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The Birth of Leading Edge R/C

Here is the story about Leading Edge RC from Mark Dennis...

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Leading Edge R/C

From Mark Dennis...

This project has been a long time in the making and I'm finally at a point where I feel comfortable sharing this journey with everyone on Flying Giants. My goal is to give you all an inside look at what it takes to develop an airplane for today's market, from start to finish. Please keep in mind that this is an ongoing project, it will still be some time before these airplanes are ready for the general public, I look forward to hearing your thoughts, ideas, or critiques in this thread and feel that in the end, we can all benefit from this type of transparency.

Many of you know me from my tenure with Aeroworks, I worked with Rocco to develop some truly revolutionary designs and learned a lot along the way. I feel we revolutionized the giant scale ARF market back in the mid-2000s and helped bridge the gap to what you see on the market today. Fast forward to 2013, and an amazing opportunity to fly UAV's came along, this caused me to depart my position at Aeroworks.

Back in 2015, I looked into starting Leading Edge R/C, at the time I found a factory, ordered a few samples and set about developing some new giant scale aerobatic airplanes. The samples I received were such low quality that I did not feel comfortable bringing these airplanes to market and scrapped the project. At that point, I set out looking to find a new factory, one that could do the kind of quality work I expect from any R/C airplane. If you remember back 2015/2016 saw many horrible blows to the RC industry as a whole, none of which bigger than the dock strikes that snarled shipments coming into the US. It was during this time that the industry lost many prominent companies, and at the same time, many factories overseas were forced to close. My search came to a dead end at this point, faced with declining manufactures and rising costs, I decided to shelve the project.

Fast forward 3 years to 2018, at this point I've been enjoying the hobby as just a hobbyist for the past 5 years, I've flown airplanes from every major brand many of which I liked, some that I felt could be made better. With each airplane I always found myself finding little things that I felt could be better, lighter, stronger etc. This is when I decided to go back to my search for a manufacturer overseas, someone who shared my ideas and knows how to build high quality airplanes. As we often do, I went back to my roots, I tracked down a factory I had worked with back in my days with Aeroworks, they were no longer building RC airplanes but had, in-fact began building UAV's for customers in China. I began conversing with this factory and quickly realized many of the same people I had worked with 6 years prior were still there, it was a joyous reunion if one could ever be had over email.

We began talking about a new project, with new/modern build techniques to take full advantage of what they had learned in their time developing UAV's. That is when our first airplane was born, Prototype 001 as I've referred to it. Developing a new design takes a lot of work, time, and experience, there's no subject I am more familiar with than the Extra 260, so this seemed like a logical place to begin our new endeavor. Next came the size of the airplane, I wanted something that I felt took full advantage of our building techniques and could really show off what we had done, at that point the best size seemed to be a 120cc 106-108" (more on the wings later) Extra 260.

We set to work, drawing the airplane in CAD, refining it to the point where I felt it would fly well and be able to handle today's XA style of flying, while still being extremely lite for its size. After seeing the airplane as it was built, I feel like we accomplished our goal of a very strong yet light weight airplanes that will be able to take advantage of the equipment we have available today.

I've included a screen shot of the drawing for the 260, this was not the final revision but will give you all an idea of the lengths we go through to develop this airplanes. I will also be updating this thread in the next few days with pictures of the entire build process from start to finish.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this! I hope you all enjoy this process as much as I have so far!

  • Mark Dennis
  • Leading Edge R/C

Last edited by Jim T. Graham; 06-18-2019 at 08:01 AM..
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Old 06-18-2019, 05:43 AM
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This is awesome news that will make many people happy. And with your history, I’m sure it will be a big success. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.
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Old 06-18-2019, 05:56 AM
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Appreciate the posts and it is good that you enjoy doing this. I guess competition is always good among RC plane manufacturers and will keep companies on the bleeding edge to create the latest and greatest. I am intrigued at times by the new lighter build materials, yet not enough to simply go out and switch brands and buy a new plane because of it. Maybe I am not the average RC'er where this is concerned.

I think a question worthy of discussion is that we have so many offerings today of great RC planes what rationale can be produced to prove we need another, or is there a gap there that we do not see on our end?
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Old 06-18-2019, 06:16 AM
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Mark, welcome back. I am looking forward to what you have in store for us!
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Old 06-18-2019, 07:10 AM
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YES! thank you Mark! the 42% extra 300 from aeroworks was my favorite airplane ( still upset i sold it) i loved your work as well... very much looking forward to this... and maybe a 120cc ultimate???
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Old 06-18-2019, 07:25 AM
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this here is some sweet news
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luchnia View Post
Appreciate the posts and it is good that you enjoy doing this. I guess competition is always good among RC plane manufacturers and will keep companies on the bleeding edge to create the latest and greatest. I am intrigued at times by the new lighter build materials, yet not enough to simply go out and switch brands and buy a new plane because of it. Maybe I am not the average RC'er where this is concerned.

I think a question worthy of discussion is that we have so many offerings today of great RC planes what rationale can be produced to prove we need another, or is there a gap there that we do not see on our end?
This is a great question! If you look back over the years at the number of giant scale manufacturers the numbers have gone down considerably. As I said in the original post, I felt like there are things that could be improved from just about every ARF I purchased. This observation led me to try to improve things on my own, will we be leaps and bounds above the competition? In most cases no, in some I feel like we will be. As your post stated, competition is good for any market.

My goal with Leading Edge R/C is to develop a product with a loyal following, just as you are loyal to the manufacture you currently purchase from. Brand loyalty is what drives this hobby to be better, on both the manufacturing and consumer side and I don't want to see that change.

Mark
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:43 AM
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Mark I really hope you bring out some non-aerobatic planes. I love a great Extra/Laser/Slick/Edge but every major manufacturer has those planes out now. The thing I loved about Aeroworks was all the other planes they offered.
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:44 AM
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Really Good News!

Mark,
At a time where dwindling stock and resources in the world of R/C is the norm, its really good to have you stepping up to the plate and taking on this project. If you pull this off (and we are sure you will!) it will be awesome to see new products hit the market. And if these new products have a smattering of Aeroworks-ish put in to them, all the better!
Good luck with the project.
WT
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dshriver View Post
Mark I really hope you bring out some non-aerobatic planes. I love a great Extra/Laser/Slick/Edge but every major manufacturer has those planes out now. The thing I loved about Aeroworks was all the other planes they offered.
+1
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:59 AM
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Wishing you much luck....can't wait !!!!
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Old 06-18-2019, 09:03 AM
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Good luck. Looking fwd to the offers.
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Old 06-18-2019, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dshriver View Post
Mark I really hope you bring out some non-aerobatic planes. I love a great Extra/Laser/Slick/Edge but every major manufacturer has those planes out now. The thing I loved about Aeroworks was all the other planes they offered.
I do plan to offer many sport and scale airplanes down the road, I wanted to start off with something that I felt would be popular and show the build techniques we've developed with this factory.
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:38 AM
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Congrats ..
How about a Traditional Leo Laser , or Leo Shark
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:44 AM
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Great to see you back in the saddle. If you're looking for something different and a little nostalgic, one aircraft I don't believe I've ever seen done in giant scale is the Stephens Akro. Maybe it's a bad platform, although I doubt it considering it's the granddaddy of most modern mono wing aerobats flying today. At any rate wish you the best of luck with your new venture.
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