Electrification, not Nationalisation. “Super Frontier Senior” Keeps Going.

I bought this model when I had my model shop back in 2005, that makes it six years old.  It has had several engines in it, most recently an ASP 91FS.  Over the last six years, we, the Frontier and me, have introduced many new R/C pilots to the sport of R/C flying.  I decided that she needed to have an inspection and be checked out for fuel damage and many, many hard landings and a couple of very athletic cartwheels.  For such a big model, 82″ span, she is not very heavy, 7lbs flying weight.  It occurred to me that, given the price of 10% nitro fuel, it may be feasible to electrify  the old girl.  Originally designed for a .46 two stroke, the choice of  brushless motors is extraordinary.  I am new to electric power so I did my research and arrived at the following set-up.  From Giant Cod (where else) a E-Power BL 4030 385kv outrunner, a Hobbywing Pentium 80amp Opto ESC and two Gens Ace 3300mah 25c 5s Lipo Batterys.

E-Power BL4030 in a "Universal Firewall Mount"

Anyway,  glow engine & tank removed, I cut a hatch in the nose to insert the battery and constructed a cradle to support it.  Giant Cod posted the motor mount quickly and although I had to modify the mount ( the shaft collar on the motor required a 16mm hole), the motor fitted well.  I will strap the ESC to the mount so it will be in a nice cooling draft and the fuel tank hole should let enough airflow past the battery to help cool that off.  Although, it will mostly be doing circuits and figure eights on the buddy box.

Same, from a different angle.

Brand New, Unflown, In 2005, waiting for the rain to stop.

Below is the link to Steve Webb if you want a Frontier Senior.  They are a very good aircraft to learn on, and if you fit a .91 FS it will aerobat with the best of them.


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6 Responses to Electrification, not Nationalisation. “Super Frontier Senior” Keeps Going.

  1. George says:

    Where did you put the gas tank with the nitro engine? With the control arm for the front landing gear coming back to the rudder servo it appears to be in the way of the tank. Can you advise?

    • Hi George
      You’re quite correct, the nose-wheel steering gets in the way. However, that’s where the tank goes. If memory serves, the steering mechanism it a tight fit under the tank. As always, you will need to brace the tank with some foam to prevent it moving about and chafing on the inside if the fuselage. It is tight, but it goes in. The tank will be quite high in the nose so carb alignment may be difficult. By far the most pleasing engine mounting is “inverted” as the cowl will all but swallow up most suitable engines. However, inverted engines can be difficult to start and set up so a sidewinder or upright engine may suit you better.

  2. George says:

    I’m using a Super Tigre GS45 ABC engine at the advice of a local HS owner. I fly electric and this is my first nitro. I don’t belong to a club since my work keeps me busy. The electrics were easy to learn on my own and I fly them quite well. This “beast” was a Christmas gift and a challenge to say the least. I plan to install the engine upright and I will be setting up a bench mount to simulate what will happen inside the fuselage with the engine and tank. This way I hope to tune the engine before installation. Then a few tweaks after it’s in and it should be ready for a maiden. Question is how do the servos get power from the speed controller? I know in electrics the main lipo battery is hooked to the ESC and the receiver is hooked to it. Then the servos are plugged into the receiver. But the motor is connected to the ESC too which is the main job of the ESC, to control the throttle input from the TX. So without an ESC how do I power up the receiver and servos? The local HS owner gave me a NiMH battery pack and a little charge recepticle and said that was all I needed. So where does it go because the instructions do not mention the battery pavement. Thanks for your help.

    • Right, no problem but you have to be careful.
      The throttle servo plugs into the same receiver outlet as the ESC i.e the throttle. The NiMh plugs into the “batt” connector at the receiver. If your receiver has no clearly defined “batt” socket then any spare socket will do. Use the charge cable between the battery and the Rx. Use one with an on/off switch to isolate the radio when the plane is between flights. The servos and receiver then take their power from the NiMh battery.
      So it goes Battery—Switch/charge socket—Receiver. Don’t be afraid to ask at your local shop. If they won’t help then shame on them. You don’t say what radio equipment you are using?
      Good luck and don’t be slow to ask me anything.

      • George says:

        Hello Shropshireflying:
        I’m using a Spectrum DX7 with a Spectrum AR8000 receiver. I’ve been reading about the electric conversion you did on your plane and I am fascinated. Was it very difficult to convert? How did you put the “down and right thrust” into the motor mount. Is it built into the mount or did you add shims on the left top side to get down and right thrust? Now that I am thinking about it, do the nitro engines need this same angle change to counter the rotational thrust generated by the prop?
        I do appreciate your help Sir. The “local” HS is 45 minutes away and the owner rarely has time to converse over the phone unless you’re calling to buy something. With the amount of money I’ve spent in his establishment i would hope for more help. In my quest as an rc plane hobbyist I’ve crashed and or lost over 6 planes totaling over $1200 to $1500 in hard learned lessons. Thank goodness for a loving wife! Your article and response have been invaluable to me. Thanks again.

  3. Decent radio then. I use a JR PCM9X2 and I use the FrSky 2.4 module and Rx’s. The Frontier has side and down-thrust built in. You really don’t need much, most ARTF models have too much but this seems to be about right. It is effectively the same for nitro or electric. Purists will argue that but for the average sport modellers like us it is just fine. To set it up with shims, fly your model trimmed for straight and level at about 1/3 throttle. Open up to full throttle quickly without stalling the engine. If the model pulls to the right reduce side-thrust, pulls to the left, increase side thrust. Same for down-thrust. If the model climbs under full throttle add down-thrust, if it dives reduce down-thrust. A flat bottomed wing section like the Frontier will tend to climb with increased speed anyway. Flown correctly, the Frontier should behave like a full size, throttle controls altitude and elevator controls speed. That may sound backwards, but that’s how it works. The electric engine mount in the blog turned out to be rubbish and I ended up with a hacksaw and a sheet of 4mm aluminum and made my own. I strongly recommend a local club, if there is one near you. It is by far the cheapest way to learn even allowing for club fees etc. And yes, a loving wife is a true gift and to be treasured.

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