I like going to RC swap meets because I can almost always find some rare and unusual models--my favorite kinds of flying machines! I'm pretty sure that sellers are also happy when I arrive. That is because I tend to be lured by the hopeless wrecks that no one else gives a second glance. I'm sort of like a cat lady for model airplanes. My most recent swap meet find is a good example.
Abused Wright Flyer
As I perused the aisles at the Sky Chiefs Swap Meet in Canandagua, New York, I spotted an awkward-looking biplane tucked under some larger models. Despite the significant dust and grime that covered the airplane, I recognized it as a Great Planes Wright Flyer. This little electric-powered park flyer was released about 15 years ago, near the 100th anniversary of the Wright brother's historic first flight. The model is a very rare find these days.
I ignored the filth and gave the airplane a quick inspection. While some foam components were damaged and others were missing, all of the plastic framework appeared to be present and in relatively good condition. I also noticed that it had both motors, the gearboxes, propellers, an Electronic Speed Control (ESC) and two Futaba micro servos. The servos alone made it worth the model's $10 price tag. I didn't even haggle.
My favorite genre of RC models to restore are those from the late 1990s and early 2000s. This was the time period when electric-powered models were just beginning to get popular. Most of the kits from this era were designed to perform well with relatively inefficient brushed motors and heavy NiCad batteries. There is often a significant improvement in performance when these planes are retrofitted with modern brushless motors and LiPo batteries. That was my intent for the Wright Flyer, although I did make some adjustments to this plan along the way.