The SE-5 model was built from an EasyBuilt kit. Wingspan is 18", length overall, 14". Power is a HiLine Mini-6 geared system, driven by a 3x50 ma battery. The 6" Peck's silver prop was cut down to 5 1/2" to reduce thrust and current draw for indoor flying. Outside, the full 6" prop is used for more altitude. The covering and markings are colored Japanese tissue, applied and sealed with nitrate dope. All up weight, is 61.5 grs / 2.16 oz.

It is a little heavy and fast for a standard sized basketball court, thus it has seen a few repairs. It is also a little quirky, as I have yet to optimally trim it out. It has been a very fun model to build and fly, despite the trials. Due to limited space, the indoor flights, so far, have all been short, under 30 seconds, with 30 sec charges. The same charger is used for the Thistle, though with the resistor bypassed to charge 3 cells, instead of the 2. Careful inspection of the photo will show the batteries hanging a bit below the underside of the fuse, near the rear landing gear strut. The charge socket and switch are just behind the forward strut. Other than modifications for power, the SE-5 was built stock out of the box.

On May 11, 1997, at the first MAC outdoor session of the season, I had the first really successful outdoor flights with this model. The site is an open sports field beside the St Vincent's School for Boys, in Marinwood, CA. The model was performing well, flying under power to the left, opening up slightly with power off. Times were dependant on charge of course, but also on thermal activity. As the winds picked up a bit, we would wait for the lulls to launch, and often that was into the base of a small thermal. 4 times, I hooked obvious lift with the SE-5, once landing on the field, once sifting through most of a tall Eucalyptus tree, another flight ended sliding down the chain link screen around a tennis court, and lastly touching down on the tiled roof of the school. The last flight was the longest, with a max altitude of about 75 feet. After drifting down wind for a few hundred feet, working a bit of slope lift along the school roofs and circumnavigating the bell tower, it finally touched down on a tiled roof at 1:05, and was easily retrieved without significant damage. Other flights ranged from 25 to 48 seconds. I look forward to a good calm evening in an open field for fully charged flights.

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Copyright 1997, Thayer Syme. All rights reserved