Mini Telemaster

My love/hate relationship with a Mini Telemaster...


This one has quite the history.  It's the first plane I assembled from  kit.

In October 2005, I bought and built my Mini Telemaster. I built it as shown in the plans (as best I could, anyway), and equipped it with 2 GWS NaroMAX++BB servos (as blinged out as the cheapies come anyway), a geared speed 400 motor from an Ultrafly plane I had just crashed beyond repair, a 2000mAh 3s Lipo, and a Cirrus receiver/speed control combo. AUW is 23 ounces.

Excited as heck about building my first kit, I headed to a subdivision that was under construction only a few blocks away from home. It was the perfect spot--lots of newly paved streets and no buildings had been started.

Flight 1: It took off well enough, but it seemed to turn to the right much better than it would turn to the left. Luckily enough, I landed it in one piece despite overshooting the landing (I underestimated just how much of a floater the MT really is) and bouncing off the pavement, over the curb, and rolling to a stop in some pretty rough gravel. I checked the rudder to see if there were any problems, saw none, and set up for another takeoff.

Flight 2: Great takeoff again. It climbed nicely, but wouldn't turn at all to the left this time. After two gentle circles overhead, the circling became tighter and the plane began to lose altitude while still circling. Eventually, it rolled over and started to dive. It hit the only structure within 500 yards--a port-a-potty. On impact, the battery punched its way through the firewall and started on fire (away from the plane and anything else flammable, thank goodness). The wing had a sizeable dent on the leading edge from the impact also.

When I got home, I repaired the damage to the front end and replaced some stripped servo gears, but left the wing alone. The MT sat collecting dust for 6 months until I finally had the itch to build again. The wing only took an hour to fix; the repairs consisted of fabricating the front half of 2 wing ribs, splicing and sanding 8" of the leading edge, and recovering the affected area.

Flight 3
: This one took place in the spring on 40 acres of the middle school's grass. I took off (ROG'd on the grass okay) and, with only 3 feet of altitude, tried a left turn. Nothing. I immediately cut power and let it glide back to earth.

I took it home and shelved it for another month. I was eventually inspired by some threads here on rcgroups to build a wing with ailerons. It was a little too light on the wings for my taste, so I decided to shorten the wingspan up a little. So, for my first exercise in scratch building, I put together a 36" wing with ailerons, using the same airfoil as the plans. I didn't build any dihedral into the new wing. The ailerons are 1" from front to back, run the full width of the wing, and I can get almost 1" of deflection from them (and that's what the radio's high rate is programmed to )

The only equipment changes to date have been the addition of another GWS Naro servo for the ailerons, and a 1500mAh lipo to replace the one that burned.

Flight 3: AUW is now 24 ounces, and the wing area is about 84% of what it used to be. The higher wing loading made the takeoff run slightly longer, but with only slight elevator input, the rise off ground was almost as smooth and beautiful as watching a full-size aircraft takeoff. It didn't have enough power to do clean-looking loops, but over all, it was a refreshing and relaxing experience when compared to all the frustration the plane had cause up to this point. Despite the higher wing loading (about 14oz/sq.ft., compared to about 9 or 10 with the original wing) it still had a good glide to it with power off, and landings were easy and uneventful. Flights 4, 5, and 6 were just as enjoyable as #3.

Flight 7: Started off as normal, but ended tragically. After flying for about 5 minutes, I came in for a low pass. Five feet off the ground and flying level, it suddenly rolled inverted and nosed into the pavement. I had less than a second to react, and I didn't react... Near as I could tell the motor mount came loose, and the motor pointed in some weird direction and pulled the plane into the ground. Everything in front of the solid wood landing gear block was crushed.

I rebuilt the front end that weekend.

Flight 8: Kind of gusty outside, but I flew anyway. The plane is still light enough to get tossed around by the wind. I got tired of fighting the wind real quick and decided to land early. Coming in for a landing and less then a foot off the ground, a gust of wind from behind gives the plane a hard 3-point landing. I checked the plane out, and couldn't find any obvious damage.

Flight 9: After takeoff and a little cruisng, I tried a loop. Coming down out of the loop, half of the horizontal stabilizer folded, and the elevator from that half of the stab fell off and fluttered to the ground. The covering was holding the stab to the plane, and it's flapping made the plane uncontrollable. It nosed in pretty hard, but without much real damage to the plane. The gearbox was toast; it had a few cracks in the plastic, the spur cracked in half, and the ball bearings exploded. My rebuilt nose snapped cleanly off.

So I rebuilt the nose again, and for simplicity of building, switched from the stickmounted geared speed400 to a facemounted brushless outrunner (Potensky 150W outrunner I got on clearance from Hobby-Lobby). Not wanting to risk losing a lipo battery (or risk starting a fire) I used a 12V NiMH battery. I also took the elevator and rudder servos out of the middle of the fuselage, and I put 2 GWS Pico's right near the tail. That was a bad idea--balancing the plane required an ounce of lead on the firewall. AUW is 29oz!

Flight 10: The MT is a year old, and I took it to the same spot it first flew and crashed. I throttled up, and it rolled and rolled and rolled and rolled and rolled... after what was probably a 250' takeoff run, it barely started to lift off the ground. I said 'heck with it', cut throttle and let it settle back in. At least I could bring it home in one piece this time.

I sold the motor, and the MT again sat for months. Just this past weekend, I screwed up a 3d plane real bad. It was a foamie, and it ended its time as just another trash can full of foam fragments. The motor I had in it is a BL2215/25, rated at 175-watts. I only spent $25 on it brand new from some Chinese eBay dealer, and it's really a lot of power for the money. After salvaging the motor and the other electronics from the just crashed plane, an evil grin materialized on my face as I held the motor in one hand and peered up at the shelved MT. I mounted the motor, hooked up the Phoenix 25 esc, and confirmed that the motor was spinning in the right direction when throttle was applied.
With all of my belly landing planes, I've been breaking a lot of props while it's been cold (they really get brittle and break when they wouldn't in warmer temps). So the only prop I had that would give me enough ground clearance was a Master Airscrew 9x6 that I've had for years.
I decided to go with a 1800mAh lipo that I was willing to risk in a crash. The motor didn't mean much to me either, for what little $$ it cost. I also put in a Hitec 04MG receiver, with a supposedly 1 mile range. Balancing the plane required the same ounce of lead on the firewall--but AUW is now down to 25.5 ounces.

Flight 11
: Yesterday. It was a calm, overcast day, and it was unseasonably warm at 50F. So I left work a half hour early, and loaded up the family and headed off to another subdivision under construction. Same as the first flight, lots of newly paved streets and no buildings. I hooked up the battery, secured the hatch, set the plane in the middle of the roadway, and took a minute or two to calm my nerves while I checked the control surfaces. With my nerves ready, I gave it enough throttle to start rolling, then gave it full throttle. It was off like a bullet, jumping off the ground in 20 ft into a 60 degree climb, and still accelerating like mad. It was probably 200 feet off the ground and doing 45-50mph by the time I decided to do anything with the contols. Loops were amazingly large, and I could even knife edge a little. I coasted around to lose some altitude and brought it in for a touch and go to see what to expect from the landing this time. It still glides as well as it ever did, and I overshot my intended touchdown point by at least 50 feet. I took it back up to around 200', and flipped the controls into high rates. I tried a roll with full aileron deflection, and it was quick, reeeeeeeaaalll quick. So I decided to see how many rolls I could get in before the nose dropped and it started losing altitude. Full left deflection and 1, 2, 3, 4 and then I could hear a strange noise coming from the plane, kind of like a flag flapping intensely in high winds. The plane would roll slowly to the left if I left the controls alone. I brought it in for an uneventful landing and went to inspect. The covering on the underside of the right wing had ripped!! Not sure exactly what had caused it. Maybe I cut into it with the razor I used to cut the white covering at the wing spar.
Just wish my wife had her camera with us at the time to take some video. Next time...

I've since upgraded to HS-55's on the tail and an HS-81 on the ailerons. The rebuilt Telemaster was flown again last weekend. Two 1800mAh batteries lasted a little over half an hour. The cheapo 2215/25 EMax outrunner was a little noisier this time, but at least it's still working after the last death spiral straight into the asphalt.
The Mini Telemaster is SOLD!! Off to ghostmechanic @ RCG.


Motor: EMax BL2215-25

ESC: Castle Creations Phoenix 25

Propeller: Master Airscrew 9x6 Electric

Receiver: Berg 7P

Battery: 1800mAh 3s PolyQuest Lipo

Servos: Two HItec HS-81's, One Hobbico CS-12

Flew October 2005 to November 2007 (sold)


Wingspan: 36 inches

Wing Area: 252 square inches

Weight: 26.0 ounces

MY RATING (out of 5):

Instructions -

Materials -

Construction/Assembly -

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General Flight -

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