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For the Tenderfoot:

Saucerer Article & Plans
January 1970 American Aircraft Modeler

January 1970 American Aircraft Modeler

January 1970 American Aircraft Modeler 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 Kenneth E. wrote to say that he is working to build a complete collection of the Tenderfoot models that were published in American Aircraft modeler. The Tenderfoot series was an attempt to provide motivation to young newcomers to the hobby. They were a mix of freeflight rubber, gliders, and 1/4A & 1/2A control line designs that built simply and cheaply.

Kenneth requested reprints of the following three models:

Saucerer, Ray Malmström:  C/L 1/2A, January 1970

Bonanza and Mustang, David Thornburg:  FF HLG, January 1971

Clodhopper, Paul Denson:  FF Rubber February 1973



SAUCERERA simple-to-build and fly model that IS different.

"For the Tenderfoot" Thing - Airplanes and RocketsBy Ray Malstrom

Saucerer is lively sport ship for learning to fly upside down, loops, and wingovers, Saucerer, Jan 1970 AAM - Airplanes and Rockets

Saucerer is lively sport ship for learning to fly upside down, loops, and wingovers. Being almost unbreakable, it is a fine confidence builder. It uses 049 engine.

Plane is mostly 1/4" sheet balsa, Saucerer, Jan 1970 AAM - Airplanes and Rockets

Full-size plans on next two pages include many helpful building sketches. Plane is mostly 1/4" sheet balsa. No airfoil, as such, is carved, but bevel wing edges.

Use extra fine sandpaper between coats, then trim with color, Saucerer, Jan 1970 AAM - Airplanes and Rockets

Before painting, sand model all over with fine sandpaper. Blow off dust and brush on several coats clear dope. Use extra fine sandpaper between coats, then trim with color.

FLYING fun comes in all shapes and sizes, and it certainly will be yours, if you circulate with this circular-shaped space-age flavored flying saucer.

Construction: Cement together 1/4" balsa sheet cut to the dimensions in Fig. 1. Draw a center line across the sheets, and with a pair of compasses draw an 11" diameter circle. From the plan, trace and transfer to the circle the angled cutout for the motor mount, the elevator line and the small square that will accommodate the bell crank mount D. Using a fretsaw, cut out the disc (Fig. 2). Bevel the edges with fine sandpaper. Cut the elevator apart and rejoin using nylon or silk hinges. Cut a small slot in the elevator where shown for the control horn. Cut the body from 1/4" sheet. Note that it is tapered (use sandpaper on a block for this) towards the rear. The rear of the fin is cut away and re-cemented back at an angle (Fig. 3).

Now cement body piece along top center-line of disc. Cut hose blocks A, Band C from block balsa. Shape with knife and sandpaper and cement in position. Gouge out recesses for bolt heads (Fig. 4). Cut engine mount from 1/4" plywood, and drill holes to suit the engine you intend to use. Insert mounting bolts from the back, and solder pieces of wire across the heads to prevent them from turning (Fig. 5). Firmly cement the engine mount into the cutout on the disc and against the face of blocks A, Band C. Make a really firm job of this, and see the engine mount points the correct amount to the right.

Cut a bellcrank from 1/16" ply (or use a metal or plastic commercial bellcrank of similar size), and bellcrank mount D from 1/4" ply. Drill D to accept to bolt, and make sure it is a tight fit. This is important. Cut control rod, and leadout wires over-length at this stage and assemble to bellcrank, bending as shown (Fig. 6). Pass the bolt through the central hole in the bell crank, slip on a washer or two (Fig. 7), and screw firmly into part D. The bellcrank mount (complete with bellcrank and wires) is firmly cemented into the square recess already cut in the disc (Fig. 8). Make the line guide, drill holes, and slip it onto the leadout wires and cement to the undersurface of the disc in the position shown. Do not yet form the hooks on the leadout wires.

Cement the 1/16 ply horn into the elevator slot firmly. Use plenty of cement. Connect rod by bending the end and slipping through the hole in the control horn and locking with a soldered washer (Fig. 9). Be sure the bellcrank is in the position shown on the plan and the elevator is neutral (flat) when you connect up. Now cut off the excess from the leadout wires and bend the hooks. The hooks should be level (as shown on the plan) when the elevator is in the neutral (flat) position. Take care over this connecting up, as accurately lined-up controls make for really sweet and easy flying. Add a small weight to the starboard edge of the disc as shown. Hold in place with several layers of tissue doped on. Finally dope and finish your Saucerer as detailed on the plan, and bolt the engine in position.

Flying: Before that eagerly anticipated first flight, balance your flying saucer carefully. Tie a length of thread to a pin, and push the pin into the body at the balance point shown on the plan. Your model must balance level. Slight nose-heaviness does not matter, but tail heaviness must be avoided. It is unlikely that you will need any weight at the rear, but with varying engine weights you will most likely need a little additional weight in the nose. This can be achieved in two ways: Simply by adding some sheet lead (only a little will be needed) under the engine mount and block C, or by cutting a false firewall from plywood (around 1/4" to 1/2" thick) and positioning it between the engine and its mount. This way you move the engine further forward and achieve correct balance without the necessity of adding extra weight. Fig. 8 explains this simple and very neat method of balancing. Take your choice, but either way, do make sure your Saucerer balances on the balance point. You'll be glad when you take off on that test-flight!

Wing-overs and loops are possible with Saucerer after you are acquainted, so good luck and happy circulating. And choose soft grass to fly over.


Three 1/4 x 3 x 36 balsa, one 1/4 x 3 x 20, one 1 x 6 x 1, one 2 x 2-1/4 X 3/4, one 1/4 x 2 x 2 plywood, one 1/16 x 2-1/2 x 1-1/2, one 1/32 x 2-1/2 x 1/2, one 9" length 1/16 music wire, one 14" length 1/32 music wire.

Saucerer Plans, Jan 1970 AAM - Airplanes and Rockets

Saucerer 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.

Try my Scale Calculator for Model Airplane Plans.





Posted June 26, 2011

About Airplanes & Rockets 

Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and RocketsKirt Blattenberger

Carpe Diem! (Seize the Day!)

Even during the busiest times of my
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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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