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Written by Tom Neibuhr As featured on page 44 in the August 2012 issue of Model Aviation. As featured in the Model Aviation tablet app.

Many have told me that they were not ready for a full-bodied airplane, yet in most cases profile airplanes were holding up their progress.

Many of the available profile kits are simply recreations of airplanes from the 1950s with thin airfoils and short moments. This is nostalgic, but does not present an ideal platform. A twisting, vibrating, fuselage does nothing to help engine runs or the aerodynamic capabilities of the airplane. A simple airplane is needed to provide the step up from the profiles.

Although I thrive on competing in Stunt with the best equipment available (see Top Hat in the March 2009 Flying Models, and the Jerseyan in the September 2004 MA), I need a fun airplane as a relief from the days of hard practice—an airplane that will address all of the previous criteria.

Tom Niebuhr with his CL Hobo.

I realized that most people are not interested in the demanding practice sessions required for top-level competition. Even those who might regularly attend contests and strive to improve their flying skills might not be interested in campaigning at an expert level, so the concept for the Hobo was born.

In the last 20 or 25 years, there has been little toward a full-bodied fun airplane addressed. No airplane has been designed with the Hobo’s options.

This is a sport airplane, but is that really enough? Visualize a multipurpose airplane that is capable of performing the CL Stunt pattern, but offers much more. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It must have a full fuselage to avoid vibration and twisting exhibited with profile layouts. It must be simple for fast construction.

I wanted an airplane with capabilities that may not have been addressed in the past: a convertible airplane with a changeable appearance. I encourage kit bashing!

Inverted flight is easy with the Hobo. Photo by Dave Russum.

It must be capable of quick-change control ratios and line sweep, allowing for sane and insane maneuvers, from extremely tight loops to the Sabre Dance. It should be capable of performing the Stunt pattern or any maneuver that you can imagine. All of this should be packaged with the simplicity of a monoplane.

The Hobo can be built with many variables. The controls can be internal, or can be installed with an old-style external pushrod that will allow for easy transition of the elevator-to-flap ratio from the standard one-to-one to the excessive elevator movement that will accommodate those wild, crazy maneuvers.

The wing sheeting is minimal simple, fast construction. The wingtips are flat, allowing the inboard one to have a simple slot for the wingtip slider that can be adjusted for Stunt trim, but can also be moved aft when performing the crazy Hobo maneuvers.

The outboard wingtip has a blind nut installed, allowing additional external weight to be added. No blocks are used in the fuselage. The engine is upright and uncowled. The nose also allows for tank changes and adjustment.

The Hobo is a multipurpose, convertible airplane that does not require six months or more to build. It is a simple step up from a profile, providing a better aerodynamic platform for Intermediate or Advanced competition or just plane fun.

Two Hobos framed up. Dave Russum's (L) has the triangular turtledeck option shown on the plans. Photo by Bill Lee

Read more about the entire build and flight review on page 44 of the August 2012 Model Aviation or in the tablet app.

Order The Hobo Plans

Hobo: This 46-inch wingspan CL model is simple to build step up from a Profile. Plans cost $19.00 plus shipping and handling (AMA members get 10% off). Please allow at least one to three weeks for delivery within the United States—longer for overseas. All domestic plans are shipped rolled via priority mail. All foreign orders are folded and shipped First Class.


Looks so much like an RC fun fly model I nearly missed that this one was CL! Interesting the overlap in design ideas. I have often wondered that more manufacturers don't bring out dual versions of some designs.

Looks like it could be An easy conversion to r/c electric. Would be a light weight fun flyer. A couple
Mini servoes a small motor and esc and your good to go.

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