A return to model building and flying. Part 20

New engine. New model.

October 2005

I set out to stock up with as much modeling stuff as I could afford at the UK Nat's. It's possible to save quite a lot of money that way as well as getting hold of things that are difficult to obtain at home like Ether and Nitro, lines, connectors, bellcranks, etc. etc. As usual I wish I had extended the plastic a little more but I had set my self a limit and was determined to stick to it. I do want to make the Dutch Nat's this month and it all takes money.

Among my list of wants was a .40 sized engine, ball race crankshaft, ABC, Schneurle ported, and preferably for as little as possible. After wandering around the swap meet, then the trade tents on the Sunday for considerably longer than I had anticipated, I came to the conclusion that the second hand stuff is over priced, a quick look a EBay will confirm that. The new stuff is a much better proposition. To cut a long story short 'The Hobby Store' had a few boxes of MDS engines open on the counter at really silly prices. They are cheap engines relatively speaking anyway, but at 20.00 for a .38, I was drawn closer. In the end I went for the .38 with quiet silencer for £30.00 as I didn't want to go through the hassle of trying to obtain a silencer afterwards. Taking into account the normal price and postage for this engine I made a 28% saving. That is not to be sneezed at.


I have heard all the stories about MDS engines being crap, which seem to originate from people that to want to thrash them to death. They are a cheap sports engine, and I will treat mine as such, with considerable care and careful running in. Mine certainly does not lack power, as I found out when the test stand pegs pulled out of the ground and a 10x6 nylon prop broke on my thigh as I was kneeling in front of it. That will teach me to be more careful; yet another case of nothing to blame but my own stupidity.

At times like this I find the best approach is to swear! jump around for a bit, then carry on as normal if the afflicted bit still functions, and look at the damage later. It was a nasty wound and big bruise but I have had worse.


The prop didn't get off lightly either, I'm glad it was not one of the modern rigid razor blades that are all the rage these days, or things may have ended differently.

After the Peterborough Cabbage Patch event, my partner Paul expressed an interest in C/L carrier deck. Now I have no way of knowing if this is a five minute wonder or a genuine long lasting thing, as he has never flown any sort of model before. The only way I can find out was to build a simple model with some throttle control and see if he can cope with it.

This is what I came up with, powered by an old but serviceable O.S.20 Max.


The first test flights revealed the usual glut of problems. I was using an old Roberts three line handle and bellcrank, If I had managed to talk to 'The Maestro' Jan Odeyn, before, I had built the system in, I could have avoided a lot of these niggles.

The problem with the Roberts handle and it's successor, I don't know what it is called, but something like it in is listed on P.S. Aeroproducts at some exorbitant price, is the big overhang of the mechanism in front of the handle grip. This has the effect of loosing a lot of the feel that is present in a normal handle, making it feel very dead. A more immediate problem, there is no line adjustment on the handle. This is bad news if the model wants to fly at a line angle of 45 degrees all the time. Annoying for me, but troublesome, especially for a beginner.

After adding extra line connectors in the appropriate short line, things became a little more controlable. Except for the throttle which I could not adjust slower than a very fast tickover; a situation I found myself in again in Holland, but more of that on another page.

On the first calm evening that was convenient came the acid test, getting the handle into Paul's hand and walking around the circle with him trying to stop any dangerous manoeuvres until he could get the feel of it. I can still remember how disorientated I was when I first learned to fly. One advantage with a throttle on a trainer, when dizziness strikes the model can at least be slowed down or stopped; unlike the normal process of hanging on for dear life until the tank runs dry (if you are lucky), or the model shakes hands with the ground.

Amazingly the model survived the few minor bumps, and even though I had to take the handle back a few times Paul fared reasonably well on the first session.

A few days later we were blessed with another calm evening and managed another trip to the club field. Lo and behold, this time Paul took off on his own and flew solo several times until the light started to fade.

Here's the proof.

paul flying
model flying

He has not quite got the hang of landing, or more specifically, how to handle the situation when the engine cuts, but after two flying sessions that's not bad progress. Stay tuned.

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Part 21

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