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
control combat flight is a huge sport these days. You might be tempted to
think that it is a late-comer to the model airplane sport realm, but if
so, you'd be wrong. Here is an article from the December 1959 American Modeler
magazine that describes the successful effort of modelers half a century
ago pioneering R/C combat. Those were the days of heavy, tube-based airborne
receivers and servos / escapements / reeds (crude though they were). Per
author H. Donald Brown, "With us, mid-air crashes have out-numbered cut
steamers but the damage minor in most eases." The more things change, the
more they stay the same.
By H. Donald Brown
After having given serious consideration to
flying radio-control combat and thinking of the possible consequences with
anything like a six foot airplane and T.T.P.W. or reed equipment, it seemed
a lot wiser to design an outfit specially for this purpose.
Charles Mogee and H. Donald Brown (right) with original Wreck." Don
operates a N.J. TV and appliance store.
Full size plans for Ramblin' Wreck are on Group Plan # 1259 from
Hobby Helpers, 770 Hunts Point Ave., New York 59, N.Y. (60c). Photo
below shows model on field box; portable tool box-work bench combo keeps
expensive R/C equipment out of the dirt.
Your R/C Combat plane should be as small as possible and inexpensive to
build. The control system must have proportional elevators if you hope
to get near enough for a "kill." (Incidentally our group is about equally
divided between 27.255 and "hams" on 50-54 megacycle - thus making two
or more planes in the air at one time possible.)
a control setup, our minds naturally slid into a familiar, wellworn groove
- galloping ghost, or as we prefer to call it, the "Crank" system. This
project also presented an opportunity to design a force set-up to specially
favor the "Cranks" peculiarities The craft must have snappy action with"
a minimum of control surface, particularly elevator. This will eliminate
the characteristic gallop and will reduce actuator current and air loads.
The resultant airplane is not very pretty but it is a good flyer and will
take plenty of punishment due to its simplicity and lack of complication.
Chick Magee collaborated in building the first pair of planes
and drew the plans which have been used by local modelers to turn out a
number of similar planes including a biplane and some very pretty "cleaned-up"
Construction is very simple with a minimum of cutting;
as you will note fuselage lines have been extended on the plans. This eliminates
measuring and tracing parts. Just lay balsa over the plans and using a straight
edge, draw from extension lines. At the same time, mark locations of the
fuselage bulkheads. Bottom planking is cut to size with its grain lengthwise,
the fuselage built right on top of it - double glue all joints. Cover wing
and fuselage with nylon or silk. Do not cover stabilizer or rudder; use
balsa filler on them and as few coats of dope as practical for an adequate
finish. Keep weight down in the tail section. A landing gear' may be employed
but it increases the tendency for the planes to "lock horns" in any possible
mid-air collision. Landings are smoother without any gear as the ship will
not nose over. If you fly on a paved runway, it might be well to fiberglass
the nose section as indicated on plans. A nylon propeller will last many
Combat sessions are crowd pleasers and also an education
in depth perception. With us, mid-air crashes have out-numbered cut steamers
but the damage minor in most eases. Anyway, this will not daunt the spirits
of the of the true enthusiast! When you get the wreckage home, it does sometimes
seem that it's not worth the mess, but once indoctrinated, you will rebuild
and try it again, Incidentally, with the radio mounted in foam rubber, we
have never suffered any radio damage in a crash.
The ground control
unit used by our group is the original Walt Good pulser with the following
modifications: coupling condensers changed to .47 mfd. and B plus
voltage to 67.5 volts. This will bring the slow ("up" elevator) pulse rate
out at about 140 per minute. Down rate will then be okay. Use a geared control
box of the special 60 degree "post" sold by Ace.
There are kits on
the market for similar ground control units. The "Simple Simul" unit was
developed by John Worth.
During construction, keep in mind that weight
is an all-important factor. We have build combats weighing more with wider
fuselages and heavy equipment. All have been a deterrent to flying ability.
The originals are capable of 10 foot radius pylon turns, prolonged inverted
runs, and dragging the field at 3 foot altitudes. A heavy airplane just
will not perform this well.
Additional data appears on the full size
plans from Hobby Helpers.
Ramblin' Wreck Plans
<click for larger version>
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.