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"The Langley" Mulvihill Winner
July 1962 American Modeler

July 1962 American Modeler

July 1962 American Modeler Cover - Airplanes and Rockets Table of Contents

Aeromodeling has seen significant changes over the decades both in technology and preferences. Magazines like American Aircraft Modeler, American Modeler, and Air Trails were the best venues for capturing snapshots of the status quo of the day. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.

Airplanes and Rockets website visitor Peter W. (see photos at bottom) wrote to ask that I scan and post this "'The Langely' Mulvihill Winner" article that appeared in the July 1962 issue of American Modeler magazine. Designer and flyer Frank Parmenter wrote the article. Per the Academy of Model Aeronautics website on the history of the Mulvihill free flight competitions: "Major Bernard Mulvihill, born June 8, 1890, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was a full-scale and model aviation enthusiast at the beginning of the era of flight. In the model aviation world, Mulvihill was a member of the Aero Club of America and served as president of the local Aero Club of Pittsburgh. He helped the Pittsburgh club negotiate permission to fly at the nearby Government Aerial Field. Mulvihill saw the value in encouraging youth to build models, and in his capacity as vice president of NAA, he saw to it that model airplane events would be held during the NAA's national air races..."

"The Langley" Mulvihill Winner

"The Langley" Mulvihill Winner, July 1962 American Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsBy Frank Parmenter

It seems appropriate to name this rubber-powered contest model "The Langley" after one of the early pioneers of aviation. This model won one of the pioneer modeling trophies, The Mulvihill, which has been awarded annually since 1923.

Author-Designer-National Record Holder Mulvihill Frank Parmenter Langley - Airplanes and Rockets

Author-Designer-National Record Holder and winner of the famed Mulvihill award (top, right) is NASA's Frank Parmenter shown holding his hi-performance "Langley" rubber-powered contest aircraft. Full sixe working drawings for the model are part of Hobby Helpers' Group Plan #762.

This design is basically the same as has been used by the author since he decided to give Wakefield competition a serious try in 1955. At the 1955 King Orange Meet in Miami, Florida, it won 1st place in both the Wakefield and Unlimited Rubber events with 9 maxs out of 10 flights (two fly-off rounds in Unlimited.)

Danny Sobala, hearing of my good luck, wrote and asked for my plans; he wanted to try Wakefield and had never built one before. At the 1956 Wakefield Semi-Finals he was in a three-man fly-off which Cliff Montplaisir won, with Danny coming in second. I was one second out of the fly-off. At the 1957 Nationals, Danny again came in second in a three-man fly-off in the Wakefield event.

At the 1958 King Orange Meet, the Langley won 1st in Wakefield. At the 1961 semi-finals, the "Langley" made a very impressive showing. At 6:30 a.m., it turned in a 3:42 flight in Round #1; at 7:15 a.m., it did 3:50 for Round #2; another max for Round #3 and then the bubble broke. In the 4th round, I made a bad hurried launch to the left and the model looped, and lost its power burst recording a poor 1:35 flight. The rest were maxes, but, the damage was done. It was generally conceded that the "Langley" was getting upstairs with the best.

At the last Nationals in Willow Grove, I had high hopes for Wakefield, but wanting to fly Unlimited also, I used my spare Wakefield in this latter event. The only change was more power, hoping to get a longer power run and more zip. It paid off with a 1st place and a National record of 22 minutes 49.5 seconds. It didn't get a chance in the Wakefield event due to rain (and poor judgment of contest officials in closing the event when only about 1 hour of reasonable flying time had been permitted).

I feel the success of this model is due to its simplicity, rugged construction where needed, and clean design. The Langley, on occasions, has been upset in the glide due to rough air or thermal activity and started stalling. It stays in a gentle stall never building up to disaster, then works its way out of the stall and back to its normal smooth glide. Build it and see for yourself.

Construction data is included on Hobby Helpers' Group Plan #762 along with full-size working drawings.

"The Langley" Mulvihill Free Flight Plans - Airplanes and Rockets

"The Langley" Mulvihill Free Flight Plans


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.

Here are a few photos Peter Watt was kind enough to send:

"Torontonian" free flight model (Peter Watt image) - Airplanes and Rockets"Senator" free flight model (Peter Watt image) - Airplanes and Rockets80-grtam Wakefields (Peter Watt image) - Airplanes and Rockets



Posted July 25, 2021

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Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which all began in Mayo, MD ...

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