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
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
By 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
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
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
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