"1/2 A" & "1/8 A" airplanes These are the small ones...more popular now than ever.

1/2 A Fuel

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Old 11-08-2012, 04:26 AM
  #26
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GREG DOE: Just a little historical correction. The nitro content in K&B fuels was as follows K&B 100 was 5%, K&B 500 was 12 1/2%, and K&B 1000 was 25%.
Greg, thanks for the clarification. K&B 500 wasn't 15%? Well, it was 35 years ago when I used those fuels. Come to think of it, it was the K&B 500, not 100 that I purchased out of those orange and purple cans. Even back then, it was known that the little .049 critters loved nitro. Being a 1/2-A flier, I did not have the larger engines that did not require higher nitro content except for a McCoy Red Head .19 CL.
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:00 AM
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ffkiwi: So I guess-and generalising(your mileage may vary!), my recommendation across the board would be 10% nitro as a minimum starting point, and 35% as a practical maximum, with 10-15% for general sport use, and 25-35% for competition. Unless you're seriously flying 1/2A pylon or doing a speed model, it would be hard to justify the 25-35% fuels for general R/C use from a cost point of view. [from a FF perspective-fuel costs are almost irrelevant-when you're talking 7 sec or 10 second engine runs-I would use less fuel in a day's flying than a 1/2A RC flier would in one flight, assuming a typical 1-ounce or 2 ounce tank in the RC model]
Perhaps I should qualify what I am running, which may help to defuse the confusion. Most of the engines I have are reed valves, and those that are not I am using conversion heads with standard glow plugs, not glow heads. Thus, I am operating with reduced compression. On the reed valves, I am using standard, not competition heads. Also, I am flying at elevations of at least 4,300 feet (1,311 m) to 6,500 feet (1,981 m). To push these reed valves to perform in small R/C planes is in a sense not much different than competition flying. A few hundred more RPM makes a big difference.

Mr. Cox does have a point. The modern engines like the Thunder Tiger GP series, the manufacturer recommends using no more than 10% nitro for break in and discourage using synthetic only fuels during break in. Peter Chin's report on the Testors McCoy 8000 reed valve engine produced 16,300 RPM on a Top Flite 5-1/4x4 prop on 15% nitro fuel.

Regarding price of higher content nitro fuels, the Cox Black Widow has an 8 cc (1/4 oz.) tank. A quart bottle of fuel nearly lasts a season, so there isn't a great dent in the fuel budget.
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:27 AM
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel

For low compression reedies at high altitude, more nitro works. The conversion heads are notorious for lowering compression, so the same on those. I like the Galbreath/Nelson combo better and I get great life out of the Nelson plugs as long as I keep the compression set correctly. I do find that my TD's needle a bit more consistantly with a bit more nitro, but I live in a hot climate.
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:28 AM
  #29
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel

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hllywdb: I do find that my TD's needle a bit more consistently with a bit more nitro, but I live in a hot climate.
Interestingly enough, here is what OS says about the small LA series engines:
Quote:
Max-10LA/Max-15LA/Max-25LA "LA Series" Instruction Manual, Page 16, ADVICE ON SELECTION OF FUEL, GLOWPLUG & PROPELLER: Note that even a small quantity of nitromethane (3-5%) will improve flexibility, making the needle-valve adjustment less critical and improving throttle response.
Regarding temperatures, here we get into the high 90's F during summer. Temperature swings between night and day can be as much as 40 degrees F (95 in day, 55 at night).
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:37 PM
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel

For about $10 you can get a quart sized container of O'Donnell racing fuel. It is 20% nitromethane content and 8% oil (syn/castor blend). The little 049s are designed for higher nitro content like this but too high and your glo-plug life will be cut short (pretty expensive little buggers to replace). The magic to alcohol based fuels is not going overboard on the oil %, best to keep that lower rather than too high to get the best power stroke out of your little engine. many feel to play it safe by adding oil and then wonder why the top end doesn't peak and engine tough to get a reliable needle setting. try it, you'll like it!
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:26 PM
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel

Running 8% oil is an excellent way to turn a 1/2A engine into a paperweight!!!

ChrisM
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:34 PM
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+1 !!!
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:41 PM
  #33
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel

I don't want to hijack this thread, when I saw this, I remembered having a 0.8 cc Cox engine that I bought 25 years ago in Germany.
Most engine manufacturers had the engines they sold there set to a low nitro contend.
We had even fuel without nitro, but mostly between 1 and 5 % for airplanes.
So I don't know if that's true fro Cox engines too and if I need to shim the head and which fuel to use.
For my other glow engines I use Byron with 20% nitro
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Old 11-08-2012, 05:03 PM
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel

Sorry to say but I entirely disagree with advice to run 8% oil fuel in small engines. We're not talking about car engines with low shaft loads here - I doubt you will find anyone willing to risk a 1/2A aircraft engine on 8% oil fuel. Since when are 1/2A's tough to needle because of sufficient oil content? Too low or high nitro content, yes. Over compressed, yes. Wrong or bad plug, yes. Maybe if one got silly and ran 40% oil, but I think viscous effects might prevail. 18-23% oil in 1/2A's has never been the source of needling problems to my knowledge.

I've observed that some folks think that adding oil to the fuel somehow reduces the amount of energy developed per revolution in direct proportion to the percentage change. This is not true - the intake volume of the engine is predominantly occupied by air, with a very small volume per stroke occupied by atomized fuel - which is still in liquid form. Compare the density of gaseous air to liquid fuel for an idea of the proportional effect of adding oil. In other words, increasing the oil content of the fuel by 5% does not reduce power output by 5%. Open the needle to admit the same amount of methanol and nitromethane, and you get it nearly all back. A small amount of intake volume is stolen by the additional oil content, but it is a small fraction of the oil percentage change in the fuel.

For giggles I attempted to work out the volumetric ratio of fuel to air in a fuel blend of 20% castor, 25% nitromethane. Please check my math if you wish, age takes it's toll.

Methanol:

s.g.=0.79g/cc
Stoichiometric air:fuel ratio 6:1

Nitromethane:

s.g. = 1.137g/cc
Stoichiometric air:fuel ratio 1.7:1

Castor oil: s.g. = 0.956 g/cc
Stoichiometry N/A as we shouldn't be burning the oil

The stoichiometry of this fuel blend works out to about 3.73 air:fuel by weight

Specific gravity of fuel blend = 0.91 g/cc

Specific gravity of air = 1.204 kg/m^3 = 0.001204 g/cc

Therefore the volumetric ratio of liquid fuel to gaseous air is 1:2,815

That means that roughly for every percentage increase on oil content, you lose 1/2815% of potential power output.

If you translate this to a 0.8cc engine running at 16k rpm with 85% volumetric efficiency and running at optimum fuel/air and no wasted fuel:

0.8cc x 16,000rpm x 0.9 = 10,880cc/minute of mixture

Of those 10,880cc, 1/2816 parts are fuel, or 3.86cc/minute.

A Babe Bee has a 5cc tank, so this translates to 5/3.86 minutes running time = 1m 18s running time. While this is not bang on, it is in the ballpark so the numbers can't be all that far off. Can someone remind me how long a Babe Bee on a 6-3 runs on 25% nitro fuel? I think it is a bit longer than that, maybe 1:30, 1:40?

Long and short is, how much does oil percentage change affect the power output due to fuel dilution? Nearly bugger all.





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Old 11-08-2012, 05:03 PM
  #35
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel


Quote:
ORIGINAL: tsmithh

For about $10 you can get a quart sized container of O'Donnell racing fuel. It is 20% nitromethane content and 8% oil (syn/castor blend). The little 049s are designed for higher nitro content like this but too high and your glo-plug life will be cut short (pretty expensive little buggers to replace). The magic to alcohol based fuels is not going overboard on the oil %, best to keep that lower rather than too high to get the best power stroke out of your little engine. many feel to play it safe by adding oil and then wonder why the top end doesn't peak and engine tough to get a reliable needle setting. try it, you'll like it!
This is RC car engine advice. RC car engines run with almost no load and are at full power in short bursts.
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Old 11-08-2012, 05:10 PM
  #36
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel

Quote:
ORIGINAL: MJD

Sorry to say but I entirely disagree with advice to run 8% oil fuel in small engines. We're not talking about car engines with low shaft loads here - I doubt you will find anyone willing to risk a 1/2A aircraft engine on 8% oil fuel. Since when are 1/2A's tough to needle because of sufficient oil content? Too low or high nitro content, yes. Over compressed, yes. Wrong or bad plug, yes. Maybe if one got silly and ran 40% oil, but I think viscous effects might prevail. 18-23% oil in 1/2A's has never been the source of needling problems to my knowledge.

I've observed that some folks think that adding oil to the fuel somehow reduces the amount of energy developed per revolution in direct proportion to the percentage change. This is not true - the intake volume of the engine is predominantly occupied by air, with a very small volume per stroke occupied by atomized fuel - which is still in liquid form. Compare the density of gaseous air to liquid fuel for an idea of the proportional effect of adding oil. In other words, increasing the oil content of the fuel by 5% does not reduce power output by 5%. Open the needle to admit the same amount of methanol and nitromethane, and you get it nearly all back. A small amount of intake volume is stolen by the additional oil content, but it is a small fraction of the oil percentage change in the fuel.

For giggles I attempted to work out the volumetric ratio of fuel to air in a fuel blend of 20% castor, 25% nitromethane. Please check my math if you wish, age takes it's toll.

Methanol:

s.g.=0.79g/cc
Stoichiometric air:fuel ratio 6:1

Nitromethane:

s.g. = 1.137g/cc
Stoichiometric air:fuel ratio 1.7:1

Castor oil: s.g. = 0.956 g/cc
Stoichiometry N/A as we shouldn't be burning the oil

The stoichiometry of this fuel blend works out to about 3.73 fuel:air by weight

Specific gravity of fuel blend = 0.91 g/cc

Specific gravity of air = 1.204 kg/m^3 = 0.001204 g/cc

Therefore the volumetric ratio of liquid fuel to gaseous air is 1:2,815

That means that roughly for every percentage increase on oil content, you lose 1/2815% of potential power output.

If you translate this to a 0.8cc engine running at 16k rpm with 85% volumetric efficiency and running at optimum fuel/air and no wasted fuel:

0.8cc x 16,000rpm x 0.9 = 10,880cc/minute of mixture

Of those 10,880cc, 1/2816 parts are fuel, or 3.86cc/minute.

A Babe Bee has a 5cc tank, so this translates to 5/3.86 minutes running time = 1m 18s running time. While this is not bang on, it is in the ballpark so the numbers can't be all that far off. Can someone remind me how long a Babe Bee on a 6-3 runs on 25% nitro fuel? I think it is a bit longer than that, maybe 1:30, 1:40?

Long and short is, how much does oil percentage change affect the power output due to fuel dilution? Nearly bugger all.
MJD, excellent response, but the only folks who will actually read it and understand what you just said are the guys on this forum who actually run 1/2A engines..in real life...with real propellors....mounted on real airplanes.......
Running up to 25% oil in Cox and Norvel engines will allow you to go for the most aggressive needle settings without worrying about runaway heat issues and parts damage. In fact, take a tach reading with the lowest oil % you dare run in a model plane engine [with a practical size of prop on it], then dump extra oil into the fuel and take another tach reading.
Then report back here with your "Real World" results.
I flew in AMA competitions for many years like an idiot with store bought fuel that did not have enough oil to spare me the trouble of buying engine parts and new engines more often than not. A more experienced flyer finally advised me to add 4 ozs of castor to every gallon of Powermaster fuel [to bring oil % up to about 20+%] and from that time on I was running with the "Big Boys" and doing much less engine work in between.
It was a Canadian and fellow C/L Combat guy [Mel Lyne] who gave me what has been the most important model engine advice I've ever been given..."put in more oil..dude"..!






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Old 11-08-2012, 06:14 PM
  #37
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel

Dang,
This thread has gotten more action than anything I've seen here in a long time. Good Show!
A little more lube is always a good thing...I'm just sayin.[8D]
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:01 PM
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel

And let's not forget, the oil being spit out the exhaust carries away a fair amount of heat, as well.
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:10 PM
  #39
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel

I always found my 1/2 a engines to like nitro and like to have 35% or so. One thing to keep in mind though, there is a point at which castor oil does not seem to like to mix with nitro. We ran into a problem at the Nats in 93 where our castor did not mix with 50% and found that good high quality synthetic was the trick here. Never had a problem under 50% though. Granted, this is not scientific only experience. I have a jug of Powermaster 35% I bought that I have just for my 1/2 a engines. I trust the oils in that brand.
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:13 PM
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel


Quote:
ORIGINAL: rcguy59

And let's not forget, the oil being spit out the exhaust carries away a fair amount of heat, as well.
Also...I've read somewhere that some of the oil ends up getting burned and the oil helps to delay preignition and detonation. The thick smoke trail you see with extra castor fueled engines proves that some of the oil is involved with ignition flash point. Smoke is a product of combustion....period.
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:15 PM
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel

I might seem like I went a bit overboard there, but really it was just a catalyst to take 20 minutes and work out some numbers for fun. I knew generally what the situation was regards oil content and power output, but never made the effort to quantify it. All it took was a quick Excel spreadsheet (a piece of paper and a calculator would serve as well) and some numbers from the internet.

I probably have the volumetric efficiency a bit high. I checked out the Holley website again and see that they say a low performance car engine runs about 80%. Given a 0.8cc glow engine is likely not the most efficient pump in the world, the fuel consumption of that hypothetical 0.8cc engine may be 10-20% less than the number I came up with, meaning run time more like 1:30 or more which is more in line with what I recall.

But the real point is, forget about oil content affecting the amount of energy-producing fuel/air mixture in the engine - it is not significant. That is the part I figured was useful. I have seen car folks talk about how the lower oil content gives more power.. I'd like to see someone quanitfy that claim.

I'll fire up Excel again and make a chart showing fuel/air mixture volume loss versus oil content sometime.



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Old 11-08-2012, 07:28 PM
  #42
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Quote:
ORIGINAL: vertical grimmace

I always found my 1/2 a engines to like nitro and like to have 35% or so. One thing to keep in mind though, there is a point at which castor oil does not seem to like to mix with nitro. We ran into a problem at the Nats in 93 where our castor did not mix with 50% and found that good high quality synthetic was the trick here. Never had a problem under 50% though. Granted, this is not scientific only experience. I have a jug of Powermaster 35% I bought that I have just for my 1/2 a engines. I trust the oils in that brand.
Yep, 50% nitro makes the castor based fuel look like a "Lava Lamp" when you shine a light into it.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:03 PM
  #43
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel

Regardless of what fuel used, I always thought it a bad idea to run 1/2-A's or a matter of fact any engine lean. Hold the nose of the aircraft up about 45 degrees, peak it out, turn needle a 1/4 or so rich (by feel). It will lean out once in the air.

BTW, I found the O'Donnell Racing Fuels site, found out the Heli fuel is Synth, their aircraft fuel is Synth + Castor.

http://www.odonnellracing.com/airplanefuel/index.html

No problem. 1) I add a little Castor to the mix and run with it; 2) I use it anyway and don't lean run; 3) What the heck and after a handful of ruined engines, I become an electric flier.

Worst thing in life is doing nothing. Do something, even if it is wrong.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:35 PM
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel

Quote:
ORIGINAL: MJD

I might seem like I went a bit overboard there, but really it was just a catalyst to take 20 minutes and work out some numbers for fun. I knew generally what the situation was regards oil content and power output, but never made the effort to quantify it. All it took was a quick Excel spreadsheet (a piece of paper and a calculator would serve as well) and some numbers from the internet.

I probably have the volumetric efficiency a bit high. I checked out the Holley website again and see that they say a low performance car engine runs about 80%. Given a 0.8cc glow engine is likely not the most efficient pump in the world, the fuel consumption of that hypothetical 0.8cc engine may be 10-20% less than the number I came up with, meaning run time more like 1:30 or more which is more in line with what I recall.

But the real point is, forget about oil content affecting the amount of energy-producing fuel/air mixture in the engine - it is not significant. That is the part I figured was useful. I have seen car folks talk about how the lower oil content gives more power.. I'd like to see someone quanitfy that claim.

I'll fire up Excel again and make a chart showing fuel/air mixture volume loss versus oil content sometime.
I think 2 stroke model glow engines are roughly 2/3rds as fuel efficient as the same size 4 stroke..?.
Some highly tuned engines can exceed the 100% volumetric efficiency mark. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that piped 2 strokes are right at the top.
Your mathematical breakdown was an excellent read, thanks for taking the time to post that here...!
O'donnel's RC car engine fuel with only 8% oil is making money hand over fist if he is charging comparable rates per gallon as model airplane fuel.




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Old 11-08-2012, 09:18 PM
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel

Honestly,
50 years after these engines were designed and for the most part manufactured and you fools are still argueing nitro content??? *** guys, fly what you are happy with!
The OP asked about fuel type...Heli works fine, add some castor if you want to see some smoke. Thats it!!
Dang boyz!!!
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:26 PM
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel

Quote:
combatpigg: O'donnel's RC car engine fuel with only 8% oil is making money hand over fist if he is charging comparable rates per gallon as model airplane fuel.
His airplane fuel is more reasonable with 18% synth/Castor mix. Interestingly enough, Tower Hobbies only sells O'Donnel's airplane fuel in quart bottles. Only Heli 30% nitro comes in cases.
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:29 PM
  #47
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel

Sometimes, in order to be truly informative, a thread has to take on a life of it's own. THIS is such a thread. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this discussion. This is RCU at it's best.
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:32 PM
  #48
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel

Quote:
vicman: Honestly, 50 years after these engines were designed and for the most part manufactured and you fools are still argueing nitro content??? *** guys, fly what you are happy with! The OP asked about fuel type...Heli works fine, add some castor if you want to see some smoke. Thats it!! Dang boyz!!!
I think part of the concern of not running Castor was excessive wear. Some where back, another mentioned that using synth only had a tendency to clean because of the oil's detergents. It could wipe away the wear seal caused by congealed heated oil. This was on your older legacy engines. Don't know how true that is.
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Old 11-08-2012, 09:40 PM
  #49
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel

Castor's film strength is second to none. Synth is relatively cheap and is easier to clean off of the airplane, especially in cold weather. Castor still rules for 1/2A's, though.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:34 AM
  #50
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Default RE: 1/2 A Fuel

Give our Rocket Power 24 1/2 A Fuel a try.... 24% nitro, 17% Klotz Benol racing castor... our best selling fuel. You can look for us on "the Bay" or order direct from www.gcbmrc.com. Sorry, we no longer take credit cards as the current website shows, new website will be up in a week or so...

Thanks,
Mike
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