Follow-up on Towline Gliders

Follow-up on Towline Gliders

Follow-up on Towline Gliders

Free Flight Scale

By Tom Hallman | maxfliart@hallmanstudio.com

As seen in the November 2023 issue of Model Aviation.

AFTER A FULL YEAR of flying Scale towline and hi-start gliders, I’m pleased to report that the 36-inch Schweizer 2-22 is flying beautifully, high above the fields of Wawayanda, New York. It feels like a dream. After only a few simple adjustments, the model is tracking straight and clean, releasing easily from the towhook at the top of the pull for a gentle, floaty glide back to the turf.

I would highly recommend trying this obscure area of Free Flight (FF) modeling. You might quickly realize what you’ve been missing and become totally immersed in the allure of gliders, as I did! Volaré Products offers a short kit of this model to quickly get you up and soaring.

FF Perspectives

Throughout the course of a modeler’s lifetime, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of building similar aircraft, focusing on either an era of aviation or the wingspan. Early on, I was producing models in the 20- to 24-inch wingspan range—not too big, not too small, and easy to handle. These scale-detailed models became a strong foundation of my fleet.

At some point, however, I came to realize that a shift in that approach could prove beneficial, so I started to back off of the constant flow of a major Scale build and bookend it with less involved projects.

Kits from the 1930s were perfect, with the bonus of giving me the nostalgic feel of our modeling roots. I routinely looked at the 20-inch series of Hi-Flyers from Scientific Model Airplane Co. and the 12-inch Midget Series by National Model Aircraft & Supply Co. Both offered numerous models that would surely scratch my itch.

The 12-inch wingspan Lockheed Vega Winnie Mae was part of a series of Peanut kits produced by the National Model Aircraft & Supply Co. beginning in 1931.

The 12-inch wingspan Lockheed Vega Winnie Mae was part of a series of Peanut kits produced by the National Model Aircraft & Supply Co. beginning in 1931.

The author built Winnie Mae as a companion to the 12-inch wingspan Heath Parasol that is on display in the AMA National Model Aviation Museum in Muncie IN. They are the earliest Peanut Scale kits ever produced.

The author built Winnie Mae as a companion to the 12-inch wingspan Heath Parasol that is on display in the AMA National Model Aviation Museum in Muncie IN. They are the earliest Peanut Scale kits ever produced.

Through these kits, I would keep my modeling skills tuned while adding to my fleet more quickly, with a far less complex and time-consuming build. They could also become worthy models for the youngsters in our lives to toss around, introducing them to the joy of flight.

Having completed the Schweizer glider project, the next model in line was the 12-inch Lockheed Vega Winnie Mae. I found a pristine National kit on eBay, which also included the original bill of sale! I left the contents fully intact, opting instead to use my own wood.

Surprisingly, the kit included printed tissue, an unusual feature for one from 1931, so I digitally scanned the markings then transferred them onto Japanese tissue via an inkjet printer. The results were good, allowing me to keep the kit’s quirky representation of the Vega, just as my dad, at 10 years old in 1931, would have built it!

I also used a vintage balsa blank to carve the propeller, which helps to maintain the vintage look. A single loop of 1/16-inch rubber will get it into the air. I’ve included a start-to-finish tutorial on my YouTube channel, MaxFliArt, listed in "Sources."

Build Lighter, Fly Longer

So you say that you can’t build lightweight models? Try this trick just once and see how it plays out.

Build your next 24-inch wingspan Scale model using a 1/16-inch thick sheet of 5- to 6-pound balsa. Limit yourself to this single sheet and I’ll bet that your flight duration will increase significantly.

The Wing Is the Thing

On the opposite end of breaking with routine, I’ve begun to work on my most complex Scale model project to date—a 44-inch wingspan, rubber-powered twinpusher flying wing—the Boeing 306C. This aircraft was part of an impressive series of conceptualized designs by Boeing back in the mid-1930s, although none of them ever went into production.

This 36-inch wingspan Boeing 306B, by Dallas Cornelius, and the Lippisch P.13 plans, by Don Srull, influenced and inspired the author to build the Boeing 306C twin pusher.

This 36-inch wingspan Boeing 306B, by Dallas Cornelius, and the Lippisch P.13 plans, by Don Srull, influenced and inspired the author to build the Boeing 306C twin pusher.

In 2005, prolific model designer Pres Bruning published 22-inch wingspan plans for the Boeing 306B single-engine pusher. The late Dallas Cornelius enlarged the plans to 36 inches and flew the model successfully in many Flying Aces Club (FAC) contests. Following his passing in 2021, I was given this model with the intention of flying it again in Dallas’ memory. This inspired me to build my own model of the twin version, with hopes of flying them together someday as Boeing had intended.

My experience with flying wings is limited, although I do have airtime with pusher aircraft that use elevons. The plans for the rubber-powered Lippisch P.13 pushpull flying wing, by the late, great Don Srull, became instrumental because of his knowledge of rib patterns. Using his designs, I was able to build in the needed twist and washout directly into the wing.

The author’s latest project is the 44-inch wingspan rubber-powered Boeing 306C twin-pusher flying wing. It was part of a series of concept aircraft designed by Boeing in the mid-1930s.

The author’s latest project is the 44-inch wingspan rubber-powered Boeing 306C twin-pusher flying wing. It was part of a series of concept aircraft designed by Boeing in the mid-1930s.

The author’s 44-inch flying wing project is ready for covering after he traditionally prepared the tissue using an airbrush and thinned acrylic enamel paints.

The author’s 44-inch flying wing project is ready for covering after he traditionally prepared the tissue using an airbrush and thinned acrylic enamel paints.

Rather than using unsightly motor sticks, I wanted to have the rubber motors fully contained within the wing and nacelles, so I designed a thinly sheeted rib box to prevent the rubber from breaking through what would otherwise have a tissue covering.

With the interior height of the box just less than one inch, I expect to add an air intake scoop on the bottom of the wing to give the motor a bit more space and to minimize bunching. For any twin to fly successfully, both motors need to fully unwind with similar rpm in unison; otherwise, the flight pattern could become inconsistent or erratic. I’m looking forward to completing this project.

Dream, ponder, build, and inspire, but most of all … fly.

SOURCES:

National Free Flight Society (NFFS)

www.freeflight.org

MaxfliArt

www.maxfliart.com

Tom Hallman’s YouTube channel

www.youtube.com/user/maxfliart

Volaré Products

(269) 339-9795

www.volareproducts.com

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