Let's Twist Again
The Kansas Twister Speed plane
Ready to fly, Zoot's new Kansas Twister, powered by a K&B Sportster .65. Flying Lines photo.
By Zoot Zoomer
Yousa! Been quite awhile since the last Zoot’s column — suspect I said that last time!
Anyway, the Zoomer has been on a short nostalgia trip recently. Just finished up a ‘C’ size Kansas Twister. But why would I do such a thing? Well, I’ll tell ya ...
Just pull yerself up around the workbench and listen to the story.
Many years ago, about 2004 or 2005 to be exact, some Northwest Speedsters thought it would be fun to build some low-tech D speed planes. “Sport D,” we wuz gonna call it. The guilty parties consisted of Loren Howard, meself, and perhaps one or two others. For a low-tech engine, we decided to use the K&B Sportster .65 RC engine. Fuel would be open and we would use the old size .031 monoline, as these things would not be very fast anyways.
So Loren got his plane built, and I got a good start on mine. Actually, nearly finished it but it was put away on the back burner. Ya know, that burner that’s so far in the rear you can’t see it and forget it’s even there. And it looked like Loren and I are the only ones who even pursued the concept. Now and then Loren would remind me about finishing my plane (every few years or so).
So after only a 15-year layoff, I get the plane out of storage to get’r done. After some cleaning up, it was ready for some primer and coat of color. That color turned out to be K&B Superpoxy metallic red. That should be as fast as any other color, right? (By the way, KlassKote brand epoxy paint catalyst works great with the old K&B product!)
The top, after painting, viewed from the bottom. Mike Hazel photo.
Let’s back up with some more history.
The Kansas Twister design was kitted by Speedmaster Model Products starting in the early 1960s up through sometime in the 1970s if memory serves correct.
There were three sizes: ‘A’ (.15), ‘B’ (.29) and ‘C’ (.60/65). Yeah I know the C and D thing gets confusing, but back then C was the big size
This design has an interesting feature — each size class plane uses the same wing! The wing was perfect size for the bigger two classes, and it allowed the .15 size plane to conform to FAI rules specs. (Ok, here’s another sidestep — the class ‘A’ size was the Junior Zoot’s very first speed plane, built it with two-wire controls back in 1968.)
Here are the details on my replica:
Speed pan is a Tatone ‘C’ full length. The stock wingspan is 23 inches, but mine is stretched slightly to 24 inches for just a slight more skosh of area. Same was done with the tailfeathers. So what about the engine? Yes it is a K&B Sportster 65 with a large-bore homemade venturi and using a pressure tank of course. A K&B remote needle valve assembly is bolted onto the rear of the engine. Now the stock engine is a clubby looking thing, but since the top part of the cylinder/case detaches, it was easy to take off the excess meat. Also turned down the cylinder head to match the reduced case size. Without this work, this engine would have been nearly hopeless to wrap a nice cowl around. On the front is a Tru-Turn 1-1/2 inch spinner and a genuine ZZ prop.
The trimmed-down K&B .65 Sportster. Mike Hazel photo.
Next step is to build a suitable takeoff dolly.
So how fast? Good question — I would be surprised to see it exceed 140 mph. Yup, it will just be a nostalgia Speed plane, strictly for fun and nothing more.
All for now ...
-- Zoot Zoomer
The Kansas Twister in its dolly, ready to fly. Mike Hazel photo.
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This page was upated Aug. 31, 2020