Alien Aircraft Taylorcraft

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Written by Jerry Smith
This laser-cut kit has provisions for glow or electric.
Read an abridged review with bonus photos as featured in October 2013
Model Aviation.
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The Taylorcraft is a 1940s classic light aircraft designed by C. Gilbert Taylor who started the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Corporation in 1929. Production began with the Taylor E-2 Cub, with production ceasing in 1936 after a run of approximately 350 aircraft.

In 1935, improvements to the E-2 led to the J-2 Cub, the forerunner to the Piper J-3 Cub developed in 1937. By 1936, Gilbert had been forced out of the Piper Aircraft Company and began working on a new design. He moved his company to Alliance, Ohio, to produce his new Taylorcraft airplanes.

You can nearly guess how long an individual has been aware of late 1940s classics by the amount of awe in his or her voice when seeing a pristine, restored BC-12 Taylorcraft. This is because the image many have in their minds is of a Taylorcraft setting lopsided on the back tie-down line, with one flat tire, a bird’s nest apartment in the cowling, and mice running inside the rotting fabric.

Cubs and Champs never slid downhill as quickly as the Taylorcraft breed. Although pilots at the airports likely recognized that Taylorcrafts were faster than the rest of the 65 hp group (with the possible exception of Luscombe 8As), the airport black sheep was likely a Taylorcraft.

The A-65 Continental engine is the standard by which all small reciprocating engines are measured. It’s reliable, user friendly, and easy to maintain. Parts are still available and overhauls are relatively inexpensive when measured against modern engines. If the magneto coils are good and the timing is remotely right, the engines will catch on the first or second blade every time.

The Alien laser-cut model aircraft kit appears to be fashioned after the model BC-12D-1 Taylorcraft—the bottom line, budget version of the airplane with Sport/Scale in mind. It can be purchased as a glow- or electric-powered kit. The electric version requires an electric conversion kit, which is sold separately. It can also be purchased as an Electric Deluxe Combo which includes the Taylorcraft 72 kit, the electric conversion kit, electric motor, speed control, propeller, motor mount set, connectors, arming switch, Velcro, hinges, and pushrods.

Alien Aircraft, headed by Tom Herr, will soon be promoting more 40-60 size laser-cut kits. Some of the outstanding features of the kit are: semisymmetrical airfoil, all laser-cut wooden parts, tab-and-notch construction for quick and accurate assembly, 3-D CAD design for precision parts fit, and three full-size computer-drawn plans. Also included are a quality hardware pack, peel-and-stick decals, a formed cowl, and prebent landing gear.

However, an instruction manual is not included and must be viewed or downloaded and printed from the company’s website. I prefer hard copies such as those included with most kits. I don’t like to hunt for them on the Internet or risk getting glue on my iPad. The upside, though, is that Alien Aircraft can instantly update the manual.

I found the Taylorcraft 72 kit well engineered with thoughtful features to aid in the solid build. The online instruction manual is well done with excellent color pictures and concise, understandable instructions.

The glow and electric basic kit could have included more hardware, such as wheels, to make them more complete.

The balsa and plywood supplied in the kit was excellent with good, clean laser cutting. I was pleased with the flight envelope and the final appearance of my Taylorcraft. If you are into building and sport flying, this classic is for you.

I found it to be a fun build and a great-flying airplane! Many thanks go to Terry Farentino, who helped with the maiden flight and flew the Taylorcraft while I took photos.

Read more on page 61 in the October 2013 issue of Model Aviation magazine.

Jerry Smith
jerry.smith875@gmail.com



Specifications

Model type: Semiscale glow/electric kit
Skill level: Intermediate builder; intermediate pilot
Wingspan: 72 inches
Wing area: 717 square inches
Airfoil: Semisymmetrical
Length: 45 inches
Weight: 6-plus pounds
Power system: Himax-3528-0800 motor; Castle Ice 50-amp ESC; four-cell 5,000 mAh battery
Radio system: Four-channel radio with two miniservos and two standard servos
Retail price: Glow kit $179.99; electric conversion kit $24.99; electric deluxe combo kit $399.99.


Test-Model Details

Ready-to-fly weight: 6 pounds, 4 ounces
Power system: Himax 3528-0800 brushless outrunner, Air Boss 60-amp ESC; 12 x 6 APC E propeller
Radio system: Spektrum DX8 transmitter; Spektrum AR8000 receiver; two Hitec HS-81 servos for ailerons; two Hitec HS-311 servos elevator and rudder; Thunder Power four-cell, 5,000 mAh 45c battery
Flight duration: 10 minutes
Full-throttle power: 47 amps; 662 watts; 106 watts per pound


Pluses

• Excellent online instruction manual.
• Accuracy of laser-cut parts.
• Tab-and-notch construction.
• Semisymmetrical airfoil.
• Stable flight envelope.
• Three sets of plans.


Minuses

• No hard-copy manual in kit.
• Five ounces of nose weight needed to balance.
• Heavy wing spars.



Bonus Photos







3 comments

What size glow power is recommended?

I was at Alien Aircraft yesterday. I spoke to Tom and held this plane in my hands. A .46 would fly it well in my opinion.

could I use a 15cc gas engine on this plane ? the 15cc gaser is of 60 size planes

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