Experiences In Designing & Flying RC Aircraft At Higher Altitudes In Colorado

HI! My name is Bruce Stenulson, and I've lived in the central Colorado Rocky Mountains for over 37 years. I enjoy designing & flying RC Aircraft that perform well in our thinner air up here; (my home sits at roughly 10,300 feet A.S.L.) I hope that some of what I share with you on these pages will be useful!

Parts of this web site were last updated on May 25th, 2012; NOTE: in late May of 2012, I'm switching to a new website server, so it may take a while to get everything transferred. thanks for your understanding, & thanks for visiting!

HERE'S THE BEST FLYING WEATHER / WIND INFORMATION!! FOR THE SOUTH PARK REGION!: CLICK HERE for Surface Condition Weather Forecasting for Air Sports Aviators: For Leadville, CO


(The newest aircraft designs are added to the top of this page, with links to new pages.)

DANCER V on Skis

Above is a late 2011 design, the DANCER V. It's designed to fly from wheels or skis; optionally, the landing gear can be quickly removed for belly landings in areas where gear is not suitable. It's flying with a 62" span built up foam Bluecor wing with the MH32/KF3p airfoil profile. The information on this design is on RCGroups.com in the "Foamies-Scratchbuilt" forum, starting with post 145 in the DANCER discussion thread; click on the image above to jump to that page.


Above: This is DANCER II with the 46" span KF3P wing mounted. The fuselage is designed to mount a variety of wings; It is designed to be powered with a C20 motor with a 2050 Kv rating, so that it generates good thrust while turning a modest sized 6" prop. (This size of prop generates less drag than lasrger props when the motor is turned off and the prop has stopped.) The fuselage is sized just high enough to provide clearance for this size prop, while the forward end of the fuselage exrtends far enough forward to allow for balancing with a light weight 2S 900 mAH battery installed in a compatment in the nose. A high under-camber slow flying wing with a 12 LED array for night flying is also shown on the DANCER II page, along with a lot of photos and build details.


The FLIRT 20 is a new snow flying design; it draws inspiration from the HOOT, the Nutball, and The Snowball designs. It implements a narrow top doubler panel with an eliptically cut trailing edge which only extends back to 17.5% of the total wong panel chord. It has elevons as well as a large rudder, so it's very capable both in the air and on the snow! It has a wing loading of only 3.38 ounces per square foot. Further information and build sequence photos are on the FLIRT 20 page.


Above: (12-07-2009 first flight): This is the Lite Stik SL. It has a 36" span built-up balsa wing which uses the NACA4408 undercambered airfoil to generate good lift at low speeds with a modest amount of input power. Flying weight is at 7-3/4 ounces with the lightweight skis mounted, and as low as 7-1/8 ounces on foam wheels when flying with a 2S 360 mAH LiPo battery. Wing area is about 2 square feet, so depending upon the battery being used, the wing loading ranges from a bit over 3-1/2 ounces, up to 3-7/8 ounces per square foot. Motor is a 24 gram brushless outrunner, 1200 Kv, turning an APC 8x3.8 prop. (Plans are not available for this design at this time.) This is a new slowflier variant of the LITE STIK B design of several years ago; more photos are now also placed on that page.

Update; I switched to flying woth a folding prop on the Lite Stik SL to reduce the drag produced by the fixed blade prop while gliding in the power-off mode.


Above: The Skyray is a 29" wingspan 'stand-off-scale' rendition of the Douglas F4D Skyray. This one is designed using a thin KFm2 airfoil. Flying weight is at 14 ounces; with a wing area of 2.4 square feet, the wing loading is 5.83 ounces per square foot. It's running an inexpensive motor that is providing 170 watts of input power, so the performance is VERY impressive! It uses elevon control, and handles high speed very well, yet also performs very well when slowed down. Launches and landings are smooth and predictable. And it has some nice flowing lines to it's profile, too. Click HERE for many more photos, plans, a flight video, and further information on the SKYRAY.


Above: The Voyager was designed, built and flown in early November of 2009. This 36" wingspan aircraft is built from Bluecor PP; it implements an 8.3% thick KFm3 variant low camber line lifting airfoil wing, and has large control surfaces for good aerobatic capability. (It was designed with extra structure within the wing to allow it to be mounted directly onto a set of solid EPP floats, without using any added struts or bracing framework.) This is an aerobatic aircraft that enjoys speed, yet handles very well when slowed down. The wing's airfoil design allows it to handle well in all conditions; it ignores gusty winds, and has a decent power-off glide for an aerobatic aircraft of this general type. Click HERE to jump to the Voyager's web page.

Above: The SNOWBALL T-Tail variant is a fun flyer aircraft with floats, optimized specificly for water flying. (It can also fly off snow and grass.)

It handles very well both on the water and in the air. Takeoffs & landings are easy & fun. The wider stance contributes to the water flying stability, while the slightly lower dihedral angle on the shorter wing tip panels contribute to it's being less succeptible to being flipped by a gust of wind from the side.

Rudder authority & response is good, and the roll rate is quite fast. The T-tail elevator works well, and this approach gets it up out of the water, while the trailing edge runs on the water cleanly. By having the rudder extended beyond the wing's trailing edge, it acts as a very effective water rudder while on the water. CLICK HERE to go to the SNOWBALL T-Tail float plane's page.

The SKYCART (photo below) is a novelty 'Flying Gocart' design by Leadfeather, posted to this SKYCART build and discussion thread The Foamies-Scratchbuilt section on RCGroups I started following it at the first of September of 2009, and started posting about my own Skycart build in page 26, post 390.

My Skycart ended up as shown above, flying at 7.5 ounces flying weight. It uses a 1700 Kv 24 gram motor and a 2S 460 mAH Rhino LiPoly pack, turning a GWS 8043 SF propeller. This aircraft is fun to drive on the ground, and also a very capable and predictable flyer in the air. With the last addition, the rear vertical stabilizer fins on the edges of the wing / deck, this Skycart can now be flown into & back out of any insane attitude & maneuver (inverted flat spins, tumbles, etc.) Recovery from any crazy antics is now quick & predictable. It handles quite a bit of gusty wind conditions without any problems, too. It's been a fun project!

Plans are included at the start of the discussion page linked above. To go to my SKYCART page for details on my build, CLICK HERE.

Here's the new Me163 variant - the "ME163-e"; this is my designation for an electric powered variant that has been morphed to use an 8" or 9" folding prop on an extended slim nose. It's at 39-3/4" wingspan as shown in these photos, with an overall length of 26-1/4". The 'e' is for electric, eliptical, and efficient. Click on the photo above to jump to the KOMET page, where extensive details and many photos of the build sequence can be found.

Above: The 32" wingspan YAK55 EPP as finalized, with all rear fuselage anti-twist bracing in place, and the Doculam wing skin overlays in place- flying smoothly and handling great! Flying weight is at 6-5/8 ounces. Click on the photo above for a look at more photos of the construction and more of the specifications for this design.

Here she is, "The FLIRT" ready to play- and what a FUN girl she is to play with!!

This sexy cousin of the Nutball has great control response- fast roll rate, great inverted flat spins, the usual insanely tight loops, inverted flight- as well as very good low speed handling. The 70 watt 16 gram motor has far more power than is necessary- I switched to a 10 gram motor, and find that it still has plenty of power to fly the way I like it. The FLIRT was designed with a full length upper fuselage where the ESC, radio receiver, and servos are all easily installed. The slightly thicker EPP lower fuselage is designed to allow room for carrying the battery within the foam, directly on the center line, and out of the cold winter air. The lower fuselage also provides adequate support for the extremely light weight landing gear.

It's amazing how aerobaticly this Rudder / Elevator aircraft can fly. The 24 degree dihedral setup allows for this type of agile handling response. She will roll very rapidly, do either inside or outside loops in a very small amount of sky, and does inverted flat spins very nicely. She recovers from any attitude quickly. And with a flying weight of 3.5 to <4 ounces (depending upon the 2S battery being flown) and a wing area of 1.55 square feet, the FLIRT has a wing loading of only 2.26 to 2.6 ounces per square foot, so she can slow down beautifully. The underbody and tail skids act as effective vertical stabilization when flying in high-alpha atitudes.

(Elevons are ineffective on a aircraft with this high dihedral layout; there are lots of high performance elevon designs, such as the MANTA OMEGA and ACE designs. The Flirt was designed to be highly aerobatic using only rudder and elevator.)

Oh- the name??? My wife came up with it, and it FITS! The FLIRT is a resilient girl that just Loves to flirt with the dirt- and flirt with the trees- and flirt with the bushes- she can't hardly wait to play in the snow! My kind of girl!! Click on the image above to jump to the FLIRT's page.

The Spinner 20 is flying at 6-3/8 ounces in December of 2008. It features a Kline-Fogleman variant wing design, with the top step at 50% of chord, and an extensively heat-shaped wing leading edge airfoil. Click on the image above to jump to the SPINNER 20 web page.

In the photo above, it has a 9 gram motor mounted with a GWS 6030 SF prop; it was a bit weak on performance with this motor. In early Dec. of 2008, I replaced it with a ~18 gram motor, which gave it the power it needed to perform superbly! I'm flying an APC 6x5.5 propeller on this motor, and flying a 3S 620 mAH battery pack.

The SPINNER 20 is somewhat based as a scaled-down version of my very successful 30" wingspan SPINNER, which I designed in November of 2004. It is also partially inspired by the 'Shark Bait' design. It has a wing, tailgroup, and upper fuselage which is built of Bluecor fanfold foam, while the under-fuselage is made from EPP. It features very lightweight landing gear made from 2mm CF rod, and employs wing tip plates.

This is the VARRKAIN, a 48" wingspan EPP and Coroplast slope combat aircraft. Click on the image below to jump to that page

Above- the newest design in the MANTA Project series, the "ZARKANIAN Scout Ship" - (Zark for short.)

This electric powered lightweight RC miniarure aircraft is designed for fun flying either indoors or outdoors. The material piece count is small, and the build is simple and straight-forward. The 'Fantasy Scale" fuselage is an integral aspect of this design, allowing thia aircraft to be built out of many types of material without needing extra structural support members such as bamboo or Carbon Fiber. The underside forward battery compartment maintains the side profile while hiding and protecting the battery. My approach to adding the mono-wheel landing gear is another of my own design aspects; it offers an utterly simple and very effective landing gear implementation.

The Zarkanian Scout Ship is likely one of the easiest-building RC aircraft I've designed to date... and it flies superbly! You may want to build one for yourself! I'll provide enough in the way of plans and instructions so that a modeler should be able to do that. The base design criteria is to KEEP IT LIGHT & SIMPLE! The material you use will have a bearing on the weight, structural strength, and longevity of your Zarkanian Scout Ship. It's all about trade-offs, with a certain flight performance envelope in mind.

Above- Another of the designs in the MANTA Project series, the "ACE". Flying at 7.5 ounces, this is a fine flying addition to the "UFOs OVER SOUTH PARK" series. Click on the image above to visit the Manta Project "ACE" page, with more photos and information.

The SUMO +G is an EPP and Bluecor PP foam high resiliency aerobatic flyer with a well-protected mid-mounted motor; it is my design variant of the SUMO design from the RC Groups discussion thread in the "Foamies: Scratchbuilt" section of EZONE. Click on the image above to go to the new page on this aitrcraft.

(Above): DANCER - the latest design with the highly efficient glider wing using the 'Kline-Fogleman step treatment' on the wing's top surface

The SLIM BEAGLE has a new Kline-Fogleman Airfoiled Glider wing with ailerons! It's now morphed into a lite hotliner!! (Well... a lightweight 'warmliner' at least, anyway!!)

CLICK HERE to jump to the NEW SLIM BEAGLE / DANCER page, for information on three new 46" span, 7" chord aileron wings with Kline-Fogleman airfoil being flown on two new slimmed EPP & Aquarider fuselages. Also added there is information on my new heat-forming techniques for Bluecor and AquarRider foam.


This is the latest generation of the SPINNER design series; it features a three layer wing leading edge for the front 30% of chord and a sharp 90 degree 'Kline-Fogleman step'. The wing spar structure consists of a 1mm diameter carbon fiber rod glued to the top & bottom surface just in front of the step at 30% of chord. The result is a very rigid wing which flies much more like a fully symmetrical wing than like a flat plate wing - a major performance improvement over the earlier SPINNER design. CLICK HERE to visit the Spinner page for more photos & information.

CURVACIOUS! II (Above) is the second generation of the 'Curvy' foamies; it's highly aerobatic, with large ailerons, rudder, and a counterbalanced elevator. It's a LOT of fun to fly; rolls cleanly & quickly, flat spins easily, loops tightly... a great lightweight flyer! For more information, click on the photo above to go to the web page.

The CURVACIOUS! - ("CURVY" for short) shown as it is flying on January 1st, 2007. This is a very responsive Rudder-Elevator controlled design. Landing gear is removable, mounted in place with Scotch "Extreme" cross-filament nylon filament tape. With a 2S 800 mAH CSRC LiPoly battery pack, the flying weight is at 7-7/8 ounces. The motor is a GoBrushless GBv kit motor with 23 wraps of 26 gauge wire, Y termination, driven by a Castle Creations Thunderbird 9 ESC. For outdoor flying, I'm using a 9x7 GWS slowflyer prop, which provides almost unlimited vertical, and the ability to do high-alpha maneuvers. Handling is responsive, but very predictable; it'll take off, turn, and land in the same place on the snowpacked road behind me in the photo above! Click here to visit the CURVACIOUS web page.

The MANTA, a foamie scale rendition of John Frost's 1952 'Flying Saucer' aircraft design; click here for more information on this project.

SOARBIRD is a 61" wingspan slowflyer / thermal cruiser built in a stylized soaring hawk shape. It was designed to look a lot like a hawk or eagle from below when it's riding thermals above. (I've wanted to do one something like this for a long time!) There are already a few other bird-like designs of varying complexity; what I wanted to do was to come up with a design that would be relatively easy to build, without complex airfoil shaping or any hot-wire cutting. SOARBIRD II is a 52-1/2" wingspan version with elevator and ailerons / spoilerons, which is far more agile in windy conditions. For more information and the build sequence photos, click here to jump to the SOARBIRD page.

The SNOBOAT is a Canard Flying Boat design made from BlueCor and EPP; the design was first flown in December of 2005. It was modified with several design / control updates on December 2nd, 2006. It now flies GREAT from snow, with improved control response and very good stability! CLICK HERE to jump to the SNOBOAT page.

NEW: Click here to visit the newest page featuring the "WOODSTOK" design, as shown in the photo above. This is another foamy park flyer with a 35-3/4" wingspan, powered by a CD-Rom kit motor in a pusher setup, flying on a two cell 1300 mAH LiPoly battery pack at 8-7/8 ounces.

On December 4th, 2006 WOODSTOCK had his trike floats quickly remounted, and went out for some snow flying!

ABOVE: The BEAGLE- an EPP, BLUECOR, and Carbon Fiber high durability electric powered Slow Flyer with the motor mounted in a pusher configuration; (click here for further information)

The BEAGLE has a 33' wingspan, using an undercambered shaped BLUECOR polyhedral wing and BLUECOR tail surfaces for rudder - elevator - throttle control. This 8 ounce airplane uses either a modest amount of power from a GWS LPS power system powered with a 2 cell Li-Poly 1300mAH battery pack for up to 30 minutes of flight time before recharging, or optionally can be powered with a light brushless motor for hotter performance. This is a superb primary trainer design; several aspiring newbie pilots have quickly become capable RC pilots by flying the BEAGLE!

BELOW: "THE HOOT" - a Bluecor & EPP foamie for a small brushless electric motor running on 2 LiPoly cells; (click here for further information)

I did a rather extensive kit bashing project on a WILD WING; the photo above shows the results. Click HERE to go to the WILD WING project page.

"THE SPINNER"- a BlueCor Aerobatic Aircraft Fun-Flyer Project

The Spinner is a 30" wingspan, 12-5/8 Oz. flat plate airfoil plane made from BlueCor, set up with a brushless motor system which is producing 16 ounces of thrust; it flat-spins easily & recovers almost instantaneously, and is capable of amazing maneuvers. It's set up "0-0-0", for neutral stability... it's not a plane for novice flyers, but it does performe very well in the hands of an experienced pilot. For details on how this plane is built, visit the SPINNER page.



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There are two new EPP foam Slope gliders, a 60" span BD5J and the 48" span "SLOPE CRUISER" now shown in new photos on the "SLOPERS" page; click here



Click on the photo above for a page with photos and information on one of my EPP slope ship designs- the VIKING 60. This is a versatile 'high durability' EPP foam aircraft that is easily switched between a slope soaring configuration, and an E-powered aerobatic flyer configuration. It's hadling in all flying conditions superbly- beyond my expectations!

VIKING 60 Kits are not presently available as of August, 2008 ; jump to the VIKING 60 Page for details on this 60" wingspan EPP Slope ship that's also easily set up for E-Powered aerobatic flight!


Do you wonder what the flying conditions will be like as far as wind direction & strength for the next couple of days? Here's the place to check to get an idea if you'll be likely to lazily float around the slope with your 'floater', or whether you'll need to tie your hat on & pile in the ballast weight in a sleeker slope ship.

CLICK on this link to check the Intellicast Wind Forcast

Hello, and welcome to my RC Flying Web Site. My name is Bruce Stenulson. I started flying RC gliders in the Mountains of Colorado (On the face of the Lake Dillon dam ) in January of 1982. I started building electric powered aircraft in 1984, and have designed many planes for E-Power. I first flew a 'wet powered' RC aircraft on January 7th of 1990, when I built my Telemaster with float flying in mind. I've since designed and flown many wet powered aircraft, and continue to design and build both E-Powered and wet-powered planes (although the majority of my aircraft are now E-powered.)

Other Recently Completed RC Aircraft Designs


(Click on the image above for more info on the E-FOX, A 63" span Electric Powered Sport Aerobatic design for 12 cells, Geared Cobalt 20. It has been mounted on floats in May of 2004, and performs well from water!

Here's a photo essay on High Altitude FLOAT FLYING, featuring some more recent photos of high lakes and float planes. There's also a lot of info on float design and setup.

NEW Slope Flying Site for NW to North winds: Click HERE Jump to the SLOPE FLYING SITES page for information on the LOOKOUT POINT site, about 7 miles from the KING slope flying site.

The "E-SPIRIT 100"

An Electric Powered Spirit 100" Sailplane

Click HERE or on the photo above to jump to the page featuring more photos and details of my custom fuselage design project, to end up with a electric powered Spirit 100, using a 20 sized brushed Cobalt motor running on from 10 to 14 cells.

Above is a photo of my KYOSHO VIENTO, a high performance Electric ARF Sailplane design with ailerons, using the RG-15 airfoil. Click on the image above to jump to the page of photos and information on how I set up my own VIENTO.

For a look at several of my earlier E-Power designs, CLICK HERE to jump to the ELECTRIC FLIGHT main page.


I enjoy slope flying, and have offered a variety of information on slope flying aircraft and flying sites in the central Colorado Rockies. The EPP foam slope ships available today are incredibly durable, and can handle rough landing areas that built up balsa gliders can not. It's revolutionized the opportunities for "Extreme terrain" slope flying.

The SOUTH PARK SLOPE FLYING SITES page has been periodicly updated, with more new photos of some of the slope flying sites presently listed on this page. The last addition includes 6 new photos of the Hoosier Pass / North Star Mountain Slope Flying area at 12,230 feet elevation. I think you'll really enjoy these new high resolution photos (and the information about this exceptional slope flying area!)

In the spring of 2004, the NIGHT FLYING page was expanded, featuring information on setting up a newer, higher intensity light weight LED lighting system for night flyers. This is particularly well suited to Park Flyers and Slow Flyers, as the entire setup is in the 1-1/2 ounce weight range, including the separate lighting battery pack I'm using. Click here to go to the "Night Flying" page.

On 1-4-97, I started the page featuring details on the NITEOWL, a giant scale origional RC aircraft, with photos and handling evaluation. Now a newer design is already in the works, the "FLOATMASTER", a giant scale plane designed for a 2 cycle 75 engine, with a deep wing chord, new airfoil, and wide control surfaces. The NITEOWL does fly well at night, as was demonstrated at the SPARCS 1997 Christmas party at Lost Creek International RC Airfield (a private RC flying facility owned by SPARCS member Ron Teke.) , and again at the 1998 SPARCS July Fun-Fly-In.

Here are photos of some of our favorite RC FLYING SITES In The Mountains, for both powered planes and slope gliders, and the planes we fly here.

If you've wondered about setting up a plane for NIGHT FLYING , but weren't sure how best to go about it, here's some usefull information based on my experiences, including recommended materials and methods.

Float Flying is a lot of fun; maybe now is the time to plan and build your float setup! Here's an article on


Tired of all of the oil on your plane, but you don't want to hurt it's performance by adding an exhaust diverter? Check out this Photo illustrated article on RESONANT EXHAUST DIVERTER SYSTEMS for 2 Cycle engines; your system may even GAIN RPM! (Article added 3-8-97 PM)

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Web sight designed and maintained by Bruce Stenulson, Fairplay, Colorado. (c) 1997-2012; All Rights Reserved.