by Thayer Syme with David Baker
here are few models which reach legendary
status in this hobby. Sure, there are some that
are popular for a while and will appear at the
field every weekend for a season or two. Rare is the
model that soldiers on, year after year, often for
decades or more. The Telemaster, designed in
Germany in the 1960s by Karl-Heinz Denzin and originally marketed by Alexander Engel, is one of those
classics. It borrowed heavily on the aerodynamics of
popular free flight designs, wrapped up in the appearance of a more modern airframe.
The combination of stable flight and straightforward construction has proven irresistible for nearly
forty years; the Telemaster is prized for its easy flying,
and in the larger sizes, incredible load-carrying capa-
bility. These characteristics make the Telemaster a
wonderful trainer, but it is equally at home dropping
candy for the kids at a weekend fun fly, carrying aloft
a parachutist, or simply floating about on a calm afternoon. Hobby Lobby has long offered Telemaster kits
to the American market, and recently added ARFs for
those who prefer to save some building time.
Here is a close look at three members of the
Telemaster family. The Mini Telemaster is a conventional balsa built-up kit, while the Telemaster Electro
and Senior Telemaster are both ARFs. These three
models feature distinct differences, but in the end,
they all share the common Telemaster DNA and are
delightful flyers.
The first decision is which Telemaster to get. If you
prefer park flyers, the three-channel Mini Telemaster
designed by Tom Hunt is the way to go. This balsa kit
is constructed traditionally over a full-scale plan and
can be built up and readied for gear and covering over
the course of a few evenings. A thorough manual
means little guesswork over the building process,
making this an approachable project for the budding
modeler with a little experienced assistance.
The larger 73-inch Telemaster Electro ARF is
designed expressly for electric power and features full
house four-channel control plus flaps. The larger size
and extra functionality make the Telemaster Electro
more suited to windier conditions and larger fields.
This size airframe is also available as a kit or for flying with .40-glow power.
For those who prefer a larger model, the 95-inch
Senior Telemaster might just scratch the itch. Like the
Electro, it is an ARF with little construction required.
At nearly eight feet, this model definitely qualifies for
IMAA fly-ins, and its 11-pound flying weight retains
the same light, floaty feel that is the Telemaster
Larger still is the 12-foot Telemaster. The domain
of those who enjoy building, this kit’s three-piece
wing and 90-inch fuselage will consume most workshops. When you are done, though, this model will
dominate the flight line at your club, and give you
endless hours of the most relaxing flying available.
AUGUST 2006 93
built by David Baker
This being my first “stick-built” kit, I wanted
to make sure it was done right. I read completely through the instructions before I ever
cut my first piece of balsa, and then started
in with the wing. Cover the plans with
waxed paper or plastic wrap to prevent gluing the model to the plans as you build. Take
your time and enjoy the process. I was somewhat intimidated, but love to create and
build things, so I looked upon this more as
an exercise in fun and learning than as a
challenge. By following the directions carefully, I had a finished airplane after only
three weekends.
I covered the Mini Telemaster with blue
and white Oracover. This is an exciting part
of the building process as
the airplane comes to life,
piece by piece. I read the
covering material instructions, and tried a sample
on some scrap balsa. Once
I felt familiar with the
process, I worked my way
through the completed
pieces. Covering was not
quite as easy as I expected,
but with a little effort, I felt
gratified by the final
The plans detail the
power and radio installations, and I found these
final steps were relatively
simple. Be sure to anchor
the pushrod guide tubes at each end. If you
skip this step, air loads can cause the
pushrods to flex and compromise your control. I mounted the rudder and elevator with
strips of blue Oracover.
As a last step, be sure to check that the
wing is straight on both sides. Initially I had
a bit of a warp that acted like right aileron.
At slow speed, I had fine control, but as the
model accelerated, the twist in the wing
would overpower the rudder and try to roll
the plane to the right. The only way to overcome this in the air was to slow way down
and let the prop wash over the rudder to
provide a righting force. Fortunately, it took
only a few minutes with a heat gun to
straighten the wings and restore the intended flying characteristics.
This kit has a great manual. Over 80 photoillustrated steps lead you clearly through the
entire assembly process. There are just a couple of points to watch. Most significantly, the
AXI motor has a wheel collar that mounts to
the rear shaft on the firewall mounting kit.
The clearance hole in the wood motor mount
is ever-so-slightly too small. The collar binds
on the wood, so you will need to open up
that hole a little with a Dremel tool or a few
strokes with a round file.
The airframe comes covered, and only
final assembly is required before you are
ready to fly. I joined the wing panels with
30-minute Z-Poxy after installing the aileron
and flap servos. You will need to remove a
little covering material for a wood-to-wood
bond while mounting the tail surfaces. Align
the components carefully, and mark the
areas to trim with a fine-point marker. Most
instructions, these included, show using a
hobby knife to trim the film without cutting
the wood. I can’t consistently guide a knife
to a depth of just a few thousandths of an
inch, so instead, I trim the film by melting
through it with a hot pencil-tip soldering
iron. This same technique works well for
opening the pushrod exits and the wing hold
down dowel holes. Clean any residual ink
off the film with a wipe of denatured alcohol
before gluing the parts together.
Be sure to glue the CA hinges completely.
And while you are hinging the surfaces,
don’t leave off the optional flaps. The additional functionality will provide a lot of extra
flying fun. The flaps are designed to hinge
from the top with about 30 degrees total
deflection. This creates extra lift for short
takeoffs, and slowing down for landing, but
I wanted more deflection for even more dra-
PLANE: Telemaster Mini, Electro and Senior
TYPE: Electric sport flyers
FOR: Anyone looking for an easy-flying, dependable favorite
WINGSPAN: 45 in.
WING AREA: 325 sq. in.
WEIGHT: 19.6 oz.
WING LOADING: 8.7 oz./sq. ft.
LENGTH: 31 in.
RADIO: 3 channels required; flown with Hitec
Focus 3SS transmitter, Hitec 555 receiver,
Hitec HS-55 servos
POWER SYSTEM: Uberall “Nippy Black”
1208/180 outrunner motor, APC 8x6SF prop,
Jeti Advance Plus 18-amp brushless speed
control, Kokam 2S 1250mAh Li-Poly battery
FULL THROTTLE POWER: 10.54 amps, 69.8
watts, 3.56 W/oz., 57 W/lb.
TOP RPM: 5,430
DURATION: 12-15 minutes
PRICE: $29.90
COMPLETE: 3-channel radio, 60- to 75-watt
motor with battery and speed control, speed
control, propeller, wheels, covering material
WINGSPAN: 73.25 in.
WING AREA: 848 sq. in.
WEIGHT: 96 oz., (6.0 lbs)
WING LOADING: 16.3 oz./sq. ft.
LENGTH: 53.5 in.
RADIO: 5 channels required; flown with a
Hitec Optic 6 transmitter, Hitec Electron 6
receiver, Hitec HS-322 servos
POWER SYSTEM: AXI 2826/12 motor, APC
13x8 electric prop, Jeti Advance plus 40-amp
brushless speed control, Poly Quest 3S
4400mAh Li-Poly battery
FULL THROTTLE POWER: 26.9 amps, 283.6
watts; 2.97 W/oz., 47.5 W/lb.
TOP RPM: 6,345
DURATION: 15-20 minutes
PRICE: $149
COMPLETE: 4- or 5-channel radio, 250-watt
motor with battery, speed control and
WINGSPAN: 94 in.
WING AREA: 1330 sq. in.
WEIGHT: 179 oz. (11.2lbs.)
WING LOADING: 19.38 oz./sq. ft.
LENGTH: 64 in.
RADIO: 5 channels required; flown with a
Futaba 9C transmitter, Hitec Electron 6
receiver, Hitec HS-322 servos
POWER SYSTEM: AXI 4120/18 motor, APC
14x10 electric prop, Jeti Advance Plus
70-amp Opto brushless speed control, Ultimate
BEC, 16-cell 3300mAh NiMH battery
FULL THROTTLE POWER: 35.4 amps, 517.6
watts; 2.91 W/oz., 46.5 W/lb.
TOP RPM: 3,975
DURATION: 15+ minutes
PRICE: $195
COMPLETE: 4- or 5-channel radio, 500-watt
motor with battery, speed control and
The Telemaster is a classic design available in a variety of sizes. It is tough to beat a Telemaster for fun flying on a lazy afternoon. It doesn’t
matter if you like building, or just want to assemble an ARF; Hobby Lobby has a Telemaster for you, from a simple three-channel park flyer up
to a 12-foot, giant-scale monster.
matic results. Hinging from
the bottom allows as much
deflection as you want. I cut
the flaps free from the wing
with a new blade and a
straight edge. I squared off
the factory bevel by gluing
on some scrap balsa and
shaping it with a few
strokes of my Master
Airscrew razor plane. I covered the raw balsa with
some transparent red covering and hinged the flaps to
the wing from the bottom
using hinge tape. I installed
the control horns backwards to give almost 90
degrees of throw.
As one last step, I
upgraded the wheels. The
2.75-inch foam kit wheels
looked too small for our
grass field, and I don’t want
to worry about the tires
developing flat spots from
sitting too long. Hobby
Lobby has some wonderful
four-inch, diamond-tread
wheels from Kavan that
are extremely light, large
enough for rougher fields
and much more robust.
Some two-inch 10-32 socket head cap screws and
nuts from the local hardware store replaced the kit
axles. The larger bolts also
required enlarging the
hole in the gear strut.
When installing the
flaps, you will have six
servos running off a BECequipped controller rated
for half that count.
The servos don’t get a
tremendous workout, and
according to Hobby
Lobby, this has not been a
problem. Our experience
confirms that this works
as well. If you prefer to
play by the book, use the
Jeti Opto controller and a
separate flight pack or an
Ultimate BEC.
AUGUST 2006 85
Left: The radio installation for the Telemaster Electro goes very quickly. I simply screwed the two Hitec
322 servos in place, and mounted the Electron 6 receiver to the fuselage side with Velcro. The laser-cut
plywood battery tray is quite long, letting you tailor the CG to your own personal feel, as well as use a
variety of pack configurations. Right: Here are the four-inch Kavan wheels I used on the Electro. They are
nearly as light as the smaller foam wheels in the kit, and much more appropriate for grass fields.
Hobby Lobby has prepared a new manual
for the Senior Telemaster that should be in
all kits by the time you read this. The draft I
was provided was very helpful, but assumes
that you have previous modeling experience.
This isn’t a difficult model to assemble, but
you do want to make sure you are proceeding in a logical manner.
While trial fitting the tail wheel bracket
and vertical surfaces, I realized that the rudder hinges were not glued. I carefully cut
small holes in the covering to discover a few
small wood screws into balsa were all that
was holding the rudder in place. I removed
the rudder to make mounting the tail wheel
bracket easier, and to epoxy the hinges in
place with 5-minute Z-Poxy. The ailerons
and elevator were not glued either. Hobby
Lobby confirmed that the hinges are only
screwed in place, but that no problems have
been reported. The kit does include a bit of
extra covering if you want to glue the hinges,
my personal recommendation.
The servo tray comes with four servo
cutouts. Only two servos are needed in the
fuselage for electric flying, so I cut the tray in
half and installed it at the very back of the
radio compartment. This allows as much
room in the cargo bay as possible for future
fun, but does mean reworking the preassembled pushrods. I used a heat gun to remove
the metal pushrod ends from the dowels.
Once I had the servos and tail surfaces
installed, I adjusted the pushrod lengths by
re-bending the wire and reassembled the
pushrods with 5-minute Z-Poxy and more
heatshrink. The original split elevator
pushrod came assembled with the wires at
different lengths, so some sort of reworking
is inevitable. Dropping a couple of pull
threads through from the tail will ease
threading the split pushrod through the tail.
The Senior Telemaster kit includes hardwood struts that brace the wing for aerobatics or heavy hauling. Brass strut anchors
epoxy into the fuselage and wing. Attach
pins screw into these inserts. I matched pins
to inserts before installation and rotated the
inserts before the epoxy set so that the pins
would be appropriately aligned once
Again, I felt the kit’s foam wheels could
use an upgrade. I selected a pair of five-inch
Kavan air wheels and reamed the hubs
slightly for the axles. To make sure that the
wheels stayed attached to the model, I used
my cordless Dremel tool to grind flat anchor
spots on the axles for the wheel collar set
screws, and used some Pacer Z-42 thread
locker to keep them in place.
The Mini Telemaster is a light, three-channel park flyer, and as such, it is
best suited to calmer wind conditions. The roll response is inevitably
slower than with an aileronequipped model. This is
great for a beginner, but
challenging when flying in
rough air. In smooth air, it is
a wonderful little flyer, and
can cruise about for 20 minutes or more on a charge.
The Mini is also pretty
peppy when you add
power. We have had no
trouble taking off from the
grass on a typical sports
field. In the air, you can do
some basic three-channel
aerobatics such as loops,
stall turns and spins. The rudder response is a little sluggish
for rolls. If you really need to toss it about, you might consider
increasing the dihedral a bit while building the wing, but this
model is more suited to cruising and shooting touch-and-goes
in the evening calm than finessing your aerobatic technique.
Its light weight and slow flying speed also mean little inertia,
offering a lot of durability. The Mini Telemaster will stand up to
its fair share of bumps without bruising. If you are looking for
a compact model for some basic, relaxing flying, the Mini
Telemaster demands consideration.
The Telemaster Electro is a great everyday sport model that
flies slowly but can still handle a breeze. The one-piece wing
might be a little awkward for transport depending on your car,
but once at the field makes for a rapid setup. Just plug in the
servo leads and attach the wing with rubber bands.
Despite the apparent power limitation, the low wing loading helps this
model really perform. Point the nose into the wind and throttle up, and the
Electro will be in the air in a few feet. I am always amazed at how quickly
it gets off the ground, especially with a little bit of flaps hanging down in
the slipstream. The Electro really moves out with the flaps retracted. It will
easily loop from level flight, and the ailerons have plenty of authority. Full
house control gives you the opportunity for loops, rolls, Split-S’s,
Immelmans, spins, snap rolls, inverted flight, and more. The real fun
comes when playing with the flaps, though.
I programmed the Optic 6 for 30 degrees of flaps with the right slider,
and almost 60 degrees with the left. Both sliders give a total near 90
degrees. Anything beyond 30-40 degrees adds more drag than lift; perfect for making steep approaches into a small field. Set up high and drop
the flaps to full deflection, and you will have to point the nose at the
ground to keep some airspeed. Even full down elevator will not overspeed the Electro with the flaps out, allowing you to descend steeply
while still maintaining complete control.
Add a bit of power as you pick up the nose for the flare to slow the
descent rate. With practice you will be able to land on the proverbial
The Telemaster family offers a lot of flexibility to suit any modeling or flying preferences.
Whether you want a small, three-channel
park flyer tucked in your car, or a larger
model for more complex flying or load hauling, a Telemaster will provide endless fun at
the field. This is one design that everyone
should have in his or her hangar. =
dime. If you decide to go around,
reset the flaps to 30 degrees as
you add power or you won’t get
the climb performance you expect.
I set up the Senior Telemaster as a conventional four-channel model. The
strip ailerons can be programmed as flaps, but the limited deflection
restricts effectiveness.
Getting in the air couldn’t be easier. Because of its size and power,
takeoffs with the Senior Telemaster appear to happen in slow motion. As
you throttle up and gather speed, the large lifting stabilizer raises the tail
in only a few feet. With the big five-inch Kavan wheels smoothing out the
field, it just rumbles along, all the while gaining speed. The big Telemaster
gets light on its feet within 30 or 40 feet, and levitates into the air as
gracefully as can be.
The light wing loading makes this a wonderfully relaxing plane to fly,
yet it has plenty of power to loop from level flight, and the hammerheads
couldn’t be more graceful. The Senior Telemaster flies much like the
Electro, without the flaps. You can still control the descent rate by crosscontrolling rudder and aileron. The glide angle increases dramatically as
you slip the fuselage sideways. Straighten it out as you pull up into the
flare, and you can set the Senior Telemaster down in the lightest of three
pointers. You can also roll it in on the mains, pinning them onto the runway with a touch off forward stick.
Futaba, distributed exclusively by Great Planes Model Distributors, www.futaba-rc.com,
(800) 682-8948
Hitec RCD USA, Inc., www.hitecrcd.com, (858) 748-6948
Hobby Lobby International, Inc., www.hobby-lobby.com, (615) 373-1444
Master Airscrew, distributed exclusively by Windsor Propeller Company,
www.masterairscrew.com, (916) 631-8385
ZAP and Z-Poxy are manufactured by Pacer Technology, www.zapglue.com
For more information, please see our source guide on pg. 177.