Shortly before starting my Jays Bird for the One Design contest at the 2015 Nats, I watched an Alan Abriss/Homegrown Television Productions VHS tape of the 1999 AMA Free Flight Nats. The end of the tape featured Lee Campbell demonstrating how he cuts multiple parts for kits using a band saw.
I decided to use Lee’s technique to “kit” the ribs for my Jays Bird. It worked well.
I rarely apply CA or aliphatic glue directly from its container. Instead, I put a drop or two on waxed paper then transfer a small amount of glue to the parts using a .009 wire loop for CA or a stick for aliphatic. Inevitably some part would slip into my puddle of glue and make a mess, so I made a “glue corral.”
Four pieces of 3/16-inch balsa make up the corral, which has a “floor” of waxed paper or Mylar backing from UltraCote or a similar covering. The corral is pinned to a corner of the board. It does a good job of keeping parts out of the glue.
When the metal loop clogs with CA, I use a small lighter flame to clear it.
George White’s Dauntless
George White’s SBD Dauntless is slightly heavy to be competitive in World War II mass launch contests, but it looks elegant in the air. It flies with eight strands of 3/16 x 36-inch rubber and uses a Superior propeller.
Duke Horn’s Hung-Aereon
Duke Horn did a great job on his Hung-Aereon, which he built from plans published in the Flying Aces Club (FAC) newsletter. An old, Comet-style, machined-balsa propeller is powered by two loops of 30-inch braided 1/8 Tan Super Sport. Weighing 41 grams, the bulbous little aircraft flew right off the building board, but interestingly, it didn’t want to turn.
Duke got his model to turn by adding a small flap. It’s a piece of 1 x 1/4-inch card stock glued to the trailing edge (TE) of the right wing. Half of the flap extends above the TE and the other 1/8 inch extends below the TE. It creates sufficient drag to turn the aircraft slowly to the right a full rotation for the duration of the power run.
Duke believes the propeller he is using is slightly small and is limiting his flight times. A larger propeller may also give him the turn he wants without the drag flap. He said this design has maxed many times for other builders.
The late Dave Stott created the Hung-Aereon as a novelty model for the FAC Embryo event. It is flown by some clubs in special mass launch events. Plans are available on the Cloudbuster Model Airplane Club’s website, or you could make it easy on yourself and get the Easy Built Models kit.
Nugesser Nieuport 17
Tom Nallen’s little Nungesser Nieuport 17 is as cute as a bug. The model was built from Dallaire plans slightly enlarged to a 13-inch wingspan. Be careful! The two wing halves on the old plans are not mirror images!
The cowl was vacuum-formed over a Bondo mold for realism and to help move the center of gravity forward. Tom moved the rear motor peg forward to the rear edge of the aircraft’s Charles Nungesser Knight of Death skull insignia for the same reason. These changes were effective, because even with a lightweight, 5-inch carved balsa propeller on the front, the model needs a dot of clay on the tail to balance. Without rubber and including the propeller, the model weighs 8.5 grams. It is really light for a biplane of this size.
Landing gear legs were made from 1/16-inch diameter reed sanded to a streamlined shape and attached to pin holes in the fuselage using small nylon pins embedded in the ends of the struts. Tom used this same approach on a 12-inch Megow Fokker Triplane and it has proven to be a resilient and durable landing gear structure.
The Nungesser Nieuport was built to compete in the Boston-area FAC Stealth Squadron Winter Indoor World War I mass launch events. Flying well from the start, it regularly turns in 50-plus-second flights in a small middle school gymnasium.
Homegrown Television Productions
Easy Built Models
Cloudbusters Model Airplane Club
National Free Flight Society (NFFS)