A View from Broadway

Fora .049 engines, used for 1/2-A Combat and 1/2-A Proto Speed. Aerohobby.ca photo.

A Foray into 1/2-A Proto

By Ken Burdick
August 2020

Part 1

Yes Folks, it’s true.

Is your Sonic Chicken going sub-sonic? Are people using your Combat wing for target practice? Did your Free Flight just keep on going? Is that what’s got you down, lil' Geezer? WELL, CHEER UP!

Just when you thought you were too old to fly that screaming little .049, along comes yours truly with yet another high-performance event for it.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about the toughest speed event in the AMA roster. What is it, you ask?

F2A? Nope.

B speed with a full wave pipe? Not even close.

But what it IS, is — 1/2A Proto Apeed. That’s right, the irritating little 1/2A with all the charm of a trainer and typically a speed under 90 mph, when they should be over 100!

Why is that? What is wrong with a seemingly easy event?

We all seem to have fast 1/2A Combat or free flight engines that are well made — so what gives when we try this event? Why is this event so durn difficult, and what can we do about it nowadays?  The event is still faced with the same issue we had 20, 30 and 40 years ago. A good engine.

My stable

I use an impossible to get Picco P-0,. I also have a CS .049, a Profi .049 Combat engine and a couple of Fora GRS .049 (early version).

Of these engines, only two are available nowadays, the Profi and Fora. There have been others that run well such as Cyclon and Shuriken, but they are long gone from production. Profi can be had, but it does take a while. The one engine that seems to be in reasonable supply is the Fora, so we’ll focus on that engine for this article. We’ll take an in depth look at it and compare it to the generally faster Cyclon and see what we can find to correct this.

What is needed to build a good 1/2A Proto Speed plane today.

  • Engine: Fora .8cc (.049). My favorite supplier is Yaro of Aerohobby.ca. Yaro offers the engine in two versions at two different prices. One is stock from the factory costing $160.00, and the LE, that he has installed a better set of bearings and a snazzy black and gold color combination for $175.00. We’ll go with the better bearings and spend a little more for this dive. You also can contact Yaro by email.)
  • Airplane. The airplane is pretty basic so I’ll provide two excellent plans and one kit.
    Plans: Dale Kirn’s “Torky" and Jerry Rocha’s current record holder, The Accelerator.
    KIT.  Bob Whitney has produced “The Prowler” and it’s an excellent flying model. Bob sells his kits for $35 each. Email Bob Whitney to order.

Key ingredients

Light wood. Balsa in the 5-6 lb. range is what will produce a sub-5 oz. model. This, lil' geezers, is the target,  It doesn’t help that some boy scout insisted they be pained solid colors, but oh well. Another approach is to go high tech and use blue foam with carbon fiber vacu-bagged to it. If you have the equipment and knowledge, go for it. Otherwise light balsa will get you there.

The Plan

Let’s do this in order, shall we? First things first: Get the engine. From our handy little listing below, I’ll order the Fora LE from Yaro.



The Torky. Click on the photo above for a pdf of the Model Builder plan.

The Accellerator is described and illustrated in this Aeromodeller article

The Prowler kit is described in this earlier Flying Lines article.

 Okay, lil' Geezers, that’s it until we get the engine. Stay tuned right here on Flying Lines, fora (pun intended) interesting look into this engine.


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-- Kennyb

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This page was upated Aug. 21, 2020