Brotherly Love

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I recently received this very nice photo of an AJ Models 62” Acuity from Nick Ziegler. He shared it with us to use on the website because he used ProModeler DS160CLHV mini-class servos. Note; unlike models optimized for the 3D craze, the Acuity is a precision aerobatic aircraft and is the type principally flown for IMAC style, or smooth maneuvers. E.g. ones, which are perfectly centered on the judges, and where achieving perfection is all about practice. As such, this story could well be titled 'practice makes perfect' but instead, it's about brotherly love.



If the trim scheme looks familiar, it's because it recreates Andrew Jesky's Element - the competition bird designed by Andrew and BJ Park. Yes, the one with which Andrew won FAI at the 2016 National Championship! Thing is, an Element (the airframe alone sans equipment and available from BJ Craft USA) goes for about $2500. Since this is out of the money for mere mortals, a welcome piece of news is that an Acuity, a slightly smaller version of the Element, but one which shares the same dynamics (and looks pretty much the same because it's also designed by Andrew) is available from AJ Models at the far more popular price point of $400.

Agreed, 400 bucks may still strike some as a tad pricey but consider this; everything is relative. For example, the FAI competition Element is a bit larger with a 71” wingspan and will - by the time it's equipped with all the goodies, like the counter rotating prop Gaishin V4 Contra Drive - set you back as much a nice used car, or roughly $5000. So basically, what AJ and company have done for $400 is reduce the size a little bit, switch to lightweight built-up construction, and slash the cost dramatically. In doing so they effectively put into your hands the very same aerodynamic technology as an Element, e.g. a model capable of winning it all . . . but at a price point where real people, with real world budgets, can afford it. In short, $400 delivers a high performance almost ready to fly airplane of impeccable lineage.


Anyway, I called Nick to ask if I could share the photos and as we chatted, I learned he's actually the second owner. Seems his brother Jeff Ziegler bought the model and within an hour of unboxing it, had it dry fit and set on the workbench (you know, just to visualize the thing). A sought after automotive body man and painter, the stock trim scheme didn't make his heart sing. Since it wasn't quite what he wanted, he mulled it over a little while and then he hit on a plan.


Basically, in a fit of inspiration, Jeff did something to a brand new model most folks would say is nuts because he whipped out an X-Acto, installed a new #11 blade, and proceeded to strip off roughly half the covering (Oracover, or UltraCote if you're stateside). So what on Earth prompted him do that? Simple; he wanted to recreate a tribute version of the Element with which Andrew had won the Nats by applying that distinctive trim scheme to his Acuity.


The end results speak for themselves. While never Jeff's intent to make the Acuity an exact replica, the inspiration couldn't be more clear and is a gorgeous tribute to top pilot Andrew Jesky and his FAI-class 2016 National Championship winning model.

Fast servo, amazing centering, tons of torque. Built to last years an the price is great. These get an A+.

As to why I'm yammering on about these brothers and their Acuity, that's simple. It's because when outfitting the model, Nick selected our DS160CLHV mini-class servos and after flying them wrote to say . . .

"I have had a ton of servos over the years, and decided to try these. The bang for the buck is amazing. Fast servo, amazing centering, tons of torque. Built to last years and the price is great. These get an A+.

- Nick Ziegler, Moline, IL

. . . which pretty much says it all coming from a serious pilot.



So how did Nick end up with the model? That's a whole other story, which as it turns out, involves yet another Jesky design, an ARS 300. We'll leave that for another day but for now, blame it on philos - or as Philly denizens know it - brotherly love.


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