Golden Era 60 Bipe


Two wings are as much fun as one.
Article, photos, and design by Fred Randall.
Read the full article in the February 2009 issue of Model Aviation.

This build is typical for any modeler who has discovered the joys (and frustrations) of scratch building. The only unusual materials are a few pieces of inexpensive, light, and very strong composite tubing. This build is predicated on the concept of using one fuselage and tail section as a basis for two aircraft: a monoplane and a biplane. I designed the monoplane first, and I didn’t want to extensively modify the fuselage to convert the Golden Era 60 to a biplane. Ground-handling the Golden Era 60 biplane is similar to driving a motor home; just set the cruise control and go make a sandwich in the galley. It’s that assuring and easy. The long tail moment and wide landing gear do everything to keep the taxi stuff friendly. Even the high-speed run before liftoff requires little or nothing to be done with the rudder. When this model rolls down the runway at a speed where it looks like it should fly, haul back on the elevator and up it goes, straight and true. The Golden Era can handle, and in some cases deserves, the power a .91 two-stroke or four-stroke engine could give it. If that’s what you have in your engine drawer, by all means put it in. With its 900 square inches of wing area, this model can cruise around comfortably at 65% power. Coordinating the turns is unnecessary when the speed is kept up, but in the wind it likes slight rudder mixed in the same direction as the aileron input. Elevator in the turns, whether they’re inside or outside, can crank the bipe around as tightly as the pilot wants, given that the power in the engine is willing. The rudder is ghastly effective, which, given its size ratio comparison with the rest of the surfaces, was a huge yet pleasant surprise. I set the high rate travel to maximum deflection and found it to be extremely touchy for normal flight but the heart of the tumbling trickery that this model has in its bag of magic. For the most part, 50% throw in the rudder plus approximately 30% exponential was a decent setup. That way, the stall turns can be done in a tight half circle. A large amount of rudder input can tuck the nose toward the landing gear, so watch during landing if heading corrections are required. In knife-edge flight, the rudder corrections want to naturally roll the model back to level flight, and it’s already pushing away from the canopy. For the most part, the pilot can hold these corrections in for a wicked-cool knife-edge pass down on the deck, but a P-mix or two into the rudder will fix the habit completely. The twin ailerons are a delight; both wings work together, rather than one wing with ailerons having to overcome the drag of the other. Little deflection is needed for normal flying, and the ailerons’ movement requires no differential mixing because their travel is minimal. Point rolls are possible that we can relate to the crispness we see at air shows with the Pitts biplanes. That includes the “wow” factor. Landing the Golden Era bipe is almost easier than landing a trainer. Because it flies where the pilot points it, bringing the model home is a matter of “X” marks the spot. With a throttle setting of roughly 50%, this airplane sets itself into a natural glide slope; all the pilot needs to do is gently pull on the upelevator before touchdown and ease the throttle back to idle. Make the Golden Era biplane your everyday flier. I’ve tested it in calm and hurricanelike conditions, and I was phenomenally impressed by how solidly it performed.

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I have the monoplane version and it flies great. It is also stunningly beautiful in the air. I put an ASP91 in it for good power (similar to OS91 FX).

I ordered the plan on 12 November. It is now 21 days and I still have no plans. Really! What are you doing, redrafting them? The bill was paid on the day ordered, maybe I need to notify PayPal.

Hi Melvin, The plans are in the mail! With the holidays, we are a little backlogged. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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