Cypriot aeromodeller Nicos Astras with F-16 “Zeus” on “DЯ” – Photos & VIDEO

Defence Redefined
Published on 17/07/2021 at 11:59

Aeromodelling has always been a sport that attracted interest due to the detailed and faithful copying of favorite aircraft, especially our own F -16 “Zeus” of the Hellenic Air Force Demo Team. 

© Nicos Astras

Following an online post, which received hundreds of reactions and comments, the DEFENCE ReDEFiNED team contacted Cypriot aeromodeller, Nikos Astras, to discuss his impressive work. 

Nikos is an aircraft engineer and specializes in electronic systems (avionics) with previous experience in the Cyprus Air Force, Cyprus Airways and Eurocypria. For the last 10 years he has been working for a large company abroad. 

© Nicos Astras

“I was born on airplanes, my father was an air traffic controller. I had a pilot’s license for private jets in the 6th grade of high school. I took my license before I joined the army because my dream was to graduate from the Hellenic Air Force Academy, but that did not happen. In the army I wanted to join the Air Force, but I eventually joined the Infantry, even though I had a pilot’s license. Completing my military service, I decided to deal with aircraft electronics. I was very interested in construction and I studied Aviation Electronics in Bristol.”

Regarding his model-making, Nikos explained to us that: “I order the kits from the factory abroad and I assemble them. I send them drawings – in consultation with the Air Force engineers who painted the aircraft – they send me the photos and I order it from the factory. When the aircraft arrives, the work begins, since you have to apply the various mechanisms and electronics. In some I have also installed a camera in the cockpit and I have the image that the pilot has. The pilot I put inside the aircraft can move, during the flight he moves his arms and head.”

Watching the videos with the take-off of Nikos’ planes, one realizes that the engines are real: “The engines are real, they entail the same concept of the engine of a real warplane. It is a normal turbine, has its own engine control unit and works just like the real one, hence the sound. These models usually weigh 16.5 kg and can develop a speed of about 330 km. To make a scale aircraft requires some costs. I have put pickle buttons on the aircraft, screens that are lit at night, I have put the static discharges, lights, brakes, I only have the Conformal fuel tank (CFT) left for Zeus to achieve a 100% model.” 

In fact, after his publication with the faithful model of the F-16 Zeus, Nikos revealed to us that he had a conversation with the pilot of the aircraft. “Zeus’ pilot also texted me and told me, ‘’Nikos I am very proud of what you did’.” 

© Nicos Astras

I have been involved in aeromodelling since 1989, I started with the little ones with the sticks and I have gradually improved. I now have four faithful models, a Dutch Air Force F-16, an F-16V (Viper), a Nitro-powered Beechcraft Bonanza and the Zeus F-16. The next one I would like to have is an F-15 of an American squadron. The F-16s I have are 2.5 meters long, while I want to make the F-15 2.8 m long. The model I always wanted was the Mirage 2000 with Archangel Michael under its wings. I have one or two more aircraft in mind.” 

“I have been working abroad for 10 years now and whenever I come to Cyprus I deal with modeling.” Regarding the place he is working at, Nikos told us that: “I go to Kotsiatis to the private model track of the Nicosia Aeromodelling Club.” 

© Nicos Astras

Regarding the future, Nikos told us that: “I have a company now and I have invested in developing small planes made with a 3D printer, however I can also develop so-called drones. We are still studying the first model.” 

Also read: Flying Officer Achillia Georgakila | Perhaps the last female pilot of the legendary F-4E Phantom II – VIDEO




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