Sunday, March 22, 2009

P51-D rest in peace - for now (rebuild in June)

Today marks the end of an era for what was a fantastic flying electric conversion. My limited experience with war birds had me flying far too slowly and I stalled her on the final turn to begin the landing approach.

Sadly, the pictures tell the rest of the story. She was a great flying plane!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Modeltech P-51D Mustang Electric Conversion

Recently, someone the I consider to be a good friend, donated this plane to my obsession - electric-powered flight! Mark Lukens ( made the offer and I jumped all over it!

What it boiled down to is a nicely powered (albeit, lighter) plane. It's not set up for unlimited verticals, etc. - but she does fly scale very nicely.

So, what were the obvious changes? Here is the list:
  1. 60A Suppo ESC (max 80A <>
  2. 1000kv Suppo outrunner (A2826/4T) - axi clone ($36)
  3. Spektrum AR500 (5 channel full-range rx) ($54)
  4. 5A switching BEC ($9)
  5. 4S1P A123
  6. 5S1P A123 (a little more rpm than with 4S1P due the additional cell)
  7. 12 & 14 gauge silicone power leads
  8. APC12x10E prop
  9. Weight reduction to 5.6lbs
In case anyone is wondering, the BEC, ESC and motor (totaling approx $71) came from They carry the same ESCs and motors that lightflightrc carries, but at a lower price, they have a lot of items in stock and they email you your order details - which lightflightrc doesn't do so it's sometimes hard to go back and review what I ordered from them.

The A123 battery packs are custom built packs that I made about 1 year ago. They're still holding a lot of charge and delivering massive amounts of current.

Next weekend I'll make some very detailed flights to determine if I need to go with 2P (doubling the 4S and 5S packs - which doubles flight time, but also the battery weight). I haven't done any power consumption testing over time. I can tell you this - the current setup runs between 54A-56A WOT (wide-open-throttle). Obviously we don't always fly that way, but it's nice to know that you won't over-draw the motor, ESC or battery capabilities.

Below are some obligatory pics :)

Prior to installation (courtest of USPS and

ESC and motor installed - lot's of cooling for both

Back together and looking sweet...

My original collet adapter and spinner were offset so the maiden flight had some noisy vibration. This is the result - no spinner :(

The conversion only took a about two hours. The most effort was in calculating the power consumption and prop size+pitch to the weight of the aircraft and the capacity of the batteries and ESC.

All-in-all, a very nice aircraft!

Thanks everyone for stopping by and a BIG thanks to Mark for making this happen and taking her up on her maiden (electric-powered) flight.