My Grandma Could Fly

My_GrandmaStanding on the flight line at the local flying field and telling tall stories is nothing new.  The first casual comment was the opener from Kurt Cleveland, “ Grandma could fly!”  The President of Hobby Express, glanced at his brother with a “top that” look. “So could mine…” laughed Mark Cleveland, “…but she never crashed like you’re about to..” as the CEO jostled his younger brother’s Spectrum radio.

Esther Norbert Warner — later known to us as Betty Cleveland (or Grandma) was our father’s mother and she could fly!  For real!  In this favorite family photo, she stands tall at age 16, one of the first licensed female pilots in California.  There is no doubt she was also the youngest when she earned her wings.  Imagine how much of a renegade she was in her day!

Years ago, the family collected her goggles, flight boots, that cool jacket and other memorabilia as a donation to the new Museum of Flight being developed at the College of Pacific.  That institution was a pioneer in flight training in the early period of the age of flight and that’s also where our Grandma and other relatives got their wings.  The School, flight historians and others in California have taken up a project to make this part of flight history come to life.

In 2009 when Mark Cleveland bought Hobby-Lobby International, Inc. (now Hobby Express) this was the mysterious photo that hung on the wall.  The staff overlooked the fact it was a female pilot at the center of the photograph, and asked about the air plane.

We had no idea what she flew until our great Aunt Marj broke the story… not one other person in the family had the answer until then: you’re looking at an Alexander Eaglerock.

For all you flight historians, this aircraft was used in the College of Pacific Flight Training School where Grandma took flying lessons from her uncle, the school’s only instructor. We think it would be a blast to introduce this airplane, something with a family tie, as one of our new Pilot-1 Golden Age Civilian series.   What do you think?

This bi-plane reportedly flew like a dream. The one pictured was crashed a few times and rebuilt. At Hobby Express we look for “under-modeled” airplanes because, at least it seems to us, that everyone is copying everyone.  We want to deliver quality, but also something really different and interesting that you will WANT to bring to the local R/C flying field.

We both just wish we could go back in time and watch our Grandma fly!

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Finding a Balance for the Twin Telemaster

While we were designing the Twin Telemaster, one of our primary concerns was making sure that the balance of the plane would be perfect. This was especially tricky because not only does the plane have to be accurately balanced when flying it for fun, but it also needs to be able to carry a wide variety of possible instrumentation and it will likely need to be re balanced before take off. After much planning and testing, we added a new feature you are sure to love.

Twin CG Hanger

The Challenge

The problem with designing a Twin aircraft that features an instrumentation package carrier “open fuselage” plan is the variable of weight distribution that can’t be predicted. We needed to find a way that you can put any instrumentation you want to into the nose or along the interior of the plane and ensure proper center of gravity at liftoff.

The Solution

We have designed in a pre-flight balance check that can be done at the flying field to ensure proper balance. This check allows you to make sure the configuration of your instruments, batteries, ballast, and cameras is correct prior to leaving the ground, protecting both the plane and the equipment on board.

How it Works

We added a hard-mount positioned perfectly over the center of gravity, above the wing in the middle of the fuselage. When you hang the aircraft from this mount, preflight, you are able to check both the lateral balance and the fore – aft balance of the aircraft, to avoid heavy tail final flights!

Hanging the Aircraft

An added benefit to the hard-mount balance point is that is also acts as a great way to hang your RC aircraft when it is not in use. No longer struggle with how you are going to store your aircraft because this hook allows you to suspend it from the ceiling, out of the way but still proudly on display.

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What’s Inside Our Twin Telemaster?

Want a peak inside the new Twin Telemaster? Today we are going to talk wingspan, nacels, engines, batteries, and more. Learn exactly what makes the Twin Telemaster the ideal instrumentation platform. We are also going to share some pictures of the nacels taken during the development process.

Twin Both Wings Mated With Nacels


When we designed the Twin Telemaster we started with an 8-foot wingspan because it offers plenty of lift and payload ratio. We believe that this will make the new Twin Telemaster the best platform for instrumentation packages. This wingspan also provides us with plenty of room for the engines and batteries we chose for the Twin Telemaster. The wings feature a twist and lock design that are easy to assemble without the need for struts. The result is a nice, clean look.



The Twin Telemaster will house two of our eRCBL46 motors. They will also be paired with big props and a 6-cell battery. The result is enough power to steadily fly the RC aircraft back to the airfield in the event that an engine fails and you are down to a single engine. When the engine is in place, there is still an open space around it, providing plenty of cooling.



This aircraft has two batteries, two speed controllers, and two motors on the wings and in the engine nacels. The engine nacel is big as well. When housing a 6-cell battery, the nacel still has 3/4 inch of clearance on either side and 1.5 inches to the front and back. Each nacel features a battery hatch with magnetic closure, ensuring that it stays securely fastened.

Landing Gear

We under-mounted the engine nacels, allowing us to shorten the landing gear. The retractable tricycle landing gear retracts forward putting the mount right below the wing spar. The forces of landing are transmitted into the wing spar and airframe. Because it retracts, this landing gear will not obstruct the view of downward or side-facing cameras.

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The Twin Telemaster Design Process

We have seen many modelers take our Telemaster RC aircraft and customize it so it can be used as an instrumentation platform. Some have already turned it into a twin engine aircraft. Seeing how the Telemaster has been used has inspired us to take a hard look at the best characteristics of the Telemaster and actively pursue creating a Twin Engine Telemaster that has been specifically designed for use as an instrumentation platform.

Twin Telemaster Final Design

The Characteristics of the Twin Telemaster

Absolutely every design decision made with our new Twin Telemaster has taken into consideration how the instrumentation will mount, how it will affect the weight and flight of the aircraft, and how we can provide unobstructed views of all cameras on board. We took advantage of the lifting tail and improved the landing and flight characteristics by using a retractable tricycle landing gear configuration.

  • Mostly Open Fuselage
  • Downward Looking Camera
  • Forward Looking Instruments
  • Retractable Tricycle Landing Gear

Testing, Testing, and More Testing

With the design taken care of, it was time to start the testing process. We built, tested, flew, and celebrated. We scratched our heads, redesigned, built again, tested, flight testing next, We will try not to crash. We learn from our tests, built again while documenting our assembly process, and will make the decision when it is time to have others try to build this plane. We will get our “Alpha-Builders” early production kits, along with an instruction set, and wait for the feedback. A couple final tweaks and modifications later, we will be done and getting ready to share this plane to pilots like you!

The End Result

The Twin Telemaster is a heavy-lifting aircraft that is not only stable and predictable flyer, but also really good-looking. There are so many design details to talk about that we are going to have to break it up over a series of blog posts. Next time we will discuss the engine and batteries chosen for our Twin Telemaster. So when can you get your Twin Telemaster? This RC aircraft is in the final stages of development for production and will be available to you very soon.

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The Beginning of Build Season Sale

Now that fall is upon us, so is the beginning of building season. We would like to mark this occasion with a special sale that will last through Sunday, September 27th at midnight. For the next three days you will be able to save on eRC motors, adhesives, and three incredible Telemaster kits. All these discounts are applied automatically so all you have to do is shop and save.

eRC Motors — 20% Off

eRC Motor
Every last one of our eRC brushless motors are now available at 20% off. With ten different levels of power available, there is a proper motor for every build.

Ready to Save?>>>


Glues & Adhesives — 15% Off


There is a glue for every type of surface. From balsa wood, to rubber, there is an adhesive that is designed specifically for that type of product. Stock up on all the adhesives you need to complete your build. We have a detailed chart that will show you just what you need and when you purchase them by Sunday, you save 15% off each one.

Get Yours Now>>>


Three Great Kits

Micro-Telemaster V2

What would building season be without three great kits at unbelievable prices? Whether you are a budding hobbits or an experienced modeler, we have something for every experience level. Want to learn more about these three kits and decide which one is right for you? Check out yesterday’s blog.


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Telemaster Kits of the Week

Today marks the first day of fall and the start of building season. Whether you want to try out a Telemaster plane for the first time or simply add to your growing collection, we have a trio of kits that you are sure to love. Each of the kits we are featuring today is on sale now. All you have to do is decide which one you want, add code glupon15 to your cart at checkout, and enjoy 15% savings on any of the kits below. This sale continues through Sunday at Midnight, so snatch up yours before it is too late.


Micro-Telemaster Kit V2 (TEL1100)


This precision-cut kit is ideal for beginning builders because it is both affordable and easy to assemble. Although it is simple enough for the novice, it is also a sophisticated enough RC aircraft for experienced modelers to enjoy. This kit comes with photo illustrated instructions that take you step-by-step through the building process. This plane weighs about 8.5 ounces and features plenty of power.

Technical Specifications:

Length: 24 inches
Wingspan: 34.5 inches
Flying Weight: 6 – 9 ounces
Controls: Rudder, Elevator, Throttle
Wing Area: 186 square inches
Wing Loading: Less than 7 ounces per square foot


Telemaster 40 Kit V2 (TEL1450)

Telemaster 1450

The Telemaster 40 V2 is a kit that is ideal for an experienced modeler. This updated kit features laser-cut components for a precise build. Build this plane as it comes or convert it with tricycle landing gear. This plane can even be altered with a float kit. Additional features of this plane include wings with flaps and ailerons.

Technical Specifications:

Length: 53.5 inches
Wingspan: 73 inches
Flying Weight: 6 lbs
Controls: Ailerons, Elevator, Rudder, Throttle
Wing Area: 848 square inches


Senior Telemaster Laser Cut Kit (TEL1600)

TEL 1600

The Senior Telemaster Laser Cut Kit has been designed with experienced builders in mind. We have taken great care to add features that you specifically asked for. This RC aircraft features 2-piece wings that are mounted by sliding onto an aluminum spar joiner. The rotate and snap system makes these wings easy to connect to the fuselage, with no loose parts to worry about. As if that was not enough, this model even features a dropbox.

Technical Specifications:

Length: 63.25 inches
Wingspan: 91.5 inches
Flying Weight: 10.5 lbs
Wing Area: 1301 square inches




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Should the Telemaster have a twin?

At Hobby Express, we have been playing with the idea of a production version Twin Telemaster Kit for about 2 years.

This has been driven by the fact that our Telemaster is in use today, all over the place, as a camera or instrumentation platform. In our opinion, it is the original utility drone. 3′, 5′, 8′, and 12′ wingspan Telemaster airplanes have all been utilized as camera and instrument platforms, serving our military, NASA, and hundreds of other folks throughout the years. Anytime pilots or engineers have needed a tough, stable, and heavy lifting aircraft, Telemaster comes to mind.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 10.36.19 AM

Over the years, very capable and creative modelers have converted the Telemaster to a twin engine bird with great results. Our thinking is that it’s time for a production version that the rest of us could build and fly!

We are interested in what you think of the idea, too.
What would you do with a Twin Telemaster?

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Labor Day Sale Extended

Did your Labor Day weekend go by as quickly as ours did? If so, our huge Labor Day Sale may have ended before you had time to shop. If that is the case, you are in luck! We have decided to extend our Labor Day Deals through September 13th. Don’t let this one pass you by because deals as good as these don’t happen every day. Our extended Labor Day Sale includes fantastic savings on RC helicopters, Powering™ batteries and eRC™ motors. Let’s check out the savings.

Powering Batteries



Power your RC aircrafts with a battery you can trust. Powerwing™ produces a line of lithium polymer batteries that are perfect for all your hobby needs. These batteries were designed using the latest technology by a company that has been a leader in the industry for more than 48 years. There are dozens of batteries to choose from, making it easy to pick the right one for your product.

eRC Motors

Enjoy great savings on brushless out runner motors. Each of the eRC™ motors in this collection are manufactured in a state-of-the-art facility and are built with quality in mind. These motors are designed to perform great and each one comes with a warranty.

RC Helicopters

We are quickly selling out of our remaining RC helicopters. Receive yours with free shipping while supplies last. There are multiple helicopters to choose from but they won’t last long. From micro-helis that are ideal for beginners to bigger helicopters designed for experienced pilots, there is something for everyone in this collection.

Receive Your Discount

Receiving your discount is easy because these discounts are applied automatically when you add these items to your shopping cart. Don’t delay though, these discounts are only good until September 13th at midnight.

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FAA Update of AC 91-57A Sets The Stage For Limits On RC

With the newly updated AC 91-57, enter 91-57A, our FAA has pressed a clarification of the height restrictions for model aircraft pilots. This impacts R/C Scale aerobatic competition, higher altitude soaring, and much of the safety margin in pattern flying.

Most of the text is a re-presentation of the original Advisory Circular relating to Public Law 112-95, Section 336. However, section (e) now includes the statement:

“Model aircraft operators should follow best practices including limiting operations to 400 feet above ground level (AGL). ”

This is an “Advisory Circular” and not a law but draws a clear line in the sand, or virtual ceiling in the air, at “400 feet” for RC hobbies.

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It’s not just a building

The building that housed the operation of Hobby Lobby International Inc. for decades was dismantled this week.

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 12.38.06 AM

The building saw the evolution of radio controlled flight in the US from mostly fueled to electric flight. It was witness to the development of a stunning array of aircraft; some so small they would fit in your hand all the way up to planes so big you would swear they could safely carry a person… Or as some folks joked, maybe a pet!

After trackhoe

Over the years, customers, employees, and friends of the hobby have come together on the site to innovate and problem solve together. To share the ideas and challenges of a build. Sharing particularly clever solutions and the joy of showing off craftsmanship and details that look as good as the real thing! This built a community that cheered the successful maiden flights and gave a respectful distance for the gut-punch of unfortunate crashes. The building even supported the business name change to Hobby Express in 2013.  When we became Hobby Express, the reactions we received were an interesting mix of “You’re THE Hobby Lobby to me.” and “Well it’s about time!”.

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 12.37.38 AM

“RC pilot pilgrims” came from far away states. They had devoured catalogs, shopped the online store, and finally had a reason, or made one up, to come press open the doors to this iconic hobby haven. The hobbyists’ joyful determination to “visit there someday” made them grin with the accomplishment. This nearly weekly experience was both joyful and humbling, seeing the kid inside each of them peeking out through the eyes of an adult. These are people who honed their building and flying skills many miles away from the now disassembled building, but still knew they were part of this special community.

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 12.37.05 AMThey were here to look around, to pay attention to the new and the well proven products all around the shop, looking at all the amazing models hanging from the ceiling. Some even shared that they liked the fact that in the retail store they could pay part of their purchases in cash to keep their habit off the credit card bill at home.  Balance is important in aircraft and relationships, after all.

We continue to develop the brands and traditions through taking care of the customer and serving to support our flying community. Innovation and tradition, balanced so we can share the fun!


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