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Dancer Article & Plans
February 1971 American Aircraft Modeler

February 1971 American Aircraft Modeler

February 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets 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 Alan M. wrote to request that I scan this Dancer article from the February 1971 edition of American Aircraft Modeler magazine. The Dancer is a beginner's level control line trainer model for 1/2A power that is one of the many "For the Tenderfoot" series. Construction is all simple sheet balsa. Even back in the early 1970s millions of Cox .049 engines had already been produced, so they were readily available at a low price. The Dancer was designed and built by AMA Junior level modeler Dennis Haimerl. A unique feature of the Dancer is use of a leading edge slot to enhance lift and stall characteristics of the flat airfoil of the wing. Such devices are used on STOL (short take-off and landing) airplanes.

Dancer 1/2A Control Line Model

"For the Tenderfoot" Thing - Airplanes and RocketsPhotos by the Author

Dennis Haimerl is a Tenderfoot modeler, but he has designed his own control line trainer. Full-size and ready-to-use plans are on pages 45 and 48.

Dancer is a simple model to construct because of its straight design. It does require elevator hinges, but they are not difficult to install. Hinging methods other than cloth (or other fibered materials) are up to the builder. However, cloth is best.

It must be rugged, easy to make, interesting, fairly slow, and easy to fly - Airplanes and Rockets

What makes a good beginner's model? It must be rugged, easy to make, interesting, fairly slow, and easy to fly.

Dancer beginner control line model - Airplanes and Rockets

Dancer beginner control line model.

The slot makes the flat wing act like a proper airfoil - Airplanes and Rockets

The slot makes the flat wing act like a proper airfoil. Simple.

Note slot gap above wing - Airplanes and Rockets

Large rudder and offset keep lines tight. Note slot gap above wing.

Ready-to-use plans are on the back of the magazine's centerspread. For the wing use a 1/8 x 3 x 24" piece of balsa. Mark its center and align with the center of the plans. Wing tops are placed at the end of the balsa. Cut out the pieces.

After the wing has been assembled, pin it down on a flat board. Apply cement liberally to the center of the wing and set the fuselage piece in place. Add the 1/4 x 1/4 x 3" fillets to each side and hold in place with pins. Using a small square, make sure the fuselage is exactly vertical to the wing. Apply cement to the center of the stabilizer and slide it into position in the fuselage slot. Again use the square to be sure the trailing edge of the stabilizer is at a right angle to the fuselage. Measure the distance from each stabilizer tip to the building board and make sure they are the same.

Be sure the rudder is parallel to the fuselage. Set the trailing edge of the rear piece offset 3/4 in. to the right of the fuselage.

Apply cement to the back of the plywood firewall and to the two 1/2" gussets, then set into place. The firewall must be tight against the front of the fuselage. Cement two of the 1/16" plywood pieces to the wing at the bellcrank location. Allow the whole assembly to dry overnight.

Since the Dancer was built for flying, paint should be kept to a minimum. First smooth all edges with fine sandpaper, then apply only a few coats of clear dope.

When the dope has dried, assemble the slot. It should be sanded as shown on the plans for best performance. Cement the triangular slot supports to the wing and, when they have dried, glue the slot in place. Cover these parts with clear dope. The entire model may then be covered with one or two coats of color dope, if desired.

After the final coat has dried, the controls and engine are installed. Mount the horn on the elevator and bend the pushrod to fit. Put the pushrod into the outer hole of the bellcrank, which is then set on the 1/16" plywood pieces attached to the wing. Drill a 3/32" hole through the bellcrank mount and attach the bell crank with screws. If desired, make a landing gear of 1/16" music wire and mount it between the engine and the firewall.

Flying is easy. Use a 6-3 propeller and 20- to 30-ft. flying lines. Launch downwind to keep the lines tight. Have your helper toss the model level so that the controls are not jerked.


Material List

1 Baby Bee 049

1 pc. 1/8 x 3 x 24" balsa wing

1 pc. 1/4 x 3 X 12" balsa fuselage

1 pc. 3/32 x 3 x 15" balsa tail

2 pcs. 1/4 x 1/4 X 3" balsa wing fillet

2 pcs. 1/2 x 1/22 x 1 3/4" balsa firewall gusset

2 pcs. 1/16 x 3/4 x 1" plywood

1 pc. 1/8 x 1 1/4 x 1 3/4" balsa firewall

1 pc. 1/8 x 1/2 x 12" balsa slot

1 1/2-A-size bellcrank and horn package

1 pc .055 x 12" music wire pushrod

1/16 x 9" music wire landing gear

1 pc. 2 x 3 1/2" silk cloth hinges

1 pc. 1/16 x 1/2 x 2" plywood

2 light 1-in. dia. wheels

4 #3 x 3/8 wood screws

small jar clear dope


Dancer Plans, February 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets

Dancer 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.



Posted February 23, 2024
(updated from original post on 3/14/2013)

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