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Old 06-16-2009, 01:14 AM   #1
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Old Sterling S19 Spitfire

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when my grandpa past away i got his Sterling S19 Spitfire, how hard would it be to convert to electric. thanks
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Old 06-16-2009, 09:11 AM   #2
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Re: Old Sterling S19 Spitfire

Sorry to hear about your loss. First thing I would do is remove the glo engine and servos
and get an accurate weight of the plane. Trying to remember the wingspan, was it 64
inches? Others can help advise better with this info
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Old 06-16-2009, 09:29 AM   #3
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Re: Old Sterling S19 Spitfire

Hi there

Welcome to R/C Canada.

I believe that the Sterling S series planes are for control line. Probably for .19 to .35 size glow engines which had less power than current 2 strokes.

A bit more info about the plane you have would help.

type - U-control or R/C
engine size (if it has one)


Last edited by Ken Currell; 06-16-2009 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 06-16-2009, 09:44 AM   #4
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Re: Old Sterling S19 Spitfire

It has a wingspan of 52-1/2 inches a length of 33-1/2 inches and is designed for .29 or .35 size engines
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Old 06-16-2009, 11:25 AM   #5
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Re: Old Sterling S19 Spitfire

its a UC and moo has the right info on my plane, I still have to built it. Im going to cut the flaps in half to have ailerons,probably have to get mini servos. what size of electric motor should i get to replace the .29 or .35 engines. thanks
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Old 06-16-2009, 06:38 PM   #6
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Re: Old Sterling S19 Spitfire

I'd suggest that you use the kit to make another kit (contest grade wood, etc.) and then convert that to electric.

If the kit's been sitting around for years, there's the possibility of the wood drying out to the point of being extremely fragile.

Don't build the original kit until you're sure of what you're doing and have the time to figure out the problems in advance.

It would be ashame to lose something of great sentimental value due to a simple mistake.
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Old 06-17-2009, 05:48 AM   #7
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Re: Old Sterling S19 Spitfire

When it came to model airplane kits, Sterling was the absolute worst of the worst.

The wood was heavy. The die cutting was useless. I believe they invented "die crunch". There is no accuracy to their cutting or parts fit. The plywood supplied was usually a cheap, weak 3 ply luan mahogany with a thick, punky core and very thin veneer outer layers. Very open grain structure with the outer layers and tons of internal voids in the core. You'd even find clay, string and paper in the internal core.

Hardware was a joke. For example, the nuts supplied were pressed out of thin sheet stock.

Generally, I found missing and/or damaged parts.

Plans consist of only a side view. Instructions are printed directly on that sheet. No templates are shown.

Garbage through and through.

Ed Manulkin (deceased Sterling owner) is probably rotting in Hell for all the people he ripped off with that junk.

The S-19 Spitfire was intended to be a full bodied, semi-scale U-Control contest caliber stunt model, with flaps on the wings. As such, it is nowhere near anything that would be suitable for current electric flight. You must remember that U/C models of that time were built very heavy compared to same sized R/C models. As such, they had extrememly high wing loadings in comparison.

It's just a different kettle of fish. For that reason alone, I would suggest that you are barking up the wrong tree here, even if it did not have all the ususal Sterling characteristics. It's no different than trying to make anything something that it was not intended to be.

In any case, don't let me discourage you from attempting something like this if you must do it. Personally, I would have better ways to spend my time.

/While you are at it, here's a link to an old STerling catalogue where you can see this plane, in all its glory:


And here's a link to the home page of the site dedicated to Sterling modles:


This kit, IMO, would have better value for you on ebay where masochists pick them up as collector's items. For instance, last year I sold a Ringmaster S1A kit there for well over $100 US.

With all that said, Sterling did make some major improvements with their rubber powered line (billed as 6 way kits) which came out in the early 1970s. However, that was too late to save them And even there, the later manufactured versions of those planes started to revert to the junk of the early years.
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Old 06-17-2009, 08:07 AM   #8
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Re: Old Sterling S19 Spitfire

In contrast to what DO335 laments in its day Sterling Kits were no different than any of the other run of the mill kits for sale at that time. With today's manufacturing techniques of coarse they come out as poor quality. Many many of today's modelers cut their teeth on Sterling Kits. They did require a fair amount of carving of wooden blocks and if you could you replaced much of the wood resulting in a lighter airframe. The kit was never intended for un-tethered flight and the inner wing may be a bit larger or longer to allow for line tension. My advice would be to build it traditionally as it was intended. Attempt to use traditional construction and finishing methods. Whether you fly it or not as a control line model is not important but you will have made a definite connection with the way your grandfather enjoyed his hobby.

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Old 06-17-2009, 08:55 AM   #9
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Re: Old Sterling S19 Spitfire

HI DO335

Come on...tell us what you really think about Sterling Kits !

I agree. Back in the late 60s I built several. The Ringmasters were alright but not as good as the TopFlight FlightStreaks. The wood in the sheet balsa .049 scale profiles was WAY too heavy and they flew like garbage scows.
The Flying Fool came out so heavy it barely flew level laps with a McCoy .35. (I smashed it trying to do a loop...)

I did learn from those Sterling kits...How to prefer scratchbuilding !
I think the designs were OK, the die-crunched very heavy balsa was the problem.


I would not bother trying to R/C the Spitfire. The tail moment is too short and it would need way more fin/rudder area, etc. (Some of the CL stunters had the inboard wing half larger than the outboard too.) Replacing the heavy wood with lighter stuff would not be cheap either.

I would checkout what they are going for on e-bay.

Ever wonder why your grandpa never built it ?

Take care,
Have fun,
Maac 6437
Unabashed Combat Team
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:13 AM   #10
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Re: Old Sterling S19 Spitfire

As Dave said... if the inside wing is shorter on the plans than the outside one, it's for Control line...I built the Sterling one and didnt realize this until it was too late for R/C use...I gave it away...
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