Tom Hallman's Waterman Aerobile

When Tom Hallman contacted us with details of his Waterman Aerobile we were so impressed with the high build and finishing standard that we just had to feature this little gem on the website. Be sure to check out Tom's additional photos and video footage at the bottom of the page... take it away Tom...

This 13" span Waterman Aerobile started out as a rubber powered ship in 2004. Initial trim flights showed that she would be a difficult bird to fly, given the limitations of the rubber motor, so I remained hopeful. But after two seasons of numerous flights and limited success, I decided to switch her over to electric, and I couldn't be happier. She went from what appeared to be a rubber powered fluttering leaf to a stylish flying car that moved about on rails.

She uses a 7mm pager motor, 30 mah LiPoly, U-80 prop and the Atomic Workshop Zombie Flight Profiler. All were placed on a sled using magnets to anchor the unit. A 1.5" wire extension shaft was attached to the pager motor using the tight fitting insulation from #26 wire. Doing so allowed me to keep the sleek, tapered design of the tail.

The model came in at 7.9 grams, with the sled weighing an additional 7.5 grams. Approximately 1.1 grams of ballast was needed on the nose, bringing the all up weight to 16.5 grams. Wing-loading was .63 gm.psq. in.

I built in an adjustable sliding thrust plate on the sled, but in the end found that the model flew best with zero deflection. Best intentions... The first trim session left me puzzled, since she flew similarly to the rubber version...that fluttering leaf. But after some serious pondering, the second trim session a few days later proved very successful. The positive angle of the elevons was increased, along with a touch of nose weight, and wa-la...she took off on rails in a beautiful climbing circle to the left. I was so stunned that I was left speechless on the video. In fact, I became so nervous I could barely keep the camera still. Talk about night and day, this is about as exciting as it gets for a modeler whose previous 3 years experience with the Aerobile was less than successful or satisfying.

As I slowly increased the thrust and duration with the Zombie, the little ship began to climb with authority, always in trim with a perfect circling flight. She even ignored the numerous barn swallows that chased her during the flights. I flew her for nearly a minute at our small trim field, so I knew it was time to save her for the larger fields of Geneseo, NY and the FAC Non-Nats. There she flew for her max flights of over two minutes and placed high in the Power Scale event. Clearly, Waldo Waterman was smiling down upon us this day.


Scratch Built Waldo Waterman Aerobile
33cm (13 inches)
Wing Area
169sq cm. (26.19sq in.)
Wing Loading
9.76g/ (0.63g/

Tom demonsrates the Zombie (5.89MB MPEG)
The Aerobile on an early trim flight (2.40MB MPEG)
Flying with the swallows (4.74MB MPEG)

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