John Watkins’ E-flite UMX Radian sailplane features an attached float system. The airplane
weighed approximately 2 ounces with the added floats.
This tiny aircraft can fly off of grass, water,
snow, or ice, offering you many flying options.
It’s a great airplane to take with you on a
This is a new hobby material known as
Taskboard. After wetting it down, Taskboard
can easily be formed into many shapes. After
the water dries, the new shape is retained.
Check out the referenced instructional website
The author’s version of John Tatone’s Frisco Kid
was first converted to RC and later to electric
power. The airplane was featured on the cover
of the August 1989 Flying Models.
Q633: I heard that someone came up with an interesting scheme for adding floats to a Horizon
Hobby E-flite UMX Radian sailplane. I
know you fly one of these airplanes and
have mentioned your success with it in
several of your columns. Do you happen
to know the name of the person who
engineered the float attachment?
A633: This is easy because the modeler
behind this idea is my friend. His name
is John Watkins and he resides in Somers,
Connecticut. We met at the Northeast
Electric Aircraft Technology (NEAT)
Fair many years ago and continue to be
good friends. John liked his little Radian
so much that he came up with this float
attachment scheme. By taking a quick
look at the two photos in this column,
you will understand his technique.
John used a single float from an E-flite
UMX Carbon Cub float set. This float
is located on the lower centerline of the
Radian. You must provide a degree of
stability or else one wingtip or the other
will end up in the drink.
The only modification to the main
float was to remove the mount fittings
and add provisions to mount struts
to attach the float to the fuselage, as
well as the struts for the outrigger (or
stabilizing) floats. John built up the
outrigger floats using 1mm or 2mm
Depron foam. He also mentioned that
you could cut them from a sheet of
insulating foam or even cut them from
foam packaging material taken from the
UMX Radian box.
John posted his entire float installation
procedure on the RCGroups website.
It is listed in the “Sources” section.
Also posted is a website that contains
a video of John flying the Radian with
floats off of water, wet grass, snow, and
ice. The references should tell you all
you need to know. I can see this idea
being scaled up to fit many sizes
Taskboard Is a New Hobby Material!
Q634: What is Taskboard? Is it
something that can be used in model
A634: I was recently introduced to this
new product by a fellow club member,
Casey Brandsema. Casey supplied me
with a sample piece to try. Taskboard is
a lightweight wood-fiber board. It is easy
to cut with a laser or with an X-Acto
knife. Taskboard is rigid, stays flat, and
won’t curl when dry, yet when both
sides are sprayed with water, it becomes
pliable and can be formed into various
I wet both sides of my sample with
water, and then easily bent it into a
half-round shape, suitable for a cowl or
hood cover. Heat from a heat gun is then
applied to dry out the water. The new
shape will remain.
Various glues and finishes can be
used with this product. I have listed
the Taskboard company’s website in
“Sources.” If you have tried this product,
let me know what you think of it.
Converting Old FF Models to Electric
Q635: I have several old Free Flight
(FF) models hanging in the rafters of
my garage. These were originally glow-engine-powered airplanes. I now want
to convert them to electric power and
at the same time, add RC for control (as
opposed to FF). Can you get me started
on the process?
72 Model Aviation OCTOBER2016
UMX Radian on floats
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS