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This is an electric glider kit from West London Models www.westlondonmodels.com.
There is also a kit called a Nelly (!) from Ace models, www.acemodel.com, which not only looks the same, but has exactly the same description and photo and is £10 cheaper. Itís OK, though, the name is not marked on the model anywhere, so you can call it anything you like: how about Gladys, or Myrtle?

Anyway I ordered mine from WLM because Ace were on holiday. Then I found out that the WLM web site was not quite clever enough to tell me that the kit was out of stock, so I waited a month for it AND paid ten quid over the odds. Probably best to phone.

I wanted to wait until the kit arrived to buy the rest of the bits: thatís two servos, brushless motor and speed controller, prop and LiPo pack. I was hoping to get all this from the Much Marcle do, but the kit arrived three days too late, so having tried the AXI 2208/34 out of my Shockie for size, I went to Puffin, which is only 10 minutes from home, and bought another one, plus a Jeti 12A s/c for around twice as much money as I should have spent.

 That was on the Friday (8/9/06). In the meantime I had discovered that the kit did not include the v-tail control horns, so I fashioned a pair out of thin aluminium sheet, and epoxied them into the ends of the elevators.

I also got a pair of 9 x 5 carbon folding prop blades from Puffin, which luckily fitted a 30 mm Aeronaut prop boss which I happened to have spare. The prop spinner needs to be 30 mm, but the larger folders tend to come with 40 mm spinners, whereas the AXI outrunners come with a 3.2 mm shaft, but the props with 30 mm spinners only fit a 2.3 mm shaft, so the boss had to be drilled out to 3.2 mm to fit the motor. My brain hurts now.

I epoxied a 3 mm ply motor mount into the nose of the Highlight on the Friday evening, as recommended in the instructions. The following day I got a four channel Hitec receiver and two HS55s from Alís Hobbies in Bristol. By bed-time on the Saturday, I had made a servo mount, and had the whole lot installed, including a 3 cell 1000 mAh LiPo, again from my Shockie. The layout is not quite as per instructions, but the CG ended up OK. With the motor on full chat it would just about hang on the prop, so I thought it might go OK.

Sunday looked good to try it out. Light ESE on Rodborough. It went away from a light chuck with only a dab of down trim and a gnatís crotchet of left. Winding up the motor gave a near-vertical climb, as expected. The Highlight turned out to be fairly responsive, with no apparent vices. Itís a rudder elevator model, so it doesnít roll very well, and itís an undercambered wing, so itís not very good inverted, but it certainly does what itís supposed to do, which is to make the most of weak lift. I tried it out later on Minch, and found it needed only around ten seconds of motor burn to disappear into the blue, then it hangs around forever. So, say a couple of minutes of motor should give a whole morningís flying.

I have since acquired a 500 mAh 3-cell pack capable of 10A continuous and 15A burst (they say) from Sola www.sola-distribution.com, which reduces the weight still further. The wing loading is now 4.7 oz/ft≤ in Christian units (probably about 14 g/dm≤ for the Europhiles), considerably lighter than a Gentle Lady.

For those who havenít seen one, the quality of this kit is quite outstanding. The wings come completely finished, and have a composite D-box with balsa ribs, covered with transparent polyester film, to a much better standard than I could manage. The fuselage is carbon/kevlar composite and also very light. The wings have a carbon joiner, they come pre-drilled for the nylon wing bolts, and have the locating dowels fitted to the leading edges. The fuselage has a drilled plate to accept the wing bolts and also has the holes for the dowels, which need some adjustment using a small round file to make the wings fit properly. The tail plane halves have the elevators built in, and are made of foam covered with some thin plastic stuff Ė very light but not very ding-proof. The control cables are already built into the fus.

Statistics:

Word of warning. LiPos come partially charged, not like NiMHs. I sort of forgot this Ė familiarity, contempt and all that - and cut the leads to length both together. The first clue I had that something was wrong was that the jaws of the wire cutters seemed to stick together. Having pulled them away from the cut ends of the leads, I realized that the leads and the pack were heating up rapidly. The short circuit was only for a couple of seconds, and luckily there seems to be no permanent damage, but it could easily have been fifteen quid down the pan, or worse. Díoh!

John Bennett

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