Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Oh look -- another Spitfire!
This is a free flight rubber powered one that I built from a kit a few years ago. It is covered with tissue paper and was given a couple of thinned coats of aircraft dope. The problem with buying a kit is you don't get to choose the balsa contained in the kit. The weight of balsa wood can vary widely from a low of 3lb per cubic foot to as high as 20lb per cubic foot for the hardest densest. The lighter stuff is of course not as strong as the densest -- but it is lighter -- a big factor in how well any airplane built with it will fly. The wood in this particular kit was more like ironwood, so this one came out a tad too heavy to be a good flyer, so it hangs on the wall for the most part.
Still its a good example of a classic "stick and tissue" type rubber powered model. Models using this type construction data back to the early 1900's and remain popular today. They're quiet, can be flown in a schoolyard, and are very inexpensive when built from scratch rather than buying a kit.
These sort of models are great for people living in an apartment where space is at a premium and you don't have a garage full of tools like band saws, drill presses, and belt sanders. All you really need to build a model like this is a flat board about 12" x 36", some single edge razor blades, a tube of wood cement, a small jar of aircraft dope, a little brush, and maybe a cheap needle nose plier from the dollar store.