Dick Sarpolus' Mini F-16
THE MIDWEST AXIFLO RK-049 ducted-fan unit was approximately a year old and the smallest system available on the market when Dick Sarpolus designed his Mini F-16, intending to find out just what a .049 fan could do.
Keeping the construction easy, simple, and lightweight, Dick used sheet balsa for the fuselage, spruce spars for the wings, and light sheet balsa for the tail surfaces. The overall configuration of this one-piece aircraft was easily recognizable as an F-16 (the wing and tail surface outlines followed the shape), but Dick had to change the side view to accommodate the Axiflo ducted-fan unit.
Lighter equipment was desirable because the space for gear installation was limited. Dick used two Kraft KPS-18 servos, a 225 mAh battery pack, and a small Royal ½A receiver. The radio weighed less than 6 ounces. Two-channel operation (aileron and elevator) was sufficient on the Mini F-16.
The Axiflo ducted-fan unit was prefabricated and assembled with epoxy glue; the completed unit was painted with Superpoxy to make it fuelproof before he installed the Cox Tee Dee .049 engine. The rest of the airplane was covered with MonoKote in the red, white, and blue United States Air Force color scheme.
Dick said his resulting model was successful; it launched easily, flew stably, and handled well. There is not too much power for vertical maneuvering and it can be hand-launched normally in calm weather conditions.
The Mini F-16 was one of four featured construction articles published in the July 1980 MA. Members can access the magazine digital archives on the Academy’s website to read more about it.
This design is AMA Plans Service listing 302, available for $9 plus shipping and handling. See page XXX or go to www.modelaircraft.org/plans.aspx for ordering information.