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Picture of 1/20th Scale Radio Control Optica

I have been collecting information on this unusual aircraft for over 4 years. I first saw it in a movie called “slipstream”. The Optica was first flown in the public at the 1979 Paris airshow. It was four years later at the 1983 Paris airshow before the company was able to take orders. The plane is ideally suited to slow observation flying, filling the void between helicopters and light aircraft. By 1987, four aircraft had been sold. The fourth plane was placed in trials by the Hampshire police department. Unfortunately, the plane crashed killing all aboard. Investigation cleared the plane from fault, but the delay cost the company. Updated versions were built and the company was bought by Brooklands.

A fire destroyed many of the built and partially built planes. Today there are a handful of planes flying keeping the legend of the Optica alive. Rumors abound about it’s revival. Until then, I will build models.

My first testbed using a S400 motor was called the Frankenfoamy. The plan was published in Model Aviation June 2000. Frankenfoamy video

I continued to work on 1/10 scale plans when GWS came out with a small ducted fan.

The size was perfect for a 1/20 scale version. Foamboard construction would make for a short build time. It flew surprising well…..for a couple of minutes. The batteries available at that time could not handle the 3 amp draw of the fan. Now the new 340 mAh Lipoly cells are a perfect match.

Step 1: Construction of Canopy and Shroud

Picture of Construction of Canopy and Shroud

The fan shroud and canopy are carved from 1 ½ pound styrofoam block. A solid block would be best but laminating two or more works well also. Do not use white glue to laminate foam where you plan to sand. White glue does not sand well. Epoxy is the best bet here. The Canopy is best carved from two blocks held together with contact cement. This allows the blocks to separate to fit on each side of the crutch. Carving may seem daunting but it is easier than it looks. Trace the outline of the part on the sides and the top and bottom. Slice away foam that does not fit inside the outlines with a sharp hobby blade. You will see the shape take form soon.

nice model

rpotts21 year ago
nice model! Slipstream is a much under-appreciated movie! luckily, I found a DVD copy in a bargain bin sale.
michaelb2 (author)  rpotts21 year ago

I did the same with buying a VHS on ebay ;)

That's a keeper... LOL!
michaelb2 (author) 1 year ago

Website of the full scale plane

michaelb2 (author) made it!1 year ago

The full scale plane

michaelb2 (author) 1 year ago

The dimensions are fairly scale. Increasing the wing chord and tail length a bit will provide a more stable version. (common in modeling scale aircraft) The video is showing the plane flying in wind which it handles pretty well.

rpotts21 year ago
Is this a "yank & bank" style of control?
michaelb2 (author)  rpotts21 year ago
Yes, I was not ambitious enough to build twin rudders and hide another servo.