View Full Version : 3rd Time's A Charm! Skeeter Conversion

Sky Sharkster
08-14-2006, 06:44 AM
First, a little backround; The Skeeter is a built-up kit (not ARF) from Dynaflite. It's been around for years, a 55" HLG, all balsa, SD 3021 wing airfoil, polyhedral, 1-piece wing, rudder/elevator. Costs about $30.00.
I built one 5 years ago, covered it with new (at the time) Litespan, a fabric-like covering that's applied with BalsaLoc and heat-shrunk. It flew OK but I'm not Roger Clemens and never did get the overhand launch very high. Soon the "Discus" launch gliders came out and I retired the Skeeter.
Two years ago I looked again at the wing and thought it might make a nice platform for a "Speed 400 Limited Motor Run" glider. A new fuselage, enlarged to accept the MP Jet 3.33:1 planetary GB, a "Rocket" 400 and 9"x6" CAM Folder: I was good to go! It flew pretty well but the GB/Motor/ESC (CC Pixie 20a) weighed 4.4 oz (124 gr) and brought the total weight, along with 7 cell NiMh to 24 ounces, which didn't help the glide any. Again a retirement.
Last month I found a Hacker B20-15L with Maxon 4:1 GB in a drawer. I'd gotten all fired up with outrunners and forgotten about it. Not much time on the motor, runs good. Drag out the Skeeter again; I'd never been happy with the Litespan, let's re-cover it! Strip off the old, cover the wing and tail with transparent green and opaque white Microlite. Build another new fuselage, nice and slim for the Hacker and LiPos. Weight of the motor, GB and CC 25A B/L ESC= 3.2 oz, 93 gr! Also knocked off 1/2 oz with the new covering. Total RTF with 1320 3 cell TP= 19 oz.
How does it fly? Outstanding! A CAM 10" x 6" hauls it up about 70 degrees and fast, I mean nearly wing-fluttering fast. Not a Hotliner by any means but it's clearly past the "sport" glider class, and would dust most LMRs I've seen. A 15 second run will test your eyesight. The glide is much better too. Caught a nice thermal the second flight and did 20 minutes, easy. Next I'll mix some "down" and "Right" with the throttle for easier climb control. The SD airfoil has the great speed range to allow slow glide and sky-eating cruise for searching.
The moral? Don't give up on a decent glider wing. Re-Cover, Re-Motor and soup it up! A new fuselage, better (and lighter) power system and STAND BACK!!

09-02-2006, 04:14 AM
SKY, if all my great ideas had worked out the first time I would have missed out on a lot of education!

Of all the gifts, as they say, PERSISTENCE is the greatest! A bit of INSPIRATION never hurt either!

One of my favorite gliders was one I saw hanging in the LHS. I loved the 6' poly wings with double tapered tips and tail design, so I bought it, powered it with a Jeti Phasor 15/4 BL and spent a lot of time soaring and very little time climbing steeply!

After sharing the TX with another plane, I took off with reversed elevator, not catching it in the "pre-flight" (HA!). A figure 9 whomped it good, after trying to put the nose down, it looped, and.... whap!

Waffled the fuse pitifully but only minor wing and no tailfeather damage. A carbon tube fuse and a balsa profile pod gave the radio a place to ride and once again it is one of my favorite gliders- even more so for the effort and extra thought that went into it.

Airplanes are like LOVE! If you toss it- and it comes back... you did something right!


Sky Sharkster
09-02-2006, 07:22 AM
Hello Telsa, thanks for the words of encouragement! For some reason I hate to throw out a glider wing if it's still "intact". Perhaps because it is fairly easy to build a new fuselage and try again. Wings are a chore to build, sand, cover, etc, so if it flew well before why not try again?
Although the airplane is not LMR-eligible now (they require a brushed "400" and 7 cell "round" battery pack for competition) it is a nicely overpowered E-glider for sport flying and at less than 5' span, easily transported.
For a non-ARF the Skeeter is a great platform, low cost and can be fitted with many popular motor upgrades. A slightly wider nose would even accept an outrunner in the "400" range, lowering the weight even more.
Good Luck and Thermals!