PHOENIX / AEA — A close look at our Association’s Goals and the Website’s Purpose

What does PHOENIX / AEA
want to accomplish?

Simply stated, what we would like to see happen is for the Aeromodelling Community or more broadly speaking “Everyone that likes to fly Free Flight, RC/Radio Control or Control Line” to adopt the idea of having a universal name for Old Timer Model Airplanes that have experienced a Rebirth of sorts to Electric Power A.K.A. Electric-Assist.

This “Moniker” or “Title” if you will—is known as PHOENIX / As Electric-Assist.

A more detailed discussion of our association’s name and PHOENIX / As Electric-Assist can be found at our webpage titled PHOENIX / Aerial Experimental Association Explained.

Many people in the hobby have been adding electric power to their models for quite some time and the idea is certainly not new.

SAM — The Society of Antique Modelers has had many contests over the years featuring this type of “Electric Powered Models.” According to an article found on the SAM Website written by Dave Harding in December of 2017 called Spirit of SAM Electric Models he writes:

“Most models we see in SAM RC assist competitions are Antique and Old Timer IC powered models, but recently the advent of lightweight affordable RC gear and electric propulsion has opened the field to models that were originally rubber powered. There are now three such events; Spirit of SAM, Electric Wakefield and Electric Unlimited Rubber. All of them are rapidly gaining popularity with SoS leading the way.”

What Dave is referring to above is the names of three competitive events that SAM sponsors in their yearly contests. The idea of competing against other competitors has been the motivating factor behind much of the advancement of both the AMA and SAM organizations over the years. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact the competitive nature in us often brings out our best qualities.

In most of the SAM events listed above there is a limit placed on the time that the motor runs. Usually it is a relatively short run, usually 60 seconds, with a glide to the earth that follows. The Spirit of SAM event does not limit the motor run to my knowledge.

So using these same planes, (and possibly using slightly different electronic components) there is an alternate scenario. In this case the objective is not a short run but rather an unlimited one. This time you are only competing with the clock. The idea here is to see how long in fact that the model can stay up in the air with only a single battery charge.

Two of our most active associates Suman Sarapalli and Paul Morgenroth, III, having restored and converted dozens of Old Timer Airplanes—embrace this philosophy. It’s not uncommon for one of their latest conversions, the PHOENIX Altimeter-Hybrid shown at left, to have flight times of over an hour.

Removing extra weight without compromising strength, using the most efficient electric components and control surfaces hardware, and doing quality workmanship are the things that are most needed to assure the longest flight times.

What our association is all about and the purpose of this website is simply to give a name to the planes that in the past have flown in these SAM and AMA events and will continue to fly in them in the future.

Rather than suggesting a new “competition event”—the idea is simply the enjoyment of seeing a converted “PHOENIX BIRD” back “into the air.” Our overriding message is embedded in these three words:—“Into the Air.” That for us is our goal. No more—no less.

Emil Schutzel, one of the founding members of HAFFA (Heart of America Free Flight Association), has always reminded us fellow aeromodellers that he was most concerned with beating his own times with his indoor models rather than trying to defeat anyone else. He has had this same outlook his entire life in all of the athletic events he has participated in throughout his life, and this philosophy didn’t end with his modeling hobby.

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SAM has very distinctly defined the classification of Old Timers on page 1 of THE SOCIETY OF ANTIQUE MODELERS Official Rule Book Constitution and Bylaws 2020 as:

B. Gas Powered model airplanes designed prior to 1951 plus those designed prior to 1957 showing installation of spark ignition on the original plans are defined as Old Timers. Old Timers designed prior to 1939 are called Antiques and are accepted in Old Timer events provided the specific event rules are met. Rubber Powered models designed prior to 1951 are categorized as Old Timers.

On page 19 of the SAM rule book The five RC Electric Championship basic events are Electric Limited Motor Run (LMR), Electric Texaco, Spirit of SAM, Electric Wakefield, and Speed 400. All events shall have RC motor shut-off. However it must be noted on page 19 describing the “Srprit SAM” this appears: “There is no maximum motor run time; the motor may be stopped, controlled, and restarted at the pilot’s discretion. There is no maximum flight time.”

We welcome this definition of Old Timers as it has been around and well accepted for some time.

Our idea is when an Old Timer goes through a conversion process to have it powered by Electricity A.K.A. Electric-Assist —that it would have the opportunity to have the surname of PHOENIX added to its name. Although it’s not mandatory, it would give everyone a way to easily describe what the plane is all about. I.E. it would indicate that it is both Electric-Assist and that it qualifies as an Old Timer.

An illustration of this idea is the model airplane pictured at right. Here I have copied a photo and and its accompanying caption from the website OLD WAKEFIELDS and specifically from their web page entitled Photo Album of Wakefields.

From the Caption below the photo we know several things about this plane. First that it is electric powered and second, that it is an Old Timer because it was “Built for the Electric “Spirit of SAM” event that requires it to be an Old Timer. So our suggestion is to dispense with all of the lengthy description you see here and simply call it a “PHOENIX Armes Wakefield.” It may take some time, but eventually people in our hobby will latch on to the “moniker” PHOENIX and now we have a well defined class of model aircraft that everyone can hang their hat on. That is—a born-again PHOENIX BIRD. We view the PHOENIX surname as a “Badge of Honor.” I for one as well as others in our association see this as a positive thing.

Armes Wakefield Built by Eut Tileston
For the electric “Spirit of SAM” event

The name change would be PHOENIX Armes Wakefield.

Although not mandatory, the PHOENIX surname
would suggest this plane (an Old Timer) has been
converted to Electric Assist

Future Goals of our Organization
and our Website

It is our wish that this website will provide a central “HUB” or Resource Center for all those converting model airplanes to Electric-Assist whether they view the finished result of their efforts as a PHOENIX or not.

Also future plans for this website would include a PHOENIX FORUM for the Aeromodelling Community to ask questions, trade ideas and show off their projects.

If you have any questions and or comments please leave them below in the LEAVE A REPLY box below. Thanks.

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