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Just Right Pee Wee Free Flight
November 1958 American Modeler

November '58 American Modeler

November 1958 American Modeler magazine cover Table of Contents

These pages from vintage modeling magazines like Flying Aces, Air Trails, American Modeler, American Aircraft Modeler, Young Men, Flying Models, Model Airplane News, R/C Modeler, captured the era. All copyrights acknowledged.

Website visitor Danny B. wrote to ask that I scan and post this article and plans for the "Just Right" (aka J.R.) pee wee size free flight model. It appeared in the November 1958 issue of American Modeler magazine. J.R. is a simple built-up balsa airplane with a 29" wingspan that uses a Cox Pee Wee .020 engine for power. As with most other vintage models, the J.R. could fairly easily be converted to electric power.

I did not have the November 1958 issue, but fortunately there was a batch of the entire year of 1958 on eBay, so I bought them. The Post Office gave itself 10 days to deliver a 2-Day Priority Mail package from two states away, and of course blamed it on the Wuhan Virus. When they finally arrived, I discovered the seller had mistakenly sent 1957 issues, which I already had. Fortunately, he took the news quite well and subsequently sent out the 1958 issues, which took another 6 days for a 2-Day Priority Mail package to arrive. It must be nice to be able to charge a premium rate for a product with an established expectation for service, and be able to dismiss your crappy performance while charging the same price. That's the government for you.

Just Right Pee Wee F/F for Fun and Small Spaces

Just Right Pee Wee F/F, November 1958 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsBy Frank Ehling

"Just Right" was designed for the Pee Wee and meant for "fun" flying. Contest work wasn't even considered. This model is easily flown in a small space without the headaches that mark a touchy competition job.

"J.R." is simple to build and easy to fly. With an investment of less than $10 you will have all that is needed for a "month of Sundays". Just Right can be hand launched; however, if there is a suitable smooth spot available its take-off's will delight you.

To start construction, cut the sides from 1/16" sheet balsa - all the balsa in this model will be hard except for the soft wing tip blocks. Cut out the formers, all 1/16" sheet except where the engine and landing gear attaches. Cement rear section of fuselage together; when dry, add the formers, working from rear to front. Bend landing gear to shape, bind it in place, then cement in that former.

Note that the firewall cements so the engine will have down thrust. Be sure that this former is well cemented. Several thin coats of cement added as the previous one dries is lots better than one heavy coat. Glue top and bottom sheets in place with slow drying cement; glue all formers and edges, using pins to hold the sheets tightly. When dry trim the edges and sand entire fuselage. Several coats of cement wiped around the landing gear area will strengthen this portion of the fuselage. Dope the entire fuselage with several coats-sand between coats until a smooth finish results.

Stabilizer and rudder tip are cut from 3/32" sheet balsa; sand to streamline cross section and cement in place; check that the rudder is straight. The tail assembly cements where it connects to the fuselage. Then dope in the same manner as the fuselage.

JR's wing is easy since there are no notches to cut for spars. Cut the ribs and layout the wing over the plan. Make the wing halves, then make the center section using dihedral gussets cut of 1/8" plywood. These should raise the wing tips 2" above the center section. Add the wing tip blocks and shape as shown. These are cut from soft balsa since it isn't good to have heavy tips. Sand entire wing and re-cement the wing joints. Wing is covered with heavy tissue or light silk. Dope until it will shed water. Add the wing hooks to the fuselage directly below the wing; this will help the wing from shifting. A strip of rubber cement to the top edge of the fuselage where the wing rests on it will also prevent wing shifting. Shifting will cause the model to fly differently each flight.

The entire model should be fuel proofed (we used Tuff - several coats gave a durable surface). A small washer is soldered to keep the wheels in place. Wheels must turn freely if your model is to make good takeoffs.

Add weight to either end to balance model as shown. Then glide it. If the glide is a little steep raise the wing's leading edge; if model is stalling raise the trailing edge. Start the engine; with it running slow set the model on the ground and release it. Watch the flight turn; any correction is made with the rudder. This, however, should be done a very little each time since rudder adjustments are always critical. Run the engine on a full tank and time it, then when you fly start the engine and hold the model until only 30 to 45 seconds motor time remains, then launch it. After the model is flown several times power can be increased. While this is not a contest model it can still fly far. If you run on a full tank of fuel you're apt to spend more time chasing the model than it took you to build it!

"Just Right" Pee Wee Free Flight Plans

"Just Right" Pee Wee Free Flight Plans

Full size plans for "Just Right" are on Group Plan # 1158 from Hobby Helpers. 770 Hunts Point Ave." New York 59, N. Y. (75c).


The AMA Plans Service offers a full-size version of many of the plans show here at a very reasonable cost. They will scale the plans any size for you. It is always best to buy printed plans because my scanner versions often have distortions that can cause parts to fit poorly. Purchasing plans also help to support the operation of the Academy of Model Aeronautics - the #1 advocate for model aviation throughout the world. If the AMA no longer has this plan on file, I will be glad to send you my higher resolution version.

Try my Scale Calculator for Model Airplane Plans.



Posted May 12, 2021

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