son’s birthday. The Maiden went well, a great flier!  CG was good! It flies beautifully. 

I do need to rework the landing gear. My cheap Chinese spring struts had WAY too much side to side play.



I made a different type of shock absorbing gear set using 3/8” solid round aluminum bar stock, drilling them out, drilling and tapping set screws, and using 1/8” wire formed to absorb bumps.

Can’t believe it turns out so well!  Hope it works better… it should!

Main gear is next! More to come.


The landing gear is a big success! Greased 5 landings this afternoon.... and what a sweet plane. The gear definitely cushioned the grass field just right.

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A Falcon

Hopefully Rob will share a picture with us when it's finished.



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Freewing 70mm BAe Hawk

Rebuild after 6S Battery self ejected in flight, that was never found.  First major foamy repair I ever did.  Plane was perfect before the crash. The bottom nose part of the fuselage where the battery sat was MIA also. Taught myself to use an airbrush on this job,  one I have had since 1978, but never used.  Lowe’s matched the paint for me.  Looks pretty good and flies great now!

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Giles 202

I bought this plane partly built from a very nice guy that started it 15 years ago, then it sat in his garage where mice ate the wing balsa! This is the most complicated Monokote job I have ever done to that time. It was a large, excellent flier.  Unfortunately after just a few flights I crashed it into a tree on the edge of Abbott’s Creek.  Gary helped me retrieve the pieces.  It was destroyed beyond repair. It was a very sad day. Actually I didn’t crash it into the tree; I flew it right into it.  My perspective was off on an overcast day, flying a larger plane on final approach.  They all have an expiration date.

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Tough day at the field!

This is my Hanger 9 Blue Nosed P-51 Mustang.  It is the only plane I destroyed on its maiden flight.  Not enough take-off speed caused an unrecoverable stall.  I did rebuild it.  It took me a couple months over the winter.  It flew great for 3.75 flights until a still undiscovered failure caused an immediate right turn into the trees behind the windsock.  I did not rebuild it a second time.

by Rob Watson

On the same day as the P-51's maiden crash, my Falcon had a mid-air with my son’s Valient when formation flying. That was a tough day at the field. The Valient was also re-built.

My OSHA certified LiPo storage box!  Holes in the top are for flames to vent straight up.  It’s in the middle of my shop where the ceiling is the highest.  Hopefully it’s high enough so the entire building won’t light up in case of a LiPo fire.

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I bought this plane and engine, pff the plane, from the same nice man I got the Sonar from.  He had never flown the Sonar, that he partly built with his dad 20 years ago, which I thought was pretty cool.

The LT40 he had flown a lot back in that same time frame.  He put it away after breaking the front slanted part of the vertical stabilizer off.  Then he decided to rebuild the tail and recover it with a military motif a year later.  It was his first Monokote job… and better than my frist time!

But, like many used planes I’ve resurrected, he never finished it and it sat in his garage since then.  The engine is a venerable OS 46FX, that was new in the box, never saw fuel.  It started immediately and runs like a top!


The Maiden Flight was uneventful, proving Sig makes some great planes!  It stalls without tipping, and is a joy in the air.  It did have some flutter from the rudder modification the prior owner made though.  Since he broke off some of the width of the vertical stab, he made the rudder taller, reaching forward over the vertical stab, so it turned over as well as behind the vertical stabilizer.  This looked very cool, but vibrated as did the long unsupported control rod.  So I added a brace for that, cut off the top of the rudder and glued it to the vertical stabilizer.  Now it looks kind of funky with a taller than normal tail, which gives it gives it character and gives me a story to tell.

I also converted it from a rubber band held on wing to bolts.  This turned out to be way more challenging than expected.  Hope it works!  I’ll find out Tuesday. 



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Old School Comet

This Old School Modelworks Comet is a very well done kit that took me 6 weeks working most mornings in my shop before it got to hot, recovering from triple cervical fusion surgery. I loaded it with a vintage Thunder Tiger 42 I got for free from a club member. It was caked with the worst thick black coating of something or other, that I have ever seen. It cleaned and tuned up nicely. It’s light for its displacement being a bushed engine. The plans call for a 19-30 size, so she should scoot. It only came in a couple of oz. heavier than the spec’d 3.5lbs, even with a 6oz tank instead of of 4oz, and an added separate servo for the nose gear.  Squeezing all that in there required some ingenuity and hatches not called for in the plans, for future access. CG is right on with no added weight. 


In case you’re wondering about the color scheme, the model is completely covered in either free to me, or less than $5 a roll Monokote Ultracote I got in an RC inventory buy-out and also from swap meets. I have never used blue metallic, chrome or hot pink on a plane before!  I know from my Outlaw to differentiate the top and bottom for in flight orientation that can be tough with Deltas. Finally got my throttle servo woes straightened out and my freebie, very old Thunder Tiger 42 tuned with a drilled out hand-me-down OS muffler from a smaller engine so the combo is nice and light.  It idles all day at 2700 RPM with WOT RPM at a conservative 13,400 RPM’s.  Easy to get 13,800, just don’t want the old girl too lean.  With its APC 9x7 prop top speed calculates to approx. 90 mph, just 10 mph or so slower than the Outlaw calculated top speed. Flying these two deltas should be fun...  The Comet is billed by Old School Model Works as an excellent slow flier. The Outlaw is not, but actually it is too.



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Sig Wonder "Speedster"

This my old school Sig Wonder build.  It’s a Nitro designed plane, that I converted to electric.  It is my first electric build.  For a little plane it proved challenging, adding a battery tray and hatch, realizing the nose had to be extended 2” inches to balance, and making a custom cowl to fit the huge 500 Heli motor in it.  It will use either a 4 or 5S 2200 battery.  

Calculated propeller pitch speed is 152 mph with a 4S!  Probably won’t go quite that fast with aerodynamic drag, but maybe with the 5S.  For such a small plane it will be out of sight before you know it!


The beginning using Mag building board

I like having my DNA identification on my planes!

Old school custom cowl… no plans or die cut pieces for this.

I had issues with over-heating the motor and 100amp ESC bench testing, so I made custom sit scoops by cutting the ends off plastic spoons and painting them.

Doc’s Vanessa Rig for very accurate CG in action.  Because the Wonder is so short coupled, the CG range is only 1/16

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Extreme Flight Outlaw Rebuild

This is my Extreme Flight Outlaw. Webra 32 with Mac tune muffler. Easy 120+mph.  A v ery fast, small, and very easy to lose orientation plane. Have quite a few flights on it. One evening about a week ago at dusk, cloudy day, completely lost orientation and spun it into the ground from about 30 or 40 feet. 

I’ll use whatever covering I can find a match. Fortunately, it’s just going to be a bit of a patch job I think. Cutting off a firewall was a major amputation!

The impact actually broke the Rx in half.  Sad times.  But the Outlaw will Rip the skies again… with a brand new firewall!

I think Rob had this rebuilt before I could get the pictures posted.



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Last Update Friday 27 January, 2023 3:51 PM